Friday, April 29, 2011

Short Fiction: When Fashion Leads

"Hello Dr. Grey, I got your message," Sierra said.

"Good news Ms. Madison, the new models of heart valves just came in," he said.

"That is good news; tell me about them," she said.

He shows her some 8x10 color, glossy photos of different heart valves and points to different ones as he describes them. "This one more closely resembles your other valves; this one comes in pink; this one has little lace-like scalloped edges around the diameter, and I have it on very good authority that this one was recently implanted in one of the real housewives of L.A. It's dainty and sexy; don't you think?" he said.

"I'm confused. Will any of these valves last longer than the one I currently have?" she asked.

"No," he replied slowly.

"Are any of them more efficient than the one you surgically replaced in me last year?" she asked.

"No," he replied.

She could detect a little confusion in his voice.

"But this one comes in pink," he said.

"Why would I care what color my heart valve is? No one will see it," she said growing irritated.

"But you'll know, and color coordination is important," he said.

"Is there something wrong with the one I have?" she asked.

"No, but these are the new models," he said.

"Is there a medical or health reason that I need another open heart surgery to replace my new valve or any other?" she asked.

"No, but this one was designed by Mischka," he said.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Haiku: About a Movie - I

When the robots come
to imprison you, your heat
will power their cores.

When we torch the sky
the great robot uprising
shall decide our fate.

The sweet illusions
of the sleeping batteries
were distilled from dreams.

name that movie...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Poem: A Circle and Some Rocks

Marbles with dangerous velocities
flying together then soon apart.
Entropic patterns traveling into
and out of accelerating moments.
Tangible memories of that before place–
touch of her skin brings a light blush and
a small curve to the corners of her mouth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poem: Noel Shivers

Greensboro Gazette:
Man Found Shot In Garage
Suicide Says Police

Noel shivers in boots
on her front porch
at the close of Autumn.

Absolved of her wifely duties
by a summer's deceasing,
she holds an old, wide shovel.

Noel admits, first, to herself
and then the snowy drive,
that she is tired.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Short Fiction: Mother’s Day 1989

This is 1000 words including the title.

When Miller and Baker showed up at my door, it was six o’clock in the evening on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. It had been raining like a son-of-a-bitch since noon and hadn’t let up a bit. They were drenched just from walking from the parking lot but didn’t care.

We had all survived high school together and only called each other by last name. To them, I was Music. That wasn’t my last name, but that was as close as they cared to get. They brought a half-gallon jug of tequila and a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.

I lived in a mass of apartments near the university’s basketball stadium. I had a no-frills apartment on the second floor with a small covered concrete balcony¬–just enough room for three chairs and a small table. The table was just big enough for an ashtray, three shot glasses, and a glass jar containing a pair of dice.

It was our sophomore year in college, and we had perfected weekend binge drinking. By perfected, I mean we were very efficient. We watched it rain and played our version of craps for drinks.

After some hours of winning and losing and talking crazy ideas, it became pitch dark. Streetlights barely reached the ground and only lightning flashes showed the few cars in the parking lot. No one was out; it was a mad downpour.

Every day I walked by the stadium on the way to botany class, and earlier in the week I noticed that ginkgo saplings had just been planted around the front entryway of the stadium in a thin stripe of lawn between two sidewalks. There were fifteen or more in a row. I remembered that I hadn’t gotten a gift for my mother yet. With that tequila on my brain; I became obsessed with the idea that I wanted one for her present.

Only Baker was up for the mission. I went to my hall closet, where I kept my camping gear. I found a hatchet and handed Baker a folding camp shovel. That was all of the preparation we had time for. I knew that if I thought about it longer, I’d chicken out or pass out. We were both dressed in black t-shirts and dark colored shorts; conveniently, we had dressed for mischief.
Actually, that was our usual uniform because we had a propensity for small-time criminal activities after a few drinks. Theft wasn’t a necessity; it was a thrill. Some times it was the only action we’d see, especially on a Saturday night with no girls, and the dice weren’t rolling right.

We had no business standing up and walking, much less running down some steps, out into pitch black and pouring-ass rain to commandeer a tree; we were trashed. But, it sounded like fun. We could only see the ground when the lightning flashed and showed the individual raindrop splashes. During the visual afterimage we’d run to a car, crouch down, and wait for the next glimpse.

By the time we made it to the covered walkway attached to the stadium that sheltered people in case they had to wait outside before a game, we were soaked like a jump in the lake.
The walkway was well lit, but there were brick pillars every twenty feet; we managed to stay primarily in their shadows. We reached a place at the front where we were the closest to the trees without being visible from the road.

It was at that point I wondered why I had brought a hatchet. A dead tree would be a sorry gift. I shouted over the noise of the rain, “Are you ready?”

He responded by hoisting the shovel above his head with both hands and pumping it up and down. He looked like a crazy ape soldier from Planet of the Apes. I raised my hatchet into the air, beat my chest with the other hand and charged out into the rain. Baker was right beside me.

When I reached the nearest sapling, I fell to my knees; the mud splashed up to my chest but was quickly washed away by the downpour. Baker landed opposite of me. The light from the building reached the tree but only made shadows. When the lightning flashed, I studied the sapling; I made my plan from the afterimage.

It was two feet tall. It had three branches and maybe fifteen fan shaped leaves. I knew from class that ginkgos were the oldest species of tree still living; its kind had been around for at least 150 million years. My mother was a gardener and would be impressed.
I shouted at Baker, “Give me the shovel. I’ll dig it!”

I dropped the hatchet and took shovel; I prepared to strike. The next flash showed Baker grinning stupidly and holding the tree by its trunk over his head. Its rootball was still in the shape of a nursery pot. The ground was so waterlogged that he had just plucked it out.
We laughed maniacally, jumped to our feet, and ran back.

In my kitchen, I tied the root ball in a plastic sack and went to change out of my wet stuff and find something dry for Baker. Miller had passed out watching MTV’s Head Banger’s Ball. There was a lit cigarette between his fingers.

Baker and I knew he would wake up soon and decided we’d celebrate on the balcony. We took up the bottle and headed out; on the way, we took a couple of cigarettes from Miller’s pack.
After a minute, we heard a shout from inside; soon Miller joined us looking for the bottle and blowing air across his fingers.

He asked, “How’d the mission go?” He hadn’t noticed the small, triumphant tree on the kitchen table.

I pointed inside and handed him the bottle.

“Hmm,” he said, “It’s awful small.” Then he drank, coughed, and handed the bottle back.

I replied, “I’ll get her a card too.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

Poem: Three Houses

Socrates feels for the switch...
Damned old circuits,
could be the whole block.
He peers out the pulled curtain,
the old plate glass
like a freeze-frame waterfall
flashed by lightening.
He feels the old walls again and
smells the floor furnace burning dust.

Thoughts of childhood...
elbows on the window ledge
at grandma's house
during a hail storm;
she got a new roof after that.

Hand along the wall to the back door,
this old glass like carnival mirrors.

Finally the kitchen light comes back
like a camera flash.
The sink knobs turn backward
for a glass of water.
Flashes of a last-minute party
not-even planned...

...tastes like a rusty nail
biting the back of his throat.
The full glass is emptied back
into the sink with revulsion.
The water at his parent's house
tasted so good, so pure.
The midnight glass fulls as a teen
after a hard night of drinking,
cherished like liquid gold
soothing a rough liquored throat...

Going away parties always hurt
–aww, come on one more,
we'll never see you again...
Another flash takes out the lights again
and brings in a solitary drink of failure,
an unwelcomed conclusion
tasting a bit like sour tea.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poem: Lois

Lois absorbs into herself the tragedies of others
from road signs and small crosses at the mountain edge.
Six people killed this year; don't be next.
Like a cream, Lois rubs it in between her breasts
and on her face covering her breathable skin.
She has no wall between herself and others.
They are to her as herself is and are in pain.
Stranger to herself likewise as the others are.
And glorious in anonymity, they are stars
winked out before she think they're due.
Stars die with great force but no will.
Their destiny was cast as they became
to us; our celestial vectors were set
as we were at birth and so to our demise.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Poem: Toothbrush

I threw out you toothbrush today.
After more than a year sitting idle,
watching me scrub every morning
and bedtime floss, it was time.
It had dust on it and debris still
in the soft bristles. Your debris.
Dentists recommend that you change
your toothbrush once a month.
I bought you a new one today;
It's still in the wrapper on the sink,
should you want it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poem: Divine Digestion

While reading Johannes Scotus Erigena,
I was eating a peach.

"...and eternal he begins to be,
and immobile he moves into all things
and becomes all things in all things."

God has become this peach I am eating.
God is sweet, and I am licking Him.
I am ingesting the divine
and am making it into me.
I am becoming divine.

"...the creator of all things created in all things,
and the maker of all things made in all things;..."

I perceive the creator and
the created in this peach I am eating.
I lick the peach to catch the juice;
I run my tongue up the canal
carved by my chin-wetting bites.
I hold the nectar on my tongue tip
feeling the twinge of the sweet acidity.
I lounge, intoxicated by the infinite.

"...through a certain ineffable descent
into the things that are,..."

Our sight falls upon only material.
The cloak of God is woven peach fuzz.
I strip God to the seed.
I hold the world
between my teeth;
a stone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Short Fiction: Shatner’s Shower

     “Captain on the bridge!” the ensign nearest the door shouts.
     “Navigator why the Red Alert?” the captain yells over the siren as he strides to his chair, the hub of ship's control.
     “Sir, the left eye lid has been compromised with soapy water!”
     “Caught with our shields down, I was afraid this would happen; it was such a pleasant shower until now. Okay, all crew brace yourselves; this is gonna sting!”
The captain thumb-presses a button on his chair console and shouts, “Engineering! How bad is it?”
     “Owwwooo, it hurts really bad Captain! Ohhh, I don’t know how long we can take it!”
     “Navigator, warp speed to the shower head, rinse that eye! Engineer pull yourself together, we need help up here! How about a hand!”
     “Can’t do it captain! They’re both still soapy, that would only burn more.”
     “Don’t’ give me excuses, give me a hand.”
     “It’s gonna take at least eighteen seconds to rinse the hands, captain.”
     “You’ve got five! Hear me five! Navigator, full stop in the stream! Right here!”
The ship surprisingly jerks backward; all crew are once again shaken.
     “Engineering! What the hell was that?”
     “We had to pull back Captain, the pressure was too great, you could have blown her apart!”
     “I’m the Captain here! I give the orders!”
     “Captain the hands are enroute, should be there…now. Holding lids, gently rinsing…”
A ship wide sigh of relief was heard by all, and the Captain announced ship wide, “Stand down on the red alert. That was close. Good job everyone!"

     “Engineering to Captain!” Is heard from the console on the captain's chair.
     “Go ahead Engineering,” the captain says.
     “Captain! The traction threshold of the right foot has been breached! I can’t compensate! It’s past critical!”
     “You mean we’re…?”
     “Yes captain. We’re slipping; we’re going down!”
     “Oh my God…”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poem: Planetary Bubbles

Bathing when I was young, I blew
bubbles clustered from my hand;
oblate (tubby) spheroids floated
out my summer window–unmanned.

Tiny worlds, individually thick and buoyant
swirled with iridescence. A cover of clouds
cloaked the brewing soup below–
a fact hidden to all, but known to be by me.

I created these worlds by breath
and blew them into the Milky Way
to be caught and played with
by my suns and gravities.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poem: Vagabondage (Hank - part 2)

I'm not a well-suited junior executive anymore.
There is no room for sunglasses in my unkempt curls.
Things have changed; I am free.

I gargle schnapps and chew sidewalk gum
because I might bump into you on the street
and finally decide just what to say.

Because of Hank's infection, he gets drunk first
behind Safeway by the dumpster where he eats
and asks me to tell him stories about you.

I fill his head with clear spring days, blonde hair,
blue Levis, green eyes, and a magnetic smoker's rasp
and of course, your sexy dislike for any underwear.

Ever since that night I haven't felt very well.
I drift these streets stopping at every fountain,
but I can't get the taste of you out of my mouth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Poem: Little by little Hank gets to Heaven (Hank - part 1)

I routinely scavenge the dumpsters behind
those apartments next to that Safeway downtown.
It's an easy way to avoid the Good-Will.

Today I found half a bottle of Windex
and a toothbrush and gave them to crazy Hank
so he could clean the maggots out of his leg.

But he pushed them back at me, unwanted,
and muttered something about God's weird way,
Hell on earth, and redemption of human flesh.

Old Hank, he believes in God, a loving God,
but not a God of Good-Will or of giving,
but a God of taking and transforming.

"The maggots don't bother me much," Hank sighs,
"But at night when I sleep, I hear the flies—
the winged angels whispering to their young;
Soon you will fly, but not until you're done."

The hungry cherubs, plump and milky white,
chewing the fat and seeking the light,
making Hank's flesh into their own,
let him know substance is a material loan.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poem: Happiness is Third Gear

Where does happiness come from?
Is it an illusion that we finally believe?

The power of self-deception is strong,
like the scarf blown across your face
as you scream over the custom exhaust
after your lost shoe,
one intersection back.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Poem: Hi, how're you doin'?

Another day has come and gone
without so much attention
as one pays a bodily function.
Busy work and time logged,
are the wipe and flush of daily life,
and existence with time, rest somewhere between.
The habitual consumption and expulsion–
as creatures, we eat and shit, instinctively.
Everything we do has origin in that process.
The torture is that we cannot stop.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Poem: Whiskey for Lunch

Squinting in the brightness of a straight-up sun,
I flick my cigarette's ash and watch it roll away
on the sidewalk, next to where I'm sitting
leaning back against my front door.

Dark wings flutter overhead and land
by a pool of oil-slicked water on the drive.
A yellow eye peers out from black feathers
to size my danger and determines–none.

I speak loudly at the bird, "If you drink that
it'll make you sick, and you might wake up dead."
Turning its other yellow eye to the pool
as if to consider and weigh my words
regarding the safety of the find, the bird drinks,

and drinks, and drinks, until I stand up finished.
Wiping its oil-slicked beak on black feathered
wings and back, it regards me once again
with the first eye, then returns to his sky
and leaves me with a nagging thirst for whiskey.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Poem: (Ananas comosus) my love is a spiny bromeliad

too cumbersome for a house plant,
you demand open fields and free sun

the roots you cork-screw stay shallow,
feeding from windy wet air

your saw-tooth leaves grow rosette round
to contain the dewy droplet rain

thriving and mature you flower your first,
pink and sharp to attract

irresistible are the folds of your blossom
for my pollination buzz

i wander homeward, dizzy headed,
heavy in the day's nectar

in visits to come you grow fat,
thick-skinned and full of juice

hovering around your ripened maternity
waiting for gravity to mid-wife

your pineapple splits on the soil
gushing and wet; I make a bee-line

the sweetest reward for me, my love,
lies in your pulpy fruit

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Poem: Singles' Night

In the bar light my teeth are white,
and my thin hair is thick and full.
I say your eyes are black
as the sky between now
and the pull of morning shades.
I say important things to you
and funny things too.
You laugh and nod your head
'yes,' and puff Slim Virginias.
I watch my weight and work out.
Although I like dark beer, I drink light.
You smile and walk to the ladies room
and never come back. I finish my drink,
then drink yours, and put up my own chair
at ten after two.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Poem: Shakespearian Sonnet 2: Unfinished

A true poet lives not in the moment,
but in the brooding past, after the fact.
From a mental tomb, an encasement,
the poet writes knowledge others have lacked.
From a mystical memory, thoughts come,
to be lined out in black upon the page.
Like others before, Coleridge, Keats, and Donne,
I cast my mind back to an ancient age.
To pen things in an enlightened light,
must surly be a blessing from the Muse.
But the poet's life is dark as night,
the laudanum, TB, and pleasure abuse.

Living a painful life is not my wish.
This, preventing death, remains unfinish...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poem: Solar Functions

When taken one day at a time,
The immense repetitive futility of life bears its full weight
Upon the branches of your potential happiness.

Recalling, I did this yesterday and will again tomorrow,
Is enough to throw me into a fit of never-agains,
Calculated to shake trees and frighten birds.

Inept and ill suited to repetitive tasks, I flounder;
Why tie my shoes, why go to work, why pee?
If it weren't for biology, I would never leave bed.

Reliability is the key to order and stability.
Is the sun punctual of its own accord,
Or because its lower half needs to evacuate?

published: March '06
Indian Bay Press

Friday, April 1, 2011

Poem: The Sun is the Flashlight of God Checking his Favorite Terrarium

If the firmament exists,
and we are enclosed by a glass globe,
then God sits, gazing in, outside our sphere.

If we cock our heads to the sky
and strain with our electronic ears,
then we can hear the echo of His last sneeze.

If we fix our eyes to the night stars
and focus with our sharpest lenses,
then we can see His crystallized phlegm twinkling.