A toilet paper gown has outlasted this fondant fairytale
Our dark lies gessoed white on white
Look at me leaping into a downpour
I’ve grown so very tired of ikea domesticity and Wayfair lighting–
dressage for mules in horse harness
These tissue sheaths spontaneously combusting, quiver my body
You once did this for me, do you even remember,
flesh-dancing with a blue fire no ocean could smother
I’ve become a zombie waltzing in a deluge
You and I suffocated in Egyptian cotton well before this pulp symbolism
Now my white paper gown disintegrates, I pray to the black prescient sky
Look up, nimbus clouds hide nothing-they never deceive
We doomed ourselves to this Pompeii,
the moment we under-appreciated the dark sky and caressed our monogrammed bath towels
It was a genuine railcar.
Specifically railcar 519, surrounded by warped golf clubs bent in frustration, abandoned carousel heads no longer smiling, discarded pea cans empty of fodder, and rusted mattress frames minus their former lovers. George salvaged 519 from the brink of crush central.
At first Henry was lost. How he missed his large corrugated friend. There was nothing quite as grand to scent mark but Henry–like other things when the world changes–made allowances for undivine intervention. A rusted pile of old bikes replaced 519’s hole. Wheels spinning in summer winds presented the dirty white-muzzled sentry with fresh morning challenges. This made him feel alive. A memory, the aging dog had misplaced last year.
Let’s see, where was I? Oh, the railcar. George anchored the 519 on Small Hill Peak–the only fake mountain in a ten-mile radius. Railcar 519 once part of the Erie Rail Line–punctually proud milk lady to NYC–was the last of her kind. There was no need of outdated railcars with high back stools and velvet sides. Over the unkind decades, her sisters and brothers went crushing into oblivion. 519’s siblings as well as extended family members, had long been spiriting toys that floated back to the USA by way of China and the industrial sea.
So George loved Mary. Mary loved the past–way past. She cherished tin spoons slapping weighty coffee mugs sitting on ceramic saucers yellowed by wear. These specific sensations, possible in a grand old diner. A long, lean railcar with a past cultivated carefully in the present. Railcar 519 was unbent, repuckered and polished until the sun seemed it would never set again on her gleaming silver sides. Her innards were spruced new in all things old starting with a great black and white tile floor and portal bubble windows.
Railcar 519 started cooking. Eggs and bacon dished out with flavors impossible to capture anywhere but in this magical slice of metal manna. Once completely refurbished and 519 was just so–sitting presciently atop Small Hill Peak–the piping hot aromatic coffee poured into its weighted mug. Th perfectly fluted tin spoon held in Mary’s delicate nude hand, tapped above a yellowed ceramic saucer on the mahogany breakfast bar. It was at this very spot, in this very moment that George proposed to the love of his life. And Mary slurped first then said, “Yes.”
So I guess railcar 519 is a multiple love story–George and Mary, Henry and perfectly placed peeing, heavy mugs and light spoons, and this writer’s fondness for old diner cars.
this particular art was part of a mural I painted in my daughter’s room long ago. the mural–a carousel went all the way around her room. it has since been painted over in a color called cracker bits. my daughter occupies a different room. this room–now the guest room. sorry for the poor image quality
all that time
she’d been adrift
wings on spinning thermals
but secretly looking
never wanting to find
who would see her
as the someone she feared most
a nearly complete person
with no understanding of themselves
and compassion for too many
when her over involvements
left him out
he watched from afar
was someone to be near
even when she was not present
to this day
whenever she returns
to those reflecting pools
in his warm eyes
she sees and believes
“I do” put Keith on the fast track to Crazy Town
with a show tune singing maniac;)
(for my husband)
Mildred: Did you see my glasses?
Oliver: You’re wearing them, dear
Mildred: Oliver, did you happen to see where I put my house keys?
Oliver: They’re in your coat pocket
Mildred: (Searches jacket hanging on chair) They’re not in here
Oliver: That’s my jacket, dear.
Mildred: Oh. (Checks coat hanging in nearby closet and finds her keys) Did you bring the mail in?
Oliver: No dear. You did this morning. It’s on the kitchen counter
Mildred: (Looks on kitchen counter) It’s not here, Oliver
Oliver: Yes, it is dear. Folded inside the newspaper you also brought in
Mildred: Good, (she adjusts her glasses) now I can read it
Oliver: Did you happen to take the dog out when you got the mail and paper this morning
Mildred: We have a dog?
Oliver: (shocked expression) What! Are you serious?
Mildred: (chuckling through her reply) Never. It’s why I’m still happy. And yes, I walked Bumpus this morning
Oliver: I love you
Mildred: I know
Oliver: And don’t you ever forget it!
Mildred: I won’t
Mildred: You won’t let me (chuckles again)
art flown in before
Ever since I can remember, I’ve adored marrying offbeat images with well-intended words. The creative coupling of the profound with the surreal was like riding a roller coaster on icy tracks. Blending the silly into the sublime was storm chasing and catching the hurricane. I suspect it’s why I earned a degree in Advertising & Design. And, my first job out of college was in a small New York City ad agency. How I tripped into a long-term publishing career is still a bit of a mystery to me. I’m waiting for the unauthorized bio to find out. 😉
Thank you. May your dream of doing what you love become your reality.
One Eye Guy created a few months ago for no particular reason.
I’ve listed a few benchmarks based on years of experience for you-my friends, to help assess the status of your own unions. I personally use these common situations to answer the question: How do you know if your husband still likes you? Feel free to use the same criteria where applicable…
Your younger-married version of a healthy fish dinner – frying canned tuna, frozen mixed vegetables and mustard together is met with a fork and a smile (he might admit disgust years later).
He overcomes the enormous disappointment of marrying into large Italian family where only two people enjoy cooking and neither one of them is you (you fry canned tunafish).
He allows you to pick a tiny pimple on the tip of his nose. For the next several weeks, he roams the world with a scab the size of a pencil eraser on his face.
He does not get angry when you hand him his freshly-laundered, leather wallet complete with soggy money and warped business cards.
He rubs your back whenever you say it’s sore, even though you complain that his back is “sooooo much bigger,” when he asks the same of you.
When you (both) forget your Anniversary and it’s no big deal, because you consider yourselves the most intimate of friends above and beyond any other titles.
To summarize: Your husband still likes you if he can recall what life was like before he met you, and he still chooses scabbed noses and fried tunafish.
Okay, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The delicate daughter was named after a lovely Harry Nilsson ballad and the big son was named after the sitcom, Get Smart. But, please don’t tell them. They are already subject to the birth order dilemma, or in other words, jockeying for position as is their perceived ‘right’ based on when the canon shot them into the delivery room.
Let me bring you way, way back into my career and to my first foray into the mad, mad world that is publishing. Before entering my eleven-year career at an educational publishing house, I worked for a small publishing company. I was there for a year. And what fun I had: I put several family members on jacket covers, got to speak to Elvis Presley’s step brother and learned about the birth order.
I learned about the whole birth order thing when my art department had to redesign the cover for Dr. Kevin Lehman’s book, The Birth Order Book – a book still popular today. Rooted within The Birth Order Book’s pages, Dr. Leman explains how birth order affects our personalities, parenting-style, marriages… Using quite a bit of humor, the Doctor strives to help us overcome our, “ingrained tendencies.” Having five other siblings myself, I was quite curious about what Dr. Kevin had to say on the matter. Besides working on the cover, I read his book. I found many of his insights spot-on though my greater difficulty was admitting this. I’ve always described my birth order as bottom-of-the-top (third born followed by three more Italian cherubs). So I have difficulty admitting some truths and I know why: I’m a middle child.
For your viewing entertainment, I’ve included some of my early book jacket designs. Don’t judge too harshly, these were my first covers and I was having a good old time… (The Elvis cover is a comp. A sister’s photo graces the cover for Hot Trax. I gave the jacket cover with one of my brothers on it to my sister-n-law. Don’t ask me what real men do ’cause I don’t know. Sorry, don’t have Dr. Kevin’s I didn’t design his cover.)