I saw it coming

Once upon a time, there was a damsel in a red dress
the young prince jealous of all the dashing penguins
surrounding her, courting the lady with words, fancying themselves
new Byrons, and one in every crowd, a Bukowski in tights
catching her eye

She wasn’t much to look at in the midday sun, but when the shadows were cast across the folds of her dress, he would turn his head, his eyes soft and lost in daydreams of what could be done with such a woman

Knowing that the nights, such as they were, were payment for days of ludicrous loss they would never see coming, the wars fought without swords, inflicting wounds that would never heal, festering fathoms of ache

Allowed one indulgence, one glorious night under the moon, wrapped up in her tresses, the rising sun giving away the messes of what would be their great romance, a lifetime in one night, an ending before they were ever begun.

The end.

‘Til Tuesday

Come evening they sit in the front room–
he with his chamomile and she has her crossword
puzzle on her lap. She swears when she makes a mistake in ink

The phone rings across the room. She coughs.He turns his head once,
but does not get up. She claims that she can tell
it is a telemarketer by the tone

“Is there any beer?”
She continues working on 23 down, not answering.
“Is there any beer?”
“There is no beer.” She writes in the answer.
“Pity.”

The clock strikes 8.
she puts down the puzzle.
“Meet you there?”
“Hmm?”
“Well it is Monday night.”
“So it is. Did you?”
“Yes, of course.”

She stands in the doorway in crimson.
She typically wears only black, but
had promised to always wear his favourite color red on Mondays.
“A new one. Lace?”
“Yes.”

After–
they lie very still, he on his side and she on her back,
smoking. He makes a pretense of coughing.
“Your hair looks like satin in this light.”

“And you look like the boy I met on the train.”
“Was that 1988?”
“You know it was.”
“Best day ever.”
Smoke rings at the ceiling speak of it.

She sits cross-legged on the bed
while he brushes her hair. Every few strokes
he leans forward and speaks directly into her ear, whispering
“I love Mondays.”

“Did you say you bought roses?”
“Red ones, two dozen”
“Where are they?”
“I saw you were home and ran in quickly. They must be in my car.”
She smiles.
“Silly.”

She lies on her side and he on his back. She pushes
a shock of hair off his forehead with a delicate gesture.
He closes his eyes.

“Let’s lay here until Tuesday.”

Sparklers

She remembers when the water was like diamonds
and she’d been dreaming about sparklers ever since
Cinderella with her magic fairy auntie
brought to light the possibility of lurking princes

She took off while he was working, packing
five t-shirts, as many pairs of Levi’s
and a red dress into her graduation luggage
still with the tags on, the air moist and oppressive

Starting off somewhere in the middle of the states
flipping a coin she headed west, not stopping
til the water was salty as her skin
her elbow jutting out the window, tan as walnuts

No one there to tell her to turn it down, she
blasted Guns N’ Roses, her hair
a storm about her head, her phone ringing
on the hour until she threw it out the window

Off kilter

I reached into my pocket and felt around for the shorty, a cigarette I put out under my boot when I had to duck into the butcher. I lit it.

The tip went cold and I shifted packages to one side awkwardly. A hand under my elbow held it steady while another brought ’round a match.

“Thank you green eyes, ” I said, and smiled, dropping the package of chops at his feet. “You saved me. I needed this smoke.”

We both bent for the package at once, bumping heads. I burned his neck with the cigarette, and dropped it.

Standing still, I let him pick it up for me, but instead of handing it to me, he put it under one arm and took my other packages as well. “Was that your last?” he asked.

“Yes. I smoked so many at a pub last night,” I said, wondering why I told this to a stranger. He started walking with my packages and my heels skipped over pavement to catch up.

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Something I never told you

When you see me bright and shining here, at 3671 Hudson I have the shades pulled down. I open them for the sunrise, then close them when it is high in the sky. At sunset, I open them again. Sometimes. Other weeks they stay shut for days while I type, printing off stacks of pages in neat rows. On days like today, listening to The Guess Who and Janis Joplin, I open the windows wide. The shades are up and I don’t notice what I am wearing, or if I am wearing next to nothing. The music floods through the screens to tell the neighborhood how I feel young and I dance. I dance through the first floor apartment with the sunshine laying tracks over the carpet and the kitchen floor. I imagine they all are watching and I am on a stage–one that I envisioned when I was eight–and I dance on through the day until the music is finished.

fears of the fathers

sailing through cherry blossom days
and crème brûlée nights
she wasn’t going to lay down her arms
for a mere brat of a boy
saving up her trinkets for later
giving him all her daydreams
and night sweats

he did not know the tango
but they moved through summer
amid a soundtrack of Ravel
and Aguilera
all second thoughts
stuffed under the mattress

back in the town onto which
they shook the clay from their shoes
all their dues, paid
if you took into account
their mothers’ latent wishes
and the fears of their fathers

Answer: never

Jeopardy question: When is it ‘too little, too late’?

In 1989 I met a family that a year later I would become a part of. I had come from a place and family from the mid-west U.S. and was about to enter a very American-European family on the east coast. I was insecure about fitting into a family. Put me in a room with 30-100 strangers and I was the life of the party. Put me in a living room with 15 folks that were about to welcome me as sister, daughter, etc, and I had utter stage fright.

I came from a family where I had not hugged anyone in years, except a side arm hug at the airport and a bear hug from my mother who had longed for that for years herself. I entered a house where every face was kissing me and every arm was hugging me. But I still felt outside. Why?

I didn’t know how to express affection that way. I wanted it, but I was afraid of it. I questioned their motives, I assumed they didn’t accept me. Didn’t like me.

Didn’t get me.

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Her final act

blue dress.png

Her life’s work:

appreciated
by the gaunt gentleman
his speech fled
fifty years gone
his serenity stolen
by carelessness

It wasn’t as if
she had never naught
to do with it
admittedly
reposed for years, in
a woe-begotten design

His life reclaimed
she departed
her layers of blue silk
a tourbillon on the plain
the gentleman
bowing from a distance

All has concluded.

***

Jigsaw Cut-up poetry via writings from Sean Fraser @TheatreSean

 

Jam Hag

Inspector Iris Cooper and young officer David Martínez took in the house before them. All the legends, myths, warnings, and mythos surrounding this place threatened to interfere with their experience and good judgement. From the icing on the roof to the gumdrop trim and doorknobs, Iris’ mind went back to childhood, to all the dreams of sugar her mother wouldn’t let her have, and jealousy of her schoolmates with more permissive parents. She inhaled the deep scents of cinnamon and cocoa, pulling on a pair of blue gloves, and reaching for the doorknob.

 

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Caught

The screen door is open and I walk in. Jeremy likes it open so I don’t nag anymore. I smell spaghetti. He cooked? I hear his voice and call out to him. He walks out of the den as if he has not heard me, his hand resting at the small of the back of a blonde who looks familiar. Is she Jack’s teacher? I duck around the corner. I want to catch him in the act. I am furious when I see my favourite red pumps dangling from her fingers, as they walk through the kitchen and out the door. He closes and locks it and I run out the side way to watch from around the garage. They take off in -presumably-<em> her</em> burgundy BMW and I grab my bike and hop on, hurrying to keep abreast of where they are headed. They don’t go far, turning off the side entrance of the old arboretum where we used to walk. I am crushed. Why would Jeremy cheat on me?

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