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

Monday, April 26, 2010

118. Pimientos

Listen, I know this sounds absurd, but it's important to think about pimientos. To think . . .

That they can be sliced so small, like pieces of a sacred red flag. That they can become the red pupils of green eyeballs called olives and look at you from a large jar like a mad doctor's collection. That they appear by themselves, sliced and pickled, in very tiny jars with red lids; these slices and these jars say much about a hyper-differentiated culture.

That pimientos were give a name less beautiful than pimiento, and not a red name: Capsicum annuum, which is a chalky white name, according to my synesthesia.

That, unsliced, they add extravagantly to foodstuffs cooked. That, sliced and pickled into miniatures, they add almost nothing to prepared food but still are summoned by powerful recipes.

That they exist at all . . . bright red chili peppers!

In no way, some will argue, are pimientos crucial. And yet they are exalted. I for one exalt them. Did someone say there are too many pimientos? I say there are too few.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

117. Brick

A brick never set
into wall or walkway

seems all rectangular

for nothing, red out
of embarrassment or alarm:

Brick emergency! I need

to be part of something,
mortared into solidarity!

The isolated brick gives
the impression of being aware

of its situation, although
that is impossible.

What will happen?

Weather will get to it.
Or it will break. Anyway

it’ll return to soil, finish

the trip from clay to mold
to kiln to being brick to

having been brick to dirt.

116. Red-Winged Blackbird

A red-winged blackbird sat, sits, will sit briefly on the top of a cat-tail in a marsh. That dash of red, with yellow, astonished, astonishes, will astonish some observers, who never have nor do not now nor never will want the blackbird to fly off.

That the red dash, with yellow, should materialize on a black wing; that such common rarity should reveal itself in a marsh; that some observers lifted, lifted, will lift field-glasses to their eyes to magnify the dash: all of this is easily explained but never fully accounted for.

And the red-winged blackbird flew off, flies off, will fly off the flexible, tall, substantial reed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

115. Sunlight-Shapes

A gray cat probed an empty red-labeled can with its nose. The can slid on a wooden floor on which exotic shapes of sunlight lay, and from a radio, voices discussed contemporary Cambodian music and Pol Pot's hell, which was not hell but on this planet.

We sipped hot liquid from cups, read news of war and folly; read about a failed attempt to clean a poisoned bay, as well as a skater's choice not to perform a certain jump.

Sunlight on the floor migrated. We spoke of our exhaustion. We spoke of laundry. Elements of the day accumulated to make another day. We knew enough not to speak of the incoherence of accumulation. Thinking thoughts and performing tasks, we continued, and by then the cat had fallen asleep inside one of the sunlight-shapes.