Saturday, March 13, 2004

A day without singing is like the sun without an earth to shine on.

Monday, March 8, 2004

A man walks his dog but the dog holds the leash between bottom and upper rows of teeth that know chew toys and biscuits as distinct from the rest of the world contained on these few blocks to the park.

The man lights a cigarette and drops the match in front of the swings at the playground where he sits on a bench, waiting for his dog to find a favored spot to remember in later days when it might be a kingdom for a friendly scent when there is only barking from behind the fences the two of them pass gong to and from the store or some such place near home.

This winter the sun is caught in the bare branches of trees that have surrendered their leaves to the season, the light of the sun is cold on the breath, man walks dog in jerky steps, the dog raises his head and growls, drops the leash from his teeth, a car passes by and a dog in the back seat has head sticking out of the window, yelping against the wind the envelopes his face in a perfect wrap of jet streams pinning his ears to the back of his head,

The man's dog runs after the car, barking and baying along the street lined with snowdrifts and grey, runneld slush, gone into the cold, leash less in the cold gasping for the man's hand and the leash he swings like lariat catching cattle the size of boxcars.
russell at claire de lune

applause or the lack of it drives him further into the corner, sinks him deeper into the chair, the cushion springs sing eternal groans as every song he tries to hum comes unstrung and tuneless as every set of lips on each beautiful mouth chats away at every table as though he weren't there with his tattoos and high heels, banjos and dobro guitars around his feet, twelve strings of nothing to say swarming about him as he sulks over the grinding beans and cash register ka-chings!, a spooked avenue flashes on the other side the window as bottle bar slides down slack key frets, headlights swarm over art deco marquees bragging of fabric sales and homecoming days, there's a slight glance of a pusher looking through the window, spitting on the sidewalk, he walks on, side streets go deep into the dark where street lights cannot pierce groves of trees around school yards and bungalows, our singer croaks, snake tattoos run up from his wrist and up his sleeve, emerge at his neck where veins look as though they'll pop on his next high note, books are stacked on the tables in front of him, the student raises her head from a note book she she writes in to drum her lip with the tip of her pen, she returns to her writing, no music will sway her, no applause will console him, a shadow falls over the stage, a stage light as burned out, cups and dishes on empty tables, there are instruments to pack up and trash cans to empty, there is no one to talk to, and thank god for that...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
MSN Slate Magazine

What people say are that people aren't good for a laugh or a loan.The air was cold from mountain winds, Santa Clause's flight exploded over the city,the homeless ate venison cooked over oil drum grills,every fire place was clean the following morning.I sleep in chairs my father gave me in a room my mother appointed as the Dream Cathedral.

Armies laid down their guns and abandoned their tanks,there was all the cash in the world to buy every cure there was a disease invented for, heir trees, good jobs, paid vacations to lands where literature couldn't find them.Roads in your city run close to your living room window,headlights spin off the wall as you watch news, eating popcorn from plastic bowls,tonight it's a Starsky and Hutch marathon, and there's no telling from the library where your amusements ends and the word on the street begins. There are picnic tables and handball courts that might have names on them in memory of some kid who lingered too long at the traffic light when it was his turn to cross.

A water tower looms over the park,tossing a shadow even at night, under the moon that spotlights the rooftops. Tires squeal in the distance, and then a blast of siren. Silence then, a park stalled under lunar sheen. A match is struck in the front seat of a parked car, a cigarette is lit,and the engine starts up. Popping sounds.

Someone starts a fire in a backyard on an improvised appliance.

"Nice oil drum" a kid says, warming his hands, "got any shit?"

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Lurk like a
loon in
lousy seas.
Nothing but the usual crap, standard knives and forks arranged around white plates that sit on top of red tasseled
place mats, on which slices of turkey and mash potatoes steam upward and fog the glasses any codger trying to catch a closer whiff of the aroma of cooked food.

"I ain't eatin none of this shit" I said, and Mom came over and handed me a napkin. She smiled and messed up my hair. My sister was across the table, her eyes peering over the edge, looking over the height of her plate her food.
I could tell she was smiling for reasons I never understood.

"I'm not hungry" I said.
"Go ahead and eat, because the Flintstones will be on in a half hour" she replied. Dad came into the dining room and sat at the table, his white shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He'd been singing in the hallway, his voice echoing about Paris in the rain as he walked up the wood beam floor.

"Hello there, Julie Belle" he said to my sister, who was crawling up on a phone book for a better view of her turkey and mash potatoes

"The Flintsones are on tonight, but we have to eat this wonddddddddddderful meal your darling mother has made for us".

Mom was smoking in the kitchen before she came to sit at the table, and I could smell the burnt odor of Winstons on her.

"Let's eat" she said, "Flinstones and apple pie after we eat."

Julie was already picking at her food, a tiny finger in the mash potatoes.

"Say grace, Ted" Dad said.

Shit, I wasn't hungry. Everything in the world of the God I was praying to undermined each assertion of self will.

"Bless oh lord, for these thy gifts..."

Julie took another fingertip of mash potato from her plate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

There's nothing but red pennies on the table top, tarnished copper coins that have travelled the length of the city with once being drawn out by fumbling fingers seeking bus fare, or that last two pennies offered in a purchase to round out the change to some even, coinless demonination. She spreads the coins over the table with the palm of a hand and relishes the feel of industrial metal. The aroma of the pennies reaches her nose, she can almost taste the bitterness from when she was three, alway putting money in her mouth that her parents might have dumped on dresser drawers, empty ashtrays on living room coffee tables, lost between any plush cushion that have absorbed adult smells and contours.She smiles, takes a drink of her wine, the fog of memory clearing to what's in front of her , unblinking for long moments. Her cat, Emile, who is hungry and demands with stares to be fed. She smiles. Enough here for half a newspaper, she thinks, or a single bite from a peanut butter sandwich. She pets her cat, the phone rings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Greased Lens

This isn't what I was bargaining for, he thinks, never a cab in sight when I want one and damn, the cigarettes are gone, all gone, nothing but stubbed buts all about my shoes.It was cold , and the night in front of him seemed nothing less than a sheet of black ice through which the lights of the city shone through, high beams and store displays blurred like traffic lights a greased lens. He breathed into his hands, ignoring the urge to count his change again. It was a few coins, mostly quarters and nickles, that he scraped together passing a hat around a crowd in the park that afternoon while someone else played jazz saxophone by the water fountain. Man, he thinks, I have got to get some more money together.