A Winter’s Tale

Aurora over the Hay River, Northwest Territories

and was he very brave?

indeed, he was, brave and strong and
so handsome it made us almost cry

why would you cry, mummy?

not sad tears, mind you, but tears
that were proud and full of joy
sometimes, as you will see, very strong
feelings sometimes cannot be kept
inside your heart, but they must find
their way out and up into the sky

will i see him again?

i see him in your baby brother’s face
and in the lights of the skies at night
sometimes i think i hear him still calling
my name and i want to go to him

you won’t leave me though, will you mummy?

no never, my sweet
he would not want it, nor would i
he lives in the deepest woods
in the falling snow
in the silence of the night
and the brilliance of your eyes

does he love us still, do you think?

he loves us forever and a half
and he will always be here
when we think of him
and call him home

© ceg 11.26.11

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i dreamed of you
and me
in some land where
the only words we understood
were our own

air, heavy and warm
covers the land
wrapping itself around us
mysterious
tastes awaken
our slumbering
tongues

exotic spices make us
dreamy and distant
sleepless, fevered nights
full of forbidden
discovery accompanied
by bird song, foreign to our ears

and we
twined together in this
land of eastern dreams
feel home slipping
away into
memory

© ceg 11/26/2009

Bilita Mpash

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He took her one day,
to the ocean’s depths
and plied her with kisses
sweet and drenched
with blue-green sunlight
he took her with no
promises of return
to live with him beneath
the waves
her sex glimmered
like a succulent pearl
for him to pluck
and treasure
he took her each night
to starlit seas
caressing her with
undulating currents of
heart-wrenching
pleasure and watery
moonlight played
upon her flesh until
she bade farewell at
last to earthen legs
and followed him
forever in his waters
deep and blue

© ceg  8.13.11

the smell of whispers

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standing at the brink of
  something nameless
something momentous
 it tastes of peach-sweetened
mouths and lazy smiles
  it slides into my dreams
and teases me, dancing
 just beyond my reach
every cavort designed to
  enamor me further
it hovers just behind my
 eyes and abides in a
secret place within my
  heart and in the chambers of
my soul, filling it up
 the smell of gardenias and
whispers wrap around me
  and i can feel you there
making me want you more
    with each breath
    with each prayer
       i am yours
© ceg  5.25.11

Song of the Banded Tree Snail

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She sat on a stool in a small circle of light
and shifted her guitar and gave it a practice
strum.  We tittered with ill-concealed
amusement at her fey features and
her serious, thin-lipped mouth.  She
leaned forward, her lips almost brushing
the microphone and murmured, “This is
something I wrote last night called ‘Song
of the Banded Tree Snail.’ ” She ignored
the quiet chuckles, “I hope you like it,” she
added before leaning back and fixing her
stare far away at something only she
could see.  Our amusement turned to
wonderment as her mouth began to bloom
with the song she had written.  Still fey, she
was holding us captive with her flowering mouth
and that lovely song.  To this day, I don’t
remember much about it except it had something
to do with never touching the ground.  Her voice
drew us in and took us wherever she wanted.  She
sang a charm around us and when at last it
broke, we shook ourselves awake and wondered
if we’d been dreaming.  Her mouth returned to its
firm line, the fey eyes, laughing as the light died.
I think about her still.  She.
© ceg 4.24.11

The Red Beast

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She fell in love with it the first time she saw it.  She actually squealed with delight and declared then and there that she must have it or die.

He looked at the bright red monstrosity and  shook his head; whether in disbelief or deep regret none of the smiling old timers knew.  But Joe knew that  Maddie would give him no rest until the natural gas-powered Servel refrigerator was hogging up space in their new house. He found out later that it had been custom painted in a body shop.  And it was BRIGHT red.  Very bright. And heavy.

After several sighs on his part and pleading eyes on her part, the deal was made and a delivery date set.  Joe was certain the quiet chuckles erupted into yowls of laughter and disbelief as soon as the door shut behind them.  Maybe even an undercurrent of sympathy for him-the man Maddie had set her cap for twelve years ago.  The man who did whatever it took to make her happy.  The man who just bought a bright red Servel gas refrigerator.

The layout of their home was a bit unusual; the only way to the kitchen was to go through the main level and down a staircase.  A very narrow staircase with a 90 degree turn in it. And then another.

Maddie met the delivery men out front and told them how it was going to have to go in.  The delivery men looked at her dubiously and asked to see the kitchen.  She led them in and brought them to the stairs and down to the kitchen.  After an abbreviated discussion, they knew she was right.  A look of dread passed between the three men’s eyes before going out to get the beast.

The thing easily weighed 400 pounds.  Probably more.

And it got stuck on the stairs.

For four hours.

The house was filled with salty expletives, grunts, thuds and the occasional prayer.  Joe came home and offered nothing but sympathetic looks to the weary, sweating men.  Maddie fretted about the living room, asking the ceiling how she was supposed to use a refrigerator whose new home was on her stairs.

After more grunting, thudding, cursing (and the occasional prayer) the red behemoth finally moved and found its new home in Maddie’s kitchen.  The men made short order of getting it installed and handing her the user’s manual.  They explained how it had to be charged from time to time and that she had to put her food items in it a certain way to maximize efficiency.  She waved them away absently; she only had eyes for her beloved red Servel.

Joe, for his part, was glad that he had surrendered to her desire.  It made her happy.  She had this way of pushing the door shut with her hip that always got him thinking how much he loved those hips.  And how the color of the kitchen beast often reminded him of the color of her lipstick when it was a “going out on the town” night.

That had been almost 60 years ago.

The bright red Servel still stood, hogging up more than its share of the kitchen, but Maddie had died years ago.

Joe still could hear her cooing over it the first time she saw it.

The way she pushed it shut with her hip.

The way she kissed him with those Servel red lips when it was a big night out on the town.

He stared at it as it hummed quietly.  With a sigh, he rubbed the spot on the door that had kissed Maddie’s hip for so many years. He shut off the lights and clambered up to bed, wishing, not for the first time, that she were still there. Still telling him how to make her happy.

© ceg  6.11.13

Petrichor

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What is it, the word that means the smell of rain washing the heat from the earth?

Or the remembrance of the stickiness of a melting popsicle as it drips down your arm?

Perhaps it is similar to the word that means where to hide with your own thoughts.

Is there a name for the color of sunlight when it seeps through the boughs of a lilac bush?

Or a term for the time before you are no longer fully asleep but not completely awake?

What do you call that moment between hope and despair?

Can a word capture the feel of her hand as it slips through yours to take her first steps?

Has science named the fragrance that is the memory of your mother’s perfume?

Or the taste that lingers on the tongue after a lover’s kiss?

And if there were words to describe these, would they lose their magic forever?

©ceg 9.18.10

playing it safe

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i remember seeing my beloved
in the rain in november
by the book store
wearing those jeans and that smile

a new tatoo on his still warm skin
it was black and red
that was all i could see
from where i sat in silence

he juggled his purchases
from one hand to the other
sliding his hand through his hair
looking around for me, perhaps

i traced my finger down the glass
watching him move down the street
and wondered to myself if i
would ever meet him face to face

© ceg 6/26/2008

game plan

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this white girl
sits on a stool
fingers wrapped
around an ancient
microphone, singing
like nina simone or
billie holiday
the bartender, glancing
up from time to time
is certain he will
have her before
night’s end
couples and singles
silently smoke their
Gauloise or Djarum
cigarettes and
drink their absinthe
or whisky
dreaming of yesterday
while the white
girl sings about
louisiana or mississippi
and glances towards
the darkened
corner table at
the man with the
distant stare
and knows that she will
have him
before night’s end

© ceg 8.31.08