Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 66: Destination and Guide

Entry for Colleen’s Poetry Challenge.  This is a senryu. The prompt words are guide and destination, but you can only use synonyms. I don’t know about this one. . . I tried XD The second line gave me a lot of trouble. Not sure which version sounds better >_>


sky bathed in bright light

echoes of angelic hymns

she’s finally home


sky bathed in bright light

angelic overture plays

she’s finally home



My First Publication

This actually happened about two years ago, right after I took a writing hiatus.  I was just writing haiku and short poems at the time.  Since I knew nothing about poetry, I’m not sure what spurred my inspiration XD  A poem of mine was published in a poetry magazine,  Three Line Poetry, Issue 37. I write under the pen name Tessa Brant.

first freeze of winter

trees stripped down to twisted claws

sky gray as my heart

It didn’t work well as a haiku because of the metaphor, but I liked it the way it was. Haiku is a reflection of Japan, simple, understated beauty.  My writing tends to be purplish, so I suck at writing haiku XD

One of the cool things about short poetry and haiku is that every word carries so much meaning. I love the simplicity of it, such a stark contrast to the way I typically write. I have a few more short poems I plan to submit to this magazine.  I suppose it’s not much to brag about, but my first publication credit will always have a special place in my heart.

I want to get back to writing short stories. I submitted my short story, “A Crown of Dandelions,” to Glimmer Train awhile ago, and it was not accepted XD  In hindsight, submitting my first short story to one of the most elite literature magazines was a mistake.  Maybe that’s not the right word, but I was definitely aiming too high.  Kind of like expecting an Oscar on your first feature film. It’s a good story, but it needs better editing. Also, it has a sci-fi vibe to it, so I’m not sure literature magazines are the best place for it.  I’ll figure it out eventually. In the meantime I just need to write.

The Light Flickers Within Our Hearts

A close friend of mine is struggling, and she’s much younger than me.  For her birthday, I got her the book All the Light We Cannot See.  It’s a beautiful metaphor for life.  As an aside, it’s an amazing book. Anyway, I went searching for an inspirational quote to put inside the front cover, but I couldn’t find one that fit her specific situation and used light as a metaphor.  So I wrote some inspiring words for her, or at least I attempted to do that XD

“During the bleakest moments we walk in the shadows, fumbling around in our search for answers. If we look hard enough we’ll find that the light is within our hearts. Sometimes it is buried under so many layers of grief and sorrow it seems an impossible task to uncover it, but it has always bee there. Never give up. Even if we can’t see it, the light flickers within, a bastion of hope in the desolate landscape of life.”

Inside of the Book Cover 


I cut the names out for obvious reasons.  I could probably write something better if I spent enough time on it.  I just realized I used the word “within” twice.  Oops XD  Hopefully she likes it 🙂

I’ve been away for a bit.  It’s a combination of things.  I became addicted to the literary critque site Scribophile.  I’m editing the umpteenth draft of my suicide story, and will then submit it to a few literature magazines.  I’ve started on another short story.  I’m getting an MRI + contrast/lidocaine injection on Oct. 14th.  My hip surgery may have failed, and I’ve cried so many tears over it.  It might not be so bad without the partial dislocations, but they are frequent, sometimes happening 4+ times a month.  It’s as painful as it sounds.  My husband’s family is coming over from Japan in October.  I’m so excited 😀  I haven’t seen them since I hurt myself seven years ago.  I’m still working full time as a retail pharmacist, which can be very stressful.  My parents moved to the other side of the country, and our relationship has improved.  In the midst of it all I’m trying to get pregnant XD   I’ve been having issues with anxiety, but I try to just take each day as it comes.  I find it helps me cope with life.

Haiku Attempt #1

I thought I’d try writing some haikus because I love prose.  I’m not a poet by any means though, so suggestions are always appreciated 🙂  I tend to be overly verbose, so I thought this would be a good challenge for me.

Haiku 1

As night advances

The sun falls on bloody knees

A final goodbye.

Haiku 2

The plip-plop of rain

Echoes throughout the garden

In tune with the frogs.

Poetry: “Remembrance of You”

Remembrance of You

I lie in bed, eyes closed to avoid light’s jagged edge,

my mind blazing with thoughts of you.

Years have passed since I last saw you.

The features of your face are fading into a blur.

The scent of roses wafts through the air

and pervades my thoughts,

but only for a moment.

Memories tarnished by time.

Your fingers interlaced with mine.

Salty skin that smelled of patchouli and amber.

The low timbre of your voice as you said, “I love you.”

The buzz of silence is maddening, cutting into my thoughts, and my eyes snap open.

In my heart the fire still flickers, the flames licking at my sanity.

As desire swells I cannot escape

my burning passion for you.

The scent of roses turns rancid,

and my eyelids grow heavy

 thinking of you.


I originally wrote this many years ago before I even started creative writing.  I revised it recently.  I’m not a poet by any means though XD  If anyone has any thoughts, advice, or constructive criticism you are welcome to share 🙂  I keep going back and forth on the line “Memories tarnished by time,” and “My memories are tarnished by time.”  I think the latter is grammatically correct, but it doesn’t flow as well with the rest of the poem.  I love poetic prose, but poems are very different from short stories and novels.  Maybe I’ll try to write some more poems in the future.  Guess that means I have to incorporate some poetry into my reading.

Weekend Writing Warriors #11


This weekend I’m participating in a blog hop known as Weekend Writing Warriors.  It’s fun.  It’s something I do sporadically when I have the time.  A bunch of writers share 8 sentences from a story they are writing or have written.  If you would like to participate, here is the link:

This snippet comes from a short story of mine that is about a man searching for redemption in this life and beyond.  The resulting non-linear narrative is about his memories, reality, and delusions as he is dying.  Without going into more detail that’s about all I can say XD  This is actually towards the end of the story.


He washed up on the shore sopping wet with a mouthful of gritty sand. The moon, pale as milk glass, hid among the clouds. He stood up, brushed the debris off of his clothing, and headed towards the lights of civilization. His parent’s house was only a few miles away.

He looked up at the sky. After Emma died the stars had lost their luster. He saw them now for what they really were, molten spheres of plasma floating in the cold expanse of the universe, millions of miles away from each other, utterly alone. It sent a chill down his spine.


Work has been kicking my butt physically and emotionally so my writing has been sporadic as of late, but things seem to be getting better again.  This snippet comes from a short story I’ve been working on for a while.  I’ve rewritten it like ten times XD  It’s taken that long to get it right.  It finally has the feel that I was looking for when I originally started writing this piece.  I’m working on the final draft right now so I can submit it to a few literary magazines.

Writing Snippets from the Deleted Scenes of a Short Story

I did some major reworking of my suicide short story, which included ripping out an 1800 word chunk and rewriting it as something different.  I used to have a difficult time throwing away a large chunk of something I had written.  Even still, it took me like several drafts of this story to realize that it wasn’t working and I was forcing it in.  I think part of that is because I didn’t want to just throw it away.  I worked hard on some of those metaphors.  So I’ll post some of it here XD

I may end up using it in some form in another story, but I’m 99% sure it doesn’t have a place in this one, so it’s safe to post it for now.  These three are from the same snippet, so the first two are connected but the last one isn’t.  Just for context, the protagonist’s girlfriend was killed in a car accident.  I have some more I might post in the next few days.

“His grief was so immense that it felt like his heart disintegrated, leaving an all-consuming emptiness in its stead. His friends and family were sucked into the void, drained of their energy and affection until they had nothing left to give but apathetic condolences.”

“Alcohol was the only friend he had left. They had been together since his freshman year in college, and over time their relationship intensified. It dulled the pain and made him comfortably numb. After the booze-induced coma wore off, his emotions washed over him like a tidal wave, pulling him under until he was drowning in sorrow. He tried to keep his head above water, but it felt as if he was swimming in wet cement, and he was tired of fighting just to stay alive.”

Weekend Writing Warriors #10


This weekend I’m participating in a blog hop known as Weekend Writing Warriors.  A bunch of writers share 8 sentences from a story they are writing or have written.

This snippet takes place after last week’s snippet.  It was about Tifa and Cloud going through their morning routine, but it’s anything but normal.


Nighttime was always the worst. In those few seconds before falling asleep she was defenseless against the monsters of her past, which feasted on her fear and gnawed away at her sanity.  She hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since the day Sepiroth destroyed her village, Nibelheim.

Barely escaping the inferno, she chased after him, legs moving so fast it felt like she was flying amidst the ruins.  She followed him into the mako reactor, her feet clunking across the steel floor.  He turned around and smirked, his eyes as cold as a Nibelheim winter, the spark of humanity long extinguished.  Perhaps she was a fool to think a mere mortal with a mastery of martial arts could take on a demi-god, but she just saw a little girl burnt beyond the point of recognition, and she wasn’t about to let him get away with it. As she wound up to deliver a roundhouse kick, his sword sliced into her flesh like she was made of butter, and she crumpled to the floor.


I just wrote this today (technically it’s a revision) so it isn’t as polished as last week’s :$ If you have been following along you may have made the connection that this is the same event I wrote about earlier from Zack’s point of view.  Tifa and Cloud both come from the same village and were childhood friends.  What happens after Nibelheim’s destruction changes their lives forever.

I struggled with the tense here because she was kind of having a memory/flashback.  If one were being grammatically correct they would add “had” to each verb because the story is already written in past tense, but it sounds so awkward like that.  This is something that came up in another short story I wrote, and I used some advice I had read online, start with “he had cooked,” and transitioned into “he cooked.”  But I got a few people commenting that was awkward too, so I don’t even know XD  I just left it past tense here.  Meh.  It’s pretty short so I could italicize it, but some people hate that -_____-  Any advice on this issue would be appreciated 😀

Weekend Writing Warriors #9


This weekend I’m participating in a blog hop known as Weekend Writing Warriors.  A bunch of writers share 8 sentences from a story they are writing or have written.  If you would like to participate, here is the link:

This snippet takes place a long time after the snippets I previously posted about Zack and Cloud’s escape from the lab.  Without giving everything away, a series of traumatic events shatter Cloud’s psyche.  His friend and eventual girlfriend, Tifa, helps put him back together, but he’s not the same.


The alarm pierced through the chill morning air. Bleary-eyed, she reached out, fingers fumbling until she found the snooze button. With a sigh, she slipped back into her warm blanket cocoon.  Cloud slung an arm over her stomach and pulled her close, as if he was scared she was going to slip through his fingers like everyone else in his life. She squeezed his hand in reassurance.

The scent of mako permeated the room, a sharp metallic tang that overpowered the essence of cherry blossoms and magnolia diffusing from the air freshener.  Years after the experiments, mako still coursed through his veins, imparting an unnatural glow to his skin, and it seeped through his pores, clinging to the air like the smell of wet earth after a storm.  Even now it evoked painful memories, thoughts she tried to bury under the guise of a happy housewife, but if one looked closer they could see the crack in her smile.


The next part goes into a bit more detail about why she hates the smell of Mako.  Also, I know this opening is a cliche XD  I wrote it a long time ago before I knew that you can’t start a story with the character waking up, so yeah, it is what it is I suppose :$

I haven’t participated in a while because work has been crazy.  It’s been about two months since I have written or read anything, so I’m a bit rusty.  Things have settled down a bit, so I’m trying to get back into it again 🙂

Weekend Writing Warriors #8


This weekend I’m participating in a blog hop known as Weekend Writing Warriors.  A bunch of writers share 8 sentences from a story they are writing or have written.  If you would like to participate, here is the link:  This snippet is a continuation of last week’s where Zack develops amnesia after the alien, Jenova, takes over his brain.


Zack awoke to a blinding light overhead, burning his eyes. For a second he thought he had died, and the yellow-tinged light was guiding him towards the Lifestream, but a sharp, throbbing headache brought him crashing back to reality. Metal bars stood defiantly at the front of the cell, and across from him was a man sleeping on a flimsy cot with a blanket thin as a sheet. The room reeked of sweat and urine, which permeated the air and the walls surrounding them, as if the foundation of the building were terror itself.

He was no longer in solitary confinement, but in another sort of prison alongside a companion, a simple luxury he now appreciated.  Hell was not a place of fire and brimstone, but a void with nothing but sorrow, a place so empty he could hear the echo of his thoughts.

Zack sat on the edge of his bed, watching the man across from him, thrashing and moaning, as if he were running away from something horrific in his dream.  Despite having no memory of this man, he knew him, and could not imagine a world in which he did not exist.


I just got a job so I’m not too sure how much longer I will be doing this.  But it’s fun, so hopefully I’ll still have the time 🙂