Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One Yellow Rose

She sits motionless, her head cocked away from me, no doubt letting the swiftly passing countryside take her to places far from here. The bruise on her upper arm tells a story unto itself. There are three blue marks in series, someone hit her hard enough to raise blood; and random scratches lower yet say that she fought back with equal fury, probably surprising her attacker who tried to hold her still to no avail.

The girl’s hair, as red as cherry wine, is unwashed and disheveled; not as if she’d been living out of a car, but more as if she’d been in a hurry and hadn’t bothered with a morning shower.

I note her left hand lying in her lap, palm down and fingers outstretched. She’s flexing it a bit, relieving a strain perhaps, or reliving an anxious moment. I can see the mark of a ring on her forth finger, a band of white, puffy flesh amidst a tautly stretched hand tinted brown by machine made tan. Her knuckle on that digit is slightly scraped, making me think she removed her band in a flurry of emotion, without a care as to how much skin came with it.

All of this may be a pessimist’s interpretation. Why her bruise might simply be from her bumping into a doorjamb that held three large petrified wads of chewing gum at shoulder height, the scratches caused by an overactive cat. Maybe she was late to work and had to rush from her apartment before coifing her hair… and the ring thing? I suppose she might have been playing with one of those Chinese finger puzzle things and could get the damn thing off before it made the area pale and swollen.

But there were two more clues that brought me back to my theory. There is a fresh scar on her earlobe, looking much like a round headed stick pin. She’d had a pierced ring ripped out. Yes, it may have been an accident. Sure, she might have been walking along down some city street right along side a commercial building that had just had repairs done to its face, and a stray nail might have been poking from the fa├žade at just the right angle that when she sauntered by, her loop earring, swaying out and in because of the perkiness in her happy step, suddenly slipped over the nail and her forward momentum made any recovery an impossible task… and zzzzip, out came the jewelry.  But my guess was she was in a fight, probably with her boyfriend, or husband if I have the ring thing right, and in the scuffle her earring was removed by force, intentionally or no.

What makes me think all this? You’d assume it would be an addiction to soap operas or a fascination with drugstore romance novels. But it’s neither. In the woman’s right hand she grips the stem of a perfect, just barely opened yellow rose. No friend handed her that flower, it has no wrapping, not even a ribbon around its thorny stem. She’d purchased the rose for herself from a street vendor, that’s clear enough. And that the rose is a somewhat unusual color makes me think she bought it with symbolism in mind. Again, I agree, it could just be she likes the color yellow, indeed. But nothing else on her body, not her scuffed shoes nor cotton socks, her rhinestones jeans nor her tie died top were in any measure, any derivative of yellow. No, she strikes me as someone who finds comfort in the metaphor, the silent statement, the secret sign that screams its message to the chosen few who understand and to no one else.

A yellow rose has limited meaning, it’s generally the friend’s offering given to mark a particularly joyous moment in the life of the recipient. It can also mean jealousy and be sent as a sort of poison pen. I think this is different, off the normal path; I think she’s bought this beautiful living thing to commemorate a new beginning for herself, a fresh start, a kind of wax seal meant to notarize her self made contract.

My stop has come and she hasn’t budged. As I step into the aisle to go I can’t help but whisper “good luck lass, you’ll be fine I’m betting.” It’s nothing save a weak encouragement from a random stranger, and yet I feel gratified to have noticed her pondering tomorrows, and the opportunity to toss in a single “don’t be sad, you’re not alone.”

For just a moment I imagined her assuming I was some panhandling bum or worse, a train riding lecher, “eyeing little girls with bad intent”. (Whenever I try to commiserate with a lost soul of the opposite gender I anticipate reprisal based in fear because my gender has made a mess of things since time began) But this time I’m lucky; she smiles as I pass, sucking in a short breath as if to say “was I that obvious?” And then she says “thank you so much.”

I step from the train with a burning in my soul, I’ve done a good thing I think, whether I’m dead on about my supposition or slightly askew. She needed a kindness and she’d moved me to lend her one by simply carrying a yellow rose. Someday I may need to buy one for myself.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Legend of Crack Stepping

From the Sugartown Star
Blather Pundit reporting:

Mary Jane Lumpette of 1122 Snickerdooley Boulevard, Sugartown, is resting comfortably after having emergency surgery to repair a suddenly and quite mysteriously broken back. Her son, Clarence Lumpette, (aka Lumpy Lump) is being held for questioning as regards the alleged “incident involving possible malicious intent.”

Police chief Bruhaha would only say there is an investigation underway and that he could not comment further. The Sugartown Star however has discovered a witness to the perceived crime, one Bobby Ratchooer, best friend of young mister Lumpette. As Ratchooer recalls, it was just one of those things kids do for fun, and it seems to have gone horribly wrong.

“We were just playing around the high voltage lines you know?” said Bobby; “Up by the witch Mrs. Creepingsly’s house.”

The editors of the Sugartown Star hereby make clear that the use of the word “witch” is necessary as it's directly quoted from the witness and in no way represents the views of the newspaper or its sponsors, witch loving peoples all.

“We were doing the normal stuff you know? Playing marbles and spinning tops and stuff. And all of a sudden this crack appeared in the sidewalk. It happened real slow like, ya know like a circus strongman was ripping a telephone book in half or something. We didn’t even notice it was glowing and stuff until it was too late, all I could think of was that old chant ‘step on a crack, break your mother’s back’ and so I sang it out loud and then Lumpy said ‘Take this Mom!’ real loud ya know like he really meant it? Then anyway, he jumped right on the crack and we heard this horrible scream at the exact same time coming from way down the hill by Lumpy’s house so we just ran our butts off to get there cuz Lumpy thought his mom might have found his Playboys under his bed, but when we got there Mrs. Lumpy was screamin and cryin and stuff and yelling about how her back must be broken. So I ran and hid under my bed until you guys came over and my dad dragged me into the living room and told me to ‘fess up’ cuz he knew whatever it was I musta done it!”

The sidewalk in question has been roped off by police as a possible crime scene, and National forensic scientists are at this moment searching for any evidence of linkage between the crack and Mrs. Lumpette’s malady.

When asked if there was a definite correlation between the two, all Mr. Ratchooer could say is “Well duh!” That seems to be the prevalent opinion of the majority of adolescents interviewed this afternoon at the Sugartown Mall as well.

Emergency Medical Technician Steven Liplok said “we may find there is no connection at all; but in the meantime my advice is, don’t be stepping on any cracks until we know for certain.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Adventures of Hydrantman

"What seems to be the trouble young man? We here at the Justice League of America psychiatric unit are always available to help and want to insure that every super hero is happy and as well adjusted as a mutant can be."

"Well doc, I love my super powers and all..."

"And what are they exactly, though I can guess from the bright red of your costume."

"I channel really powerful streams of water sir. When I feel the need to stop some heinous crime or right some egregious wrong, I begin to bloat and then once I'm so pudgy only my hands are protruding from my engorged body, my palms explode in a rush of moderately chlorinated water, knocking any nearby criminal to the ground or at least into a busy street where he might be run over by a passing commercial truck."

"I see" said the doctor. "That sounds a bit stressful on its face, I can see how you've become a bit neurotic..."

"But but" Hydrantman interrupted, "I'm fine with the manifestation; its what sometimes happens while I'm bloating that I don't like!"

"And what is that?"

"Well it takes a couple minutes and during that phase I can't move. For some reason all the dogs in the area run over to me while I'm expanding and let loose... if you know what I mean."


Hydrantman blushed. "Yea doc, they pee on me. It's hard to maintain an image as a feared crime fighter when dogs are always peeing on you."

"I may have a simple solution" said Doc Wrangle. "Change your name to Hydraulicman, and dye your costume more of an oily black than red."

Hydrantman was relieved. "Geez doc, that's perfect. Why didn't I think of that?"

"Well, you are the person that named yourself Hydrantman in the first place. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, not all superheroes are as brilliant as Stan Lee would like you to think."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Da Fatal Mistake of Da Bears

"Sorry I'm late guys, I was snatching salmon from the Mackenzie river and I kinda lost track of time." Oomchook clomped into the Dirty White Boys clubhouse living room expecting to hear a response from his friends. But not even a taunt rang out. Brothers Billi Gloo and Bobi Gloo seemed preoccupied with some odd looking, barkless, hollow tree that was sitting at the base of the cave's rear wall.

"I swear Billi" said Bobi; "when I was peeking through the window they were all looking at this box, waving their arms and screaming like I was already kickin their butts! It must have some entertainment in it somewhere!"

Billi shook his head and lifted his left paw to gently scratch under his chin. "I don't see anything to yell about Bobi, it looks like dirty snow in a tree trunk to me." He turned to the new arrival. "Damndest thing Oomchook, c'mere and look at this stump and tell us what you see."

Oomchook laughed as he shuffled in beside his subordinates. "Out scaring the neighbors again eh Bobi? What did you steal from them this time, another cooler?"

Bobi giggled and pointed toward the east wall which was smothered in floor to ceiling fiberglass coolers. "I think we've got the refrigeration thing taken care of Oomie; this here's something I've never seen before. Course, I'd never been inside the ranger's cabin before either."

The elder bear froze. "Are you insane? You went inside the ranger's cabin? Do you have any idea what'll happen now?"

Both Bobi and Billi roared and slapped their paws into each others. "Not much anymore pal" Bobi grinned. "Well, 'cept pretty soon I'll have to use the old outhouse if ya know what I mean."

"I don't know what you mean" replied an indignant Oomchook. "Explain to me what happened this instant and don't miss any details."

“Calm down brother bear, we’ll work this thing out” said Billi while swallowing a guffaw; but Oomie reached over to Bobi and whacked him on the forehead with the back of his paw. “Spill it mister!” he growled.

Bobi began to relate the entire day to the clan leader, in the high pitched nasal voice he always affected when he felt he was in trouble. Oomchook nearly whacked him again just to make him calm down, but he was far too shocked by the scene being unfolded by the youngest of the trio.

“I just wanted a looksee ya know” Bobi whined. “Hell we’ve been living here all our lives and I never saw the inside of a human’s cave. So I peeped. So, big deal right? But then while I was watching the ranger and his sidekick, ya know, that moron that thinks we’re just big white humans?… well they were yelling and jumping up and down real crazy like.”

Billi wanted a piece of the story so he leaped in at that point. “Yea, jumping and running around and waving their arms like those seal hunters we played with last week. Man, that was some good eatin!”

Oomchook turned to Billi, nipped at his muzzle and then said “did I ask you tubby? No! So shuttup!” Oomie sighed and calmly added “continue my young friend, you were window peeping…”

“Yea so I was just standing there watching the excitement and it was makin’ me kinda agitated, ya know like when a herd of caribou come running past the cave? So anyway, then they start chanting and it goes something like this…

Seahawks Rule, Bears Suck!, Seahawks Rule, Bears Suck!

“Well it goes on and on and on and I just got madder and madder until finally I couldn’t control my anger so I broke through the window and I killed em right there. They just stared at me like they’d never seen a Polar bear before, it was pathetic. So I says ‘who sucks now pal’ but they were both dead by then so no one answered.”

Oomchook just gazed at his claws. They were getting a bit long, he’d need to chew them soon or sure as hell he’d snag one in the rocks while he was catching fish and rip it right off. There was little point in obsessing about the past. The ranger was dead, the humans would come and hunt the bears. With luck, the clan would kill a few two leggers and get a good meal in before bullets found them too tired to pay attention.

“So what did you do with the bodies” he asked finally.

“I ate em” said Bobi; “S’why I’m laying like this, my tummy really hurts.”

“They might have been talking about Kodiak bears you know”

“Yea, I thought of that afterwards. What was I gonna do?” Bobi winked at his brother. “I apologized and all, but it didn’t seem to matter. They just wouldn’t come back to life once I’d crushed their little heads!”

Oomchook sat and stared at the box with a window. Time was short. They may as well make the best of it.

“So what does this thing do?” he asked no one in particular.

“Well while I was dining it made a lot of noise and there were humans in it running back and forth trying to kill each other. But since I grabbed it and pulled it here, it hasn’t done squat!”

“Well keep staring at it and if it does anything yell for me; I gotta do some business with mother nature. Be right back!”

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lucius Cavendish, Bee Whisperer

My name is Lucius Cavendish, Bee Whisperer of Note.
Perhaps you’ve seen me on TV, or papers that I wrote.
You may think my work Quixotic, I assure you that’s a myth;
And I will here endeavor to convince you all forthwith.

Now fear is quite ubiquitous, at least in humankind.
It has to do with mucked up senses (heralds of the mind);
as in: melissophobia, the terror of our bees.
The very thought of fuzz with wings might bring men to their knees!

For all intents and purposes the bees command our hope.
Without them we would have no crops, nor any form of dope!
And yet their tiny stingers, all defensive I might add,
make people not distinguish twixt the good bees and the bad!

They spray their mass insecticides; perfunctory abuse!
They want their apples hole-less, and their oranges plump with juice!
While killing off malicious pests, they know not what they’ve done.
They’ve poisoned all the honey bees, and one day there’ll be none!

The governments around the world did abrogate their charge;
“We promise to protect you!” (“and then bill you all at large”)
I filed the invoice on receipt, and sent this in its place;
“Please stop the chemist genocide upon the human race!”

Unlike a well tossed yo-yo, my announcement flew one way.
I haven’t heard but idle threats: “Please send a check TODAY!”
And so I learned to whisper, in the jungles of Belize.
My mastery came quid pro quo; (I traded Gouda cheese.)

I whisper for the little bees, the larvae of the hatch;
For one brown recluse spider, that he has a meal to catch.
I’ve whispered now for 30 years, I seem to have no clout.
So if you don’t stop killing bees, I’ll have to scream and shout!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Concrete Form Surrounding Nothing

They say
To err is human
to comment is to err dangerously
so many choices, so little direction
**** so varied the response *****
nice-thanks-nice-thanks-nice-hey thanks
repetition causes hair growth on my palms
so I attempt to wrap sincerity
in cleverness
e respect

But what if one's stricken twice or thrice consecutive
can one praise and be seen agendaless
or is it impossible to find beauty
without lust
or greed
if the opinions expressed are seemingly always positive
can it be real
or only the natural progression of
the human mutual admiration society
the want to love and be loved

I can tell you
            you may doubt it
I know my heart
            you can only guess
I assure you it's all
            not just a cheap ploy
it may look absurd
            if one's not accustomed
but I swear it's just
            a quite silly ogre trying
to compensate
            for what's naturally
a so very scary
            ogreish demeanor