Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Sunday, July 31, 2011



What consoles you in a haunted house, not windows -- fierce eyes -- nor corridors of air -- breath of the beast -- and there's only a grey sun ever and the lands around, they're weeds, and you've always a chill and coming down with something

And the estate agent refrains from the stories of the prior owners, who've 'moved on' due to a death in the family they had to dispose of the property quickly which is why a place this large can be sold at such an available price

I rise very thirsty having trouble with the covers, my feet not finding the slippers and my calf cramping and there floats a tiny -- a fly that is just an infant -- fly in the water glass it must have dipped and been overwhelmed now placid on the calm

And in skimming it dry onto a raft of kleenex, its dim twitching and I rinse the glass and swab the lip before drinking so very much of the water and flipping a switch and having only the nightlight to follow back to the flat place where I am to lie

And it is nervous and 3 and I dream about pushing on the heavy doors and outside is my dad, he of the long-passed-on, wearing a sick-cap and smiling and glad to see me there and hugs my hand and I know that the house is a house for the dead

I want to say something true but grind mum.  Lilies.  Taken at long exposure, the recumbent quiet of Victorian child corpses.  The dream shakes, dehydrated by caffeine and cold-meds, and the dawn world, unrested, is unalive outside and by me goes a fly.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Two As One

Whenever the embrace, the hold me, as in the love squeeze when vaginal play overtakes the exhausted male member and music huffs from the mutual lung sacks

it becomes in the pause that moment when I clasp the genuine first -- not intercoursively, but over the school gym floor with the chaperones and the cycling wax of popular songs

our hands and cheeks slipping then cleaved in the Fahrenheit, the smell of her hair, the roll of our step, the quiet village of our turns, the dance between


Friday, July 22, 2011

Ground Zero

At a late age, yet, with comfortable money, friends, why does he crack,what crazy does he find, why does he crime since no one thinks remotely

by what flash of nature determine himself as the doer of deed -- he, never predisposed, never disturbative, not known as a secretive, nor never alleged before

the mal salt airs do it, too much sun, his trendy hair trim and gizmo watch and a knowing nod at the bakery with just the right tune in his aging ear

the wind takes on a voice -- and it, the Devil's -- and when he dances into the street the morning of, in a wedding tux fit for a violation, his eyes glitter, Oxfords smartly click along the pave


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hearken Beldam, Graceful Crone

Our Lady of the Salt Red Sangre

Our Woman Who's the Blue Señora

Wake our focus from its somber quiet

Solve our puzzles with your nimble fingers

Guide our vigil with your brilliant street lamps

Bless our business with your fluent say-so

Our Lady by the Gold Fenêtre

Our Duchess or the Prim Madonna

Glorify us past our daily problems

Plentify us in our meager holdings

Clarify us through our dented vision

Magnify us by our hopeful errors

Honored Goddess of the Fullest Breathing

Wisest Virgin with the Sun-Bright Candle

Navigate niches, penetrate wishes

God, godder, goddest Gal


Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Long Goodbye

Maybe you're 30 and it's America's 70s and you've got a place above Franklin in Hollywood and the place is next to a roomful of New Age girls practicing naked yoga.

Maybe you've got a 'Madison' sent to you from Mexico to pay for your expenses and to buy off your friendship and you wear a thin tie and black suit and smoke too much.

Maybe there's a mysterious, classy blonde heavily put-upon by her washed-up novelist drunkard husband and they have a doberman who dislikes your face, but the blonde cooks you chicken kiev and begs your help.

Maybe the cops distrust you and the mob does, too, and you lose your cat even though you go out at 3 a.m. to buy special food for it.

Maybe you've got access to the Malibu Colony and a classic car to drive to the border.

Maybe you've got the moral grit to 'resolve all issues' and the sun is on you and maybe it is a Hollywood ending to an episode that sums up your life.

Maybe that's what it's all about.


The Cost Of Some Things

Unfolded, the menu labels the food in sequential pages, alphabetically, one set of courses per page.  The actual dishes read in Chinese characters, and the accompanying English makes sense, but sounds more exotic than what we normally find.

What's 'pottage'?

She tells me.  Her ensuing oral presentation, very hard to understand, includes reciting the daily special which is either one or two or three separate options.  We're not sure which.

How much?  B asks.

The waitress begins an explanation of what comes along with the beef or oysters or tofu -- or all three.

How much does it cost?  B clarifies her question.

We think she thinks we are asking to be told more about the beef dish.

I point at numbers on the menu.  Price?

Oh.  Eight dollar.

When they come, the two items we've ordered overfill our table-for-two.  Six small boats and one large of differing dishes: pork, rice, edamame, tofu, leeks, mushrooms, brick-red dried chilis.  We've been told that this is 'Taiwanese street food' -- no street I've ever been on.  This has the look of elegant service and the taste of sophisticated cuisine.  But not at all its expense.

To maximize their square footage, the place is set up for café seating, so we lunch with two young men on one side and two middle-aged women on the other.  I can't help overhearing the women's conversation the segments I catch of which center around family history, something I first think will be a genealogical recital but turns into something else.

When we leave and I take a step or two to follow B out, I pivot back and muster the greatest politeness I can find.

Excuse me -- were you just talking about the internment camps?


I am looking at her, but not really 'seeing' her, not comfortable -- I conclude later -- focusing on her face.  She's as willing to talk about this with me, though, as she was eager, it must have been, to arrange the meeting about it with her friend.

My father at one point was interned just south of here.  She shifts paperwork a bit.  This is a map of the inside of it.

She points down at the document she's had out this whole time -- I think again her reason for lunching.  Barracks, in rectangles.  Plotted-out in numbers.  Fences.  Gates.  Guard towers.

I shake my head, not quite sure what I am going to say.  Are your parents still . . . in the area?


With the impression I've glanced from her face, and from her voice and figure, she's an attractive woman, perhaps 60 years old.  And I'm standing before her, interrupting her engagement.  The words we are exchanging are nearly idle, flat.  My purpose is unclear to her and inchoate within me.  The conversation inherits whatever stablility it should have by taking place in the bustling ambiance of a public lunchroom where things are quite safe.

I have no business doing this.

Then I say what I must have felt I had to say.  My concentration on her face now brings her features into sharp focus. 

Let them know that I care.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Nature's Hoof

The husband dies 'of natural causes'.  

The family, which includes his spouse and two grown children, mourns, and after a reasonable time, reaches an emotional balance, a healthy stability.  
The widow, in her late 50s, living away from her children, has continually loved the outdoors, is a horsewoman in a modest way -- not a competitor, but a knowledgeable rider.  Not long after her husband's death, she re-engages with that vocation.

In a routine outing with friends, working the horses off-trail a bit, they negotiate a gully.  They're aware of scrub growth, stray logs, the rockiness of the terrain.

Somehow the jennet mare she's on slips, and the widow rolls off its side, forward.  The fall disturbs the closeness of their line and riles-up the coltishness of the horse just in front, who kicks his hooves smack into her chest, stopping her heart instantly.

Does it matter that this is a 'true story'?