Show and Tell

“It’s a crown,” she boasted in front of a captive audience. “I found it in the ditch the other day after it rained. And you know the Nile flows through those waters and washes up stuff from the past. And on that day, it washed up none other than Cleopatra’s crown!”

As she began to pass it around the class, she cautioned, “Hold it gently! It’s old and priceless.”

The teacher interrupted in an authoritative voice, “Why that’s nothing but an old carburetor. It’s just junk!”

The children snickered.

Wounded, she tucked her crown back into her backpack. And forty years later, telling that story, she wonders what ever happened to her rare find and the great explorer who discovered it.

The Boots

They were a gift with rules, an ordinance to conform and convert. But the falling snow summoned me to come play. Restless and burdened with sure death, I pulled on my new boot straps ’til each heel was snuggly in place.

I didn’t have to look up to know you hovered over me, watching my every move. Your admonishments reached me loud and clear as every heavy breath of yours weighted down on my neck, condemning everything about me.

And I sat there shaking with defiance in my gut and fear embedded in my heart, knowing I would pay dearly for any act against the man who was determined to shape me into my better self and his better half.

But I surprised myself and wore those damn boots in the snow that day – and I’ve never looked back.

Oklahoma

Picture of Oklahoma

Hell beckons me home where the promise of comfort soothes my restless feet and calms my aimless heart. The demons speak in familiar tones reminding me that I belong to this desolate, dying land where only the slightly insane can exist but never live. It is here that generations regenerate the myth that this is somehow  a reality worth preserving.

It’s a strange and difficult place that grips my throat and clinches down on my gut, a constant reminder that it is both my lifeline and my impending death.

Strangers

While I could not cry in front of you,
I cried once for you – in front of strangers.
But then again it could have just been
the vodka, or life’s regrets – perhaps
it was only allergies that caused
such a commotion of compulsion.
Who knows what God’s thinking in
these rare moments of humility.
I suppose we all must pay our dues
for living and dying and breathing
and trying. Who knows but God,
the devil and that damn song
that keeps playing in my head?

Sitting at Powell’s

I sit in this bookstore
where I feel detached
from the young and
too young to be the old.
Miles away, memories
come in with the fog
and rest their toes at
the edge of the water.
The only promise of life
is the sound of fury
from beyond what
only the lost can see.
I can only hope my
ghost is always there,
walking the shoreline
and dreaming, neither
young nor old, but
timeless in this melody
that never leaves us.