‘such a pretty pretty boy!’

dear friends…a short story in three parts,
while i continue working on the 3 co write poems.
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‘such a pretty pretty boy!’
part 1
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I would soon find out as my back glued tight against the living room wall, right next to the tall bird cage where a too close crowd waited in narrow eyed but hushed anticipation, I had the best seat in the house.

‘Oh, you’re such a pretty boy. Pretty Boy… Pretty Boy…
you’re such a pretty pretty boy!’

In her familiar sing song melody, my mom chirped her song to our blue and white, precocious and quite talkative parakeet Pretty Boy. I’d heard him repeat the words plenty of times, his head bobbing and weaving as he scuttled from side to side along his wooden perch. That a bird could talk as clearly as Pretty Boy did, was an endless source of fascination to this 5 year old.

‘Pretty Boy..Pretty Boy…such a pretty pretty boy!’

On queue and just as mom had promised, Pretty Boy rattled off his happy monologue to the delight of everyone,

‘Ohhhh’
‘Isn’t that cute?’
‘I’ve never heard a bird talk like that!’

With all the oohs and ahhs from the crowd and staring at his little round mirror, Pretty Boy was very animated and quite taken with himself,

‘Pretty Boy..Pretty Boy…such a pretty pretty boy!’

“Does he say anything else?’

And mom who was beaming now,

“Oh sure, he says lots of things!’

This was no easy crowd to please. It was the first time all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on my father’s Italian side of our family had en masse descended upon our suddenly smallish house,
and smiling seemed to be a foreign concept to them.

Leaning forward and stacked three deep in a semi circle around the cage…and me, I was suffocating and beginning to hyper ventilate. I needed to escape but there was simply no escaping this wall of largish, olive skinned humans with their dark eyes and darker hair. It was my first experience of a claustrophobia I still suffer from today.

Then suddenly, unprompted and as if on queue to save me, Pretty Boy still preening from the attention squawked an unmistakeable string of,

“God damn shit…God damn shit…God damn shit!’

I’d never seen so many people move simultaneously like this group did, as if the epicenter of an 8.2 earthquake shuddered just below our little dining room jolting everyone backwards and off the floor. And no one jumped higher than my wide hipped grandmother. She landed with such a thud, her low black heels left divots in the pine floor.

I caught my breath as there was instantly more air to breath, but I was certainly the only person experiencing any sense of relief in the sudden vacuum of silence, in that improbable, unforeseeable and unforgettable moment. And with the best seat in the house, I watched the ensuing family drama all unfold.

underneath below…Haiku/ Tanka

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i have known more pain

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than i can hope to forget,

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yet…i look skyward.
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these eyes collect joy,
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like a jewel thief stealing

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moments where i can.
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when the moonlit skies
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reflect more darkness than light,
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i hide behind clouds.
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this melancholy…
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it lays shallow in my lungs,
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waiting to exhale.
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battered and lonely,
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you found me once on the shore…
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but i crash in waves…
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underneath below
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the undertow i create
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in amniotic
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silence i know all too well,
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a slave to the familiar.
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tell me… stars have life,

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find me… whenever i hide.

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underneath…

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below.
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the plaintive calls

in this temporary lull…

in the stall that passes for a quiet pause…

the sigh between stoplights winking…

through another relentless rumbling evening rush,
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i can hear the faint… the plaintive calls.

like memories echoing down narrow windowed canyon walls

a slow whitened silhouette a blur above rooftops,

entrails across the smoke dark shroud of sky.
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a lone seagull…

aloft in her weightless circles calling…

pleading our cause that carnivorous Winter release

it’s talon grip on our weathered psyches.
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this colossal metropolis

frayed and weary along its steely margins,

holding a collective breath praying for relief

for signs our resolve has slain the beast.
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to be home… and warm is a primal lure

and cars have little patience for an inconvenient reverie,

but i have witnessed Spring’s first inland gull

and believe her plea was not in vain.
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heartened and invigorated now,

windows down i invite the viper wind

to hiss his last stinging breaths on my skin

and tangle my hair as i drive.

in the wings

a repost for my new friends from July 9, 2013,
and a special ty to my friend Cindy Knoke, an
incredible photographer for always rummaging
in my archives.
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a great big hug to my daughter on her 14th birthday
for sharing this song which inspired this story/poem.
please feel free to listen to it as a soundtrack.
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in the wings
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they seemed to meet, quite by accident
but something in their eyes, told them otherwise
this wouldn’t be their first conversation
but.. it always felt like it could be the last

like a patient, who knows their time is near
with so many faces yet to see
and…confessions to make
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and…sunsets to end
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their now daily talks lasted for hours
even after they left that little cafe
feverishly texting on the bus back home
sometimes…through the hush of their night

they would talk of paintings, songs and poetry
any silly thing, as long as there was a reply
the hold on each other, so tenuous
an undertow…
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the pull of fear as real
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he not so accidently, brushed her hand on the table
she instinctively recoiled, placing it on her lap
she apologized quickly, she was sorry
but regretted showing him so much

his practiced stoic reaction, said little
this time his heart, tried valiantly to follow
‘but isn’t that how it always goes?’
setting a few more bricks in the wall

he was a little braver than she was
or maybe his clock, was just ticking faster than hers
he said the words, that they both feared
and knew it was wrong…
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the moment he spoke
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two hearts… waiting in the wings
for love to speak and heal their pain
all the words… they shared between them
could not help them say goodbye
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thCADWZMMJ

over the wall

dear friends, i found a song and video that
inspired this poem. the words are written to the
tempo of the song and if you have the time,
please watch this incredible video.
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Stubborn Love/ The Lumineers
It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference
So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love
Keep your head up, keep your love
Head up, love
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over the wall
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i saw a smile today…

shining from a stranger’s face

and bundled from the bitter cold

it leapt over the wall

to meet me eye to eye
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i woke a girl today…

and kissed her pale forehead

as i did on that night she was born

tears just poured over the wall

at the miracle in my arms
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i drew a face today…

trusting these hands again to say

what my eyes have always known

climbing over the wall
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’cause fear is the enemy of art
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i risked it all again…
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and shared all the secrets
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of my troubled life
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her patient Love tore down the wall
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to heal an injured heart
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now i won’t pretend to know

why this life can be so hard sometimes

and this world will bruise our tender hearts
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because i am just the sum of all my pain

the kind that can never really be repaired

i just learned to wear the scars beneath my skin
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i saw the sun today

so bright through the clouds

even the greying slush did

sparkle and gleam across my boots

and i… just keep walkin’ on
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the first sound…and the last

Myth
You cant keep hangin’ on
To all that’s dead and gone
Oh, let the ashes fly

Help me to make it
Help me to make it
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the first sound…and the last
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in the quiet before sunrise…
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before this relentless world awakes…
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at the window silhouette of my
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alone listening…
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i hear the first of morning’s call,
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faint from the dense of sheltering evergreens…
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alighting from February’s greyed and leafless branches…
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in slow breaths past your sleeping lips…
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i can hear our shared living mystery recital
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whispered deep within your down pillowed dreams,
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the serendipitous and storied soliloquy of
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our improbable union of years.
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in destiny devoted season after season…
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that even in this cruelest of another Winter cold,
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we can still scorch
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in the white of our own flame.
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and still… this fool romantic’s heart
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could believe only Love beckons reconciliation,
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but a slow and greying wisdom wonders
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‘is it our friendship we can’t live without?’
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and outside our window long past sundown…
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when the world has turned away…
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i hear the life mating cardinals, like us
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a fated pair
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calling each other home to close another day.
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we are as the Universe demands, and how
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i’m forever grateful it’s your voice i hear.
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the first sound…
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and the last.
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drawing approx. 8″ x 8″ on vellum paper
pencil, watercolor pencil, white and black marker,
acrylic paint and sourced from various Google pics
click to enlarge

bravely white on white…..Tanka

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parchment paper birch

standing bravely white on white,

deep in snow… on snow.

its textured history bared

like ours… in subtle details.

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slow nuanced layers,

peeled away in time… with trust…

from pretense and fear.
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patiently waiting…alone,

hoping our Truth will be found.
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pencil, watercolor pencil, acrylic paint,
paint markers, approx. 8″x8″ on vellum paper
sourced from various Google pics and my imagination.
click image to enlarge