Monday, February 18, 2008

A Short Story

Required Words: birthday, calligraphy, fireplace, float, fresh, fur, green, magic, picture, scar

For a child, an early bedtime is an effect correlated with some undesired cause. Tonight, however, the most scrupulous abridgment of my actions uncovered no fault on my behalf. As even-handed as my mother was, she had made an oversight concerning my castigation. Through some primordial awareness I knew something was erroneous. Incentive hid where parents forbid my presence. Predisposition led me to one conclusion: daddy was drinking again.

Even before being banished to the confinement of my room, I saw the signs. It was Tuesday, and daddy was on his way home from Calligraphy class. Time wasn’t my confidant, though. On occasion I would plead with the clock for the knowledge it shared with adults. There was no spoken dialogue between either party. Mommy or daddy would look intently at the wall adornment in some sort of silent struggle for information. On each occasion the clock would relent, handing over the desired insight. Apparently, with age and awareness I would accrue the capacity to take time from clock. But not tonight.

My evidence was uncomplicated. Mommy had gathered kindling from the back yard and arranged it within the fireplace. She was wearing her birthday gift: blue sweats with a drawstring waist and a wife-beater. An inch of ribbed fabric draped over her right shoulder. The other fell off of her left arm in a capitulating fashion.

Through the garment her scar was palpable. Superlative skin shrouded a psyche withered from misuse. I had never glimpsed it firsthand. No one had that I'm informed of. But mommy kept the picture in her purse.

I anticipated each outing to the grocery story because I loved watching mommy write checks. There was even an unwritten, highly revered procedure. To start, she must franticly undress her purse in search of a pen. Subsequently, in a merciful show of leniency, the clerk would bequeath the ballpoint reserved for such emergencies. And finally, my mommy would wield the pen with such authority as to make one question the pen's original proprietor. And then it happened.

My drifting eye observed a small photograph. It was rounded at the edges from years or stress. Time had drained the picture of much of its color. Within the photo stood mommy, unmaimed. Adolescent. Discarded of the weight she now seemed to bear begrudgingly. Next to her was a man unrecognizable to me. Around his neck hung the fur of some unknown animal. From the poverty I tasted on a daily basis, I had never encountered a heap of bills so significant. Fresh green seemed to spill from his wardrobe. Behind them rested a float. At the time of the picture, the float was probably making its way through the crowded downtown streets. But within the boundaries of a photograph, movement was arrested. A Polaroid had flooded the parade with guilt, and all one could do was stand still, cloaked in culpability.

“Paper or plastic?” solicited the clerk, unapologetically.

* * * * *

Subtly I induced my door into a silent opening. From my confinement at the end of the hall, I was only able to pilfer a partial view of clandestine events of which my mother forbade me. And the accolade was without value. Daddy was masked from head to toe in black and white attire. He was going to show mommy his magic.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

San Diego

A thousand paths to stamp his fate
His words must take one road/
A grown man thrown upon the tracks
She leaves him weak
Unknown to most
He’s saved one card
One stone cast from the plank/
He’ll thank her for the drink they shared
The evening that they sank/
He hesitates to forfeit her before the scene unfolds/
By God
This dream won’t end the same
He won’t wake up untold/
The scrolls reveal his will:
To tell an honest tale/

I gave you what I thought you wanted
On this trail I’ve failed/
I felt that what composed my being would leave you unamused/
I sought to keep what piece the phone gave me of you/
Untrue or straight out lying
I’d pipe out each expected answer/
Regret it?
But know the words I spoke weren't festive banter/
I’ve stowed the best (or last at least) to cease our treasured journey/
I’ve blurred my notebook with this pen this long to keep you turning/
With fury I recited every love that left me squirming/
For what it’s worth
For you I lit my lines and let rhymes burn me/
Finally I’ve found a worthy fate to fall my quill/
Failing to elicit youI’ll let my scrawl lie still/
Well, bye dear Friend
I’m emptied out
Now leave me squeezing air/
In all my life
One night I’ll keep
Is when I shared your stare/

Sunday, February 3, 2008

conversations traded

Let your mouth move
With words tie their attention/
Swiftly cast glance
At last our “cat and mouse” commences/
Like a pad on pen the friction strips my well of black disgust/
I lack the trust to nudge your touch
You brush its dust/
Inside I rush to tuck the wind struck hair that masks your cheek/
My vivid imagery depicts my hand
The skin it seeks/
I reconsider chances bleak
If real at all/
I stall
It dawns we’ve never met
Yet in my head we craw-/to any refuge from the structure
Culture’s way/
They seek to fold the image that I’ve molded from your clay/
For gain or not I’ll toss my inhibitions when I call/
When hopes and false pretensions fade
I’ll take the thankless walk/
The lost (through being inept) gives depth and value to the warfare/
Aware we’ve never blended breath
Yet still I crave your air/
That every night envelops
Till you’re etched on canvas/
I curse the land that separates
The space that means to span us/
Distance and time unhand us
These distractions can’t discount/
The way I’ve missed your voice
The noise it drowns out when it sounds/
I recount every conversation traded behind darkness/
Daily I discard you
Time misused
By night we’ve started-/
Re embarking on our portion of the play/
It weighs on me
That any given scene our paths could sway/