Wednesday, May 15, 2013


[to c.b.]

a poor man stopped in the fast lane in the future.
he got out of his car and stood
on the fence separating the two
simultaneous highways.
his open eyes, teeth,
reflecting passing headlight
yellows. his raised hands collecting
the translucent black rain.

it’s a lucky thing
everyone is so well adapted
to their own wireless
thoughts. and that
under some casual distraction,
they can think as much
as much as possible.

i have tried not to.

i went to live
where they once lived.
i went to detroit.
my car broke down i couldn’t pay
for that kind of  fix.
i called my father
and he sent some money god bless him.
god bless him and i went
straight to pittsburg, fixed.

i went to live
where my grandparents had once visited in passing.
they told stories of the fish fry restaurant.
where the ancients had built homes and
huge computers and telephones. and suddenly
people rose
from mudbanks by the rivers and roadsides.
and they wanted to talk
on telephones
and drive to homes
at the end of their shifts.

a poor man mentally sketches
out the fast lane passerby parade
of glare and horns
drawing yellow lines and yellow
lights in his mind
so as best to
remember what
would be
lost otherwise.
and then
i am still driving.
were my wireless telephone
still alive, i would see
how many minutes
i am estimated away
from my destination.
and how far
and every man in every car ahead of me
becomes minutes
further away. but today my phone is dead.
so they are just people
i cannot talk to.

I went to live where they once lived
then I came back.
this new civilization;
we’re still driving
from home,
to home.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Leiter, Garde

"I have a great regard for certain notions of beauty even though to some it is an old fashioned idea. Some photographers think that by taking pictures of human misery, they are addressing a serious problem. I do not think that misery is more profound than happiness."
-Saul Leiter

I love the feeling that comes when imagery can shake me free of writer's block. 

(If any of my readers can share that sentiment in the context of the above image, I highly recommend they look for a little photography book called Early Color by Leiter. I came across one at a Barnes & Noble, so I can't imagine they're too uncommon)

Recently while passing a local bowling alley on the road home at night, my friend/fellow catalyst for wonderful thoughts and I noticed a neon sign attached to the building had lost some critical lettering. The TERRACE GARDENS bowling establishment was prominently displaying the peculiar, accidental name of TERRA E GARDE. 
We were not cruel enough to let Terra's chance existence go unspoken. 

I wrote a quick character sketch for the writer's guild that a handful of the brothers and sisters in my little Ekklesia started up earlier last year. 
This is that, with some revision.


Terra Garde

     Terra somehow failed to “like” what was so perfectly obvious to her friends she would undoubtedly “like”. Because honestly, who doesn’t “like” bowling? 

     “You’ll like it. Come on. You will enjoy this. You will have fun.” 

     You lifted a styrofoam cup of black coffee to her lips, and remembered the accidental syrup spill earlier that morning which had unwittingly set the mood for her day. The one that had apparently christened her left hand with a permanent new maple scent. A scent sadly in harsh contrast with the flavor of styrofoam coffee, and the thick, stale air of the old bowling alley. She wondered if the-BLAM


     Next up, Terra Garde. 

     Alternatively, T.G., as the little screen display claimed through it’s thin layer of dust or nicotine residue, with an off-putting indifference to whatever decade it was somehow still functional in.

     Can friends really roll strikes when they only bowl once in a blue moon? Or do they all secretly enjoy this, and practice in their spare time? T.G. tentatively let go of her coffee and went to go flavor the holes of a bowling ball with the fingers of her left hand. As she enjoyed that thought, she decided she should consider it some kind of little accomplishment while her roll went down a path very different from the one laid out by the small arrows halfway down the line. Moments later, Terra shot a similar ball down a similar path. The dusty screen dismissed her with a “T.G -/-.” She paused, then turned back to find her roll had left the friends cheerful and encouraging, similar to how Robby’s streak had left them cheerful and encouraging.

     ...They like it. They are having fun. 

     Terra went back to her seat and smiled and found her coffee and lifted herself into it. When she burned her tongue with it, she decided to burn quietly, without wincing. Off to her side, the sound of bowling pins bursting from their formation in every conceivable direction echoed down the lane faster than a bowling ball and hit her ear. Terra closes her eyes to attempt to guess how many pins would fall on the next roll based on sound alone. Wait for it....wait for it........wait fo-BLAM.....hmm. Sounds like fifty-three pins. Incredible. She opened her eyes, and someone had returned to her table with a second pitcher of beer. She looked off toward the lane where seven pins were being swept away. Some of the satisfied bowlers saw their pitcher and came to refill. Holding her cup up to hide her face, Terra realized there was something very comfortable about the smell of maple syrup.