What happened to them?
They’re from good families.
Musta been the devil’s music.
“Is she dead, ya think?”
“Doan know. Might be, I guess… Prolly not though.”
“Why’d ya think that?”
“Look around. Ya see another one of us that looks like her anywhere?”
“There ya go then!”
“Is she sleepin’, ya think?”
“Not a very comfortable place to sleep.”
“Maybe, she’s drunk. Sleepin’ it off?”
“Ohhh, we could mess with ‘er.”
“We could dip ‘er hand in a glass o’ warm water and see if she… well you know what that’s ‘posed ta make ya do. I’m not gonna spell it out.”
“Na, that’s just mean.”
“OK, you got any ideas?”
“We put shavin’ cream in her hand. Fill it really full, see. Den we float around in front of her and say boo to wake her up. Then we start doing that scary stuff that ghosts do, she’ll rub her face and cover it with shavin’ cream. It’s like a pie. Get it? Oh man, this is gonna be so funny!”
“Sounds good, got any shavin’ cream?”
“Wanna get up the road some? Maybe haunt the pub?”
“Sure. She doesn’t look like much fun anyway.”
“Yeah, let’s go, then.”
“Right behind you.”
Written in an obscure, neo-classical, form of verse known as Fusion Haiku that I am experimenting with. As far as the Jazz beat goes: think Art Blakey meets Buddy Rich. Read it a couple of times, if you have to. It’ll grow on ya, trust me!
Not far from Tarry Town it was All Hallows’ Eve
The night we dress up and play make believe
A Hessian Soldier was what I would be
My outfit complete with a fiery-eyed steed.
I mounted my mount and set off through the wood
To the Van Tassel estate, where the candies were good
Perhaps, I was moving a tad too quickly
Fair Katrina Van Tassel, I was aching to see.
From the trees stepped a man with his sleeves cut too short
I knew we’d collide if I didn’t abort
I turned in ‘mongst the boughs, a dangerous tack
But once so committed there was no turning back.
The trees and their limbs were pummeling me
My steed was in panic and I couldn’t see
And then without warning a large branch took my head
The lanky, loose jointed man thought I was dead.
He screamed like a schoolgirl and ran off to the east
I searched for my head and I called for my beast
The stallion returned in an hour or so, but
My head remained missing and I had to go.
I rode deep in the forest and felt for the space
Where had once been my nose, where had once been my face
Each night now I mount up to search for my head
I’m beginning to think I might really be dead.
Well that was different and a lot of fun.
The talented, Jennifer Knoblock has graciously invited me to play along in a one-line Community Poem Challenge. I’ve done my best and contributed my line. The baton is now passed to Joe2Poetry where you are always guaranteed quality craftsmanship and first class entertainment! Sorry about the lack of notice, sir – are you up for this?
There are rules:
Autumnal hues herald dawn’s amber glow.
Nature paints in colorful flow.
Everything’s pumpkin from pop tarts to chips.
There’s even a seasonal orange pumpkin dip.
Now a crestfallen suns rich corpse spawns a great feast.
The aroma from scented candles tantalize the palette.
Eerie glows emanate from window sills,
And robin’s song defies the winter beast.
Before we damp down, light one more wind-whirled blaze
Toss it high, in the sky a sanguine moon to make
My Darling Andrew,
We had some excitement here at the hospital the other day. It was nothing big really, but I did get a “time out” due to my involvement in the situation. That was somewhat unpleasant, as I’m sure you can imagine.
On the plus side, they took my picture. I managed to get my hands on a copy of the photo, which I am enclosing. I want you to have something to remember me by; even though our time together, so far, has been far too short.
The story even made The Gazette, so I guess I might be famous now. It’s almost light’s out so I have to go. One of the orderlies has promised to sneak this out and post it for me.
All my love,
I’m sorry it has been so long since my last letter. I have been thinking of you constantly ever since our night together at the asylum in Charleston and if the good lord allows me to return from this war I plan on coming to you first. I don’t have a lot of time to write today as we are on the move, heading back to base, but I’ll be on the island this afternoon and the island is where I can drop outgoing mail. I hope to have a few moments tomorrow to pen a proper letter and will post it to you straightaway.
I wish I could tell you what I have been doing here these months, but that is strictly against regulations. They remind us of this constantly. They say, “loose lips, sink ships,” and they say, “Mum’s the word.” They probably have a thousand other slogans that they drum into our heads every day. I often think I cannot hear the messages any more as I have heard the slogans so many times. Today my Lieutenant hinted that my work has been noticed by the “Brass” and if I maintain the positive attitude that I have exhibited to date; a field commission could easily be coming my way soon. He said that men with my feral nature and propensity for violence are highly prized as soldiers and that he values the time he has been able to spend with me.
(This paragraph deleted by censors.)
I received the letter you sent last month and want to thank you for the photograph you included. In that white frock, you are a vision of loveliness, more beautiful even than the stars. I have taped your picture over my bunk so it is the last thing I see before sleep and the first thing I see when I wake. It looks like you have been doing some remodeling in the bathroom, and I wish desperately that I could be there to help you, work with you, see you, and hold you in my arms. Is that hatchet you are holding in the photo the one I sent you for your birthday? I truly hope that it is not too heavy for you to swing effectively. I was worried that it might be a bit large for your delicate frame, but I used it once here as a test before I sent it. I must say that it did an excellent job mangling the skull of that unfortunate sailor who had the misfortune to cross my path near the beach in (deleted by censors).
I do not want to be overly forward but I have given “us” a lot of thought and feel that now may be the right time to ask. I am not asking lightly as I had ample opportunity to think on my way to this island, I have decided that I would like to bring back a ring for your finger and ask for your hand in marriage when, and if, I get home. Please don’t answer immediately, but think about it right now. Let the idea settle in. Consider it. That is all I ask, and when you are ready you can let me know. You would make me the happiest man in the world if you agreed. Perhaps the doctors could see their way to releasing you into my custody if you were my wife. We could be together, at last.
Philomena, I must close this short note as it appears we are almost back to the island and, I will be expected topside to handle lines when we dock.
Wishing I were near you.
There was a rattling knock at the door. It was my father, gone now for all these years.
“It’s Dia de Los Muertos, Papa. Glad you could come.”
“Thank you for inviting me TN. Who else is coming?”
“I’m not sure. You dead guys aren’t real good at RSVPing, but I’ve invited all of you.”
“Did you invite your mother?”
He grimaced a little bit and nodded his head. “Do you think she’ll come?”
“Probably not,” I said, “I have to assume that Ann invited her too. She’ll probably go there.”
Ann is my sister who lives on the other side of the state. It’s closer to the town where my mother lived.
Another knock on the door signified the arrival of more guests and, soon the house was full of both the living and the dead. Mariachi specters set up on the back patio and the neighborhood swelled with fiesta music.
I had the barbecue going and tubs were filled with beer and soda. Everyone was laughing and visiting with one another. Some of my guests had been dead a long time and there was a lot of catching up to be done. When my dad came over for more brisket, I cautioned him.
“Careful with the beef, Papa; I heard on the radio yesterday that it has been declared a carcinogen.”
“Do you think I care?” he quipped. “I’m going to go find my paints.” He turned and began walking towards the studio.
I grabbed his arm, “whoa, whoa, whoa,” I said, “Do you think that’s a good idea? I mean, you’ve been dead for a long time now. We can’t have new work of yours showing up. Can we?”
“Not my problem,” Papa said. “You can say you found it in a closet or tell ‘em you did it. I won’t sign it.”
“No,” I thought about this, “you gotta sign it. Just don’t date it.”
A skeletal grin broke across his face and he went on to the studio. He gathered his supplies and went straight to work. He painted in there the rest of the evening with his friends wandering in and out. As the party wound down I went in to check on him. He was gone but on the table was a new plate, hand painted with a blackberry design. I just needed to fire it.
The Brave Man of La Mancha used a stick with a forked top as he walked, searching for windmills with which to do battle. He had no Sancho Panza but his man, Elizar, was along; tramping behind and that was close, albeit still lamentable. Sancho would have been so much better.
When they set out together he asked Elizar if he might call him Sancho.
“No,” Elizar replied.
They traipsed about the yard for the entire morning and saw nary a windmill to tilt at. Elizar suggested that perhaps he should go inside and get the book. He implied that it might help them with their quest. Reluctantly, The Brave Man of La Mancha agreed and waited in the shade for Elizar to come back. When he returned, after an interminable absence, Elizar was accompanied by peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches along with two bottles of Coke that Mother had sent out.
They broke for lunch.
It was then agreed that The Brave Man of La Mancha would continue to lead the way and his faithful slave, Elizar would read, and could then pass suggestions forward to The Brave Man of La Mancha, who mistakenly believed Elizar had gone inside to fetch The Dangerous Book for Boys; not their sister’s English Composition textbook.
The Brave Man of La Mancha felt that the fun was being sucked right out of the game when Elizar suggested that it was time for a crisis. He was about to turn and pummel Elizar with the walking stick when he spotted a pigeon in the grass, less than ten feet in front of them.
Suddenly and without warning The Brave Man of La Mancha halted , causing his brother to run into his backside. He put his finger to his lips to signal silence and whispered.
“If thou art not versed in the business of adventure then step aside and pray, whilst I engage this beast in mortal combat.” He raised his stick over his head and crept towards the pigeon.
Ha, ha, ha, ha!
I watched the vulture looking at me hungrily as I lay on the ground bleeding and injured. Something wasn’t quite right though. The perspective was off, wrong somehow. I looked up at the bird. I looked down at myself. I couldn’t remember what had happened. Eyes closed tightly, I thought back.
I remembered watching the old man, who called himself Drummer, as he untangled the lines and folded the silk.
I remembered standing on the wheel cover and holding the stay; thumbs up to Daniel as I let myself drop backwards into nothing, the void.
I remembered the sound of falling, a loud WHOOSH slipping past my ears, and then I remembered the ground – the suddenness of the ground.
I remembered what had happened. All of it. And, I kept my eyes closed.
The vulture was within his rights.
The rumble of engines echoed off the hillsides in the dusk as they arrived one at a time
A shiny new Jeep
A silver SUV
A dusty old Buick Roadmaster
The Subaru and the Bultaco got there together, last to arrive
They each took their places on large stones arranged in a circle and passed a bottle around, watching the moon, not speaking at all
Old friends, unafraid of silence
When it was dark enough, they rose as one; let down their grey hair, and began discarding their clothes
They availed themselves of one last pull on the bottle each before picking their way up to the top of the ridge where they danced in the light of the full Autumn moon
Each hearing her own music; until after awhile, just like they arrived
One at a time, they would stop
And singly, walk down from the ridge, collecting clothes and deciding to either put them back on, or toss them in the backseat before driving away
Back to their husbands and wives; their children and grandchildren
Back to their houses, their kitchens; and their jobs at the market, the clinic, or the roadhouse
A cloud of dust trailing behind, they each left slowly with
Yellow spears of light leading the way, helping them navigate the path through the desert, and back to the highway.
All the Cucurbits were there. The Pumpkins, of course, and the Muskmelons had come. As she came through the gate, she might have even seen a Courgette arriving in a limo with one of the Squash sisters.
The night held infinite promise, shame that the wait for the washroom was so long.
2nd place – whoo-hoo!
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