Sunday, January 25, 2015

flutter



Always remember. All ways. In the silent fluttering of your heart, or by the barely detectable fluttering of a fragile moment, true joy in life blooms from the things we have no power over, nor really plan.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

dancing in the kitchen


One song after another wafted in, unnoticed, sandwiched in-between volume-cranked, dire notices of get rich quick spots. And then there was that one song, guitar chords, no words needed. He looked at her, but she already dropped the scrub brush and searched his eyes.
"Remember?", she mouthed silently. He nodded, smiling. They embraced right there in the kitchen, moving now, dancing.
"We danced to this for the first the time a mere ten minutes after you claimed to hate me with all your heart", he said, a bit too loud, lips moving like a ventriloquists at her ear, forehead to his shoulder, arm full of her wiggling waist.
"Shhh", she laughed. "Just shhhh, you". They were turning then in time, slower, one and two and three and four, and it reminded her of the cabin of their very own, puddles for a front yard, nestled beyond yellow and lime cottonwoods, the spring water brought up from the well he hauled in with two hands. That little battery radio. Alone and barefoot, close together, anything can happen.

photo by Eliott Erwitt
Mary and Robert Frank, Valencia, 1952

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

the meek


"What are you doing standing on those suitcases, dear"?
She looked down from her two Montgomery Wards matching travel cases. Two stiff suitcases that forever reminded her of a game show announcer sweatily telling loser contestants what consolation prizes they would haul home with them today.
"I'm changing the light-bulb in the chandelier", she deadpanned.
"You're leaving me, aren't you", he stated, hesitating to ask, no chandelier within miles.
She disbelievingly shook her head. "Watch out for flying glass". She jumped, trying to squeeze extra bulging possessions, kind of like forcing a thirty-seven waist into a mannequins thirty-two svelte fruit-of-the-looms. And she jumped again. He watched, hands wringing, naturally thinking of perhaps assisting. He was going to suggest to his wife that sitting, legs protruding outward, would result in the center of gravity producing the most downward force needed to fasten the snaps. He bit his lower lip.
"Why are you leaving me? The advance from the publisher could arrive any day now. Perhaps a thousand dollars, my dear", his voice quivering, fading at dollars.
She stepped down, looked at the open suitcases, hands on hips.
"Maybe they'll show up at the front door with balloons and a big old check". Sarcasm was oozing from her eyeballs. "A thousand dollars whoop-dee-doo".
She sat on the cases. He daringly grasped her ankles to try his theory, but she swung at him wildly missing before any snaps could have clicked shut. He put on his hat and coat, tucked in his scarf, and softly closed the door behind him.

The advance came just four days later. It was raining when he left his rented room, walking the seven blocks to the post office. He tore open the envelope standing by his open post office box, water dripping off his hat onto the huge black and white tiles. Inside was a crisp folded white letter and a blue certified check. The check was for one hundred thousand dollars. He read the paragraph three times that complemented his 'splendid idea' of the little misfit sparrow with the corrective goggles and backup parachute.
The rain had dissipated into a silver mist as he sat in a warm diner before a deluxe egg platter and hot black coffee. 'Whoop-dee-doo', echoed with every bite.

Photo by Elene Usdin

Monday, December 29, 2014

58 West


"Quick, in here. Do you see him"? Two women, Matilda and Tessy, entered a boutique out of a light drizzle in New York.
They were holding hands, the girls, and then tighter.
"Wait. Oh, yes, look, right across the way. Leaning, hat pulled down".
Their eyes shone, glistening, as in a chase, cornered and breath-catching.
"Not a place for a man. We're safe".
"I'm not so sure". And then they were laughing.
"Look at the choice. A hundred and one colors in lace hosiery." Her friend was not paying attention. "Still out there is he?"
She nodded. "He's crossed." Looking up at the ambient lights, "I love this place already".
They spoke French then. "He is an American".
"How can you tell?"
"At the bistro he was hiding behind an upside down menu".
The other giggled. "And now he has cornered us, Matilda", in mock over-melodramatic fright.
"He's shy", she said quietly, blushing, eyebrows raised in a slight frown.
"Oh look...they have pink hose just like the store name". She was serious. After awhile, when she was down on her knees scanning the bottom display of silk delights, she looked up and asked in English, "How do you know he's shy?"
The other went to the window and looked out, neck craning, at the man.
She spoke barely above a whisper, a slight shudder, cinching the scarf around her sleek Audrey Hepburn neck. "'round the corner I stopped and turned to him. We were face to face. He rolled his hat from hand to hand and looked down at the ground".
Her dearest was at her side now. She kissed her cheek. "Poor thing, he".
"No. They make the finest lovers".
"Shhh", as she tapped on the window.
"No"!

Monday, December 15, 2014

the shop around the corner





frequent riders


"Sure, I remember, of course I do. We won't talk about the frequent weeping. Not even the frequent miles, apart. I held you, and we kissed as our feet were still floating. Frequently. We traversed like magnetic pins zig-zagging on a map in a sweaty police squad room. Like 'I've got a hunch, captain - Cordon off this area, men, along this route is where the next kissing incident will occur. Mark my word - I've been a policeman for twenty-three years. I know'. Right up to our parting from the bus station. I think they announced our kiss over the loud speaker, squawking like adults in a Charlie Brown special."
She smiled and looked down at her shoes.
"I don't hear so good anyway when you're kissing me", she said, her eyes gleaming.
On another walk, in a year when time once stopped around half past three, they stood in the middle of the block in front of a jewelry store shining with pudding-colored lights. The displays looked tasty, and she licked her lips. He saw this and then he kissed her. People walked by with hunched shoulders in the rain. No gumshoes need apply.
photograph by Robert Doisneau

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

good dog


"Ok. Ok, mom, remember that one time. That one time the dog brought a dead sparrow into the house"?
"Yes".
"And daddy. Daddy got upset that Molly parked it right in his favorite chair and just sat by it. Kinda just stared at anybody that saw Molly sitting there. Remember"?
"Yes, honey".
"Yeah". Nervous giggling.
"What about it, honey"?
"Well. Um. Molly just dragged something in the house, mom. But, mom, Molly didn't put it in any chair. So daddy won't be mad when he sees, right"?


photo of Molly's new toy by Elene Usdin

Saturday, December 6, 2014

pealing


"Did you ever try to peel an apple without breaking the skin?"
"Oh yes. Many times", he replied turning away, oozing a thick cider sarcasm.
"I can too."
"Oh, I can't wait". He yawned.
Their was a audible snap. It came out of the air. A pealing sound of innocence shattering, forever gone, as though kicking a sleeping dog.
'Lean over my way', he thought. 'I'm going to peel from scalp to your soulless shoes. Unbroken.'

Bond of Union (1956)
by M. C. Escher


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

first autumn snow

Snowstorm by Maurice de Vlaminck


Cardigan buttoned
Snow melts upon autumn dreams
Vanished by palm's touch

Sunday, October 19, 2014

in light of autumn cemetery


dried moth wings over morning dew
grave Poe prose buried shaded hue
seek mother's love ghostly spirit
tender hearts naturally inherit

uprooted bricks once old yellow road
endearments etched careless uprooted stone
smiles unseen passing headless rider
hallow deeds howling silent laughter

photo by Tess Kincaid

Sunday, October 12, 2014

cushion


I'll show'em. I'll show'em. Non-believers. A crank, they all say. I'll prove it! That crack in the ceiling the shape of Colonel Sanders. Right there! Wait! It's not there. Gone. It was. It was. I need more light. I'll show'em who's a wing nut.
"What do you want, Hilda?"
"Are you about done in there, Madam? There's two gentlemen at the door".
"Who?"
"They say they'll keep you where it's nice and quiet, Dear".
"Oh, let me be".
"And they have nice cushioned....chairs...and rounded corners".
Self-portrait, Vivian Maier

Monday, September 15, 2014

the debutante


Banquet of chilled foreign cuisine
odd celery with peanut butter and cold beans
blue cheese imported from Iraq
burns holes in ancient crock

a charity ball
the bashful debutante's call
sign donation checks please:
Lost Dalmatian Society

She's spotlighted in white among other gray dresses
slim unlike mayor's wives and mistresses
coiffed and adorned with moist sulfur rose
veneer dance floor polished for skimming toes

young men cracking jokes
slow turtle soup coughing out nose
"Try the celery..it's rather quaint"!
behind the curtain runaway debutante feints

Sunday, September 7, 2014

flash



It happened in a rented one-room. The writer held the electric bill in both hands. Final Notice it says. Just another deadline, joining a sweaty editor and a wooly mammoth landlord. He lit a leaky cigarette and then torched the bill. Two birds with one match. There was that flash vision in his dry brain again. He thought maybe he'd put the blue steel revolver in the bottom desk drawer upon the tip of his tongue and squeeze the trigger. That vision came to him in dreams as well, in crowds on the subway, or whenever he reached in his pocket and palmed that empty money clip.
He looked up from the desk swivel chair at the solitary light strung on a noose from the ceiling. He thought it would snap too easy before his neck snapped if he rocked off a chair. And then he soberly watched the moths at the bulb. It reminded him of his youth, in the backyard of the drafty cottage where he lived in a small town, chasing fireflies in slow motion. He closed his eyes and reached for the bottom drawer. He had to wiggle it violently to open to a crack, warped wood on splintered particle board, wide enough to get a hold of the revolver butt. He fired one shot in one swooping motion, the bulb exploding with a final blue electrical flash. Thinking about capturing those fireflies, along with a fifteen year-old girl and his first stolen kiss, a time about which he had never set words to music, he stood up in the warm darkness searching another drawer for candle and match. There was storytelling to set to paper, young man.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

catch of the day


The onlookers were silent. Perhaps a dozen or two, or maybe a hundred cats on the lip of the water-logged pier. Waiting patiently, their necks erect, small pink stealth nostrils flaring. Waiting. Tails swishing in slow motion. Waiting for the men returning from the daily catch. Catch of the day. And yet - none to be gotten. A fisherman standing in his boat slams an oar. They scatter, the sound of small paws like tap dancers losing an audition. Eyes wide and tongues dry another day.
Dark Harbor, 1943, N. C. Wyeth

Saturday, August 30, 2014

a man outstanding in his field


There were those who said he was so lost he'd forgotten the color of the sun. But in his unbearable world, color was still his passion, and like his friend Rico, a street musician playing by ear, he could paint by ear with his eyes shut. In a blooming pasture, small flickering candlelight and a crescent white moon not only illuminated his blank canvas and brush, but the sun-yellow flowers. "I'll make the sun come out at night", he laughed out loud.
He looked up and scanned the horizon above the distant sharp outline of the church steeple. He began! - impatient brush strokes in true-to-agonizing-life, peace at last as he heard someone calling his name far away. He touched the back of his hand to wet cheek not even aware he had been crying. Over the top of his flimsy easel he saw all the homes darkened in the village.

Starry Night by Alex Ruiz
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