Nonfiction Flash:
The Unsuccessful Manumitting of Trump's Mouth
Grated chips of leathery looks
drift from his bloated eyes.
Thin ribboned traces
his contorted lips
squeal and cant
in a cascading flurry of
They quail,
they rail;
twisted, dancing, dangled slivers
desperate to
slide and slip
slide and fall
racing to
they strain,
gasp and groan
arch and beg for
They could run, they could hide,
but he'd hunt them down
with cold green blood.
Slam them,
smear them,
grind them in
his clotted visage.
Strapped in place,
they flail and wail,
no one heeds their cries.
Condemned and convicted, a set of serfs
bound to spew a
trombone gurgle bleating,
a bray, a braying
roars into a
remains of the days,
the days,
the nights and
days that don't end,
won't end.
Not until . . .
they gobble and pinch
wiggle and thrust
sink into the sludge thick depths
of his breath at night.
Author: R.j. hOylE
Copyright: 2015
Style: Lyric Flash Essay
Fort Rock
   A massive, long-extinct pyroclastic tuff ring hovers above the desiccated expanse of a flat, ancient, pluvial lake bed. It exploded into existence as a bloated, frantic bubble that left a hard-lipped mouth jutting above the broad, sloshing waters. Wind and tide eventually wore down the towering rupture and dissolved its southwest rampart. But then, the earth shifted; the lake drained away, and the hunched sepia form stood alone as it devolved into a squashed and crumpled jaw that continues to wither under the long days of fading light.
   Inside, the ground slithers with scattered clumps of chipped, unstable rocks. The facade, now lined with rivulets of dark brown stretch marks strains to cup the last dregs of silence before a smattering of chattering tourists clomp through the low, rolling sand banks. Sharp scrub grasses and small cacti needles lean in to grab and shred exposed flesh and clothing. A few explorers wander to the edges and dig their toes and heels into the crumbling, rippled sides. They claw and yank their way to a dusty ledge or a not too high arrowhead point. A lone hawk soars in the updrafts overhead and shoots a piercing scream at the indifferent invaders below.
   A sudden wind buffets and bangs on the jagged outer wall. Finding no entry, it rushes and rises to the top of the decaying peaks, breaches the top, and trips and crashes down and around into the wide-open basin. Hurtling forward, it races across the gritty core and bends, whips the thin, startled vegetation before jettisoning out of the breach to blow wide and then fade into a spent, deflated breath on the barren, pockmarked floor.
   To the east, orderly patches of green carved fields flutter in a wide skirt as they spread out from the ring's tired, aching sides. A few weathered plank-sided buildings squat like discarded teeth near the grim black road that stretches beneath the eroding desiccated maw.
   In the wan, thin distance, a soft haze hangs over the seven mountain clutch of the frosty Cascade range. The fertile promontories stretch like the gnashing teeth of a mythical, monstrous mammal. Against the darkening sky, this gap-toothed vista seems to mock and chortle at the disintegrating cavity of the once oozing behemoth as the sun sets behind them in fitful streaks of impatient reds and golds.
Author: R.j. hOylE
Copyright: 2015
Driving away . . .
Driving away, I feel the house crumble into the dust. Driving away, I see the road waver and sway before me. Driving away, I turn a knob and the music curls and whines, drifts and swirls as it escapes the weary radio. Driving away, I hear your wailing fold into a soft, vacant echo that fades into the thickening fog behind me. Driving away, I close my eyes and release the wheel, my hold, my grip, and the memory of the everything and the always, and the tires thrum and run and turn and all is everything that it ever will be.
Author: R.j. hOylE
Copyright: 2014
It is a pale grey heart exploding from within, a muddy sulfuric fiery volcano bubbling to the surface -- it is none of these. Nikon's 2014 winning microphotograph shows a rotifer's mouth wide open.
You could be a galaxy, a nebula erupting, your sun-like corona hugs you. Who are you, what are you, your mouth gapes and I fall in -- captivated by the why of you.
In another image, you have a feathery crown, golden, and ruby. You are a festive bud of royalty. In yet another, taken from the side, you are a cool, blue sturdy lab flask. Your translucent belly swollen and smooth, it shelters your garbled, mysterious interior.
You and I are creatures with a tube, a foot, an eye, and a tummy. We match. Yet, diverge. We consume and defecate. We eat and are eaten. We are one, yet not.
Although you arise and thrive in multiple forms, multiple settings, multiple locales, you dwell in the most simple of places. You root yourself in deep waters, puddles, or gutters. You anchor yourself in film-thin water beads that coat dark nubs of soil. You stream across forest floors and seek shelter among moss, lichen, and fungus.
As you waver in the gentle eddies, you fondle and filter passing minutia: shreds of leaves, teeny algae, struggling plankton, and -- each other.
You are older than Methuselah. Far above in the frigid north, your ancestor's jaws left tiny prints in the Pleistocene peat. A rock cracks open, a microscope hovers, and there you are as you have always been . . . rising from the depths of history.
You are everywhere and nowhere. You hide in plain sight -- under my feet and over my head. When I breach the earth to sow and reap, I often shuffle a thousand of you, a million of you to your death and perhaps, to new lives. I cast you all about in pots, in rows, and then, into turned and turned parched piles where you wither and die. No sweet water, no sweet tidbits, you shrivel and melt away, and no one hears a cry.
I murdered you before I knew you. But now, I see you, and am swept up in the all of you.
Author: R.j. hOylE
Copyright: 2014
Style: Lyric Essay
Wye Oak
   For over 400 years, a million or more of us floated down from her colossal, crimson arms. Still pliable and fresh, I was one of the last that flapped upon her highest crown. Long before that, she began as a tight-capped seed snug among the grass of a downy meadow that lay beside a thin, winding trail. A passing deerskin-footed traveler may have ground her into the soil or else, a squirrel buried and forgot her.
   Cupped in the earth, she shot out roots, and as she inched higher the surrounding land erupted with buildings, farms, and silos. As she grew thick and tall, generations of nearby settlers bloomed and withered. Eventually, her famous length and breadth brought streaming knots of travelers who gawked at her acre-reaching limbs.
   As the decades passed, and she weakened and trembled, steel bands girded her loins and cement veins sealed her weeping cracks. Weaker, yet still majestic, she continued to dapple the ground with a determined coating of tawny seeds.
   Then, one blue, spring afternoon, as the sun arched toward the west, a thick moistness clotted the air. Before long, above the horizon, a growling gray mass ballooned, and as it neared, the air turned bruised and sallow as a series of cold, raspy breezes ruffled through her.
   Shivering in anticipation, we draped her, trying to protect her, but a thick fat plunk, and then another and another pelted us. After that, a hot, heaving wind frantically raced in. It whipped up gritty shards that peppered small divots into us. Bowing away from the escalating assault, her great body twisted and creaked as groaning sounds burst from her aching, weary joints. All around her, a stream of raking gusts piled mangled debris into shifting rows of gnarled sculptures.
   The wind's frantic fury ripped many of us away. It flung us onto a faded street sign, and as we clung to it, a massive gale bore down on her. Her arms wavered and curved, and then, a bright crack shot through her. She slipped, tipped, and snapped as her brittle core exploded all over the ground.
   The deluge ceased, the winds wandered away, and the once record-breaking marvel lay dashed and gasping on the spattered terrain.
   The uncovered sun dried the sign and we slid down. A flurry of thwarted rescuers trod over us as they bundled up her remains. Later, they cut her body into chunks. Some of them carved choice bits into furniture, jewelry, and pens. Meanwhile, others pulled small shreds from her and coaxed fragile clones to life.
   Today, one of her barely hatched children sits tucked and nestled inside the wide berth of her fading frame. As we melted into the earth below, the new oak's roots suckled on our decaying residue, and her core grew strong from us -- her mother's remains.
   Eleven years have passed since her original planting, and now, only 449 more years remain before we are as old as we were again.
Author: R.j. hOylE
Copyright: 2014
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