Precarious Kites
(Grace Notes)
What We Want

The Ritual of Not Knowing
It’s almost cold and almost dark. Leaves are blowing off my plum tree. They jet fast and are gone. I move to the window because, from the corner of my eye, I see them as small birds about to fly into the glass. It is not yet Halloween, but fall, tonight, has set deep and taken hold.
Buzzing, Blaring, and Bam
Granted, I was cranky when the idea came to me - curmudgeons have at least a passing acquaintance with crankiness. Our vacation had ended, but we were still many hundreds of miles from home. And granted we were on day two of an all-day-in-the-car drive back to Fort Collins. The book on tape was beginning to drone as if stuck in a loop. I-80 felt like a running river of big-rigs, jostling each other like logs. Brown dirt and road-kill and a horizon that stood unaltered like a joke (“How can it look exactly the same after six hours?”) spread and loomed and repeated themselves mile after mile.
We all live lives of contradiction. A ditch that takes no more than a hop-kick to traverse or a canyon gaping and bottomless divides us from who we strive to be, how we strive to live, the good we know we owe. This is not always easy to attend to. The need to reconcile our contradictions lives somewhere low and deep inside. There’s a voice – cricket-thin and consistent as a bell– this we know. But, it’s not always easy to attend to.
Shadow-gloves, and Skins, and Bones
We can, from deep memory, call up a multitude of hero-scenes, the starring roles played out in our head. We can watch. We can listen. We can try the characters on for size, act them out and even, for the essential moment, become them. It is a gift worth practicing.
The Rumbling of Saint Valentine
It’s the Sunday before Valentines’ Day and I’ll try not to get all poetic on you; it is excruciatingly difficult to write about love without clichés – without saying the same thing, in the same way, over and over again.
After the Bell Rings
– the universal call to reflect, to move inward, to soul-search. We know what we need. But how? Reel backwards through your memories - try this:
Moon low, white sky. The boys come in from outside. They tumble and splay down the hall all elbows, “ooof”, and knees. Boots off in a thud of heel-toe-heel-toe-kick and coats, slick with melted ice, don’t make it to the hooks.