28 February 2011

New Myths of the Creation

"Did you know", Eve said, "good chocolate melts near the temperature of the body?"

She lay beside Adam, her head resting on her right hand, propped up by an elbow.  In her left hand was a small square of chocolate, ragged-edged and deep mahogany colored.  She held it just in front of her lips, which curved slightly in a ruby crescent across the lightly freckled alabaster of her exquisite face.  She was watching her partner, stretched out beside her.

Adam turned to her, watching as the chocolate disappeared into her waiting mouth under the gentle pressure of her fingers.  She smiled, and Adam's heart ticked a little faster as her cheeks undulated slightly in a slow savor.  Adam found himself distracted more so by the refined curve of her hip and and belly, bare as they were in the gold-tinged light reflecting off the beach upon which they lay, in the shade of lazy palms.

"Is that so?"  he replied.  She nodded, lips working.  The aroma of the chocolate curled in under his nose; he drew in a deep breath.  Adam rolled over, closer to Eve, to rest his right palm on her bare hip.  Their faces were separated by a fraction of an inch.  Her lips parted slightly, and the heady aroma intensified as it twined itself around their heads.

"Did you know," Adam said, barely audible above the murmur of the waves, "that the heart melts at the temperature of love?"  She gasped and leaned her mouth into his.

"Melt me.  Please."   They kissed, and knew the taste of love, rich and bittersweet.

27 February 2011

Gork, or Stylin' with Irish Gumbo

Well, dear readers, its confession time.  I am, it seems, a geek.  Or maybe a dork.  Perhaps both.

Aha!  I'm a GORK!

"Hey, Irish, don't be hatin' on yo'self!  Why you think that?"  I can hear you say.  Although why you would say it that way, I don't know.  It amuses me, I guess.

Anyway, as to why.  Two things have made me think I'm a gork.  To wit:

Earlier today I finally did my taxes for the year.  I had been dreading it, so I put it off as long as I thought I could.  The weird thing was, once I got into them...I enjoyed it.  You read that right: I enjoyed it.  Best I can figure, I enjoyed it because I turned off the radio and the TV, sat down and really focused on something for a while, and got it done.  No interruptions, no distractions, I FINISHED A THOUGHT, for the first time in months.  Hooray!  What's wrong with me? 

How many of you have two pairs of glasses, one regular for most tasks and one tinted for outdoors/driving?  Show of hands...good!  Those of you who do, listen up, I am about to offer a lifestyle tip.

If one wants to appear self-assured, cool, even, then make sure that when you get in the car and you go to put on your driving glasses...that you remove your regular glasses beforehand.  Trust me, it will save some embarrassment, and no one will point and laugh at you flailings and pokings.  Not that it has happened to me...within the past week.

So there you have it, dear readers, two of the many steps on that steep slide into gorkdom.  Take your time, be careful, I'll be waiting for you at the bottom, wearing my two pairs of glasses...

26 February 2011

Music and Politics and a Sweet Ride

After watching our boy Richard Engel in Iraq, then Egypt (see above) and now Libya, I have to say I'm very impressed.  Boy's got stones, he does.

But maybe its fatigue settling in, me feeling a bit punchy...but I saw the original newscast of the happenings in that video, and watched the video tonight, and both times I had the same thought:

Wouldn't it have been hilarious if, in the background, a tricked-out Impala low rider drove by, blaring an Arabic-language version of "F**k Tha Police"?

Yep.  I'm tired.

25 February 2011

Bookends: Eighties

Me and Big Bro, circa 1984

I was browsing some '80's and '90's music files tonight and I could not help but think of my brother.  The music led me to some pictures, specifically the one above.  It's a Polaroid, and my parents have the original.  I never used to get sentimental over old pictures, especially ones of myself, but things are different now.  As far as I'm concerned, that picture up there needs to be archived in a museum-quality case, suitable for framing.

I am struck particularly by our expressions.  Mine was showing a lot more self-assurance (youthful arrogance?) than I really possessed, and Big Bro?  Well, he was the shizznit, as that expression says it all.  He certainly could pull off the Look.  It gained in strength when he had a guitar in his hands, something I could not (and still can't) do.

I think that picture was taken at a time when I was beginning to feel I had any confidence at all of dealing with the world, out of high school and on my way to college.  It was a time I felt like I was right, even when I wasn't.  Untested youth has a way of doing that to a person.

I'm glad I didn't know then, what I know now.  I see this picture, and I cannot help but marvel at the power we didn't know we possessed.  Me and my Big Bro against the world, two saplings as yet unbent by the storms of life...the hurricane that took him down struck much too early.  The one that might take me, well, I hope its a long way off.

Until then, I'll think of him, and sink my roots deeper into the soil.

The following link (to myspace.com) is to a song by The Jesus and Mary Chain, that came out in 1989, which is kind of the cap on what I think of as my first (hopefully) Golden Age.  I listen, and I wish I could have sung this live with my brother on guitar.  I know he would have liked that.

24 February 2011

Questioning Atacama

I ran to you
and your rumors
of no rain

Across oceans and mountains
I found you,
caressing the Humboldt

There I stood, nitrate dust,
copper on my tongue,
and an alkali heart

Listening in silence
with only salt wind
to carry my questions of love

You ate my disappointment,
swallowed it with hard light,
while I fell to my knees

closed my eyes
and prayed for rain
here, in Atacama

23 February 2011

"All God's Children Got Hemoglobin"*

I admit, I'm plumb wrung out.  This winter has taken the measure of me.  I'm not in that "The Shining" frame of mind I was in last year (remember the 38 inches of snow in one wallop? I do. Grrr.), it's not that wound up.  No, this winter, it's a global feeling of running out of gas.  There's been a lot of change, upheaval and such in the fair Republic of Gumbolia in the past 365, and I am most certainly not a clocker.  I'm tired in body and mind.

When I get in this frame of mind, my view of humanity tends towards more jaundice than usual.  The antics and yammerings of human beings, great or small, tend to get even deeper under my skin, plucking my last damn nerve like it was the Devil's banjo.  Through gray-tinted glasses, the peeps, they bug me.

In all candor, I yell a lot more on my commutes.  I mutter, and comment on others' shortcomings, real and imagined.  It's a reflex action, one I am hard pressed to damp down when fatigue has unlatched the gate that keeps my reptilian, brutish self safely in its pen.

This troubles me, because at heart, I am not a ill-tempered lout.

Today was not an easy workday.  No terminal crises, but plenty of petty stresses and problems that wouldn't stay solved.  I left the office in bad humor, trailed by a little black cloud swirling over my head.  When I arrived home, I treated myself to the luxury of a beer before dinner, carefully imbibed while slumped on the couch to take in a little news.

Not the best way to lighten up a bad day, I know, and I was all set to start fuming and hurling epithets at the parade of idiocy on the tube.  But that's not what happened.

What happened was a terrible earthquake in New Zealand, with the city of Christchurch front and center in the disaster reporting.  So many buildings fallen, so much damage and the victims!  All those people killed, injured and missing...The videos were painful to watch, with the smoke, rubble and blood.

Something else I saw was a quiet story about yesterday being the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, a man whom I regret to say I do not know nearly enough about.  I do know this: he was a human being who made some mistakes but also had some big realizations, and tried to change some things much bigger than himself.  He believed in people making things better for themselves, even when that meant telling the truth and atoning for for one's mistakes.  And for that, somebody murdered him.

Taking all of this in really took the starch out of me.  Perspective granted.

I understand that disasters happen, and people can be vicious; none of that is new information.  But sitting there and trying to wrap my head around the enormity of the one and the evil of the other, I flashed on one thing for certain:  all God's children got hemoglobin, and it is up to us to keep it from being spilled.

*I borrowed this from "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman.  A terrific work of science fiction (on my top ten all time favorites list), it is also one of the best anti-war novels I have read.

22 February 2011

From Grace

The song said a man will rise,
a man will fall,
from the sheer face of love

like a fly on a wall
but he has no wings
only the memory thereof

from her he understood rise,
now he understands fall,
arms outstretched in blackness

fingers brush a surface he cannot see
only feel, now raspy, now smooth,
with no purchase for his heart

Italicized words above are lyrics from "The Fly", by U2, from the album Achtung, Baby. But you probably already knew that...

21 February 2011

Eos Dream

A brisk wind blew through him as he stood at the prow.  The metallic tang of salt water rushed into lungs breathing deeply of the scent.  Astern, the sky was darkened by storm, drops of silver stippling the water in a mad tattoo.  Forward beyond the bow, the sun was tasting the rippled horizon of a sea the color of wine, as dawn caressed the waves with fingers of rose and peach.  The captain reached out a scarred hand to touch the goddess, as if she knew of his devotion, and he swore he saw her face, wide and smiling, before he jumped into the sea.

Awakening.  A faint sizzle he first took for the sound of bacon frying, or rainfall.  This confused him, as his eyes, though yet unopened, saw a glow of sunlight seeping through the lids.  It was warm, wherever he was, and through the open window came the sun and the faint murmur of waves on a beach.  He felt torpid,  immobile, as if poured into place.  There was a slight stirring of the air, which itself was heavy with the aroma of the sea and feminine musk.  He realized he was naked, with only a swath of nicely scratchy linen draped across his belly and thighs.  The sound of water spilling onto stones came from the adjacent bath, then slowed and stopped.  There was only a faint slow dripping.  He turned his head and opened his eyes.

She was there, in the archway from the bath, running a towel across her hair.  Skin the color of cream and coffee, hair like midnight and a body that made him think art truly was the intersection of Truth and Beauty. Wrapping the towel around her head, she looked up to catch him staring. She smiled.  His heart stopped.  She padded over to the bed to sit beside him, the curve of her hip resting against his belly.  He was acutely aware of the heat seeping into his skin.

Eyes of smoky emerald held his gaze while her left hand held his cheek. He reached up with his right hand, curling it around her wrist. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it.  He felt the words drain away.  Her gaze softened.

"What?" she said softly.  His pulse spiked.

"It's...I...had the dream again.  Of you." He spoke in a low, rushed voice.  He blinked quickly, suddenly nervous.  She didn't say anything  for five, then ten heartbeats.  Her fingers never left his cheek.  With languid grace, she leaned over to bring her lips almost even with his, which were trembling slightly.  Her breath zephyring across his chin as she spoke.

"Did you jump?"

He knew that question was coming, but it still caught him off guard.  His answer was so faint as to be nearly inaudible, but he knew she heard.


Her hand slid down from his cheek, down his side and delicately pulled the sheet away.  Her other hand had reached up to pull the towel off from her head.  Midnight fell over his face, she leaned into him, and whispered into his mouth, "Then do it again. Do it again."

His hands fumbled into her hair, drawing her onto him, and he dove headlong into the wine-dark sea.

Author's note:  This is my 600th post.  Imagine that.  600 of these things, and I'm still chasing dreams. 

20 February 2011

Nomad's Chair

Stasis chamber
Concert hall
Anechoic lab
Dialysis suite
Scream room
Crash pad

Facets of a home worn,
a soft shelled crab
during the molt
and wondering
still waiting

for its consecration
as sanctuary

19 February 2011


You came to see me tonight, and I almost missed you but for an open window.

The weather had turned, an unexpected but delightful turn into spring after a long, gray spate of winter.  Windows were opened, shorts were donned in celebration.  Except for the wind, the night was unusually quiet.  I revel in it, when the world seems to draw in its breath.  The din and clatter of the modern world is a shroud I gladly discard when the opportunity is right.  Especially on nights of the full moon.

I read somewhere long ago, that seawater and human blood contain  similar proportions of salts, and the moon is master of the tides.  The full moon rises and the oceans respond, mastered by forces unseen.  That explains it, then:  you, the Luna to my Mari.  

A cool room, an open window, maybe the faintest murmur of distant music...the stage was set for a visitation.  These things are, after all, pillars of my memory.  Thick trunks reaching for the sky.  Perhaps I should name them 'Trees of Heaven', although with a decidedly more appealing aroma than the infamous trees of China, that bear the same name.

Forgive me, I ramble.  Listen to me blathering on...it was moments like that bound me to you, those times where I channeled a pedant or docent and you would take me by the ears, hands on my cheeks and kiss me to silence.  Nowadays, I have no willing lips to close mine.

I ramble in hermetic silence, with only echoes to console me.  A mad monk pacing his cell and reciting the genus and species of every flower and herb he ever grew in the apothecary's garden, with bees as his witness.  Ah, if only I had the genius of Mendel or Augustine, perhaps then I could make sense of this desolation.

Another transgression, a digression, again I must ask forgiveness.  It was the moon, you see, that did this.  The blinds were up when I stepped into the room, and there you were, refulgent in argentine beauty spilling over the carpet and onto the bed.  The breeze through the screen was cool without edge.  The branches of the sycamore tree were etched in a color darker than black, in the backlight of the moon, reminding me of your hair laying across linen in the candlelight.  I closed my eyes.  Luna held silent counsel in a few degrees of arc across the sky.  I shivered.

The silver bars between the shadows latticed across the bed, but I was not yet ready to leave the cell in which they held me, and you.

This time, I did not weep. 

18 February 2011

Pretty Sound Good - The Ponytail Files, Volume 2

Hey, guys and dolls!  Here's a little trip in the Wayback Machine.  Longtime readers may recall THIS POST from (get this) two years ago, about the the lurvely Adele and her incredible voice.  Well, a really ravishing look, too, but she can saaaaaang!

Guess what, my lovelies?  She's back!  A slightly different (but still lurvely)(very lurvely) look and a new album out this year...and once again I am gobsmacked.

So I...uh, wait, where was I?  I was approaching a point here, what did I do with it?  Oh, yes, of course...MUSIC!  As I said, she has a new album out, and if anything, she sounds even better.  Click on the picture, it links to a concert performance from earlier this month.  You don't have to listen to the whole thing (30 minutes), but at least give the first song a try...mmm, mmm, that voice...pretty do sound good, so good.

Happy Friday, everyone!

17 February 2011

Gaddafi in Flames

Glass of tea, bowl of soup,
TV news chatters across the table
against a 'tsk tsk' and a 'mmm, mmm'

A cough, full of crackers, unintended guffaw,
the talking head intoning like a deejay:
"Here's an image of Gadaffi in flames"

Kaleidoscopic: to eat dinner, watch nations
begin their meltdown, yet thinking to myself
"That's a great name for a band"

16 February 2011

Murther In Broad Daylight

A murther of crowes, muttering together,
atop the sycamore a'bend in the wind
I watched as obsidian beaks and ebony wings
fluttered, klaxon calls gently piercing the glass

Branches swaying and crystalline sparks,
they shift and shimmy like a school of fish,
leaving a pair behind, their talons clutching
a silvery branch become highwire

Eyes casting about, their heads dip close
with outstretched wings touching just so,
I strain to hear their raspy voices, not knowing
what they conspire, these spies or lovers

15 February 2011

Life, Scattered

It was fatigue that brought me to this place, that and the realization I didn't want to spend the evening in the company of strangers emitting a haze of genteel desperation.  That's why I closed the door, turned on my heels and sat down to listen to the wind.

No television news tonight, too impatient of the bother it brings.  An excess of talking heads, and mine the loudest even when my mouth is shut.  The radio, too, began to grate.  The songs were good, but far too many seem to be mining my heart, seeking out the lodes of "lost love and loneliness" as I recalled Johnny Cash singing over the stereo.  I soon turned it off.

It's windy, a gusty evening a-swirl with the breathing of giants buffeting the windows.  Oddly enough, it is a comforting sound, here in this my new (old) house.  I hear the limbs of the trees rub against each other, and the dry bone scrape of leaves tumbling upon themselves and the sidewalk.  That scraping sound.  Sometimes it reminds me of all the pages of a life, ripped from the spine and cast about while we humans flail and gambol trying to catch them before they get away.  But we never will get them all back.  So we make new books from old pages, misnumbered, out of order, brown and ragged at the edges.

This isn't so bad, sometimes.  I often take comfort in the facing of the pages in a closed book, those older ones with the sepia cast and the rough edges that don't quite align.  they make a good book, all the same.

Dammit.  I gave myself five minutes to write about the wind and here I am at triple that.  To be expected, I suppose.  I was distracted by a thought, many thoughts, some about you.  Because the wind, it still whispers your name.

I left the radio off, and the television.  Tonight, it was the wind gifting me memories, and that was enough.

14 February 2011

Love Is A Giant Stone Buddha Face...

...that I hope and fear may start talking to me.

It's Valentine's Day, and if there is a word to describe how I feel about it this year, I have yet to discover it.  I suppose the ancient Greeks may have had a word for it, presuming they had known about Valentine's Day as we know it.  That, I'm sure, is not possible.

Of the many emotions and states of mind available to human beings, love is truly universal and maybe the most mysterious.  How can so many of us experience it, and still not have a clear understanding of it?  I can speak with confidence as to its effects, but as to its ability to manifest in ones' life?  No, not really.

I only know its ecstasy when it has been present, and its agony when it has disappeared.

I was planning on an essay about the raw power of love, but the ideas never quite gelled. Then, I thought a poem about the incandescence of passion, its ability to empower, might be in order.  I even crafted what I thought would be a most powerful phrase I would use, but something held me back;  that poem isn't ready to yet be in the world.  

So I was at a loss.  A loss of how to 'splain what I want to 'splain, that is, until serendipity in the form of song painted me a picture.  I have the following on disc, and I guess I listened to it at just the right time.  The song is Farewell to Saint Dolores,  by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer*.  The title below is linked to the audio clip on their website:

"can you stay until tomorrow, there is no one here to save,
can you stay until tomorrow, there is no one here to save"
so spoke our lady of eternal sorrow
from the shelter of her cave

in a carriage of white linen, in her bed beneath the stairs
in a carriage of white linen, in her bed beneath the stairs
she took me to the jesse house of women
and sanctified me there

i remember yellow curtains, and her long hair hangin down
i remember yellow curtains, and her long hair hangin down
and the ageless face that witnessed me for certain
when my own could not be found

if you see my saint dolores, tell her love from brother john
if you see my saint dolores, tell her love from brother john
when the judas moon breaks o'er the virgin forest
i'll be down the road and gone
I posted the entire song lyric, because of its completeness as it related to the illumination of my thoughts.  I couldn't find a way to excerpt any one passage, and still have it make sense.

Assuming that it does make sense.  I'm not intentionally being opaque, but I have to approach this cautiously and and from the sides.  When I last heard the song, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I shivered slightly.  Everything that had been roiling around in my head, regarding love platonic and romantic, and my current situation vis-à-vis love, was crystallized by that song.  It made sense to me on so many levels.  I can only hope it makes sense to you, dear readers, as well.

Even if it doesn't...it is still one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.  Which is, perhaps, an apt definition of love.

*Dave and Tracy (http://www.daveandtracy.com/) are in my top ten favorite singer/songwriter duos.  For a slightly different take on love, check out the lyrics to "Tanglewood Tree", also by them on the album of the same name (which includes the song I quoted above).  Between his amazing artistry with lyrics and her sweet voice, and their talent with instruments, they have created some of the most lyrical, beautiful works I believe I have ever heard.  Dave passed away rather suddenly back in 2002, but Tracy has carried on quite well in his memory and in her own right.  He certainly won't be forgotten...and I continue to dream I'll write something 'Dave-worthy' someday.

13 February 2011

Love Bomb

What do you really think of love do you know do you know I'm not sure I know because I have been thinking about it long too long way too long

and it occurred to me I still don't know how could that be after all these years? Maybe maybe its because I didn't understand it then and I don't now but back then I didn't know I didn't understand, you dig it?

Good good I knew that you could so dig this my pretties tonight I had the flash the realization the kick in the cerebrum that if I were to try writing what I really think of love

oh my god my head might explode or my heart burst and yours might too (though I doubt that I suspect yours is stronger than mine) but what I do know is this:

I had love and then it slipped away and that makes me wonder if my grasp was weak,

or love too strong,

or me just unlucky,

and maybe love was a bomb that I could not defuse and it blew up in my face to scatter me to the wind,

or maybe love was a bomb that I should have let explode, catching me in the fallout of grace and the dust of being wanted by someone...swept away by the overpressure of knowing




12 February 2011

Sea Ice Somnambulism

Trudging slowly across the freeze
sunlight an argentine presence
the face barely registered for years,
this light without warmth

yet the body continued to move,
hooded eyes glass reflecting the far horizon
without seeing crevasse and divide
or soft swelling of a heavy ocean

Until that day of heaving water, frozen air,
and the faint lap of saline against the cliff
combined with rifle crack of fracturing ice
woke him up, the sea below, between his feet

A widening gap, indigo abyss to split him open
staring in disbelief, to wonder, to think,
how far from home this blue-white purgatory
in which the heart must learn to swim

11 February 2011

What the Princess Said to the Captain

Sunday afternoon.  It's cold, lots of snow still on the ground, but the sun is out, finally.  Perfect time for Wee Lass and the Captain to log some outdoor time after being cooped up.  The Captain advises Her Royal Cuteness to enrobe herself appropriately for a winter excursion:

Captain: "We should go to the park."
Wee Lass: "I wanna stay inside."
C: "We've been inside almost all weekend.  Let's go to the park with the swinging bridge."
WL:  "I want to go to the big playground!  Can we go to the big playground?"

She wheedles well.  Plus, she looks at the Captain with those baby blues...

C:  (sighs)  "Okay, we can go to the big playground.  Get your shoes on."

Wee Lass skips to her room, returns carrying her favorite "sparkly" shoes.  They are indeed sparkly, festive, even, but not even good shoes for tromping in snow.  Her boots were absent, with only sneakers as backup.  Better than the sparkly shoes, though.

C:  "Uh, please put your sneakers on.  There might be snow, and sneakers would be better."
WL:  "I don't want to wear sneakers."
C:  "Sweet pea, those shoes will get wet and cold a lot faster, so the sneakers..."
WL (staring at the Captain with a withering look):  "But, Daddy...they don't go well with my tights!"

So that is how it came to pass that the Captain lumbered along in his winter boots, while Her Royal Cuteness frolicked on the slides and in the snow with sparkly shoes a-glitter in the winter sun.  She was right, they did look good with her tights.

And she didn't complain at all about the wet, cold feet...

10 February 2011

Razor and Maelstrom

Little whiskers swirling around
a sink like cool bone, sharp clicks
tapping the razor on the rim
drumming time to a tiny maelstrom
that drains away a swamp of memories
like who he used to be
what he thought he was becoming
where he wanted to have and hold,
just as the blue blades stripped,
scraped, exposed skin that missed
the sun for a few months, now gleaming
a smooth, pinkish strata of strange stone
unearthed by the slipping of fault lines
he thought were buried beyond recovery,
sub-oceanic plates scraping each other
smooth and raw, tremblors unleashed
as the razor fell from his fingers
crashing into the ocean gone pink,
there's blood in the water, he flinches,
staring into the mirror, Phobos and Deimos
stare out through his swollen eyes
that see the face not knowing itself
and questioning if this creature of nerves
will ever again find the quiet cave of home

09 February 2011

Revolución, Undone

Cristóbal sat straight back on the mahogany bench, and squinted through the Gauloises haze towards the door.  Even through the thick, scarred leather of his coat, he could feel the uneven bricks digging into his back.  The pisco that still burned in his gullet had not yet worked its magic, even though the glass on the battered table was empty, begging for anointment from the green glass bottle standing alongside.

Cristóbal drew a slow breath through the cigarette gripped between the middle fingers of his left hand.  The nails were begrimed, split here and there, and his fingers carried the faint tang of cordite.  As the heavy cloud of French tobacco smoke leaked from his nostrils, he felt a faint shiver of regret that it could very well be the last cigarette he ever smoked.
you know where I have been and
you know what I have done
they say that you see everything
so you know I never hurt no one
The mournful sound of the singer's voice carried across the bar, to land on Cristóbal's heart with a pang of regret.  He had brought his share of hurt, and death, into the world.  The pursuit of liberty, to throw off the shackles, to rid his country of pestilence in the form of secret police...to what end?  Alone here, a cause surely lost, without friends, and without her.
What I have stolen won't be missed
By those who had so much, so long
We'll soon be laughing about this
They will never notice it is gone
But they had noticed.  The faceless ones, the men in the  black coats, they had noticed his theft.  Being possessed of long memories and diabolical patience they found his weakness.  Not being a man given to bartering his righteousness,  Cristóbal had foolishly thought to escape while thumbing his nose at them.  The bombs weren't enough, the midnight raids on the minister's compounds, it wasn't enough.

They had her.  He hadn't believed them, until the grainy photograph had suddenly shown up one day inside the door of of what he had thought to be a safe house.  Her body, a rough wood floor, her eyes half closed, in unconsciousness or death, he could not say.  There was a lock of her hair glued to the back of the print.  Clarity had seized him, he knew what he must do.  He had flung the picture into the fireplace, burning it to ash along with a thick stack of letters.  The only thing he kept was a tattered sepia photograph.  He ran.
I could bend the universe
It I can only get there first
There are some foolish fresh laid plans
My fate is firmly in your hands
The singer crooned, a tiny knife twisting in the wound.  Small tears stung the corners of his eyes.  He brushed them aside, hand straying inside his coat and brushing against the heavy butt of the pistol sequestered there, on its way to the pocket.  He pulled the photograph out, cradling it his hand like a relic.  She looked out at him through eyes like polished mahogany, deep and rich.  The brilliant flower tucked behind her right ear stood out like a sun, and he stifled a sob.

"Aurore", he whispered, "a sunrise I shall never see again."  He raised the picture to his lips, and kissed it, eyes closed.  The singer's voice swelled in duet with his guitar of Spanish cypress.
If you must take me
I can not go peacefully
I left someone waiting for me
I left things so terribly...
A loud screech of tires outside, loud, angry voices and the unmistakable click of guns being limbered.  The singer's voice stopped in mid-lyric.  Cristóbal looked up, through eyes suddenly gone soft on a small wave of pisco.  Four members of the Sección Especial were coming through the door, pistols in hand and lamplight shining like oil on the black leather of their jackets.   
Cristóbal realized it was too late to run.  They hadn't seen him yet, but they certainly had him cornered.  He felt light, feathery and calmer than he had expected.

He carefully put Aurore's photograph back in his pocket, and gripped the butt of the pistol.  He stood up silently, and in one fluid motion he flipped the table over and drew the gun.  The clatter of the table drew the attention of the police, and they swung there pistols towards Cristóbal, like evil flowers facing the sun.

Cristóbal showed his teeth.  Time slowed down to a dripping of honey, and as his finger tightened on the trigger, he sang.
If you must take me
I can not go peacefully
I left someone waiting for me
I left things so terribly...

Lyrics used w/o permission, from "Undone", from the album A Mad & Faithful Telling, by Devotchka.

08 February 2011

American Peace Dream

The America in which I want to live
isn't a game
or a commercial
or the latest app

It isn't slow motion breasts
or toothpaste sex,
nor is it cheesy puffs or
trucks as penis enhancers

The America in which
I want to live
is not life as a game
or a commercial, or a war

No, the America in which
I want to live lets
you be you, me be me,
and your neighbors be themselves

in peace

07 February 2011

Looking For A Boat

If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat
Procuring a boat has become a high priority item lately.  Not a real boat, necessarily, but at least a figurative one to take me away from here and get some breathing room.  A real boat would be nice, but I don't want or need the hassle of a hole in the water into which I pour money.  A pony would be cool, my daughter would get a kick out of riding it I'm sure.  Don't know as I'm ready for the upkeep, though, I've enough complications as it is.

The idea of getting up and going, though...
The mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
'Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto he was smarter
And one day said kemo sabe
"Kiss my ass, I bought a boat
I'm going out to sea"
The kemo sabes in life have gotten louder and more insistent, more up in my grill.  The chain is taut and that collar is making me choke, and they stand just out of reach...if only the collar would slip...The itch, the urge, to say "Kiss my ass" has grown stronger in the face of all the poking and provoking.

But I can't say it, not now, not yet.  This is not the time.  I'm praying I find that boat soon.

Lyrics used w/o permission, from "If I Had A Boat" by Lyle Lovett (Pontiac, 1988)

06 February 2011


The clock is digital, he is thankful,
no ticks of inevitability to disturb
the cottony silence in his heart

Orpheus ran away, chased off by
unfamiliar sheets and hiss of tires on the
wet pavement of a sterile street

He whimpers into another restless night,
wondering where he is, how far from home,
tracking slat shadows on the walls

Another road dog dream, her mahogany eyes
caressing his at a distance of desolate miles
while his hands reach for her, to close on air

Flood tide of reality rolls in on an empty bed,
the nightstand drawer empty of Gideon,
and he fears knowing only the memory of salvation

05 February 2011

On Saying Something Nice

We've all heard the old saying "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

It bummed me out to think I am dangerously close to not being able to say anything at all.  This state of affairs calls for a vacation...
(...which I can't afford...)
...or disconnection...
(...which I don't know how to do...)
...or dropping out...
(...which I am too stubborn for..)

So.  That leaves me...where?  Here, of course.  Which is where I always am.

Tonight, I read three favorite books with Wee Lass, at bedtime, handpicked by her because she knows I like these particular stories.  It's the Zen series, by Jon J. Muth.  Wonderful, wonderful books.  Thoughtful, intelligent and illustrated with some gorgeous watercolors.

The central figure in the stories, as some of you may know, is a big panda bear named Stillwater.  He is friend, teacher, sage and roshi all in one.  He makes tea, paints pictures and tells stories.  I want to Stillwater to be a friend to me, as he is to the kids who live nearby.  Mostly, I want to be Stillwater.

I have a lot to learn.

04 February 2011

Hymn: Tupelo Heart

It was a sweaty camping trip
I was there, corduroy shorts
She was there, green eyes

Lots of friends, and noise,
I didn't know her
I knew her friend

I opened my mouth,
small miracles, she opened hers
she didn't walk away

To know her lips
was to know sweetness,
tupelo on the tongue

We said I love you
Not knowing what that meant,
Years apart, I still don't know

Stir the honey in the tea,
she whispers in my ear,
and I remember

03 February 2011

River in Our Veins

I have had much on my mind (as usual) since I wrote this post, and my hindbrain was chewing on some ideas for responses to commentors' thoughts on what I should write.  The one that has piqued my interest the most was TaraDharma's (although they all are good) and was what I had planned on writing about for this post.

The universe had other ideas.  I was redirected by small miracles and revelations, profound and terrible, beautiful and sad.  They all had me thinking about love for our families, our kith and kin.

I mentioned back on January 17th in this post that a cousin of mine was due to have a baby in the near future.  That small miracle has come to pass, as of yesterday, and mom and le bebe are doing fine.  She has a little girl, a beautiful little girl of her own.  The pictures I have seen were quite the tonic for the weary heart I have been carrying through this winter that won't seem to pass.

The terrible, sad thing I won't discuss in detail here, but it involves a personal revelation made to me that took my breath away, and granted a clear bolt of insight and illumination into understanding another human being.  The context and the content were mind boggling, and truly altered my perspective on the life I have experienced in the past few years.

In sum, here's what I was thinking, as I drove home from work tonight:  Hold your kith and kin close, don't let them slip away, and make sure they know you love them.  The blood that flows in our collective veins is a mighty river in which we may sometimes not want to swim...but flow it does, into the sea which gave us life, and love.

02 February 2011


A fitting metaphor, this vase of mine.  It is empty, and dusty, and has been for more than a year.  Excuse me, please, it isn't quite empty.  It does hold, after all, the memory of flowers.

The vase was waiting patiently for me tonight, as it has done every night since I moved into the house.  It is simple, plain clear glass, with curves that are just pleasant enough.  The vase rests on top of combination bookshelf/television cabinet, which in turn is just across the room from the couch.  In some lights, it almost disappears.  Tonight I sat down on the couch and stared at it.  It said nothing.  Frankly, there are hours and days that pass where I do not so much as register its existence.  It sits, quietly, and dreams of being filled with something beautiful, and wonderful.

As do I.

01 February 2011

54°26′S 3°24′E

Groans of the sea, breath crystallized,
Moans of the seals beyond glacier's edge,
ringing the bell of Roald's heart

He dogs the door of the hut,
flickering seal-oil light and powdered meat
await him, slab of ice masquerading as wood

Tonight it is two bites he can't swallow, easily,
Recoiling to think he can't take the feel of his hands
touching his face again, with hers so far away