Earth-toned, they called me
Olive skinned, euphemistically
Why aren’t you as fair as your parents?
Like it was my fault, like I had picked
Out of a color palette, my skin tone
Pointed to the darker one — I’d like this one please!
Pretty! They’d say around others, But
Their nose always crinkled; head always tilted
While they pronounced “not so good” on my color
In my Incredible country, the classifieds proclaim
“Beautiful and fair complexioned” — to be circled for follow-up,
“Wheatish complexion” — to be glanced over, tossed up, discarded
Beauty lies surface deep only, uncomplicated isn’t it…
Cup: So, what’s eating you today, Saucer?
Saucer: Ignoring that snide remark….I’m feeling a little boxed in, Cup.
Cup: Boxed in? What do you mean? It couldn’t possibly be me, could it? I mean, I only have one arm, and it is always tucked in neatly to my side.
Saucer: No, it’s not you, Cup. You and I are very different. I admire you for your savoir-faire and constant cheerfulness.
Cup: That sounds like a veiled insult. What’s not to be cheerful about? We have a good clean life. We know exactly when tea-time is and what sort of beverage…
I get ready to go to work, one eye on the clock and the other on your supine form on the bed. I must get up, get ready and be out the door. Just to get you to leave. I know I’ll drive around aimlessly and return in thirty minutes.
There’s nothing that kills the magic faster than a guest who’s overstayed his welcome.
Your jokes don’t seem that funny anymore, I’ve heard them before. Your stories don’t seem that interesting anymore, I’ve heard them before. I know all your anecdotes, I’ve heard all your tales. The three topics you…
I’m sorry I’ve been
calling you Steve, Bob
It’s just that you look
like a Steve to me
Like all the other Steves
with their pointy noses and
Every time I see you, I think:
Hi Steve! And it’s out of my mouth
before I have a chance to correct myself
Bob, didn’t your parents know
you were going to look like a Steve?
Shouldn’t all parents have a picture of their child
all grownup before they name them at birth?
I mean: is that too much to ask for?
How many people are going around…
The Secret Keeper had lost track of time.
Like the pages of an old manuscript, yellowed, print faded, dank and odorous, stained, decomposed and forgotten, she could barely tell how much time had passed between her origin and what she loosely defined as now.
She had a physical entity once.
That was back when everyone would tell her their secrets and she would keep them, safe and away from the world.
The secrets made her ponder, then they made her sad, and as time passed and the steady stream of secrets billowed into a heavier downpour, she started getting angry.
It finally took a rusty javelin tip to send me ricocheting out of my body. Looking back at myself pitifully. Love’s half grimaces lying at the foot of the stairs in rough uneven lumps. And I walk down the stairs, changing the landscape of my life. Changing the landscape of me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a thousand times, baby who do I have to blame now? My own mocking sniggers echo back at me from a parallel lifetime, my bemused eyes wondering — can this be me? Can this too be me? …
It all started on a day I hadn’t had much sleep. A headache, and a day full of meetings stared me in the face. So much so that I didn’t notice it until I brewed my first cup of coffee and sat down with it. My eyes fell on my toes and I saw it then.
The third toe on my left foot had turned into a word.
The toe was gone, disappeared. Instead there was something like a Scrabble tile in its place, with the word ‘TOE’ on it in black caps.
To be honest, my first reaction was…
Strawman, arms strung out,
What do you think of all day?
Strawman, you button-eyed boy
the faded plaid shirt you wear
your hat always lopsided
does the straw poke into your side?
Standing in the fields all day long,
Do you contemplate the endless expanse?
Under wide open skies, and flocks of flying geese
Do you protect the crops from big bad wolves?
Or, perhaps you think of a life that could have been
Perhaps you step outside yourself in the dark of night
Perhaps you look at yourself, your ignominious exterior
Perhaps you judge yourself unexciting, unlovable
“Do not go gentle into that good night, but rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light.”