1. Godalming: The Iron Gate

    “With me,” he said. Her arm extended though she did not will it so, and he grasped her hand. “Come,” he said. “There’s not much time, and you’re running out of options.”

    She swallowed all the confusion and misgivings that had gathered in her mouth and coated her tongue with cotton. Her feet stumbled to keep up with his swift, purposeful stride. At last he paused in front of a tall, iron gate. It was locked. He released his hold on her hand with a glance she recognized as one telling her to wait. He dug about in first one pocket of his long coat, then another, muttering and cursing under his breath. At last he retrieved a long, hollow key, which he held up into the light. “Ah, there you are!” he said, inserting the key into the gate and turning it.

    When the metal lock-bolts clicked, he withdrew the key, pulled a bar down and slid it across, then pushed the gate open and stepped inside. The gate had scraped against the stones beneath as it moved, and something about that sound made her hesitant. He had taken several strides forward before he stopped, looking down and around, patting his coat as if he’d forgotten something. Then, turning back, he saw her standing there. “And there you are. Do try to keep up. All will be explained — just have a little faith.”

    “Faith?” she said.

    “Faith, yes. Faith is something you have when you have no logical reason to believe in something but you choose to believe it regardless, because you find it comforting in some way. You are comforted, yes?”

    She had to admit she was, although she wasn’t sure why. She shrugged and walked through the gate. She might’ve been disturbed to hear the gate close and bolt behind her, but she didn’t hear it, so focused was she on continuing to follow the stranger she’d already followed so far.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  2. Godalming: Out of Options

    To call him her savior would be something of a stretch, he being a rogue of certain ill-repute, unwelcome in most of the village’s more established places of warmth and embrace. Sometimes, though — just sometimes — saving grace can be found in the darker crevices of the danker recesses of life, in gutters where demons and saints alike wear the same stench and dread.

    As the moon bathed the village streets in its cool, reflective shimmer, a light snow began to fall. She was running out of options. The damp of her breath no longer warmed her bone-cold hands though she clawed them around her mouth even so. The last light on the street, the light blurred by fogged glass, the light she’d been walking towards — she watched as it disappeared. Ducked around a corner, she watched as a huddled figure left the shop, locking the door behind him and bustling away, cursing to himself.

    A pull at her elbow caused her to flinch. Turning, she saw him. He looked warm. He beckoned her to follow and turned down the alley. She thought for a minute — maybe a minute longer than she ought’ve, ‘cause she turned to look in the direction he’d gone once she’d made up her mind and he was already out of sight. She shrugged and headed in that direction. He’d looked warm, and she was running out of options.

    She strained against the dark as the alley narrowed, but still she followed, not knowing if he’d turned into a building or slipped between cracks or even vanished. Anything was possible. She stiffened her shoulders. If you are still enough, you can hear your heartbeat echo off the pavements.

    “I know what you are.” The voice didn’t startle her; not like it should have. She felt a calm come over her, unlike anything she’d felt before. She walked towards it. Towards him.

    “I know what you are,” he repeated. “And you are safe.”


    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  3. One of the warmest and happiest feelings in the world.

    One of the warmest and happiest feelings in the world.

  4. You’re an artist—you’re allowed to objectify me.
    Jen (jayarrarr)
  5. Tell Me Something

    Because we’ll be alright;
    we’ll still be here. Maybe there
    isn’t much on our side —
    but our side is still ours,
    and our hands tell the story.

    Oh, how we story, us two
    become one like pronouns
    and vowel sounds adapt
    over time and tongue. Precious things
    we grasp with trembling tendons

    and press to petering palms. Hands
    like mirrors reflecting all we’ve found
    too late and too far to swell
    to immediate use. We work
    with what we have, we mold comfort

    out of carnage; carve singular from two
    distant — distinct and variable
    as branches we twine
    together. We bask
    in warmth of mutual dreams

    and dreams of dreams, knowing
    no matter what, we have
    each other. Our hands will tell
    the story. We have us. We’ll be
    alright. We’ll still be here.

    And we’re something.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  6. So Last Season

    The bright ones had to go. All the gaudy near-neon throws (both pillows and blankets, things meant to be tossed) — the hot pink and electric green, the blinding-bright yellows and oranges that “went together” because some moribund, cubicle-dwelling corporate flunky had decided they should — they had to go. With the innocent audacity of a three-year-old who believes things have reasons and it’s possible to know them all, I asked why.

    They’re summer, was the manager’s reply. I asked why again, because it was July, and she still hadn’t answered my question. She worked with practiced efficiency, slicing the pillows apart to bleed out their bleached-white plastic floss stuffing in the bottom of the dumpster. A holocaust of late-20th century suburban supply in excess of demand. No one, it seemed, wanted the porches of their gated subdivisions to look like children’s playhouses or Caribbean all-inclusive singles resorts. These innocent, over-dyed fabrics were the victims of some dusty MBA’s hubris. But why are we destroying them, that’s what I want to know.

    Something about bottom lines. Something about things having to be unusable before they can be dumpstered. Something about it being illegal to take things from dumpsters, because in this blighted landscape corporations claim ownership and control over things even after they’ve thrown them away. Something about if you don’t buy them from us you can’t have them at all. I thought about a pimp who kills a girl if she dares try to leave him. People like that exist in the world. I stopped asking questions.

    Later that night, while I was drinking however much it would take for me to stop caring, a woman ambled across the store’s back lot, evading the lights with motion sensors. She worked with practiced efficiency, scrounging through the dumpster for anything that could be of use. Then, all at once, she threw up her hands, announcing to no one her joy at discovering the mound of thick, bright fabric. She crammed as much as she could into a black garbage bag she’d liberated from somewhere else. A few weeks later, the fabric had been cut apart, washed, and re-sewn into adorable patchwork dresses her 5-year-old twins wore on their first day of kindergarten.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  7. Denouement

    I cannot write a poem for you, and yet
    I’ve written dozens of drafts in vain
    attempt to capture your form,
    to distill your essence
    with efficiency and eloquence.

    If I had every word
    in every language, every song
    in every tongue, I feel
    they’d all fall short somehow
    when tasked to describe

    the pulse of dew on a petal,
    or the rasp of tongue
    across skin. Where I, with
    shortened breath would beg
    forgiveness for muted memory

    held forth as shattered glass —
    a running pain-cold remnant
    piercing soft and fluid
    down the center of marble stairs.
    How I’ve never felt

    so together; how I’ve never been
    more alone.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  8. Music

    You can tell a lot about someone by the type of music they listen to (not always.) Hit shuffle on your ipod/phone/itunes/media player and write down the first 20 songs. Then pass this on to 10 people. If you want to do this, consider yourself tagged.

    One rule: no skipping (tagged by several people; told to do it by supersatellite)

    1. Back in Black — AC/DC
    2. Against the Wind — Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
    3. Encore — Jay-Z + DJ Dangermouse (The Grey Album)
    4. The Rooster — Outkast
    5. Know — Nick Drake
    6. Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye — Ella Fitzgerald
    7. Burger Queen — Placebo
    8. I Ain’t Mad at Cha — 2Pac
    9. Don’t Tread on Me — 311
    10. Call it a Day — The Raconteurs
    11. Back in Baby’s Arms — Patsy Cline
    12. Barely Legal — The Strokes
    13. Trip Like I Do — Crystal Method
    14. Hi Friend! — Deadmau5
    15. Fourth World War — Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
    16. Monkey — Bush
    17. Burn My Shadow — UNKLE
    18. Your Protector — Fleet Foxes
    19. Golden Brown — Stranglers
    20. Young Lust — Pink Floyd
  9. jayarrarr:


    “You must know you’ve become a part of others as well, who you’ve not even met.”

    This is a montage of my friend Jen.  Because some words stick.  

    Isn’t she lovely?

    My official personal photographer, y’all.

    Earlier today, the lovely Kate (kategclef) tagged me in that thing going around that’s something like photos of you that make you happy or some such. I’m cheating, perhaps. But all of these are pictures of me, and all of them make me happy, even though I don’t have technicolor hair in any of them.

  10. In other news, evidently The Daily Beast has some trouble figuring out the difference between sadism and masochism. And you thought your issues with affect and effect were bad.

    In other news, evidently The Daily Beast has some trouble figuring out the difference between sadism and masochism

    And you thought your issues with affect and effect were bad.