Friday, November 28, 2008


Aydin Aghdashloo, Memories of Destruction, Sand Storm, 1980

I extend my left arm through the slimy bars, to what purpose I’m not sure anymore. I am certain I’ve tried it already. To strike him maybe, or to strangle him to death. The man hits me with a stick, again, and the wound partly reopens. A deep gash hidden among the hard itchy scales that are growing on my skin. He snaps a single word at me, a guttural rebuke, its meaning obvious despite the unknown language.

I howl and retreat in the furthest corner of my cage, pulling the dirty burnous around me, hiding my head. He’ll hit me if I show myself. I think he plans to exhibit me in a fair, and everyone who wants to see me will have to pay. Let him do it. Who cares about the few pitiful coins to be extorted from the curiosity of these deplorable beggars? The pain in my injured arm is searing, in unison with the weird malaise holding me in its grip. I must have many broken bones, or at least that’s how it feels. Even my eyes hurt. The light is too harsh. For that, the shroud is most welcome. It somehow subdues my agony, apart from hiding my shame of being such a captive. I can indulge in imagining these people aren’t here. Away from them, that’s all I want, to be away from them. I’m growing a tail, for Goodness sake.

The heat stifles me, heavy with the stench of all these bodies bustling around with antlike tenacity in this unrecognizable souk where I found myself taken as I painfully regained consciousness. It reeks of goat, undressed hides, and blood. Of incense, and spices.

Hear me! I’m here! I am Josh Buckley from Massachusetts. I only shout the words in my head, as burning tears swell uncontrollably at the corners of my eyes. I’m afraid to try again, still humiliated by the effect of my last attempt, by the memory of my mouth as it contorted horribly, with no sound leaving my chafed lips but a disgusting gurgle. Oh, how cruelly they laughed at me, these people, and threw stones at me, entertained by my comic efforts. Hit by this mysterious illness, a monster, a freak, that’s what I’m becoming.

Nightfall comes slowly. Muezzin cries call the faithful to the mosque. Gently, I rock myself to sleep, strangely soothed by the monotone chants. In the sleep, I can dream. I allow myself to remember.

excerpt from "Crossing the Lion's Lake", a short story

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lemonade, Anyone?

From the lovely and very interesting Laughingwolf, at Paws and Reflect, I received this lemonade stand. Hmmm… what to do with it?

The rules (as taken from his blog) are as follows -

* Put the logo on your blog or post
* Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
* Be sure to link to your nominees within your post
* Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award

I must say I discarded right away that famous quote about what to do when life gives you lemonade.

I found others, more… juicy.

“For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here's a tip: why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness?”

“If life deals you lemons, why not go kill someone with the lemons (maybe by shoving them down his throat).”

Both of the above are quotes of Jack Handy, American writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1991-2003, famous for his Deep Thoughts comedy sketches.

Or these, by anonyms:

“50 lemons are a burden for 1 person, but they are treasures for 50 people”

“When life sucks and hands you lemons, I say beat the crap out of it and demand some Florida oranges as well.”

“If life gives you a bowl of lemons, go find an annoying guy with paper cuts”

“When life hands you lemons - break out the tequila and salt”

What I could do, is this: I could hypnotise you – at least those of you who have already been touched by the first nip of winter, for those who live in warmer place don’t need the suggestion – and transport you into a scorching summer day…

Like, for example, the one when I stepped among the ruins of Pompeii, at the feet of the Vesuvius.

End of July in Italy could be utterly demanding weather wise. That morning, before I entered the archaeological site, one thing stood out for me with utmost importance: the citrus stand where – for three euros, which was quite a lot – you could get a big glass of squeezed-before-your-eyes orange and lemon juice. They had lemons big as oranges and oranges big as cantaloupes. Suffice it to say that the thought of those exquisite citruses inspired and sustained my journey through lives lost to ashes and perfectly preserved by them – what an irony – on the hot stones of the past, under the omnipresent white sun. And when I finally had my glass, it was indeed perfect.

If I hypnotise you well, you too will crave an icy glass of lemonade…

This is what I dream (hope, would like) to offer to anybody who wants to stop by my lemonade stand… Please come, the lemonade is free and you are more than welcome!

And now, to pass it on, I choose all the people on my blogroll. Ha! If you’re there, you’re tagged! Because if I love to read your blogs, I would certainly love your lemonade…

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Goodbye, My Love

“Hey, baby… Sweet baby, where are you?”

His voice is distant, woven with static, a broken whisper, so close and too far from her ear. The phone is tiny, lost in her clumsy glove. She’s suddenly scared she’ll drop it. and then… and then…

The youth closes his hand over hers, helping her hold the cell to her ear, somewhere in her wet hair, his eyes beads of fear and compassion. She doesn’t want to see this stranger. Especially not now. Now it’s only for him.

“Where are you, baby?”

“In New York. I took an early flight. It’s snowing…”

A tiny bird chirps in her voice. Wide pale feathers descend floating in guise of cold crystals, linger on her brow only like furtive kisses. She allows them to sing on her eyelashes, blur the blinding city lights, whiten the night.

“I’m coming to get you. I can’t just sit here and wait for you.”

His voice carries the warmth she’s always seeked, always found in him.

my darling, my beautiful one

A flutter of panic wakens. Come and gone.

“No need… I’m in Times Square… I wanted to… I was going to the Central Station… I…”

warm and cold, warm and cold

“I can be there in an hour, baby. Go to Starbucks, wait for me there. Just stay warm.”

She wants to imagine herself being nestled next to him, watching him drive her home.

“Yes, you’ll come…”

“We could eat, we could do whatever you want… I won’t let you come home alone.”

i’m not coming home

His voice is fading, maybe on dying batteries.

“I can’t hear you so well. The cell…”

“You’re on a cell, sweetheart? You’ve never used a cell…”


“Borrowed it… They’ve coloured the Empire in red, and green, and white… Like when we first saw it… ”

The youth is crying, his hand shaking so badly it hurts her ear. The sky is a grey sieve, sifting a furious wet flour, but she still doesn’t close her eyes. not yet… not yet…

“Where are you, baby? What’s the clamour?”

He doesn’t know. How can she tell him.

my darling, my beloved

“Times Square… You know how busy… Even now… I so wish you were here…”

“I’m coming, baby. I’ll drive you home. I want to be with you.”

“Without you-“

without you i couldn’t live, how can i die

Her lips are numb, the snowflakes too heavy. The sky turns, and turns, and turns. She has to rest, just for a little moment.

The teen’s voice rises, sobbing, sobbing. Louder than her whisper, closer than the voice of her beloved. He presses the cell to her head harder, painfully, uselessly. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I’m so sorry.

A wailing grows, from the earth, from the sky.

“What’s that, baby? An ambulance?”

She abandons herself to the snow, to the night, to the turning sky.

“Hello? Hello? Hello?”

“Sir, are you a relative?”

A man’s voice, neutrally authoritative. A stranger’s.

“What? Who’s there?”

The voice turning to unwanted, uncomprehensible compassion.

“Sir, I’m terribly sorry, there’s been an accident. Your wife… has been hit by a car… we couldn’t get here in time… a blockage… she wanted to speak to you… I’m sorry, Sir… Sir, can you come and…”

yes, I’ll come

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A View to the Moon

There is a skylight in my bedroom, a large one, right above the bed. It used to have a blind to cover it, but that was taken out when we did some renovations and hasn’t been replaced since. Which suits me perfectly, for I can lie in bed and watch the sky before I fall asleep.

I can see the stars, and the occasional airplane, and the grey woolly shapes of the clouds rolling by. A thunderstorm makes for a splendid show... And in the morning, squirrels pass over it, betrayed by the hurried patter of their little feet.

On Friday night, the Moon came in through the skylight, shedding its silvery light in the room, so strong that I needed not turn on the lamp on my nightstand to read. Instead, I read by the light of the Moon, which suited well the book I’m reading now, “Midnight” by Dean Koontz, which I picked up at the recommendation of William, at William's Ramblings.

Just one day past the Full Moon and its power was intact, its call relentless, its fascination upon me whole...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have You Ever...

And now on a light(er) note...

I "stole" this from Lisa, over at Eudaemonia For All.

The question is “Have you ever…?”

Bold the things you’ve done and will admit to.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (not sure what counts here)
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (I'm not counting seeing them downtown shopping)
36. Taught yourself a new language (do video courses count?)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (sort of)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (I'm not counting my nose)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

36 out of 99! Oh, my, still so much to do, and not necessarily from this list...

How about you?...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Beloved, Dreaded Trance

Photograph by Eldad Hagar

here they come
these other dimensions
these gale-force metamorphoses
these blue stars
at all my different

they tumble me
they lure me
they thrust me
to this exquisite place

where I breathe
where I love
where I die
many times

this trance
- when I write