Thursday, March 21, 2013

Clarissa and Rino--the story continues

The party pad is holding things together well. Richard sees me and screams, “The sculptor is here! Woot woot!”  He calls me “the sculptor” even though he knows full well that I am just a mason.  Richard refuses to accept that people can be so mundane and ordinary. The way I see it, I put the pieces together, instead of taking them apart.  Unlike Richard, who insists on rummaging through one’s life like a child looking for his lost stuffed dog.  His own life has been coming apart at the seams for years.  He remains on the fence of alcoholism, tempting fate, while all the while Clarissa spends her life trying to fix what he has dismantled.  I fear that he has started to unhinge her to the point where she is losing herself, but I will make my best attempt at talking to her further in order to foresee the truth.  I am glad that they never married, but, on the other hand, at least she would then be heir to his “kingdom” when he inevitably fades away.  Clarissa is in the kitchen, so I pass through the crowd politely, accepting the requisite introductions, and head there to help out if I can.

“May I help you at all, Clarissa?”  She is frantically trying to put together a plate of olives, when I come upon her from behind.  She is evidently nervous about something.  Her shoulders seem tense, and her hands are just not steady.  “Oh Rino, thank you. I can always count on you.  But, if I have to explain to you what I need to do, it could already be done.  You can keep me company though. And give me something to look at.”  She giggles that adorable little laugh that I clearly remember. I notice the bouquet I had given her has already been arranged caringly in a porcelain vase.  It does not surprise me.  Clarissa always had a way with sentiment. “Clarissa, you said you wanted to ask me something.  What was it?  Or did you decide against it.”  She stops momentarily, and a frown dims her face. "I spoke hastily." She carries the tray to the living room and returns.  She looks exhausted already.  "How about we share a nice glass of wine.  You look like you could use one."  I find an impressive bottle on the counter and proceed to open it.
"Clarissa, you should know that you could never speak hastily to me.  If you are feeling something, anything, you know you can confide in me.  Truth is never spoken in haste, don't you agree?"  She starts to say something, but it comes out in a jumble of words. Even with my strong accent, I feel easier to understand at this point. She composes herself, "I'm sorry.  I just miss you.  How long has it been? Three years?  No, I think it has been four. I've had so much to tell you for so long, the words are not even recognizable any more.   I feel them , but cannot express them.  I am so sorry for everything.  Things became so confused.  I needed to separate myself.  When I first saw you coming up the steps outside, it all came back.  The times we had, the talks, the intense, yet comfortable connection.  It was simply you.  No masks.  I felt happy again, free .  Now, I realize it was just a mirage." I hand her a glass of wine, and we toast lightly, reluctantly.  Is it the best time to toast?  I am intent to make it a perfect time.  At the very least, I will try.
"I can stay, you know. For good. I shouldn't have let you be by yourself.  I see now I should have been stronger. For you. Someone should."  As I speak, Richard is heard guffawing and jumping around.  Soon, there is a loud crash and a rush of people. Our stolen moment has now passed into Richard's solipsistic oblivion. And Clarissa and I look at each other with the longing and sadness that two people are only capable of feeling when held prisoner by fate for much too long.     

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


come and go with me out of me 
and along the bank of catch and release
searching the searchlight amongst this swallow of sound
in fact and deed no greed just need
bleed in throughout to hunt and shout
my name today and pray someway
for a day out
and into this

tiny seed


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Clarissa and Rino's Story

Bright lights from the villa lie reaching across the hills like tendrils as I approach from below. Voices heard, a rippling of laughter, a swift flash of flesh, my party-ready footsteps on the pavers sound more reminiscent of slippers on grass. A door opens to release the roar of the party, an unquiet guest or, could it be the inhabitant?  My sensibility flutters, as I observe that it is she. There on the terrace. Clarissa.  In a flowing red dress, she is even more stunning than I remember. And, even better, more unassuming than anyone I have ever known.  She, the “she” inside of her, is a phenomenon, magical.  If she weren’t so real to me, I would think she had escaped from a different realm.  I wave to her, she responds excitedly coming towards me as I walk up the steps armed with an immensely satisfying hug and some wildflowers to give to one of the people I most cherish in all the universe.

“Rino.”  She pauses to observe me and what I think is my expression.  “How good it is to finally see you.” She brushes my cheek softly with her lips as I touch her full, essential hip with my hand. A modicum of restraint allows me to pull away as I again hear the terrace door burst open to let out the chaos upstairs.  I momentarily reflect on this unsuitable commotion among the quiet repose outside as Richard leans over the wall to greet me, only partially concealed by a grey silk shirt unbuttoned down to his navel.  “Rino!! What are you waiting for? Come up, come up.  Clarissa, get him a drink would ya’? Pronto.  Hahaha” His basic, booming voice echoes against the rocky earth in the distance as he rushes back inside to close the door, sealing the silence, leaving us once again to ourselves.  There is a silence, but it is not at all uncomfortable.  She smiles, and I reflect with my own.  We quickly complete the ascent arm-in-arm, with one state of mind, one sense of being.  “It was a long time ago.” “Yes, it was.” Some more silence as we stand to face each other on the final terrace.

“I’m different now, in some sense, you know,” she says.  “I’m not sure if you will recognize me from the lady that you once knew so well.  But I am a better version of myself.  Stronger and, more able to take a joke. More at ease with my life, and my decisions. You look beautiful by the way.  You simply glow in this lighting, Rino.  I’ve missed you.” She hugs me again.  This time closer and harder.  I almost lose my balance on the vicarious step I am on.  “We better head in and face everyone at last.  Richard has been looking forward to seeing you again as well.  From what I understand, he has some things to tell you.  But that’s Richard.  It might just be a new cocktail recipe.  Or his latest ideas on curing hangovers, which I’m not sure will work.  His life is one long, everlasting hangover.  Different story entirely though.” She laughs.  “Wait.” I stop, still hanging onto the step for dear life. “Before we go in, I want to ask you something.” “OK, no problem. Go ahead,” with a questionable tone to my voice.  I quickly remember that whenever we are together she somehow manages to speak much more than me, rendering my usual swift and streaming eloquence mute.  I find this strange because she always appeared to me as someone who preferred to be left alone.  I am privileged to know that this is far from the truth.

“Rino.”  We are in shadow now, so it is hard for me to see her face precisely.  She may think I glow, but in the dim shadows of her villa, she exudes a sinuous sort of darkness.  A curious sense of unknowingness.  I see exactly what she means.  She is not the same woman.
“I still think of you.” She grabs my hand. “Still so rough.  Unlike your insides.”  She brings my hand up to kiss it, and says, “You are still a part of me." She places my hand on her heart, pauses, then quickly regains composure.  "But, let us proceed, shall we?”  I realize that she did not ask me anything, as she proposed.  She sprains the door handle, as she reluctantly allows us access to her home.  A home that I can see is not and will never be her haven, her nest.  Not at all.  Not in the least.

For more of Clarissa's story, click here

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald,
The Great Gatsby

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bright Star--very loosely inspired my poem written earlier today...


Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

A Quickening

"I've found my line-from now on this comes first.  This is my immediate duty-without this I am nothing."

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.  It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning---"
F. Scott Fitzgerald


That if I am as lonely 
as steadfast as thou
fighting for a name
and a voice to carry
this slow appearance of quickening
has been forestalled
but still...called.

a breath drawn 
into quarters
dancing with words flowing
like a slow and pensive heartbeat
or mythic brook in penance
to be broken

relishing the fine rustling
of subtlety and truth be known
as a tree knows
without thought
bark, brown
his home. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

An Epistolary Poem: An Experiment---directly from one of my characters to you

letter from a narcissist

My own dear
My mirror
My second self
If only you had known
How much
I wanted to be able to
Fit in
to blend
to live with the masses
I would not let myself disintegrate
Like that
Needed love to be noticed to
Have someone give themselves up
To me
Over and
Over and
Over again this way
My way
The only way
I knew how
She was my face in the mirror….She my echo…. She my second self
Only she could not have me she was me and she was all mine
There is no me to have they are me
All me
She and I, but there is no I. 
There is only me.
I only want to see me, feel me touch, me
She and me
Once you are not me
You have become dust
No thing No me Never
Such a thing as you
You were never you
With me, you are me.
Without me, so help 
Lone daffodil 
Hidden inside crinkled sheets
Blown to  pieces
And bits
My I 
will never hope 
     to exist
Without you
My Me.

Next Installment: Sonya's Story

It all began with a kiss.  Seemingly out of nowhere, Guido descended into my life like a grenade, willfully deposited right next to me, to go off some time in the future.  He must have been watching me for a while.  Everyday, my route was the same:  head down to the local café to drink in a cappuccino, restoring my senses, before greeting the sunshine in the park next door.  I would throw a journal into my bag for the small glimmer of hope that I might be inspired to write something.  I am in Rome, the eternal city.  Something could happen worth writing about, couldn’t it?  Well, something did happen, but I was much too busy to even remember to write, let alone continue to pack my journal.

I was sitting on the edge of the fountain.  It was one of those days when the only way to even be able to sit outside is to do it before 11 in the morning.  Otherwise, your skin will blister in the heat, your clothes will be drenched, and as if in a rain storm, you charge for shelter inside your shady home, closing the shutters upon yourself like a locked away treasure.

I should have done this that day; locked myself away.  But, I continued to sit, the sun shining directly on my face as I closed my eyes, lost in thought.

I feel a presence next to me, and open my eyes to see a smiling figure sitting on the fountain beside me.  It took me a few moments to compose myself, as he said “Buon Giorno”.  I smile and give my best sounding Italian response, “Buon Giorno”.  “Oh, an American?  Are you American?”  Athough spoken in a thick Italian accent, I knew immediately that he was accustomed to speaking English.  I also knew that he probably had done this before:  approached a young woman in the park on an ordinary afternoon.  I try to get back to reality and compose myself.  He is a pleasant looking man, impeccably dressed, almost out of place in the steamy park.  For all I know this is an Italian pastime.  I have heard and seen for myself the Italian habit of catcalling, but this was new to me. Oh well, I will play his game.

“Ciao. Mi chiamo Guido.”  He holds out his hand.  It was surprisingly fresh and clean.  “I am Guido.”  “Hello.  My name is Sonya.”  I make sure my handshake is strong, to let him know that I am not some unsuspecting American tourist.  I’ve been here a while.  I notice his teeth as he laughs.  Perfect, white, almost movie star stunning.  Kind of surprising for an Italian.  “Well, it is so nice to meet you Sonya. I work here, just two streets away.  I sell, how do you say in English…real estate… in Rome.  I have sold to a very few Americans who come here for an apartment, but mostly Europeans.  Do you live nearby?” “Yes, very close.” I respond, hesitant to share with him.  He had pointed in the direction of my apartment when he said he worked nearby.  Not sure if I can trust him, just yet.  “Well, I will let you get back to the sun. It will be strong today.”  His button-down shirt is bright and clean, as if he just stepped out of air conditioning, but, in Italy, air conditioning is an anomaly.  He lightly touches my upper arm, and I notice that he makes it a point to look me in the eyes.  “Ciao Bella.  I will see you soon, OK?”  He walks away.  And I watch him.  He is kind of self assuredly sweet. He left me with a good feeling, and I admit to thinking about him for a long, long while.  He was hard to resist and very nice to look at.  A good looking Italian.  I love those.

The very next day, I go through my normal routine with a different intent in mind.  I am hoping to see him again.  I only wish I could say there were alarm bells ringing in my head, but the only things I was thinking about were how good looking that he was and how intently he looked into my eyes.  It felt like he knew me somehow, and I felt good in this nameless city.  I spent a good amount of time à la toilette making sure I looked just perfect and put on my best outfit:  a slim fitting black pencil skirt with a blue top to show off my figure.  I thought if only I could control the heat to make it look like my best outfit, if I am lucky enough to run into him again.  Fat chance though.  I was drenched before I even went out the door for my cappuccino. I slide on my sandals with heels and close the door after me, leaving my journal behind.

This time, when I arrive at my usual café, I notice him immediately sitting at a table out front, facing the street.  I try to pretend I don’t notice him and take a table closer inside.  The shade is much cooler anyway.  I’m not sure how he can sit in the sun.  Could it be acclimation?  When I look at him again, he is talking on his cell phone.  Funny, he isn’t using his hands like most Italians.  He is so calm and composed. He is glancing my way as he speaks.  He does not smile, but gives me a look of recognition.  My cappuccino arrives, and I start to drink.  I wish I had brought my journal today.  I’d have something to occupy myself with.  I should be doing some work on my research as well, but my mind has admittedly been too distracted for serious thought ever since yesterday morning.  The cappuccino doesn’t seem to be giving me back my senses this morning.  In fact, I think I’ve lost them permanently.  I am feeling a little disarmed, but in a good way. Feeling full of freedom and lightness, and I value this feeling.  It is as if life could go on forever indefinitely.

I notice him smiling at me while on the phone.  He is now looking at me intently, and I start to feel slightly exposed, uncomfortable.  I look down and contemplate leaving my cappuccino half finished, when he gets up and starts walking toward me.  “Ciao..uh, Sonya, is that right?” He takes my hand and he kisses me lightly on the cheek. I offer the other and notice his scent as I breathe in, almost sighing anxiously.  This really is not like me at all.  To be nervous.  Not sure where this is coming from.  “You are going to the park today?  I will take you there.”  I hesitantly respond ok, as he reassures me, taking my hand, “Don’t worry. I am  a
buon uomo, a good man.” And he laughs.