Monday, May 30, 2016


ruthless reasoning,


Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Rock Star Mama.


Mama was doing her own hair in the kitchen when I got home from school.
I was shocked.
It wasn’t like her at all.
It was the last day of school and I had been prepared for it.  I had my pens and my notebook tucked under my arm as I walked into James Madison Junior High School for the last time-at least, for the last time I was going to be a sixth grader, unless I hadn’t passed the ninth grade, which I think I did, even if my grades were usually a C average.  It wasn’t my fault.  I didn’t have good jeans-most of them had holes in them because my family was poor, and we usually ate beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We couldn’t afford the fancy meals.  My father was dead and my mother was a singer for a small country bar called the Pig’s Barn Inn.  It wasn’t really an inn, it was a bed and breakfast deal, and my friends and I were going to have sleepovers there this summer.
Anyway, after first through fifth hour came sixth hour and I sat in my seat, listening to Mr. Lincoln drone on and on about what he was going to do on vacation, the bell rang, signaling the end of the day.
It startled me so much I almost fell out of my seat.
“What are you doing?”  Mr. Lincoln stuttered.  He had a bad stutter that he had acquired in high school, because he was a nerd.  I’m not a nerd, and my friends and I often made fun of him in the hallways between periods.  My best friend’s name was Mabel (it wasn’t her fault), and Dennis Short.  He was actually very tall, so I don’t know why that was his last name.  He had brown hair and brown eyes and spindly legs.  His father was a dentist and he had a baby sister named Anna.  I didn’t like her.  Much.
Anyway, the school bell rang and as we went out the door, the teacher handed us our report cards.  I looked at mine with a frown in my face and stuffed it into my pocket.  I wondered how I was going to break my grades to Mama.  Especially math.  I loathe math.
It was a warm day outside.  I shed my jacket and hurried home to our run-down apartment and clambered up the first flight of stairs to the second floor, where our apartment was.  I unlocked the door and went inside, where I found Mama struggling with a hair curler.  “Mama!”  I said in a shocked whisper.  “What are you doing with that thing?”
She looked at me, hair partially falling over her face, and scowled.  “What does it look like I’m doin,’ sugar pie?  I sure ain’t milkin’ a cow!”
“They only do that on farms,” I pointed out.  “In Ohio, I think.”
“Sure.  Whatever.”  She sniffed, which meant she didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
“Why are you doing that?”  I asked her.
“I’m getting ready to do a solo act tonight,” she replied.  “My career is flyin’ off the ground.  Soon, we’re going to be rich!”  She threw her head back and laughed.
I didn’t see why that was so funny.  Money is serious business.
“So, honey chile, how was your last day of school?”
I sighed.  “Mr. Lincoln is going to visit his mother in Switzerland.”
She snorted.  “Them teachers sure make lots of money to go where they please,” she muttered.  “Not at all like us common folk, who go paycheck by paycheck.”
“I don’t get paid,” I pointed out.
“Effie, you ain’t old enough to work,” she said, laughing.  “Now, go on, I’m busy, hafta finish this before my ride gets here.”  She started humming a tune I didn’t know, so I ran down the hallway to my room and flopped on my bed before she asked for my report card.  She was busy with other things.  Good.  I know she was going to ask me about it sometime, but not right now, thank goodness.
I laid down on my bed, and started looking at the ceiling.  It was a nice ceiling.  Pretty soon, I fell asleep.  It was around six-oh-clock when my mother woke me up.
“Time to get goin,’ dearie,” she was saying softly in my ear.  “It’s time for me to sing!”
I squirmed to get away from her bear hug.  “Do I have to go?”  I whined.  “I don’t like bars.  They smell like pee and the men stare at you like they want to eat you right up.”
“You have to,” she said firmly.  “I don’t have anyone to watch you tonight.”
“I’m almost eleven.  I can watch myself!”
“You don’t know how to cook.  Who would make your dinner?”
“I can eat cereal.  Or soup.”  I was desperate to stay at home, even though there was nothing to do, it was better than having my mom watch my every move.
“Maybe the bar can give you lemonade,” she said brightly.
Mama was so weird.
Mama and I waited outside for her ride.  She kept glancing at her watch and frowning.  “He better be here,” she muttered.  “Or I’ll never speak to him again!”
She was referring to her boyfriend, Rex.  I didn’t like Rex.  Much.  He had long hair and tattoes and he wasn’t very bright.  He flunked out of high school because he was heavy into drugs, which to me meant he was a bad dude.  I wish he would leave us alone, but Mama seems to like him.
Finally his clunky red truck pulled up to a stop next to the curb.  I climbed into the car and sat next to Rex at the wheel.  He wasn’t a very good driver and I hoped he didn’t go too fast.
Too late.  He did anyway.  We were at the bar within minutes.
“It’s really more of a bed and breakfast deal,” Mama explained while they pulled into a parking lot.  “I’ve been here before.  It’s really quite lovely.”
“Hope out, everyone!”  Rex ordered.  “I gotta get back home.  The game’s supposed to be on in a half an hour.”
Mama put an arm around his shoulder and pretended to pout.  “Don’t you want to hear me sing?”  she asked sweetly.
He grinned and chucked her under the chin lightly.  “Dear, I can hear you sing any ole time, but this game is only on once in a lifetime.  I gotta watch it.”
Mama smiled.  “I was only kiddin,’ dear.  You go watch your game.  Sophia and I will be just fine, won’t we, sugarkins?”
I shrugged.  “Whatever.  I want to get back to my nap, maybe I can take one while you play your jams.”
“I play the guitar and sing,” she reminded me.
I scowled at her and crossed my arms over my chest.  “I know that!  Let’s go!”
I took her hand and dragged her into the inn.  I forgot to tell you about the outside.  It was large, and overlooked the ocean.  The salty smell reached my nostrils while I was outside, talking to Mama and Rex.  The inn was four stories high and was painted a light blue.  All the windows were open and the curtains fluttered lightly in the wind.  We went inside, and was greated with barking by a small brown dog.  It looked like a long hot dog to me.
“Mama, look at the dog!”  I grabbed her arm and tugged at it.
“Stop it!”  she hissed at me.  “The manager is coming!”  She smiled her sweet smile as a man wearing a blue suit walked over to her and shook her hand.
“You must be Dolly Harper,” he gushed.  “I’ve heard so much about you!”
I was puzzled.  “But, haven’t you heard her sing?”  I asked him.
He shook his head.  “My wife takes care of that,” he explained.  “She runs the whole place by herself, and then I get the joy of doing the business side of it.  Paying the help and such.”  He saw us staring at him, so he continued.  “My father, Mr. Burrows, owns the inn.  People from all over the country stay here, especially during the summer months because we’re so close to the ocean.  I can’t say how happy I am to have you here today, because I have a little treat.  Mrs. Carter, the widow of Daniel Carter, is going to stay with us this weekend!  She will hear you sing!  Her car should be arriving shortly.”
“Who the heck is Mrs. Carter?”  I asked in a puzzled voice.
Mama turned towards me.  “She’s a very rich lady,” she explained.  “She owns some famous hotels in New York City and Paris, but she prefers to live the quiet life, which is probably why she is coming here.”
I frowned.  “Oh.”


(Dad pulls his truck in front of a bar called Sticky’s Grill and Bar.  He gets out and shuts the door.  The sun is slowly going down over the hills; he dusts his boots off and enters the bar.  It is filled with raucous laughter and the television set is turned to on; it is on the news channel.  Dad sits down at the counter; it is greasy.  A woman with long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail comes up to him with a pad and pencil.)
Woman:  What’ll you take, partner?
Dad:  Whiskey and a steak.
Woman:  Whiskey?  You gonna be all right drinkin’ that, mister?
Dad:  Sure will be.  Why, what’s your call?
Woman:  Just wonderin,’ don’t need no drunks here no how.
Dad:  That’s right, miss.  No drunks here.  (He turns to the man sitting next to him.)  Are you drunk?
Man:  No, siree, Ms. Parker, and that’s a fact.
Dad:  Your name Parker?
Ms. Parker:  Sure is.  Let me go get your order filled, we don’t got all night to sit here and talk.
Dad:  No harm in talkin,’ ma’m.
Ms. Parker:  Yes, siree.  (She hurries away.)
(Dad turns his head to watch the news.  Ten minutes goes by and the waitress comes back with a plate with a steaming hot steak on it and beer.  Dad cuts the steak and stuffs it in his mouth.  He’s quiet while he eats.)
Man:  You married?
Dad:  Was.  A widow now.  (He talks slowly.)
Man:  I’m sorry to hear that, sir.  Must be hard to lose someone you love.  I never lost anybody I loved, except my parents, god rest their souls, and my goldfish, Smartie.
Dad:  Smartie?  You named your goldfish Smartie?  What kind of a godflabbin name is that?
Man (offended):  Good one as any.  My name is Roger, by the way.  Roger Zewenski.
Dad:  Nice to meet you, Roger.  (He rises to his feet.)  I better get home to my boy.  It was nice meetin’ you, Roger.
Roger:  You, too.
Dad:  Let’s turn on the music.
Kid:  Okay.
(Dad turns on the radio.  They live in a picturesque three story house with a white picket fence.  The living room has two green couches, a tv, a fish tank and a desk.  They dance around the room together, the music is light with banter.  Later on, Dad goes into the kitchen to make dinner, but the kid still dances, laughing to himself while he does so.)
Dad:  Dinner’s ready!
Kid:  Okay, Dad.  (He turns off the radio and goes into the kitchen.  It has a table and four chairs, a refrigerator, stove, and sink.  The kid sits down at one of the chairs.)
Dad:  I hope you like spaghetti.
(Kid laughs.)  Dad, you know I love spaghetti.
Dad:  That’s right, you do.  I’m glad I made it, then.
Kid:  That’s right.  (He starts shoveling spaghetti into his mouth.  He finishes his dinner.  Runs upstairs to his room and finishes his homework.  Dad comes in after awhile.)
Dad:  Time for bed, son.
Kid:  Okay, Dad.
(Kid tosses and turns in his bed all night.  A light flashes by the window.  The next morning, Saturday, he wakes up and goes into the living room to watch cartoons on the television set.  His father is talking softly on the telephone.)
Dad:  All right…yes, that’s fine…thank you…bye.
Kid:  When is Grandpa coming over, huh Dad?  Huh?  Huh?  (He jumps up and down.  He can’t help it.  He is too excited.)
Dad (laughingly):  When he comes over, son.  Actually, about a half an hour.  A lot of traffic, you know.
Kid (disappointed):  That’s a million years!
Dad:  You’re so funny.
Kid:  The answer is George Washington, Dad..
(A  half an hour later they hear a horn honking outside.  Kid runs to the door and flings it open wide.  His grandfather, Grandpa Jones, is just exiting his car.)
Grandpa:  Hello, child, hello!  I’ve missed you.  (Grabs him in a great, big bear hug.)
Kid:  I’ve missed you too, Grandpa.  Where have you been?
(Grandpa laughs.)  At home, of course!  Now that I don’t work anymore, I don’t have much to do.
Kid:  What do you do, Grandpa?
Grandpa:  Play solitaire.  It’s a helluva lot better than poker.  And more respectable-like.
Dad:  Grandpa, don’t talk about poker with the boy.
(Grandpa snorts.)  Why, I was younger than him when I started playing.  I should teach him right now.
Dad (in a warning tone.)  No poker.
Grandpa:  Fine, fine.  I didn’t bring any cards, anyway.  They’re at home.  Hey, look what I got!  (He pulls a quarter from behind Maverick’s ear.)
Dad:  No giving my kid money, either.  He has a big enough allowance as it is, anyway.  Let’s go inside.  We’re attracting the neighbors’ attention.
Kid:  Okay, Dad!
(Later that evening, they are having dinner on the back porch.  There is a pinkish light to the sky.  A soft wind is blowing.)
Dad:  It’s so peaceful out here…makes me think of Jillian.
Grandpa:  Hector.
Dad:  I’m just saying-
Grandpa (severely):  Not in front of the boy.
Dad:  You’re right.  I completely forgot.  It’s still fresh in his mind, like a growing daisy.  Kids don’t handle deaths very well.  They don’t understand it.  (He stumbles to his feet.)  Let’s go to the carnival!
(Kid jumps up and down):  Yay!  Let me get my jacket.
(Grandpa, Dad, and the kid pile into the car and drive downtown to where the carnival is being held.  The kid rides so many rides until he can’t ride anymore.  Dad goes on a few rides, but Grandpa just watches.  After riding the rides, Grandpa buys everyone ice cream, and they find a table and sit down.)
Kid:  I love ice cream.
Grandpa:  Me, too.
Dad (scolds):  You shouldn’t be eating ice cream, Pops.  It’s not healthy for you.
Grandpa:  I say what’s healthy for me.  And I put my foot down on that!
Kid:  You go, Grandpa!
(Grandpa chuckles.)
(The day ends.  Everyone piles back into the car and they drive home.  Grandpa leaves to go back to his own house.  The house is now quiet.)
(Kid stands up abruptly.)  I’m going to go watch tv.
Dad:  Okay, sport.
(The next day.)  
Teacher:  That is correct, Maverick.  You get a gold star for the day.
Kid:  Isn’t that a little babyish?
Teacher:  If it’s babyish, I don’t want to know about it.  (He smiles at the kid and turns his attention back to the chalkboard.  The kid sighs in relief.)
Kid:  Maybe he should pay more attention to his school work rather than thinking about girls, he thinks.  (The bell rings; it is time for lunch.  The kid slowly walks to his locker and thrusts his books inside.  Then, he grabs his math book and puts it in his backpack.  It is very heavy.  He has math class after lunch; he walks slowly down the hallway, grimacing at the weight of the book, and enters the lunch room.  Everyone is talking and laughing.  He gets in the lunch line and stands on tiptoe to see what they’re having for lunch-he groans.  It is sloppy joe, again.  He loves sloppy joes, but enough is enough.  He grabs a sloppy joe and puts it on his plate, then he scans the room for any signs of his friends.  He spots Joe and Aaron seated in a corner of the lunch room and hurries over to them.  He sits down.)
Kid:  Hi, guys!  How’s it going?
Aaron:  Don’t ask me that question.  Just, don’t.
Kid:  What’s the matter with you?
Joe:  He’s in love.
Kid:  Really?  With who?
Joe:  Sarah Shortt.
Kid:  He is?  Man, she’s pretty.  (Kid sighs and shakes his head then slowly consumes his sloppy joe.  Come to think of it, he loves sloppy joes!  They’re the best!)
(Kid shoulders his backpack.  The end of another school day.  The bells are ringing in the hallway and kids are zooming every which way, trying to get out of Berrymill Elementary School as fast as their legs can carry them.  The kid slowly drags his feet.  He didn’t want to go home, to see his sick, bed-ridden mother.  It was too scary, too real.  He shoulders his backpack again, sighs, and hurries out the double doors of the school.)
(Kid starts to walk home.  It is a pleasant day outside; the birds are singing; the sun is high in the sky.  He goes past Rite Aid, and walks two more blocks before finally reaching home.  He takes a deep breath, and opens the door.  He steps inside, his heart beating a mile a minute-will his mother be better, or worse?  His heart sinks.  He’s still laying in bed.  Kid walks over to him and kisses his cheek.  Then, he rearranges his blankets so they’re tucked under his chin.)  Hi, Dad.
Dad:  Hello, sweetie, how was school?
Kid (a bit sharply):  Fine.
Dad:  Do you have homework?
(Kid bobs his head):  Lots.
Dad:  I have an errand for you.  I need you to go to the store and help me get the groceries.  We’re almost out of everything.
Kid:  You can’t go to the store in your condition.  I’ll get Grandpa-
Dad:  No, no.  I’ll do it.  Doctor says I have to get up and about anyway.  Good, your coat is still on.  (She throws the covers off of him and drags herself off the couch.  He goes to the coat closet and puts on a blue jacket.)  Let’s go, honey.
Kid (sighs):  All right, Dad, if this is what you want.
Dad (sharply):  You’re starting to sound a lot like your Grandpa.  He always tells me to relax.
Kid:  Takes one to know one!  (He hops into the car and his father slides behind the wheel in the driver’s seat.)
(Soon, they reach the grocery store.  His father pulls the car into a parking spot-close to the door-and turns around to face her son.)  Fill it up as much as you can.  Here’s two hundred dollars.
(Kid takes the money):  All right, Dad, if you say so.
Dad:  I say so.
(Kid hurries out of the car and into the store.  It is bustling with activity.  He grabs a cart and starts going down the aisles.  Halfway down the flour aisle, a man approaches him.)
Man:  What are you doing in here, kid?
Kid:  I’m shopping for my mother.
Man:  I’m sorry I asked.
(Kid takes the cart and hurries down another aisle.)
(Kid makes his purchases and takes the groceries out to the car.  His father gets out of the front seat and helps put the groceries in the trunk.  Then, he hops into the car again and they head home.)
Dad:  Thanks for helping me today, son.  It was a big help.  I haven’t been feeling myself lately.
Kid:  It was no problem.  Except this guy asked me what I was doing in the grocery store by myself.
Dad:  Just tell him the truth, son.  That’s all you can do.
Kid:  I guess so.
Dad:  Have you done your homework yet?
Kid:  No, not yet.  It’s not a lot, really.
Dad:  Get to it, son.  We want you to be a learned person, not illiterate like some folk.
Kid:  Okay, Dad, I’ll do my homework.  (Grumbling to himself, he goes upstairs, his right hand on the railing.  It takes him awhile to finish his homework; then he is called downstairs to dinner.)  What are we having, Mom?  (He is in the kitchen, trying to peer into the pots boiling on the stove.)
Dad:  We’re having spaghetti and meatballs, son.
Kid:  Oh, goodie!  You know how I love spaghetti and meatballs.
(The kid’s father makes dinner.  They eat quietly.  It is so quiet, you can hear the clock ticking in the kitchen.  They eat all their meals at the kitchen table.  Suddenly, his father groans and slides to the floor.  The kid jumps up from his seat, alarmed.)  Dad!
Dad:  Call an ambulance, son.  I think I’m having a heart attack.
Kid:  Okay, Dad.  Relax.  I’ll get you a pillow from the living room.  (He races into the living room and comes back, carrying a couch pillow.  He puts it under the man’s head.)
Dad:  Thank you, son.  Now go call the ambulance.
(The kid rushes to the phone and picks it up.  He dials 911.)  Hello…yes…come right away.  My father passed out on the floor.  Yes, he’s talking.  (He hangs up and turns to his father.)  They’re coming right away.
Dad:  Thank you, son.  You just may have saved my life.
Kid (savagely):  Don’t talk like that.  You’ll be fine.
Dad:  I suppose you’re right.
(Fifteen minutes later a knock sounds on the door.  The kid rushes to open it.  The police rushes in as well as the paramedics.)
Police officer:  Where is he?
(The kid points):  In the kitchen, on the floor.
Police officer:  You did the right thing, son.
Kid:  Is he going to be all right?
(The police officers glance at each other.)
Police officer #1:  He’ll be just fine, thanks to you.
Kid:  Aw, I have to help my paw.
Dad:  Can my son come to the hospital with me?  There’s no one here to watch him.
Paramedic #1:  Most certainly.  Get your jacket, son.  It’s pretty cold out there.
Kid:  Okay.
(Two more paramedics enter the house with a stretcher.  The kid’s father climbs on slowly and lays his head down on the pillow.  The kid follows them outside to the ambulance and he shuts the front door.  It’s as if he’s shutting the door on something final as the wind and the grass growing far and wide.  The drive to the hospital doesn’t take long.  The paramedics unload the stretcher and wheel it inside the hospital.  People are rushing around, both staff and patients and visitors.  Suddenly, Dad starts to vomit, and his body jumps up and down.)
Paramedic:  Code blue, code blue!
Kid:  Dad!
(Dad gives a weak smile):  I’ll be fine, son.  Don’t worry.
Kid:  Maybe I should call Grandpa.
(A doctor comes rushing up to the stretcher.)  Here’s a throw up bucket.  (Dad takes the throw up bucket and starts retching up blood.)
Kid (gasps):  Dad!
Doctor (severely):  He shouldn’t be seeing this.  Take the kid somewhere else.
Kid:  No, I’m fine.  I want to stay.
Doctor:  Okay, you can stay.  We have to figure out what’s wrong with your father, first of all.
Kid:  Okay.  Is there anything I can do?
Doctor:  Can you get me a cup of coffee?  (He pats the kid on the back.)  Sorry, just a little joke.  I don’t drink coffee, myself.
Kid:  Me, either.
(A nurse hurries over and starts pushing the stretcher into ICU.  The kid follows behind, looking dazed and confused.)
Doctor:  Sir, we’re going to put an IV in your arm.  Throwing up causes you to lose body fluids.  Is that all right?
Dad (gasps):  It’s all right with me.
(A needle is inserted into his right arm.)
Dad:  Where’s my son?
Doctor:  A nurse is watching him for you.  We’re calling your father to see if he can pick him up and take him home.  He shouldn’t be in a hospital.
Dad:  You’re right.
(Doctor takes off his stethoscope off and puts it on again.  He listens to Dad’s back and heart.)
Doctor:  We’re going to run some tests and find out what’s wrong with you.  You’ve stopped shaking, that’s good news.  I wonder what caused it in the first place.
Nurse #3:  Do you know what Hector Prenelli has yet?  He keeps throwing up blood and I’m worried he might not last another week.  Or another night.
Doctor:  No, I do not, and if you keep bugging me, I’ll have you suspended for misconduct.
Nurse #3 (meekly):  Sorry, Doctor.  I was just-
Doctor:  I know what you were “just.”  Don’t do it again.
(Two weeks passed.  The doctor ran test after test, and everything came back negative.  Finally, the hospital tried running tests on rare diseases.  One came up positive.  Dad was in poor condition.  His face was a pale color and he had spots all over his back.  His breathing wasn’t very good.)
Doctor:  It’s a rare form of cancer, called ASERS.  It comes from Egypt.  This guy has never been to Egypt, so I don’t understand how he could contract it…
Nurse #3:  Maybe he has something in his house from Egypt.
Doctor:  That could be it.  I’m going to call his house and talk to Mike to see if his son has anything in his house from Egypt.  (He hurries out of the ICU and down the hallway to the telephones.  He dials the phone and someone picks it up on the first ring.)  Hello, Mike, this is Doctor Ponder.  I have some good news and bad news.
Grandpa:  What’s the good news?
Doctor:  The good news is, we found out what disease your son has.
Grandpa:  And?
Doctor:  The bad news is it is very rare and has no cure.  It is called ASERS and anyone who contracts it dies within six months.
Grandpa:  You can’t be serious.  My son is only 39-years-old.  His wife died early, too, but that’s besides the point.  What are you going to do to help my son?
Doctor:  We’ll do anything we can.
Grandpa:  I should hope so.
Doctor:  Does he have anything in his house from Egypt?
Grandpa:  N-no, not that I know of.  Why?
Doctor:  His illness comes from Egypt.  His is the first case in the US.  I checked.
Grandpa:  I had no idea it was that serious.
Doctor:  Are you going to come down and see him?  He’s still been throwing up a lot, but he can still communicate.
Grandpa:  Yes, I planned on coming to see him today.  I’ll bring the boy.
(Grandpa hangs up the phone.  He goes down the hallway and enters the boy’s bedroom.  He is laying down on his bed, staring at the ceiling.)
Grandpa:  We’re going to go see your father today.  Get ready.
Kid:  Oh, goodie!  Can we get him a card and balloons?  I love balloons.
Grandpa (chuckles):  I know you do, son.  Yes, we can get him those things, it wouldn’t be proper not to.
Kid:  I’m going to hurry up and get ready!
Grandpa:  I should say so.
(He exits.)
(Grandpa and the kid pile into the car.  The kid is wearing his windbreaker and a hat is pulled low over his ears.  They drive into town and stop at Rite Aid.  The kid goes down aisle after aisle until he finds the cards’ aisle.  He bends down to look at them.  He finds the one he wants, and goes towards the balloons.  He picks out two.  They go to the cash register and Grandpa pays for the items.  Then, they get in the car again and drives to General Hospital, where the kid’s father is staying.)
Kid:  Did they find out what he has yet?
Grandpa:  Yes, it’s called ASERS.
Kid:  ASERS?  What the heck is that?
Grandpa:  It’s a disease from Egypt.
Kid:  We learned about Egypt in school.  It’s in Africa.
Grandpa:  Very good, son.  Very good.  Let’s go inside the hospital now.
Kid:  Yes.
(Grandpa and the kid enter the hospital.  It’s bustling with activity.  Grandpa hurries to the front desk and asks the unit clerk where Hector Prenilli is.
Unit clerk:  He finally got his own room.  It was a little cramped in the ICU since there were so many people.  He’s on the third floor and his room number is 32.
Grandpa:  Thank you.
Unit clerk:  You’re welcome.
(Grandpa takes the kid’s hand and goes to the elevators.  It takes them to the third floor.  They find room #32 after a few minutes of searching.  Grandpa can hear the sound of retching all the way outside the door.  He enters it with a smile on his face-or at least, trying to smile.)
Grandpa:  Son!  How have you been?
Dad:  Not feeling too great.  I’ve been throwing up blood for the past two weeks.  And the doctor just told me I have a rare disease.  All in all, I’m feeling pretty good.
(Kid laughs.)
Grandpa:  We got you some balloons and a card, son.
Kid:  Yeah!  They’re great, too!  (He hands over the card and the balloons to his father.)
Dad:  Thank you, son.  They’re wonderful.  I’ve been getting stuff from everybody.  I even got a teddy bear-it’s yours, son, if you want it.  I’m too tough for teddy bears.
Kid:  Yeah, I want it!
Dad:  Good, you can have it.
Grandpa:  I’m sorry you’ve been suffering.
Dad:  Aw, I can handle it.  (He starts retching again.)
Grandpa:  Here, let me hold your head.  (He hurries over to his son’s bed side and holds his head while he throws up in the throw up bucket.  He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and smiles a sugary smile.)
Dad:  It’s not all bad.  I get to eat hospital food.
(Kid laughs.)
(The doctor enters the room.)
Doctor:  How’s my favorite patient doing?
Dad:  Not too bad…I threw up again, which is good news.
(The doctor laughs):  I shouldn’t be laughing.
Dad:  No, no, it’s all right.  I’m getting tired of being in this hospital day after day, though.  When can I go home?
Doctor:  We have to figure out where you got ASERS from.  Then, we can find a cure.
Dad:  I thought you had a cure.
Doctor:  No, we do not have one yet.  We have medication for similar diseases, like cancer, but ASERS is much worse.
Dad:  Ohhhhh…
Doctor:  Don’t fret.  We’ll find a cure.
Kid:  We sure will, Dad.  I’ll help.
Doctor (laughs):  I wish you could help.  You don’t have a doctor’s or a nurse’s degree, kiddo.
Kid:  I can get one.
(Everyone bursts into laughter.  The kid sulks.)
Kid:  I was just trying to help.
(The doctor ruffles his hair.
Doctor:  I know.  You’re doing a good job just being there for your father.
Kid:  Will he be all right?
Doctor:  We sure hope so.  I have to go, but a nurse will be in here shortly to give him his medication.
Dad:  Thank you, Doctor.  (weakly):  I thought it was just a heart attack.
Doctor:  You were close.
(Doctor exits.)
Kid:  I hope my dad is going to be all right.
Grandpa:  He’ll be fine.  Do your homework.
Kid:  I can’t concentrate.  I want to call Dad again, maybe he’s stopped throwing up.
Grandpa:  I wouldn’t bet on it.  His disease is in his stomach; it’s even hard for him to pass urine.
Kid:  Urine?  Ew, gross.
Grandpa:  Why don’t you go outside and play for awhile?
Kid:  Okay.  Want to play catch with me?
Grandpa:  I’m too tired right now, you can manage on your own, can’t you?
Kid:  I guess so.  (He runs upstairs to his room and grabs his mitt and ball, then he runs downstairs again.)  I wish I had a dog, then we could play catch.  (He goes outside and accidently slams the front door.  He starts to play catch by himself.  He can hear kids playing outside; and cars driving down the street.  He wishes he could drive, then he could go see his father on his own.  Suddenly, a bright flash of light appears in the sky, and slams down on the tree next to him.  The kid gasps.  It was a lightning bolt and it sliced the tree in two.  The bark had been charred; the tree had fallen over and took up half the yard.  The kid races back inside to tell his grandfather what had happened.)
Kid:  Grandpa, Grandpa!
(Grandpa looks up.  Sharply.)  What?
Kid:  A tree fell over in the backyard.  It was struck by lightning.
Grandpa (in a puzzled voice):  It’s not raining.
Kid:  Maybe it’s a lightning storm.
Grandpa:  That could be.  I need to call 911.
Kid:  Again?
Grandpa:  Yessirree, ain’t nothing like a tree in the backyard to get your spooks up.
Kid:  What?
Grandpa:  Lightning storms are bad.  They can do a lot of damage to your house and your car and yourself.
Kid:  Oh.
Police officer #1:  I’m just glad no one got hurt.  This tree needs to be picked up.
Grandpa:  I know.
Police officer #1:  Well, don’t let me keep you.  (He tips his police hat at Grandpa and heads out the door.)
(The next morning is Saturday.  The kid comes downstairs to breakfast, still wearing his pajamas.  He is half-asleep.  His hair is tousled.  He keeps yawning.)
Grandpa:  You’re finally awake.  You missed half the Saturday cartoons-wait, what’s that?
Kid:  What’s what?
Grandpa:  On your hand.  It’s a rash.  Let me see that.
(The kid shows him his hand.  Red pox marks appear all over his right hand.)
Grandpa:  We need to call 911 again.
Kid:  Do I have to go?
Grandpa:  Yes, you do.  You don’t want to get something like what your father has, do you?
Kid:  N-no, I don’t, but-
Grandpa:  Enough talk.  (He picks up the phone and dials 911.  The kid is taken to the hospital-the same hospital as his father.  He is taken to his own room, #56.  A doctor enters the room and examines him.)
Doctor #2:  I can’t find a blessed thing wrong with him.
Grandpa:  Where’d he get the rash, then?  It looks like sores all over his hand.
Doctor  #2:  It does, doesn’t it?  We’ll give him a cream to put on his hand and see if it goes away after two days-
Kid:  That long?
Doctor #2:  Two days isn’t that long.  It’s really very short, actually.
Kid:  If you say so.
Doctor #2:  Does it hurt at all?
Kid:  It itches.
Doctor #2:  Don’t scratch it.  We’ll give you another cream for scratching, too.
Kid:  Okay.  If you think it’ll work.
(The doctor exits.)
Grandpa:  Let’s get you more comfortable, shall we?
Kid:  Okay.
(Grandpa fluffs the kid’s pillow and he leans his head back on it.)
Grandpa:  Hopefully the rash will go away in a few days-
(In the front of the hospital, an ambulance is pulling into the driveway.  Two paramedics jump out the back end of it and pull open the doors in the back of the ambulance.  They take out a stretcher and rush it into the back door of the hospital.  Doctor #2 rushes up to them.)
Doctor #2:  What’s this man’s stat?
Paramedic #2:  He got struck by lightning-he’s awake, but he’s got a terrible burn on his arm and leg.
Doctor #2:  Are you sure it’s a burn?  It looks like a rash to me.  Just like what Maverick Shelling has.
Paramedic #2:  His breathing is shallow.  We need to get him to the ICU.
Doctor #2:  Okay, let’s get him there in a hurry!
(Doctor #2 and paramedic #2 exit the hallway with the stretcher.)
(Doctor #1 enters Hector’s hospital room.  The shades have been opened; sunlight pours into the room and makes a pool of light on the floor.)
Doctor #1:  We have some news for you, Hector.
Dad:  Which is?
Doctor #1:  We have three cases of ASERS.
Dad:  What’s happening to them?
Doctor #1:  Two of them have died.  One of them has a rash like what your son has.
Dad:  But, you sent my son home with some cream to put on his rash.
Doctor #1:  He has a small rash, sir.  It’s not large enough for him to stay in the hospital and he’s not throwing up blood, either.
Dad:  Thank God for that.  (He throws up in his bed pan.)  Excuse me, sir.
Doctor #1:  It’s all right.
Dad:  Thank you.
Doctor #1:  I need to do a round on my other patients.  I’ll see you in awhile.
(Dad smiles.)  It’s all right with me.
Doctor #1:  Thank you.
(Doctor #1 exits.)
(Dad picks up his bed pan and struggles to sit up.  Once he does so, he swings his legs around the side of the bed and rises to his feet.  He struggles a minute, swaying.  Righting himself, he walks to the window and peers outside as if peering into an abyss.)
Dad:  I wish I could go back home.  I miss my boy.
(Dad sways on his feet again.)
Kid:  I keep telling you, Aaron, I was sick for a whole week.  That’s why I was absent from school!
Aaron:  The teacher told us you had rabies.
(Kid laughs.)  No, she didn’t-now you’re making up stuff.
Aaron:  Am not.  Ask her yourself.
Kid:  Okay, I will.
Aaron:  Let’s go to our secret clubhouse after school.
Kid:  Okay.  Can Joe come?
Joe:  Yeah, I wanna go!
Aaron:  You’re a part of our secret clubhouse.  You can come, too.
Joe:  All right!
(Joe does a dance in the middle of the cafeteria.)
(After school, all three boys hurry to their lockers to get their stuff.  Then, they walk outside together.  Big, puffy clouds are in the sky.  It is a nice day out for going to a clubhouse, the kid thinks.  They arrive at the clubhouse.  It is stuck high in a tree supported by three large branches and a ladder rope is tied at the top.  Aaron’s parents helped them build it and it has been pretty sturdy all these months they’ve had it.  Aaron climbs in first; then Joe, and finally, the kid.  He brought a large stick with him and scrambled through the hole to the floor carrying the stick in his right hand.)
Kid:  I am the boss!
Aaron:  You are not.  I’m the boss.
Joe:  No, I am.
Kid:  We can draw straws.
Joe:  We don’t have any straws.
Kid:  Right.
Joe:  We can all be bosses.
Kid:  I hope this tree doesn’t get struck by lightning.
Aaron:  Do you think it will?
Kid:  It might.  Lightning storms are the worst because they start fires or damage your bones.
Aaron:  I like my bones.
Kid:  I like mine, too.
Aaron:  Let’s play pirates.
Kid:  Let’s play dominoes.
Aaron:  We don’t have any dominoes, silly.
Kid:  Oh, right.  Let’s play pirates then.  (He picks up his stick.)  Rrrr, matey!
Joe:  Rrrr, matey, our ship is sailing on rough waters.  We’re trying to catch a giant fish!
Aaron:  There goes the giant fish, trying to get away!
Kid:  I won’t let him get away!
Aaron:  You better not!
Kid:  What’s that supposed to mean?
Aaron:  You heard me.  Don’t let that fish get away.
(The kid laughs.  He is having too much fun.)
(Kid reels in the line.  A small fish dangles on it.)
Kid:  Yeah!
Aaron:  Hey there, fella, whatchya got?
Kid:  A dang fish is what I’ve got.
Aaron:  You can’t say dang.
Kid:  I can say whatever I wanna.
(An older man comes limping up to them.  He is wearing slacks.)
Grandpa:  All right, Junior, it’s time to go.  We’re going to go visit your pa.
Kid:  I hate the hospital!  It smells funny and it’s noisy.
Grandpa:  Come on, don’t you want to see your father again?  He’s lonely without you.
Kid:  Yes, I do.  Let’s go!
(Grandpa and the kid leaves the house and get into the car.  Grandpa drives to the hospital and parks it into the hospital parking lot for visitors.  They get out and enter the lobby.  Grandpa waves to the secretary behind the desk, and she gives them a thumbs up.)
Grandpa:  That means we can go see him, sport.
Kid:  Goodie!


on being old.

the emphasis was burdened by my
past recollections of the day's events.
we went to a parade.  it was nice out
and the day was long.  papa, oh my papa,
he got into the little boy's wheelchair
and rode around in it until the blonde
mother told him to get out.  she was old,
and i could see the lines around her face
as if her face were cut from oak.  saturday
was a day of remembrance for us,
and i will remember it forever, at least
until i become an old lady, riding around
in wheelchairs until someone tells me to
get out or go home, and then, i will have
grandchildren and they will come and visit me.


when i drank

it was like the water
saying hello

the field of roses was plenty
in our garden

and the man carrying the water
pail went far, far

into the valley,
and it was there the


Saturday, May 28, 2016


One day, when she's old,
she'll tell you the answer to the riddle
that has been tormenting you for years.
I have heard this one before; the words
curve like a spider's silky web, they are
put on the shelf in the wine cellar
before being released to the public
If poems beat on the back door,
would you think to answer it?
Would you know, quickly now,
how to explain the ending to every story?
Metaphors drop out of the sky like clouds;
they land on your doorstep,
shaking and shivering in the cold.
Will you take them in?
They are orphans, you know;
they have nowhere else to go.

why the small bird's grief is form'd of Dreams

why the small bird's grief is form'd of Dreams

To his cold bright beauties swag on a summer morn,
love will smile its translucent smile,
with a rosy bosom, and eyes forlorn,
and all will be well in a little while.
To myself the Sun will keep my heart,
oh happy songs! I sing happy cheer!
When beloved’s song piped:
he then came quite near,
and vanished in a ring of light.
Rose's thickest shades of time blew open and there,
by magic, was a silver door.
Then we saw, it 'twas the night,
thrust like spears upon a black shore.
My love and he laughing said "I've a sigh,
'tis reaches farther than the light of woe!"
"Renew thy strength," I then replied,
"take your delight in the snow!"
I could not be dark as the night,
for morn blushed rosy as clay,
and the dread hand of darkness
faded from sight, and the Sun,
a lonely fen, was mine today.

My Love and I Went Garlanding.

 My Love and I Went Garlanding

My love and I went garlanding with grass,
upon a day studded with noontime stars.
The sun hunches over; shadows cannot pass,
nor penetrate the solar plexis of Mars.
The tulips and roses bow to the sun,
the daylight and night are heathen as one;
fading, dreaming, in the depths of the dawn,
the sunlight penetrates as God begins to yawn.
My love and I went garlanding,
picking roses and acorn seeds;
a sun studded with penetrating starlight,
is all that Nature ever needs.
The star-studded day comes to an end.
The sun hunches over; shadows cannot pass, in
Timeless dawn, the colors bend,
as my love and I went garlanding with grass.

Flower Tones.

Flower Tones

A voice whispers in the calm moving day.
We forge great shadows on hospital walls.
What sun greets us as we fought in May,
the distant Autumn whose eyes lov'd these stalls?

In yonder early light the sun still shone,
and the windless eaves beat against the back-toned thought,
in early the grass spoke that dawn was gone,
and we liv'd tomorrow in breathless drought.

So we cross great a many leaping tide,
and the seraph came to every faithful friend,
the depth of a wild night is ours to hide,
and light will cross again and strengthen.

We forge each hearth on beating glass wings,
we bang on the golden at crown's distant door,
our silver slender harp as each it sings,
and tomorrow vows its fables like it did before.

When many muse we question the lion's harsh bearing,
the great beast comes to greet us at zealous hours.
He dregs up those songs that need the hearing,
for his words bellow strongly like the tone of flowers.


To stay awake, we must be vast,
as future is but future does,
in this season, snow will last,
and capture burden with its prose.

To be awake, we must be strong,
and hope everything will go fine,
don't forget the burden is long,
and everything is mixed up in its prime.

An ode to religion, it is a perk,
to be the future as it was,
Constantine was just a jerk,
and the Liberal gave me such a buzz! 

Acquaintance With Time.

Acquaintance With Time

I saw her face, Time, so quiet and still.
I passed before her on the grass,
I did not know it was her until,
my watch moved slow as melting glass,
glass that I wished that I could fill.
She spoke to me; no words I heard,
for her beauty was bright to see,
I could not speak but a word,
my mind fluttering like a frigid bird,
and then she walked away from me,
and I could speak again at will.

Life and Death (an Interlude)

You played this game of do or lose,
and lost the game of living to a pale man called Death-but the rooms found out and the white face of the clock found out and stopped time just for you. A year moved forward (went back) and you are still a young man trying to find out the

meaning of Life, which is as dim as
classical music is to your deaf ears. Sometimes Death is as
close as vivid is to the red eye, and you just want to cry,

but Death leaves you laying there,
bleeding on the doorstep (strawberry red jam shoots out of your ears).
Then you live once more-you are resurrected, let’s say-but the living is
only half-living,
and the Death is only half-death. This game of Life and
Death-of "do" or lose
is a party to get your young mind to sleep in bed with
Eternity: Eternity as dark as birth,
as dark as a majestic mountain peak against a purple
night sky, as dark as her own black
Father cursing in his shallow grave.

Wrinkled Beauty.

Wrinkled Beauty

The flower is wrinkled
like the flesh of my old mother
her eyes blinking fiercely
against the bright light

the flower is beautiful
as it hunches in its crystal vase, 
the petals fall
lazily to the countertop.

-published in "Chantaralle's Notebook."

No Chances.

No Chances

My eyelids close in misery,
but where has your innocence gone?
I'd like to ignore the pounding

of raindrops on the roof,
which has been reborn into something
far less conclusive than reality.
We rush in without wonder, and witness
another miracle of self. It brushes away

the wounds of yesterday; I hear the
empty shell cracking.
Break out of your shell,
reveal the yellow bareness

of beauty; there is only
one chance left, and then it's gone,
drifting into the
blackness that was once sleep.
There is no shred of doubt.

-published in "Chantarelle's Notebook."


One day, when she's old, 
she'll tell you the answer to the riddle 
that has been tormenting you for years. 
I have heard this one before; the words
curve like a spider's silky web, they are 
put on the shelf in the wine cellar 
before being released to the public 
If poems beat on the back door,
would you think to answer it? 
Would you know, quickly now, 
how to explain the ending to every story?
Metaphors drop out of the sky like clouds;
they land on your doorstep, 
shaking and shivering in the cold. 
Will you take them in? 
They are orphans, you know;
they have nowhere 
else to go.

-published in "Chantarelle's Notebook."

On the Eve of War.

On the Eve of War

Throwing        fistfuls
        of      flowers into dark
eagles  with    broken          wings
        s  ing
    war rever      berates

ever    speaks
    and nothing but        destruction
        is ever      noticed.

Copyright © 2003 by Apryl Fox

Where they Buried George Washington.

Where They Buried George Washington

You who came from Washington, tell me,
where did they bury General Washington?
Was it in the District of Columbia where they buried him,
with his toes pointed towards the George Washington River,
or was it underneath a cherry tree in Rosa Park's Park?

There is a clothes store named after him, a library,
and a school, all within a twenty mile radius.
Further down,

a laundry mat that is selling
detergent for half-price off. Today is Abe Lincoln's birthday,
and the candy store is selling bubble gum for a penny.

Copyright © 2003 by Apryl Fox 

Shaking Hands With a Rose.


You stand at the base of the tree,
mouth slackened, eating a rose.
I have not seen you in ages.
The acorns are ripe. I hear them
plop to the ground, they are littering the world.
Oh, you litterbugs! How dear you are 
to me, I have been waiting for you
to burrow yourself into the earth
and rise in a song. Little sapling,
my dear litterbug, you have been

Five fingers on a single hand.
Skin as red as a northern rose.
Pock-marks, blisters of the sun,
the sapling is as hard as rock. 
Here is my hand for someone to shake. 
Here is my voice, speaking so quietly, 
telling you which hands to draw with.
I've shaken so many roses that I've
lost touch with pantomime.

-published in "The Argotist Online"

Counting Sheep.

Counting Sheep

It is night and I am counting sheep backwards
from zero to infinity, how high can I go?
Can't you hear their bleating out my window,
they found out I got another mattress,
the mattresses you see on those commercials with
the counting sheep, who are out of jobs
and end up in a jail cell because they broke the law
they are lonely and alone because
they have no one to confide to, no one to tell them
that beds are things made by man,
that they are sheep and have no place in this world--
maybe their only job is to be counting sheep,
and nothing else 

-published in Tryst Magazine.


Dreams are the waters of the city.  In pristine
whiteness, the great margins are accessible only to
the cold. We do not shout at the first enemy who
happens to come our way. But we, as a child growing,
take care of the little ones. My head
feels full of desert sand. I have been living
in a green house. We do not have an ending for the
first steps we missed, as we cross
over another bridge
into the heart of montreal.

-published in Poetry Offerings.


An incandescent speck of light.
Sound, noise.  The faded symmetries
of the downed hieroglyph,
another marriage on the rocks.
Forced entry.  Doomsday prophets.
How obscene is the hench thug?
Open your eyes to a new summer. Drink a little,
let down your hair, open conversation with the
water lilies about procreation.  Sing a sad
tune about the closing of another year.

-published in Poetry Offerings.

He Who is Farthest Away.

The farthest away climbers are like the sun
with its song approaching daybreak.
How quickly the river flows, and it is fair,
alive as angels as they were before.
The beauty of breath taking runs like
gold and shines so disappointingly in  the dust
of the forest.  Bones churn from every path,
the living man is his appearance of a single path
before him. Without the good of the world, the river
will never run the same, and all answers will be
on its journey.  Hear the artificial sound of
my painstaking grasp.  The statues of her womb
never made a man his fire; the fire of his grief
is the one I give to you, his grasp,
calm and cool as sadness creeps the white
bone moon.
Tall masts of a mirror before the breast of
daylight drive us to the ending shore.  The river
will mar my tears, I have become
the snake lolling in the brown grass.

-published in Poetry Offerings.

Writing With Your Left Hand.

Sometimes I write with my left hand
when the weather turns cold,
and my heart is pounding in my chest
like an anchored drum.
I can't seem to shake the feeling
that I am being watched
as I walk down Fifth Avenue, but
it is only a blue jay,
looking for a place to stay out of the storm.
There is no justice anymore,
when a bird cannot find a place to nest,
and the darkness is so dark I cannot see my hand
in front of my face,
even as I write, even as I imagine
places far from here,
where blue jays live in blue peace.

-published in Poetry Offerings.

The Boat.

Apryl Fox 

The Boat

He came into my life like a boat
coming into the harbor.  He lifted me 
                                     up, up above 

the land I knew,
into something else I                  
                                  did not know,
something else that was 

His eyes were the color of dark timber,

sad & tired & beautiful.  His skin was the 

                              color of the rising sun,
and I slipped                               

                                    into him   
                when dawn
came & 

we sailed out             
of shore.  Rowing, always 


-published in A Little Poetry.

The Summertime.

It's cold at night in the summertime.
Daisies are blooming.
We go to the park and see airplanes flying
overhead, makeing a buzz buzzing sound.

In the distance, deer are grazing like cows,
going from one place to another, like a
boat on the sea.  I can't stand to see them suffer,
so I take down the fence that surrounds them,

and send them on their way, with a lunch pail
and a note from their mothers.  Everything is simply put:
don't do this, don't do that, we hear the deer chomping
on grass.  I wish I was a deer-perhaps a cow,

except I wouldn't want to get slaughtered.
No one feels like reading anymore.
It's too dark out to see.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Hen.

Pine trees unfurl
as the dawn approaches
moonlit dew in mourning.

Shadows fall across
the grass-
a hen takes a stroll
across the lawn.

Today is tomorrow;
tomorrow is yet forsakened,
the past is not broken.

Dew is broken.
Can we hear the wind laugh?
As it moves through
the under

Saturday, May 21, 2016

New poems published-link

Some of my poems published here:

Friday, May 20, 2016

On Eating Taco Salad.

I am overcome by your diversity.

Your literacy resides in me.  Everything I own is here-

Two stacks of chairs, a black address book, a coffee pot.

Take a drink, it hits the spot.

What are we supposed to do about the position we’re in?

It gets underneath the skin.

I swear I’m getting better at this, I’ve suffered through leprocy

And three car accidents.  Once, I saw a twister and became

A storm chaser, where I met my ex-husband.  We had three

Kids, Joan, Adam, and Wesley.  I named them all.  Did you think I

Was going to name any of them after my ex-husband?  Two of

Them are boys.  They did like their toys, I guess, but they loved

Me more.  My ex only saw the children on Saturday and Sunday,

When I went to the sauna and got my head packed in ice.

Something is wrong here.  We’re not getting along.  My grandmother

Has been dead for three long years.  I don’t understand the tears.

I never cry at funerals, but I cry after them, when I’m alone,

Holding on to myself when no one will, listening to the dogs barking

Outside my window, and thinking about when I was little, and my

Mother used to hold me on her knee.  Today we had tacos.  I wanted

A taco salad.  We headed out for the bar after dinner, and everyone was

There.  I didn’t want them to stare, so I stuck out my tongue and ate

Some bread.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Neighbor Likes Mick Jagger.

I've walked the line too many times
to say I'm fine, but I'm not.  Everything is so confusing,
to say the least-I won't let it get in the way of doing
what I'm supposed to be doing, or being who I am,
or being someone else, for that matter, like my grandmother,
who drove a bus during the Vietnam War, got her hand
cut off by a sniper, and basically was a hippie.  I don't
mind hippies, they are wonderful people, full of life,
and zest, and hate violence and war.  I thought war was
violence, or maybe it was the other way around,
just like saying short is not stout, or a way to figure out
the basics of literature that just keep going and going,
until you can't stop.  Basically what I'm saying is this:
make a lot of noise, try to buy a house, be as big as you
can and reach as many people as you can.  Nothing is worse
than saying goodbye, but sometimes it happens, and you
can't explain it or predict it, but it does, and then some people
get away with killing during wartime, and sometimes I'm
a mess, I wake up too late and miss work.  The dreams are
the same, but what I'm saying is different from what other
people have said before me, and before me, and before me.
My neighbor likes Mick Jagger, but I don't mind.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On Making Bread.

Like this, your words go in and out-
flop them like a doppleganger.
Shadows move across the room because
the sun is slowly moving overhead.
I wonder about astronauts, and if they've
ever made it to the sun-the sun is a great big
iron, you said.  I don't believe it.  Something
is happening in outside space, you said.
I don't believe it, how could I, all I see is
this stupid kitchen, with the stupid tables
and chairs, and the bathtub against the far wall.
It smells like bread baking.  Everything is
changing, you said.  I agree with you on that,
but how can we change it, when we can't even
change ourselves, and the light outside is slowly
dwindling towards the Arctic Circle, and dogs
are barking happily because their masters have
come home from work, and then they enter through
the door, put down their coat, and go into
the kitchen to make some bread.
This is the rest of our lives, one loaf at a time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


It was in the Court of Kings that Thom Morley first heard about the dragon.  He was a small boy, short and scrawny with skinny legs, and curly black hair and black eyes.  He was going on his eighth winter, and the season had been terribly cold-so cold, in fact, that half of the Elders in the Guild had died from pneumonia-their Healer, Ravinn, had said their hearts froze stiff from inside out.  The Huntsmen in the Guild were afraid, and they were never afraid.  It was the cold that made them afraid, not the snow.  They had been out hunting the wildebeest in the High Forest, killing foxes, wolves, and badgers.  Nothing too noble, but the Gray Castle needed more food, and that was what they got.
Thom would have liked to go on a Hunt like that himself, but he was still too young to travel that far and he didn't know how to will a bow and arrow or throw a sword.  His godfather, Horace the Tall, had promised to teach him-but even now he was dead from frostbite.  He had been almost two hundred years old before he died, which was middle-age for his time. 
Horace had gone into the High Forest and had come out stiff as a corpse, and dead as a doornail. 
Thom had been without a mother and father for four years, living with his godfather and uncle, Terrance Nightdancer, a knight in the Court of Kings.  It was a great honor to be a knight and he took it seriously.  Then, Terrance had died.  Ravinn had done a Welling, and the warm water had told her that Terrance had been imprisoned by the Mad Witch, taking his soul for all Eternity.
Eternity was a long time, Thom thought.
Horace was supposed to teach him to be a blacksmith before he died.  It looked like that wasn't going to happen.
Thom was living alone in his godfather's house when the messenger came to call.  He was making lunch in the small, dusty kitchen, and a knock sounded at the door.  Surprised, Thom put down his fork, and hurried to answer it.
A man wearing a brown poncho stood on the porch. 
"What do you want?"  Thom demanded, trying to sound like his godfather.
"Are you Thomas De le Morley?"  he asked in a pleasant voice, undisturbed by the boy's rude behavior.

Monday, May 16, 2016

It Seems.

I laugh because he has half a mind
to think I would be cool with what he says,
about bridges and waterways and other
cool stuff like that.  Today we went out to
brunch, and it made me think of Florence
on the Food Channel, making tea and scones
and cutting big pieces of cheddar.  What once
was lost was never found, but other things
were found indeed, we replaced the lost
telekinesis, and broke up the sod with a hoe
and rake.  The garden was soon going to be
ready, and my chef made olives and peanuts
from scratch, I guess they were from the market,
El Sol, on Broadway Street, where I used to
hang out as a teenager, asking people for money
while I sang-old songs, mind you, but they were
still sweet, as sweet as they could be, and I saw
old married couples walking hand in hand,
and singing, and a brisk puppy walking down
the sidewalk, a man holding on to his leash
with his head up high, looking straight, nor right
nor left.  Some days are better than others.


I am barren in my calmness.
The cot is stuck in the corner at my house.
A car starts up outside, sounding like a
train.  The day has forsakened me.
Today is another day-just as yesterday,
and the day before.  Cold, broken,
and alone, I walk down the freeway of readiness,
and here I speak, here you listen, wandering
far and near in the void.  The void is blackness.
I am levitating-let the sun move in me.
Here I stand proud like a soldier about to go
into war.
Let me be barren in my readiness,
I know what comes and goes, what's fast and slow,
and hear the hollering of the wind outside my window.
Inside me, all is quiet.
The barrenness is ready.
I hear a noise outside.  The calm light is dawning.

Sunflowers and Grandmas.

The garden on my window sill is full of flowers-
lilacs, blue bells, peonies, blooming in the sun.
My grandma loves them with all her heart.
She is waiting for them to bloom.  She says one day
they'll be bigger than the sun, and her dog likes to
sit underneath them, watching them like a good
dog does.  Grandma loves her dog and her flowers
equally.  He is also soaking in rays.  Grandma
sings like the blue jays outside, and everyone is happy.
The sky is blue and full of light.  Which is like
my neighbor when she is full of smiles, and helping
each other, her rays spreading outward to the world,
one single ray at a time.  The light is my shield.
I sit in the rocking chair, and rock back and forth,
listening to the sound of my Grandma's singing.
Even the sound of the rocking chair sounds like
singing-back and forth, back and forth, I rock around
the clock.  My Grandpa made the rocking chair
back when he was a little boy in WWII, singing
songs of peace and war.  Tomorrow, he is coming
home from the hospital, carrying battle scars,
and telling us stories of times long past.

On Reading Poetry At Night.

I read poetry in the dark, scared of the monsters under
my bed.  My nightlight has been turned on, and I am
armed and ready for any noise, or suspicious activity.
The nightlight shows shadows in the darkness,
a circle of light flights my wall.

The light helps me with three things:  helps me read my poetry,
and keeps the shadows away, and the monsters stay
underneath the bed.

Stars twinkle in the sky outside my window.
A tree claws at the glass.  Tomorrow is another day.
School, and then gardening.  I wake up at the sound of my
alarm, and suddenly, the shadows disappear.
They're under my willow trees.
I go downstairs to eat breakfast,
a breakfast of champions-toast, cereal, orange juice.

Then I go outside to see the bus squealing away from the curb,
and I miss my ride to school.  I go back inside,
and tell Mama I missed the bus.  "Don't be angry,"
I say in a pleading voice.  "Please."

And with a flourish, we are out the door, and I am
the last one to arrive-but, still, I make it,
and that's one good thing about the day.