Here is a short-short fiction that I wrote for a contest and came in as a runner-up (posted here).

Snowflakes intensified their dervish dance in the streetlight outside his classroom. The storm would soon paralyze the city; it was good he didn’t have far to go. This convenience almost made up for the agony of teaching aspiring great American novelists, who in the course of a single paragraph mixed metaphors, dangled modifiers and assassinated syntax. He had to remind himself that nearly two decades ago a class like this had saved his life. If he hadn’t taken it, the wild onslaught of words in his head would have crushed him. Instead, he learned to corral, choreograph them. So here he was: a steady paycheck, and such luxury amenities as heat, lights and free coffee.

He sat at his desk riffling through student papers. The assignment was to examine their desire to write, and he braced for the tedium of typed clichés.

“I work in PR; and I want to leverage my creative talent for creative writing.”

“I have always considered myself to be a writer. My very unique background has resulted in many original story idea’s, which I believe the world is eagerly awaiting.”

He sighed. Their commitment was admirable, but Welding 101 would have suited them better. He fanned out the stack to see how much more he had to endure. A lined sheet covered with smudged handwriting caught his eye. He extracted it and read:

“I am an engineer with the soul of a poet. At night, words pour from my fingers; I get drunk with their meanings, melodies, multiplicities. I wake up with sheets of paper strewn across my bed, pen in hand, reading glasses still on.”

His eyes stung. He got up, and, watching his reflection in the glass, walked toward the window, cracked it and lit a cigarette.


“write what you know”

“write what you know”

what do i know

the snow the rain the shower drain

all that remains is a stain

on the wall of wailing

and whaling sailing jailing regaling

assailing the senses through lenses

of capital offenses

she dances and glances

ahead behind as if snow blind

too bad you are not her kind

bind yourself to her vision

commission petition provision

algebraic precision don’t dilly or dally

don’t question her tally

the alley cat strays into your

territory like an allegor-

y its trajector-y known only to