Thursday, February 25, 2010

HER STORY by Mary-Louise Ruth

By Mary-Louise Ruth

The empty bed seemed to float, her body hardly substantial enough to weight it down. She’d lain untouched for so long she’d forgotten the contours of her own body. Even though she slept with him every night they didn’t touch anymore, only his body seemed to fill up the space, crowding out her sleep. Wakeful, she’d cling to her side, fearful of rolling into him, fearful of falling. Longing replaced dreaming. Was it easier to float than to fall? It must be, she thought, stretching her fingers to touch, then grasp, the cool, soft sheet and felt the bed settle to the floor.

She’d almost forgotten how it used to be, his smell still lingering in the rumpled sheets after their morning screw. Night time lovemaking had always been extended, looping up and over and around again, swooping to shared orgasms; in the morning they’d screw, a quick summary of last night’s languid fuck. He’d usually leave early for work while she’d drift back to sleep, but on Sundays they’d have leisurely mornings in bed. Sunday was the worst morning to wake-up alone.

The sun slipped through the shutters warming up the room, amber stripes slanting across the bed, across her naked body. “I have to get up,” she thought, then wondered why. Why wake up to a long daytime of loneliness even with him in the same room? In fact, lonelier when he was there.

His habit now was to awaken early on Sunday and jog down to CC’s on Magazine St. for cafĂ© au lait with the paper instead of both of them sipping dripped chicory coffee from mugs amidst the Times-Picayune strewn all over their bed. No habits could replace for her the pleasure of his being there, touching him, smelling him, loving him. Talking with him. She’d replaced her loss by drawing down within herself. Into tight corners. Places she knew he couldn’t fit into. She rolled over in bed and slammed one foot on the floor. She wondered if she could fit into those narrow places in herself anymore.

Upright on the side of the bed she thought about her day. Her day. A new thought. Could she make a day her own? Fill up time alone? Would just she, herself alone, fill up a day? The sizzling shower aroused an image of herself beside the lagoon in Audubon Park. Fluorescent pink flamingoes startled by her presence lifting, lifting from the mossy branches to the brilliant blue-white sky. She could get there. Pulling on a tank top and shorts she figured out a route from her house to the lagoon, by the time she’d laced up her Nikes she was almost there.

On the banquette outside their house she decided to avoid CC’s and doubled back a half block to walk down Laurel Street instead. The uneven bricks slowed her down a bit, but now she realized she didn’t have to hurry. She wouldn’t bump into him and have to explain. She’d just be gone.


Thursday, February 18, 2010


Flash fiction submissions, anyone?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Filthy Hovel

I must have this place.
A refuge, indecisive, balanced between the skies above,
the worms and stones below.
A fluctuant pile of sticks I arrange anywise,
to house my solace and my memories.
A fort where, from time to time, I can linger like a mute.
A ragged blanket to cover my sins.
A filthy hovel I drag my wounds into.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Birthdays tomorrow

A nice day to remember Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, their 201st, and Edgar Alan Poe. Something for the student of government, of science, and of American literature. Posting this trivia because we've gone 8 days with a vacuum, besides, I like all three of these guys.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Into The Broken Arms of Morpheus

From an early age Charlene had shared her nights with an endless parade of oddballs and twisted situations. While her friends dreamed about Strawberry Shortcake dolls and ponies, Charlene was caught in the backdraft of a tornado of surreal images. She double dated with gorillas and wandered through unfamiliar mansions clothed as a crone or Howdy Doody. She had spent countless hours pondering the meaning of a lengthy dream in which she, possibly as someone else, rode in an antique convertible down streets lined with animated jellybeans in a town populated by her ancestors; Grand Marshall of a parade traveling those vague side streets of the brain.

In her teen years Charlene tried desperately to grasp the meaning of her somnolent visitations. Like other girls of her age she dreamed dreams of teen heartthrobs. But why then, when she dreamed of Shaun Cassidy, was he a harpsichord virtuoso with green hair and six fingers on each hand? Was polydactylism an unexplored turn-on for her?

Charlene was at a loss. Short of actual couch time (she had enough people in her head already, thank you…) she probed and pondered every avenue of explanation. She read Freud which ruined a perfectly good relationship with her mother. She thumbed through countless dreambooks in the checkout lines and voraciously read every horoscope that crossed her path. She even sought out Madame ZaVirre and had the dark cards tossed before her. Stymied by the lay of the deck, Madame Z. muttered incomprehensibly, traced numerous ritual patterns with her finger on the cloth covered table and, after examining Charlene’s palms for unusual birthmarks, sent her on her way without charge.

Finally, in her 29th year, Charlene threw in the towel. Let the night do it’s worst. She would let the Daliesque waves wash over her like warm Caribbean waters. Not another garbled conversation would she jot down, not another errant image would grace her desk blotter while she doodled her way through a phone call. That night she stood at the bedside in her oversized tee-shirt, raised her arms high and loudly proclaimed, “Bring on the night. I no longer care. Give it your best shot!”

That, of course, was all that it took. Like a classic fairytale (well, okay, in Charlene’s case it was more like a fable with a talking inchworm…) she was asleep in moments and, almost immediately, Morpheus appeared to her and explained all in a few short sentences.

You see, throughout history the gods picked one person into whose sleep was imported all the interrupted dreams of others. In San Francisco a candidate for gender reassignment is awakened by a car alarm… In Oklahoma a librarian’s reveries are cut short by her cat’s need for attention… the balance of their dreams would shift directly onto Charlene’s pillow and into her slumbers. Suddenly it all made sense. And just as suddenly she no longer fretted. Their meanings, arcane as they may be, were clear and undisturbing. Her dreams became no more relevant than scenery that whizzes by the car window at sixty mile an hour; the blur of a picket fence without meaning.

Charlene never shared this with others and, even when she married later in life, she would occasionally share her dreams with her husband but never give a clue as to the deus ex machina running the show from behind the curtain.

Through all the years of her life Charlene wore the mantle of responsibility with a certain pride and an understanding that she was part of something much greater than herself.

While You Were Gone

While you were gone
The last of the leaves found their place of rest
Those little stone borders you made
Have almost disappeared
While the frosts in the earth
Have undone
Our secret garden’s care

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Blog Abhors a Vacuum

Happy Groundhog Day everyone. By the way, according to the National Weather Servcie, Punxsatawny Phil has been correct 40% of the time over the past 100 years. Makes the weather man look better, doesn't it?