Zelko Nedic photo
Zelko Nedic photo
Final cloud chorus
Faint echoes remote lightning
One foot in the grave
More shades of blue haiku at
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Haiku My Heart
photo: Flint Hills, Kansas
Most people behave themselves. Some jokers choose to tug on Batman's cape for mysterious reasons. Troublemakers. When they misbehave and are reckless as a demolition derby on an enclosed figure eight hurting The Innocents, I go to work. I carry a badge.
It was Tuesday, cold all day with a light mist, extending into the night. The Chief of Detectives is Thad Smith. My partner, Ed Romero. My name is Friday.
Ninety-five percent of police work is dull and routine. Paperwork, monotonous stakeouts long into sleepy sunrises, testifying in court, quick fried egg sandwiches, cigarettes and black liquid resembling coffee. I'm not complaining.
We were working the night shift out of homicide/robbery division. It was 11:23. Me and Ed were on stakeout watching a murder suspect's apartment complex front entrance from the dark shadowed back seat of our unmarked police car, low conversations in static over the police radio up front barely keeping us awake. Ed was having a rougher time of it than me having downed three fried egg sandwiches that his wife had stacked in a brown paper bag. I had half a cup of coffee leftover from the corner deli three blocks down, having poured the first half against the back seat window as an excellent cleaner. Maybe when I retire I could get the formula, bottle it, and sell it at two in the morning during the late movie on channel four. My mind continued to drift until we heard our number, One-K-80, on the radio. Dispatch told me to call the Skipper.
The pay phone in front of the deli was closest, I got a nickel from Ed, slipped out the rear door staying low until I reached the next corner, then sprinted to the phone.
'Friday'? Sounded like he was having a tough go with a stale sandwich.
'Better change your position', he coughed.
He drank something and sounded more clear. 'Two calls already. Wait. "Suspicious pair ducking down", is what one reads. Mix it up, Joe. Maybe move over to Fairfax and lose your audience? You can do just as good there'?
'Sure. Sure, Skipper. Alright.' It started to rain. I lit a cigarette as the Skipper offered more suggestions as he coughed down another bite. 'Right. Ok. Thanks.'
Just as I got back to the alley where we were staked out, Ed said a call came across about a man attacking a woman in the apartment complex. The number - 203 - was a match. It was our man. A backup car approached, Carvis and Hatcher, good men, and we brought them up to speed just as we heard two gun shots. They covered the entrance as we burst into the place and sprinted up the narrow carpeted stairwell to the second floor.
We met him right at the fatal crossing of the figure eight face to face with only the one possible smashup result. Identifying our selves as police, I told him to freeze. He froze, then raised his weapon to aim. We dropped and rolled, came to a synchronized one-knee ready position and started blasting. It was over in mere moments, I was glad I wouldn't be checking the natural causes box on my report, then Ed lost his fried egg sandwiches. A neighbor lady in room 201, an elderly woman thin as a bean pole, came out into the hall and helped Ed inside, assisting him kindly to a dusty couch, covering him with a shawl saturated in cat hair.
work of art: Figure Eight (1952)
by Franz Kline
She rose after she had fallen asleep one last time. A morning shaft of sunlight through the slats in the wood blinds hit her square in the eye. She knew it was no use staying in bed. She filled the cream-colored basin with cool water, pulling handfuls up to her endearing face. It was refreshing as sleepy cobwebs vanished from her calm brown eyes. Cupping more water in her small hands, she let it waterfall down her neck and onto her fawning chest. Toweling off and feeling a quiver of goosebumps she decided to grab a flannel shirt from the walk in closet. Buttoning it with nothing underneath she slipped into her jeans that were hanging over a chair. She didn’t tuck in the over-sized shirt, rolling up the sleeves half way. The warmth of the quilt shirt felt so welcome against her light soft skin. There was a dash of the first blush of the day in her cheeks. She ran her fingers through her hair instead of combing and fastened it in back with a silver pin - a pin once belonging to her Grandmother.
She was hungry but settled for two slivers of dry toast and a mug of juice. She was anxious to get back to reading the manuscript left on the kitchen table late into the after hours, reviewing barely legible sideways scribbles in the margins. Starting a pot of coffee she settled down in the only chair in the spotlight of the warm early rays of the sun streaming in the window above the kitchen sink. Nibbling the warm toast and pulling back the black cover of the raw script she continued where her eyelids became heavy a few hours before. She was pleased with the story - hidden passageways to ancient long lost libraries - whispering some of the lines over and over again. She was glad to be ready at long last to get published. As she read it she alternated between smiling, shivering, and thanking her lucky stars imagining she'd soon be far away in country quiet, distant from that annoying crashing of trash collection in the street below.
Now she was hungrier. Reaching into the fridge she grabbed a small container of cottage cheese, and reaching up in the cupboard she brought down a can of peaches to pour over it. Her cell phone vibrated. It was Phil.
“What are you doing today?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she fibbed. There was much to do.
“Let’s spend the afternoon together, ok?”
They both said I love you after talking forty-two minutes.
When they were done talking she wanted to hurry and finish re-writing so she could begin the final draft. She no longer felt like a swirling current was pulling her under. Her life was buoyant again. That's what she was thinking now - she was no longer adrift. Entering the closet, imagining it was a hidden passageway, she stood for a awhile deciding what to wear for him.
artwork: Yesterdays Dreams
by Jack Vettriano
It was pointless for Helena to look at the thermometer outside the kitchen sink window at four o'clock. Same as the unnecessary trot around to the round thermometer nailed to the shadow side of the main barn, the red barn that was as red as in a famous painting cordoned off in a museum, that everyone, one hundred percent of the time, could hit the broadside with any sized object they might want to heave. It was seventy-one degrees, and the rain gauge showed the overnight one point four inch pristine liquid average promised in three sacred almanacs Helena had read, her eyes the color of all cloudless skies even when she was weeping in all her joy.
At five eighteen on Tuesday, or it could've been Wednesday, they ran together you know, her son, Elmer, had already taken two bites of creamy mash potatoes, the fork paused at his mouth with the third as Bud, the faithful family collie placed two gentle well-combed paws onto his lap and smiled.
"Down, Boy", Elmer said automatically, and Bud got down and tapped danced over to his rug and circled twice before coming to the rest position. Automatically. Just like it was in the cards that in one short hour Elmer would get on his bike with properly inflated tires to race down the rock-free pasture lane towards the school house auditorium, slash gym, for basketball practice. Along the route he'd wave and whistle to his neighbor, Slim Nesselrod, out in the gently rolling field unswervingly fidgeting with a sharp pitchfork in clean overalls.
Practice was required by Coach Bodwell although it was unnecessary since Elmer made all his baskets, like his teammates, without the ball touching the rim, netted all free-throws, and blocked every shot into the waiting hands of his teammates despite being cross-eyed and one leg three inches shorter than the other. Along the way, with the Sun behind him and sparrows calling one another to nest, there was just the slightest hump in that pasture shortcut near the oft-painted white church where he would speed up and go airborne for a few short moments like he wasn't suppose to, his mother had warned him to be safe, but he liked a little fun. Just that protruding mound where Elmer had buried the body of the tax collector that his mother had only tried to frighten with a shotgun. Bud had frantically tried to help Elmer dig that day, you know, panting real hard. Good Boy.
Thomas Hart Benton
The one and only Papoose by tk...
and the tribute
unearthed, chiseled in stone...
She'd never thrown the baby out with the bath water 'cause there never was a baby. The coarse brushes, always new, fine used brushes for detail, mini-pallet, and jelly glasses dripping of paint, sealed with rubber-banded wax paper in her tightly cinched leather papoose, rattled on her back with each step along the path she blazed across the bee-buzzing copper meadow towards the boulders down by the green willows at calm water's edge. The rocks were her blank grey canvas, a multidimensional perspective already built in the protruding ragged texture, where she birthed brushed babies with lifespans determined by each cleansing torrid rain.
She occasionally sang in a whisper, not to waken the small sparrows: quiet little papoose don't you cry, mama's onto shadow where the cool breeze sighs. Tramping in the crackling dryness across the meadow her waist length whiskey-colored hair swished to and fro brushing the papoose, and if you were a man you could easily tell she was not a boy. White jean shorts exposing trained dancer's legs with the promise of dozens of rejected marriage proposals from office boys. Thankfully, Abigail had lost her office clerk wheeze and could breath again.
She stopped one time, turning to look as the bee's white noise faded, and saw an eight foot grizzly fifty yards opposite the Sun, a black tower amongst the waist-high grass. Time stopped too, the visitor stretched high a moment peering at the five foot painter, head cocked, smiling she hoped. Abigail did not move, deciding against charging towards the shaggy fellow. It dropped and disappeared, the bees dove into the next chorus accompanied by off-tempo cricket tenor and the rustle of underground orchestra. She decided - I will paint the bear in the panorama of yellow flowers snatching a fragile crispy hive and give him violet eyes like my mother. She unstrapped her kit and hurried, noticing there were dark clouds speaking in low staccato tones on the western horizon, and before her the willow singing in the sigh of the breeze.
by Odilion Redon
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