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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March drabbles - 31

It was raining as they pulled out of town, dispirited, dismayed. Bike engines thrummed; wheels skidded; they knew they’d never be this way again. And if no one ever whispered his name it’d still be too soon for them. How could he be dead?

“Why so glum?” asked the stranger.

They let their engines idle, walked awhile. “Didn’t you read? That guy they killed—they murdered—he was our friend.”

“More than that,” said the other. “Jesus! He was gonna change the world and they blew him away.”

“Why so glum?” asked the stranger and proceeded to change the world.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March drabbles - 30

It was raining as they pulled into town. Bike-engines thrummed; wheels skidded; the entourage of hangers-on hung on and stopped beside him. Really the guys could’ve camped outside but they didn’t want to drown. So Peter and John were sent to look for a place.

“How?” asked Peter.
“Follow the watercarrier.”
“ ’Cause he’ll help.”

They followed to a run-down house in a mud-strewn alleyway. “The boss needs 13 bedmats, space for a meal…” Then the stranger, watercarrier, led them upstairs.

“Okay,” he said. “Just don’t wreck the place.”
And next day, time and space and place wrecked man.

Monday, March 29, 2010

March drabbles - 29

The sun was shining—perfect weather for a party yesterday. And today it rains. The stones were warm and welcoming, nice to take off my shoes and relax, wriggles toes in the grass. But today it rains. The table and chairs looked like summer in the sun, but cloth’s begun to drip ’cause today it rains.

And the clown-car at the back of the parade, the donkey too small for its rider? The weather’s raining on our charade, but in the end it’s okay ’cause tomorrow he reigns. Even the stones cry out with their pattering refrain, “Tomorrow he reigns.”

March drabbles - 28

The sun was shining—perfect weather for a party. Jugglers juggled. Mimes mimed. Kids and kittens ran wild. Soldiers guarded the streets of course, with so many pilgrims around, but even they couldn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd.

Dignitaries rode on champion steeds or marched with following cliques. Sometimes the kids said “Who’s that?” when their Mom’s said to cheer. Then there was the man on a donkey, his feet trailing the ground. Funny the way the Moms and kids went wild. We’d heard he was some great preacher, hero-style—looked like a clown, but you never can tell.

March drabbles - 27

The sun was shining—perfect weather for a party. Jugglers juggled. Mimes mimed. Kids and kittens ran wild. Dignitaries drove past in black sedans with tinted windows. “Was that the Mayor? Did you catch the plate?” There was even a royal or two. I lifted my kid in my arms so he see could Prince Phillip wave.

“Mom, what’s a prince?”

A tiny car trailed the parade, driver going slow, passenger leaning low out the window-frame and smiling high. Don’t know who he was, but my kid said afterwards he was the best bit. I think he liked the car.

Friday, March 26, 2010

March drabbles - 26

The rich man had vacation plans. The poor man lost his job. The rich man’s friends suggested help but he said not today. Then, while he enjoyed his island paradise, the poor man went to The Paradise instead.

The rich man died and went to Hell. But the poor man lived so well, the rich man asked if someone could warn his friends. God replied, “If they’ve not got it yet, they won’t understand even if the dead rise to tell them.”

So Hell grew hot and crowded. The needle’s eye shrank. And a mill-wheel sank in eternity’s dank depths.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March drabbles - 25

There’s a squirrel on the tree outside, spins round the trunk and glides to land where tulips are coming to bud. One bulb dug up, he takes a bite then chases after friends. I wonder if tulip bulbs still flower with bites taken out of the end.

There’s a bird in the tree outside. It chases squirrels away than flies in search of early worms. That tulip stem’s a flower. He spits it out. I wonder if stems produce buds when they’re battered about.

There’s a cat outside, chases squirrels and birds and the tulip’s trod down in the mud.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March drabbles - 24

There were rabbits in the meadow. “Can I chase them?” asked May, but “No way,” said her Mom. “Why not?” “’Cause it’s not kind.”

May’s brother played football with her Dad while May went to pick flowers. Dandelions splintered streaks of sunshine in the grass. Then a rabbit passed too close.

“Can I chase it?” She didn’t wait to hear, but followed it to the trees where it quickly disappeared. All that was left was a trail of warm rabbit “eggs” that May added to her flowers.

“It’s an Easter Rabbit Mom,” she said. “He left his eggs for me.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March drabbles - 23

Too much to do, Jess takes children to school, shops for food, runs the dishwasher, rescues a spoon from the clattering disposal and collapses at last in a heap.

No collapsing allowed, Jess shifts washing to dryer, reloads the machine, cleans the floor, sweeps the leftovers stored from the kids scattered meals, tattered heels, and then tries to relax.

No relaxing allowed, Jess dreams coffee and fun and looks out at the sun—cut the grass, aching back but hurray the hot job’s quickly done.

Sunlight and grass-seed and vitamin D… a coffee reward for succeeding, plus children for fun.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March drabbles - 22

Hop. “I’m a bunny,” said Tom. Hop hop. “I’m a frog.” Hop, wriggle and squirm. “Look Mom. Now I’m a fish.”

Mom wished he’d play more quietly while she struggled to clean the room. He's in the laundry. “Please.”

“I’m a kitty,” said Tom.

Hop. She fitted the gate to the bathroom door. “You stay out now.” But Tom just hopped the gate.

“Horse racing, Mom.”

Hop. “Not on the stairs.” Tom hopped. Mom caught. They hopped together to the kitchen. “Help me bake a cake?”

Tom hopped on a chair—“Yes Mom”—leaning into the task. Hope hopped awake.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March drabbles - 21

They say children forget, but I remember eyes gummed like fire, scents of washing, or spring in my nose, with knives underneath. The yellow when I saw it wasn’t sunshine, wasn’t my room. No strength, I couldn’t look round, wondered why was I hurt. Flesh lay still, dumbly opposing my will while dampness on my stomach spread the smell. I shouted help and babies cried.

My tongue sucked, pressed on teeth that weren’t there. Then I was lifted, airborne, rag doll flopping, held under my arms. Eyes struggled to focus. Ears heard a whispering voice, “Poor baby.” I can’t forget.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March drabbles - 20

Ted just didn’t like yard-work. But Mom just thought it was what sons do to help around the house, while daughters clean. She called it “chores.”

What wouldn’t he give for soap-bubbles and fingers pickled in the sink? What wouldn’t he give for the dryness of house-dust in his nose? Out here there were spiders in the leaves and spider-silk breathed in with loamy air. The grass that jumped might have been a frog and a twig crawled away like a string…

“Snake!” He screamed. Mom said it was only a worm because she hadn’t seen. Ted didn’t like yard-work.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March drabbles - 19

“Oh Danny-boy,” the Grandma sang, “the pipes are calling me.” So Grandpa called the plumber.

Of course, you could hardly say it was Gradnpa’s fault the plumber was named Danny. But when Grandma put Danny’s number on speed-dial Grandpa did start to worry.

“Those pipes been calling a lot lately?” he asked.

“Old house. Old plumbing.”

And, true, it was an old argument too. Grandma’s bathtub leaked and Grandpa said they’d fix it when they fixed the pipes… which would surely cost less than calling the plumber every day.

Hmm, Grandpa thought, took Grandma shopping, and Danny-boy called no more.

March drabbles - 18

“You’re not wearing green,” said the boy, but the girl pointed out the bright ribbon in her hair. Pink flowers and pale green leaves were embroidered there.

“You’re not wearing green,” but this girl had dots of green on each fingernail and she hooked them like claws.

“Not wearing green.” “Yes I am but I ain’t showing you.” He moved on without pause.

“Not green.” The new boy pulled a scab from his hand and bled green goo.

“Please Miss! Tommy’s an alien.”

The teacher smiled, green-eyed, green lipstick, green teeth, and answered the child. “Ah well, so am I.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March drabbles - 17

To fields of green, green grass he came, who once had fled in fear. He brought his tales of hope. He planned a future. Peace came near. The serpent-tongued he cast into the cold and held his staff, snake-bent but shepherd’s mold. He welcomed prince and pauper to the fold.

In fields of green, green clover then he told of three-fold God. He promised fatherhood to fatherless, son-hood to all. He promised spirit’s truth to conquer lies and rescue lives.

In fields of grass he held his staff placed firmly at his feet. Its roots grew strong, Aspatria, Patrick’s ash.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March drabbles - 16

In fields of green, green grass and weeds and flowers and whispering seeds, well-watered land, he lay with hands in sand and blackened clay. The fibrous strands of roots were prayer-mats swathing holy ground, and branches swayed above, hiding the sun.

Yielding his place, runaway slave, he listened for the waves. His roving eyes gazed for the boat—another long days’ journey, still not safe—then looked at weeds, three-leaved, held in his palm. The clover’s three-pronged hope inspired: a Father’s promise, Son’s protection, Spirit’s strength to cope. Then Patrick strode, one more day's marching left, and sailed for home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March drabbles - 15

The sun was bright, the season light, the people filled with joy. Wars had been fought and won—a new age begun. So now the government strolled the streets to the place where governments meet. Now they’d discuss how the needs of the poor could be fit to more important wants and desires.

Politics. Politics. War’s easier, he thought, but when you’re a Caesar you do what a Caesar must do.

Then others seized his robe and tore him down. They thrust him through with swords till he lay bleeding. One last friend—et tu Brute—cast the last blow.

March drabbles - 14

“Will you march with me?” Caesar asked. Brutus stepped to his side.

“The rabble,” said Caesar, looking round at the crowds that followed. “See how they run, in need a guide.”

“The pomp and circumstance.” He observed the marbled senate hall, the waiting senator’s flocked “Like a bride for her groom.”

“How true,” said Brutus, hand on his old friend’s arm, guiding his path. “How true.” They laughed at an old man’s wrath, and feeble woman’s angry prophesy.

The black widow spider skittered away to the shadows where night-webs grew. She knew and waited, like a bride for her groom.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March drabbles - 13

“Four strong winds that blow lonely.” He’d tasted them all, sand and salt, with dry mineral sting. But the fire in his eyes burned for things he had done and “The good times are all gone.”

“One day they’ll sing.” He dropped his guitar, took the gun hanging low on his hip, weighing steady like music and strong like chords of a song.

“One day.” And the wind-devils floated like nymphs to his end. Beating hooves of the sheriff’s fine steed were his drums and the sun lent a singer.

Now he’s bending the trigger. He's bound for moving on.

March drabbles - 12

The taxi was stuck, so they bundled out with clown-suited babe underarm. The bobble-hat bulged beneath red hood and he felt like a doll would, rigidly stiff in his Mom’s arms. She wobbled while Dad paid what they owed.

“Sure you’re okay?”

“It’s not far.” They strode over unseasonal snow. Then she slipped towards the black-iced ditch and baby slid under her arms; she saw his small red kayak floating away and screamed for help.

With black coat billowing her husband leapt to their aid. Then, “Sure you’ll be okay?” the taxi-driver asked. She answered no, climbing safely back inside.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March drabbles - 11

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—” *
I wandered two roads,
Three or four or five.
Two roads I saw and spring new-sprung and bright
Was waving rainbowed silken sheens on one while ice
In winter’s dark lay shadowed
Sunless hallowed on the next.
Two roads and vexed I wondered where to go.
The summer’s light poured warmth and heat—
I saw it shimmer slightly with the day—
Two roads and fallen leaves and blight
And scents of loss; the mulched decay
Of fall. Two roads and more diverging call to me and I—
I’ve lost my way.

* Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March drabbles - 10

The professor ducked under the counter with his soft drink carefully cradled so not a drop spilled. “Nice job,” said his wife, brandishing the wine-bottle on her way to the deck. “Like to see you do that maneuver after you’ve drunk some glasses of this.”

Candles flickered in the evening air, and the scent of hyacinths almost made him sneeze. He’d sworn he’d rather eat inside—March really isn’t spring—but she’d insisted.

Candles flickered, and in the kitchen, the counter-top, left open, crashed suddenly closed. No worries; professor and wife had other maneuvers in mind. Their dinner grew cold.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March drabbles - 9

Zebedee cat was a very fat cat with a long swishy tail, black fur and three stripes on his back. Zebedee cat was a very fierce cat with sharp claws and super-swift paws. Zebedee cat was intelligent and lived by the furnace but always pretended he really lived outdoors.

Zebedee cat caught mice so Mrs. Mason gave him food.

Zebedee cat caught fleas so Mrs. Mason wouldn’t let him inside.

Then Zebedee cat caught kittens, safe and warm, tucked away by the fire. Mrs. Mason hugged “him” and got “him” spayed, then shared the kittens out with neighbors and friends.

March drabbles - 8

Danny told his Mom he was leaving home.
“Put your coat on first,” said Mom.
“It’s not cold.”
“This spring weather, you can never be sure.”
So he shrugged into his coat and fastened it up.
“D’you want a granola bar in case you get hungry.”
“Yes please Mom,” said he.
“Let me fasten your shoes.”
Then he was off.

Danny’s friend Jake was drinking lemonade in his front yard, three houses up the street.
“Wanna share my granola bar?”
“Sure. Wanna play at my house.”

Then Jake’s Mom phoned Danny’s Mom. “No problem. Danny’s here.”
“Thanks,” said she.

Monday, March 8, 2010

March drabbles - 7

The scent of new-mown grass and lawnmower oil. The sound of traffic, dogs that yap somewhere, she’s not sure where. Birds shriek anger at her noise, but hey, she’s silent now, and squirrel paws pit-patter in the bush.

The warmth of sunlight; wonders if she’ll burn her nose again and feels annoyed; it’s only spring, too early to be hot. Her shadow drips its struggle on the wheels.

The feel of metal sliding, tries the screwdriver again. Then stops…

Sound of walking—man and dog; “D’you need a hand?”—of talking—man and woman let the green grass grow again.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March drabbles - 6

“Windy outside,” they said. The dog nudged their feet beneath the loaded table. People were eating. She needed the door.

“Windy outside.” A rush of birds arose bourn by her barking, wings flapping like leaves.

“Windy outside.” But the wind outside has no eyes nor claws nor wildly waving tail. The squirrels in the trees looked down while the dog raced madly around.

“Windy outside. Close that door.” The dog ran out to frighten high-blown threats, then barked to come in.

“Noisy outside.” Spring leaves fall softly down like petals on snow. “But quieter now.” And the wild wind blows.

Friday, March 5, 2010

March drabbles - 5

White-haired Zinnia led the way, scrambling over rocks and rubble to the child. We watched, knowing our world was already lost.

“This one,” Zinnia said. Red-haired Columbine held the bag. Blue Belle wrote the tag.

“Where to now?” Buttercup asked, aiming a wink at Daisy’s green hair.

Then Zinnia turned. “Revenants,” she said. “Back to our own time. And the little child will lead us.”

We could have told Buttercup and Daisy not to stay, but we didn’t. And as the others vanished in the colored glow of their stones, the rebel pair turned to flowers, incandescence in our gray.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March drabbles - 4

Old bones grow stiff in winter. So says the man. So says his dog. And fireside warmth is comfort to their souls. But now the ground is softer. Squirrels roll. Birds scream and play. Grass-blades are turned to carpets and the sullen mud retreats. Spring-time is nice. So says the man. So says his dog. And twice a day they walk. Old man sees woman, stops to talk. And little dog meets dog. If it should rain they’ll hurry home, his house or hers, and people will drink tea; water for dogs. Old bones stop growing stiff when spring returns.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March drabbles - 3

She walked those steps each day with sinking tread, climbing to work on the spongy, broken, old. She knew the dull gray mud that filled the gaps, the grass, the flowers; knew to avoid the tangled briars and ragged raging rose. Sunshine or showers, she walked this way, eyes downcast, cold and closed until one day, one tiny faded blade of green arose.

She watched the plant daily until it bloomed, a sparkling yellow crocus, and she smiled. A squirrel ate it and a bird complained. But skies were blue and eyes were open again. And her footsteps grew light.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March drabbles - 2

She wrote an essay in high school entitled “How to disappear.” She wore gray sweaters, gray slacks, gray shoes, and tied her hair back firmly behind her ears. She disappeared so well that when she spoke nobody knew who they were hearing.

He was loud, obnoxious, in-your-face. He was everything you’d want in a boyfriend. At least, that’s what everyone said. But she didn’t want a boyfriend. She kept out of his way.

One day they met in a quiet place and spring appeared while winter fled away. She learned to dress in brighter clothes because he learned to care.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March drabbles - 1

Ah, the gentle sound of lawnmowers on the breeze. The rustle of last fall’s leaves being gathered into corners, into sacks. The creaking backs. The scent of last year’s heavy gloves with last year’s rain and soil. The brighter sunlight calling us toil. It must be spring.

Ah, the sound of squirrels and bluebirds quarrelling, of padded paws and dogs that chase outdoors. Then scent of fresh-mown grass, and better still the daffodils, sun-headed, greeting season’s turn at last.

Ah, the sound of distant cars that pass on distant roads, vacationing perhaps or just in dreams; the hope of spring.