Saturday, December 14, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
Snipers in the Sun
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
T.E. Lawrence in Japan
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I miss you. It's been years since I've seen your smiling face. Years since I saw the sun dance through your crimson hair or laugh in your lovely blue bird's egg blue eyes.
I still love you, though, you've long since forgotten me. We haven't spent time together since twenty years ago!
I remember Cindy's party.
That's where we first met. You were radiant and dazzling in your favorite blue dress. The one that matched your eyes.
We became thick as thieves. We did everything together. I remember the time we spent the day at the beach reading. You told me all your secrets, and all these years I've kept them.
I miss those days full of us.
We laughed together, cried together, raged together. Everything seemed to point to a forever love. Then one day you didn't need me anymore. I don't know why.
I still hung around, but you didn't talk to me anymore. I couldn't understand why. I couldn't recall saying or doing anything that would make you hate me, but you had new friends and decided to move on without me.
It's always hard when people move on without you. I remember that lesson well. You told me that when Jeffrey had rejected your advances when you were six or when Winifred decided to have a new best friend at age eight. They don't seem to realize or even care that they've hurt you or how deeply it impacts you.
Then you turned around and did the same thing to me.
I'm not writing this to call you a hypocrite or anything - just because I miss you.
I sit lonely in this cardboard box day after day. I just want for one day you to open this box, wondering of the contents, to see your smiling face again. To hear you cry 'Teddy' one last time before you pass me off to a child or a grandchild and tell them of all the wonderful times we shared. But maybe you forgot me completely. Maybe you'll never find me again.
I was always an optimist, so I'm going to keep hoping one day you need me again. Because I still need you.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Sunday, August 4, 2013
"What's that?" Angle said, pointing at the man's arm.
"That thing on your sleeve."
The man looked at his arm, a frown on his face. "My heart. What the hell do you think it is?"
"It's beating," Angle said.
"I sure as hell hope so. Wouldn't need to worry about the tornado if it wasn't, would I."
Angle looked around the storm shelter. None of the other fifty or so occupants seemed to notice anything unusual. Most were huddled with family members, keeping an eye on the stairs leading to the exit.
He stared at the beating appendage, as it's pulse quickened, and idly raked bony fingers through his beard, not sure what to say. "What's your name?" he asked.
"Harold, but most people call me Hank." A honed edge remained on the man's voice, like he didn't want to be bothered. "What's yours? Not that it matters. I'll be continuing on my way to Kansas City once the storm passes. That's assuming the bus is still upright."
Angle thought about that, and decided the man was right—that it didn't matter. He told him his name anyway. "Angle."
"Angle?" Hank scratched his heart.
"That's my name."
"What the hell kind of name is that? You Greek or something? Shortening your name so people can say it?"
"The person who filled out my birth certificate misspelled angel. My dad was so pissed when he found out he went to a bar and drank an entire bottle of Jack Daniels."
"Can't blame him," Hank said. "I would'a been pissed, too."
Angle nodded and smiled. "I don't think I would've killed the parrot, though."
"He killed a parrot? Did the bird make some wisecrack about your name?" Hank put his fists in his pits and flapped his arms, the heart beat faster with each movement. "Polly wants an Angle. Polly wants an Angle. Waaak!" Hank laughed so hard he nearly fell off his chair.
Angle reached out to steady the old man but pulled his hand back, not wanting to touch the beating heart. "Some other drunk challenged him to a game of darts. Dad threw the first one about thirty feet right of the target into the bird's cage." A loud bang from outside the storm shelter interrupted his story. Everybody in the room jumped. A woman Angle couldn't see screamed and prayed to Jesus to save her. Just her. No one else. "The owner tried to have my dad charged with murder."
"This just keeps getting better," Hank said, as he started to cough.
Angle patted Hank on the back until the barking stopped and the heart slowed its pace.
"Hey, folks." It was a high-pitched male voice coming from across the room. "I think the storm's passed. We're going to open the door."
Angle and Hank and everyone else sat still while a large man in a Chicago Cubs t-shirt, his bloated belly uncovered, a tattoo of a hot dog in a bun with cole slaw under his belly button expanding and contracting with each breath, opened the hatch. Sunshine brightened the dim room. A breeze carried fresh air into the dank rectangle.
"Well," Hank said. "I don't know what we're going to find out there, but it was nice talking to you." Angle noticed Hank's voice had calmed to normal, so had his heartbeat.
"Same here," Angle said. "Hey, you going to get that fixed?" Angle asked, pointing at the man's heart.
"Not sure." Hank cupped it in his hand, like it was a baby's head. "It kinda fits there don't you think?"
Angle watched Hank's fingers caress the organ as they climbed the stairs. "Yea. I think it does."
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
"Did you call 911?"
"Got a phone?"
"No. Up at the abbey. Come with me. I'll show you the way." Brother Joseph set down his flute, picked up his crutches, climbed to his feet, hobbled slowly up the trail.
"Can't you go any faster?" cried the boy.
"You go on ahead. It's just a hundred yards up this trail. Take the right hand fork. Big wooden building."
The boy said nothing, just dashed away, quickly disappearing from sight. Brother Joseph took a few more steps, then stopped. He'll b
"Hi ho, Brother Joseph," he called. "A beautiful fine day it is to be carrying a sack full of bills to the abbey. Here is your Smithsonian Magazine."
"Oh, look at this," said Brother Joseph, taking the magazine. "What is this strange bird on the cover? It's a hoatzin, whatever that is." He opened the magazine, searching for the cover article. His eyes fell on a photograph of a gigantic robot arm, so delicate, said the caption, that it could juggle three eggs without breaking them. Quickly he closed the magazine. "Please, my friend, take this up to the abbey. I'll look at it later."
"Busy?" asked the postman.
"Busy trying to quiet my busy mind. Why, just now ... never mind. I'll tell you later."
"I see how it is with you, my friend. I'll be on my way."
After the postman left, Brother Joseph tried to settle down, but he kept thinking about the boy. What was happening up at the abbey? What about the boy's parents? An armed psychopath less than a mile away. Why hadn't he gone to a neighbor for help? Probably one of those lone houses at the edge of the woods. The woods would be safest. Good instinct to run for cover in the woods. A robot juggling eggs. What for? Who would want to?
He couldn't silence the voices in his head. Then he realized that by trying to calm himself enough to play his flute he was doing it backward. The trick, he knew from long experience, was just to play the flute until the babbling voices stopped. He raised the flute to his lips and blew a note. A long wavering note that came from his busy mind, then a quick string of notes, still connected to his thoughts. As he played he again became aware of the brook singing among the stones and he answered the watery song with his own song, the notes now coming from deep within him, flowing harmoniously with the stream. He was focused now. The world narrowed to the water music mingling with the fluty wind music, no room for thoughts, no other being but here now.
Once more silence in the woods, except for the song of a bamboo flute, a running brook, a distant gunshot.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
A Wedding Gift to Remember
Wind gusted off the ocean, sandpapering the weathered sides of the beach house and rattling the wood shutters. Outside, a chair blew over with a bang. November's storms had arrived. Summer on the cape was delightful, but fall weather was iffy.
Ellie took a sip of non-alcoholic wine, grimaced, and turned on a lamp by the couch. Her parents had been wonderful about the pregnancy. They were always just a telephone call and a hug away.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Candy is sweet. Lovingly he stripped the wrapper from the candy and let it waft to the floor. The candy lay lightly in his hand. He let the sweet candy caress his tongue and closed his eyes until it was fully dissolved; it was at this point that the bullet entered his brain.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Gone the bustling amusement park at Ocean Beach, gone Skateland and Playland, gone into burnt brick and ruined concrete walls are the once sprawling Sutro Baths, gone the Chateau-like Cliff House which exists only in old pictures and postcards.
But the slow-sloping Beach at the edge of the infinite ocean is there in all its natural stolid solidity and aloneness: five miles of it from Lands End, where tourists gather for views of the Golden Gate and Marin Headlands, south to the Fort Funston cliffs where moth-like hang gliders soar 500 feet over the wind-swept land, riding the ridge-lift, held aloft by the up-drafts. Tiny Bank Swallows nest in the cliffs there – their only known coastal nesting site. Ocean Beach, paralleled by the Great Highway, is two hundred yards wide all the way, its flatness modulated by occasional low sand dunes.
It’s wind, wind, wind at Ocean Beach: strong wind, whooshing wind, whipping wind, forever wind, cold, steady, unrelenting wind. Wind carves waves, froths the breakers, and forms white-caps in the distance. Wind drives the sea into the shore, and the constant sounds of wind and waves together seemingly radiate from far beyond the horizon of incoming swells; the crash, roar, dip and hush; the pulse, shape and duration of multiple sea and wind sounds; the rush, constant pounding and plangent resonance of ocean and air; the weight and power of the ocean tamed only in small measure by the Beach. And shrill calls of snowy plovers, gulls, geese, ravens, pelicans, cormorants.
The slippery visual wash of waves; the sight of their rhythmic rise, thrust, collapse and retreat; their differing motions; their curves, filigrees and lacey shapes; the ever changing dots, specks and lines, jagged and smooth, on the moody ever-changing sea surface; inlay of scintillating light; tankers diminished by distance to toy boats; the grainy sand underfoot and in the hand; the briny taste and smell; salt on the lips. Do onlookers not see inward and stare into the sea-tides of their souls?
All San Francisco comes here. Waders like the gentle slope of the Beach and children play in the foamy spoor and backflow of the water; flyers of kites unloose their birds and dragons to the wind; surf-casters cast out; sand sculptors compete in the annual contest. Surfers love the heavy swells and miles of beach break: they mount the liquid planes below and above the rising waves and read the changes and shapes of the swells, then glide down cutting back and forth along the long spiral roll of falling wave crests. Kite-surfers, lift-pulled by the wind, slide and glide colorfully through the glassy shallows. Warming bonfires and barbeques glow on the beach day and night while runners and bikers flow on the sidewalks of the Great Highway.
Yet swimmers beware! Lives have been lost from the achingly cold water, strong rip tides, currents and undertows, and fierce waves. Wind driven waves have grounded many ships and pounded them to pieces on Seal Rocks and against the jagged cliffs at either end of the Beach. Once in a while, at low tide, the ghostly hull of the King Phillip, an old clipper ship wrecked in 1878, surfaces eerily through the sand at windswept Ocean Beach.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
How to be Calm
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
Thursday, May 30, 2013