Friday, August 31, 2012


Working class princess
Inconsolable farewells
Vacant pumpkin coach

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

the window

'And this is the place where he wrote'?
'Yes. It is here,' the 89 year-old man replied patiently after being asked one thousand times.
'It's virtually bare,' gasped the young woman. She noticed the lack of dust, her high heels echoing after she halted then preceded again upon uneven stained wood, but most of all she sensed the calming effect of a natural scented warmth.
The hunched-over man turned and smiled graciously.
'My Grandfather sketched in his notebook standing at that very window'. He nodded towards one of two modest sized south-facing views. 'I have disturbed nothing'.
'Imagine', Tatyana wondered aloud, 'his greatest - Thee Greatest - novel ever penned right where we stand'.
'Kind of does something to you, my dear, doesn't it'?
She shuddered. Positioning at a slight angle to the infamous spot, she raised her cell phone towards the window, panning slightly to capture an ancient clock sitting above the fireplace. With his back turned the old man thought he heard a solitary cricket chirp, became confused and startled momentarily to straighten up. 'What in the hell?' he began, bending to the fireplace searching. He shook his head.
'And there', she laughed, 'is the infamous bust'.
'What?', he said, looking at her mouth for the first time to decipher.
'Tell me. Who sent it first?'
'Oh. First? I believe my Grandfather told me once that he sent it to Charles Noonan Avery, and that witty old fellow returned it with the inscription scrawled on the back of Ludwig's head, then....'
'...I believe Granddad shipped it back where it wound up at the foot of Avery's bed while he slept. Imagine waking and seeing that puss first thing in the morning. Jokers', he wheezed, 'and now it rests here'.
She turned the bust slowly, the base crumbling slightly, and twisting awkwardly, her hair draping over Beethoven, she read: Some Days You Are The Pigeon, Some Days You Are The Statue ~CNA. She thought about it, then smiled, carefully turning the stern face back into shadow. She looked at the old curator. He was quiet as a statue looking out the other window, hands clasped behind. She spoke to him softly.
'What was it about the book, sir?'
He shrugged his shoulders.
'You of all must have an opinion', she mused kindly.
'The learned can tell you. I can not', he stated impatiently.
'He must have conceived it where you stand, sir'.
'Perhaps', he nodded, a bobbing head facing out the rear window of her dad's automobile is what the twenty three year-old thought. Tatyana turned to go.
'Young lady', his voice cracked, barely audible, a momentary silence disturbed by two bells of the clock high on the mantel. They both watched the grand clock until it finished singing. He looked at her, then looked down at his slippers.
'Tatyana, is it'?
She nodded, but he didn't see. 'Yes', she whispered.
He turned to the window and looked up.
'Unsought love'.

Big Room (1948)
by Andrew Wyeth

Sunday, August 19, 2012

sketchbook entry, August 19th, 1902

The dawn was clear and quiet. There was the absence of the usual hustle of vendors in the street below, free from loose-wheeled weighted carriages rattling, comings and goings. It could only be Sunday. No Detectives Need Apply.

The man opened the door slowly, a halting crack at first, then whisked in falling to one knee near the cot, his lips to the right ear of the open-mouthed sleeper.
'Watson', he whispered three times in one minute, each more quieter.
The sleeper stirred, changed position opposite, then mumbled half-awake, 'you're a loquacious type fellow, I say'.
'We have far to go', he chuckled. 'Our man's in Berkshire,' in a deeper, deadly voice. 'I'm afraid I'll need to ask you to bring your pistol'.
The sleeper sat up and nodded once. 'You can count on me, Holmes'.
"Our Man" could only mean the culmination of a horrible serial case to be wrapped neatly and sent to the gallows.
'Mrs. Hudson has sent up eggs and a decanter of coffee, my friend. Hurry now'.
Holmes sat deep in his favorite cushioned chair in the dark side of 221b Baker Street's upper lodgings smoking and watching the good fellow the entire time, Watson taking small bites, gazing out the window, shaking his head and smiling, touching the twisted gold pin in his slightly wrinkled lapel, staring into the coffee cup, not sipping.
'We can stop at Eton, Watson, on the way back if we can wrap this affair up in Windsor'.
Watson gaped open-mouth at the detective. 'How did you'?
Holmes leaned forward into the dust-sparkled light coming through the middle bay window.
'Easy enough. You know my method. I observed you. Your affectionate gaze, the touch of the pin from your beloved niece in Eton. Simple deduction. But we must go. Now, Watson'!

Holmes sat quiet, head bowed the entire train ride, eyes closed. His companion read the telegram again and again, mouthing the words, playing out scenarios along the twenty-seven kilometer jaunt, occasionally clutching the revolver deep in his left cloth coat, his black derby hat bobbing on the car's door hook. He read it once more:

Mr Holmes,

Marble-handled knife.
Girl bludgeoned WB.
Man in custody denies.
Come at all possible speed.

Inspector Conrad

Holmes looked up at Watson, then out the window.
'Maybe I'll just have you shoot Conrad', he said harshly.
'It has been irritating, but you're too harsh'.
He smiled. 'May be, Watson, he's good on his feet but rather dull'. He leaned forward and counted points on his fingers. 'In every instance the victims were brutalized with the clean, precise, mutilation of a surgeon's specialized tool, not your aunt's knife set'.
'A sloppy copycat'?
Holmes shook his head. 'Right out in the open of much-traveled bridge like he wants to be caught. More like a clumsy Jack The Ripper. We'll see. Maybe Conrad has sharpened after all. Here we are then. Watson, be so good to look in at Conrad. And see if the wounds are those of precision. Then bring Conrad along to the bridge'.

Windsor bridge was surrounded by thickened low lying mist, a clear view of the stream underneath from the center. Holmes stooped at the peak, down amongst the fresh stain of murder, a cats-eye view, finding torn clothing - a pocket ripped by the victim in her thrashing to stay alive. A pleasurable sigh at an overlooked piece of evidence that he knew in all probability would be there and overlooked by local police. He heard footsteps, and turning saw in clear gradual focus out of the mist a stocky figure, hands clinched into huge fists. Holmes stood proudly before the culprit like an actor making a grand entrance on stage.

He looked at Holmes sideways.
'Who are you, then? Give that to me'.
'I am Sherlock Holmes of London. Come and get it'.
The man's eyes widened, but Holmes went to him and struck first. The two men tumbled and grunts echoed. Watson and Inspector Conrad, arriving at once near the chill of waters edge, stopped at the echo. Watson, realizing quickly what was happening grasped his revolver, cocked the hammer, and rushed hurriedly up and across the bridge where he would fire only a solitary blast to free his friend's throat from a murderous clutch. In less than an hour, the two would be in a quiet Eton parlor sipping tea from miniature porcelain cups.

painting: Under Windsor Bridge(1912)
by Adolphe Valette (1876-1942)

Friday, August 17, 2012

down in the water

Cradled lifesaver
Wide world water therapy
Enlightens our life

John Unger & Schoep

photo: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

tale of twilight

...a tale of the unseen, imagined from a provocative photo by Francesca Woodman (1958-1981) and exclusivly written for Magpie Tales...

'There was that one time'.
'One time what'?
'The way know, she has the blackest hair, almond black eyes, high check bones, so slender!, the fairest milk-bottle-on-the-porch white skin'.
'Oh. The white glistening cream in di-rect sunlight'?
'Yesssss...Rising. Not for the faint of heart'.
'I bet he rose'.
' he tells it, there was that night he came home, the only dim light from a pink taper she held, shadows wavering - really eerie like an old movie. She was wearing a fluttering white dressing gown hour-glassing to her bare feet, the white against the long black hair making her ghost-like'.
'Like a spirit from above'?
'Or below'. He laughed. 'Said she mumbled incantations the whole time and she was still incanting as he turned on the football game and was belching his second brew'.
The listener's peeled banana broke off. A scrawny dog behind their sticky wooden bench came around and swallowed it whole, sniffed the man's shoe, received a hard kick and curse, then scampered away. They were silent. Their bus had arrived, remained for the allotted time, pulled away with a jerk, they remained on the bench oblivious, wondering later where the hell is the bus goddammit!, the sweaty bus driver's muffled cursing behind the tinted window petrifying those along for the ride, clutching their worldly possessions closer, black diesel smoke rising into the overcast afternoon, the street smelling of hot choking black tar. One looked at his shoes, the other at the accident lawyers clever phone number on the back of the bus going the wrong way. One scooted closer and nudged the other with a sharp thin elbow.
'Another time, if you can believe it, she was cradling this sea shell resembling a huge...'.
'You know', he scratched his chin, 'maybe he loved the way she welcomed him home'?

Friday, August 10, 2012

slow days of summer

First drop, then two more
Second hour, third hot dog, suds
Slow gait towards home

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Game Called Because of Rain
(The Three Umpires)

~Norman Rockwell (1949)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

the visitor

"Yes. What is it?"
"A visitor, Ma'am". The girl, both hands clutching her apron, took one step closer. "It's the American, Ma'am," the mousy maid said briefly. She looked back over her shoulder as though the man was already present.
Lady Browning, the most beautiful woman in England, glimpsed at her brother. He shrugged his shoulders, yawned and looked away. She sat up defiant in a young dowager pose.
"Show him in." Her brother looked at her, eyes squinting in disappointment, but said nothing as he lit a cigarette.
"Well, it IS raining after all, Charley." He shook his head.
The man walked out of the shadow and stood before The Lady, his dull cream-colored full length second-hand coat dripping wet upon the glossy wooden floor in a dining room resembling a museum, head bowed shamed-like, shivering from cold.
The maid stooped behind the young man quietly, wiping the floor furiously with a clean white cloth, living up to her mousiness. The man looked up as though he wished not to speak first, but cleared his throat to do so. Lady Browning spoke first.
He was silent.
"You were at dinner, I remember you, the writer opposite my niece".
He cleared his throat again, but it did not help.
Charley broke in, boisterously, "What is it, boy"?
It startled the man, and he turned as to exit, but looked not to have the strength. He reached inside his coat and brandished three fine pieces - a small elegant silver trophy, a small high precision wind-up clock of gold, and a silver Tiffany pipe lighter.
"I took these", he said, barely audible, looking into the eyes of The Lady, "and I'm here to return them". She didn't move. He was confused at her lack of outrage or wonderment. She waved the little maid away. He continued, his voice returning to normal. "I was almost to the trains. It started to rain hard and I ducked into the doorway of a pub, my coat bumping a man walking out oblivious to the rain." He tried to smile, unsuccessful, fearing that he was rambling. "When he hit me, everything rattled inside my coat, and it seemed to rattle my lack of senses as well thinking I could ever hock these. Entering Wilford's Pub out of the downpour, sitting alone over a mug of ale, I had time to look closely"
He held up the clock. "I saw the endearing inscription dedicated to you, Lady Browning, and I tried to ignore the meaning of it all, but guessing it was priceless..". His voice trailed at these last words, his mouth dry, soaked shoulders hunching in complete defeat, sorrowful eyes flooded with tears. She tried to hide her embarrassment, glanced at her brother, his thumb at lips looking away. The only sound was the rains upon the hardened sand shingles above. A singular lamp centered on a dark cherry table behind dimmed, almost extinguished, but warmed softly anew, and he noticed Lady Browning's sparkling necklace for the first time. The visitor stepped up and set the items delicately before her.
Lady Browning grasped her cup with both hands. Charles, resigned lips pressed tight together, let out two strong streams of smoke and watched them rise.
"Come", said she, "have some coffee then. I must send Billy for the constable, you see".

John Singer Sargent painting
A Dinner Table at Night (1884)


A pretty woman and lover of books.

George Barris photo

Saturday, August 4, 2012

misfit flower

Amaranth misfit
Summer renaissance damsel
Perennial child

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Marilyn Monroe, reading in the shade on the set of
The River Of No Return (1954)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Dragonflies have been hovering around my car quite a bit this brittle summer. It's kind of like a little dance, decked out with yellow or sometimes blue transparent wings. Almost like an invitation to a Do-Si-Do 360°. They eventually give up, I'm just not that quick, and dart away to a mosquito lunch across the dance floor. That's why I love them, for their diet. They eat my enemy.
When I got home today in the late afternoon heat there was one attached to the screen door of my apartment. It fell to the welcome mat, flipped over and inexplicably died. It couldn't find enough supper in this dry heat. Later, I saw two little brown and gray sparrows playing tag with the carcass, do-si-doing it down the sidewalk.
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