Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Iucundi Acti Labores

Tonight I'm sitting in the bumblebee office, having enjoyed a frosty pint, meat loaf, and some Colcannon, listening to Simon & Garfunkel
The last train is nearly due
the Underground is closing soon
and in the dark, deserted station
restless in anticipation
a man waits in the shadows
feeling the last kinks from moving Jacob and Kate (and Charlotte Siobhan) on a stifling Sunday afternoon seep out of my body, replaced by the hazy glaze of drunkedness and the pleasantly springlike air
His restless eyes leap and scratch
at all that they can touch or catch
hidden deep within his pocket
safe within its silent socket
he holds a colored crayon
It was a simple enough move, as moves go, no trouble filling the truck or scratching the mattresses past the exposed brick stairwell, piloting the freight elevator two flights up, emptying a Bank Street rowhome into a Charles Village apartment, half a dozen men and two women, sweating to high Heaven in the back of a 10-foot U-Haul truck
Now from the tunnel's stony womb,
The carriage rides to meet the groom,
And opens wide the welcome doors,
But he hesitates, then withdraws
Deeper in the shadows
and at the end of the day, exhausted and sore, sat down on the scattered furniture eating sandwiches, drinking root beer, planning a route out of the city I'm not nearly familiar with. Citing stadium traffic, Kate's sister and I leave, sharing a ride on the rickety elevator and a brief walk down the sweltering Charm City sidewalk.
Now from his pocket quick he flashes,
The crayon on the wall he slashes,
Deep upon the advertising,
A single-worded poem comprising
Four letters
Fortyfive minutes later, sitting down in the bumblebee office beside the frosted air conditioning vent, drinking a glass of water and listening to Simon & Garfunkel, I found myself thinking of Cicero, whom I'd just read in a relic of my bookselling days, Vulgo enim dicitur: iucundi acti labores: It is commonly said: hard tasks are pleasant, when they are finished.
And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding,
The poem across the tracks resounding,
Shadowed by the exit light
Fortyeight hours later, find myself sitting back in the bumblebee office, the metamorphosis from sore to tight complete, happy to be done with moving for at least another year, to feel the pleasantly springlike breeze through the cracked window
His legs take their ascending flight
To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night

Thursday, August 04, 2005

That's Good Enough for Me

It amazes me what one can make by combining a pair of eggs with sugar and flower, baking soda and salt, chocolate chips or raisins. Combine with Three hundred and fifty degree heat for fifteen minutes, just like that, a batch of cookies, or, in different proportions, brownies, chocolate cake.

More amazing still the messes you notice when sitting in a silent room, waiting for the cookies to bake -- the cobweb in the top corner above the refrigerator, the onion leaf that fell behind the trash can, a coupon clipped and long forgotten, a hidden drink coaster thought lost, a fresh splash of milk on the countertop from the last batch.

From the last batch I discovered that I only burned myself twice is both a boast and an admission. The dishtowel didn't quite cover the handle of the baking stone, and so palm met metal, and, flinching back, the inner wall of the oven, a little sting, a little swear, a little cold water and all is well. After all, I could have burned the house down.

Half past ten now, and back on the burgandy couch watching the Karate Kid (Elizabeth Shue, the people you notice some times), belly full of cookies and milk, and life is good.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Sitting in the wheeled black office chair in the bumblebee office, ten past ten, listening to Sicut cervus on the Music Match Jukebox, avoiding reading Sicut Cervus too closely, lest I bring my blood to boil at this hour of the night, nearly bedtime, ordinary Tuesday, early August, the air hanging like cotton, silent but for the spinning ceiling fan and sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita anima mea desiderat ad te, deus, as the deer desireth the springs, so my soul desires you, O Lord.