Monthly Archives: November 2014

Marjorie at Ninety Seven

She lost her purse in Macy’s by the elevator. An avalanche of sighing later the jurists strode in and announced –in no particular order–a Riesling with Russian soup and rye bread was leaving by the side door.

Cannon fire began to wither the legs of farmers in the mountain regions where the night sky was met with the belief that no amount of praying could relieve what was already being settled by the village elders in ways known to produce wine stain scars below the neckline.

A bridges was erected with its hemline of trunks facing the roller coaster where the boy had been found drinking a mix of frustration and longing for the canteen where shovels were sold in tight silver skins.

Nevertheless the day produced an original folio of essays by each participant in the century’s wars arranged so their painted sides hung loosely with arms pinned at the elbows and a cart load of cut flowers were arranged on long white tables, extending into the hallway and behind the gymnasium where we lost a purse in Macy’s on a day much like today. Lighter skies perhaps but very similar.

–Burl Whitman

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Mountain Tea

nature left her best notes
in the margins outside thought

as teas from the high mountains
distill rarefied air

into thin
porcelain cups

Cabriole Leg

This table has Cabriole legs, she said.
Hard sunlight felt its way along the floor towards us.
People sitting at the cafe outside the store
felt a small shiver of noontime breeze.
At the Vatican the pantaloons worn by the swiss
guards look like velvet orchids, I said.

In the marble top you can see small fossils, she said.
Other customers continued feeding on bugs and salamanders.
A red silk turban began to unravel in the art
museum down the street. Particle physicists noticed
subatomic particles combining and disappearing in
music-like ways. In the bay below us is a fish
that lets other fish birth their young in its mouth, I said.

These figures on the legs represent Tuscan slave
women, she said. A horse at the racetrack fell and
threw its jockey, dislocating a shoulder. A trucker
on the freeway hit his jake brake, the muscles in
his neck flaring. Some slaves owned horses and
bought their women out of slavery with them, I said.

Do you own horses, she said. Starlings swirled
around the chimney of an old schoolhouse. Ivy clung
harder to the fence posts. Several, I lied. But
they have no beauty to compare with the Cabriole leg.

November in Portland

(I love band names. This short story tries to incorporate as many names of bands that are playing this month in Portland as possible.) 

I dragged myself out of bed and took a Slowdive look in the mirror. It would take more than Shovels and Rope to raise the coffin face staring back at me.

I started the shower running.

“Hey babe, come Dance Yourself Clean!” said the Blond Redhead in my bed. Blondie was last nights Title Fight and a Bike Thief Extraordinaire, as it turns out.

I didn’t remember what Small Skies she fell from. I vaguely remembered drinking Foxy Lemons and dancing wearing a Top Hat and not much else. Beyond that, the night before was a blur. You don’t drink your way from one end of Boyce Avenue to the other without losing a few things along the way. The Fault Lines of my life were beginning to shift in a serious way but my Deaf Mind didn’t want to admit it.

“You are one Well Swung Thundercat,” said blondie when i came out of the bathroom with my Hook and Anchor still dragging. Blondie was no Shy Girl. She could Talk in Tongues with the best of them and knew how to pass the Collection plate.

It was taking Ages and Ages for the Nearly Deads to wake up. I had that Sick Feeling you get when your mouth is full of Fur Coats and your head is full of Space Leeches from too much Moon-Hooch when blondie said “Hey babe, that was some Panama Wedding we had last night.”

Uh oh. Now the girl with the Astro Tan had my full attention.

“Ah God” and “My Oh My,” was the best could come up with while I frantically tried to remember if I had really been that drunk or if this was just a Trapfest.

Blondie let me squirm for a while longer.  “Don’t worry, Axecrack, I was only kidding.”

Whew. This Fortunate Youth may be a Henhouse Prowler but he was nobody’s Prize Hog. It was time for this Swingtown Viper girl to leave.

“I don’t want to start a Global Ruckus but I think you should go,” I said like the Rat King I was. “Go on, Head For The Hills or you’ll be taking a Dirt Nap on Hemlock Lane.”

“You’re Some Kind of Wonderful, said blondie. “You Low Light. Do all the Mascaras run from you when you give them the Blind Shake. Well I see through your act Dr. Love. You may be a Sorry Devil but I’m your Rotten Strawberry.”

Usually they were on their way up The Coastline after I had showed them my Pretty Gritty Heart of Oak. I was going to need bigger Artillery with this girl. No matter. I was daddy Cool Nutz and nobody was going to make me their personal Votive light. Then again, maybe she was Crazy Like Me and there was more I needed to know about miss Arachnid the Huntress. At least the Animal in Me thought so. Well, if I was on a Path to Ruin and I was headed for a Year of No Light, at least I would have some Fun With Dynamite along the way.

I went back to bed like a Wild Moth and let out an Antique Scream. I was ready for Re-Ignition and my full Separation from Sanity. I was going on a trip to a Class M Planet with this Candy Machine Wrecker girl and God Bless America and God bless this nasty Side Dish Smorgasboard called November in Portland.

The Head of the Department

There are few
true verticals in nature,
said the painter.

He, a sullen administrator
who had swallowed
the painter whole.

Until I saw his painting
of birch trees–
and all was forgiven.

There are few
true verticals in nature.
Did you know?

November

The November sun harvests ill tempers,
shooting paintballs in halls of amber.

Days of bleached parchment
call out the oldest boats.

A fishermen humming off key, rigs for bottom fish
while his sleepy boat misbehaves.

Choirs tune up slowly,
sending choral swatches out through tight windows.

Quilts hang over the back fence to air out,
painting a triptych for the moon to finish later in silver.

Cold Snap

A frozen river
of low grinding sound

plays out across
the curry brown hills,

wandering like Orpheus.
Sunlight, shade, sunlight.