Monthly Archives: April 2012

Phil

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Phil is the thing that runs past you in the forest at night, so quickly and invisibly that you think you’ve imagined him. Only seen by moonlight, Phil has pitcher-like ears that can hear trees growing and birds sighing.

His skin feels like a whisper and his voice sounds like a soft blanket on a cold night. He smells of mossy skies and clear bark and is gentler than the fuzz on a raspberry.

Caught in a boot by campers, when asked his name, he whispered a word that sounded like “Phil”.

Often Phil is misunderstood; mistaken for a devilish gremlin, a hobgoblin, an irate imp. But Phil is none of these things. He is kind and shy and not of this time. We can all learn from Phil. So next time you meet something – or someone – you can not quite understand, take a moment and think of Phil. Be quiet and still and listen.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

 

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Circling Words

April is, as you must know, National Poetry Month. I’ve been remiss in reminding you; too often poetry is forgotten, like tiny toymakers or the perfect bliss of spinning in a circle with your eyes closed.

Here is a wonderful piece by Franz Wright, courtesy of The Borzoi Reader’s Poem-A-Day initiative.

DEAD SEAGULL

Seagull in the corn, postage stamp-size cornfield in the

woods,
in the middle of the state, and how you ever got here.

Weather
of heaven, July Massachusetts, the blue sky one

endless goodbye.
Give me a minute, maggot-swarming preview of the

future, give
me a moment. You can hone a blade until there is no

blade, or
dwell with magnifying glass so long on a word that

finally it darkens,
is not, and fire in widening circles consumes the world.

For a moment
only, stay with me, mystery. Before you change

completely into
something other, slow cloud, entrance, spell, not yet

remembered
name, stay; tell me what you mean. A dead bird is not

a dead bird
I was once told by someone who knows.

Excerpt from KINDERTOTENWALD © 2011 by Franz Wright. You can learn more about Franz Wright’s latest book of poems here: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/194205/kindertotenwald-by-franz-wright

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This Is Not My House

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Dunkirk

Needless to say, it’s been an adventurous week. Hunting a manticore – for research or for sport – is dangerous, exhausting work and I am finally home in Brooklyn, sipping tea and licking my wounds.

A manticore bite is nothing to scoff at, you see. My arm is still swollen around the wound and my cheek is healing with a rather stunning scar. Bubo assures me that I look fearsome and dashing, but she’s been particularly attentive and I know my two day fever was a concern to her.

Mordecai and I were successful in finding the manticore; it was prowling the woods near the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. We were able to observe from the cupola of a stunning home on College Street, and I would have been fully content with a notebook full of observations. My brother, naturally, was not satisfied. He needed to get closer to the beast.

His insatiable need for closer examination is how we, decked out in thick protective gear to ward off the deadly spikes of the manticore’s scorpion-like tail, came to find ourselves creeping through the wooded backyards of Montpelier’s fine citizens, carrying woefully useless weapons of self-protection.

The manticore itself is how we found ourselves speeding off towards Sugarbush at 3 in the morning in the jalopy. The manticore is a shockingly fast runner and the jalopy is a shockingly slow vehicle and while we nearly lost the creature in Duxbury, we came to a head on Route 17 in Camel’s Hump State Forest. Mordecai nearly lost an eye and I received the full glory of a mantiore bite on my arm.

The jalopy withstood the brunt of the attack and it appears that there’s nothing like old tire rubber to disgust a composite creature. Bald tires may be horrid to drive with but they’re the answer to a cryptid attach. When the manticore spat a few teeth and tire bits out of its mouth and roared towards Bristol, Mordecai and I launched a Dunkirk back towards the Mad River Valley.

Dunkirk is a noun meaning a retreat to avoid total failure; a crisis situation that requires a desperate last effort to forestall certain failure.

Coined in the early 1940’s, the word refers to the evacuation of 330,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkerque, France in the face of enemy fire in World War II. This military maneuver occurred in 1940 and was considered a desperate move to avoid what surely would have been a crushing defeat.

Our Dunkirk took us all the way into New Hampshire, where we sought solace with old friends and my delightful pen pal Esme. She brought me a tiny bat-eared fox totem that kept me company while I slept through the worst of my fever. Bubo was exceedingly brave and flew west to ensure that the manticore was not on our tails. It was not. It appears there’s a sea monster in Lake Champlain that was unimpressed with the cryptid sipping at its shores.

I am allowing myself this week to recuperate and then I shall force Mordecai to shed his ridiculous eye patch and assist me in rebuilding the jalopy. I shall also consider drawing up plans for a tank. If Mordecai insists on chasing dangerous cryptids all over the country, he should at least have a proper vehicle.

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