Tag Archives: snow

The Parking Space Saver Vigilante

The narrow city streets were choked off even thinner by the slick, craggy piles of snow browning at the edges, and he stalked along each cowpath like a jungle cat in heat. The streetlights shined down halos on each haphazard parking job that lined the one-way road, and he had trained his eyes to catch the absence of luster from an automobile carcass. And sure enough, he saw a vacant space amongst the parallels. A ten-foot-long box of dugout powder that revealed the slush-streaked pavement underneath. And in the middle of the space sat a wobbling chair with chipping white paint that exposed the weathered wood beneath it.

His eyes hadn’t always been so astute, of course. There was a time when he accepted such strange winter furnishings. But that age of innocence had long been ripped away, ever since that fateful evening when his father had used his mother’s antique rocking chair, the one that had been built by her grandfather as a gift when she was born, to mark his own shoveled-out space while he went off to gamble at the pub. The vigilante was eight years old then, and he had been at the neighbors’ house at the time while mother attended night class at the community college. By the time that father had returned from the bar, he had forgotten about the rocking chair waiting in his space, and he accidentally backed into it with his car. For the most part, the chair remained intact, but the wood had been irreparably warped by the extreme colds of the evening, cracking the grain. It was utterly ruined.

Mother was furious when she came home. She and father spent all night screaming at each other while the young not-yet-vigilante tried to sleep in the next room.

“I busted my god damn ass shoveling out that spot, and I deserve to use it!” father shouted. And mother screamed back “There’s not even any snow left on the ground! You can’t just save your spot indefinitely! And why the hell would you use an antique, handmade rocking chair?!”

It was then that the boy became the vigilante, for he understood that mother and father would have stayed together, if not for that parking space saver. He blamed that folksy practice on his shattered childhood, and committed himself to the cause: as long as he lived, no shoveled parking space would be saved by a furniture marker. He knew that it was too late for him to save his own youth, but he refused to allow that same pain to befall any others.

And so he slinked forward on the balls of his feet, circling around his wood-chair prey, waiting for the moment to strike. When the coast was clear, and all other cars and pedestrians had passed, he lunged forward and ripped the tattered furniture from its asphalt resting place. He gripped its back with both hands, and with a bellowing cry from deep within his gut, he whipped the chair into the nearest snowbank. He watched with satisfaction as its four legs sank into the sleet pile, as little chunks of ice were disturbed from their slumber and fell like boulders from the mount, exploding when they hit the pavement.

The wintery shrapnel littered the previously vacant space, twinkling underneath the streetlights, and the vigilante knew that justice had been served.

Snow in the Wharf

The Earth has summoned snow
Not sent as from above
Called as from below

The Captain on the boat
Warm in his knit sea hat
Called aloud to gloat
To those who didn’t know:

Attention all clouds!
Snow is in session!
Time now to release
Flakes in your possession

We gather today
On this a cold morn
So that mittens are worn
So that snowmen are born

Who but the sheep
Of the fields and the hill
Will donate their wool
To keep us from chill?

And what but the mittens
We make from the wool
Will we do with the wool?
You did gather wool?

Oh, you didn’t?
Did you buy leather gloves?
I’ve summoned the snow
To Earth from above

It’s gonna get cold
So wear a tight scarf
Attention all clouds!
Not much rhymes with scarf.

My City is a Fickle Mistress

My city is a fickle mistress, one
whose kisses drip with history
from chapped lips, coarse and
warm. When she wails, her rough
winds break through skin, and her
icy knuckles crack against my
cheeks. Flushed red from the
impact’s heat, her rage strikes
hard ’til nostrils bleed and fingers
plea for numbness over pain.

But then she radiates with yellow
eyes and smiles through a silver
sky and whispers softly, sweetly
through the breeze. She drapes
on me a blanket made of balmy
love and memories, convincing
me to never want to leave.

Yes, I know it’s cold; it’s fucking snowing. Now take your pants off.

“I really can’t stay…,” I told him, biting the left side of my bottom lip. Which, you know, wasn’t untrue. Sam Vallas was having an end-of-the-semester party, and I told Jackie I’d go with her. But Eric was right — it was freezing out, and the snow was falling harder every minute. He wore that same sardonic smile, tight-lipped and crooked, the way he does when he thinks he’s being just so fucking clever. Still, it was cute, if a little smarmy. He looked at me with narrowed eyes as he swept the shaggy brown hair out of his face like some kind of rock star.

“But baby, it’s cold outside. And your eyes…your eyes are like starlight now,” he whispered.

“Thanks. I really had better scurry…” I looked down at my feet and smiled nervously as I took the two pink gloves out from my left hand coat pocket. I always kept them in the same pocket together, one rolled inside the other. But before I had a chance to put them, Eric cupped his large, rough hands around mine.

“Are you sure? It’s pretty bad out there. And your hands feel like ice. Come on. I’ll put on a record on, we can have a drink. Just one more. It’ll be quick. You can tell Jackie you were stuck waiting for the train or whatever.” He played this routine in precisely the way that both Sarah and Meredith told me that he would. Every line rehearsed, every action carefully choreographed.

But I still went along with it. “Well…maybe just a half a drink more,” I answered, finally looking up from my feet and re-connecting with his shit brown eyes. Sure, there was a part of me that knew what was going to happen, or at least thought it did. But I played dumb against myself, or else I was just stupid all along.

“Great. Here, let me take your hat.” I tried to hold it on my head — the knit wool hats always messed my hair up, and I didn’t want him to see. “I think your hair looks cute like that. And gosh your lips look delicious.” And again, he had me, though I’m still ashamed of falling for such an awful line.

He went over to the iPod stereo dock and turned on the Postal Service, then left for the kitchen to fix our drinks while I fixed my hair in the mirror by the door. He returned with two full pint glasses that looked like rum and coke.

“I thought I told you half a drink?” I said with a flirtatious smirk, cocking my head to the right.

“You did,” he said, again with that stupid smile. Every time I saw it, it looked a little bit seedier, and a little bit sexier. “Cheers.”

When I took my first sip, I noticed that something was off, but I couldn’t quite place my finger it. “Say, what’s in this drink? Is it — ” I took another sip. “Is this Coke Zero, or Vanilla Coke, or…something different about it.”

It wasn’t until I woke up in his room the next morning that I realized it was rohypnol.

civic funds…

We walk for over an hour through waves of snow, it shoots over our head like fountains.  You have a camera with you, yet you don’t take a single picture.  Instead, you take my hand and lead me through the common like you’ve been here a million times in just this way.  I follow behind as you almost skip along.  I am being dragged but it doesn’t matter because I haven’t felt this full of life since…

You stop quickly and I crash into you.  We are now face to face in the cold, our breaths visible and short.  My heart is pounding.  We haven’t kissed yet; hands have been our only communication of flesh.  I am far too old in this game to feel fear but then and there you are a force to recon with, Lily.  You don’t blink, you don’t move, and I am left shuttering.

It is here that you bite your lip, coy and pale you’ve ensnared me.

“have you every kissed someone and really meant it?”

I am completely off-guard.  To anyone else I would have said yes, I would have told them I was once in love.  That she had broke me into a million tiny pieces and left me to put back together the jig-saw.  To anyone else, I would have held high a torch to meaning and beauty in love.  Here however, I am not sure.  With you at this moment I am not sure I have ever loved someone or that anyone has loved me, and I doubt every kiss from post-coital to truth and dare.

“I don’t know…”

Your lips part to reveal a glowing smile.

There is a kick of wind and the snow whirls around us, cloaking us in white dust like fireflies in summer.  There in that vortex,

“well why don’t you try?”

We share our first kiss.  Innocent and fresh, sweet and still, there is nothing else but us at that moment.   We are us at the purest form.  This is the start of it, our gun has gone off and the race has begun.  It is March 16th and 29.3 months from now, my cheek will sting again but not from your lips…

Hot Rats – Frank Zappa

I woke up hungover. Saturday night spilled into Sunday morning with no sign of the snow that had been previously predicted. My apartment was so empty it echoed; boxes were still packed and I probably would have been lonely if it wasn’t for the security of youth and the constant inner dialogue. “It didn’t snow, weather said it won’t until tomorrow, I guess I have to drive to the island.” I usually try to make nights out of my trips–6 hours of visiting barely makes three hours of driving enticing–but it was my father’s birthday and I had already told him I wasn’t coming because of the weather. I woke up, showered and decided to head to Rhode Island.

I walked up to the front stairs and saw a familiar sight: my father sitting on the couch watching TV, tapping his fingers and occasionally taking a drag on his cigarette. After casual conversation my father got off the couch, walked into the dining room and returned with a worn crumpled paper bag. He pulled out a Portable CD player, a pair of large studio headphones and a Frank Zappa album, Hot Rats. We had a sound system, but he wanted me to listen to the guitar solo the way he did in the Army. No, not on drugs, but with headphones. We bought a microwave for my new apartment and ate cake to celebrate his birthday, but really we spent most of the day listening to music. I drove back to Boston right around the time it started snowing. I saw three accidents on the expressway and got drunk to celebrate the snowstorm that was going to allow me to sleep in Monday.

********************************

The phone woke me up that morning. I shoveled through a foot of snow and followed plows like a funeral procession down Route 24.

A week later I was at a bar my parents frequented and one of the patrons walked up to me and said, “You know, the last time I saw your father he had a crumpled paper-bag full of music he was showing everyone”

I thought for a second, and said “Me too.”