Friday, November 26, 2010

When Billy Collins' ear caught the "Snap"

Once again, tearing through his old flesh
Billy Collins removed his heart from his chest
and set it on the tripod in the field.

Turning, he stepped away--never to look again--
but that didn't stop his ear
from catching the "Snap!" of the Archer's bow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Commitment - As It Goes

“I’m so unsure—” she hesitates. “We don’t joke and that worries me.”

“It’s not fun, is it?” he adds.

“No—” She holds. “—I’m sorry. I feel bad. I was the one who wanted this and now I’m not so sure—”

“Don’t be,” he cuts her off, knowing how fast his own mind can change. “These things happen. I feel the same.”

“You’re so sensitive,” she admits. “We don’t have that—”


“Yes. You’ve felt the same?”


They wait. Their eyes cross on the ceiling, both separately searching for an answer that isn't there.

“Let’s go to sleep,” she concludes, closing her eyes. “I love you,” she adds, expectantly.

“I love you too,” he returns, letting his tired eyes close.

Uneasily, they fall asleep, wondering with each slowing breath

Thursday, November 4, 2010

the fox wonders why...

the fox wonders why
he had to leave his village
to search for his eggs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Mission – Revisited

I recently reconnected with my second cousin, a fifty-year old software programmer living in Ohio.

“I really admire that you’ve chosen to pursue a life in the arts,” he confessed.

“Oh…it’s not always such an easy path to follow,” I deflected, too embarrassed to directly address his compliment. I must surely be unqualified to accept any admiration for what I judged to be a relatively ordinary and unglamorous life.

“I wished I’d done that,” he continued, “I really wished I’d done something in the arts. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good life, but man…I LOVE music. And theatre. And Art! I just love art.”

This completely surprised me. I asked, “But you’re a computer programmer, right? Doesn’t your job require quite a bit of artistry?”

His eyes lit up as if I’d said some magical spell; a magic spell that he, too, knew very well; a magic spell that he’d somehow almost forgotten.

“Well, yes…actually. There is,” he added as his whole demeanor smiled.


It is the purpose of this blog to expose the artistry in the seeming banality of the everyday; those common experiences that, when added together, amount to the bulk of a life. It is my hope that through this narrow focus, I will step away from my screen, refreshed, renewed and ready to live more fully, understanding that the potential of the present is both a source for artistic generation and, more importantly, a source of living actualization. In short, through this small frame, it is my hope to find a happier, healthier and more fully capitalized, and artistic, life.

It is, furthermore, my intention that you, the reader, through this lens, will find the same.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's Love Got to Do with It?

Disembarking the Green Line at State and Lake, the prophetic lyrics, "What's Love got to do with it?" greet me. Turning the corner out of the station, I stumble upon the source: a carbon-copy Tina Turner street performer wailing away under the lights of The Chicago Theatre. I think, "Yeah, Tina, YEAH! What does Love got to do with it?"

Without a second thought and descending toward the underground Red Line station, well out of earshot, again I hear, "What's Love got to do with it?" Turning over my shoulder, I discover a business woman half-singing the tune.

"You got it stuck in your head too?" I offer.

"Do I ever!" she replies, hardly pausing to respond to my question as she heads toward the southbound side of the platform.

Waiting for the northbound train, I quietly stand among a noisy crowd of young professionals. I involuntarily hum, "Hhmt's Hmve hhot to do, hhot to do hwith it?”

Smiling, I sit on the train heading towards home. “Is it always this simple?” I wonder.

Friday, October 22, 2010

When Billy Collins' heart jumped through his chest and out the window

Bursting through his chest,
his heart leapt backwards after the runaway cottage
only to be struck by the galloping white fence.

Following fiercely behind,
the tractor, basset hound and water-tower—
all facing backwards—
sparing the slightest second,
too, slammed into the mess.

Lucky for him, this accident occurred
past the frame of his commuter-train window.
But that didn’t stop the courthouse from flying by
aiming, he somehow knew, for where the others had met.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Time

Waiting for the crosswalk light to turn, a brunette with wide brown eyes took a moment to ask, "Do you have the time?"

"The time! Yes I have the time! I have LOTS of time. I'd LOVE to tell you the time. Let me tell you the time. I LOVE time."

Now this isn't what i said, but it's a nearly perfect transcript of my thoughts. In actuality, I mustered, "The time! Yes. It is...8:26."

"Thank you," she replied, holding my eyes for an extra moment. She then turned and crossed the street.

Lagging slightly behind, I instantly became nostalgic for her question. I wanted to pull it through time, to stretch it into infinity. Or at least into the next logical question, "What's your Mother's maiden name?"


Standing in the Whole Foods' checkout line, the man behind me set down a bag of red potatoes, a fresh-cut fryer chicken, butter, and white rice.

Without thinking i exclaimed, "Wow, I like how simple that is!" pointing at his choices. "It's so straight forward. You know exactly what you're going to get."

"Hah. Yes. My girlfriend sent me to the store with a list," he followed. "It's hard to waiver when you have a list," he continued, sheepishly.

"No, I like it. It's simple."

Our conversation was interrupted by my groceries being scanned. I greeted the woman behind the cash register as she swiped my cheese, inquiring, "How spicy IS Mediterranean Jack?"

After some explanation, the girl bagging my groceries included, "This cheese reminds me of this store in my home town. They had a room dedicated entirely to cheese. Oh, I'm from Wisconsin. We LOVE cheese."

Paying while the cheese conversation naturally came to a close, I picked up my cloth reusable bags and thanked the two ladies for their time. The guy behind me kindly interjected, "Hey, have a goodnight."

He really meant it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Stew Story

 My mother wanted to throw a party. It was my last night in California and she wanted to celebrate.
“No no no no, No! I don’t want a party!” I barked.
“Well, you better start makin’ phone calls,” she came back. “I’ve made food for a hundred.”
            “A hundred? Jesus-Christ, mom! Why? I don’t want to see a hundred people. I don’t even like a hundred people.”
            “Just call—the food’ll be done soon.”
Defeated, I exasperatedly plucked up my phone. “I’ll make five calls,” I thought. “That’ll show her a hundred.” 
The party arrived. The table was set for a hundred, but we were just a few: the Wanes, my father, my mother, Devin, Sarah, three of my high-school acquaintances, and me. Reaching over settings, we passed the food and filled the bowls, but nobody spoke. I scowled at my stew.
            The silence finally broke when my high-school acquaintances, one by one, scooted their chairs to leave. The Wanes followed suit.
My parents stood and my eyes desperately jumped as they quietly excused themselves to the adjoining room. They’d previously replaced all the furniture from the den with their bed. Shutting the sliding door, they left a gesture of a curtain between us. Had we been talking, they would have heard every word.
            Alone in the room! I shifted my focus back to the table. “Where'd Devin go?” I barked, confused.
“He’s left,” Sarah said, uttering her first two words of the evening. “I must be going too,” she threw out as she exited.
           I turned back to the table. I sat there in the yellow lit evening, my parents in the other room. The overhead light buzzed faintly as the food cooled.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Mission

The Artist's Plot is a blog about the underlying story of small experiences.

Through a narrow focus, each post will illuminate the depth of the moments that shape our time.