Blogging / Paroles – Flash Fiction 100 word series

Y for Yoyo

She’s always lived in the small town.
It has one set of traffic lights on a highway 
with little action.
For one year,  near the lights,
she test-spins the yo-yo up then down.

During the day  as a car nears the road lights,
she suddenly loses the rhythm.						
She has lately, made a change.
Sleeping yo-yos moves work best 
when there are no vehicles.

She reels off a song as she plays,
 in between the frequent gaps occurring 
in the town’s traffic.
She takes a while to rehearse,
finally finding a tune to hum 
in keeping with the yoyo’s moves.

X for Xenophilia

              1                                                              2

      I wave.  ‘Hello,                                                   Heroes in comedy

       guys!  I’m back.                                               or drama, baddies

         Sorry,  I missed                                           perhaps  goodies?

          the last class,                                            The discussion

           I was  sick!’                                           pauses.    I say

            They greet me.                                   ‘We’ve looked     

              All in a circle.                                  at films only.

                The tutor starts.                          what about

                Pleasant  topic.                          the theatre

       3                                                            4            

                   Nearest to me                    The discussion starts.

                 a student turns  –                 And it  involves me.

                a look of interest!                   That’s unusual

             ‘Excellent point!                        What’s new? Topic,

            Did you ponder                            tone, team or accent? 

          a play by chance?’                          Could be the latter…

        He has actually                                 The foreign accent ?

      heard my words!                                  It   sometimes   is !

W for Water

The boat engine                                                             Earlier the wide river 

 creeks signalling                                                            managed to keep us 

  an imminent lock                                                      well afloat. Castles

   A stillness follows                                                  emerged atop green    

    allowing for some                                                 forests  while rows

     discreet reflexion                                               of houses appeared

      This lull precedes                  allowing             on either banklike

       a to-ing and fro-ing              the vessel           decorated and gilded

       -a rhythm inapt to                to reveal           gems. Enchanted by

        a boat’s magic allure           a picture          this floating  vision,

         when it floats over             postcard          I dream past the end

          the expansive Rhine          peaceful        of time and, oh,  no,

          with no lock in sight,          scene.        I miss my breakfast.

V for Vision

Arriving atop, I sit down.  As I look up I take in a remarkable

dreamlike vision.   Nestled against the river bank are three

pretty red roofed and yellow-fronted houses. Further back

there is a forest and on the side some lush green bushes.

Picture perfect. I take in the beauty of it, but soon

decide something ‘s missing. Not light nor extra

colour or features! I think it’s people.

The elements all make a lot of sense

Yet to create atmosphere you need

people. I long for the warmth

of human vision, touch

and talk. These make

life’s experience


U for Umbrella Words


The assistant can hardly see me.

She waves pointing towards the bread

        ‘Did you want the loaf sliced?’

I nod, becoming aware of people queuing behind me,

and quickly add

‘And can I have two slices of these cakes please?’

        ‘These are not cakes, they are gateaux’, she says.

I shake my head in assent but I dare not point to the tempting

curly pastry with shiny raisins in it.

She’ll perhaps say that it isn’t a snail

but an escargot.

The next day if I wanted to buy an umbrella,

would I call it a parasol

or a parapluie?

T for Talking


             You talk; some hear, some don’t. They have heard the words 
              but not taken them in. There is no response. You shout. 
          They turn around and ask: ‘What do you mean? You know they’ve  
          heard you. You repeat the utterance so they don’t misunderstand.
                                      Later  you  start
                                     to talk again,  but 
                                     those  people who 
                                    listen rarely reply
                                    you   start  walking
                                    around,     flipping
                                   hand  up   in the air
                                   as if  you had  nothing
                                   to say, finally there is
                                   need for  less shouting 
                                   instead   you   stammer:
                                 ‘Just  talking to  myself’,
                                 shrugging   your   shoulder
                             and flipping your hand in the air.

S for Sounding off

                      His parents were not surprised when he first 
                  produced a podcast that became very popular.  	
          Being the youngest child, he often felt abandoned 
      whenever his siblings  left the house without him.  
          He resented being left behind and complained 
              to be pushed aside, as if he was unimportant.    
                   Around that time 
                        his parents noticed 
                            that he had developed 
                                 some astonishing
 	                             sound making techniques, 
 					he made nonsensical 
 				            and blabbing noises. 
                   He created such racket and clangour 
             that they needed to give him their undivided 
          attention to appease his so-called solitude. 
                 His family had discovered early how much                               
                         he needed to be heard


R for Realism

This occurs when you don’t have anything on your mind. 
You've stopped worrying about every thing around you. 
you forget you left 	       the washing out, 
you don’t bother 	       to put a heater on 
because you can stay warm under the bed covers. 
There is no 
to visit
Catch up with a friend for coffee? 
Can wait for another day.  	Check the letter box? 
Nobody writes any more.  	    Some vacuuming? 
You swept under the table 	       the day before. 
Lunch? Sit up and watch TV               with a sandwich and a fruit. 
Water? There’s always                     a bottle at hand on your bedside. 

Q for Quarantining some Australians

The shopkeeper signals her over. ’Not my turn!’ she says.

He looks to the side ‘Come on then!’

calling to the Indigenous youth he’d ignored,

who shuffles up holding some sandals. 

‘You can’t afford those, he growls, ‘Pick something else’,

returning the man’s card behind the counter.

He turns to her.  ‘One sunhat. Any cash with that?’ 

She shakes her head, enters her pin, staring at the forlorn card on counter. 

‘Cashless welfare’ he grins. Looking up, ‘That’s better!’ 

She turns to see the glum youth, standing, flipflops in hand.

Uneasy now,

she wonders how to report this power keeper.


P for People

 I love hearing people and enjoy watching them 
 but I don’t like to study them. I know gestures,
 posture or gait can indicate varied personalities. 
 I understand some traits like the eyes, the nose
 or the mouth might be inherited. 
 Is there a view that our body shape 
 could affect our development 
 as an individual? I don’t 
 know that either.  
 For an insight 
 into my fellow 
 humans I rely 
 only on intuition. 
 No study needed. 
 When we meet
 I start talking with 
 them. By chance 
 we open on topics 
 common to us.
 Either we hit it off 
 or we don’t. 


You’re trapped.  
You work from home
and no one is checking over your shoulder  
you’re in charge, running the show 
Just send your report and you are paid, but so little!

Or you choose to take a job in town  
where you are part of the team 
with back-to-back meetings 
while you smile to colleagues till your lips feel sore 
A well-paid job but you will never get your way.  

If  sharing information is at stake 
yet you intend to offset the demands 
and maintain a balance 
keep your views  to yourself 
Saving your wise opinions for an opportune time.

N for Nightmare

Communication was difficult

due to lack of facilities in a prison.

Prisoners were sometimes refused

pen, paper or envelopes. Communication was difficult

Some of the duty officers could be punitive

or unwilling to act.

In  the education centre, tutors often worked around that:

pulled out pages, force- scribbled pens,

sharpened  pencils.

Student prisoners sometimes came back with

a poem,

other times with a letter for which they needed

an envelope.

They said they could buy stamps but the shop had

no envelopes.

Last night my dream became

a prison administrator’s nightmare

Education received

a gross of envelopes.

Every prisoner who wanted could send letters!

M for Mindfulness

Definitely in the moment. Legs crossed and back straight!
I close my eyes and concentrate.  Rock music, not
the Beatles, Pop Songs. I push that thought aside.
A shard of light. Beachside sunsets will defeat
all blinds. I breathe in, then out for two extra
counts.  In with the sea smell, out with rock
pulses.  Breathing in the musical
rhythms, holding  and  breathing
out the warm sunlight. I let go. 
Vagueness of thoughts
and sounds merge in
the lull of the van
where I sit on a
mat, on the edge
of a crowded
caravan park.
I’m ready
to party.

L for Language Learning

Language Learning
I tried calligraphy
With trials at drawing.
I didn’t go on stage. 
I gave up the piano. 
From Greek I translated
Some of Homer’s Iliad.
I went around Europe,
In and out of England too.
I danced to rock and roll
But revelled in jazz jams.
I met an Englishman.
Leaving my little brother behind, we went to Africa.  There in a house
With no electricity we raised our first-born. To my small baby, wrapped 
in bright java-print I started talking in French English even in Chilunda. 
Mwinilunga turned out to be a good place to learn a new language .

K for Knitting

You can knit outfits from yarn without looking 
                you can catch up stitches across rows 
                you can undo what you have just done
                you can invent your own pattern

There are some who yarn while they knit 
                many sing and dance, moving about
                others put it down with a sigh 
                only to pick it up with dreamy eyes

What of those like me whose feet punctuate the rhythm of their hands
 		following the cadence by keeping up to step
                it is a simple beat.
                Knit-Purl Step-Up with right foot
                back to Knit-Purl Step-up with right foot 
Lilting unto the end.

J for Just right

At long last some cafes have opened.
I went for a meal last week and it was table service!
Advantage: Pandemic 2020
Yet the pleasure to be attended was short lived.
The whole event went flat.
Our table was located close to the door
with heaps of piled-up chairs
on one side.
No matter how good the food and how cheery our voices,
the mood was soulless and the sounds hollow
in the half-empty cafe.
Tonight's take home pizza party in my backyard
gathered a few friends
with all seats occupied
and the cheeriest of atmospheres!
Advantage: My home 2020

I for Impudence

I can’t tell them.  They’ll think I’m rude!

-‘Bring a salad’. 

Do I tell them I can make a mean vinaigrette?

-‘Flatten the cardboard boxes’. 

Will they object if I compact the boxes tighter by standing on them?

-‘Try it, it’s the new way to cube potatoes!

I dare not say: ‘Just the old technique I used to cut garlic’.

-‘Turn off the tap not to waste water’. 

Shall I explain I learnt to conserve water as a child

when I used to draw buckets from a well. I can’t possibly divulge anything.

They will think I am being arrogant.

H for Health 

At the start of the pandemic we were all concerned about health. International politics  came to the fore of my preoccupations when The British Prime Minister tested positive for Coronavirus.  Later he said  his survival had been ‘Touch and go. He  had praise for two nurses: one from the Atlantic Coast of Portugal and one from New Zealand, supposedly the triumph of the British National Health Services.  Britain involved the whole world to save him.  There is no logic to Brexit.  There is no further way out for him: like his people, he’s a worldwide citizen. Brexin Johnson’s his nickname. 

G for Generation

‘Mother Hen’ was one of her nicknames.

Over years she nurtured her children. When a grandmother, she was called a ‘helicopter mum’. It wasn’t just children she fussed around.

At work she embraced the younger folk under her wings! Life turned around.

In her sixties she decided to let go of all her gentleness! No longer would anyone dare patronise her to a seat on the bus.

At the supermarket when the attendant passed her vegies asking, ‘Is that not too heavy?’ she’d say:

‘Hey! I used to carry well over ten kilos of kids, you know. On my hip!’

F for Further

We are off to the beach and contrary to previous experiences, my children start a full-on rebellion on arrival.

‘Why can’t we go any further?’

They resent the distance between us and the other bathers. Whatever they argue, we’re intent on keeping the two metre distance.

‘Come on! We usually go to the next beach if people are on this one!’

I have to remind them:  four metre square might mean that all Australians can survive this, so leave enough room for others!

Be sensible and stop the fighting.

Remember: this is Australia

in the days of


E for Expression

Just arrived in Australia, still learning English, Anna joins in with some people to watch a comedy. A clumsy hero enters a café, misses a step, falls on his knees and leans heavily onto a passing waiter’s tea tray to regain his balance.

Pandemonium ensues! The hero’s profuse apologies while he clings to the CEO’s shirt because he splashed it with coffee provoke a mix of shouting, swearing and embarrassment which triggers the universal reaction of hilarity.

Anna laughs but can’t utter a word. Only in her native language can she find the exclamations to convey her sense of enjoyment.

D for Dismissal

The meeting’s about to start.         I wave as I greet my colleagues.
Smiles all around.                    Full of energy, we float suggestions.
Pamphlets outdoors!                   Great idea. Bright-eyed, I nod pointing
to the verandah                      ‘I see an enquiry booth
                            just there!
                        We could take turns!’
The closest person turns her back,   the others don’t like the idea either.
                         My mood’s deflating.
I try a couple more comments.        They just don’t hear them, is it my voice?
Yet I speak firmly.        Is it my tone?       Too much energy in it, perhaps?
                              I sigh. 
                      I’ll put it in writing,
                            someone might
                             look at it.

C for Childhood 

Life as an adult
does not really suit me.
People appear
to believe me.
hey even listen
to my rants.
             I say what I think
             without anyone
             picking a fight.
             I can hold mature
             yet I still yearn
             for the radiant days
             of my childhood.
                           How to channel
                           the child in me
                           during a negotiating session?
             A demonstration
             of joy
             might add value,
             yet what if
             it was an outburst
             of tears?
                           and howling
                           would bring 
                           from having to act
                           like a 'know-all’
                           or even
                           a ‘do-gooder'!
I reckon sometimes
a quick arm wrestle
would make sense.

B for Bond 

‘Sure! Great, we’ll be in it!’
At long last, we have all agreed.
We’ll start an easy-to-run book club.

Ten members will hold a session
at their house in turn once a month.
I volunteer for the first meeting
to be at my house
on the last Thursday in February.
I’ve picked Helen Garner’s ‘The Spare Room’.

By mid-February, I receive a strange message:
        ‘Reading Garner. May not get to the end.’
That weekend I check my voicemails :
       ‘Didn’t read the book. Skipping this month. Sorry.’
Another call comes:
       ‘I can’t do it, it’s too depressing.’

A fragile bond indeed.

A for Adelaide’s own Diagonal Road

    I wasn’t expecting Diagonal Road.
          I knew she lived in Adelaide somewhere
              south of the city centre. The address
                 she gave puzzled me. I’d heard of Melbourne
                    and Morphett Street, of Cross Street
                        and of Gawler and Goolwa, but Diagonal
                           was new to me
                        how do people visualise Diagonal Road
                    splitting the city up? When I checked the grid I saw
                 indeed a diagonal thoroughfare across the Southern City
            yet it still didn’t feel right. Could a draughtsman’s
         child have left a streak across a page, and that in turn
   have become the thing that we now call a road?



Y for Yoyo

She’s always lived in the small town.
It has one set of traffic lights on a highway                             
with little action.
For one year,  near the lights,
she test-spins the yo-yo up then down.

During the day  as a car nears the road lights,
she suddenly loses the rhythm.						
She has lately, made a change.
Sleeping yo-yos moves work best 
when there are no vehicles.

She reels off a song as she plays,
 in between the frequent gaps occurring 
in the town’s traffic.
She takes a while to rehearse,
finally finding a tune to hum
In keeping with the yo-yo's moves.

3 thoughts on “Blogging / Paroles – Flash Fiction 100 word series

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