Hello and welcome to Week 22.
Yellow. The color of the sun, of dandelions, of jaundice, of a nasty bruise.
This week we have six stories of yellow from Kelli J. Gavin, Debbie Felio, Lesley Crigger, Sunil Sharma, Michael Sarabia, and Karen Petersen. Guaranteed to add a splash of yellow to your day.
The next prompt will be posted on Sunday to make up for this week’s delay.
Better Than Puke
Kelli J Gavin
My husband exited the doctor’s office and walked toward me in the waiting room. He looked a bit flustered. We finished at the front desk scheduling future appointments. Josh has been ill for the better part of five months and he was seeing another neurologist, just to rule out “anything else”. My husband suffers from Bilateral Vestibular Dysfunction with a complete failure of the Vestibular System. His days are filled with dizziness, fatigue and lack of energy. Most weeks it is two or three trips to the doctor or rehabilitation therapists. When you go to so many different doctor’s offices, you start to really take a close look at your surroundings.
Was the building easy to access from the freeway? Is parking free or is valet available? Can I locate the Medical Suite easily based on the directions I was given? Is the front desk staff welcoming? Did they ask about your physical comfort? How long is the wait until your name is called? Have they read the lengthy medical records or will you have to start from the beginning? What does the examination room look like? – This might be the most important question.
My husband at his worst, will notice his surroundings. He could be struggling with the world spinning upside down, but will notice if the chairs are comfortable and if artwork is on the wall. “That was the most unwelcoming doctor’s office room I have ever been in. The walls were a weird puke color and the examination table was tiny and pushed up against the wall just so it would fit. I had to get up and lay down and do it again because the doctor couldn’t walk around the table to do a full examination.”
As we returned to the car, we talked how the waiting room furniture and walls were the same ugly not quite brown, green or beige, but puke color. I shared with him that I love a light blue or green wall. my favorite was a welcoming Yellow. The color yellow often makes people feel calm and happy. “Did you know in the bible, yellow often represents fire, and fire often refers to purification?”
“If yellow if purifying, paint the entire office yellow. Purify the heck out of that place. Maybe the purification will make that puke color fade away. Hey, if there is a survey, make sure you remind me to tell them they should paint the entire office yellow.” My husband replied with a smirk. I loved that Josh is able to joke around and make fun of the horrible color pallette.
Josh has another appointment Thursday with the Neurotologist and a lab visit, we will be watching. We will look at the furniture and artwork and wall color or lack thereof. Let’s hope it is a beautiful light shade of yellow. Let’s face it. Anything will be better than that God forsaken puke color.
Kelli Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization and a small Jewelry Company. She enjoys writing, reading, swimming, and spending time with family and friends. She abhors walks on the beach (sand in places no one wishes sand to be), candle lit dinners, (can’t see) and the idea of cooking two nights in a row (no thank you).
Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin
Blog found at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once Upon a Time In the Future
There was a time in the distant future in the land of JoerJha, families huddled by the hot ice melting into their shoes and warming their feet, puddling between their toes, when stories would be told of an ancient time, and no one really knew with certainty if the tales were history or simply fables of a culture long gone. But the tales had remained unchanged for generations, some translated from a sanskrit like writings of a late 21st century simpleton left on a handsized tablet unable to be read with surety having #s which archaicologists believe substituted for some yet undiscovered addition to a centuries old alphabet, and letters scrambled as if a code also yet to be fully comprehended. The elder of the tribe, about fourteen, began to recite again this tale, familiar to those who had lived as long as he, and astonishing to those hearing it for the first time. A hologram filled the center of where they had gathered – the reproduction of that simple tablet tool. The young ones laughed, mocking – as so many generations had done – the cumbersome and primitive inventions of ages past.
They settled into the warm ice and the elder began to tell the story of a time that now no one had first hand knowledge or memory of. Each flicked their fingers for light and listened. “There was a time – yesterday or before – when ice would not warm you.”
Gasps. “How could that even be?”
“ice was something called cold – something we feel when we are not in the ice. It was also clear or white, not gray from the ash like we have now. I have been told this – but there is no proof as it has been gray for the last seventy years – maybe longer, but no one knows.
The elder continued, “It was also during this time there would be night and day very distinct from each other and no fingerlights would be needed for half the day.”
“What would they do with their fingerlights?” Qwerty was always the one with questions.
“There were no such things as fingerlights. They came much more recently after the Event.”
Everyone hushed. They knew the great mystery was coming.
“it had been predicted for years and years and few believed it. No one wanted to understand what was coming and what would happen. So they went living their lives using the tools they had – automobiles, electricity, cell batteries, water – however crude they were, using up what were called natural resources.Until that fateful day when this bright yellow star began to flicker.”
“Great elder, what is yellow? We do not know that.” it was Uiop, Qwerty’s younger brother.
“You are right, Uiop. No one knows what that is. It was something not gray.”
“As it flickered, the day became dimmer. until there was nothing left at all but dark.”
Those familiar with the tale prepared for the ending chorus.
“For that was the day…
“The lights went out in JoerJha!”
About the author:
deb y felio is a witness poet and essayist writing the underside or other side of historical and current issues. She is published in various online journals and will be in two anthologies to be released Fall 2018. She enjoys the opportunity to share some humor as a diversion from her more serious topics, believing laughter really is good medicine. She lives and writes in Boulder CO, USA.
“If that big ass yellow sign doesn’t grab your attention, nothing will,” James said. At least twice a day Brian and James pass the weather-beaten sign. Once on the way to school and once on the way back. On the days they bother with school.
“It’s not so much the color as the wording: Adult comics. What the hell does that even imply?” Brian imagines his fingers tracing the curves of a busty anime character as he flips the pages. Curves his virgin digits have yet to glimpse on a real female figure.
“Exactly what it sounds like.”
‘It’s abandoned now, they might as well tear it down.” Brian’s heard his mother bitch year after year about the sign. An eyesore, she’d chant. Tourist won’t clamor to a town with a filthy glory-hole smack dab in the middle. Bulldoze over the lot, erect a Denny’s. like that’s what the town needs- another all-day breakfast joint for old fuck to congregate. They had the Dairy Queen. The words that pass their lips are every bit as filthy as anything you’d find in an adult superstore.
“They tried. Place is haunted.”
“A porn store is haunted? Are you high or just stupid?”
“I don’t know man, something about a rape… a murder. Place was shut down not long after that. Wanna check it out?” James asks.
“I sure as shit do not.”
“What else do you have planned? Drunk by noon again?” James has a point. Brian’s usual Saturday MO is being smashed by 12 o’clock. Not that either has ever minded, it’s what they’re doing on this part of the road anyway. Route 522 leads to one place, one place that matters. Dell’s minute market. Dell doesn’t give a rat’s ass what two 17-year-old boys buy as long as they buy it with cash.
James raises an eyebrow, pressing the question.
“I don’t know…” Brian’s hesitation is enough for James. The old Chey teeters between the double yellow lines before grinding to a halt. James throws the gear into reverse and speeds backwards, back to the looming yellow sign.
Fragment from the Yellow Diary
Adore yellow—reminds me of turmeric.
Of the Arles Sunflowers.
Of The Yellow House (The Street), 1888.
Vincent wanted to create a symphony of yellow and blue. He claimed sunflowers as his own.
I love Vincent.
Therefore, I, too, love these tender flowers that got the great artist’s special attention, in two series, and made them iconic across the world.
Whatever Vincent touched became gold.
The painter died pauper, unsung.
Fate of a true artist.
Now— enjoys cult following.
Melancholic—like a wintry afternoon.
Magical also: The Yellow House is a landmark for fans. Vincent wanted to create a studio of the south where painters could live and work in a shared space. Gauguin was there as guest but things went from good to bad.
Rest is history.
Yellow House where a genius lived for short time. Resented by neighbours.
They found him a threat and wanted him to be sent to an asylum.
An artist as a threat!
Every great artist is a danger.
Society does not want them outside but inside a nut house, every age.
Who is sane?
Why is yellow appealing?
Is it its lightness?
Or ability to blend?
It sits soothingly—on eyes and mind.
That is why a disturbed Vincent employed the yellow and rendered it vividly.
And made it famous as a medium.
Yellow signals jaundice.
A primary colour.
Have seen many dead with pale faces.
The face drained of colour—except an odd paleness that confirms lack of vitality, breath, life.
The paleness found on Vincent’s hollow face.
Perhaps, he was living and dying at the same instant—like an autumn evening.
In India, the weddings are incomplete sans turmeric (haldi in Hindi) application—the lotion applied to both the bride and groom. Called Haldi rasam, this ritual takes hours and involves cleansing amidst song and dance by the family in a room. After bath, it leaves the body resplendent.
The spectrum of yellow!
Fire is yellow. It too cleanses base material and purifies.
Baptism through fire.
I call my diary, a yellow diary.
It contains smudges of turmeric on the first and last pages.
Have drawn yellow lines across few pages.
Yellow and white background mix together and create a stunning visual.
You will find your inner Vincent through such elementary sketching, doodling and drawing.
Art is about creating new patterns, visuals, artifacts, verbal objects.
By drawing a yellow line across a white art-sheet, I am trying to do a Vincent—and trying to understand his mental state in that Yellow House.
These few entries on August 16 of 2018 at 5.30 pm, in Mumbai, are random attempts at capturing the flux of that state.
And tribute to Sunflowers and The Yellow House that brought out the best and worst in a creative mind, mostly misunderstood in his lifetime!
Sunil Sharma is Mumbai-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 19 published books: Six collections of poetry; two of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015.
Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA:
For more details, please visit the blog:
Searching foam for my daughters, I see only stone. I’ve returned to the shores of Colonia Norte, seeking Fátima and Deysi, missing their shadows. Rumored to be gone forever, I’ll continue my labors. I’ll find them.
We arrived four years ago seeking escape from Coca Gangster that grabbed Cajul, my Guatemalan village known for excellent Coffee plants. I left with my daughters catching Mexican rails north. Arriving at Colonia Norte, a sprawling cardboard encampment leaning against the United States, we sought American amnesty, desired her embrace. Told I needed to make money arrangements prior to applying for amnesty, I quickly learned that no amnesty fixer would accept Guatemalan Quetzals or Mexican Pesos, taking American cash only. Holding our last pesos, two-hundred total, I had nothing to sell, thus forced to stay in Colonia Norte, where we spent the first day learning rules.
Every word from the mouth of La Amarilla -The Yellow – is a lie. Agent for the Unseen, true rulers of Colonia Norte, she was everywhere doing everything always at a profit. Sanctioning my acquisition of a heated shack which included fifty gallons of water, two cases of vegetables along with several cartons of milk, La Amarilla tripled the price when she discovered I was manless, traveling only with two daughters.
“You’ll need an amnesty fixer to get to the other side. If you learn to satisfy all men’s cravings, you’ll acquire enough funds. I’ll teach you, provide immunity, take only one third of your transactions. You’ll soon afford a fixer enabling you to leave in two months minimum.
Our kiss underscored the deal. I followed her advice, saved money, contacted a prized amnesty fixer called Santos who took my money, attended papers properly, eventually escorting us across a weathered bridge into a gray building. Biding me farewell, Santos the amnesty fixer tipped his hat, handed over an envelope, silently walked away.
Whirlwinds followed. As we entered the building, my daughters were pulled away. I was searched, photographed, fingers rolled in ink. ICE soldiers questioned me, especially particulars concerning Guatemala’s Coca gangsters. Later I was thrown two blankets, taken to a huge room, told to sleep. I pleaded for my daughters, told they were learning English, singing to a flag, trying to be American. I cried for them every day.
One morning I was taken before a woman lurking behind papers.
“If you want to see Fátima and Deysi again you’ll sign this confession. I had not choice. I signed. That night I boarded a jet, woke up in Guatemala. Accused of harvesting cocaine, I was jailed two years.
Today I’m in Colonia Norte spying into La Amarilla’s house. I enter without knocking, desiring to again be her fierce lover. She smiles, reclines into my arms, wraps me roughly. As we embrace I thrust two steeled points into her heart, give a justified kiss, end her life.
I pause before a mirror, watch my face transform into yellow stone. I’ve become La Amarilla. I will find my daughters.
She came into the diner almost every day. He saw her more than his wife, who was at home most of the time taking care of their house and land. He loved his wife, but one day he realized he loved this girl too.
He could not bear the thought of selling the diner and never seeing her after that.
Each time he saw her he found himself inching closer and closer to the cliff edge. But then he thought of his wife, his beautiful wife, who he’d spent so many years with, and of the shelter dog they’d recently gotten which had brought them close together all over again.
The feeling of guilt was overwhelming.
One day the girl came in, all bubbly and laughing, full of life, and he couldn’t help himself, he felt so happy.
“How are you today?” he said smiling.
She had sat down at the counter close to him, and he could smell her perfume. She was oblivious to the havoc she was creating in his heart.
“Oh, I’ve had quite the saga! I was in my garden and I stepped aside absentmindedly right into the needle of an agave! It went all the way into my ankle bone and got infected. It’s very serious and I’ve been taking all sorts of antibiotics.”
He wanted to take her little foot in his hands and gently kiss her ankle where the puncture had been. But instead he said, “Well, you look gorgeous and I think you’ll be with us for a long time!”
A loud buzzer sounded.
The silver cover to the 69027 Recall Tank slid back. An attendant with a yellow robe stood by, smiling. “Did you have a nice memory visit, dear?” he asked.
She looked at him and sighed. Oh yes, and got out of the tank slowly. Her ankle still hurt even now from that silly accident with the agave needle so many years ago.
In the mirror just beyond she saw herself for who she was–a bent over, white-haired, wrinkled old lady–now a frail shadow in the noonday sun. The last survivor of an era.
But none of it mattered at all. She’d remembered. He’d called her gorgeous. Gorgeous.
KAREN PETERSEN has traveled the world extensively, publishing both nationally and internationally in a variety of publications. Most recently, her poems and short stories have been published in The Manzano Mountain Review in the USA, The Bosphorus Review in Istanbul, Antiphon in the UK, The Wild Word in Berlin, and A New Ulster in Northern Ireland. New work will be appearing in the Saranac Review in the USA and Idiom 23 in Australia. In 2015, she read “In Memory of W.B. Yeats” at the Yeats Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the KGB Bar in NYC. Her poems have been translated into Persian and Spanish. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from Vassar College and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She teaches English Composition at NNMC.