Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Torso of Ellen

"would not, from all the borders of itself, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life." --Rainer Marie Rilke, The Archaic Torso of Apollo

Earlier that evening he sat with the half eaten omelet, hash browns and coffee that long had grown cold.  Half written pages, like napkins, rested on the edge of the plate. A corner dipped into the ketchup filling the tiny veins lacing the pages.

Now, Harvey stood in the middle of the basketball court willing the gods to strike him with a billion watts of soul shearing lighting.  

After an hour, his eyes catching the flashing bolts,  he then, rather particularly, he started dancing.

At first, the little awkward movements seemed more like shuttering, but it soon became apparent when he flung his arms about and starting a moving his legs that he was attempting a dance of some sort.  At a glance one would think he was practicing a ritual of some kind.  He jumped through puddles, kicking-up water. He would suddenly stop, turn and shake his head, all the while churning his arms. One strike made him jump higher,  and he ran in the direction of the light to the edge of the court, then, he'd see another streak and whorl his way in the that direction.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a small figure standing in a small clearing. He stopped, looked and then began to smile.  He shouted, "I knew you would come! I know that you care for me!"

But the figure stood, immobile and solid as a statue. Harvey stopped dancing and moved toward the figure. In a sudden flash of light, the figure was struck by a blazing streak of light. Harvey froze. The small figure, seemed to waver like a mirage, then collapse.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Cupid's Dismay

At 2 A.M. Harvey stood in Ellen's office carefully sorting and stacking all the papers, paper clips, discarded wrappers, empty water bottles, pens and pencils. Ellen closes her apartment door at midnight every night and will not appear until 6:30 the next morning. No matter what.

Tonight, Harvey was going to make sure that the first thing she saw in the morning was his masterpiece.  A Shakespearian sonnet, no less.

The desk was now empty of everything but his poem. He ran the tape around the edges, careful to keep the tape straight. The small lamp puddled light on his poem. He stood quietly looking at his work then absently looked around her office.  Her smell lingered amid the sorted stacks and grime. For a moment he thought of the absurdity of it all, but he pulled his shoulders back slightly, took a deep breath and walked out.  The small light emptied out into the hallway as if wanting to follow him.

My life, my love, days grow long in your eye
I see the heavens open life eternal.
Your beauty reigns like kings of old who sigh,
For they cannot compare, not a kernel
Even I struggle to find the word, sight and sound.
Love twists and turns the heart and mind so oft
Yet lets all search inside and out to be found
Harsh in grace, cold melts warm, hard in soft.
But I, gentle love, have but little wit
My pen often loses its way, stumbles
Cupid tries to guide my hand, anon, quits.
He sees I am dull; eyes me, scoffs, grumbles.
     Watching me to him all must be foretold
     Oh, live with me I shall ever you to hold.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Prophecy of Love

"I don't know, Harvey. It's never happened before.  Ronald, the policeman said. "Sure, kids have messed around in the graveyard before, but nothing like this.  For Christ sake, they took the bones."
He took a sip of coffee. He and Harvey were sitting at the counter at the Long Horn diner.
"Then the trains.  Not one, but two of them. Strange."
"That's what Ellen said." Harvey replied.
"Well it doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to know that. Holy Cow." He sighed. His burger arrived, he took a bite then said, "Then the two weirdos in the park. I had to back-up Jules and Raymond. They were freaked out about the boy. The old man then started shouting nonsense at everyone."
"Yeah, Ellen told me about him so I had to see for myself."
"What'd he say to you?"
Harvey looked-up, paused, then said, " '"How terrible--to see the truth/when the truth is only pain to him who see.' But I felt like I needed more context, so I just stood there for a minute and then he started shouting profanities at me so I left."
"Well, we didn't arrest him because we were too nervous.  But we did make them take the tent down.  Can't spend the night there, we told them."
"What about the jade pendant?"
"What about it?"
"Is it real jade?"
"Who knows, that's the least of our worries. The priest says it's someone who was important to this town."
"I think no one stole it, but it rose from the grave on it's own. It's got some unfinished business."
"Harvey, you need to stop reading vampire books."
"They're about love, really, Ronald. I'm trying to find inspiration for my poems. I've been having a hard time writing lately."
"Give-up on that woman, she's not good for you or to you."
But Harvey couldn’t and certainly wouldn’t. As he talked back to work at the Victorian, he thought about the prophet and Ellen.  He knew it was a sign, a message just for him. The truth, he felt, was just a poem away.
            His head was down and he was deep in thought when he accidently ran into a woman layered in red. “Oh, I’m so sorry.  I was lost in thought.”

            She smiled, then said, “Not a problem Harvey, but don’t you think you owe yourself the real truth?” She then stepped around him and was lost in the fog. Harvey stood for a moment looking into her wake. Suddenly, he smiled, then said.  “I know what my next poem will be: The Prophecy of Love”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

No Man is an Island

Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Meditation 17, John Donne.

His small transistor radio sat next to him on the park bench. It played 50s, 60s and 70s tunes mixed in with car sales and pawn shop ads.  Harvey sat absently listening and watching the leaves drift and swirl to the ground. He felt like those leaves. For the first time, he couldn't write a love poem. He really couldn't write anything. 

So he sat with his small notebook on his lap. Finally, he closed his eyes and thought of when met her. He was applying for the maintenance position...

"Harvey, right?" She stood over him, partially blocking the sun. 
"Yes, yes, that's right. I'm Harvey." He replied.
"I thought so. I saw you a few times around the building, mostly fixing the damage from that lunatic concierge." She said.
"Well, sometimes matters need to be settled quickly.  At least that's what Ms. Davis says." He replied.
Jenn chuckled. "I'd say that was true. Jenn, my name is Jenn," and she reached out a hand.
Harvey was a bit startled at the firmness of her grip. "Hello" is all he could manage. 
"You trying to get away from everyone complaining about the water situation?"
"Actually, I'm suffering from writer's block."
Jenn sits down on the bench next to him. "Well, now that's a first."
"I can't seem to get the words out that have always been there. It's like this city, they've dried-up."
"What do are you trying to write?"
"Poems? To someone?"
He hesitates, looks out into the park and the changing colors and says, "Ms. Davis."
Jenn sits back, chuckles again. "Well, that's another first." 
She leans over in his direction and says, "Have you got anything yet?"

Monday, October 10, 2016


"Perhaps this one?" Harvey was beside himself with hope. He knew that this was his chance to finally get her attention. The reporter looked tired and kept looking at his phone. 

"Well, maybe, Mr. Potter, but space is limited for this spread. Can you tell me more about how you came to this place?"

"It was destiny. Oh, maybe that poem would be better." He quickly moved back to the table, slightly bumping the edge and sending several notebooks to the floor.  The reporter merely looked down at them. Harvey looked up and handed him the poem.

Life ended when I came here,
but began again when I saw your face.

All loneliness, longing and fear
faded away without a trace.

As I move through my day
I feel your constant gaze.

Our dreams collide and stay
together until the end of days.

The reporter looked up.  Harvey cleared his throat, and said, "Well, it was one of the early ones.  I was learning the couplet form. But keep reading, it has a strong finish."

The reporter glanced again at his phone. "Oh, sorry, Mr. Potter, I just received a text from my boss. I need to go, but thank you so much for your time." He pushed the paper back into Harvey's hand. 
As the reporter quickly left, Harvey stood next to his small desk, his arm slightly extended and still holding on to the poem. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Ode to Ellen

He sat at the small, worn table tucked under the window in his small, tidy living room. Harvey (not Harry) Potter was composing another poem to the love of his life, the apple of his eye, the sun to his sunrise.
The one, the only, Ellen Davis, desk clerk of the Victorian.

Everyday for the 10 years he's worked in this building, he has written a love something to her but never delivered it. The first one he wrote, he did slip it onto the corner of the desk, but somehow it was displaced and ended up on the floor. People coming in and out didn't notice Harvey's love as they walked over it, smudging it with every step.

Later, as he was sweeping, he found it crumpled and dirty. He carefully tucked into his uniform pocket. Since then, he's stacked them neatly into the desk drawer.

In the calm light of the evening,
I see you seated there
From your hair
to your toes
Your beauty shows.

The dust may settle in the corners
of the desk,
in the hall,
but I will love you
most of all.

He stopped for a moment, looked up and out of the window to see the shadow develop into the evening. Then his tiny desk lamp quit and he heard the love of his life call his name.

"Harvey! The power's out again! Get your lazy self in here, now!"