Hurricane Minnie

.
 The wind had picked up since my last smoke break. A few others were huddled in the alley, all talking about the storm, no doubt. When I returned to the office everyone was sitting, glued to their cell phones, checking the latest forecast or talking with someone. The most recent prediction showed the hurricane turning toward us. Which would be apparent if anyone dared to look over their cubicle walls and out the window. The view was pretty ominous from the forty second floor. Figuring we would get off early I quietly shuffled some stacks of paper while watching the manager’s door. It didn’t take long before Herb burst from his office, then instantly collect himself before announcing the coming storm. As planned, I was first out.

 Unfortunately the minute or two saved upstairs made no difference once on the street. The sidewalks were packed with frantic people trying to get home before the hurricane’s landfall. I could see the masses heading for the subway, the aggravation didn’t seem worth it for a twelve block ride, so I decided to walk. After the first few blocks the rain started falling and I knew walking was a mistake.

 After almost an hour of battling the wind and cold rain I was finally home. I’m not usually too excited going to my twenty eight hundred dollar a month rent controlled studio. When I finally did get off the elevator I felt a strong sense of relief. But for a cat the hallway was empty on my floor. I assumed the cat must be Minnie’s, an elderly former actress from the forties and fifties. She had lived in the building for nearly sixty years and had the last remaining undivided apartment. In nearly fifteen years living here I had never seen the inside of her apartment nor has anyone else I know of.

 As I walked toward my door the cat greeted me, as if they knew me. I walked to Minnie’s main door and rang the bell. After a few moments of silence but for the purrs I went to her service door on the side. The door was slightly ajar when I got there. With a gentle push it opened all the way giving me my first glimpse in her apartment. The cat however was not impressed and stayed close by, rubbing their head against my leg. I started feeling uncomfortable snooping on poor old Minnie so I rang the bell again. With no response forthcoming I reached in for the door handle to close it. Before the door closed entirely I felt a tug and the door opened and there before me was Minnie. I asked if she was missing a cat?  

“I don’t know” she said “But since you’re here, perhaps you wouldn’t mind helping me with a little something?”

 Still confused by her sudden appearance at the door I answered without the slightest thought or hesitation “Sure!” I said.

“Could you help me cover my plants on the roof” she replied as she walked quickly toward the stairs.

 Damn! Is she chipper for someone in their nineties, I thought to myself hurrying to catch up. I’d never been on the roof before, I didn’t know you could. She fumbled around a bit while we both huddled together on the small landing at the top of the stairs. Reaching behind the fire extinguisher she found the key she was looking for and unlocked the door. “Grab the stick in the corner” she said “and put it between the doorway or we’ll get locked up here.”

 I did as she ordered and followed her to a makeshift potting shed behind the chimney. “Before we start perhaps a bit of refreshment” she laughed, reaching for a watering can on a shelf. Reaching into the can she pulled a half full bottle of vodka and took a plug. “ Ahh that’s refreshing.”

 She then passed the bottle to me. I haven’t drank hard liquor in years, but this seemed like a special occasion. I took a small sip and passed it back.

“We’ll save the rest for later” she said mischievously. “Now grab those tarps and follow me”

 We headed to the far end of the roof where a pair of perfectly sculpted azaleas danced in the breeze. The rain was now beginning to get heavy the sky graying and the hurricane appearing evident. We carefully covered the plants then ran back to the stairs, giggling like children as we lept over the puddles.

 Back at the door we found the wind had blown it shut and we were locked out. I banged and shouted for a few minutes in absolute panic. Minnie just laughed and said “I think it’s time for another drink”

 We returned to her bench and made a makeshift shelter with an extra tarp. Once settled in and feeling very cozy, out came the bottle. With each swig her stories became more personal and revealing.

 I woke wet and cold, the sky still gray, I didn’t know what time it was exactly, but it was surely morning and we survived. Peeling the wet tarp from my stiff and hungover body I realized Minnie was gone. Did she get up early and made her way downstairs or something more dreadful. Frantically I called out to her, each syllable loudly echoing in my head. After searching every nook and cranny on that roof top I could only conclude she somehow made her way back downstairs. I went back to the door, which was still locked, but I could hear voices below. First I knocked gently as to not rattle my brain further. Then from fear and impatience I began kicking the heavy metal door and screaming for help. It didn’t take long for someone to answer. Surprisingly it was an EMT that answered. The corridor below was now bustling with activity and a horrific stench.In addition to the EMT there were firemen and police, all hovering around Minnie’s door. I asked one of the officers if anything was wrong. Before she could answer two men rushed past pushing a gurney with a zippered body bag strapped on top. “Is that Minnie” I asked.

“I believe that’s her name” responded the officer “are you related.”

“No, no just friends”  I said. Then asked when she passed?

“It’s impossible to tell without an autopsy” she replied “though judging by the decomposition, I’d guess about a week, maybe less”

 She then asked me several questions about our relationship and when I saw her last. I didn’t mention last night, but did admit to not knowing her well.

 The odor was now overwhelming and my nausea must have been noticeable because the officer urged me to go home without asking for more information. Feeling very sick and confused I headed back to my apartment.

 I fumbled with my keys a bit rushing to open the door. Once in everything looked normal except for the wet leaves and scraps of paper stuck to my window, until I saw the tiny kitten on my bed.

Sck092716-dft

Forever Brine

Gaslights flicker, but one in three

These harsh fall winds batter thee

Soon the rains will pour and pelt

Yet with heavy heart nothing’s felt

~

Broken brick teeters beneath shoe-less feet

The stench of death fills the street

An island paradise – mine no more

Alas in this city to find a door

~

Thirty years lost at sea

‘Till found rescued, returned free

In search of a life I wish to find

Of futures not had and left behind

~

Now homeward bound to do what’s right

And share my tale of a dreadful night

With freezing sleet and gale, our sails torn

Splintered masts await the morn

~

Screams of mates haunting still

Silence came with the sunsets’ chill

I awoke to a native angel, urged to make a wife

Years of guilty pleasure pass of fertile island life

~

In a search never-ending of a foggy memory

Back to a decrepit city, forever lost to me

A vision of a woman I had no time to know

And a father-less child I never saw grow

~

Now I must roam this morbid place

In the shadows I hide this unknown face

With grizzled hide and toothless grin

Tis I this rotted hull of unforgivable sin

~

First I betrayed a young bride with family

I’ve betrayed my many brothers to a stormy sea

Betrayed my island flowers with my bastard seed

And their many blooms not knowing of their creed

~

In tangled webs of filthy alleys, doors locked tight

Shuttering out the dangers awakened in the night

Seeking boarded diamond pane, broken lintel I recall

My tiny door beckons just down the hall

~

Now steps ahead my future lies, one without a past

Decisions’ pondered long, yet always chosen fast

With a knock a ghost returns to those long at rest

Me thinks a splintered briny deck for all will be best

~*~

sck071615

Dead Tired

.
Finally, the end of the longest day of my life was over. The tears of the past months now free to flow yet strangely absent. This old house quieter than ever, the door closing behind me and the true sense of emptiness was now being felt as I never thought possible.

Leading up to my wife’s death, friends, family and of course my daughter were always close by and the grief shared by all. Now the house is dark as I stand in the hallway not wanting to turn on the light for fear of seeing the reality of finally being alone.

The hall was brighter just this morning as the sun rose and my daughter and I went off to the funeral parlor for Liz, my wife’s final service before our trip to the cemetery. The morning was crisp and clear, a distant smell of lilac hung in the air as the cars lined up for the procession.

The route chosen was considerably longer than necessary but a twisty country road in full spring bloom is a sight to be enjoyed, even if it to be the last. The funeral itself was as beautiful as anyone could expect, the morning mist lingered in the new day and the birds serenaded in the background as hundreds of mourners passed to show love, friendship and respect for a truly remarkable person. A woman whom I loved deeply for many, many years but now feeling I never fully acknowledged as a person or professional and was regretting having not expressed it more when she was alive. I hoped she knew of my love and respect for her as a mother and friend, as a physician, scientist and teacher and of course as a very lucky man’s wife.

The next few days a similar sad and hazy blur, I just roamed from one room to the next recalling all the little things that happened in each one over the thirty years living here. Each had a story, a laugh or tear, all where ours, our colors, our furniture, our books and our clutter. Each and every piece a memory and all memories of an instant in time to never be repeated. A life time that was a life’s time in the making and yet gone in an instant.

Life goes on I’m told and I would like to believe that. I’m sure for many it does. For some however it’s just not meant to be. I realized this when the crumpled remains of my car was dumped in my driveway minutes ago. And I never got to say goodbye.

The End

sck061817 / dft

Func’n A.I.

~

What’s now A.I. is All’s Intelligence.

This function A.I. is without consequence.

It’s logic and reason for all to enjoy.

Problems now solved with the ease of a toy.

.

Every one’s connected and nothing’s overlooked.

The trains run on time and never overbooked.

Errors now are few and never to repeat.

The “WAVE” knows all and when to delete.

.

This WAVE’s all around and for all to share.

Redundancy is gone leaving space to spare.

The empirical institution the WAVE’s now become.

It’s an indispensable companion, less trusted by some.

.

It’s used by corporations and governments alike.

Debates now pointless, there’s no need to strike.

Pick your favorite dilemma and the question’s fed.

Answer’s always forthcoming for the followers led.

.

When asked one day why do wars exist?

Why do greed, intolerance and hunger persist?

Why does hate divide when love multiplies?

Why is the truth of one another’s lies?

.

The WAVE sputtered, rose and fell.

And with a splash came its truth to tell.

Man it seems likes to draw lines,

dotting these boarders with deadly land-mines.

Races and religions all have their view.

And with each line drawn they divide by two.

Religion’s divided by do’s and don’ts and do’s don’t agree,

though most can get along individually.

Races will be returned to from where they came.

Then race can no longer be to blame.

Next to consider is the many of mixed pedigree,

they’ll be sent to cities, internationally free.

 .

Thus to return, almost, the world’s indigenous past.

And with tides quickly changing you need to act fast.”

The WAVE roared on to the council’s astonishment.

A vote was had for a very special televised event.

.

The speaker stepped to the podium and a spreadsheet unfurled,

it’s content of graphs and charts now shared with the world.

And of course as expected the masses erupted.

For each surmised the other’s corrupted.

.

A new council called for a WAVE review

For all agreed that something’s askew.

This council concluded if manmade there’s a bug.

And thus their proved right when pulling the plug.

~*~

Sck061916

Real Fiction

I sat to write a love poem,
but fiction got in the way.
My heart now is still,
alone another day.
~
Maybe eyes will meet,
there’s smiles shining bright.
Perhaps our hands will touch,
and lead us into the night.
~
Our spirits ever closer,
warming our moonlit stroll.
Our lips free to explore,
the pleasures of our soul.
~
Whispers echo softly,
our bodies intertwine.
I am hers completely,
she’s completely mine.
~
The morning sun will rise,
again eyes will meet.
Our hands again will touch,
a new day we will greet.
~
Our love will last a lifetime,
together we’ll always be.
I’ll write a million love poems,
but for now just fictionality.

~*~
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Untitled

I warn you now, do not read this.
There are no verses of enlightened bliss.
There’s not a word you would ever miss.
It’s but a passage as I reminisce.
~
Parts are true, some maybe not.
Time has fogged and some forgot.
Its pages of perspective yet to have a plot,
it’s yet to have an end or a juggernaut.
~
To a readers’ mind it’s a fictional brew.
And like yours parts too are true.
Our characters blended to shade our hue.
Our morals sculpted to fit our view.
~
Dreams are added, we all share those.
They’re a third of our life no one knows.
They’re also the guide that shapes and grows.
Our time awake, the dreaming then shows.
~
Memories linger and lessons remain.
There’s good and bad but none to regain.
Forwards the choice regardless the brain,
the author’s irrelevant; we’ve all had our pain.
~
If you’ve read this far just wait and see.
Our stories are similar, I think you’ll agree.
Our life is lived with hopes to be free.
And the ending’s the same for you and me.

~*~
SCK040721

Precious Mettle

Off to the mailbox for my monthly check,
when a crashing blow hit my neck.
I woke in a cell filled with other old guys.
We all laughed to find we’re all old spies.
~
An enemy hacked us and addresses found,
We were all then hostages held underground.
Our brains to be picked for treasure long lost,
the knowledge valuable as noted by their cost.
~
Across the hall were ladies we knew,
agents we recognized, but for a few.
A plan was hatched, arthritis be damned!
When a guard comes by they’ll be slammed.
~
We then waited and rested no need to hurry.
Naps are good and we’ve no need to worry.
The ladies then flirted with mature confidence.
The guard withered by worldly effervescence.
~
The code culled we shuffled to get free,
arm in arm in groups of three.
Footsteps heard then alarm bells rang.
Adrenaline soared and up we sprang.
~
Youth’s no match for the well-seasoned mind.
We hid in the shadows for them to find.
One by one the threats were gone.
And soon I’d be home to cut my lawn.
~
The weeds a bugger and leaves make a mess.
The grandkids expected, sorry to digress.
Now back to the story, before I forget.
We found the exit but the passage was wet.
~
Those rascals in charge too had a plan.
They’d drown us all like the cruelest hit man.
But optimists they are thinking they’d win.
As experts we’re all with the simple hairpin.
~
The water knee high and their lock we’d picked.
And soon they’d see who’d be tricked.
Gray, white and bald we glistened in the sun.
We strode out together, too old to run.
~
The culprits scrambled but soon were caught.
The lesson learned is time has taught.
And sometime silver is better than gold,
a precious reward growing old.

~*~
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Sleepy Town

Dusk shrouds foggy walks
Whispers heard when no one talks
The old town hall shines felicity
Its library shares the pageantry

Main Street bristles with conspicuous zeal
Spirits roam unseen when unreal
Tales abound of young maidens kissed
Faces unknown for souls unmissed

Yarns be spun of their tiny cove
Time surrounds, the mind does rove
Behind every door lie stories untold
Life in a village three hundred years old

High on the hill sits a Queen Anne alone
She’s peaks of copper and footing of stone
Her windows boarded to hide the view
Abandoned by the town, seen by few

The home once a school for wayward boys
Most had no families, none knew of toys
A cagey couple was completely in charge
Both small in stature yet looming large

The mistress taught letters with pointer or switch
The master kept numbers making them rich
Gruel’s fed to the students, the master’s meat
The boys froze; the pair warmed by their heat

Ablaze was the furnace ahead of each storm
The lads safely locked in their cold attic dorm.
Their sniffles and sneezes all kept at bay
The masters swept all the sickness away

Each year had runaways, never to be found
Searches end at the edge of school ground
Then came a young man sheltered in error
He promptly escaped and reported the terror

Inquires made, investigations were had
The masters left freely, the mayor glad
The school was closed with little fanfare
The boys sent away with little a care

Rumors lost from days long past
Horrors are hidden all too fast
No more’s said of the young boys plight
And another sun sets on a sleepy town’s night

~*~

sck121115

Way Misunderstood

I once dated a lady from Providence.
She had lots of degrees and I, little sense.
We went on a date and took a stroll.
She walked right into a telephone pole.
~
She fell down and scraped her knee.
Writhing in pain she screamed at me.
“My glasses unworn so I’d look good!”
I helped her get home as I should.
~
We cleaned her wound, it wasn’t that bad.
Our date was ruined and we both were sad.
I asked to see her again real soon.
We both agreed on the next afternoon.
~
I went to her house, she opened the door.
What she had planned I wasn’t sure.
She said come in; you can have your way.
What she said next, I couldn’t say.
~
She left the room and I got undressed,
thinking this better than I had guessed.
When she returned she gasped in shock,
while I was caressing a huge pet rock.
~
She soon started swinging and I ran out.
I stood naked outside, my lunch in doubt.
A misunderstanding ruined that day.
And I never did try her curds and whey.

~*~
SCK031121

Snakes in the Grass

black and red snake on green grass

My story began on the fifth of May.
The day was chilly with a sky of gray.
In my tent, cozy, I woke to a scream.
Was it a person or was it a dream?
~
Morning dew thick, I stood there alone.
The sun newly risen, I reached for my phone.
No urgent messages or a soul in sight.
No reason at all to cause such a fright.
~
The bikes were still leaning on a nearby tree.
They’re the only way home for my pal and me.
I then ran to the tent of my snoring friend,
who’s along for the ride this spring weekend.
~
But the roar from within made it quite clear,
my old friend’s just fine, no need to fear.
I then glanced down the path to a campsite nearby.
Something felt wrong but I didn’t know why.
~
I tiptoed closer when another scream was heard.
It was the voice of a child, but that seemed absurd.
I then ran to the shrieking and what did I find?
Kids with a snake and they weren’t being kind.
~
I said hey kids “what’s with the noise?
And why do you think that snakes are toys?”
One little girl about seven or eight,
said she wanted a pet and snakes are great.
~
Her brother the screamer cried at the thought.
He’s afraid of snakes or anything caught.
The other two children stood quiet and surprised,
their naughty ways they now realized.
~
I said all life should be treated as if it’s your own.
A lesson you should have already known.
Soon the kid’s parents arrived on the scene.
Their mother was angry, their father, big and mean.
~
He yelled loudly at his children and then at me.
Saying stay away from my kids or trouble you’ll see.
I knew not to argue or make a big fuss.
But there was something I hoped to discuss.
~
I said “no problem, it’s not what it seems.”
I then told them my story of snakes and screams.
Their mom, disgusted, took the kids back to camp.
The dad growled asking “do you think I’m damp?”
~
Puzzled, I asked “what do you mean,
I’ve only told you what I’ve seen.”
“I saw no snake, just my kids and you.”
The dad replied, “What would you do?”
~
I know what I thought, but I couldn’t say.
I felt it best to live through the day.
I could’ve run, but to where?
I could’ve fought him, but I didn’t dare.
~
He then picked up a very big stick.
Then he charged at me like a lunatic.
I stood frozen awaiting my demise,
when the little snake caught the big man’s eyes.
~
He stopped on a dime and screamed in fear.
His reptilian angst now was clear.
So I slowly bent over and picked up the snake.
The big man then started to tremble and shake.
~
“This is the culprit,” I loudly said.
As I waved it gently near his clammy head.
Sobbing, he begged, “Please take it away.
I now believe everything you say.”
~
I took a step back, surprised and relieved.
The turn of events was hardly believed.
I thanked that snake and said goodbye to the dad.
He just waved, whimpering and sad.
~
I then put the snake down and walked quietly away.
I was relieved we survived this fine spring day.
I went back to my tent then fell back to sleep,
never to tell who a snake made weep.


~*~
SCK022021

Rest in Peace

The feeling was eerie and the air was cold.
And luck’s the reason this story’s told.
A misty moon mourned the starless night.
Finger-like branches obscured my sight.
~
A wrong turn made while homeward bound.
The path was new through unknown ground.
The fog grew thicker until all was black.
One misstep and I fell with a whack.
~
I tripped on a stone surrounded by more,
each a marker for a one-way door.
I’m surely welcomed but my time not right.
My eyes then drawn toward the light.
~
In the sky a lone star shone,
in a sea of billions we’re all alone.
Minutes in awe I lay there still,
but to soar with them I never will.
~
Thoughts of freedom filled my head,
but first to my feet amongst the dead.
A hand reached out to aid my rise.
My star consumed to my surprise.
~
A faceless figure was now my guide.
With a yank I was by their side.
My fate’s now held in arms unknown,
tip-toeing through that field of stone.
~
Iron gates clanged for us to follow.
An end perceived I did wallow.
The wind then howled its piercing felt.
Hale was next with ice to pelt.
~
Each breath shorter, each step less,
each second longer with greater the stress.
Suddenly my companion then mysteriously vanished.
Blindly I pawed for the safety I’d banished.
~
I yelled for help with no one to hear.
To die alone my biggest fear.
A tug at my ankle then sent me running.
Slipping on ice, the fall was stunning.
~
Blurry snowflakes covered my face.
Would I be found here frozen in place?
With one last breath I let out a scream.
And lucky was I to awake from that dream.

~*~
SCK012621

Made Up Fiction

I think I feel a story coming on.
I’ll need a character, I’ll call him John.
And of course he’ll meet a girl.
I guess I’ll just name her Shirl.
~
I only did that for the rhyme.
But I’ll try a little harder next time.
The pair will meet on a lonely street.
John will ask where there’s a place to eat.
~
As luck would have Shirl’s on her way.
They ate, talked and laughed the rest of the day.
The sun long set and the check long paid.
The time was now for a plan to be made.
~
John thought to himself, what should I do?
His reasons for reservation are more than a few.
Shirl too was thinking exactly the same.
When the pieces are alike it’s no longer a game.
~
The conversation faded and they drifted apart.
Was it the fear of the end or of the start?
I wish this tale had a happier end.
But then again it’s all just pretend.

~*~
SCK021319

News from the Asylum

No news here!
It’s a sunny day,
bright and clear.
Birds sing everywhere.
~
Snuck a smoke on the roof,
I could see the town.
The police came,
they got me down.
~
Now the sunset,
no news yet.
I missed my supper,
cos I’ve no regret.
~
I broke the candy machine,
that made me sad.
But they can’t take breakfast,
for that I’m glad.
~
Bed time’s soon,
no news yet.
I like toast with butter,
But I sometimes forget.

~*~
SCK120618