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, May 25, 2010

120. The Turkish Flag

The colors of the Turkish flag are simple--bright red, bright white--but have borne many legends of flag-origination. The Turkish flag, therefore, is clever, not the sort of flag to dismiss unthinkingly, no not at all.

The symbols of the Turkish flag are simple--a crescent, a star--but bear many meanings.

The crescent of white seems to escape Earth's red shadow as in the distance a tilted star pulsates its light. Or the crescent is a kind of open mouth ever about to taste a tumbling star, which--ah,no--never tumbles close enough.

The flag says nothing. It is a flag, and so it lets its colors and lines do the talking. The flag has something but says it tersely, "Keep it simple, people: two colors, two symbols." The flag is garrulous, saying many things at once, as the voices of a city do, as a breeze off the bright Bosphorus does.

The Turkish flag is not busy like the Union Jack or Old Glory. It tends to its business of being a flag efficiently. The flag knows what to do with light, and when the wind blows, it knows precisely how to wave.

I think I understand the Turkish a flag a little better now, having seen it flying from a standard near the Golden Horn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

119. Tomatoes #2

Tomatoes remain uncommitted to our identifications, taxonomies, and recipes.

They're the seed, the plant and--or--the fruit: or the vegetable? You see how it goes with them.

They're neither solely of the Eastern nor solely of the Western Hemispheres, my dears.

Vines, they pass for bushes and shrubs. Green, yellow, red: the inspiration for traffic lights.

Cold, they adapt to juice, Bloody Mary, and sliced, flaccid picnic lethargy.

Vegetarian, they don't mind dating hamburgers.

Hot, they seduce sauces and salsas, dance with peppers, get down to Earth with cornmeal.

Stare at a tomato plant long enough, and you will become the one gazed at, red spots dotting your vision as you swoon in sunlight.

Some tomatoes are as fat as sultans, others as tiny as earrings.

If you think you know tomatoes, you are ripe for beguiling. Ordinary and rare, hybrid and heirloom, determinate and indeterminate, tomatoes are cosmopolitan phantoms, rural rogues, night-singers, code-bearers, food, and faith.

You say tomato, I say tomato, and the tomato keeps mum on the subject of articulation.

Welcome, my friend, to the mysterious garden. Reach, reach for the red and the round.