She had her voice and it was buried deep inside in a place so sacred, so lonely. Only occasional tears that sprung up within the course of a life could witness it in raw form. When she sang, she camouflaged it with a myriad of spices, electricity, effects, grace notes, some call magic…knowing that if a song were stolen, a particular special song…her raw voice, that depth of melody, would find its way back. It had never left nor would it ever leave.
But it was when her best friend stole a song that she became impatient. She decided not to wait for her voice to return. She confronted her friend who had hidden the theft by a distance of distortion, waves of unsettled motion. The demand she made caused ripples, heat, heat, heat, until the voice returned, even though if she had waited, it would have returned on its own. A costly mistake. She is now avoided.
Her gift. Her curse.
You can hear her if you are very quiet, compassionate, through the most menacing noise. The noise…now…will never leave us.
Ren gauged the sky by clouds, how dense they were against August west hills.
When they sat high above the hills, like loose bones on taunt skin, he threw an old mustard-colored blanket upon the backyard lawn.
The lawn was a sea storm of bumps, weeds, and grass, but after a while his back adjusted, conformed to the waves, and while buzzed on a couple of ales, looked up into the sky, which was blocked, partially, by an overgrown fig tree and a couple of out-of-control bushes.
He was not good at maintaining the yard. The neighbors, in an innocent passive-aggressive style, let him know this.
Kate would come over from time to time, sit with him, with a cheap bottle of wine from Trader Joes, riding a rattle-trap Schwinn to look at the sky with him.
So much looking upwards, they thought they found something.
The house’s paint had cracked by being exposed to that same sky, along with the wood siding that was splintered and there was even a cinder block, painted green, plugging a hole in the roof.
The neighbors politely didn’t mention these things, though they worried about their property values.
Neither did Kate…mention these things.
‘Twas the vinegar that tippeth
Toward the leftover quiche
Oh, lonely empty bottle, recycler boon
When sun meets to kiss moon—
And mustard, your yellows bold
A bit old, but still at play—
Mummified lime, plastic lined
Awaits blessed water of the fizzy kind—
Four salad dressings,
Daughters of the virgin oil—
Bright Wednesday’s sauce
Must find solace at all cost
Before the scourge of poisoned moss—
A couple of red jellies
To keep a merry belly
Harvested during the sweetness
Of His grand spring—
A dire few leaves of spinach
Must be eaten in a pinch
Or thrown into a stew anew
Cat food can, oh my love be content
Yet, small miracles abound
In these cool vestiges—for—
Behind the onion skins
And forgotten slice of apple
My hand moves with assured fate—
Look at what Providence hath left!
A cold beer is found no less!
O, wonderous workings, I’m blessed.
The tiles have a series of cracks, a map of years. Years reshape, transform into twists, gnarls, fissures. Without the years, he thinks, the present wouldn’t look real, authentic, contain beauty. The present, always polishing, rebuilding, gentrifying, trying to reface the past. But one can’t forget the past, shouldn’t, even the bad stuff, especially the bad stuff.
Evil is a beauty. You must look at it with careful, discerning eyes, wise eyes, eyes that cry without distorting reality, eyes that know evil can be unstable, eyes that know it can take a bite out of you when you least expect it. Sometimes, you must bite it back…hard.
He places his hand over some cracks, cool, slightly rough, rests… until a spot becomes warm.
There’s a quietness about the river
broken by a random leap, splash of steelheads.
a prairie hawk loses a feather.
The natives drink a loud liquor
on their fishing platforms, dip nets
looking for fish who choose
to become parts of ceremonies.
The valley refracts strong light
that moves with the quiet.
Hills are made of dead gold,
skeleton orchards, lost spirit guides.
Bear scat litters small pastures
where the river overruns its banks,
forming shallow pools.
I’m cautious like a fool and listen.
The sun sets earlier here.
I knew that going in
I’m searching for rain or shadows
They only last for a short period.
My phone drops, small echo
Black screen on slick green moss
I yell for some reason
Maybe to prove I can make a sound
The sun throbs red…west…hovers
next to the peak of Mt. Hood.
Highway 14 yanks at me with its noise
where occasional deer lie still
on the shoulder of its pavement,
small trickle of blood in their teeth.
Dusk is as good as night here.