Friday, December 30, 2005

The rocker, part I

Rock is a destructive form of art. Pete Townshend understood that; with his pinwheeling chords, his hand would be coated with scarlet by the end of a show. Jimi Hendrix understood that to a higher degree; so did Jim Morrison. Rock demands sacrifices. It will not be satisfied with mere humble prostration. It wants blood.

I understand that, too, and I agonize over it. If I die for rock, I will no longer be able to spread it. Wounding will have to be enough for now. It will take me, I know, when it decides my time has come.

I strum my electric guitar until my fingers have bled onto the strings, ignoring the pain of it. I know it will make my music better.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

the hamlet

They lived in a tiny hamlet, population 64.

When the baby was born, she made him drive her out to the green sign by the road. He held it while she used the white paint to alter the sign.

Those who drove by would from now on see that the population of Sumner, Wyoming was an exuberant 65.

Some similies

My eye strains against its lid like a jumpy frog.

The violin slices through the sound like a wire through silly putty.

She lights up eagerly, like a flashlight with freshly replaced batteries.

Monday, December 26, 2005

higher love?

They had been married for fifteen years now. Sometimes she wondered if there was more to love. If this was love, after all. If there wasn't some higher feeling, like in the Steve Winwood song, that other couples experienced that she and Richard had missed out on somehow. At those times she contemplated divorce, and then flicked the idea aside like a candy wrapper. They were settled now. What she had was better than nothing.

this is a true comment

When you look through the hannukiyahs with the digital camera you can see laserlike blue lines cutting through the preview screen, intersecting through the lighted candles. This is true. Try it.

But when you take a picture it does not pick up the blue lines.

I think they might be magic, perhaps.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


he gazes at rain
not thinking of anything
but how her thighs curve

Monday, December 19, 2005


Spinning clouds of joy
Tiptoe over the rosy sky
The centaurs prance
In flowery mating throes
The cupids watch, impassive
(But secretly pleased
At their successful work)
And the scent of jasmine fills the air:
A spring day in fairyland.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


He was taken aback when he first saw a naked woman. It had never occured to him that women actually had nipples. He had, he supposed, always been shielded from that sort of thing. Barbies didn't have them, after all. And all the women he knew wore clothes.

Once he got over the initial surprise, he felt exceedingly foolish. He never told anyone.

Friday, December 16, 2005


So you're a guy and you have a girlfriend in high school. You're close. More than that, you're friends. You sincerely have a good time together. It's not just sex by any means.

Eventually you break up, although remaining on friendly terms. You keep in touch for years. She attends your weddings. She tells you about some of her serious boyfriends. Eventually you drift a little bit away from each other, though.

Then one day she calls you. Your wife is at the store.

You have a fun conversation, full of laughter and inside jokes. You promise to meet. As your wife comes inside, you say, tenderly, "'Bye." You hang up.

"Who was it, honey?" says your wife.

Now what do you say?

Calling her an ex-girlfriend would prompt suspicion. Calling her a friend would prompt even more suspicion, if your wife were to find out about your past. She seemed accepting enough when you talked about your ex before, but a furtive phone conversation would certainly seem awkward in that light.

A name certainly won't suffice, and the whole convoluted story might not be plausible, even though it's true.

So what do you say?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

a segment that has been running through my head, more or less

"Who the hell would break up with her?"

"Anyone who knew you well enough."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A short story

Joey lives in Naarat, a town where nothing ever happens. He's engaged to Miri, a younger girl. He's in his twenties and has been married once before. His first wife, Naomi, died giving birth to their daughter (who died too). He's close to her family, and to his own. He is a carpenter.

Joey really loves Miri. Miri loves him, too. He's never touched her; she insisted on waiting until marriage, even though most of her friends are no longer virgins. He wants her, but he respects her wishes. They're going to be married soon-- it's less than a month now. They're not allowed to be alone together, since they're engaged, which helps with the temptation. He can't wait.
Joey's tall and brown-haired, with gentle eyes. Miri is short and dark and her eyes are bright and dancing.

Right now he sits at a bench carving. He's making a candle holder for one of the Friday night candles. A friend has asked him for it, and it's not any trouble.

Miri runs up behind him and covers his eyes with her hands. "Guess who."

"My Miri," he guesses, grinning. "It's a good thing you didn't knock the knife out of my grip. Someone could have gotten hurt."

"Only you or me," she says. "No one else is here."

"Oh, what a scandal!"

They laugh. Then Miri turns serious. "We could get in a lot of trouble if they find us alone together, you know."

"Hey, you're the one who came here. Why are you here, anyway, Miri? You never come just to visit me." She always has to have a reason. Miri's one of those people who follow the rules. If she's breaking them, something's wrong. Joey looks at her with anxious eyes.

She slips lightly next to him and the pit of his stomach tingles in response to her feathery touch. Miri is his bird. "Joey, I missed my last period," she says.

He looks at her uncomprehendingly. "So? It will come."

Her hand sneaks onto her flat stomach, pats it. "I think I might be... um, pregnant."

Joey sighs. He knows she knows how babies are made. "Miri, you can't be pregnant. It's not scientificially possible. A woman gets pregnant with a man. She doesn't spontaneously grow a baby."

"But... I had this dream," she says and looks down.

Joey thinks maybe it's something important. If Miri risked breaking the rules to tell him about the dream, there's something he needs to know about it. "Tell me about it, Miri," he says and takes up her hands, so tiny in his large white ones.

She swallows audibly. "An angel. An angel came to me, Joey. He said I was going to bear the son of the Lord."

"The Lord?" Joey repeats, dumbfounded. "The Lord God?"

Miri nods mutely. "It was the angel Gabriel. He said I would give birth to the son of God."

Joey kisses her chastely, on the cheek, not knowing what to say. "Dreams are dreams, Miri," he says finally.

"But Joey."

"What is it?"

She hesitates. "At least part of his message was the truth, though."

"Look, skipping one cycle isn't anything to worry about. You're not pregnant."

"Not that!" Something is odd. Her voice is tinged with desperation. "He said my cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, too."

Joey raises his eyebrows. "Your cousin Elizabeth is barren, Miri."

"Yes, that's what I thought too."

Thought? Joey wonders. "So what's the truth about it, then?"

Miri's palms are clammy. "So I went to visit Elizabeth."

Joey nods, prompting her to go on. "And?"

"She's pregnant, Joey. Six months. There's no doubt about it. She says if it's a boy she and Zach will name him John."

Joey looks at her evenly. He doesn't know what to believe. "That's not even possible," he says.
"Does she look pregnant?"

"Well, yes, of course."

"Then how come you haven't noticed until now?"

That's something Miri hasn't thought about. He sees her eyes flickering thoughtfully now. "I don't know," she says. "I haven't really... I expect her to look the way she does in my mind, you know? I wouldn't notice a difference unless it was sudden and drastic."

Joey isn't convinced. At all. "So you think you're pregnant."

"I'm... I'm almost positive." Her voice is surer, now.

Joey extracts his hands from hers and turns away. If she is pregnant, there's got to be a reason. She hasn't denied her virginity, but she hasn't claimed it either.

And she's on his other side, now, anxious and beautiful. "What did I say?"

"Who is the father?" He barely manages to choke the words out. His voice is hard as a rock.

"What?" Miri sounds like a yowling cat to his angry ears. "There... there isn't a father."

Joey stands up, slaps her across the face and strides away. He leaves the candlestick behind.

Friday, November 25, 2005