Kaddish or A Breath

It took me a month to realize the bathtub had a texture in some spots and not others – lost underneath black foot prints of desert dirt.
I imagine the texture of a cloud – running my hand over ice crystal pumps – the pit of stomach sadness realization its water and not soft – freely floating horizon to horizon.
I’ve watched the sun rise and set in one breath – torches in the sky – cockroaches scurrying on the ground for food or shelter or an impending storm.
The air is warm and heavy – everything is – when you can’t reach the ground.
A smiling skull inside a book of poems and comic strips – dreams and more clouds.
I remember nights in the old desert – coyotes calling back and forth – a kill made, it’s time for sleep – koi and tarantulas and the ghost of a badger.
A prayer said into a glass of stale water, bent pick and tension suspended in a lone deadbolt – carpet under my feet for the first time in years.
16 steel strings and nothing in tune, the ground seems unattainable – but just within reach if I try…and try harder.
Nox is playing games and small dogs bark as muscles strain and pain.
PERDURABO written on a scrap paper that fell under the bed.
There are no birds with the sun, just a family of rabbits and heavy footfalls, strangers smiling – the heat is hidden and unaware of my presence.
A path from point to sky, lost in the clouds, hiding meteors – so many stars, 88 constellations and all I see are casinos and strange shadows – a fire dancer with a boom box, a bag full of books left untouched.
Things happen – you can’t stop them, or make them move faster…or slower…or faster…or… – feet finding ground, standing strong, but light.
I dreamed of a train – curling around silent dark mountains – wolves outside, snow on the tracks, crystal chandeliers and red velvet.
The sound of a cello vibrating against my heart – beats and beasts in a sweaty, spellbinding desert dream dance – Good morning, Mr. Magpie – is it that time already?
I sleep, with the desert outside – laughing families and run down cars – beggars and a cat in the window – everyone turning off lights. Click…click…click…

Click.

Goodnight.

August 24, 2015: Like A Rock

She sat there. Still. Cold. Her eyes looked through me. Bored, restless. 

“Forgive the tears. No matter how hard I try, they don’t stop.”

She played with little rocks. Fourteen of them. She lined them up and marveled at them. 

She ran her fingers over each rock, whispered names, wiped tears. 

“Never brag about what you have. Especially to those who do not have it. You can be proud…it’s hard not to be. But there is a fine line…”

Her eyes went to the sun, cursing it. 

“Be happy for what you have. Strive for better. Especially when it comes to yourself. Always look forward, but do not take the present moment for granted.”

She reached out and touched my cheek. Her finger tips hard and cold. 

“Everything can leave you, quick as an arrow. So hold tight to what you love, to who you love. Never let go.”

I left her, playing with her fourteen rocks and wiping tears. 

Cycnus

The swan dropped from the sky and fell into the water.
There was no splash.
Just a small hole in the water’s surface, slowly filling back up.

The swan shot from the water into the air, its feathers catching the sun.
Back down into the water.

I could hear screams. Something was crying.

Clouds began to gather over head.
The swan kept diving.
It would stay under for longer periods each time.

Thunder.
Loud thunder.
Thunder that you feel in your bones.

The swan swims to shore.
There is a faint light, glowing somewhere under the ocean.

“I’m practicing.
It’s why I’m a swan.
It’s why I am one of the 88.”

Two other swans swam to the shore.
One  with its chest puffed out, locking its eyes onto mine.

“Don’t worry about that. He’s just upset he was beat. And the other…oh man, is he a party pooper.”

The first swan shook water off its feathers and seemed to recline beside me.

“I nearly lost my best friend. You would like him. He’s a bit of a hot head, at times, but he has a brilliant personality.
I saved him.
This is what I get…this is what keeps me going.”

He honked, flew straight up, then straight back down into the water.

The sun peeked out from behind the clouds.

The water seemed to boil.
The swan flew back out and kept going up, and up, and up…until it disappeared into the sun.

August 20, 2015: Mahpiohanzia

The fire dancer was alone in the desert.

Night had long set. Morning was closer, but still felt so far away.

The flames circled in the air. Brushing the ground, kissing the stars.
Sparks flew out like comets, reaching towards the sky, never landing.

“Those are wishes.”
The dog that had been following me spoke in a quiet voice.
“She’s a wish merchant. She buys wishes, in exchange for others.”

The dog sat at my feet, we watched the fire dancer.
“The only real problem with dealing with her…if you sell her a wish, you can never have that wish again.
“Once she buys it from you…it’s hers. She can make it come true. If you wish for a certain job…a certain person to fall in love with you…then you sell that wish…poof. You’re screwed.”

I sat in the dirt next to the dog, fire causing our shadows to flicker and stretch.

“She knows if it’s a true wish, too. No wishing for a hamburger. No wishing for a new hair cut. They need to be…unobtainable in the current moment. A wish that will change your life.
Do you have anything to sell her?”

The fire dancer stopped and walked over to the dog and I.
“Do you have a wish for me? I promise something in return.”

“It’s a cruel magic, man. But very effective. It’s a sacrifice. Few things are as potent as the sacrifice of a potential future.”

I stood up, brushing dirt from my pants and stood in front of her.
“Wish into the fire.”

I whispered my wish. The fire glowed and began to move on its own.
She started to dance again, laughing and crying and swinging the flames. A shooting star shot from a flicker and became a star.

“It’s funny,” the dog said. “You people wish on stars…when stars are really just wishes bought and sold.”

The dog and I walked away into the desert.
I felt a hole open in my chest, like I had lost something, or I was homesick.

“It’s cruel magic. But powerful.”
The dog looked up and licked my hand, then ran off into the dark.

My chest felt hollow, but I felt a warmth – a glow- the beginning of something. The promise of something new.

July 2, 2015: Glove

She holds the glove as if it were a child, a treasure, made of the finest porcelain or glass.

The white kidskin is beginning to yellow with age. Dried specks of blood on the fingertips.

They look like old hunting gloves, ancient dress gloves.

She kisses each fingertip, one by one, as if she were counting beads on a rosary.

Someone stole this glove once. That used to be a very popular thing. Grave robbing. But, we eventually got it back.

It’s a very special glove.

She takes my hand. Her fingers are cold.
She slides the old glove over my hand and I feel something.
Something like electricity.
My hair stands up.

My vision clouds.

I see two souls becoming one 880 years after they were separated.

I see a grand king and queen wearing matching gloves.

I see the glove in a decayed field, almost glowing with what can only be thought of as purity.

She takes the glove back, gently folds it and smiles at me.

She offers me a blessing.

I nod, trying to clear my head.

Let the soft glove remind you to be patient with every one, strong and weak. Be merciful. Be honourable. That is what the glove teaches us.

She gives me a regal smile, and a quick wink.

That’s how I raised my children…and they were mightier than kings.

June 23, 2015: Frolics and Follies

On Saturday, the 20th, I was surrounded by lust, lavish costumes, laughter, and death.

Cynthia von Buhler once again captures a moment in the past and brings it to life amidst the hustle and bustle of present New York City.

The Liberty Diner in the middle of the Theater District may confuse some, but if you know what you are looking for, you know it’s just a facade – smoke and mirrors – a secret portal to the past, the doorway to the 1920’s and Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolics.

You’re greeted, well, slapped in the face, really, by reincarnations of stage legends. The Zeigfeld Girls walk the floor, greeting you, flirting, teasing, directing you to the stage – a little sprinkle of magic glimmering in their eyes.

A ghost appears. A bright white face and manic smile approaches the microphone.

Welcome to the Follies.

Then you disappear from the present.
The air changes. Maybe it’s the smell. Your hair stands up slightly, your heart pumps faster and faster. You’re a wallflower caught in the middle. Marilyn Miller walks by. Josephine Baker winks at you.

What year is it, again?

You find yourself caught up in dance number, songs, your mind struggling to grasp with the awe your heart is feeling.
Someone in front of you is fighting. It’s Zeigfeld and his wife.
You want to reach out and touch them, make sure they are real.
He gently pushes you aside. You feel his hand.
It’s all real.

And that…that’s the power of Cynthia von Buhler. If you were lucky enough to have seen her Speakeasy Dollhouse, then you know what I mean.
You’re not watching a play. You’re not watching actors.
You’re watching history repeat itself- just for you.

Buhler’s “Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic” brings you the tragic story of The Most Beautiful Girl in New York City – Olive Thomas. You watch her story unfold – her rise to fame, her time with the Follies, her marriage to Jack Pickford, and subsequent death.
The brilliant aspect of her death is how it’s handled within the play. It gives you alternatives – depending on which time you watch it play out during the intermissions.

Keep your passport handy because, in order to learn the whole story, you need to travel to Paris.
In Paris you are welcomed into the Cabaret du Neant.
Paris forces you into a confrontation with your own mortality.
Whether you watch the magic trick in the Cabaret or watch the demise of Olive in the Ritz Carlton, you can feel Death walking behind you, handing out roses underneath a spinning moon.

Your night will be filled with unbelievable music, dancing, breath-taking aerialists.
New York history will fill your lungs, swim in your mind, and kiss your ears ever so softly.
History happens around you – on the stage, in the balconies, walking between you.

Do yourself a favor and go see Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic.
Immerse yourself in history and intrigue.
You’ll leave feeling on top of the world, an extra bounce in your step.

For information and tickets, click here.

June 16, 2015: El Train, 1918

You can tell time by the way the street lights flicker by.
One.
Two.
Three.

The train is empty except for a couple sitting at the end of the third car.

The lights flicker, illuminating their faces.
He adjusts the hat on his knee.
She adjusts her hat, pulling it lower, looking out the window.

It’s hard for me to decide where I want to go.

I go for months without finding the right thing.

It comes slowly.

The train comes to a stop.
The doors open.
The couple moves gracefully through the exit. Stalking into the night.
They enter a diner.