The Dipping Bread (new vamp flash)

just in time for Halloween
I’m honored to be included in Chicago Literati, with my flash piece, The Dipping Bread
I hope you enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy writing about vampires and their victims 😘


leftover sensations (new flash piece)

LEFTOVER SENSATIONSLove writing flash fiction, especially monster-themed. I let loose a bit more when invoking character voices. Hope you enjoy, leftover sensations, as much as I enjoyed writing it 😘
As the writing gods sometimes align themselves, my dear, faraway writing friend, DS Levy also in this issue with a masterful short, Pit Viper.
adore this cover art by Aisha Ali!

Raven Hall Pool

new flash piece, Raven Hall Pool, Firefly Magazine

writing flash fiction is such a joy for me
creating poems in the first person as I often do holds me back a bit
I sometimes fear a kind reader will think, “AnnMarie is sad, AnnMarie is whacked, AnnMarie better get her shit together…”😉

in flash fiction I can go hog-wild
it’s liberating for a mom of two teens, a giant husband, one small dog and caretaker of three elderly folks

this particular flash piece is based in reality
it is near and dear to my heart as is my sweet mom (her image in background)


Deep inside the crocodile’s dank maw,
we hid our treasure, a currency to happiness–our recompense
A thick-legged serpent with its murder’s row of razor sharp stalacites,
was to keep all predators away
We tossed paper after paper into that steel creature
Spent a lifetime saving gold to travel around the Horn of Africa
Oh, the promises sworn upon our sweating bed
witnessed from above, by a blood red moon
We were to journey by tall sail and broad sea
A pair of golden, umber eyes just below the surface followed our wake
When her reptilian curves broke the wet plain, she leaped on top
The tribal shield slid away from your body
We were to journey by sunfish sail and night sea,
but we drowned in the murky fathoms
While I was dreaming of observing crocodiles in their native habitat,
you turned into a cold-blooded reptile
I am taking what is mine, regardless of your crocodile tears,
as soon as my trembling fingers can punch the Barska keypad code


how to find a lover

The portent outside Bell’s glass is reflected here in the doorway–
where the welcome mat is soiled glum grey
Dead leaves mimic the worn out bar’s foot traffic–
they blow in lost but looking
There is a staleness to the light that no one seems to notice
But me
I’m either special or nor drunk enough
“…you’re just too good to be true…”
Background mocks everyone in the damn place
The only thing too good to be true–
matching Powerball numbers or getting free refills
I opt for the latter
They tell me the kind of money that frees you from worries–
never alters the conversation an earthworm might whisper into your blue ear
Pour me another and double the double
The barmaid’s hair shines like the missing sun
My hair lost its luster when I lost other things
Three stools over, a shapely glass hits the mahogany
I’m watching cream liqueur swirl into a “Lady Luck”
I might just be observing someone who is worse off than me
I don’t need luck
I need a break
Don’t you, I mean when does the shit part end and the good crap start hitting the fan
That’s all I’m waiting for
Nothing too complicated
Like pouring a drink, or two, or three
I hear someone chatting up, Billy Eckstine
Maybe this poor soul is more lost in time than me
Well, something has just cheered me up, inexplicably so
There on the wall–
a seascape, its lighthouse back-illuminated, and I see him–
he’s behind the window–
a dark, handsome man wearing a sea captain’s hat
He’s waving to me
Finally, someone I can talk to who will listen

five cent pump pencil

five cent pump pencil


knots of secrets

No light reflecting in those intense dark eyes. Windows to the soul, not on this face. Manhole covers down to deeper things. Between the furrowed brow where one might find introspection, I find knots of secrets the way bucks lock horns then die. He’d been a lover of men long ago. I know because he kept photo proofs stashed in shoeboxes under his saggy bed. The most dogeared photo was of silver-haired lovers entwined when they were past lovemaking and exhausted beyond repair. It wasn’t his figure in the careworn image. I once asked him who the two were. He told me it wasn’t for him to say, the couple in the photo were in love and love is a sacred thing one must hold dear. I asked if deer locked horns because they were in love. He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “No young one, when bucks lock antlers they are horny. Animals have fellowship. Humans have love. Love is a gift and it must be cherished.”

Around his apartment, black and white photos cling to their slice of wall space. Clouds stick to heaven the very same way. Each image perfectly soldiered into painted symmetrical wood. The sturdy black frames cannot diminish the powerful subject matter within. Love. Curving, languid nudes in soft light sometimes wrapped with white sheets like gossamer wings. Decades ago, my uncle was hired to shoot elegant boudoir stills for couples. Most of these amorous pairs commissioned him early into their young marriages. When their skin glowed beneath hot halogens and their figures flowed smooth like silk honeymoon lingerie. Each photo paper lover appeared sculpted in form and perfectly matched to their partner’s body. My uncle had an artful way with autonomy. Names were never known. Gazing at one of his large black and white images is akin to admiring a marble figure whose face is left trapped inside stone, much like Rodin often made the artistic choice to leave casting seams.

Uncle Milo has since lost his eight-five percent of his vision. His elegant wavy hair is silver-white. Those intense marble eyes now covered in a milky glaze. He’d call it dodging light in the dark room. Today, I ask him again who the two silver-haired lovers were. He responds in his whiskey voice, “Young one, they were the only partners who respected the sanctity of love beyond the beauty of their flesh. Their love was the most honest love I’ve ever witnessed in my small life. I’ve accumulated a great wealth, to have captured such treasure.”


sketched last year for a writing project-thank you

exceptionally imperfect

Exceptionally imperfect. It’s all I want. This a special low bar setting, don’t you think? I like special. You may leave me alone and I will have already fallen down. No worries. There are parts which work well rolling on the floor. He knows them. Not like her. Did you hear her screaming. The window was ajar like the door–not as welcoming. I’m quite certain a few vocal sobs hit the birds below. What was it she was crying about this time? Oh yea, wrinkles. How she just can’t do it anymore. Hell, who can? You know what I mean, right? I say this but it does nothing to move her mind. Is she dying alive? There are no silent places to hide when you know all the rooms in your home. She’s always crying and not even rolling on the floor like some of us. That’s uplifting is it not? I mean what do you think? Does she expect her big plasma screen to extend its little curving arms and whisper Hallmark hucksterisms into her sobbing eyeballs? She’s screaming at the wrinkles. Oh well, let me suck this up. I can empathize a bit. Cotton shirts from the dryer. Impossible to smooth out like baby’s asses once they leave the store hangers. 100% algodon shirts shit wrinkles! Ironing is nearly as horrifying as cooking. Maybe I should be the one crying. There is also moaning that comes with her crying. We won’t get into that now. I reserve my moaning for the most special of occasions when doors are closed.

I do want to wish those who celebrate, a Happy Fourth. It is my grandma’s birthday, July 4. She could have painted her skin with stars beneath beaded fringe and knee length dresses. Maybe Heaven has a tattoo parlor and a vintage dress shop. I do so adore a firecracker backdrop when my head is on the pillow dreaming of Mr. Key and locked doors. Both shops and doors closed for holidays and moaning.

The Captain/acrylic

The Captain/acrylic

Somewhere in the world, this fella once rowed people to party island. I thought him absolutely inspirational and painted his likeness. Captains are so freakin’ cool:)

no more pearls

how can words be brave
she goes only so far with her sentences
so far with little imperfect pearls
watching them break away from the strand and roll away
across the museum floor
she pretends to be a paper doll
with those high shoes
moving her away from the earth
where she belongs, but doesn’t want to stay
the lumpy pearls are spinning across the high-gloss parquet
how is it the wood shines so
burdened all day beneath novices and admirers
gilded old masters
their oily stares, thoughtless and menacing
deny her the luxury of concealment
does she flop about the perfect floor
scooping up the renegade low-luster gems
where are her words now
she can’t think on her feet
they are too far from the ground in silly paper dolls shoes
old men are staring
in beaten leathery soles that don’t scuff
every gem ball has disappeared
the broken strand dangles from her thin white sweater
she has no words
she has no pearls
there is one set of old eyes upon her
he knows her heart was once
not made of paper
she wills the oily-eyed man
to kiss her wet cheek and pull her
into the linen where she could rest alongside him
for all eternity

her silent fingers lurch deftly over the velvet rope
she fondles the painting
an elderly gentleman in a white-starched shirt
and shiny black Oxfords asks her to leave quietly
which is fine by her
she has no words left anyway
rembrandtthis is an ink rendering I did in college – the assignment was to copy an old master
I chose Rembrandt