Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Soon enough, in the days between one season and the next, we take the quilts from the closet and stretch them upon line out back. Unfolded, they groan and we take the broom to them, removing any dust collected as sleepers in their eyes during their slumber. Sun collects in their pores to keep us warm through the cold months. A breeze imbues them with a breathe of freshness we will inhale each time we wrap our bodies beneath them. We inspect the stitches for those that need tightening, preserving each patch's place in the picture.

This ritual of air-ing the quilts prepares them for the winter that is always coming.

We need this as much as the quilts.

written for Imperfect Prose.

I am being kidnapped in the morning. I don't know what I am doing or where I will be for the next two days. I do know I will be alone, except for my wife, who planned it all in secret. See you Saturday, when we are done air-ing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OpenLinkNight: Middle Age White Male

it is the repetitive compression
of the pogo stick, spring snarling
at the constraints of its cylinder
containing and harnessing its power


is this enslavement? bondage?

bra straps, need a quick release
for easy access, so i can stop using
my teeth, so said the dentist
on the last visit

what constrains us?

what do you expect, but sex
and allusion? it is all we guys think of
when not coming up with ways
to repress women, other races and
children, speaking of which, i need
to beat mine and my wife, but when
you ask why i will grunt and scratch,
maybe pass gas just to piss you off
as i assume the listening position
on the couch, and dream of my mistress,

worn out from personally installing
the glass ceiling at your corporation
it is our historical curse born of
sexist, racist, bigoted seed we
can not help ourselves from living
down to the low expectations you
in stereo, type upon us, cause we all suck,
leave the seat up on purpose and think
the skid stains on our under wear makes
great modern art when thrown on the floor

person-ally, i am glad my life is
not contained by the broad brush you paint
this middle age white male paradise.

oh wait, what was the question?
what constrains us?


small manhoods,
misguided, too many willing to settle
as references in Adele songs,

now leave me alone,
the game is on.

It is that time once again, when we open the windows and poetry flows, OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets Pub. Tonight, the incredible Tashtoo is our MC and will kick things off at 3 pm EST. See you there.

Note: For the record, I do not abuse my family, just unamused with the definition of what we consider a man these days. Much love to the man haters and males of the species that propagate there images for the rest of us. Smiles.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Magpie Tales: Wet paint (conclusion)

"Here he is now," the voice thunders across the marble floor to the door where Jason stands.

Immense, the room expands before him, lit by torches that lick hungrily at the air, casting an eerie glow on hundreds of grotesque faces contained within picture frames that burnish the walls. A lone shadow by a seating area in the center of the room, separates into two, one closing the distance to Jason, in mere heartbeats, taking his elbow as if to escort him into what awaits. He winces, arm numb, at the cold firm touch.

Golden irises cage his gaze, the face around them crawling in constant movement. Jason gasps, realizing he had been holding his breath and finding himself now in the center of the room, arm released. Shaking his head, Jason looks again into the face of his benefactor, skin smooth as marble. Maybe it was flickering flames he justifies for what his eyes could not have seen.

"Mr. Durant, this is the artist I was telling you about," Jason's benefactor gestures to a rotund man, wrapped in a three piece suit, trimmed with all the finery of luxury, "He has brought us his most recent creation."

"Most excellent," Durant's voice is a hiss, "I can not wait to see it."

The room spins, the weight of all the eyes, both real and in portraits weighing on Jason. He stumbles a bit, the handle of his portfolio biting into the flesh of his palm, and lowers himself into a leather couch. He places the portfolio on a knee high table and rubs the offended hand.

"Mr. Malphis, I am sorry, it has been a difficult morning. My apologies to you as well Mr. Durant," Jason offers, weak as if with great exertion.

Mr. Malphis, the benefactor, and his guest, Mr. Durant settle easily on the opposing couch, "Mr. Durant, Jason has been working for me for some time. All of the painting you have been admiring on the walls as of his craftsmanship. When I found him, he was a meager painters boy, dabbling in art on the side. His works really were nothing of consequence, but I saw in him a hunger."

Jason casts his eyes around the room at all he has done. Grisly faces stare back at him, souls captured in a moment of submission and weakness. They would come to him at night, on nights when sleep finally found him, and whisper their names. Each month when he visits this room, he can feel them and the final moments they spent together.

"He is revered for his ability to create paintings that seem to come to life. This is the gift that I granted him all those years ago," Mr Malphis pauses to let the promise and potential settle settle, "Each month he brings me one painting to add to my collection. As you can see they are very different from the paintings he sells to the public."

Mr. Durant's eye's twinkle as he admires the portraits around the room, the gash of his mouthing widening into an excited grin between his jowls. Jason had never met the man, actually this was the first time Mr. Malphis had ever brought any other person into this room with him. Revulsion embraces Jason, then settles as a heavy discomfort in the pit of his stomach.

"Show us," Mr. Malphis' full attention once more on Jason.

Jason peels back the flap of his portfolio, sliding the unframed canvas from within its mouth. Sarah's eyes catch his and threaten to violently disrupt the delicate balance he has found internally. They are not terrified as those in the other paintings, hers are disappointed, but mostly filled with loss of something precious. Jason is burning inside, sweat bursting across his face.

"Mr. Malphis," Jason begins, then falls silent as the canvas is no longer in his hands but being admired by the two men across the table.

"Oh, I like. This will make a fine addition to my collection. You really have brought me something fresh Jason. My, she seems to almost have genuine feeling for you. The taste of her heart breathing is intoxicating," Mr. Mathis croons, "It will receive a place of honor above the mantle."

Durant fails to restrain his own exuberance, a mongrel before a cut of steak. He rubs his hands, running a thick tongue along his think lips, waiting his turn to hold the portrait. Jason nearly doubles over with pain at the though of Durant's fingers upon her. Malphis though rises and slowly crosses the room as he continues to admire the artwork.

"No!" Jason howls, "No! Please, sir. Please, don't. Let her go!"

Turning slow, Malphis' smile threatens to engulf his face, his voice still, "You do care for her don't you."

"I...I..," Jason stammers.

"You know our deal, Jason. One a month. This is your finest work, surely you don't have a substitute?" Mathis' golden eyes move from Jason to Durant, carrying their own message.

Rain spatters the hard stone beyond the back door to building, wet grey paint covering all color, except red. Thunder cackles from above, angry lightning rippling the darkly mottled clouds.

"You will need this," an umbrella passes hands and opens from within the shadowy mouth of the door.

Shoes clap the stone, as a lone individual exits, turning left along the road. There is no intention in the direction, just somewhere to go. Nothing but questions churn within the chambers of their heart. Once far enough that the shadow of the building is no longer upon them, they stop, removing a canvas from the simple store bag in their fingers.

The portrait seems nearly alive. Striking the canvas, a raindrop runs down the face from the corner of the eye.

This is the conclusion to my three part Magpie Tale. Who is it that holds the portrait? I will leave that up to you. Smiles. Hope you enjoyed the trip. If you missed the previous chapters, they are here, Wet Paint 1 and Wet Paint 2.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

160 - Clay in your fingerprints

Strength is measured in moments.

This morning, my son and I
covered his bedroom door
in football cards

One by one, after another


(in)Significant moments.

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

Thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the storm last night.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Poetics: All Souls

Painting by Bonnie @ Original Art Studio

A blind man, eyes packed with spit
made mud and sent, out the city,
everything familiar, healed and the
first thing he sees---people.

and I am

Rowdy Roddy Piper, in
They Live, with Keith David
forced into dark sun glasses, now able
to see the unseen, what lies beyond
and beneath, both alien and strang-

i see souls, see saw souls,
shadows and light, they more than
walk among us, they are us,
none all one, see--

there's always a little light in the pitch
or vice versa, spider web cracks stitched
interstate maps to inner states and open
mouths are WMDs whistling before they
explode or spill rainbows down chins
then pool across the space between us

there is no independence, we are in this
and together---when a light winks or dims,
when a shadow lightens or deepens, we know,
our bones more attune then our senses,
yet we pursuing ourselves senseless

this is the essence, we are palletes of color
over sixty percent water, opaque and blending
borders as we re-imag-in things yet unseen
on the horizon, it's coming---

A blind man, eyes packed with spit
made mud and sent, out the city,
everything familiar, healed and the
first thing he sees---people.

Today at dVerse Poets Pub, I am hosting Poetics where we are passing out new eyes and fresh perspectives...don't miss the opportunity to see the unseen...pick up your pair and write a poem. It opens at 3 pm EST. See you there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

55 - caught in the crossfire

a sticker on the bookstore bathroom
mirror reads:

Expect Resistance
(just above the hand washing sign)

i envision scum handed employees
sticking it to the man, all the while,
unleashing germ warfare
on innocent bystanders.

fleeing, i hear,
"can i help you?"

but don't look back,
unwilling to become collateral damage
in a misguided revolution.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man. He opens it up at 8 pm tonight.

Over at dVerse today, Gay and special guest Poemblaze are writing much more eloquent poetry. It is sestina time at the poetry pub. Check them out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

3:16, in the afternoon

Many people know John, but few people see him.

He sits on the corner of Court and 8th, knowing better than trying Main. Too many others to trip over him. A few blocks down, in front of the courthouse, is not a good choice either, they keep it too clean. Yellow, creased with red fingers that carry a brown ball in the center, his eyes follow everything and nothing, bees collecting pollen to make honey.

Black roots fade to quicksilver in a snarling cloud around his head. He always wears flannel, regardless of the weather. Today it is grey and blue, with what used to be white, over industrial pants. Perhaps a uniform once, or just a good will quarter spent. He walk in holey Asics.

His fingers are long, thin tapers with cracked nails. He folds paper all day. Not the fancy paper you might find in a shop, he digs dumpsters in the cool evenings to find receipts and discarded scraps. Stuffs them in old grocery bags until they are ready to burst, then ties their handles together, a balloon bunch, he carries every morning to his corner.

To watch him is a thing of beauty, a ballerina lost in her movements. He is quick, knowing the next three steps before he takes the first. He folds and rolls each piece. Sometimes it is a box. Sometimes it is a flower. Often it is cranes. His hands redeem his findings and he leaves them in doorways and window ledges each afternoon on his way to find more.

I watch him from the chipped concrete stoop of the soup kitchen, where I sit wiping my face after lunch. Everyone has wandered off and the streets are calmly baking in the afternoon heat. A woman in a dress suit, briefcase in one hand, her kid's tiny hand in another,slowly saunter up the sidewalk. They are probably parked in one of the lots, maybe coming from the courthouse or some other business.

As they pass, the child, in her pretty little dress, stops as does he, then he holds out a paper flower. When she takes it, I hold my breath. Then, they are off, and the girl is swinging the delicate treasure by her side as she talks to her mom. Then gone. John goes right back to his bag, taking another scrap. He smooths it on the ground before him. This time it's another crane, on his way to a thousand.

Many people know John, but few people see him.

written for Imperfect Prose

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OpenLinkNight: Gilded Cages

Tonight, she is bare back, racing
the dirt track like a mare put to the whip
on the home stretch, skin taut and wet
moaning siren songs to satin sheet music,
all ooos, ahhs and oh babys, as she
stripes fleshly shoulders between ripples
hard as a chiseled Adonis where she learns
each corner as he turns her this way and that,
rolls her over fingers like found treasure,
tickling every pleasure

She’s alive, the goddess, she never
was before, wanted and adored,
named by Adam for identity, Galaxi-es
are born in ever expanding circular
waves from the center, within her

Apple peeled and cored, seed released
on moon beams, he sleeps and to his soft breathing
she finds peace, religion in a pillow as if gentle
landings were possible, slick fingers folded
she prays Dear God please---

This is the one,
This is the ONE,
Oh God, let this be the one

but she never finds her father,
looking in the eyes of strangers
and when she wakes up in the morning
and decides to read this before slipping
home to cry in the shower and tries
to scrub and scour away these known answers,
i want her...i want hear

she is loved,
even though i don't know her
she is loved,
and she ain't got to fuck
no one to prove it.

yes, you. Are. Loved.

OpenLinkNight is upon us at dVerse Poets Pub. Write a poem, grab the mic, come join us tonight. The stage is set, and MC SplitterG (Claudia) is ready to jaywalk the pub and get this party started at 3 pm EST today. See you there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Magpie Tales: Wet Paint 2

The portfolio hangs at the end of his arm, a stuck metronome, no longer marking time, as he strides purposefully down the sidewalk weaving his way through the bodies of other walkers. Each skritch his shoes make on the concrete raises the tempo of his heart, drawing him ever closer to his destination. This painting is his finest work yet, and Jason knows his benefactor will be delighted.

Cars stream the streets, stop and go, even though it is mid morning and most should be at work. This is the way of the city. Pigeons gather crumbs around trash cans marking each block. Jason increases the pace of his walking, eager to arrive. He feels the eyes of others crawl along his body. They cannot help this, he knows and chooses to ignore.

"Hey buddy," a loud voice, to his left, breaking Jason's stride and confidence in one quick strike.

An older car, carrying a driver and two passengers, sidles to the curb parallel to where Jason now stands. Their eyes grab Jason, their lips moving but he hears nothing. His thoughts stumble then fall through their smiles into memories that wait beyond in the darkness.

Growing up a painter's son was not the easiest of lives. Jason's father was a servant, chained to the whims of those that hired him. No doubt, he was one of the more talented painters in town and sought after by many of the wealthiest families. Most of those same families had children that went to the same school as Jason. While the parents had respect for his father, the children were merciless in reminding Jason of his station in life.

Jason's family was not poor, but seldom had enough money to purchase clothes that were in style. He was forced to wear second hand clothing or clothes that were purchased off the end of season sale rack. Jason was slow to mature, thin as a rail. His hair had a mind its own, going this way and that regardless of how he tried to paste it on his head.

Many days, Jason slunk home, heavy purple bruises sinking deep into his skin from the boys. He hid them from his father, not wanting ridicule at home, as well as school. The only notice he received from the girls was laughter and perhaps sympathetic looks and head shakes as he picked himself up from the floor.

Once in high school, he had received a note from Becky Smalls, the daughter of a family is father had recently worked for, repainting their dining room. She asked him to meet her by the door of the gymnasium after school. Her finger lingered on his palm as she slipped him the note. Her eyes were stars upon which his heart made a wish.  It skipped beats as he sweating as he waited in the afternoon sun for her to appear.

When the doors burst open behind him, he had no chance to fight as he was dragged backward into the darkness. The lacquered wood burned his hands when he was thrown to the floor, then the world was erased by pain as the hard soles of shoes pummeled every inch of his body. He curled into a ball which seemed to only encourage them more.

At the edge of consciousness, his body slackened and he felt rough hands strip his clothing down to his briefs. Their laughter echoed off the gym walls as they retreated, the heavy clang of the metal door slamming shut behind them was the last thing he heard.

Awakening in darkness, Jason thought he was blind. Straightening his fingers sent needles up his arms, but he forced them to his face, feeling the swollen mass of flesh. It took long moments to drag himself to his feet then find the door by fumbling along a wall until he found the door.

Leaning his weight into the metal press bar, the door swung open and bright exterior lights pierced his eyes, painfully assuring him that he was not blind. Cool evening air stung his exposed flesh and he realized his near nakedness. He crumpled to the ground, hot tears searing his battered face as he thought of the mile he would have to walk through neighborhoods to get home. It was too much. He could not handle it.

"Hey buddy," a loud voice, from the school parking lot, jolted Jason from his misery.

A car crouched on the curb, idling in a low growl of anticipation. Behind the wheel, sat a boy from his class. In the front passenger seat, the boy's girlfriend. In the shadows of the back seat, Becky Smalls did nothing to hide the pity that dripped from her visage, a boy grinning by her side. The drivers's lips moved, but Jason could not make out what they said, then the girlfriend tossed his clothes through the window to the side walk and the car squealed tires as it sped away.

Jason stares as the people in the car, a look of confusion crumples their faces. Car horns blare and a thousand voices crash like a wave into Jason's ears. He shakes his head once, then looks them in the eyes.

"Fuck off," he snarls, then turns sharply on his heel, continuing once more toward the home of his benefactor.

Six stone stairs lead to immense wooden doors, their faces worn and pitted. Jason stands at their feet, the portfolio pulling his arm, as if it knows to flee.  Jason moves the burden from his right hand to the left, flexing the fingers previously pinched, seeking circulation. Still shaking from the sudden memories, he unconsciously brings the freed hand to his face, coarse hair of a two day beard prickling his fingers.

Her scent still lingers at their tips and he breathes against them, "I am sorry Sarah."

Placing a tentative foot on the first step, he ascends to the door.

To be concluded...

Ok, I think I can wrap this up next week, based on whatever Tess has in store for us as far as a prompt. I am as anxious as you are to find out how this one ends. Smiles. If you missed the previous part to this story, you can find it here.

written for Magpie Tales.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

160 - crap in my head (turning 38)

i keep a book by the toilet
to fill waste-d time


thoughts with something sweeter
than waste-d time



i should replace
the empty roll


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

I turn 38 on Monday...seems like i just turned 37 the other day. Time just seems to go faster and faster...I have an anx not to waste any of what is left...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Abhasra's back

etched on her back are names
of men, illegible as she never knew
them, some maybe but no more than
faces but most by touch, sweat and grit in
under nail skin---young when taken
they taught her sin, one night at a time
til she knew where her freedom begins
and ends, where hands hold not in
love but slavering tongues

do you like thai food?

the joke is no longer funny when
she hears them, clink drinks and
scan the merchandise, twenty four
dollars for the night, damp from pocket
fingering---their eyes are snarling wolves
which haunt her dreams, their jaws
ever clamped on her throat too tight to scream,
long after we bought her bar bill, giving her
a place to stay, teaching new ways

it is her parents though i fear for,
who chose which child to sell,
so the rest could live.

they wear each name born between
their daughter's shoulder blades,
as prayer shawls, harvesting the fields
of the food she bought,

do you like thai food?

Today at dVerse, Victoria is using her art background to bring us a great poetry prompt for Poetics. It will go live at 3 pm EST, so come ready to write.

I am hosting Poetry Jam this week and challenged everyone to write for affect by focusing on a cause or highlight a plight that is dear to them.

For more information on how we are rescuing girls from the sex slave trade in Thailand, please see Freedom 424.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

55 - It is not...

the smell of potatoes crisping in hot grease,
lips and teeth passing through a hand-
made hamburger, the same checkered white/red
table clothes, or empty booth reflecting in silver
napkin holder, no it's

diner wall pictures of common men and women
that once ate here, gone, in black & white

that glare your lost appetite.

Tell a story in 55 words, give it a try or just read more, go see g-man. He opens it up at 8 pm tonight.

Today at dVerse, Carys is guest posting for Making the Bar: Critique & Craft where we are writing poems about big topics by focusing on something else, much like a metaphor. Mine is on lost loves and being in those old familiar places.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

present tense life sentences

The great tree on the corner of the front yard stretches, back cracking, sending a shower of dead bark and limbs to scitter-skat among the mulch at its base. An old crow laughs from its perch in a not too distant neighbor.

It is cooler here at the edge of autumn's dress. It slips over her head and descends now over her brittleness. Still the day will be hot and we'll look back on this moment, of a vapor mouthed cup of coffee to our lip, and wish for it to return.

The new kitten, still fresh from her mom, chases after her sister, elder by twelve years, dogging her steps. Swatting its nose in annoyance, she cries to the young kit, "Don't rush."

Crickets chirrup. Soft clouds troll the blue sky, mighty white whales breaching for breathe. Sun drips its slow ascent, up the hour glass. Grass needs cut, but that can wait. An ant builds its kingdom, one bit of dirt at a time.

Skin firm, flesh crisp, I eat my breakfast, apple, one small bite at a time, though I know it already browns.

Today is a Present, I'd rather unwrap with gentle touches.

written for Imperfect Prose.

OpenLinkNight remains open all day at dVerse Poets Pub, where I am hosting, so if you have not joined in with your own poetic notions, stop on by.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

OpenLinkNight: The end (of the beginning)

Somethings wrong with the world today,
Aerosmith's understatement of reality
spills through radio speakers & usually,

music balms my soul, as i dismantle
a ticking bomb, the morning paper
lays in pieces strewn across the
kitchen table in my humble home

nothing is new(s), ever tightening the noose,
hung below the limbs of the tree of truth,
rotten fruit, picked at by crows, enabling
power's abuse, conform to the new norm
or get kicked in the caboose---


the local minor league team is locked in
the cellar, looking for a way out, just
like we all are, while in the center,
color comics, Steve Sheep of Pearls
Before Swine glory, leads the flock
to the farmer, only to be abandoned when
they all hide as he speaks up for them
then gets sheered for his time a
nd inciting dis-order

along with other things you should know
the new Mecca is now in San Francisco
where they line up to touch a life size Yoda
statue as it doles secret wisdom to Force
following masses in broken phrases,
both jumbled and backwards

back to the front page, re(a)d all over again,
a politician raises her arms in a straw poll victory,
another damn attempt at rewriting history,
in the making of kings and queens, royalty
of the Washington hegemony, yeah hedge your money
but i guess her mother never read her
Three Little Pigs otherwise, she'd realize
straw houses get blown down, gone with the wind,
no matter how you spin and pass out promises
in riddles like alien jedi masters

fools no one,
yet fools, every-one
of them.

i consider re-attaching the wires,
just to watch the timer tick to zero
but why bother.

if the world ends, just leave a post it
note on the door of my dwelling,
i am sure i might find it but until then,
i'll be too busy living, or trying
to make one, this is only the end
of the beginning.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets Pub opens at 3 pm EST today! I will be hosting this afternoon and would love to extend this invitation to you...write something poetic, come hang out and read or just stop in. I look forward to seeing you there. This poem is what happens when you read the sunday paper. hahaha. ahem.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Magpie Tales: Wet Paint

Darkness succumbs to light, her eyes open slowly trying to filter the morning. The sheets wrapping her body are course on her skin, unlike the bed in her room. Reaching a hand across the mattress, she finds an already cool depression. Heart rate rising, her eyes search the room. By the window, a man sits on a wood stool in front of an easel. His hair is pulled back in a pony tail that reaches the middle of his bare back. Following the firm contours of his shoulders down the hard ridges of his spine, she realises he is naked.

She admires him, letting memories of the previous night settle in the crease of her smile. Warmth spreads through out her body, but she remains silent enjoying the moment.

When she purchased the house, Sarah knew it needed work. The previous owners for some reason, unknown to her, had painted the master bedroom olive with mustard trim. While this may work in some rooms, it gave the bedroom an odd contrast that turned her stomach. She had no one to share the decisions with, so she could dream it to whatever she desired.

It was not that she would have minded having someone to help make the decisions, even argue with before they came to compromise. She had dated several men, off and on, since leaving college five years ago. One of them, Jeff, had even lasted six months, move in together and seemed to be headed in a more serious direction, when she found a pair of lace underwear in the wash that was not hers.

"What do you expect. You are never here when I need you. When you are here, you are answering phone calls. Your life is your work Sarah," his words were an open wound that continued to ooze on lonely nights.
What made it hurt all the more was that it was true. All her relationships ended in homicide, evidence pointing a nasty finger at her job.

Growing up with a single mother, Sarah had watched her move slave away in dead end jobs just to keep food on their table. There were many nights they ate peanut butter crackers washed down with water. Her mother, when not working, tried to find men to help care for them. They were all dead beats. Many nights she lay on her bed, the grunts of their rutting creeping through the walls. Those were good nights. Others she hid her head under the pillow to block out her mother's screams or the wet sound of flesh on flesh that ended in deep purple bruises at the breakfast table.

Her mother died, Sarah's second year of community college. Sarah came home from a night class to find her in the bathroom beside an empty pill bottle. Life had become too much and Sarah determined that would never be her. She transferred to a four year college, maximizing student loans and assistance she received for children without families.

Upon graduating she began working for a large financial services company and found that she could sell money better than most. She had a way with customers, that eluded her completely in her personal life. She would not trust her stability to someone else, nor give up her successful career for something as trivial as love. She made enough to live comfortably and now own her own home, with one very ugly bedroom.

Sarah asked several of her mortgage customers about painters that had they used to fix up their homes. Mrs Florenso, who Sarah had helped purchase a ten thousand square foot home in a gated community, recommended Jason Dail.

"He is your typical house painter," Mrs. Florenso explained, "He is a real painter, who also happens to paint homes. He is not cheap, but he paints in ways that brings rooms alive."

Intrigued, Sarah called him, arranging for him to meet her at the new home and look at the room.

"Good morning," Jason's voice, thick as honey, spills over his shoulder as he remains focused on the canvas before him.

Sarah continues to watch as he adds one more touch with a brush then stands, turning to her, comfortable in his nakedness. She takes him all in, as he crosses the room, feet padding softly on the hard wood floors. He sits on the edge of the bed, raising a hand to her face in the silence.

His fingers trace the line where her hair meets her forehead, down across the ridge of her eyes, along her lips. Hardened ridges of paint, leavings of his morning, give texture as it glides along, measuring her. She never leaves his eyes.

"Come, you must see what I have been working on," gentle but firm, he pulls her from the bed, exposing her own nakedness.

Sarah follows willingly, the floor cool on the pads of her feet, raising goose flesh up the backs of her legs. Standing her in front of the canvas, Jason wraps her body, from behind, in his arms. Staring at the painting, she feels the world grow small, tightening around her. Suddenly uncomfortable, she tries to breathe but finds herself unable to force even a gasp, as darkness once more over takes the day.

To be continued....

written for Magpie Tales, and I will finish the story next monday with whatever picture prompt Willow decides to give us.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

160 - waste management

check, check, microphone,
(check the trash)

can you hear me?
(take account of what you waste)

is this thing on?
(you can't get it back)

(it hurts but...)

what can you say in 160 characters? Say it, then go see Monkey

Ideally this is a variation on a cleave poem. you can read it all together, or just what is in parenthesis, or what is not in parenthesis and it should still make sense as long as you end each with the last word. The original note in my notebook was...

what is it worth to you,
i can tell you, are you
willing to waste it, well
then not much

checking your trash,
i gotta ask,
whats left?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

my City, she

her morning breath steals thru the window,
along my neck, arousing my d-
ay too early, she purrs already, pulse
rate up & climbing, sheets damp
with sweat from warm nights,
we are gypsies, in a 10 x10 bedroom n'
to really know a city you got to sleep
with her, ply skin with your finger'n
get pas' the grit'n touch  her interior
without fear, round the next corner
a stand sells fruit, but fondle it and
you're buying, see that white mess
pigeons left, you see shit, to me its
nature art & homeless, nuance or
nuisance, they jus' people, could been me
hungry, hundreds deep for two sides
and meat, the junkies and freaks
don't wait for night, every one's an artist
even if only with their bodies
sidewalk, WALK, DONT WALK, taxi
each day she rides me til evening
when the cooling metal balcony
railing chips paint neath my grip'n
her eyes open slowly, sparklin as the
sun sets, blare-in horns & in ten thousand
voices, hear her scream
in ecstasy.
mmm...she kisses me
and i weep, for this---
my city, she
an easy lover
without many takers.
Today for Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub, Claudia is hosting and bringing us a pretty amazing prompt. Looking for some inspiration---show up at the Pub at 3 pm EST and see what she's got brewing.

Also submitted to Poetry Jam.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

55: Burn

blindfolded and bleeding, Justice lies
gang raped on shower tiles,

a communion meal, on which engorge,
taking her name in vein,

her bastard children, rioting and looting
down her legs in runnels

nail her to the scale, once held,
symbolizing their crusade.

she is the new religion, fell prey
to the fifth apocalyptic horseman,


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

Over at dVerse, Gay Cannon and special guest, , are teaching on how to write a Ghazal. Go check it out, will be working on mine tonight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lost things

There is a bowl on my dresser in which I keep lost things.

I find them in the strangest places; sidewalk cracks, road side grass ditches, parks, supermarket parking lots, under leaves or scribbling graffiti on public restroom stalls. Some are just pieces of a greater whole, others just unwanted anymore. Some forgotten. Some dropped. Most of them are just lost and seldom cast shadows.

I put them in my pocket to carry around, feeling their edges like puzzle pieces to see where they fit. They rarely fit anywhere, so at the end of the day they join the rest in the grey and red domicile of lost things.

My boys find it fascinating to dump them on the bed, a small pile we pick through. They hold them to the light looking for clues on what they might go to.

We make up stories on whom they belong to, giving them fantastical names. A spring obviously came from a low flying observational platform of scientists from some distant planet. The scientists have long necks due to gravitational differences in our astrological locations.

A button from the coat of a pirate, because the beach is only 4 hours away and he might have took a wrong turn. A ball once played with by the queen of a colony of ants. The arm of a toy soldier. A note, I have never opened. A thimble, a bent tie tack, microchip key chain, a ring, all sorts of amazing things.

Every once in a while when we are telling their stories once more to them we notice that one or more is missing. This is a reason for celebration so we serve ice cream and soda and dance until our feet hurt. All the remaining lost things line up for a parade and we bang on the bedposts to add a little music, for we like to dream that one more lost thing has found its way home again.

Theirs are our most favorite stories of all.

imperfect prose

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

OpenLinkNight: echoes in cardiac amphitheatres

i hold your voice
in the concave of my ear
stirring it slow with a spoon

scratch made, on a cold day, soup
extracting limas to get to stewed
vegetables imbued with delicious-ness

i retrieve pasta alpha bits
and arrange them in groups
on the table surface

forming your name in arcane dead languages,
pictorials chizeled on prehistoric cave walls,
chants danced to by druids in stone circles,

beltaine, beltaine, blind body braille
dots and dashes deftly decoded
x's and o's out side the constraints
of tic tac toe

spray painted on interstate underpasses,
adolescent notes passers, hand to hand, when
the teachers back is turned,  war cries to
bolster troops for an impossible push,
never minded truth, a dying man's
feeble last breath---

they bleed broth in small puddles,
a mess, i run my finger through
then suck the tip

and think of you.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets Pub - A place to share verse among friends. Write a poem, come join us. Tonight, Joe Hesch will be open the doors at 3 pm EST and be hosting week 4 of this grand adventure. Look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Magpie Tales: The Drive In

Leaves lay like bodies beneath the trees, still and unmoving. Shadows of trees, long arms cross the yard, tips of their fingers slowly dragging furrows in the landscape. Chris watches in macabre interest out the window. The grandparent's house, once a fun Sunday afternoon retreat, is not the same at sixteen.

Unable to get a clear cell signal to text his friends and knowing that his grandparent's television only received the local channels, he had resigned to sitting in the bay window. He had hoped to be out with friends today celebrating his recent birthday, but his parents had insisted he join them for the ritual visit. They had come every Sunday as far back as he remembered.

Hot coals sit in his chest, each though a breath of oxygen to stoke his frustration. It is unfair, he can drive now. He has a life and is old enough to decide what he wants to do with it. He rehearses the tirade, envisioning their faces when he finally unloads on them. Jaws slack they'd sit until his dad cleared his voice, maybe even ask for another slice of pie. He has never seen them get angry. Their passivity turns his stomach.

Chris hears his parents in the living room talking with his grandmother, their hollow voices leave only hints at the content of their conversation. He should go do it now, he quips to himself. Rising from the window seat, he is gathering himself when the voices stop and an unsettling quiet descends on the house.

"Chris," a rattling voice startles him, causing the flesh on his arms to dance as he jumps.

His grandmother stands in the doorway, her eyes calm puddles in the loose folds of her face. A smile plays at the thin line of her lips. He notices and frowns, embarrassed at being startled, but also at her amusement. He heard nothing of her approach, but that though is quickly consumed as his anger once more claws its way to the front of his mind.

Coughing gently,she continues, "I know you don't find this much fun, being here today Chris. You can blame it on your grandfather and me. Care to sit for a moment and humor an old woman."

Surprised once more by her acknowledgement of his feelings, he simply says, "Sure."

She motions and they cross the room to a brown leather couch. Its skin is worn and cool on the backs of his arms. He sat here many a Sunday, listening to the stories of his parents growing up. His grandfather never said much, choosing to sit quietly in the recliner and watch as his grandmother spun the tales, his parents interjecting at points to minimize the extent of their rebelliousness.

Moments pass in awkward silence, as his grandmother measures his face with her eyes, taking the care of a tailor to get it just right. Chris squirms, shifting his legs, the desire to leave washing down his spine in slow sharp touches.

When he is about to get up and go find his parents, his grandmother says, "Have I ever told you about meeting your grandfather?"

Breath expels loud from his mouth, the question confusing after such a long silence. He knows he has not heard the story, but also that he could care less right now. A shadow crosses the window, drawing his eyes. Too dark to be the trees he was watching earlier. He blinks and it is gone. Putting a hand to his face, his fingers find his eyes. Why am I being put through this, echoes in his head.

"We went to the drive in on our first date. My parents were not keen on it, but we told them we were meeting my friend Amy and Jane, which seemed to set them at easy. My daddy was not the most cordial of men, being in the military. He was rather intimidating and few boys had the nerve to ask me out for fear that he might take offense. Not your grandfather though, he was different. He brought flowers for my mom that day, shook my fathers hand with a firm grip and promised to have me home safe as soon as the movie was done," his grandmother began, Chris opening his eyes, resigning to hear what she had to say.

"Well, that seemed to go well," Robert breaks the silence between them, as he pulls the car onto the road that runs in front of her parents house.

"I think daddy likes you," Estella smiles her response.

"That is a good thing," Robert laughs, "because I heard what he did to the last guy that asked you out."

Estella punches his softly on the shoulder, "Don't believe those locker room stories Robert. Daddy is a sweat and gentle man, he just wants to make sure the boys have manners with his little girl. He probably started those stories himself."

Robert settles a bit more comfortably into the driver's seat, letting the conversation lapse as he joins a few cars traveling the same direction. making a few turns through town before heading out the other side to the drive in. It is located on a old farm, the giant screen showing its back to the road so no free shows were given. Gravel crunches beneath the tires as they move in a line slowly, each taking turns paying the entrance fee.

"What are we seeing tonight?" enthusiasm in her voice.

"Some new space movie. Probably got some gruesome aliens and a dashing young man to save the day. You won't get scared will you?" he chides her.

She likes his playfulness, "No. but if you need me to hold your hand to make you feel safe, I just might."

Her friends never show, not that they planned on being there, but if Daddy asked they knew what to say. She feels a bit bad on not telling her dad the truth, but she was practical as well and afraid she might end up a lonely old spinster with all the boys afraid of him. Robert is a handsome boy and treats her so nice at school.

The sun falls behind the hills and the movie begins. It is not scary, the aliens look mostly human except their faces which look more like pigs, or her uncle Fred. She leans into Robert, his arm drawing her closer. He is warm and she likes the feel of being with him. The movie fades as she begins to think about her own future, maybe their future.

"Look!" his arm is suddenly no longer behind her head, but pointing to the sky.

Shaken by the sudden movement, it takes a few seconds for Estella to gather herself and find where he is pointing. Three shooting stars streak onyx curtain over their heads, vanishing behind them.

"I have never seen shooting stars so bright," she breathes, then finds his lips against hers.

Hey eyes go wide, then close, her fingers finding the hair at his neck. She feels herself floating inside her body, as if she were at the community pool. Before she is ready, it is over and she opens her eyes into his and fears she will drown again.

"Sorry, it's just good luck to kiss the one you are with when you see a shooting star," he is embarrassed at his forwardness or maybe how she will respond.

"Well, I" she begins, when he interrupts.

"I am going to go get a drink at the concession stand. Be right back," he is gone as the last word finds her ears.

Estella resituates herself on her side of the front seat, running a finger along her lips. Warmth consumes her insides and she smiles to herself. She likes it, letting it carry her thoughts. She looks over the seat for him to return, but sees only cars, some with heads visible in the pale light of the movies reflection. Ten minutes, then twenty pass as she sits, fighting the feeling to go look for him and let him know it was okay that he kissed her. She is afraid he might be scared of her and that is the last thing she wants.

The movie ends and cars begin to cut through the night, their headlights knifing the darkness, blinding her with their brightness. Fear is nearly choking her now at where he might be. She begins to fear for herself as well being stranded in the inky night alone. When the driver's door opens, her scream pierces long and high, rivaling any that came from the window speaker all night

"Hey, its okay. It's okay. I am sorry," he is in the car and she in his arms once again.

Her face presses to his chest and she feels his heart thundering against her cheek, in time with her own. She sobs, fear making her emotional, and then they are kissing again. Lights wash across them, but are only flickers at the edge of their reality. This is the hungry kiss of a famished man stumbling from the desert. Gasps provide much needed oxygen as they threaten to consume one another.

Bang. Bang. Bang. They break apart, searching frantic for the source of the sound. A gnarled face leers in the passenger window and they both scream this time. Light fills the car, flooding their eyes, their arms flying before their faces.

"Break it up you two, I got tired of waiting. I need to get some sleep too. Get out of here," an older man with a flashlight stands watch as Robert finds enough fortitude to start the car.

They laugh the whole way home, shedding the fear a little each time, until the lights of her parents house fill the front window. They sit and breathe for a few minutes, unable to speak or move.

"So, you going to walk me to the house?" Estella asks, shy for his answer.

Robert exits the car,coming around the back opening her door. She takes his arm as they take the stairs up to the front porch. Boards creek with their weight, announcing them to her parents. Her fathers face appears in the window briefly then disappears once more. They stand in the pool of light that bathes the porch.

"I had a good time tonight Estella. I hope that we can do this again," he takes her hand in his.

"I enjoyed it as well. I think I would."

They kiss once more, lightly this time and she turns to open the front door then asks, "Robert, where were you for so long tonight."

Chris' throat has gone dry as a corpse, and he coughs interrupting his grandmothers telling. She stops and lapses again into a quiet watchfulness. He can not imagine why she is telling him this story. It has been fascinating but also a bit creepy learning things about his grandparents. Intimate things. His skin is crawling again and he scratches at his arm absently.

"Gramma why are you telling me this?"

"It is time you knew," she answers.

"But, what did I need to know?"

"I tell you what, why don't you go down to the basement and see your grandfather. He has been anti social all day down there working on something special for your birthday. He needs to come up and join the rest of us and he should be about done with it," Estella, his grandmother rises without waiting for an answer and leaves the room.

Chris sits for a few moment, confused and taking in the story his grandmother told him. He turns it over in his head, having a hard time imagining his grandparents being young and kissing. It was too much for him to process and before he even realised it he had moved through the house and was standing at the door to the basement.

A fresh trickle of anxiety walks through him. He could count the number of times he had been in the basement on one hand and never had he gone there alone. Grandfather is down there and you are being ridiculous, he argued with himself and turned the knob. Cool air crawls across his face from the open mouth of the stairs, its breath stale.

Steeling himself, he descends one step at a time, settling his weight on each one. It is dark, except a light behind the stairs, where he knows his grandfathers work bench to be. Sweat trickles down Chris' neck. Scratching noises slither into his ear.

"Grandad?" his voice squeaks ad he pushes it out of his mouth.

"Chris, come on down.I just finished something for you."

Reassured he takes the last couple stairs quickly, proving to himself that everything was okay. Boxes line the walls, filled with treasures of his family's history, Old trophies peek the lids, vases line a shelf. A humidifier chuffs, leaking a small line of water that runs through the teeth of a drain in the concrete floor.

His grandfather is hunched over the workbench, seated atop an wood bar stool. A fluorescent light casts a cone of light over the bench, highlighting the cold steel of tools hanging from small hooks in the wall in front of it. Chris reaches forward to place a hand on his grandfather's shoulder, another act of reassurance.

At first touch, his grandfather folds in on himself in a great shushing noise, defying everything Chris knows to be true. A pile of empty skin surrounds Chris' ankles and his bowels release in a hot geyser down his legs. He can not breath to scream, stammering incoherent, he turns to run back to the stairs.

Standing at the base of the stairs, an gruesome thing, more insect than human, snaps long spiny mandibles, hissing, "Chrissss itsss time youss knew."

Backing toward the workbench, his feet catch in the pile of skin and he falls, knocking tools and the bar stool across the floor, crying, "No!"

He is pleading when the stairs begin moaning under the weight of the rest of his family, coming to join them.

Ok, so this is obviously fiction. It has been a long time since I posted something this long or something like this here. I used to write these scary tales once a week before I moved them elsewhere. For those that took the time to read, thank you. I hope you enjoyed a bit of my darkness. Smiles.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Poetics: Unmasking Reality

Love Song by Giorgio de Chirico

Throw it up against the wall
and see if it sticks, ideas
adhese to bricks, with which

They build cities, then realities
on foundational ideologies;
this is the lens you look through,
to get a clear view of you.

Fate's tongue is passed the gums
and in your throat, will you choke
or embrace the passion with which
she strokes your will, pliable or
hard, her grasp is firm but is it reliable?

SNAP! goes the rubber glove
and does fear begin, you
might see this day again?

Like Bill Murray slowly goes crazy
on Groundhog Day, de'ja' vu meets
vu ja de, will you will you
or will you will her, today's
tomorrow being yesterday?

This Love Song's set to repeat, circular
record skips along the way, yet round the bend
returns a same melody. What once was mything,
found again, a cloud hangs over the city,
metaphysically panhandle-ing the question:

If you could would you relive today?

(Let me pause for effect, so you catch your breath, reflect
and dissect that which they taught you back in church or school,
Mr. T's not the only one that pities the fool.)

As if you had a choice, but
do you trust fate, not to be late
and let her lead the conga line
dance through the strobe lights

Or has she baroque you
enough to step out of the
lime light?

there's No Exit-
stage left.

Today for Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub, Mark Kerstetter brings us some artspiration by Giorgio de Chirico for our poetry prompt. As fascinating as his art is, I also found his back ground and belief system to be of equal intrigue.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I AM The Destroyer

We play God. Make decisions with lives that are not our own.

We are surgeons, taking sledge hammers to cancers at times, when the delicate edge of the scalpel won't work. We rebuild families. We tear them apart. At least this is what it feels like, some days.

Planes throttle down the runway, away from the sun, it reflects in the wings. Like dark birds, their shadows track the tarmac of those descending. People come. People Go. Two boys in the seats next to me watch, but my eyes settle more on their slumped shoulders. Right now, they hate me.

The eight year old, I first met through a closet door, where he hid after being dragged down the hall for hovering too close. He was afraid, so we talked through the slats until he felt he could trust me enough to open the door. He had been there for hours, screaming. He just wanted some food.

"If you people would just let me whoop their ass, we would get this straight," she said, "Worse thing anyone ever told these kids is that no one can touch them."

"Yes, I drug him down the hall, he deserved it. He doesn't need food, he eats. He needs to learn."

This was the beginning, but it is a process, dictated by those that sit comfortably in air conditioned offices, far from the homes where life happens. Not that we make decisions lightly, it is a process, that sometimes works only after someone gets hurt.

An announcers voice leaks the loud speaker, breaking the metronome motion of our heads following the planes. Please prepare for boarding, in just a few minutes they will begin calling first class. We check to make sure the stuffed animals have all their things, as we check our own.

"He knows what he is doing, he does this just to make my life hell. All this psycho mumbo jumbo you are trying to teach me, there comes a point where it don't work and he just needs to get his ass beat," her words sat heavy between us, "He was born this way. Nothing that happened to him before did this, He was born this way."

Two seats over, his sister wont look at me. She is seven and all she knows is that I took her away from her grandmother. She loves her and believes the things told her of how I am evil, destroying families for fun. I hate you, she repeated again and again as we pulled out the driveway. Chances are I will never see them again, but each time she says it, another shivering arrow shaft porcupines my body. I wait to pull them out once I am alone.

Being children, they board first and don't look back but I watch them all the way to the turn in the ramp, then sink back into my seat and wait. The plane eventually taxis to the queue. A new place await on the other end, a new day for them.I tell myself these things as I watch until they are a speck in the sky then wink out of sight.

One day maybe they will understand. Maybe they will not. Maybe their memories will fade and their life play will have a happy ending well after this scene. As I walk back through the airport terminal, I repeat lines to myself, to anyone that will listen to my whispers as I pass on the way to the door, seeking fresh air.

We play God. Make decisions with lives that are not our own.

There are no rehearsals. This is life.

written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

55 - what remains

atop a mid-town hill, where the children lay,
stands an old oak tree, upon which a roped swing
continually sways
i come here for peace & to hear them sing
then match the sway of their empty swing

when the sun sleeps, i hum their refrain
& take my leave through their granited names

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

Over at d'Verse, it is time for Matting the Bar: Crit and Craft, where Luke Prater is teaching on trimming the fat from your poetry. Redundancy. Over use of adjectives. And much more. Or maybe it is more appropriate to say much less.

Also submitted to Poetry Jam.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Singing Tom Petty with a crusty Croatian

The Croatian hires us for his girls, to help them learn how to fly.

"We do not have enough men", he explains, his accent thick but discernible.

He is tall and thin, a scarecrow of a man, but in his sixties, still well corded with muscle. He walks like silk, his white beard, trimmed neat, fills the hollows of his cheeks.

"Ladies, these are your men," his voice rattles from too many cigarettes replacing meals, washed down with nights of smokey whiskey.

He lines them along the wall, their outfits are a second skin, except at their waists where short skirts lay soft along their hips. They are small thin birds on a line, surveying us, silently, knowing better than to talk unless he gives the leave.

The walls are covered in mirrors so that all angles can be seen by simply changing perspective. Taking one of the girls to the center of the floor, he shows us exactly what he wants. Where to hold. Where to release. Where to thrust. His hard hands move fluidly across their bodies, each touch firm but gentle. They are fragile and trust is earned.

"Now, each of you, take one. Learn their bodies."

We each select one, then move to a corner to begin. The girls find freedom in our coupling, their lips now loose, provide direction on how best to hold them, give comfort yet allow them room to move and breathe across our foundations. In the mirrors, those that wait, stretch to limber their bodies, sometimes stopping to point and smile. They make comments quietly to each other, we can not hear.

When hands are clumsy, the girls take them, placing them in the right positions. Each mistake coils within them and they become forceful. Reminding us they are the goddesses and we the hired hands. The Croatian circles. Observing. His eyes see everything and he is quick to correct, when he does not see what he expects. We sweat, until sweat seems all we are as we pull them in close and press.

"Again. Again. Again," he barks, sending girl after girl.

Afterward, when the girls go to change, he gathers us to share dirty jokes, but then in all seriousness looks us in the eye and says, "You must take her and show her you are strong. She can not fly until she can trust you will not let her fall."

We nod in understanding and leave. I find a place on the concrete steps to sit and wait. Stars traverse the heavens and the earth grows quiet, as the others turn the corner beneath the street lamp. The door thunks behind me and I turn to see her, among the other girls, each carrying a heavy bag of their clothes, exit the building.

We press into each other, hands no longer bothered with positions. Our lips meet and I realise it was not just ballet to which he was speaking.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

OpenLinkNight: Watching movies with a blind man

without previews or greasy popcorn finger prints,
lights dim & the movie begins


projector spins 8 mm film
reel to real, acting more like a 9
on the frontal lobe brain pan of my mind
emptying a full clip one hot slug at a time

[POW] a white lie told to save my hide
as maggots turn thru the meat inside

[POW]silence when, words should have spilt
never place a bet on the failure of truth

[POW] cheating, a test, check or spouse, either
a moment of pleasure, spent, at what cost


empty, but twitchy trigger finger keeps pulling
long after, they rewind and replay to remind me
daily, i am lower than tread dogShit on a shoe,
unworthy of all this,"look at this fool, he's helpless"
like MS3000, commentators shadows said
then laughed as they cap me again on my re-birth
day death bed, it's all mental so no witness, available
for the witless, to testify and cause a mess

i need a witness
need a witness
can i get a witness

soft at first, bagpipes moan the opening notes
hot licks, a chorded axe joins as a punk bends its throat
amazing grace crawls into the mosh pit, at least
that's how i hear it, oh hell yes, damn---how sweet
the sound to drown out the images and voices
of my past choices, not re-wound, jis this-
life un-bound

now, in your most guttural howl let me hear you sing---

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...

OpenLinkNight - Belly up and bring it poetic. d'Verse Poets Pub opens at 3 pm EST. Now go, write, come join us. Hosted  tonight by the ever lovely Joy Ann Jones, better know for her versical spells as Hedgewitch.

also linking with Imperfect Prose