Saturday, December 24, 2011
A winter hush blanketed Philadelphia.
I sat in Washington Square ringed by brick and colonial windowpanes. Few walked the night, and my breath feathered in clouds.
Once, this ground interred yellow fever victims.
I thought about them.
And generations disappeared.
I turned to see the spirit of the City next to me. A face of cobblestones. Eyes of jewelers' clocks. Forgotten streets lined its old overcoat.
It watched the orange lights. People in warm houses. "I like the feel of them," it said. "But no one sits here with me anymore."
The hush deepened.
"I will," I said.
(This 100 word story (exactly) is part of Loren Eaton's shared storytelling for Christmas Eve. Check it out!)
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
My seventh year was the last year I believed in Santa Claus.
And the Grinch is to blame.
I didn't have older siblings to spill the beans. The bratty neighbor didn't dime out St. Nick. No, it happened when I had an epiphany while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Well, that's not entirely fair. It was a combination of the Grinch and a standard, everyday clock. Those were the tools of my loss of innocence.
Here's how it went down. We all know that the Grinch is a burglar and a larcenist. He'd be doing hard time if it weren't for the fact that the Whos are biologically incapable of conceptualizing jails. I watched the Grinch breaking and entering via the chimney. I watched him slink around the room and manage to add corruption of minors to his rap sheet as he made off with the presents, food, and Cindy Lou's trust in adults forever. The epiphany came, however, when I suddenly realized how…much…time…it……took. Around 5 minutes for a single house.
That got me thinking. Even if you worked in some serious magic mojo and assumed that Santa could teleport himself in and out of the house in 1 second, my immediate neighborhood alone would take one minute to deliver the goods. If my neighborhood took one minute, a few square miles around me could easily take 1 hour. You see where this is going. There just isn't enough time, man. Wake up and smell the math.
I didn't really hate the Grinch for ruining the magic of my childhood.
If anything I blamed myself for being so thick.
But maybe I'm being too forgiving. We just had to break the anti-Santa news to our 12-year-old.
Maybe the song was right. Maybe I was robbed worse that the Whos.
Stink, stank, stunk.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing [ ] remarkable in his taking a stroll at night....
--Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
I am particularly fond of A Christmas Carol. Any story that touches on the unseen world, explores Everyman, teaches wisdom, and stands the test of time is a multi-platinum winner in my book. It also follows an old tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve. And now it's your chance!
Loren Eaton, of Clarity of Night contest fame, is hosting a shared short story event on his blog I Saw Lightning Fall. You have 100 words (exactly) to write a chill-inspiring story for Christmas Eve. You post it on your own blog and send Loren a link, or he has offered to host it.
Definitely hop over if you're interested. I'm intrigued by the thought of joining in that ancient tradition. I am going to write one.
Monday, December 12, 2011
In the night, the stormy night, away [he'd] fly.
The boy stayed in his room while things moved outside the walls.
Black shapes, grimacing faces, and the evil eye. Like open windows with no curtains, no shutters. No one even bothered to put glass in the panes.
The boy stayed in his room while things moved outside the walls. He didn't look up, because he could feel them scurrying then stopping to stare. It was so much better when they ignored him.
He concentrated on the work in his hands and the cut papers scattered on the floor. His fingers worked. It was the best he could hope to do. To fashion what he never otherwise would have.
The holes in the wall were too small for the things to step through. But much too small to hide him (or for him to step out). Once in a while they laughed or spat, but he never stopped or looked up. They moved all hours of the day and night. And that is just how it was.
Monday, December 05, 2011
i want the anticipation
hanging in exquisite silence
like an audience
before a symphony
then the first note
so deliciously sweet
bends like the draw
of a violin bow
but the sigh is your hunger
and the bend is your neck
with lips parting
and hunger is heavy
behind the composition
and the audience grips armrests
to not tear apart the air
that carries the notes
in shaking frustration
dark and lusting
so strangely weaving
feminine and masculinity
alive and slick with
complexity and harmonics
and I can discover
a melody rising
and i could compose forever
if you would let me
and no two phrases
would ever be the same
because my creativity
and i would out-sail the tides
of ecstasy and transcendence
because the primeval fires
burn with art and throbbing rhythm
and the torture becomes the resisting
reaching for the conductor's baton
so translate the performance
into writhing and poise
because it truly is
a death not so little
and when the waters calm
and we wait for the familiar darkness
in the huge cozy theater
until all the instruments
cannot abide the silence
and leap again
Thursday, December 01, 2011
"There really isn't anything more sublime than the ability to pee in the woods."
"Think about it. You're inside, you have to go, you walk outside. You unzip, take matters directly in hand, and you relieve yourself of your unwanted burdens. No plumbing necessary. No toilet. No scented bowl disinfectant. No infrastructure of any kind. There is no need to manufacture plastics, smelt iron, or buy a pipe wrench. Just you, trees, thirsty ground, and a sparkling fountain that doesn't even disturb your wardrobe. Girls can't pee in the woods, man. Not like this. That's like an invitation for urinary chaos."
"Um, I'm having a little trouble with the not-disturbing-your-wardrobe this time."
"Don't worry. It'll dry."
"Then when I'm done, I zip up, and voila! I stride back into the cabin proud and ready for a fresh beer."
"You know. I'm glad we have this time to spend together."
"In fact, I look forward to our next session of sharing our manhood with nature."
"But not too eagerly."
"Yeah. Good point. That would be weird."