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Illustrated Microstories

Over the past few years, I’ve been occasionally pairing artwork with words. Sometimes it is just a short caption, other times a short story, or -  as in the example above - just a couple of paragraphs that pretend to be part of a story.

Many of these pairings are a result of creative prompts from Jill Badonsky’s group “Underground Highway to Creative Results,” while others just happen organically.

In any case, I’ve posted a number of these little illustrated bits of wordage under the category “Microstories.”  You can read the older ones below in earlier posts.


My Mirror Image

Sometimes my mirror image does exactly what I do,
But other times she goes away and lives a different life or two.

Once she was an operator if you dialed number eight,
Another time a waitress who couldn’t keep her orders straight.

Last week she was an astronaut who landed on the moon.
Yesterday a zookeeper feeding a baboon.

I wouldn’t mind her doing so much while I’m standing still,
But every time she buys something she sticks me with the bill.

A Dog Barked

Somewhere a dog barked and I suddenly found

the spool of black thread
that rolled under the bed.

And the turquoise car I could never afford
And the fork that got stuck in the carving board.

I know I’ve seen that banana before
And, hey, there’s my book from when I was four.

Oh dear, there’s that present I had meant to give
And, look, the key from where I used to live!

A grape popsicle I once lost in the street
Is back from the dead and still just as sweet.

The chicken’s perplexing, but sure fun to draw.
Of course, there’s a cupcake but the inside is raw.

But the best thing of all from this barking surprise
Is that one damn lone sock that disappears as it dries!

Fire Escape

Hot, humid summer
Gritty, city streets
A stark fire escape, the only chance for relief.
I almost didn’t paint the one thing that would quench my thirst
and set my soul on fire.

The Room of Resentment

Your lino is shabby and never truly clean. Three earlier layers of flooring show through your cracks and missing tiles, while you’ve become the mouthpiece for the pattern underneath.

Your unfinished alcove mocks us daily. I guess we should have asked you what surprises we might find when we replaced the broken, antique, Chambers oven.

The biggest betrayal of all was the way you embraced his love of cooking and whispered in his ear, “Ask her to go. It’s the only way she can help. I’m not big enough for the both of you.”

I used to have dreams for fixing you up, returning you to your mid-century roots. But, it’s been easier to ignore you for a while now.

But, that’s about to change. The Keurig is still my friend and we’re staging a coup. The cats, the dining room chairs, and all the vegetarian cookbooks are with us, and at midnight we cook.


The revelation that is coffee never gets old.
The sting of that first sip in the morning becomes a zing when hot sauce is added to the mix.
And don’t underestimate the importance of the mug it is served in.
A sacred vessel, it must be the exact right size and shape
to retain heat and usher the aroma toward sleepy nostrils.
Today my coffee is a robust blend of inspiration and audacity,
with bright notes of joy and an earthy undertone of satisfaction.

October 2002

That October when a madman was picking off random people
No one saw anything coming, until, “Pop!” Another one dead.
We were all on edge, the old, the young, the hip, the square - any of us targets.
Feeling exposed under the suburban sky, I would serpentine my way home from the Metro.
Harder to shoot you if you don’t walk a straight line.
A bizarre commute - heart pounding, lungs working like bellows, careening across the sidewalk. Whatever you do, get home in one piece.