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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Advice to a Traveler



ADVICE TO A TRAVELER


Old friends – people that I've known for years
style themselves as monsters
as watches and clocks twitch with silent laughter.
The mind refuses to hold discourse
so I am forced to hold conversations
with my feet, walking away from irony.

The best counsel is to turn out the pockets of your life,
stuff your backpack with extra nothing
and carry on. Lighten your load. Hit the road.
Doors will slam, they have no choice.
Houses will bare their window-teeth
as they smile you a good-bye.

The trail you make is healthier
than the one you follow, until you lose your way.
But you must walk until you find
where the horizon meets the sky,
Walk as if there is no greater destination
than the footsteps you just left behind.




©2009 Christopher Reilley




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Monday, November 24, 2014

Truth



TRUTH

I am pissed off at Truth.

Truth always wins,
no matter how hard I try.
Truth and I have an uneasy relationship
at the best of times
but lately, Truth cheats.

Have you ever arm-wrestled with Truth?
It is not easy.
I sweat, and pull, grunt and fight.
Truth is placid as a the lunar surface.
I perspire, torrents of moisture,
the envy of waterfalls everywhere,
Truth is dry as the desert floor.
I curse, whine, piss and moan,
swear like a trucker with crabs.
Truth blows pink bubbles of gum.

Truth wins yet again.

And Truth keeps victories silent,
never needing to preen, or gloat.
Truth simply accepts that Truth should win.

I tell my friends that
Truth came in next to last.




©2009 Christopher Reilley

This poem is in the collection Breathing for Clouds, you can get a copy HERE

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Wife



WIFE


I have grown accustomed to life's senseless prattle
sitting across from your beauty, even now,
in the comfort of a flame that nothing can extinguish,
everything so quiet that even birdsong has disappeared.

I would gift you a gown made of stars,
kneel before your parents and beseech their blessing
while thanking them for your creation.
The ring I placed upon your finger beckons me, even now.

You embrace me, offer a sip of fermented plum.
It is not a simple thing, to get used to a husband
such as I, all angles, doubts, creation and flaws,
our wedding songs trailing us like ribbons of sound.



©2014 Christopher Reilley


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Vision of Sugarplums to Dance Through Your Head




A Vision of Sugarplums to Dance Through Your Head


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.


Today I made about 450 sugarplums, those seasonal treats made famous by Clement Moore's famous poem. They are relatively quick, easy to make, use all natural ingredients, are delicious and are very good for you.

Sugar plums, historically speaking, are much like omelets, in that a wide variety of source materials and fillers can be used, and yet the dish retains its identity.

The main ingredients are dried fruit, such as dates, figs, apricots, cranberries and raisins, which are minced fine (or put through a food processor) and mixed together into a paste. 

The resultant paste is then mixed with an equal measure of minced nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, and cashews. (Yes, I know cashews are not technically nuts, but the seed pod of the cashew apple) But equal parts fruit to nut ratio.

This year my combo was 75% cranberries 25% dates mixed with 50-50 walnuts and hazelnuts.

When properly mixed, this paste forms thick, sticky sweet mixture. To this you must add a very small amount no more than a tablespoon of brandy or whiskey. This leavens the sugary nature, helps keep them moist, and provides a touch of bite to them. Mix thoroughly with your hands, much like kneading bread dough. Form this paste into small balls with your hands, then drop into granulated sugar and toss, to coat them. Let them sit for an hour or so, then repeat the coating process. 

If desired, you can place a small nut like a pistachio inside the sugarplum. I tried that last year, they were a hit.

Frankly, I think they are fabulous, and I hope you will as well.

Merry Christmas!








©2014 Christopher Reilley




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Friday, November 21, 2014

Too Much Murder



TOO MUCH MURDER


Camera flares catch her in the unawares,
Being dragged down courtroom steps,
arms held out at the elbows,
a thick, stout-jowled bailiff on either side.
She squints upward deflecting the questions
that hammer her through the wintry air.

I did it because it needed doing, she says,
because he hurt me, and slipped me
tainted euphoria, sexually transmitted doses
of ecstasy and anguish.

She stops, holding back the bull-dog men,
the adrenaline rush sex-mask glistening
in her eyes, this bottled blonde with no
justification in her voice,
He was too much murder to live, you know?

And then this killing woman,
this violator of the sacred codes,
looks skyward,
where redemption is thought to dwell,
and sighs once,
the breath of loneliness vaporizing
into crystalline wisps
before disappearing forever.




©2007 Christopher Reilley




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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Viewpoints



VIEWPOINTS


Knowledge is free.
But few are willing to pay the cost.
Tissue papers with broken dreams
want to be
mighty oaks,
touching the sky.

No one can be owned
she told the man who killed her
in the last breath she ever had.
Denying him,
even a chance
to believe it might be so.

Some day I will return here
an agent of change, for once.
The calendar as my only measure
surviving for years
on the amount of light
consumed in a single, solitary day.




©2006 Christopher Reilley




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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

You Are Next!



YOU ARE NEXT!


Wedding coat finery
covering my wretched dismay.
After pinching cheeks
aunties would always say,

“You are next!”
as if saying made it so.
Countless times it happened
no matter how often I said no.

Until I discovered how to stop it
using this little ironic gem;
now when I see them at family funerals
I started saying it to them!




©2007 Christopher Reilley




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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Butterfly In My Eyes



A BUTTERFLY IN MY EYES


All that falls within my sight
is precious, total and rare.
Look, I see children playing
and a waterfall over there.

The cherry blossoms are in full bloom,
and a rhino’s skin is so rough.
Look at the cracks in the pavement,
I can never seem to get enough.

I see rainbows in oily puddles,
and cartoons in cloudy skies.
There goes a beautiful woman,
a treat for anyone’s eyes.

Look how steam rises from my cup,
Look at the curl of that kitten’s tail.
Laugh at the overburdened mail carrier
weighted down with holiday mail.,

I’ll bet that fellow is up to no good,
look at the trash in the street.
I love the glistening headlights in rain,
that puzzle is nearly complete.

I feel like I need to see everything,
this surely comes as no surprise.
That is just the way the world looks,
when you have a butterfly in your eyes.




©2007 Christopher Reilley




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Monday, November 17, 2014

Where Do Frogs Go To Think?



WHERE DO FROGS GO TO THINK?


Where do frogs go when they need to think?
I've often wondered where.
When they're not feeling quite in the pink
do they hide under the stairs?

Do they feel like they must follow rules
and stick to a Lilly pad?
Or can they hide in a shed full of tools
when they are feeling sad?

What if a frog felt like being alone
away from his froggy friends
Where could he go to be unknown?
Well, I guess that depends.

He couldn't go to the circus or show,
he would never be sold a seat,
he would not like a plateau of cold snow
it would be very tough on his feet.

French restaurants are not the place for him,
and he would not like to see a bait shop
but he might make some friends over at the gym
and he would be a big hit at the hop!

He could go to the library, its quiet in there
maybe catch up on some old books.
Or he could ask the beavers to share their lair,
he tried the geese and got some funny looks.

It needs to be safe, it needs to be quiet,
it needs to be worry free,
he needs to have access to his daily diet
of flies, bugs, worms, and bees.

Maybe under some roots, or the edge of a bog,
some place that might make him glad,
side of a meadow, or an old rotten log,
or even his own lilly pad.

And what would a frog think about,
when they take the time?
Do they think about flies, or avoiding trout?
That is a question for another rhyme.




©2007 Christopher Reilley




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Friday, November 14, 2014

Parenting By Heart



PARENTING BY HEART


Her chubby hands grab the photos,
the irreplaceable photos,
from my desktop.
Chocolate and folds or rips
would be the death of my project.

Sensing I would thwart her will
she toddled to the far side of the house
and by willpower alone stopped me
from using my superior size and strength
to retrieve the precious pieces.

I saw her,
really saw her,
defiant, beautiful in her fire.
I surrendered, not to her
but to the will of Life itself.
My mind relaxed, my tension eased.

“Would you like to look at these pictures with me?”
Tension drained from her as well
as she handed over the glossy 4x6 treasures.
What’s that?” she asked fifty times
and fifty times I answered.

I felt her tender cheek resting on my shoulder
and preferred that to her cries of outrage.
Thankful that I had been graced
by that shift in perspective,
I surrendered my heart to hers once more.


This poem appeared in the chapbook "Grief Tattoos" - get it for the Kindle HERE

©2008 Christopher Reilley




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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Suspicions Confirmed



SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED




Her scorn was her delight,
Her anger, nefarious -
Valiant was his temper,
Yet his position, precarious.

Words were faulty,
Vexing heart with chamber docile;
Bridging gaps and leaving holes
Between harmony and love’s apostle.

Benevolence has been avoided,
The status quo acquitted,
The proxy acquiesced,
Only then was guilt admitted.

She set her mind to theory
Preventing her soul access to grieve;
Divested of his husbandry
Before he packed his bags to leave.




©2008 Christopher Reilley




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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Those Delicious Words



THOSE DELICIOUS WORDS


I pray you
say those delicious words
before the sun awakens
to its business.

Speak those words
I long to hear
before my heart
scolds the gallant moon
for conversing
with cold stars
while Love itself
strolled by.

Whisper your heart
into mine,
Do not miss this opportunity
to enlist
two souls to joy.

Pity for what once was placed me
at the window
and dared a peek within myself
where suspicion was born.
I regret the day
the composer
stepped into fire,
for flames did not consume.

Once,
I fit inside you
the way silence
fits into a maidenhair fern
at dusk.

Yet soiled purity
is pure no more,
and angels cannot dance
on broken glass.

Truth is a braided river
with no safe crossing
and a mouth
that bites.




©2014 Christopher Reilley




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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Four Freedoms




Freedom is supposed to mean being at liberty, the opposite of confinement. It suggests a certain exemption from external control or interference. An absence of regulation. In some instances it has come to mean a certain immunity from constraint, and in its broadest sense can mean privilege.

Americans have long held four freedoms to be sacred to our lifestyle, and our self-definition as Americans. Above are four famous paintings by Norman Rockwell that beautifully illustrate those four freedoms: The Freedom of Worship, the Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want.

But are we Americans really free?

Freedom of Worship:

This was one of the founding principles of this nation. We became a separate national entity almost entirely on the principle that all adults should be allowed to worship in their own way. In their own time, and in their own manner. Yet today, in the 21st Century that is certainly not the case.

If your religion dictates that you must face Mecca at a certain time every day and prostrate yourself, you are declared to be an enemy of the state and are persecuted. If your religious affiliation is not ultra-conservative Judeo-Christian with a strong emphasis on evangelical ministries you are disenfranchised from political aspirations and derided for whatever beliefs you do have. If you happen to believe that an alien overseer exploded an atomic bomb in a volcano to splinter trillions of alien souls which even today inhabit and inhibit the everyday lives of ordinary mortals, well, you can still be a Hollywood celebrity but you will be snickered at behind your back in intellectual company.

If you are Jewish you are practically required to support Israel in all its activities. If you are Catholic you are supposed to swallow without question the infallible nature of statements from Rome about not using condoms, even if you know the scientific principles behind the spread of the HIV virus. If you are Hindu you must be content to worship in the privacy of your own home, as there is no publicly sanctioned temple for your divinity commonly available.

At holiday time, which is really a celebration of rebirth and renewal carried over from man's primitive beginnings, you must either include both Menorah and manger, as well as the candles of Kwanzaa, else you will be allowed nothing at all. Even those events which have long since lost their religious affiliations, such as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, are regulated by the politically correct machinery of today's society until they are hardly worth the effort.

When was the last time you sat down and spoke with a Quaker? Ever wonder why that was?

Freedom of Speech:

This is a big one. This is the first thing that most Americans claim as an inalienable right, and one of the proudest talking points about being an American. Freedom of Speech, the freedom to publicly state that the leader of this nation is a bumbling stooge, manipulated by his handlers, guilty of war crimes surpassing infamous leaders of the past, and dismantler of the Constitution. I can say these things, and write them here, because I am an American, and we enjoy freedom of speech.

Or do we?

Why is the press no longer allowed unfettered access to presidential debates, instead segregated to 'Freedomzones' removed from proximity to candidates?

Why has the Orwellian-named Patriot Act given the government the right to wiretap telephone conversations without proper judicial oversight, listening in on anyone anywhere, at any time they wish, simply because they wish to do so?

Why are those who speak out about this nations criminal irresponsibility in our dealings with overseas nations deemed to be unpatriotic, and marginalized?

Why are news organizations - owned in large part by corporate masters who are themselves beholding to government interests – more focused on the drug induced antics of post adolescent celebutants and the gestational state of movie stars than it is on reporting the loss of American lives on foreign soil?

I wish I had the answers to these questions. If I did, I would share them with you in an instant, however, the likelihood of your ever seeing them would decrease exponentially.

Freedom from Fear:

You do not need me to tell you that Fear sells in this nation, and it has been used to package and market the most monstrous violation of human rights in our history. After the horrific events of September 11, 2001, America as a nation enjoyed the largest outpouring of goodwill and empathy in the history of the planet. And what have we done with that goodwill?

We have created a climate of fear and loathing that practically guarantees that those whom we claim to hate us and wish us harm will hate us and wish us harm. We have created the Super bowl of terrorism, an environment in which is is pathetically easy for an extremist to point to America and her actions and paint us as the demons they wish us to be and recruit young minds to their cause. Every single Middle Eastern youth who lives in crushing poverty and war-torn rubble will now gladly take up a suicide bomber's jacket and run into a crowded marketplace to rid the world of the political malignancy that America has become.

Here at home we look suspiciously on those who come from anywhere within ten thousand miles of the place we believe our enemies to come from. I say believe, because as we were misinformed from the outset as to the cause, motivation, and personnel involved in that attack on our soil, we do not rightly know whom to distrust, so we distrust them all. Anyone whose names sounds even vaguely Arabic is automatically suspected of belonging to a terrorist cell and plotting the downfall of our way of life.

It is a facet of human nature to hate those whom we have wronged, and to fear what we do not understand. It is our current piteous state that they are one and the same.

Freedom from Want:

The Land of Plenty. America was at one time the breadbasket of the world, growing more food than we could possibly consume, and sharing that bounty with those most in need. How times have changed.

Now our economy is knowledge based, and both manufacturing and provisions are outsourced to other countries, making corporate profits more important than sustainable ecologies or social realities. We complain incessantly about immigrants taking jobs from us, jobs that are economically unfeasible for us to do ourselves. We pay farmer's not to grow certain crops as surplus grains would destabilize the prices of other products. We allow corporate interests to control the food supply, ignoring the health risks inherent in that idea. We borrow from other nations to fight a war in order to garner a larger slice of a rapidly diminishing pie that we will use to fuel our way of life heedless of its finite nature. We suffer natural disasters and are incapable of succoring those displaced and devastated. We send what we can spare to starving children in Darfur, yet ignore the starving children in Appalachia, or the throwaway gutter tribes of children in every major city.

We live in a society in which it is more beneficial to stay on Welfare and squeeze out a couple more kids without a daddy than it is to get a job that pays minimum wage, since that would mean a decrease in income. A society in which our urban youth see drug dealing and gang banging as a fast way to big bucks instead of hard work, inventing the next big thing, or even a sport scholarship.

The four Freedoms that we as Americans pride ourselves on are wisps of smoke written on a windy day. If we squint our eyes tightly enough we can make them out, the ashen reflection of what they used to be. But we must be quick to do so, since they are rapidly eroding and will not return, unless we collectively do something.

As an American I rightly feel pride in some of the accomplishments my fellow Americans have made. The same sense of fraternity makes me ashamed at other acts we have perpetrated on the world.

As an American it is your right to enjoy the Four Freedoms. It is also your responsibility to ensure that they do not perish from this earth, that they are upheld, strengthened, and available for our children's children.

I have faith that you can do this, after all, you are Americans.







©2005 Christopher Reilley




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A Father Stands Before the Judge



A FATHER STANDS BEFORE THE JUDGE

In falling through the tides of Fate -
buffeted about and casually tossed,
I find myself forced to hurry and wait.
Paying the price before I learn the cost.

Bruised by chance and nursing timing’s welt,
scraped raw by choices others have made,
I feel more bereft than ever I have felt
while best-laid plans have twisted and strayed.

Home and Hearth are more than mere dream,
and sanity pipes a broken tune.
Things are not always what they may seem,
but pain is real and Love lies ruined.

Patience a virtue I can ill afford,
justice a concept best left to others,
Time with my child I covet and hoard,
sins of fathers cannot compare to mothers.

Yet Family is unbeaten and Faith unbent,
Trust finds new purchase on a slippery slope.
His will protects the innocent
and I give myself over to Thanks and Hope.




©2008 Christopher Reilley




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Monday, November 10, 2014

Give It All To Him



GIVE IT ALL TO HIM

She looks at the bag on the ground between her feet
More tired than she can remember being in her life.
Her mind drifts back to when life was once sweet,
Before she was an adult, a mother, or a wife.

Too tired to carry the trash around with her any longer
She gathers her remaining strength to make it home to rest.
She wishes she were younger, or smarter, or stronger,
Wonders why the Lord above has given her this test.

A cab pulls to the curb and the back door swings wide,
She sees the passenger struggle with a full bag of his own.
He heaves and fights and tugs on the things that are inside
Swearing he does not know how the damned thing has grown.

She shifts her tired feet, and the bag shifts to a tilt
More burdensome than she could ever have imagined.
It is full of regret, shame, anger, fear, jealousy and guilt
Each of these the result of every life's bilious pageant.

The man slams the cab's door, and curses the snow,
Lumbers his bag up and onto the street-side curb.
The cab pulls away and as she watches it drive away slow,
She sees the cabbie with two bags of his own get disturbed.

Does everyone have a bag of garbage they haul around?
Is it life's mandate that your trash be your constant weight?
Must each soul to its torments be hopelessly bound?
Is it forever mankind's lot to self-recriminate?

“The answer to all of those questions is no.”
Says a voice for which she can not find a source.
She appears quite alone, and tries a timorous “Hello?”
When she feel enveloped in a warm loving force.

Her breath hitches once or twice, and her eyes get teary
She breathes, “Lord?” and she hopes for the best.
She hears “Come to me, all you who are weary
And burdened, and I will give you rest”.

“But I am a sinner, Lord, unworthy of your Grace or Love,
Why would you want an old dog like me?” she implores.
“It is for you and those like you that I am most proud of
Those who accept My heart, My heart adores.

So she folds the garbage bag, which is now empty, in half,
And tucks it away, out of the refreshing spring rain.
She jumps lightly to her feet with a girlish laugh
And feels freedom from her burdens once again.


©2009 Christopher Reilley




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Sunday, November 9, 2014

If Words Could Escape



IF WORDS COULD ESCAPE

We really ought to let the Words loose someday
just to see what they all might have to say.
Would they question every possible choice?
Or maybe none of them would have a voice,
but simply act as you or I might do
if such a thing could really be true.

Would they smile and tell secrets sizzling hot?
Or marry your sister and say they forgot?
Would they run laughing through the sick ward's halls,
Or color outside of lines on all of the walls?
Would they wear the jackets of men long dead,
or see the messiah in some toasted bread?

Do you wonder if they'd ever steal from each other?
Or if Words knew the secret of loving your brother?
Would they march to the sound of brassy trombones,
or look in the mirror and see skin and bones?
Would they go down the hamster's tiny snug hole,
or teach you to act without giving you a role?

They be good at arguing, like some couples I know,
and when they meet royalty they bow down quite low.
Words can remind you how dumb you really are,
at four in the morning, on the radio, in the car,
just like people Words can be foolish, or rude
their meaning can sometimes be misconstrued.

Words have edges, and sharp ones you bet -
so watch what you say, they will get to you yet.
To love Words is to always want just the right one
or a new way to describe something common as the sun.
So be on sharp lookout for a new or choice Word,
whether it was read, suggested, or just overheard.

If Words could escape, and I'm not saying they can't,
they would do more than just stand here and rant.
I'm certain that Words would do much better than I
at keeping feet on the ground while reaching for sky.
If Words do ever decide to stand up and rebel
all we would be able to do is stand there and yell.




©2010 Christopher Reilley




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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Executioner's Tale



THE EXECUTIONER'S TALE
“You just don’t know what it’s like,” Jerry Rivers said. He took another hit off his Marlboro, tapped the ashtray twice, and threw back his shot. “They look at you when the gas hits ‘em, and you know they know they are going to die.”

“Christ on a crutch, do you think so?” This was said by Eddie Fleen, a linen salesman who had never before been to the Grand CafĂ©. His seersucker suit was wilted from the heat.

“ I know so. I been doing this job ten years now, I’ve seen more than my share of death. I get paid by the Commonwealth to do it and I’m good at it. I take them out, they go with no fuss, no freaking out, you know what I mean?” Rivers was a large man, florid of face and dark of voice. When he told his new drinking buddy that he was an executioner by trade, the little guy had bought him a Schlitz and peppered him with questions. Enjoying the attention, he was growing expansive.

“My word. So what are the chemicals used?” Fleen moistened dry lips, looking eager in a way that was not entirely healthy. He pushed his thick glasses up the bridge of his nose.

“Trade secret, sorry to say. Most have names about this long,” here Jerry held his hands a couple of feet apart. “And they sound like a scientist with the sneezes.” Rivers laughed at his own poetic license.

“What’s it like when they die?” Fleen did not smoke, but he twirled a booklet of matches between his fingers with nervous energy.

“”When it is done right, they just slide out of this world and into the next, one minute they are here, next minute they are gone, and it is all about disposal then.”

Bo, a short and stocky man with a bushy black mustache, was the bartender on today and he leaned over the bar as far as his gut would allow, swiping the ashtray and replacing it with another in the same motion. He said through his facial forest, “You guys want another round?”

“Of course,” said Fleen. “On me.” He finished his beer and made way for the next. “Which one was the worst?”

“You sure ask a lot of questions, pal.” Jerry drained his own beer. “I mean, thanks for the beer and all, but you ain’t gettin’ into my pants, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh no, it’s for my book. I’m a writer.” Eddie adjusted his glasses yet again.

The thought of being in a book made River’s pride swell even further. That’s just the kind of guy Jerry was.

“Well, the worst one was back in ’68, summer it was, hot as the Devil’s bathroom, and I was sick.” Jerry crushed out his butt and lit another. “My wife teaches kids and she brings home every damn bug that comes down the Pike, and I end up catching most of them.” He warmed to his story.

“I got the call early, the regular guy had a family emergency, his mother in law fell down the stairs or something like that, I don’t know, but he had to go, and so I was called in. I felt like crap already, but needed the overtime so I dragged my butt in to work. “

“It was a tough one, a multiple.”

“A multiple? How often does that happen?” Fleen leaned forward.

“More often than you’d think” Rivers swigged off his beer. “Sometimes it is just money, cheaper to do ‘em together, you know?”

“My word.”

“Bet your life they save the money when they can my friend. Do they want the full service, with a quick and clean ending? Or do they want things cheap and messy? Guess which one they pick every time.”

Jerry lit another smoke. “Anyway, it was a multiple, which is more complicated, of course, and there is more chance for something to screw up, and then you got chaos, you know? And I’m still feeling like a crap sandwich. I’m standing there, ready to do my job, pull the switch that’s gonna mean that Death gets his due, then, just before I get ready to do my thing, the impossible happened.”

“What was it?” Eddie Fleen swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing twice. “What happened?”

“Escape.” I’m not real sure how it happened, but I was focused on my stuff, and feeling sick, so when it happened I was pretty confused. I lost my chance to fix things, to make it right, and then before I knew what was what, it was complete chaos. I hit the gas. I didn’t mean to, my timing was off, I was startled by the escape, I guess I panicked or something but it happened and I can’t take it back.” River flicked ash, but his eyes lever left Fleen’s.

“I took a lungful. I screwed up and I paid the price, sucked it down by accident and it did me some damage, tell you the truth, but, suddenly, I just lose my lunch all over my uniform. I had messed up bad, poisoned myself, puked myself, and I looked like a goddamn fool.” Anger at his own mistake welled within him. “I had enough stories for tonight, I gotta take a leak.”

He lumbered off the stool and made his way to the back of the bar, where a foul little booth held a tiny commode which listed heavily to starboard.

Bo reappeared, wiping the bar and emptying the ashtray with the same sleight of hand.

“It must be so difficult, dealing with Death on so casual a basis, living with the knowledge that you have taken another man’s life.” He looked toward where Jerry Rivers had gone. “I pity him.”

“Another man’s life?” Bo smiled. “Jerry doesn’t work at the prison.” He picked up a glass and began polishing. “He’s an exterminator.”

----------------

This story is in the collection Breathing for Clouds, you can get a copy HERE.

©2010 Christopher Reilley


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I Am A Poem




I AM A POEM

I am a poem.

I am more than a collection of random words.

I am much more than meter and rhyme.

I was wrestled from magic, fixed into place,
and spun like candy floss into being.

If I can live one day,
one single day
before moving down the list of poems
like me
that wish to exist,
I will have meant something.

If I can relay to you, and you and you,
something different,
something other,
in a way you not only understand
but feel -
I will have succeeded.

If I can become;
deep meaning in every line,
taught to future poets,
loved by one an all
I will have triumphed.

And win or lose, pass or fail,
I will happily
break down into words
to be wrestled into shape
for the next poem
at the top of tomorrow's list.




©2010 Christopher Reilley




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Monday, November 3, 2014

Serendipity



SERENDIPITY

The walk up the rain-slicked bricks was the same
as every morning's walk, fellow wage slaves in tow,
deisel blackend air belched from the train's gullet
filling my head with its stink, fighting the smell of coffee,
murmured conversations and today's issues
for my morning attention, a gift not easily given.

I waited at the base of the escalator, in queue,
waited for the mass of humanity to filter through the doors
so that I might make my way to my desk, my email, my day.
What caught my eye was her hair, slicked back behind her ears
but wildly frizzed over the nape of her neck,
looking more like an Elizabethan collar than a hairstyle.

The gloves fell out of her purse when she brushed against another,
unnoticed, they fell to the filthy wet floor. As I went past,
it cost me nothing to scoop them up as I went by,
and even less to catch up to her, returning them,
in fact, I gained a smile, a gracious thank you,
and a deeper, honest look into her dark brown eyes.

An hour later, my boss ushered in a prospective client,
one who represented a sizable university account.
As she entered, I saw once more the hair storm and the umber eyes
of the gloveless woman, and this time her smile was brilliant,
her hand in mine warm and soft, her name given
and the serendipity of our meeting sealed the deal.



©2009 Christopher Reilley

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