Rapid Prototype Machines

Rapid Prototype Machines

their ink across the page

Where did the wily writers go

Consumed by errant rage?

Disappeared in flurries

Of cyberspace and thought.

Live on between the pages.

Forget me not.




Goodbye, dearest Trifecta.  You were one of the best writing challenges for a time – and you made our weeks better with your ideas and prompts.  There may be others out there in the dark recesses of the internet- but they will not be YOU.


Thanks especially to all the writers and readers we befriended through Trifecta.  I hope to see you elsewhere.  I wish you the best in your lives and careers.


Cheers, and we shall miss you,


Julia Mae Staley aka crosshavenharpist


Babci (Trifecta Week 106)


It is 2009.

My grandmother is a bustler. 

She never stops moving. 

But she doesn’t like the rest of us to help.

She flaps her arms at us, apron strings flying around her like white snakes on the loose.

Rapid-fire Polish.

“Set your tush down on the chair and relax!”

She stirs the mushroom soup, fries the potato pancakes, pours a thimble of cheap plum brandy.

It’s A Wonderful Life plays on the TV.

It is hard to imagine this night the poets call holy being any other way.

Now it is 2013 in my new house.

My Babcia bustles less now, and sits more.

“Let me help! Give me something to do, aniołka.” Her tired eyes say otherwise.

Her aniołka, her little angel.   I pour her a highball and take her into my dining room.  For such frail hands, they have a strong grip on my forearm.

“I’ve got it, Babci.  You just sit your tush down and relax.”

A smile.  A tuft of white hair at my table.  “You know, you really are somethin’.”

I look at my settings.  Odd plates.  One extra for Jesus, enough for the rest of the family.

These traditions come from her. 

This house is a reflection of hers, of my favorite childhood memories.

It is hard to imagine this night the poets call holy as the new normal.

I think she will stay the same way forever, even long after she is gone.

A white, plump and curly-haired ghost in my kitchen telling me not to worry.

There will always be Babci.




Mój Babci.  Ja cię kocham, Babcia.


After a long hiatus, I have returned with a Trifecta challenge answer.  This week’s word was:


1. a long pointed tooth; especially : a horse’s canine

2. an interjection used to express disdain or reproach

3. buttocks (slang)

Christmas Eve – Trifecta

I swear the year just started.
Had the chance to breathe.
To finish all the shopping?
Get out the door, let’s leave!
(Listen! Carols!)
Resulting drama
Christmas Eve?

This short prose/poem written in response to Trifecta, asking us to reflect in 33 words or less on the holiday season.

Christmas always comes as a surprise to my family somehow, and there is always a lot of stress and yelling, and yet I consider my family to be one of the most festive and in the spirit. We have decor up right after Thanksgiving on good years. This is not one, but the drama is lovely somehow.

Speaking of:

Happy holidays to one and all. I will post this weekend about my family’s Polish American Christmas traditions and I hope you will share yours as well!

But first, a post on the flu.

Soliloquy – Trifecta Anticipation

“Pass the salt,” you say

Head buried in a screen.

I obey, but feel somehow

Your work is but a door between.

Your dinner nearly done,

The dawning thought: I deemed

I’d seen this somewhere else before.

And then-

An Anticipation!

Of what our future might become.

The endless hours dragging on.

The night begun it seemed

Till fears had won.

And that is what’s in store.

Dour and sulking, I

Did ponder this soliloquy:

Do futures make themselves or are

they birthed on rocks of self-defeat?

“Enough,” I say, “I will not see

this history repeat.

So shut the screen and eat with me.

Let work be done now, dear and come!

Put away the Mac,

that horrid fiend,

that splits in two

all that we do

and turns my mood to darkest black.”

With that, my thoughts wipe clean.

You obey, but feel somehow

You’re not sure what you’ve seen

But wonder who’s at fault today.

I just went crazy with this. It’s sort of prose poetry in answer to Trifecta’s weekly challenge: the third definition of the word “anticipation.”

I am not sure what happened here, but I liked it. Done almost entirely as stream of consciousness with minor edits.

A soliloquy is a monologue in a show, spoken regardless of what else is going on around them. Or, a character speaking their thoughts. Which is pretty much what this is allllll about.



Goddess Crush – trifecta weekly

The city was hers.

Felicia wrapped her toga tighter around her thin frame and sneered down at her subjects.

She towered above them.

“You have turned from the old ways,” she boomed, her voice like thunder as it echoed. “Now, you shall pay!”

They screamed and ran. But they could not escape.

She pounded a car to scrap metal underfoot. She kicked over a building like it was nothing. If there were still people inside, all the better. She ground her heels on the frame.

To crush a tall building into powder… That was power.

The heathens would all suffer. They had forgotten their goddess. Today they could share in her pain.

A man tripped nearby. She smiled as she stomped towards him.

It was Tony. That no good, lying son-of-a-bitch.

He pleaded in a tinny voice. She couldn’t even hear him.

“Oh,” she mocked him, “you should’ve asked for forgiveness a long time ago.”

She bent over until she could make eye contact. “But it’s too late now!”

He ran. She straightened up. She raised her foot high–

“Cut! That’s a wrap, people!”

Felicia stepped away from the tiny plastic figurines and sighed.

“Coffee?” She asked an assistant. He ran to get it for her.

His smile was sweet when he handed it over.

Huh. He seems nice, she thought.

The director ran towards her.

“Felicia, honey, that was so inspired! Where do you get that passion from? I really believed you were a vicious killer out for revenge!”

He folded his arms, knocking the plastic nametag that read: Tony.

She gave him her sexiest smile over the rim of her plastic cup. “Oh, you know. Around.”


Trifecta’s prompt for this week was “crush”. As in grind into powder.

I had a blast with this one. I think we have all wished at some point we could get revenge on someone…

Felicia’s is, well, it’s certainly special.

Hope you enjoyed!


Playing at Favorites

Three a.m. car talk:
wild leaf devils spiral up,
Old friends remember.

Fresh kitchen scent, mmm…
Cooking with you is so good.
Pass the cinnamon.

Music and laughter; a writer’s dream.
The end.

I tried to get all my favorite things into 33 words… For Trifecta’s weekend challenge.

I thought haikus would work well.

My friends and family, weather, talking late at night, autumn, baking, the love of my life, cooking, cleaning, music, laughter, my dreams, my writing, the dreams that inspire my writing, Yup, got everything but Skyrim in there…

Hope you liked it!


P.s. on Trifecta’s page they linked to the song “my favorite things”. Here is my favorite version, sung by Barbara Streisand.🙂.

Scientific Study (Or Part 1 of the Trifecta Anniversary Challenge)

Charts and optimal dates and preferential temperatures. One line or two.

As if she could summon whatever it is that makes up the human soul as easily as she could a cab on a busy New York avenue.

Why can’t he see it? Her shoes slipped in the early slush.  I’m no lab result.

He had tried to tell her:

“The human heart is as unfamiliar to me as the new life forms I study.”

Hive minds, queen bees and honey.  She knew he preferred that to talks of love anyday.

She was just his assistant, transparent as a beaker.


In celebration of their 1-year anniversary, Trifecta Writing Challenge is teaming up with Velvet Verbosity this week.

So the prompt for the anniversary challenge was:

“Charts and optimal dates and preferential temperatures. One line or two.  As if she could summon whatever it is that makes up the human soul as easily as she could a cab on a busy New York avenue.”

I’ll be honest, I was really off-put when I read that.  I had no idea what to do with it, and it wasn’t my usual writing style.    I immediately had to Google “preferential temperatures” because I needed to know what sort of a person might be talking about that.  Well, my results gave me articles about insects.  The rest followed.

My partner in the challenge is Natalie Amatera… her part will follow,and I will add a link once it is complete! (And probably just post a complete version here because that way it will flow.)

This was a lot of fun.

The Pirate of Walmart – Trifecta Week 49 Challenge


Ahoy, matey – enemies starboard!

It was a disaster in the bread aisle at Walmart, and the Frankenstorm hadn’t even made landfall yet.

The clerk was two paces away from walking off the proverbial plank as he backed up, hands in the air.  “I’m sorry,” he said, trembling in his blue apron, “but you’re going to have to buy the bagel thins.  They’re all we have left.”

“Are you out of your mind?” the angry customer said, scoffing and folding his arms with a crunch.  He was wearing a blue poncho that enveloped him like a huge waterproof tarp.

It wasn’t raining yet.

“It’s a freakin’ hurricane!  How is my family supposed to survive for a week off of everything-flavored bagel thins.”

“We’re not paying $4 for these,” said the old woman, ”you’ll have to lower the price.”

“I-I’ll ask my manager…” the clerk began, shuffling his feet.

“$4? For bread? You whore!” a man in a yellow sweater said.  “This is Walmart, for crissakes!”

Please,” a 30-something mother said, covering the ears of her 2 year old.  The kid wasn’t paying attention.

“That’s it, I’m going to 7-11,” poncho man said with slumping shoulders, weary and defeated.  “I hear they’ve still got Sunbeam bread for a buck-fifty”

“Seriously?” Intrigued, the mother lead her toddler away, “come on Timmy.”

“This is America!” yellow sweater shouted.  “How can you be out? Didn’t you people prepare?”

“Give me the darn things,” said the old lady, snatching the bag.

The clerk was already sneaking away.

“I’m not done talking to you!” yellow sweater yelled, sounding like an overly large five year old.

“Danny! Riot in the battery aisle!” called another clerk, wide-eyed as he paused in the mouth of the aisle.  “You gotta see this!”

I left the crazies of the bread aisle to their complaining and stole off with the bounty in hand: the last bag of bagel thins.  I, the pirate of the bread aisle, prepared for my final battle: the checkout line.




3: a venal or unscrupulous person.

This is the answer to Trifecta’s weekly challenge with the word “whore” in its third definition.

Real life DID inspire this, in that I did spend some time shopping at Walmart prior to the hurricane and did notice some clerks getting hassled about missing water and bread… though not to this extent.

I am watching Sandy take my area “by storm”.  I hope I didn’t go “overboard” with the pirate analogy.  I seriously wrote this by candle and flashlight during the power outage.  THAT is dedication.


The New Death

Ankou God of Death

Ankou, God of Death, as depicted by my friend, graphic artist Sean “Grimm”

Death sat at a bar.

It sounded a lot more poetic than it really was.

I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, my black leather jacket creaking at the shoulders whenever I lifted the scotch to my lips.

Death is a skeleton, I can hear you say, he can’t have lips.

Well, everyone said the Titanic wouldn’t sink either, and look where that got them.

I was there for that, too, on First Earth, when I went along with my brother for fun.  That was before we realized mankind had forgotten the old gods and decided the gods of commercialism and technology were more important.  Before we came here.  Before the accident.

I can still hear the squeal of the motorcycle on pavement.

“Ankou,” the bartender said, using one of my many, many names, “bro, that’s your fourth.  Think you should slow it down a little?”

“My brother is dead,” I croaked, the words sounding hollow inside of my cheeks.  “Hades is gone, and I am Death now.  I have work to do.”

“You ain’t getting anything done with that scotch in your system,” the bartender said, giving a harsh laugh.  “Here, give me the glass.”

“I’m fine,” I said, standing up in a lurch and losing my balance.  “Don’t worry about me, Puck.”

“At least let me have a drink with you before you go,” he said, pouring a second glass for himself.  “To old Hades – he sure knew how to take the wind out of everyone’s sails.  But he was a good god.”

“Yeah, something like that,” I muttered, finishing off the remainder of the glass Puck had tried to take away from me.  I hated endings.  I hated goodbyes.  I had hoped it would never come to this, that I could just keep on living as I was, never having my brother’s burdens.

I was never supposed to be Death.

I stumbled, cursing and crying into the night outside, as the pale stars started to fade.


Well, this was in answer to Trifecta’s weekly challenge, in this case the third definition of the word Death.  It was right up my alley and a perfect chance to give you backstory for Ebony!  Hope you enjoy.


Seen (Jane Parker) Trifextra Week Thirty-Two




The last strains of sunlight lingered in the corners, grasping every available point of refraction.  She slid her fingertips along the glass wondering if this was all there ever was. Or could be. Her salt-sting, demeaning husband never seemed to see her anymore. Today, she knew, he would.  Unlatching the third story window, Jane Parker stepped onto its edge and triumphantly threw herself into the dying sunset.



Picture “lonely silence 2” shamelessly stolen from ~nerysoul on deviantart

Okay that was far more depressing than I intended.  But the original prompt was this weekend’s Trifextra challenge: add 33 words of your own to this:

“The last strains of sunlight lingered in the corners, grasping every available point of refraction.  She slid her fingertips along the glass wondering if this was all there ever was. Or could be.”

I didn’t quote it above, because I wanted it to just flow as one story. 

I’ll have you know I toyed with a post-apocalyptic London and a zombie thriller before deciding on this ending!!  I think the poor character was better off with this one…

Apologies to anyone that actually has the name of Jane Parker.  No resemblance intended.