Monday, October 15, 2012



My son William has not ruled for very long, and I intend to ensure he stays in power. I know this is not an easy task, and it is not one from which I can remove my attention for an instant.

I never trusted myself to hide a diary perfectly, but I find myself forced to keep one for the first time in many years- there is so much going on in my life, I need some way to record it all and clear the burden from my mind. I shall have to conceal it as best I can, and leave traps for searchers. It will have to do.

Just last week someone poisoned William's nurse. I hardly have time to spend with him these says, though I make a point of putting him to bed every night. The old nurse liked me very much. Her assistant is watching the baby for now, with the help of a few guardsmen’s wives, but I'll have to find a new head nurse soon. So hard to find successors for a job so suddenly vacant. And an even harder search is coming in the future- I must remember to start the process of selecting a food tester well before he is weaned.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Pianist

The Pianist

Her hands were not small, but they were graceful as they carefully picked out a difficult piece in A minor on the grand piano.

“How can you play here? Out in public, and in this heat?” I asked incredulously.

She looked up at me, unsurprised at my sudden appearance at her side although she had every right to be. “The sound is very clear- piano wood is very strong, and doesn’t get easily warped by heat if you treat it well. Though humidity can cause issues, over time.”

I waved my hands in a skeptical gesture through the soupy air of the busy marketplace. “And all the people, and animals, and noise?”

She paused her playing for a moment. “I practice where I can. I can’t play at home, and here at least I make a few pennies.”

The tattered grey newsboy’s cap was full of more than a few coins. She was an extremely good musician, after all. Even here, where most of the people could hardly afford to support their families, she was making some decent amounts of change.

“So how long are you going to stand out here and watch me?” she said, stopping again.

“Do you want me to go away?” I said.

“No, I don’t care,” she said, and her supreme unconcern bothered me more than if she had tried to kick me out. But I suspected she was aware of that.

“Then I’ll stay. But I don’t have much time, so it won’t be for long,” I said, attempting to sound like a busy man on whose schedule she was a mere blip.

“That’s nice,” she said absently, resuming the movements of her fingers I had interrupted with my conversation. I closed my mouth against a retort.

She really was very good, even in a busy marketplace. I was starting to unwind enough to enjoy her music when suddenly she stopped again.

“How is your wife?”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happiness: Comfort or Truth?

Truth Confronting Ease

Some say happiness is found in ease,
some say in truth.
For when I lounge and ease desire,
I find a gnawing ravenous mire.
But when I turn to face a lack
I think I know enough of truth
To say that in life, hurdles
leapt are more
than all else I can accquire.

Inspired by the Robert Frost poem Fire and Ice, after hearing some people today who truly believe happiness is about satisfying every material want- I had to counter that somehow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Story of Mine

Story of Mine

Story of mine, how you call to me, call to me,
saying I've left you there just as you were
I remember a time when your unfolding was all to me
But as at first, when your page was dear.

Can it be real, all that I hear? Give to me of yourselves, then,
Moving through the pages as I drew near
Filling in what waited for me: yes, as I planned you then,
Even to the original twists and turns.

Or is it only an echo, in its emptiness
travelling across time and memory to reflect at me now,
You being ever attached to my choices,
Display no more life than I've showed you how?

Thus I; typing faltering forward,
Light darts around me spinning,
Ideas dredging from their cranial conduits
and you, waiting, calling.

(spinoff of Thomas Hardy's Woman Much Missed, in honor of Nanowrimo!)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Early Hours- Poem

The Early Hours

The crowded mind rebels
against the crush of matter
and the press of time
taking what is given not as it was intended
return to sender
return to sender

multihued geomes gyrate, kaleidescope new hues
against the pressing dark
and the hollow empty spaces
encountering a light breeze
near-silent whirr
crisp linens offer ill protection from the elements
A quiver of supressed movement
heaving shoulders in a sigh
Forbidding all that is lachrymose


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hangman's Rope

“What’s that on the mantelpiece, little girl?”

Mr. Brunner had always made me nervous- his unctuous flattery to my mother and me on his way into my father’s study had always seemed slightly creepy, but I didn’t want him to tell Father that I’d been rude to him.

“A rope,” I said, not looking up at him but keeping my eyes on the needlepoint I’d been working on.

“A rope, sir.”

“Sir,” I repeated obediently.

“And what manner of rope would it be, for it to be placed in such a prominent location?”

“Father keeps collectibles there, sir, see the porcelain vases? He’s getting through his Chinese pottery phase, Mother says, and he’s buying historical things.”

“So what would be so historical about that section of rope, my little tyke?” Mr. Brunner patted me on the head. “I am so curious.”

I ducked out from underneath his hand. “Mother said it was a part of a rope that hung someone. I guess they must have been famous, but she didn’t tell me who it was. Why don’t you ask Father?”

Mr. Brunner straightened, looking thoughtful. “No, I don’t think I’ll do that. Why don’t you find out for me?”

“Me?” I was surprised, and dropped my needle. When I’d retrieved it from the floor, I looked up to see him looking at me thoughtfully.

“Yes, you. I’d consider it a favor. Would you like a nice present in return?”

“I suppose,” I said doubtfully. “Would Father mind?”

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Prison Exchange

Prison Exchange

"Mazal tov," the large man in the grey suit said gloomily. He passed the chunk of stale brown bread to his companion, a skinny man with a ratlike pointed nose and beady eyes. "You've got your wish."

"Yes, and I'd like to thank you." The skinny man passed him an equal-sized chunk. "I know you think I'm being silly and that I'm in denial about the reality of our situation."

"You are."

"But I appreciate your agreeing to do it anyway," the skinny man continued. "It means a lot to me."

"Cut the sap, man."

"I will, I will; I just had to say it."

A moment of silence between the two was broken by the large man's sigh. "Remember the Purim seuda at home? My wife always made light, fluffy kneidlach, chicken soup with real meat, real vegetables, a kugel so good you wanted to keep on eating more of it forever, and all day long, hamantaschen and wine and candy were coming in the door."

"I don't like that kind of talk," the skinny man growled.

"Sorry, just thinking."

"Keep it in your head, then."

The large man looked hurt. "But- but we agreed- we need to keep-"

"I'm sorry," the skinny man said contritely. "I know. I just- just don't talk about food, okay? My wife was only a barely average cook anyway."

"Sorry too," the large man mumbled.

"It's getting dark," the skinny man said, staring up towards the ceiling at the tiny crack that served them as a window.

They sat in silence, munching their dry bread, watching the sky fade again into twilight.