Fire In My Head

My parents always told me I was an unusual child! When I began seeing visions at the age of six, everyone passed it off as childish fantasy.

As I grew older the visions became more detailed and urgent! There were visions like the time my grandmother was sick with cancer, and I saw her complete and whole again. Within that year she made a complete recovery.

Other visions were not as measurable, such as the time I spoke to my grandfather who had died the year before. He assured me all was well and not to worry.

Yesterday, I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head. I had an unusual feeling of anxiety and fear. It was New Years Day, 2020. The sun was bright, the trees were bare; but, there was this ominous dread like never before.

Painting – Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse we are writing prosery, which is a flash fiction piece of 144 words that includes a given line from a poem. Kim gave us this line: I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head –from The Song of Wandering Aengus, by William Butler Yeats.

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Life’s Old Bones

Charlie was a farmer all his life. It was a small farm; about a hundred acres. He milked cows every day until he was seventy years old. It was a good life, but much of that was gone now. His wife died a year ago in April. His only daughter married a man who worked in the technology field. The only alternative was to sell the farm.

On auction day, folks came from miles around. Tractors and implements sold quickly. The thirty milk cows did as well. The farm sold for more than a half a million dollars.

All that seemed insignificant now, as he stared at the shell of a dilapidated barn, out the window of the rest home. Charlie thought to himself, “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, One day I will collapse, just like that old barn.”

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Linda asked us to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words, using a line from a poem, Spring Azures from the book Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. The line is… ‘Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy.’

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Bunky

Bunky’s Shack – Dwight L. Roth

Bunky died today!

He called me just last week from his Shack on the mountain. Seems, his wife sold the house, left, and had gone to Florida. For him, the Shack was his place to get away from the heat of the summer. She stayed home by herself. Her daughter came up and helped. They liquidated all in just a few weeks.

When I worked for him, we always enjoyed long conversations filled with stories of growing up in Eastern North Carolina. He was strong willed, opinionated, and had done just about everything in his seventy plus years. Now, my friend was calling for a listening ear.

Sadly he shared, “When it was over said and done, it was a time, and there never was enough of it.”

Bunky had slipped on the side of the mountain and hit his head on a rock!

Bunky – Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, we are writing Prosery. This consists of writing a short story, flash fiction or true, exactly 144 words, and incorperating a line of poetry given to us by Lillian. The poetry line is taken from a poem by, “A Time” by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke.

The lines we were given were:

“When it was over said and done

it was a time

and there never was enough of it.”

The story above is a true story from a few years ago, when my good friend died suddenly in an accident at his place in the mountains.

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Red Moon Rising

Coke Ovens on the Mononghela (2)

     Tears flowed like a downpour on a hot summer day. All around, Jennifer could see the wives of the miners in Swift Creek Mine. Earlier that morning, an explosion trapped eight men in the far end of the shaft. Three of Jennifer’s friends were among the women anxiously awaiting their fate.

     The siren on top of the tipple sent shrill chills through the little coal patch. At times like this, the whole neighborhood rushed to the mine for word of who the trapped miners might be. Those whose husbands were safe, stayed to give comfort and support.

A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills of the Monongahela. Jennifer could only wonder when it would be her time to weep; having a husband and son who worked there.

     Everyone went silent… as the men were carried out… one by one!

Painting of Coke Ovens and Mine: Dwight L. Roth

Prosery today at d’Verse: Lillian gave us the challenge to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words that includes a given line from Carl Sandburg’s poem, Jazzy Fantasia . The line I included was A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills…  This story comes from memories of my childhood in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Many lives were lost in the coal mining industry that supported our steel mills in Pittsburgh at the time.

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Chernobyl

Chernobyl photo

It was my first visit to Chernobyl since the reactor meltdown years ago. I grew up there as a child; rode the Ferris Wheel and Bumper Cars in the park. My father worked in a one of many factories owned by the government.
As our SUV pulled into the radiation zone, I could see things had changed. The grass was green, the sky was blue, and wild foxes roamed the fields nearby looking for rabbits and field mice. But, there was an eerie sad silence that seemed to wrap its arms around me.
Pulling up to the factory where my father went each day, I could see the jagged glass broken in the windows; the sagging doors were orange with rust. “No one left and no one came on the bare platform.” Hell must be like this I thought; memories of what once was…

Today at d’verse we are doing Prosery, combining poetry into a 144 word prose piece. Sarah gave a line form a poem that must be incorporated into our flash fiction piece. Our line today comes from a poem called Adelstrop by Edward Thomas. It is: “No one left and no one came on the bare platform.” 

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Bing photo from a YouTube clip.

Smoke Screens and Mirrors

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With the Impeachment hearings going full throttle, it seems everyone parrots  an opinion. It once again brings to mind a poem I wrote during the last election campaign. As the political circus plays out on TV, nothing is ever as it seems.  Our representative share with us on a need to know basis, and the news media shares on an everything you don’t want to know and more basis. I will be glad when this reality TV “Survivor” show runs its course, and congressional parrots go back in their cage to work at getting things done for the American people.

Politics
A circus of smoke and mirrors
Half-truths polished and shiny
Stretching every word out of context
Smoke screens of the insignificant
Always hiding reality
Behind a cover of lies
Showing only fragments
Promising pots of gold
At the end of the rainbow
False hope in a holey bucket
Filled with wishes and fantasies
Pouring steadily out the bottom
Mirrors in a TV funhouse of fright
Giving only distorted views
Twisting everything out of proportion
Don’t believe the hype
Look beyond the smoke and mirrors
Dig out the shreds of truth
Always remember
What you see is NOT what you will get

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

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https://www.amazon.com/Dwight-Roth/e/B017HW5AHG?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

 

The Magic Oak

W.A. Pattillo Elementary School - Tarboro, NC 1978 (2)

Story #1
A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. Sadly. Taking Down the Tree occurred in the summer when almost everyone was gone. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations.Dwight's Class in front of our Giant Oak 001 (2)

Today at d’Verse Victoria asked us to write Flash Fiction prose of not more than 144 words. She gave us a line from one of Jane Kenyon poems. Jane Kenyon was born in 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was once the Poet Lauriat of New Hampshire. The line we had to include in our story was: Taking Down the Tree.
I took a photo of our giant oak tree from my former teaching days and created my story.

I realized after the fact that I got the wrong line in my story. It was supposed to be:  If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.

I edited the ending to my story and inserted the correct line. Below is the revised version.

Story #2   The Magic Oak 

A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations. As they disappeared, they said, “If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.”

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

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Halloween Pranks (flash fiction)

Outhouse

The following story is a mixture of truth and fiction. It was accepted to be in the upcoming Old Mountain Press anthology, Happy Holidays. This is a collection of poetry and prose from many significant contributors. Col (Ret.) Tom Davis is the publisher. He has written several books, and puts out poetry and prose anthologies three times a year. I have my works in several of them. Information about the website is at the end of this post. You can check out all of his E-books on Amazon Kindle.

Halloween Pranks
Dwight L. Roth
When I was in the fourth grade, the school I attended did not have indoor toilets! Behind our classroom building were three outhouses: a small one with a green door for the three lady teachers, a little larger two-hole one for the girls, and a similar one for the boys. The boys’ toilet had an L-shaped fence wall around it with a trough in the back where we could stand up and pee! We enjoyed seeing who could get their stream the highest on the wall!
You might wonder how Halloween and outhouses go together. Well, I heard tales of what teenagers do on Halloween; things like scaring little kids, stealing their candy, or throwing rotten eggs at people’s houses or cars! Those tales kept us only going to our neighbors and to people we knew! Unfortunately, that isn’t all teenagers do.
In the Fall of 1957, my friends I were excited to go trick-or-treating with our older siblings. A full moon shone down on us as we walked down our country road knocking on our neighbors’ doors. But, at the edge of town, where we went to school, more sinister actions were going on in the moon light!
The next morning, I arrived at school to a flurry of excitement. Children on the playground talked excitedly to one another, pointing to the back of the school. I soon found out what the excitement was all about. On Halloween night, some of the teenage boys pushed over the teacher’s toilet! As we, took our breaks during the day I looked in amazement at the little toilet with the green door lying there on its back.
In a day or two, the school maintenance men came and got it set back upright. I wondered how the teachers felt, having to use the girls’ toilet. They never did find out who tipped it over.

Check out Old Mountain Press here:   http://www.oldmp.com/e-book/#author

Out House Clip Art: https://i.pinimg.com

Anna

Dancing Girl

Four years old Anna’s, daddy played the fiddle in a small-time music group. On Saturday nights, her mother brought Anna to the Via Cappuccino to watch her daddy play.
As the group sang and played, Anna left her table and moved into the walkway where people pass to get their coffee. She threw her head of yellow curls back and danced and twirled as the music captivated her mind.
When Anna started school, her teachers reminded her that spontaneity was not welcome in the classroom. In Middle School, she became sad, bottled up, and aggressive. One day, she got sent home for a three-day suspension.
As her father drove her home that day, he told her,
“Anna, one day ‘you will love again the stranger who was your self’.”
*****
“Tonight, we play music!”
“Come listen to me play my fiddle (…and remember that stranger!”)

Bing Photo: coolwebsiteinfo.com

Tonight at d”Verse, Kim asked  us to write a flash fiction piece of not more than 144 words. We also were asked to include this line of a poem: ‘you will love again the stranger who was your self’

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Lost (Flash Fiction)

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Lost
Dwight L. Roth

I was lost…totally lost in the pitch-black darkness. I climbed this ridge several times in the daylight, following the winding trail all the way to the top where we had set up camp. Now I was stumbling; tripping over rocks and branches as I wander off the trail. Why did I forget to bring my flashlight?
Talk of a mountain lion in the daylight brought no fear, but now, in the pitch dark, the reality presented itself with every distant rustle of the leaves and breaking of a branch. I pressed on climbing upward, feeling my way through the saplings, mountain laurel, and dead tree limbs. “The top can’t be too much farther.”
Suddenly. there is that unmistakable wine of a big cat; off in the distance, yet too close for comfort. Chills run up my spine, when far away an interrupted cry… silence!

***********

Bjorn at d’Verse introduced us to our new form to work with…Flash Fiction. He asked that it not be more than 144 words. It could be exactly 144 words as well. Mine is 144 words. We must use the given line from a poem somewhere in the story. Today it was “when far away an interrupted cry…”

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