Re-Shuffling Loss - poem by mel A ROWE

Re-shuffling Loss

shadows loom

over another loop

a balance between womb or doom

across woven, complex, delicate lines

within the infinite tapestry of time

as mannequins shadow candlelight

stumbling over scattered bones

ghosted on the river of wrong

& wasted last chances gone.


So too, was the  last book collected

 chess pieces sorted

divided items selected

boxing airless dream bubbles

with no more mind games to play.

For every part of this precious tragedy

they played their parts with tortured hearts

beginning the end of their pawn shop shuffle of separation

… all while the scratched record played the permanence of all the things

their love never got to say.




Tradition is a Tradition - a flash fiction story by Mel A ROWE

A Tradition Is A Tradition

He gulped, licking the salt from his lips. ‘Again, tell me why I’m doing this?’

‘You have to, it’s the rules of engagement,’ she said.

‘Isn’t there another way?’ The breeze tousled his hair as he winced at the odour of the others damaging his sense of smell.

‘It’s a tradition. We can’t change tradition. If we changed tradition, then it’s no longer a tradition. When my family’s all about tradition,’ she said as the others surrounding her nodded. ‘You want me to say yes, don’t you?’

Wiping sweaty palms, he frowned at the depths of darkness. ‘Yeah. But, I don’t want to do this.’

‘If I was in your position, I’d be the same. Tell you what, I’ll help you. It’ll be all over soon.’ She gave him a quick shove in the back and he teetered over the edge with a cry, as the crew craned their necks to follow his fall.

And they waited. Silently.

Until his head arose from the briny drink.

‘Should’ve listened to your mother when she said never play with pirates. Pick me up for dinner at seven,’ she shouted topside.

And he waved and swam back to shore, smiling.

(200 words)


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Silenced Surround Sounds

They didn’t smell the pungent regurgitated mashed food that battled against clouds of floral perfumes and spicy aftershaves.

They didn’t hear the loudspeaker promoting the latest motivational activity or the surrounding shouts accompanied by scraping chairs and falling cutlery.

All they saw was … Continue reading “Silenced Surround Sounds”

Whispered Wants, flash fiction post by Mel A ROWE

Whispered Wants

She inhaled deeply, basking in his manly aroma. His large palms cocooned her hands. Staring deep into his eyes where the world around them no longer registered.

He leaned in closer and whispered the words, ‘my little blood-puddin!’

‘Huh?’ She blinked at him as if flushing out an eyelash. Continue reading “Whispered Wants”

graduating - school - chalkboard - clock - passage of time - R&RRamblings blog -


Graduating, already. Next its university, marriage, and then I’ll be a grandfather. Old. Like my father hunched over crossword puzzles grumbling about medical costs. Yet, there’s my little girl on stage. We did so well, and I can’t help but hold my wife’s hand. Swear I’m blinking as fast as my heart’s hammering. I’d better make a Doctor’s appointment…

Ugh, why does my husband have to be so clingy with his sweaty palms, when I’m trying to take photos? Should’ve bought a better camera. Should’ve had photography lessons instead of mosaic classes. Aw, my baby looks so beautiful. Should’ve had her hair curled. Should’ve made her wear that other dress. Should’ve changed those ribbons because they don’t match her shoes…

Man, I can’t see bugger-all! Boo hoo, my baby sister’s gettin’ an award. Not like she kicked a winnin’ goal for the team. Mum’s playin’ photographic diva again. Swear she’s gonna get blocked on Facebook if she posts tonight’s barfarama. On no, my old man’s gonna cry. Hope no one from the team’s here. Man, will this freaking preschooler’s concert ever end…

(182 words)

from the Flash Fiction Collection:  HOME SWEET ~ NOT!

Home Sweet Not - by Mel A Rowe

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Charging Sunsets Part - short story by Mel A ROWE

Charging Sunsets Past

To my dearest Tracey,

Remember the first time I rang you?

It occurred the day after we’d met. It was a Monday night, and there I was jiggling a pocket full of coins as I walked across cracked oil-stained concrete paths. Skirted past shabby houses expelling sinus-singeing aromas of boiled cabbage. Televisions blared and arguments behind closed doors echoed along the street.

At the telephone box, I stared at unreadable spray-can scribble and the many numbers and names etched into its walls. Assorted band advertisements and lost dog notices layered over any free space.

The chaotic phone box artwork reflected the whirl of thoughts that passed through me. Why would someone bright, beautiful, and funny as you, squander time you’ll never get back by talking to me?

I’d never phoned a girl before. Sure, I’d called for car parts or mates, but not someone I admired. I’d even rehearsed how to act cool for a phone conversation – in the mirror. Not cool.

Then I lifted the receiver, wiped it on my shirt and had never been more grateful for a dial tone. My limbs didn’t belong to me, trying to cradle the phone piece between my ear and shoulder. I kept dropping the coins trying to slide them in the slot of the machine and held my breath. My hands shook so much, I had trouble reading the numbers scribbled on that scrap piece of paper, and I miss-dialled who knows how many times.

And when I’d finally dialled the correct number, and waited for you to answer, my mind went blank and I had this overwhelming urge to hang up and walk away.

I almost did.

But then you answered. We were both nervous, your voice trembled and mine squeaked. I swear I’d swallowed a box of dry breakfast cereal, my mouth was that dry.

But, what I recalled the most from that first phone call – I smiled. I was that goofy grinning guy who dream-walked on this imaginary flying concrete-carpet. I even slid across some crummy sedan’s bonnet giving it a quick polish with the arse of my jeans.

I didn’t see the shitty street, nor hear the arguments, or smell the rotten rubbish. Because none of it mattered. Only you. And I dared to dream of our own Happily Ever After. I’d never considered love existed in reality. Never thought it’d happen to me. Yet every night after each one of our phone conversations, I was alive. Reborn with new emotions only felt with you.

To think it’s been two decades since that first awkward phone call.

You’re still everything I think about and all those years together. The jokes we shared. Secrets we’ve kept. Dreams we’ve visualised. I know I’ll never share that with anyone else.

Remember the first time we made love? It was in the Charger, in the early stages of her rebuild. The spare tyre was jammed in the back to keep the driver’s seat upright. The faded burnt orange exterior you described as some fancy sunset. Do you remember? It was the first time we’d both admitted our love to each other. You begged me to never let you go and I swore then I wouldn’t.

Beautiful isn’t perfect enough to describe how you looked at our wedding. That day I was this insignificant surfer on his body-board, riding towering tsunami waves on this intense sea of emotions. My heart stalled to a halt in the registry office when I first saw you approach me in your bridal gown. Overwhelming relief swamped me because you’d showed up to marry me. You wiped my tears of joy, when I was beyond words, that someone as wonderful as you held my hand and said I do.

I discovered the true meaning of euphoric bliss on our wedding night. That secluded beach paradise we’d found along the deserted highway. The sand between our toes, a skyline filled with stars and a soft sea breeze as our background setting. The Charger polished and restored stood nearby. Its stereo played all our favourite tunes in time to the gentle breaking waves of the turning tide. Warm blankets arranged by the small bonfire and the empty bottle of champagne lay on its side. Wearing your bridal gown, we slow-danced, holding each other close and watched the sunrise over a cloudless horizon. It was perfect.

We were so much in love when we had so little back then, where we redefined the true meaning of happiness by just being together.

I’ve never been this way with any other woman where I crave the touch of your warm soft skin. Where a passing brush-stroke of your fingertips sent my nerve endings into overdrive. Immersing myself in your silky hair that caressed my cheeks whenever I held you. Where you’d put your hair up, and this one disobedient curl escaped at the nape and I’d wrap that stray lock around my finger, tickle your neck, and watch you duck your head as colour filled your cheeks.

I used to tease you when I told you I wanted to learn to paint, just to recreate all those intricate details. The slightly chipped tooth that added character to your smile. The golden flecks that brought a depth of warmth to your eyes. The half-moon crescent scar on your delicate chin you got from our first camping trip. The scattering of freckles across your nose I’d name each with a kiss while creating our own constellation. The way you snuggled your back against my chest and I’d hold you. We’d talk for a while, then I’d listen to your deep breathing while keeping you safe in your sleep.

But then I stopped talking to you and you carried me when I’d lost myself and forgot to be an adult, a husband, and a friend.

I’m sorry.

With the wisdom of hindsight of these past six months, I’d gotten into an immature selfish rut. Why did I act like a kid rebelling against the rules and responsibilities of a grown-up world? Perhaps, financial frustration, combined with alcohol consumption caused this? Throw in a pair of rouge school mates to trigger some crappy childhood bad habit, fuelling my pathetic actions of one stupid night that landed me in the worst possible place ever.

I did this.

I, alone, took part in this slippery downhill slide of personal disgrace.

I’m so ashamed and regret everything I’ve done.

When they escorted me from the dock in handcuffs, you were sitting in the back row of the courtroom, alone. Tears stained your face showcasing your obvious sorrow for me. When I didn’t deserve those tears.

Seeing you like that my heart suffered this emotional death grip. My stomach knotted up so hard as if I’d been kicked while I shivered from a cold sweat. I almost threw up. I couldn’t breathe and wanted to lay down and die. It was the terror of losing a loved one. Of losing you.

Now, it’s agonising torture replayed every night of the last time I ever saw you. It burns when I close my eyes and all I see is your tears mesh with mine, and another bout of guilt and shame chokes me.

I promise you to never be in this incarcerated selfish situation again. It’s terrible. I’m alone here and can’t trust anyone. I still can’t believe I’m here because of one drunken night in the pub, in a brawl I don’t how it started. I swear I don’t remember hitting the police officer. And what I saw on the surveillance tapes was like watching a stranger – except it was me.

I know we argued that morning about the Charger’s registration. We’d quarrelled over a car collecting dust in the shed. For the life of me – I wish now, I’d stopped, listened and talked to you that day. It might’ve prevented all of this. Still, it’s no excuse for my idiotic immature reactions. Yes, the car has sentimental value. It’s been a part of our most memorable family moments, such as bringing our daughter home the first time. But a car you can replace. A car is an object that has no soul. It’s not living flesh. It’s not you.

I’m so sorry. I hate myself for what I’ve done. I never meant to hurt you this way. Ever.

Believe me when I write this, please know that you are my reason for existence. I want to be home with you, our family, and I count the nights of sleep until my release to return hopefully to you.

With my entire heartfelt love, my emotional soul belongs to you, always.

Now and forever your husband,


PS: Please forgive me.


Dear Reader: Would you forgive him?


(1456 words)


Home Sweet Not - by Mel A Rowe

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Two Weeks & Three Days…

The boy’s small shoes dragged their knotted laces through puddles as he headed for the back door. He tugged at the few buttons left on his shirt as the seams stretched at the shoulders. He licked his swollen lip. Brushed fingers through sweaty hair. He then feathered fingertips over another black eye before trudging into the kitchen.

“How long now, Grandma?” He called out. Continue reading “Two Weeks & Three Days…”