Sunday, September 29, 2013

Twelve Steps (A Modern Almost Love Story)


     Twelve short steps and an eternity in my mind.  My stomach grumbled a bit, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had for lunch had long since wore off, allowing for plenty of room for the one thousand butterflies to flit and fly at will. She was beautiful, not sunset beautiful or beautiful like a bouquet of flowers. She was blessed with a universal depth and beauty that I was sure no one, not even God would have been able to look directly at without squinting.  I chuckled to myself at this thought ,cheesy as it was it was true, but I also though that God would have a badass pair of Maui Jims so it really wouldn’t bother him at all.

     At eleven steps to go I started to notice the sweat.  Dripping from the back of my hair and between my over starched shirt and back, rolling unhindered down the curve of my spine and ultimately depositing in the waist band of my underwear. I knew what the last song was going to be, always a slow song, it would be Sailing by Christopher Cross, my friend Frankie was the DJ, he would hook me up. It was song that rarely penetrated the radar of my hard rock sensibility, but it was epically long allowing for all kinds of thoughts that would eventually lead to no action while dancing.  Yeah….but just the thoughts were enough some times.

     I would like to say steps two through ten were as memorable, but I don’t really remember, they flew by in a horny haze that left me dizzy and hoping the ghost in my pants wouldn’t wake prematurely. I didn’t need to wield a subpar weapon into this foray.  She was standing near the stage of the gymnasium.  The gym, had been transformed into a romantic hotbed of raging hormones and inadequate lighting, the disco ball creating a mood that felt like a full blown orgy could happen at anytime.  Four out of twenty yellowish sodium vapor lights cast a backyard party glow, and the ruby red exit sign glow gave a red light district quality to a normally sweaty and competitive space.

     She was talking to Wendy Crump.  Wendy crump hated me, but as it usually happens, she was her best friend and I am sure that most of my longing glances, inadvertent brushes, and inappropriate mumblings were heavily scrutinized in their teenage girl conversations.  It mattered not on this night.  I was fresh off a speech from my father, who, being my biggest fan, said not to be afraid of rejection because who knows?

     Step two introduced a fresh wave of anxiety.  I straitened my tie and shirt, took a deep breath and stepped through the candy glass force field that took me from step two to the last step.

     “Would you like to dance?” She smiled, thank God she smiled.

     “No thanks.”  She said it like someone had offered her a whiskey sour. My fathers voice came into my mind like a silent cheerleader.  “Don’t take no for an answer.”

     “ I promise I’ll be a perfect gentlemen,” I said with an awkward smile.

     “She’s taken jackwad,” Wendy Crump spat.  She rolled her eyes and turned away from me.

     She took me by the arm and pulled me away from Wendy.

     “Its not you, I am in a relationship with a girl from St. Anne’s.” She turned and headed back to Wendy.

     My head filled with an audible buzz.  I wasn’t expecting that. I turned and headed back to my jacket, the dance was over for me.  Rejection seemed to sting less in this context.  As I walked out I looked back and took one last look at her and wondered how one would manage watching her make out with the girl form St. Anne’s.  I left with a new perspective and a mission…..another successful high school dance.

Monday, September 9, 2013


     She was made of bits and scraps of paper, colored, white and the occasional black. There was no rhyme or reason as to the shape of the bits, but like snowflakes, each seemed to be wrapped in an intriguing and often beguiling pattern that represented beauty and experience. She didn’t make the pieces, they were shaped by others, not God’s or masters, but artists, each responsible for shaping one or more scraps and then placing them, sometimes harshly and at times with the gentleness and finesse of a mother’s hand, into the collage that was her very being.  The scraps were never glued or pinned at the edges, they were free floating and loose, subject to change with the slightest breeze, but at times, not even a hurricane could dislodge them. This was when she was at her best and happiest. Entropy would cause decay with some of the paper and it seemed the more brightly colored pieces would break down more rapidly while the black scraps would last for what seemed forever, no amount of conviction could force them to fade.
     As this month’s principal artist to the woman, I worked tirelessly in an effort to secure a permanent position in her being.  My strategy was to fabricate our coalescing souls from the finest rag vellum in shades that bled emotion. Violent reds, the deepest purples, oranges that flared and burned at the edges of her black pieces, greens that settled her immutable personality and fed with nurture and acceptance. To avoid the black, I had to listen with a canine’s ear and sniff the air to catch the scent of irrationality and misunderstanding and cloak it in truth and loves rouge. I cut with shears that were sharp and precise and I worked through the night with a passion fed by the desire to make us whole, to finish the masterpiece that would leave her breathless. After a fortnight’s work and before a deep but fitful sleep I stepped back and looked at my creation and smiled. That night, I dreamed of a picnic with crisp soda crackers, the tang of Manchego and the blanket of a full bodied red wine coating my tongue and softening my mind.  She grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes unable to speak, the deep green pieces that I had worked so hard to get just so, deepening into brown and then black. The ivory porcelain I had given to her as skin grayed and cracked audibly and when she opened her mouth, instead of the cacophony of blues in a sweet spring sky, an ochre dust puffed, whirled and eddied until it enveloped her entire head.
     I awoke abruptly with pain in my heart.  I rushed to my table to look once more at my creation to find nothing more than a small pile of dust and a note scribbled in charcoal.
     I am…..already
     I threw my shears and paper into the fire and fed for the rest of my days on regret and cold porridge and whispered often to the birds outside my window;
    “She was….already”.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Lovestruck Sherpa

“Will you carry me up the mountain, and place me delicately?”
“Will you carry my belongings and hand me another pair of warm socks?”

The course of love, treacherous at times, snowballs until gravity matters
He shouldered her love without straps or cinching, without hooks or spikes
When it came time to profess that love, it echoed too loudly on granite faces
And the avalanche that ensued thundered in his ears, flushing faces

“You can move on, I will leave you in peace and heed winter’s warning.”
“Where will you go?”
“Into the valley where the rainwater collects in dark crevices waiting.”
"Why won’t you stay?"

The distance measured in in frozen tear drops, the landscape blurred and beautiful
But a hollow chest is where the ravens nest, dining on a young mans desires
He could capture his life in a poem, but icicle words are too sharp
Instead, he would capture silence by the tail and listen for love on the wind.

He can’t hear her, but the wind tells such lonely tales until sleep comes.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Playing Doctor In the Stairwell

I stepped out from my  apartment and walked barefoot to the the stairwell landing where Jim was reading Annie Proulx halfheartedly and tapping his feet. On tipped toes, I rubbed his stubbled head and covered his eyes. 


He turned his face to mine and asked if I meant basketball or real doctor when I called him Doctor J during sex last night. I paused, pinching my lip and thought about him fat fingering the hook on my bra for a full minute before I rescued him from his covert fumblings.


He shook his head and returned to his book.

"I'll get my shoes"