10 second love story: “Holy water shot glass”

holy water shot glass

Holy water shot glass 


Intoxicating and excruciating, a baggy Bob Marley T-shirt

hanging off your shoulder when we first met

I felt, drunk on you, I should be forced to walk a sidewalk

straight line and touch an extended finger to my nose.


On weekend barstools we alternated playing the game

and arguing the rules with no clear winner putting

dollars in the tip jar and loose change in a

1970s back corner Wurlitzer juke box.


After Saturday night dinner and late night drinks

I’d respectfully line up early morning

Sunday Holy Water shot glasses and I would

drink mine to wash us with redemption

but you refused yours preferring instead to run away

and take our memory with you like a boomerang

that won’t return.


So now I throw darts in vain at autumn State Fair balloons

in a last ditch attempt to win your failing heart a

fading carnival goldfish while you escape and hide like a

linen closet skeleton.


Trying to find you I search for clues on

collected bar coasters and cocktail napkin love notes

stored in an old cardboard shoebox treasure chest

wrapped with pink ribbon and then

abandoned by you.


Now on a distant roadside, at mile marker 19

on rural route 81, on your way to somewhere

comfortable, or just new, traffic rolls by you,

but my eyes are here being burned by images

on blistered Polaroids of us, and my hand

by the phone number on a half-empty matchbook,

slid with purpose into my back pocket on

our day one.


As I glide my finger across the digits,

determined to read our future in Braille,

I remind myself in the moonlight

that I want to find you and bring you back

like a happy ending that wants to begin over again

or like a sad and broken story that wants a

Hail Mary half a chance to fix itself.

copyright 2014

“Holy water shot glass” is included in my collection titled, ‘Self Inflicted Heart Shaped Wounds,” which is available in eBook and paperback at Amazon.


‘Self Inflicted Heart Shaped Wounds: Backroad Love Stories, Vol. 1’ is now 99 cents!

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Thanks for visiting!

My collection of short fiction love stories is now just 99 cents at Amazon (in eBook format). Here is a recent review:

Just finished Self Inflicted Heart Shaped Wounds. I’m speechless, and if I had been using a real highlighter on real pages (rather than reading this on my Kindle app) I would have run out of ink. Steve’s writing gets right to the heart of things, and I like writers (and people in general) who can do that with brutal honesty and grace. This work reminds me of a line from Jerry McGuire — “The Things We Think But Do Not Say.” I can’t recommend this collection highly enough. Thank you, Steve, for writing the things we think but don’t often (or ever) say.

And here is another:

Wow, great read, Steven Harz! Emotionally charged. Takes you back to times and memories we’ve all had and can identify with. So vivid, you can picture the setting clearly in your mind. Simpler times, while passionately bittersweet. I loved this series!

Click here to get your copy today!

10 second love story: “Baptism”

rain house



I will lean a ladder against the house

and take a chainsaw and goggles

up onto our roof,

prime the pump and pull the cord,

and with a tape measure

and an undying belief,

will cut a hole in the spot

that is directly above our bed.

Because, you see, a storm is coming –

you can smell it in the air –

and I want it to wash us clean of

past bruises and current sins,

and, through the hole,

allow God to witness a baptism

that will fix what His original one

could not.

Please visit my Amazon author page:




10 second love story: “Context”




I might tell you how much I enjoy being with you,

as if you couldn’t tell

(I am that transparent)

but it would be without true meaning.


I should let you know how each of your kisses

paralyze me for a beautiful brief instant

(which is why I have to pull away and reset)

but it would not really matter.


I could describe the pain in my chest

when we are apart

(that is sometimes accompanied by tears)

but what would be the point.


I ought to share the calm that I feel

when we are together

(in church they say ‘peace that surpasses

all understanding’)

but the words would be hollow.


I could say all of these things

to you either out loud or in a whisper

(which would you prefer)

but they cannot land successfully

without first framing them

(with I love you).

“Context” appears in my collection titled, ‘Self Inflicted Heart Shaped Wounds’ – available at Amazon in ebook and paperback.

10 second love story / “Somehow”

pickup truck couple



I spend a lot of time above a pen and before a keyboard,

trying to let you know how I feel and what you mean to me,

usually to no avail and causing greater confusion.

I’d like to somehow write away the trail of devastation

that you are now forced to walk in the name of me

making a delusional attempt to save the world.

I need to somehow write us back in time

to the place where we were little more than a rumor

and your eyes were smiling more than sad.

I wish that I could somehow write you into my heart

where you could sit quietly and hear it beat for a while

and listen to the words of my own song,

not the lyrics and message of others.

I should somehow write us a two-person tailgate,

with a honey whiskey paper cup and a six-pack

discussing life – real life – while parked under

a “Jesus is the Answer” billboard.

If I could write all of this somehow, you would

understand perfectly what words are in my head

and what my mouth is trying to say.

10 second love story / “Cradle of the Earth”

Cradle of the Earth


Chesapeake Bay beach blanket and unhooked bikini

you lay on the sand, head resting on your arms.

Through dime store sunglasses I observe

your back shoulder galaxy of freckles

and work to find, and name, your late afternoon,

weekend tan, constellations. Laying my head on

your shoulder blade North Star I hear your

breathing – in an out, and growing deeper,

sounding like an Oklahoma tornado.


And your lungs create a noise like the rise and

fall of an emerging empire. Looking sideways

towards your Southern Hemisphere the curve

of your lower back, and its beads of early summer sweat,

looks as if it would be easily able to comfortably cradle

the entire earth, or at least my own small world.



Cradle of the Earth originally appeared in ‘The Voices Project’ and is contained in collection titled “Country Songs and Backroad Love Notes.”



“Working on mysteries” – story from free book weekend!

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My book of quick love stories, “Descending the Beanstalk,” is free on Amazon no through Monday at midnight.

Contained in this collection is the piece titled, “Working on mysteries,” which takes you back to young love, and impending loss, and who’s title pays homage to the music of the time, in this case Bob Seger.

I hope you enjoy!


Working on mysteries

It was music that had first attracted them to each other.

When with his friends, the barrage of “Back in Black” and “Running with the Devil” was non-stop. In the quieter moments, alone in his room with the headset tethering him to the avocado green stereo by a twisted twelve-foot cord, or cruising in the Duster with its soon-to-be antiquated 8-track system, it was more along the lines of “Shower the People” and “Night Moves”. It was this side of him that she liked.

They’d been at the same party. He was deep into the debate – he probably started it – and she was orbiting the cluster of the half dozen people involved in the post-adolescent, six pack greased, discussion centered on all things musical: best vocalist, lead guitarist, drummer, bassist, studio album, live album, album cover, rock song, concert, and radio station.

He spoke with his hands, with pull-tabs from his empties slid onto the little finger of his drinking hand, and waving the black and orange can to emphasize the fact that they would never hear anything better than “Stairway to Heaven” and twenty years later he’d continue to make the same case.

The kid piloting the turntable switched gears and the mood of the fluorescent lit, wood paneled, basement rec room moved from way up there to way down here. It was time to migrate from Van Halen to Boz Scaggs.

Conversation moved to best slow songs and ‘mellow’ was the word they used. Perched on the arm of a tweed-covered easy chair he extolled the virtues of Bonnie Raitt’s voice and James Taylor’s lyrics – and it was from that point she was hooked.

The lights were dimmed, and candles lit to match the mood of the tunes, changing the color of the paneling from chocolate to honey. Amidst the flickering light the pairing-off began and the party became the beginning of a slow dance marathon. His friends were swaying with their dates, or with girls they’d been silently stalking since the school year began a month prior, but he had neither. Alone with his beer, and trying to find another solo act on which to latch, she came from behind him, slid his hand from his back pocket, and led him to the makeshift dance floor – which was actually the orange shag carpeted space between the sectional couch and the combination console television set and hi-fi system.

His heart rate increased, and the sweat of his palms mixed with the condensation of the beer can that he hurriedly placed on a macramé coaster. When he stood and turned she was directly in front of him. They inched toward each other and first their thighs met, then just above – causing her to smile, or something like it. Finally, as she put her arms around his neck and pulled him in she softly rubbed her breasts against him. Their noses and then foreheads were last to meet, just as their eyes closed and his thumbs hooked into her back belt loops.

He’d like to remember the song that was playing, or whether it was a Friday or a Saturday night, but he can’t. She could, and over the years had often helped him with his memory.

The memory of that first physical contact had pushed the rest of it out of his head, not that there wasn’t room, but because he knew that he had to fight to keep it in and he couldn’t face losing it:  the motion of the thighs (the metronome of one rubbing up while the other down) and the hips (and the pressure against the inside of the Levi’s) and the breasts (her gentle swirling motion pressed her sweater along his) and finally the lips and tongue (soft and smooth and tasting of a cross between Crest and strawberry lip gloss).

He had allowed her to have the day of the week and the title of the song, for he’d mistakenly believed that those memories were not essential; he had always wanted the others. And now, ever since the accident stole her from him, he still achingly searches for all of them when he closes his eyes.

Free book weekend: “Descending the Beanstalk”

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My book of short love stories, “Descending the Beanstalk,” is free on Amazon in ebook format now through Monday, September 18 at midnight.

Synopsis: “In this collection Steven Harz draws from our past and hurls it towards the present, and in doing so connects a long-lost high school love to the recent loss of a loved one. His ability to use words to craft a stirring mental image, and take the reader to a different place or time, will cause an array of emotions to visit the surface.”

“Descending the Beanstalk” contains 18 heartfelt, and sometimes searing, stories of love, loss, and in some cases, rebirth.

Thanks for reading – I sincerely hope that you enjoy.