TEACHING THE ANIMATED CHARACTER TO FLY
My assistant sat
counting soft white marshmallows
as I tried again to teach the animated character how to fly.
It wasn't as easy to coax a cartoon into a life jacket
even for its own good, under the cloud of suspicion
the marshmallows marching in a steady stream
from one pile uncounted to counted the next.
The character tempered a mixture of expressions
as I pointed to the stiff jointless deer that he needed to mount.
As he straddled the patchy fur, I pointed
to the story board and easle to remind him of what should happen.
Looking at him I envied the pending experience
of a spectacular, that I could only live vicariously,
shunning creeping thoughts of sticky things
the eraser and pencil in my pocket an unused last resort.
I put his hand on the release for the parachute
as the time was coming near. I hoped he might
spontaneously toss his locks, sympathic to my anticipation
though the action was not on the story board.
The lucky bay leaf positioned in the pit of his left arm
I punctured the sandbag and it began to release its ballast
a one-way egg-timer spilling its guts as a tracer and
a promise of enhanced boyancy over time.
The giggles of my assistant rose,
marshmallow between middle finger and thumb
alerting me to a cobweb that tethered one hoof to the ground.
I feared this would begin the juggling,
as has happened before.
I cleared the cobweb with a twirl of my finger
and, disappointed, saw that the character was missing his elf shoes.
As I stood to admonish the oversight, he was reading
the contract -- evidence he is not thinking lightly.
I took the contract from his hands and fit him to his shoes
while listening to the numbers my assistant called out,
his bowls overflowing, doubting a moment if I could think
the character into flight as sand piled about ankles.
The character, resting his head on the deer's neck
In a moment of our distractions, had already fallen asleep.
His beard had grown thin and wispy.
Mounds of marshmallows glowed florescent filling
the space of the warehouse behind my assistant like a cloud.
The sandbag had emptied, the moment
to kick the deer somehow past
A thousand cobwebs wrapped about
my finger like a bandage over failures
1000 times more dense than
the one I'd just bent to remove.
The story board panels had changed without my doing
a broken roof, the character in giant wings, youthful again
assistant toasting sweet treats by a fire, sun shining
on the easle through the roof hole lighting sketch showing
the pencil and eraser past their tampering in the tray
But the pencil and eraser still in my pockets
my assistant monotonously counting
the character asleep without wings,
No hole in the roof, dust dancing slowly
in gray-green light, the plastic deer
burried in the fast sand and marshmallows
Strung with 10,000 webs
The deer is showing no life, the character lies
on the cold floor, my vision of flying is
for tomorrow with a new cast of character
a new breath of faith, a leadership
as staunch as a flag in a breeze.
Then I will will a will for my character to fly
Above the marshmallows up over lines of laundry
semi-starved for lightness in a moment of concentration
fluffy and sweet no longer bound by the warehouse roof
then the pencil and eraser will will it all again
and make the character fly.
YOU REMEMBER I FORGET
He had no laces
in his shoes
their tongues whetted
from stepping in
the still fountain
his bald head lumpy
draining eternal reflections
amidst the audience
of white pigeons.
"All of you bore witness,"
he giggled, "at the altar,
at the alter. Where the
died like this fountain.
You remember, I forget,
when that day was
that you flew away
and left me there."
The damp flattened
unlit cigar came
to his mouth again
and he directed traffic
just for a moment,
with a crackling
package of bread
where only thoughts
flowed like waters
from the gutters
of building rooftops
to trickle down
drains in the street.
"In that moment
what was a wife
became a witch
who loved always
other men and became
entangled like a vine
on the tree of life
left wilting as she
tore it to the ground."
"well, you rememberů"
he said to one strutting bird
and it seems it didn't
because he was saying things
no one ever heard,
and infused his ramblings
with "you remember,"
and "I forget"
which said to me
there was a
divot in his head.
he said again
as I tried to focus on him
to write a picture
and he insisted,
when he realized
what I was doing,
that I delete every memory
In a moment
I did not remember
In a moment I could
Richard Lynch, Valencia, Spain