Tag: Melody

MELODY: Atlantis Lost – Chapter 9 By Sharon Collins

Word(s): MELODY/PASSAGE
Word Count 499

Atlantis Lost – Chapter 9
By Sharon Collins

I once again find myself in the under-earth, weary within Gaia’s warm womb. Carefully toeing
my way along winding walls carved from the stone of her bones and damp with her breath, I
seek The Source, a well sacred to the Mother, revered by Druid and peasant alike. On this eve of
Imbolc, under the coldest moon of the twelve, wrapped in coarse wool and worn leather, I waited
my singular turn to enter the passage, to kneel and to plead that I might receive the same blessing
all barren women beg. I would have a child. No, not a child of my bone nor blood, but my
crystal darling made whole again. Holding hope hard against my heart, I bring my broken blue
daughter into Her presence to request the boon of Her healing.
The guttering candle spits its rancid tallow upon my wrist. I welcome the brief burn, the fleeting
pain. My other hand cradles the bits of bitter blue that were once whole and contained my sweet
Sapphire’s song. I have carried her fragments across the Narrow Sea to the land of the Carnutes,
away from my brother’s henge of stone and chalk, away from the terrible price of his ambition,
but not away from sorrow. Weeks of wild weather drove us into the setting sun until we
despaired of seeing land ever again. When the wind-maddened waves tired of toying with us,
they tossed us upon empty shores, stranded us among the harvesters of sea salt and their eerie
alignments of ancient stones. Wherever I looked, endless rows and countless circles of standing
stones haunted me, taunted me, condemned me … Stone beings of every shape and size marched
across the landscape. The magnificence of their multitude dwarfed my brother’s henge, and
whence they marched, it seemed they drummed a death dirge for my daughter. Unable to bear
their judgement, I fled. I joined the salt caravan and journeyed into the rising sun, finally halting
here, among the Druids, taking shelter at their Mystery School with its sacred well hidden within
a grove of towering oaks.
The very air feeding the flame thins to almost vanishing. As I blink farewell to the candle-
glow, my ears welcome the running-rush of water. The pulse of the Mother’s blood fills my
senses even as my lungs lose their struggle to fill with breath. Bowing my head to banish the
sparks blossoming behind my eyes, I kneel at the verge and gaze down. Bending, beseeching,
imploring, I offer the fragments of my dearest one, to the water’s dark surface. Near fainting, I
freeze mid-stretch. Eternal eyes, dark with denial, ignite my soul. The answer is – No. There will
be no Mother’s miracle for me this moonless night. No sapphire melody shall evermore
serenade the shining sun. Too shattered, her fading voice finally fails; silence embraces
…her…me…us.. Consciousness crumbling, my fingers loosen, and together we fall as grace-
notes of blue bounce round the stone walls of the well.

MELODY: Orchestrated Journey By Peg Scarano

Word: MELODY
Word Count: 495

Orchestrated Journey
By Peg Scarano

We know I have issues traveling. And we know my husband surprised me with plane tickets to
Italy early this summer. This was not music to my ears but I didn’t want to sound like a broken
record so I sucked it up, put on my smiley face and prayed this would not be my swan song.
A week before our departure, Rock’s sister and her husband made last minute adjustments in
their lives to come with us. This was music to my ears as Carolyn, who marches to the beat of a
different drum, always helps me to face the music. However, our tickets were from Newark to
Toronto to Milan while Carolyn, five days before the trip, managed to get a non-stop flight from
Newark to Milan. This hit a sour note.
We got to Terminal C in plenty of time and asked an agent, who helped us electronically check
our bags, about the possibility of getting on the non-stop flight. She said it may be possible but
would cost about $300 each. Forget that. We checked our bags to Toronto and went to our gate
which, it turned out, was in Terminal A because we were not going directly to Milan. Thirty
minutes later, after a train ride (complete with elevator music), we were where we were supposed
to be.
Rock wandered off and returned telling me to follow him with my passport. He somehow hit the
right note with an agent and fine-tuned our trip by getting us on the non-stop flight at no extra
charge. Hopefully, they found our luggage to Toronto and were moving it back to Terminal C.
This struck a major chord for me as we took the ground shuttle back to Terminal C with bells on
our toes. We headed for the United Club to use the free passes Julie and Mike had given us.
This place really tickled my ivories as it offered free food, free red and white wine and free
vodka! What more could I ask? However, the receptionist said Carolyn and Joe could not enter.
I texted Julie and 30 seconds later my phone chimed with two more passes on the screen. When
Carolyn texted to say they were parking the car and asked if we had time for a drink, we told
them to meet us at the United Club by Gate 75.
We met them at the reception desk and sat down to wet our whistles in celebration of our
incredible luck. A while later, I went to talk to an agent to confirm our luggage transfer. He
verified our bags were already on the plane. And, to make the trip even more harmonious, the
agent changed our seats so we were directly behind Joe and Carolyn.
Let’s get this show on the road! I was feeling fit as a fiddle and whistling Dixie as the four us
boarded the plane to face the merry melodies awaiting us in Europe.

MELODY: Perfect Harmony: Let Your Light Shine By Josh McMullen

Word: Melody
Words: 500

Perfect Harmony: Let Your Light Shine
By Josh McMullen

Elodie and Leo walked through the gate to Veteran's Memorial Park, and it was like they had never left
that cool summer night just a year ago. Elodie looked up at her boyfriend, resplendent in his green
Diamond Dawgs uniform with his duffel bag slung over his shoulder. Green is a good color on hiim, she
thought as she twisted a ringlet around her finger.
They were greeted with handshakes by the entire staff as they went over particulars for the newest
Diamond Dawg: things like when to be at the park for batting practice and what his goals were for the
upcoming season. They assigned him a locker and a schedule, then showed the two around the stadium.
There was no doubt about it: they couldn't imagine coming anywhere other than Little Falls.
They were showing Elodie around the press box and demonstrating how to work the soundboard when
the owner's phone vibrated furiously. He picked it up, and with each passing second, his face fell. “You're
playing the national anthem tonight; the singer just called in sick,” he said, pointing at Elodie. “No big
deal, it's just under…”
“Sir, Elodie could sing for you,” Leo said abruptly, smiling at his girlfriend, which made her go
completely pink. “She's one of the best singers I know,” he continued, which made her go as red as the
baseball cap the owner was wearing.
“Leo, you know I can't sing,” Elodie whispered fervently. “I freeze up in front of everyone but you.”
“I know you can do it,” Leo whispered back, squeezing her hand. “Just let your light shine, Miss Elodie.”
Giving his girlfriend a smile that made her turn completely crimson, he patted her back and walked to the
field. “Well, that's a pretty ringing endorsement,” the owner said, chuckling and setting a microphone in
Elodie's trembling hands. “If he thinks you're going to do okay, so do I.” With a pat on her back, he left
her alone with her terrified thoughts.
As the fans continued to pile in, Elodie stood before the gate to the field, frozen to the spot. Sure, she was
an angel when she sat down to a piano, but singing, and to an over-capacity crowd of over 4,000?
When her name was announced, Elodie walked out behind home plate, and prepared to sing. There was
one problem though: no words were coming out, as if her throat was frozen shut. She looked out at the
people in front of her and began trembling…until she felt a familiar hand on her shoulder. She looked up
and saw Leo, who gave her a smile that seemed to say, “follow my lead.” Without a second hesitation, he
started singing: “Oh, say can you see…”
With renewed courage, Elodie joined in, making a stirring melody that turned into a standing ovation.
Once they hit “the home of the brave,” they were met with wild applause. They smiled at each other. now
knowing that together, they had perfect harmony.

MELODY: “ ‘Fair’ is for Fairy Tales ” By Marea Needle

Word: Melody
Word Count: 427

“ ‘Fair’ is for Fairy Tales ”
By Marea Needle

“It’s not fair!” I screamed. “She gets to go and I have to stay home.”
It’s just not fair.” I said again, twisting and turning in frustration.
My mother quickly walked up to me, leaned over and put her face close to mine, angry,
tired and at her limit.
“Melody, I don’t give a shit what’s fair. Fair is for fairy tales.
No Santa, no stupid Easter bunnies, no Prince Charming, nothing. Do you hear me?”
Ending her tirade yelling the words: “Nothing, nothing!!” Then, she added loudly: “Do
you understand what I mean?!”
As much as any 5 year old would, I nodded. Tears already ran down my cheeks because I
had to stay home, but what about the other things she said: Easter and Santa? More tears.
Maybe things weren’t fair for my mother. Two Daddies ran off, she worked a lot, my
sister had to watch me and we ate bologna sandwiches for dinner.
When we drew Easter bunnies at school was that fake now?
The Santa Claus at the mall, is he fake too?
Looking back, I think that was my turning point. Yes, I was five but unknowingly an old
soul. My mother’s credo went with me. The Christmas tree is pretty but in a few days, it’s
dried up on the curb waiting for the sanitation crew. Easter is full of chocolate bunnies
and marshmallow ‘peeps’. Eating too many makes you sick.
And Prince Charming, “Well, we all know what ‘a pile of shit’ that is.” and I’m quoting
my mother verbatim.
With advanced degrees from several universities, a good job, financial security, I have a
roof over my head. Yet what my mother’s education taught me left me out in the cold.
She never forgot to remind me: “Everyone lies and takes advantage.”
Because of those words, I’m wary of what people do and say, so I’m by myself much of
the time with a deep loneliness.
I looked for places where there were no lies, no taking advantage, no piles of shit, just
clear numbers and calculations, not hot emotions running wild. This led me to my
expertise: A Phd. in Astronomy. My Santa, my Easter bunnies, my Prince Charming have
become Orion, the Hunter, The Seven Sisters known as the Pleiades, and Rigel, shining
the brightest. They’re out there in eternal midnight, real stars and planets seen and
unseen, beautiful, blinking, vast…something, not nothing looking back at ME: Melody,
with wonder too.

MELODY: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice By Mike Cecconi

Word: Melody
Word Count 500

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice
By Mike Cecconi

I asked Frank how he was able to function here, even with the curse making him seen as a person
instead of a sasquatch, even knowing his education in human studies. “You took classes about
us,” I said, “but you can’t learn how to plow a field reading books, if school was all it took, I’d
be a screenwriter, not the family art-bum.”
Frank, by means of explanation, asked “you know the song Werewolves Of London?” Of
course I did, Dad raised me on classic rock. “To be honest, that song’s about me.” I later read a
biography that said Zevon had been watching horror movies stoned, but I’ve learned to believe
Frank’s testimonies over urban myths.
“I did three semesters of field work living here. Mage had put a glamour on me similar to
the Thirty Mile curse except it’d work anywhere.” He explained at seven feet tall (“six-eleven” I
corrected) and no papers, he needed itinerant grunt work, so he ended up a roadie, hefting amps
as if small dogs, loading vans. Mostly, he’d worked for Warren Zevon.
“What was he like?” I asked. “Okay when the chemicals were right, madman when they
weren’t. Genius and damage aren’t interdependent, but they do have high comorbidity.” Frank
smiled. “One night on the road, I did a run of Chinese take-out and when I got to his room, he
was so high on God-knows-what he saw through the spell, started screaming I was a goddamned
werewolf. Next afternoon he apologized, said that was some strong stuff but it gave him an idea.
I am that vain, Mike, but the song really is about me.”
“I wrote a parody of that once, about bland middle-class idiocy…” and though I have an
octave-and-a-half vocal range, I’m in key enough to hold a melody, so I sang it, softly enough to
not bother the rest of the diner:
I saw a white guy with a Chinese menu in his hand/soaking his thrift-store tee-shirt in the rain/he
was looking for a place called PF Chang's/gonna get some inauthentic beef chow mein/a-woo/
white guys in suburbs/a-woo/white guys in suburbs
if you see him looking for your credit card/better hide it away from him/generous NPR donation
late last night/white Guys in Suburbs again/a-woo/white guys in suburbs/a-woo/white guys in
suburbs/a-woo
he's the heavy-handed gent who always loves to vent/how all his coffee beans are trade-fair/don't
let him get you alone/he'll show you his iPhone/fulla albums by James Taylor/a-woo/white guys
in suburbs/a-woo/white guys in suburbs/a-woo
well, I saw Tim Conway walking his wife's dog/doing the white guys in suburbs/I saw Tim
Conway Junior walking his wife's dog/doing the white guys in suburbs/I saw a white guy buying
organic wine at Trader Joe's/he drove a Prius/a-woo/white guys in suburbs drive hybrids/a-woo
“Well?” I asked Frank, “what do you think?” He took a sip of his coffee, looked me up
and down, put his cup on the table and said, “I like your shoes.” If you can’t say anything nice…

MELODY: Black on White By Sam McManus

Word: Melody
Word Count 500

Black on White
By Sam McManus

I read your words, and you’re smiling. Not the you in front of me, sitting across the desk, a space
too small to contain what, for you, passes as enthusiasm. But I see you, the you who hides in
corners, the you who eats papaya in the afternoon because you can. I see you in the words, but
not the way you wish, how you hide behind the prose, and the poetry, and the loose attempts at
script writing. I see you in the words the way dreams, and consequence, and shifty vagrants see
the dawning of a new day.
You come every day. I sit here restlessly waiting. We hardly ever speak, but I know you
intimately through the Calibri on the page, through the starts and stops of your hesitation marks,
when you edit, when you think no one but me will see. I look over your shoulder as you attempt
to curl up into a ball to escape notice, and yet I see you as few hardly ever will, as distinctly
human, as a fully realized woman who believes she’s still a girl.
And you’re perfect. You twinkle like gum wrappers tossed in the gutter, diamonds in the rough,
shards of prosody slipping through my hands. I try to hold on, to grip these pages tightly so you
don’t go, so you don’t leave me lost in half-thoughts, trapped between the thoughts and the
words, like so many nights before, when the shadow of you keeps me company far longer than
you ever do. I imagine I take up residency inside your mind, sliding cocoon-like into your
memories as if I have always been there with you, twins in a womb.
We do this dance, but sometimes I think I’m the only one shuffling my feet, that I’m the only
one wanting this as much as I do. I hope that I’m fooling myself, that in the grand scheme of the
universe, this idea of us can be so much more than these imaginations. I sit as close as I can,
when I’m not looking over your shoulder, my eyes dancing across the page, but really on you,
hopeful you’ll say my name, that its melody will tickle your tongue, but you never do. You
usually nod when I offer my advice, placing pen to paper, making marks delicate like silk. I
could watch you write forever.
But the clock is our enemy, the minute hand as devious as Prometheus. I read your words, and
the smile flickers, then fades. Not from your face, it is always quite neutral. From all the space
between us I forget is there, just around the bend, waiting for the singular realization to creep in
once more, the thief of words, and hearts, the consequence of the new day arriving before the old
has lost its way.
You hide within yourself, and I cannot reach you. So I tuck the paper deep into my inner folds,
and I wait until tomorrow.

MELODY: Mama is going to Love Her By Sally Madison

Word: Melody
Words Count 486

Mama is going to Love Her
By Sally Madison

Detective Evans knocked at the door, which was answered by a pretty young woman who
appeared to be in mourning. “May I help you?” she inquired with a sweet southern drawl
that could melt the coldest of hearts.
Tipping his hat, he inquired, “Godday, Miss Mary, I presume. I’m Detective Samuel
Evans. I would like to ask you a few questions concerning your sister, Sarah Morgan.”
The detective was ushered into the parlor before beginning, “I’m investigating an
incident and I believe that your sister may have been a witness. We understand that she
and her husband live here in Alexandria, but also maintains rooms in New York City.
When was the last time you spoke to her?”
“She was here yesterday. She gave me a quick good-by and left for New York.”
“Did she mention her husband?”
“She said he stayed in London.”
“Did she seem different or upset?”
“Why, yes. She was very distraught and in a hurry.”
“I understand that she travels in Europe, did she write to you from there?”
“Of course, I have saved all the letters. Let me show you.” Sitting near the detective, she
handed him the mahogany box with the “M” on it. He looked at the postmarks, but did
not read the letters. “Her letters were such a comfort to me after I lost my husband. I had
lost both my children, years ago. Sarah is the only family I have left.”
Evans looked into her sad face and felt sorry that he would have to take her only comfort
away, if his suspicions were true. Normally, such interrogations would be all business,
but his heart went out to this attractive widow.
Turning his attention back to business, “It’s considerate that she wrote so often, did she
also bring you any trinkets, jewelry or the like?”
“Why, yes, she gave me this emerald ring.” She extended her hand; he held it tenderly,
feeling the warmth of her delicate fingers while examining the ring.”

Mary lowered her eyes as they welled with tears. Confused, Evans withdrew his hold.
“I’m so sorry,” she continued, “your touch reminded me of days gone by, when I was
very young being courted, long before I lost my children and my husband. Now, I haven’t
much to look forward to in life.” She stood and turned away hiding her unhappiness.
“I am so sorry I upset you,” he stood to apologize. She turned toward him sobbing. He
naturally took her in his arms, as if she belonged there, forever. Shocked at his own
reaction, he stepped back, bowed formally, picked up the box, and retreated to the door.
“I will bring this back… tomorrow, perhaps?
“Yes,” Mary implored, “Please come back.”
With the mahogany box of letters in hand, he exited, still hearing that sweet southern
drawl, like a melody that continued to repeated in his mind. ‘Mama will love her,’ he
thought.

MELODY: Song Inspiration: Better Man by Little Big Town By Sarah McEvoy

Word: Melody
Word Count: 500+

Song Inspiration: Better Man by Little Big Town
By Sarah McEvoy

Her hands shook like the leaves in a maple tree at the end of fall as the wind beat them
off their branches in preparation for winter. She was frozen completely still. She could
not move her hands to turn off the melody that played through the speakers of her 2001
Dodge Durango, the only thing she had left from her relationship with him…or so she
thought. It’s only a song she told herself. He will not come back. He’ll never hurt her
again. But just like that the song brought her back to the day she hit rock bottom.
Richard had been drinking more and lately she couldn’t do anything right. Her dinners
were lacking that “home cooked feel,” she separated the laundry all-wrong, she spent
too much on the groceries he insisted she buy, she didn’t wear the right clothes when they
were out together, and lately she could never pleasure him. He wasn’t usually a violent
man but when he drank whiskey that was different. She’d had to hide the bruises with
extra mascara and long sleeved shirts. Cover the fingerprints he’d left on her body with a
scarf and long pants. Hide the blood stained towels in the neighbors dumpster. Each time
this happened she felt worthless until he’d sober up, apologize profusely and promise that
it would not happen anymore. A promise her broke time and time again.
It was a beautiful fall day in October. It was her favorite time of year with the leaves
painting the landscape a myriad of reds, yellows, and oranges. He’d come home from
O’Keefe’s three hours late for dinner and hit the mailbox as he misjudged the driveway.
When she mentioned his tardiness would require her to reheat dinner he’d thrown his
bottle of nearly empty Jack Daniels and hit her square across the face. Blood dripped
down from her lip and tasted of lead, accompanied by a searing pain in her jaw. When
she reached for the dishcloth to tend to her wound his eyes turned an empty black filled
with rage. He caught her arm and drug her to back door kicking at her each time she
made a sound. He tossed her numb body into the bed of the truck and sped off cussing at
her as they headed away from town. She knew that if she stayed in the truck something
worse could happen to her already wilting body. She mustered up all the strength and
determination she could and leapt from the bed of the truck. She hit the shoulder of the
road with a crack and rolled herself down the small incline away from the road, the truck
the torture and, the blur of the awful night. Suddenly everything turned black.
She awoke to a team of doctors and nurses tending to her in a hospital many hours later.
Broken ribs, wrists ankles and a fractures scull, but she was alive. That was the last day
she ever spoke Richard’s name. Slowly she healed from her various injuries, moved to a
new town, a new job, and began a new life, but every now and then she hears that melody
and the nightmare flashes back to life again.

MELODY: Pop Tarts By Terry Rainey

Word: Melody
Word Count 500

Pop Tarts
By Terry Rainey

Monday, January 20, was football in the Kepler yard, as OLPS was closed for the
inauguration. In a chilly drizzle, we just threw the ball around, fine with me because I disliked
tackling and blocking and loved to catch a spiral. Also fine because the Kepler house was like
going to the movies, with passionate eruptions and unpredictable donnybrooks. I might get
punched myself, so it was pretty stimulating.
Kevin and I scooted past the eerie black and white glow of the TV in the living room,
where Mr. Kepler had the shades down and was watching President Nixon taking the oath. Mr.
Kepler liked conservatives and hated bleeding heart liberals. We made it unscathed to the attic.
All the boys – Walter, Harry, John, Roger, Max, Sean, Kevin – slept there. The girls — Fiona,
Dorothy, Marie, Catherine, and 4-year-old Melody — shared another bedroom. Melody had
Down Syndrome.
The boys’ bedroom was like a museum, walls covered with sports photos and Kepler
philosophies. My favorite was the Kepler fart proclamation, originally drafted by Harry, then
edited by Roger and Max. Harry’d had to memorize the 12 apostles. He’d used mnemonics,
starting at Bartholomew, Bart the Fart. I’d read the apostle/fart list frequently, even the editorial
notes. St. Peter: A quaking, obvious, public fart, but like Peter, leading to three denials. Each
apostle was there, even Judas, which was so stinky that it even turned on its own supplier.
Mrs. Kepler then called us to the kitchen, where Melody was making lunch, in honor of
her six-month birthday. I was afraid of Melody. Her upward, trusting gaze went through me, so
I avoided closeness. I feared her hugs, her open affection. I pulled back from her touch,
although curiosity kept my eyes on her.
The crayoned menu listed pop tarts, Frosted Strawberry or Cinnamon Apple. Standing
on a chair, easy bake oven on the counter, she took orders on a legal pad, saying “Thank You,
You’re Welcome” repeatedly. It was nice, but within minutes, Roger was fighting Harry about
cleanup duty. Walter usually mediated such confrontations, but he was an usher at the
inauguration. Mr. Kepler eventually stepped between the two brothers. In all the commotion, no
one noticed that Melody was upset. She lost her balance and her chair was tipping over. I saw
her alarmed expression and caught her just before she hit the floor. As we straightened up,
Melody threw her arms around me and squeezed tightly.
Surprised, I squeezed her back. Then she let loose a massive Saint Peter. Everyone
halted. The tension in the room transformed into laughter. I shook, almost nervous that, as an
outsider, I didn’t deserve to be the center of the happy Kepler moment. Up close and personal to
Melody’s sweet nature, I thought God had put a smile on her face, and mine too. I felt my life
stretched in a new direction by her affection. I saw that love was learned, that I could make my
life shine.