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The Heart Pen

Went to The Gypsy Woman’s Lair. Yeah, I know, but that’s what they call it. In the waiting room, I found an interesting article in Writer’s Journal. Why a writer’s magazine at a fortune teller’s pad? I didn’t get it either…. Guess I could have asked the gypsy!

One of the articles, “Documented Insanity in World Famous Poets,” looked intriguing, so I devoured it while waiting behind a group of women who’d come to see Madam Tasha. Perhaps I should have been concerned. I was the only man there, but I was too lost in the article to care.

Some romantic and historic poets have an extra gene in their chromosome for creativity. Sources surmise this additional gene connects them to their Muse. However, when its power is overused, they become so immersed in human nature, madness results. Notables like Homer, Sappho, Plato, Horace, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Shelley, Yeats and Poe were likely victims…. Words of passion that flowed from their pens were sown in blood, then often harvested in derangement and insanity. It’s the opinion of experts that the extra gene and the incomparable ardor of their writing was the result of some occult instrument fashioned by muses….

I fancy myself a romantic poet of some ability, so the article gripped me, but, at the time, I had no idea how much its content would impact my soon-to-be experience with Madam Tasha.

At the entrance to her inner-lair, beaded drapes hung in profusion. She sat behind a wooden coffee table, astride a folding chair, looking down at a crystal ball, tarot cards and burning incense. Strains of soft music floated through the air….

Tasha looked at her clipboard. “Mr. MacClaren, please have a seat.” She indicated a mat on the floor. “What can I help you with today?”

“I’m a poet with a love interest,” I responded. “I carry a torch for a lady named Heidi, but she has an irrational fear of men and doesn’t trust me. I need a potion to help her realize that my feelings for her are sincere.”

“Can you overlook her trust issue for the moment?”

“I’d overlook all her doubts if I could feel the fullness of her warmth, and I’d go to blazes a happy man if I could burn in her fire!”

Madam Tasha shook her head. “My elixirs are designed to work on men, so you’d have to be the one to take the potion.”

“What would that potion do?” I asked. “How would you make it?”

“Bring me a lock of her hair. I’ll concoct a philter to magnify your insight and verbal acuity and mix it in a potion. The philter causes men to fall in love, but you say you’re already in love, so that’s not an issue. The mixture will cause your polarity to align with hers, intensifying your eloquence and heightening her desire. Your resulting poetry will cry with power and conviction, but I caution you—you will be incapable of telling a lie.”

I paid Madam Tasha her per-visit-fee of seventy-five dollars and left.

* * *

Saturday night, Heidi gave me her usual welcoming hug. She’s a self-professed hugger, and I can’t begin to explain how her hugs make me feel! She holds me in a manner that makes me long to hug her deeply–despite the fact that her hugs are deeper and better than any I’ve ever had. She follows with a series of gentle squeezes. Each squeeze captivates and penetrates me. The sensation lives in me and reminds me of her for days.

Heidi commented, as she hugged me, “You’re a fascinating man, Russell. I’d like to know you better, but I doubt you’re capable of understanding how I feel.”

Her hug left me helpless, but I managed to compose myself just enough to ask for a lock of her hair.

“Why ever would you want that?” she asked.

“So I can make a love potion….” I said this with a smile.

We both laughed, and I showed her a scrap book I’d started. I fanned past pictures of us with captions and poetry, then stopped at the page with that day’s date. “What if I put it here?” I asked to sidestep telling a lie. I had to get in practice. A small wrinkle in her smile told me she saw through me, but the twinkle in her eyes urged me on. She has a really cool way of smoothing edges and inviting people to her party.

“Wait here,” she instructed as she left for her sewing room.

Hate to resort to a love potion for the lady of my heart, but I want us to be on equal terms. I have no desire to manufacture love, I just want her to be at ease, so love can blossom. If she could only understand how she effects me…. I like her. I want her as my lover, but she says I make her insecure. Given my feelings for her—how is that possible? If she could be in my head and experience my thoughts and emotions for a moment, her doubts would vanish. All my pleas and attempts to explain this fall short. She says she likes my writing but claims that it lacks passion.

Heidi returned with a pair of scissors and snipped a lock of her blonde hair. My blood raced as I touched it. Everything about her ignites my fire. She keeps me on the brink of crazy when I’m with her. And she knows how to get inside my head. I’m little more than a love-sick puppy in her arms!

“I’d only do this for you,” she said, as I taped her lock to the page. “Putting our lives in a scrapbook seems impersonal. Someone else might see it! And what if we break up?”

“I sense your need for privacy,” I offered. “And I respect it, but I’d like to compare who we are now to the people we become. I want to make a record to look back on….”

“Of course….” she replied with an air of condescension.

I was crushed that she felt our differences so keenly, yet I’m glad her thoughts don’t mirror mine. Don’t want a bloody clone of myself, but she sees our differences as a wedge—due to her grief in past relationships. And I hate it!

She read the look on my face and commented. “Let’s not talk about this anymore.”

I could only sigh.

We went on to share stories of our families, vacations, places we lived, dreams for the future. She served homemade root beer and sandwiches, and though she hates to cook, her offerings were lovely and, dare I say—personal? Whenever I’m with her, I’m comfortable, but I’m also frustrated because I can’t bring her to the level she brings me!

* * *

When I took Heidi’s lock to Madam Tasha, she responded, “Perfect! Wait in the reception area. I’ll have your potion before you can recite your latest poem.”

Three women on the far side of the room laughed, whispered and cast an occasional eye in my direction. I hated being the topic of conversation, but soon, Tasha returned.

“How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing, Mr. MacClaren, until you’re satisfied. Come back Monday, and we’ll talk.”

* * *

That Saturday, after taking a spoonful of the potion, I met Heidi in the park. “Beautiful day,” she said with eyes that twinkled and a laugh that splashed into her smile.

“It is!” I answered. “Because I’m with you to share in all you say and do!”

The potion was working, but it made me fidget. I breathed in from my nose and let it out slowly through my mouth.

She reached to touch my lips, and I broke into verse:

“Don’t touch me
if you don’t mean it,
but if you mean it
let your spell go,
come into me and grow,

and if your heart be true,
if you have nothing left to hide—
your touch will speak for you,
and you—may let your magic ride!”

We laughed until she added, “My dear Russell, you are more full of yourself than usual today!”

I bowed to one knee, eyes closed, head dipped. “I’d prefer to be filled up with you….”

Her curled finger raised my chin; I looked into amazing blue eyes. Heidi claims she’s insecure, but how could anyone who looks, feels, sounds, smells and conducts herself like she does be insecure? She claims to have self-doubts, when in truth, I feel insecure with her!

She pressed my side and gave me a kiss. It lasted only long enough for me to feel lips so soft they could drive a man crazy, lips capable of pleasuring and teaching, lips that might fashion delight in those who only watched them. But before I could fully savor them, she pulled away.

“Sorry,” she said. “I need time to decide if I mean it or not—as you explained in your poem, remember?”

I was crushed but tried not to show it and made a note to talk with Madam Tasha. The rest of the day went pleasantly. My words flowed like honey. She approved. We walked through shops, had coffee and a bite to eat at Starbucks, listened to music and chatted while riding in my car.

* * *

Monday at Madam Tasha’s, I voiced my concern, “An otherwise exquisite time with Heidi came to a halt mid-way when she shortened a kiss to honor my poetry!”

“The elixir….” Madam Tasha emphasized. “I told you your words would come with great power. She merely responded to that power.”

“But I need to kiss her with passion to express the feelings that have grown for her, or it won’t be enough!”

She studied me. “You’re an unusual man, Mr. MacClaren. Your complexity and sincerity demand a high degree of excellence and craft, and I think I have the solution, but it might be painful!”

“No amount of pain or time or money is too much, Madam!”

“You mean that, don’t you?”

“Of course! Why would you think otherwise?”

“Because you’re a man….”

“Guilty as charged. I live with that. It’s the crux of my conundrum. Because I’m a man, I find her irresistible. She is so feminine, so very enchanting! My female side is fine with her, but my male side is overwhelmed, flipped upside down, turned inside out! She even has me questioning who and what I am!

“The man in me is on a mission, but the woman in me says, ‘You want her for a lifetime! Each word and action must show understanding and love. Put her first, and let her know it.’”

Madam Tasha studied me. “You’re uncommon in your sexuality.”

She shuffled her tarot deck, laid some cards down and began her reading:

“Your lady is touched by you and by your words but not to the extent you are taken by her. She remains somewhat guarded—for now. You’re the one who must change that, must shape how this relationship looks and feels. She is a responder, who follows willingly. Guide her, and she will give you signals to show where she is…. You are indeed a lucky man!

“Be cautious though. Regard her notices and warnings. She wants to share, but she’s concerned that she might add too much. She’s looking for cues. She’s been hurt and has avoided affection for too long. She doesn’t trust the emotions you stir in her so she suppresses them, and she’s broken her own rules for you already. Take things easy; don’t rush, not even if you could. Set the stage for trust. She’s a jealous lady. Push her and she’ll question the way you’d act toward other women. Ease things along, and this romance could work, but she must know you can restrain yourself, to deduce that you would have no problem withholding yourself from women you have less attraction for.”

“Wow!” I groaned, dumbfounded. Had she read my mind, felt Heidi there and pinched her comments from my lungs?

Tasha handed me a quill pen with an ancient-looking metal stylus.“This is a gift for you from my deceased mentor. She asked me to pass it down to someone with your qualities, but never had I considered that I might give it to a man!”

My face contorted in question.

“It’s the heart pen,” she said. “The point is designed to syphon blood.”

I was speechless.

writingShe continued. “The stylus draws blood and seals the wound. Words written with the heart pen cry with ardor and affection beyond the capacity of mortals. It was a gift from the Greek muses Polyhymnia and Erato to an oracle, passed down over centuries and lifetimes to me. I give it freely and may accept nothing in return. But you must dip it in your lifeblood and write with all the passion and ardor you possess. And you must bequeath the pen to a fitting heir. If you can do these things and tell Heidi the pen directs your words and binds you to her, than the pen is yours for the asking, but the object of your words may only be Heidi.”

I swallowed hard, “I’ll take it and use it. I can’t imagine caring for anyone or anything more than her. I only hope, that I can find a way to arouse the feelings in her that she excites in me!”

Madam Tasha handed me the pen with a word of caution: “Take care. Don’t dip the pen too deeply or too often. Your words will grow more poignant with each stroke, but you must begin slowly, gauge yourself, and finally, to repeat myself, pass the pen on to another worthy soul!”

I’m a bit faint as I write this, so I should stop, but I wonder how Heidi will react when she reads these words, when I show her the heart pen and all the scars it made.

Without asking her consent—we share a legacy…. Will that bring us closer, or will it alienate her? I hope the muses knew what they were doing when they fashioned this device. It could be my deepest grief or greatest glory, create a life of tragedy or a lifetime of fulfillment beyond measure. Dare I think my skill could grow to rival that of other poets who drew upon this power? Even if my path leads to insanity, how could I not seize this opportunity, for greatness, for fulfillment? I must press on–for the sake of all mankind on our journey to the stars!




Author Russell MacClaren is a Writer and Poet.
You can reach him at his Facebook page




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Published inRomanceRussell MacClaren


  1. A pen that bleeds poetry.
    A poet who bleeds love.

    Enjoyed this.

  2. Paul W. Paul W.

    Nicely done

  3. Cynthia G. Kolb Cynthia G. Kolb

    Liked it . Want to read it over.

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