Posts Categorized: Image Bank

Moral Dilemma

Would you rather listen to a toddler screaming in discomfort on an airplane, or to his self-soothing music video of “Baby Shark” on repeat?

Harsh harmony

Breakfast in the neighborhood aviary surrounded by diverse birdsong.

A silent crow then interjects its presence within the company of cascading sparrows, robins, tits, finches, warblers.

Is it trying to blend in, this stowaway of song?

Perhaps it loves a melodic morning as much as me.

One moment, two versions

1. the experience, as a free-write dictation in December 2015

5 am sunrise in Napier:

The horizon flips to keep the night sky in the ocean. The sorbet lining between shades of blue. Birds chattering like 50 alarm clocks sounding at once, overlapped and enthusiastic. Dawn is so far underway that only one star/planet is visible despite my strained search of the clear sky. Two. I thought the first was an airplane. One in the east, one directly opposite in the west. The east star looks like two linked together, which I vaguely remember from either the Sydney observatory or my friend’s telescope.

The dark red amber transitions to gold, revealing a ship in the distance. It’s just the birds, ocean, trees and pathway, and myself. This is my morning ice cream, crisp to the touch. A bicyclist chirps “Morning!” as he passes in a whip of wind.

An enormous log lay beached on the sand. Did the ocean toil all night to birth you there? The waves gently lap and kiss you, to bid farewell after a tumultuous separation.

Gold brightens further to yellow. The clouded horizon softens and blurs, the cloud wisps above sharpen in contrast, cotton candy striped in orange-pink-blue. Impatiently patient. The log is a prehistoric jaw curved upward with a great warthog tooth.

The west planet now barely detected; the eastward sisters shine through bubblegum candy floss. Another greeter of dawn walks the footpath. My form is further exposed in the light: bare feet shoved into untied shoes, baggy pajama pants, ski coat, haphazard scarf. My wild nest of hair untouched by smoothing eyes or fingers after the pillow worked her night shift.

Bubblegum taffy evolves to neon orange, soft cotton of the baby blue blanket further beyond. The horizon light pales, stripping itself of depth and character. The whiteness/witness of the pastel yellow bores. Yawn. How ordinary.

I am a mountain on these black pebbles. Firmly planted and aligned, growing every breath. Tall with light and energy, casting shadows around my periphery. The she-ocean crashed along my toes, tickling to entice me away from my foothold. The foamy sirens eager and clambering for their mother to take me for herself.

A red belly grows behind the skirt of smog, the glowing orb pushing its way up from the golden-lit water at the extreme edge of the earth’s end. Then it’s lost again in thick congestion. The neon cotton bleached white in the wake of approaching sun, paled and perhaps by fear or apprehension, or cowering in reverence.

Ah, this is the bulbous glow that stretches now beyond the reflected windows, over the deco rooftops. A concentrated light forms backstage, ready for the 5-minute call.

The clouds deceived. Morning glow emerges as a surprise, catching the earthly circle off guard. The radiance is all colors at once, so intense only short glances will keep your irises intact. What a grand entrance. Swift and steadily, as if the pulleys were freshly tested and mended for this grand spectacle. Hello, Sun. Good morning. Your rays push blush to my face, carve contours on my outer layers. It won’t be long now, for you to suspend for another seven hours, leaping higher across the convex arch. I’ll see you then. Now I go, return to the woven blankets and threadbare bedding. Tell your night’s journeys to the ocean; she’s eager for company.

2. shaped into poetry or lyrics in April 2020

NAPIER’S FIVE A.M.

Multitudinous avian alarms chime and peal. The main holds the night sky in a flipped horizon.

Sorbet slices between shades of blue. This is my morning ice cream, crisp to the touch.

Deep red amber kneads to gold.

An enormous log lay in the surf. Did the sea toil all night to birth you there?

Her waves gently lap and kiss you, to bid farewell after a tumultuous separation, your prehistoric drift jaw curved into a giant warthog tooth.

Gold brightens to pale yellow.

The clouded skyline softens, blurs while wisps sharpen, cotton candy stripes canary-orange-pink.

Impatiently patient, shining on my wild nest of hair untouched by smoothing eyes following the pillow’s night shift.

Neon orange shifts to bubblegum taffy.

Shadow mountains cast on beach pebbles, firmly planted and aligned.

Skyline pales and strips its depth and character.

Soft baby blues beyond.

She-ocean crashes toward my toes, tickling, enticing me from this foothold; foamy sirens eager and clambering for their mother to take me for her own.

A red belly grows from within smog’s skirt, the glowing orb pushing its way up out of the earth’s extreme edge.

Ah, this is the bulbous irradiance stretching now beyond reflections, over the deco rooftops. What a grand entrance.

Swiftly and steadily, rising true, as if his roped pulleys were freshly tested and mended for this canorous spectacle.

Hello, Sun; good morning. Your rays blush my apples, carve contours in my creases.

Your suspense will expire, leaping higher across the convex arch.

Sing your night’s journey to the sea; she welcomes your camaraderie.

Musings of a Wanderer

I lift my gaze from the sidewalk to lock eyes with a beautiful, petite red-headed baby who’s maybe five or six months old.

From the bundled confines of the stroller, their entire tiny face stretched into a bright smile: toothless mouth agape, brows raised high.

We simultaneously exchange an inaudible, “Wow!”

Overheard: On Tour with Missoula Children’s Theater

1.6.07 nearby conversation at Tipu’s Tiger restaurant:

Person C: My biggest problem with technology is that I hate technology. My energy knows it. I can sit in front of a computer, and my energy will short it out. It stops working.

(later)

Person A: Have you ever heard of the movie An Inconvenient Truth?

Person B: Yeah, all the comedians are making fun of it… I walked in skeptical, and walked out nervous.

(later)

Person A: (reads the dessert menu) Chocolate tofu?! What happened to good ol’ fat, you know?

(later)

Person C: Do you have vanilla ice cream?

Staff: No.

Person C: What kind of ice cream do you have?

Staff: We don’t have ice cream.

Person A: It’s seasonal.

Person C: Well, it’s cold! This is an appropriate season for ice cream!

 

 

2.6.07 THE LAUNDROMAT

Woman seated near the dryers, talking on the phone: Hello. This your mother. Have you seen your father today? …Oh, okay. He was supposed to meet me at the office, but I haven’t seen him. I had a client, so… (laughs) Anyway, I’m a little nervous. I’m very excited. I’m doing my laundry now, so if I need to crash, I hope it’s okay to crash. . . yeah! That would be a novel idea. I think Daddy’s excited, too. Okay, hon, I’lll let you get back to work. Workin’, workin’, workin’. I was gonna ask how your face is doing. …Oh, wonderful.

– – – – –

Man: Oh, sorry.

Woman: It’s okay. There’s only one of me, and three chairs.

Man: Hey! How’ve you been? I haven’t seen you in–

Woman: Many, many moons.

Man: You still with the old man?

Woman: Yup, he’s working a new job now. Roofing, or something. Guess that’s good.

Man: You still with the Eagles?

Woman: Yup, been with them for four years now.

Man: Wow, that long.

Woman: Time flies when you’re having–

Man: Yeah…

Woman: …

Man: …

Woman: …

Man: So, it was good to see you.

Woman: You, too.

Man: Have fun with those Eagles.

Woman: Yeah, ya gotta have fun, no matter what you do. Keep having fun, right?

Man: Yeah.

 

 

2.9.07 Eating at Mitzi’s:

Waitress: Thanks for coming in today.

Kindergarten Girl: You’re welcome.

Waitress: Your grandpa sure was nice.

Kindergarten Girl: His name is Papa.

(Kindergarten Girl tries to push open the heavy glass door to no avail)

 

 

2.16.07 with my billet host:

Doris: Do we need to scare you to get rid of those hiccups?

Me: Oh, I get ‘em all the time.

Doris: …Disgusting.

 

 

3.14.07 at the courthouse in Virginia City:

Person A: It was a Child Protective Services meeting.

Person B: …They could’ve “child protected” out here.

 

 

2.16.07 during preshow, applying makeup on the young seahorses in Sandpoint, ID:

Courtney (age 12): I have bad news for you.

Me (age 23): What?

Courtney: You have a grey hair.

Me: What do you mean “bad news?” I like my grey hair. I have a whole patch of it. See?

Courtney: You mean you WANT it?

Me: Of course.

Courtney: My mom’s trying to get rid of it, you’re trying to grow it… I’m so confused!

 

Doris of Reedsport, OR

I drove into the lush sunset for hours en route from Portland to Reedsport, delighting along the welcoming river through peaceful trees. I won’t mind surrounding myself with this view for a while. I should always remember OR-38 as a great road trip highway.

Doris of Reedsport hums while she scrambles eggs and bakes waffles at 9:00 p.m. for her tour guests. The song reveals itself: “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera.

Doris started singing from the show once I’d introduced myself. However, it wasn’t the typical Christine, Christine! everyone at the Paramount sang whenever I walked into a room. Why didn’t I wait to apply to work for Seattle Theatre Group until after the touring production of Phantom closed? Oh, now I grow nostalgic for Anatoli and Linda and the other ushers from work.

My home this week is an original from the 1800s. I’m assigned to the Princess Suite complete with a miniature edition of The Little Mermaid on the nightstand. Doris decided to favor me before my tour partner and I set foot in her palace. My door has an old-fashioned latch complete with a skeleton key lock. This is another week of no phone and no internet in the home-stay. I’ll catch up on writing and reading.

In Plains, MT, Bob calls me Little Mermaid. He and Diane want me to visit through the weekend when I return post-tour. The backyard pool will be ready and Maury will prepare the horses for riding. Diane and Bob watch for cowboy boots to crop up in the town thrift stores. Perhaps while the dogs are groomed in Missoula, we can go to a boot store then.

Mother Hen Doris is quite a character, resemblant of Felonius Gru with her broad shoulders, barrel torso and skinny legs, sharp eyebrows and long, pointy nose with deep nostrils, and a faint wheeze when she breathes. She’s one of those Oregonians who add a bold “r” in “Warshington.” She avows, “The sign of a good cook is that they always serve their maple syrup hot.” Indeed.

I already admire her sense of humor. My tour partner Brian has two twin beds in his room, and he claimed he’d switch beds mid-week in order to enjoy both. When Doris pointed out the quilt rack in my room, she said, “And these are the quilts…if Goldilocks here gets cold,” pointing her thumb over her shoulder toward Brian.

She said something during our late waffle dinner that struck a chord. A boy named Adam, born of alcoholics, raised amidst turmoil, didn’t do well in public school. She said, “His brain didn’t connect; he had no conscience, no remorse.”

Is there such a thing? Can a human lack a conscience? And what would that look like? When she went on to describe his violence and scaring other children, I felt compelled to write a play about such a ten-year-old boy and tell his story.

She answered her rhetorical question “His future?” with a grand thumbs-down. Why was Adam cast aside so easily? As a long-term substitute in school, she taught him under the philosophy that “every day is a new day.” …but how did he run out of new days?

The yellow smiley face clock on my bedside table reports 10:07 pm. Downstairs, Doris’ TV murmurs on.