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 29, 2009

88. Painted Toe-Nails

Why do women paint their toes, ten red squares (of sorts) in two rows; --beneath the paint, ten slightly plump and variably sized nodes of flesh that grip, relax, curl, relax, navigate, and nap?

I don't know why they paint their toes. I don't need to know. I just like the pleasure of asking. I wonder what persons in what cultures were first to paint the nails on toes. Maybe an anthropologist wearing sandals knows.

Properly speaking and properly painting, women paint toe-nails, not toes. Women are said to have their toenails "done." They participate in pedicures. Or they trim and paint their toes themselves.

And then the toes are free to glow, go redly in sandals or in shoes or in shoes, or unshod before God. Some women paint their toenails. This is good. All fine by be, toes glowing redly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

87. Red Undancies, Etc.

I left my red Iculous out in the sun, and I'll be a son of a gun if it didn't fade to pink, as if to ridicule me for my spelling error.

I think the red Efining moment of my life occurred when my mother birthed me into the hands of a country doctor.

The boss said we needed to red Ouble our efforts because, I guess, the accountants found out our efforts weren't sufficiently Oubled.

Frankly, in all honesty, and to tell you the truth, I am no fan of red Undancy. I like my Undancies to be blue, green, or black.

The documents provided by the Government were so red Acted that they'd become works of art, vast cold ponds of black ink into which facts had disappeared.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

86. Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts, you are not needed. You have been feeding off of hate too long. Queen of Hearts, silence yourself, put your grudges on a shelf, go to good work, go into your heart.

Queen of Hearts, your era's ended, or let let us hope it has. Queen of Heart, Queen of Hatred, you're not needed. We have pleaded long enough for sensible and kind, for empathy, for mind; for mindfulness.

Queen of Hearts, you're not a fiction. You are fact. You act; more is the pity.

Queen of Hearts, you are not needed. Please relent, your hatred spent.

Monday, September 14, 2009

85. How Oxygen Loves Red

Each breath's a dose of oxygen, breathed from pink-red lungs.

When oxygen hits an open wound, sometimes the red blood screams.

When iron falls in love with air, the tragedy begins. Rust is evidence of oxygen's lust.

When lightning torches forest, oxygen goes mad, builds halls and towers of flame and wants to obliterate all dry and fibrous things with its red empire, voracious inferno.

When did oxygen's addiction to red begin? As early as when Universe exploded into being?

Today I saw something exposed to air too long. A red mold lightly dusted it, cosmetic and sinister. In a room somewhere, oxygen could be heard to chuckle. Then it danced through the ducts of a red brick building.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

84. Red Lights In A Blue-Black Storm

When hard rain came again at night, pounding pavement and rattling roofs, slanting in at low angles, she parted curtains and looked out at relentless water, which hit the city--not her city but one in which she'd ended up, the way we do after we take this step, make that choice, get jostled by that or this accident or willful impulse; and as her mind absorbed the image, her gaze also saw red lights at a train-crossing, far off in that blue-black mass of night, so far off that they seemed sometimes to wink off, blink on, and she remembered, and she spoke quietly to the cold window made to creak by gusts, "Why do I let myself forget the mantra, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, I'm here, and here I am?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

83. Re-imagining Twill

An Entity sent "him" an email communicating the assertion that a retailer of clothing pretends to desire "to re-imagine twill."

Let us re-imagine twill, then, he thought: tillers and pickers of cotton; overseers of humans; workers in mills; diverters of water; bankers of loans; spinners of fiber; cutters of cloth; drivers of loads; sewers of costumes; sad sellers and buyers; the hours of work-grinding-work that were in fact counted but were in experience infinite and obliterative.

Imagine, re-imagine with me (said the man to his friend), the notion of twill, red twill, tailored, re-tailored, retailed, and emailed; red twill re-imagined in An Exciting New Look For the Fall.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

82. Lois And The Greatness of American Poetry

Lois read where some noted assessor of poetry had opined that American poetry was in danger of losing its "greatness.'

She was relieved to know that, at least by inference, poetry from Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Japan, Cuba, Iran, Luxembourg, and Egypt (for example) was going to retain its greatness.

Lois didn't, however, know what the man meant by "greatness," which she suspected might be a quality much debated in some circles, squares, and rhombuses, and which in most cases was a manufactured, illusory status, as it was in the case of soft-drinks, popular music, and vegetables.

Also, how (Lois wondered) would this fellow know about American poetry? Sure, he allegedly read a lot of it, but still, what percentage of all American poetry had he, did he, read? Not only hadn't he defined greatness, but his statistical sample was suspect, the greater sin in this Age of Stats.

Then, of course, there was The Dickinson Factor. Assuming we might agree on what greatness meant, assuming we could read all American poetry being written, some great American poetry might be getting produced by people who kept it to themselves, out of sight. Dickinson had loathed publication. She put her stitched-together books in drawers. She even wrote a poem mocking publication. And yet her poetry had been published, eventually, and it turned out to be great.

Lois suspected that the Noted Opiner might be a fan of such American Poetic Titans as Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and Allen Ginsberg, whose poetry was like a train that announced itself as Great before it roared through town. After it roared through town, there were critics riding on the back of the caboose reminding the town that some great poetry had just roared through. Wa-hoo!

Lois believed several things about American poetry--and about poetry in general. She believed it was less concerned with its citizenship than people assumed. She knew of no poem that carried a passport. Second, Lois believed greatness was like a shuttlecock that critics batted back and forth on the sunny lawn of criticism, back behind the old-fashioned sanitarium. On the list of, say, three million things to worry about, "the greatness of American poetry" probably didn't rank higher than 2, 753,618.

Finally, Lois believed that if American poets--indeed, all poets--just kept using the word "red" from time to time, and well, their poetry would be just fine, "just fine" being a kind of breeding ground for greatness. "Shun not the word 'red,' poets": that was Lois's sage advice. As for the man who'd gotten a head-start on mourning the loss of great American poetry, Lois had these words of hidden advice: "Silly boy."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

81. Sexy Wine Women

Light low, world pretending to be at bay, a few kind things to say: ah, dear, the rim of the wine glass is a lip of light, and someone has murmured something about sexy wine women.

Sexy wine women?

Sure, paint and wine blur, words and feelings. Our time and wine are full of light. Our light isn't full of time. Be comfortable. Have some wine. We're here whether we're supposed to be or not. The glorious rot, red wine. Your smile gives light an attitude, and light loves your hair, sexy wine woman.


80. Cabernet Franc

Found Poem: Cabernet Franc

The nose shows aromas
of plum, cranberry, cassis, and
pepper. The mouth is clean
and ripe, with youthful pie-cherry
red berries and plums
that are unencumbered by oak. The
tannins are well managed,
and the finish is fruity,
velvety. It lingers for
some time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

79. Blues In Three Paragraphs

Once there was a woman. A woman once was. Her name was given to her, oh yes, and she kept it. Here though she is She. She grew up into bewilderment, love, enthusiasm, disappointment, heartache, hard work, shame, loss, and affliction--in her specific life's, however, particular ways. Sorrow filled her days, her spirit, as darkness fills a lake at twilight--heavy but untouchable, deep and complete. And so she sang.

The Blues, her blues. Crudely, freely, authentically, often, and finally well. She didn't put her heart into the blues. The blues came out of her heart-so-to-speak like trout leaping out of a dark lake and shined on by moonlight. She sang of it all in a line, that line repeated, and a third line rhyming with the two.

One of her songs was about a red dress given to her by a lover; oh yes, a lover. Lover left. Dress remained. Impulsively she sold the dress for a lot of nothing because it hurt too much to wear the dress, and/or to keep it and not wear it would hurt, too. Yes, indeed. Red, red, said. Broke, broke, joke. Cry, cry, why? Confess, confess, red dress. She had the blues, and they had her. She sang those Red Dress Blues--well, well; and those blues and the singing made her feel good, let light into the lake. The blue lake.