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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 fa├žade 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.
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