"But first, baby, as you climb and count the stairs (and they total the same), did you, sometime or somewhere, have a different idea?
Is this, baby, what you were born to feel, and do, and be?"

-Kenneth Fearing

Monday, August 30, 2010

St. Francis and the Butterfly


“I’ll take that one.” Sal told the girl behind the jewelry counter, “It’s our anniversary, and she loves butterflies.”

“OK.” the girl replied pleasantly. “Do you know her size?” Sal thought for a second and said

“Yeaaah. It’s… Well it’s about like that.” He indicated the space inside the butterfly ring. The girl didn’t ask too many questions, she was polite but not chatty, unless someone was on the fence. She knew that Sal was buying today.

“Did you know that a butterfly landed on my hand, the day we met?”

“How nice. That’s a good sign if I ever heard one.”

“Yeah, she called me St. Francis sometimes, because of that.”


“Do you know why?” Sal was a little terse suspecting that she was only humoring him.

“He liked animals right?” she answered, trying to projecting more businesslike. He didn’t take the hint. She wanted to give him the hurry up hand motion, but didn’t.

“Yeah he liked them alright. He could talk to them and they would come right up to him. Birds would come and land right on his hand. Once he even tamed this wild dog that everyone was afraid of. He just walked up to it and said, what’s the problem dog?”

“I get it.” she threw in hoping to hasten the story.

“That’s $220.00.”

She would normally push the warranty but wanted Sal out of her store. He paid cash and turned to leave. She exhaled in relief, but he turned back to throw out a last thought for her.

“The thing is, I never heard of St. Francis and a butterfly, but she liked the idea so I didn’t say nothing about it.” The door closed behind him and the phone rang.

“Gordon’s Jeweler’s” she said.

“Hi Sandy, Monica. Just checking in”

“Oh hi. Yeah, everything’s cool. Pretty slow afternoon, sold one of the butterfly rings though. I got this creepy guy for an extra hundred dollars.”

“Creepy guy?”

“Yeah he thought he was St. Francis.”

“Right. Well don’t get too attached to the commission on that one.”


“Yeah, he comes in every year about this time. He’ll return it tomorrow, when he remembers what happened. I hope you were nice to him. He was friends with the manager before me.”

“Yeah sure. What’s he going to remember?”

“His girlfriend’s dead. She was mauled by a wild dog five years ago. I’m sure you saw it in the papers. I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about him. Sorry.”

Sal took his time walking home through the park. He made sure to smile at everyone passing. He felt like he was walking above the ground, invincible with love and spring air. He could already see her bright smile when he opened the door. He couldn’t wait to show her the ring.

Thursday, August 19, 2010



You remembered cigarettes

after the names for things were gone,

you still had the two fingered gesture,

although you couldn’t light it or lift it to your mouth.

The hospital let it go, in certain cases.

You clung like an injured mountain climber

gripping a ledge halfway down the face,

too weak to scale your way back up,

and nothing to ease you down.

No help coming,

couldn’t reach you if it was,

although everyone said

“Expect miracles.”

and they paraphrased

that bible verse about

the faith of a mustard seed

moving mountains.

And I thought, move it all you like,

it’s still the same mountain.

But looking at you,

a painted skeleton, minus teeth

I did expect a miracle.

I asked whatever it is that listens

to prayers and pleadings

that you would notice your fingers

still clutching the shelf out of habit,

and tell them this once to let go.

                                         -Brent Allard

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just Before the Sky Fell Down


She twirled in the Santa Ana winds

like a satellite finding its orbit in the driveway.

The Eagles Greatest Hits played for the fifth time in a row

because letting it play was easier than finding another album

that everyone drinking could tolerate.

She really liked singing along to Desperado.

You felt indestructible, even knowing that when reality

returned, the woman you watched would be someone else’s wife.

But it could wait. Let it wait. Let it hang there like the moon.

No need to even mention it.

You couldn’t blame the alcohol, because you drank

yourself sober long before, and can’t pretend

you didn’t know what was coming, when she stepped back

inside, the wind still whispering around her, remarked that

the stars had brought you here, and then looked in your eyes,

and said oh so seriously, that infidelity isn’t a problem

but a symptom of a problem,

and you, of course, agreed.

                              -Brent Allard