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Archive for the ‘Dear Maya’ Category

The Fisherboy’s Follies

 Or

 A Portrait of the Fisherman as a Young Man (A Romeo in Hormones’ Clothing)

Characters
(Main characters in boldface)

Sea Captains 1,2,3
Charlie Marigold
Mr. Marigold

Mrs. Marigold
Friendly Family Father
Frienldy Family Mother
Maya, the Girl of Charlie’s Dreams
Devil Fish
Righteous Fish


Scene One (In which Mr. Marigold gives some good advice)

Sea Captain 1: Something happens.

Sea Captain 2: Some other things happen.

Sea Captain 3: A fish winks at a lobster.

Sea Captain 1: It is early springtime in Kumbaya, Maine. The locals are preparing for the onslaught of tourists and vacationers. Yar.

Mr. Marigold: Hey Charlie, come ere, I wanna show ya somethin’.

Charlie: What is it, Dad?

Sea Captain 1: Charlie, a young fisherman learning the ropes, comes running down the dock to greet his father.

Mr. Marigold: You see that sea, Charlie? You’re still young but you can still see, can’t ya’?

Charlie: Sure I can see.

Mr. Marigold: Look past all of it, Charlie. Way out past the horizon there. Squint if ya’ have ta.

Charlie: (squinting) What am I looking for?

Mr. Marigold: Look past the sunspots and past the illusions; past all the grim monkey faces and graceful ballerinas …

Charlie: Um.

Mr. Marigold: There’s heaven and hell out there Charlie. Mark my words and don’t you forget ‘em. If ya wanna be a fisherman like your old man someday, you have to start learnin’ to distinguish between the two.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie smiles wide and grabs a medium sized trout from a bucket. He smacks his Dad across the face with it.

Charlie: (yells as he runs away) Sounds more like I oughtta be learnin’ to distinguish between sanity and madness.

Mr. Marigold: (yells after his son) Very well, boy! You’ve been warned! … Nice fish slap, son!

Scene Two (In which Charlie falls in love)

Sea Captain 3: Charlie runs all the way back to the Kumbaya Friendly Family Inn. His mother is checking in a family from …

Charlie: Connecticut.

Friendly Family Father: That’s right. How’d you know that?

Mrs. Marigold: That’s Charlie! He has a gift. He can guess where any family is from with 99% accuracy.

Friendly Family Mother: What happened to the other 1%?

Charlie: I have a raging fear of perfection.

Sea Captain 1: Charlie smiles wide, revealing a head full of sparkling teeth.

Sea Captain 2: Somewhat frightened by his gargantuan grin, the friendly parents turn back to the business at hand.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie turns around to leave when he finds himself face to face with the girl of his dreams.

Charlie: I love you.

Girl of Charlie’s Dreams: What?

Charlie: What?

Girl of Charlie’s Dreams: Did you say that you love me?

Charlie: Love you?!? I’m 13! What do I know about love? No, I said “elephant shoes”.

Girl of Charlie’s Dreams: (unbelieving) Elephant shoes?

Charlie: Yeah. Read my lips. El-e-phant Shoes. See, it looks like I love you when really … no.

Girl of Charlie’s Dreams: Why did you say elephant shoes?

Charlie: Elephant’s don’t wear shoes. They’re nocturnal.

Girl of Charlie’s Dreams: No they aren’t!

Mrs. Marigold: Charlie, why don’t you show these good people to their room?

Friendly Family Father: I’m sure we can find it ourselves, it’s not a big place.

Mrs. Marigold: Don’t be silly, Charlie is an excellent bellboy! Besides, he has to do something to earn his keep.

Friendly Family Father: Very well then. Come along, Maya.

Charlie: Your name is Maya?

Maya: (sarcastically) Nice deduction.

Charlie: My name is Charlie.

Maya: (sarcastically) Really? I hadn’t picked up on that yet.

Sea Captain 1: Maya and her parents begin to walk away. As they turn the corner, Mrs. Marigold winks at Charlie.

Mrs. Marigold: I think she likes you, Charlie.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie picks up their bags and winks back at his mother before heading into the Inn. Yar.

Scene Three (In which Charlie nearly earns a little less than a dollar)

Sea Captain 3: Charlie has walked the friendly family to their room. He inserts the card key in the slot and opens the door.

Sea Captain 1: A radiant beam of sunlight shines through the window, through the room, and into the travelers’ eyes, momentarily blinding them. As they adjust to the light, they make their way into the room.

Charlie: It’s small, but we like to call it home.

Friendly Family Mother: Oh, do you live here in the Inn?

Charlie: No … yes … no …

Maya: Well which is it?

Charlie: Which is what?

Maya: Do you live in the Inn or don’t you?

Charlie: Not today. Yesterday we lived in the Inn. Today we live out the out.

Maya: Is that humor?

Charlie: It was meant to be.

Maya: Charming, I’m sure.

Sea Captain 2: The friendly family father makes his way over to Charlie. He reaches into his pocket for some lose change.

Friendly Family Father: Well thank you very much, young man.

Charlie: Oh, no thank you, sir. I cannot take your money.

Friendly Family Father: Preposterous! You provided us with a service and you should be rewarded. Here’s (he counts out the change in his hand) … 25, 35, 36, 46, 71, 76 cents for a job well done.

Charlie: Thank you very much sir, but I must persist. I have already been paid … in other ways.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie makes googly eyes at Maya.

Friendly Family Mother: Excuse me?

Charlie: Oh, um, my Mother pays me in advance. Enjoy your stay!

Sea Captain 1: Charlie exits the room and shuts the door behind him. The friendly family father is left standing there with 76 cents in his dangling hand.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie’s heart is beating like a hummingbird’s after his third cup of coffee. About to faint, he leans slowly back against the door.

Charlie: (whispering) Her name … is Maya.

Sea Captain 3: The friendly family father opens the door quickly and Charlie falls backwards onto the ground.

Friendly Family Father: Oh, hello again Charlie. You saved me a walk. Here …

Sea Captain 1: The friendly family father drops all the change onto Charlie’s stomach.

Friendly Family Father: I’m not one of those cheapskate numbskull droll-abouts who flees from providing good and sensible wages for a job … well … done, I suppose.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie jumps up and collects the 76 cents from the ground.

Friendly Family Father: Just don’t go spending it all in one place.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie gives his signature grin again as the door shuts quietly in his face.

Charlie: (exhaling cautiously) Maya …

Scene Four (In which Charlie buys a soda)

Sea Captain 1: Charlie’s head is light. Air flows in and out of it. He glides down the hall and finds himself in front of the soda machine.

Sea Captain 2: He reaches into his pocket and retrieves 75 cents of the 76 cent tip.

Charlie: No sir, I won’t spend it all in one place.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie plinks the money into the machine and selects himself a Sprite. He clicks it and sips it. The fizz tickles his nose.

Charlie: Ahhh.

Sea Captain 1: A bucket has been left precariously on the edge of the top of the ice machine. The ice has melted and left a pool of cold water. Charlie takes out his remaining penny and rolls it between his fingers.

Charlie: Well, it’s not a wishing well, but it will have to do. (He ponders on a wish for a moment.) I wish … I wish … I wish for a lifetime of fishes and wishes.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie flicks his penny at the ice bucket. It flies through the air and hits the bucket on its side. The bucket comes crashing down to the floor and the cold water escapes in a splash.

Maya: Charlie.

Charlie: (screams) Ahh!

Sea Captain 3: Charlie whisks around to face the girl of his dreams once again.

Charlie: (catching his breath) What are you … why are you … how are you … when did you … where have you … hi.

Maya: Hi. Nice shot.

Charlie: Thanks. I meant to do that.

Maya: Yeah right. You were aiming for the inside. I heard your wish.

Charlie: Oh, you did. Um …

Maya: Are you a fisherman?

Charlie: Oh, um, no, not exactly. I’m more like a fisherman in training.

Maya: So you’re a fisherboy?

Charlie: No! No! No! I’m um … uhhhhh …

Maya: I think fishermen are cute.

Charlie: I’m a fisherman. Yup. Sure am. Always have been, always will be. That’s me. Fisherman Extraordinaire. There never was a man more fisher than I. No sirree.

Maya: (grabbing Charlie’s hand) Come on. We have to hurry. I want you to show me how to fish.

Sea Captain 1: Charlie is dragged away by the girl of his dreams. She pulls him down the stairs and out the back door.

Charlie: But what about your parents?

Maya: What about them? They won’t even notice I’m gone. Come on, take me to the ocean. Take me away.

Charlie: Listen, um. Maybe we should stop and think about this for a second.

Maya: What’s to think about? We’re young, we’re fun, we’re crazy!

Charlie: Yeah … OK.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie and Maya run down to the dock. Charlie looks around for his father. He sees him far off on the pier. A gust of wind carries his father’s voice to Charlie.

Mr. Marigold’s Voice: …and the most wickedest part of it was that the darn things had on these phony moustaches! Or at least… I think they were phony…

Maya: Is this your boat?

Sea Captain 3: Maya is pointing to a pathetic looking thing in the water.

Charlie: It’s a skiff, actually.

Maya: Well is this your skiff then?

Charlie: Yeah. Yeah, that’s my skiff. All mine. Nobody else’s that’s for sure.

Maya: Ooh, look, it’s already got all the stuff in it.

Charlie: Tackle.

Maya: What?

Charlie: It’s called tackle…

Maya: If you insist!

Sea Captain 1: Maya runs straight at Charlie. She tackles him and they fall off the dock into the skiff.

Charlie: Ow.

Scene Five (In which the fishy season begins)

Sea Captain 2: The little skiff has taken Charlie and Maya far out into the sea. The land has disappeared and the only sound is the peaceful drone of the loud, annoying motor.

Maya: It’s nice out here.

Charlie: (screams over the motor) WHAT?

Maya: (screams) I SAID IT’S NICE OUT HERE.

Charlie: (screams) THANKS! I THINK YOUR SHOES ARE PRETTY, TOO!

Maya: (screams) YOU CAN PROBABLY TURN THE MOTOR OFF NOW.

Charlie: (screams) I HAVE A BETTER IDEA … I’M GOING TO TURN THE MOTOR OFF.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie turns the motor off and suddenly, there is dead silence.

Charlie: Alright. Let’s have ourselves a fishnic!

Maya: A what?

Charlie: You know, a fishnic … It’s like a picnic with …

Maya: (sarcastically) … Fish, yeah, I got it. Is that what they teach you at Fisherboy school? How to be dopey?

Charlie: I’m not dopey! Look, do you wanna learn how to fish or not?

Maya: (overly excited) YES I DOOOO!!!!

Charlie: Nice enthusiasm. I like that.

Maya: I thought you might.

Charlie: OK then … grab a handful of worms from that bucket behind you.

Maya: Eww! What? No way!

Charlie: First lesson of fishing: If you want to learn how to fish, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty.

Maya: (sarcastically) That’s deep.

Charlie: Yeah, I guess it kind of is. My Dad taught me that.

Maya: What else did your Dad teach you?

Charlie: Pretty much everything.

Maya: Has he ever been wrong?

Sea Captain 1: Charlie thinks about the question for a moment.

Charlie: No … not really no …

Maya: Your Dad sounds all right.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie shakes off this idea.

Charlie: He’s a loony. Anyway, hand me the bucket.

Sea Captain 3: Maya makes a face of disgust as she hands the bucket of worms to Charlie. Charlie grabs a handful of worms.

Devil Fish: Throw them at her.

Charlie: What?

Devil Fish: Throw the worms at her, Charlie. She’ll love you for it.

Righteous Fish: Don’t do it Charlie! It’s not right!

Charlie: What the …

Sea Captain 1: Charlie turns around and takes a look at the water near his skiff. Two fishes sporting handlebar moustaches give him a simultaneous wink.

Maya: Who are you talking to, Charlie?

Sea Captain 2: Charlie’s head gets even lighter now. The air flow makes his brain spin.

Devil Fish: I do believe that the boy will pass out.

Righteous Fish: I do believe you are right.

Sea Captain 3: And that’s just what he does. Yar.

Scene Six (In which Charlie faces a perplexing dilemma)

Sea Captain 1: Charlie opens his eyes and looks up into the beautiful face of Maya, the girl of his dreams. She is shining with the light from above.

Charlie: What happened?

Maya: You passed out. I had to slap you with a fish.

Charlie: A fish … what?

Sea Captain 2: Charlie sits up in the skiff and sees the fish that Maya is holding. It is the Devil Fish.

Devil Fish: That really hurt, Charlie. You’d better do something about this girl or I’m going to.

Charlie: (to the Devil Fish) Why are you talking to me?

Maya: (drops the Devil Fish) Um, hello? Who am I going to talk to out here? The fish?

Devil Fish: Easy on the crazy talk, Charlie. You’re starting to sound like a psycho.

Charlie: (to Maya) How did you catch that fish?

Maya: It was pretty easy. I saw him swimming by the side of the skiff and I just grabbed him by his moustache and pulled him in.

Devil Fish: By my whiskers, Charlie! By my whiskers!

Charlie: And then … you slapped me with him?

Maya: Him? I slapped you with it. How can you tell it’s a him?

Charlie: Um … The moustache gives him away.

Devil Fish: In my school, I’m actually considered quite handsome.

Charlie: Where’s the other one?

Maya: What other one?

Righteous Fish: (from the water) Yoo Hoo!

Sea Captain 2: Charlie looks into the water.

Righteous Fish: Don’t listen to a word he says! Follow your heart, Charlie, not the advice of a fish.

Devil Fish: Well by that advice, why should he listen to you either?

Sea Captain 3: The Righteous Fish thinks about this for a moment.

Righteous Fish: Touché.

Charlie: Maya?

Maya: What?

Charlie: The fish are talking to me.

Maya: Of course they are, silly! That means you’re a true fisherman!

Devil Fish: Oh that’s rich.

Maya: What are they saying to you?

Righteous Fish: But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Charlie: But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Maya: Ah me … you have found my weakness.

Charlie: I did?

Maya: Shakespeare always turns me to goo!

Devil Fish: Eww.

Righteous Fish: Aww. You should kiss her now, Charlie!

Devil Fish: Throw the worms at her, Charlie!

Charlie: I’m getting mixed messages.

Maya: What do you mean?

Charlie: Well … for starters … who are you? One minute you’re making fun of me and the next minute you’re swooning under my spell. Do you like me or are you using me as a tour guide in your own selfish fish-capade?

Maya: Fish-capade! Ha!

Devil Fish: She’s using you! Throw the worms!

Righteous Fish: She likes you, Charlie. She really likes you. Kiss her now or lose her forever!

Charlie: Secondly, in one ear I’m hearing that I should kiss you and the other I’m hearing that I should throw worms at you.

Maya: That would be rather disagreeable to me, Charlie.

Charlie: Which one? The kiss or the worms?

Maya: You have to figure it out for yourself.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie looks at the Righteous Fish in the water. The Righteous Fish shrugs.

Righteous Fish: You’re on your own, man.

Sea Captain 1: Charlie looks at the Devil Fish in the skiff. The Devil Fish shrugs.

Devil Fish: I really don’t care anymore. But I am having a little trouble breathing. Do you think you could hurry this up and throw me back in the water?

Sea Captain 2: Charlie’s mind races. He hears his father’s and mother’s voice in his head.

Mr. Marigold’s Voice Inside Charlie’s Head: There’s heaven and hell out there Charlie, and you have to start learnin’ to distinguish between the two.

Mrs. Marigold’s Voice Inside Charlie’s Head: I think she likes you, Charlie. 99% accuracy.

Maya: (puckering up) Well, Charlie? What will it be?

Righteous Fish: Kiss.

Devil Fish: Worms.

Righteous Fish: Kiss.

Devil Fish: Worms.

Righteous Fish: Kiss.

Devil Fish: Worms.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie sees the decision as if it is as clear as the bright, blue day. He bends over and grabs a handful of worms. Bringing them to his mouth, his huge smile kisses them. The worms are cold and slimy.

Righteous Fish: (sarcastically) Bravo.

Devil Fish: That’s it, I’m outta here.

Sea Captain 1: The Devil Fish manages to flop his body up and over the side of the skiff. He hits the water and swims away with the Righteous Fish.

Devil Fish: See you in the funny papers, Charlie!

Righteous Fish: See you in the loony bin, Charlie!

Charlie: Not if I see you first!

Sea Captain 2: Charlie turns back to face the girl of his dreams. She is frowning and looks rather distraught.

Maya: Take me home, Charlie.

Sea Captain 3: Charlie drops the worms and guns the motor.

Scene Seven (In which all is resolved or not)

Sea Captain 1: It is seven days later and Charlie sits on the edge of the dock with his feet dangling over the water.

Sea Captain 2: Mr. Marigold walks over to Charlie as he stuffs his handkerchief into his overalls pocket.

Mr. Marigold: Don’t tell me you’re still pining over the one that got away, son?

Charlie: I can’t help it, Dad. She’s the girl of my dreams.

Mr. Marigold: Well then maybe you oughtta wake up now, dontchya think? She’s nothing but trouble from the sounds of it!

Charlie: I had a chance and I blew it! I kissed worms, Dad!

Mr. Marigold: Yeah well, that is a little peculiar, I’ll give you that. But you said that the fish were controllin’ ya, right? You were all messed up in your head! You can’t blame yourself, for your actions, Charlie. It’s like I’ve always told ya … it’s heaven and hell out there.

Sea Captain 3: Mrs. Marigold walks over to her fishermen.

Mrs. Marigold: Leave the boy alone, Dad. He’ll do better next time.

Charlie: There won’t be a next time. The dream is over.

Sea Captain 1: Charlie gets up and sadly walks away. He heads down the pier with his head hanging down. Mr. Marigold puts his arm around Mrs. Marigold and they watch him walk away.

Sea Captain 2: Charlie walks down to the parking lot of the Kumbaya Friendly Family Inn. He hears a horn beep and he looks up to see the friendly family father driving toward him.

Friendly Family Father: Thanks for a great week, Charlie. We had a ton of fun! We’ll see you next year!

Sea Captain 3: The friendly family drives past Charlie slowly. Charlie manages a weak smile when he sees Maya’s face appear in the back window.

Maya: (mouths out these words) Elephant shoes.

Sea Captain 1: Charlie lights up instantly and reveals every tooth in his face. His smile reaches the heavens as his sour mood fades away. Laughing loudly and loving it, he watches as the girl of his dreams drives away.

Mr. Marigold: Hey!

Sea Captain 2: Charlie turns around to face his father. Mr. Marigold slaps Charlie playfully with a fish.

Mr. Marigold: Now we’re even.

Sea Captain 3: Mr. Marigold sprints away and Charlie chases after him into the cool, Kumbaya sunset. Yar.

The above is the ridiculous property of Bryon Cahill. Any attempt to steal any or all of the highly intellectual integrity found herein will be laughed at, profoundly. Also, it wouldn’t hurt you to visit Kumbaya. It’s tourist season there now and I hear the fish are jumping.  — BC

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Ode to Pie

I’ve got cherries, you’ve got filling
Peter’s bringing roll-ing pins,
Somewhere out there blackbirds flocking far far from this hot o-ven.
Dough is needed to be kneaded, please friend, squash it lov-ingly!
Where’s the timer? Holly’s got it. Oh that’s great, I lovvve to sing!

<Repeat chorus 700 trillion times.>

Fin.

For Maya.

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The Almost Cake

I was in the grocery store yesterday.
(Totally true.)
I walked up and down the aisles.
(As I tend to sometimes do.)
I almost bought some cake mix
(for to bake a cake with.)
Because of you.

But I didn’t. And I don’t know why.
Somewhere, a friend cried (but did not know why.)
Existence is a tricky business.

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I’ve waited so long. I’ve waited so long. I’ve waited so long. Waited so long. At some point, the pinwheels stop spinning. The gusto of the day falls away in a bluster of shallow leaf piles. I’ve waited so long. I’ve waited so long. I’ve waited so long. Waited so long. On the corner in the bookstore, they have a smell you can only ascertain by walking all the way through it, to the back, and out the rear entrance to the alley in the back where the air flow ends. You’ve waited so long. You’ve waited so long. You’ve waited so long. Waited so long. The prepubescent child, whether boy or girl, male or female, black or white, tall or not so tall will be awkward in whatever state he or she may impose. There’s no stopping this phase. It is as awkward and terrible as apple pie is not but you have to let it run its course. Like herpes, I suppose. They’ve waited so long. They’ve waited so long. They’ve waited so long. Waited so long. The construction worker’s hard hat is busted and he doesn’t have dental insurance. Those two idiosyncrasies (or whatever) are unrelated. But they exist to serve a point. This man, who’s name could be Oscar, has to stop work to go and see the foreman about a new hard hat. First he checks with his immediate supervisor and he says it’s ok. So he’s cleared as far as management is concerned, but he still feels guilty for leaving the job, even if it is strictly momentary. Regardless, he has leave and he goes all the way down to street level where the boss lives in the shack and he says, “Excuse me sir, sorry to interrupt but my hard hat broke as I was welding the steel beams on 46. Would it be possible to get another?” And his boss, he looks the man who could be named Oscar up and down in a seemingly judgmental fashion. Though his visual estimation of his employee takes but a few seconds, to Oscar, it seems like ages. At last, he speaks. “Of course, of course. Help yourself, there’s a stack of hard hats in the back. Grab some for the fellows, too, won’t you? How are conditions up there on those pillars in the sky, anyway? Is there anything else you need?” And he leans forward at his desk in a sincere and helpful manner as a good mogul should and actually fucking LISTENS! But you’ve waited so long. You’ve waited so long. You’ve waited so long. Waited so long. Until you’re just about almost perfect. And you believe that all of your life has been one grand opera with no triumph or finale to usher you to this point where you think you might be now. Scream for the fat lady to relieve you, it won’t matter. Because you are coming to see yourself as a medium rare individual (with a flavor for sporadic spicy seasonings) and sometimes, very quietly in the dead of evenings you can almost know that no one else can sense you, can see you, can ever even know you. … And with that thought, the waiting, at last, comes to an end. In horror.

“When have I ever been ensconced in paradise?”

<Air rushes out.>

—-
For Maya.

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Dear…

Old flames are …

Old flames are …

Old flames are a tarnished insight into your glorious past. What you loved and why. Old flames are where you came from, who you became, who you are. You are millions of pieces. You are older (now) than you were (then). On occasion, you like to imagine yourself as a whole person.You have everything together. Your life is a perfect blend of love, insanity, duty, beauty, sidetracks, and woe. The building blocks of new memories. You live. And oh do you LIVE! You live to the fullest! You live a life of the extreme. Well, as extreme as you can be in your misrepresented shell. But you glow and you somersalt and you trounce your way through your perfect life! In the festive carnival of your soul, you are well. And happy.

And then …

Oh and then life comes your way and throws something at you. Or perhaps it boomeranged around the big oak tree up there after you tossed it. Here it comes. Back again. Barreling its way toward you with no concerns of collateral damage or <ahem> spite. That’s okay. Grab it. You may have to run, but you should grab at it. You may have to jump, but you should reach for it. You may have to lose yourself in your steamy past, but you should go for it.

How many lives have we lived? How many people have we met? How many times have we just narrowly escaped what may have been our true time line? And, in the end, have the choices we have made (whether they were right or something else) led us to where we should be? <pause for dramatic effect> <pause again> <the thespbians call this a “beat”, and sometimes, if it’s truly very long, a “pregnant pause”> <pregnant pause> <very pregnant pause> <more preggers than someone who’s been preggers like every year since the year she was married in that very nice trailer park pause> Yes.

Yes. You are here, where you are, for a reason. Don’t write off old flames. Old flames are not meager. How dare you for thinking such! Even if you never see them again, speak their name, or dream of them, they are there. They are your history. Respect that in your writing.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. And, without attributing a name to any higher power, I believe that we all have several purposes. Here are just three of them:

1) Each and every one of us must leave this world better than we found it.
2) Each and every one of us must try hard to achieve predictable bowel movements.
3) All you need is love.

But then again, I’m not a guru.

– Leon

———
For Maya.

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Up, On The Roof

Charlie. Charlie do you see it?

Yes, Papa.

That will be me someday, Charlie. And I don’t want you to be scared. You hear me, okay?

Yes, Papa.

There is silence on the roof, in the sky, and in the heavens.

Which part of the night are you, Papa?

Well … we-ll I just told you, son. I’m the bright orange horizon, it’s fading … just there, do you see?

I do. I just wanted to hear you tell it again, Papa.

They are, he knows, up too high. Peggy Ann would murder him if she knew. But she didn’t know much these days. These days are packed from top to bottom with pain pills and pain. Neither one ever cancels out the other. Right now … right NOW she is long gone, sprawled out in their wedding bed, not knowing whether it is day or night. But she is resting peacefully, and for that, he is thankful.

Well you know I like to tell it to you, Charlie. … But you’re more than a big boy now, son. You’re bordering on manhood. And that’s why I knew you’d be able to handle this.

The roof, Papa?

Yeah. Yes. Yes, the roof. And you’re doin just fine Charlie. You are. You’re not scared or nothin up here, are you?

No, Papa. … I thought I would be though when you said. It sounded scary.

It did?

Yes, Papa.

I’m sorry, Charlie. You didn’t seem to be afraid to me.

Oh. Well maybe I hid it. Orrr…

What?

Maybe I wasn’t afraid. Not really. Because I’d be safe with you.

On his wedding bed, Peggy Ann moaned. It was not a loud one. Not a scorcher like so many before. But a moanful moan. One loud enough to register in his very fibers. Each and every of his wife’s sick moans had distinctive pains.

Well … you are safe, Charlie. Of course you are.

He suppressed a tear. He suppressed a cough. Then another came on strong and he surrendered to it. He ignored the blood. Ignored the cold. He put his good arm around his boy.

Ohh. Papa look. Your orange went out.

It was true. He saw. But a very thin ray of color still remained.

See Charlie? If you look, you can still see it. If you look hard enough, Charlie. You can see just about anything.

______
For Maya.

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I’m hiking into the sky on Sunday. To the top of the porch? To the top of the wall? No. But I am going to dash away to the tippy top of New York state. Mt. Marcy is the highest peak way up there in Lake Placid and I’m gonna be standing on it. That’s something. It was something when we climbed it 10 years ago. And it’s still something now.

“Something.” What does that mean? Oh, I don’t know. It’s like… nature. All around you. On you and in you. Boundaries, Nature! Boundaries! Most of the ecstasy that comes with the deep, satisfying breath on mountain tops originates and builds in the long walk to the top. It’s a journey, it’s a mission, it’s a conquest. It’s also poetry. So why is it so difficult to write poetically about it? “Something.” Yeah, it’s something all right. It’s so much something that it cannot be described in any sort of meaningful way.

I’ve written nature’s praises many times. It’s hard to do so without sounding hackneyed. For example:

Oh glory of glories, you sunset of mine
Your flames extinguish so neat
Seeing you there, tucking yourself into the horizon
Reminds me, I should go to sleep now, too.

Hahaha. That’s pretty extreme. I hope my nature stuff doesn’t sound that bad. I do remember that one of the first pieces I ever wrote and was really proud of was in High School. It was an experiment in narrative poetry and Tchaikovsky. I went out to the field behind my house and pushed play on my Sony Walkman. (Yes, this goes back some. In fact, there’s a house back there now. Such is time.) I sat down in the middle of the field, opened my spiral notebook, and starting writing free verse to Capriccio Italien. I remember this vividly. I was taken over. In retrospect, that may have been the moment my muse, Maya, first introduced herself to me. I was spellbound. Of course now I am afraid to go looking for the actual piece. I’m not even sure I have it still. If I did re-read it now, I would probably cringe, throw in the towel, and revert to an infancy where my poor soul would never recover from its beaten and petrified coil. That’s not good.

Writing about nature is hard, yo! That’s all I’m trying to say here. I might try to write some poetry during Sunday’s long journey to the top of Mt. Marcy. I will definitely pack a small notepad and pen. Cast aside the fact that this old fashioned writing style is something I’m really not familiar with. I know that people still do “put pen to paper.” But I’m all about my laptop. However, in situations such as this, the friendly comfort of my glowing friend is not a viable option. How do you write with a pen? More importantly, how do you write something profound when you are ensconced in unbeatable, natural, God-given profundity? Or rather, God’s Mom-given profundity. Yeah yeah yeah.

Man this post is blathersome.

Well, listen to Capriccio Italien. It’s pretty. And if you are anywhere in New York on Sunday afternoon, put an ear to the wind. You just might hear me shouting, “GOD’S MOM WROTE THE UNIVERSE” from way up above, in the sky.

Today’s writing assignment: Press play, close your eyes, write. Ok, you can open your eyes to write.

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