Sunday, March 30, 2008

Micro fiction: Scattered to the Winds

Scattered to the Winds

If there was anyplace Marcus disliked visiting more than a graveyard, he couldn't think of one. But it was Memorial Day, a hot, muggy Memorial Day, and grandma needed tending.

He was the only one around anymore who could do it -- take the geranium to the cemetery, clip the crabgrass around her headstone, spade up the mushy soil and make a little green and red garden on her plot. It was what she would have wanted. She always did have a green thumb; she loved gardening.

"That's probably why, instead of being cremated like grandpa, and scattered to the winds like he had been, she'd wanted herself, well, planted," Marcus thought.

He'd had to steal himself to do his duty, though -- he'd stopped in for a beer at the dive down the street first, wanting to have a slight buzz on before walking through those rusty cemetery gates.

He hated walking across the grass-covered graves, always wondering what was down there beneath his sneakers. The stone angels and ancient obelisks gave him the creeps. So did the eerie silence of the place.

Grandma's stone was plain and simple -- a granite rectangle with "Alice" carved in sans-serif letters. Marcus could still remember her face; she'd died less than a decade ago. Grandpa had died earlier, when Marcus was a toddler, and that face was lost to him.

He started to clip the cowlicks of grass from around the stone's edges, looking up from time to time to observe other people tending the graves of their own dearly departeds -- all of them silent, or muttering softly about the time their Uncle Harry said such and such, or the what their Aunt Vicky thought about so and so.

"I should NOT have had that beer," Marcus muttered, as he dropped the geranium into the hole he'd dug in front of grandma's stone. He had to pee, bad, and there were no restrooms in this garden of eternal rest. There were no restrooms anywhere nearby.

As he got to his feet, he noticed someone standing a few feet away, on the edge of the path that split the cemetery in half. It was an old guy in overalls and a flannel shirt rolled up to the elbows. A fringe of gray hair was visible around the edges of his baseball cap, and he was smiling as he gazed off toward the horizon, where some dark clouds were massing. "Must be the caretaker," Marcus thought.

"Gonna rain soon, I'm afraid," the man said in a wistful voice, to no one in particular, though Marcus was the only person nearby. Then he turned and spoke to Marcus directly: "Gonna get wet," he said.

It was the wrong thing to say to someone who had to urinate. Marcus shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "I'm not sticking around to get wet," he said. "I gotta go. My bladder's screaming. Gotta find a bathroom."

The man smiled. He had a kind, crinkly face. "You know what they say," he said.

"No. What do they say?" Marcus asked.

"All the world is a man's urinal." He pointed toward a thick clump of bushes and trees at the edge of the graveyard.

Marcus took the hint and trotted off to relieve himself. "Watering the garden," he thought, as he did so. He looked back toward where the man had been standing, but he was gone -- scattered to the winds, perhaps, just like grandpa.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Word of the Day: Ampullosity

Word of the Day

ampullosity (n)

Pretentious inanity or bombast

"In reading, we also 'cruze about the coast,' but that is where the variety, richness, and fabled ampullosity of the text reside in fractals of renewed delight."
--David Solway, Random Walks

I am full of fractals of renewed delight this evening.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Eyelid Twitch

Life's a Twitch

My left eyelid has been twitching a lot lately. It's an annoying "fluttering" feeling that occurs most often when I'm working at the computer. (It just happened actually.) A Google search reveals that its technical name is "blepharospasm" and it's probably nothing serious. The twitching is usually caused by stress, lack of sleep, too much caffeine or prolonged staring at a screen -- or some combination. Given that list, I guess it's not too surprising that my eyelid is twitching. I'm not living a decaf life lately.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Philosofish: Immanuel Kant



Here's my attempt at a comic "strip"/philosophical quotation venue. I hope to include more thought-provoking (or just provoking) quotations in the future, not necessarily from big-name philosophers. But the graphic will remain the same, at least for now.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Reading Leaves of Grass, and enjoying it. I've only read a few bits and pieces before. It's like poetic raving.... Extremely windy tonight. As I was walking down the street, white plastic bags were blowing around, like little ghosts. A couple of them attacked me.... Barack Obama seems to be the first national politician in decades who can give a speech that one might actually like to read as well as listen to.... I'm toying with an idea for a comic strip, somewhat modeled after David Lynch's The Angriest Dog in the World, entitled Philosofish. Just something to fool around with.... Why don't I... validate my personas?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Plot generator

Something Happened

The story starts when your protagonist tears down a wall.

Another character is a college professor who has been tapping your protagonist's phone.


Stuck for a story? You could try this Plot Scenario Generator. Better to twist and exaggerate some incident from you own life, though, I think.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Word of the Day: antipodean

Word of the Day

antipodean (adj)

Opposite to or of another thing.

"Then, indeed, does the tuckered sylph come out in fairy form and proceed with joy under cousinly escort to the exhausted old assembly-room, fourteen heavy miles off, which, during three hundred and sixty-four days and nights of every ordinary year, is a kind of antipodean lumber-room full of old chairs and tables upside down."
--Charles Dickens, Bleak House

Love Dickens, but he wrote as if he was being paid by the word. Maybe he was.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Whether of Not Report

Weather or Not Report

Showers and thundershowers this evening will give way to a steadier rain overnight - a rumble of thunder still possible. Low 43F. Winds ESE at 20 to 30 mph. Rainfall near a half an inch.

This has been a winter of mostly rain, not snow, so far. I've only worn boots once, and I've only had to shovel snow once. There's a big, 50-pound sack of ice-melting calcium chloride pellets near the front door, hardly used. I'm tempted to put it down in the basement. I think if I do, though, a blizzard will blow in immediately.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Gnomon*

I am a clock.
I talk with my hands,
tick through tense hours.
My face: a white circle measuring
effort and waste.

Somewhere
there is a perfect Michael,
imperturbable,
easy in nature,
undisturbed by appalling events.

Finding his pinnacles and mistakes
less than a feather
on a March wind,
fluttering and spiraling
into a stiff field

of winter grass,
he confronts
nights, storms, desires, ridicule,
love and cold
with the patience of a tree,

with the calm of a sundial.

---
*According it Merriam-Webster, a gnomon is "an object that by the position or length of its shadow serves as an indicator esp. of the hour of the day [such as] the pin of a sundial [or] a column or shaft erected perpendicular to the horizon."