A Tirade about my Future

Hard moonlight woman

What nerve of the heart

Waste your precious sleep


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A Regret About my Future

wild thunder calls

hellbent eyes overlook love

blows journey along

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Warm fingers of light teased out patches of leafy green fuzz below the canopy. Kenny Chesney warbled about my life growing up in the south. I breathed out deeply, the warm summer air stirred the stale cobwebs of the last two years away from the sad corners of my lungs. He was right; I was the only one who could answer that question.

It wasn’t the end of the world. I had accepted it; I’m a selfish person. I’d take advantage of the lakefront it had brought me for a little while before my gypsy life pushed me on down the road. Chicken and rice in hand and folding chair slung over my shoulder like a hobo’s satchel, I strode out the door and around the building to the head of the stairs.

A skinny fisherman in a t-shirt, and a baseball cap stretched over the corner of the dock to flip his lure further out over the lake. My corner. The corner I had intended to plant my chair. He looked familiar, in the same way that Kenny Chesney always manages to sing about somebody that you used to know.

I watched the mossy concrete steps that just a few months ago I had cut up my knees sliding across, dragged down my two big girls, long gone with my other life. The fisherman would have an unexpected guest on the dock. For a moment, I hoped that he was someone I recognized.

And then he was gone… His cast hadn’t made a plunk in the water. There were no footsteps fading in the distance. I stepped onto the sidewalk and looked down the path; no one. Laughter on the opposite side of the lake. Flies fishing.

A wobbly orange lure filled with black glitter wedged in the baseboards of the dock near a slick of duck poop was the only sign of that my memory might have existed. I wanted the dock to myself, and so I had it. I stepped to the edge and peered, somewhat forlornly, into the murky water. Maybe my thoughts had pushed him away. Was he one of the fish in the lake, now, or had he never been?

I flicked crickets off my chair and tossed a little bitty Cornish game hen wishbone into the lake, a sacrifice to my friend. It was the least I could do, now that he was a fish.

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The Fisher King

“It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king. Now while he is spending the night alone he’s visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the holy grail, symbol of God’s divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, “You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.” But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached into the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn’t love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die. One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king, “What ails you friend?” The king replied, “I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat”. So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement, “How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?” And the fool replied, “I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”

- Parry, The Fisher King (1991)

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The Frog Princess

Rock on, gold dust woman
Take your silver spoon and dig your grave

One fine evening a young prince put on his cape and boots, and went out to take a walk by himself in a wood; and when he came to a cool spring of water with a rose in the middle of it, he sat himself down to rest a while. Now he had a golden ball in his hand, which was his favorite plaything; and he was always tossing it up into the air, and catching it again as it fell.

After a time he threw it up so high that he missed catching it as it fell; and the ball bounded away, and rolled along on the ground, until at last it fell down into the spring. The prince looked into the spring after his ball, but it was very deep, so deep that he could not see the bottom of it. He began to cry, and said, ‘Alas! if I could only get my ball again, I would give all my fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the world.’

Whilst he was speaking, a frog put its head out of the water, and said, ‘Prince, why do you weep so bitterly?’

‘Alas!’ said he, ‘what can you do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball has fallen into the spring.’

The frog said, ‘I do not want your silver, and jewels, and fine clothes; but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eat from off your golden plate, and sleep on your bed, I will bring you your ball again.’

‘What nonsense,’ thought the prince, ‘this silly frog is talking! She can never even get out of the spring to visit me, though she may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tell her she shall have what she asks.’

So he said to the frog, ‘Well, if you will bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.’

Then the frog put her head down, and dived deep under the water; and after a little while she came up again, with the ball in her mouth, and threw it on the edge of the spring.

As soon as the young prince saw his ball, he ran to pick it up; and he was so overjoyed to have it in his hand again, that he never thought of the frog, but ran home with it as fast as he could.

The frog called after him, ‘Stay, prince, and take me with you as you said,’

But he did not stop to hear a word.

The next day, just as the prince had sat down to dinner, he heard a strange noise – tap, tap – plash, plash – as if something was coming up the marble staircase, and soon afterwards there was a gentle knock at the door, and a little voice cried out and said:

Heartless challenge
Pick your path and I’ll pray

Wake up in the morning
See your sunrise loves to go down

Lousy lovers pick their prey
But they never cry out loud, cry out

Then the prince ran to the door and opened it, and there he saw the frog, whom he had quite forgotten. At this sight he was sadly frightened, and shutting the door as fast as he could came back to her seat.

The queen, his mother, seeing that something had frightened him, asked him what was the matter.

‘There is a nasty frog,’ said he, ‘at the door, that lifted my ball for me out of the spring this morning. I told her that she should live with me here, thinking that she could never get out of the spring; but there she is at the door, and she wants to come in.’

While he was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said:

Rulers make bad lovers
You better put your kingdom up for sale, up for sale

Well, did she make you cry,
Make you break down,
Shatter your illusions of love?
And is it over now?
Do you know how?
Pick up the pieces and go home

Then the queen said to the young prince, ‘As you have given your word you must keep it; so go and let her in.’

He did so, and the frog hopped into the room, and then straight on – tap, tap – plash, plash – from the bottom of the room to the top, till she came up close to the table where the prince sat.

‘Pray lift me upon chair,’ said she to the prince, ‘and let me sit next to you.’

As soon as he had done this, the frog said, ‘Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat out of it.’

This he did, and when she had eaten as much as she could, she said, ‘Now I am tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.’ And the prince, though very unwilling, took her up in his hand, and put her upon the pillow of his own bed, where she slept all night long.

As soon as it was light the frog jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the house.

‘Now, then,’ thought the prince, ‘at last she is gone, and I shall be troubled with him no more.’

But he was mistaken; for when night came again he heard the same tapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said:

Rulers make bad lovers
You better put your kingdom up for sale, up for sale

Well, did she make you cry,
Make you break down,
Shatter your illusions of love?
And is it over now?
Do you know how?
Pick up the pieces and go home
Go home
Go home

And when the prince opened the door the frog came in, and slept upon his pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night she did the same. But when the prince awoke on the following morning he was astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsome princess, gazing on him with the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen and standing at the head of his bed.

Ooh, pale shadow of a woman,
Black widow,
Pale shadow of a dragon,
Dust woman.

     She told him that she had been enchanted by a spiteful fairy, who had changed her into a frog; and that she had been fated so to abide till some prince should take her out of the spring, and let her eat from his plate, and sleep upon his bed for three nights.

‘You,’ said the princess, ‘have broken her cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wish for but that you should go with me into my father’s kingdom, where I will marry you, and love you as long as you live.’

The young prince, you may be sure, was not long in saying ‘Yes’ to all this; and as they spoke a brightly colored coach drove up, with eight beautiful horses, decked with plumes of feathers and a golden harness; and behind the coach rode the princess’ servant, faithful Heinrich, who had bewailed the misfortunes of his dear mistress during his enchantment so long and so bitterly, that his heart had well-nigh burst.

They then took leave of the queen, and got into the coach with eight horses, and all set out, full of joy and merriment, for the princess’ kingdom, which they reached safely; and there they lived happily a great many years.

Ooh, pale shadow of a woman,
Black widow,
Pale shadow of a dragon,
Dust woman.


This afternoon, a friend compared relationships with women to holding frogs.  Frogs sit on your hand when you catch them, until you start petting them and squeezing them, and then they escape.  You have to hold them carefully and not squeeze them.  Wise words. 

This story has been unabashedly appropriated from Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman and The Brothers Grimm’s The Frog Princess; they are no more mine than Iggy Azalea is a sassy black woman, and is dedicated to the gentleman who sent me a mason jar with a broken wooden heart inside.

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Silvered Lilies

I did not gild the lily
I gave it
Silver lining.

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As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

All I can think of is being the class Ugly Duckling, having had my folks tell me I wasn’t sick enough to stay home from school, and vomiting in the trash can beside my teacher’s desk at the front of the class.  There are many more instances, but I’m not in a sharing mood; his book will give you PTSD-like flashbacks if you grew up in a rural area.  Faulkner’s Post-Modernist style of New South writing grabs your inner child by the hair and forces it to eat dead frogs in front of all it’s inner-child classmates.

I’m not sure I have much more to say about it than that, honestly.  The writing style wasn’t any revelation given the time period, just another chapter in the book of “How Life Will Fuck Up Your Brain.”   Ignorant Southern rednecks hidden in the nooks and crannies of the swamps will always be just that (pro tip: please avoid at all cost, only go toward the sound of banjos if you’re in a clean, well-lighted place – seeing blinking lights in the woods does not count as “well-lighted,” those are called willow-the-wisps, they do exist, and they will kill you [see also: Dr. Who's Angels]).  It was a book.  I survived it.  The Red Cross should have a help line you can call when you read this book and don’t think you’re going to make it.

That being said, giving you a strong emotional reaction was the intention, so he passed.  Super.  3/5.

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