Thursday, September 30, 2010

55 - waiting on the rainbow

swollen waters crawl,
chewing the ground,

it has rained for days.

the flood came once
to gramma's house,
dragging sodden memories
into its ravenous gullet,
disgorging someone else's life;
flotsam clinging to the

inch by inch, it creeps.

wet green grass twists,
between my barefoot toes,

we wait on the rainbow.

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

It rained about 10 inches the last several days. A river runs through my backyard, where yesterday there was none.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

by the light of the refrigerator door

in front of the open refrigerator, i caught her from behind,
gazing into its depths looking for lunch, & for a moment she
started, then settled into me, our hearts finding rhythm,
so i began to sing, something in response to something
she said, i can remember either, but none of that matters,
though i may have pickled some cucumbers with my voice,
but she didn't care, just smiling as i spun her around and
began dancing on the linoleum, in the spotlight of the still
open refrigerator door & when i forgot the words, i just made
them up so the moment would not stop...& then it did...
so we found lunch & she got back to work & i left for work,
but for those few was her & i...& we did not
have to plan it, or get a sitter, or get dressed up...or worry
that we would lose our 'green' status for wasting electricity...
we just were...together...& those small spontaneous moments
are what keep me breathing...small tastes of Your love.

written for Imperfect Prose

And if there was ever anything you thought you may want to know about me, Bonnie probably asked it, in the interview she did with me here. And if she did not, feel free to ask it in the comments over there and I will answer it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

girl in the polka-dotted dress

there was a crow
(not a raven, i don't
want you to think me, Poe)
hunched in his own shadow
ca-caw, ca-caw, ca-cawing
tensing muscles in my back &
i was about to yell at him
when the little girl
in the polka dotted dress
stepped off the curb
as the light changed from red.

a suited man,
rotund in stature
clutching a slick sided attache
like it contained state secrets
that have not already made their way
to the rag papers in grocery store
check out lanes, smirked at
her impertinence as she
pushed past his leg to
leave the curb
as the light changed from red.

two high heeled ladies,
absorbed in one sided conversations
with each other about things
that made them seem
like they had status, crinkled
their nose at the style of
her dress, never missing a
beat in the flap of their lips
when she scurried through to
stride into traffic
as the light changed from red.


i saw her eyes,
as automobiles slid,
(waiting for the wet thump,
we all know is coming),
and she knew what she was doing,
as her mother stood watching
leaving me wondering what
was going on in her life,
at home or otherwise, that
made this the better choice
as the light changed from red.


the crow flew through the air,
perhaps carrying her away,
ca-caw, ca-caw, ca-cawing
sounding more and more like
nevermore, nevermore...
(because true stories
are always the hardest
to swallow)...and sirens rang
through the hollow city streets
we-you, me-you, we-you....

One Shot Wednesday - Write a poem, Come join us. It opens at 5 pm.

This is also for, “The world I want for my children," an effort to support The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay to help victims of sexual assault mend their minds, bodies and spirits and reclaim their lives. Today, the foundation is at the forefront of an effort to end a disheartening backlog of tens of thousands of rape kits in labs across the country, a backlog that contributes to a rapist’s 80 percent chance of getting away with his crime. The backlog and its detrimental effects will be the topic of an SVU episode on September 29th.

Please help raise awareness for this important work. What kind of world do you want for your children? Mine would be one in which children never had to face the possibility of sexual assault and abuse. Write your post and link up

Monday, September 27, 2010

rainy day


i began with...


i will leave with...


i am...


& in that, i find...





raindrops on a rusty kettle.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

160 - i hear little green men

"may the force be with you,"
they'd say,
dropping packages
picking up cupcakes &
i like to think
it was less the theme
than what we needed
in the moment.

What can you say in 160 characters? Say it, then tell Monkey Man.

We had the boy's birthday party yesterday. We are in full on birthday season. Within ten days I have T's and both the boys. Perhaps I should start a collection now. Smiles.

Made lightsabers out of pool noodles and 3/4 inch pvc, with some metallic duct tape wrapped in. They were a hit. Up side my head, on my back, my get the picture. Will post a pic or two, once I get the pictures from my dad.

Have a marvelous sunday everyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Magpie Tales: Reflections

Evelyn sat in front of the dressing mirror, removing her face for the day with little sponges. Each caress took another layer, exposing that which lay beneath. This is how she spends most Friday nights. Home. Alone.

The warm glow of the light allowed her to see the blemishes, the darkening areas. She is meticulous in these places, letting the raw truth of what she sees stare back at her in the mirror. Age was taking her. Her lips formed a tight line, folding from cheek to cheek.

The house was deathly quiet, usually the moans and pops made the house seem alive. It was quite old already, when they bought it, twenty years ago. Back when they were young and in love. She did not mind the small creaking noises. They made her feel not so alone, as if someone were with her. She would welcome them tonight.

Their room is on the second floor, the view from their window overlooking the finely manicured lawn. The gardener would be here tomorrow to give the hedges fresh shape. Swans to greet those that made it to the end of the long driveway, finding their house. Tonight, darkness crawled across the grounds quietly, stirring nothing.

Robert was at a function. Quite often, he had these on Friday nights, entertaining clients or investors, for work. Details she need not fuss over, according to him. He had the gift, speaking money, and they had wanted for little. She has whatever she needs. Mostly.

Her ministrations complete, her face felt fresh, tingly. She studied it in the mirror, distastefully. The girl she once was, was nearly gone, replaced by hollow cheeks and crows feet. Her eyes followed her neckline to where her silk robe had slipped open, allowing her to see her body. There was a time she would have been on Robert's arm on Friday nights, but she was a trophy no more.

Cinching the robe back tight, sparing herself, she took a silver handled brush and began running it through her dark hair. Her mother did this for her when she was a child. She did it for her girls and now she did it for herself. Thirteen... fourteen... fifteen... She counted the strokes, taking her time. It is not as if she had anywhere to be.

Finished, she placed the brush in its place, on the left. She thrived on order. Morning to the right, evening to the left. Little had changed over the years in this regard, except the perfume that once resided in the middle, available for all occasions, now hidden behind her morning rituals, often forgotten.

Taking one last look at herself in the mirror, she stood, the small cushioned bench where she sat, stuttered against the cold floor. Walking across the bedroom, she entered the adjoining room to run herself a warm bath. The rush of water into the tub roared through the silence and she closed the door, leaving just a crack so the heat did not become overwhelming. Her robe slipped to the floor, without a sound.

In the mirror, a figure moved across the room to the dressing table. Reaching through the silvery surface, a well manicured hand retrieved a bottle of perfume. Taking it back into the mirror, a woman, nearly an exact replica of the one now relaxing in the bath, admired herself, smoothing a long flowing evening gown with her free hand. Jewels sparkled at her ears, only accenting, not taking away from, her beauty.

Unscrewing the top to the perfume bottle, she wet her finger with scent. Spicy and dangerous. One dab behind each ear, she then ran a line down her collarbone. Resealing the bottle, she reached again into the cold reality of the lonely woman on the other side of the mirror, placing it in the middle of the dressing table. A reminder to not always accept what looks back at you in the mirror, then passed, once more, out of the reflection.

A shiver rippled across Julia's back as she felt his move from the bed. Rolling over, she watched as Robert disappeared into the bathroom of her one bedroom apartment and close the door behind him. She did not love him, but he had the fattest wallet she had ever seen and for a taste of that, she could handle a little Friday night intimacy with a man twenty years her senior.

She was just about to drift off to sleep when the shattering of glass brought her full away. Tearing the sheets from her body she dashed to the bathroom door, screaming his name. Opening the door, she saw large shards of the mirror laying in the basin of the porcelain sink. Small slivers sprinkled the floor. The room was otherwise empty, and Robert was gone.

He had never come back into the bedroom, and there was window or other way out of the bathroom. She began to sweat, as a wave of fear washed over her. Confused she grabbed her phone from the nightstand, and struggled to dial his number. Happy tones rang from within the pile of his clothes, still by the bed. The scent of a strange perfume rolled out of the bathroom.

Grabbing the pile of Robert's clothes, Julia dumped them in the trash, deciding then and there she really did not want to know what happened to Robert. She just needed to get away from the noxious smell.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

55 - oh, my star & doughnuts

the great creator
plucked a star
from the ether
to set aside,
not on some shelf
to gather dust
next to last years
bestseller or some
forgotten knick knack
but a special place
awaiting the day
she would set
in my sky
warming all my horizons
in a luminous autumn glow...
happy birthday my love!

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

Yeah, it's T's birthday tomorrow...tonight I will build a cake out of Krispy Kreme doughnuts...I did name a star after her once...that way I can look up and see her, where ever I am...smiles.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

my pen, my sword

this is a tale of
unrequited love
& a girl trapped
in the body of
a lonely woman
waiting for the
phone to, jingle
because her husband
paid scant attention
& the kids were
growing & busy
she was so lonely
waiting for the
phone to, jingle
so she went online
and tried to find
love in the blog of
a handsome young poet
who was married, while she
waited for the
phone to, jingle
the more he ignored
she became more daring
commenting & emails
making unsolicited
advances, even after 'no'
waiting on the
phone to, jingle
until one day he
called her out, but
did not share her name
as long as she agreed
to stay away
waiting on the
phone to, jingle
then just last week
she got bold enough
to leave a comment
innocent enough
but still a violation
waiting on the
phone to, jingle
so he wrote a little
poem to remind her
& hoped she would
read and just
go away again &
wait for her
phone to, jingle...

thank you to those of you that really encouraged me the last couple days. i was close to calling it quits, but you gave me strength.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

desensitized, we

they sell Hannibal Lecter two pack dvds,
on the discount rack,
& we can't get enough
fava beans, fava beans,
where is my chianti?

a woman walks into a room
fingering the clasps of her shirt
when the killer's music starts.
the shirt is white
to make the red blood pop
like buttons
killer pops the button
to give us a money shot
before he kills her.

ho hum
hum drum
desensitized, we
know what's coming

a starving child
walks a mile
to fetch a pail of water
on his way, falls down,
far from town,
no one whats to know the after.
fava beans,

out of sight, out of my mind,
it may seem, like a long way,
away, but all you
have to do
is open your eyes, to see
what's missed by,
desensitized, we.

One Shot Wednesday is a place where we gather to speak poetry. It's pretty simple, and doesn't even need to go write a poem, and come join us. The fun begins at 5pm, EST.

Monday, September 20, 2010

where is justice?

behind the cancer center, there is a garden, where i go on breaks during the training. we are learning to put communities back together---restorative justice---after something tragic has occurred.

an older gentleman sits small, in the spacious lobby, concerned, "what time the doctor will see me today?"

we watch a video of six college students that burned down a wood bridge, hundreds of years old, in their town. it was late, they had been out, they were not thinking, gasoline spilling between the cracks as they lit the match. firemen tried to save it, all that was left was cinders bobbing in the creek.

a white clad nurse kneels, next to the old man, comforting him, as he gazes out the window.

people were angry, regardless of their age...who would do this? who would do this? letters to the editor screamed for justice from the page, lock them away, lock them away. punish them for what they have done.

through the glass doors, the garden waits, some couples sit in rocking chairs, by a stream burbling down rocks and waterfalls, built between trees, finding serenity for where they find themselves; some sick, others there to care.

they brought the boys together with the town to hear the emotions, to hear their stories on what that bridge meant to them, how they were feeling and the victims got to speak their peace, and hear the shame crawl across the boys faces. pain got a voice, beyond the evidence.

questions sit heavy on the shoulders of the families as they rock and i stand under the same sun with them and wish i could give them a voice as well. as they did to those hurt by the bridge burning, give them justice. i wish i could help them find answers to bring their communities back together, as they did with the six boys in the video.

where is justice in a disease, that kills indiscriminately?

there are stories to tell, there are stories to hear, and emotions that can not be mopped up, but felt. in this we can be a community, when we do not have the answers.

my break is over and they are waving me back in...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

21st century pin up girl

she carries
a pocket
full of love letters,
unsent, pistol
in fist in case
there's opportunity
for delivery


strokes her cat
in satisfaction,
only she can bring.

What can you say in 160 characters? Say and go tell Monkey Man.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Magpie Tales: The Hourglass

Tracing a creased finger along the lower bulb of the hourglass, she watches sparkling sand trickle in an unbroken line, counting the time. It would not be long now, perhaps only a few hours remained, but she had no regrets at her decision. Hourglass in hand, she sits in the rocking chair by the crib, watching the gentle rise and fall of the baby's chest, measuring the progress of the sand through her fingers.

Barbara went to University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, to receive her degree in Studio Art. She was seldom found without a paint brush in her hand growing up and that love had only deepened as she matured. While most of her artwork was what many would consider abstract, her inspiration came from the community she found herself in. Often she would sit at a table outside the coffee shop on University Avenue and watch life unfold around her.

Inspired by a dog leading its master down the sidewalk she began sketching on a pad she carried with her and never noticed the man slide into the adjacent seat at her table until he placed a package on the table. Her pencil jinked at the slight movement of the table, and she looked up, gasping when she found herself no longer alone.

"Can I help you?" she inquired, giving her eyes time to take in the man she had never seen before.

He had a thin face, with pencil thin lips, salt and pepper hair that hung to the points of his jawbone, but it was his auburn eyes that took her. He was middle aged, probably in his thirties, but there was something ancient in his eyes. Crossing on leg over another, he tapped a long finger on the brown, non-descript box.

"I know we have never met, but I have something for you," he replied, in a refined voice.

Before she could respond, he continued, "You can not open it, but you will want to keep it safe for when the time comes that you need it. You will marry a man the year after you graduate and try unsuccessfully to have children for many years. Finally you will become pregnant, but you will lose the child during birth. You can avoid this by opening this box, the night you go to the hospital."

The sudden burst of information that the man could have no way of knowing sent Barbara's head spinning. Raw emotions she had never felt over the loss of a child twisted in her stomach and she blinked to ease the pain. Opening her eyes, she found herself alone at the table. Looking around frantically, she saw many people walking but, slipping into shops, talking, but the peculiar man was no where in sight.

Rubbing her face with her hands, she thought she must have been concentrating too hard on the picture and nodded off to sleep and a weird dream. Then her eyes settled on the box that sat just beyond the head of her sketch pad on the table.

For weeks, Barbara was skittish around others, always looking around corners and in shadows, looking to see if the man was still following her. She kept the box at her apartment, under her bed, too afraid to open it and even more so to discard it. If the man's words held truth, she had a way to avoid the death of an innocent, of her baby, when the time came. Doubt crept in though, as her social life was dismal, as her focus was on her studies.

She met James at an exhibition of the student's artwork. He was just another in a long line of those that came to appreciate the show, but she found herself drawn into conversation with him during a lull in the crowd. Before the night was over, they exchanged phone numbers and made plans to have lunch the following day.

It did not take long for Barbara to fall in love with James and the remaining two years of their education, they were inseparable. Their senior year, James had got down on his knee outside the same building where they had met and asked her hand in marriage. She said yes, having forgotten by this time, the predictions the man had made.

Their marriage was like many others, the first couple years, struggling to get off the ground as they found jobs and entered a life of their own. In many ways it was sustained by youthful vigor. They tried for years to have children, even trying infertility treatments and when they were just about to accept that they would not be blessed with children, Barbara became pregnant.

Tears streamed down her face, relief flooding her body as she looked a the two line on the pregnancy test. Her heart jumped as she raced to find the phone to call James. Unable to locate it in the kitchen, she returned to their room, thinking she might have left her cell phone in the jeans she wore the day before. Opening the closet, she spied a brown box she had not seen in years. The pregnancy test slipped through her fingers, clattering on the floor.

James found her draped across the bed when he came from work. Thinking she was taking a nap, he was slipping out the door of their bedroom when he saw test stick by the closet. Retrieving it he could not help but let out an excited yell. Barbara stirred on the bed and he took her in his arms, elation spilling out of his mouth, but she heard none of it, only stared over his shoulder at the box peeking from within the closet.

For as much difficulty as they had in conceiving, Barbara's pregnancy was fairly routine. They were busy, preparing the house, converting a spare bedroom into a nursery. She kept the secrets of the box to herself, trying to put it out of her mind. Every time she had forgotten about it though, the box would turn up, on the kitchen counter, the passenger seat of her car, on her pillow. She thought to ask James if he was the one that was moving it about but was afraid then she would have to explain it to him. Everything was going so well, the doctors had confirmed the baby was healthy, so she kept returning the box in the back of her closet.

The baby's due date came and went, which the doctor's said was not necessarily unexpected with a first child, so they set a date for inducing labor if the baby did not come on it's own. That morning, as James went to take his shower, Barbara slipped into their room to retrieve the box. She thought reaching it in the back of the closet would be difficult with her swollen belly, but she found the box sitting neatly on their bed.

Making sure the water was running, she ran a fingernail underneath the end flap and let the contents spill on the bed cover; and envelope and an hourglass. Tearing open the envelope, she retrieved a small card that read:

Congratulations on the new life you carry within you. If you would like for him to live, take the hourglass out of the tube in which it is sealed. When you do the sand will begin to move and it run out, our transaction will be complete. A life for a life.

She sat staring at the note, trembling at what was being offered. Was it her life that would be taken? James? Was she willing to trade one for the other? She felt a soft kick at the side of her belly, her baby, and when she heard the the water of James' shower stop she quickly unstopped the tube, sliding the hourglass into her hand, watching the sand fall for the first time. She placed it on her bedside table and disposed of the card and the box.

Jacob was born that evening and was instantly adored by his parents. He nuzzled against Barbara's chest settling into sleep as she counted the ten pink fingers. Childbirth was relatively easy on Barbara, no complications, and they came home from the hospital a few days later and life settled into an uncomfortable rhythm of feeding and changing him.

One morning, after James had returned to work from his two week paternity leave, Barbara noticed, while putting on her make up, the first grey hair. She plucked it quickly, so as not to encourage others and tossed it in the garbage. When others started to appear by the afternoon, her first thought was of the hourglass. Running to their room, heart stammering, she found it laying on her pillow, nearly half the sand gone.

Angry, she threw the hourglass across the room, expecting it to shatter against the wall. As she watched it fly through the air, fear gripped her inner most parts, that it just might. It thunked hollow against the wall and fell. She rushed to retrieve it, stopping just short, to watch as sand continued to pour, defying gravity, in the upside down hourglass. Only now it was pouring faster.

Grabbing it she turned it over in her hands, but the pace was not abated. Tingling tightness filled her face and she ran once more to the mirror in the bathroom. She stared in disbelief as crevices crawled from the corners of her mouth and eyes, her cheeks sagged, then hollowed like flat balloons. Her lips curled back and her hair stood shock white. She aged forty years in a matter of minutes.

From his crib, Jacob began to cry, in piercing wails. Everything was moving too fast. Barbara's bones ached as she limped to his room, each step a labor of pain. Her body was betraying her. Placing her hand on his back, he squirmed then stilled. Her hand was little more than bone draped in skin. In her other hand she held the hourglass and sat in the rocking chair to look at it and see how much time she had left.

It is almost over, her body feels like a husk. James will be home soon, she thinks, wishing she had the energy to find the phone and speak to him one last time. She wonders what he will think, finding her here, a leaf whithered in the fall, watching over their child. Jacob, their beautiful auburn eyed child. She has no regrets, as she watches the last grains of sand slip through the hole.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

55 - flower pot

i super glue
my fingers to each other
putting the flower pot
back together
you found
in the dirt & weeds

it's just shards
but you want it,
you see it
for what is was &
can be...

chipped & pitted,
certainly blemished
they will hold
life once more...

this flower pot,
these hands.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

finding heaven

standing at the head of the concrete stairs, we look down at the lonely playground. he fidgets, running a finger in the tender skin beneath his eye. i can see the desire churning inside him before he even speaks.

we can go down. i say.

yellow white teach catch the sun and he does a little dance, as we make our way around the apartment building on an easier descent. two teens pause briefly in their exchange, between the cars, to watch us. i am lint on a coat, in this neighborhood.

barely containing himself, he bounces and jiggles, until we arrive and the fun begins. he points at what he wants to do, this cripple wheel chaired boy, and i do it.

hang upside down...and i do.

slide...and i do.

swing...and i do, and with each pull to bring me higher, he sways, feeling the breeze on his face as if it is he...

go round and round on the, why don't you.

he looks at me in confusion and disbelief and freedom rings in the pop of the clasp of the belt that holds him into that seat. sliding him in place, i get behind and hold him in...and push...and push...until our worlds spin...and he does not need legs...or more than one fly.

i cry, blaming the wind, while he smiles wide, on a day neither of us will soon forget.

not even those gang bangers that watch us still.

because we touched heaven today.

written for Imperfect Prose

and One Shot Wednesday is still kicking it live, so write a poem and stop by.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ballad of the champion

i became the college football champion,
on Playstation, (Xbox, or
whatever your flavor)
in just one week,

& my family asks,
hi, who are you?
do you remember me?

i guess
its just a question
of priority...

oh look, i just ran
another touchdown in
of course that is the only way
i ever score these days
winner, winner
i got no chicken dinner
eating spam out of a can
but don't you know,
i am the man, cause
nothing says love
like lee corso
giving commentary
on how good i am...

i am...

i am the college football champion
on Playstation (Xbox or
whatever your flavor)...

hey where did everybody go?
kids? honey?
not even a note

...i guess
it's just a question
of priority

I have been in a quirky mood the last week or so. This is a kinda tongue in cheek look at how we can get our priorities out of whack pretty easily, on things that don't really matter all that much.

Do you One Shot? Why not? One Shot Wednesday opens at 5 pm today. Write a poem and come join us.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

i lost my t-shirt

i lost my John Lennon t-shirt in it in New York on the art tour...promoting world peace or something like that...& had paintings by him or Yoko or some guy names they could sell more had a green stain...(bet you thought i would say whirled pees) something they would feed us in cafeterias or classrooms...before starbucks and other brand names were served...& mystery meat was still alive...i found this out when i went back to students about finding a job...before i lost mine and spent the last 18 months working part time...when i thought i knew something...but i still did not find my shirt...after all these years...i'd just buy another but figure...the money would fund the right make sure they kept their promise to build bigger guns...because facing down the barrel you find peace...their PR guys really need a slogan like 'pieces for peace'...and bumper stickers...we could slap on poles & we could see it until we believe it...& t-shirts...& if they did not sell we could give them to goodwill...or use them as body's not that i am cynical...really...i just lost a t-shirt...that really did not make me feel any better...about people dying...while i do nothing...except wear it...because who doesn't want world peace...and as hip as drinking grande lattes...does that make me an accessory?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

my 9/11

Knuckles whiten with each shudder of the airplane, as it knifes through the sky, descending rapidly. Snatches of the pilot's announcement are heard above the din of concerned conversation, "told to put down...Atlanta...." We are supposed to be heading to Florida, why are we stopping in Atlanta, and why so fast?

We waste no time taxiing to a gate, planes are lining up to land, one after another. No answers are offered as we are asked to disembark. Stepping into the terminal, everyone is staring at the television. Following their gaze I watch as a plane flies into the side of a very large building. now I am standing and watching in silence like everyone else. towers fall and the screen goes black, all of the screens in the terminal are black.

Fumbling my cell phone out of my pocket, I try to call my wife, but the call will not go through. People keep pouring out of terminal doors, crowding the halls, all the chairs are quickly taken and people begin slumping against walls, in small groups, trying to get word to loved ones, to find out what is happening outside of the airport. When anyone gets through, word is quickly passed, some true, some exaggerated (as we would find out later), all of it scary.

Baggage begins to back up on conveyors, so several of us begin stacking it in endless piles, strangers bonded together by something to do, something to feel like we are helping, and not helpless and stuck on the island that the airport has become. Someone says the pentagon has been hit, somewhere in Pennsylvania as well. Luggage keeps coming, we keep stacking.

Taking a break, we gather together, eating chicken sandwiches, someone got from one of the stores in the terminal. Police are setting barricades outside the glass doors. There are bodies everywhere, some crying, some sleeping, some praying, many just staring through empty eyes. What does this mean? What is happening? How many are dead? Did I know any of them? Questions, all we have is questions. It has been hours since we were put down here, since we were cut off from the outside world.

My phone rings, my secretary somehow gets through, she has a car waiting for me at one of the rental companies, a hotel room an hour away in Columbus, GA. She will call my wife and let her know I am okay. I still have no luggage, and figure I will stop at a Walmart. Receiving the keys to the rental car, I make my way back through the lobby, asking my new friends if any of them are heading the same direction, saying goodbye.

As I am about to walk out into the evening, the nose of my green suitcase pokes up the conveyor from below, and I smile at small graces. There are tanks in the streets, fear thick in the air. In just a few hours, everything has changed.

I finally speak to my wife and we cry together, in relief, for what has been lost, for those that have been lost. Reaching the hotel, I lay on the bed with the television on, listening to news and press conferences, and somehow find sleep, not knowing what tomorrow may bring.

I wrote something similar a couple years ago, some of you may remember it. It is a day, I will never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

magpie tales: Woman in the Window

Through the window, she watches the world awaken. Darkness that once blanketed the world peels back, the lemon yellow head of the sun peaks between the trees, checking to see if it was okay to get out of bed. Birds respond, spinning from their nests to scour the dew damp grass for a tasty morsel. She can not hear them, this side of the window, but she imagines their banter, like mothers at the grocery store, updating each other on their young, in their throaty song.

A neighbor exits his house, briefcase and trash bag in one hand, coffee and a donut precariously held in another. He wobbles a bit, but lets the bag slip to the curb, spinning to make sure he does not spill as the weight evens out. She squints as the taillights on his car flare red in the semi dark dawn, then he is gone.

Between the bushes, a shaggy dog pokes his nose into her yard, then pushes through, the damp leaves matting its fur. Giving a shake, he sprinkle the grass, then squats to leave a steaming pile of excrement. Finished he sniffs around until satisfied, then makes his way home. His owners will feign obliviousness, pleased that their own yard is clean.

Cars begin passing in more regular intervals, doors opening, people moving, rushing into whatever the day has in store for them. Boys and girls, laden with backpacks bigger than themselves, mingle in a group, in the driveway two doors down. Laughter fills their face as they chide one another. She watches all of this, behind the glass, until the world regains its stillness.

How long has it been?, the voice in her head asks, as it does every morning, knowing there will be no response. The truth hurts too much to embrace. She turns her back on the world, that first turned away from her, making her way slowly up the stairs to her room. Tomorrow, she will return to window, if nothing else to remind herself she is not alone.

On the landing, she pauses to catch her breath and run a finger down a picture of her family. The smiles on their faces tell her they are happy. At least they were last Christmas when the picture was taken, she thinks. The grandchildren are getting big and soon enough they will have families to keep them busy. It is not that they don't love her, they are just busy.

Continuing into her room, she lays on the bed, letting her bones settle into semi comfort with a sigh. Pulling a blanket across her body, to fight the chill, she starts to drift off to sleep when the crash of breaking glass shatters the silence, followed by the tinkling of shards hitting the floor. A hurricane of sound commences as furniture creeches, bucking against shoves, things fall in dull thumps, voices shout angry direction.

Heart stammering, she pushes herself weakly into a sitting position, heavy booted feet pound the same stairs she had ascended. Rounding the door frame, two men, heads hooded, except for their eys, stop, surprised to see someone actually lives there. No one moves, for a breath, each measuring the other's intentions.

A hard click echoes off the walls as her frail thumb drives back the hammer of a Remington pistol, that was once her husband's, and giving her best grandmotherly smile, she speaks for the first time in months to another person,"I just wanted to say how thankful I am that someone finally came to see me."

Silence lies broken, once more.

This is a 10DOM Magpie Tale.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

55 - eating jello bareback

i was writing you
a love poem
about stallions &
riding bareback
but feared
it was getting crass
so i thought of jello
though none
want to think
of love as soft & jiggly
but one day
if we are &
i, a bit crass,
we can still
ride horses together
as the sun sets.

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the world keeps spinning

there is an indian woman
walking down the side of the road
full flowing gown and head dress
but i can see her eyes,
that's how i know, and
she's talking on the phone,
animated, giving it to the other party
and i wonder what she will do
when she sees the dead dog
in the ditch, head turned
over his shoulder, looking back,
perhaps to see who hit him
but that unsuspecting woman is
home, embroiled in strife
for taking a life, already in distress
for putting her kids on the bus
this morning, but they will be okay,
their teacher is playing games
so they can learn each others names
when johnny stands up and asks
in his loud outside voice to go to
the bathroom, but he really just
wants to get out of class and sneak
a peek at whats for lunch
on the pink flier taped on the wall
by the door to the cafeteria
and maybe get a smile from Mrs Morris
the lunch lady, but she is outside
on the stoop sucking in the last
little bit of her cigarette,
before the rush and
laughing at the custodian trying
to get off the phone with his wife
an indian lady walking down the
side of the road, surprised to see
a dead dog and i am still stuck in
traffic, trying to get home,
when she turns, looks me right
in the eyes and smiles, for
no apparent reason, at all,
other than we are all human.

Written for Imperfect Prose and Theme Thursday.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


dj shock is in da house, yo!
whicky, whicky...

...the boom bop beat
went straight to our veins
from the turntable to our ears,
wild horses racing round
the chambers of our hearts,
boom bop de boom boom bop

we were gods,
immortal, immoral,
our solo cup fist raised
to Bacchus, and the rafters
of that basement
bah de bah boom bop
all fun and games
until someone dies
and they did---
boom ski de bop bop

slumped in the corner
drool dripping in
ooey gooey lines from
his lip to his shirt
boom bop de bop
party surrounding
him, unknowing
until the keg sighed
dry of dregs...
(record scratch---white noise)

shlup, shlup, shlup
flip flops stinking
on the floor from spills
they pealed those rigored lids
and saw no soul, sitting
in a puddle of piss and beer,
"the day the music died.
we'll be singin', bye bye...."

When I was in college, we used to have live music or a dj every Friday night. Our house would be packed. The year after I graduated, they threw a party and let someone through the door that was already too far gone. He found a corner and died, from alcohol poisoning, and they found him when they were cleaning up.

One Shot Wednesday, write a poem and come join us. Gates open at 5 pm.

Monday, September 6, 2010

cold mornings

there are mornings, when i wake, before the light crests the mountains to chase the shadows back into hiding, behind trees and such, behind us, that i am afraid to roll over and look for you in bed next to me.

somewhere in the night we separated and a chill crawled onto my back where your body once threatened to consume me in it s fire. shivering, i reach for memories to wrap round me like a woolly blanket, kindling to coax the fire back from the ashes.

nervous tears spilling the day you left the pregnancy test on the sink to let me know we were having a child...clinging to each other, whispering prayers in each others ears, when the bee stung you, waiting to see if we would have to give you the shot and rush to the hospital...sitting outside a cafe, sipping coffee, sun catching in your hair, like spun gold...i tear these pages out and ball them up in loose orbs, pushing them against dead coals, hoping for a spark.

the worse part are the dreams yet fulfilled, promises still unkept, sometimes these images are even more vivid, as we painted them together. watching our sons grow into men, seeing there first blush of love, standing on the banks of the seine as the stars twinkle on its surface in your arms. these are the breath i blow, sifting for one tiny bit of orange heat.

has all of this been a dream, from which i am now just awakening, never to happen? a joke that i am only now deciphering the punch line? this is when i hold my breathe and roll over, to find you sleeping peacefully and i am reassured that this is my reality. i pull near to you and in your warmth, slip back to sleep, resting once more, before i wake to my dreams.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

160 - narcissus building sandcastles

like pharoahs,
we build monuments
to our life,
so we will be remembered,
after death,
by those
we made carry
the stones
on their backs.

though only briefly.

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

Friday, September 3, 2010

apples 2 apples

the silent darkness of the room is broken only by the orange pool created by a lamp on the nightstand. spread across the bed on her back, she lay vulnerable, arms akimbo by the halo of blond hair surrounding her head. she is wrapped in a crimson dress, slit riding high on her thigh, exposing a contrast of tender pale skin.

on the nightstand, Vanity Fair, left open, ready to be read, topped by an apple. one bite missing, the flesh of the fruit slightly browning around the teeth torn edges of the void. slight moisture still clings to her lips from their kiss.

he stands in the shadows, by the only window, cool air leaking around the drawn shade, tickling the hair on his neck. he admires her still form. her fingertips delicate, except one jagged nail, he smiles at the memory.

circling the bed, he takes her in, with his eyes, tongue dampening his lips. his fingers work the buttons of his shirt, which he folds neatly, placing it on the chest at the end of the bed. he takes his time removing all that he is wearing, until it forms a neat pile. this is important.

she has not moved, not that she can, lost in some dream at this point. this is where he will find her, when the time is right. standing over her, he grasps the apple, working his eyes around it's circumference, noticing the blemishes. bringing it to his mouth he feels its firmness against his teeth before it gives way, juices spilling over his lips.

he looks a her while reducing the apple to little more than a core, which makes a soft thump at the bottom of the plastic bag in the trashcan. he will take that out later, before the flies arrive.

closing the magazine, he turns the knob on the lamp, rewarded by a soft click and darkness. the darkness is his friend. leaning across her, he inhales the spiciness of her scent. he pauses, just to breathe her, then lets his weight slowly melt into her.

"mmm...," she dances at the edge of dream and reality, unsure which way to scramble. with a sharp inhalation of breath, she surfaces, realising where she is, what is about to happen.

"i was having the best dream," she sighs.

"me too."

silence lies broken in the apple scented air between them...

This is a 10DOM Magpie Tale.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

55 - butterflies causing tornados

plip plip plop
we skip
plip plip plip plop
across the
smooth surface
plip plip plop
sending ripples
of our
plip plip plip plop
ever reaching
plip plip plop
on the
gentle roll
plip plip plip plop
touching banks
plip plip plop
we may never
plip plip plip plip plop.

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

the boy who couldn't

i am a mess. i am a mess waiting to happen, contained inside a box, waiting for some unsuspecting person to stumble upon me, so i can spring out and yell gotcha as i drip down the front of their bleach white shirt. i am that mess.

on thursday, i made monsters. little monsters, all running around , howling and screeching, with fingers gooey from finger paint and little multicolor construction paper bits stuck in their hair and ears. i do art with second graders, on thursdays, and we were monsters, creating monsters, because creating is vital to our very existence.

each one got a piece of the body to make, to shape, to create & then putting them all together we would have our glorious monster, complete even with sound effects, as terrence, one wild little monster, was pulling his cheeks and his lips making wet smacking noises, so i could not even look at him without laughing, afraid he would pull them back over his head, at one point.

jenny's arm was three sizes bigger than tommy's leg, and it seems we ended up with too many heads, so they put one on his butt in case he needed to see behind. there were tentacles and wings and long pointed fingers and one little boy created all kinda confetti to speckle him with, if only art had not been cut to 25 minutes due to budgetary constraints and potholes needing filling in the governor's gated private subdivision.

then there was one, the boy that couldn't, that sat all quiet, back straight upright, prim and proper, but nothing he made, just sat and so i asked and he said, "i am not allowed to make a mess." no finger paints, never smashed a mud pie between his fingers, i was astounded. he had to stay clean and neat, as a hospital cornered sheet. i could just see him sitting in the middle of a room, afraid to breathe.

i wanted to grab him right there and a big box of broken crayolas and draw on the walls of the school like 64 color art vigilantes. we would write in big block letters, "YOU WILL NOT HOLD US UMBER!," because that would get the attention, at least, of the poor custodian, who gets paid far too little to be scraping up that peppermint scented saw dust they put on vomit and doodles.

how sad to never be a mess, to never create, for when you steal that, you steal a little of divinity, because cleanliness is further from godliness than you would ever believe. instead, i helped him cut out a wing, so our monster could learn how to fly away from misguided ideologies masquerading as theology and, as they walked out the door, i gave him a wink and whispered...

"fly, monster, fly."

they really should have vetted me better, before they turned me loose on these wonderful monsters. oh yes, i am a mess.