Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fly With Umbrella

2 Silver Coins
Now You Got Me Lost
Aluminum Ladder
Stuck In The Air
Flying People
Between The Clouds

2 Silver Coins

Give the man
two silver coins
ride the wheels
to where

Scarcely a dawn
passes by
when I’m not
going there

Doing this
for the day
I wonder
into a dream

I only wake
when I hear the bell
to go back
home again

Now You Got Me Lost

The orange blood of Sylvan Moore left a trail across the
floor. It stopped where he stopped at the washroom door,
and spilled more going in. At the sink, the water had been
turned on, the faucet handle bore the trace, the bowl too,
where the splash had formed. It was terrible to think of
poor beloved Sylvan Moore struggling like this,
staunching himself with those torn gray paper towels,
but this was my job and I had to see it to the end.
The evidence of his escape was everywhere. The window
was left open where he crawled out to the air. Who
knows how far he could get but I wouldn’t give him
2 to 5 that he could reach the boulevard alive.
Especially now that I saw the arrow thrown in
the trash.
It was painted with orange, from the feathers on
down to the jagged barb. I could take my time
tracking this kill.
Back in the hall, I took the elevator down the twelve
floors to the lobby like anyone else would do. I
wandered over to the counter and reached towards
the little silver bell. Before I hit it though a bellboy
popped up like a jack-in-the-box.
“Can I help you, lady?”
“You got the new paper yet?”
“Yes, of course, up to the minute,” and he turned around
to the wall. We both stared at the glass pipe leading up
into the ceiling. He flicked a switch and we watched
the newspaper capsule drop down the chute. It landed
with a click and the kid brought it to me. “That’ll be
six bits, lady.”
I told him, “Keep the change,” passing him three silver
coins. I tore open the tube and shook out the crisp roll
of today’s latest news. I skipped the front page of the
Herald with its photo of Sylvan Moore and opened
the paper to the dograce listings. I sighed. “Looks like
I lost this time,” I said and tossed the paper onto the
“I hope you don’t mind me saying,” the bellboy grinned
sourly, “but I bet on Sylvan Moore.”
I let him know I didn’t care, turning away from him
without a reply, walking my reflection over the marble
floor. I was always cast as the heavy, I was used to it.
The public was conditioned by what the media said.
Sure, they’re rooting for a man with an arrow wound,
they’re always betting on the other guy. I already had
the next arrow locked into the bow, I was all ready to
end this.
I wasn’t expecting the rain though. When I came in,
the weather was fine! I pulled my cape up over my head
like a hood. The rain sounded like sand falling on me.
The night was full of the rain. I headed for the alley,
I knew he’d be there, half dead. Why worry?
Diamonds shined in every neon sign angled out over
the street. I reached into my coat to get my hand on
the bow so I could finish this game.
There was moonlight in the alley where far overhead
the washroom window let out, onto a weakly-holding-on
fire escape. He wasn’t up there. I was ready to shoot
at the next second. Where are you, Sylvan Moore?
I didn’t spy him right away. Where was he? I was
between two walls rolling off rain, silhouettes and
strange shadows. For just a second I doubted whether
he was there or not. Nobody could go far after what
I did, especially not Sylvan Moore. But all I could see
was rain falling down.
I held the crossbow in front of me and I quickly went
further into the alley. I was tiring of this. The drainpipes
popped and trickled. Suddenly I was through to the next
street. Did he make it this far?
Some carriages slid by in the shallow slick. I looked for
any disappearing signs of orange on the cobblestones.
They were there.
The smallest flow of it lurked in the puddles.
It occurred to me that coming this far he could have
grabbed a trolley. They rattled by every once in a while.
That must be what he did. He had a bit of luck on his
side, that’s all, so what.
His trail limped up to a flower stand that was in the
midst of giving up and closing for the night. I caught
the edge of the shutter swinging down, then asked,
“Just a second, I have a question.” I took a look around
the bright yellow room. He wasn’t in there. “Have you
seen anybody in trouble?”
The green face of the florist leaned down to me.
“You mean Sylvan Moore?” At that he laughed. I didn’t
have to guess he knew more than he was telling me.
They were all in on making sure Sylvan Moore won.
Was everyone helping him along the way?
I threw the shudder closed. It didn’t matter. He didn’t
have long to live unless he made it to the …
Of course! He had to go to the infirmary. I hiked out into
the rain on the road and hooked a taxi.
I jumped in the back seat. After I shut the door I wanted
to say where we had to go, but the taxi was already
rattling as fast as it could in the right direction.
“Don’t worry, friend. You picked the winning ride.
I got my money on this. We’ll find him.”
The taxi slew through the pour of every last bit of the
“How do you know where he is?” I asked.
“Somebody squealed.”
We went around a corner that put me hard into the
cardboard trimmed corner. I leaned into the next turn
better. The plastic windshield showed a view of the
tilting, weaving city sights I knew.
“Are you going to the infirmary?” I asked him.
“I’ll take you there,” he told me. The road was in control
no matter how it seemed to shoot us like a meteor here
there and everywhere.
It must have been another minute before I realized
what was going on. I leaned over the seat, “Alright
wise guy, you can stop the cab now. I’m getting out.”
I had to take out the crossbow to get through to him.
“Okay, okay,” he wheeled the cab to the side of the
road, then he laughed, “But you’ll never win now!”
I got back into the rain. He had done a good job
getting me lost. I watched the red lantern swinging
on the back of the taxi as it left me stranded out here
next to a wall of brambles on the dark edge of suburbia.
I was already soaked.
Across the road from me were some houses with
lights burning. Maybe I could get a ride into town
somehow. As long as they weren’t laying odds on
Sylvan Moore. So far, everyone was.

Aluminum Ladder

on the lawn
all day long

In the spot
the Big Dipper
will appear
at night

Stuck In The Air

The getaway steps
to the stars
went up
at night
returned in dawn

If someone moved
the ladder away
before they climbed
back down
they would be stuck
in the air above

Small as sparrows
tipped around
like little dots
waiting for
the ground

Flying People

When a person is dreaming, radar passes right through
them. Even after discovering this, verifying it in one
experiment after another, Irvam Nashteer wasn’t sure
what to do with this remarkable knowledge. He cut
the power to the swiveling aerial, threw a black curtain
over it and woke his snoring patient.
“Mr. Hursky, your session is over.”
With a groan, Irvam’s client rolled onto his back and
stared at the ceiling, blinking, rubbing his eyes. He
mumbled, “Thanks.” Despite the treatment, it didn’t
take him long to start talking about cigarettes, but
Irvam wasn’t listening.
His eyes followed the stitching rise and fall of the
swallows out over the parking lot. His distraction
took him far enough away from his office to the most
fantastic vision no radar could detect.
The telephone rang and interrupted his notebook
diagrams. “Nashteer Hypnosis and Mentalist
Therapies,” he answered automatically.
“Irv! It’s me, listen what are you up to tonight? Correction.
I’ll tell you what you’re doing tonight. You’re coming to
my barbeque. I’ll be watching for you, Irv. See you then.”
Irvam was left holding an empty phone. He set it back on
the cradle. That was his neighbor, Matt or Pat, or whatever
his name was, with another attempt to make Irvam feel
welcome. They seemed incapable of understanding.

It was twilight as the small electricar pulled into the red
clay driveway and stopped. Sure enough, just across the
street was aglow with checkered lights and loud mariachi
music from the other side of the fence.
Irvam unfolded his car door and got out. For a second
he wished could disappear into his dark house, but it
wasn’t going to happen.
A sign popped out of the swaying thick leaves overhead
and frazzled with the static image of the party waiting
for him.
“Irv! It’s about time!” The blurry dotted cartoon of his
neighbor flapped at him. “Get over here, pal!” The sign
redirected Irvam as he tried to move toward his house,
it pushed against him, shining colors and bleating until
he got the picture.
“Alright, alright…” Irvam sighed, “I’m on my way.”
“That a boy, Irv!” The sign jostled and coasted on its wires
back to its origin.
Irvam was tired of all this, but he knew it wouldn’t last
much longer. After he put his plan into action, everything
would change and their rotten system would crumple and
“Hey Irv!” The silhouette hung over the plastic fence,
waving at him. “What took you so long? Burning the
midnight oil?” And the dark shape broke into laughter,
“Get on over here!”
Irvam swatted at the fireflies that circled him.
Once he got into the street, under the stars and clear
of the leaves, they disappeared.
His neighbor, Bill or Will, or whatever his name was,
held the gate open for him. The mariachi spilled out
too. That was the latest craze, they never held onto
anything that lasted long. That’s how it went with them.
“Good to see you, Irv. I’ve been waiting for you.”
Irvam went in and got slapped on the back like an old
friend arriving. The gate clacked behind him, the night
already taken over by the barbeque.
“Come on over here, by the fire. This is the place to be.”
On a heap of split tinder, an entire deer was roasting,
legs pointed up towards the stars. “Have a seat here.
Let me get you a plate.”
“Not much please,” Irvam insisted, though he was quickly
given a plateful of the meat. In the flickering light Irvam
looked down at his feet; the red dust had stained his
white pants.

Later that night, Irvam had assembled more than
thirty people in a moonlit field. They were all sleeping,
they were in his control. They stood in a tightly fit circle,
arms and feet locked to each other, their bodies cast
shadows like spokes inside a wheel. The quiet night
wasn’t terribly cold but every time Irvam uttered a
word it balled in an icy cloud that floated away from
him on a current. Cloud by cloud his breath weaved
a ring around the sleepers, then the whole thing
began to spin. Irvam lifted the merry-go-round sight
into the air. He pointed the slow wobbling higher and
higher until it revolved a hundred feet above. At that
height the puffing steam-driven blurr caught the wind
and ascended.
Irvam had worn himself out with their levitation.
He collapsed onto a rock. He needed to catch his breath
before he carried them further. The hoop had become
distant and lost in the astronomy.
He jumped. He felt a shift.
“Irvam, what was that?” The woman, whoever she was,
came closer to him. “Remember me? We met at the party.
I had to leave early.”
If she was smart she should have started to run, right
now, when Irvam was too weak to do anything, but she
came near. She held a little net and carried in her other
hand a glowing jar filled with orange and green fireflies.
“I was collecting some electricity,” she explained.
“I saw a strange flying machine or something.”
Irvam had to maintain contact with the air. By degrees
though, he turned on the rock so he could face her.
Yes, he remembered her from earlier. She was new
here and lonely and innocent enough to be wandering
around seeing things where she never should have
been. He felt sorry for her and those who were like
children, who just didn’t know what was happening,
but it was too late. Flying people were on the way.
In another couple minutes they would float up there
undetected, a few more layers leading in the sky.
The next history would happen soon, as soon as
she let him catch the breeze up there, but it didn’t
happen that way.
When she dropped the jar full of fireflies, that light,
shock and sound of broken everything woke him
right up.

Between The Clouds

I saw you Kerouac
at the airport
you laughed
at the obvious
whoever what was

I went on the plane
nobody checked my shoes
nobody sorted me out
I crossed the sky
way above America

If you blink you miss
the next message is
no longer hidden
it is written
between the clouds

cover: rosa frost
writing: allen frost
in the middle of june & july 2003

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