Monday, December 31, 2007

New Word Catalyst Mag Posted!

January's issue of Word Catalyst Magazine is posted. It's a great issue with art, photos, poetry, stories, full or energy and color. Read it here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Commotion

Christmas Commotion
A Parallelismus Membrorum

With feathery limbs
rugged bark trees
tickle calm sky
before the rumbling
lined with lace snowflakes
as storm clouds invade
at Christmas
on a turbulent winter day
As winter winds accost
indoors gently we celebrate.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Chain Fiction is up!

More new Chain Fiction is up! Sneak preview:

Frank took the last bite of fritatta and laid down his fork and knife with care. He snapped the clean linen napkin out of his collar and waved his hand for Luigi. The harried chef rushed in from the kitchen.

“Get me Tony.”

“Yes, Uncle Frank.”

Luigi rushed to a phone on the kitchen wall. It didn't take long for Tony to arrive. Frank's “staff” were generally on the premises, cocooned in its terse corridors and closet-like enclosures.

“Uncle Frank?” The grim fellow stood, waiting for a nod of Frank's head to indicate he should sit. The nod didn't come.

Read entire chapter and more.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Piano Man

Piano Man II by Justin Bua

Piano Man

Pencil fingers stretch across a keyboard ocean
to tickle obstinate rough edges
of this earthly spinning globe
while his melodies all chip-chopped
with words gasp for breath
in a moody cigarette fog
as his determined digits pound
his misery
and piano man's dagger eyes
slice through his attending adoring fans
who cling to still softness on his worn cap
or black fuzzy beard for comfort
where, alas, none can be found
since piano man never apologizes.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fuzzy Black

Sometimes you need to brood...

Fuzzy Black

Velvet sky descends
gliding on starlight
down close to whisper
in my heart tonight.

Soft wrapped in black pensive,
looks do quite deceive.
As night steps aside for
shining stars perceived.

Stars dance magical
in my sleepless night.
But I miss soft whispers
in still darkness, without light.

Keep your blaring stars.
I'll dream in fuzzy black
rolling through its folds
lush velvet back to back.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Visit

Twilight in Gloucester by Paul Cornoyer

My carriage rattled down the old city street at a snail's pace. There was no hurry, really. I'd been to a Christmas party at my employer's, the usual raucous affair -- turkey with trimmings, fiddlers playing, and wild dancing. Wine ran like water, but I chose not to imbibe. I am a simple man who enjoys his pleasures, but the silliness of drunkenness is not one of them. There was flirting and laughter, but I kept to the sides biding my time until I could take a carriage home. Such is my life these days, somber, quiet, alone.

I studied lavish homes as we journeyed down the long main street. The swish of the carriage wheels in the snow blended well with the gentle falling flakes I spied out the windows. So peaceful, so much better than that noisy party. Nature is like my religion, really. I take great comfort in its varied manifestations, all of which make me feel part of a greater whole, just one work of art in a colossal masterpiece.

I turned, and she was there, sitting next to me.

"Hello, James!" Her bright eyes twinkled a warm welcome.

"Rose. It's you again."

"Of course, darling. I love being with you."

"I'm certain there are other places you need to be." I felt my heart two-stepping in my chest. My hands, moist and clammy.

"James, it's Christmas eve. I want to spend it with you." She cast me a sidelong glance, her sweet red lips parted in a pretty smile.

I felt aroused. I missed my lovely angel, but at least she came to visit on occasion.

"Haven't we always spent Christmas eve together?" she asked.

Truth be told, I wasn't certain. I had no memory of it, but certainly we must have. She'd been gone for such a long time. I remembered the sensual information...her smile, her touch, the way her lips tasted...but dates and times--they were just too long ago. Her visits with me were hasty and at unexpected times, warm and loving, but flighty and never to the end of an evening. My love was like a tiny bird flitting into my life and out again. The carriage stopped.

"I must go, my dear!" She said it in a soft whisper that wrapped around me and caressed my very being like a kiss. And she was gone...

In the pouring snow, the old woman reached out for assistance. Rose accepted the gloved hand of the driver, moving her old bones as gracefully as she could, dismounting the carriage with great care. Eighty years of life slows a person.

The driver noted her sweet smile. "Miss Rose, your ghost came to visit again. I see by your happy expression."

"Yes, Wilford, he came. Just as he always does...every Christmas eve. It wouldn't be the holiday without him."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Now. that's a fan!

Wife Brings Ashes Of The Late Richard Desrosiers To Pittsburgh Steelers Game: "Diehard Fan: Man's Ashes 'Attend' Steelers Game
PITTSBURGH (AP) ― Richard Desrosiers never made it to Heinz Field to watch his beloved Steelers play football, but his widow helped him fulfill his dream in death.

Thanks to some help from sympathetic donors, Kathleen Desrosiers attended Sunday's game, bringing an urn with some of her late husband's ashes, as well as his ring and two pictures of him. He had died in March of a brain tumor."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Chapter at Chain Fiction!

New Chapter at Chain Fiction! A snippet:

"Look at me! You've got to be kidding!" They stood outside Macy's window, gazing at their reflections. Jessa clenched her fists and stood rigid, glaring, ready to explode. Her hair, flattened and combed down straight went perfectly with the "sunday-go-to-meetin'" pants suit which boasted a silk blouse with a matching scarf tied in the front and, of course, 'practical' shoes. Tiny eyeglasses perched on her nose in a blatant aura of intellectuality.

"You'd better rip that jewelry off your fingers...and those fake nails, too."

"No freakin' way!"

Do you want them to find us and kill us? That get-up is a dead giveaway that something's up." He tilted his Fedora and buttoned his top button, next straightening his plain blue tie.

"We look like Lois Lane and Clark Kent from those old TV shows." Read more

Friday, December 14, 2007

Angel Music

Angel Music

Angel music, starry songs
etching lines on night sky palette
in triumphant dancing bolts
following great Maestro's baton
to strike silver chords of Christmas
following great Maestro's baton
in triumphant dancing bolts
etching lines on night sky palette
Angel music, starry songs

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Down to the Wire

Down to the Wire by Trish Biddle

Just a little fun for Christmas, taking one of the older prompts and writing a Christmas story for it. Reach the original here.

"Darling, we really should gather up our coats and woolies and head back east for the holiday." Mitzi made the remark as she took another sip of wine and watched her horse, Black Lightning, speed by. The track was hot and sunny, a warm day for December in California, a day riddled with excitement as the horses pounded their way to the finish.

"GO! Black Lightning, go!" her companion, Trudy, bellowed as both women clutched the rail with white knuckles showing, wine glasses tossed aside, and their wide-brimmed hats knocked crooked on their heads.

"GO-O-O-O, BLACKIE, GO-O-O-O!" they screamed, only to fall back in dismay as Black Lightning stumbled and fell off to the side while his nemesis, Brenda's Baby, took the lead. That horse passed the finish line to cheers of adoring fans. Amidst the rumble of applause, Mitzi and Trudy sat back in a pool of grief.

"Well, now we're out of money. I guess we have no choice but to head back east for Christmas," Mitzi murmured.

"Yeah, but we'd have to apologize to a lot of people back there."

"Oh yeah!" Mitzi blushed. "My little incident with your cousin, Tony... I wonder if he ever got over it."

Trudy glared back. "I doubt it, Mitzi, he was only twelve years old at the time!"

"Yeah, I shouldn't have. But what about the time you posed for those nude pictures?"

"The firemen told me I was posing for a charity calendar!"

Mitzi chuckled. "You enjoyed it."

"YEAH," Trudy gushed. "You know, if we go back east, they're going to make us stay there 'for our own good,' and we're going to have to bow down to a lot of people and behave ourselves."

"No more fun. No more going to the track."

"Yeah, we'll have to get day jobs and open savings accounts and save our money for the other people." The last few words left Trudy gasping for breath.

"You know...I've got a couple bucks left. We could bet on the next race, and maybe we'll get lucky."

"It's either that or write to mother for plane tickets."

"If we win today, they're having extra races Christmas week. We could come back and win some more."

"Right." Trudy sighed. An inspired smile brightened her face, as she bolted off at a gallop toward the betting windows, blaring out a Christmas carol, "Gawd rest ye merry ponies, run!"

"Let get out there and play!" Mitzi caroled back chasing Trudy in hot pursuit. They never did go back east, ever again.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Real Life Christmas Story

Read this to put a smile on your face!

Zelienople man saves Santa, Rudolph
Snippet: TRIBUNE-REVIEW Wednesday, December 12, 2007 A puppet autopsy resurrected Santa and Rudolph. The plot of a traditional Rankin/Bass Christmas production? Hardly. Rather, it's the true story of how a Zelienople man stumbled upon -- and then saved -- what are believed to be two of only six surviving puppets from the classic 1964 stop-motion animation film 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.'

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New chapters for Chain Fiction posted. Here's a snippet:

She glared back. "Did it ever occur to you I'm a person, not just some whore you can force to go down on you whenever you like. I got a family and stuff just like you. I'm a person!"

"Okay. Okay!" Other people were staring. He could feel their eyes cutting into his skin. Their conversation, louder than it should be, didn't help either. He started his stack of pancakes. In his annoyed state, they slid down his throat like cotton balls, sticking along the way.

His eyes rested on her skinny fingers, clutching the fork in a fist like a farmer's wife. Except unlike a farmer's wife, her fingers and thumbs were riddled with cheap rings and her long fake nails boasted a ghastly shade of black. Her bare arms were so skinny, it was hard to believe a living person possessed them. The last time he'd seen arms that thin was his Aunt Frieda days before she succumbed to cancer.

"What are you looking at?" Read more:

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Elf's Life

The Elf's Life

Elves play in snow outside at night
'til morning light.
Then work away
to load the sleigh.

They tug and push big sacks of toys
for girls and boys,
but it's like play
to make kids' day.

As Santa boards his sleigh that night
with laughter light
to fulfill dreams
thanks to elf teams.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Gigapan images on

Wow! Being a photographer, I know what an accomplishment this is! Be sure and try these interactives:

Gigapan images on "Welcome to Gigapan"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Proper Christmas

A Friendly Visit by William Merritt Chase

For a Workshop Challenge to write a Christmas story for this painting.

A Proper Christmas

"My dear, there's been talk." Mrs. Willows looked like a heavenly apparition in her dazzling white outfit, complete with fake flowers on her bonnet and lacy frills, right down to her spotless parasol which she tapped on the floor to emphasize each syllable.

"There's been talk of this rooming house, your unsavory clientele, the filth." At the word filth, she turned her nose up at the dusty table tops and grimy pillows scattered across the floor. "And the blood stains," she added. "There are blood stains on your floor, and you offer no explanation for it."

The other woman said nothing.

Mrs. Willows again. "There have been people missing around town. People who used to board here, people who walked through your doors and never came out again."

Still nothing.

"Really, Miss Peoples, you must have some explanation." With that, Mrs. Willows sat back, waiting to listen.

The other woman shook her head as though to wake herself. She looked to Mrs. Willows, surprised to see her as though it were the first time. "Christmas is coming," she murmured. "I must get ready for Christmas."

"Christmas!" Mrs. Willows said. "Really, Miss Peoples, do you honestly consider yourself a good Christian?"

"A Christian? Yes, I consider myself a good Christian. Do you consider yourself one?"

"Well, really! Of course. I'm a pillar of the community."

"Well, as a 'pillar' of the community, I feel it is my duty to inform you the blood stains on my floor are from a wounded Negro I helped. He arrived here beaten by some of your other 'pillars,' and I nursed him back to health. The other 'unsavory' characters who disappear after coming through my doors are the unwanted poor and homeless you people cast aside. You kick them out of the alleys, chase them out of the taverns, and push them from the churches, because they wear ragged clothes or they smell bad. They come to me and I nurture them, feed them, and find them homes away from here. Far away from here..."

"Well, perhaps you are no better than the renegades with whom you commiserate."

Miss Peoples glared back. "Mrs. Willows, the one thing I'm certain of is that those 'renegades' are Christians. As for yourself, I'm not so sure."

"How dare you?"

"Get out of my house. I have to get ready for Christmas. There is food to cook for them, and tiny gifts to assemble, anything to brighten their wretched lives. Go home to your perfect house and your perfect family, clean and white, yet empty and clueless. Go home and wash your hands of the poor and homeless. But by all means, enjoy your holiday.

Mrs. Willows left in a huff. She had a house full of guests to tend to, and she needed to check with cook and make sure dinner preparations were in order. She'd be showing her family a proper Christmas. Yes, a proper Christmas, indeed!

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Friday, December 07, 2007

Chain Fiction - New Post

More new chapters at Chain Fiction!

A snippet:

"You know," he said, "you'd be smarter to work with me rather than against me. Let's face it, we're in the same puddle of shit. We should be helping each other instead of fighting." He reached over and lifted her face up to look her in the eyes. "What do you say? Will you work with me a little here?"

For what it was worth, she nodded.

"Okay, we're out of here. Jorge has gone for a while. If we leave now, he'll never know what happened." He helped her up and creaked open the door. All clear. "I'm taking the cuffs off you, but I've still got a gun. Remember, we need to stick together, you got it?"

She nodded. He could only hope for the best, but he'd kill her to keep her quiet if she bolted, and she knew that. She had to know that. He was crazy, surely she realized he was insane, right?

Monday, December 03, 2007

New Chapter Chain Fiction

A snippet:

The silence suffocated Jane. The crazy man hadn't spoken for the last hour. She had thought they were bonding when he admitted they were both victims in the same calamitous soup. But now he sat in the corner, curled up, aloof, as though she didn't exist. When he did at last speak, his voice sliced in acerbic cuts through the dark, digging deep.

"Yep. We're both victims, victims of your hubby."


"Your hubby. I mean, he's chasing me down til I'm stuck in a hole, and he's abandoned you in this hellish cell, as well."

Jane shuddered. The very idea! "Bud did not abandon me." Read more

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Eve Commotion

For a writing challenge:

Christmas Eve Commotion
You'd Best Believe

Snow blankets little towns of gray
marking his way,
turning all white
this endless night.

Granting wishes gathered afar
elf super star
with Ho Ho cheer
and eight reindeer.

Laughing Santa gliding night skies
gleaming bright rides
bells jingle-jing
while Santa sings.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Chair Family

Chair-Family by Zhen Huan Hu

Chair Family

Long ago home, Victorian ease
wrapped in agreeable white.
We sat on our sunny porch,
smartly illuminated
on chairs in a row,
a stiff-backed family.
Only our shadows mingled
on a summer's day,
while we pined for darkness,
begging that hot sun to go
and leave us in cool rivulets
of freedom-induced air.
Counting the hours and hours until
the moon with its stars
came to mingle in
Until we disappeared,
one by one,
on bare feet rushing
to sanctity above
for sleep,
while leaving the chairs

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Word Catalyst - New Issue

A new issue of Word Catalyst mag is up...a vibrant December issue with something for everyone, art, poetry, photography, and stories. Read it here.

Chain Fiction - New Post

Stop by and enjoy my next chapter at Chain Fiction, where I'm writing a story with another writer. Here is a snippet of my latest chapter:

Janey studied the sorrowful lump of a man. He certainly didn't seem as dangerous now as when he dragged her screaming from her home. Now he was small, wounded, defenseless, defenseless like her. She relaxed. "Could I ask you something? Why did you kidnap me?"

In the dim light his body went rigid. "It was all about your dear hubby, lady. I needed to control your dear hubby."


"He was getting too close. That's all. He was getting too close."

She and Bud never thought his work would put his family in danger. A medical examiner normally doesn't delve into the violent side of police work. But then, Bud was no normal medical examiner. "Did you commit a crime?"

"YEAH, I COMMITTED A CRIME! Now back off!"

"It must have been a terrible crime. I'm just saying, kidnapping me was an extreme act."

He bolted up. "Are you trying to make me insane?" Read more...

Hey, it's something!

Check this out! Kudos to Carbolic for a great one!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chance Encounter

For the Word Catalyst Challenge:

Chance Encounter

Snowflakes drifting at frenetic pace,
lacy edges longing to collide.
Accidentally twirling I spied your face,
snowflakes drifting at frenetic pace.
Watching you float with style and grace
smiling coyly, trying to hide.
Snowflakes drifting at frenetic pace,
lacy edges longing to collide.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Separating the Boys from the Girls

Catholic school separates 7th- and 8th-grade boys and girls for math and language arts: "'In math, the girls can ask questions,' said Ms. Baverso, who has taught at St. Bede since 1999. 'They don't feel dumb, the boys aren't loud, it's quiet. Those are the things they need.'"

I don't usually fall in step with the latest trendy ideas, but I think there is a good point here. I went to an all-girls school and never felt held back in any way. Now I'm a smarty pants to the oompf degree because no one ever told me I was stupid or overlooked me to pay attention to the boys first. I'm just saying, society has a subtle bias...hmmm, or is it so subtle?

In 250 years, Pittsburgh reinvents itself many times - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In 250 years, Pittsburgh reinvents itself many times - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

A must-read to truly realize the strengths and virtues of Pittsburgh!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hats with Roses

Down to the Wire by Trish Biddle

For a Word Catalyst Challenge:

Hats with Roses

Two skinny dames, glasses held high
to ponies racing, two by two.
Fortunes rest on hooves flying high.
Hats with roses and ribbons, too,
being pretty, nothing to do.
Shoulders, wallets laid bare again
betting on ponies, lose times two,
Glamour today, tomorrow pain.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Painter (The Yellow Blouse)

This is the second part of a writing challenge to interpret this painting with both a poem and a story.
Please see the
poem for the first part.

The Painter

The Yellow Blouse, part 2

She's posing for me. The love of my life, tightened lips, eyes that turn away from my gaze. Does she find me abhorrent? Her mother insisted... insisted on this portrait. For I, lame troglodyte that I am, could never have summoned the courage to ask her to sit for me.

I'm just a simple man, an artist, but I have gazed upon her beauty all my life, since we were mere children playing together on the streets of this little village. Even as a child, she was sprightly and determined. And I, poor soul that I am, laid back in fear of her awesome light. Indeed, as young people, she was known to bully me a bit.

And then, we grew older, and her attention waned. When I entered a room, she bustled away, averting her gaze as though I came bearing the plague as an unwelcome gift. Soon I found her disregard cut me to the quick as I moped away in sorry rejection. I never had the courage to act on my love, so I deserved the disdain of her avoidance.

She looks so lovely today in her yellow blouse. It hangs over her sweet bosom in folds of beauty like an angel. Ah, and the cross reminds my lustful cravings to retreat and heed her virtue. Alas, I shall never have my precious. I cannot even keep the painting, as I must deliver it to her mother forthwith. I shall never possess even the slightest trinket of her being.

Verily, I don't believe I can survive this life with such agony in my heart. Today, I shall gather my paints, present the canvas to her mother, nod goodbye to that lady and her sister, with nary a glance at my love. I shall go home and retrieve the revolver from my desk drawer...and end this wretched sadness forever.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Sunday, November 18, 2007

(An interpretation of this painting discovered by Bob Church)

What is left?

Gray clouds pause
Enveloping me
Hot vapors
Heart paralyzed in terror
What is left for me?

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hotels go high tech to make your stay cushier

Hotels go high tech to make your stay cushier: "Hotels go high tech to make your stay cushier Saturday, November 17, 2007 By Heather Newman, Detroit Free Press Walk into your room -- which is already set to your favorite temperature -- and the lights come on. Order room service by remote control, or by touch screen on the computerized phone by your bed. When you're done eating and place that room service tray outside your door, it calls silently to housekeeping until it's picked up."

Geez, I feel so dowdy. I don't travel much and this astounds me. I haven't stayed in a hotel for, I dunno, 30 years. I think I may now just for the entertainment value.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Yellow Blouse

The Yellow Blouse

Painting by William Merritt Chase

The Yellow Blouse

Sister dear, why stare you so
with eyes of coal?
Blackest black, deadened by woe
bulleting soul.

Tightened smile, eyes shooting pain,
what makes you sad?
Yellow blouse hides well your strain
to appear glad.

Mother made you wear that rag
despite words bold.
Lovely bodice wrapped in bags
of lace and folds.

The painter, he has your heart.
Love sick pain maze.
Your lips tighten, your eyes dart
under his gaze.

Hiding under yellow folds.
Heart beats denied.
Smothered love, truth never told.
Silent, you cried.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski