Stories from the Back Porch

The unrelenting rain mutes the rhythmic symphony of the birds taking flight
They are trying to leave my father’s yard like I have done so many times in the past
My back porch offers them precarious safety due to the steady foot traffic of the squirrels
Below me a phone rings but not for me – I try to ignore it hoping it will go away anyway
I hear the heavy footsteps cross the floor then the phone stops ringing

Wet cold air sneaks up into my shirt but the serenity of the moment is nearly palpable
Somewhere down the alley a car crushes the gravel kicking up little gray stones
Wild rabbits have converted the abandoned car into a hutch to protect them from the rain

I am eventually offered the phone though I haven’t had coffee yet and should know better
The inane prattling of the voice oozing through the wires would lull me to sleep
Were it not for the stultifying documentation of the breathing death that will not sleep

A natural rhapsody swirls around the porch but can’t permeate the phone lines
One more cigarette to allow me the welcome distraction of burning lungs
One more cup of strong coffee to prop me up against what I am forced to listen to

The cacophony of the bittersweet melody in my own head makes for better dancing
The swelling of the strings against the vibrant thump of the tympani plays in concert
With the blood coursing through my veins and the vigorous beating of my heart

The harbinger heralding the decline of a life I almost had is finally – mercifully – silenced
The conundrum of representing western civilization replaces its amusing simplicity
To archive the lives of those who came before us for those who come after us
To promulgate societal concerns affording them no more dignity than soft white bread
To explore the emotional landscape that purges the loving fool in favor of irony

A soft-boned bird calls to me from a tree decrying my pomposity for all its worth
Her shrill bit of music pierces my heart’s armor for a brief and melancholy moment
Were she wrong I would pluck out her little heart and feed it to the squirrels
But she is right and the brilliance of her song usurps the power of the written word

My consolation is that what I have has been hard earned and come by honestly
Perhaps the little bird must be silenced as well if only to ease my conscience

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