31 March 2011

Spring Poetry Slam #6: Man Up?

Shut your stupid mouth.
My hands have cut cord, buried child.
Yours hold a cell phone.

30 March 2011

Spring Poetry Slam #5: Jaguar, Adrift

Crouching, mist on fur,
Flanks trembling, a green caress,
Now, mating season

29 March 2011

Spring Poetry Slam #4: Awakening

Screen lies blank, silent,
Chains broken for the moment,
Rushing sound of thought

28 March 2011

I Interrupt This Poetry Slam...

...to say I am sorry for my lack of grace lately.  I've been weathering some storms all month, and I've been slipping further behind in my reading and my responding to many of the wonderful comments and correspondence I have received.

It may not seem like it to many of you who read Irish Gumbo regularly, but it is true.  I have been lacking in time and energy to stay current as I like to do.

Hopefully, the seas will calm soon and the headwinds die down.  I'm counting on it to keep my grip on the tiller.  Until then, I want to thank everyone who has been reading my work.  I enjoy hearing from you, but even if you don't comment I am very grateful for everyone's eyes on this here palimpsest dedicated to the noise in my head.

Thank you all, so very much.  The poetry slam will resume tomorrow.


27 March 2011

Spring Poetry Slam #3: Falling

Drops tickling window,
Wash the ground on which she stands
Will the flowers grow?

26 March 2011

25 March 2011

Spring Poetry Slam #1: Rain Song

Flowers unfolding,
My heart awakens, she is
sound between the drops

24 March 2011

I Think That Was Me

Leaving from where I want to be away,
March has the jump on me, the cool breeze
and I thought it was you breathing on my cheek

Springtime and the living is crazy, not easy,
flowers pushing up through the sod
and all I can feel is your fingers on my back

Wishing they were, that sweet pressure,
laying in the gray black, dreaming, hallucinating,
and I thought it was you that I had chased

only to wake up striped with oyster light,
panting and sweating, hands clenched,
with the scrapes to prove my fall

Words in bold are lyrics from the song "Driveway to Driveway" by Superchunk.  A very inspiring song, and a little close to the bone...

23 March 2011


Muscles flex and spasming,
the dragon groans in its sleep
turning and thrashing after years
wandering the astral wilderness

It finally came home, awakening
from nightmares asthenospheric,
roaring into lithospheric rage that
billows deadly around the world

Vibrations of its pounding heart
pierce the rock, break the surface,
and crack the serpent's eggs
held in check by man's vanity

Keepers of the zoo race frantic,
fighting invisible death, pouring the sea
over scales become suns in miniature,
and a tail coiling around a nation

The reactor beast bares its fangs
and rears its head, claws out;
the best advice for the poor villagers
is to stay inside and don't breathe

Unit 4 is alive, breath visible in steam,
and ash, its glowing heart bared,
rising from the pool, and in the hissing
we hear its name:  I am Radiatrix

don't eat. don't drink. don't breathe.

only fear me, and repent.

22 March 2011

Fall of the Crow Tree

Two houses over from mine, and you couldn't miss it.  It had to be the tallest tree in the immediate neighborhood.  I had a great view of it from my kitchen windows.  My next door neighbor's house blocked the view of the bottom half of the tree, but it towered over the roofline.  The tip of the tree must have been about ten feet higher than the next highest one beside it.

The species is unknown to me.  All I could tell was that it was straight and slender, probably as a result of being surrounded by other trees.  The top of it was sharp, the few branches angled gracefully upward into a fairly compact radius.

The best part of that tree was the birds, I think.  Very often a small group, usually five or so, would alight on the top branches and hang there swaying in the breezes.  Robins and starlings, maybe, but definitely some crows.  The crows looked wonderfully portentous on cloudy days with wind.  The black outlines stood out against the sky like sheet music for some delightfully scary opera.  My guess is the view was spectacular.

Most mornings I made sure to take a look at the crow tree.  The tip a cathedral spire on a golden sunny day.

The Crow Tree was a landmark, and I hoped it would be around for many more years.  Nature had other ideas, in the form of  a sucker punch landed during a severe windstorm earlier this month.  I looked out the window one morning, and it was gone.  I did a double take.  Yep, gone.  Not all the way gone; when it blew over, it got hung up on an adjacent tree.  I suspect my neighbors haven't quite figured out how to remove it yet.  It was a tree most tall.  Still is, even in repose, languishing in the arms of another.

I can see it there, atilt and wondering, and I wonder myself at what the crows must think.

21 March 2011

Irish Gumbo's Handy Breakfast Tips: Edition the First

I know we all need a little eye opener in the mornings many days, but here's a little tip for you:

When sprinkling a favorite spice on one's breakfast cereal and bananas, make sure that spice is cinnamon and not cayenne pepper.  Otherwise, that may be more 'zing' than one is looking for to jump start the day.

Just sayin'.

20 March 2011

On The Flight of Certain Bees

I noticed the toothbrush holder askew on more than one occasion.  As it put an elbow in the rib of my neurotic architect obsession with plumb and level, I always adjusted it back to its upright position.  It never looked right, to my adult eye, and I could not explain it.

Just as many times as I adjusted it, I always returned later to find it an angle.  Must be leprechauns I thought.

Little did I know.  Wee Lass set me straight, and it crooked, last night when she came to brush her teeth.  She opened the holder, took out her brush, and then carefully twisted the bee so it was slanted.  She then said to me, in a casual aside, "I like it tilted, 'cause that's how bees fly."

Well, then.  I could not refute her aesthetics, or her observations of the natural world, so the bee remains as you see in the photo.

The more I looked at it, the more I decided she was right.  I like it, too.

19 March 2011

He Got Lost

It was sunny and warm, the day he got lost.  As the car rolled to a stop in the weeds beside the road, coming to rest against an ancient telephone pole, he opened the door to step out, and fell.  He scraped his knees.  The blood soaked through the linen.  He swore.

The road was little more than a gesture to asphalt.  It twisted its way through the scrub and dust, pretending it went somewhere.  "Just like me", he grunted, "and I'm damned if I know which way to go."

A passel of trees hunched over the road a few yards beyond the pole.  The shade they offered seemed more like the minimum needed to be polite, but it was shade just the same.

He sighed, and pulled a knapsack out of the back seat of the now dead car.  The dusty bag held two bottles of water, a map of Canada and some beef jerky.  From the glove compartment of the car he took a tire gauge, a Pez dispenser (cherry candies, his favorite) and a well-thumbed copy of Dave Black's What To Do When The Shit Hits The Fan.  The irony of the title was not lost on him.  Slinging the bag over his shoulder, he walked to the trees to sit in the shade.

It was warm.  He was lost.  And he knew by the ragged gnawing in his gut, spiked with panic, that he had no fucking clue what to do next.

18 March 2011

Bonfire of My Vanity

I was engaged in some redactive exercises on some of my writing tonight, something I tell myself to let alone but rarely heed that advice.  I guess its true that a writer is never really finished with anything.  There is always something that can be tweaked, a phrase rewritten or even a pesky typo to correct.  Often when I reread something I wrote previously, I cannot resist the urge to "fix" something.  It is a hard habit to break.

So as I wrote earlier, I was doing the editor dance, going over some older posts, and I discovered a curious thing.  It was not a mistake, it was more of an absence.

It was an absence of comments on a post I wrote back in January.  Not that I flatter myself to think that all that I write will always get people to respond with something, but that was the first time since probably 2008 that a post I wrote garnered the big goose egg.

I am embarrassed to say that it bothered me a little.  I tried to set it aside, but vanity got the better of me and I really do want to know what (if anything) you, the readers I am most fortunate to have, might think of this:

To be fair the original post was on a Saturday, and I know full well people have much more important things to do than to feed my tottering ego.  But I am a curious fellow, so if you have some spare moments...

17 March 2011

Emerald Currents

My address is in America
not waterside by the Shannon
My house a bungalow
not warmed by peat

I do have dreams
of the Emerald Isle,
that leave me longing
for hills I've never walked

I do not have
an Irish accent
nor is the auld sod
beneath my feet

But what I have is
Eire in my heart
and in my veins
For now, it is enough

16 March 2011

Least of Three Bodies

La·gran·gi·an point (l-grnj-n)
Astronomy - Any of five points, stable with respect to gravitational forces and in the orbital plane of two bodies, one of which is much larger than the other. A third, smaller body placed at one of these points will remain in equilibrium with respect to the other two bodies.

Amidst the churches and farms
a country highway stretched on forever
beneath a sky of hammered pewter
past trees of gilded dust and bronze

Car and driver weightless over distance
the tug of one gravity lessens before another,
somewhere between silver river and green rows
a heart fell into equilibrium far from both

What is this gravity called love? he sighed,
the crows had no reply, from their weathered perch,
except to flutter wings of feathered ebony,
bidding adieu to this least of three bodies

15 March 2011

Crocus Heart

Tiny flower head,
peeping up above cool ground,
Wary of the frost

14 March 2011

Art Thief

I sat down to write something completely different, or rather that was the plan I held from days ago.  But to paraphrase, no plan survives contact with reality. 

I like to to think that we as human beings are works of art, running the full gamut of whatever "-ism" you care to throw at us.  All of us, great and small, beautiful and maybe not so beautiful, abstract and realistic, wondering this interactive art museum we call Earth.  It's amazing and beautiful and complicated, and a lifetime may not be enough to comprehend or understand it all.  We sure can enjoy the effort of appreciation, can we not?  Maybe this is what we humans end up calling "love".

I fancied today that God is a great appreciator of art, too.  This is why every so often He/She/It steals these works of art we call our friends and family, leaving us with empty frames and memories.

In my more optimistic moments,  I picture God as one of those uber-wealthy collectors, who just has to have the beautiful, the rare, the sublime in his own personal art gallery, thus sometimes leaving the rest of the world a little bit poorer.

Be that as it may, if the analogy holds true...I hope when its my turn through the door of the heavenly gallery, I get to see all the art I've come to miss.  That kind of beauty deserves to be shared, just like love.

In memory of my Aunt L.

13 March 2011


I'm absolutely gobsmacked.  Recent events have left me wondering what to say.  Gimme some  good news, people!

12 March 2011

Chiryū Awakes

Far below, dragon stirs
An island struck, earthen gong,
Tears ripple the sea

11 March 2011

Dream Job

Heat.  It was always hot, Bobby Sack thought, wherever I go.  Sweat drizzled slowly down his neck onto a collar near sopping.  The air conditioner sluggishly pushed air with a wheezing noise, offering his legs a hint of a trace of a suggestion of coolness. Uncomfortable as he was, Bobby did not step away from the window.  When the moment came, and it always did, he would be ready.

It wasn't the heat that bothered Bobby.  It never was.  It was the waiting he didn't like.  And his job required a lot of waiting.

His eyes were fixed on a door across the street.  It was a blue door, faded, and not a standout amongst the slightly decrepit warehouses and flex offices that lined the road.  He focused on it intensely, willing it to open.  He tensed a little as a shadow drifted across the door.  Just a cloud, he told himself, a cloud.  The door was Bobby's next payday, and when it opened and if things went as planned, the check would be in his account before nightfall.

Ticktockticktock...Bobby breathed slow and steady.  He was just about to raise his head back from the eyepiece when the blue door opened a crack.  Bobby sucked in a breath, held it.  Through the optics, he could see a shock of brown hair atop a small face wrapped in ultrablack sunglasses.  Bobby grinned, his hands holding the stock in a soft grip.  The body attached to the head stepped out from behind the door.

Heat sucks and hate waiting, Bobby thought while squeezing the trigger, but some days this is the best job in the world...

10 March 2011

Knowing Mil

Brother Kieran hung up his leather apron on the stout oak peg jutting from the king post near the door.  The summer sunlight lay gold upon the air, motes of dust and hay drifting like snow.  His fatigue was a wet cloak draped on aching shoulders.  Kieran sighed, drew a deep breath, and gently rubbed his hands together.  Three stings today, more than he had endured in many a fortnight.  His charges had seemed unusually rambunctious today, and harder to control.  He had been stung so many times over the years, he had ceased to question the occurrence.

But today was different.  The stings hurt more than usual.  The first had taken him by surprise, and in reflex he had swatted the bee, killing it.  This troubled him greatly.  He took quiet pride in never harming the miraculous creatures that gave forth of the blessed bounty that made life possible in the monastery.  He was so distracted by the image of the dead bee that he was more careless than his habit, and the bees could sense it.  For the first time, Kieran had begun to resent the bees...and this was not right before God, in the monk's mind.  He locked the door to the shed, and hurried back to the abbey.

That evening during vespers, Brother Kieran could not concentrate.  He was still hungry, and his hands throbbed , red and still puffy from the stings.  He tried to summon up the energy to make his recitations honest, but to no avail.  A single thought had seized his mind, and looped over and over as he prayed:
"I've yet to taste the honey" he heard himself saying in a voice low and gravelly.

It was true.  In all the years Kieran had been at the monastery, from the time he was a scrawny waif left at the gate all the way up to this, his 35th year, he had never tasted the golden nectar he and his fellow monks worked so hard to produce.  God had forbidden it, he had been told, and those who disobeyed God would be harshly punished.  The best honey was reserved for a chosen few, officially the king, the royal family and high church officials.  To the extent that some of his brethren had sneaked a taste here and there, and had gotten caught, Kieran understood it to be true.  The offenders had been cast out, stripped of their robes and sent on their way with the traditional bee sting on the lip, so that others could see and know.

Kieran had never questioned this, but he had noticed that the abbot and some of the senior monks had taken honey for themselves, and nothing had happened to them.  About that time, Kieran had also noticed those same fellows always seemed to be in better health, clearer of skin and carrying more pounds on their frames.  He had never questioned that, either.  Until now.

In the middle of vespers, Kieran rubbed his aching hands together and resolved that he would taste the honey.  He worked hard to get it, and he was hungry.  He was tired of being thin and cold and feeble.  

It took some months before he found his chance.  He worked on his courage, biding his time.  The days and weeks followed their usual pattern, prayer, work, prayer, eat, prayer, sleep.  Days followed nights and the urge to taste grew stronger and stronger.  Finally, towards the end of a long day of field work topped off by collecting honey, he had his chance.  The two monks who usually assisted had left the shed, and Kieran was all alone.  His hands held a cool stone jar, nearly full of dark gold liquid.  He could smell it.  His hands shook.  As if possessed, they brought the jar to his lips.  The thick liquid poured into his waiting mouth.

He knew ecstasy.  He knew lust, although he knew not what to call that sensation.  Energy surged through his limbs, he felt himself coming to life.  Kieran thought he knew in that instant, what it meant to be alive.  He was amused to find himself getting an erection, and he laughed.

The loudness of his laugh startled him, and he set the jar down with a crash.  Honey slopped over the rim, oozing over his fingers.  His heart fluttered in fear.  God knows, he muttered, He knows, and I will be punished.

One of the helpers came back in, asking what had happened, was everything all right?  Kieran hastily replied that it was all fine, he had been clumsy and dropped the jar while trying to move it.  He dabbed at the honey on his hand and silently prayed the brother had not seen the honey on his lips.  The other monk grunted something noncommittal and helped Kieran tidy up.

That night, in his cell, Kieran prayed for forgiveness, but received no assurances.  He feared retribution, punishment, banishment.  He was consumed with feelings of worthlessness at his sin.  He meditated, he fasted, but to no avail.  The memory of that taste would not leave his mouth, and in the months afterward his initial transgression, Kieran found himself sneaking a mouthful of honey whenever he could.   His health improved, his skin cleared, his belly grew soft, but no one seemed to notice.

The days flew by, and Kieran finally began to relax.  The taste of the honey was too good.  But he was caught, on a bright, sunny day that felt like God Himself was taking care of even a sinner like Kieran.

The abbot had been watching.  He had spies, he had other monks keeping a count of honey jars and amounts.  The abbot summoned Kieran to his office and let it be known they knew what was going on.  The abbot said he had no choice but to cast Kieran out.

So it was that Kieran found himself standing at the main gate to the compound, clad in the rough burlap allotted to the outcast, the willful sinner.  In one hand he held a green oak walking stick, ghostly wet for being freshly peeled.  In the other was a small sack, made of coarsely woven fiber and held together with two leather straps.  In the sack was a wooden cross, a hunk of dry bread and a large chunk of hard cheese.  A small gourd served as a water bottle.

The brothers had formed a silent gauntlet, a row on each side of the path out.  They said nothing, heads downcast in the formal display of shunning.  By tradition, the most senior beekeeper stood in his path, a small wooden box in hands.  The box held three bees, and soon the keeper took them out and placed them on Kieran's lips.  The bees were provoked into stinging, and Kieran flinched, eyes watering.  His lips throbbed and felt like they were on fire.  He clenched his jaws, refusing to make a sound.

The keeper stepped aside, gesturing toward the gate.  Two monks were slowly opening it, and through the tears Kieran could see the track leading out and over into the nearby hills.  The abbot bade him Go, Leave Us, you have sinned mightily.

Kieran trudged out the gate.  He pulled the cowl of his burlap tunic over his head, less for shielding from the sun and more so no one could see him smiling.  Inside his tunic, in a hastily made pocket, there was a small stoppered flask.  In it was a mouthful of honey.

Kieran walked into the lengthening shadows, never looking back.  He consoled himself with the thought that surely, God would not be so cruel as to let him taste heaven just once, only to take it away forever.  The land stretched out before him, green and gold in the waning summer sun.  The wind ruffled the grass, and faintly Kieran thought he heard humming coming from the trees up ahead.

His smile came back.  The world was not so empty as he had thought.  Honey was there, he would find it.  He would taste it, again.

09 March 2011

The Revolution Will Be Gender Specific Because God Said So*

Today is International Women's Day, a fact that finally sank in after hearing it reported on both radio and television news.  I confess, I knew of it, but not much about it.  What struck me the most, partly in hindsight, about the day is how too many seem to have forgotten or had never acknowledged that women are not property, are not inferior simply by accident of birth.  They deserve to have a say over their destinies, their political and social fabrics...their culture and basic human rights.

Why is this so hard for some to understand?

I watched a news report from Egypt, post-"revolution", on demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square to demand that women be given a bigger voice and equal rights in this, the new Egypt.  So what happened?

They were harassed and attacked by groups of men.  You know, the men who helped overthrow Mubarak and help bring democracy to Egypt.  Or perhaps they meant deMOCKracy, seeing as they felt women had no place in governing the country, and in the words of some of the men, women "already had enough rights".  Way to go, freedom fighters! (clap......clap......clap).  

I slapped my head in exasperation.

I sat in disbelief, my curiosity turning slowly to disgust as I watched footage of a somewhat slovenly looking man berate and point fingers at a woman demonstrator, telling her she had no business here, to go home.

So this is what the world cheered for?  This is what the world thought was the overthrow of an oppressive government, dictatorial in most ways of practical importance?  Ah, yes, throw off the shackles so you can put them on someone else.  Not surprisingly, the role of religion (in this case, Islam) was dragged into the mess, with (you guessed it) the men saying it was against Islam for women to have the same rights as men, that women should not be president.

One report I read quoted some of the men shouting things like "Go home, wash clothes!".  Which apparently, many of the men have not yet figured out on their own, judging by the rattiness of some of the apparel.  And, seriously?  If you are going to argue violently with someone over human rights?  Don't do it wearing a dirty jacket emblazoned with the logo of a well-known European car company.  It cuts into credibility, bro...

When the demonstrations began in Egypt weeks ago, it was scary and exciting to watch.  One could only hope that things really were going to change for the better, and that a freer, more democratic society was in the offing.  We cheered, we urged them on as men and women risked their lives to protest and demand change.  But somewhere along the way, a whole lot of people forgot that women make up almost half of the Egyptian population.

And if the government of a country will not grant the equal rights of citizenship to almost half of its population, it cannot claim to be democratic.  Don't forget one of the definitions, perhaps the most important definition, of democratic:
 "Pertaining to or characterized by the principle of political or social equality for all"
For it to be real, that means no exceptions.  Possession of testicles does not grant authority to deny rights to those possessed of breasts.  Until those who want to govern Egypt (or any other country with revolution in the offing) can treat all of their citizens with respect and equality,  I cannot and would not offer any support beyond "Good luck, call me when you make some real progress".

One parting shot:  The report I mentioned above also quoted some men as shouting "You are not married; go find a husband!"  I did a bit of a spit take upon reading that humdinger.

So, my marriage counselor friend, where do you suggest the women find these "husbands"?  Seems to me the pickings are mighty, mighty slim, if the majority of choices are knuckleheads like that sloganeer.

*Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, the title is meant as sarcasm.  We really do need that sarcasm font, I'm thinkin'...

08 March 2011

Forty Cloves and a Bed

Gingham caresses the open sash
as salt breeze insinuates itself
through the cottage window,
curious for a taste of heaven

Tapers flicker, small spotlights
on the remains of a dinner
started in afternoon languor
and finished in evening fervor

Zephyr curls and twines, slowly,
ruffling tousled sheets and tangled limbs
that define a different kind of table,
a stage for the passion play and coda

Aeolian breath carries the musk,
across the room, the lovers' nostrils flare
at the memory of the eating
and the tasting of their own

She smiles, asks What are you thinking?
He smiles, eyes closed, and answers:
An old saying: shallots are for babies,
onions are for men, garlic is for heroes.

To that, he murmurs, I add: "goddess".
Forty cloves and a chicken make dinner,
he says, but a hero and a goddess...
they make love

Photo and prompt courtesy of Magpie Tales via the lovely Rene at Not The Rockefellers.  This is my first ever Magpie Tales prompt.  Hope you enjoyed it!

07 March 2011

Aerie, Night and Wind

Wind scrubbing the walls,
Train echoes along the river;
Departing voices

06 March 2011

The Man, Part II

Today in the midst of activities without agenda, I realized that I may be doomed to a life of unprofitability, and therefore, uselessness.

This flash of insight burst upon me as my daughter and I sat on a small pile of old railroad ties, contentedly munching on crackers while taking a break from an impromptu photo safari.  We had been outdoors for about an hour, and we both needed to rest a bit.  I was loading film into my new favorite camera and feeling relaxed for the first time this past week, lost in the pleasure of simply existing with in my skin, and in the company of the Wee Lass.

The thought came to me that what fills me with contentedness, centers me and grounds me are primarily creative endeavors, some without program or timetable.  If these can be engaged in the presence of those whom I love, the return is even greater.  The feeling of wholeness is amplified, bringing life to my life.

Within the context of a culture that values logic and speed and efficiency and by extension usefulness (i.e. that which can increase profit), however, I am at a distinct disadvantage.  Logic and speed and efficiency have their place, but as prime attributes they define a way of life that is swiftly diverging from the path I want to follow.  They are no substitute for beauty and thoughtful consideration and unfettered joy.

I let none of this show when looking at my daughter.  I kept it out of my voice as we talked about the pictures we were taking, the train tracks, the old buildings with their graffiti, the quiet flow of the river below us.  She was excited that I was letting her take pictures with my cameras (and the sight of her walking cheerfully along with my digital camera slung around her neck was priceless); I was excited that we could share a slow Saturday afternoon, doing something we like with nary a clock or calculator in sight.  Instead, I felt a fierce hope well up inside me that I would be able to open her eyes to possibility, to beauty, and to follow her heart in a world that too often seems bent on breaking it.

She took a picture of me today, a pretty good one.  I'm standing on the bridge over the river (how symbolic!) and I'm smiling, really smiling, which I don't often do these days.  I like to think she caught a glimpse of the true me: a beautifully useless man who loved her more than anything.

05 March 2011

The Man

Twice this week I experienced defining moments, for what it means to be a man.  Quiet moments, but powerful.

The first moment I'll not dissect in detail, but it was related to the Me that plays the part of a career man.  In the one-act play that transpired,  I was disappointed to realize that I may not be the Man that so many others seem to want me to be.  This realization also made me sad and nervous.

The second moment was related to the Me that is blessed to be the father of his amazing Wee Lass.  The erstwhile sarariman that I am is blessed to have the honor of her company this weekend, and with just a few hours in her presence did wonders for my sagging self image.

She beat me badly at Wii bowling tonight, scoring five strikes (including three in a row), and when I expressed mock frustration at my terrible form, Her Royal Cuteness said offhandedly, "Don't worry, just go with the flow."  She was looking at me with those rose window eyes when she said it, and we both started laughing.

These words cannot adequately convey how good the sound of her laughing made me feel.  Right then, right there, I needed no more than to exist in that moment...and for the Now, I felt like I knew the Man I was supposed to be.

04 March 2011

Organ Grinder Monkey

A vampire-based economy
Anesthetic money coats the needle
that pierces the heart, tunnels the spine
yet you don't feel a thing

except maybe a pang in the collapse
of a soul gone numb, hallucinating
choices of free will, with brittle smiles
to cover betrayal of itself

But the stomach knows, it swats against
dollar bills blackening the skin like
mosquitos in an arctic summer,
that slowly drain the body white

Left behind to dream are the husk and bones
encased in amber of banker's green,
Because beating heart and breathing lungs
are in the bowels of the organ grinder

03 March 2011

Ribbon and Bullet

The helicopters droning dopplers up and down around the house, the sound making me laugh as I light another cigarette.  The flare of the lighter reflects bluely back at me from the barrel of the pistol propped up on the arm of the couch.  I hold the lighter open a few more seconds. The yellow flame dances languidly on the oily sheen of gunmetal, hypnotic to my wrung-out eyes. I close the lighter with a snick like a miniature guillotine.

I only smoke when I'm nervous.  Or tired.  Or lonely.  Tonight, I'm all three, darling, so please forgive me this one time.  Of course, I'll never see you again, so what difference does forgiveness make?

Warbling again, and a flash of carbon-arc spotlight washes over the front porch.  The breath catches in my throat.  The light drifts away in concert with the lowering sound of the copter blades as it drifts back out toward the interstate.  Another chuckle escapes my cracked lips, the sound of a rusty gate closing in a slow breeze.

It's funny, darling, because they won't find me here.  They think I'm on the run, trying get south over the line, or ditching them in one of the industrial parks down by the river.  Amateurs.  I'm not that obvious, or that stupid.  I'll wait here, right under their noses, in this house become holding cell, until they get bored or tired.

I can wait.  I'm good at waiting.  You know that, don't you?  Because I can, and have.  I waited for you, all those year of not even knowing it, and then you were there.  That blue cotton dress and a megawatt smile, and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of biomedical industry trade secrets wound up in a soft memory stick made to look like a hair ribbon.  The hibiscus, too, was a nice touch. I'm a sucker for flowers, especially tucked behind the ear against hair the color of chestnuts.

You knew that.  Of course you did.  You were backed up by some of the finest infohounds money could buy.  And you had plenty, didn't you?  Too bad the security cases who working for whomever you stole from (and I still don't know.  Hargreaves, Ltd?  Basel Rohrer Gmbh?  Does it matter?) had more and better.  If I hadn't gotten up to take a leak, I would have been at the table with you, when that bomb went off.  Sixteen pounds or so of hexogen disguised as a street cleaning 'bot was a masterful stroke, I admit.

You, a cloud of pink vapor.  Me, a vomiting, nervous wreck fleeing the scene with nothing but the clothes on my back and a wallet.  And your ribbon.  The gun came later.

The cigarette has burned out, singing my fingers.  Christ, I get so distracted when I think of you, darling.  Except when it comes to you, I forget nothing.

The helicopters make another pass, but the sounds are getting fainter, as if the circles are moving elsewhere.  Good, good...I am a patient man, my love.  After all, I waited for you, yes?  I can wait for them to leave.  When they do, I will leave, too.  My passport, the one I think is my real one, is still good.  I have friends at a lab in Sri Lanka, ones you did not know about.  They will know what to do with the hair ribbon, if I can get there.

If I can get there.  If I want to get there.  I want, badly, to forget, and my choices now are a ribbon or a bullet.

Tell me, darling, which should I wear?

02 March 2011

Riverlight and Sycamore

Standing beside the trail,
back against the river
which he swore whispered to him
in that voice, her voice

he could not push the button
take the picture, for the mist
settling in to shroud his vision
shaking prisms from his eyes

he marveled at the white bark
against a cerulean sky, dotted,
raven-shaped tresses adorning
a trunk he longed to climb

Leaving behind the trail,
wading into the cold rush,
which he swore whispered to him
love, love, come home

01 March 2011

Tidbits From The Gumbo Pot, Edition the Second

Wow.  The first edition of 'Tidbits from the Gumbo Pot' came out in February 2009. That was two years ago.  Holy shite.

Well, here goes.  A glimpse behind the curtain of Gumbo.  Herewith, I give you some screen shots that caught my attention, in Go.og.les sidebar.  Things usually get weird in the "More About" sections...

How I got from bird watching to swearing and Scrabble,  I'll never know.

Nothing says fun like a spraying, constipated cat!

So that's my take on a little randomness for your Tuesday.  If you have any insights as to why stuff like this shows up in my sidebar (psychological, not algorithmic) please let me know.  Gumbo can be made from a whole lot of things, but these? I don't know...