Friday, March 30, 2012

Warm Boys

For boys the formula is lust squared, added to lavender oil
Multiplied by the number of presses imbibed
While smoking on the patio wearing only a marble bag
Or a shmear of  foundation to hide a five o’clock shadow

One hand or a hundred hands across a bare ass
Respect takes on a different meaning after dark
Or loses meaning, proportionate to the amount of attention needed
At two in the morning “she” might do, besties til' noon

Bathroom priorities turn from need to feed
Regardless of the audience, a show is a show, let’s watch
Morning brings work  and a feeling of helplessness
That can only be quelled by Stoli and warm boys.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Awesome Photo By Kat Mortensen


He could fish…he knew he could remember how to do that
But he couldn’t recall the reflection of the ceiling fan in her watery brown eyes
Or the way she liked him sweaty during sex, head and shoulders, knees and toes
She called him Frank when she came to visit, he had no memory of Frank
But at that moment she smelled like vanilla and kissed his neck, plate of snicker doodles
For now, he was Frank at least for one more warm kiss, familiar

He could fish…if he could just remember where he put his damn fishing poles
Maybe they were in the truck, where was his truck, he needed his keys
The bird on the sill asked him to play cards, maybe he could play cards
Where were his cards, maybe in his other pants, maybe someone stole them
There was no room in his head for two thoughts, when one entered, the other dripped
The intellectual playground too full to play kickball, we should sit on the steps

He could fish…the shores of the lake lapped beside his hospital bed nightly
But he didn’t have the right kind of bait and he needed his shirt or he would burn
A mermaid swam to him and sang beside his bed and he asked about his poles
She kissed him and gave him rum and went to look, he floated on lily pads
On shore he talked with the great blue heron, the bird looked sternly at him
You can fish, he said, I know you can, but where are your fishing poles?    

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Estuary

The Estuary


Corey Rowley

     It was a dead baby.  Decomposed, chewed up and badly bloated, but not beyond recognition.  It was a baby, no doubt about it.

     Vincent turned and vomited in the sand, dousing his tackle box and one of his flip flops in the process. His chartreuse Lefty’s Deceiver was firmly hooked in the left eye socket, the lifeless swollen body surged and retreated with the incoming tide, looking more like twisted piece of time and tide blackened driftwood than a human body.

     Vincent came to this estuary once a year with a friend. Mexico was therapy for his constantly work warped mind and body, his only real escape from the pressures of family and life in general.  When he was fly fishing, that’s when the rest of the world retreated. The bigger picture would form and he could see God, the “It”, the ultimate and unknowable truth, whatever you wanted to call it. When he was here, he could see his existence in the context of the beginning of time. It wasn’t some fruity tooty spiritual bullshit to him, it didn’t need to be. He didn’t need convincing or someone to tell him what it was that he experienced, he knew full well what it was and he drank from that life spring for five solid days once a year and it invigorated.

     This year, Vincent was on his own, his usual fishing partner Kevin had broken his collar bone pulling a box down from a high shelf in his own garage. It didn’t bother Vincent to be alone except for the fact that it was always safer to travel in Mexico in pairs or groups.  Not that he had any problems in the past, but traveling by one’s self always presented a certain amount of risk that didn’t seem to exist when traveling with a companion. That low level anxiety that courses through your veins when you are in a  foreign land is magnified when you’re alone, sometimes your actions and decisions are affected and you end up doing things that you would never do when you have your back up with you.

     He sat his fly rod down and stared at the dead baby. He was trembling. As the relentless tide pushed and pulled, Vincent panicked and more than a bit unnerved was having a hard time getting control of his thoughts.  As he stood and stared, a small crab scuttled in and started to claw at the toes of the infant.  Instinctively he lurched forward and splashed in the water, startling the crab back into the estuary flow. He started to become dizzy and kneeled in the sand, a fresh wave of vomit finding its way up and out. He tried to steady himself, his body light, an almost audible buzz in his ears and his head. He didn’t know what to do. The usually firm and manageable voices in his head, a cacophony of white noise and internal alarms.  He had to pull that damned hook out. That was the first thing. It glistened in the baby’s eye fluttering with the tide making it appear that the baby was alive and the eyeball moving and following his every move.  It flashed as it flopped to and fro in the water, giving the scene a surreal quality. Although he knew better, he kept waiting for the eye to open and fix on him, waited for a wet and gurgling wail from the baby’s mouth, waited for it to become a scene straight out of a horror movie.

     He had arrived at the estuary at four that afternoon, timing his arrival with the start of the incoming tide.  The best fishing was usually from about two hours before high tide to two hours after high tide. The bait fish, crabs and other sea critters would arrive on the sea swell and as always, the bigger fish were never far behind. When he had finished rigging up and had first stepped into the water he took a moment to survey his surroundings.  He came to the estuary because there was rarely another living soul within several miles and the peace and serenity offered by the sound of the ocean and the expansive views were enough to make anyone fall into a relaxed and restful state almost immediately. That day didn’t disappoint. He had made only three casts before he had hooked a two pound Pompano, a lively fight and a beautiful fish, its silver dollar sides flashing wildly beneath the water.  In a little over two hours, the tide was at its peak, the sun was starting to lower on the horizon and he had caught and released nearly two dozen fish and a four pound skate, a rarity when fly fishing these waters. He took a break and sat in the sand and had couple of beers and a half of a ham sandwich, enjoying the cries of the Turns and the occasional break of a fish or the dorsal of a dolphin in the distance.  Not wanting to wait much longer, he got back up to fish before the sun completely started to set. On the third cast he thought he had snagged his line, another rarity at the estuary because of the smooth sandy bottom.  As he tried to work the snag free, he could see his line floating with the current of the outgoing tide and realized that he had hooked something….something big.  He began to haul in his line as gently as he could, what was on the other end was heavy but not really fighting as a fish would.  When he was finally able to see the end of his line, he could see the black form and figured he had hooked a large piece of plastic. But as he pulled the dark mass closer he started to see the outline. What looked like two tiny arms and one small leg protruded from his catch. He had caught a doll, a kids toy, probably something that had fallen in the water on a family boat trip or had gotten left too close to the water as high tide approached.  But when he finally beached it, he reached to turn it over and his thumb and forefinger sunk two inches into the fleshy hide of the dead infant. He recoiled in horror and pulled his arm back just as the tide rolled the body over allowing him to see what he had actually caught.

    He stood back up and tried to gather himself for the task of removing the hook.  His legs were far from stable, but he managed.  He grabbed the fly rod and dragged the body back up on to the sand, out of the water.  He reached into his gear bag and pulled a small silver and leather flask, Crown Royal. The shaking of his hands made pulling the stopper from the flask difficult, trying several times before finding purchase. He took a large pull, the normal whiskey cringe that shot through his body when he took a shot conspicuously absent this time. The hot dry liquid instead filled his throat and stomach and flushed an almost soothing warmth throughout his body.  He took a second pull and replaced the cork.

     The sun was now a blazing half crescent, one of hundreds of mesmerizing sunsets he had witnessed here over the years. He kneeled at the side of the body, barely noticing the broken clam shell that stabbed at the flesh of his knee.  He wiped his hands on his pants took in a deep breath and reached for the hook.  To his surprise, the hook was loosely attached making him wonder how he was able to drag the weight of the body through the surf without losing it in the first place.  A voice inside his head, a calmer, more rational voice spoke to him.

     Would have been better if the hook would have fallen out sporto.

     He agreed with the voice on the surface, but he was a firm believer that all things happened for a reason and though the easier way out, the deed was done and going back in time is a fool’s thought.

     We should be having a beer and chile relleno in town by now sporto, push it back in.

     The voice was a familiar one, it always took on the quality and tone of his childhood friend Kirk McAllister.  Kirk was a bad seed.  He wasn’t made that way, he was just born that way. It’s not like Kirk could have ever been any other way, for him it was genetic just like it was for his mother and his Mothers father. A good portion of the trouble Vincent had ever gotten into was at the urging of Kirk McAlister’s voice.  It had a low quality, almost a shadowy whisper and Vincent intuitively knew that when that voice was speaking to him, it was better not to listen.

     Ain’t  nobody saw you Vince, just push it back, let the ocean take care of it just like it would have before your superior fishing skills fucked you.

     A chill ran up Vincent’s spine.  He immediately jumped up and looked around, the daylight had faded into almost dark and he hadn’t even noticed.  Had anyone seen him? The white noise returned, Kirks voice gone, replaced by a brigade of wailing high pitched voices. What was he going to do now. He began to pace the beach, as he saw it he had three choices.  Take Kirks advice and return the baby to the water.  Chances were that no one had seen him and no one would ever know. But in his belly he knew that was wrong and what if someone had seen him?  He looked around again.  The Estuary was remote, only one house sat on the beach one hundred yards from where he stood.  But in all the years he had been fishing the estuary, he had never seen anyone at the house. If someone did see him, then he would be an accessory or some shit like that, it’s not like they needed a lot of reason to lock up Americans in Mexico.

     Another choice was to drive back to town and get the police.  But it was an hour and a half away and at the rate the baby was decaying and with the numerous kinds of wild life that lived at the estuary, there was a chance it wouldn’t be there when he got back and then what. They would think he was as crazy as a shithouse rat.  He could bury it until he got back….no, that was just creepy and he was sure that if there was an investigation, as the person that turned attention to the situation, he would be the first suspect , once again, he was a foreigner and the story of catching a dead baby while fishing was sounding ludicrous even to him.

     His third choice was to take the baby to the police and tell them that he found it on the beach and hope to God that they believed him.

     He sat down in the sand, pulled his flask and drank again. He stared in the direction of the body, a black lump on the sand as darkness was becoming complete.  He rocked back and forth, anxiety filling him and causing his stomach to cramp. He drank until the whiskey was gone.  The anxiety was still there but dulled significantly and he started to wonder how the baby had died.  He laid on his back in the sand and wondered if it was a boy or a girl and if as a baby, it had slept through the night or kept its parents up as babies often do. He wondered if its parents had loved it.

     Vincent drifted into sleep on the sand and dreamed of fishing the estuary.  As he casted, small children would jump out of the water at his fly and he would scream at them to leave it alone, that it was for the fish.  They would laugh and try to take the fly anyway and Vincent would cry.

       Vincent awoke to an already blazing sun and the brush of a hand across his face. Startled, he sat bolt upright to see a young Mexican woman wearing a long black skirt and a brightly colored sleeveless top.  Wrapped tightly in her arms was the body of the baby. The horror came flooding back and he began to breathe in gasps and tried to get up, looking around to see if anyone else was there.

     “Don’t worry senor, Its just me,” she said softly in a heavy Spanish accent.

     She stood up and started to walk away.

     “What about the baby,” Vincent asked trying to stand and follow.

     “ This is not your burden senor and thank you.” She kept walking.

     “What Happened to your baby, he said almost shouting as she put distance between them walking slowly down the beach near the water.”

     “She was  a good Girl,” the woman said. “Her name was Gabby.”

     “That’s beautiful,” he screamed after her and collapsed back to the sand and wept.  The ocean air felt especially cleansing that morning and Mother Ocean rolled on as if nothing had ever happened.  But it did, it surely did.




Saturday, March 17, 2012

Birthing a Savior

Her pinpoint voice

An infants noise

Flew past my life at four thirty

On labor day last year

Her now enormous words

An inspiration to the world

Went supersonic that day

Cradling humanity in supple hands

The world responded with cheers

And caught the comets tail

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Lying in repose
Grave words in memoriam
Tears fill silk and lace
I laugh out loud, singing you
Releasing your perfect soul

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Snacking on thin air
Large burdens carried upward
To God’s meeting point
Pristine slopes littered with souls
Who gave willingly, last breath

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

In her chair knitting
Gram eyed the cat’s switching tail
And waited for it
The assault came, lightning speed
Yarn explosion, cue replay

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tribble Hill

Lift bastards through the naked light
To tuck them in on Christmas night
Teach them the ways of gentle past
And hope the noble die is cast
Sing songs of crimson hope and rage
He’ll be the one to turn the page
And show this lot who sings his plan
Grant evermore to every man

Resonate with Godhead
Still my blighted mind

Coax evermore to sip the wrong
Notes floating on a darker song
Evermore would no longer  thrive
Crows hunt and in the darkness dive
And take from man his gilded morn
Robbing promises duly sworn
Til’ she sees all time standing still
And turns the tides on Tribble Hill

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sundays and Sarsaparilla

          It was crazy hot, after dinner, and Sunday afternoon.
         Three generations of men were on the porch, doing what Grams referred to as loafin’ dem bones.  Dad was reclining in the old wicker rocking chair, chewing on the remnants of a week old cigar.  Although the look on his face was one of relaxation, he could never completely hide the face of work and worry behind his Sunday afternoon face.
         Pap sat in the porch swing, his feet dangling, not touching the floor.  He wore the same I think I’m going to have a stroke expression on his face that he brandished regardless of time or emotion.  He muttered about how he thought the heat was making him shrink, a comment that never garnered much attention since it was one of his main topics of conversation every day that the temperature would reach ninety degrees or better.  Grams would always derail him from that topic by telling him that the heat don’t shrink a good man, but, it sure as hell might give him some wrinkles.
         I would sit on a cinder block, leaning against the wall of my grandparents’ house, which I had always considered to be nondescript.  Nondescript with the exception of the smell of cooked cabbage that seemed to have worked its way into the soul of the house, overriding all other odors, no matter what might have been stewing in the kettle for dinner.  To this day, the smell of cabbage cooking always reminds me of the colors Avocado Green and Harvest Gold.
         My shoulder blades would rest comfortably against the house, my head tilted back completing a three point nap position.  I would pull down the brim of my Cubs cap, close my eyes and enjoy what little Sunday afternoon relaxation that I could.
         Air in the summer time was nonexistent.  What you breathed in August around those parts was heat.  This was the only thing that could explain why every soul was so quick to temper during the latter parts of summer, even me.
         The silence of our summer Sunday would always come to an abrupt end in the same fashion.  Pap would smack his dentureless gums and thin pale lips, and utter one word. “Parched.”
         He would stand up, trembling, and fish in his back pocket for his wallet for what seemed like hours.  He would come close to losing his balance and tumbling over several times before he would finally work the ancient leather case free.
         He would pull a single dollar bill from the depths of a wallet that rarely saw the light of day, at least not in the company of friends or family.  I was pretty sure that the only other living soul other than me and Dad that had laid eyes on that wallet more than six times was Crandon Birch, the white trash boozer that ran the girlie show down on Devonshire.  I had seen Pap sneaking in more than once after his Saturday morning haircut when I was at the arcade.
         Once the wallet was safely stashed again, Pap would sit back and study the dollar bill.  He would turn it over in his hands and look at it from every angle.  I knew Pap wasn’t oblivious to the fact that I was watching him, but, at the time he didn’t want me to know that this was the case.
         Pap would squint hard.  He would fold back the corners of the bill one by one, taking the greatest of care to ensure that there was only one bill in his hands.  He rubbed the bill between his thumb and forefinger so hard at times that I thought he was going to rub the nose clean off of President Washington.
         My mind would fester, tarrying on the fact that I knew he was going to ask me to run up to Charlie Applegate’s market to fetch him a sarsaparilla and a bag of Goobers.  As always these items would total eighty-three cents.  And, just like every Sunday for the last two years, he was going to play with that single dollar bill for ten minutes until he made damned sure that he wasn’t giving me more money than he had to.  Not once in two years had he ever offered to buy me, the faithful servant that fetched his after dinner goodies, a little something for my troubles.
         As if the same old routine wasn’t bad enough, on this particular Sunday, Pap added a new wrinkle to his festival of cheapness.  He held the dollar bill up to the sun to see if the transparency was consistent with that of a single, one-dollar bill.  It was this new wrinkle that sent me careening over the edge.  There was no doubt in my mind that Pap had secured his position in the cheapskate hall of fame.
         I glanced at my dad, who was still reclining, a grin played at the corners of his mouth and closed eyes, suggesting that maybe he had an idea of how angry these episodes made me.  My anger peaked.  I was going to demand that Pap buy me a sarsaparilla for my trouble today, and I didn’t even like sarsaparilla.
         As I stepped toward him, I became aware of a ball in the pit of my stomach.
         Pap was still holding the bill up to the sunlight when I approached him
         “Pap,” I said, trying to add some authority to my approach by lowering my voice.
Because the matters at hand overshadowed everything else happening on the porch at that particular moment, I hadn’t noticed that my dad had stopped rocking and cocked an eye in my direction.
         “Huh,” Pap said, appearing not to notice the tone in my voice, or the fact that I had stirred before I had been summoned.
         “Well Pap, I think that...well ya see…do you want me to run up to Charlie’s for ya?”
         “If it ain’t no bother.”
         “No bother,” I said, hanging my head in disgust.
         Pap handed me the dollar bill and placed his order as if I had never performed this woeful task, and I headed off to Charlie’s.
         I didn’t hear the conversation between Pap and dad that day after I left, but dad told me what was said years later.  And now, as I sit in my wicker rocking chair, on the porch of my fairly nondescript house, I recall the conversation.
         “It frustrated the hell out of me when you used to do that to me pop.”
         “Taught ya to stand up for yourself didn’t it?”
         “I guess.”
         “It’s a good thing that your boy didn’t decide to find his manhood today.”
         “Why’s that?”
         “I only had one dollar.”

© 2010 Crowley

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bizarro Superman

To Love Someone - A Photograph by Kenia Cris

....I don't know Kenia, but I love the photos posted for the challenge and plan on familiarizing myself with her work post haste. I chose this photo because of my love of the guitar, my love of love and all the little nuances wrapped up in relationship.  When I was looking at the picture I was listening to a song called "Waiting on a Superman" by The Flaming Lips.  I love playing that song and the chords at the first of the stanzas are the first three chords in the least as I play it.  Hope Kenia doesn't think this is too far out there....its just what came out....If she hates it...she can kick my ass.

G major, G Spot, G Man, G String, Gina, Gina
That song you wrote me last February….resonates
Keeping tempo and causing palpitations, wrinkling time
I can’t believe Beth was your favorite KISS song, travesty repeats
Pass me a note

Do you like me?
Circle one

A minor, A bomb, A for effort, A train, Amy, Amy
That poem you wrote for me last February….drips
Eyelids too sticky to open, but the colors brilliant
When I push on my eyes with your delicate fingertips
Pass me a note

Do you Hate me?
Forgive me

D ring, D lish, D cell, Heavy D and the Boys, Diane , Diane
The essay you wrote me last February, the one about why I suck….burns
My reflection tasting like a mouth full of meal worms and turned wine
It would take years to craft a response worthy of your attention
Pass me a note

Can you see me?
Forget me