It wasn’t a squirrel. It was a gargoyle, I could tell the difference easily. I fell in love with it immediately. What a concept. Who would have thought of placing a gargoyle at the edge of a roof about thirty feet above a suburban lawn? Perhaps a gargoyle would think to do so. More likely the gargoyle would do so without thinking. What thought was required? Just do it. It’s the natural thing. Which is probably why our gargoyle looked so naturally positioned.
Source: Flickr Creative Commons
He is not of clay or plaster, we have learned. And we have named him Vesparo, not knowing his real name or if even he has one. He answers to Vesparo and he eats the handbills, circulars and advertisements left on our porch and lawn. To our knowledge he does not eat those who leave the handbills, circulars and advertisements left on our lawn. Vesparo is close to the family of geckos who congregate on our porch ceiling. They get on well, joking and playing games into the early morning.
So, when I tell everyone we have a gargoyle on the roof of our house in our quiet suburban neighborhood, how nice, they must think, for this time of year, all hallows and all that. But, no. This is the real thing. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. We love him, Vesparo. He is real. He is very much alive, as are, as far as we know, all of the children who live on our street and in our neighborhood.
In the tall green; way beyond what needed mowing,
The sun could have blown the lightning of your hair
Again, a presence like a sheet snapping in the wind
Flung across my face as though a crooked blowing
Motion was all it took to bring us without our wits
To this condition of quiet restraint, a delicate find
In these days of gusting discussions on the airwaves
And cables underground, under tables and chairs
Matching couches with overstuffed cushions frayed
Like leather faces buried in armpits and hairy caves
Ashamed of being seen in such poses, humid lairs
From dragons breath and all night pacifying rants,
A collage of threadbare carpets worn most heavily
In entryway and exit, both the same, as history declares
The wooden lead-painted home of my childhood irrelevant
As the storms it withstood when our nuclear family
Took refuge amidst the spent tape rolls and plywood,
As if such trifles would have done us any good the instant
The big one came and went along abandoned roads,
Dancing stop signs twisting and shouting a misunderstood
Four-letter plea to the unseen turbulent atmosphere that felt
Like your stinging hair, rain wet, you squeezed
Past me close enough to feel your breath
Rustle my eyelashes, parting your lips, left, and knelt
Alone on higher ground, above the seas and the slightly
Taller buildings whose bowels have grown beneath
Our cities and streams, mapped with the architecture
Of the blind, built with hidden lights and unseen rays,
(This is really going on, by the way) this, in a place where
Seasons change slowly, a subtle drop in temperature,
Months, weeks, nights without nights, days without days,
Ice flows into a rising ocean, a passage from here to there,
Legions of beautiful and pure spill into poison surface
Like electromagnetic waves moving through toxic gasses,
Towers every thirty six miles so line of sight flag waving
Will tell us all we need to know, except how to replace
Lost embraces, lovemaking sacrificed for the masses,
Converted into energy, photos that we won’t be saving
Unless, of course, we bury them away from sun and wind
And rain, at the end of Windy Road, just across the bridge.
always in-person when the opportunity allows, you should, you really should try to meet with him whatever the occasion. You just won’t be disappointed. And so, here we are, there he is. Who, exactly who is holding court at this gathering? The jury is out on that for the moment. The conversation moved beyond the point of that mattering probably before it began, sort of a spiritual creation of ideas articulated in the singularly peculiar mix of minds and ways of thinking, the cool balance of yin and yang as settled as cornflakes during shipping, that renders all judgement neutral. No ideas spoken here are new.
None of them. We’ve merely brought them to our forum, the pub that is not really a pub, to speak and be spoken about, agreed with, acknowledged, ignored at worst. Things get said worthy of any scholarly record, any humorists notebook, clergy’s sermon sketches, pornographer’s napkin. But Seamus, forget what he said about writing up a nice account for the company newsletter. It’ll never happen. (more…)
I stopped by last night (really it was this morning) and banged on your door till my knuckles bled. I found the brownies I left on your porch (a couple of weeks ago!) untouched except for the green stuff gone psychedelic and all fuzzy growing on them. I don’t think I’ve seen a better medium for that particular mold/fungi combination in any lab. Cherie needed the pan for another project she’s working on. I decided to go ahead and sample the brownies as they were, and downed about a dozen of them before I started throwing up on the passenger’s seat of the cruiser. I haven’t slept all morning. Or maybe I have. I don’t know. It’s all been one big hallucination, including this email. Did you ever notice that email backwards is laime? What’s laime? Email backwards. I swear a blue jay is out front reminding me to stop leaving the mower out in the rain so the magneto doesn’t rust. Hang on a minute…. I just told him to quit being such an old lady. A litter of rabbits, if that’s what you call them, cute little bunnies each, hold their bellies with laughter at what I suppose is an inside joke the twins chirped out. Those twins come up with clever stuff! One starts the sentence, the other finishes. It’s a little game they play. Wish I knew what they were saying:.
Blue Jay: The day, the day, the day…
Twin One: here it comes…
Twin Two: there it goes….
My wife and I each received the same email from my youngest daughter’s English teacher today. Teacher Conference sessions were approaching. Would we like a meeting? The short and simple answer is no.
Emails from teachers used to be a bad thing, particularly when concerning our eldest. Any classroom-originated communication was automatically cause for concern, usually an invitation for a meeting with the teacher, a couple of teachers, perhaps an administrator or two, and, what the heck, throw in a dean or a counselor or a principal or all the above. The more the merrier.
My wife would become a lioness protecting her cub. How dare anyone in the room think our boy was less than the gift God had bestowed upon all fortunate enough to gaze however briefly into his icy-blue eyes, eyes for which my grandfather was famous. I was usually no less than perplexed: at how and why all these resources of academic and administrative talent could be rallied and gathered, and; what was the big deal.
This was drama in the real world, unfolding around us as each teacher voiced issues concerning our son. Pressure mounted. My red ears would begin to glow, pulsing visibly.
Who was this kid we thought was our son? The drama peaked with my wife in tears, a few of the teachers red-faced and one of the assistant principals taking our boy into the next room for a quick and earnest–and from where his mother and I were sitting–an awkwardly private-but-brief one-on-one meeting.
At the end of the meeting everyone seemed to feel better. Interestingly, I don’t remember anything developing from that meeting, nothing good coming out of it other than a vague sense of “well, at least we’re trying” or that all involved seemed to be going through the motions as though to express such, for the sake of having it on record.
Of course, this was ten years ago. Things became much worse for our young son, our eldest child, before they got better. I’m comfortable crediting him with befriending sources of light somewhere along the way that guided him or illuminated signs toward alternatives that allowed him to make better decisions. His friends and teachers, particular individuals who know who they are probably made the most difference. He changed. His changes were age-appropriate, welcome, unexpected and wonderful. He brought great honor to his parents and family, his school and community. And he does still. And so do his sisters.
As for meeting with my youngest daughter’s English teacher… what’s there to meet about? Or, about what is there to meet? She’s got a ninety-seven average. What should I say to the teacher? Should I call a meeting of all of them, just for old time’s sake? “Hey, what gives with this grade average? What’s the matter with you? Is it our unstable home-life? You want to blame us for that other three percent? What, dear teacher, have you brought to the table to make up for it? Are you just not connecting with our daughter on some level that would shake loose that last three percent? What’s your problem?
Even bad memories become good memories. We look back fondly on difficulties that were because of the “were” part. They were and not are. And knowing this allows us to endure today and tomorrow because things awkward and unpleasant for the moment will soften through memory’s filter.