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Saturday, October 24, 2009

just a lil bit of what i'm working on.

A cold winter night

She was staring out the window waiting for him to come home. Where was he? She glanced at the clock. . She had made his favorite meal; steak and mashed potatoes and even bought him some orange slice, his favorite. Rubbing her hands up and down her arms, she suddenly shivered. The temperature was dropping steadily and the icy fingers of winter were reaching for her as if to drag her in and not let her go. Turning to go into the kitchen again, she suddenly heard the front door slam. Looking up in fright, she saw a person all covered in white. She screamed only to see the person start shaking off his coat. Then a deep rumble of laughter started as she realized it was her husband. Laughing hysterically, she raced to him and kissed him. "Tom, I was so worried about you. What took you so long?" Hush, hush, Rebekah. No need to worry, I had to run by the grocery store and get you a few things like....." Like, what?! She exclaimed excitedly. Laughing, he finally said, "chocolate." She let out a squeal and gave him a hug. "Thank you. You have no idea how happy this makes me." Her auburn hair shimmered in the candlelight and her green eyes sparkled. She was his beautiful lover and friend. His wife, the one he would always love. She served him with delight and then they both sat down at the kitchen table to enjoy an anniversary dinner together. They were celebrating their 2nd year as newlyweds. It seemed like just yesterday they were archenemies, and now here they were, newlyweds. What a blessed miracle it had been. She thought she would never marry him.
"Tommy pulled my hair daddy. He is so mean. "Brushing angry tears aside, she flung herself into her daddy's arms. "There, there sweetheart; nothing to worry about. He is just being a silly little boy." Now, how would you like to go have dinner with me tonight. Your mom is working at the school and it can just be the two of us. "Ok, daddy." Rebekah smiled through her tears. Daddy was the most handsome man she knew. His warm crinkly blue eyes, and sandy brown hair and his bear hugs warmed her heart. Rebekah was a beauty just like her mom. Auburn hair, green eyes, and a temper to match but a sweet personality to make up for it. She loved to read and cook little things for him to tempt his appetite. She was in 1st grade at Berry Elementary School in West Tulsa.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Blessing in Disguise(part 1) will continue after edited

It is a dark and stormy night. The restaurant sits in hushed silence waiting for the impending storm. A dimly-lit light blinks on and off on the open sign. A waitress sighs from the day's workload as she cleans off the tables for any customers that need a place to dry off and just sit a spell. Rubbing her forehead where a headache had been screaming its protest , she grimaces. The restaurant is quaint but comforting. The booths are not of the finest quality but the service is genuinely friendly.
It was passed down through her Grandpa who first opened the place. He was a nice, friendly fellow who always had a cheerful smile to greet the many customers and a willing ear to listen to a customer's complaints or sorrows. He worked right alongside his granddaughter and her mother. He had opened the restaurant when he was in his late 20's and had continued the business even after he got married. His newlywed happily joining him and cooking her best recipes made the restaurant flourish with her cheerful countenance and sweet personality. They were a happy couple so much in love even when hard times fell. His wife's name was Rosie and they had met at college. Rosie was studying to be a teacher and he was studying to be a business major. They met at a college get together at a mutual friend's house. Their mutual friend's name was John, a highschool friend of both Rosie and George. Soon after they become reacquainted they started dating and not to soon after George proposed. Rosie cheerfully accepted and so began there life as newlyweds. George was the organized businessman and Rosie was the flamboyant energetic kid. Together, they were a great team.
"Rosie, honey, would you mind baking a few more of those delicious fruit pies. We have some important guests visiting tonight. Of course, dear. I do not mind a bit. Who are these important guests coming? "The Senator and his wife." George answered.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ancient Song

As the last kiss of night waltzes
with dawn’s light across the melancholy
sky, shimmering fog hovers, masking
the forest eternal in blanketed silence.

A blur crosses visual periphery as one denizen
of this wild abode sneaks homeward from nightly
revel. No populace, no towering concrete nor steel.

No overrun of vehicular smog, no noise, just still
surround. Above, a canopy of wild green dripping
condensate; below, leaf pack muffling this visitor’s
progress and behind, solitary footprints. Ahead,

a tunnel leads to a secret place. Glimmering light
guides this seeker through encompassing woods,
each step one closer to a singular miracle. Sudden

arrival stutters the breath into a duet with the soughing
breeze rippling all around. My sanctuary, nature's chapel,
a grove of old ones encircles a clearing, a woodland
garden ablaze, a firestorm in red, and a stream singing

an ancient song to guide this seeker home.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Aftermath

Conceived in hate, birthed in terror,
thousands died; everyday ordered lives
tumbled down, disintegrating
into corruption-tainted shards leaving
only sorrow-storms, hollowed hearts
and shattered trust

2 billion watched this Nation’s
innocence destroyed; bore witness
while our tattered dreams fell
amongst the smoke and rubble,
now haunted by the never-to-be forgotten;
co-joined survivors living the aftermath

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For the Love of Lily

Perfect timing, she thought. The sun had just appeared above the horizon. It looked like a big, golden Chinese lantern arising from the dark waters to light the day. The sky was dressed in multi-color stripes hovering over an ocean that looked like a sheet of midnight glass. “Yeh, nothing like a little purple prose to start the day,” she said.

She focused her camera, double-checking the settings and exposures.

“That should be a good one,” she mumbled.

“Excuse me?” a male voice asked.

“Jeezus! Give me a heart attack, why don’t you?” The man had just popped in behind her like some ghost in a horror movie. “Hey, you are real, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Excuse me?”

Well, he has a nice voice even if his timing sucks she thought.  “Don’t you know you shouldn’t sneak up behind someone? You might get socked, or something,” she said.

“I didn’t sneak anywhere. I was just walking my dog.”

She slowly turned in a circle before raising her eyebrows in question. “Your dog? Is he a ghost?”

“What is this fascination you have with ghosts? There are no such thing as ghosts.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Okay, if it makes you happy to believe that, go for it.”

“It does, because it’s fact.”

“Okaaay then, where’s your dog?”

“Say what?”

“Your dog. The one you said you were walking. I don’t see any dog, so I just thought he must be a ghost. I guess he could be a figment of your imagination, but I don’t really know you well enough to declare you crazy.”

“Let me get this straight. If I said I had a ghost dog, I wouldn’t be crazy, but if I said that the dog was a figment of my imagination, I would?”

“Yeh.” When he made a noise that was somewhat of a cross between a growl and horribly-put-upon sigh, she laughed.

“Do you know my father?”

“WHAT?”

“If you had accompanied that noise with rolling eyes, you would have perfectly imitated him. I didn’t know anyone else actually made that kind of sound.”

“I understand his pain,” he mumbled.

“I heard that! Yeesh, clone-alert.” She turned back to check her equipment, examining the image captured on the LCD. “EEEEEEEEEEEE!”

“What? What’s wrong?”

“YOU MADE ME MISS MY SHOT!”

“Is that all? God, I thought something bit you, or stung you, or . . .”

“Is that all?”

“Well, there’s always another sunrise, isn’t there?”

“Now, I know you must be a long, lost relative on my father’s side of the family.”

“Huh?”

“There’s always another sunrise. It’s not like it’s a real job,” she responded. “Isn’t that what you mean?” As she spoke, her shoulders hunched and her face scrunched into a sneer.

“Well, …”

“I’ll have you know, this is my job. I’m a professional photographer.”

“A professional? You mean you get paid to take photographs?”

“Yeh, that’s right. Don’t know what to say now, do you. It’s different when there’s money involved, isn’t it? Yes, I get paid to take photographs. I have a contract with a publisher for a book that I’m finishing, and I display at several galleries.”

“Galleries. You mean like an artist? Well, I guess that explains the ghost thing then.”

“Oh, because I’m an artist, I’m a flake?”

“You said it, I didn’t.”

“Well, I’m not the one walking an invisible dog.”

“She’s not invisible.”

“Really, because I still don’t see any sign of her. Perhaps I was too hasty in deciding your mental faculties are intact.”

“She’s not invisible. She’s just exploring.” He placed two fingers in his mouth and shrilled out a whistle.

“Well?”

He whistled again then turned toward what sounded like a horse at full gallop coming from the other side of the dune.

As the animal crested the dune, she said, “Oh. My. God. What on earth is that?”

He glanced at her long enough for her to see the slight smile on his face, then said, “That’s my dog, Lilith. Lily for short.”

“There’s nothing short about that animal. Are you sure it’s a dog? ‘Cause it kind of looks like a miniature wooly mammoth. Or, maybe a small horse. A very hairy, small horse. Having a really, really bad hair day.”

“Shhhh. Don’t say that so loud. You’ll hurt her feelings.”

“Huh?”

“Lily is very sensitive. She was the runt of the litter and well, if I hadn’t taken her home, they would have gotten rid of her.”

“That’s barbaric!”

“Yeh, I know. Anyway, she was a little homely as a weanling pup.”

“I can see that.”

“Hey, now. That’s my dog you’re insulting.”

“I’m not being insulting, I’m being honest. She’s . . . really BIG.” The dog was only six feet away but didn’t appear to be slowing down. “Ummm. She will stop, won’t she?”

He turned back towards the dog and held one hand out palm forward, then slashed downward. The dog sat back on her haunches and slid the remaining distant showering both of them with sand. Tongue lolling, panting, Lily sat at their feet looking at them.

As he began brushing sand from his jeans, he said, “Sorry about that. She’s still a puppy so we haven’t quite mastered polite introductions.”

A puppy?”

"Yes.” His eyes were crinkling at the corners.

“What type of dog is she?”

“Lily’s a mixed breed. Part Irish Wolfhound for sure, and the vet thinks maybe part Newfoundland as well.”

“She’s huge. And hairy.”

“Oh, she’s just a growing girl. She won’t reach her full potential until about three years of age. If she continues along the lines of her mother, she should weigh about one-hundred and thirty pounds and top out about three feet in height.”

“Gawd. You mean to tell me she’ll weight more than I do?”

He looked her over before saying, “Well, that’s not saying much, but she’s probably nearly there now.”

“Hmmmm.” She looked down at the dog sitting between them. Lily looked up at her and stretched her mouth wide, happy with the attention of the two humans. “Did you see that? She smiled at me.”

He ruffled the fur at her head, and Lily leaned into him. “Dogs can’t smile, but she’s a very good-natured pup.”

Squatting down, she was eyeball-to-eyeball when she addressed the dog. “Just goes to show what he knows, doesn’t it Lily?” She ran her hands over Lily’s head then stroked her neck. “By the way, Lily, everyone calls me Caro. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Lily rumbled and slurped her tongue across Caro’s cheek in acknowledgement.

“Lily, mind your manners.”

“Oh, she’s okay. She’s just a very affectionate girl, aren’t you, Lily? Are you going to introduce yourself?”

He held out his hand saying, “Kieran Hunter.”

Reaching up to shake his hand, she replied, ”Caroline Irving, but my friends call me Caro.” Lily squirmed under Caro’s hand, whined and leaned against her chest. Caro’s breath wheezed out as she said, “Okay, Lily. I get it. You don’t want to be left out, do you?”

Lily grinned, and whoofed her agreement.

Kieran groaned, “Lily, behave.” Then he realized that Caro was giggling. He couldn’t remember the last time he heard an adult laugh like that, so exuberant. Most of the people he knew would never giggle. Laughter, like everything else was controlled and very, very proper. Of course, they also wouldn’t get down in the sand and play with his dog. Usually, they just ignored her.

When Lily toppled Caro onto her back and began licking every inch of exposed skin, he flinched. The giggling continued then burst into full-blown laughter. He shook his head. She wasn’t like anyone he knew.

After a few minutes, she looked up, pushed Lily’s head away and said, “You might give me a hand, you know.” He stretched out his hand, she grasped it and pulled herself into a standing position.

“So, Kieran. What brings you and your very visible Lily out today. I’m here every morning and don’t remember seeing the two of you before. And, believe me, I would remember meeting Lily. Oh, and you too, of course.”

His lips twitched at being an afterthought. “We just moved in to a house down the beach. So, now we’re exploring, right Lily?”

Lily grinned and whoofed.

“Well then, welcome to both of you. I live there.” She swung around and indicated the lighthouse on the point.

“You live in a lighthouse?”

“Yeh, isn’t it great? Which one’s yours?”

“It’s the gray and white Shingle style at the end of the beach.”

“Oh, I thought . . .” her voice trailed off.

“You thought what?”

“Well, I must have been misinformed. I was told that a blind man had move in there with his . . . dog. Um, huh.”

“Yes?”

“Well, it’s just you are wearing sunglasses and it’s not very bright out here. You’re not blind, are you? I mean you couldn’t be. You helped me up, shook my hand.” She stopped talking at his heavy sigh.

“No, I’m not blind now.”

“Now?”

“I was in an accident about two years ago. When I purchased the house, I was the blind man with his dog.”

“That’s incredible. How did you, I mean, if you don’t mind my asking … ”

“Get my sight back?”

“Yeh.”

“Well, the loss of vision was only partially due to the head trauma. Mostly, it was what they call psychological or hysterical blindness.” He reached up and removed the sunglasses.

She looked into his face, unveiled for the first time, noticing a scar that ran from the corner of his left eye back to his hairline at the temple. “If that’s from the accident, it looks like you took a solid hit to the head.”

“We were in a boat accident.”

Caro found it suddenly very hard to swallow. “We?”

He closed his eyes, then jerked his chin downward. “My wife and son and I.”

“What happened?”

“We were on vacation, taking the boat out. Some kids lost control of their boat and rammed us. They had been hot-dogging, just being kids, you know.”

“Your wife and son?”

“They didn’t make it.”

“I’m so sorry.”

He nodded in acknowledgement. “I hit my head on something, don’t really know what. When I woke in the hospital, everything was dark. It stayed that way until about six months ago.”

“What happened then?”

“Lily.”

“Lily?”

His lips twisted into a smile. Not a happy one, but a smile none-the-less. “My sister decided that I needed a companion and tricked me into taking her. She told me that she was the runt of the litter and if no one took her, she would be sent to the pound.”

“She didn’t?”

“Oh, yes she did. My sister’s ruthless when she wants to be, and she’d decided that it was time for me to face the living.”

“So what did you do?”

The smile this time was a true one, reflected in the clear blue of his eyes. “I have Lily don’t I? Or, perhaps, she has me.”

She joined his laughter. “Oh, the latter, I’m sure. Seems like she has you exactly where she wants you.”

“Well, she’s entitled. When she first arrived, I wasn’t very happy about it. I mean, I couldn’t see, so how could I take care of a puppy. But, Kathleen, that’s my sister, wouldn’t take no for an answer. Truthfully, once she put Lily in my arms, I was a goner. She put her paws on my shoulders and reached up to touch her nose to mine and something inside me just melted.”

She smiled with him, but said nothing.

“The first six months were hard. I was trying to adapt, to take care of myself, then suddenly I had the responsibility for another being.”

When he didn’t say continue, she prompted him. “Well, what did you do?”

“Oh, sorry. I guess I was lost in darkness again.” He shook his head, straightened his shoulders, and went on with the story. “Well, I had to accept help and stop wallowing which is what my sister intended. I couldn’t very well let something happen to Lily because I couldn’t take care of her. So, my sister hired a person to help me. Strangely enough, about three months after I did that, my sight began to return. It was just a lightening of the darkness at first. Then flashes, and then one day, I could see. It was hazy, but as the doctor said, that was to be expected since it had been almost two years since my eyes had worked.”

“What did you do?”

"What do you mean?”

“What was the first thing you did once you could see again? Did you read a book, go to the movies, meet with your sister?”

“Oh, okay. No, none of that.” He just smiled and looked down at Lily.

“Well, what was it?”

“I went outside and let Lily show me around the backyard.”

“Ohhhhhhhhhhh.” She clasped her hands over her heart and looked down at Lily as well, then said, “Well, Lily, what did you do?”

Lily cocked her head to one side, seemed to think about it, then grumbled out her answer. The both laughed at the dog that seemed to be trying to speak to them.

Caro turned back to Kieran and asked, “How long until it was back to normal?”

“My vision, or my life?” he laughed. “’Cause with Lily, I’m certain my life will never be normal again.” Lily grinned and slurped a kiss across his hand. “My vision’s still a little wonky at times. I’m very light sensitive, hence the sunglasses at dawn. I have to stay out of the full sun yet, but the doctor says that will probably change with the seasons.”

“For everything there is a season.”

He nodded, “Yes, and now my season of darkness is at an end. All because of a sister who wouldn’t give up, even though I nearly had.”

“And, Lily. Her love showed you the way.”

“Oh, yes. But for the love of Lily, I’d still be there fumbling around in the dark, or else I’d have given up completely.”

Lily crooned. When they looked down at her, they saw her eyes looking out over the bay. They both turned just in time to see the sun crown the horizon and cast off the lingering darkness.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Wild Wood

Once she ran through a wild wood
where trees had faces that gazed upon the sun
and voices that spoke in softly rustling wind.
Their arms lifted her as she climbed into the sky;
their bodies became her shelter from life’s sudden storms.

In the midst of that wild wood lived
the friends that joined her play; the dryads
wisped through the possum grapes, laughter
trilling and singing across the glades
as her child-self chased behind.

The fairies flitted among the leaves
dancing on the vines overhead, tickling
and teasing against her skin as she slid
down the creek bank then together skipping
hand-in-hand across the dappled water.

From the cavern near the creek slipped
the amethyst-eyed dragon that flew
the child across the sundown sky soaring
higher and higher to touch the clouds
before bringing her safely home once more

then reappearing within her nightly dreams.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chasing Ghosts - A Short Story

The yellow lines unfurled before Jeanette’s Impala like miles of ribbon in a summer breeze, but there was no breeze today. Sweat trickled down her neck, and soaked into her collar. The hot air pressed in through her windows tasting of dust and leaving her eyes gritty, her throat dry. “Damned air conditioner.” She muttered as she scanned the roadside for a gas station, or restaurant---somewhere to get in out of the heat.

Ahead she saw a neon coffee cup. Bold, blue letters spelled out ‘café’. As she pulled off the road, gravel crunched beneath her tires and she slipped the car into park. Turning the key, she leaned back against the headrest, closed her eyes and replayed the conversation. “I just need to go, Michael. I can’t explain it. I mean yeah, things have been rough; and I honestly don’t know whether it’s worth fighting it out. The two of us are making each other miserable. But this trip isn’t about us…it isn’t about you.”

A blast of cool air hit her as she entered the quiet diner, her eyes adjusting to the shadows. The waitress behind the counter pulled a pen from her dish-water blonde hair and a pad from her apron. “Come on in out of the heat, and grab a seat anywhere you’d like, hun!” She followed Jeanette to the corner booth, her sneakers squeaking on the tile floor. “You look like you could use some iced tea. Sweet, or un-sweet?” Jeanette slid across the faded vinyl and nodded at the woman’s name tag. Linda. “Un-sweet, please. No lemon.” With a wink, Linda handed her the menu. “The blue-plate’s normally the best bet, except when Earl’s cookin’---which he is---and when Earl’s cookin’, you can’t go wrong with a cheeseburger.” Linda patted Jeanette’s arm, before turning. Jeanette smiled at the familiarity, and then turned to scrutinize her reflection in the window.

Standing in the bedroom doorway, Michael had stared the same way at her half-packed suitcase, asking, “Can you honestly say you’re not running from this, from me?” He’d sighed, annoyed when she didn’t answer. “You know we’ve got the counselor Tuesday?” Her response had been strained. “Michael, I don’t know. I just need time and space. I can’t breathe. There’s paranormal activity in Santa Rosa, and you know I’m on deadline. Call it a research trip.” She wiped her forehead with the flat of her hand, echoing his sigh. “I’ll be back soon, and we’ll reschedule counseling, okay?”

The clink of glass on the table brought Jeanette back to now. The waitress asked, “You decide on lunch?” Jeanette accepted the tea, and gulped from the glass. “That’s good.” After a second drink, she realized that Linda was waiting for her to order. “Oh! I’m sorry. I think I’ll go with the cheeseburger.” She was too exhausted to bother with the menu.

Linda arched an eyebrow leaning against the booth, “Looks like you’ve come a long way. What brings you to Amarillo?” Jeanette shrugged. “I’m headed to Santa Rosa, for research, writing about ghosts.” Linda brightened, settling into the seat across from her. “You know we’ve got ghosts in the Nat, uptown. She lowered her voice conspiratorially, though the diner was empty except for the two of them, and Earl. “I’ve seen them myself---a couple waltzing across that polished wooden dance floor all satin and sequins. Tommy Dorsey played the Nat, years ago.” She paused.

“And the cafe used to have a ghost. Not for a while now—but a pretty, little slip of a girl, no more than nineteen used to haunt the place. “Folks say she came in one night, put quarters in the jukebox, ordered a Coke, and ducked into the restroom. She just disappeared, never came back for that Coke. Shirley had the late night shift. She remembers the girl, because of the dandelion tattooed on her left thigh---you know, the white kind, with the seeds that look like umbrellas on the wind?

Nobody thought much of it until later. Old man Henderson drove by one night, and saw a girl at the jukebox. He called the owner and Sheriff Wallace, but by the time they came, the place was empty. Folks have spotted her at the counter sipping a Coke, and I’ve been here alone late, and heard the restroom door open and shut. Poor girl. Dunno why she chose this place, but seems to me, she was waiting for someone. I guess she decided life was short, and went on her way.”

Jeanette felt a chill, and took a deep breath. Linda frowned in concern, “You okay, hun?” When she didn’t respond, the waitress jumped to her feet. “Oh, listen to me---going on, while you’re starving for a good lunch.” Jeanette nodded vacantly. “I’m sorry… yeah, maybe food would help. I feel dizzy.”

As Linda headed for the kitchen, Jeanette raised the hem of her cotton skirt, tracing the outline of the tattoo on her right thigh. The dandelion was the exact mirror of Jackie’s tattoo, done on their eighteenth birthdays. The twin connection thing had always been true for them, like a sort of ESP. The night Jackie died, Jeanette had awakened screaming in her dorm, the sound of screeching tires echoing in her head. The news came hours later, but Jeanette already knew, she’d heard Jackie’s goodbye. Staring again at her reflection, she watched a tear trace its way down her cheek. After twenty years, Jackie was still sending her messages.

When Linda returned, she was surprised to find a gold band on the table, and a twenty-dollar bill. She stepped out into the bright August sunshine and shielded her eyes from the sun, watching the Impala disappear over the shimmering horizon. Trudging back into the dark diner, she sank into the empty booth, and took a bite from the cheeseburger. “Yep, I’d have to agree. Life is too short.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hope in a World Gone Mad

The pain of life surrounds you and you scream for someone to hear
Hold on to my love, Child. I'm here. Don't be afraid.
Hating the hurt and rejection you feel wanting to break free
The only way you can is if you look to Me.
I want you to have an abundant life.
I promised that for you and yet you turn away and do the things you do.
My heart breaks and my tears fall.
I have given You my all. I have your best in mind.
Though the pain cuts deep and the tears don't cease.
I will bring you through this. I will walk with you.

- God-

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Perfect Family

Dazzling reflections of the perfect family hand-crafted
by dentist and surgeon, set like a fine jewel within a façade
planned to the nth degree, clothed in the latest, greatest
designer favored of the gossip-trade set, residing within

an Architectural Digest McMansion complete
with backyard pool for lounging, manicured
grounds well-groomed by the hard work of those
who later depart for their smaller, mean pie-piece;

helpers paid to scale as determined by those who never
knew, or don’t remember dining on ketchup soup
so that the electric remains on. A collection of plasticized
ornaments interacting via electronics, never connecting

face-to-face, striving to uphold the perfection; binging
and purging, nip and tuck, inject and buff, all to maintain
the body, highlight and weave, perfecting a flowing mane,
five-fingered discounting just because; lubricating, medicating

to make it through the day; money in, money gushing out,
got to have the best, the finest everything, keep on keeping up,
never realize, don’t comprehend, don't care that many people,
most people survive very well on their clothing budget alone

Those outside peering in find only the façade, the charade, crafted
so carefully to impress, missing, overlooking the wormy interior,
the failing in the heart and soul that keeps them seeking, pursuing
sensation, excitement, anything to prove they’re still here, amongst

the living. Proof of life showing in the magazine covers and the news
headlines, extending the fascination of the not-so-rich with the fantasy
world of the ‘perfect family’. Enabled and enabler. And then, the cycle
begins again – News at Six.

(from Poetic Asides prompt - to look beneath the surface)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hello Everyone

Looks like I'm in.

So, is this the secure blog site?  I'll spend the next few days figuring how to navigate this and talk to everyone soon.

Thanks,

Scott

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oklahoma Spring

Stark gray skies interrupted by strands of forsythia bursting
into streams of yellow herald winters end. Skies clear, shaded

cerulean, hazed with cottony billows of cloud-shaped dreams.
Nature’s budding, greening trees and grass, flowers erupting

from darkened soil, new spears knifing upward, flower faces basking
in the warm spring sun. Birds returning from winter vacations, now

building nests, raising their young, filling air with trilling
songs. Animal babes call to their mothers, gamboling in waving

emerald pastures. Morning creeps over the horizon earlier and earlier,
days lengthen, nights grow shorter, blaze with sparkling constellations

strewn across blue-black midnight. Gardens bursting alive, developing
into plump orange tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, spicy mache, burgundy

radishes, farm-fresh eating. Crisp mornings flow into soft evenings scented
sweetly, unmatchable by even the best perfumer. Purple twilights explode

with sparkling fireflies searching for another to make their own. Sudden
storms scud, drenching the land, overflowing ponds and creeks, creating

sodden earth, and muddy footprints tracked across just cleaned floors. Winds
wail, whipping cyclones create havoc. Just another Oklahoma springtime.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Blinders

Who is more blind, one who can not see, or one who chooses not to see?
The one no longer sighted because of accident, or birth? Or the one

who willfully, and willingly places blinders between themselves and what
occurs before their own eyes? Those who choose not to see, that turn unseeing

eyes, unhearing ears, unknowing heart, failing to acknowledge blackened eyes
from those who habitually walk into doors, or the bruised-plum skin

on the self-acknowledged klutz. Their eyes skitter away from the evidence,
overlook the fathomless sorrow blazing from the soul’s window of adult

and child alike, the walking wounded, terrorized in word and deed. Words
spew outward in ever increasing rounds of denial, “It can’t happen here;

it doesn’t happen in good families, abuse occurs only to the poor, to
someone else; or, remember, sparing the rod, spoils the child”. How

visionless are those who refuse to see that love is not a smack to the face,
a hand raised in anger that bounces the body off the wall, or fists and feet

breaking bones; nor is it vicious, biting words that demolish the soul,
and shred hope leaving only hollow places inside, a dark abyss that festers.

Those who don’t feel the ever-widening sphere of impact of each hit
on every family and all of society? How unseeing, how horrible-feeling

are those who deceive themselves with endless games of “they deserved it,
they made me do it,” or alternately, “I made them angry, it’s not their fault?”

Always denying, playing out the ultimate self-bluff that one day, someday,
the pain will cease, will vanish, and all will be well. More often, too often,

when that day arrives, it ends in more violence. A gun, a knife, or fists
that bring the terror to its ultimate resolution. No more hate. No more

violence. No more anything. Just dead. An unsighted person may not know
the white-glare shades of sunlight in the summer, the purple-black hue

of twilight, nor the crystalline brilliance of stars strewn across a cloudless
night, but they can determine the intensity of heat in that bright sun

indicating day or afternoon; they can feel the deep cool of evening shade
across their skin, dream of sky-bound pinpoints of light twinkling

overhead. But those who choose blindness, that ignore the knowledge,
hide from the sunlight that illuminates the marks of truth on skin;

they cower in the twilight fearing the sound of footsteps heading their way.
They overlook the light of Creation in the stars, and within themselves,

and no longer dream of beauty, peace, or happiness. They deceive
themselves about the impact, the viewers who learn by watching,

experiencing, and then began the endless game once more as abuser
and abused. Those who destroy do not care for other than themselves.

Those who make themselves feel better through making others feel bad,
don’t show love, merely dominance. No one is able to change another;

we are only responsible for our own change. Love doesn’t hit, nor hate,
nor diminish. So love yourself as a child of Creation, and escape the dark.

Walk into the light, out of the maze of blackness and despair. End
the never-ending cycle of punching bag and excuse. Remove the blinders.

Reclaim yourself; redeem yourself. Love and honor yourself
and your family, protect all from a never-ending void,
an unceasing downward spiral of anguish and fear.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looking Back and Forward

Found this entry in my journal from back in January. It fits exactly how I feel today:



Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost


There's a quote in one of the Lord of the Rings books, that I love. (google search produces:)

He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: it's springs were at every doorstep and every path was it's tributary. "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to."
The Lord of the Rings
Frodo about his uncle Bilbo Baggins, Chapter 'Three is Company'.

I like the idea of not keeping your feet and being swept away. I suppose free writing is sort of like that. You step onto a path and follow the stream of words that fly from your pen, or your fingertips, and in the end, when the flow subsides, you find yourself in a place you didn't anticipate...if the free writing is really free, and you write for long enough. I'm energized by that sort of journey.

It's like dipping your bucket into a stream and filling it up, then upon tasting the liquid inside, you find it's the flavor you least expected, chocolate, or raspberry or honey lemon tea. There's a flood to be swum (is it swam?) and the best I can do is just dive in and ride the current.

I spent much of yesterday floundering about near the shore, and that caused me problems when I needed to write something specific...when I needed to be creative and work on projects that lie waiting for me to pick them up and continue. Today, I'm hopeful that I can find that channel that will carry me swiftly into a place where I've not been yet.

I want to wander in the midst of the river and find myself...not lost but found.

Some days, writing seems like a whirlpool, going in circles, and getting choked by debris. But then there are days when you can break free of that swirling, go-nowhere current, and just rush headlong in the direction of the rapids.

I long for that rush.

I think maybe the structure of a schedule is making me stutter, instead of trusting the flow of the water.

Today, I hope to abandon myself to that tide and see where I end up. I look forward to an interesting ride.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Music

The absolute magic of extraordinary music
is always encapsulated inside or within
the creative arrangement of it notes
and words that allow it to touch the shadows
of the human heart. It can depress, or lighten
the spirit and mind, or capture a memory;

it can become a symbol, or a memorial
to those we have lost. Various musical
pieces recapture joy or hope; they enlighten
the mind feeding it vibrations to aid in
learning, or help to set a mood. Shades
of color may be attributed to the notes.

The color blue is probably the most notable
referencing a style made exceptionally memorable
by its innate capacity to reach into the shadowy
wasteland of our psyche and give birth, musically
speaking, to the deepest emotions found within.
Whether it’s wailing loudly, or whispering lightly,

it resonates with us. Sometimes, it’s like a lightning
strike stabbing the heart. You’d swear every word, every tone
was speaking directly to you, and was ripped from within
your secret heart, that unendingly painful well of memories
we keep inside a locked closet until the day a skilled musician
searches long enough, delves deep enough to unlock that shadowland

we hide away. Once the key is found and turned, the shades
of emotion escape through the door heading for the light
where they dance and twirl in tune with the syncopated music
while they reach outward with grasping fingers to catch the notes
that reverberate on the air. Almost corporeal, each memory
partners with a special song that strives to free the spirit within.

Some artists have a special capacity allowing them to reach inside
mankind, to become explorers charting that invisible land of shadows
that comprise our soul, or, what some call a universal genetic memory.
Whatever you may call it, music appeals to it, and shines a spotlight
into our lives, giving each of us a method by which to notate
special times, made even more special by the presence of music.

The music shaded in hues of blue reaches deep inside
the world and wraps its notes around our darkest shadows
shining its light upon mankind’s communal memories.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poetry Challenge Day 11: an object

The Old Windmill

In the distance,
a sentinel slumps weary and forlorn,
a solitary watcher with nothing left to see.

Once,
its vanes reached outward, always seeking
the wind’s embrace, swiveling and swooping
like a hawk hunting thermals on which to soar.

Once,
its body sang with a joyous heartbeat,
pumping silver liquid, harvesting and gifting,
spilling out precious life essence across the land.

Once,
its eye beheld endless horizons,
rolling verdure, speckled by cattle,
hides gleaming like midnight sun.

Once,
it watched over countless children,
future’s inhabitants playing at its feet
in shimmering water.

Now,
its body bleeds rust, its melancholy vanes
hum intermittent notes, its dead eye wistfully watches
over spiky-brown fields desolate and deserted.

No offspring to keep,
no purpose to fulfill, proud sentry no longer,
a dusty relic. Just the old windmill listing in the wind.

© 2009 Lisa G. Beaudoin

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poetry Challenge: Day 9

Requiem for Lucille

(for my grandmother, Lucille Bunch Davis)

A second mother
to her daughter’s daughter,
keeper of secrets, teller
of stories, builder of dreams
She loved greatly
and was greatly loved
Sunrise to sunset
and beyond, working
tirelessly
Jill-of-all-trades -
builder, baker,
seamstress, gardener,
farmer, cook,
and sage
like a hen with
a young chick
she sheltered me
beneath her wings
guided faltering
feet to solid ground
dried gushing tears
provided solace
defended sleep
from nightmare intrusions
she instilled learning
bestowed knowledge
built security
teacher, parent,
and friend
Foundation solid.
Paths diverged.
I discovered
new roads,
she lost
her way.
Insidiously arrived
senescence
nightmare universe
full of dementia traps
wormholes to time-loops
yesterday is now
and tomorrow
never comes
Foundation shattered.
Lost soul wandering
alone, remembrances vanished.
She’s now departed;
still, I keep her
memory burning
in my heart,
my eternal flame.

© 2009 (LisaB) Lisa G. Beaudoin

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 6 / Something Missing

Empty Room

Yesterday blurred
into day, is fading
into tomorrow

Go to work
every morning
Come home
each evening

Wash and fold
laundry done
Suds and rinse
dishes cleaned

Spritz and wipe
dusting complete
Rumbling journey
floors vacuumed

Keep busy
Don’t think

about the journey
down the hall

past that room
now empty

except for
the silent crib


© 2009 (LisaB) Lisa G. Beaudoin

Monday, April 13, 2009

Poem A Day Challenge - Day 11 - Object

there’s a small brass key

bound round her neck

by a delicate and knotted

ribbon of scarlet thread

she fingers it against

her pale ivory skin

a lost and faraway look

in eyes like summer grass

as a stranger I watch her

peering at her as though

through a window on the

outside looking back in

and I ask hypothetically if

my stranger self held the key

what secret thoughts could I

unlock with a twist of my wrist

what memories would come

spilling pell-mell from the box

of treasures and baubles

and trinkets that is her mind

what does she keep hidden

in her most secret place

locked away safely there

where she goes to find solace

the mirror window reflects

distant eyes back at me

and those slender fingers

still fluttering at the key

in my separate, alter, observing self

I hide that I know what I do

that the truths inside her box

of treasures are mine as well

I watch and wonder at the smile

that tugs at the edge of her face

will she risk all to whim and chance

and give over that tiny antique key

not daring to breathe a moment

I hope beyond hope for some sign

some flicker inside her emerald eyes

that she’s ready to live for today

while I watch, entranced by the

dance at her throat pale fingers

on antique brass and scarlet ribbon

I breathe softly and whisper ‘let go…’

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Quote for Today

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

~Sylvia Plath

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Missing you

Can this dream that I long for ever come true?
So many times I want to shout how I feel
But I hold it in only to find
That this love is real
Can the future hold our life together or is it just a fleeting pleasure?
Will you ever feel the same way I do
Or will I continually be pining away for you
Oh, God
Help me to let go
And trust though the road is tough
I know you have what is best for me in mind
And you will take me step by step
If only I can find my rest in You
and truly be satisfied in all that You do.
I want to shout about my love for You
but these thoughts keep drowning out the truth.
So I'll keep on praying and crying out to You
Cause you know what i'm going through
Hold me in your arms.
Never let me go.
I'll trust you despite the not knowing what the future holds
Whether death or life
Whether rich or poor
I'll follow you despite what lies in store

"Seek ye the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Leaves

Autumn leaves fly
in the wind, blow
across the land, crumble
under foot, and color
soil in shades alive.

Pages flutter,
as books are read,
folio all, tapestry
of words, sprinkle
silently across sight.

People wisp away
from our life, littering
memory with faint
remnants, crumbling heart,
and stalling soul.


© 2009 Lisa G. Beaudoin

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kettle Fest Part Two

Kettle burst into the room, a sauce pan on his head.
"JAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"
"Breathe." James said, firmly, not looking up from his notepad. Kettle inhaled obediently, and finished the word.
"-ames. Stop writing."
"I've got to do it some time. Teaching you stuff like 'cross the road' doesn't mean 'make the cement angry' is trying work."
"No, no, just listen!" said Kettle, the saucepan falling off in his excitement. "That pen is fatal!"
"Been reading again, have you? Look, the expression 'the pen is mightier than the sword' isn't meant to be taken literally-" James stopped, on account of the alien snatching the writing utensil from his hand, throwing it to the floor, and stomping on it repeatedly. James watched a whisp of smoke come up from the splattered ink.
"It was a tracking device." said Kettle, a serious look on his face. "Apparently my visit to Earth hasn't gone unnoticed."
"Where'd it come from?" asked James. "Who could've built it?"
"I dunno." Kettle shrugged. "You don't have a brother who works in the F.B.I., do yah?"
"Will you take something seriously, for once in your life? Don't you know that if any influential humans find you here, they'll probably take you away for testing, or worse, imprisonment?"
"They wouldn't do that!"
"And why not?"
"Because...it would be very inhospitable."
The remains of the pen gave a faint buzz.
"Hang on." said Kettle, examining the mess more carefully. "Oh. Um, nevermind about that whole tracking device...thing. Turns out my Bertzillian chip got on here by mistake."
James made a sound between a sigh of relief and a scoff. "You could've checked first before you made assumptions." he said. "You had me worried some government drones were going to burst in here, and drag you away."
Kettle looked shocked.
"What? What's wrong?" James asked.
"You were worried?" the alien squealed. "About me? But that's so sweet!"
"Shut up, kid." James said, shortly, but not unkindly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kettle Fest

Author's Note: M'kay, so there's this Creative Writing contest whatever thing-a-ma-jig that's coming up. I plan to enter a Kettle story. I'm going to rewrite all the alien's stories, and post 'em here, one by one. You lot tell me your favorite, and that's the one I'll enter.

So, ta-da, the. First. Kettle. Story. EVA!


James entered the house cautiously.
"Kettle, I've gotten more cat food." he called. "No need to raid the neighbor's stash." He took off his shoes in an effort to be as quiet as possible. Maybe he could slip past before the kid got up to his juvenile mischief-
A boy with green, plastic straws glued to his hair popped up from behind the couch.
"BOO!" Kettle shouted. James jumped, then glared at him.
"Don't do things like that!" James chided. "And why did you glue those things to your head?"
Kettle flipped them from side to side. "Like 'em? They're my Alien Head-Tentacles of Doooooom!"
"Yes, yes, hilarious, Kettle." James said, absentmindedly. In truth, the boy was an alien. Several hundred years older than he looked. And he looked about six years old. He had fallen to earth in a rocket-powered trash can.
"I saw a lot of them down here, and figured it would be a good disguise." the boy had explained. James had nicknamed him 'Kettle' because that's what had been on the boy's head when he climbed out of the mound of garbage.
After putting down the grocery bags, which Kettle eagerly dug into, James saw a pile of wires attached to a lump of metal, with blinking lights in the middle of the floor. A wrench lay next to it.
"Young man..." James said.
The alien looked up. He knew he was in trouble when his human used that tone of voice.
"Yes?" he said, trying to project innocence by sheer willpower.
"What have you been doing?"
The answer presented itself. There were screeches outside of:"Doomsday! DOOOOOMSDAAAAAAAY!"
James pulled the curtains back.
"Do you mind telling me why you dyed the sky red?"
"Oh, that." Kettle relaxed, then shrugged. "I was bored." he said, simply. Then he squealed in delight as some old Star Trek runs spilled out of the bag.

Monday, March 23, 2009

where romance blooms and fades

he had a clark kent look about him, as if he could take off his glasses and be a completely new person. and yet no one saw it. his ex-wife called him 'old beyond his years.' his kids called him 'he who likes elvis.' even his co-workers talked to him as if he was a superior, a professor of law, even though he was a contemporary of theirs. he sat at night, staring at the computer, half-done summations in front of him . . .words droning on and on about things that no longer held his passion.

where was his passion? hell if he knew.

one day, when he felt like his life was in dry rot, she came in. when she started babbling a mile a minute, he assumed she was on something and thus some witness to the war on drugs that his department fought everyday. when he saw the paper bags in her hand, he revised his observation. ah, a sandwich girl. then he panicked. what had he ordered?

he didn't have long to think. soon she came over, and plopped the bags on his desk, right on top of his out box. she tossed her hair to one side before reading the list.

"did you order the tuna?"

"no."

"the egg salad?"

"no."

"the turkey?"

he raised his hand, then pulled it back.

"i . . don't think so."

"the ham?"

"uh . . .no?" he hid a smile. with every item on the list, she tilted her head, and bounced a little. it was hard for him to think with such distractions.

"well, all that's left is the roast beef." she put her hand on her hip, and looked at him, tapping her foot.

"wha . .wha . .what were the choices again?"

her exasperated sigh was so cutely feminine. it was like getting tinkerbell angry.

"the turkey." toss. bounce. "the ham." toss. bounce. "and the roast . . " toss.
" . .beef." bounce. tap tap.

this time he couldn't help it. he laughed out loud. the deepness, and the suddenness of it made her jolt back a bit.

"i'm . . i'm . . i'm so sorry, miss. i . . you just get so much pleasure at your work that i can't help . . smiling."

"and laughing your ass off, apparently." she giggled a little.

"i . . .guess so."

he was surprised to feel himself blushing. he looked down, and tried to compose himself.

"i'm . . .sure it was the turkey."

"yes sir." she said, quietly. he looked up at her changed tone. she dug the sandwich out of the bag.

"i'm sorry, sir. i'm sorry i cussed."

"no . . no . .no . ." he said, softly. he looked at her, with warmth in his eyes. "i'm just . . it's been a long time since i've laughed."

"oh. you should laugh more often. it makes you look less . . ." she moved her hand back in forth in the air.

"less . . .?" he asked, matching the dance of her hand with his.

"less . . .morose?" she squeaked out the last word.

"thank you. i'll try."

she nodded primly, and turned to . . . .

"wait . . ."

she stopped to look at him.

"what's your name, miss? in .. in case i picked the wrong sandwich."

"you choose the wrong sandwich, that's your hard luck. but . . .my name is chris."

she smiled, and bounced away.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Bookish Sonnet

Bookish


The pages of the book like inked skin
Beckon to me from table near my bed
They whisper in the twilight hours again
And push the thought of sleep out of my head

The cover creaks echoing in the air
I cringe and hold my breath to hear you speak
I know disturbing you is quite unfair
Although I can’t resist a fleeting peek

The typeface fairly shimmers in my sight
While words and phrases quickly draw me deep
I’m lost within the lines while slow the night
Passes by, in hours bereft of sleep

The cover whispers closed with morning’s dawn
Again I’ve traded sleep for fancy’s yarn


(A Cup of Words Writer's Group piece I wrote 3/16/09)

A Circular Question

Monday Night Writer's Group exercise, March 16.

Carousel


round and round
the carousel
going nowhere
up and down
prancing ponies
flashing lights
a feeling of
perpetual motion
a false sensation
sticky like cotton candy
gluing your fingers together
and a recurring realization
deep within your mind

upon disembarking
you’re back
at the place
where you began
feeling cheated
robbed of adventure
filled with the question

was the wild ride
escaping into fantasy
bright lights flashing
calliope music
floating on the air
a gauzy, diaphanous dream
really worth the trip
to somewhere-nowhere
when upon stepping
from the platform
you find your feet
on the same
old dusty ground?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The View

Each weekday like many others I travel from my home to a job. For most of the year, it’s dark when I leave home and dark once more by the time I arrive back. My job is performed in an office located on the bottom floor of a building tucked back in a spot that most never see. While I spend the majority of my time glued to a computer screen, outside the world still turns. The sun rises then sets again, days flowing one into another while I, like most, scramble to get everything done.

I am fortunate to have a partial window wall. It allows light, provides a small view of the world beyond, and gives a much needed respite from the computer. I make a point to take a few minutes several times daily to relax and watch the view outside my windows.

The window wall stretches about fifteen feet across the east end of my office area and even though there is a half wall, they tower almost nine feet overhead. In the morning sun the glass shimmers and dances across the view. At noon, it appears you could stretch out your hand and touch the wind as it flows by. In the afternoon, it shadows across the sight like a memory. It becomes a frame, extra, extra large size, around the world outside.

In the forefront of my window on the world is a paved drive traversed by vehicles in all shapes, sizes, and intentions. Beyond the drive, the land humps into a hillside blanketed by spiky blades of grass, sleeping now but soon to erupt in vibrant emerald. On the crest of the hill are a sand volleyball court and a soccer field occasionally peopled but mostly forlorn and empty.

Today there was a man on the crest wandering through the sand court. Round and round, a circle within a circle, over and over, ever-expanding. I found myself glued to the picture outside. Soon my boss joined me, each speculating to the other on what he was doing out there.

Finally, we determined he had a metal detector. Was he searching for something lost? Hoping for something found? He circled around and around, further and further away until he was a speck against the sky that tumbles into the hillside. Then he vanished. Once again there was only a blazing blue sky caressing the crinkly brown hillside spiked with the angular lines of dormant trees.


Prompt: write about a view, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Chicken (by Jotham)

Prompted writing from A Cup of Words Writers’ Group, Monday, March 2, 2009.

Prompt: There’s a chicken on the top of the dryer.

----------

Silence.

It crept in from everywhere.

The emotional attack from every angle.

Lonely. Alone. Isolated. Abandoned.

No one was around anymore.

Each and every one had left him.

Even his closest friends refused to talk to him.

Betrayal.

He could feel it pressing on his heart.

They all had turned their backs on him.

At crucial moments.

When he needed them the most.

They didn’t care.

They didn’t give a damn that he had no one else.

Hurt.

Physical. Emotional. Overwhelming.

They turned the other way.

Causing his heart to break.

He felt the refusal in his bones.

His Heart. His flesh.

Maybe if they knew what was inside.

The real him.

He had to show them.

He was better than they thought.

He could survive without them.

Maybe that’s why he was here.

Sure he was alone.

But he was at the top of his world.

He wasn’t sure how he did it.

But for sure he was the first chicken.

On the top of this particular dryer.

Notification

As the taxi slid up to the curb with its wheels chattering for traction, the driver switched off the “On-Duty” light. The vehicle rocked with the force of the wind and the snow tumbled down painting sky and ground white. He leaned his head back against the seat rolling it side to side to release some of the stiffness in his neck. This was his last fare of the night, a special fare, a favor called in.

As he looked out the window, he noticed the neighborhood appeared like a postcard or a Rockwell painting. No McMansions, just pretty houses. All nicely painted with neat shutters and landscaped yards. They were bathed in warmth from the lights spilling out in golden waves across the snow. Flipping on the overhead light, he reread the instructions he had received before starting this journey then turned to look at the passenger in the back seat.

The young man appeared to be in his late twenties. As he watched, the young man placed his hat on his head before brushing his hands over the faint creases in his military uniform. He smoothed the folds of the scarf that had remained snugly wrapped around his neck during the two hours it had taken to complete the trip from the airport. Then he buttoned his coat and pulled on his gloves.

Although he had indicated that he was going home to see his father, the driver could see his hesitation in approaching the house. A former soldier himself, the driver knew the aftereffects of war, knew the difficulty the young man faced. The instructions were very detailed so he knew that finding the strength would be as hard as finding the words.

“Ready,” the driver asked.

The young man swiveled toward him, eyes shimmering in the filtered light inside the taxi. He swallowed slowly, flinched, and then nodded affirmatively. The driver switched off the ignition and the interior lights before moving around the vehicle to meet the young man at passenger side where he stood staring at the house. As the driver watched, the young man squared his shoulders, and lifted his chin before trudging toward the front door. The driver paced him. At the glossy red door, the young man reached out with a trembling hand to push the door bell.

From inside the house the faint trill of the chimes was heard, followed by the muffled shuffling of footsteps. An older version of the man beside him answered the summons of the door bell. He addressed the driver, saying “Yes, can I help you?”

The driver turned slightly to the right and gestured to the young man beside him hidden by the shadows on the front porch. Seeing the second visitor, the older man said, “Oh, my God! David. Son.” His voice broke and he cleared his throat before continuing, “Come in. Come in, both of you.” He grabbed his son, pulling him into a hug, then ushered the visitors inside.

“It’s so good to see you. How long can you stay? It’s too bad Dylan couldn’t make it home at the same time.” His voice trailed off as he saw his son clearly for the first time. His son’s face was pasty under his tan. His eyes were sunken and encircled with a shade reminiscent of bruised plums. His facial features were drawn and skeletal.

“You look . . .,” his voice faded as a tear slipped down his son’s cheek.

“Sir,” the driver said, then handed the older man the envelope that had been entrusted to him for delivery.

The young man’s father reached toward it as if it were a rabid dog that might strike at any moment. He opened the envelope and began to read the contents. “We regret to inform you,“ his voice choked into silence. The only movement was the twitching of his eyes as he continued reading. His face paled to a parchment shade and he appeared to age twenty years in the time it took him to complete the notification. When he looked at his remaining son, he said, “Oh, David.”

The young man nodded and unbuttoned his coat. Then he loosened the scarf revealing the stark white bandages covering his throat. A souvenir of the attack that had killed his brother had left him with no further words to speak.

© 2009 Lisa G. Beaudoin

Friday, March 6, 2009

The House on Guin Road

by request from Lynn, who wanted a description of my getaway house.

I spent the week in a small, Midwest Missouri town, with my daughter and her welcoming housemates. The house is the childhood home of the two brothers who live here with three additional friends. It is an impressive dwelling, built into the side of a hill, and boasting two roomy levels. The beautiful hardwood floors and stone fireplaces complement a great-room that looks out onto an expansive deck. The light from the windows is perfect in the mornings, and makes me wish I were a painter, so I could capture the view on canvas and take it back home with me. Instead, I stand at the railing of the deck on this blustery March morning, and paint with ink and words into an old journal.

Behind the house is an old concrete structure, probably five feet above ground. It used to be a swimming pool --- but now it’s a bent, rectangular hole filled only partly with dirt and carpeted with a blanket of rich, green, mossy-looking growth. That green provides a sharp contrast to the winter yellow grass of the surrounding yard and the field beyond the gaping, weathered barn. Leggy, bleached-white saplings densely populate the hole in the concrete. Their bony limbs scrape and knock against each other in the wind like so many skeletons.

Towering over the south side of the pool of emaciated remains are two great pine trees, looking like worn bottlebrushes. Next to them, what were once second and third brothers are now a couple of bare stumps. One is probably eight foot tall, and the other nearly fifteen, both cut down in mid-life. Who can tell what mid-life is for trees of this magnitude? Perhaps they lived long and well, and their bottlebrush brothers are really living on borrowed time. Perhaps not. Nevertheless, they are imposing, stark creatures, peering desolately into the pool of skeletons, next to their aged brother pines.

Just beyond this band of brothers, stands a grey and weathered barn. The gaps between the boards of the doors and walls are wide enough to afford a view straight through the structure, into a newer, more modern barn directly behind. The older building still stands, though covered in brown, stringy vines. They blend into the façade on this warm, late-winter morning that only hints at spring. I wonder whether these vines will green once again when the season completes its change. Today, they line the front of the barn like wrinkles on the face of an old seaman who has seen every part of the world from the deck of a ship. Rusted metal farm implements of various shapes and sizes hang just beside the door. They sway in the wind that twists and tugs the curls from my hair, and brings tears to my eyes.

In an adjacent field, sit a curious sight---a black and yellow school bus with weeds growing up around the tires. Faded black lettering on the broadside is indiscernible from my vantage point. Crouching out there all alone, the beast looks rather ghostly, and I wonder about the person who sat in its driver seat, day after day, year after year. I imagine the school students mounting those steep steps through the folding door, and making their way down the aisles to find a place to sit. My memory is filled with the smell of green leather, high backed seats from my childhood bus rides; and I can faintly hear the clack-clack-clack of a dozen or more windows being opened to this relentless spring-warm wind. I wonder if today, that breeze carries the voices of children, echoing through that school bus.

Just up from the deep end of the pool is an odd little building, square with a peaked roof. Screened walls make up two sides, and the remaining two are crafted from the same grey boards as the older barn. There are gaps, probably sixteen inches wide, above and below these walls, and the screens on the opposite sides flap in the wind like dishtowels on a clothesline. I imagine that a strong gust could lift the entire structure from its foundation and transform it into a fantastic flying machine.

It’s amazing to me, how a change of scenery can fire the imagination of an artist, a musician, or a poet like myself. This old house with its strange noises, lovely angles and pools of light streaming into so many windows has made me feel quite welcomed. The first weeks of March are the last days of winter in my part of the country. Too often in that bleak barren time, creativity is a challenge. Who would have thought that an unassuming two-story home with a view like any other in this once rural community would give me the boost I needed to open my mind and move my pen?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oscar, I Have Nothing

The garbage can is talking to me.

Honest, it speaks every time I pass by. It is one of those high-tech refuse bins, with a light sensor. When my shadow falls across the sensor, the lid creaks open like a mouth, waiting for me to deposit my trash inside. After about four seconds, it closes again. I counted. The can belongs to my daughter’s roommates. Everyone else in the house ignores it unless, of course, someone actually has trash to toss inside its mouth. Yet, as the visitor to the house, I still jump every time I walk past it, and it yawns widely at me.

It is speaking to me, in a strange, foreign language, of silent but insistent demands. Those things that pull me, draw me---good things, mostly, but things that require some of the stuff that is me. The never-ending chain of supply and demand that is my life sometimes weighs on me sometimes carries me along in a heart-pounding rush.

After two days of being startled and guilted by this appliance, today I stood looking at the open-mouthed garbage can and spoke back. “I don’t have anything to give you. See, nothing in my hands. I’m empty.” It paused, as if listening; processing my words, then closed its mouth again. I hope it understood. Still, something tells me that when I pass again, it will shout once more its silent demand.

I am prepared, though. I have a scribbled, wadded page of paper in reserve.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Constraint

dark and crimson wine
washes my tongue
soothes the tattered
edge of my nerves
left by the tearing
dispute, misunderstanding

words ricochet against
the walls in my head
untamed, scattered, tangled
I fight to sort them
press them to make sense

they refuse.

in this teeming place
cigarette smoke gathers
overhead like the fog
clouding my heart
choking me, making it
difficult to breathe

questions that resist answers
fill my mouth, barricaded
at my lips by fear and disbelief
I sway unintentionally
in time with the music
I’m not really listening
still it moves me subliminally
fuels this restless anxiety

deep in my body I discern
a longing to break free
make a break for the door
escape into icy winter night
where the wind will rake
against my chest, grip my heart
with its bony fingers, forcing
me to feel raw, sensate reality
to loose the emotional flood
dammed inside my walled heart
burst the walls, let questions
escape in a torrent

but fear sits on my lap
weights me to my seat
if not for this pen, I would be
totally silent, avoiding chaos
that threatens to spill
from my weary heart


© TaunaLen 2009
All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of all content is prohibited without prior written consent.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Signs

Do not pass, the sign instructed, like a hundred signs I’ve seen before, driving down a hundred different roads. But today, it struck me. Caught me off guard. Do not pass. Do not go beyond, do not push, do not make waves, Do. Not. Pass. It made me long to stomp on the gas pedal and speed down the highway, swerving through traffic. I decided to put that thought in my hat, and think about it later.

Idling behind a pearl colored mini-van in five-o’clock traffic, I looked up and saw a neon orange sign. “Road Work Next 25 Miles.” Hmmm. A warning. How nice. To know that a rough road lays ahead---curves, twists, turns, falling rocks. So much of my life just happens, while I’m busy focusing on the radio dial, or watching the tail lights in front of me.

A dark highway is ahead, lit only by my dim headlights and the occasional oncoming eighteen-wheeler. The dial on the dashboard clock reads 11:11 p.m. My eyes are tired, dry, and wide. The darkness pressing in at the side windows makes me feel quite small, as I note a sign that reads, “Scenic Overlook Five Miles.” The irony strikes me. I’ve been driving this road my whole life, and sometimes I miss the sights, because the timing is wrong. The scenery may be breathtaking, but the darkness hides it from my eyes. Farther down the road, in six hours or so, the sun will rise. There will be another beautiful view for my wide-open eyes to see, and hopefully coffee. This darkness will pass.

A flashing yellow light in a sleepy, tiny town, and I pause, look both ways, and keep driving. A yellow diamond on a post says “Slow. Children at Play.” Suddenly I want to pull over to the side of the road and find a park, a playground, a swing. I want to run, dance, breathe, pause for a while and let my child out. Why not? This trip is not so much about the destination as the journey. Who said play is against the rules?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Puzzling

She spilled the puzzle pieces across the tabletop and began sorting, slowly, methodically, searching for edges, for corners, making sense out of the chaos of five-thousand pieces. It took some time, but she finally separated the straight-edged pieces from the others, and divided them into piles. Next, she took all the edges and sorted them into like colors, pieces that looked like sky, she sorted from those that looked like green grass. The more methodically she worked, the more her breathing slowed, the more her stress melted away, and the more ordered her own emotions became.

At some point, an hour or so into the exercise, she started matching pieces---the parts that stick out with the parts that go in, edges all turned the right direction. Suddenly she was stuck, frustration knitting her brows and tightening across her shoulders. She grabbed the lid to the puzzle box and set it in front of herself, peering at the photo there. Something wasn’t right… this one was more difficult than she expected.

She skipped from the pile of pieces with yellow to the ones that looked like the fluffy clouds. She sorted the ones without the edges, and divided piles from piles, twisting and turning pieces until she started making progress again. Soon she had patches scattered across the tabletop; but always there were those pieces she picked up, turned this way and that, and discarded again, because they didn’t seem to fit. Whole sections seemed to come together and look nothing like the picture on the box.

Still, she worked diligently, trying to make sense of it all. Time passed, and she fumbled with pieces, matched shapes and hues. At some point, the problem became obvious. She wasn’t working with a complete puzzle. In fact, some of the pieces didn’t even belong in this box. She couldn’t finish.

I wonder if she felt cheated, or felt like she’d broken out of the box?

How would you feel?


Written Monday Feb. 23, during a prompted writing exercise at A Cup of Words Writers' Group. Prompt: Write about the failure of a reasonably expected outcome.

Friday, February 13, 2009

i can't stop my brain

here's something i won't put on facebook. i don't trust the filters . . .i'm afraid the subject of the poem will see it.



i can't go through this night
i'm in so much pain
the thoughts that run through me
should exhaust me
but i can't . . .i can't. .

she's dead, and i miss her
i saw her leave the earth
she looked right at me,
but couldn't speak
i didn't know . . i didn't know . .
it would hurt her so much

she trusted me
she let me feed her
she'd call me at all hours
i was her constant
i was the only one

they told me it was for the best
let go . . let go . .
gently, with love
and she'll disappear in the night

she fought
she knew
she was scared!
they lied
they lied!

she was very aware
and she looked at me . .

and i sit here
night after night
hearing her silent cries
i can't sleep
i can't end this night
i cant . . .i can't . . .

i never want to be at peace again . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Say It Succinctly with Six

EDITED - 1/25/09

Just got an email from the assistant editor on the Six Word Memoir site. They will be featuring my submissions on the front page for at least a day. YAY!

----------

* from a prompted writing exercise at A Cup of Words, Monday night Writers' Group

Six Word Memoirs - Not Quite What I Was Planning

I free wrote several of these, then arranged them into a couple of makeshift poems:

----------

Stranger stares back from my mirror.

I look younger and feel older.

I am learning to let go.

When I wasn’t looking time flew.

Wonder whether you really see me.

----------

Give me pen and I’ll write.

Ink like blood flowing from pen.

A blank page is an invitation.

Stories captivate and draw me in.

I hear voices, I talk back.

Hot tea, black ink, white page.

I like words better than candy.

Words like succinct make me smile.

My muse hates deadlines. She hides.

One more line, and I’ll stop.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oranges

*From a writing prompt, Monday night, A Cup of Words writers’ group.

Peeling an orange for me has become a sort of challenge, as I pierce the thick skin with my thumbnail and carefully tug away the outer layer, to reveal the sweet, juicy fruit beneath it.  I try to remove the skin in one, whole, unbroken piece as the pith stains my fingernails yellow, and that citrusy spray fills the air with pungent scent that reminds me of Christmas morning.  Throughout my childhood, I can’t remember a Christmas when we didn’t get a stocking stuffed with oranges and apples, mixed nuts, in the shell, and old fashioned ribbon Christmas candy.  Mom told me recently, that Mimi used to put the orange in first, way down in the toe of the sock, so that it stretched out long and she could stuff in all sorts of goodies on top of them.  That’s how I remember it, too.  I’d dump all that stuff out and reach my hand way down into the bottom, to get to that fat, heavy orange.

Today when I peel an orange, I lay out a napkin on the table, and go at it like it’s a science experiment.  I inhale the aroma of the fruit, and peel in circles around and around, careful to make the skin into a spiral.  If I’m lucky, I end up with what looks oddly similar to an orange-peel-snake, coiled on the napkin before me.  I feel like I’ve really accomplished something when I succeed.  Yes, Mama taught me to celebrate the small victories.  The love of orange smells is something I’ve carried with me, into adulthood.  My kitchen deodorizer spray is orange-scented-citrus-something-or-other.  It’s a brand I can only find at May’s Drug store.  I learned from Mom as well, to put orange peels down the garbage disposal, letting the blades chew them to bits in order to freshen up any lingering odors in the sink. 

I’ve recently developed a love for the aroma and flavor, of orange spice tea.  In fact, I found a tin at Akin’s the other day.  It’s small and round and pocket-sized, made by The Republic of Tea.  I love to sink a round, unbleached tea-bag into a mug of boiling water, and watch it turn from pale to amber in just a few moments later.  There were six bags in the tin when I bought it.  I’m down to two now, and I catch myself pulling the tin out of my pocket to pry it open and inhale the aroma of cinnamon, cloves and orange peel.

I tried the peel-in-one-piece feat with a hard-boiled egg once.  I’m still working on that skill.  But you can’t make boiled-egg tea, or spray egg scented room deodorizer in your kitchen.  I don’t think it would have the same pleasing effect.  So, maybe I’ll just stick with the orange.  It’s always been good to me.

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