From a Sitting Position: Thanksgiving Circa 1969

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hello boys and girls! Since 2012 I've been stuck in the muck and mire of corporate communications, and have had little time or motivation to stay active in the fiction arena. Recently, however, I've been pondering several scenarios that would make fun fiction, one of which I started playing with a few days ago. The first three pages are here for your scrutiny. But be gentle, yon readers, because this is the first fiction I've attempted in more than two years. One of my favorite themes is vigilantism, and with the help of my daughters, I'm crafting a tale of just that, coming from a somewhat unusual place. Read, share, respond. TY!
Tref

Bad-Ass Bus Drivin' Mammas


Jonesey tugged and tugged, but it just wouldn't come. He even tried a ratchet, but he couldn't get it off. Then an adjustable crescent wrench, and a wildly overlong box wrench with which he thought he’d be able to get enough leverage. But no. The oil pan plug wasn't budging. At first he cussed at the lousy schmuck who made it so tight the last time he changed the oil, but then Jonesey remembered he’d been the only mechanic to work on these school busses for the past 30 years. He snickered at this own revelation, and whispered, “Guess that makes me the lousy schmuck,” and he made his way to Ol’ Sally, the air compressor that had been employed by the school district even longer than he had.

He hated resorting to Ol’ Sally because, even though the diaphragm was still intact (preventing tires from getting pregnant for four decades, he liked to chortle over and over again to anyone who hadn't already heard the moldy old joke fewer than a half dozen times) one of the air lines was leaking and beyond repair. And Ol’ Sally sure did stink up the garage bay when he had to pull her cord and snap his pneumatic nut driver in place to change a tire, or loosen a stubborn oil pan plug.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Jonesey,” said Miranda, “this town is chock full of lousy schmucks.” Jonesey was startled, thinking he was alone. He was alone 95% of the time in the garage, and so talking to himself was usually safer.

“Oh, hey ‘Randa,” he said. “You gave me a start. Usually you drivers steer clear of the garage.”

“Well, I have something I need to talk to you about, Jonesey,” Miranda said.

“Ok, ‘Randa. What can I do for you?” He asked in good faith, albeit suspicious.

Miranda side-stepped closer to Jonesey, and started fingering the buttons on his Dickey workshirt, noticing how they bulged more and more every year. He wasn't quite the specimen he used to be back in the day, when he was playing offensive tackle for the school’s football team and she was leading the cheer squad. They had both aged in the 30 years since they graduated, but as time was known to stand still in Geraldine Township, and at this very high school, they overlooked each other’s dents and scratches.

She got even closer, and jutted her hips forward so their thighs were touching while she continued to finger his buttons. “See, Jonesey, a man like you – powerful and red-blooded and…available – well, most of us women just go all to pieces when we’re around you.” She lowered her hand from his buttons to his belt buckle.

“In fact,” she continued, “when we fantasize about giving ourselves up to dominant, virile men, you’re the man we picture in our silly, girly daydreams.” Her hand moved down from his belt buckle to the inseam of his matching Dickey workpants, and she cupped his man parts. Jonesey held his breath, mostly to keep from hyperventilating as she caressed him, and whispered in his ear.

“But,” she said, closing her grip and making him wince in expectation of the pain he knew was coming. “There’s a little teensy-weensy problem, Jonesey.”

“Ok, ‘Randa, Ok, don’t get carried away now…”

But “carried away” is exactly what Miranda had in mind. And she squeezed.

“The teensy-weensy problem, Jonesey, is that I saw you trying to recruit Bridgett McCardle for some private one-on-one celebrating after the team won homecoming.” Miranda whispered in his ear again, but this time it was more like a hiss. “Do I really need to go over the rules with you again, Jonesey?”

“But, Miranda…”

“No, Jonesey!” she lashed out, squeezing his manhood tighter. He gasped, but refused to double over. To the two of them, he was still the football player and she was still the cheerleader. But, no, not really. She was calling the plays now. “Don’t even say it,” Miranda continued. “Do not even try to say ‘But ‘Randa, she’s 18 you know.’ Because that’s going to make me squeeze harder.

“Don’t…” was all Jonesey could croak.

“Ok, I’ll go over the rules again,” she conceded. “Eighteen is still a child, Jonesey! She’s still a student in this school, still a child living with her mom and dad, and we don’t touch children, do we Jonesey?”

“Please…” he winced, as a spray of cold sweat developed across his forehead trickled down the small of his back.

“Say it,” Miranda commanded.

“We…don’t…touch…children…” Jonesey said between breaths.

“Good boy,” Miranda said. She gave one sharp squeeze before letting go, and Jonesey moaned despite his best effort to show no pain. Miranda turned and walked away, as the other drivers started to pull in from the morning run.

Jonesey made his way to his tool rack and pretended to look for a long-lost item, while he was really trying to breathe his way through the waves of dull ache spreading out in all directions from his brutalized onions.

Miranda spied Constance, the young driver who put in her first run this morning, and waved her over.

As they approached each other, Miranda blocked the sun from her eyes, and noticed how smooth Constance’s skin was compared to her own. Youth, she sighed. We don’t touch children.

“Do we just go home until the afternoon run?” Constance asked.

“If that’s what you want to do,” Miranda said. “But I’d like to introduce you to the rest of the girls. Come into the drivers’ lounge.”

The drivers’ lounge was a rather quaint and charitable way of saying there was a store room in the garage that the drivers repossessed and outfitted with an old divan and coffee table and a few lockers that they pulled out of the dumpster after the boys’ locker room was renovated.

She took Constance by the hand, and closed the door behind them. The rest of the drivers made room for Miranda and Constance, fell into their circle, joined hands, and chanted: “We are the bad-ass bus drivin’ mammas. We protect our cubs by whatever means are necessary. We are the bad-ass bus drivin’ mammas. We protect our cubs…”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Vows



My experimentation with poetry continues. For better or worse. You've heard me say this before: first draft...let me know what you think!

I am a freak, she said.
I have thirteen tattoos,
A stud through my eyebrow,
And a pierced lower lip.
My hair is dyed black,
And my clothing is goth.
I don't care that people stare at me.
I am a freak.

I am a freak, he said.
I have a regular haircut
And I wear neckties from Walmart.
My eyes are blue,
And my shoes are brown.
I read the newspaper
Over coffee every morning.
I am a freak.

I wasn't always like this, she said.
I used to be so plain
And normal,
That nobody saw me.
Nobody knew I existed.
I didn't like being invisible,
So I changed.
I wasn't always like this.

I wasn't always like this, he said.
I was a bad kid.
My parents had little patience for me,
So they tried to
Whip me into shape.
And by that I mean whip me.
I wasn't always like this.

I was alone, she said.
My transformation from invisible
To freak left me
More isolated than before.
The safety pin threaded through my cheek
Reminded me that I was destined
To be alone and judged.
Then I met you.

I was alone, he said.
I became so bored with my life
That it hurt to breathe knowing
That I would never be anything
More exciting
Than a regular haircut
And the morning paper.
Then I met you.

I now pronounce you
Husband and wife, the minister said.
You may kiss the bride.
He with the regular haircut
Kissed she with thirteen tattoos.
And they were married.
I now pronounce you
Husband and wife.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baptism

First draft of a new story. Tell me what you think! Oh, and for all of my artist friends out there, I want to better illustrate this, instead of using this lame piece of photography from the internet. So Patrick, Mary, Heidi, all my artist droogies...have at it!

The pools of rain water grew fat and deep.
It ran off the slopes of the yard and
Dug channels in the yard’s hard dirt
And its sparse bent grass.
Her yard was never pretty,
Just a place for a house to sit,
With inconvenient pitches and patches
Where only chickweed would grow.
She kept it there instead of yanking it,
Because at least it was green.
Now she stood at a back window,
Watching torrents of rain pummel her world
And threaten the meager life
She cobbled together.

Barely visible from her window’s angle,
She caught a glimpse of one of the channels
Widening and deepening
Into a formidable crevasse.
Panicked, she kicked off her sandals
And ran through her back door,
Into the tumult that her god was dropping on her.
Immediately drenched,
As if the water had come from within,
She approached the crevasse
But realized there wasn’t a thing she could do about it.
She crouched and put her hand in the brown water
To test its depth, only to be scared witless
By the head of a bright yellow snake
Emerging from the crevasse.

Her quaking legs pistoned her backward,
And she landed on her backside.
Her eyes teared, her nose ran,
And she felt the hot sting of urine
Running down the inside of her thighs.
Her body’s fluids mixed with the madding rain
And seeped into the marshy earth.
Her journey back to the door was
A frantic, winding lope,
Failing to miss pools of water that she sank into
Fully up to her ankles.
Looking back for a moment in peripheral vision,
She saw the snake’s hellish eyes trained directly on her
Before it sunk back into its crevasse.
Bile rose to her throat and she had to gag it up,
Convulsing from her core.

While the paisley silk sun dress usually fell to the floor
In a wafting whisper, this time
She had to peel it off from the top down,
Heavy with rain and caked with mud.
She left it, along with her underthings,
In a pile outside her back door.
She squeezed out her hair as best she could
Before tramping back into her house.
A warm shower…more water…
Couldn’t calm her.
So she lay crosswise on her bed,
Begging for some form of unconsciousness
To steal her from this torrential limbo.
Sleep managed to take her,
But only in fits and jerks,
And snorts of oily water that seeped from her lungs.
She awakened by a bar of sunlight,
Creeping past her shade,
What seemed like a lifetime later.

Still unclothed, she pulled on just rubber boots
In case she came face-to-slimy-face
With her snake again.
She’d need a stick, or a rake…
Something to parry a viper’s lunge.
She exited her back door.
The rain had ceased.
Warmth from the morning sun had enveloped her
And her quickly-dilated pupils kept her from seeing
The morning-after fall-out.
Slowly, though, she focused,
To see the entirety of her yard washed away.

The crevasse widened, it seemed,
So broadly that it poured itself into an unseen beyond.
Left in its wake was a garden.
Paving stones weaving in and out of
The natural slopes of the fresh turf,
Glistening English Ivy wrapped around beds of Day Lilies,
Borders of Forsythia and Oat Grass trimming
Small fields of tomato vines.
The air that filled her nose was sweet with Honeysuckle
And her very soul was nourished by the energy
That radiated from every pretty place that yearned
For a new Geranium or Begonia.

She was entirely bewildered by what
Befell her in the night’s torrent
That she didn’t know what to question…or why.
Her paisley silk sun dress hung on a clothes line
That ran from nowhere to anywhere,
And her underthings were folded
In the grass below it.
She had no intention of redressing,
But she smiled as a breeze filled the dress
With a giddy, gauzy ghost.
The breeze, though, wasn’t merely wind
But the backflow of air from a hawk’s wings.
The spectral bird carried in its mouth the dead snake,
An impotent phallus no longer capable of penetrating her fears.

Safe again to pull off her rubber boots,
She stood in her new Eden,
Breathing deeply and sweetly now that
The crusty layer of foul earth had been
Washed away like a scab in the shower,
Revealing fresh, pink flesh,
Baptized by the frightful torrent
But blessed by the new life put before her
By a mysterious universe that
Knew it was time to end her pain.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Absence of Water


I just submitted this to a poetry contest. Asked my friend Russ if it's any good, or if I just flushed the $10 entry fee down the hopper. She said she likes it. How about you? Open to comments!
---------------------------

It burns.

The dust.
It burns when you suck it into your lungs.
Even now, this early in the morning when most of the world is still doused in dew,
the dust in these parts is so thick it’s like inhaling smoke still hot from a flame.
My brothers told me these days would be hard,
but they didn’t tell me about the burn.

The oxygen in your system vapor-locks the blood pushing through your heart.
So many times you just want it to explode.
Your heart, I mean.
You just want it over, instead of doing this.
There’s no past. No future here.
Just now – and now burns.
I’m beginning to question the value of my life.
And I’m so young.
That scares me.

Sandu?

Constant motion. Constant noise. For hours.
Every pound of the hoof rails through your spine,
and it doesn’t stop when it hurts.
The drive beats on.
You look for reason,
you hope there’s logic that’s beyond your grasp,
you want meaning to justify the burn.
You trust that your thoughts of dying are not in vain.
Is it all just dust, motion, noise and burn?

I don’t see her.

I don’t see her. Sandu?
I can’t see through the dust, but I’m sure she’s not there.
I miss her. I need her with me.
We drove the plains together for so long that we became one.
Our eyes met at precise moments,
we cut at perfect angles to each other,
when one needed to slow down we instinctively pulled back together.
Another thing my brothers didn’t tell me about.
When I was driving with her I felt the entirety of the plains
as my joints pistoned forward,
and in the tarry nights without her
I became a crust without its sustaining blood.
No…no, she’s not with me today.

I remember.

Sandu spilled.
There was a rock, maybe a divot, a tiny crevasse
in the plain floor that catches a hoof at just the wrong pitch.
She went down.
You could barely hear the scream above the roar of the drive,
but it was there.
It was the kind of scream you heard with your mind
as you watched the spill.
And the pop.
The ankle.
Forward momentum upon a stationary hoof makes a pop
like a ghostwood tree that snaps during a wind storm.

There were lots of people tending to her.
She was badly hurt.
Sandu’s eyes were glazed over and rimmed with dust.
Shock. She was in shock. We were all in shock.
Yet the drive had to continue.
There was no turning back.
We pounded through the plains after Sandu spilled,
and now we drive without her.

Life boils down to the absence of water during a drive,
and nothing else matters.
I miss her, but my throat aches for water
and my muscles flex so dryly that they could tear.
I need her, but my mind swims to the illusion
that water is just ahead and that if I could drive on further,
I will soon drink.
I love her, but at the end of a drive,
even my love for Sandu falls victim to the absence of water.

Another pop.

We pushed on,
leaving space between us and the rock, the divot, the crevasse.
Sandu isn’t riding any more.
Water. How much further?
We hammered forward, with one of our own down.
The images are hazy.
It seems like so long ago.
So dehydrated that the pop sounded hollow and dust-choked.
A pause. Then we drive on. Leaving space.

Wait. I remember.
I remember another pop.
We drove after Sandu spilled,
and then a second pop.
Not quite like a ghostwood tree this time.
More like a crack of lightning,
reporting an echo that rolled through the plains
in infinite unfilled concavity.
I never saw Sandu again.

Just a rock. A divot? Likely a crevasse,
and my Sandu is gone.
Water.
The dust burns when you suck it into your lungs.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Next Plateau


I thought maybe this would be a good one to dig out of the archives to share on Thanksgiving.

Janice stopped scaling the mountainside and pounded her lanyard into the ice wall. The nylon rope running through its loop tightened as she rested her weight on it. Lisa, about three yards below, wondered why Janice stopped, and dug her spikes into the mountainside for support.
“What gives,” Lisa shouted up to Janice.
“I’m not sure,” Janice responded. “There’s something in the ice. I’m trying to dig it out. It looks like a…oh my god, Lisa. This can’t be. It’s impossible!”
“What? What is it?” hollered a panicky Lisa.
“It’s a cell phone!” Janice shouted.
“A cell phone?”
“Did I stutter? Yes, a cell phone!”
“Hey,” said Lisa, “don’t get bitchy. I’m just wondering why that’s so impossible!”
“What’s impossible is that the damned thing is ringing!”
Janice picked away at the ice with her tools, and excised the phone like it was a tooth in the face of the mountain. She removed her glove and gingerly pressed the only button on the phone. Carefully, as if the phone was preparing to stun her with a deadly laser, she put it to her ear.
A male voice said: “Can you hear me now?”
“What?” asked Janice. “Is this a joke?”
“No,” said the voice, laughing. “Sorry, it’s just that the phone has been ringing for more than a year, waiting for someone to pick it up, and I’ve been dying to say that! Pretty funny, I thought.”
Silence from Janice. Her furrowed brow worried Lisa, but they both just stopped and listened.
“Yeah, ok, so it wasn’t that funny,” said the voice. “Anyway, here’s the deal: As the finder of the phone, you get to climb up to the next plateau and meet me, and I shall impart my great wisdom upon thee.”
“Upon thee?”
“Upon thou?” the voice asked.
Janice shook her head, as if to clear the voice from her tympanic membrane, but it persisted.
“Just get up here, and I’ll explain. I assume you’re not alone.”
“No, my partner Lisa is here. The next plateau?”
“You see the ledge that juts out over the hollow on your left? Scale that ledge and I’ll be waiting for you on top.”
“What kind of a sick…” Janice started to say, but then the phone went dead. She explained it all to Lisa, but that just served to scare them. Lisa pulled her flare gun from her pack, and strapped it to her leg for easy access. She figured at least she could light up the guy’s chest if he turns out to be a mass murderer or a pervert or something. She saw that in a movie once.
They climbed. It wasn’t an easy ledge to scale, but they were motivated. Above the ledge was indeed a vast plateau, uncharted, by the way, on their mountain map.
“I’m in here,” called a distant voice, coming from a cave in the ice wall.
The two women clutched each other’s hands and walked forward together. As they approached the mouth of the cave, Janice stammered: “Helloooo?”
“I’m right here!” the voice exclaimed, with a touch of aggravation. Janice and Lisa were startled and jumped in unison. They saw a little person sitting cross-legged, enshrouded in a fur-lined parka. Just his nose, red and runny, poked out from the hood.
“We are Janice and Lisa,” said Janice, as if she was introducing herself to a stranger who didn’t speak our language. “What shall we call you?”
“Name’s Ed.”
“Ed?”
“Did I stutter?” Ed asked, and the women wondered how he…oh, forget it. “What’dya expect me to say…Yoda?”
“No…” Lisa said timidly.
“It’s actually Eduardo Montoya Fernandez Espinoza. I’m Irish.”
Again, silence. The two women just stared at Ed, and then at each other, hoping there was some kind of logical explanation to all of this.
“Well, I can see you’re thrilled to meet me. Here’s how this is gonna work: I impart my wisdom upon thee…you. I’ve been on this assignment for almost 13 months waiting for a climber to find my phone. Then, see, after I impart my wisdom, you go and live full, rich lives, and my Boss lets me go home.”
“Where’s your home? Who’s your boss?” Janice asked hesitantly.
“See, I can’t tell you that. Just my wisdom.”
Janice and Lisa waited with great anticipation. They were past fear, and now were in the throes of life-affirming excitement.
“Ok, here it is…my wisdom…” Ed said.
“Oh, for the love of Mike, what is it already!” Janice exclaimed.
“You’re right,” Ed said to Lisa, “she is bitchy. Here it is…” a pause that was pregnant enough to be two weeks overdue filled the air.
“Just be,” said Ed.
“Just be?” the women said together.
“Just be,” Ed repeated.
“That’s it? That’s your wisdom?” Janice asked. “Just be? And that’s going to get us full, rich lives?”
“What did you expect,” Ed defended, “to drink hot cocoa from the Cup of Christ? Maybe you should go climb mountains in Tibet so you can get the Dali Friggin’ Lama himself! Yes! My wisdom is just be!”
“You listen to me, you little snot-nosed monkey man!” shouted Janice, obviously ready to uphold her right to real wisdom and a full, rich life. “We came up this mountain for exercise, plain and simple, but then you appear out of nowhere and you tell us you’ve been here for 13 months waiting for someone to pick up your cell phone buried in the ice and then we followed your instructions not knowing if you were going to murder us or something, so Lisa took out her flare gun, which, by the way is loaded Mr. Just Be! And then you tell us you can go home when you impart your wisdom upon thee…thou…us!”
Ed looked at Lisa while Janice raved on, and said out of the corner of his mouth, “Powerful lungs.”
“…and I want to know who you work for, and I want your employee ID number, and…” Janice came to a stop, realizing that she lost control somewhere back at “snot-nosed monkey man.” She calmed herself down, and Lisa grasped her hand in consolation. Ed was packing up his gear, clearly ready to leave this assignment and go to wherever he called home.
Then he spoke: “Look, it’s really very simple. You both have kids, right? Yeah, thought so. What are you thinking about when you’re with them?”
Lisa responded first, “About how much I love them, and...” Then she put her head down and shook it slowly. “No, I think about how much work is waiting for me at the office.”
Janice said, “And I guess I think about laundry.”
“That’s what I thought,” said Ed, very pleased with himself. “From now on, just be. You’ll live full, rich lives now. Ta-da!”
“Hey, wait,” said Janice, as Ed was leaving the cave. “Why?”
“Why?” repeated Ed.
“Yeah, why?”
Ed paused, then said, “You know that bungee-jumping trip you’re taking next month? Well, a colleague of mine will tell you why. But for now…”
All three of them said it together: “Just be.”
Ed left the cave with his gear on his back. The women didn’t even bother to watch him go, because somewhere in their spirits they knew there would be no traces left of Ed.
“I wonder what’ll happen when we go sky diving next spring,” said Janice, pensively to herself as she pondered the profound nature of Ed’s wisdom.
“Yes, I can hear you now,” she whispered.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Two Mrs. Chamberlains


A few years ago I founded a small story-tellers’ group, whereby I distributed a monthly picture to my fellow writers, and we all crocheted three-page short stories based on the contents of the pictures. Well, remember when this picture of possibly the most abbreviated wedding dress in history made its way around the ‘net? Certainly, some grand little stories were written that month! Here is mine.

The two women in Rudy Chamberlain’s life made him miserable. Both his mother and his fiancĂ© held firm to his limbs, and pulled in opposite directions every minute of every day. His mother Tess hen-pecked him. And his fiancĂ©e Missy whipped him. He could take each of them individually and claim at least a fraction of his life as recoverable. But together, Tess and Missy were a deadly combination to the once vital and virile Rudy.
Graduating from law school at the top of his class landed Rudy a position at one of the most ferocious firms in the city, and he pulled down six figures his first year out. He was captain of the crew team, and contemplated an Olympic run, but he met Missy at the firm and he decided to pursue her instead. Rudy was typically a thigh man, but he couldn’t keep his eyes off her busty luggage. After six months of very intense dating, he proposed. She accepted immediately, more for the unlimited financial potential his future held than for whatever he may have offered from his mind, his heart, his handsome cheekbones, or his pants.
But Rudy made a big mistake. He asked Missy to be his bride before even introducing her to his mother. And thus began instant acrimony between the two women. Tess erected a fabulous offensive attack on Missy’s character, with all of the militant acumen of a seasoned general. Everything from Missy’s heritage to her skin tone was fair game for Tess’s assault. It was impressively relentless, and Rudy was feeling more acid build up in his esophagus toward these two women than he ever did from any enemy in the courtroom.
Missy had her own war chest to offer up. Certainly, however, she was dwarfed in the looming shadow of the master tactician Tess, mostly because Tess had genetics on her side. Being Rudy’s mother gave her a lifelong advantage over a mere mortal who wanted to marry him for his money. But Missy had one thing. Actually, she had two things, and even other women had been in awe of them since junior high school.
Thus, Missy’s closest friend, a clothing designer for an off-Broadway theater, created what came to be fabled in legend as The Dress. The veil was absolutely beautiful. The rest of it was just mean. Most importantly, upon debuting The Dress on her wedding day, Missy’s ammo was amply ignited and immediately launched – sailing through the stares and gasps and sudden surges of southbound blood-flow – hitting Tess directly between the eyes.
The elder Mrs. Chamberlain, on the day of her only son’s nuptials, was left lacerated and mangled by the direct hit imposed by her formidable new daughter-in-law. By the time the reception started, following a farcical round of pictures taken by a very grateful wedding photographer who thought only of what gentle blessings this would impart upon his portfolio, Tess was beet-red with anger. Her own reflection in the restroom mirror, staring back at her with a throbbing vein in her temple, inspired her next maneuver. Tess absolutely hated beets, but knew that she had to eat them if she was going to get away with her plan. They sat in front of her dinner plate in a little bowl perfectly suited for espionage. Tess unassumingly procured her third husband’s bowl of beets, her sister’s bowl of beets, and then asked the waiter for yet another serving. Her bowl overflowed with the bright red veggies, and the juice oozed from its edge.
Rudy watched this oddity happening just beyond the dinner plate of his Best Man Joel, who was Rudy’s childhood friend, and now a physician. And Rudy knew the target of the soon-to-be projectile beets was The Dress. More specifically, Tess would aim directly at Missy’s voluminous mammaries.
Joel looked at Rudy out of the corner of his eye and placed his finger on the side of his nose, the high sign that Rudy’s own little plan was in motion, too.
To throw off any onlookers, Tess choked down a couple of the beets from her arsenal, trying to act natural but failing miserably. Ironically, Rudy witnessed, Missy was eating her beets at the same time.
Tess stood up, and reached out her left hand to pick up her bowl, but she withdrew. Something welled up insider her. It was the beets, and they were coming back up at a very rapid pace. Tess bolted for the restroom. A mild stir was generated from the residents of the head table who watched Tess’s hasty exit. But a much more uproarious reaction erupted when Missy made a dash for the restroom, right on the spiked heels of her arch-nemesis.
The two Mrs. Chamberlains knelt down in bathroom stalls regurgitating their beets. Tess also saw her sea bass amid the bright red pool, and got a sniff of her evening Cosmopolitan. Missy, however, had the chicken, which reemerged with a dinner roll and a cheeky chardonnay. Side-by-side they knelt, hugging porcelain and commiserating with each other, becoming fast friends, just like two imprisoned soldiers from opposite sides of a war, with a new common enemy. Every time they thought they were finished, more and more came up. They cried together, and they held hands under the stalls’ dividing wall, as the party continued in the ballroom.
Word drifted out to the reception that the bride and the groom’s mother were engaged in dual technicolor yawns together. Rudy just listened to the chatter, with the slightest grin on his face, while under the table he carefully handed the small bottle of ipecac back to Joel. Rudy’s battlefield was the courtroom, where wits were a much more effective weapon than tits. And beets were merely a tool on the way to grander victories. He felt the clamp around his manhood suddenly loosen, and Rudy could breathe again. He got up and danced very closely with the Maid of Honor. This was his day.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On the Threshold of a Dream: Poems Inspired by Sleep


I realized something about myself. I have very vivid dreams. I’m not talking about Martin Luther King Jr.’s type of dream. I mean those haphazard ballets that happen behind our eyelids when we’re sleeping. Some are long, involved, and most often disjointed; however, it’s the fleeting vignettes of human interplay that I recall in the morning. Some of these scenes stick with me for days…some for years. So recently I decided to start writing down some of the more remarkable moments, and two things occurred to me: first, these little scenes are odd, some awkward but some actually pretty, almost always populated with people I’ve never met; second, when I go back and read my notes, kept in a little black notebook in my jacket pocket, they come across as being relatively poetic. Now, I’ve written pretty much everything at least once…except poetry. So, hey, a funny thing happened on the way to my blog! I offer you my first poems...dream poems.

We were clipping rosemary in the herb garden.
Her eyes fluttered closed
When she put the tips
Of her fingers under her nose.


Her hair stuck to her forehead with sweat.
It was hot.
Her round belly kicked
When she drank ice water and lay down.


I looked him in the eye as he cried.
I said, “Do not let this ruin your life.
Your family needs you.”


I walked out of the church,
But I didn’t feel any better.
In many ways, I felt worse.
And confused.


He wiped mud from her instep
With a warm wash cloth.
She couldn’t do it herself
Because her dress was too tight.


I hadn’t seen John in almost 30 years.
I was in a wheelchair.
I said, “Things are what they are.
Why make more negative energy?”


She was topless on the boat.
Not because she wanted to be,
But because her husband forced her to be.
She was humiliated.


The old Indian opened the door only a crack,
And he asked, “Who are you?”
The old Indian’s name was Theodore.


She was shooting a film on the beach.
My role was to catch a football
In a bathing suit.


Carly Simon sang
“Straight Up” to me.
Me and only me.
But why wasn’t it Paula Abdul?

Like I said, I’ve never written a poem. And I never intended for these to be poems. But what do you think? Should I keep up this new pastime? You tell me.
BTW: The artwork is, as if anybody didn't already know, the album cover for the Moody Blues' "On the Threshold of a Dream." The Moodies...now you're talking poetry!