About Red Tales

Here's an evolving electronic collection of short prose pieces, with a poem contributed occasionally. Brevity guides. Although sometimes a piece will run to 900 words, most pieces are much shorter. Here one may find erotica, flash fiction, brief observations, and modest improvisations. Another rule is that each piece must have something to do with"red"; at least the word has to appear in each piece functionally. . . . All pieces are numbered and titled, so there's a de facto table of contents running down the rail below, under "Labels" (scroll down a bit). Browse for titles that look interesting, if you like. Thank you for stopping by. Look for some red today, tonight.

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

244. Beet Poet

Yes, I'm a beet poet. I don't look East, I don't look West. I look down at the ground and see a garden's wisdom and consider what be growing underneath the soil. Ate a lot of pickled beets growing up. I liked the way they stained the cottage cheese. I liked the circular slices. . . The flavor of beets want to bite the taste-buds, a wee nip. Unpretentious, beets proclaim peasant values and store red-purpose ink to use on underground radical pamphlets. Listen, beet poets know you have to be patient with beets, coax them into working as food, engage in collective bargaining. First, a removal of the frivolous tops, bourgeois status-markers. Next, a nice par-boiling. Let them cool at their pace. Then a gentle peeling. Finally roasting, maybe with a little olive oil and sea-salt. The taste is earthy, surprisingly complex. Your stomach will write a note to you saying "Thanks for the honest food.". . . Borscht is fun to make and more fun to serve, bright soup! The taste is not for the delicate-minded. The taste is fine for vodka-sipping old aunts who do not suffer fools at all. Do remember the dollop of sour cream. Do remember never to invade Russia, especially in Winter. . . As you slurp your borscht or crunch your roasted beets, read some paragraphs from a Russian novel or listen to something passionate by Tchaikovsky. Don't be afraid to tear off a hunk of dark Swedish rye bread and dunk it. We beet poets do not howl. We grumble. We listen to opinions and roll our eyes. We think of root vegetables, my friend, and you should, too. hans ostrom

Monday, August 17, 2015

243. High Morning Learn

It is a high morning learn: the sun in a pure sky; an angel moves across a meadow. She stops here. Our wonder flares. Then we receive our high morning learn. Her dark face is purged of worry. She has lived beyond our evil. She take us to an aromatic red-cedar grove to teach us things that last beyond our petty passions. She is the angel of the high morning learn. div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on">

242. Old Hardbacks

Many of the old hardbacks on my parents' bookshelves were bound or covered in red cloth. They were inexpensive, from publishers like Lippincott and Doubleday, names that carried magical cache with when I was ten. Some were westerns--by Zane Grey, Max Brand, and Ernest Haycox. Others were about anything. I found out books could be about anything. That was excellent to know. I was interested in the words more than in the stories the words freighted. We try to make stories more different from each other than they are. It's good for business and for writers' and readers' ego. But, you know, those books, they were made of paper, cardboard, glue, ink, and cloth. I liked the books for themselves, the way I liked salamanders and rocks for themselves. The books were small light objects that stood up until someone took them and opened them, and then the books were obligated to go to work. Not long from now there will be secret clubs composed of people who like to hold old books.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

241. Scarf in Manhattan

Three decades earlier, he'd lost a scarf in Manhattan. Now he thought of it without being reminded of it by anything. His mind reminded itself and spit out the memory like a bone mysteriously rising to the surface of the La Brea Tar Pits. He doesn't know how his mind did this. He doesn't know why it did this. Often one to ruin magic, his imagination boorishly pictures the scarf rotted in a landfill after a last stop maybe with a homeless man or woman. Wool. Red.

Friday, April 24, 2015

240. Ava and Miriam

When the red shoes went missing, the blue chair stayed still. A yellow bird cheeped in a cage by the sill. What does life mean beyond the song? Miriam is white, and Ava is brown, and they wear the same color gown. They mourn the loss of the red shoes, they move the blue chair, and--ah!--the red shoes, there all along. What does life mean beyond the song? * * * * hans ostrom 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

239. Maxx Lomar, Private Writer

I've always bought my notebooks one at a time. That's just the way I work. I'm a private writer. If something needs to be said, I'll say it, in writing. I'll use the one notebook I have going, the kind with lines on the page, with a vertical red capillary running down the left side to set the margin. I like to work alone. That's why I never joined the force. I have an imaginary secretary in the imaginary outer office, where I see my name stenciled in black on fogged glass, and underneath: Private Writer. . . . Oh, and then she came through the door, 5' 6" of trouble dressed in beauty. Yeah, she was quite a poem. She said she had some revisions that needed to be done and was I interested? I lit her cigarette for her. There it was, between her red-lipstick lips. The tip glowed as she took a drag. I looked in her violet eyes and said, "Oh, I'm interested, all right. Tell me more." Yeah, I'm Maxx Lomar, Private Writer. * * * hans ostrom 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

238. White Ants

He'd been at his place of work many years when one day white ants swarmed into his official space and climbed all over him. They bit him, making red marks, stinging. He slapped and brushed, danced and ran. His co-workers stood stone-faced, looking at him and the white ants on him. "Will you help?" he asked them. "No," one of the colleagues said, speaking for all. "These white ants are a sign that you've never fit in here. They are a sign from the god of careers!" hans ostrom 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

237. My Heart

My heart is like an onion tree, which doesn't exist, so bite me--hey, just kidding. My heart is like New York poets who report regularly on their ongoing struggles with genius. Oh, my heart might be saying "Brooklyn," but let me tell you, it is thinking "Harlem." My heart talks. And talks. "Shut up, will you, heart?" That is something I say to myself. My heart is like the CIA and the KGB. It tortures, patriotically. My heart is like an analgesic dream. It costs too much. My heart is like an ancient people who had it all going on. It is wiped out. My heart, my heart. Nobody cares what it is like. People care about their own hearts, as they should. Nobody cares what my heart is or that it is mine. My blah is like a blah and so is your blah