An Elegiac Canzone

Photo by Thalia Ruiz on Unsplash modified by author

Today a package from a dear, old friend
(The unexpected postmark caught my breath)
Wrapped in paper and folded end to end,
It was sealed with wax the color of death.
Within it, a note to mark her passing
And a pair of confections, soft and sweet.
Delectable flesh belied its wrappings
To proffer a bargain with the deceased.

Long ago, she helped me to discover
The dark secrets with which she was obsessed
As my teacher, accomplice, and lover,
Shared her knowledge, her friendship, and her flesh. …


Our seasons together

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels (modified by author)

In youth of utter loneliness
A bloom unfurls in early spring,
The first to feel the wind’s caress,
To drink the gentle crystal rain,
As One.

Like strangers on adjacent trains
We share a smile and then diverge.
And though our tracks are not the same,
Our purposes begin to merge,
As One.

Two birds in flight, our paths enfold
A joyful dance of differences.
On high, our destinies are told
By accidental references,
As One.

Concentric wheels in tandem turn
Round common centers deftly rolled,
While flame and fuel together burn
To stave the winter’s cruel cold,
As One.

GiaB prompt #13 cinema

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Dear friends and family:

Dotty has been unable to wake up. Her EEG shows nothing, but her blue eyes still flutter beneath their lids like birds’ wings. The doctor will do one more exam tomorrow. If she doesn’t respond they will say she is gone, but I know she’s in there, somewhere.

I wish I could promise you she’ll come back to us, come home to me. I’m just not sure that’s what she wants. She loves you all, of that I am certain. And she loves me too, as she always has — without doubt, without restraint, without limits…

Photo by Ali KarimiBoroujeni from Pexels

They say a dream can happen in the blink of an eye, the time it takes to change a life or lose one. Nightmares last longer.

Everything is upside down, suspended by a seat belt and a steering wheel pressed hard against broken ribs. The night is quiet except for a faint hissing from the mangled engine and the stitch…stitch…stitch of a wheel rotating in the cool air. The smells of pine needles and brake fluid waft in the breeze. The boy is there too, his face impossibly, excruciatingly close. He is fourteen and knows everything, so he never wears…

I am shocked and honored to be named GotM for April. Especially given the degree of talent I see in the writers of GiaB and , of course, the editors. These folks know what they're talking about. If they give you story advice, take it very seriously. They really are interested in helping you publish the best possible version of your stories and poetry.

Thank you all very much! I'm looking forward to reading a lot more of your edgy and creative stuff here.


Embers from the fires of wonder

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

As I fly over Denver with its white caps below
I realize that I’ve come to be here
Not because of what I am, but what I know.
We all strive to expect, to control our own lives
Without ever knowing the truth
That by learning the secrets, we lose the surprise.

The mountains grow smaller each time they are crossed
So I no longer wonder to watch them;
I watch them and wonder what I’ve lost
Thinking back to a time, not so long ago
When ignorance soothed my fears
And curiosity burned with a soft, yearning glow.



Playing Keepsies

Photo by author

Robert Earl’s marbles are real. My wife bought an antique chest of drawers at a random estate sale a while back. The piece was very old, but it had been meticulously cleaned and polished. All the drawers were empty, except for the top-left one, which contained only the margarine tin you see in the photograph here. The lid was rusted tight, so when I finally popped it off, the marbles spilled onto the carpet. And that’s when they told me this story of Robert’s life.

The marbles still reside in that same drawer (which is also where I keep my…


Choices we wish we had made

Photo by Kyle Howeth on Unsplash


While sharing a seat during a long bus ride across the Sunshine State, Laney and her new friend Karen had discovered a certain kinship with one another. They had struck up an easy conversation that lasted all afternoon and continued long after the sun had fallen beneath the flat horizon.

They spoke of trivial things like the weather and personal things, politics, even religion. Despite the substantial difference in their ages and their nearly opposite physical appearances — Karen’s colorful, smooth, vibrancy versus Laney’s gray, wrinkled, stiffness — the two seemed…


Choices we wish we had made

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash modified by author

When she woke up, it was late afternoon, and someone was sitting next to her in the aisle seat. She tried to collect herself as best she could, smoothing her green cotton dress while working her jaws to re-seat the upper plate that had come loose during her short nap. Several strands of snow-colored hair had fallen out of the bun, and she pushed these up and away from her face. After a few seconds, she recovered the position she had maintained for most of the day, sitting erect in the vinyl seat, her big black purse placed neatly in…

Mark Twain’s failed novel

Photo by Daan Mooij on Unsplash

I suspect all writers sometimes get a story stuck in their heads that just won’t come out. I know I do. Even famous writers do.

Late in his life, one of America’s most celebrated novelists, Mark Twain, drafted several different versions of an odd and wonderful (in its own way) tale called, “The Mysterious Stranger.” None of the drafts were published during his lifetime. Some of the them had different titles, settings, and different character names. Some were set in the familiar fictional universe of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Others took place far away and centuries earlier in Eseldorf…

Jim Dutton

Writer, Musician, Carpenter, Inventor, Entrepreneur

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store