Thursday, January 14, 2010


in case you haven’t heard, jason over at clarity of night is having another short fiction contest. i highly recommend checking it out – always some really great reads.

since he's got a new contest, and since i'm currently buried to the point i haven't writen anything for almost a month, i thought i'd post my entry to the last clarity of night contest – technically not “new”, but new here – and this is the longer version, before i had to pare it down to 250 words per the contest rules. if you are a comparer / contraster, here is the – well, not short, but sanctioned version i submitted. (and don't miss the winner of the last contest)

So you let yourself in early
to surprise him when he woke
but the bed was made – unlike him -
so you stepped out for a smoke

and you couldn’t help but notice
as you wondered where he’d go
atop the trash, the empty bottle
of a ’64 Boudreaux

he once told you he’d been saving
for that sometime special night
and your final drag was shaky
knowing something wasn’t right

so you grabbed your phone and called him
but you heard it ring inside
and you found it in the kitchen
on the counter, right beside

broken bits of silver ribbon
and a scrap of shiny paper
and the breath you fought to draw
quickly vanished into vapor

as you glanced down in the basin
and discovered in the sink
a pair of dirty crystal glasses
with a foreign shade of pink

telltale lipstick in a crescent
like a smile, near the rim -
though the tears impaired your vision
you could piercingly see him

as the puzzle came together
faster than each piece could fall
and you retched onto the dishes
at the writing on the wall -

eleventh-hour client dinners
and the weekend business trips
when you simply couldn’t reach him
and the stutters and the slips

and you fumbled in a stupor
of revulsion, hurt and ire
and you tore and threw the necklace
he had given, and a fire

was still smoldering in cinders
in the hearth, and you saw red
and an earring on the carpet
which, of course, explained the bed…


In the rearview, from the freeway
dusky plumes began to dawn
like exclamation points that
both his house and you were gone;

in your ears he was a sparrow
on your neck, an albatross;
love may cast a
blinding brilliance
but in vino


trooping with crows said...

CLASSIC! I love what a scorned female will do. I really liked where you did this...

"and you tore and threw the necklace
he had given, and a fire

was still smoldering in cinders
in the hearth,"

Very much awesome. So, there is more to this poem? Or is this it entirely? I couldn't imagine any of these verses missing! It all needs to be said! Totally cool poem, Joaquin, as only you can write 'em.

Aniket said...

You know, on reading the last lines I realized you could have sent the same entry to this contest too. :)

I was looking forward to seeing you and Margaret at the contest. But I understand. Life happens. ;)

I did diverted a couple of poets towards your direction. Lets just hope that they show up. :)

BloggerMouth said...

This one's a treat. It's interesting to see that a man can sketch a woman's mind this way... The imagery was quite powerful. I could see it happening in my head. And dusky plumes like exclamation points... splendid choice of words! I do love your style so very much!

Nevine said...

A beautiful expression of a woman's mind when it is not so beautiful. I am amazed at your ability to understand a woman's psyche, her inner self, at such a moment. It is hard for even a woman who has not had such an experience to describe it. You did it so well. An excellent piece of work, and such a treat to read.


K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Wow - only a true poet could have expressed the betrayal, the indignation, and the revenge in such dramatic and vivid detail. Fantastic work, Joaquin!

Julie said...

Oh, yeah. Burn his stanky, two-timing (fill in the blank with sailor words). I love those dusky plumes! And the lipstick in a crescent on the rim is awesome. Joaquin, you are a wonderful storyteller and poet. I've told you that repeatedly. Can't help it. It has to be said.

I always either sympathize with your main character or someone in the poem, no matter what they do. That is the sign of an excellent storyteller.

catvibe said...

I had you in my top 10 list last contest. I was mad that your entry didn't make the 40's club because I thought it rocked. I mean, why ask for poetry if your not going to score it like you would a story, right? Anyway, your story/poem, rocked the contest for me.

joaquin carvel said...

troop - thank you! this is the whole thing - the one i entered into the contest was about 50 words lighter - i kinda like this one better though.

aniket - wow, you're right! i didn't think of it, but almost wished i'd entered it again just to see if anyone'd notice. would have had to change the last lines, though. and thanks for the shout outs - we'll see if they drop by. :)

blo-mo - thank you - it was interesting to write - good to try on other skins sometimes. and if you could see it all in your head i guess it worked out!

nevine - i wouldn't go so far as to say i understand it - i think i just kind of followed it down the road a little - but i think i know what you mean. thank you!

k - thank you - the line between "dramatic" and "melodramatic" can get pretty fine at times - hopefully i stayed on the right side this time.

julie - coming from one of the best storyteller poets i've ever read - honestly - i'm dumbstruck. thank you.

cat - thank you! i guess it stands to reason that it's pretty tough for a poem in a fiction contest to do well - and any writing contest is pretty much subjective anyway - i just thought it'd be fun to see how a poem would fare. i don't know what my score was but i was happy with the responses people left - and to know i was in your top ten!

Karen said...

I remember this as one of my favorites from last year - and rereading confirms that judgment. The details are awesome. I think you're a winner. Every time!