Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guest Writer: Barry Basden

Three Short Pieces

In the City of Ruined Cathedrals
She puts on white makeup, a white gown and shawl, then leaves her room in the pale early morning. Like some virgin specter, she drifts past the abandoned kaserne, searching for movement at empty windows, certain of enemy soldiers lurking there.

South Oak Cliff
Four of us kids in my weedy front yard. Mayes and Fergie, a year older, watch Jimmy Pickard pound my left arm as I circle, try to keep my guard up. We wear boxing gloves my father gave me last Christmas, thin maroon leather. Make a man outta you, he said. I skirt the shade of the chinaberry, move steadily away from Jimmy's fistful of asps. He grunts, lunges again, his eyes rat fierce.

How to Make It Through the Night
Don't answer calls from your ex-husband. Hold yourself in your arms, rock gently. Hum something soothing. Don't think about Bobby on his tricycle behind your van that day.

© Barry Basden 2011

Barry Basden lives in the Texas hill country with his wife and two yellow Labs. His writing has appeared here and there. He is coauthor of CRACK! AND THUMP: WITH A COMBAT INFANTRY OFFICER IN WORLD WAR II and edits Camroc Press Review.


  1. Totally rat-fierce, each a tiny bagatelle.

  2. Small miracles of concision and impact. The last one especially reveals a harrowing world of tragedy. The middle piece is effectively evocative, and the first gossamer delicate. Nice range in just three pieces.

  3. Terrific pieces, Barry, each cutting reality like a diamond.

  4. Love the brevity of these- the second piece reminds me of childhood/boxing gloves and crying all the way home- great work.

  5. 'eyes rat fierce' - yes, and the huge implications of the last - enviable talent.

  6. In the City of...scary.

    South Oak...I'd say he held his own.

    How to Make...Oh, God how horrible.

    All Good.


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