Monday May 16th, 2011

The exercise:

Write something that involves the colour: yellow.

Day off today. It was good.


They dared call me yellow,
But never to my face;
For they knew if I heard,
I'd put them in their place.

In a box six feet down,
Not a tear would be shed;
For my only response:
A bullet in the head.

But they're all real careful,
And I'm grateful for that;
'Cause the truth of it is,
I'm just a scaredy-cat.


morganna said...

Looking for
An outfit in the
New clothes -- bright
Shirt catches
Her eye -- "Yellow! Nice yellow!"
She still looks for blue.

Greg said...

@Morganna: I like the poem, and the ending too. I love yellow, but it doesn't suit me, so I'd have to look for blue as well.

@Marc: Your day off clearly relaxed you so much that you had nothing else to write about! That's a good thing though, day's off should be relaxing.
I like the turnabout in the ending, that the guy aggressive about being called yellow is actually a coward. I also liked the placement of the semi-colons in each verse -- was that deliberate?

It was a lullaby you sang to me in Rome,
A plaintive lied that repeated,
When I lay, sad and defeated,
In my yellow room of melancholy,
Longing to be alone.

I heard the lyrics in my head today,
As I was packing a yellow case,
Leaving for another place,
Pretending that I'm not a coward:
I'm not running away.

It was a lullaby, sad and stuttered,
Misshapen, puling words,
Sung in shattered, broken thirds,
By a woman who only loved me.
My response remains unuttered.

BA Boucher said...

New to the site but something I've been desparate to find.

Thanks for the prompt.


“And now, I present Father Braden to speak on our topic, ‘The Commandments in Modern Times’.”

A Priest ascends to the stage. He shakes the hand of the Speaker and smiles at the assembly.

“Thank you David for your kind words. I’d like to meet the man of whom you spoke.” A mild tittering of laughter rolls through the auditorium.

The Priest takes a long drink of water while eying the crowd. Soccer moms and juveniles. Army brats with absentee fathers. Dutiful wives patiently waiting for their warrior husbands to return home. In the back a slender man dressed in yellow with ugly darting eyes.

“I was asked to speak today about how the youths of today can better understand our Holy God’s commandments, especially here on base where at least one commandment seems to be so opposite to our purpose.”

An older soldier in the back breathes a quiet “Hooah.” The Priest smiles and smoothes his paper on the lectern, the small light pools on the words and reflects on the small brand on the meat of his left thumb showing a small “M.”

“Thou shall not kill.” The Priest raises his voice. The man in yellow smirks. “These words, as written in the bible, was etched into stone by Moses from the word of God himself. Yet the first thing Moses does after coming down the mountain is kill a bunch of his people for worshipping a golden calf.

“Thou shall not kill.” A pause. The man in yellow gaze bores into the exposed leg of seventh grader in the row ahead of him. “Thou shall not kill, it is written in bronze above me in this auditorium that is built on an Army base, where your family members travel many thousands of miles to shoot the bad guy.

“Thou shall not kill.” Another pause. The Priest sees the man in yellow adjust his pants a little too lewdly as the stare continues and undresses the young girl. There can be no doubt this is the man the Priest is hunting. The “M” on his thumb begins to itch.

“Thou shall not kill says the lord, except when necessary. When evil exists it must be defeated. No matter the cost, no matter the cost. Satan and his minions are not meant to be grounded or spanked. They are meant to be destroyed entire. This is what we must believe. If not than all of your family members and Moses himself are sinners and condemned to fire!”

The man in yellow lifts his eyes and looks at the Priest.

The crowd falls silent as the Priest mumbles a prayer to himself idly scratching his left thumb.

The Priest raises his head and pulls a gun from under his coat. “Thou shall not kill unless necessary.”

The man in yellow dies.

Marc said...

Morganna - that's probably a good call. Yellow is hard to pull off :P

Greg - no, not intentional. I often write out a poem without any punctuation and then go back and fill it in where appropriate afterward.

Love the poem today! Wonderful rhythm and it tells a great story.

BA - well I'm glad you found the blog! I hope to see more writing from you here :)

A very nicely crafted tale, with everything tying together. The Priest is an intriguing character, I'd love to hear more of his story.

Giggles said...

Thanks for this great prompt. Got me out of my slump! I'll be back!

Marc said...

Giggles - that's great to hear! Feel free to share your writing with us here :)

Heather said...

Finally, a spark.

We were born on the same day, too small to know the harshness and warmth of the world we would struggle through. We'd grown up together, spending more time together in the back yard than I could possibly recount. She was my everything. My playmate as a child, confidant as a young teen, accomplice when I rebelled against my parents, protector and guardian when I needed her to be.

Not that I realized it during all those years.

It wasn't until I moved away, married and had children that I understood how important she had been to me. My childhood stories were flooded with her presence. She had, in many ways, shaped the person I became. I wanted to see her again even though half a world separated us. It wasn't likely it would happen. I didn't even know if she was still there.

Then my father died and I had to go home.

Flying over the deep oceans, I thought about what would happen when I drove up to the house. I wondered if she would be there waiting for me. I wondered if she would console me. I felt crazy thinking these thoughts. Perhaps she was a diversion for the scarier issue, my father's demise. A lump formed in my throat as memories involving the two of us and she rushed through my mind..

I held my mother close for the brief moment of stillness she could offer.

As she flitted about straightening frames, fluffing pillows, and generally fussing, I found my way to the backyard. There she stood dressed in deep yellow. Her skin was rough and dark from years spent outside in the sun and the snow. She stood tall and strong, still confident in her declining years. She had aged well. I ran to her, wrapping my arms around her thick trunk and then falling on my knees at her roots crying heavy and hot tears.

Tears for the loss of my father, my own expected immortality, and for my childhood.

Marc said...

Heather - woo hoo, sparks! :D

Nicely executed twist at the end - it made me read over the whole thing again to fully appreciate it.

Aholiab said...


"So, what's your favorite color?"

Jim glanced down at his four-year-old daughter sitting next to him on the park bench. She swung her legs while she mulled over the question, watching the other children playing on the brightly colored playground equipment.


"Hmmm, yellow is a good color. Why do you like it?" He followed her gaze to the spiral slide with toddlers squealing and shouting as they slid to their parent's waiting arms. Looking back down at Jennifer, he watched her shrug.

"Because the slide is yellow!"

Jim nodded and opened the bag of fast food on his lap. He could smell the rich aroma of hot French fries as he pulled out her kid-sized hamburger and handed it to her. She unwrapped the sandwich, lifted the top bun, and inspected the ingredients. Grinning up at her dad, she said, "And because mustard is yellow!"

Removing his own burger from the bag and setting the cardboard container of fries on the bench between them, he considered the spontaneity and innocence of her answers. He was about to take a sip from his soft drink when he heard her quiet murmured addition, "And because it was Mommy's favorite."

Marc said...

Aholiab - that is a heart-breaking final line. And perfectly set up as well - I did not see it coming.