Rain on a rose petal


Head to head, the brand-new-to-this-world twins sharing with each other not only a loving smile but, inexplicably … by the serene look each is giving each other … a knowing why-each-is-smiling smile. Making the unavoidable, natural process of simply looking at them itself a smile-inducing ride into pure joy and back again.

The unadulterated magic of watching these tiny, living miracles interact. Witnessing .. how these two precious, nascent newborns decorate the world around themselves as does the simple & spontaneous beauty of a drop of rain on a rose petal.

And, like the raindrop, the twins don’t consciously know that’s what it is they’re doing. The raindrop doesn’t ‘know’ its own beauty .. it just does what it naturally does … with zero pretense nor inkling of the innate glory its decoration evokes. It does, though – somehow seem to know to only show itself to those people open to receive the gift it shares.

As it is with the twins: their collective and ineffable beauty doesn’t even / couldn’t even – define itself if asked. For the amalgam of pure magic the two create together yields exponentially greater / happier / in-awe-of-its-own-self pure joy than the sum of their two parts.

Their introduction into this new realm of existence, quiet – not on mama’s end, oh no. but on their end, initially anyway, yes – every bit as silent and miraculous as the stars just beyond their bedroom window.

Ahh .. but .. the light from those stars .. gauzy ribbons of wonderment sneaking into the just barely cracked open window. Painting everything in its path in shadows and secrets.

While adorning the two sibling’s heads as they sit there giggling & shrieking in awe of .. themselves? This new world they’re seeing / smelling / touching / hearing / tasting? And … any and every tiniest of tiny stimuli, sights & sounds adorning their senses in the most melodic and magical of ways.

Dad knows this. Which is why he would – every night, without fail – try to inculcate them into their Scottish heritage. By serenading them with bagpipe music.

A sound as unfamiliar to them as was the concept of cats and dogs and giraffes and hogs .. all completely unknown & unheard of by these two tiny living, breathing miracles. Smiling and crying. Burping and slobbering. Evolving into the happy and laughing brother and sister they would enjoy being for the rest of their lives.

The End


For John: Here, there & everywhere

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It was 37 years today ..
You walked off the main stage of the play …

Too soon, Dear John … way too soon …
As you smile down on us all from beyond the Sun .. the Moon …

Way beyond Semolina Pilchard & her Eiffel Tower …
Beyond even the measure of Mean Mister Mustard’s power …

One & One & One is .. Thee …
We all still Hear You .. you’re just a bit harder to see …

Writ Large .. Writ Loud .. Writ for back then .. Writ for this crowd
The Planet Thanks You – .As you dress in your Forever Shroud

For Your Wit .. Your Tat for Tit …
For the words . the music .. all of it .. every bloody bit …

A Piece of the Pie


Required words:
Head / cats / introduction / Scottish
400 words

“Head due South for just about 2 miles. It’ll be on the right. And it’ll leave nothing to the imagination that you’re at the right place.”

So said the slight man with the long, black ponytail and what appeared to be a diamond embedded in his front tooth – as it caught the sun for just a split second. Making me flinch as it darted my way.

He & I were on the opposite sides of the gas pumps – when he commented on my Beatles t-shirt. I offered up a vague ‘hey, thanks,’ & as if the starting flag of a race had been waved .. we were off …

My favorite? ‘Mean Mister Mustard.’ I answered. ‘How about you?’ Then he told me :

His name was McGill – and he called himself Bill – but everyone knew him as ‘Fancy.’

Fancy McGill: owner, operator and head chef at the Octopie Garden, that is

Nothing more than the manifestation of a baby-boomers infinite love & appreciation for The Beatles – writ large, he explained. Nothing less than a monumental do-or-die investment of time, passion & currency on Fancy’s part. The thought occurring to him on more than one occasion to simply call it ‘Fancy’s Rubicon,’ instead.

But .. ‘Octopie Garden’ visited him one evening. An impromptu introduction complete with sleeping bag, bed clothes and its own fluffy pillow. Fancy, in turn, embraced this new friend with a similar ease and passion as he did his next breath.

The Octopie Garden logo: a subtle baby blue & yellow smiling octopus, holding – at the end of each tentacle – a rendering of one of each of the eight different specialty home made pies offered within.

The more Fancy talked, the more evident became his smooth, somewhat mesmerizing fey sleekness usually associated with the world of cats. And the more he spoke, the more intrigued I was becoming with this ‘peace, love & understanding’ hippie with the slight Scottish accent.

A wave of ephemeral fumes from our collective gas pumps appeared between us as we were both just finishing up our refueling and placing the nozzles back in their cradles.

Fancy & I just looked at each other.

Both of us. Precisely at the same time.

Breaking into the voice of the Wicked Witch of the West:

‘Poppies .. Poppies … Poppies .. Will put them to sleep … Sleeeep … Now they’ll Sleeeeeep.

They’ve been inseparable, best friends ever since.

Come, son. Supper is ready


Unable to speak, but his ears – and mind – as sharp as ever, Adrian tried to concentrate on stifling the scream building inside his head.

Lying prone in his hospital bed, right arm plugged into the life-giving socket that was his IV drip, the only sound his ravaged body could muster was a low, painful-sounding yelp of sorts. More canine in its cry than of the human species.

On the heels of that, the singular, pointed question – the most frightful thought that his brain had yet to conjure in all his previous 22 years: ‘What in the hell is happening to me?’ For which he had no answer.

The darkness engendered by his damaged eyes providing the screen for his mind to show its movie of the moment – warning him of the scream it was conjuring up while remembering / examining / scrutinizing his overall life before the accident .. his life now .. and .. after – if – he ever gets out of this place. Needing to share .. to reach out .. find someone, something .. anything .. to – please – explain what was happening to him.

But Adrian,in his drug-induced state of stupor, couldn’t even manipulate his mouth to spit out one letter, let alone the proper configuration of same to birth a word.

Fortunately though, he was finding, it was only his physical being that had been ravaged by the accident. His mind, it appeared, seemed unaffected.

“Unfortunately so,” his crystal-clear cerebellum meekly chimed in on his / its behalf. As if it was feeling some twang of survivor’s remorse.

He could nearly see / hear / taste the words trying to escape his wired-shut mouth .. each appearing in his mind’s eye as crisp and clear and cool as a brightly-colored musical note fashioned out of ice. Hovering – just for a moment – in front of his closed eyes – close enough for him to clearly discern the outline of each individual letter of each individual word he was thinking of.

And then .. just as quickly and surprisingly as they appeared .. they were gone. Replaced again by the infinite darkness coloring this new world.

Then .. hearing the man on the TV. Doing the news. Mentioning the date: April, 13. The day his father had died.

Is that you, dad? Never mind ..  I know it is.

He could feel a wistful smile forming on his lips.

I love you too, dad. See you soon.

Is Supper Ready?

A brother from a different mother

aroseIIby Peter Runfola

Servant / sail / met / boxes

400 words

‘Servant to my soul.’ In other words: my ‘free will.’ Possibly one of the most grandly ironic pairing of words since Webster had the mind to categorize – alphabetically, no less .. each and every one of their own peculiar selves … every word .. good, bad, ridiculous, sublime and / or any combination of such – known to mankind.

He would sail into their pasts. Share with the world their ‘parents.’ As well as any alternative lives they sometimes lead when paired with a brother from a different mother.

As an aside: Yeow … what thought could have possibly popped into his head – in what setting – to inspire him to undertake a task of such incredible nuance & breadth? To categorize – alphabetically, no less – every word known to mankind?

Perhaps we’ll never know. But, nonetheless, we shall indirectly continue to silently thank him day in & day out ..word in & word out .. this specific moment, in actuality. Thank him for his role in helping to preserve that rarest of rare gifts. language. Which he chose to categorize & subsequently bestow on mankind in general: Alphabetically, no less. In a compendium of sorts. A dictionary. Whose contents delineate & deliver to .. you .. and .. yours nothing less than:

Simply and succinctly: The gift of communication.

A gift You & I – whether we’ve met or not – right at this precise moment – are both opening up. Even though for me, right now: ‘right at this precise moment’ will be in variance with & from your ‘right at this precise moment.’

For, I am writing this unique concoction of letter configurations to you … “NOW.” That is, MY “NOW.” But you won’t be seeing them until YOUR “NOW.”

Which is to say: “THEN.” At least, from my perspective.

And, interestingly enough, when the time comes that you .. are .. reading .. these .. precise .. words .. from .. me, even though you may be experiencing an undeniable and completely understandable sense of “NOW,” I maintain that you are actually reading them … ‘THEN.” Which is how your upcoming ‘NOW’ translates to me. A quasi-impossible melding of times, tenses and transmutations all wrapped up nice and tidy. An array of gift boxes which keeps on giving and giving.

And .. where would you & I be without them? Writing aimlessly. Saying neither Hello nor Goodbye. All the while confusing & confounding all those near and dear.

Through our gifts of letters, in general. And, their offspring: words, in particular.

…. THE END ….

A Window of Opportunity


“Monastic” was the first word to pop into Lil’s mind when Guy asked her to sum up their early relationship with only one word.

“Huh?” Was about as eloquent a response he could muster as the two old lovers sat on the edge of the bed. All these years later and still nearly every time her gift of subtle sarcasm never ceased to take him by surprise. Nearly without fail.

They were next door neighbors growing up. Their bedrooms separated only by the width of the driveway between their respective houses. The thick white shade wrapped snugly around a tension bar at Lil’s window the only thing disallowing Guy peep show after peep show of her increasingly-outstanding, soft, round and ‘budding’ late-teen womanliness.

Not that he didn’t give it his best, most earnest ‘good ol’ college try to see around or through this minimal and oh so cruel veil separating his imagination from its mission of catching just a glimpse of his dear friend’s budding womanliness. That he did. Graduate level effort, even.

But his dearest Lil obviously had the male species dead to rights – at the very least this particular representative of – and as mapped out as a puzzle constructed of 3 – maybe 5 – pieces at the most. The main, largest piece the one which simply indicated ‘male.’ In which case, to Lil’s way of thinking: game, set & match.

But, she played along anyway. After all … with the effort he extended on devising a way around the dynamics of physics and light just to sneak a peek into her room? Jeeez. Least she could do would be to put in a little effort on her end. So, what the heck .. she played along. Did her little girly dance … let the curtain slip back from the window … just a touch.

She bent down. Touched her toes. Partly for show, partly to get a peek into his window.

But Guy didn’t seem to be in his window. All this teasing and tantalizing for nothing. Write if off as practice for the real thing .. if .. when .. it ever happens.

“Love you, Guy,” she whispered to her shadow on the shade.

Then … the somewhat muffled sound of footsteps on the carpeted stairs outside her room …

“Love you more, Lil,” came a whisper from the doorway.

They’ve been inseparable ever since.

The Magic Onion

soft… imprinted on its crisp, gauzy, layered skin – in a language understood only by one person – the experiences .. the people .. places .. memories of same .. which helped make you uniquely .. you.

The ‘You’ which would not exist today without the ‘Us’ & ‘Them’ by your side during the long, strange ride. Nor, in particular, without the You of your childhood …

As one of his favorite sayings alights on a stream of errant thought waves. Fluttering like a pretty leaf in the sky. ‘Can’t have everything, eh?’ ‘And, if you did – where would you put it?’

Thinking how that would be a perfect opening line for one of his songs in the making. He’s a multi-faceted, multi-talented sing-song student / son / friend / ‘father’ … of ‘Spoonful,’ his sidekick for the last 8 years – mostly pure Dalmatian with a smattering of Boston Terrier mixed in, seemingly, for comic relief. Sorry, Spoon – only meaning that you’re so damn surprisingly cute that it’s nearly impossible to not break out into at least a smile – most often, an audible chuckle – when first seeing your nearly-caricature-self.

‘A Boy and his Dog.’ A phrase so powerfully evocative that immediately upon hearing it an image of same alights in one’s mind. C’mon now .. YOU .. who are reading these words right this moment … think .. and share – with anyone else who might be with you – your immediate first thoughts / feelings / recollections when you just a scant moment ago read the words ‘A Boy and his Dog.’

But first: explore them yourself.

Were you immediately thrust back to being your ten-year-old self riding your bike down the street – your four-legged-friend trotting alongside as faithful and deliberate as a shadow?

Or did they send you to your favorite picture album .. walking with your fingers through its sun-dried pages as it whispers its secrets with a soft swoosh in a language only you can understand? Each photo sparking yet another sense to life as you begin smelling / touching / hearing your old friends laughing over some ridiculous shared thought …story from way back in time which feels like it happened two weeks ago.

Hopefully one or the other.

Either way, it was my pleasure. You’re welcome.