Ledge & Lion — A Dream

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“Ledge & Lion” — C.Birde, 1/19

 

The full moon shines over a shattered landscape, illuminates the chunks and rubble of former structures – houses, shops, garages. A perilous terrain of tumbled stone and cement foundations; of splintered beams and twists of toothy, rusted metal; of vertical portions of walls. The moon’s light is kind, pitying; paints all in soft, silver monochrome.

Crouched. A solitary human cast amidst a forgotten collection of debris; on a ledge of broken flooring, near a remarkably intact window. The ledge juts from a roofless, two-story wall that has forgotten to fall. Keep as far from the splintered edge as possible, to avoid slipping, toppling over, out and downward – to avoid the lion that lies in wait below. It moves back and forth through random waste, like an alligator. Occasionally, the lion bunches up its hind legs and leaps, launches itself up through the dark, spreads its talons and scrabbles for purchase along the floor’s crumbling ledge. It need not gain a solid foothold; with each leap and gouge, the lion removes a piece of flooring before it falls back to earth. Soon enough, the ledge will be narrowed, eroded.

Discourage the lion’s efforts. Fling random objects through the dark — a length of pipe; a split two-by-four; a chunk of plaster; a beautifully made antique wood plane. Track each object’s trajectory, hear each clatter amongst the debris below. Hear the lion’s low huff and growl, the heavy pad of its footfalls as it paces, paces, paces. Hear the lazy switch and sweep of its tail as it prepares to leap again.

 

— C.Birde, 1/19

 

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Mistaken Identity — A Dream

“Light” — C.Birde, 11/17

Raul?

No. I don’t know any one by that name.

Yes, I’m certain.

Who said that…?

…but I don’t know any Raul…

He said what?

About…me?

Well, that’s embarrassing…

Sure, fine, I guess it’s flattering…a little.

But any way, you must have misheard…

Then he means someone else.

I’m already married.

Fine, fine. I’ll follow you, but only around the corner.

No. This is far enough.

Yes, I can hear him.

Good grief…who talks like that? Is he reciting sonnets?

Rhapsodizing? You’re being dramatic…

No, this is close enough.

He can see me just fine… from his pillar…above the crowd…

God. Look at him…

Listen to him…

Listen

What?

No.

No, of course not.

I was not.

That’s ridiculous.

Besides, he doesn’t even recognize me.

I’m not the one he’s talking about.

I’m not the one he means.

I’m not the one.

I told you.

 

 

 

— C.Birde, 11/18

Separate Waters — A Dream

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“Separate Waters” — C.Birde , 11/18

 

The bridge extends.

Below, to either side,

in frantic haste,

wide waters part.

We stride

in confidence,

reach the midpoint of the span

and cross beyond…

When,

in headlong rush,

the tides return,

frilled with crashing

foam…

His name lodged in my throat,

upon my lips;

in fear,

I cry aloud

for his steadying hand…

Out of reach…

beyond reach…

A fury of water collapses, collides,

consumes my voice, my limbs,

my life.

A thunder of water

separates.

A wall of water

divides.

 

— C.Birde, 11/18

 

Feathers & Moonlight — A Dream

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“Triptych Window” — C.Birde, 11/18

 

A cloak of feathers.

Tier upon tier – swan and goose and snowy owl.

It floats gently about the form;

delicately, restlessly skims shoulders, limbs, and torso.

White as the moonlight gathered

from that heavenly body adrift in the night sky.

Aglow, each feather gleams and shimmers in the otherwise darkened room.

A room of gray stone – heavy with antiquity – arranged to form a turret;

to form, on its exterior curve, a large bay of triptych windows.

Decorated with scrolling grillwork, each of that trio stretches upward

toward the ceiling’s inverted, conical peak.

Undressed, the windows beg the moonlight’s entry,

plead,

invite,

as if that tide of light could be denied.

Feathers — silver-limned, separate and together.

The satin-clad bed at the room’s center — softly aglow.

The seam of light that leaks past the bathroom door’s blunt rectangular face —

challenged.

Voices beyond that door…

No.

Ignore them.

Do not heed their whispering; their arguing, incessant hiss.

Do not listen or be distracted.

Return to the triptych window, to its stone seat and summons.

Rest upon its cushions – crushed velvet, indigo blue;

Sit, clad in feathers and moonlight,

beside the pair of over-sized and venerable gray rabbits.

Stroke the rabbits’ soft fur, until one hops down, away,

ducks to hide beneath the bed’s satin skirt.

Peer out the window, out into the darkling night

from within the turret’s giddy height.

Over silvered, grassy lawns so far below.

Past the castle’s humped and shadowed torso

to the turret opposite, twin to this.

See there?

Those triptych windows, lit to glowing beyond parted scarlet drapes?

Someone moves within that other room.

Bathed in brimming, golden light —

another soul.

 

— C.Birde, 11/18

Little Green Snakes — A Dream

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“Little Green Snakes” — 10/18

 

Stop.

Just stop.

Don’t hand her another.

She’s too young, does not understand the harm she inflicts.

Each one – gripped in her dimpled, pudgy hands – wriggles, thrashes, droops,

is reduced to a limp length of still-brilliant spring green.

Laughing, she tosses them aside – lifeless; they land

belly up, curled on the flags beneath her high chair –

the first, the second, and the third.

Please – don’t hand her another.

She doesn’t understand.

Just stop.

Stop.

 

 

— C.Birde, 10/18

Dinosaur — A Dream

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“Dinosaur” –C.Birde, 10/18

 

Small dark apartment. Smaller cramped kitchen. So many stories up. The others mill about with mugs in hand, gather around the tubular-legged formica table. Dressed in pale, loose-fitting clothes, they shuffle like sleepwalkers.

The kitchen’s single window – large, wide, with neither curtains nor panes – stares unblinking, westward, out over a great ravine, toward a ragged bluff on the opposite side. A long, low structure defines the bluff’s subtle shifts in elevation. The structure’s white walls are incomplete in places; it lacks a roof. Slowly, the sun sets, illuminates walls and rooflines in relief. The underbellies of great, dark clouds strung overhead catch fire.

Beyond the building – there, in the fathomable distance – stomps a tyrannosaurus rex. Enormous in size and ferocity and appetite, it tears through the low, roofless building, pulls off great chunks of cinder block, plucks out terrified people…gnashes bodies with its foot-long serrated teeth.

Don’t look…don’t notice…don’t acknowledge the awful danger. Don’t allow the thoughts to twist and form and grow… Don’t look here…Don’t notice us…Don’t hurt us

Too late.

The fear, like a siren song, trembles upon the still air. The creature turns, glares across the ravine’s expanse, leaps it in a single pump of its powerful hind legs. With a thunderous t h u m p, it lands atop the building several stories up.

Tearing teeth. Sundering  claws. The creature pulls apart the upper floors. The ceiling trembles, cracks, lets loose a drift of plaster dust. Formerly a drowsy environment, the kitchen erupts in frantic cries, dropped mugs, and calamity.

The monster digs its way down and down and inevitably down.

 

— C.Birde, 10/18

 

Toads — A Dream

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“Frog” — C.Birde, 10/18

 

Caught within the tangle of scratching, leafless forsythias at the road’s edge — that pale, packed strip of gravel, bending, bow-like and away left and right. Beyond the road’s farther edge, where the intrusion of gravel gives way to tumbled brown earth; beyond the earth’s gradual slope and the slim, young trees arranged haphazardly over that gentle declination — a ribbon of glittering blue, a deep lake of still water, its surface stirred by breeze. They have already crossed, slipped through the trees, their hands tracing those slender trunks as they passed, headed for the water, out of sight.

Watching, caught within the forsythias’ whip-wand embrace. Bending forward, doubled over at the waist. Shaking head and hair — gently. The toads tumble earthward, dozens of small dull brown toads shaken gratefully free of entangling hair. Watching them hop and scatter in all directions.

Laughing.

Laughing.

 

— C. Birde, 10/18