Monday, May 31, 2010

reaching the summit

we sit on the concrete curb, grass tickling our legs, as he paws through an old worn suitcase, passing treasures he has collected, over the years, to me, one at a time. a one armed batman in yellow and black, a matchbox car with his name scratched in the hood, a spoon from a sundae, remnants of chocolate dried hard in its creases. he keeps pulling them out, handing them over silently, as if their stories will tell themselves.

i don't see any toys in the yards...

up and down the asphalt that spreads in each direction from where we sit, cookie cutter houses stand like silent sentinels over freshly mowed yards, bisected neatly by driveways; no toys to be found. no bikes, dropped as kids rush in, to make it in time for dinner. no baseballs, bats or gloves, discarded haphazardly as the next big adventure loomed.

what if i don't have anyone to play with?

his new school is minutes away. we visited the play ground, swinging from the monkey bars and testing out the slides. these too sat quiet in the afternoon sun, empty of the laughter and squeals that bring the wood and steel to life. standing on the highest point, he put his hand to his forehead, shading his eyes, in case the light was hiding someone from his view.

what if they hate me like my last mom?

as we were driving over, his eyes never left the window, watching life roll passed us, except when a particular song came on the radio. 'temporary home', his favorite, because that is all they are to him, temporary. the number of hands that have held, then dropped him, exceeds his age. he is eleven.

why do you think she hated you?

these are the moments that turn my stomach, making me want to take him home with me. i don't want him to go through another broken heart, when the parents that swore they were ready to handle whatever happened, give him back, like they expect a refund. but i have to, and each time he takes a little piece of my heart with him.

my sister told me, and anyway, that mom didn't keep me either...

slowly, we place each memory back into the suitcase that has followed him around like a puppy dog all these years. dusting off our shorts, we turn and face a little white house, in the heart of suburbia. slipping my arm across his shoulders, we walk through the lawn toward his new home, each step heavy, as if we were reaching the summit of the tallest mountain, hoping this time not to fall.

Magpie Tales: the sheets of my bed

the crumpled sheets of my bed,
borne from restless nights,
stretch barren as the desert,
empty without your presence,
stealing even the fire from
the early morning sun light
that visits me here to mock
my solemn solitude....

what have i done...
what can i do...
these sheets,
they bear no comfort

the crumpled sheets of my bed,
torn and discarded in the corner,
reveal your shoes by the foot board,
where you left them in your haste,
lingering still, your sweet fragrance,
as i press them to my face
to feel you once more in
my solemn solitude

what have i done...
what can i do...
these shoes,
they bear no comfort

just like these sheets,
without you to fill them,
what have i done...
what can i do...
until tonight
when we can crumple
these sheets again?

This is a Magpie Tale.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

the freedom he bought us (Memorial Day)

sitting in his room
quiet as the tomb
(of the unknown soldier)
flipping through faded black & whites
of men he once knew...

someone for people to admire
as they drive on by
enjoying freedom, he bought for them...

shuffling down main street
he still throws a salute
(to kids on the parade route)
looking sharp in his dress greens
on the one day he's remembered

someone for people to admire
as he marches by
back to the nursing home
(for another year...)

someone for people to admire
for walking through the fire
so we can enjoy the freedom he bought us

thanks to all those that served, and those that never made it home...Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Brotin Tales: Man in the Mirror

Welcome back to Brotin Tales! It's been a while since Otin and I did one of these, so for any newbies, hang onto your seats. I have the first part of our story this go round, so once you are done here you are heading to Otin's to figure out what just sit back, enjoy the read, and I will be just as surprised as you to see how Otin ends it...

~Man in the Mirror~

i live on the road, along with thousands of other faces, on their way somewhere, to do something, crowded into airports, waiting. i love it. not the waiting part, but seeing the world through the windshield of my rental car, helping people make the best product choice. i really do believe we have the best products available, that's what makes me good at what i do.

when the day is done, i like nothing more than finding an out of the way hotel, not the fancy kind with all the bells and whistles, but the kind where two to three walls are made of cinder block, the paisley on the bed cover was out of date when they bought it and people will leave you alone. i don't want someone to wait on me, i don't want people catering to my every need or offering me upgrades. i just want silence.

i really cant stand the doors you open with a card either. give me a lock i can twist and hear the firm thump of it taking hold in the frame. its too easy for cards to get mixed up and the next thing you know, someone is walking in on me just getting out of the shower or sitting around on the couch in my underwear. i like to be secure, and silent.

bill's motor inn does not disappoint. the lady at the front desk is still wearing her teal waitress outfit, probably from another job, as i check in at the front desk. she could really care less who i am, barely even looking at me, just asking for the few pieces of required information and sending me on my way with a bronze key in my hand. it feels good in my fingers.

rattling the key in the door, the smell of a well used room wafts through the entrance way and i sigh, home sweet home. scanning the room, the orange red carpet stretches past the solitary bed to a white brown flecked linoleum by the sink, where the another door leads into the bathroom. two press board bedside tables and a dresser with a television on top. i am sure the requisite gideon's bible is in the drawer.

placing my bags by the dresser, i move to the sink to wash the weariness from my eyes. reaching for the warm water first, my fingers graze the clear plastic jewel knob, i look to the mirror and see that i am not alone.

a man in a bath towel stands looking into the mirror. breath catches in my chest, burning toward my heart that is racing. i spin to confront him, only to find i am alone once more. an uneasy chuckle slips past my lips. man, that was crazy. i need to lay off the coffee.

turning once more to the basin, i quickly spin the hot water, pressing its warmth into my face with my fingers. turning the water off, I see movement in the reflection, as the man is now putting his suitcase on the bed. cocking my head to the side, there is no one over my shoulder, but in the mirror, the man is laying things on the bed....things that look deadly.

when he smiles at the mirror, shadows roll from the edge of my eyes fading the world black and i feel myself falling to the floor.

Now, head over to Otin's...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

55 - wonders never cease

at the t-ball game,
an old tire,
found in the woods,
while searching for the ball,
drew half the team
off the field
to investigate and wonder
where the rest of the car went.

what are they thinking,
red faced, hat wringing adults
spat, loudly,
as runs crossed the plate.

i wonder.
do you?

Tell a story in 55 words. Write your own or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

sister rose (wrinkles)

I am seventeen, graduating high school, heading to college. I know everything, I know nothing. This is why I am on a floral couch, in a big white house, an hour from home, looking for answers.

Everything is in its place, meticulously arranged with the utmost intention, this is what I think, as the nondescript lady ushers us into the parlor. Placing us on the couch, she excuses herself, head humbly cast toward the floor as she exits through a curtain doorway.

To call the room exotic would be an understatement. Brightly colored curiosities fill every surface, from finely carved animal totems to crystals of various shapes. My eyes flit from one to next with dizzying intensity, as my mind struggles to digest as fast as they consume. the air is thick with energy and tastes like jasmine.

Sister Rose floats quietly into the room, following the well worn track in the hard wood floor. She is not flamboyant, nor does she need to be, her very presence is enough to bring life to all around her and command attention. Her skin is dark and rich, contrasting her stark white outfit, with eyes that see through me.

Tell me about you...

Her voice carries the melody, bringing harmony to the chaotic maelstrom of questions that dwell inside me. Words spill out of me in a river I can no longer hold back, her charm bidding me to tell her everything, until I am empty.

Taking my hand, she plays it over and again between hers, then draws a long nail through the wrinkled creases of my palm. I watch her silent expressions expectantly, waiting to hear my destiny, to gain a sense of direction for my rudderless life. She draws a map of what is to come; kids, love and...

You will be a rock star...

As we step through her door onto the hard reality of the sidewalk, my gaze finds the heavens and I look for my place among them. Their twinkle reflects in my eyes, echoing Sister Rose's words. Breathing deep, we drive through the night along lineless asphalt roads toward home, toward who we are becoming.

I am seventeen. I know nothing, I know everything and I will listen to whoever takes the time to hear me, instead of just telling me who i should be. Twenty years later, though, I am still waiting to become a rock star....

This is a Theme Thursday post.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

rug burned knees and congealed eggs

if we are all going to die,
i might as well marry
the most beautiful
girl in the world,
was not quite
what was running
through my mind
that night after
My Life (of all movies),
not that you aren't beautiful
i just couldn't imagine
another day
without you in it,
so i got rug burn
on my knees
in your parent's
basement and you
hid your hand
in your pocket
all morning,
until i asked your dad .
luckily he said yes,
because your breakfast
was getting cold and
who wants congealed eggs?

Today marks 14 years since the day T and I got married, and it only gets better...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Magpie Tales: weight on the scales

my fingers find the cool polished wood by my knee, worn smooth by fret filled hands that came before mine and it reminds me that there was a before this moment. a time before all smiles fled, leaving my soul bankrupt and bereft.

a rainbow of fruit adorns the shelves of my hovel of a fruit stand, shimmering like an oasis on the side of the road. i work hard to keep the dust, blown by passing cards, from tarnishing their luster. my reward are the smiles of my customers, for which i am jealous.

i know them well, having watched their children transform from wide eyed kids filled with wonder and greedy hands to young imitations of their elders. their smiles were the most brilliant, especially on days when their accomplishments were rewarded with a free treasure from my trove.

flicking the gleaming blade from my pocket knife, i slice the fruit in half and watch them hungrily feed on that sweet taste of paradise. juice runs down their chins, teeth stretched to their ears, it is infectious, spreading first to their parents, then to all that came to my storefront.

this was before the morning i found their hatred dripping in long runnels from the spray paint epitaphs on the side of my rusty white truck. shaking feverishly, i drove to work only to find little more than a pile of kindling discarded on the side of the road, polka-dotted with disemboweled oranges and grapefruits. shattered green watermelon rinds leaked red meat and spilled seed to mingle with my tears in the dust.

coming home most days, my children would would run from the trailer, scampering about my legs to see what treat i had brought home. as we sucked the juice of the fruit from our fingers, i would describe for them the delight of those that came to the shop that day. you would think i told them fairy tales of magnificent far away lands with princes and princesses and in their grins i would once again relish all that was my life.

this was before my family fled, to live with and uncle or cousin, taking all my tomorrows with them. i do not know where they are out there, i did not want them to tell me, only my heart yearns to know that they are safe and to taste their smiles once more.

betrayed by the blood that courses through my own body, now a controlled substance, i am left with nothing. i am illegal, an alien in a land only so foreign as the promises of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, awaiting my turn on the scales of justice. weighed and measured on scales not as smooth as this courthouse bench, yet more like running your fingers against the flow of those of a fish.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

160 - m-pathetic

,sleef ti woh si siht
uoy nehw
,don & elims
seceip derettat yal i sa
,elbat eht no traeh ym fo
.rennid rof s'tahw em ksa neht

having trouble understanding?

me 2.

What can you say in 160 characters? Go see Monkey Man.

(ok, so here it is forward. you get the point.)

this is how it feels,
when you
smile & nod,
as i lay tattered pieces
of my heart on the table,
then ask me what's for dinner.

having trouble understanding?

me 2.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

dueling banjos in the rain

it's raining today
and you are not here,
how fitting.
standing on the porch,
the coffee mug
keeps my hand warm,
steam rising from its mouth
to mine.
dark brew sears
my throat,
spreading slow fingers
across my chest,
down my arms,
making my fingers twitch.
i wish you were here
so we could
battle the thunder
like dueling banjos
to see who could make
more beautiful music
or who could be louder.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

55 - postcards from the edge

squinting into the sun
watching planes come in,
he flaps a postcard
against his leg.

how long has it been,
thought he'd never
see her again,
he's waited forever,
on today.

a postcard flutters
to the ground
as they embrace,
figure he doesn't
need it anyway,
when i hear her say,
oh dad, you came...

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

Have a great weekend everybody. It's never too late to go home.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mr. Wilson's pet

Mr. Wilson lived alone in the two story wood house on the corner. He was fastidious about his lawn and would spend most days with his bushes, muttering under his breath. If you were just fast enough, you could pedal your bike around the corner and be gone before you got too cold from the shadow of that old place.

Then one day, a calico cat showed up and decided to live with him. Not that it was his choice, the cat just kinda chose him. Mr. Wilson would walk along the porch that stretched across the front and down the sides of the house, boards creaking, his cane tapping the spindles of the railing, calling that cat all kinds of words my mom would have found worthy of ivory soap. It would just sit under the end of his old Monte Carlo, blinking its eyes at him.

The cat must have lived on mice, because there was no way he fed it, he didn't even give candy at Halloween. Early on we trained our cat to stay away from Mr. Wilson's place, but no matter how bad he treated it that old calico stuck around, lounging on his porch swing when he was not looking.

One summer night, that calico disappeared. All us kids figured he finally caught up with it and our imaginations ran wild with what we thought he did. Three days later, an awful racket erupted, that drew us out into the yard. Everyone on the block was milling in the streets, watching the smoke rise from an orange glow on the corner.

Mr. Wilson stood in the center of his yard, watching his house collapse in on itself as the fire ate it cinders. It was not the fire that drew our attention though, it was all the cats in the neighborhood, lined up on the fence, screeching and mewing, staring at Mr. Wilson. As the second floor gave way into the first, they hopped down in a line and paraded passed Mr. Wilson.

He stood there shaking in his pajamas, as dad herded us back in for dinner. We never saw Mr. Wilson again after that night.

This is a Theme Thursday post.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

magic in the air

the night of prom is pregnant with potential, there is a certain magic in the air, that when mixed with hormonal teenagers often leads to either fairy tales or down the crooked road of broken heartedness. this one is no different.

the tie we choose, black and silvery white, accents his new black suit. he decided not to get a tux, this year, and save that for his senior year. a suit was more reasonable anyway; he can wear it to church, to look fancy as he ushers the elderly ladies down the aisle to the front row, where they can hear the music better. he likes looking fancy, because they give him compliments that make his cheeks burn from smiling so wide.

we did get him fitted for a tuxedo, just to see what it felt like, and as the twenty year old vixen that took his measurements teased him playfully, his cheeks burned as well. she stopped playing after asking him how he lost so much weight, and his reply was "well, i go to the bathroom every fifteen minutes." i tried to help him save face, but really he didn't even notice her slack jaw. he was to happy with himself.

dressed in his suit he looks handsome and he knows it, strutting like a rooster out front of the hen house, doing quick turns to flash those pearly whites. the camera likes him, and he likes it, striking poses. he is a prince and declares the dance floor will be his kingdom.

it's a quick ride, down the block, cutting through the food lion parking lot to catch a side street, to his date's house. she spent all afternoon on make up, getting her hair done and it shows. she has never been more beautiful. her dress is sleek and red, with stones glittering on the neck line. his smile is shy, in her radiance.

he really doesn't know what to do with his hands, as we take pictures, but he remembers to open the door for her to get in the back seat of the van, just like we talked about, sliding in next to her. it's quiet the five minutes it takes to get to the dance, but as they walk toward the door, i can't help but feel the that curious tingle.

for a few hours, they will swim in the same sea of dreams with 'normal' kids, not tucked into a classroom all their own and while others may not understand the garbled words they share, they understand each other quite perfectly. some may say he's 'special', i won't argue, he is. an eight year old boy in an eighteen year old body, and tonight is his fairy tale.

his mom's heart is the only one breaking, as she heads for home, missing her baby.

Monday, May 17, 2010

star wars boys

a long time ago in a galaxy far,
far away...
the opening fanfare
still makes me giddy,
like the first time,
through the crackly
window speaker at the
drive in movie, car
smelling like butter
popcorn for days after.

a lone farm boy standing
on sand dunes, scanning
the horizon, dreaming of
making a difference,
his dad fallen prey to
remaking the galaxy, his
way, then finding redemption.

dad, sometimes you remind
me of darth vader
i just nod my head, in
understanding, and i am
just glad i did not end
up laying with my head
in your lap, dying,
for my mask to come off
and find my own...

(cue the music)
may the force be with you...

we have caught the star wars bug in our house this last month. we did a marathon of all the episodes, broke out the old toys and a friend even let us borrow star wars lego on the PS2. i think T will survive it, and if they keep referring to her as princess leia, she just might start to like it. smiles.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

160 - for love & a good book

most people
don't realise
it's not
what they can read
but what is said
between the lines
that makes me want
to curl up with you
and not put you down
until dawn.

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

Coming soon! Another Brotin Tale is in the works and I am chatting with some of the most talented writers I know in blog land about a series of short stories, I am calling Duets. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 14, 2010

magpie tales: blue plate special

the cool vinyl of the booth massages the tension out of her legs, as she sits, head resting on the table top, just breathing. it was a long day, running from table to table, making sure customers' every need was met. swinging the hanging sign to CLOSED, she had sunk in the first booth she could find and would like nothing more than to free her feet from the shoes that were strangling them.


groaning, it takes nearly all the effort she has left to lift her head. "can't they read", she mumbles to the empty diner, half expecting a smart response from cheryl the cashier, but she along with everyone else had been smart, slipping out the back at closing time. she had only wanted a minute, to feel the quiet.

a pale shadow hangs in the moonlight streaming through the door, the lack of response obviously meaning nothing to whoever is there. tap...tap...tap...

"alright, already", this time loud enough to echo, sending throbbing pain through her temples.

rising slowly, her feet shuffle along the linoleum, until she stands before the obstinate...old man. draped in a brown trench coat, his shock white hair peeking from beneath a fedora, the man's smile curls beneath thick glasses. she just stands, staring.

"can i come in?", his voice like fog, creeping through the glass to her ears.

"no, we are closed."

"yeah, i saw that. i was just hoping someone was here."

"well, you will have to come back tomorrow", she turns to head toward the back, pressing her thumbs into her temples.


"look, we are closed! now go away!", realising how loud she was, she gazes once more toward the door to find the old man gone, only a rose laying on the cold gray sidewalk.

peering through the window, she scans the street, finding it empty, as if the whole world was asleep. rattling the bolt, the door glides open and she retrieves the rose, finding a note attached by a ribbon.

to my blue plate special, i just needed to see you, one more time...

a soft warm wind washes her face, as she stands, still holding the door. funny, that's what my husband calls me, she thinks, before locking up once more, and heading through the kitchen to where her car waits, in the parking lot, to take her home.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

55 - domestic animals

pale & bloated,
he lay,
a great, dead walrus,
in the front yard,
little hearts boxers
cutting into his abundance.

it was always me, me, me...
she said, he said,
police bagging her
cast iron skillet.

none questioned how
her response
was less selfish,
except their son,
laying in the impression
left in the uncut grass.

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

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

follow the leader (mystery)

it is a typical day,
sun warming the dirt path ,
worn smooth
by shoeless feet,
babies suckling mama's teet,
as she makes her way
to the river to
beat clothes against rocks
cleaning the dust and grime
of another week,
while children play and
splash in the muddy water.

it is a typical day,
men, in the fields,
harvesting until their fingers
are raw and sore or
the sun goes down,
oblivious to the soldiers
in the shadows of the trees,
until its too late
and then they run
in red rivulets, barely
changing the color
of the constant flowing river.

it is a typical day,
a man in a dark suit
stands on the steps
outside the capital building,
declaring 'progress in the war',
true figures hidden
between the sheets
of talking points,
written by another,
yet read with belief,
sheep nodding blindly
in a game of
follow the leader.

it is a typical day,
the only mystery
is where you left your mind
or who stole it
using rhetoric
like a lock pick,
leaving one thing behind
and that's orders to
just follow the leader.

For further adventures in 'mystery', go see my friends at Theme Thursday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

songs for an unseen crowd

this old blind man,
with skin like mahogany,
his tight curl hair frizzed
and fading to white at the tips,
strums a guitar and
sings across cracked lips,
from where he sits,
on an overturned milk crate,
by the street corner store.

every day he takes requests
from those that drop quarters,
into his duct taped case,
but if you ask him to
sing the blues, he'll say
nope, i don't got none,
with a big toothy grin
and i swear you can see
eternity in those cloudy eyes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

magpie tales: more than meets the eye (PG-13)

Another day come and gone, sidewalk lit in the orange glow of the outdoor lights, her heals skritch along its rough surface toward her apartment. Work had not necessarily been gentle, leaving her tired, ready for a hot bath and good book. Anything to take her mind off...something capturing in the light on her doormat.

Ugh...what is eyeball?, mind snapping to alert, she peers into the shadows made by the shrubs, then back down the sidewalk to her car. Icy fingers play a concerto on her backbone, as twigs snap, shadows separating...followed by giggles of the neighbor's kids rushing off to another hiding spot.

Chiding herself for being so jumpy, she flicks the offending article into the mulch with the toe of a shoe, rattling her keys into the door. She would have a talk with their mother, or maybe this time she would just find a way to get them back for their pranks. First though, maybe a glass of wine to go with the bath, instead of the book.

Pushing the door shut behind her, she moves through the dark foyer into the living, like a shark sliding through the water. The house is cool, which further soothes her. She doesn't want to interrupt it by turning on a light. Finding her spot on the couch, she lets the day melt off her skin, relaxing muscle groups.

Flipping open her laptop, more out of habit than anything, its fan whirs to life. The soft light of the screen breaks the darkness illuminating her face, painting the room in blue tones. Just a quick check of the email, maybe her reading list and then to the shower. She makes herself promises she knows she won't keep once she is sucked into the blogosphere.

She has been trying to do better. There was a time when two or three hours would go by before she knew it, legs having long gone to sleep curled up underneath her. Ever since she started getting comments from one particular admirer, she had become increasingly uncomfortable in her online world.

They had started off innocent, platitudes of a particularly good post, but then they gained a creepy edge, almost seeming suggestive. He started changing screen names and leaving comments on older posts. She had sent him an email asking for space and a little respect, which worked for a time, but recently he had returned. Perhaps it was time to give up blogging for a while.

Clicking through her email, she quickly becomes enmeshed; comments from blog friends, direct emails, sending her bouncing back and forth between email and their blogs, leaving a comment trail behind her. Peering at the time on the bottom of the screen, she decides there was just enough time for a quick shower now, sans the book and wine, and still be able to get a good nights sleep.

Moving her cursor across the screen to close down the windows, a dialog box pops up letting her know there is new mail, which she relents to, just one more...realising it is from him, she almost erases it, but the subject line beckons her to open it.

RE: my gift

so what did you think about my gift?


What is he talking about?, she replays the evening in her head. Eye widening, she jumps from the couch, spilling the laptop into the floor. Hastily making her way across the room, she is out the door and on the sidewalk, banging on her neighbors door. Her fist booms against the hollow core metal, until it swings open.

"Don't you know what time it is?"

"Your children, they left something on my doorstep tonight."

"They did no such thing..."

"Yes, i saw them...heard them giggling in the bushes..."

"Yeah, they told me they saw you but it wasn't them that left that awful thing there. It was a man that stopped by a bit earlier. They told me they saw him, then snuck over after he drove away to see what he left you. Any man that would leave an eye ball on your front..."

She is not listening, voice fading behind her as she runs again back toward her apartment. The gun is in the bed side table, her phone is on the bar...these things scroll like a check list through her head. The lock thumps solidly into the jam and she is already moving, letting her fingers slide across the bar to the place she left her phone, finding nothing.

"Looking for something...", his voice rasps in her ear, sending her already racing heart into overdrive.

Spinning, bringing her hands up, his latch like a vice on her wrists, pushing her back toward the bed room. Everything is moving fast and she is not keeping up. Legs tangling she spills onto the carpet at the foot of the bed. Casually he spins the dimmer for the light, bringing a muted dawn to the room.

"Did you like my present?" she notices the eye patch over his left eye for the first time, bringing the contents of her stomach to a boil.

"Actually, I am glad you are here...", she stammers.

His laughter could peel the paint off the wall, "Don't patronize me..."

"No really..." his long fingers find her knees, lust flickering in his eyes, up to the moment a baseball bat connects with his head, making a sound like a popping melon.

Eye lashes flicker, the blurred shapes of the room swimming, a dagger of pain erupting from the temple, throbbing..."whuh?"

"I am glad you are awake."

"What are you doing?"

"Blogging. I have this wonderful story I am just about to finish. You would love it. It's about a man that thinks he is in control, only to find that he really isn't. Also, the anesthesia should be wearing off and you will find that your eye is not the only thing you are missing..."

His screams echo off the walls as her fingers click clack the closing lines to the story. No, I don't think I will be needing that blog break after all, she snickers at her thought...

This is a Magpie Tale.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

growing, like weeds

what were you thinking
the day i was born
all pink and fresh
like a flower
burst forth
in spring
(though i imagine the fragrance quite different)
did you
know you
would have to
fertilize this plant
with hope and prayer
or tie it back & prune it.
(though i imagine there were days tying might have come to mind)
but like a constant gardener
you gave it time & love
to bloom on its own
knowing seasons
come and go
with a little
(though i imagine you hoped i would hurry up at times)
don't always
grow like we picture
they might, but through
it all the gardener's hand is
ever present, thank you mom,
for not pulling a weed like me.

happy mothers day!

Friday, May 7, 2010


we played hookie today, the four of us,
slipping through the cracks unannounced,
hitching a ride on a steel star,
just to see the view,
walking aisles with poets & storytellers,
eating the best $4.95 sub
you'll ever find,
with grandaddy and gramma.

we even took the secret stash
of chocolate covered peanuts
out of grandaddy's desk,
sucking them clean
before crunching them
as we walked downtown
to the tune of sidewalk minstrels.

school will wait.
work will wait.
we will not,
until the sun goes down
smiles creasing our faces
as we sink
our heads into the pillow.

because some days
you just need
to play hookie.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

55 - daddy's little girl

she walks the lines
down the center of the road,
looking for someone
she barely knows....

sometimes finding traces
in the arms of faceless lovers,
feeling twice as empty
slipping from beneath the covers.

it's hard to be
daddy's little girl,
when he's never there.

she walks the lines
down the center of the road...

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

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ten thousand stars (pink)

(Notice: What you are about to read is a very intense dream sequence that involves the loss of a child. While this happened the other night, in sharing a very fearful moment, I neglected to take into consideration the relationships I have developed with many of my readers and how this might affect them. For that I am sorry. Continue reading with the knowledge it is a dream.)

My youngest son's name is Cole. He is five. He died tonight.

The sky is grey, all the twinkling star muting the black, lightening it. I wish I had a star to hold, to press deep in my chest. Maybe it would shatter this weight that beats slightly within me. Boards creek under my bare feet as i rock slowly back and forth, hot tears warming my cheeks. Ten thousand stars are visible, why did mine have to fall?

We went to one of those get togethers, the boys would call them 'fancy', where you dress up in clothes reserved for just such an occasion, tight and binding in their formality. I can't even really remember what is was for...but it was downtown, because i remember the soft glow of the streetlights on the asphalt after a spring rain. Droplets still clung to the edge of our windows.

Entering the lobby, there were people ready to usher our kids to another part of the building where their special needs would be met with fun and games all lowing the adults their own space. Cole tugged at my hand just as I was about to release him and I knelt, face to face with him. He hugged me and gave a quick kiss on the cheek.

We joined several couples in the elevator and banter began, spilling out the door into the waiting group. All of this seems unimportant now. Time passed quickly, as we were handed around the room, talking face to talking face until looking at my watch it was time to pick up the boys and head home. Frankly, it was a relief to leave.

Where is my son?!, the volume of my voice tries to overpower the pounding of my heart. These are words you never want to say. Tara is shaking, mascara starting to crawl down her face. Panic is my guide, puling me room to room, peering into every shadow. My throat squeaks out his name again and again. My movements seem slow and clumsy as time races passed me.

The clank of the door into the pool area echoes, and the hollow hole where the pool cover is pulled down, bunched together, captures my glance instantly and I am in the pool. The cover tangles in my arms, resistant to efforts to free him. I can feel him, unmoving, I just can't get to him. Water thrashes around me, as I yell, and yell, exasperation choking me.

He is in my arms, curled in the fetal position and I am on the side of the pool. His skin is pasty, all color robbed, leaving shallow greys and yellows in once pink cheeks. My heart shrivels like a prune, pushing anguish out my throat in howls. I want to destroy, to tear down, to release this burning rage inside me. To make it someones fault. I want my son back.

Hands try to take him from me, but I won't let them, swinging and gnashing. He weighs so little now, but it pins me to that spot. My wife is there but I can't look at her. I can't let him go...I won't let him go. I can't stop screaming...

...even as I wake, pillow damp, sheets torn aside. Running fingers across my clammy skin, I rise, walking through the darkness to stand in my son's door way. His chest rises and falls gently, counting off minutes, until my heart finds its rhythm.

Letting myself out the back door quietly, I stand under ten thousand stars and ask the universe to keep mine shining for a little while longer and take back this dream it has given me. I have taken what I need from it, and today is a new day.

This is a Theme Thursday post. And my all too real dream from last night.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

sippin' on cherry coke

in the red corner booth
at the diner
sipping my cherry coke,
only tasting you;
seductive & sweet
with a little bite
in a sweaty glass,
popping and fizzing,
and tickling my nose.

if you said
i'd savor every drop,
run my tongue
across my lips,
just to be sure,
then head on over to
the refrigerator
to grab some more.

have you decided what you want to eat?

no, here. keep the change. i just might make it home in time for dessert.

Monday, May 3, 2010

magpie tales: eyes of the Pan

they left her by the picture window, the sun slowly slipping out of sight behind the blanket of trees that would keep it warm through the night. she did not mind these brief moment of solitude after dinner, in the chair her husband had made for her out in his shop. it reminded her of him, carrying the scent of his labor.

her fingers played along the smooth surface of a glass globe, finding comfort in its curves. it was not quite perfect, she always found the little nicks, rubbing them, not to erase them but appreciate their existence. it just seemed right, as life was not perfect, and you could either dwell on the imperfections or let them add to the beauty.

the shuffle of his feet let her know she would soon no longer be alone. he was trying to be stealthy, sneaking up on her, as he always did, to surprise her with a 'boo' and collapse under his giggles. he was getting so big, so quick.

"gramma!", the enthusiasm in his voice brought a gentle smile to her face.

"well hello, my handsome young man. won't you come sit with me."

"whatcha got?", he asked climbing into the nook of her lap, his fingers tracing the treasure between her fingers.

"oh it is something special that your grandpa and i picked up in our travels.", she could almost taste the wonder that poured out of him. "why don't you tell me what you see?"

"is it a magical egg?", he asks, not wanting to be wrong.

"why yes, it is. what do you see inside it?"

"there is a brave hero. he is dressed in the most amazing cape that makes him look like a fish and he is off to rescue the princess. he is swimming, and the water is so clear you can see forever. a bad wizard doesn't want him to save her and so he is stretching his big red hands out of the rocks to try and catch him."

"oh my! does he save her?"

"yes he does. he fools the bad man and they live happily ever after. the end."

"what a wonderful story. i love it when you tell me a story.", he shifts in her lap to look at her, as she speaks.

"gramma, is it hard being blind?"

"no, not when you are here to be my eyes."

"will i be blind?"

"not if you take care of your eyes and always use them to capture the magic in the world around you."

that is enough to satisfy his curiosity, slipping from her lap, his feet clop across the floor, out the door, in search of another adventure. yes, she loved these quiet moments at the end of the day.

"whatcha doing dad?"

"just thinking about gramma", i answer without turning my gaze from the horizon, the globe heavy in my grasp with the weight of her passing.

"what's that?"

"it's just a...", my words almost choke me with the sudden realization that with those careless syllables i have become just as blind to the magic of this world, as happens with many reaching adulthood. sitting my burden on the table, i pull my son into my lap, then place it in his hands.

"why don't you tell me what you see..."

This is a Magpie Tale.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

bubble gum voodoo

in red topped quarter machines
by the doors
in front of the store
they sell
bubble gum and
princess rings,
all sorts of wondrous things
and voodoo dolls;
who's arm will we teach
our children to twist?

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

This just kinda struck me as strange yesterday at the store. I guess I just believe in all we do we teach, especially when it comes to our kids. And I wonder what this would teach them?

If that was not enough, I am also spinning it for Sacred Sunday over at 5th Sister.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

giving IT

she asks for it
so i give it
to her
again and again and again...
in the kitchen
in the car
in the park
in the...

and the things
she does with it...
tying knots in it
sometimes chewing it
(oh those teeth)
though i wish
she would swallow it
instead she spits it
but i give it
to her
again and again and again

my heart,
a one night stand
diluted 'til

Forget for a second how free with are with giving away our bodies and think for a second about our hearts and how quick we are to give them up. And when something that really matters comes along, what have we left to give. Guard your heart.