Friday, February 14, 2014

I hope death is as quiet
as I imagine it. 
No mourners to and fro. 
No Dante,
no 9 circles of Hell, 
or creaking
across my soul.
Polite and purposeful
like a waitress filling my cup,
or a shiny beetle trekking across my lapel 
calculating with speech,
choosing her words
as though each
were expensive fruit
or a frail and brittle antique.
Graceful and elegant

devoid of riddles
precise and thoughtful, 
cognizant of time's reach
and slow, steady heartbeat.
Come quickly madame,
but stay only a while
cradling my head
as you peer in my eyes.
Hum your lullaby
and conjure your muse
as sleep descends
from starry skies.

By Brown

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Olympic Trials part two: Leaping towards finality

Many years had passed since I had given up my aspirations to be an olympic bobsledder, and amazingly I still hadn't pushed my little sister into oncoming traffic, nor had I bled out or gotten rabies due to her unparalleled penchant for biting. In fact, we had been getting along better than usual...enough even to stand each other's presence long enough to play a game; to my little sister, a game of tag. In my eyes, however, training for olympic hurdles.

I have a lean build. Long wiry legs, but endowed with enough fast-twitch muscle fibers that I've always been fast and graceful...not unlike a gazelle, sans the face paint or gaudy head dress of course. Even at the age of 12, I knew that olympic hurdlers and I had something in common, and while becoming an olympic bobsledder was a noble pursuit, the lack of ice in the tropics, or appropriate equipment, would make it a challenging journey. Consequently, I had decided that I could hurtle myself to fame and fortune without a sled.

As our little "game" of tag progressed, I realized that I had egregiously underestimated my little sister's own fast twitch muscle fibers, and found that she was consistently within reach of my shadow...a distance I was determined to lengthen. I ran into the den, leaping over a futon, initiated a shake and bake maneuver around the entertainment center and my Dad's disheveled yet sophisticated network of extension cords and cables, and then I darted towards our older sister's room at the end of the long hallway.

I had to think fast, and I figured I could leap over my sister's bed and that would be enough to solidify my superior quickness and improvisational skill. I could see the finish line and one last hurdle to navigate. My little sister was so unbelievably close behind that I could feel her breath upon my neck. As planned, and like a antelope leaping over a fallen comrade, I cleared the bed, but sensed it hadn't created enough distance and the only way to finish this for good would be to entrap her in the room. After all, who can chase you behind a closed door? As I bolted from the room, I swung the door quickly in order to stymie the little speed demon's pursuit, but instead of the familiar sound of a slamming door, I heard the unmistakable sound of wood impacting a human skull.

Although the sounds was distinct and identifiable even at my age, the reality of what had just happened really didn't sink in until I heard the screaming. And not the I stubbed my toe, or even cut my finger kind of screaming, but the "oh my god I'm bleeding profusely and may not make it to see my next birthday" kind of screaming. As I doubled back to investigate, I saw what appeared to be the bludgeoning of a baby seal. Our older sister, who had been showering, was summoned by the screams, and stood before us dumbfounded and dripping wet.

Before I could entirely process what had transpired, my sister's head had been wrapped in quickly soaking towels and was carried away to the hospital leaving a trail of blood droplets along the shiny marbled tiles, the image of white towels turning pink to be forever seared into memory. I was left behind to mop up the mess and to ruminate, once again, over the fact that I may have killed my little sister...for real.

Needless to say, my olympic dreams were thwarted for good, and now I watch them on tv knowing the true extent of the difficulties one must overcome to accomplish such a feat. I don't know if I'll ever reconsider olympic aspirations, but at least for the meantime, writing is pretty safe. At least for my little sister anyway.

Le Poeme Parle

I was recently invited to recite some poetry, which I've only done a handful of times. The most memorable being at my high school graduation. It was not my best work, but it was poignant and fun. Ultimately, the words were emblazoned in the yearbook, with one grammatical error forever immortalized. C'est la vie.

I'm less inclined to share my poems these days, not because I fear judgment, I'm just hardly ever satisfied. I wonder if movie directors feel this way. I tend to toil, edit, and revise works that I've written years ago. An ungratifying pursuit really, like the covering of a tattoo who's meaning has changed...a bitter sweet and fleeting satisfaction. 

The invitation has me thinking about writing some poems intended solely for reciting. The thought of being able to infuse humor, facial expressions, and dramatic pause is tempting. These elements are lost when words are fettered to paper. When people read your poems, they don't always pause where you want them to, or pronounce a word just so. They conjure different worlds. My words merely a bridge to a place all their own. One in which only their imagination can take them. At times I wish I could go there.

Hearing my words floating through an eager coffee shop like the permeating, hypnotic aroma of a freshly made cappuccino would be magical. Casting a spell on caffeinated hipsters and baby boomers...enticing them not to construct their own worlds with the power of rhyme and metaphorical prose, but to take a ride with me instead. Trusting that while the destination is unknown, the journey would be worth the wait. least devoid of grammatical errors.