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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

98. Welder

You pull down the metal mask, peer through its window, lift a thin metal rod with pincers connected to lines. You're a knight who got turned into a laboring wizard-- in a union if you're lucky. The rod sizzles, crackles, flares, smokes--wants to become the metal it touches. You're unfazed by rain of fire. Tiny meteors of sizzling metal fizz and cascade.

It's all to create connections, fuse fragments, to lay a molten bead between two solids. Such a strange ceremony. The cloth around your neck, red, is soaked with sweat--layers below the other covering.

Such a strange ceremony.

Someone passing sees light flare against the window of your primitive mask, sees you crouched in midst of fire and noise, treats you like an executioner, scurries. After a while, you stop, peel back the visor, breathe and blink, having risen from the altar of Hephaestus. It's payday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

97. Red In Brueghel's ICARUS

Auden instructed me
long ago how to view
Bruegel’s Icarus and
note the white legs
between shore and ship:
such a small and pitiful
percentage of pigment
on the scape. Now
I’ve looked again,
rediscovered wonders
in the view: the sun’s
genial, obese collision
with horizon; fat,
billowed sails; a
apparition above
one ship; the supple
curves of furrows
at the farmer’s feet;
the sacred, mellow
light into which
the plow-horse stares.
And the only red
of the painting flares
in the farmer’s blouse:
how anomalous
and right. About red,
Brueghel was not
profligate but wise.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom