Prose by George Avery ↓ ↓ ↓

Sleepless Nights At Mission Control


Insomnia
Poured into a cup;
No cream nor sugar added.
Two slabs of bacon thinly sliced
[sizzling] on the skillet [burning].
My house keeps an untidy yard
For winds and rains to play in;
While memory props an open window
For starry nights to stray in.
Pencil poised, I hold my course:
And by mid morning of the seventh day
I've steered my spaceship into the sun,
Exulting: "Oh rapture!" I am done.

George Lewis Avery † [-yours for clemency]





Invoking Frost


In the south, we have no birches to bend,
Neither do we get snow or ice to weight them down
In a manner that would incite my muse to bleed.
But more and more I find
As this life hurtles past its equinox
That I'll dwell on simpler times:
When my brothers and I would take turns
Inflating our adolescent egos
By commandeering a 55 gallon drum
And launching it down a steep incline
To see who could hang with it the farthest.
As the barrel would careen at breakneck speeds,
Negotiating the deformities of terra firma,
And the deflections of loosened earth and stones,
And some few unimpressive trees
There would be moments of zero gravity
When one felt as if he was in the clouds.
While the one was curled up in the fetal position
Pushing out against the rigid walls
And holding on against the centrifugal force
That was working to unseat him
It required all his focus
To avoid a premature ejection
Out through the open portal
With its payout of disjointed fingers
And bruised, bloodied elbows.
As I repeated the ride over and over again
Not once did I consider
That I chanced a broken neck, or spine,
Or ruptured spleen. What did I know of fear?
It was the ensuing climax that I strove for
More so than the adrenaline fueled ride itself.
Having gotten away and coming back to earth
It mattered little whether the ride ended
With me inside or outside of the barrel,
It only mattered that the world
Had not spit me out for good.
Riding barrels was the closest I ever came
To being a swinger of birches, and
And I'd be remiss if I did not see the similarities.
To this day if I close my eyes for long
I feel as if I am that child in the barrel still
Waiting for this wild ride to finish,
When I can once more exalt:
Life is all affirming. And launch out again.
One could do worse than be a rider of barrels
When he's not got his father's birches to bend.

-Geo. Lewis Avery † 2012









Copyright© 2001 George Avery. All Rights Reserved. †


Copyright© 2001 George Avery. All Rights Reserved. †

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Yesterday
Traipsing on a bluff
Where the snow lay thin
I spied a bit of color
Drapped amongst
The frozen canvas

Not much mind ye
Just a tad o' fluff
A tender flo'er
In a plightful state
What hurt me eyene
And pained me hammers
Wit her pitiful cries
So naked and cold
Amid the cruel elements

I drapped down
Onto one knee
And I shielded her
Wit me callous han'
Against the wind
And for a moment
I felt a warmth
[A fire mind ye']
Creeping into me fingers
And crawling towards my heart

I smiled
And i didn't mind the pinch
It caused
And the flo'er
Was never so safe
As she was then
And i [never so content]

Endless hours i sat
Unfatigued
[And the flo'er]
She smiled up at me
Till the ice in me veins
Began to thaw
And wells sprang
[Artesian style]
From both my eyne

We would have remained
Indefinitely
Had i only not heard
The crunch of a heel aginst the snow
Coming up behind me
[Startled]
I closed my hand
And you were there
Peering across my shoulder
To see what i had found

However [hastily]
On account of the glint in my eye
You moved away
The damage was done
An the flo'er crushed
I opened my hand
While the cold crept thru my fingers tips
And [certain i was alone]
I plucked a bit of ice floe out of me eye

With a gentleness unlike to me
I notched her out a resting place
Where i spread her broken petals
As best i could wit me frostbit fingers
And i covered it wit snow

All is buried now
Deep within the freezer
That is my heart
[Awaiting the thaw]

I am TROLL

Brother TROLL † [-yours for spontaneity and combustion]


Some while ago out on the plain
I met a man while it did snow
And then, another day in rain
This man and i we met again
Each time he waved and yelled
[Halloo ... ]
[Get thee away from me you trowe]
[Fly back wit that foul wind what blu]
[Or wit me point I'll run ye thru]

A third day far out on the ice
I saw this man when he fell through
I watched him plunge and bob up twice
But pulled i him free ere he'd sank three
I labored with him by the heel
Until we'd reached my far chateau
Once there I chased away his chill
Then kindly I spoke to show good will

[I've helped ye as good neighbors do
Therefore I'll ask for i must know
Do you judge me like i judge you]
He struggled to smile [indeed I do]
With that I frowned and said [oh well]
[This then will come as no great blow]
I clobbered him atop his shell
And promptly ate him toof and nail

Brother TROLL † [-yours for the chastising]


All Hallows Eve night is nigh upon us.
And I've got my fingers crossed,
And my hopes remain high
That it will befall
On one of them murky nights
When trolls are free to roam covertly
Under cover of low altitude congestions
Of maidenform fog [i.e. an unsullied mist]
What has arisen
From the respirations of furtive spaces;
Where frogs wear an aftershave
Penned heron's breath; and late night diners
Are served on green doilies
Atop a ripple cloth
Patterned of an algal sheen.

Dragonflies pirouette unaffected
Within the arena of an opaque moon;
While beneath the polished glass
A hidden pondlife teems.
I'll hitch up my breechclout
And grab my stoutest corduroy satchel
Then venture forth a trick or treating
To where gentle folks can be found;

All Hallows Eve
Is the most rewarding night of the year,
As pilgrims are about in perpetual numbers;
And by an obscure influence,
Invoked by a strategic positioning of the stars,
For this one night only
They do not feel threatened
When they spy my manifestation gaining
On them from out the soupy fog.

Once I have overtaken them however,
And they've been alerted
To the unmistakable miasma of peril
Arising from my trademark™ feet,
And twice-five enormous unshaven toe digits,
They'll allus pinch their eyes together,
Drawing close to peer into my face,
As if to ask a moot question
Whereby my malodorous breath
Will blitzkrieg their faculties,
And hackamore their breathing.

They'll swoon and not recover
Until secured within the confines of my haversack;
A relaxed retreat where they can associate freely
With a growing number of kindred souls
Awaiting the inquisition
There in the dark.

Meanwhile, back at my base camp:
A cauldron fusses atop a crackling fire,
Complaining the soup hasn't enough veal
To thicken its broth.
But that will change shortly....

....or I ain't TROLL.

TEE HEE HEE

Brother TROLL † [-yours for digestion]


Tradition dictates
On all hallows eve
I build a hefty fire
Underneath me cauldron
And enter suburbia
In search of victuals
Where abides a length of hedgerow
Adjoining one domestile to its neighbor
And a good swath of darkened road
Where i can scout for pilgrims
Laden with wares

Undisguised
I overtake them
With me long strides
Not unlike the friendly hail
Of a pirate sloop
When a fat merchant
Waddles past the horn
Carrying water
Way up past its breeches
And just in case
They'd be affrighted
By my forward nature
I puts them at ease
With a friendly [good evening]

And not until
We've walked a ways together
In mutual brotherhood
And requited acceptance
Do i lean in close
Whereby my halitosis
Peels the enamel
Off their halloween costumes
And tightens their laryngial muscles
Like a strong ammonia
Near enough
So as there is no mistaking
The mischief that's in my eye
And i ask
[How fast can you run
I bet i can run faster]

And they all scream like little girls

But last night
In the aftermath of an eventful evening
Of waylaying trick or treaters
What left me grubsack
Fearful o busting its tether
Where only an occasional straggler
Remained on the streets
Who was scarcely worth the bother
I spied a bonny miss little bo peep
Coming a traipsing over the rise
Struggling with a heavy sack of confections
What she was dragging with an efficiency
Unmatched by anyone of her small stature
Right down the checkered line
She approached
And as i awaited her
I got giddy on the brain
[Good evening] i greeted
And i doffed my imaginary hat
And bowed so low
My forehead bruised the pavement

[A good evening indeed] said she
[Much better than last year even]

[How so] i asked

[Its simple mathematics] she answered

[Glad to hear it] i said
[Might a gentleman assist a lady with her luggage]

[But of course] she was quick to answer
[it is heavy and i live a long way yet]

My heart skipped a beat
Once i'd hefted her load
For it was heavier than my own
But i am TROLL
And it was no burden at all
Not until
We'd walked a ways together
In mutual brotherhood
And requited acceptance
Did little bo peep
Motion me to lean in close
Whereby i could glean
Past the bonnet
And superficial makeup
Near enough
So's there was no mistaking
The mischief in her eye
And she asked
[How fast can you run
I bet i can run faster]

I shrieked like a little girl

Cause miss bo peep
Was no child midget at all
But a bonified grandmother
Wearing tennis shoes
Laced up past her ankles
I might have gotten away
But she hooked me by the throat
Wit a shephards crook
Just when i had begun to think
I had the chase won
By that time
I was so out of breath
I couldn't struggle
As i was dragged back
To where she untied my grubsack
And let my supper loose
What filed past one by one
To give me scornful looks
And a occasional kick to me shins
Then grandma unlaced her own grubsack
And shoved me inside
Where i was horrified to find
I was not alone
Granmother
Was a veritable TROLL menace

Listen children
If you suspect your granmother
Is keeping a TROLL
Locked in her cupboard
I appeal to you
Swipe the keys and
Release me and i will
Tell you where i've stashed
All the candied confections
From those many years
Of trolling suburbia
On halloween nights
Then we'll dine together

For after all
I am TROLL aren't i? TEEHEEHEE

Brother TROLL † [-yours for a sound thrashing]


The other evening
I was traipsing down this deserted lane
With me club resting on my shoulder
Searching for a campsite away from civilized folks
For to cook my vittles and to map out the stars
Before i hunkered down to sleep
When a ittle lassie
Came skipping up the cobblestone path
From behind and takened me by the finger

She waren't more than a mouthful
And she was dressed in a ittle pink hood
With matching boots and stockinged legs
And she carried a ittle twig of a branch
In her free hand like a riders crop
And a wicker baskinet was
Swinging from her elbo

This ittle lassie
She jest kept on keepin stride
Skipping along beside o me
Whil'st clinging to my fingerbone
And all the while
She never give me a sideways glance
And nonstop she yammered on
Like a yackitty jaybird
What is shaking pinecones down outen the tree
Onto my head when i'd overslept in springtime

Her trusting innocence disarmed me and
I forgot about the hunger that had been gnawing
At my insides moments before
And the muscles at each end of my lips began to tighten
Till my mouth drawed up at the corners into a smile

We hadn t traveled far
Along our mutual path into the wood
When we overtook this badly nourished fellow
A wolfish gent
Dressed all in black sequined leather
Who was a leaning wit his shoulderblades
Braced against the intimacy of a tree's shadow
He was chewing on a fat alfalfa stem
With flashy gold-capped teeth
His alligator boots crossed at the ankles
And fedora pulled down
To shade the mal intent in his eyes
Narrowed eyes that followed
Every step of the chile
What skipped at my knee
And a cold shiv ring wind crept thru the trees
And it whispered

[What a tender young creature]
[What a nice plump mouthful]
[At any cost i must have her]

As if she'd heard
The ittle lassie turned her head his way
And stuck out her tongue and laughed and laughed
Such a clever young thing
She was not at all afraid of him
But he was right to be wary of me for
I am i for all to see and i am TROLL
He ducked off into the trees
And i knowed she'd not seen the last of him
For he was a tenacious one
And crafty like the wolf that he was

The ittle tyke held onto my hand
As we followed that winding lane
Thru the wood
Until we'd reached a cottage
What stood with its door ajar
Whereat she let go her hold
And skipped thru the doorway
And me
I stepped over near the window
And listened a spell from the outside
And it be a good thing that i did what i done

[Oh grandmother she said what big ears you have]
[The better to hear you with my child was the reply]
[But grandmother what big eyes you have she said]
[The better to see you with my dear]
[But grandmother what large hands you have]
[The better to hug you with]
[Oh but grandmother what a terrible big mouth you have]
[The better to eat you with]

And scarcely had the wolfish gent
Who was posing as her ailing granmuther said this
Than with one bound he was out of bed and ....

Thats when my big arm flashed thru the open window

I grabbed him up by his sarcoptic nape
With me big calloused hand
Relishing in the feel of fragmentating vertebrae
Within my tight grasp and the little child
Lookin on with them big scairt eyes
Could hardly understand
Why i was a choking her granmuther
Who's hairy feet thrashed the empty air
Two skips offen the floor
But i am TROLL
And i ain't one for explaining
Nor seeking approval for the things i do
So i fetched the unresponsive brute
Thru the window
And i shook him inside out
Like a pair of ole trousers
And after
I hanged him up by his heels from a tree

I entered thru the door and
That ittle rose hooded lassie
Was still standin there frozen like
With a big tear building at the bottom of her eyen
So i fetched a bundle from the closet
What turned out to be her granmuther
Bound and gagged and near to death
And my heart shore beat easier
Cause that ittle lassie forgive me
Fer my brutish methods
She wiped that big ole tear
Away onto her sleeve and
She even give me a hug
And me a TROLL even

Granmuther was a tough old gal
And once she'd got a piece of cake
And a bottle of pink wine inside o her
What her ittle granchild had brung
Along in the baskinett
She went outside
An took a broom to that wolf in the tree
Till she was wore plum out
Then we put her to bed and
I seen the child safe back home

The night waned on and
The ittle lassie was comfy
And snug in her own bed
And me
I was sleeping on the ground
With grimy lips and a full belly
Beside a dwindling campfire where
Come daylight a score of camp crows
Was a fighting over meat scraps
Clinging to the ample bones
Scattered about the base of a cauldron
What had stewed me latest supper
For i am TROLL
AnD i hadn't et me supper yet
When i'd got back to camp
But i knowed the way back to granmuthers house

That scrawny gent in the tree
He wasn't much
But once i'd added a plump granmuther to the pot
Along with a dab o salt and the sweet taters
I'd plundered from her pantry
My supper was complete

I've been counting on me fingers and me toes
And in seven more nights it'll be halloween
that's when me and the ittle un
Is goin trick er treating [together]
She knows the way to every house
In the neighboring wood
And after
Once i see her safely home
I'm goin back for seconds
And i'm toting a bigger sack

For
I am TROLL

Brother TROLL † [-yours for charity]


"Good evening dinner guests."
Troll bows genteelly. "Do not be alarmed.
I am the affable Troll and I must insist
That I be at your disposal
On this festive gathering."

"Grandmother is in the kitchen at the present
Preoccupied - as your astute senses can attest
By the tantalizing aromas of her trademark pastries,
And assorted puddings, and pies wafting from therein;
Their precocious airs
Intermingling with homemade jams, and jellies,
And pot roasts, and fresh potpourris.
But keep in mind that the kitchen is off limits
While grandma is cooking.
Therefore, as the oven renditions
And the kettle boils a heavenly soliloquy
I would share some culinary hubris
To pass the hour until the bone-crackling
And marrow suckling begins."

"Now, I am not one for being fussy
When it comes to matters of singular taste,
[Intellectual or otherwise palatably inclined],
Or maybe I am - come to think of it;
For I have felled a fattened prairie chicken or two
With an accurately launched missile in my day;
Or retrieved a wild hare
From a wicker thorn bush with a stout prod;
And was rewarded with a tasty hasenpfeffer,
Or garlic'd sage hen from the rebounding royalties."

"And trust me." Troll ogles with his lazy eye.
"I'm no slouch at procuring,
And cooking festivals of salivary indulgence;
For when it comes to outright gourmand-acity
I rank up there with
That gluttenous centenarian Falstaff himself.
But a grandmother: now that is the rarest commodity.
A grandmother cooks with no compeer.
A simple meal becomes a cornucopia at grandma's house;
And the kitchen atmosphere
Inflates the appetitial nares like no other."

"Ah neighbor: if you could only peruse
My spiral bound encyclopedia of grandmother recipes,
Its diverse nature would astonish you beyond limits.
Indeed: I do not understand
Why there isn't one day of each year
Set aside just to honor them sweet old ladies.
I love them, I confessedly do;
And it brings a guilty tear to my eye
Each time I invite myself to an honest table,
And ply my fork to a grandma's roast,
Or a grandma's potted pie,
Or grandma's sugared yams."

"But do forgive me: I tend to get overdramatic
At such familial gatherings as this.
What say you we go now in single file
And investigate how grandma
Is coming along in the kitchen
With that newest recipe of mine?
Who knows: but with so many dinner guests,
It might just be that
She'll leave ample room for dessert."

Troll removes his top hat
And bows even more genteelly than before.
"No, no! After you my good man."
And he prods the hindenmost guest with a fork.

Brother TROLL † [-yours for mischief and mayhem]


I just can't figure some folks atall

It all began on a night last year
And i had just recent retired
To the interior of my winter resort
Hoping to get a bit of shuteye
With my big feet showing from
Under a heavy wool blanket
What was tucked up under my chin lobes

The night air was bitter tasting
And the cold had it's teeth bared
Eager to bite at any parts exposed
But fortunate for me
My feet were calloused
And a trite untasty besides
So i smiled in spite of myself
At keeping the toothy mongrel at bay

I had no more than shut my eyes
When my ear hammers got tripped
By the footfalls of a home invader
What reeked of unnatural sin
And its variegated buggeries
He was a portly gent
This would be assailant
Not the sort one would attribute
To being a burglar
And he was wearing the gayest outfit
Ever tailored to a man
I'm assuming he'd wriggled in thru the chimney flue
As i'd earlier wedged a enormous stone
Up against my cavehouse door
To keep out undesirables
Such as kirby vacuum cleaner salesmen
And hare krishnas
And them friendly folks from peta

Anyhoo
I lay as still as King Tutankhamen
Sealed in his sarcophagus
Alongside his pet scarab Neffereatme
While this intruder surveyed the room
Wondrin maybe if i was feigning sleep
Not knowing
TROLLs can see quite well in the dark
That being where TROLLs mainly dwell
Away out of the sunlight
Anyhoo
He reached inside a sack he was carrying
What most likely housed his robbery tools
And fetched out a big ole stick
What was concealed in painted paper
Wit a bright ribbon on it besides
His intentions was obvious
For he gripped it in both hands
And he tippy toed with it
Over in my general direction
And i heard him chuckling
All the while
Ho ho ho ho ho
And

You should have seen
The shocked expression on his face
When i sprung up offa me cot and
Clobbered him with his own stick
I stuffed him back up the chimney flue
Where he got wedged tighter
Than last holidays fruit cake
Which was a handy thing
As he blocked the draft of cold air
Coming thru my chimney's shaft
So i figured
He oughta keep till morning
Anyhoo

I'd hoped to retire back to bed but
I smelled venison on the air
And it made me mouth water so
I rolled the stone a mite to one side
And peeked out
Lo and behold
There was a small group of reindeer
Chomping on the ivy outside my cave door
And a tiny little fellow wearing green tights
Who run off into the woods
When he seen me ogling

Seeing as the reindeer was haltered
It waren't difficult to round them up
And reduce them to a pile of bones
Scattered about my cave floor
And then
To behead an hour for my meal to settle
So as i would'na sleep on a full stomach
I set off after that getaway driver
Who'd fled off into the woods
It waren't no difficult task
As he had short legs
And the forest was deep
As was the mud in the creek bottom
Where he'd got mired
I fetched him back home
Where i rolled him in cornmeal
And dropped him into a pot of brie
And that's when
I remembered about the big guy
Jammed in my chimney's pipe
I dunno how he managed it
But he had wriggled himself outa that chimney
And escaped

Fortunate for him
It was past my bedtime and besides
I'd done et my main course for the night
So i give the fellow a reprieve
I figured
If he managed to make it outa the forest alive
He'd perhaps give up his life of crime
And stay outa other folks's chimneys
In the future

I don't wanna ever hear it said
TROLL has not done anything to benefit society
Aside from trimming the outskirts of the population
Fer i singlehandedly broke up
One of the most profitable crime operations
In the syndicated underworld
You can't t imagine
The quantity of stolen loot i fetched from
The sack that big guy was a toting
Along with a list
Cattle logging the names and addresses
Of the former owners of the stolen booty

A fellow just can't absorb
The emotional impact of a crime
Until it is directed at him
And i got'sa tell ya
Being the victim of a burglar
Has made me a reformed TROLL
I has made it my mission in life
To return all the stolen loot
To its rightful owners
I don anticipate no praise
Just the deed itself will be amends enough
For all the cruelties i have inflicted in my day
I understand
It's gonna be difficult
For people to grasp my good intentions
The moment they spy me thru the peephole
A standin just outside their front door
Wearing a little green uniform
I peeled offen the leetle man
Its kinda tight in the wrong places
But it makes my voice sound a mite less gruff
And some have said the site of me in this getup
Is disarming in itself

So gentle citizen
If i chance to come a calling
Don'cha sic the dogs on me just yet
For i got something for ya
In the sack i'm lugging about
And a bit of encouraging news to boot
Don'cha worry about that organized crime consortium
Adversely affecting your holidays this coming season
Cause i am the self appointed nighttime watch
I am ever vigilant
And ever faithful
To my word

And the word is
IamTROLL

[Gotcha]

Brother TROLL † [-yours for eggnog and drumsticks]



Many nights
I have lounged atop a steep shelf
Overhanging some remote plateau
While the wind is scurrying about me
Like a matron dame
Wielding her broom
To sweep unwelcome'd snow
From blackened ice
Ice what insulates my soles
From sharper teeth below it
There is an urgency within me
What causes me to seek out man's camp
And i park myself
To eavesdrop on its industry
Squatting with me shoulders
Squared off to the night
And my blocky cheeks illuminated
By the welcoming glow of their fire

I hunker down with a satisfying grunt
For to abide a spell and reflect
I harbor no malice in my heart
For them who slumber there
In their cocoon sacks
Them who only stir
To toss another branch on the fire
When the flames have weakened
And each time the flames rejoice
I feel a warmth clear thru
To the soles of my feet
And i smile
As if they d done this just for me

I stay my position o'erlooking the camp
Till it is the bottom of the night
When the day is at its darkest corner
Of that cold hour leading into dawn
When the fire's flames have retreated
As have the campers into their beds
Doleful of the mornings chill

Better that they be apprehensive of me
For this is when I would move in
On swift and practiced podiatrees
I secure a sleeping bag by its nape
And shaking the contents down
Into the bottom of the bedroll
I throw i across my shoulder
[Without ceremony] and head for home
Only pausing from time to time
To quell an uprising
By banging my club roughly
Against a grub sack

[Thwack]

I am TROLL ?

Brother TROLL † [-yours for entrepreneurship]


Last night
I joined a friend on a hunt
It was odd me being asked to go along
Knowing my friend as i do
He's one of them solitary fellows
[A troubled soul you might say]
Who keeps his face in the shadows
And what has little to say
And less patience for listening
A lot like me actually

We rendezvoused by the river
Where he'd crossed over by longboat
And we never exchanged a word betwixt us
He just passed over the leash to his hunting dog
And once it had put its nostrils to the ground
The chase was on
Fortunately i gots strong legs
And keeping pace with that mongrel
Once it picked up the blood trail
Was no easy thing
My lungs was aching inside of ten minutes
And when i glanced over at my friend
He was gliding along like the wind carried him
But that's the way with them slender fellows
They are built for running

The varmint we was after
Once it heard our hound baying back of it
Took to running
And skairt varmints can vault
Like a rock careening down a cliff face
I seen it look back over its shoulder
A couple of times
And on one occasion
When it got a decent peek
At who it was was after it
I heard it let out a pitiable wail of despair
After that it was runnin so fast
We couldn't get within sight of it again
So i let loose the hound
And it had the varmint treed
In short order

My friend give me a nudge
And so i stepped in
And clubbed the poor bugger
On its crown
It was the charitable thing to do
As our hound was chewing him up
Something vicious
[That's what you get] i said
[For shying away from your appointments
It would'ha gone softer on you
If you'd fought it out like a real man
Or even give up without so much as a struggle
Its yer fault we had to sick the dogs on you]

I throwed the trophy across my shoulder
And i carted it back to the boat
With little labor lost
And there i knelt and skritched his dog
Behind its ears [all six of them]
My companion give me his best smile
From behind that impenetrable hood he wears
And lifted his hand in farewell
As he pushed off with his pole
Sending boat and cargo
Sliding smoothly into the mists
Enshrouding the impassive current

That he had been genuinely impressed
At my prowess with knobby club
And rusted pike i am assured
And later
As i lean on my clumsy weapon
And gaze in retrospect at the fire
I am anticipating our next outing together
When once again
He will offer to make a trade
Of my clobbering stick for his scythe
But little chance of that
As i m holding out for the three headed dog

Brother TROLL † [- may your crossing be smooth, neighbor]


This night
When star points
Map the purple scape
And moonshine lamps the water
When windsong courts
The willow trees
Whose limber arms invite him
With leafen skirts
O' feathered fronds
Baring knobbly knees
Tha' curtsy
When glassy-eyed does with spotted fawns
Wade shallow rills to deeply drink
O' the ripples in the moon
When nature flows in harmony
But for eddies in the stream
Be wary when you stir about
For a ghostly mist
It rises
O'er piney wood
O'er sandy slope
Born o' marshy bog and bottom
Like goosely down
It carries on
Steady sans momentum
It gains the fields
Devouring crops
Though it barely stirrs a tassle
And when it meets the pasture gate
It climbs above
It creeps below
In pillow shapes o' rapture
Till it o'ertakes the unwitting kine
Who've bedded down to slumber
But not satisfied by this fine feast
It looks about for plunder
It ascends the hill
Where grass doth bend
And on towards a dwelling
It gathers bout a earthen well
Where a gourd hangs for dipping
Downward doth it wildly slip
To imbibe of drouthy blisses
Then up again
Eet jettisons
From hill to dome to city
Devouring all in its path
And ever so's the pity
Until its found a city plat
Outside an open window
When with a wisp o' curling lip
It mounts the sill
It enters
With frightful damp and chilly breath
Distilled in expectation
It takes a mighty inward pounce
In past the shallow curtain
To land flat-footed on the floor
Near where you sit perusing
With eyes affixed upon this print
And ....

Not knowing it has come
You feel its icy fingers
What startle you
And when you turn
... Yikes ...
You cannot flee
There is no time
For at this moment it attacks
And bathes you in wet kisses

At which time it might be prudent if you was to close the window as some folks will catch their death from a draegon's breath but never, ever, will they from the lady Faug herself.

Brother TROLL † [-yours for open windows and unbolted doors]


Copyright© 2001 George Avery. All Rights Reserved. †


I have little faith in a politician
That gives me his promise
While extending his hand
For he is looking beyond me
And is sneering behind his facade
Saying "Ol' boy, the masses are asses."
And asses you know
Are by their born station
Dumb beasts of burden
And the best way to prevent
An ass from balking at its ill lot
Or bearing its teeth
Or clipping its sharp heels at its handlers head
When outfitted with a heavy burthen
As it so justly deserves
Is to give it a courtyard view of the meadow
And tell it THAT is the paradise it will retire to
Once all of its obligations are fulfilled
Give it a smiling task master
That spares the rod and lavishes praise
And offer it a carrot for its dinner

Conceal from it
That when old lampwick's memory returned
And his weakened eyes brimmed o'er with tears
And he would/or could no longer carry his load
He was secretly shipped off to the glue factory
And not retired to the green pastures as promised

By all means
Do not assign it a straight-shooting caregiver
One that keeps a firm grip on its tether
And applies a switch of stropped leather
As a necessary incentive
One that shuts it in its stall at night
And confides in it that
The retirement meadow does not exist
One that will inform it forthright
What an ass it is
And that it can only aspire
To become dog food

So as you can see
I have little faith in a politician
Carrying through with his promise
For it holds no water with the masses
Because as he is well aware "They are asses"
And for all the concerns his constituency voices to him
All he hears is a bray:

"Eeeee yaw eeeeee yawww
Eeeee yawwwwwwwww"

George Lewis Avery † [-yours for perpetuity]


Insomnia
Poured into a cup;
No cream nor sugar added.
Two slabs of bacon thinly sliced
[sizzling] on the skillet [burning].
My house keeps an untidy yard
For winds and rains to play in;
While memory props an open window
For starry nights to stray in.
Pencil poised, I hold my course:
And by mid morning of the seventh day
I've steered my spaceship into the sun,
Exulting: "Oh rapture!" I am done.

George Lewis Avery † [-yours for clemency]


Eagerness and apprehension
Struggle within me
As I stand here facing east;
For I have yet to see a sunrise
And I hear it is a lovely sight
For mortal eyes to feast on.

I have dreamed you: who parade in the light;
You that are motivated to do astounding feats
Thru the awareness that your days,
Your hours, your seconds are numbered;
Whereas I who have inherited no sundial
Possess that commodity
Which you would acquire: immortality.

I have dreamt you
Since the inception of the world;
And in all that measure
I have yet to see a sunrise.
This is why I am unyielding
In my stance facing the east.

Ask yourselves tomorrow,
As the fledgeling sun reveals a stonehenge,
Erected covertly in the predawn
If a heart still beats beneath the rock.
And in your quest for deeper meaning,
suffer your theologians
To ponder if I dream.

Thrym Fiercest of Giants [-on the Plain of Vigrid]

George Lewis Avery † [-yours for the epiphany]


In the Deep South we have no birches to bend,
Neither do we have snow, or ice to weigh them down
In a manner that incites my muse to bleed.
But more and more I find
As the years advance
That I sojourn to simpler times:
When my brothers and I would take turns
Wagering our adolescent egos
Inside a 55 gallon drum
And launching it down a steep incline
To see who could hang with it the farthest.

As the barrel would careen at breakneck speeds,
Negotiating the deformities of terra firma,
And the deflections of loosened earth and stones,
And some few unimpressive trees
There would be moments of zero gravity
When one felt as if he was in the clouds.

While the one was curled up in the fetal position
Pushing out against the rigid walls
And holding on against the centrifugal force
That was working to unseat him
It required all his focus
To avoid a premature ejection
Out through the open portal
With its payout of disjointed fingers
And bruised, bloodied elbows.

As I repeated the ride over and over again
Not once did I consider
That I chanced a broken neck, or spine,
Or ruptured spleen. What did I know of fear?
It was the ensuing climax that I strove for
More so than the adrenaline fueled ride itself.
Having gotten away and coming back to earth
It mattered little whether the ride ended
With me inside or outside of the barrel,
It only mattered that the world
Had not spit me out for good.

Riding barrels was the closest I ever came
To being a swinger of birches, and
I'd be remiss if I did not see the similarities.
To this day if I close my eyes for long
I feel as if I am that child in the barrel still
Waiting for this wild ride to finish,
When I can once more exalt:
Life is all affirming. And launch out again.

One could do worse than be a rider of barrels
When one's not got his father's birches to bend.

George Lewis Avery † [-yours for the renaissance]


Ittle Birdie? Way up high.
Why does your chortle mimic a cry?
Now that summer wanes.

Ittle Birdie? Why do you sob?
Have all your children took to wing?
And failed to send you tidings.

Ittle Birdie? Why do you shudder?
Tis only Autumn in the air.
Ushering Winter in.

Ittle Birdie? What frights thee?
Is it cooler days? Or longer nights?
Or mere the seasons passing?

Ittle Birdie? What ails thee?
Why do you look so glum?
Have I in my outspokenness
struck you both deaf and dumb?

Ittle Birdie? Why are you mute?
Oh pardon me. I see it now.
A cat has got your tongue.

Tssk tssk [munch] [crunch] meow.

Brother TROLLs Cat Mephistopheles † [-yours for peppered grouse and table wine]


Once upon a time,
There was a primordial ooze
Emerging from a bit of frozen Earth,
Where the sun incubated the rock
In an age when all things sentient
Lingered in the great oblivion of sleep.

An eon passed, and from that ooze
Was borne a cognizant thought,
What rose to the surface
Of that stagnant pond, as a bubble does;
And within its dome was sealed
The recipe for transcendence.

Like a gaseous hiccup, it floated free,
Unrestrained, intent on being realized,
But ... unable to stabilize outside its prison walls,
It's hull eroded. The bubble burst;
And consciousness spilled
Far out into the cosmos, in myriads of color.

Each particle, minute to miniscule,
Was different, though similar
In that each fragment retained
An inherent sense of the missing whole,
And an overwhelming desire for oneness.

But there was not one among that multitude
That did not deem itself to be
The acme of all its composites;
And this one in its arrogance,
Failed to assimilate, but rather,
Set about to eviscerate the inferior elements,
Until at the last it had quashed all debate
As to its rightful claim to eminence.

Once upon a time,
There was a bubble that would be a god.
But it burst at high elevation,
And the primordial ooze,
Being long exhausted,
Reeks of dust and nothing else,
Amid the great oblivion of sleep.

George Lewis Avery † [-yours for epiphany]


Oh mother I am weary.
Might I rest here for awhile;
In the cradle of your bosom;
In the billows of your smile?
The years have taxed me heavy.
I have trekked a daunting mile.
But all won't be for nothing
If I can prop here for a while.

You'll find I am not needy.
An untidy bed will do.
And in the spring: a canopy
To ward away the dew.
In summer I am happy
With naught a gown at all;
But toss on me a blanket
When tiptoes in the fall.
Insulate me heavy
Once winter rolls about;
But do not bother in the spring
To try and roust me out.

In lieu of answer mother
Sing me a lullaby;
That I might enter dreamland
With a moonbeam in my eye.
Whereby all my soulsome burdens
Will drop off at the side;
And I'll slip into the wheel house
Of a rocket ship and ride.

George Lewis Avery † [-yours for the homecoming]


Way far back in the Age of Stone
When tools were made of rock and bone
In a cave in the hills of the Mountain of Snow
Lived a primitive man we shall call 'UH OH'
He was a huntsman, a herdsman, and a regular Joe

The commonest man whom ever was born
With a heel that was thicker than the bite of a thorn
With a mind more stubborn than the heart of a stone
He was a handsome fellow with low frontal bone
And I've often wondered why he lived all alone

While on the jagged cliffs overlooking the brae
He was eaten by a Brauntosaur while facing a tree
But the mighty beast slipped on a loose bit of snow
And plunged into the river 1000 feet below
The dinosaur died ... but not 'UH OH'

These primitive folk spoke in gutteral grunts
Rarely was heard more than one syllable at once
But 'UH OH' was a man of notorious fame
And wherever he ventured it was always the same
Others would greet him with the sound of his name

It was a harsh world in which he was living
The climate was cold and the fates unforgiving
He once had three friends with whom he would hang
"OHMI ... GOONESS ... and ... IBEDANG"
Whom were named as they were being eaten by a Catamarang

The short nature of his friendships was always the same
So he made it a point to take note of their names
Like the time he awakened a Wicked Wack in it's cave
While swiping the eggs from a Grapple Footed Gnave
His comrades were warriors, both fearless and brave

So he raced outside and sealed the mouth of the cave
Trapping that Wack in the cave of the Gnave
the first to perish was MERCI then LAWDI then GEEZ
then OPUN...and...THEEDO...then WEBEG...YU...and...PLEEZ
then finally...GOBBUL...KRUNCH...MUNCH...and WHEEZ

The last one was a fighter ...BURRRRRRP...was his name
He was the last to be eaten but the fellow was game
For he rattled the mountain as he fought with the Wack
Almost rolling the Large Stone free from it's track
'UH OH' was hard pressed to keep it held back

'UH OH' was saddened by the loss of his friends
But he wasn't surprised, for that seemed the trend
He left the large stone in the mouth of the cave
And laboriously chiseled their names on the grave
Along with that of the Wack and the Grapple Footed Gnave

Another time while searching for the eggs of the Dag
Who nested on a sheer cliff, in an uppermost crag
He lost a dear friend he'd scarce got to know
While he reached down to aid him he somehow let go
"OOPS" he greeted ... His friend replied "UH OOOOOOH"

It was the year of the birth of the Hundred Year Snow
The temperature had dropped to 90 below
He was fishing through the ice for the spike-tailed Krim
When he got the wild notion to go for a swim
And 'UH OH' was known to follow his whim

His fellow villagers found his clothing on the ice by the hole
And they throwed a big shindig that same evening I'm told
With feasting and dancing and all sorts of Wahoo
He was eulogized by such fellows as 'YEEHAW'...and...'YAHOO'
And the final toast of the night was given by the Chieftain ...'TOODALOO'

Not soon after his celebrated demise
The population of man was on the rise
And so you'll see, after some reflection
'Uh Oh' fell prey to Natural Selection
(It's Nature's way of maintaining direction)

And yet,
Found Frozen in an iceburg and meticulously thawn
Is a primitive man from the Age of Stone
I'm afraid he is dead, as you should know
But his DNA is intact, and that we can show
Could be used to clone another primitive 'UH OH'

George Lewis Avery† [-yours for the human condition]


Long, long ago dinosaurs roamed
This swampy world and called it home.
The mighty beast preyed upon the lesser
or so I was told by my professor.

And somewhere within the Jungle of Grog
Lived a Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog
The tastiest bacon that ever was born
And it was wrapped in pigskin, beneath a rhinoceros' horn

Is it no wonder that it was sought after
By the meat-eating T-Rex and Velociraptor
Who came to Grog Jungle seeking both breakfast and lunch
And of course a Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog brunch

Now this piglet had a great big horn on its snoot
That came in quite handy in uprooting roots
It feasted on melons that grew on Grog Nile
And could spit a seed at least a Grog mile

At home in the muck and swaddling vine
It slept in the hollow of a Nile melon rind
Till the large meat eaters rousted it out
And littered Grog Jungle with ownerless snouts

Needless to say when the feasting was done
If you sought through all of Grog Jungle you could find only ONE
And this piglet proclaimed: "They'll never eat me
Just to make sure,I'll climb the world's tallest tree."

So using its toes it climbed up to where
The uppermost branches tickled the air
Hanging by its fingers from the outermost limb
It observed the hungry dinosaurs searching for him

They stomped on the melons and fished the Grog mire
But not the first one of them thought to search higher
Safe in a tree above the Jungle of Grog
Long dwelt the Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog

Each evening it would climb down using strong monkey toes
And spear a ripe melon with the horn on it's nose
It would carry it high to the branches above
And feast on the sweet flesh it so dearly did love

At night in the Heavens two full moons would arise
That looked much like melons both in shape and in size
Perhaps they were two melons dangling up there
And were delicious like the fruits on the Isle of Wambahr

"Oh, if only such a melon were to grow on Grog Nile
And why should it not, can I not spit a Grog mile
Perhaps even farther if I will only practise my throw
Once I've knocked down a melon it's seeds will soon grow

It then spat a hard seed at a Raptor on Knool
A far distant mountain at the edge of Gambool
The seed struck with precision on the tendermost loin
Then richocheted off and is most likely still going

It then turned to the moon that hung straight above
And spat a seed from it's tongue using it's mightiest shove
That little seed struck with a thunderous sound
And the moon broke in half and came tumbling down

One half of the moon struck in the Desert of Tulle
The other half landed in the Mountains of Knool
It cracked open the earth and made hot lava run
And a mountain of dust soon blocked out the sun

The Ice Age began and I assure you my friend
That is how the mighty dinosaur came to it's end
You have probably wondered why there is only one moon in our sky
So I have included a free lesson whereby the dangers of spitting apply

I have heard it whispered by the crashing waves in the Sea
That somewhere to this day survives the World's Oldest Tree
And in the uppermost branches with it's eyes still agog
Clings a Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog


THE END

George Lewis Avery† [-yours for attrition]


Young hector was a flashy hound
Who worried hart and hare
He'd often run the fox to ground
And hold at bay the bear
Come evenings when the chase was done
He'd lie down at the hearth
While master oiled his fowling gun
And apprised him of his worth

Them days were rich and golden ones
And hector seized the years
To rear a pride of headstrong sons
With cotton in their ears
And hector let them have the stage
While he sat on the porch
Like one befitting of his age
Who'd done passed on the torch

Come evenings when the day was done
He'd lie down at the hearth
And gaze on masters fowling gun
And question of his worth
They'd no place in the chase no more
He well nigh faced the truth
One gathered rust inside its bore
And one was long of tooth

Then came a night like none before
When robbers broke inside
They knocked old master to the floor
And kicked his dog beside
Old hector was a passive hound
Who'd harm nor hart nor hare
But him that swung his boot quick found
He thought he'd kicked a bear

Less tame than sparks amid a storm
Tired hector was no more
Those infidels saw him transformed
Into that hound of yore
He chewed the kneecap off the first
Then flew at cheek and chin
They bled, they fought, they cried and cursed
Still he would not give in

But in the melee of the fight
One struck a lucky blow
Who grasped a broken table leg
And laid old hector low
The thieves, retreating out the door
Addressed old master thus
Old man, of this you can be sure
Next time we finish this

Old master's grasped his hunting horn
He's called his children home
And ere they've took one day to mourn
He's led them off to roam
They've trailed the robbers to their roost
Who marvel at the sounds
They think that hell has been unloosed
But its just masters hounds

Old hector sired many a hound
Who now worry hart and hare
They often run the fox to ground
And hold at bay the bear
Come evenings when the chase is done
They circle round the hearth
While master oils his fowling gun
And thanks God for their worth

George Lewis Avery † 2001

God Bless Our Armed Forces!


It whar a unholy moon what waxed
Above the field of a bountiful harvest
Bearing witness to a reaper whom
Had passed this way and gone

Ravens slumped heavy in the trees
Jaundiced eyes drilling holes thru
A creeping fog what fused
Chaffe and stubble with the field
Poxed birds wit bellies engorged
On corpse of horse and man
What lay rotting upon the plain

And myself desiring artifacts
And disowned resources
Habitually undressed my emotions
And entered into that wasteland
Bordering heaven and hell
A forbidden zone
Of jackal and hyena
Whar not a few trespass
But none emerge unscathed

When came forth a hand
Arising from the all conquering fog
What grasped my trousers leg
The claw of one sorely wounded
Who had long endured

I watched as mouth unhinged
To reveal a wilted tongue
Whereby i *exhaled* greatly relieved
As i had envisioned a hoard of locust
Boiling forth to consume me

[Are you him] it asked

My horror yielded to compassion
And i knelt midway [i am no one]

[You have come for me] it asked

[I have not come for you]
I spoke with assurance
[I seek the alliance of no man]

[Aye ... but then am i still a man]

[As much a man as i] i said [even more so]

[Then turn back] it cautioned
[If you can recognize my humanity
Then you still have hope of your own
Turn back else he rob it from you]

[You talk of him] i asked [who is this pirate]

[One who stalks in shadow] it answered
[Early in the battle i fell wounded
And propped myself against this tree
Keeping weapon at hand

On the first night he came
Bearing his maidens with him
Who wept and tore their hair
Many of the wounded
Were carted away before morning
But not i who feigned death
And by day i hurled rocks at the carrion

On the second night he returned alone
To walk among us offering water to the thirsty
Slaying those who cried out
But i held my tongue
And by day i hurled rocks at the carrion

On the third night he knelt among us
Listening for healthy hearts
Silencing with a dagger those he found
And by day i hurled rocks at the carrion

On the fourth night
I no longer thirsted
As all thru the eve he walked among us
Robbing corpses
And by day i found my strength insufficient
To hurl rocks at the carrion

On the fifth night
The ravens owned my eyes
But i could hear him walking among us
One tyme his face came so near
Deigning to see if i breathed
I held my own
And by day the ravens peeled my face

This is the sixth night
And he is returning for me
I can hear his heavy tread
But what he wishes to rob
I will no longer have to offer
For i force it upon you and
Whether it prove burden or bonus
It is now your cross to bear]

His feeble hands then pushed me away

[Run] [run my comrade in arms]
[He is come]
[The divil has me in his grip]
[Ah what I would give for eyes]
[To witness his distress]
[When he discovers he has failed]

And i stumbled back
Ere i fled the way i had come
For that slain philanthropist
Had been lifted up above the fog
As if by unseen hands
What gripped onto the lapels of his uniform
And discarded roughly to one side

I pray the hour will long await
When i must inherit his estate
Yet day by day i'm faced again
With man's inhumanity to man
It isn't daytime but nights i dread
When i can hear his furtive tread
Whan all i ve done i take to task
And heavily burthen i dare ask

[How many miles before i sleep]
[How many miles... until i sleep]

George Lewis Avery † 2001



↓ ↓ ↓ The Flea and the Elephant: a fable ↓ ↓ ↓



Once upon a time there was a common flea (Pulex irritans). This flea was no more and no less ordinary than any other flea for that matter but you could not convince him of it. For you see this flea had traveled to Rome to witness the coronation of the king; after having accepted a formal invitation by stowing away in the beard of a celebrated thespian who was top of the line fare for a flea; but seeing that he could not hear above the hush of the audience and the telescopic view being quite unacceptable he made his way through the procession by hopping from head to head until he had gained the foremost seat in the cathedral. Of course he was so small and unimposing the Pope did not see him poised atop the future king's balding pate when he placed on the crown until after the deed was done. By this time it was too late to rectify the matter and the flea received the coronation first.

"By Jehovah the title is mine," Proclaimed the flea. "Kneel down before me my ambrosia?d subject," He demanded of the deposed heir incumbent; and he bit the would-be king forthwith and with much gusto right on the top of his bald scalp."

"Ouch!" cried out the unappreciative recipient and he slapped his hand to his wounded head in a most violent manner. This would have been a fitting end to this particular parable and the last we would have heard of the flea had not the Pope stayed the hand with his own.

"Hold thy temper, my liege. You cannot do harm to your king."

"What sacrilege is this I hear," Shouted the angered potentate. "It is I who am the king."

"Not so. The flea has been made Monarch in your stead 'by the grace of God'."

"But such a blasphemy cannot be permitted. The flea is not of royal lineage."

"Oh but you are mistaken for it carries the same blood as yours. It bit you did it not?"

"Mercy, it did at that," confessed the king.

"Then you had better do as your newly appointed king demands of you and kneel before him."

And so, the would-be king knelt down albeit reluctantly and bowed before the newly crowned flea. Forthwith the entire attending constituency followed suit by prostrating themselves to his new majesty, the flea. The flea in the meantime was swelling with a new born emotion. Call it exultation, call it confidence, call it pride, or call it ego, it was most unbecoming one of his stature.

"This is my Queen I presume," Said the flea of the Arian goddess standing like stone nearby. "Come my dear; let us retire to our chamber for a nightcap." He hopped onto her elbow and the brave lady paled but nonetheless retired with him. I affirm she was brave for what strength it must have required for a refined lady to associate with a flea.

Some while later as the sky turned to fire in the west the flea emerged to look out over his kingdom from the high balcony of his immodest castle. "There is justice in the world after all," He shouted in a flea voice that carried not very far.

"All of my life I have been discriminated against and frowned on," thought the flea to himself, for as you see he could not for that matter think it to anyone else now could he. "This day I have broken a new ground. I have achieved what no one thought my low class was capable of. I have gained an audience with the Pope and am crowned king by the grace of god. In effect I am the chosen one."

"As a monarch I can do no wrong. Therefore I have decided it is time to level the playing field. I will do away with the classes. I will co-mingle all the blood in my kingdom until I am everyman."

The flea called his royal guard to him and instructed them to parade a new citizen before him each hour and he would command that person kneel down obediently while he would bite him on the ear. In this fashion the flea was never without devotion, did not lack for variety in his diet, and could never be accused of being out of touch with his subjects.

Eventually however the flea had accounted for every citizen within his realm and as far beyond as his influence could extend. "Are there no more subjects," He asked.

"No Sire. Only the pets of the households, the lambs in the fold, and the oxen of the field, among others."

"Then have all the dumb animals to bow before me," He commanded. "I will assimilate everything."

"One after the other the flea bit all the animals of the kingdom on the ear; and so their blood mingled with that already coursing inside him and he was well on his way to becoming all things."

"It is not accomplished yet, your majesty," Apprised a most observant advisor to his advisors. "Word has come to me that the elephant refuses to comply with your wishes."

"Then have the miscreant bound in chains, marched throughout the kingdom, and flogged nonstop until he agrees. I must have full compliance if my dream is to be realized. Have him understand that noncompliance is not an option. I will become everything if it is the last thing I do."

Therefore, by express orders of the king the elephant was bound in chains, marched throughout the kingdom, and flogged for days on end until its willpower began to falter and it burst into tears and agreed to abide by the kings edict.

"Why have you refused to do as I say," Asked the king.

"I felt it was an unwise thing to request of me, your majesty."

"Are you suggesting that you are more savvy than your king who has assimilated 99.9999 percent all living things?"

"Not in all matters, your majesty. But in this one instance I am quite convinced of it."

"Nonsense," Said the king. "Kneel down to me that I might bite you on the ear."

"But your majesty ?"

"Silence! I'll have no more insubordination from you. Do as I command you or I?ll instruct a mouse to take up residence in your trunk."

And so the elephant effused a big sob and knelt in a most subservient manner. But as it did so its enormous knee bore down onto the flea with such force that it burst him. And that is how the stain came to be in the royal red carpet. It happened so long ago that no one remembers but the elephant; and he has the most reason to remember.

Let this be a lesson to you good Christian; when you find yourself up to your eyeballs in cake realize your limits lest you bite off more than you can swallow.



THE END

Geo. Lewis Avery † [- yours for moderation]


↓ ↓ ↓ A FISH'S TALE ↓ ↓ ↓



Eugene wanted a fish for his supper;
but on his trip to the market
he encountered a blind woman
holding out a cup seeking alms;
burthened by his yen for trout
on the one hand,
and a consciencious piety
to assist a suffering sapien
on the other,
Eugene thumbed the coin in his pocket;
only to find he'd inherited a hole in the fabric, and no coin.
Apparently his moral compass had fallen through as well
leaving Eugene with little sense of direction,
for on impulse
he reached into the cup and withdrew enough for the carp;
bolting away as the miser made a swipe at him with her cane.

- returning with the fish under his arm,
Eugene was pointed out by the vagrant
to a cop patrolling his afternoon beat
as the man who'd assaulted her
and robbed from her till;
so Eugene engaged in a short footrace
what ended in his getting pummelled with a billy club
and dragged away to the city jail,
where he was abused by his cellmate
in a manner most heathenish;
and shamed so humiliatingly,
Eugene strangled himself with a bedsheet.

In the meantime the humble beggar woman
has placed the frozen carp atop her shopping cart
and is stooping to pick up a shiny coin on the pavement;
a scene repeated numerous times as she ambles down the walk.
Once beyond the brightness of the street lamps,
and for reasons of her own, she detours into an alley
to emerge on the far side sans rags, sans cart,
and sans disguise;
Her nimble feet navigate her to a modest apartment
where she enters, runs a hot bath, and prepares the fish;
- after a hearty meal she changes into gym shorts
and jogs downtown, and past the city precinct
just as a body is being hauled outside on a stretcher
by paramedics who pause in their grim duties
to admire the shapely brunette as she jiggles past.

All Eugene wanted was a fish for his supper.



THE END

Geo. Lewis Avery † [- but whose was the worse crime?]

↓ ↓ ↓ A POE-ISH TALE ↓ ↓ ↓

Ah sleep:
that gentle narcosis
what refreshes the body
and rejuvenates the mind.
Who requires it?
Certainly not I:
For I was a man that did not sleep,
although sleep pursued me
with her coy eyes ogling
from out the dark confines of my study,
or from the stark maw of an alley
as I crossed the bustling boulevard
en route to some urgent venture.
She loitered in the shadows: beneath
drooping lampposts along the avenues,
fluttering her painted lashes,
vying for my attentions.
But I would not acknowledge her.
With disfavor I diverted my eyes.
I burned the candle at both ends
and in the interim it paid dividends,
as I had become a self-made man
and was to marry into a family of prominence
whereby my station in life was secured.
And yet sleep would not be dismissed,
for I had scorned her outright
and her ego was bruised.

With my approaching engagement
I began to experience migraines,
what became more intense
with each new day, so that
soon I could not abide the sunlight.
Even dark glasses offered me little relief.
My eyes had become sensitive
to even filtered particulates of light
so that I was in constant torment.
I sought remedies but treatments failed.
Out of desperation
I shut myself away.
I became a recluse:
with heavy curtains drawn
on the windows of my apartment.
I no longer ventured outside.
I had my meals delivered.
Calls from my betrothed were dismissed;
her knocks at the door went unanswered;
and soon she came no more.
But more significant was it
that my migraines were subsiding.
I had found a remedy it seemed.

At long last
I could sit behind my armored stile
with an agreeable smile,
listening to the hustle and the bustle
of normalcy outside my dark fortress;
persons passing, voices chirruping
like crickets in a faraway field;
and it soon occurred to me
mine was no mishap of fate.
I had been singled out by sleep.
She would be my courtier; and she,
whose selfish piety eclipses all others,
would not be denied me this time;
as with nimble fingers
she massaged my temples,
bringing me to the brink of rapture.
How she gained entry into my room
was and is a mystery, but more
and more I was become enamored by her:
so much so that I begrudged nothing
of what she had cost me to win my favor.
I was convinced I had wronged her more.
I indulged her whims: and the while we loitered
it seemed that time had ceased to exist.
So confident I was of absolution
I verbally pledged to her my troth:

It was then a blow was struck
outside the door to my apartment
what made the shy maid slip away;
and with her unrehearsed retreat
I felt a pang rend my cavernous core.
Theirs was a most untimely interruption,
but the rapping was unlike any other:
it was more of a "thump".
As if some free weight had fallen against the timbers:
listen ... for there it was

striking again

and again.

"Go away!" I instructed harshly,
although in vain, for the assault continued:
"THUMP .... THUMP ....... THUMP"
with no regard to my loud objections.
Angered by the industry of my visitor
I assayed to rise and dismiss him,
only to discover I could not;
sleep's fetters held me firmly ensconced.
I fumbled in the darkness for the door;
but it was not where it should have been.
Inching around in the cramped quarters
I was met by a corner;
and then another;
and another;

and

another.

It took me some moments to grasp:
this was not my apartment
but a resinous box.
Now panicked:
I began to claw at the timbers, even while
serrated splinters tore loose my nails;
my fingers raw and bleeding, and my nose
incensed by the sweet sickness of pine.

Meanwhile from above
wafted the faint whistling
of an industrious gravedigger;
and with each shovels payload
loose particulates trickled down
through the cracks,
stinging my blood veined eyes; while
the taste of raw earth wetted my tongue,
and my throat: so dry
that I was strangling on the coarse silicates
of my own frenzied SCREEEEEEEEEAMS;
frozen in a perpetuum
of inescapable wakefulness.

Woe is me:
for with laced lips
sleep had drugged me;
and missing the alarm
I'd awakened to discover:
overzealous inheritors
had inhumed me
prematurely.


THE END

Geo. Lewis Avery † [ever yours for karma]





↓ ↓ ↓ HIGHNOTE TODAY ↓ ↓ ↓

Highnote today
Is scrub oak and sandy farmland
With intermittent home;
And yet
This was a community once
In more than name alone.
It owned a church,
A general store,
A barber shop,
A central road,
Well maintained
For wagon wheel and shodden hoof;
And families
Who worked the soil
With hope and a promise
For what the future held;
Who rallied when a neighbor called;
But all that changed
In the lapse of one long winter.

Three quarters of a century
Have come and gone:
Pandemic or
Epidemic,
Their story is archived
Beneath aging trees
Whose fibrous roots
Have a history of intimacy
With rotting pine boards
And nematodes.
I was here once before:
Long ago
With my father, and still
It has taken me hours to find it again;
For there remain no landmarks
And few are left who know it exists at all.
Though it lies only a short distance
Off the decrepit clay road
In a thicket of scrubby oaks.
Feral hogs
Have been rooting here
For acorns I suppose;
Upsetting stones
Whose engravings have worn thin
With the wear of sun and weather,
And precursory tears.

I tread uneasily,
For I do not know
On whose mound I stand.
Sparse markers lie overturned,
Buried beneath the mulching leaves
In two parts, or incomplete.
It pains me to imagine
Any man would have desecrated this place
Where so many promising youth were interred
Within the lapse of a single year.
I kneel to examine five stone markers,
Faded but legible still:
Five siblings aligned
So close together their shoulders rub.
Aged from 19 to infantile:
A sight familiar
At many angles,
But the majority
Have been disturbed.
The poorest graves lie unmarked
As wooden crosses
Have not endured
And like the cemetery itself
Fell into gloom and disrepair
With the final interment.
For I have the feeling
Few could bring themselves
To venture here again.

The trees have remained
Sole custodians
Assigned to their care;
Au pairs of distinction
Who huddle in collusion
On the twilight of each eve;
Their sentinel,
An arboreal crow
Who cocks its head
With a bodeful eye, till
Unfolding an ebon wing
It darts away
Beneath the canopy.
The harshness of its cry
Shatters the gilded silence;
I start.
I realize time has gotten away from me;
For nighttime is eminent
And daemon shadows have begun to appear
To pirouette atop the rotting leaves.
Is that the laughter of children I hear?
Fancied voices:
Conversing in whispers.
So muffled I cannot catch the words.
The temperature is dropping rapidly.
An icy breeze gropes at cuff and collar;
It toys at the hairs
On the nape of my neck.
I shiver
As a bugbear treks down my spine,
Running panicked with cold naked feet
Touching my skin.
I draw my windbreaker close
And hurry off in the direction of the road;
Grown apprehensive
And telling myself I am silly
To be feeling uneasy;
But relieved to reach my truck
I lock the doors before I drive away;
I only begin to relax
Once I have left the oak bottom behind me
And have turned onto the blacktop
Towards home.

I know of a half dozen former home sites
On my small and modest acreage alone;
Where the plow overturns remnants
Of a community once tightly knit;
A community whose bell knolled
With the flu pandemic of 1918.

- Geo. Lewis Avery †