62 Comments
Mar 22Liked by Justin Deming

STRANDED, prose poem

I remember, Mama, when I was five, you'd lay me down on the kitchen drainboard to wash my hair in the sink, a washrag over my eyes to keep out the soap.

Now you’ve gone, and I'm stranded here with a thousand small memories of how much I was loved.

Expand full comment
author

Beautiful story, Sharron! 💜

Expand full comment

Dealing with that now. Thank you for sharing your story.

Expand full comment
Mar 24Liked by Justin Deming

Give yourself lots of time. The more you loved, the longer you grieve.

Expand full comment

Beautiful 😍

Expand full comment

Oh! Thank you, Sunil.

Expand full comment

Sharron, this brought up memories for me. The washrag made them so clear. Thank you.

Expand full comment

Thanks, Dascha. Long time no "see". I hope you are well.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

Thanks, Sharron. I've been dealing with a lot of ongoing health issues. Haven't felt like even popping in to read for a very long time. Today I pushed myself and the first thing I saw was Justin's prompt. It's also the first time I've written in nearly a year. I'm so grateful for Fifties by the Fire. It felt good to write.

Expand full comment
author

Dascha, when I saw your name pop up it brought a smile to my face. Just getting caught up over here with comments from the past day or so, but I wanted to say hello before I made my through them!

Take care—hope you are doing okay. 🙏 Thank you so much for stopping by. 😊

Expand full comment

Thanks, Justin. I hope all is well with you and the family as well.

Expand full comment
Mar 22Liked by Justin Deming

Unpromised Dreams-Poem

after many nights

of you sharing

your dreams i

thought we could

brave the Dark,

Cold waters. but

when you couldn't

hear me over

the waves only

the Whispers. they

must have Told

You You Could

not make it

because when they

found you they

said you tried

to Fly.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

This is so powerful! It held me breathless. 💜

Expand full comment

I may have been too abstract with the prompt.

Expand full comment
author

The prompt is merely a vehicle to take your words and ideas wherever they’d like to go. No right or wrong here, my friend. I think it’s a well written (and layered) poem!

Expand full comment

At Sea, poem

Drift I must, as my main-sail

Broke in the storm,

And these arms are too tired to paddle.

I shake the last drops of water from my oil-skin,

Praying for deliverance

As days and nights meld.

Stupid being that I am;

Arrogance my undoing;

Thinking the sea was my friend.

Expand full comment
author

A gem of a poem, Caro!

Expand full comment

Wow! Excellent metaphor Caro.

Expand full comment

This is so evocative, Caro. Wonderful!

Expand full comment

Being Stranded, Creative Non-Fiction

The car quit in a desolate part of town. We put the hood up. A few cars came by. One guy pulled up behind our car. He blew his horn until he finally realized, there was no one in the car. He didn’t see us standing over on the sidewalk?!

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

Tough day. But at least you got a great story out of it!

Expand full comment

Love it Matthew.

Expand full comment
author

Oops, ha! Great story, Matthew. Thanks so much for sharing.

Expand full comment

Stranded or Worse { Fiction }

Light me, Willie.

Remember when mom's boyfriend was supposed to take us to Cedar Point?

That hop over that ditch was better than the coasters we missed.

I'll light my own smoke.

Think I'm in shock.

It was a fun ride.

The axle’s probably destroyed.

Willie? Can you hear me?

Expand full comment
author

Oh man, you’ve gotta write a flash version of this one. Love the story, Jimmy.

Expand full comment

Working on tonight's story right now. It can be a really good one but I'm letting myself get distracted. 🤡

Expand full comment
author

Carry on, sir! 😄

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

I agree with Justin. This is awesome... and expanding on it will be even better. Which gives me a crackpot idea for a book of 50s and stories spawned from them juxtaposed.

Expand full comment

Stasis--Poem

Ships are safest while in port.

There is protection from storms,

Access to all my needs.

Ships are safest while in port.

Going nowhere, seeing nothing,

Rigging decaying from nonuse.

I set sail long ago,

Destination uncertain.

I’ve weathered storms and

Becalmed seas.

But sailing will always be my life.

Expand full comment
author

Ahh, lovely stuff, RI. I love the progression in each stanza. The final stanza is perfection! 👏

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

Excellent. An allegory for life!

Expand full comment
Mar 22Liked by Justin Deming

Providence malfunction ( fiction )

The elevator malfunctioned and she was late for her interview. The network was down. In the dim light the other passenger was feeling claustrophobic. She regained her composure and loosened his tie. The office receptionist led her to a room.The interviewer spotted his tie and she got the job!

Expand full comment
author

Haha! Well played on her part. Another fun one, Sunil—great stuff.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

The way I saw it, her pocketing of the tie was accidental and in the panic moment. Not realizing that this same person would turn out to be her interviewer. And he in turn found her response to the crisis very efficient. Hence the job was clinched. So providence in malfunction...

Expand full comment
Mar 22Liked by Justin Deming

ha ha ha. Watch out for these women - all's fair in love and war and job hunting...

Expand full comment

Lol!!

Expand full comment

Well done! Providence provides.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

Democracy, Dystopian Fiction?

She was meant to sail a thousand seas, to carry us to lands of freedom and equality.

All of us. Not just the few, the wealthy. Not just rich white men.

She lies, broken, rotting, on desert sands. A cry in the dark, a whisper, a tear for freedom lost.

Expand full comment
author

Now this is a story that will stop anyone in their tracks. Powerful, Dascha. I can only hope better days are ahead for all of us.

Expand full comment
Mar 24Liked by Justin Deming

Thank you, Justin. Me too.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

Wow. She does lie broken. But undefeated.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

I think it's easy to read this as being only about the U.S., but really it's about the world. The sham of democracy in Russia, Belarus, Hungary. The assault on democratic countries, both physical and political. It's open warfare in the U S. right now, but insidious in my own home, Canada, where Pollievre isn't that far from Trump in deology. He just packages himself better.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

The Ship that Never Sailed, Memoir

ChoChoSan was a brisk 33-foot ketch. We polished her teak and brass, shared her decks and forward berth. The wind filling her sails weekends and holidays. But always fighting to windward, we let the relationship beneath her golden sails tarnish and rust. The marriage never really filled in the sail.

Expand full comment
author

Annie, this is such a heartbreaking piece. I love the metaphor used here and how much you were able to fit into fifty words. Stunning!

Expand full comment
Mar 25Liked by Justin Deming

Thank you so much. I’m so grateful for the wonderful feedback. That’s very encouraging.

Expand full comment
author

Also, Annie, I’m just connecting the dots—thanks for the very kind Goodreads review you left a couple of weeks ago! It made my day reading that. And thank you for your support of my book! 😊

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

Oh, I love the imagery here.

Expand full comment

Thank you. The feedback is greatly appreciated.

Expand full comment

Stranded: poem, CNF

how could you just have died on me?

two days before project launch

so much for making millions

and changing the world

it needed the force of your personality

to push it to great success

or make it into what it could be

I am lost without your momentum forward

Expand full comment
author

Heart wrenching, Sharon, but beautifully executed.

Expand full comment

What a great take on this prompt, Deb! Stranded indeed!

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

I’m stranded in a Holiday Inn Express, three hours down the highway from home, five more hours to go. What is keeping me here? Waffling… fear of what’s ahead… fear of what’s behind. The hope in Keurig coffee doesn’t even work. I gaze in the mirror at bleary, pleading eyes.

Expand full comment
author

I know the feeling all too well, Karen. I’m with Sharron—forward is the only option!

Expand full comment

I really appreciated the prompt, and the timing when it came was perfect. Writing the 50 words relieved the stress, and was cathartic 🤗

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

That last line is brilliant, Karen. Go forward, girl. They are waiting for you.

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

Aww you’re always so encouraging, Sharron! 🥰

Expand full comment

I can feel the despair, Karen!

Expand full comment

Splitsville, fiction

It wasn't the boat that caused the end but the end of us that caused the boat's end. "Neil Diamond" was optimistic and in retrospect telling. Relationships can't live on schmatlzy sugar, they need a "Wind Beneath My Wings". I had chosen a speed boat, maybe it was already destined.

Expand full comment
author

Love the opening line, DW. Powerful story!

Expand full comment
Mar 23Liked by Justin Deming

The speed boat is perfect. I picture the protagonist departing the relationship at speed.

Expand full comment
Mar 23·edited Mar 24Liked by Justin Deming

So many wonderful stories and poems here. Well done everyone! ❤️

Expand full comment
author

So many excellent stories and poems, Deb! I’m with you! 😊

Expand full comment