Monday, September 19, 2011

Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday

A happy face with sad eyes, she sat on a regal cushion, purple and gold, well worn but not abused. We could not walk further, even though our parents chided us and eventually they wandered off to look at the next booth or purchase an elephant ear to entice us, but we took root.

She never spoke, but told us our life stories through the notes of her flute, reading them like tea leaves in the dregs of our inmost parts. She was sex, before we really understood it, beyond the magazines hidden on the shelf beneath the next to last white towel in my uncle's bathroom.

Long fingered, she danced them up and down the wooden length and before her snakes grew in size and obeyed each unspoken command as if their lives depended on it. When she stopped, they coiled limp in the bottom of a wicker basket awaiting her following breath.

On break, she sat silent, selling nothing, but taking everything, without ever having to fondle a purse strap. Money collected in a little cup, as she unsheathed a tapered blade and stripped a pear, its skin dangling in one long spiral.

Cubing the flesh, she gave a piece to each in the huddled mass and with her free hand bid us eat, so we would never forget. It melted on our tongues sticky as honey and sweeter than anything I have since eaten. My parents found me then, taking my arm and leading me away, home.

Stealing back to the fair the following day, the grass lay pressed to the earth, but only bits of trash, tucked here and there by the wind, riddled the place she had sat. Hints of her song, clinged to the cool breeze.

That Sunday, Pastor pulled out the fire and brimstone, teaching from Nehemiah on guarding the gates. As we left, he stood by the door shaking hands with a smile on his face, but his sad eyes told me, he, too, knew, and wished it had been grace.

Written for Magpie Tales.

68 comments:

David Allen Waters said...

Oh my friend, you pack so much heat, truth and fire into these lines...one is left with longing...so very very well done man :)

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

Beautiful descriptions :) It all just went with the flow.. like a flute playing :)

Sue said...

I missed looking at the illustration from Magpie Tales, Brian. Not that you needed it.

You drew this one very clearly.

=)

ladyfi said...

It sounds very much like grace... Wonderful writing.

The Bug said...

Tired eyes, forbidden fruit, grace - excellent stuff!

Pat Hatt said...

You sure add depth with each line as it progressed, delving further and further into her fluteiness. Even beat those magazines, that takes skill..haha

ds said...

Oh, the detail, the yearning, the possibility! Wonderful wonderful tale. Thank you.
I'm with ladyfi, there is grace in the story. And such grace in your words.

She Writes said...

Indeed, I know he wished for that.

Heaven said...

I like the contrast in your lines.."happy with sad eyes", "never spoke but told us our life story through the notes o her flute".

I also like the image of cubing the pear, its sweet taste...knowledge is such a potent and heady thing ~

great ending lines (specially the final word :-) as well ~

Daniel said...

Brian - some wonderfully spirited and moving writing here. Loved the imagery and the tapestry woven.

hedgewitch said...

Charming the snakes has its own perils and delights--evocative, faintly eerie and haunting images in this, the borderland world of adolescence, the hellfire at the end--good stuff (and a very creative take on the prompt.)

Helen said...

Your piece is as mesmerizing as the flute music ...

Monkey Man said...

You run the gambit of verbal visuals.

sharmishtha said...

what a wonderful way of describing, bringing the scene to life. fabulous brian.

Claudia said...

just overwhelmed by the emotions in this and not able to write an intelligent comment - even if this fine writing would deserve an intelligent comment...so i just say...i'm touched

Pat said...

You can sure spin a yarn, my friend. I could hear that flute and taste the sweetness of that pear on my tongue!

ayala said...

This is just amazing, Brian. I love it...such emotion running through it...the descriptions-great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JennyMac said...

Beautiful...as always Brian. SO talented.

Teri said...

The truth comes from such unexpected places sometimes, doesn't it!!! I am a firm believer that you don't have to be "in church" to see that.

Evelyn said...

These last couple of posts, wow...
Cant keep up, you post so much.

johnallenrichter said...

OK.... wow! This just simply took me into another world: yours...! And I loved being there! You totally took me into every sentence, every scenario that you painted so incredibly beautifully.... I could actually visulaize the lines on this womans face, and her hair a conglomeration of a thousand others I'v seen before... the pear spinning under the knife, your parent's concern when they found you... I want more! The despair eturning the next day and finding nothing but crushed grass and memories of her..... Never mind what you found there, the emotion going through this kid causing this kid to want to return there is enough to top the charts! It says a thousand things without saying anything... Powerful! And, ahem, you knew your uncle pretty well, huh? :)

LadyCat said...

"You can't hide those lying eyes"...the Eagles, I believe...so true.

lori said...

I really like the whole mystical quality you have going on here, and my favorite parts were the 5th and 7th paragraphs. As always, I could visualize the scene perfectly, so wonderful job on the details :)

ninotaziz said...

Thank you, Brian, the teller of life's stories...

Ad the emotions, always the emotions, must shine through.

Colleen said...

You have a way of seeing things people usually don't and capturing them in your words.

Stafford Ray said...

What a wonder-full moment! The idea of sharing the pear to cement the event into memory is brilliant.
But, "his sad eyes told me, he, too, knew, and wished it had been grace" is such an expose of reality it jolted. I too wonder what religious professionals really think.

Heather said...

wonderful descrption here....:)

Selina Kingston said...

You see, I sometimes entertain the idea that I can write and then I read your work and realise YOU are a true writer .... and I should stick to the day job !!

Syd said...

I used to be fascinated by the carnies and fair people. I yearned to leave my little town and roam with them. I somehow am glad that I took root where I was and left when I could understood what leaving meant.

Fred said...

Wonderful, jam-packed detailed write. Really took us on an extremely deeply layered tapestry here. Again, as usual enjoyed the read, thanks

Laurie Kolp said...

Wow... as always, Brian.

I must have a dirty mind, but after the line that said she was sex and the description of the snakes going up and down, getting taller and going limp...

On another note, I love the pear image!

thingy said...

Oh, you are such a fabulous storyteller. Wonderful.

Tess Kincaid said...

Wonderful personification...I like the sad eyes of the pastor at the end...humanity...

happygirl said...

Snakes scare me. And so did she. I wouldn't have taken the pear. I liked the butterscotch candies my grandpa handed me in church. :)

120 Socks said...

Hmm I wasn't sure at the beginning, but them you brought me further in - great prose piece - really glad I visited.

Poetry Pastiche said...

Ha ha ha! Loved your ending. :)

And Brian, that poem was sex, or at least foreplay. I loved the little ways in which you blended innuendo without being completely overt.

This was incredible: "told us our life stories through the notes of her flute, reading them like tea leaves in the dregs of our inmost parts"

Mary said...

Quite a tale, Brian. I understand 'fire and brimstone' as well and prefer grace. Nicely written in every way.

Mijayami said...

You are a wonderful storyteller. You brought me right there to the fair with you. I don't think I would have eaten the pear, though...

Kay L. Davies said...

A storyteller is so much more than a reporter, and you are, as has already been said, a storyteller. This has all the glory of legend and all the pain of reality.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Lyn said...

The beauty of this is grace...mesmerizing..I love the stripped pear, the peel...

Vicki Lane said...

Very Ray Bradbury-esqie! Beautifully done.

The Cello Strings said...

your words take readers to a fantastic place, where everyone feels both anxious and exciting about life's offerings.

fabulous magpie.
your descriptions stand out way too cool.

Reflections said...

Your words flow like the sounds of her flute, enticing each for our tongues to slither and weave in hopes of being half the writer that you are.

drybottomgirl said...

Sooo good my friend. My oldest works with the Lions club every fair, helping keep all the booths filled with drinks. He often talks about the carnival people, their private world. How it seems so pathetic to us, but so normal, and safe to them.....

Tara Miller said...

Ok, I may be way off but I felt a heavy eerieness in this one and temptations on the part of the "snake" charmer..and the pastor's happy face but sad eyes. Was he unable to resist the temptation? Human and tempted are we all.....thankfully saved by Grace.

Margaret said...

They left the fair not as innocent as they entered... So much hinted at and it leaves one at the end dwelling on the multiple meanings of your words. This would be a fun one to discuss in a poetry group!

Steve E said...

Anyone who has never been 'charmed' at a state fair, then returned the day after, to find nothing but a scent of what had been...is missing a real life-treat.

And Brian, so masterfully you put me there--again.

And that preacher with the sad face...he will find that grace I am certain!

Christine said...

amazing ending, and the story was so vivid and live I could almost taste the pear

kkrige said...

The picture you weave is potent. I can imagine the exotic draw and you paint this siren well in her tempting ways. Nice piece Brian.

Erratic Thoughts said...

Graceful write..I especially liked the words you have used for simple actions,very powerful!

Jyoti Mishra said...

Crystal clear thoughts and well depicted in words...

Awesome read !!!

Valerie said...

She was sex, before we really understood it, beyond the magazines hidden on the shelf beneath the next to last white towel in my uncle's bathroom.

Are you sure it was the next to last white towel....grins.

I loved this Magpie tale. Wonderfully written, Brian.

adeeyoyo said...

Beautiful, just plain beautiful, Brian!

Madhulika said...

great piece of writing :)
loved the flow :)

Lorraine said...

Honey...and the Pastor,you're unbelievably talented

the walking man said...

The pastor needed a day before that included a piece or naked pear.

snowelf said...

Brian, I love to come over here and just absorb. You are ridiculously talented.

--snow

snowelf said...

p.s. now I want a pear.
;)

Isabel Doyle said...

luminous writing

Zuzana said...

All that longing in the younger years, before anything is really clear, right.;)
I always enjoy your more sensual pieces and I loved this one too, even though it is so pristine and innocent as well.;)
xoxo

Cinner said...

Brian that was beautiful, you took me right there, I could feel it. wow. smiles have a great day.

Myrna R. said...

This is packed with the sensuality, sensitivity and wisdom only you can weave into a little story.

Beautiful Brian.

haikulovesongs said...

{speechless}
{a good thing}

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Beautiful write.

Anna :o]

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Holy smokes, I hate snakes. But I love the line "She was sex, before we really understood it".

Lena said...

Step by step, deeper and deeper. This one sure draws you in....!

Magpie said...

Very "Something Wicked This Way Comes" for me...
"she sat silent, selling nothing, but taking everything,"...lovely.

Bee's Blog said...

There is an art to story telling and that is definitely one of your gifts. you conjured up pure magic.