blog aboutnewsmusicpoetrytypepurchasecontact


Seven Haiku for Autumn

the leaves are changing
i am only one person
but they are many

winter is coming
soon, it will be time to sleep
there are seven stars

orion raises
his mighty bow and arrow
to pierce the earth's heart

the cold air enters
through the open front window
i can smell the rain

pumpkin pie is here
it's made out of pumpkin flesh
but, of course, it's spiced

maybe this year we'll
have time to hand out candy
before the snow falls

don't you ever think
coldness is wetness is death?
the leaves are changing


The Unfurling

I wrote this in 2006 for freshman English class at Kellogg Community College. I think it says a lot about my teenage self.


I could see the core now.

I knew this would happen.  I should have known not to trust her.  Those little redheads are always up to mischief, spreading lies like eggplants in a winter storm.  I knew this would happen.  What was left of the onion was still sitting on the mantle where she had put it an hour ago.  She said I should stay put and wait for it until she returned.

“Can I trust you keep your promise?” I had asked her, hours earlier.  But like all little redheaded girls, she only glanced over her shoulder and responded with a soft coo.  She almost sounded like a mourning dove when she did it; it was a gentle sound, but pronounced and unmistakable.  That’s how I knew it was too late.  The onion was already beginning to unfurl.

Then she was gone.

It was like the sky beneath her had suddenly imploded into a singularity… a crisp infinitesimal point on the dark surface of eternity.  It was a total and utter apparition of nothingness closing around her frame.  And yet the onion stood, unfurling.

With the first layer came a brilliant yellow… a cloudless and empty yellow.  It permeated the air surrounding me like wine spilled on a white shirt.  I couldn’t think about anything except its brilliance, but I wasn’t afraid.  My emotion was much like the feeling you get when you are trying to remember something that you were just thinking about moments earlier, but you can’t remember.  It was an intense feeling, but I knew it would last only until the memory came to me, or until my mind simply wandered from the thought of it.

My mind had little time to deviate, however, because as the second and third layers unfurled, the yellow air around me was punctuated with a sharp, churning odor.  It was like a mixture of fine linen and cheddar cheese.  I thought for a moment that I could smell the sulfuric stench of rotten egg-whites, but I decided that it was perhaps only a secondary effect of the two scents mixing.  The odor was powerful and intense; it reminded me of how the air hurts your nostrils when you breathe on a very cold day.  I began to despise even the thought of having to respire, so I held my breath.

I began to grow faint, retaining my breath. I thought the yellow was starting to play tricks with my mind, like when you stare at static on a television until you think you can see pictures in it. I began to notice faint figures and images fluttering before me like tribal dancers by a fire.  That’s when I realized they were real—the fourth layer had already unfurled and was lying on the floor beneath the mantle.   I was afraid now.  The dancers were not of the sort I was expecting at all from the fourth layer—they were naked and horrifyingly tall—their dance was foreboding and dark, and it was consuming the yellow.   As the dancers danced, the yellow was being drawn into their ears like a great stramineous curtain being sucked into a vacuum outlet. They were screaming now.

As the fifth layer unfurled, the depth of my fear was heightened to a plane far superior to the one on which it had resided during the fourth unfurling.  From the fifth layer came exactly what I was expecting: darkness—profound and unflinching darkness.  It swallowed the room in a great gulp, like a phagocyte engulfing a bacterium.  Fear was searing through my veins.  I could see nothing now…. the fifth layer must have been the last.  This unfurling must have been the total and final consummation of the onion.

But I had underestimated the deviousness of the redhead.  Her schemes had gone far beyond my expectations.  She had returned early, and I could feel her breath on the back of my neck… she had been waiting all along for this moment.  The fifth layer had not been the end.   I swung around behind me to where I knew she must be.  I pounced in her direction, swinging my fist into the darkness.  I felt my hand strike a surface, and I heard her cry out.  Then I heard nothing.  I must have gotten her.  Yes, now I’ll wait for the last unfurling, and take the core for myself.  Her plans have failed.

I could see the core now.

The sixth layer was just beginning to shed, and the luminous ember at the center of the onion was starting to peek out of its embryonic sarcophagus.  As the sixth layer completely fell apart, the core of the onion displayed itself in total and fathomless resplendence.  The effulgence was so intense I could hardly stand to behold its glory.

As I reached out for it, my hand was struck down.  The redhead must have regained consciousness; now her lies had reached their full culmination.  She was going to steal the onion for herself and take it back to her people, just as I suspected.   I knew I shouldn’t have trusted her.  I would have to fight her for it… I was the rightful owner of the onion; she may have put it on the mantle, but I watched the unfurling.   The onion is mine!  I struck at her again… this time I knew I had killed her.  She was on the floor, blood flowing from her ears as I leapt out for the onion, clutching its remains in my fists.   But suddenly, the yellow had returned—and all the smells, all the images, and the dancers, too.

They knew what I had done.