Overwhelmed — A Dream

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“Blue Pick Up” — C.Birde, 4/19

 

Brand new.

Gleaming metallic

cobalt blue.

Huge.

Need a step-ladder

to climb into

the cab,

then swallowed up

inside.

Steering wheel,

too big to wrap fingers

around.

The dashboard

overwhelms –

glowing instrument

cluster;

winking lights;

scrolling message

screen.

Buttons and

      knobs and

      toggle switches.

Toobigtoobigtoobig.

Can’t.

Nope.

“Sure you can.”

Easy for him

to say.

He’s huge.

Six feet?

Seven?

Overalls and

cap.

Name stitched

in red over

his heart.

What

does he know

about who

can do

what?

“First thing you do,”

he says,

“is check

your mirrors.”

Don’t know how

“I’ll walk ‘round.

Tell me when you

see me.”

Flash

of white sleeve

spied

in the driver’s side

mirror.

Top of cap’s

blue-cloth button appears

in rearview.

Ginger beard

sighted

in passenger’s.

Back again from

circumnavigation,

he leans elbows on

the door’s edge.

“Geez…. “ he says,

shakes his head.

“Your mirrors

are way

off.”

Great.

“Here.

I’ll show you how

to adjust

them.”

Thank

you?

 

— C.Birde, 4/19

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Flame & Thunderheads — A Dream

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“Sequins” — C.Birde, 4/19

 

 

“You’ll evoke Andromeda.”

She stands

on the threshold –

neither in nor

out –

and speaks

with warning,

disapproval,

disdain.

She,

with the tossing sea

at her back

and in her eyes.

She,

clad in the blue

of a glacier’s heart.

Her opinion

should not

matter;

yet her words –

her judgment –

wriggle and wrest

their way

inside.

I look

at the dress –

tiers of fringe and

beads and

sequins winking

with promise;

the color of a sunset

blushing;

set alongside

shoes and scarf

of pewter;

arranged

on the white bedspread

like thunderheads

and flame.

And I think –

with a silent, secret

ache –

that evoking

Andromeda

might be

just the

thing.

 

— C.Birde, 4/19

 

Threat, Part II — A Dream

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“Primaries” — C.Birde, 3/19

 

Why?

Why wouldn’t you listen?

Why couldn’t you?

Ever?

Despite threat and

warning,

you succumbed

to temptation.

To the rattle and call –

so strong,

too strong –

of that small, dull, charcoal-dark sphere.

It sang

for release and

you rolled it out

from its glass-walled

confinement

against your palm –

too thin,

too warm,

so unprotected.

Your skin absorbed

melting shadow,

while the two

at your shoulder –

foolhardy and

eager –

huddled and

watched.

And I?

I ran.

Unwilling

to witness

your transformation,

your de-

humanization.

I ran.

From the room,

the derelict house.

Down the hillside.

Toward the sea.

I dove

into hummocked,

grassy turf.

Myself,

now changed

shrunken,

diminished,

miniaturized.

I ran…

   scurried,

      rushed,

         hurried.

Through networked

earthen tunnels –

ducking lace-fringed

grassy roots –

that looped

and dipped

and dove

and curved

through endless

coils of earth.

I ran –

scampered,

hurtled

expanded

the distance between

myself and

you

until the tunnel

ended…

in an knothole

opened

in the subfloor

beneath

a battered kitchen cabinet.

Sealed cabinet doors,

defined by a slim seam

of vertical light.

A push,

and out I tumble

onto worn linoleum tiles

and dim-lit kitchen;

my former self and

size restored.

For naught.

For naught.

You

are here,

have anticipated

my time and place of arrival.

You crouch

at the cramped kitchen’s

perimeter.

You

and your two friends.

Changed, now –

one red, one yellow;

you, blue.

Your humanity

lost

(as predicted)

to right angles

and jointed,

flattened planes.

Your serrated teeth

gnash in cruel grins.

(As warned.)

Your laughter barks,

humorless.

(As feared.)

You wouldn’t

listen.

You never

did.

Surrounded,

now.

No escape.

We

are

lost.

 

— C.Birde, 3/19

 

 

Threat — A Dream

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“Threat” — C.Birde, 3/19

 

I know.

It’s tempting.

That small, dull, charcoal-dark sphere,

contained

within that slim glass vial —

a piece

of shadow

trapped and capped.

So curious…

So seemingly

harmless.

Please.

Trust me.

I beg you.

Don’t open the vial.

You misunderstand —

I am not the threat.

It is.

Released,

it will change —

flatten…thin…spread…

and seep into your skin…

Change you.

Unmake you.

Into something

unrecognizable.

Un-human.

Inhuman.

Huge and heartless

with cruelty tucked

in your laughter

and a grin

full of hungry

teeth.

Please.

Please

Just don’t…

For you sake…

For mine…

For ours…

You never

would

listen

to me…

 

 

— C.Birde, 3/19

Seams — A Dream

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“Seams” — C.Birde, 3/19

 

Did you see?

Did anyone see?

It seemed

she was there

an instant ago…

Across the street…

A woman.

Clad in dark wool coat

and dress

and beret…

It seemed

she stood, just there –

on the sidewalk…

where the driveway’s apron

spills into the street…

It seemed

she paused…

For just a moment…

To look at me.

Our eyes met.

It seemed

she hesitated –

black shoes

a stark and shiny contrast

to pale-stockinged legs…

It seemed

she waited…

feet planted

on the sidewalk’s network of

seams and

cracks and

broken cement…

And,

suddenly,

it seemed

she vanished…

Sucked,

swallowed,

slurped down

into the earth

through spider-webbed cracks,

her black-gloved right hand –

fingers splayed wide –

the last of her

to claw

to flash

to pass

into that’s seam’s

impossible hollow.

In that one impossible

instant.

Did you not see?

Did no one else

see?

It seems

not…

 

— C.Birde, 3/13

 

 

 

Knife – A Dream

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“Knife” — C.Birde, 2/19

 

 

Drop the knife.

There, in the grass,

where the dirt path

crumbles away.

Eight-inches of steel –

sharp as tongues;

full tang clasped

between worn halves

of oiled mahogany.

Blade among blades.

It sings when drawn

over stone.

Old knife.

Older than you.

Knife of Dwayne Young.

Left in a drawer of the stone

house Dwayne built for his

wife. She never joined him

there – preferred the one-

room cottage at the back of

the property. In 1964, your

father married your mother,

bought Dwayne’s house.

Found the knife. In 1988, he

passed the knife along. To

you. A series of partings.

Forgettings. Accidental.

Intentional. Drop the

knife. They’re coming.

Don’t be implicated

Leave it there.

In the grass.

Walk away.

You’ve done

nothing

wrong.

Let

go

.

 

— C.Birde

 

Flying Apart — A Dream

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Escort asset  — female, mid twenties, fresh-faced, attractive — through the building to safety by way of the escalator. Asset’s stress is palpable. Maintain composure.

Why?

Why must we do this?

So frightened…

Building identified —  open, airy plaza; glass walls; floors, a hard light speckled tile; crowded. Approach with care. Stay alert.

So exposed.

So many people.

Enter through glass doors on the building’s north side. Bright sunlight reflects off  multitudinous surfaces – tiles, windows, counters. Escalator identified — dead ahead; moves steadily toward upper level. No cover. Flank asset. Guide her. Toward the escalator. Through crowd.

NOT people… Doesn’t anyone see?

Their faces…shift from human to… insectoid…

Red-fleshed, huge iris-less eyes, proboscis-like mouths protrude

from bulbous heads…

Shift back…

Threat identified! Close ranks. Weapons ready. Pick up the pace. Press forward to the escalator. Move!

Dizzy… Nausea rising…

Spreading… Thinning…

Falling apart… Flying apart…

Hold! Hold! Fall back! Maintain perimeter! Asset… changing — whole, solid no longer… Becomes a sudden swell of light, brighter and brighter, blinding…

Someone… Anyone…

Asset, engulfed in light — is light — shifts out of register, seems to occupy multiple dimensions… Identifiable… streaming light, seems smeared over the surrounding area in great broad strokes from  center.

* h   e   l   p *

It’s over people! It’s over! Fall in! Fall in!

Feel the ‘snap’… the ‘returning’… like a blow.

Dizzyness remains. Nausea remains.

Weak limbed. Breathless.

Stay on target! Fall in! Threats at 10 o’clock… 2 o’clock… Close ranks! Move move move! To the escalator! Flank her! Ahead and behind! Not through yet! Look alive, people! We don’t know what’s up there!

Happening again… Too soon…

Can’t… hold…

together…

 

— C.Birde, 2/19

 

Written in Pink — A Dream

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“Written in Pink” — C.Birde, 1/19

 

A slight volume, not much larger than a deck of cards. Bound in soft, cotton-candy pink leather. Each page is of hand-made paper – thick and sturdy and flecked with pulp and petals. Binding stitched with waxed ivory thread. Corners cut into soft curves.

Gently. Open it. Cradle it within spread palms.

It lacks frontispiece, introduction,  dedication. The book simply begins. Words — hand-written in pink ink — slant neatly across creamy pages, list the castle’s physical attributes in height, width, material. Page one reads:

“Lexington Arch”

“Center Gate”

“Lincoln Arch”

Thumb through the book. Glance at hand-inked illustrations, architectural drawings. So unique, so specific, so intimate. Precious. A singularly beautiful creation.

How could it have survived the unimaginative publishing process? Who was its champion?

 

— C.Birde, 1/19

 

Hamster Transport — A Dream

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“Street View” — C.Birde, 1/19

 

With the wind in her hair, she stands barefooted on the clipped, green lawn. Forlorn, despite her youth and utter beauty. “How will I get him home?” she asks. Curled asleep within her smooth, open palms, is a hamster.

Her question assumes a great deal. How to answer, when so much is obscure, unknown?

Fading sunlight gilds the park’s grassy knolls, burnishes its swells and swards. Beyond the lawn’s edges, over the sidewalk on the street’s far side, a clutch of little shops huddles, wall to wall. Their shadows lengthen, creep across the street. She chokes back a soft sob.

In the distance, a throaty rumble sounds, grows louder with approach. Hopeless and hopeful, she glances in the sound’s direction —  toward the answer she seeks. Toward the improbable.

Gliding along the pavement, a pair of sleek motorcycles appears – all smoky chrome and gleaming steel. Snugged beneath the seat of each, suspended just in front of each machine’s purring engine, is a hollow sphere of translucent yellow plastic. And, scurrying about contentedly within each sphere…is a white and russet hamster…

 

— C.Birde, 1/19

 

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