Thursday, April 29, 2010

55 - venti longevity

in the back of the coffee shop
on the comfy brown chairs
they sit,
she rocking slowly,
caught in an unseen breeze,
he stroking his beard,
rarely speaking, but
every once in a while
her hand sneaks across
to squeeze his leg,
leathered lips curling,
as he takes another sip
of their gentle kinda love.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

I see this couple all the time in the back of the coffee shop. Maybe, I am catching a small glimpse of the future, or maybe i just hope so. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

we would not be deterred (bicycle)

we would not be deterred,
even when my uncle would
hang them in trees, if we
left them laying by the
gravel road that wound
around our hill

we would not be deterred,
even when my little sister
hit a tree, one summer day,
popping all her fingernails off,
neatly, leaving pink pulpy nubs
before they bled down her shirt.

no, a bicycle meant freedom
and so we pushed its bounds
pedaling everywhere we went
tires hissing on the pavement
and if you were really daring
you would let go, both arms
out by your side and fly.

we would not be deterred,
but then we grew up,
our bikes sitting in the garage
rusting, why did we
let them clip our wings?

This is a Theme Thursday and Poets Rally post.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

finding serenity

beneath a rusty railroad bridge,
that spans the great brown
serpent of the james river,
where the footpath
curves the contours of the cliff,
hundreds of feet above the valley,
we lay on a nose of rock,
jutting out into the cool air.

birds float lazy circles,
an ant finds the peek of our rock,
ascending from below,
a lady bug curtsies before flitting away
and the weight of nothingness
whistles around us, as we
dangle our feet over eternity.

a great steel beast roars,
taking the bridge, shaking
the day with its thunderous clamor,
its echoes chasing it
out of sight, once more.

morning dew paints our shoes
dark & grey, as i jot this note
on a dried bamboo leaf,
found along the way,
releasing it to the wind,
an invitation to join us,
here on the edge of creation.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Magpie Tales: Their dance

Dust motes float in the soft morning air, sunlight just beginning to trickle through the window erasing the shadows that paint the room. His eyes widen as it finally touches his legs, his chest rising and falling slowly, as he absently traces the ornate cap to the cane, fingernail finding each recess.

Once this cane meant continued freedom, now it's strength only accentuated his weakness. As if abruptly waking from the stillness, he grasps the cane, sending it spinning across the room, its clatter drowned by the candy dish exploding against the hard wood floor, the canes arc having knocked it from the coffee table.

She was a thief, the kind his mother had always warned him of, stealing the air from his lungs when she walked into the room. Her dress whispered as she flowed through the door, the glide of a meandering stream with the force of a tsunami. Skin like alabaster, just the hint of rose upon her cheeks. He had never felt so small in the presence of another, or so blessed.

Arm draped through his, they strolled through the large double door entrance way to the ballroom, where the spotlight found her instntly. Men adored her, women envied her, yet her eyes were only for him. This was their fairy tale, she his princess, as they drew circles around the dance floor, until even the stars came to marvel at them.

Eventually, even thieves find their betters, age slipped the window, purloining small things at first, then greedily plundering her mind. Those last days were hard on him, often finding this same chair, staining its cushions with his prayers and tears. Five years ago, she asked for one last dance, and while grace had given way, they swayed by the side of her bed, until her stamina was spent. That very night, she found her peace, and he lost his. Except in those moments when he remembered their dance.

Hearing the crash, heart stammering with fear, Susan's feet can not move fast enough. Shards of glass glitter in the sun, casting rainbows into her eyes. The old cane gently rolls back and forth and her father still sits in his favorite chair, smiling, chest no longer rising. Tears burn trails down her cheeks and she imagines he is dancing, once more with his princess.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

160 - don't chase the storm

we watch lightning
in the window,
counting seconds
until the growling thunder
shakes the air.

how far apart are they?

we snuggle,
closer together.

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.

I got an acceptance letter for a poem I submitted to be included in the Writers For Charity anthology this year. It will be coming out in May. My first published piece!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


i watch you watch my son, eyes never wavering as your course fingers play along the end cap of the aisle by the train table in the bookstore. i know everyone in this town, but i don't know you.

hi, there. what's your name?

g-g-george, fear strangles your voice.

my son call my name, and when i turn once more only an empty aisle greets me coldly.


the morning sports page crinkles as i run my finger along the box scores, warm lip of the coffee cup poised for a sip, when Dan pokes his head in...

i was out having beers with fred from down at the sheriff's department last night over at Millie's and he told me we got our first sex offender, here in this town. just registered. can you believe it? better keep and eye on the boy of yours.

indeed i will.


hey josh, remember that guy at the book store the other day?

no, dad

look i don't want you talking to him.

i don't even know who you are talking about...

look, i said just say away from him.


seeing you stroll down the sidewalk in our neighborhood, as i am leaving for work, grey jogging pant, light, blue shirt untucked, you don't look at me but my eyes follow you the whole way. brakes squeal as i pull to the curb, your head swinging around but i am out the door and in your face before you can even...

you need to stay off this street! if i ever see you here again, i won't even bother calling the cops. do you understand!

you just stare at me, no words, no motion to leave, just the twitch of your finger against the course fabric of your sweat pants.

go! now!

watching you lope back in the direction you came, my eyes fall on the green and white swing set in my neighbor's yard. my shoulder ratchet tight in the crisp morning air.


you work at the movie theatre, sweeping popcorn from between the seats after each show, pushing your grey plastic trashcan from shadow to shadow.


fresh blood, bright and red traces down the leg of josh's jeans, you pushing the bike along behind him and i...i...i hear his voice screaming, his little hands tugging at me, but it is all lost in the wet sound of my fist against your face and the hollow rebound you head makes against the asphalt. it feels warm spattering against me, running red rivulets of tears.

i don't stop until you are not longer moving, not even twitching, just pulp. it is then that they find me and call the cops.


so, you killed him because you thought he hurt your son?


and he was a sex offender?


at what point, did you realise that both these assumptions were false?

i can't answer, i know i am guilty. i know i will go to jail. i know my son is still out there, and so is that man, and now i can't protect him.

This fictional piece is for Tenth Daughter of Memory.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

55 - at the corner of irony & insight

six AM stoplight,
on the edge of night,
this white yugo pulls beside us
like end of the world coming
motioning the window down
yo brake light out on da drivah side
beddah git dat fixed;
orange rooster tail of sparks
flaring from his muffler dragging
as he speeds
out of sight.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

I am sure he was just being helpful, not concerned with my splinter while blinded by the log in his eyes. None of us are, right? Smiles.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a cold draft

it was a cold draft
that crawled across the floor,
that night in the bar,
right up my stool
to lay grandaddy long leg eggs
that hatched, running
down my back, because...

it was a cold draft
tearing boys from momma's breasts
sent down trails, into tunnels
by flashlight searching for
trip wires, guns, food and stuff
on the orders of higher ups
way back home, so...

it was a cold draft
that sat on chipped varnished wood
growing warm, untouched
sweating circular puddles
as my mind tallied
the number of my tomorrows
after that cold draft

his cracked lips closed
listening to the scratch
of my pencil furiously
writing this draft
on the leaves of my notebook,
american flag fluttering
from its station, on the
handle of his wheel chair.

This is a Theme Thursday & Poets Rally Post.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

i, romulus

we wrote songs,
one, while reclining
in the graveyard,
in green magic marker
on a large torn
piece of paper,
with only the stars
lending light
to guide us,

(eccentric, i know,
but those were the days.)

about a man,
homeless and destitute,
who falls in love
with a prostitute
and wishes she would
just notice him.

maybe we felt
far from home
or that we did not
have what it took.
maybe we were
in the song

this was before
i met you
and realised
i don't have to
deserve it to
receive love.

but i still try.

romulus was the name of the band i was in (with this guy) when we were in high school, that never made it too far out of my basement. i like to think we were figuring out how to pull the splinters of love out of our hearts with tweezers. or maybe...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Magpie Tales: Paradox

when i was a boy, before the world became small and complicated in its intricate details, there was a field we would travel to regularly, my cousin and i, that would transport us back in time. it really was a remarkable discovery, one day, as we traipsed through the woods behind his house, looking for our next grand adventure.

a color like gold shimmered through the crooked branches, immediately catching our eyes, reeling us in like fish on a hook. as the leaves crunched beneath our feet, we dashed the last hundred yards, slip sliding along the ridge, drawing up short to stand in awe.

the air felt different, a low level buzz hanging there, leaving you feeling like you were holding in live wire between your teeth. some would say it was cicadas singing, but it could only be the mass converters hidden from our sight. they had even erected a rusty barbed wire fence around the field, which meant it must be something worth discovering, not just sunlight capturing the golden grains at just the right angle to produce such a twinkle.

no, climbing through that fence we became magellan, lewis & clark, or the crew of the enterprise on some distant planet. we made sure not to wear red, as the guy that wore red invariably got dissolved by the gelatinous monster or was disintegrated in an errant laser beam.

we were careful in our discovery not wanted to accidentally erase a long distant relative and thus find ourselves trapped in the paradox of time never to return home for supper, especially if it was an afternoon my aunt was fixing fried chicken. you would not want to miss that. time travel is messy like that, you can have the best intentions in changing the circumstances, but then life just would not be the same when you got around to returning to the present.

we spent many afternoons there, mapping the perimeter of the past. An old abandoned shack, half falling apart, grey boards hanging loose on their aged orange nails, became our base of operations, though we never left anything there as someone might discover our intrusion and follow us back to peep in our windows at night.

its been many years since i returned that way to the past. these days i run my finger over the steaming locomotive, etched in the back of my grandfathers pocket watch, that sits in the bowl by my bed. it doesn't tell time anymore, springs having sprung, but in each caress it tells time alright for me.

i still don't wear red when i travel through time, and i avoid making waves, so i don't errantly muck with the present or accidentally get stuck there. i would not change a thing, but sometimes it's fun just to visit.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

160 - licking the ashtray

a passion
burns inside your heart,
pursue it,
for if you don't,
your cold ashes will
leave a taste in the mouths
of all you meet,
that no toothbrush will erase.

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.

Have you ever met someone that has lost all the passion they once had? They played it safe and never really followed their passion, left that up to others...yeah...I don't want to be that person....

Friday, April 16, 2010

faces on the milk carton

i can't
his face and though
i scan all the pictures
in the old cardboard box
my mom keeps in the closet
off the dining room, marked with
my name, he isn't there either. every
once in a while if i look at those
memories out of the corner
of my eye i can just barely
see him, standing there
waving as he steps
into the trees,
before he was
and was
just my

Thursday, April 15, 2010

55 - traveling circus of idiots

we hitchhiked,
which would make
my mom freak,
kinda like the time
we jumped the train
(oh wait, she doesn't
know that either)
and i skinned my knee
disembarking, though
it looked like
a bike wreck,
as i limped home
in the dusk light.
so, we hitchhiked
and survived
but i know some
that didn't.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Each of these stories begs for a longer post, so maybe this is just a teaser. One day I will give them their due. They say confession is good for the soul...but I imagine I will be getting a call from mom any minute now...after 20 years, I think I passed the statute of limitations...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

wiener stand wonders (lunch)

through hazy
wiener stand windows...

her floral dress blows
in the asphalt breeze
little hand nestled in her mom's
as they giggle their way across
the downtown crosswalk
his eyes follow them the whole way
from his beat up Chevrolet
and i imagine he's thinking
about his wife and
making up tonight.

...a man in line taps his feet and...

two dark suits
at the concrete street corner
flap their lips between
puffs of smoke while
their hands describe
the arches of their secretary
in the wavering air
laughing, just carrying on
and i imagine they're deciding
which dress to buy her
as a surprise.

...a woman complains at the counter and...

his hand snakes
out of deep pockets
fingers brushing hers for a moment
her dirty yellow dress
brightening from where she's
crouched against the red brick
wall, waiting on compassion
and i imagine her looking
into the eyes and seeing
her prince charming. it's my turn in line and...

i'm not denying
my reality but creating it
with lunch time dreams
as my thoughts become
actions and actions create
my reality...

two dogs all the way?

yeah, that's me. can you
wrap them to go.

This is a Theme Thursday post.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

for you, my son

there is no more
beautiful sound than
the first time you hear
the heartbeat of your
hopes and dreams
coming to fruition
inside the one
you love.


it all
becomes real,
like a train rounding
the bend, your teeth
chattering, heart drumming
crazy rhythms, tears
leaking horizontal
across your

it is spring as i write this in my notebook. all things new are pushing up from the soil, coloring the world in brilliance. much like you color it for those around you.

you are seven as i write this in my notebook. life is starting to make sense in small ways, infinite possibilities float like soap bubbles in your eyes. the world is your canvas.

it is tuesday as i write this in my notebook. if i could bottle these moments with you i would, but they slip through my fingers, slimy earthworms retreating deep into the soil. so i write them down, hoping some day you will read and remember our time together.

with love,
your dad.

Monday, April 12, 2010

magpie tales - lipstick lament

you are gone, i know this because you are wearing lipstick and it seems so not like you.

blip...blip...blip...the heart monitor metronome, accompanied by the whoosh...whoosh...whoosh... of the oxygen machine inhaling and exhaling for you, provides background noise as i watch you. your mouth hangs open in a silent scream, skin pulled tight back across your face, eyes rolled up as if you see something coming that we are unable.

this room carries the smell of the end of life, heavy, choking me as it slides down the back of my throat. the skin of your fingers is loose, as if it does not fit the strong slender bones within any more, but we hold your hand when you can not hold ours, any more. it hurts to see you this way, so unlike the life you had before the blood disease sucked you out of you.

slumping into the green vinyl chair, i can't even feel it beneath me, i just know it holds me, as i watch others grieve. they speak to you, telling you final things and we wait on that moment. i pray for it all to end, in little voices in my head, again, and again, and again as the minute hand keeps on sweeping.

you must tell her goodbye, give her permission to leave, i mumble through my hands to no one, to everyone.

will you pray with her, they ask.

try as i might to muster the words, they all stop somewhere between my heart and my mouth and though my lips move i can't make a sound, just tears. i stare at them mutely, until they ask someone else to pray. i clench my hands, angry at my weakness, my ineptitude, which will haunt me for years to come...and your last breath rattles wetly as you are released from this mortal coil.

i will deliver your funeral, consoling those still here, words flowing once again. we will lower your body into the ground, but its not you, you never wore lipstick, that's how we know. one day i will see you again, you will be beautiful, we will sit and watch a sunset and i will share with you the words i could not say in those last few moments we had together.

this is a magpie tale, about the death of my mother in law, two years ago.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

160 - no where man

man on a park bench sings
guitar case by his feet
plastered in sticker dreams

where you headed?

no where man,
no where man...

and that makes sense to me.

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.

when you are headed no where, i can guarantee you will get there...have a great sunday everyone...

Friday, April 9, 2010

beguiled by night

i could blame it on the night, but that would take away from my narcissistic iniquity.

pools cast by the streetlights, capture fleeting glimpses of my form as i rush along the sidewalk, soles of my shoes skitching against the rough surface, seeking traction to propel me forward. cats screech, fighting in the shadows, reminding me of why i am here...why i am running...hoping...

silly the situations we find ourselves in due to our selfish desires and need to feel like we have some modicum of control as our world spins further and further out of control. the more you try to grasp it the slicker it becomes, spilling onto the floor, shattering into a million tiny pieces...if only superglue could hold them back if i could even find all the pieces...

the moon stares condescending in the night sky, calling all the stars to join in it's condemnation, spewing antipathy on the wind. sweat drips down my cheek joining the growing stain across my shirt. dogs bark, blinds crack allowing peering eyes to gaze at my swift shadow. bolts click on doors to ward away any foul spirits that follow me...panting...praying...

stomach roiling, less at the contents than my own indiscretion, tossing the rock of my guilt from one wall to the next, unable to digest its girth. like an anchor it drags at me, begging repentance from this headlong path i have thrown myself too. it whispers like a snake flicking its tongue against my your ssself...

scraggy bushes entangle my legs, spilling me across the trimmed grass, each stone finding a tender spot in my knees, my back or the palms of my hands as i pin wheel, collapsing into a ball. night shrieks, dispersing in the glare of porch light coming on. the door swings open spilling cool air across by dirty face as i stare into the shadow beyond...pulse pounding...breath catching...

i am sorry...

velvet lips crush against mine, her hand searching for purchase in my hair drawing me to nestle in the warmth of her chest, listening for broken pieces of her heart. hot tears stream down our faces, each inhalation filling me with her, running my tongue across the remnants of that kiss...wanting this moment to last...forever and ever...

so you want to come in...


turning, i grab the cool brass door knob to pull it closed behind us, pausing briefly i wink at the moon, and before passion takes me completely, i imagine it smiles back, as it tries to peek in through the window....

This fictional piece is a 10DOM post.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

55 - at the park (PG-13)

little pink panties
sit beneath bushes
soiled & dirty
and i pray...

she had an accident
and just
tried to hide
her shame

torn butterflies
on the seam
make my heart seethe...

take this anger
and the stories
they whisper to me

my knuckles are bloody
and there is a tree
that cries with me.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

was at the park the other day and saw these in the bushes. could have been completely innocent, but it made me sick to my stomach. child sexual abuse is the most abominable thing i can think of. there are many times as i work with kids i have to keep my anger in check, and trust the system, but it still hurts.

...until no child is harmed...

and i am not advocating hitting trees...they are our friends too.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

do u speak goldfish? (box)

there is a box. and try as you might
to fit him in, parts keep sticking out
keeping you from closing the lid. he
fidgets, dancing foot 2 foot, refusing
2 look you N the eye, annoying you,
as you raise your voice, to be heard
he stutters, words cascading out his
mouth in jumbled masses, rocks w/
sharp edges, then escalating, yelling,
swearing, out right refusing 2 move
to your wishes. there is a box, & he
does not fit it, spilling out more like
puzzle pieces yet to be put 2gether.

do you speak goldfish? he asks, his
cheeks sucking in as he puckers his
lips & they watch him through the
glass. he barks like a rabid dog at a
mountain lion, creating awkward
moments, as he does often. clumsy,
he answers i dunno when U ask him.
@ times he doesn't listen, but do U?
it's called autism. and he is your son.
U can get angry @ him or love him,
push him into a box that doesn't fit
him or learn to speak goldfish and
watch him swim...

there is a box
and he doesn't fit
but that doesn't make him
any less beautiful a gift.

this is a theme thursday post.

for thursdays poet rally, i nominate jp.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

sleeping bag (if you want me)

when did our bed
become so big?

so unlike
our first
so small
we practically
had to lay on top
each other, all
tangled up
in love.

let's sell all
we own and move
into a sleeping bag
somewhere the
sun will rise
and set
around us.

if you want me.
(like i want you.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

magpie tales: star falling

there are those moments, between 5 and 7 when you are holding onto your childhood with all your might while boldly stepping into something new. something scary, yet exciting. fairy tales become just that. too old to believe, too young not to try and make new ones.

like stars falling in the heavens.

stars twinkle in the blue black sky, before the sun pokes it's head about the horizon, erasing the visible universe in it's brilliance. the earth is silent, breath held, except the crickets who serenade those few souls drifting softly over the dew glistened grass.

cool air fills my lungs, lightning to nerve endings, prying my eyes many more of these?

pops and creeks escape in sighs from the boards beneath my feet as i shift my weight, moving down the steps of the porch into the yard. eggs, the colors of gasoline rainbows, shift in the basket swaying against my leg. delicately i place them behind bushes and tufts of grass, along window sills and sidewalks, beneath the bench at my meditation spot, by squiggy the porcelain snail that perpetually bobs his head.

cool air crawls across my back, a ghost across my grave, tearing my eyes many more of these?

thumps and bumps, little feet pound in the hall and on the stairs, the sounds of their waking filled with excitement for what is to come. little fingers wrap around the twined wicker handle of baskets as they rush to the door in search of hidden treasures. here and there, and in some areas only broken bits of multicolored shell where the deer have had their own easter snack. we have more than enough, so they are welcome.

cool air nips at pajama bottoms, a gentle giggle on their face, smiling across my many more of these?

there are those moments, as parents of kids between 5 and 7 when you are holding onto your childhood through them, while they boldly step away from you. it is scary, yet exciting. your belief in fairy tales rekindled is now smoldering. try as you might you can not keep them in your arms, as they squirm away.

like stars falling in the heavens.

this was written for the prompt at magpie tales.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

everyday easter

my body
broken & bleeding
with my self injection
of self deception
of hate filled rejection
of my own redemption
so in trying to feed
this perilous need
i lay me down to sleep
in any field i can reap
until my bones weep
no soul left to keep
and i can not...


all alone, no home
chewing stones
just to feel & taste the spittle
that gathers in the corner of my cheek,
little by little

life presses me flatter
and flatter, mad hatter
laying lilies on my grave
too late to hit save
paper thin, here comes the end


i scream in my head, heart
hanging on by a thread
as over my lips spill this disease
drowning, please
you found me
set me free,
my heart beats, you are...
when i can not be,
risen indeed.

this is my

Saturday, April 3, 2010

160 - false tooth

on a power box
by the stoplight
a tooth scrawled
in white spray paint
outlined in red
reads this town
needs an enema,
i just wonder
who they are
trying to flush.

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.

once you give up on one group of people, the next becomes easier, until of course it becomes your turn to be given up on. Happy Easter all!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Brotin Tales: Neil

Time once again to enter the mind of Brotin. This is part 2 of the story. Before you get completely confused, go check out part 1 at Otin's. Then come right back to hear how the story ends. Go ahead, I'll be here when you get back.

running my finger along the torn edges where the pages of my journal used to reside i still wonder about brother...

honey, what are you doing?, her voice floats up through the floor.

nothing, i mumble as i slip the journal back into the cardboard box in the corner of the attic, making my way gently down the pull down stairs.

fresh cut flowers glow in the sunlight from the center of the table, the bacon and biscuits fill the air, calling our boys from their rooms.

hey dad, today is the day, jacob's enthusiasm puts a smile on my face.

what day is that?

come on dad, jacob and i will be camping on the ridge tonight, my older son's voice gets deeper every day.

when did we decide that?, my thoughts still weigh on me from my time in the attic.

we have been talking about it for weeks, you can't change your mind now, jacob whines, as his balloon deflating. wife's hand finds mine with a gentle squeeze.

ok, just make sure you have plenty of batteries for your flashlight, and your cell phone, and did you pack...

you're the best, dad!, they rush from the table to gather their things, while i wince with reservation.

the rest of the day drags slowly, though i try to keep myself busy. my wife helps coming up with random needs to provide me an excuse to drive into town. as i pass the pull over by the path that leads into the woods, it takes every bit of will power i have not to pull over and check on the boys. i berate myself all the way home, they will be fine.

still, i do not sleep, just stare out the picture window, imagining their faces in the glow of the fire, whispering prayers into the night.

give them a call, my wife relents handing me a cup of coffee and my cell phone as the sun rises above the mountains.

my fingers can not move fast enough across the touch pad...ring...ring...ring...the line opens but i hear no one, snapping twigs or limbs in the background...

they are not here. but i think i know where they are, a heavy voice answers.

who is this? my heart jackhammers in my chest making breathing near impossible.

it's neil, and somehow, I already knew that.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

55 - single mom

her voice
perfumes the air,
strong with stale cigarette,
bites of
McDonald's pancake.
with her two year old,
at a wooden corner table
in the back of starbucks
spreading their
to all those
waiting in line.

she's lonely
at times
but she's alright,
making the most
of time with
her daughter.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

just a lady i saw in the coffee shop the weekend i was in maryland. made me think of the single moms i know that are still making a life for their kids. have a great weekend everyone!

Brotin Tales is back tomorrow!