Short Story – Part I

The boat rocked violently back and forth, side to side, tipping with the current and against it. Marshal who was at the helm had his coat zipped up over his nose, and if his hat hadn’t blown away his face would have been completely covered. He couldn’t stand the cold, and when the ocean spray drenched him once more, he hollered for Zebb to come on deck.

No reply.

Zebb was tall and thin with curly red hair. He was lucky his eyes were the pale blue they were, lest his beard would have overwhelmed his face and his looks would have been lost in the bush.

Marshal wiped his face with his arm, holding the helm as steady as he could and looked out ahead. He squinted and then widened his eyes.

There was Zebb, standing at the end of the pulpit.

“Crazy bastard,” Marshal yelled. “Get away from there! If you fall in I’m not coming after you!”

Zebb could barely hear Marshal over the wind and the waves, though Marshal was not one to go unheard. But he stood there, with the elements rushing toward him, smiling. He loved the cold. He loved the way it would wake his senses and leave him shivering. It was discipline for him to resist the chill, a welcomed challenge. But the wind was far too strong to resist, and rain was pouring, beating down like the sounds of heavy drums, echoing in his ears.

Zebb turned and walked back to the helm to join Marshal.

“What do you think you were doing up there?” Marshal yelled in his ear.

Zebb laughed his laugh, brushing him off as he grabbed the helm.

“It’s my turn,” he said, taking the wheel from Marshal, who waved him off and went below deck. He was tired and wet, a familiar combination.

His Vessel needed fixing. He wondered how long she would hold up and if it would be best to dock at the next port or continue toward the Hudson. Docking would have certainly been best, but Marshal did not want to extend the trip any longer.

He lay down on his cot.

There were people waiting for him at the edge of the bay, one person he had been apart from for far too long. A round, flushed face with gold stripes tangled in her ashy hair. Maybe she would be wearing that dress that cinched her waist in just so. The one with the little flowers on it that played peekaboo when caught by the wind. He thought about her as he drifted off.

The boat would not dock tomorrow.

Back on deck Zebb was trying to be careful about the night watch, thought it was easy for his mind to wander. Tonight, it was carrying him far away, through familiar woods. He recalled what it was like to lie in the grass, on a cool summer night. How delicately the green would brush against his cheek while the wind blew, tracing the stars in the sky with his fingers, looking for Orion’s Belt. It was a fantastic sort of bliss for him. Yet his last night spent camped beneath the stars was far less euphoric. His neck was sore and his throat seething with pain, and as the rain beat down on his tent, he shifted in his sleeping bag trying to stay warm.

TDM

Big Sky (Part 1)

Barefoot steps on dirt paths carried me deeper into the wooded area where I was greeted by hordes of people slithering between and grazing one another. Their sun-baked faces turned blue in the starlight, contrasting the drench of sepia and terra cotta that soaked their cotton, burlap and linen garb draped across their bodies. Sipping whiskey before gulping fresh air I stopped noticing where my steps were, and following the brightest lamppost made of moonlight I took my gaze toward the sky. I stopped in my tracks and settled, cross-legged, on the mossy mess of dirt and grass, to draw a line connecting all of the silver specks in the sky. Being under Big Sky meant the changing of gratitude swept in overwhelmingly with the changing of the seasons. The rows of trees were not just trees, but homes for little life, simple life, or companions to the dazed people weaving in and out of them looking for the path. People were not just people under Big Sky either, but friends and gentle faces to stop and hug and wish a happy harvest to. In the short distance beyond the clusters of tent cities was a bon fire whose flames stretched upward, so tall they could have reached over the heads of giants.

TDM

Lying on a Rock

I disengaged myself

And let every tender vertebra

Feel as pious as

The stone

They were held upon

And reaching overhead

In my supinated situation

I gasped

And let my hands fall to

The pate of the rock

Connecting them like

A halo

Twisting my fingers

Around my own locks

Tangling them between the crown

On my head

Where the coolness of

The stone had met my skull

Supporting it

 

TDM

Andrew

You were trying to be

a Kerouac

When you led me

from subway to streetcar

To marbled sidewalk

and thought you were adventure

Looking for old doorways on Bay

Where I knew there were none

And you were trying to make me

your Queen Anne’s Lace

So I would be

gentle with your secrets

sooth your eccentricities

and unravel your spirit

But I was the seedling of

a dogwood flower

And led you

From subway to streetcar

To tall grass footpath

And thought I was adventure

In convincing you

to cascade backwards between

dandelion and dew

to match my wavelength

which was unravelling itself between

the blades of grass

as though the meadow were

a maze leading straight

to your disposition

 

TDM

Wings and Tied

It has been a long time

Since I have listened to chirping or

A flutter

A far cry from usual territory

Out of range by a long

Shot

 

Beats

Like a propeller, where there is a chill

In the air

Retreat

Or do not if your bones permit

If your fragility

Has not caught up with you

And your garb is puffed and fluffed

 

In flight you are

Formidable

On solid ground

You are canvass and backdrop

All in one

Swoop

 

And glide

In a most translucent way

That there may be less chance

Of foul and etched irritants

From gilded feathers

Plucked

Of a nuisance.

 

TDM

It is Never Enough

I heard once

That slumping through

Moss was enough

To satisfy any

Lust for adventure,

That turning

Pebbles over in my

Hand would be

Rugged enough,

That I should not

Dirty my dress

Or get bugs in my hair,

But I have also heard

That rolling

Over hills and under

Starry skies is never

Enough for a

Single lifetime,

It is never enough

To quench a thirst

For dipping toes in lakes,

Washing hands

In rivers and falling

Asleep to the crickets

Buzz, humming in my ear

Whilst grass and

Earth so cool

Under my body

Tickles before I become

A treat for tiny

Bugs whom I implore

To be gentle

To leave a little something

For myself.

T. DM

P.S. I would love some feedback on this piece, mostly regarding whether or not it sounds incomplete. Cheers readers!