Sunday, January 26, 2014

still lifes - 10 word poem

The Mill, 1964, by Andrew Wyeth

Winter's less traveled snowy landscapes
become indelibly quiet still lifes

Monday, January 20, 2014

the mission

Musician in the Rain
by Robert Doisneau

He only came in from the rain to look for a phone, dragging his cello an inch off the wet pavement. The windows were boarded snugly in rotted splinters with the words 'The Mission' stenciled on caked-up gray glass above the front door. His coat had been stolen at the corner when he bent to tie his right shoe. He had looked all around him as he stood frozen by grief in one place. 'Gone,' he whispered, and it began to rain harder.

The woman with wimple and veil welcomed the soaked cellist with profuse warmth, but all he needed was to get to a phone.
'May I use your phone to call a constable?'
'Come in. Sit and have some hot vegetable soup, Dear'.
Before he could repeat the question fully he found himself seated, the clothed cello leaning against a white-washed wall, seen as an object somewhere between admiration and suspicion by his downtrodden lunch companions, and a stained steel bowl of hot vegetable soup placed before him along with a hard biscuit. Weeks later, during a seven course meal celebrating the end of tour, he would recall how hot the soup from the mission was, the floating fresh green beans, soft potatoes and green peppers, tasty rich broth salted lightly, and his face would flush in warmth. And how the phone call was never made, heavy coat with wallet thick in cash and credit cards forever vanished, and how there was a used overcoat his size on a slouching coat-hanger given him by the unsuspecting nun.

He stopped at the door and turned to her, head bent weighted with shame, looking at his shoes. Thunder rose and fell in the distance.
'I am well-off, Sister', he said, one flat octave above a whisper. He just about told her his salary as he raised his eyes to hers.
'You'll need this too', she replied in a kind obliviousness, touching his arm, presenting him with an umbrella, handle chewed by a faithful cocker spaniel. Back towards the direction of the kitchen someone called her name. When he looked at her he noticed she was calm, and he wondered how it was possible from all the weight.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

lighthouse book

La Jument, off the coast of Brittany, photograph by Jean Guichard

All is well at the hour.
The shortwave crackles
broken friendly words from the mainland
or faraway clouded accents broadcast
the world at war.
Keepers living in limestone brick
cleansed by a violent sea
lost in the hushed reading room
one story above the torrent.
Light from concentric mirrors
up in the lantern room
belongs only to the mariner's spyglass.
The stick-matched flame burning on the side table
suffices our thousand dry pages.
A sudden chill extinguishes the candle.
We are in the dark
and my love shivers:
'Honey, did you latch the iron door'?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

a night walk

New York at Night, Vivienne Gucwa

"You always get this way," he said.
"I do not," she pleaded. "It's a world of colors. Pastels".
"Black and white will always be more real", he said. A taxi stopped sharply at their feet along the crosswalk, horn blaring in the mist. Tom yelled at him standing his ground if he wanted. Clara shook her fist. The driver yielded seeing how his wife at home was pregnant, plus he'd had a profitable shift up to now. No need for manslaughter, two counts. They stepped up on the sidewalk.
"No. Farther from it", she continued. She stopped and turned to him. "I love our Noir dates, I adore Ava Gardner like you, but you've let the celluloid seep into your veins". She was fierce. He saw her cheeks flared pink in the whitening of a high post light. "Black and white is NOT more realistic", Clara said. "Even sweat can sometimes be a beautiful color".
"How about gangrene? Is that beautiful"?
"Deep darkening purple, no, of course not, but certainly too no chocolate syrup puddling from a gunshot wound will heal in minutes". They'd long since stopped holding hands. Walking along the uneven sidewalk her right heel caught on a broken paver stone, and she tumbled hard. She denied being hurt, merely a dust-off, his arm lassoed around her waist bringing her up. In the golden light of a gated and closed jewelery store he looked at her and blued tears streamed down both cheeks, a bright crimson patch marking her chin.
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