Somesuch Nonsense

Steve Barclay's Blog

Archive for the category “Writing”

In the Driver’s Seat

A little piece of short fiction. Enjoy!


When they cut me loose, Kurt picked me up in his ’84 Buick Skylark and tossed me a pack of cigarettes through the open passenger window as a way of hello. Nice to see you too. He saw the shirt, chambray blue and the name Thomas on the left breast. I stood with the car door opened so he’d see it as I smacked the cigarettes against my palm and opened the pack. I had the shirt tails tied at my stomach over the blue jeans that hadn’t been worn in 10 years, and I tucked the pack into the waistband. I could see it in how he looked at me, he didn’t like the shirt, but he didn’t say nothing about it. He just sat in the driver seat, his lanky arms draped over the steering wheel and his seat too far back.

“Girls don’t wear it like that no more,” he said. “You gotta watch you some TV or read a magazine.”

“I ain’t a girl no more neither, am I?” I got in.

He started the car. “What you want to do now?” he asked, eyes forward even though we still weren’t moving.

I put the cigarette to my lips and pressed the lighter into the dash. I looked back at the granite walls covered in dust and morning sunlight, the glassed in guard towers and the barbed wire. “Get the fuck away from here is what I want to do,” I said.


Poetry: A Ghazal of Searching

A little poetry. I don’t typically write poetry, but sometimes I try. LOL!

A Ghazal of Searching

In the streets of Winter the men seek,
What all men must in winter seek.

Tired of running, we fall and weep,
And hope to keep away from the ones who seek.

In times of warmth, on their knees they pray,
A god whose face unknown they seek.

Forgotten youth, the old lines display,
The memories of youth, she always seeks.

Crown, wreath, garland, or reward,
If the meaning of my name you seek.

The Thirty Second Train Pitch

He came onto the train car after we’d pulled away from Sedgwick station. The Brown Line, rush hour, and I wondered just how he thought he was going get through the whole crowd of us packed in shoulder to shoulder, most of us with bags and briefcases and dressed for winter in multiple layers of overcoats and sweaters. Usually that’s what people do when they cross from car to car. They’re looking for someplace to sit on the next car, a car that’s not so crowded or one that stinks less. I already had my back pressed up against the steel pole and the plexiglass. There was nowhere else for me to squeeze to let some dumbass through who thought he could just truck on to the next car while the train was in motion.

But, I heard him anyway. “Excuse me,” and I felt the shift of people move to let him through as best they could. Then he stopped next to me. I could see him out of the corner of my eye, though I didn’t look right at him. “Excuse me,” this time louder, a voice to get people’s attention. “I want to kill myself,” he said.

I met the bewildered gaze of the woman next to me, and both of us elected to look away from the guy with the suicidal thoughts. I’m sure she was thinking the same thing I was: Please don’t do it on this train. Not here. Not now.

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