“Sweet Bird”

After you left I ran along the shoreline past the jetties and scattered surfers hoping to catch the last waves. A haze veiled the shore and vanished in the rain. Fat globules of salt encrusted my eyelids and each breath ripped upward from my belly tearing through my lungs. I sank down on the damp sand behind the old seafood restaurant. Guttural sounds mutating to unearthly howls carried out across the waves. I waited there until they dissolved into the sea.

The sky is always blue and the ocean is frothy meringue not a murky sea where in heavy boots you wade past that place where you lose your grip. Your eyes and throat sting with the rush of saltwater, screams fill your brain but not the air. Sea gulls swoop and squawk, perfect black angles against the sunlight. I open my book by Tennessee Williams whose writing I abhor but the edge of its cover was leaning out as I passed the bookcase, Sweet Bird of Youth.

Muscadine

In memory  –  Father’s Day 2019

His mother named him Carlos, such a strange name for a Welshman. Perhaps she loved Spain. 

Summers heavy cloak hung over fields of Goldenrod, their long limbs reaching out to mesh with spiky leaves that sheltered bundles of marmalade florets.Their invasion of the meadow met with merciless machetes that hacked through  the unwelcome invaders who hadn’t the courtesy to extend a pleasant fragrance.

The trail led to an arbor by a trickling brook. Nestled  in a stand of trees a precarious trellis  bowed heavy  with  never ending appendages that wound and wove through dense clusters of bulbous translucent nipples clinging tenaciously to their host.

The scent of peppery earth stung the nostrils and attracted white tail deer that ravaged the vines of their treasure. The old man once snaked a garden hose through the lattice to frighten them, a guise that worked only to  astonish lovers lingering at fertile ground, a sacred rendezvous.

Soon the clammy dragons of summer breathed their fiery breath and the skin of the luminous fruit burst with the sweetest nectar and they were declared  ripe and ready to harvest and process by a secret recipe known only to the old man and his son. Ruptured with a pestle and filtered, the grapes were transformed and stored in Bell jars, sweet and crisp, underdeveloped, but heady and pleasant.

Rarely did my father materialize from his travels once I had been delivered for the summer yet somehow the harvesting  of the grapes invoked his presence like a lark at dawn.

 

Absinthe

Molten wax streams down the copper sconce onto the night stand as  you light my cigarette and  proceed to pour  your   unholy green trinity of wormwood, fennel, and anise into a fine crystal goblet.   Holding the spoon gently to my lips I impudently turn away.  I do not touch your concoction until you feign fascination at the trivial anecdote I consider mundane enough to share with you.  Several sips later we lean casually into your brocade cushions and in a somewhat dreamier state you attempt to distract me  with amorous details of your recent dalliance with a french contemporary artist until I  dismiss you with an apathetic yawn. Suddenly, the embodiment of elegance, you  smile and arch your brow, once again  hold the spoon gently to my lips and in your impossibly delectable rhythm whisper that my hair and fair skin so near stirs your mind with  arousal and my supple lips are a  crimson darkness that consumes you.  Sinking  into your far off voice   my subconscious begins to  vibrate for you.   Seduced by the lure of  Ravel’s waltz   I feel so soft inside and after a few more  sips I  hallucinate a frightened hare pursued by  relentless hunters pounding the snowy banks  that  rise above our grotto at the foot of the alps where we have slipped into pure hedonism.   To spare me the moonless massacre spilling down the mountainside you press me close to your chest and cover my eyes   with your tender kiss.    Having been saved from what now evades us we succumb  to a deep and somber slumber.

 

Green Smoke                      art by L’ Rend  Fou

 

Redhead (to Denver) by Brice Maiurro

Excerpt from “Redhead (to Denver) by Brice Maiurro

my dear
you are between a rock and a hard place
your face does not illuminate the same as the others
your lights are few and speckled
but i’ve always loved freckles
you are a grid system at first glance
i know they tell you real women have curves
but real women know better than that
sometimes you are cold and the conversation runs dry
but it’s not easy being as high as you are all the time
i love you
i never want to leave you
and i know you don’t believe me
but you are the manic pixie dream girl
who at times is slightly annoying
but i know your heart is too full of
homeless men laying out sleeping bags
on the floor of your rib cage
great tent cities on your shoulders

cherubim

She wishes  to  fade away,  to be less than nothing, unborn. A leaf on a tree in late October,  falling to the shadowy earth, devoured by the mud of the murmuring forest floor.

At dinner she sits across from the  smiling man.  Later  they retreat to a larger room  that is  flooded by honey-colored light where he reads from the book, moving from life to death, from lead to gold.  Light ning strikes  the corner of his blinking eye,  the twitch of his crooked smile.  He warns her of  saintly heroes, how she must fight against all temptation, live in his light to hear the angelic chime of bells that summon her  to  kneel and  remain beside his  benevolent being.

At dusk he takes her hand and leads her through a  wooded path to an arbor where she must undress  for she is not pure  and  he  is good and wise and knows all holy things.  An invisible cherubim  takes her  hand  and leads her back  through the same  woods  to the house,  high on the  hill,  it’s madness and despair sleeping.  The squirrels, birds,  and  white tail deer know fear and hide away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negril

In the apathetic silence between each wave every sound expands, the stars come alive and the wind echoes as soft as a poem. You, laid back in the moon light, nude but for my shadow across your shoulders. In your hand a sweating glass of rum, its swirl keeps perfect time to the far off sound of Coltrane. I need to look away from your gun powder blue eyes, the moon’s lethal shot, before my eyes betray the flight of a thousand fluttering moths in my belly. So I breath the circlets of smoke from your cigarette and the sweet scent of willing hostages naked and bare boned. Our hearts, fragile as fireflies, escape in to the madness of our minds where all we need to do is live.

rainbow beach

Liliana Gigovic

Cherry Blossoms

The cargo deck is filled with small bodies.  A mass of  tangled limbs clinging to each other. I    try to hold on to my baby sister as we are tossed about the dank floor boards, pelted with the spray of  high swells. Her sweet  scent singles her from the others, the fragrance of a powdery new born.   Yesterday we were laughing lingering along the dirt path that lead to our our way  from school  along the dirt path to our  house of walls, windows, and dirt floors.    We covered our eyes from the burning sun and rejected the slanted eyes of the men in the van who rode alongside us. Scattering our books along the dirt road we were bound and blindfolded with the others.  Later in the night  we are miles off the coast of Venezuela,  surrounded by indigo seas,  we can hear the voice of the boatman, harsh and hurried, his slits of eyes watch  for followers.  We are fed La Rochas to  transform our terror into sugar colored dreams.  Waking up we are in a floating world of pale pink and  silk fans. The face of the Thai Man smiles  behind  angry walls.

 

 

Ohga Hasu

 

Annie Says “it’s alright”

Here on the balcony I let the cool  air and a majestic linden tree with its dark leaved  branches  reach out to soothe  me but the night conjures memories from the past that I try to blow away in the smoke of my cigarette.   In the back of my mind I recall a girl, a fragility in leather.    Did  she  exist or is she a  construct of my brain?   I try  to drown out my thoughts with some blues.  I am going somewhere I really don’t want to go and tonight I am breathing just for the light.

 

Later in the dark

At the wharf I sit on the damp wall and  sip my drink,  let  my mind slide into a slippery salamander of sea. The moon is a  glistening slice of neon,  her whisper carries on the wind, “moon child I love you too”.   Sinking further in I watch a  velvet Osprey swoop  my reflection from the silver waves where the sighs of lovers are lost in a monsoon.  Old images flicker across my frontal lobe as I liberate sip by sip. That man with the golden veins doesn’t interest me anymore.  Maybe later when  my pearl skinned body breaks the surface I’ll bring him back again.

 

 

 

 

art by Steve Hanks

Tide Pool

In the hour before dawn when the stars still hold on to the velvet sky,  stealthy specters rise, pull on  layers of clothing and slip silently into the low lying fog.   Father let the car roll  down the driveway  signalling me with a fingertip to his lips to  make not  a sound for fear we would wake the sleeping who might want to intrude on our secret adventure just for two.   The engine purring like a cat hummed   down the deserted highway to a slab of pavement leading to the bay.  From there the  scent of  Gumbo Limbo and salty mangrove drifted through our  open windows.   Parking between two  boulders we walked to the craggy shore. The horizon glowed in lush amber,  waves so  far away,   tidal sand came alive with trifles of tiny seas where a  bug eyed Hermit Crab hurriedly dug his hiding hole.  Provocative anemones waved their fuchsia fingers at lilac colored algae where a Starfish tiny as a tear waited patiently for a finger to regrow.   The squawk of   Sea gulls invoked by the rising sun  signaled us to move along.  In the full light of day we sat silently on the sea wall, the sound of crashing waves pounding in our ears.
sea anemones
Photo by Brocken Inaglory