Oh such a lovely, lovely day
Perfect for poetry
drizzly, miserable and occasional obligatory lightning
Helter and kelter, all that summer swelter
poof – gone
And what’s more in keeping with days like this
than the poetry of lost lovers and other pitiable creatures
All miserable and muttled and . . .
The world outside the window is pewter fog
A crimson leaf slaps the window and sticks
I remember your hand on the railing
Why can’t I see your face?
In dreams I run after you
On those rare times when I actually snag your arm
A stranger’s face turns to me
And I can see nothing in the fog
Your foot print in the driveway
Totally drizzly, miserable stanzas devoid of summer swelter
And my whole body is hungry for you
I hate poetry
Angel opens the curtains
then the bay window
She lets the moon in
Crèmey alabaster light
Flows in through the open window
Gurgles and churns where it hits the floor
Flows in and around everything
Ebbs and swirls . . .
She sits in the window
her back to the room
Looking out on the misty night
And something is walking across the lawn
She turns and considers lighting a candle
Something has just cleared the foliage
And she can see how he moves
Her heart flutters like a dove
Has been released into the room
‘Oh God keep him from the door’
She knows that walk
She wants that walk
He had bright
Not like hers
not angel wings
Here we are at the Globe
She had a walk-on part in Mid summer’s Night Dream
I helped with the set
got paid and what a resume booster
This is the Cast Photo
That’s her right there
The Street Cafe in London
One of the best runs of clement weather in 25 years
And we were lucky enough to score a walk-in table
Parmesan skin appetizers
Puffed up little pork scratchings from a rind
Espresso poured over vanilla ice cream
you can drink your beer on the streets
and in the subway if you don’t spill it.”
Took this picture in Reykjavik
The airport isn’t actually in town
Keflavik International Airport is about 50 kilometers to the east
If you do a lay-over
and spend some tourist-time in Iceland
you get free flight continuity
The waitress dared me to eat snails
but we ordered sandwiches
“The first boy I ever kissed
smelled of wanting
and hurt. . .”
She pulled a stalk of parsley out of her sandwich
flicked it on our tray
Sipped her soda
(an Eglis Applesin)
Made a face
checked her phone
“You guys are all alike
Just the same. . . .”
And she said nothing else
Chen Lei shuffles across the doorstep into his house. He surprises his daughter, Chen Xi .
“How is your mother?”
“Sir, she is still quite ill.”
“I have come home to care for her . . .”
“Sir . . . a man of your standing must not do such . . .”
“Gentle one, any man who would fault me for caring for my wife when she is ill is not worthy of consideration.”
Chen Xi embraces her father and they exchange chi for a long time. “Sir, you are wise.”
“None of it. When was the last batch of medicine brewed?’
“Moments ago, it is still fresh and charged with content. I was preparing to feed her when you arrived.”
“You have spent too much time in this house, as you are a worthy daughter. Go to the market and get the ingredients for dinner. Avoid Gen Gaou, he always charges too much for vegetables.”
“Sir, I would stay here . . .”
“No more of this. I am here to care for your mother, as she has cared for me. Obey he in this. Go to the market, but change into some spring trappings.”
“On the way here I saw that young man . . what is his name?”
“Sir. I am embarrassed . . .”
“Young one, the present is always a gift and the future is only a promise. We must always prepare for the promise of the future. You are the future little one. Now go.”
Chen Xi shuffled out of the room. Chen Lei straighten his clothing, gathered the medicine into a tureen and stepped into the bed room.
“Hello, is my wife Ping here?”
“Husband, you are home early . . . I must fix you something to eat.”
“Yes, about that, I require that you eat . . .”
“Oh no, where is Xi?”
“She obeys her father in all things and is at the market gathering the ingredients for dinner.”
“She should . . .”
“About this eating thing you mentioned, please eat some of this.”
“Husband . . .”
“I am a man of some honor, am I not?”
“Yes, you are a good and noble man.”
“I am a good provider for this family, am I not?”
“I am honored above others . . .”
“And are my wishes to be ignored?”
“Then please, Ping, please eat your medicine and care for yourself. You can not serve me and not serve yourself.”
“Husband . . .”
“Woman, you make me absent from court and the others will be talking. Let me help to heal you so that I may get back to my difficult job of service to the king and to the empire. I can not focus on the matters of state when I am silly with worry about you.”
She lifts her hand and brushes his hair the way she did when they were young. She sits up and takes the tureen. Knocks away his hand when he tries to feed her and starts to feed herself. “You are a stubborn old fool.”
“Madam. you might be correct. In matters concerning you my logic is often flawed.”
I watch as she drives home in traffic talking to herself about the about the Korean account. She’s such a good driver, always in control, it is such a pleasure . . . Damn, I slipped again. She can smell me now.
“OK, I know you’re here . . .”
She is clever. She says, “You know what, you smell like . . . like the scent of Christmas cookies. You’re like the sizzle of summer rain. You’re . . . just the perfect C chord progression. I wish just once you’d talk to me.”
I’m her guardian angel and I’m in love with her. I guess every one of us is in love with our charge but this one . . . this one is different, this love is wrong. I am not supposed to feel this way about a woman.
We’re stalled in traffic and she turns the radio off. She tilts her head and I swear I think she can hear me, hear me . . .
“You are music to me,” she says and her pursed lips relax into the merest shadow of a smile. Traffic surges and her mind is off again.
She parks in the lot of her comdo. In the spot not under the tree where all the birds gather to take their morning crap. Boy was she mad that time.
I exit the car and she opens her door and climbs into the sweltering heat. Digs her stuff out of the rear and I think for the thousandth time, ‘You really need to clean that back seat out.’
She opens her mailbox and finds she has a chance of winning millions . . . it’ll be some demon in a far place promising the same fortune in her e-mail. I know I peeked.
I watch her walk up the flights. My heart is in the sigh of the concrete steps. I love to watch her walk . . . I listen when she talks . . . This love is wrong.
She leaves the door open a fraction longer than absolutely necessary. She knows I’m following and she is taunting me. She kicks her shoes across the dining room and scrunches the pile carpet with her toes. She throws her business suit jacket across the recliner and hits the answering machine. I mean she physically hits the machine. Poor device, wonder how much longer it can last.
I do not follow her into the nether regions. Even angels must honor certain privacies.
She returns sorting the mail and tosses the envelopes onto the oaken buffet that Grandma Pennington left her. She fingers the lace crocheted doily that the kindest woman in the world knitted, well crocheted actually. Oh God, why must I watch this. She wants so much to touch the hand of a daughter, to have someone to hold. To hold her . . . I can’t watch, its too painful.
OK, I return.
She has set a place for me at the table. I never know how to feel about this, but then our relationship is not normal.
She nukes something French and puts a roll on my plate.
She stares at the chair where I sit for the longest time, then thanks God for his many blessings. Good, she’s hungry, always a good sign. I look at my roll.
She starts the conversation, as a courtesy I guess. She tells me all bout her advanced numerical torture and the absolute nonsense of her day.
I sit there and try not to cry. I would walk through five kinds of hell just to be able to pick up that bread. Not because I’m hungry but because she has offered it. Seven Kinds of Hell . . .
She loads the dish washer, checks out the chat on the net, reads all those nice emails from people she knows. Maybe if she had a dog or something . . . Not a cat, I hate cats. The way they just stare off into space, you know they’re watching us don’t you.
She stretches, rubs her own shoulder, plops down on the couch and tries in desperation to find something interesting. She finds a Cheeto in the couch lining, Oh please don’t eat . . . good, she throws it away.
The phone is ringing. Its her mom, I don’t even have to peek. I can tell from her facial expression, moms and daughters, go figure.
She is casting about and finds her favorite book. She has read it so many times. The cover says something like “City of . . .” the rest of the title is worn off. Again the smile. The glow . . . the soft wonder of that glow . . . I love this woman.
She’s reading, here’s her favorite part. Where he’s breathing in her ear and it is the gentlest of sounds. And she drifts away . . .
I pause consider that I would love to pull her cover over her exposed feet.
Her eyes are closed, she’s starting to dream.
“Goodnight.” she whispers
And she can almost hear me say. “I love you.”
Jenelle is sleeping on the couch. I sit in the chair, right beside her head.
Her demon is running back and forth across the back of the couch. It does that a lot when it’s bored.
It is a slither of smoke with oversized paws that conceal nasty little claws. I have seen it for as long as I have known her. It is my small talent/curse.
It’s time I spoke to it directly. The myst that makes me demon-proof is kinda thick and it take a bit of concentration to thin it enough to speak Hesirith. That, and it makes the shielding kinda itchy and cantankerous.
“You. . . on the couch.” It ignores me.
“Shac-akawak-naw wa-tokata. . .” That gets its attention.
My hand is on her arm before it can get back into her. “Sorry, old sport, but no.”
If it dissipates, then problem solved, one less of its kind.
It decides to try attacking me. Bad choice. The shielding holds. They hate it when I laugh at them.
By its actions it has created a relationship with me. I reach through the connection and grab it by the underside. They really hate that.
An hour of really pointless struggle ensues and the dark-spawn starts to run down. It can’t feed on either of us and I’m not letting it out, so its starving.
It whines for a while; threatens for a while more and at length goes silent.
“Now, little pup, I am sure you have heard of Binders. Yeah, it’s like that. I am gonna make a deal. Either you dissipate and leave this plane for all eternity or I bind you to something inanimate and throw it into the ocean.”
It tries to bite my face. I sigh.
“Son this is pointless,” and I find the part of me that does the binding.
The creatures speaks, “Hold thy hand. Lest you in haste bring a misfortune to all concerned.”
“You mean Jenelle?”
“She summoned me and in exchange for the gifts she gives me I provide her with. . . entertainments.”
“About that, I don’t care, leave now or be bound and learn to entertain fish.”
“You insolent human, if you knew of my master. . .”
“I am the Keewah of Sultac, Binder of Nethers and Dark-spawn. I am the Fear-god of your fathers and your master fears me. Stop the rhetoric and decide your fate.”
“She needs me. . .”
“No, she doesn’t.”
And it is gone, choosing dissipation above binding. Eh’.
Jenelle awakes and is dulled by the experience.
Within an hour she has thrown me out of the apartment. The last thing she said to me before throwing her cell phone out the window was, “How can I write now! I needed that inspiration if I’m ever do anything worth a crap. You did this to me, and I hate you! Never come back!”
So, I guess its true, you must be careful when you throw out a demon, that you don’t throw away the best part. . .
under a cyan sky
just barely troubled by white strato-nimbus clouds
in a rose garden tended by an artist
a maestro of the topiary art
soft sculptures molded by growth and inhibition
Two standing stones
in the swirl and flow
of that most ethereal fluid. . . time
and a man
A poet and a poem
As the sun was consumed
by the lesser light
now strangely dark
As there came upon their scalps a coolness
a zephyr from the west
As the sky faded from cyan to turquoise
“Speak comfort to me. . .
For I have sinned
and I would not have it
that all of these here might be punished. . .
I deserve this
but surely those gathered here should not be hurt
for standing near
in my time of judgment”
A dry and pained laugh
“How is your sin so vast?
How is your offense so egregious
that the heavens would be darkened by your wickedness?”
“Painful and dry is your rebuke
Do you love nothing?”
“I have loved you for so many lifetimes
so many dark nights and ardent, searing days
I love you more than self
And the sky went totally dark
Where the light of the world used to be
there now dwelled a hole into infinity
A circular pitch-black fear
A Stygian sphere. . .
And she asked
“All around the sphere of fear. . .
a halo. . .
He put his arms around her
“No my love
That is the promise of hope
The sun will return”
She pushed his away
“Surely this is the Fear-god of the ancients
This is no passing thing
This is divine retribution. . .”
He held out his hand
as if asking to dance
there are stars
The Sun will come again
and we shall dance in Light”
“How do you know?”