Tuesday, June 27, 2017
It is in all caps
Not the first, not the last
Not my monkey or hers
Knowing our own darkness
Faded memories of demons long past,
Tattooed Alice falling
Into a Dali landscape
Where up is left
And down leads to another dimension.
Blood is its avatar, its seal
Scarlet stains upon the face
A solid mass of contusions
Pale, faded roses on the black satin bier
Screen shout drawing the usual suspects
The “heroes”, The vampires
Agendas working against each other
Struggling against another iteration
Of power and subjugation
In a tango where both lead.
Topic-Jessica Brooke Miller
Poe paraphrase: Blood was its Avatar and its seal -- the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, -Masque of the Red Death
Pic Guesses: Pale Rose (in blog), Black satin (in blog), Faded, Mourning, Vampire (in blog), pastel,
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
A woman in ruby red shoes
Out of place on the porch
Blue smock and white pinafore
Clutching a rabbits foot
Older than the hills, younger than a baby
Her story is to behold
Long ago In a wheat field
The storm blew, lifting her gingham skirts
High above the rainbow
A yellow brick road in the distance
But it was not to be
The slide formed
Past the pot o'gold she went.
Landing with a bump
On top of a blonde haired girl.
"Oh, excuse me.
She said, lending a hand
Who are you?"
Brushing the dust
"Alice. " She replied
"I'm hunting rabbit
I'm running from an old maid."
"Well, before you rudely dropped in
Honey Bunny went left."
Curious, Dorothy asked
"Is it true what they say?"
"Much more to the story
Than officially told.
I wasn't so innocent
I was so bold.
Peeking in the looking glass, I saw the tail
I had to have him
Leaning in, I fell like a second story man
Down the tunnel I went
Out in the field
Soon I caught him,
But he turned the tables on me.
Tea and smoke
Donning fezzes from the hatter like Zoroastrian holy men
We found ourselves praying to Mazda on top of the Jabberwock
Nibbling on out bits until I saw spots.
We sang in joy
As the crowd looked on
Fez and fuzz became one as sleep came
When I came to
He was gone.
I was so blue"
As Alice finished, Dorothy smiled
She knew just what to do.
Pulling the blonde close, she found the Fez
Alice, she found the shoes
The rest was a blur
Fuzz and fez came apart
Replaced by courage, heart and brains
And a new rainbow raising them home
Dorothy smiles at the memory
It was the best night of their lives
She looks now over the Kansas prairie
While Alice cooks rabbit stew.
Pic guesses: Second story man (in blog), Looked on (in blog), Peeping toms, Peekaboo, Long drink of water, wildlife, spotted, Leaning in (in blog), Peeking (in blog), Zoo,
Friday, June 9, 2017
Thursday, June 1, 2017
The topic this week is “So many road blocks”
OK, that naturally bleeds into one of favorite topics, Atlanta roads. Oh, this town is special. Not many places can claim their expressways catch fire and burn to the ground.
This is just the latest of the fun.
3 major interstates intersect just south of the state capitol,and they are under construction, all of the time, 24/7. Orange barrels and “temporary” barriers as far as the eye can see. And not just inside the city, but for a 50 mile radius. Because of this experience in constant concrete, the road above was rebuilt in 44 days (the cost hasn’t been fully revealed). You spend your commute time staring at the bumper before you and hope the one behind is paying attention. Nothing worse than being part of the four car insurance seminar blocking traffic.
Then you have I-285 (also known as the Perimeter), which acts as the de facto castle wall to area. 8-12 lanes of asphalt with two speeds, parking lot and 100 mph. Places are described as “Inside” (ITP) or “Outside” (OTP), depending on which side of the wall you are on. You can guess where the snobs are.
There isn’t neatly laid out street grid, like other cities. That would have been too easy. The road network is best described as a spiderweb laid out by Dali and painted by Picasso. The spider as an artist has never been employed, really. Roads, originally Native trading trails, radiate out from an intersection known as “Five Points” following hill ridge lines, with very little cross connection. Street names change with no rhyme or reason and dead end at railroad tracks. Panhandlers are at every corner, tapping tin cans to get your attention.
The best known joke about the city is Peachtree. Yes, there ARE 28 different streets with the word in the name. Some of them run parallel, while others are cross streets. They go north, south, east and west. It’s better to use the Waffle House method to give directions (go to the corner with the WH and turn left, then pass two more and turn right...). Or, if you are in the Northwest suburbs, use this to guide you.
(Maybe we should be called “The Chicken City”. You can have your chicken sandwich Political (Chik-Fil-A), Historical (Paschal’s), Old Fashioned (The Colonnade), or just normal (Zaxby’s), the whole town runs on fast food and soft drinks.)
You would think this chaos would drive people away. But people seem to make money here.
And in this world, it is what counts.
Pic guesses: Dali (in blog), on the wall, Sound of Silence, Cartoon, Warhol, surreal, contrast,
Saturday, May 27, 2017
This road trip was endless, running from one tourist trap to another in the misty rain. Jerry had to admit, “The Museum of the House Cat” and “Goats on the Roof” were fun. But did she really have to hit every tchotchke shop like it was the last day on earth? He fought tooth and nail not to go in them. But Martha was THE WIFE. Dutifully, he dodged the rows of Mommy tanks to stand bored in front of Jesus snow globes and “hand made” dream catchers, only to have her complain about everything being too expensive.
A double billboard came in to view. On the left was for the “Can’t We All Get A Loan?” pawn shop. Cute. It reminded him of the “Free at Last” bail company next to the jail. One of those jolts they make you remember the business. The other board touted “The Casino at the End of the World.” That would work. Gamble yourself broke, pawn your car, and then you can die.
“Oh, Jerry. That casino looks fun.”
“Yeah. Doesn’t it?”
“Oh, please. You only live once, you know.”
Yeah. He knew. Groaning, he turned on the highway exit, just as the rain got harder. A State Trooper was getting a treasury payment out of a fellow tourist. on the far side of McDonald’s. Old one level motels littered the highway. Ones trysting couples use to hide from their angry spouses. It just went to show that all of life was a gamble, really. It was only logical, right? And logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end. The House always wins in the end.
They spotted the pawn shop about half way up the hill. The casino was just beyond it at the end of the road. Marked by a modern diamond vision screen listing the coming attractions. The building resembled a large warehouse without the loading doors. Covered in a fake mauve stucco, it stuck out from the mountainside like a zit. The only way around it was to turn around and go back to the highway. A tractor beam force took hold of the vehicle and pulled it through the gates. A parking space opened up next to the front door that had their name on it. They looked at each other. She shrugged her shoulders and got out of the car, popping her black umbrella open just as the car door shut. He decided to make a run for the door.
Inside the door, the Foyer routed the patrons to a glass railed balcony with a double set of escalators funneling you into the large arcade. At the bottom, they were met by an attractive young woman in a red dress.
“Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein. How wonderful you could make it. Here is your complimentary rewards card to get you started.”
Jerry and Martha looked at each other. How did they know us?
“We have license plate scanners at the front gate, if you really must know. Your drinks are ready at the bar.”
The bar seemed to stretch the length of the room. As they approached, a black suited girl handed them their Sam Adams. She suggested beginning with a set of penny slot machines just to their right to start. They passed about a dozen until they found one with a mermaid theme and no one in the chairs. There was no where to set their bottles, so they just held them between their legs.
“Martha, why don’t you go first.”
With a swipe of the card, the machine was loaded with 500 credits, the equivalent of $5.00. Each play used ten credits, though. With a press of the button, the screen simulated the reels of an old fashioned Vegas machine. The first three plays came up nothing, but she then hit the next two for a total of 75 credits. The game went back and forth like that for about ten minutes before all the credits had run out.
Jerry made his swipe. He hit a 100 credit win on the first go around. The thrill was visceral. It felt almost as good as winning a contract. But not it really wasn’t very satisfying. He played five or six more times, got bored and cashed out the machine with about nine dollars to spare. He never did ask how much was on the card when they handed it to them, but when it came back it had $109 credit. So, at least for now, they had the advantage over the house. He was sure that wasn’t going to last.
“God, Jerry. It’s noisy in here.”
“Yeah, it’s why I never hit the Casinos in Vegas when I’m there.” He took a sip out his bottle. “It gives me a headache.”
As they went down the aisle between the machines, an old woman passed them in a mobility cart smoking a cigarette, the white exhaust trail going behind her.
“Aw. Look at that poor thing.”
“I guess gambling is the only pleasure she has left.”
As they looked around the room, they realized they were the youngest people there. Bald and greying heads bobbing around on canes, they were chained to the clinking, flashing machines. No one spoke to each other, except to scream when there was a big hit. It kind of reminded him of the movie “Cocoon”, where everyone was waiting to be reborn.
A little further down the aisle was a set of table games, mostly for a ten dollar buy in. Again, the faces around the table showed the wear of bad decision making. These people would be stuck here for all eternity...
They looked at each other. This was what the sign meant. This WAS the end of the world for these folks. Quickly, they finished their drinks and made their way back to the front. The hostess table was blessedly empty and they escaped what they thought would be their final fate. They left the rewards card on the stand.
As they got back in the Mercedes, Martha looked at Jerry, then kissed him.
“I don’t need those. I won at life when I got you. Let’s head home.”
Pic guesses” Butterfly, Chrysalis, Cocoon (in blog), Spring, Monarch, Woman. Pollination, Rebirth.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
I have a number of characters that I have developed over the years. Kari Summers, Jerry Goldstein, Jeremy Allen: they all represent a piece of my personality. I’m going to pull one out of the vault I haven’t worked with in about 30 years: C. Hartridge Heath IV, Esq., Attorney to the Rich and Useless.
“Glad to meet you on this beautiful Atlanta day. But you can’t tell it in this dank drunk tank. The name is Hartridge Heath, most everyone calls me Hart. Glad to meet you. As you can tell by the ‘esq.’ behind my name, I am a bar certified attorney. What kind of law, you ask? Any law that supports the American Pie way of life, Son. And don’t you forget it. Truth, justice and estate loop holes for the right folks, like me. My family tree comes with ties to Nobility! Why I can trace my lineage on my mothers’ side to William the Conqueror when he raped some local lass on his way through. At least that’s what the Parish directory said.”
“Why yes, Son, I have never left the south. Daddy sent me to military school when I was seven and stayed there until was time to go to Athens, and with a few strings pulled, did law school at Emory. Such a shame they let the liberals in there, I finally had to stop my contributions. Of course, ol’ Georgia has changed a lot, and not for the better.”
“Hey, Hope! Can I get another mint julep? And another martini for the young man, here.”
“I’m a stick in the mud, you say? Hush your mouth. My ancestors were always right, even when they weren’t. They were paid to leave Britain by the Crown, that meant something. Then we carved out the greatest agricultural economy anywhere. Slavery? Now, I admit they got too attached to it. And more than a few of the farms were lost when the Yankees invaded. That’s when my Great Great Great Grandfather Elias found there was more money in juggling words than worrying about cotton. You always got at least a fee, if not a cut of the crop, when you wrote the contract right.”
“This tradition continues as he fleeced all the Yankee carpetbaggers trying to pick up land for cheap. Elias realized money really was God. And it was a God you could work mostly to your advantage. His sons, Jackson and Bryant continued this trait when they moved into Savannah permanently and set up the firm. They cemented their place in society down there when Bryant, how to I put this delicately, had to marry Cecilia Hartridge. Now we have offices there, here and in Nashville. All cities with like minded clients interested in preserving our lineage from the savage threats we see on the outside. People with very old assets tied and ways.”
“Oh, I’m aware we are dinosaurs. And many think it is evil we still exist and will go to lengths to eliminate us from the world. What those fools don’t realize is they are just like us in most ways and you cannot separate the just from the unjust, or the good from the wicked. They stand together as black and white thread. When one thread breaks, the weaver will check the loom.”
“What? That was too deep for you? Well, if you must, go on. I don’t have court today, or any clients to worry about, so I’ll just stay here in Hope’s Dungeon. Don’t like the sun anyway”
“Hope! Can I have another one? I’ll get you a check for the tab when I get back to the office.”
Blogophilia 12.10-American Pie
Pic- Sallon Newlove
Pic Guesses: Basement Bar (in blog)Hope’s Dungeon (in blog) dank (in blog), drunk tank (in blog), tavern, cabin, closet, storehouse, wine cellar, workshop.
Hard Prompt is a paraphrase to fit the narrative.
You cannot separate the just from the unjust
And the good from the wicked;
For they stand together
before the face of the Sun
Even as the the black thread and the white
Are woven together.
And when the black thread breaks,
The weaver shall look into the whole cloth
And he shall examine
The loom also.
Khalil Gibran- On Crime and Punishment-The Prophet. (c) 1923.