Clouds


a Haiku for authenticity


Photo by Dallas Reedy on Unsplash

cotton in the sky
emptied of ‘thoughts and prayers’
clouds as dry as bones


 

Writer’s Note: In times of great challenge and suffering many of us struggle through a pat rubric of responses for something more. Often, stock replies do not express our sincere desire to remain present, authentic and empathetic to each other’s story of loss. Not unlike clouds devoid of rain, expressions empty and rote, will not salve our broken hearts. Find a way to be present and express genuine feeling, even at a distance, this will go a long way toward reminding us all we are never alone. 

 

©Sandy Knight. 2020 All rights reserved.

Denial

Emptiness crowds

into crevices once

overflowing with you —

all I know of love,

what it could be,

how it rises and falls

Secreting the blade

and hilt behind its back

while it parries and thrusts

leaving gashes

silky as red ribbons,

upon my soul,

all of it I learned from you.

Truth, staid and sticky

barges out of the shadows, clumsy

and blundering

forbidding my eyes to blink,

my head to turn.

You grip my face digging

your fingers into hollow cheeks

Forcing me to grant you Sainthood

instead of hating you

Oh, sweet relief,

permit me to deny

the wound and the knife,

allow me to worship

the dream I had of you

a little longer

I promise my heart

to sacrifice,

                                                                   if you would be

satisfied.


©Sandy Knight, 2020, All rights reserved. Image credit:Judith Redman

 

Daydreaming of Travel During a Global Pandemic

Memories of past travel adventures might be our best refuge during critical quarantine hours.

Boredom, anxiety, fear. This is not the ideal cocktail of emotions we want to be sipping when it comes to getting comfortable with Covid-19 quarantine. This particular cocktail doesn’t come with a straw, or a colorful umbrella, nor is it served by beautiful staff from a four star hotel located on white sand beaches.

Travel is probably the last thing on your mind, and well it must be while living through the arc of this contagion, but it may be your best escape.

Travel lovers, vacationers and diehard adventurists, you still have options.

Your past travel adventures are free of risk and you may enjoy them again and again without fear. By taking time to create space for daydreaming about exotic destinations, or sharing photos, and memories of the best vacation you’ve ever taken with family or friends, you’ll get the mini-vacation you desperately need.

Perhaps you think it might be cruel to delve into the memory of past travels or the hope of future adventures when the trip you planned and paid for has been freshly canceled, but I assure you, a daydream travel trip can be very therapeutic. And if you’re anything like me, you can’t stomach another news conference, so turn off the t.v. and get busy. You’ve got a trip to plan.

Remember all those pictures and video clips from travel events you promised yourself you’d organize? Well, it’s time to get to it! Compile and organize these files into one or several short slideshows. Brief collages, specifically themed, might work best since most of our attention spans are likely shorter than usual. But, you do you, and create what feels best. And don’t forget the music! Choose something uplifting, indigenous music from your travel destination or music which triggers memories of your trip.

For example, if you’re putting together a short slide show from your last Caribbean vacation, use island music or reggae. Adding music will effectively energize your travel daydream, or instantly transport you back to some of your cherished travel destinations.

Combining imagery and music is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal for shifting our emotions, especially in our current situation.

Remember, we still have choices. We can hunker down in complete fear or we can open a treasure chest of travel memories stored in our hearts and minds and take a fantasy trip to a destination at the top of our bucket list.

Doing a few simple things, like taking a travel daydream, or sharing a slideshow will give you a break from the current crisis and may make it easier for you to navigate the emotional quagmire of quarantine while staying put.

Be kind. Be well. Be adventurous.

©SLK, 2020 All rights reserved.

Mercy

As dawn breaks

over another day of uncertainty

silent comes the moth unbidden

from the cornered shadows

of my bedroom

frantic wings flee the dark.

I see not an intruder but

a fateful refugee

perhaps sent to probe

the virtuous nature

of a heart flush with fortune.

I cup my hands gently

around the winged creature

knowing it would be far less

trouble to drop it

in the toilet

into a watery grave,

it’s only a moth, after all.

Yet its wings

beat against my palms

not with a threat

but with a plea;

our connection is complete

in this moment

the moth and me

need only one thing — mercy


Sandy Knight, ©2020 All rights reserved. image credit: Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

 

No Fear For The Day


No fear for the time
when our sun
is vacant from the sky
no fear for the day
when the button’s pushed
that will annihilate
because you’re here with me tonight
and all I’ve wished for in this moment
can’t be more than I have now…

No fear for the day
when I forget your name
or even forget your face
not fear for the night
when my breath becomes
stilled by fate and time
because you’re here with me tonight
and all I’ve wished for in this moment
can’t be more than I have now

Tomorrow may be
the grandest hope I hold
tomorrow may be
the boldest lie we’ve told

No fear for the day
when our bones
turn to ash and blow away
no fear for the night
when your touch
won’t hold back the tears I cry
cause I’m here with you tonight
and all I’ve wished for
in this moment can’t be more
than I have now…

No fear the day
no fear for the night
no fear for the times
because you’re here
because I’m here
because we’re here right now…


©Sandy Knight, 2020 — All rights reserved. *free download of this song

Words and music by S. L. Knight ©2020 All rights reserved. 
Recording in its entirety performed by S L. Knight.

The Verisimilitudes of Fools

 


The Verisimilitudes of Fools

Whose court jester are you?

Stricken by catastrophe
impoverished, our hearts
hunger, though small

imaginations flounder
beside the appearance of truth.

Blinded by the allure of false reason,
the sacred becomes obscured

apathy takes its turn
on the wheel

driving fevered dreams
over fallow fields

harvesting nothing
but the dying
chorus of false empathy, killing

the scholar’s intellect with
the unremarkable stamp
of opinion.


 ©Sandy Knight. 2020 All rights reserved.
image credit: src

A Mixtape is Forever

“Alexa, play George Winston.”

Why make a mixtape when you can simply order your smart hub to play anything you want, any time of the day or night? I’ll tell you why. Because, though a smart hub is cool and convenient, it will never be as amazing as a mixtape.

Screw the Cloud, make a mixtape

Digital playlists are pale imposters when it comes to creating something everlasting. A mixtape is forever. Even the questionable ones you dubiously dubbed C’mon Baby Light My Fire to convey febrile declarations of lust to a short-lived-what-was-I-thinking-crush, are probably crammed in a shoe box in the back of someone’s closet, but I digress…

Sex, lies, and mixtapes

One of my all time favorite mixtapes came by way of a sculptor artist I’d met in San Francisco at a women’s bar in the mid 1980’s. After an evening of dancing and flirting, an invitation was extended. Sometime after midnight, I rode my motorcycle to her apartment in the city. She’d gone ahead of me in her own car and when I arrived at the address she’d given me, the scene for romance was presumably set.

When she opened the door I noticed she’d changed into a white cotton t-shirt and a pair of faded Levis. Her feet were bare and tan. Solo piano music filled the space in soothing counterpoint to my nervousness, and a warm fire danced in the fireplace. Her apartment smelled faintly of cranberry and sage. My heart raced with anticipation as she pulled me over the threshold. But what happened next was not exactly what I was figuring on and I wondered if I hadn’t gotten my wires crossed.

Taking both my hands in hers, she led me to the living room and sat me on a straight back chair, then disappeared. She came back a minute later cradling a large wooden trough of grayish paste. She threw off her t-shirt and as she knelt down before me I had quite a time deciding where to focus my gaze. A stream of thoughts played like a tape winding round the rollers and posts in my brain: What’s that in the bowl? Wow, her eyes are so blue…maybe I’d better go…but this music is so beautiful… she seems sane…enough. What is she planning to do with that…wait, did I tell my friends where I was going?

Despite some mildly justified apprehension, I was admittedly glued to the edge of my seat by lustful curiosity. The music, which was weaving its way from my head to my heart, helped to bolster my resolve. There was no way I was going to leave without knowing what she intended to do next.

Taking my hand, she pulled me off my seat to the floor where a pile of colorful throw pillows was arranged in front of the fireplace. I did not resist.

She set the bowl of gray paste next to her on the floor and pushed me back on the cushions before unbuttoning my blouse.

On her face was the most exquisite expression. She looked as though she were unwrapping a precious gift. When she slid her arm around me then single-handed, unhooked my bra, a tiny gasp of pleasure escaped both our lips.

Looking deep into my eyes she finally revealed her intentions, which I’d begun to care less and less about. “Will you let me cast you?” she asked, indicating the bowl of goop which was actually casting plaster and strips of linen cloth I had yet notice..

Nude from the waist up, I looked tentatively down at my torso and back up to her face. She was serious. She beamed at me. “You’re stunning,” she said, and lightly brushed her fingertips down my shoulder. She told me about her ongoing art project which entailed collecting several castings of women’s torsos for her upcoming exhibit in a San Francisco gallery.

While she spoke, she began pushing pieces of cloth into the plaster, certain I would agree to the proposal. With each strip she placed on my shoulders and breasts, she’d lean forward and softly kiss my lips. The confidence in her touch was electrifying.

As passions rose, she explained the plaster was fairly quick drying and promised to release me from the mold as soon as she could. For sitting still and letting her have her way, I would be well rewarded. Just before dawn, I untangled myself from bed sheets, legs and arms, And pulled myself into a sitting position. While she slept, I marveled at my empty torso cast waiting patiently in the chair for her new show.

Oh, I almost forgot about the mixtape — who could blame me, right?

I saw my sculptor a few more times after my casting call. I asked her about the music she’d been playing that first night because I couldn’t get it (or her) out of my head. While it was clear she was ready to move on, she also admitted she wasn’t exactly ‘single’.

Saying good-bye to me, she placed in my hands a cassette tape inside a plastic box. Penned in calligraphy on the tape label was the composer, George Winston, and the two albums Autumn and Winter she’d played that night for our casting session. She’d made me a mixtape! Some months later, I received an invitation to her art show in the city, however, I was unable to attend. I never saw her again.

Years later, I had the opportunity to see George Winston play live in San Diego. An unassuming man, he stepped onto the stage and up to the grand piano wearing a red plaid shirt and jeans. He proceeded to play, by then, many familiar favorites from the mixtape she’d given me, and the memory of one uniquely erotic night was alive again.

Music is a powerful and sacred messenger of human emotion and a guardian to our memories. If you want to give a lasting gift to someone you care very much about, make them a mixtape, you won’t regret it and neither will they.

P.S. A special thanks to George Winston for playing me through the writing of this story.

 

*Previously published by TheWeeklyKnob.com

You will not be trusted


You will not be trusted


The gilded heart of a poet
historically rife with
treacherous romantic
notions spilling blood
colored secrets onto pages
whipping hearts into
frenzied gasps and
hand-wringing rages
from towers on high

Oh how you deceive us
for the sake of what —

Truth? which is fickle by
the least of good standards
apt to fly like a flock
of fetid city pigeons
flapping wings against
history and the whispering lips
of stalwart legions!

Sifting through crowded
gutters, and books for
artifacts of life,
suppositions of existence
soliloquies of cheer
contrived from falsehoods
Poets too far removed
to recognize your words
have no authority here!


Sandy Knight, 2019, All Rights Reserved

Lego My Manhood

Play well. Play fair.

In the florescent light of the toy lab two men huddle over a memo sent down from upstairs…

“I don’t know what’s wrong with the original primary colors, Johnson. I mean, isn’t this how the old Dane designed them? It’s written right here in the Britannica.” The man in the brilliant white lab coat pokes an importunate finger at the large book splayed open on his desk.

“Well, times change and we either snap to it, or come unglued, Pratt.” The other man was quite pleased with the spontaneous pun, and while he didn’t understand the idea of changing color schemes anymore than Pratt, he was pragmatic about the whole thing. The company wanted to sell more Legos. Johnson needed the company to sell more Legos, or else he could be out of a job.

 

“But PINK?” Pratt scowls and jabs another finger at the familiar brick mold, this time his middle one. His stance recalls a dusty painting of a towering, bushy browed figure cloaked in robes arguing for the preservation of the establishment with all its comforts and codicils.

“And don’t forget white, we can’t have pink without adding white ones. Kids are savvy enough these days to know you can’t just pull pink outta your ass,” Pratt huffs.

“Since you brought it up, it could be worse, Pratt — we could have been making Lincoln Logs for the past thirty years. You know what you get when you mix brown with brown and spread it over a four-inch, notched wooden dowel?” Johnson raised a rhetorical eyebrow for emphasis.

“Turds and splinters, that’s what you get,” Pratt grumbles.

“Never mind the logs, have you stopped to wonder what they’ll build with their little pink bricks?” Johnson looks sincerely curious.

“Between me and you, it’s not natural giving building blocks to girls. What’s wrong with a Mrs Beasley doll, or an Easy Bake Oven? Everybody knows Legos were made for boys. It says so right here in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Girls are not builders. Not to mention, they have the gall to order us to make the pink ones to the same spec as all the other bricks, right down to the number of posts and holes. This means it’ll work exactly like the others,” Pratt declares in a treasonous hush.

An awareness — unsettling, yet oddly familiar, begins to take the shape of his daughter’s smile in Johnson’s mind.

In a spontaneous flash, his first intercession on behalf of women and girls everywhere, in the name of fairness and equality, occurs when Johnson has an epiphany and addresses Pratt’s misogynistic protests — man to man. “Did you expect the toy designers to lop off a peg just so the little pink Lego wouldn’t be quite so threatening to your fragile sense of masculinity, Pratt? For Christ sake, man, get a grip! It’s almost 1980!”

The lab falls into an uncomfortable silence as the two men retreat to their workstations and prepare to blend the plastic material into an acceptable shade of pink for the new age of Legos.

 



Previously published in The Weekly Knob. 11/19

Ordinary Things


I found her
in the folding and unfolding
of a fitted sheet
sharp corners gathered
then disguised
in the elastic roundness
of time

her life will never be
something I can neatly put away

nor would I try —

I need to hold it up to the light
spread my arms wide then
tuck it under my chin
while I pull the edges in
to my chest
in a misshapen square
turning it this way and that,
spreading it on the table or bed
while I sort the rest of
the laundry in my head

How long will ordinary things
remind mind me of her?

 


©Sandy Knight.6.2018, All Rights Reserved

Image credit: Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash