The Moonlight

Standard

I’ve been posting a lot of poems of late and people have been asking for story bits. This is one of my favorite little pieces of writing. I admit, I am ridiculously fond of it. I haven’t decided if it’s a “fragmeant” that I may develop further or if it’s complete as is. “The Moonlight” is only a working title. I’m not quite sure what to call it. Ideas?

A magical thing doesn’t lose its usefulness if it changes its state.

PhotographerThe moonbeams scattered everywhere, fractured light spilling all over the carpet!

“Oh no!” the Sunny Marmalade Cat cried out softly, “You’ve broken them! Every single one!” He tried to sweep them into a pile with his tail but they began to degrade into a shimmering powder, transforming into a dancing puddle of light. Bits of silver stuck to his fur like beads of mercury and scattered as he flicked his tail, vexed.

“Oh Dear!” the Asynchronous Clock ticked nervously.”Oh Dear. Oh Dear. Oh Dear. What shall we do now?” And though she tried to keep her hands from moving, they clicked into place, striking the hour and she began to chime!

This caused the Good Mourning Dove to coo and cluck and leave a little icing on the edge of the window sill.

Everyone froze, poised to flee at the sound of a breath or a step, but all remained still.

The Midnight Velvet Cat hissed for attention and once she had it she pushed at the remains of the moonlight with her paw. “We have to be moving, now! We mustn’t let ourselves be discovered. But we can’t leave this here. They will never understand.”

The Good Mourning Dove pecked at the silvery soot with his beak. It was very cold and left a slightly uncomfortable tingling sensation. He shuffled away mumbling, “Well isn’t it useless now? If they find it, they’ll have no idea what it is. In the daylight it will look less like diamonds and more like dust, won’t it?”

The Midnight Coal Cat fixed her great green eyes on the bird and shook her head gently. “No. That will not do and it wouldn’t be safe. They might not know what it is but they will know that it doesn’t belong here either.

A magical thing doesn’t lose its usefulness if it changes its state. We just don’t know what its new purpose will be! We brought it here and we must take it with us. We have to figure out a way to transport it.”

The dove pecked at the curtains thoughtfully, walked the length of the ledge and back, opened and closed his beak a few times. Suddenly he exclaimed, “I have an idea!” Then he hopped off the ledge and disappeared into the night. When he returned a few moments later, the Hopeful Little Dog, who had been diligently keeping watch appeared next to him.

“How can I help?” she panted eagerly. Then she noticed. “Is that? Oh no! How? Oh nevermind, what are we going too…O-oh, I’ve got it!”

And, in a blink she had gobbled up every last bit of moonlight, licking the floor and even the Sunny Marmalade Cat’s tail just to be certain of her thoroughness.

The Asynchronous Clock could not resist, “Good…. Dog!” she ticked happily.

“So it’s true,” the Sunny Marmalade Cat said wryly, “A dog really will eat anything without checking to see if it’s food first.”

The Midnight Coal Cat batted the orange cat’s pink nose with a cushiony paw. “It’s time for gratitude, not jokes.” she chided and rubbed against the Hopeful Little Dog in appreciation causing the her to wag her curly nub of a tail furiously. She wanted desperately to bark her excitement but she held it back. She was chilled and tingly inside, full of energy yet somewhere deep within was a new calm center. It was a little like the time she had chewed wild peppermint as a pup but without the strong flavor and much, much colder.

The little party made their way over the window sill and back outside, quickly navigating the garden path and the meadow. They made it into the woods without further incident. As they moved farther away from the treeline into the dense forest, it became much harder to see the path. They debated the lost time of waiting for daylight against the possibility of missing a marker, getting lost or hurt in the darkness.

The Hopeful Little dog paced back and forth, her blue eye glimmering faintly, her brown eye virtually invisible in the murkiness, just like the Midnight Velvet Cat. Suddenly, she stopped, looked straight ahead and opened her mouth. Light spilled out illuminating the path.

“Well that settles that.” said the Midnight Coal cat. “Purrfect!”

And they all started down the newly moonlit path, suddenly feeling much more optimistic.

But they were not alone and despite their combined, superior senses they did not seem to register it. Surely they would have perceived fear or predatory focus, but lacking that simply assumed they were hearing and smelling a mere resident of the forest busy with it’s nocturnal habits. Maybe, the magic was working and they did not sense me. All the same, I held back, keeping as much distance as I could without losing them. Walking so slowly and quietly tensed my legs and they started to ache.

If only I could be an owl, I thought. I could glide above them on wings of whisper quiet. I could rest up when I got ahead of them, up in high branches, seeing them perfectly with my spectacular night vision. And I could easily make out every word of their conversation. As long as it served me, I would so like to be an owl!

And I was.

-LM 2015/2016

10451695_10203243588721718_2024920410617902066_n

Follow The Moon

Standard

1382137_10200725807978773_1651999951_n

Follow the Moon and the Moon will follow you
She will sink into the sea and appear in skies bright blue
She will shine unless she’s dark
Her mirror a cool counterpart
To the sun’s warm glow
She is silver cold
Light thief illuminating
Silver undulating
Soft voice facilitating turning of the wheels
And the changing of the tides
The churning of the minds
Shaping all our dreams, ask and you might see
But the answer might be something you always knew
Follow the Moon and the Moon will follow you


LM 2013*

 

*Since I haven’t been posting in some time I am combing through things I wrote and didn’t post and expanding on them a bit. With this poem, however, I didn’t change a thing!

That Foolhardy Muscle

Standard

Here is a bit from a newer story I have been writing, working title, The Elixir. I will tag any new segments under The Elixir as I post them.
TheFool-sacred isle tarot
Isadore loved Henry. Not a moment passed that this ever made her happy. Even at the height of his most ardent attentions she would imagine the freedom that would come if she could switch her feelings off like a light, or engineer a sudden course adjustment sending her heart careening down tracks to a more fruitful destination. The blissful glaze had turned into a fervent wish that she wouldn’t care enough to blink should karma cause his head roll to a bloody stop at her feet.  

She had stumbled so willingly into the trap as he professed his uncontrollable obsessions, his unworthiness, his vice. The confessions of his unsuitable nature were the gleam of truth in Henry’s lies. It was true, he did not deserve her affections. It was true, he was not a good person. Isadore had crumpled his declaration and discarded it, jumping headlong into his arms because she wanted to believe that everyone deserves to be loved. She wanted to believe he couldn’t hurt her. Now she knew better.

No, the man who had yanked her chain for two shameful years had never deserved or appreciated her. Henry was a bad man wrapped up like a good one; a package of deceit, wrapped up in plain brown paper, then tied with a sincere bow. After a great deal of time and effort, the layers of wrapping were still thick enough to obscure the contents but one started to suspect, that the package contained no gift, as the distinct smell of rotting fish wafted up from the folds. By then it was too late because Isadore’s gullible little heart had convinced her that to love someone, one accepts them as they are. It never even occurred to her that you can love someone as they are and yet walk away.

Love can be foolish like that.  You can kick it, gore it and throttle it. Still, it will wag its tail then roll over to show you it’s bleeding belly. When the steel jaws have snapped on its tender foot it will  calmly wait for the hunter to set it free. If there is a cliff, love will step off of it every single time, because someone will be there to catch the falling imbecile just often enough to convince it that impulsively stepping off cliffs is a reasonably safe, even sensible plan. Isadore’s foolish heart, perhaps the victim of too many shock treatments, stared blankly past the likely future, oblivious to the creeping gangrene that wound it’s way up her leg like a stocking, the noxious lingerie held in place by a delusion that love would conquer all. That delusion carried her deep into trouble and it kept her there. For Isadore it had started as a mission and ended as a sentence that could not be commuted. She loved Henry. Done. Finite.

And now she found herself sitting in the dark, silently seething, Isadore willed her foolish heart to stop, just STOP! She had walked away. She had cut him out of her life cleanly. When that didn’t work, she had been messy and brutal. She reclaimed her heart in words but her chest felt hollow.  If she couldn’t stop dreaming, thinking and breathing Henry perhaps she needed to stop dreaming, thinking and breathing. But she knew he wasn’t worth it and she knew she couldn’t go through with something so final. She still hoped her heart could heal and find it’s way to someone more deserving, someone who would actually love her back.

The months went on unnoticed, Isadore pushed her pen over paper, spilled her voice into the phone, sat in traffic, punched the clock and met social obligations in a fugue state. Her friend Tina took on the role of fearless motivational coach, making sure that Isadore vented and didn’t spend too many of her days retreating to her cave. Tina also dragged her to their ritual theater group for which Isadora was grateful. They were in full swing, preparing for the annual DramaCon and there was much to plan for. Isadore was more than a little thrilled that she wouldn’t risk running into her ex. Henry had been to DramaCon once, dragged there by some girl he fancied and he had made it pretty clear he had no interest in returning. They weren’t his kind of  people, they were hers. Isadore found herself perking up. Sometimes her chest felt less hollow, as if a bird was building a nest, filling in the space with expectation. It was good to be clear headed, to feel like she was finally making decisions without being manipulated!

Henry was a masterful manipulator with a pout that would put the high school prom queen to shame and a smile that could oil the most stubborn gear into motion. There were moments of cruelty no one had witnessed or lived to tell about. However, when the right people were looking he could be exceedingly charitable and generous with his time. Image was important to Henry. It was imperative that he be perceived as a good man with a good heart. He must be a good friend. A good boyfriend. A good employee. All good.

Yet despite needing to maintain and even believe in that good image, he would confess his ills to certain people, usually women, as a sort of disclaimer before seducing and mistreating them. When he felt the first pangs of what he perceived must be guilt, generally after he had milked all the validation and sex he needed from them, he would declare himself the victim and work that angle so deftly he would convince his friends to dismiss the injured party and comfort him. He often bamboozled the woman into questioning and scapegoating herself in the process. He was such a good guy, how could he be an abusive one?

But that didn’t work with Isadore. He was under her skin, but she knew he was evil. She called him on it. And people liked Isadore as much as they liked Henry, even more in some cases. It was a complicated break up, but in the end Henry managed to escape with most of his secrets intact  while Isadore  nursed a hole in her chest and wished she could be angrier. He wallowed in paranoia while she prepped meaningful dialogue for workshops and skits, painted props and filled her suitcase with costume bits. Henry made grand declarations to his friends that he would be single and celibate for a year. This meant he would be keeping up appearances while cruising online for someone with low enough self esteem that he would be guaranteed his debauchery  without the risk of discovery.Meanwhile,  Isadore happened upon Winston who was handsome, funny and genuinely delighted to have her on his arm in public. Every time Winston made her laugh, she longed to regain custody of her heart long enough to give it to him. After a few months she let Winston slip away, a kindness she told herself, but it felt like she had dropped a ruby down an elevator shaft and she hated herself for letting a truly good man get away, for pushing him away.

LM-2015

The Moon Trick

Standard

I trembled in the dark barely containing my excitement. I wanted to howl at the moon but where was it? I could not see it hanging in the sky. I could not feel the weight of it in my palm or hear it rolling about the floor like a great round marble. It wasn’t hiding behind a door or in the cockles of my heart, not that I have ever really been convinced that hearts have cockles. It had simply disappeared. Or it had never been there at all.

Perhaps there is a thing I mistook for the moon just because you hung it for me. Why would you do that? Hang a fake moon and tell me it was mine? What a mean trick to play on all the wolves. Singing to an origami moon and chasing rabbits through the snow under it’s cold, pale impossible light.

I realize now that when you left, you slipped it into your pocket. You took it back without saying a word. And my whole world is left without a moon. My whole heart is left without you. The wolves have no muse. The hares no longer have a shadow. The sea will fall slack without the tidal pull.

Undeterred, I howl to spite the empty sky. I wait but there is no answer. The howl rattles around a bit in what would be the cockles of my heart, if I had them. It dwindles to a raspy echo. It’s just not the same without the moon. The glorious howl of communion has become a lonely wimper.

-LM 2014

The Gardener

Standard

Image

Vera stood in a sunny patch at the bottom of the hill, looking up at the tower. She could only see the tip, its two prongs, reminiscent of the tip of a Taser haloed by fog. It was an unattractive icon that had become as much a navigational landmark as, “The Washing Machine Church” or the Golden Gate Bridge or the Rainbow Flag.  Get any of these in sight and it was easy to get your bearings. Years ago she had watched go carts racing down that hill, rickety chariots hurling their drivers at precarious speeds. Today, she was waiting for Mr Bernardi to open the garage so she could collect some planters she’d found cheap on craigslist.

Bernardi proved to be an affable chap, his Brooklyn accent still intact after twenty five years of west coast living. He hurried down at his wife’s bidding, his plaid robe  tied shabbily over a plain blue tee shirt and sweatpants, a carpet of graying stubble spreading across his cheeks. Opening the garage revealed the planters, rather nice ones, heavy  ceramic pots with fancy glazes. She handed him the money and he helped her carry them to the back of the car all the while nattering about downsizing and rent control and sunshine.

She knew exactly who she was going to plant in each one and what spots each would have in her garden. They would quickly outgrow these pots and she’d need bigger ones, but that’s what scavenging on craigslist was for. As she navigated the city streets, the meandering detour  to the freeway gave her time to mull over the seeds and incantations she would use and what ingredients she would add to the soil for the desired results. Vera was meticulous about what attributes she brought to life and chose to bring to fruition which brought her great trust and loyalty from her clients.

Her house at the far edges of West Oakland was unassuming and looked much smaller than it was. The high fence of iron backed by boards and thick hedges towered over the house so that you could only see it from certain angles. Most would balk at the thought of a woman living alone in such a rough and isolated part of town but nobody messed with Vera. They gave her and her home a wide berth of respect. They also knew they could come to her for help without hesitation or fear of discovery if things were dicey. She’d staunched the rush of blood from gunshot wounds and stopped infection in its tracks. If you truly needed something, Vera could probably help you get it. So the undesirable elements of Oakland looked after Vera and watched out for her. The authorities seemed to find her invisible which is just the way she wanted it.

A few muttered words through the rolled down window of her old Chevy and the gate, recognizing Vera’s voice swung open then back to latch tightly behind her as she drove to the back of the property. The back yard was huge, several lots dotted with plants, mature  trees and a smattering of small structures. There were three houses in all on the property making it a compound of sorts. As she parked, Holly beaming with excitement, waved at her from the back porch of one of the houses. She lurched towards the stairs clinging fiercely to the railing with both hands, her feet still caked in soil!

Vera rushed toward Holly, her arms waving with concern. “Wait! Wait! Are you sure you’re ready? I don’t want you to fall and hurt yourself! Don’t bruise your pretty skin!” Obviously, Holly had decided she was ripe and ready to be plucked all by herself! Vera felt a little surge of pride for the clever girl. She had planned to leave her in for another day or two, but no, she was ready, no more time or transplantation needed! Holly teetered on the third step and went down suddenly landing on her plump fresh naked buttocks. “Ow!” she exclaimed surprised and then burst into tears! Vera rushed to her.”There, there, you’re alright!” Within minutes. Holly had ascertained that yes, she was fine indeed and her eyes were bright and smiling again! It was clear that the charms Vera had added for sunny disposition had done their job. “Let’s stand you up and make sure you haven’t any splinters in your bum! Oh that’d be rich; a dryad with splinters in her arse” she chortled!

The Miracle

Standard

Once upon a time there was a miracle.

The miracle didn’t look anything like you might expect a miracle to look like. In fact, by all outward appearances the miracle looked to be a quite ordinary girl, quite pleasant, a pretty girl, but not stop in your tracks exotic.

The light didn’t scatter or shimmer in a special way when she moved. She bought toothpaste, toilet paper and bus fare. She didn’t laugh more readily and her heart cracked just as easily as the rest of us humans.

She didn’t even know she was special, let alone a walking breathing miracle. But there she was, real, magical, sacred and sheathed in hope! There was a song inside her and she hadn’t even formed the first note.

She could be sitting next to someone on a train, in a coffee shop, in the library at school. If they noticed her, they might think, oh what a lovely girl! But they’d have no idea. You might be sitting next to her on a park bench or in a movie theater. You wouldn’t know that you’d brushed elbows with a miracle and neither would she.

That’s the special nature of miracles. They are the unexpected smiles that light up the blackest moments in our lives.

-LM 2014