Tunnel Vision

Recently one of my best online buds posted a poem on her blog.  Cool and quirky, just like Dana (waves – Hi Dana!).  Well, it reminded me of my old poetry, wasting away in a Word document somewhere.  I thought I’d posted one of my poems and after searching my archives I discovered I was right!  Twice!  This one was fun to write, but I really liked the visual I got from this one.  I could see a rom com including a similar scene.

Of course I had to ask myself why I haven’t I posted another poem?  I didn’t have a good answer for me so I guess it’s time to post another poem.  Before we get to that however, a little background about Seattle might be helpful.

Modern day Seattle sits atop olde tyme Seattle – seriously – take the Underground Tour next time you’re here.  That tidbit is just for color, it really has nothing to do with the poem.  But (and here’s the segue you’re looking for) also under downtown Seattle is the transit tunnel.  Multiple bus lines use the tunnel, keeping at least some of the traffic off of downtown streets.  The following should make a little more sense with that background. 🙂

Tunnel Vision
(September, 2003; rev’d 11/03)

Metro motors down Fourth Avenue
in the early hours
before the sun has warmed
            the city, and 

through my grandson’s eyes,
            wisps of steam,
            escaping the underground bus tunnels
            become extraordinary.

“Is it a dungeon?”
Eyes wide, he looks to me for truth.
Reluctant to spoil his fantasy,
            I hesitate…

Then nodding, I fold away the Times,
            and tell him tales of hidden castles,
            brave, valiant knights and
            fire-breathing dragons.

Disclaimer:  I had one college level English class eons ago.  As a result, most of my poetry is sort of free flowing.  It likely does not fit into officially recognized or accepted styles for writing poetry.  If you’re the type to point that out then just don’t, m’kay?  I know it ain’t perfect; but it’s just for me and I don’t care.  Thanks, and have a great day! 😀

People Watching

Hubs and I usually spend a lot of time together.  Mostly because we have fun but there’s also practicality.  When we lived out in the country it made sense to go into town together.  One vehicle = less fuel used.  Plus being dipped in the supermarket aisle is kind of cool.  😀  Now that we’re sort of in the city we still run errands together, especially if we’re getting dinner before, during or after. 

The other night after I got home from work Hubs needed to swing by the auto parts store before we grabbed a bite.  I don’t know about you dear readers, but the auto parts store holds no allure for me.  None.  Zip.  Nil.  Nada.  Plus it’s downright painful.  With my knee problems I can’t stand around on cement floors waiting for him to find what he needs and get checked out.  Nor does it amuse me to browse.  When we go there I wait in the car.  Especially after working all day.  If I have my Kindle I’ll read a little, maybe scan for a nearby wi-fi spot and check my WWF status. 

When I don’t have my Kindle I watch people.  It can be fascinating.  No, really!  For one thing, the majority of people going in and out of the auto parts store are guys.  Sometimes they’re even hot guys!  Sure they’re often covered in grease, with their hair all on end, and in their “work clothes” it can be hard to tell they’re hot.  Trust me though, some of them – woo!  [fans self]

While I waited a couple of nights ago I watched two separate pairs of men go in and come back out.  They were obviously working on some project together.  Their easy camaraderie was evident and seemed natural.  It made me sad for Hubs whose best friend lives two states away.  Plus?  The scruffiness of one pair was sooo attractive.  You know what I mean right?  The day-old beard, mussed hair, crinkly eyes and snug fitting jeans.  Okay, so snug fitting jeans aren’t exactly scruffy, but trust me, on the right body they’re attractive! 😉 

Then there was a young couple – I’d guess probably early twenties.  They parked, got out of their car and started into the store.  Young man was holding a piece of white paper.  I couldn’t see anything written on it, they were too far away.  Young woman, carrying a purple, hobo-style bag followed him.  He looked over his shoulder and said something and she whipped around like she was going back to the car.  He said something else and she turned back around to follow him again.  I don’t remember if she was smiling but I think so.  Their actions reminded me of Hubs and I teasing each other so I’m going with that interpretation. 

Not long afterward they came back out.  Probably less than ten minutes.  Young man still holding the paper.  He started to get into the passenger seat but stopped and leaned against the car, talking to his girl who had followed him.  She leaned next to him as they talked.  I can’t say they looked disappointed specifically but something about their body language made me write their story in my head. 

Dee Taggert pulled the compact into a parking space and removed the keys from the ignition.  Next to her, Tommy Coleman held the application as though it might get away from him.  So much was riding on him getting this job.  She covered one of his hands with hers and smiled at him, encouraging.  “Come on, let’s go find Uncle Nick.”  Grabbing her purple hobo bag, Dee opened her door and stepped out while Tommy climbed out the other side. 

Together they approached the store, Dee bringing up the rear slightly.  Tommy looked back over his shoulder and grinning quipped, “You’re not wearing that are you?”  It was an old joke between them and usually she smiled but this time Dee stopped in her tracks and did a quick turnabout.  She even took a couple of steps back toward the car before Tommy called after her, “Come on Taggert, can’t take a joke?”  She repeated the one-eighty and quickly caught up, punching him in the arm.  They disappeared inside the store. 

Less than ten minutes later they exited the store, their steps slower, less eager.  Still carrying the application and no longer smiling, Tommy reached the car first and started to open the passenger door.  He sensed Dee behind him and turned to face her, leaning back on the car door.  She came to stand beside him, her own smile missing.  “I don’t understand,” she said quietly.  “Uncle Nick promised he’d talk to you about the job.”  Tommy sighed and slipped his arm around her shoulders.  He pulled her close.  “He is going to talk to me, he just can’t do it right now.”  He kissed the top of her head.  “Look, don’t go all Negative Nellie on me, okay?  We both need to be positive about this.”  Dee nodded but didn’t say anything.  “Come on,” Tommy continued.  “Let’s go get some dinner and you can tell me about your uncle so I’m prepared when he calls me in.”  He gave her a quick hug and Dee went around the back of her car to get behind the wheel while Tommy slid into the passenger seat.  A few moments later she started the car and they drove away. 

Oh hell, who am I kidding?  I’m sure it was something else entirely, but I love making up stories about people I don’t know.  Anything can happen, and often does.  Thanks for sharing this one with me.  Have a great weekend!!

Random randomness

I recently found a bunch of sites I love – some designed for wannabe writers; some BY wannabe writers (RJ I’m looking at you).  And I’ve been trying to make myself write more.  One of the ways I’m doing that is using a random word generator.  I like this one.  Yesterday I chose the option for six words and I guess that was too many.  While I did get a short piece started, I couldn’t use all the words and it’s not finished enough that I felt it was ready to share.  I know I don’t have to use ALL the words, it’s supposed to be a tool, not a dictate.  It just feels incomplete if I can’t include them all.  That’s probably my OCD rearing its head.  However, today I opted for only four words and I got:  stretcher, aroma, chocolate, perch.

Without further ado, here’s a very short story using those words.  Any and all critiques are welcome!  Unless you’re just mean about it. 

——–

            Marlene removed the cookie sheet from the oven, setting it on the counter.  She slid in another pan and set the timer.  The aroma of chocolate wafted through the warm kitchen, making her mouth water. 

            To distract herself, she ran hot water in the sink and began washing the breakfast dishes.  Sticky egg yolk and congealed bacon grease yielded to her sudsy sponge.  Soon the plates were standing at attention in the drainer while the skillet jockeyed for space next to the mixing bowl.  Marlene dried her hands and checked the timer.  Five more minutes.  Taking the spatula she carefully transferred the cookies from the pan to a cooling rack, where they joined another dozen already cooling. 

            She repeated the steps when the last pan was finished baking, stacking the coolest cookies in the cookie jar.  After washing the cookie sheets Marlene put the now-dry plates away.  Standing in the kitchen doorway, she looked around the room one final time to be certain she’d finished everything on her list.  The last dozen cookies were stowed and the cooling rack washed, dried and put away. 

            Marlene checked the bedrooms.  The beds were all made, clothes picked up.  And the bathrooms – clean, spot free mirrors, shiny faucets.  In the living room there was the merest trace of dust on the coffee table.  She paused over it, wondering whether she should take the time to dust.  Instead, she ran her finger through the dust, spelling out her despair.  Then she went to the french doors which opened onto their postage-stamp balcony. 

            The realtor had gushed proudly about the view, as though it was her personal creation.  Marlene supposed it was a decent enough view; they could see the ocean after all.  But not smell it.  Not hear it.  Not feel it.  With the doors open all she could smell was exhaust fumes.  All she could hear was a cacophony of horns.  All she could feel was the oppression. 

            Stepping outside, she gazed from her perch, seeking the glimmer of the sea.  Imagining its salty tang, the waves shushing in her ears, the spray teasing her skin, Marlene swung her legs over the railing and balanced there for a moment. 

            Later, Kyle would wonder about the full cookie jar.  Later, after he received the call at work.  Later, after he’d rushed to the hospital, and dodged stretchers in the corridor on his way to the ER.  Much later, after he’d died a little seeing Marlene lying still and pale on the drawer in the morgue.