Monday, November 28, 2011

quote of the day

Let my doing nothing when I have nothing to do, become untroubled in its depth of peace, like the evening in the seashore when the water is silent.

~Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

black friday

For Sale:
Adorable moss-red patterned sofa. One family used. Cleaned of black petrified jelly beans, dried snot, crackers and ants. Checked for coinage. Coils intact. Cushion available. Slightly flared arm. Assemblage free. Eco-friendly. Works well in any decor. See: Bayhead bridge underpass. Best offer. Hauling not available.

photo: Christine Donnier-Valentin

Friday, November 25, 2011

one final leap

Child in us all
Goodbye Autumn, pal o' mine
Drop, roll, cushioned crunch

16 steps and 1 dive into colored leaves for
'recuerda mi corazon,'
exclusive home of
Haiku My Heart

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

two-step sketch

Slide guitar, the attention getter. At least now patrons look around thinking of hitting the floor. Thick eye-lidded drummer sleepily follows, 1 2 3 4, bringing down drumstick on top of the other on old worn snare drum. Bottles clinking occasionally in the key of B Flat, not on purpose, that dim neon place sound. The first couple rises, close and slow-sway anticipating. Harmonica beneath a brown cowboy hat accompanies, the silk brim adsorbing foot lights beautifully while accordion encourages two more mates. Singer leaves a full glass unmixed at the bar and strides two steps up to the microphone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

an actor's life

It's rare that symmetry exists. If you're caught posing by any director worth their salt, they'll permeate your hide with pepper to make you sneeze out your lines off-kilter. If caught acting, as the understudy one notch above the ticket booth seller, you can go over and wait in line at the punch clock behind the sweaty set painter and in front of the yawning script girl. Make sure you get the inked time lined up with the square on the yellow card or you get shorted. And, as understudy, forget the mirror with a ribbon of light-bulbs, you get to apply leftover makeup glancing into the glass of a roadside starving artist's painting.

With a little luck, if you listen, if you conquer symmetry in all her glory, you'll get more right-angle kisses than you are entitled too in perpetual give and take, so much easier than eating fifty eggs in one sitting, Baby.

photo: Woodward & Newman

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the clearing

A light burns in the window in tribute to you, Dear Spadoman, and although the clouds hang low and heavy, and the view may be limited, a slight tilting of the heart and head hopefully will bring healing with many unobstructed views of sunrise on the horizon yet to come.

Monday, November 14, 2011

have a seat

'This is Hugh Milton, Eyewitness News, reporting today from Farmland, in fields stretching out of sight of a Mr. Harry Garvin, grower of the only known crop of', looking back over his shoulder and shuddering.."chairs"'.
Camera pans out and shows Hugh, with Harry on his left.
'You I understand it...the only one harvesting chairs in the Tri-State'?
'Yes, sir, that is'-
'Please speak up'. Hugh shows his big white new fake chopper smile looking into the camera twice.
'Yes, sir, that is correct, sir'. Harry turns and spits a beautiful arch of tobacco landing out of camera range.
'I guess you could say you are a "chaircropper"'?
Harry chuckles, wipes his glassy eyes. 'Oh, that's a good one, Hugh. I always liked you'.
Hugh grins eye-balling the TV camera, like looking into a light bulbed dressing room mirror combing his hair, missing manic direction to speed the interview along.
'Can't help it. It's how my mind works'. He doesn't know how to stop smiling, 23045 viewers are wondering. 'And tell us please, Mr. Garvin', his body swerving away from his camera transfixed head, 'how do the chairs grow'?
'Well..I..I..seed in the Spring, water, and there they be'.
Hugh, oblivious, marches on. 'And just who is that pretty young woman out amongst your crop'?
'What woman'?
'Her. There.'
Harry rubs his chin.'I don't know what you mean Hugh.'
'Sorry, Hugh.' Harry looks into the camera and shrugs. 'There is nothing out there except my chairs'.
Harry painfully stops smiling. People at home drop their dinner trays and lean forward...searching. Harry makes a cutting motion across his throat. The camera does not go off. A momentary silence and one last slit-eyed gaze into the fog-shrouded field.


This week's Tales Of A Magpie brought to you by The Acme Hearing Aid Company, innovators of the original detection-free hearing aid.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vonnegut on his birthday

"I'm not your destiny, or the Devil, either!" I said. "Look at you! Came to kill evil with your bare hands, and now away you go with no more glory than a man sideswiped by a Greyhound bus! And that's all the glory you deserve!" I said. "That's all that any man at war with pure evil deserves.

"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting," I said, "but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side. It's that part of every man that finds all kinds of ugliness so attractive.

"It's that part of an imbecile, " I said, "that punishes and vilifies and makes war gladly."

from Mother Night (1961)

photo by Dmitri Kasterine

11.11.11 haiku

Eleventh hour
Veterans never at ease
Purple heart remnants

17 patriot syllables for
'recuerda mi corazon,'
exclusive home of
Haiku My Heart

Sunday, November 6, 2011

bury it

She decided at dusk was appropriate, and wearing a full length black coat, her face nearly stealth under hood, she pushed the loaded red wheelbarrow with balanced shovel along the muddy pasture lane past the cemetery wrought iron entrance, stopping only once to look if all remained quiet and clear in the windless path. She looked down and cursed the mud-splattered fringes of her coat and scraped goo off her vagabond shoes.

Past the all-clear she huffed it up an incline towards the back of the deserted grounds and halted short of the level wooden property line, falling to a seating position, spitting like an under-payed minor league third base coach. She knew about the minor leagues. She reached into the wheelbarrow, pulled out a moist sample in the pile of papers, and revisited a last line of one of many rejection letters:

...and cease all correspondence with our publishing properties with your 'horror' manuscripts that would send Poe yawning head first into his soggy porridge. May I make a suggestion, Miss Kavanaugh? - Take a shovel and bury it all in your backyard.

She had no back yard, only an uneven courtyard leveled with white rocks season after season. And up above a one room flat on the third floor of a leaning gray brick, one bed, one cracked mirror, a writing table with holes, a gold framed photo of a black magpie - a poor woman's Raven - and one drafty window chilling her ambitions. The muffled pounding of the shovel packed the circular mound of Earth in a hidden flowerless plot filled with plenty of double spaced prose for the dead to read forever more.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

small children in waiting rooms

They're like small town drunks aren't they? Weaving and indistinguishable speech, unable to focus on one object more than 2 seconds. Crying one moment, dried-eye the next and laughing.
Cute little drunks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

autumn haiku

Sturdy branch wind chimes
Norther leaf ultimatum
Cool blaze of glory

photo: by yours truly (October 2006)

17 autumnal syllables for
'recuerda mi corazon,'
exclusive home of
Haiku My Heart

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

ghost writer

He was totally blocked, staring at the next blank sheet, same to same, book deal money already blown on three wives and a pink waitress. Crumpled paper strewn about resembling giant radioactive dust balls bore indecipherable sentences of black letters hammered with weighted fingers like mallets at a carnival strongman game with bell ringing not as a winner, but signaling each lousy break.

He stepped outside for fresh air, catching instead the drift of burning leaves tended over the blue hills from Willow Manor, reminding him of his childhood burrowing, his gaunt magpie-beaked grandfather raking the fallen October colors into mounds, and down on all fours he remembered the cushioned tumble, springing up laughing, and seeing the old man, not too bright, using gasoline to fuel the flame two piles over, the flame following the trail back to the gas can, exploding in the old man's hands, the old guy rolling in agony setting fire to the next mound of leaves. Helpless, the boy screamed in silence with time stopped like a famous painting. So much for a whiff of fresh air.

He stood behind the chair and blinked twice, his widened disbelieving red eyes focused on the fingerless typing. The typing was steady, no hesitation, the keys pounding away like the old news wire service teletype on pale yellow paper in his AM radio gig years coldly stating that Bobby was dead way out in California.

He leaned closer, put on his glasses and read outloud to the cat,
'Why my little grandchild did you just stand there why did you not help you could have thrown me into the well to put me out why why why you see my hands are still good you fool!'
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