•July 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

While her aunt typed up the bulletins for the next day’s sermon, Anna wandered through the gathering room out to the foyer, down the stairs to the basement, where soup kitchens and fish-and-chips dinners were held. She’d found a small hidden room behind the unused stage. It was at the far end of the large room and through a short, solid, wooden door that was never locked. She entered and passed through, into a first room behind the stage which contained some old signs with passages from the Bible that she never understood. She tip-toed through this area and found the cubby-hole door at the back wall around a corner. The door knob turned, and the door opened easily and quietly, which was surprising for its rusty hinges. She bent and stepped into the tiny empty room. The walls and floor were dark, musty wood, and the only light was a small rectangle window at ground level at the top of the right-hand wall. She made this her own church, with a porcelain female doll in one corner to the left of the window. An old light blue blanket sat rumpled in the opposite corner, to the right of the door. She spread it over the floor. She’d learned something in health class at school, something her mother was supposed to tell her but never did. She sat down and picked up the doll and undressed it. She studied the doll’s figure and noticed it was the same as hers had been when she was 10 years old. Now she had what were called breasts growing from her chest. They were bigger than the other girls, and they noticed this change in September when they returned from summer vacation. They teased her about not wearing a bra; she was more comfortable in her little girls’ T-shirts, and she felt a little afraid about wearing a bra because of the wires. What if she got electrocuted? Or are they the wires that hangers are made of? She didn’t know and didn’t care. The teacher said that when this happens, that means a person is going through puberty. She felt weird having her private parts projected on the overhead screen in the classroom and wondered if the boys in her class felt the same. The teacher said they didn’t need to feel embarrassed about this because everyone goes through it. The teacher said this is the time when your private parts begin to feel sensations that are strange and hair starts growing and you begin to break out because of hormones. The teacher spit out these odd medical words that she hated the sound of as they were said. The teacher explained how babies are really made, not the way she’d imagined as her mother had explained it. She liked her vision of a cherub floating down and waving a wand and fairy dust sprinkling onto a female and it enters her skin like soaking in water in a bubble bath where the bubbles are millions of iridescent spheres that are soft against her cheek. She smelled so clean then, though she hated the first moments of getting into and out of a bath because her body had to adjust to the temperature changes. She didn’t like the coldness of evaporation and water cooler than 98.6 degrees. This room was hot and dry but as she examined the doll and traced her small fingers over the features, she felt a sensation at her V, as she preferred to call it. She liked the letter V because she thought it was a beautiful looking letter that sounded soft. V started words like violet, violin, and vocalists that sung in choirs and on the radio. The teacher said this feeling is sexual and if the area is rubbed, it may lead to an orgasm, a strong flexing of those reproductive muscles that most people thought felt pleasurable. She rubbed the area on the doll and thought how it would feel on her. The doll felt nothing, didn’t go into any convulsions. She glanced out the window to make sure no one was staring in, and listened for her mother as she silently unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans. She pulled down her pants and underwear and bent to examine herself. It wasn’t a pretty sight and it smelled like pee. But it was her own smell that became familiar and stronger when she put her right index finger to the wet, pink folds of sensitive skin. The muscles moved and gave her a welcome feeling that she couldn’t describe. But she continued to caress herself, hearing nothing but her own breathing that she tried to keep contained so her mother wouldn’t hear if she were to come down. She felt her heart pounding in her chest and in her cheeks and her body temperature rise and perspire. She reached up under her shirt and grabbed one of her new breasts with her left hand and was more turned on. She thought of God and how he must think she’s sinning in the basement of His church, as close to the Devil as she could possibly get without sticking herself in an oven or fireplace, like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. It was winter outside, and she silently asked the small icicles hanging off the window ledge to distort any outsiders’ vision so they couldn’t see her sinning in such a fun way. She moved her hips around and up and down as she rubbed until she reached what the teacher called an orgasm, but the word orgasm didn’t suffice to her, so she called it bliss, nirvana, as her mother had once described to her, but it wasn’t a vacant, meditative, numb feeling like from sleep, but a release of repressed angers and frustrations, both emotional and physical. Maybe this is what it feels like to die, she thought. God, is this what you feel like? Those pray-ers upstairs on Sundays must not know this feeling she discovered because they’re too good. They see God as just a powerful man. She thought she wanted a real powerful man at that exact moment of bliss to thrust his private parts into hers. But then, she’d get pregnant and then what would her mother and the pray-ers say? This was her secret to keep and never reveal, she decided. It would be shameful and embarrassing, she thought after she’d relaxed, sprawled on the blanket, wiping the smelly slime off her fingers. She felt no pain; she felt like sleeping. But that would be too dangerous. She would be found out for sure, so she pulled her pants up and fastened them and prayed for forgiveness, vowing to God that she would never do it again, but knowing she would.
Anna stepped off her front porch at age 9 and watched the sunrise. She did this every morning until interruptions in her ritual took her away, like day camp that her mother insisted that she go to for a week or two in the summer where she would sit with 50 other girls of varying ages who came to learn to tie knots and get off their mothers’ hands for a while. She sat on the porch, examining the changing colors from navy to red-orange to yellow to light blue. Day after day it would be the same unless there were clouds, in which case, the sky went from near black to cottony gray. The colors on these days weren’t as metallic as the bright, clear ones which she loved more. She would find a patch of light that suited her and pretend she was in a spotlight, imagining her eyes were marble-clear and her hair shone in many brassy colors like copper and gold. She pictured how the shadows played across her face, unveiling her true face that she wished others could see but was masked by the grayness of everyday life, as she thought it was. But she was not one to complain. She left that up to her mother, who seemed to have nothing better to do. Anna decided to start singing a song she’d heard on the radio and memorized. She sung as well as she could, imitating the voice on the radio. She liked the feel of her vocal chords, early in the morning, vibrating in her throat as the notes floated up and out easily, as if possessed by some entity. She wondered who the Goddess of Music was; she’d have to look that up, she thought. Her mother stunned her every morning by opening up the bedroom window on the second floor and shouting down to Anna, singing in the yard, to shut up and get inside. Anna was shocked out of her private world everyday, in school, also, when she sat daydreaming and her teachers would call on her to respond or wake up. She hated that surprised feeling and learned to anticipate it so she wouldn’t get caught anymore. By her teenage years, she had mastered her own deception and had created a world in her head so different and more exciting than her real one. She was not crazy. She lived normally, but happier with this internal life. One morning, at age 9, she sat on the front porch in the metallic wrapping paper light, as she liked to think of it. She was lost in an open-eyed daydream as she stared at the horizon, not at the sun or else she’d go blind. She didn’t hear the footsteps walk up the dusty path that lay almost indiscriminate from the rest of the dry ground. The black boots stopped at the first step of the porch and a finger tapped her shoulder. She was startled, and when she glanced up at the figure between her and the light, she became afraid. It was just a black silhouette of a person because her eyes needed to adjust to the change of light. The black figure scared her because she thought she’d gone blind because she couldn’t make out the features right away. The figure waved to her before passing into the house. She was angered by the figure’s audacity to barge into her property without any warning and without her knowing who this figure was. She watched the figure enter the front door, and she followed him in, but he smiled and patted her head and directed her outside again. She sat on the porch wondering what was going on in there. She wondered if he was robbing their house or smothering her mother, for there was no noise. He came outside a while later and waved to her again, walking away from the house without a word.
“Hey, who are you, anyway?” she called after him. He didn’ t acknowledge her question, only kept walking.
After this incident, she wondered if the figure would ever come back, so she could get some answers, since her mother always changed the subject when Anna brought it up.
Her mother had a meeting to go to one day, so she left Anna alone when she was 15, a few weeks before her 16th birthday. A strange car stopped at their door and picked her mother up in the afternoon in the beginning of September. Anna was coming home from school as she was leaving. Anna watched the fancy black car pull away from the porch of the house in the middle of the dusty field. Her mother rolled down the window as the car paused near her and said supper was already prepared and all she had to do was heat it up and she would return soon. The window rolled up as her mother waved goodbye. Anna waved and figured her mother was just going to another one of her meetings. All the windows of the car were tinted so she couldn’ t see the others inside. She watched the car leave the property and speed away down the tree lined road. Anna’s eyebrow twisted in thought and amusement. She had the house to herself, but her friends were far away. Her mother wasn’t there. When she went inside and closed the front door, she checked around the house to make sure no one was there. She changed into an old house dress that her mother gave to her when it got too small for her. This house dress was the most comfortable and indecent piece of clothing she owned. It was stained and littered with small holes in the seams and tears in the material from getting caught on things. It’s patchwork made it one of her ugliest dress she had. She went out back with her radio with batteries and turned on a tape that she sung to all the time. The sun was directly on her and the breeze was soft and warm. She touched herself until she was satisfied then laid down in the sparse grass, continuing to sing. She stayed there for about 15 minutes, though she wasn’t counting, letting the sun soak her skin, feeling it burn her face and arms and feet. Gnats bounced off her face, itching it, so she swatted at them and rose. She opened her eyes, and everything she saw was tinted blue with burnt retinas. She glanced at the house and saw a darkness in the back door. She stared until her eyes refocused, until she recognized the black figure she’d seen come by here once before. She became afraid.
“How long have you been here?”
“Long enough,” the figure said in a deep enough voice to be male.

-KML circa 2000-2001. Don’t worry. There was no violence in this story. I wrote more but it wasn’t very good. Copyright vanyaview



•March 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Plunged head first with ease into dark water
              A second skin
              Second nature 
I sat at the edge of the pool,
 Placed my hands together as if in prayer:
            Prayer hands split waves
                           Head follows hands
                           In a silent bow
                           And quiet blurp and splash
                           As I disappear beneath the surface
                           Eyes closed
                                        Hiding from the darkess of deep water
                                        Dark green and murky
                                        The uncleaned pool 
                          Bliss follows ignorance
                                        Dive goes unnoticed
                                        Until I’m beneath the waves
                                        Far from sunlight
                                        Unable to resurface and breathe
                                             Then I open my eyes 

by Karen Lacki

The Hunters’ Return

•March 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment
“The Hunters’ Return”

Thanksgiving morning greeted the town with a fresh, early snow. 
We had slept late and as soon as we woke 
Mother sent us out to play so she could prepare for dinner. 
Our fathers promised to be back the day before the holiday, 
But they were nowhere to be seen. 
My mother was worried. 

Mary and I walked down by the wall- 
Over Waterfall Bridge with our skates slung over our shoulders. 
The upper lakes were too crowded so we hiked down the small hill 
To the frozen river below the falls.  She kept falling down, 
So I grabbed her apron and pulled her along. We laughed heartily 
Until she heard the crows. 
We stopped and listened. 

Another crow squawk.  The breeze rattled the bare-branched 
Trees and swirled around our numbing cheeks. 
The bells from all the churches sang out in joy. 
They greeted our fathers. 

They were home at last.  I pointed toward North Hill 
And we exclaimed a “Hurrah!” as our fathers descended 
The long hill.  Their dogs followed close behind – some jumping, 
Some weary, all protecting our fresh dinners. 
We thanked God for their safe return home. 

by Karen Lacki

Based on this painting


•March 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Wrapped in light blue blanket,       
      Draped in it, wearing it like the Madonna’s blue robes –            
      Over the head, cascading down the body,                                      
            Flowing like a waterfall,  
Standing in the December snow,                                             
      Glittering with silver blue moonlight,                                                  
      Moon surrounded by midnight blue sky,               
            Speckled with blue-hot stars, 
Blue-in-the-face with cold,                              
      With the coolness of numbness, unfeeling,                                       
        The intensity of sadness, madness,                                           
            Choking on icicle tears                                
     Frozen, frosty over the veins under the skin of    
            The eyes –                                   
        Gray, Baby, Royal, and Periwinkle,                       
    Washed out with heavy eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner                                    
      Which stand out like a blue neon sign –         
Glass windows to the soul,                                       
      The ghost that glows in the dark,                                          
     Glows the same blue that                                             
        Flashes through the sky when lightning bolts, strikes,                                                        Flickers at the strike of a match,                                                
            Heats up a pot on the stove that                                                   
              Has the blue reflection of dark metals,                                           
                  Iron and steel. 

by karen marieL. 11/11/1998


•March 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment
We are
Under a tree
Gathering food
On checkered cloth.
We are laughing
At the humans
Who don’t notice
They are
Eating each other so
We guess they are
Going to eat this food.
Look at Mister Worm
He’s diggin a hole
Through our apple.
We were going to give that one
To the
Ugh, this
Strawberry is heav
We are flying through
The aaaiiirrr
The humans shook out
The blanket.
That stupid worm.
Karen Lack

Against the Perpetual Motion of Waves

•August 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Read this with eagerness.
Let me be your sacred cow –
Suck my udders and watch you grow.
Let me be your pussy cat –
I’ll lick you – enmesh and enliven you.
I’ll be your dune on the eve of June
when waves stop washing me away.
Take this opium, my dear child,
defy your time well spent.
I made a concoction of you & I.
Meet me at the cave’s river,
Be there when the sunset beckons.
Princely angel, follow me to my hideout
against the perpetual motion of waves.
Seductive nightfall brightens the days.
Fight within me
Closed-mouthed & inseparable.
Our ghosts take to the sky
in a misty morning wood.


-By k.mariel, 2006


Raining Blood

•February 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment

an excerpt from my unpublished novel, Gyrl [Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics] – circa 2001-2006

Halloween morning. I got my period – evil – which meant I had – evil – cramps, bloating, headache, and back pain. Despite 3 Midol, it didn’t break until 1 PM, but damn it, I was worn out, and what was my costume for the party that night? A white flowy dress. I had convinced Bill to go as Nosferatu and I’d go as Lucy from the ’70’s version of the movie. We’d just watched it a few weeks before, and I told him, to his embarrassment, that Nosferatu turned me on because it reminded me of him. I giggled; he turned bright red. Up through this morning, he swore he was going as something else but he wouldn’t tell me.
       Bill came to pick me up for the party, but I wasn’t dressed. I felt like shit and didn’t want to go, so I told him to go without me. After about an hour of fighting and whining over it, I finally pissed him off enough so he’d leave, after which I collapsed on my bed in a crying fit until nightfall. Once my temper tantrum had passed, I said fuck it, got dressed and drove to the party, which was at a mansion near where Bill lived. I flashed my invitation to the gatekeeper who was dressed as the Grim Reaper and let me pass. Great, now I’m going to Hell, I thought.
       At the door, I gave the secret password to the masked guards in tuxes, having flashbacks to “Eyes Wide Shut,” and walked into the Italianate-Victorian-with-clashing-contemporary-addition house (very not tastefully done, I might add), first into the foyer of the Italianate Victorian portion and handed the butler my coat. I asked where the restroom was and found it upstairs. Checked the dress, made sure all was clean, makeup perfect, and decided that as bloated as I felt, I still kinda looked good in the flowy whiteness, trying to look all innocent and goth at the same time, not really caring at this point if anyone would “get” the costume or not. I left the bathroom and wandered around this old portion of the house, checking out the decor and architecture and art-ness, wishing for a house like this of my own. *sighs* If only houses were still made with such loving-tender-care… 😦
       As I wandered from room to room, I heard some lady gasp and exclaim, “Look, a ghost!”, to which I glanced around and found her glancing around for her friend, so I ducked behind an open door. “Did you see that? She just disappeared! I thought I felt a chill?” I laughed to myself thinking this could be really fun, so I decided to play with people – floating through rooms, disappearing behind doors, hiding behind see-through mirrors (this place was awesome!), and I even stopped and stared at someone until they freaked out and passed the room. Finally, there was a lull in arriving guests, so I decided to follow the signs to the party – in the contemporary portion of the mansion, which was really a large, off-white room with an angled ceiling, an open kitchen area, and more lofted rooms off to the side. The whole place had cheesy Halloween decorations, which surprised me because, in this place, I thought they’d have enough money to go all out. I ate a few hors d’eouvres and drank a goblet of spiked punch. I found the nearest restroom for safe measure. Everyone had wonderful costumes – so creative and well put-together and stuff that you can actually figure out, unlike mine, which, instead of Lucy from the ’70’s Nosferatu film, I was a ghost. I have to say, I was the best decoration/spook in the whole building, just because I really freaked out some people. A part of me wished I’d stayed in that old part of the house – it was more “me”. Plus, no one recognized me at this party anyway. The one person that would have, I couldn’t find.
       I took a seat on the opposite side of the room, in an alcove by the patio doors, then after staking out the patio overlooking the lake, I wandered out there instead. The breeze was strong, so it blew my dress straight out behind me at times. There was supposed to be a cold front moving in with some rain overnight. I walked along the edge of the property, near the retaining wall (I didn’t realize the waves got that big from a lake, but okay). The moon was still shining brightly overhead, on the water, lighting the sky in navy and highlighting the incoming clouds a pale silvery blue. Despite the wind, the night was perfect, a bit on the cool side. I thought, if only I have a lover next to me to share this with, it would be the most romantic of nights. I envisioned a beautiful kiss.
       A few minutes passed, and I heard some people crooning inside the house. Some people should just never get a hold of a microphone – drunk or not, party or not, Halloween or not. No one was nearby out here…no lover to be had… 😦 . So, feeling the call of the wild, or at least the stage, I drifted inside. The lights were turned low with the spotlight on the stage. As I neared it, there was a lull in the “acts” – open mic night at the Hallows, I thought. I didn’t even think about it; I just drifted up onto the stage, with Tori Amos’ cover of Slayer’s Raining Blood” in my head and sat down at the piano just as the light on stage dimmed.
       The song starts off low, quiet and brooding. Some people didn’t even realize I was playing until I began to sing: “Traaaaaaaaapped in purgatory/ A lifeless object aliiiive…” In Tori’s version, the lyrics are drawn out and slow, either invoking sleep or a trance upon the audience while I have to concentrate on breathing correctly to have enough breath to support the long notes. But in this moment, as the light came down white upon me and the house lights dimmed around me, I was completely emersed in the song, lyrically, spiritually, physically. I felt myself bleeding from all parts of my body, bleeding light and blood and sweat under the hot light, breathing so well that I was starting to feel lightheaded, emotionally enraptured by the sounds I was making and feeling as if I could step out of my body and see myself playing. The spotlight was so bright I found my dress glowing, creating an aura around me as I played the blackest of all the songs I knew. The song takes a more sinister turn in the middle, using deeper, louder dynamics, and I spot my Nosferatu in the back of the crowd, his ex-girlfriend beside him. I begin to focus on him.
“Awaiting the hour of reprisal,mmm/Your time slips away/Raining Blooooooooooooooooooooooood!/Raining blooooooooooooooooooooood!/From a lacerated skyyy/Bleeding its horror/
Structure, now I shall/
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiign In Blood!”
And the notes wind down, dramatic inhale, face pointed to the sky.

-by Karen Marie L.