Category Archives: Poetry And Prose

Clowning Around For Life (A Story)

Against the serpentine and changing ocean shoreline, Bret curled his toes into the cool, textured sand. The sun disappeared over an hour ago, yet he still stood there, watching the lights of the beachside hotel and the occasional silhouette of a person moving in front of the lights. Elizabeth told him she’d be back in a few minutes so that they could take a walk along the shoreline.

He knew she was terrible with directions and often quickly lost her way. The hotel wasn’t THAT big, though. And it wasn’t THAT far away from the beach. As he turned and began walking towards the hotel, he could hear her voice calling.

Her voice was always a little higher than most. The modulation of the waves made her voice faintly waft toward him. He shook his head, wondering what mayhem her internal GPS had caused. He stopped and listened for her next shout. He heard her again when he walked around the building and the service area. A large block wall separated the parking lot. He laughed. Somehow, she had exited the hotel from the service exit and trapped herself between the walls.

“Hold on a second, Elizabeth!” he half-shouted.

“Bret? Get me out of here!” she shouted back, her voice going up another half-octave.

“Go back the way you came,” he offered. “I can’t see the opening. And quit laughing.” He laughed even harder.

“That’s what she said!” she added.

From the other side of the wall, she squealed with delight. “Heads up!”

Before he knew what was happening, a bucket flew over the wall.
Bret laughed again and shook his head.

“Sweetie, why did you just throw me a bucket?”

“Duh!” she replied incredulously. “So you can stand on it and climb over the wall to come get me, dumbass.”

Bret laughed hard. “Umm, you could have used the bucket to climb over the wall yourself, so who’s the dumbass now?”

“Damnit!” She yelled while giggling.

Bret grabbed the bucket and threw it over without any warning. He turned and walked fast around the corner, turning to gain access to the barrier. When Bret rounded the corner, Elizabeth was up against the high brick wall, turned sideways, reaching to get her fingers across the upper edge. He carefully walked up behind her and goosed on the back of her upper right thigh.

One leg kicked backward, pushing the bucket away while her knee jerked forward, hitting Bret in the nose and knocking him to the ground. Her crotch landed directly above his broken, bloody nose. He still managed to laugh and smile and say, “Nice landing!” which made her howl with laughter at the absurdity of the situation.

As Bret stood up, the blood ran down his chin. “Let’s go to the ocean,” he said and laughed.

Elizabeth knew he wasn’t joking, so they walked hand-in-hand around the wall and back toward the waves. Bret’s other hand gripped each side of his painful, oozing nose. They didn’t stop at the shoreline. They continued to step out into the gentle waves until the water was at their knees. Bret leaned over and washed his face as best as he could. They both could only imagine what someone watching might think. Neither cared. That was one of their superpowers. Bret stood up and circled his arm around her waist, pulling her close. They’d go back inside in a few minutes to see about Bret’s nose.

When they woke up the following day, Bret’s nose was very swollen, and he had two black eyes. Elizabeth took one look at him and began laughing uncontrollably.

“That bad, huh?” Bret asked.

“I’m sorry to be laughing so hard! I know that has to hurt! I was just thinking about all the stories we’ll be able to make up to tell people why you have black eyes in our wedding pictures!!!” Tears were running down her face because she was laughing so hard.

“We could have someone be a stand-in for the pictures!” Bret replied. “Is that hot guy from your favorite show available?” He laughed.

“No, I already called his agent. You’re stuck! Besides, you look kind of hot with those black eyes. Bad boy, even. It could be a knee-jerk reaction for me to say so, though,” she added wryly.

“Oh, I’ll give you a knee-jerk reaction, all right,” Bret replied as he rolled over on Elizabeth and gave her a quick kiss, mumbling, “a wee-nee jerk reaction!”

Elizabeth laughed. The weenie joke was one of her favorites, even though it was so stupid and old. It made her laugh every time they used it.

That evening during their beachside wedding ceremony, Elizabeth kept giggling. Bret thought she was tickled at the two witnesses he found that agreed to be there for their wedding. Witnesses that she did not even see before the ceremony. One dressed in an inflatable T-Rex costume, and the other was a clown. He wouldn’t put it past her to use a fake marriage officiant, either. The pastor laughed when Bret leaned in and whispered, “This is a legal marriage, isn’t it?” The clergy replied, “Lord help you if it isn’t.”

Elizabeth giggled out her vows and “I do.”

Bret knew the clown and dinosaur were funny, but not THAT funny. She had tears streaming down her eyes from holding back laughter.

After their first kiss as husband and wife, Elizabeth let out a massive howl of laughter and bent over at her waist to catch her breath. Bret had never seen her laugh that hard.

“Do I have a big booger on the end of my nose or something??” asked Bret.

Elizabeth waved her hands and shook her head no. She was still laughing too hard to speak. Finally, she pointed down.

Bret looked at the bottom of her dress.

She slowly raised it to reveal that she was wearing a ginormous pair of clown shoes and rainbow stockings under her elegant, white dress.

She had also hidden two clown noses in her bouquet for a few pictures after the ceremony.

“Something else that kept getting me tickled was that I noticed how the colors of the sunset matched the colors of your black eyes!!!!” as she roared with laughter again.

During their wedding dinner that night, which was Pizza Hut pizza-of course!-they hatched a plan.

They would send out their wedding picture as their Christmas card this year. Each card would have a different story explaining why Bret had black eyes and a swollen nose in the picture.

When December came around, their stories ranged from a seagull attack, that he wanted his eye shadow to match the colors of the sunset, and “This is what happens to Bret when he tries to use his hemorrhoid cream as a moisturizer.”

I think these two are going to be just fine.
.

just a chair

the chair too teensy

yet made immense by enthusiasm

(like life)

eleven elbows and twelve knees, it seemed

i paid a burdened price for my gaffes

yet decided to surrender to yes

instincts certain, my mind girded with laughter

fused into the chair

interlocking and surprising pieces

murmurs, whispers

time postponed yet winged

the chair, both metaphor and corporeal

you can fit if you will it

you can find a place for your too much or extra

and let the river of wrong

flow anew

just sit

Try This On For Sighs

Well, I wrote a country song, if you can believe it. The song is just banjo, piano, and guitar; the guitar is loosely tuned to mimic a banjo’s jangly feel. It’s an imagined moment, making it more tangible than a memory. One of these days, I will sing it, though your ears might protest.

Try This On For Sighs

I turned on the radio, hearing lyrics nostalgic and free
Conway, George, and Charlie telling us simple stories
invoking us to live by life’s happy and simple decree

family to give us community
friends to give us companionship
and one to share our vulnerable soul

come here and try this on for sighs
you don’t need money, cars, or clothes
discard the disguise and guarded pose
let your heart and body murmur its song
find the enthusiastic arms where you belong

I walked by the closet, you standing like a dare
facing the mirror, nimble bare feet on the floor
black dress draped against your body, shoulders bare

the memory of your departed mom flooding your candid eyes
I could picture both of you silhouetted there, and still
your shared beauty an ongoing and persistent surprise

your chin and neck trembled with the painful past
you turned and smiled willfully in my direction
knowing I witnessed the overlap of time, recast

you tossed the garment aside, your eyes locked and wide
“Come here, and try this on for sighs,” you whispered
as the invisible music played, our bodies erased the divide

come here and try this on for sighs
you don’t need money, cars, or clothes
discard the disguise and guarded pose
let your heart and body murmur its song
find the enthusiastic arms where you belong

In the small space of a closet, time slowed, then stopped
as we laughed, elbows bumping as we twirled
in that closet, the entire volume of the world

….as we sang…

come here and try this on for sighs
you don’t need money, cars, or clothes
discard the disguise and guarded pose
let your heart and body murmur its song
find the enthusiastic arms where you belong

hallelujah, hallelujah

I haven’t finished the melody, but I wrote this song, something I haven’t done in a long time. When I finished, I realized that it could be both spiritual plea or a personal promise. For those whose lives are filled with God, let that be your premise. For those who love, may this be your optimism and purposeful promise of anticipation of another day. And for those souls who have both? Stand together and watch the sunrise, if you can.

Or the sunset. And be renewed. – X
.
.

hallelujah hallelujah

I shall never know if you’re listening
only that I’m whispering the words

That my life not be made easier
only fuller and always in anticipation

I don’t want to know the obstacles
nor the slap of who will precede me

only that I’ll have one more variable day
before the shadows grow feet and approach me

I make this unrequested promise to you
let me arise and see the sunrise, anew

just one more time, one more snapshot
another measure of loving enduring optimism

and if you do, I vow to sing

hallelujah, hallelujah

not for me, but for you

hallelujah, hallelujah

I shall never know if you’re listening
only that I’m whispering the words

hallelujah, hallelujah
.

Love, X
.

P.S. The picture is two superimposed pictures of a man celebrating both sunrise and sunset. Because the sun never sets upon the Earth, only upon our eyes. So much of us is limited to our narrow perspective, and we grow to trust only the things we can touch – instead of the things we can feel and experience.

Deanne

things often go awry, as they so often do
that unimaginable morning, it was you

nine years my junior, with a lingering cough
your energy ebbed and your spirit diminished

i watched my love and life wither
it can’t get that bad, i foolishy hoped

life had a hard lesson for me, again

i sat on the floor next to you
our albino cat standing guard,
as he had all night
before i made the horrible call

life had fled, from you, from me

promises made, hopes shared
became mist and floated away

a little piece of me stayed there, forever

another piece of me, the vibrancy you shared
found a way forward

i can’t believe i’m still standing
filled with love, expanding

sometimes, in moments
i’m back there, remembering the lesson

you said i was love
even in impatience
“my muffin,” you teased
and I? pleased

i try to remember the helplessness
hopelessness and despair

not to drown in them, no

but to live the knowledge
that we’re all closer than we think

it’s all here or gone in a blink

in those crevices of experience
we thrive or subside

with each new self-genesis
i take a long moment
to swallow the risk

and i remember

life knocks, i answer

it is not a question

it is life, moving

Love, X
.

Beep Beep

I’ve been challenged to write away from my moment-in-time or descriptive method – while still using emotion and moments. I wouldn’t call it poetry, so I’ll coin the word Xprosition.
*

Beep Beep

Beep beep, she repeated

my enthusiastic outstretched arms fell lifeless to my sides

and my heart was abruptly worn and defeated

the beep beep on the surface was sugary and benign

under the surface, though, it was by design

not that it was unfamiliar, this scarcity of plenty

but somehow, it was one time too many

how can affection willingly offered be too much

who among us has a full bank of stored love

it has to be replenished

never diminished

never quite finished

and who better to bank it than someone you love

i will keep my hands to my side for a while

but they are designed to reach out, to grasp, to hold

one day soon, perhaps, I’ll be bold

now, at this moment, my affection disposed

i bit my tongue, swallowed my words

avoiding truth, rejecting loneliness

self-confined behind impossible curbs

alone, though in company, inert arms at my side

the lesson taught again

yet seldom applied:

love is always enough if expressed honestly

affection is never authentically rejected

presence and proximity are not congruent

speak your heart and strive to be fluent

if the arms you seek do not open or smile

do not lose hope

reveal who you are

in time, place, and circumstance

another dance

perchance

beep, beep