cirque de la nuit


July 2016


“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.” ~Prospero, The Tempest

We are such fragile beings
our minds break so easily
and our hearts shatter.

and yet we never

our salvation
comes in the thoughts we entertain
the ones we ponder over
carefully turning them over
like a calcified fossil
to be explored
and illuminated

We cannot give up
that vulnerable last breath.

that melody,
or streak of complex color,
a tumble of words
into a falling libretto

Its a corner infinite
to be explored.
Our dreams

And if we don’t follow
we may never
be unbroken.

There is only a touch of
the Unstoppable
within us.



You know what is truly Elusive?

Your life.
We spend so much of our time chasing it
and thinking we are living it

only to find ourselves in a little moment
a flutter of eyelashes
or shrug of a brow

and there it is.

You are sitting at a cafe with an old friend
talking about nothing
and thinking the same.
You laugh.
There it is.

a moment of life

We all know the birth of a child
the ringing of wedding bells
that magnificent trip to a place you’ve never been.

But don’t you know
when you collapsed in your now hated ex-boyfriends lap
that one night
in your tiny apartment
and he held you so carefully

or that time you got a temp job
after months of subsisting on ramen,
you celebrated with your roommate
eating taco bell and drinking PBR

and that time you got lost on the way to
that new bar
and found new friends and real smiles
over whiskey sours
and a too loud rock band.

When you got caught in the rain
I mean so absolutely drenched
that you were like a tea bag
being pulled from the cup.

When its so real it hurts

You can’t make it happen,
and you can’t catch it either.

Leaving Colorful Colorado

I miss the prairie.
the yellow golden waves that seem to go on forever.
And if you stare long enough
you can see the eternal.

I used to stand at the top of the bleachers
on the precipice of my youth and watch dense clouds
rolling in with
sharp flecks of lightning buried in their mass.
Time is immutable when all you can ever see is horizon

In those days
standing on the fringe of the future
watching the electric possibilities billowing towards me
I knew I’d have to follow my nomadic heart
which yearns to roam
and find new hearths

As I get older,
the horizon gets muddled
and the city-scape constantly surprises me with
thundering storms I can’t see coming

When it gets to be too much, I have to return
to the prairie, my sanctuary

and remember where it all began.




Credit where it is due…I ran across this idea on pinterest, and it jived with me. But when I went back to find it and pin it, it was gone. So this is dedicated to the truly brilliant tumblr persona who dropped this idea on the world. I am only picking it up to run with it.

The crowd around Didymus was thick and agitated. People were mostly silent but the air was light with all the bated breath.

Bethany tried to elbow her way closer to the front, her skin slimed against the sweaty backs and forearms of the throng. No one seems to notice her, their pale eyes were fixated on the heavy wooden doors of the large black stone fortress. She stopped when she was close enough to the front to see the steps, but not be seen. “What is it?” She murmured to the freckled man next to her. His flaming red hair flowed down to his shoulders and flyaway strands clung to his damp cheeks. It was always uncomfortably hot in this place. “Why is everyone here?”

She was still not used to the barren place in which she now unexpectedly resided. Scorching days with dry heavy dirt patches and no greenery only gave way to balmy airless nights. But there were surprisingly many things to love about the place. Everyone was sincere, earnest, and authentic. This didn’t mean that everyone was nice, but ulterior motives were basically non-existent. And the trees that scratched through the dirt became large canopies bearing the sweetest of fruits. The food here was fantastic, but she had yet to learn where it came from. Her little bungalow had been fully stocked every night since she had arrived. Like little elves in the floor waited for her to close her eyes just to fill her larder.

Now that it came to it, she couldn’t recall how long she had been in this place at all.

The red haired man turned slightly towards her, and gave her a stern once-over. “Someone went Lazarus”

She looked at him, his irises seemed washed out, a pale liquid green gazed coolly back at her. “What do you mean?”

He smirked, “Someone came back to life, and left this place.” Bethany swallowed hard and tried not to let the panic on her face show. She knew she had been out of it, and a little inattentive for a while, but this was….”What do you mean, this place?”

The heavy doors on the stone platform began to open and the red haired gent turned away, “The Valley of Nekros”

Slowly, Bethany began to realize her truth.

She was dead.


Puddles of Recollection

“Little bird, I am a serious man”
He cajoled me, gently tugging my hand,

I was splashing through puddles that lay
between the uneven bricks winding their way through the cemetery.

It should have been an awkward and somewhat creepy place
to be walking late at night.
But I found only peace, and lightheartedness there.
After taking a pleasant cable car ride up to to top of
Pierre Loti to nibble on cheesy toast and slowly drink thick sugary tea
we had decided to walk our way back to the city.

His brown maple eyes watched me bounce around the cracks on the sidewalks
sucking pomegranate juice from the fruit in my palm
and spit the seeds into tufts of grass separating us from the lavish tombstones.

“You are like a little bird, hopping from one moment to the next, so carefree; but I am a serious man, a scholar. I do not hop.”

There are days I can’t believe I left that place. That I would ever board a plane that would take me so quickly and so far away from who I was at that moment.

Especially on rainy Columbus days when the poorly drained streets are clogged with rivulets of soupy water that I must slush through on my way to work.

But every now and then, I don my red and green striped galoshes mismatched with an over-sized yellow raincoat, and go searching for sidewalks free of occupied people hastening to their destinations.

And into puddles, I leap.



He stood on the shore and watched me drown.

That was the first time I understood real pain.
The pain of water filling my convulsing lungs as they
squeezed, longing for air. But also, the pain of watching him
ambivalently wait on the shoreline.

I can only imagine the view.
It must have been a spectacular dusk, with orange and pink tongues
of sunfire licking up, and reflecting off the waves.
He maybe could see a distant silhouette of a peninsula with palm trees
jutting out into the darkening water.

Terror gripped me when I realized
he wasn’t coming for me.

He didn’t rescue me, because he didn’t want to.

Years later,
He would claim it was because he didn’t know I was
going under.

Then I knew what love isn’t.



“Someday someone won’t be afraid of how much you love. They won’t stay on the shore; they’ll meet you in the depths–you weren’t made for shallow waters, your heart is an ocean, ”

–Breanna Sipple



She murmured something under her breath.

Not looking at me.
“What did she say?” I whisper in his ear.
We are standing close to each other.
My hand brushes his, and he shivers slightly,
Tickled by my breath on his neck.
I am his inamorata for the few months I have left in Turkey.


His cousin laughs and they exchange bemused glances.
I instinctively know that it was something they won’t repeat.
Her mind is addled with age, but she has retained her sweetness.
She didn’t make me kiss her hand and press it to my forehead, despite my youth to her wisdom.
She forgave my stilted Turkish pronunciation limited to polite phrases and thank you.
I glance down at the small fire they are making among the barren pistachio trees.

These fields, only miles away from the Syrian border have been in their family for generations.
The beautiful expansive view from their tiny balcony back at the apartment reveals
hundreds of sapling rows and a small white stone store house, with stairs leading up the side.
My paramour escaped to Istanbul with a mind too full for the pistachio fields to contain.


Love at first sight isn’t reserved for a person.
I left pieces of my heart on the dusty side streets, and in the windswept pistachio fields.
I left them with the crooning büyükanne who, in her surprise at the darkness of my skin
muttered something to her young relations and made them chuckle embarrassedly.


They tell you when you travel, what great adventures you can have. To open your soul and let it be forever changed.
They never warn you about the things you must leave behind. The old pieces of yourself that no longer fit, and the beat in your chest that now lies buried in far-off loam.


The Things We Leave Behind

Round Table


Over a year ago I was starving.

And I don’t mean in the literal sense.

I mean it in the privileged first world sense that will make “woke” people roll their eyes and get ready to defend the plight of the truly afflicted.

I acknowledge that, but still I was starving. And whats worse I didn’t even know it.

Hear me out.

I was raised around delicious, scrumptious, flavorful, well seasoned meals. Eating can be one of life’s great pleasures and I was fortunate to have a family that gathered around fantastic, nutritious dishes. I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mom made almost everything from scratch, shopped at Whole Foods and the Cherry Creek Market, before local grocers were even a thing.

But life happens, and I grew up, moved to Columbus (I love you C-bus city, but you have a notorious reputation in the nation for loving mediocre food). And suddenly I stopped enjoying meals. They were meant to be done quickly and efficiently and often just enough to pad the stomach for a night out.

I was in graduate school and broke so, of course.

What I didn’t have growing up was open communication. I was considered to be the talker in my family, and I am very tight-lipped.

Fast forward to a year ago. After a particularly great day outside basking in the sun, hiking through a metro park, plucking sassafras and exploding pods from their stems with the lightest touch. J decided to cook dinner for us (his first of many/every dinner for all time- I hope).

We stopped by his parents house and were given a bag full of fresh tomatoes; red, orange and yellow, gifted from a dear friends garden. We walked up to my local sourced market and picked out a few seasonings and supplies.

I watched him work, carefully chopping onions, and lovingly slicing the tomatoes so the juice didn’t seep out. He sprinkled parsley and red pepper with fingers I didn’t know could be so delicate. He explained to me as he was cooking, the recipe, how he came to know it, how he had made it in the past, advice on how to make it in the future, and general thoughts on food. I’d never heard him talk so much, or so intuitively.

[My contribution was Prosecco with fresh blackberries dropped in. (Side note: I was then informed that J doesn’t like fruit in his drinks unless its blended or at least muddled in.)]

The meal was a feast, sitting at my little glass round table with only 3 chairs, and I can remember every single taste.

But I mostly remember his ardent preparation and conversation with me surrounding the food, and I how felt all the more full.





More then Nothing

We both woke up with a sense of malaise.

Which was weird for a sunny Saturday morning.

So I walked the dog, and J went home and showered. As I lay on the sofa watching Netflix on my phone, waiting for him to call, I tried to come up with a plan for the day. I really did.

I love making plans, and charting courses. There is just not enough adventure in my daily routine to satisfy the tug of wildness my parents raised in me. So I try to plot out our weekends carefully to ensure we get a little bit of everything. But this particular Saturday was a lull.

By the time J called to let me know he was on his way to pick me up, I had just summoned the energy to wash myself, and sit on the edge of the bed, wrapped in a towel. But even then all I wanted to do was lay back down and glare at the mess of clothes puddling on the floor in my room.

J has lived in Columbus almost as long as I’ve been alive, he drives this city like he has it mapped out in his veins. He wants coffee.

We pull onto Gay street and find a lucky parking spot near Cafe Brioso. Feeding the meter, J tells me how much he loves this coffee shop, and then tells me we can sit outside as we sip.

J hates sitting outside at cafes, bars, and restaurants.

So suddenly this day became special.

I order my frothy latte, and he gets his heavy black coffee, lidless. Cowboy coffee, we call it where I’m from.

The silent stoic type, he stares out across the traffic, and frowns at the poor drivers who confuse themselves trying to navigate the Gay-High stoplight.

When he finally speaks up, it is to tell me about this corner of Columbus being a bike hub, and gestures to the “tool” and “air” post for bikers, along with the longest row of bike racks I’ve seen in the city.

We talk about the building catty-corner to where we sit. How we would gut it, raise the ceilings and make beautiful city lofts with large windows and twinkling lights. By the time the caffeine high kicks in, J is ready for me to take the adventure reigns and decide where to go next.


We order a piping hot empanada, oh so delicious with its crispy corn covering and delicious cheesy-bean innards. My eyes beat out my stomach and I surreptitiously order fried plantains, even though I’ve claimed to “not be hungry”. The heaping pile of food in front of me makes my mouth water. The restaurant has my favorite kind of setting. Off the beaten path. It’s set back off Gay street in a well-lit, and friendly looking alley. Some skate punks use the alley as their jump off point to avoid pedestrian traffic. There is a corner wall full of oddly painted murals. Pink pigs, and a skeezy looking Mickey Mouse caricature gape down at the small patio where J and I are seated.

Two for two Saturday. Two hot spots, and two outdoor sits with J.

A bullshit parking ticket killed J’s good mood, and we rode home in a slightly stony silence, but I couldn’t help but be needlessly happy for the insertion of enjoyment in what otherwise was a mundane morning.

Up ↑

The Paper Drafts by Onie Maniego

Creating Art, Poetry and Fiction.



Inspire Art

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls” - Pablo Picasso

An anonymous escape from life

They may see, they might know, but they'll never understand

Black Girl with Glasses

The Revolution Starts with a Pen

Everyday Living

Cooking, Travel, Senior, Interior Decorating, Photograhy, Family

A Light Circle

Welcome to a Light Circle

Drinkers with Writing Problems

Literature by the Lit Up