Janet Salsman

Janet Salsman is a writer cleverly disguised as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor. She loves flower photos, picture books, carousels, and single malts, though not usually all at the same time. Janet has been an active member of our writing community, To Live & Write … Wherever You Are for several years. She has been a regular contributor to The Flash Lit Collective and Alameda Shorts, and in the past year has also finished one book and is working on another even as she sits down to revisions on the first. She is the host of our Friday night Proof of Writes and a staple of weekday Write Alongs and monthly Mini-Retreats. You can read more of her short stories and poetry at Janet’s Random Blogspot.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | prompt #1:

Image credit: Eric C Carter @dizzypixel. 
Photograph + illustration by hand; no filters. 
Like his work? Let him know:
https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Dizzypixel

Model

Feathery lashes, plus feathers.
Wings of hair flying back from her face.
Here, pinioned,
pinpointed,
a specimen for a gaze, caged
in ink or paint.
She objects—
subject not object, but
subjected to the process.
Her thoughts, invisible, glide
away on thermals and she vanishes
in clouds.

Read more Janet Salsman


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #2:

Artwork by Jessica Warren. 
Like her work? Send her a token of your appreciation: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/stu23

Meditation

In.  Out.
Hiss like a tape, trapped
on CD—
ocean sounds
like breath.

Thoughts sink
into the waves,
nibbled by sea stars,
buried in sand—

those are pearls that were his eyes—

become something strange,
precious,
still.

Ocean flows backward,
meandering stream,
rocks, pool.
Golden koi
weave below the lotus.

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #3:

Artist: Wesley E Warren
Like his work? Let him know:
https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/stu23

Tongues of Flame

We build boxes—
golden arks, gothic chancels,
filigreed and silver-chased cages of words,
shrines of bony relics.
Inside, we hide, kneel, recite,
chant, incant, decant
the bloody wine.
 
We pretend
we understand.
 
Then the fiery feathers
rush upon us and
we burn,
our boxes so much kindling
for the bursting Spirit
so much bigger
than even the cathedral
dome of sky and its infinite
whirl of stars.
 
No wonder the angels start
with
Be not afraid.

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #4:

Photographer: Shannon Marsden. 
Like her work? Let her know: 
Venmo @Shannon-Marsden-1

The Wreck

Afterwards,
when the light returns
and the water smooths,
when the shouting stops,
we see
 
the rocks were always there.
Some inevitability, some
quantum magnet of chaos,
drew us to this sharp shock.
 
The tide may ebb and
waves recede, but
time will not flow back, back
to when we were whole.

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #5:

Photographer: Jesus Manuel De Haro
Follow him on Instagram: @grizzlydeharo
Tip/donate: Venmo @jesusdeharo

For the Alchemists

This or that.
Mine or yours.
Water or rock or air.
We sort, categorize, label,
because otherwise
we have to bow
our heads, overwhelmed
by our fusion, the only
way we touch at all.
 
Waves break on rocks,
break rocks, the sand
swirling through and through,
droplets leaping up and up and
spattering back down.
 
Not many things:
Just one reality.

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #6:

Image credit: Eric C Carter @dizzypixel. 
Photograph + illustration by hand; no filters.
Like his work? Let him know:
https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Dizzypixel

For Christina Rossetti

To eff the ineffable:
see the wind
            hear the silence
                        taste the emptiness and smell it
                                    touch the nothing
 
or
just let the silken scarf billow
            flap bellow snap
and say enough. 

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #7:

Artwork by Jessica Warren.
Like her work? Send her a token of your appreciation:
https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/stu23

How to Make a Home

Shingles, studs, spigots,
timber, plaster, tile, grout,
molding—so much molding!—
doors, jambs, handles,
pink cotton candy insulation,
tubes and wires, switches,
sinks, toilets, tubs,
but all that is just
the body
held together with nails.
Soul moves in with
the books, the geraniums,
the swirls of paint, the red
kettle on the stove,
the laughter of children.

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #8:

Artist: Wesley E Warren
Like his work? Let him know:
https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/stu23

After Paul and Blake

If the whole body
were an eye,
the shimmer of the red
desert would warm it
and the luscious fuzz
of the peach would feed it.
All the music would be
coloratura.
The scent of the beloved
would be light
in a dark place.
Perception has many doors,
all of them infinite
and shining clean.

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #9:

Image credit: Eric C Carter @dizzypixel.
Photograph + illustration by hand; no filters.
Like his work? Let him know:
https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Dizzypixel

Pose

Like this?
If I grow my hair out?
If I shift my
hips forward, tuck
the prickly opinion
behind the cage of bones?
If I raise my arms,
my voice, my consciousness?
How about if I bleach
out the color, turn it
all down, turn up
the excitement?
Is that what you want to see?
 
Inside:  vibrant fleshy cartwheels
hooting with laughter.

Read more Janet Salsman.


June 2021 | Flash Lit Collective | Prompt #10:

On the Limits of Language and Conception

The world is like—
like—
like—
 
like a tree,
spreading infinite branches
with leaves in all the colors
and fruits that
may be luscious little universes
themselves
 
like an eye,
nerve connected to
consciousness, lens
shifting perspective,
pupil dilating against the dark
 
like a creature
sleeping in a den
roused by tearing hands
into hurricane rage
 
or not.
 
The world just is,
spinning without hands,
dancing without feet,
itself.

Read more Janet Salsman.