Author of "Drinking With Others: Poetry by the Pint" available at https://redhawkpublications.company.site/Drinking-With-Others-Poetry-by-the-Pint-p470423761
Avid traveler, reader, artist, athlete, moviegoer.
The Female Matador
I met Joel and Katie in Barcelona as they began the first leg of their two week anniversary where they were to start here in the city before touring the countryside. Having been inseparable friends since school I immediately changed my backpacking route when I heard of their travel plans. Together we three ex-pats took to the city for a weekend immersed in sights and culture in an attempt to relive the days of Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds as they traveled across Europe. The first day began with a walk down the Ramblas Market where street performers gestured for coins and workers passed out fliers for restaurants and clubs among the many handlers of live animals and peddlers of local wares all vying for a moment of a tourist’s attention. Later we basked in the beauty of Gaudi Park and his unfinished cathedral rising toward the sky like spires of champagne. That night it was tapas and alcohol and smoking as only vacationers do. I admit I had difficulty finding sustenance in the meager meal portions or the light and simple beers having recently indulged in the rich heartiness that Ireland, Scotland and Germany had offered but I enjoyed the company and the change in culture and the feeling that we would always be this young and adventurous in my mind. At the end of the night while taking in a Flamenco show on the courtyard we decided our last day would be spent watching one of Spain’s most proud and significant traditions; a bull fight. We had seen posters earlier for one happening at a coliseum not far away and though Katie winced at the idea of the violence she relented to join us and so we retired to our separate rooms to sleep off the night and begin fresh in the morning.
March and May and Everything in Between
I am sitting under the cold antiseptic lights of the doctor’s office and he is asking me my age. I hesitate before answering 68 and he makes a note of it in his chart. My wife is holding my hand as he gives us the details about dementia. Slowly my memories are fading and I am trying to come to grips with this. He hands my wife brochures about what to expect and she begins reading them as if they are my instruction manual now.
We're Going to Need a Better Shark
It didn’t work. The crew had been trying all day, adjusting the connecting rig and flushing out the hoses and working the little mechanics incessantly until the repetition of the thing took on the pursuit of hell itself but it simply didn’t work. Men in frog suits would disappear unseen beneath the water for minutes then surface to convey further problems to engineers on a boat who would shout and wave their walkie-talkies like mad dictators orchestrating war while the frog men bobbed and listened, their slick suits burning like oil against the meringue sun.
And All the Writing Died
He tucked the brown paper box under his arm and entered the lobby. The receptionist was on the phone so he took a moment to browse the walls. Framed book covers. Many he had read, many he hadn’t heard of. They stretched down the long hall on either side and disappeared around a corner. A voice spoke.
Red Light, Green Light
She sat backstage in a darkened corner absently clutching and rubbing the doll in her hand. All around her people were moving with purpose to make sure everything was set and ready. This was to be televised and there were lighting issues and wardrobe and makeup to consider. Mary had no interest in any of this. She was thinking about what she would say. How she would counter. If she could remain composed. She had asked for this and the Congressman to his credit had obliged her. He likely saw it as the perfect public relations opportunity. To stand before the crowd and acknowledge their pain, feign empathy with their suffering and get his face on television. He didn’t expect to sway anyone to his way of thinking and he wasn’t concerned with losing any of his constituents. All that mattered in a political career was staying relevant. Whether they love you or hate you once they forget you it’s over.
The Graduation Present
He woke at first light and flung his arm over the edge of the bed in a panic and felt for her. She was where he had left her the night before. She had not stirred nor moved. He pressed his face against the pillow with all the hope and dread of the world joined in an infinite second and laid flat his palm to her belly and cast aside his atheism to approach prayer. Her soft fur rose and fell, briefly and shallow but a breath at that. He looked over the bed and stared longingly at her and she on her side half turned her head to meet his gaze and ask of him what he wanted.
Love is Long and Deathly
The kid crested the hillside at night with the fires of the city flickering over his shoulder and the screams of people fading in the distance. He sifted through the darkness with his hands outstretched. It was a void he could not be birthed from. Branches grazed his face and neck and entangled his tattered clothes. He became so lost and without hope that there were times he would sit on his knees and place his head in his hands. Often tears came. He felt above his eye and found something sticky between his fingers. He brought it to his lips and tasted his blood. He wiped his sleeve across the cut and moved about in the darkness.