23 December 2009

On Account of Falling Snow

There is a man inside a room in the forest
He sits alone on the chair his father left him
In the dark, in the dark, in the dark with the radio on 

It wasn’t a forest, although the tops of trees could be seen over the rooftops, nacreous white against a dirty platinum sky. Alone, yes, he was. Quite alone, the man muttered as he stared out the window. He looked around sheepishly, marveling at his own skittishness in the face of solitude. There was no one there to mock or embarrass him for his foolish behavior.

Or to comfort him in his private agonies of unfulfilled and distant love.

The radio was his only companion, and he resented it for its chatter and himself for his inability to turn it off. To turn it off would be to admit defeat. The snow will have won, he felt, and losing he abhorred.

The voice crackles when it says that God will save you
He will take you from the lonely life you're living
If you give, if you give, if you give up on what you want

He tried to focus on the branches waving about in the snow-pocked fabric of the air. Leafless, etched in gray-black against the background, they made him shiver in their resemblance to the fingers of the drowned, or black seaweed. He never liked seaweed. The gelatinous strands that had wrapped around his ankles while swimming in the ocean, as a boy, had permanently unsettled him. He turned his attention to the birds he could just barely see flitting amongst the branches. At one time in his life, he considered becoming a hunter of birds. Today, he thought he would take pictures of them, instead.

The man stands and pours himself another bourbon
He stops and watches the birds through the winter windows
And the light, and the light from the morning dew

What is the difference, he asked the glass panes, between a camera and a gun? “Point and shoot”, but one takes images, the other takes life. His lips curled slightly in a wry imitation of a smile. No, maybe they both take lives, one by freezing it in time, the other by destroying it in space. But with a camera, you get plenty of second chances.

He smiled to finally see the light. His eyes must take many pictures, if love came near.

It’s through winter windows that ends become beginnings…

Passages in italics are lyrics used without permission, from "Winter Windows" by Sea Wolf, a.k.a. Alex Brown Church. A master class in lyrics, indeed.


  1. Gumbo, this piece is awesome. I am sorry that I cannot describe it any other way except that the combination is...I am in awe, and then some...

  2. "He will take you from the lonely life you're living"

    That rings very true old chap.

    I always knew you were a hunter.

  3. I like second chances. I like this story too. Good one, Irish.

  4. Beautiful, as always.

    (And I'm so glad it ended on an up note.)

  5. Nice job. The only kind of shooting I like is the camera kind.
    Hang in there, Gumby.

  6. Very nice! I am a big believer in second chances. And I really like the juxtaposition of the poem with your thoughts woven in.

  7. yeah.
    what the hell am i supposed to say?
    good job?
    ok then.
    good job.
    very good job.

  8. so very lovely.. :)

    (I love that song)

  9. lovely.

    heather kathleen


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...