Dark Solstice

The world has turned
its face
away from the sun

The cold sky wears
a gray blanket
of tears

Trees have thrown their
clothes to the ground and
stand naked

Even the lake
stops
breathing

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A Home for Socrates (from “The Riotous Walls”)

(From The Riotous Walls, unpublished short novel)

Socrates the goldfish needed a new home.  He had been living in an ice cream bucket for the last year and it was high time for him to have a nice home that he could see out of like other goldfish.  But what?  The glass fish aquariums at Wal-Mart cost $10.99 on which I could eat for a week and, in fact, unless I came up with a better idea, he wasn’t going to get a look at the wide world until Christmas.

Suddenly I spied the wine jug we emptied  on Saturday night.  It was perfect:  big enough, transparent and it was free.  The bottleneck presented the only problem and it would have to be removed by what means I wasn’t sure, but where there’s a will there’s a way.   I scoured the house and came up with a Neanderthal  repertoire of tools:  sticks, rocks, a hammer.

I was trying to knock just the top part of it off with a hammer when Troy came out of the downstairs apartment to see what the hell all the noise was about.  I didn’t think it seemed like such a bad idea until I started trying to explain it.  I mean, maybe I would be lucky enough to break just the top of it off without bashing the thing to shards and slitting my wrists. You don’t know until you try.

I have something you could use, he offered.
Really?
Yeah. It used to be my hamster cage, but he died.  So you could have it.  It’s plastic, but it’d hold water.
Oh. Cool.
What was I thinking, anyway?
That way you won’t cut yourself, he added and went inside to get it.

Talk about nice neighbors.  Troy wasn’t the world’s smartest guy; after all, he works at the rubber factory.  But he had me and my half-baked college degree on that one.

New Moon Dreams

She is not afraid by the sea in the house with no windows or doors.
The enormous blackness outside pours in like water through open spaces.
She can feel the faint breath of stars on her skin.
The rising tide rocks her in her bed and frogs sing her songs in the language of secrets.

Time evaporates like mist and she has been here forever; a thousand years by the ancient sea, asleep between sand and stars.
She will never leave.
She will always be here where her body lies sleeping in the warm black night, salt in her hair, a girl/animal curled in new moon dreams.

For Barbara

My friend Barbara disappeared three years ago this week.
Whereas on one hand we pretty much know what happened to her and where she is, no one ever found her.  I am not convinced that anyone truly looked.  But I, for one, refuse to forget her or pretend that everything is alright. 

where are you barbara
with your tame dogs and
bright strings tied
about your wrists?
where are your brown arms
swirling skirts
and painted toes?

the wind is your breath;
your gray eyes are
rain clouds.
spiders are spinning
locks of your hair.

open your mouth and
speak, barbara.
tell me a story,
draw me a picture.

the ocean is salty and
warm like
your blood.

does it mutter
your secrets?  it is
guarding your bones?