Sunday, March 14, 2010

Town and Country Tales

My Dear P_________:

I write to you in the hopes that your expertise and wisdom in the affairs of men might shed some light on the recent happenings we are privy to. Much strangeness has occurred since our last correspondence; I wrote to you of the recent incident with the young couple wrestling upon the ground, and the regrettable incident with the local police and that rapscallion receiving the taser, but that was a fortnight ago—just in these past hours there has been much that has left us flummoxed. 

It began yesternight, when my love and I lay down to sleep; as you know, we oft go to bed in the early hours, as is our custom. It was perhaps 4 o’Clock. All was quiet save for the wind outside and the building settling, when suddenly our upstairs neighbor J____arrived home. As you know, he now lives with another, older, gentleman (F____) whom he refers to as his “father-in-law.” As you know, Mal and I have our doubts as to the nature of their relationship. We have sussed out that the older one sleeps in a bed above us; the layout of their apartment is similar to our own. The younger man sleeps (we believe) upon a futon in the other room. At any rate, after some creaking around (his floors are, as you might recall, hard wood, and he has not purchased any textiles to soften the impact of his feet upon the floor) he quieted down. After a while, we became aware of some odd sounds emanating from above us. Our ears pricked up, and we sat up, listening. It sounded—well, you must forgive my directness—but it sounded as if someone were engaging in an act upon the bed above us. 

Our immediate assumption was that the younger gentleman might have picked up a strumpet at one of the local establishments, but consider the situation as we have described it—two men, not business partners, living in the very same apartment! The noises originating from upstairs were increasing in volume, and there was a horrible rhythmic creaking. Often, something loud would fall upon the floor with a loud bang. We did not know what to make of it, yet we had our assumptions. The force with which the act was being performed was heroic—I thought perhaps the ceiling would crash down. Yet, at the time, there was no such noise as would be expected from the act—that is, not a peep nor a whisper. Our walls are like rice-paper, as you well know. Does it not seem odd to you that we heard naught save the banging? It was certainly odd. I do not need to tell you that we were a bit bemused by the possibilities. Eventually, the noises died down, and there was much walking about—we slept for a while, but later, still they were walking to and fro.

This morning, we heard a clatter upstairs, and ran to the window, carefully prising the blinds open just so, and looked out at the lot. The front door opened, and we saw not our neighbor but a young man and a young woman—who we believe we have never seen before—walking out of the building. We had, I believe, been hoodwinked! We thought one thing, and yet the truth was altogether different! A red-herring! The young couple were employing the apartment as a secret love-nest. We still do not know the nature of the arrangement, where our neighbors are or what other goings-on will transpire. Perhaps you have thoughts on this matter? 

There is more. Later this morning, After all of this had transpired, I was standing at the terrace, drinking my coffee and observing the flooded river beyond the woods. I heard such sounds! It was as if the passionate sounds missing from the night before had been sent downstairs to our below-neighbors. The sawcy young woman below sounded a bit caught up in whatever behaviors were stirring beneath us. She sounded—and again, forgive me for my candor—she sounded as if she was emulating a professional. The sounds emanating from the studio downstairs were positively pornographic. I could not believe my ears. And at two o’Clock! Have these people no shame? I believe it was the two from the wrestling-match previously.

There is even more, but my inkwell needs be replenished—I will save the tale of our next-door neighbor for my next letter. Even as I pen this, I can hear the clattering of falling crockery and her screaming curses; they resound from the outside walls! It is too much. 

May I Always Live to Serve You and Your Crown, 


Spring 2010 flood


The pic with the hay bales is from 2007-- that's what the field usually looks like.
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Sometimes the River doesn't play nice . . .

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Friday, February 05, 2010

"Prodigal" reading at Shawangunk Review 20th Anniversary


Half a life wrestling with angels
and the smoky devils of misdirection:
The Son stares into his smiling face
at threefivesevennineeleven
doesn’t recognize a thing doesn’t
remember a thing before fifteen.
Muted impression of a boy on a hill,
children playing like ants a lightyear away.

A hell decade and a purgatory-half spent
searching for the ghosts of Laius and Jocasta
in blackened teaspoons and amber nectar
in chemical ecstasies clawing from an abyss of self.
Biting the hand that feeds twice too many times
forces redefinition, reassessment—
Bagels from dumpsters: Manna from Heaven.
Solace: A place out of the rain.

Run and break and burn;
the slow self-immolation accelerates,
flames lick away at the past, the future falls.

February hospital room a
quiet cocoon—
a quickening.
Hushed voices encourage
a lamb to stand, where, caul peeled, staring
wide-eyed at the snow outside, he
receives a new way to see, crystalline.
How many of us are allowed two lives?

He eases through shadows
on unsteady legs, crawling from the ruin,
understanding that the currency of old myth
can be traded for new.
Carrying nothing more than contrition,
something less than hope—
the Son rises and walks through the door
and heads home.