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, November 29, 2010

143. "Susana Soca," by Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, November 28, 2010

143. Tasting Women

Sometimes I must stay away from my friend Hiram, for his mind not only runs in a sexual rut, so to speak--not unusual, that--but it also runs to the bizarre, the outlandish, the silly.
Just the other day he said, "You know, to me a woman-tasting makes much more sense than a wine-tasting."
I sighed. Against my judgment, I said, "Go on. Explain."
"Oh, let's say twelve naked women lie down on beds in a large room, and a taster briefly explores their vaginas with, in my case, his tongue and mouth. You'd rinse your mouth between tastings. You'd note your findings on a card."
"What is wrong with you?" I asked.
"What do you mean, as if I didn't know?" he replied. "What's wrong with me, according to you, is that I'm Hiram, one enthralled and obsessed by women, by the female form, as expressed by individual women-people."
"Hiram, you'd have to hire them. Sex workers. Do you want to be going down on sex workers? Or were you thinking of asking for volunteers among your acquaintances?"
"The latter," he said--in a mumble. "Now I see the flaws. The logistics are impossible. Ah, but what if? What if! Each woman with her own particular taste. I am sucking, licking, and fondling the pudendum of each. Some shaved, some not--perhaps one of them pierced on the labia. I am--I'd give each one a red rose!?
"Very thoughtful of you. I suspect they might want more."
"Indeed," he said, missing my point. "And I'd want to give it to them--sucking toes, licking thighs--kisses, nibbles. Burying my head in there, but gently, giving my all. I'd feel obligated to satisfy each one."
"Hiram, try thinking normal thoughts."
"Only right before I go to sleep, my normative friend. The normative numbs me; it is of our zomboid culture."
"Women aren't bottles of wine."
"I know that, you sententious bastard!" Hiram was animated, to say close to the least. He drew attention from other patrons at the bar. "That's the point--to taste women, a woman, not wine. To taste! I feel as if I can taste them now!"
"Keep it down, fellas," the bartender said--not his first time having to admonish us.
I bought Hiram a glass of red wine, pinot noir, and left a tip whose size was appropriate for our having been admonished.
And here I am, thinking Hiram's non-normative thoughts, imagining myself as the taster. The taster.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

142. The Unfortunate Episode of Hiram's Sunburned . . .

My friend Hiram was in a storytelling mood again the other day. He doesn't so much reminisce as re-conjure--mostly episodes, alas, involving romance, desire, and sex. How much does he make up? Who knows? I ought to know, as I'm his friend, but I don't. I do know Hiram is mostly guileless. His recent tale . . .

They rented a house, my friend Hiram and this woman with whom he was enthralled. Rented it for a week. North of San Francisco, I gather--where the coastline is ragged and rugged: cliffs, battered trees, windblown slopes of scrub-grass, misshapen trees clinging to rock, mist and fog in the morning but hot sunlight, in summer, in the afternoon: and therein lies part of the tale.

It was a big house, and, in Hiram's direct words, "She and I set as one of our tasks to fuck in every room. For example, she got on top of me, but facing away, in the--"

"I get the picture," I said. Did I really need to know which room?

Hiram allowed as how there were acres between the houses in this odd seaside community, which was called something like Sand Ranch. Privacy abounded, at any rate. So he decided to sun-bathe nude. "Once I was out there, in the afternoon, and she just walked right out of the house naked and sat on my face. Good times!"

"Is that right?" I said.

"Well, of course it's right. Why would I make up such an episode?"

"To impress me?"

"I don't--"

"I know, I know: you don't respect me enough to try to impress me. You've used that line. As you continue to regale me with these tales."

"Anyway," he said, plowing on, "after she sat on my face--ah! I recall the sight of her gleaming stomach above me, her breasts, her face wild with delight!"

"Anyway," I said, "after . . . ?"

"I fell asleep, of course, and she went inside to do--something. Cook? I forget. So, yes, I fell asleep--and sunburned my cock something fierce. It was almost as red as a boiled lobster, and I'm not kidding. It hurt. Later it peeled. And the rest of the time there, she kept calling it, 'Red rooster, red rooster.'"

"I see." I did see. The imagery was vivid.

"But I'm telling you, that was the only flaw in the week in that large house. We did it in every room and outside. We fucked so much that--"

"I get the picture," I said.

141. Red Arts of Desire

Sonnet: Red Arts of Desire

It's true. I do desire you. I want
to borrow from your library all parts
Of you; the whole of you is what I hunt.
But more than that, I also seek red arts
By which you have bewitched me. I am yours.
Cliche? Of course. Desire like this is mad.
It tries to walk through glass and see through doors.
But this condition I prefer to Sad.
What should I do? Well, all I can, I guess.
I am not clever, so I'll be direct.
This business of desire's a wretched mess
Unless, until, desires intersect.
Ah, well. You know precisely how I feel.
In prayer and surrender I do kneel.

copyright 2010 Hans Ostrom

Sunday, November 14, 2010

140. 26 Things That Will Never Go Out of Style


Make your own list of 26!

139. She Was Just Out of the Bath

Not long out of the bath, she wore a robe. She sat back in their favorite chair, expansive and plush, and he sat on the floor, painting her toenails deep red.

She talked, then he talked, and they laughed. Sometimes she'd hold up the glass of white wine and look through it at him, just to see what the image might be. She imagined him swimming in a golden sea.

He finished painting her toes, and while they dried, he played a bit of jazz on the piano. Then he talked, and she talked, and they laughed.

Now they both held up glasses of white wine and looked through them at each others. She pronounced the red toenails dry.

He stirred, and moved from where he was sitting to the floor in front of her. From his knees, he leaned up and kissed her. They kissed. She opened her robe.

Then he returned to the bright red toes and kissed them, and, kissing at intervals traveled slowly from toes up the legs to the thighs, then to the belly, the breasts, back to the belly, down to the thighs, inside the thighs and now to the cherished place, and she opened her legs more and lay back and day-dreamed she was floating on a golden sea, and now she slid slowly and fully into expansive pleasure; it felt wonderful; she raised her head briefly and looked at the top of his head, and then she looked past his head to her knees and caught a glimpse of her freshly painted, her red-painted toes, and after a while, a long, languid while, she came, and she came, and she came.

138. Triolet for Going Down

I like it when I'm going down on you,
invited to that lovely place of yours.
I stay to do what I can pleasurably do.
I like it when I'm going down on you.
The colors there are various and true,
from reds to pinks to darks--intricate doors.
I like it when I'm going down on you,
invited to that lovely place of yours.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

137. Manufacture Me, Baby

Manufacture me, Baby,
according to your own designs.
Manufacture me, Baby--
make me yours along the lines
you have in mind.

Mold and fashion me
in the factory
of your lustful will.
What a thrill to get
produced by you.

Industrialize me
in your plant.
Run me through
an assembly line.
Baby, you are fine.

Paint me red
and box me up;
send me direct
to your front door.

Make me part
of your new
product line.

Manufacture me, Baby.
you know what my design is for.
I'll be your item and your tool,
a cool invention of your own.
Ah, bring me home.

Manufacture me, Baby.
I'll no, not ever,
leave you alone.

136. Hiram Muses Priapically

Hiram found himself moved to muse on his phallus. He, too, thought the subject tedious, and yet there he was, musing on it.

Hiram's cock had led him on many adventures, or rather had served as one symbol for and supporting character in calamities, quests, comedies, ribaldries, carnivals, and waltzes of desire.

As it happens, Hiram's cock was thick. It's real name was penis. It was thick and, when hard, even thicker, as you might deduce, what with the diverted blood.

When it was hard, it curved--to the left. it was a thick Leftist cock. If he'd had an opportunity, Hiram explained to me one day, he'd have chosen one that didn't curve, but this cock had served well and, he believed, others well, too. Through most of his life, it had been a dutiful, over-eager cock, too ready for adventure, in Hiram's experience.

When it was hard, it often turned nearly red, at least at the head, a sign of shameless embarrassment, of almost porcelain rigidity and smoothness. In very recent days, however, his cock had seemed to shake off its lassitude and distortion. He'd been waking up at 4:00 a.m. with an erection. He liked to grab the cock, a big fistful. The cock then grew harder as if to defy Hiram.

Hiram said things to his cock at these times, he explained to me (rather in too much detail) one day. He said things to it like, "What's going on with you?"

But the cock had never liked to converse, even as some women had addressed it directly or obliquely over the years.

Hiram said to me, "I was in bed, and I thought, 'Here I am in bed with a hard cock in my hand. It's a thick cock that curves to the left. It's the same cock I've always had, and it's not retired yet. A thick cock that curves to the left is such a specific, irrefutable existential fact--not an identity, per se, but also not something to refuse to acknowledge.'"

That was the first time I'd heard Hiram say "existential."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

135. Possibility on the Mountain

Friend, there has to be
a possibility on that mountain.
It could be any color--gold
or red, tan or black, maybe
white or blue. We could seek
it--hike and hunt. Or let it
be and see if it comes down.
I've sought, and I've waited,
and the results from both
seem the same. So it's your
decision, friend, as we stare
at the mountain, its intricate
patterns of light and shadow
and our blending here and there
of what we see and what we wish
to be. The concept, "today,"
assures us the way a snapshot
distracts us from considering
the abyss into which past
flowed. Before we do anything,
friend, let's eat.

134. Red-Headed Stepchild

A magazine:


Sunday, November 7, 2010

133. Tennis Love

So we’re here again in a space made
Tensely playful by a net, a droll
Boundary we agree to allow. We improvise
Taut games of give and take, parry and thrust, must
And maybe, please and thank you.

Pleasurable strokes generate
Heat and light sweat. We take turns serving,
And accepting service. Stay tied at deuce indefinitely.
Add in, add out, a soft fuzzy texture to certain
Important features. We utter oaths.
Make passes to open court. Your defeat of me
Feels better than victory, so when we meet

At the net, a French kiss during which pink
Tongues and red desire play doubles ensues.
Continues. We’re hot after the match, so
Hot, my dear lovely opponent, my partner,
My line-judge and lascivious coach.

132. The Space Between Your Legs

In this space between the margins,
I put words that might be called
erotica, a quad, a wad of
syllables. The words concern
the space between your legs.

My preference
isn’t to fill the space between
the margins with words but to meet
the space between your legs, face
to space. But here I am writing, as
poets must and do. And where
are you? . . . Its many shapes, vaginal
versions let us say: forever fascinating--
well, at least to me.

The space can be anything, or seem. Then
the rooms—so several, mysterious, and
secret. The aromatics and secretions,
the softness of enfolding, the slyness of
micro-zones, buttons, and sensors.
How can something so self-
contained contain so much, so many
intricacies? Never answer that.

Your thighs and knees, which
sometimes rise like sides of an ampitheatre
and seem to coax, to cheer, me on: I see them
peripherally. I see the subtly
rolling, soft terrain—-up there, plateau above
the space between your legs. Miles further on,
it seems, lay breasts and shoulders, your head
and hair, your face, an arm that lies paralell
to your body and one whose
forearm lies briefly now across your eyes, as you respond,

enjoy; while you, my empress, receive reports from the
space between your legs, which I’ve engaged, speaking
in tongue, bad pun, lapping, lipping, dipping. Mumbling
sweet somethings. The ending’s more than happy, and
it leads to other chapters of the night, which could
of course be day. Of course, of course these

words are nothing, nothing like it is, nothing like
the space and spaces, the exact full moments. The
measure of it all. Erotica’s
outside the spaces, lustfully and gustily making things
up about the subject, off and on the subject. Aha!
You’ve returned. Immediately you sense my elaborate
but obvious plot to get you back in bed, where recently
you decided to lay a red bed-spread.