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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Spider

Gossamer strands catch the light in their sticky web stretched between the limbs of a tree old and gnarled. Remnants of the morning dew cling for their lives, hoping desperately not to fall to an untimely SPLAT across the sidewalk floor.

But the spider is nowhere to be found. Having abandoned this bed long ago, a web which no one dares to destroy because it mirrors those intricate, silken dream weavers one will find in a New Age store. We leave to web to catch our hopes and dreams as we sleep-walk through the daily grind, marching numbly to work and school and grocery stores when the fridge has gobbled up the milk. We surely could not have drunk it all ourselves.

In light breezes, the sturdy web barely wavers, and each morning, I admire the craftsmanship which holds it intact for weeks now. Why another spider doesn’t claim this masterpiece for his own, I don’t know or pretend to understand. I can’t put my thoughts to that of a spider. It creeps along on eight legs, constructing webs and eating flies. Where is goes beyond that, I cannot fathom. Or make sense of the patterns it creates with the silk it shoots and dangles through the air, woven artistically in designs where we can only hope our dreams will stick and survive the fangs of a beady little spider who waits in the shadows to devour them whole.

– Written by Miss A on April 16, 2012

Telephone

Interviewer: What is a telephone? What do you use it for? How big is it? What shape is it? How much does it weigh? What type or class of person uses it? Where is it made? Can you eat it? What does it smell like? Is it rigid? How often do you use one? How important is it? Is it portable, and if so, are there any restrictions to its portability? Is it a living thing? Can it perform simple things you ask it to do?

Contestant A: A telephone is something you use to talk to someone far away. It’s mainly for important conversations that are extremely urgent and can’t wait for all involved to be present. It’s about as big as a boot box and roughly the same shape, although it has an earpiece that hangs off the side of it…the earpiece is about the size of a cannoli. Not sure how much it weighs, but it looks like maybe 20 pounds or so. It’s made of wood, so…wood-colored, I guess…brown?… Most all upper-class and even some middle class families have one. Ours was made in Indiana. No, you can’t eat it. I just told you, it’s made of wood. Right now it smells like lemon oil. Yes, it is rigid…wood, remember? I use it almost every week. Sometimes twice in a day, at most. It’s very important in case of an emergency. It’s not portable at all, but that sure would be nice. No, the wood is definitely dead. Well, you can ask the person on the other end of the conversation to do something, but not the telephone, although I suppose you’re technically “asking” it to make a call when you dial a number.

Contestant B: A phone is something you use to call people. Actually, you can use it for just about anything…is this a trick question? It’s like…5 inches by 2 inches, about. It’s rectangular…about 1/2 inch thick. Weighs less than a pound, I think. It’s black. Pretty much everyone has one, except some really old people, babies, and I guess some really poor people. I think they’re all made in China. No, you can’t eat it. Doesn’t smell like anything. Yes, it’s rigid. I use mine constantly. I couldn’t live without it. It’s portable. You just have to be within cell range to use it. It’s not living. You can ask it to do simple tasks, but it can’t, say, go to the store and get you some milk.

– Written by Mr. T on April 2, 2012

Spring

When I lived in Virginia, Spring was special and much desired after a long, bitterly frigid Winter. When the warmer temperatures crept into our daily lives like the expected encounters with old friends who we haven’t seen in a while, since they moved away to Florida or California or Arizona where sunny weather abounds all year long, we all welcomed them with open arms. I imagined peeling off my thick wool sweaters and shoving them back into the bottom dresser drawer, where they’d stay hidden for eight months or more. My dried-up fingers, crackling and splitting open into long red sores at the knuckles, would drink up the warm, humid moisture, which Spring delivered to our neck of the woods. Soon, sweet breezes would float through the budding trees and rustle the world alive again. Unlike that awful, seething wind from Winter, which whipped through the air, slapping and stinging everything in its path.

On the drive to school each morning, I peered at the long, ashy limbs of naked trees and searched for the first signs of green buds to dot their branches. Stumps of crocuses, tulips, irises, and daffodils poked through the red clay soil. Cherry blossoms stretched their pink and white faces into the warming sun, settling into motion my pollen allergies, which raged as the bees and flowers alike began to awaken. I didn’t care, not so long as the temperatures climbed from 30 or 40 to 65 and 70 degrees.

Spring was fresh. Renewing. Cleansing. We would open the windows of our house and let the fresh air push out the musty winter. The world would seem anew, happy to be alive and breathing in the fragrant aromas of flowering roses and sugary honeysuckle.

Living in California, I have discovered a different Spring. Here, the season is shy, often going unnoticed between the transition from Winter to Summer. Spring doesn’t bed for attention, as it does in Virginia or the Northeast. Instead, it creeps through late March and April, barely making a peep, unless it’s preceded by three months of wintry rains, which only happens every few years.

Spring is dry. The winter flowers continue to bloom until the desert summer evokes its own blooms and decorations. Cool winds may float through the city on a warm, sunny day, but fresh, spring rains are rare. And there is something sad about that, something amiss…as if Southern California isn’t given the opportunity to shower and rinse off the darker winter months like so much of the world that I once knew.

– Written by Miss A on April 10, 2012

Heirloom

One was heir to be

if but two by sea.

And the King, he did beam

a magnificent gloom.

For this day his two sons

would fight ’til the end,

while excitement

swam all through the room.

You see neither contestant

was told of the stakes

and neither was told

that his foe

was blindfolded and gagged

and then handed a blade

that could cut right through

metal and bone.

But each brother glowed with confidence

to make his dad proud,

as the King shouted, “Now, son.

Strike the man down!”

And under his breath came a chuckle

For he knew that the victor

would seal his own fate

and be crowned.

They ran straight at each other

with impending doom.

Just as two twins

might be expected to do.

And they both struck in unison

Just one fell swoop

Each brother’s head severed

and the heir,

an heirloom.

– Written by Mr. T on April 7, 2012

a Clown

His rainbow nest of hair spiraled in all directions, the loaded wig hanging heavily on his troubled head. He wrung his white gloved hands and sighed. Leaning forward to glance down the long, barren street, he looked to see if the bus was finally climbing over the horizon.

As usual, it was late. Which made him late. He had even tried to leave earlier and arrived at the bus stop an hour early to catch the sooner ride, but it was his typical luck that neither bus had showed up on time.

The kid’s parents would be anxious and probably upset. They seemed like the neurotic type who wanted everything to be perfect for little Junior’s birthday. Any deviation from their scheduled plans would send them in a tailspin. So much for getting a decent tip out of this one. He’d be lucky if they paid him anything at all.

Frustrated, he kicked the duffel bag at his feet, the container of all his tricks and props which made the kids laugh. This was supposed to be easy money, so he could save to buy a car, but so long as the bus failed him, he had no chances of purchasing his own vehicle to get around the vast city.

His skin itched from the oily make-up on his face, but he didn’t dare scratch the tingling feeling on his cheek. Two hours he had worked on drawing the perfect pink circles on either side, tracing the large red outline of a smile around his thin lips and then coloring it all in, and finally darkening the blue triangles over his eyes. Not to mention the fine details of making sure every inch of his face and neck were caked with an even layer of white paint.

All of it seemed pointless now. The bus wasn’t coming. It was almost at the time when a third bus should be puttering down the road, but at the rate things were happening for him, it wasn’t likely that one was going to show.

Grabbing his duffel bag, he stood and stared down the empty road on last time. Disappointed, he turned and walked awkwardly away from the stop, his long, oversized black shoes clacking on the pavement. What a sight he must have been. The dejected clown with slumped shoulders who clopped down the street.

“Excuse me, Mike?” a voice called from a car that had slowed nearby.

“Huh?” the clown asked. “How did you know my name?”

“Um, my wife sent me out looking for you here. She had your address on the card you gave her. We booked you for Taylor’s birthday party today?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I’ve been waiting for the bus to come for almost two hours,” Mike answered apologetically. “I would have called, but I don’t have a cell phone right now.”

“We figured as much. The bus drivers all went on strike five hours ago. We thought maybe you hadn’t gotten stuck when you didn’t show up half an hour ago, so I thought I would see if you were at home. If you’re still available, we’d love it if you could come perform for the kids,” the kid’s dad offered. “I can give you a ride home afterwards, too.”

Relieved at his change in luck, Mike cracked his first clown smile and replied, “Sure, I would really appreciate that.”

– Written by Miss A on April 2, 2012

Mansion

When I was eight years old, I liked sitting on a curb with my friends and mapping the layout of my future mansion on the graph paper my mother have left on the kitchen table. Armed with highlighter pens of all the neon colors popular int he 80s, I drew and colored my mansion’s blueprints, assigning bedrooms with neon pink beds to Child #1 and Child #2 and a blue bed to Child #3. Or maybe Child #2 had a fluorescent orange bed. But my bed with my future husband was neon green because green was my favorite color even then.

While other kids squealed and chased each other around the playground, us girls had our death down, attentive to the page as we furiously planned our lavish futures. I would have this house when I was 23 or 24, I decided. That seemed old enough. Maybe not old enough for all three kids, but that was okay. There was a little time for that. Just so long as I had all the kids by 26 or 27, so I would be a young mom, unlike my own. She was old when she had me. Thirty-six. That was ancient to an eight-year-old.

Attached to my large, squared bedroom, I drew the layout for my master bathroom, with a large jacuzzi tub and a separate shower stall. Every night of my adult life, I would plop myself in to the tub and soak my body in its bubbling waters.

I would cook magnificent dinners in the gigantic kitchen downstairs (there were two sheets of graph paper to represent these two levels), happily scrubbing all the vegetables I liked – potatoes and snow peas – at the massive kitchen sink while I sang along with the pop songs on the radio. In my house, I would be allowed to turn on the radio and sing along without my ancient mother shrieking at me to “turn off that bloody music! I can’t think with a straight head when that awful noise is squawking from that box!”

In my mansion, I wouldn’t have to make my bed or straighten up my room because I would have a maid to do that for me. My cats and rabbits could lounge on the sofa with me while we watched TV without anyone telling me that animals don’t belong on the furniture. No, my mansion would be awesome – void of rules and restrictions. We’d eat hamburgers and pizza every night. Play games all day. And live off our million dollars, which would magically appear when we bought the home.

At the end of recess, my friends would place their mansion grids on the sidewalk and compare our grand homes. These were the lives we envisioned for ourselves, the future lives we would certainly have twenty years from that point when we were naive, innocent, and dreaming eight years olds.

– Written by Miss A on April 1, 2012 (she is still holding out for that mansion and magic million dollars)