Plans is Plans

By Frank Rutledge

It boggles the mind that the innocent face pictured in this yearbook could now, 30 years later, be in this hell-deep mess.

“Robert, are you looking at that yearbook again? You take too many walks down memory lane.”

“Hmmm…,”he answers in his best too-long-married vocabulary.

“I have your suit laid out on the bed. Get dressed, now,” Susan said. Her voice sounded so little from downstairs but still carried the heft of wifely threat. “They’ll be here shortly. You’re always late.” Continue reading

In The Cinema Light

By Frank Rutledge

Tuesday, 2 p.m. and the movie house was nearly empty.

I anticipated watching Ingmar Bergman’s, “Scenes from a Marriage” on the big screen, when the man two rows ahead of me dropped his left arm from the girlfriend’s shoulder and shot his right hand up her shirt. He started his ape-like pawing, and I saw her eyes pierce through his skull with dismissal. Annoyed at her boyfriend’s interruption she elbowed him in the ribs. The distraction also pulled me from my reverie. At the cinema, I feel as if I’m sitting on the nose of a train engine blasting through a strange landscape. I threw my crushed up popcorn box at the back of his head. Turning to glare at me and seeing my middle finger in salute, he quickly turned back around. Continue reading

The Street

by Frank Rutledge

The street grows disappointed in the direction it travels, even though beautiful landscapes surround on each side. Still, this does nothing to change its spirits. The street suffers the daily burden of carrying traffic in silence with maybe the exception of rain and rubber hissing. It is a straight and narrow thoroughfare without room for wandering. Oh how it lusts to roam. Some days it has ambitions to be an avenue or boulevard; even more so a freeway. Even the name sounds musical and full of escape. Envious, the street considers the content sidewalk and questions its simple acceptance of existence. In the cold blue sky, the sun warms both street and sidewalk, a humble gift of equal grace. Grace and weather do not favor.


Frank Rutledge, with his tattered square of joy polishes up whimsy, shines up delight; daily wandering this world with pen and paper to uncover where poetry resides. He is the summer month’s host of Fourth Thursday Harmonious Howl Open Mic at Graham’s 318. He facilitates the Batavia Library Writer’s Workshop. He practices both poetry and short fiction which at times converge as prose poems. He has been published in Arts Beat, Downtown Auroran and Foxtales 1, 2 &3. He co-founded the Saturday morning, Early Risers Writers, an author’s salon. He volunteers with Waterline Writers and fewerthan500.com, a flash fiction e-zine.

A Ritual of Haunted Weather

By Frank Rutledge

Lightning struck the wooden lamp post outside the condo. Inside, all the electronics went black. Startled by the explosive sound and sudden darkness, Quinn searched for light. Using only his hands and his memory, he hunted down a flashlight going dim, a candle and a book of matches.

It was time again. Quinn hurried. Like a Buddhist monk preparing for detachment, he positioned himself on the living room carpet. Continue reading

Dark Bedroom with Mirror

By Frank Rutledge

Under a blanket of night the full length mirror watches my twitchy, sleeping body. Through the window a summer full moon’s glow gets swallowed by the silvery glass. Cold, smooth whispers emanate from objects reflected like prisoners begging release.

My slippers wait like worshipers for the return of my cold feet. A novel open wide and face down in the bed. A glass of water on the nightstand hatches bubbles as it warms to room temperature. Continue reading