Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Reasonably Short And Colorful Life of Leonard Macey

Leonard wrote in color. That is not to say that his words appeared in color, but rather he thought and conveyed ideas and emotions using a language of color. It was a skill he discovered as a child, as an infant in fact – where most infants stared up at colorful mobiles, Leonard studied them: their shades, their visual afterglows, the way light was changed by various temperatures and the way it all affected mood and intent. All this became fodder for a baby whose genetic predisposition allowed him to learn other languages with little effort. Where other children’s first words were usually “mama” or “papa”, Leonard’s was “blue” – not the sonic word blue, but the color blue. He conveyed the most baby of blues to his proud mama and papa who suspected they had a child prodigy on their hands.

As he grew so did his palette vocabulary until Leonard was able to write and speak in the most subtle shades of color, some visible to the human eye, while others not. He tried his hand at writing colored poetry which confused people at first thinking he was just being politically insensitive. He started with the visible hues first so that people who could not speak the language – and that would be everyone else – could at least have something to look at while he read. Eventually he took to writing poems and stories in the upper frequency spectrum of light, even into the UV range and soon his art took on the tenor of performance art, since whatever Leonard read was invisible and inaudible, it appeared to listeners that he was just standing there.

This worked out well in some quarters, avante garde coffee houses for instance, that embraced that sort of thing and since most people were usually too stoned for critical thought, it usually went over reasonably well for Leonard and he developed quite a cult following. In time, Leonard tried writing a novel with the title “Indigo Reddish Green Cobalt Blue”. Those were not the words of the title; those were the colors that were in fact the title. Only Leonard knew what the book or it’s title meant, but that did not keep some one from publishing it and the NY Times Book review from reviewing it, giving it high praise for a great attempt at a first quote – unintelligible art piece – unquote. Leonard rode a wave of fame as his book climbed the best seller list until, it appeared in both the top ten fiction and non-fiction lists since no one could discern under which genre the book should fall.

Soon, color fell out of fashion – as color will from time to time – back to basic black and all that, and how everything seems to be the new black, but soon on the heals of colored literature was the unlived memoir movement, followed by the living memoirs of someone else’s life movement, all which proved to be great fodder for the talk show circuit, C-SPAN book TV and lawyers. Over time, long after Leonard was gone and was just dust, libraries would remove any sort of catalog system since all literature gave way to a mélange of genre’s of writing that could easily be fit into any category. This branch of literature became known as “FU” writing as in: “Fuck, I don’t know what to call this kind of writing.” (Author’s note: FU literature enjoyed great popularity among airline travelers and was eventually replaced by imprints of cat paws on reams of watercolor papers known as the Feline movement. Literature was not much fun in the future!)

But Leonard was an army of one in his branch of literature, that of writing with color. Doctors examined him when he was young at first thinking his “disorder” was a variant of cinesthesia but then creating a whole new type of neurological anomaly. Leonard was directed toward traditional Art as a form of expression but he had the overwhelming urge to paint still lifes of creamy Italian pastries which only served to make him hungry which in turn exacerbated his cholesterol levels and drove his blood sugar levels beyond borderline diabetes to full blown raging diabetes. The more he painted, the more digits he would lose on his hands and feet, and Leonard did not consider that a fair trade at all, so he turned his gift in a completely unexpected direction.

Despite the success of his only novel at the age of 23, Leonard was denied his opportunity to create his magnum opus, as he died only two years after the publication and eventual nomination for a Nobel prize in both literature AND art in the same work. The event was most unfortunate and tragic and could never have been foreseen. It seems Leonard was leaving a book signing and while crossing at the light of a heavily trafficked intersection, frequented by large double tandems and construction equipment, the combination of the light suddenly turning to green, combined with the way the sunlight just happened to hit the stop light created such a color that spoke to Leonard in a way he never anticipated. He froze. He stopped completely in his tracks. Maybe it was the voice of God that none of us would ever hear, but in that one colorful syllable, the mysteries of the entire universe, of all the mulitverses, became clear to Leonard. So he stopped. But maybe too it was just a fluke. Maybe the combining light waves just so happened to reveal all this to Leonard. But no matter what the cause was, Leonard stopped – which was an unfortunate thing since a large dump truck unable to stop in time plowed poor Leonard over, knocking his very soul out of him three counties away in an instant. The coroner said it was instant, which we all assumed must have been the case, because, well, who would really know anyway, and it did console us greatly to think such a thing. Police recorded in the accident report the testimony of one witness who said that Leonard’s last words were “turqoise gray!”

He was not a man known for swearing, but under these circumstances, everyone felt he could be forgiven.

Friday, October 27, 2006


The bullet sheared off the head of his penis – clean as a chopped carrot – in shape though much more effusive in texture; like a split garden cherry tomato oozing with greenish seeds everywhere.

Slyvia was aiming for his balls – she wanted to shoot at least one of them – but the gun went off just a microsecond sooner that she’d expected. A quiver of the trigger - a flinch really – and the bullet was away, expelled through the dark tunnel like portal that was the barrel of the gun. Traveling at a muzzle velocity of 1,000 feet per second spiraling. A reflexive response, not premeditated, Sylvia pointed the square black semi-automatic Glock at “The Kurt” and at all the other “Kurts” before and after this one. She fingered the silver curve of the trigger like a penis.

The cauterizing heat of the lead that snipped off the head of “The Kurt’s” penis head sealed the wound almost instantly, with very little blood to show for it. “The Kurt” grabbed for his crotch, eyes bulging like that of a hooked fish. Stumbling backwards, “The Kurt” sat down at a table, mouth fully formed in disbelief in an “O” shape.

The trigger still within her finger’s reach, Sylvia knew the fierce pull of blood – she felt reckless, like a broken levy, pouring out everywhere. Reckless, but strong. “The Kurt” would not try that again. He would think twice. Sylvia was breathless with strength. For the first time through the haze of her mental illness, through the medications and all the counseling, Sylvia felt empowered. “The Kurt”, however, only breathed in heavily, swore in shock, in fear, in shock more so. For the first time, Sylvia knew that the obsession had been worth it. She waited the requisite five days for a gun background check, where they would skip over the doctors and the hospitalization. She went down to the local NRA chapter where other “Kurts” – ones with large hands and beefy sideburns showed her how to turn the gun safety on and off. How to clean her gun. How to load it. How to hone the trigger. Sylvia knew the obsession was worth it. In her head, she saw the bullet tear through soft mushroom flesh of “The Kurt’s” penis head, pulling, pulling at it. Stretching it until blood vessel walls tore away, like pulling soft bread – until the tissue would not hold together.

“The Kurt” was disintegrating at the molecular level right before Sylvia’s eyes. She saw the spinning bullet pass through white gelatinous flesh – through the space where his two thighs met – between the space like a football field goal, between the uprights, into the wooden floor behind him in the coffee shop.

It was a fragment sentence of one morning when Sylvia walked into the coffee shop. A moment and she could have turned the other way, walked down toward Main Street, to the Starbucks that was there. She could have been late or been sick, or decided to take the day off instead. She could have gone in early to work, on the 32nd floor, north side of the building, cubicle 12C, 5 rows down past the copier that always broke down and drove Sylvia crazy.

But this was an abbreviated event. A decimal point really in a day of contiguous lines. It was an event that took only 18 seconds to transpire and as such no one in the shop moved, except, as already noted, for “The Kurt”, who stumbled back and found a chair. Slyvia tucked the Glock into her oversized purse, fingering the trigger like she was stirring coffee. She turned and walked out, and no one moved until finally the barrista called 911.

In time, “The Kurt” – whose real name was Adam –would be fine. With prosthetics and the advances of plastic surgery, Adam would date again, needing to relate the story over and over to some unsuspecting woman who only wanted a little romance, a little fun in the sack. When she saw his penis, she would be aghast, and Adam would blush, and then the story would be told again. Sylvia made a left out of the door, smelled the cool autumn air and moved dreamlike toward the bus stop.

POEM - God Still Speaks

God still speaks and prayer is a hothouse orchid
Called “Listening”.

His voice is my hard, deep crying;
His voice is my orphaned faith;
His voice is the loss stuffed in my pockets;
His voice is the empty branch offering nothing,
Like a skinned, bony arm holding nothing:

A whisper, an owl’s wing;
The color of summer souring;
The shudder of a leaf;
The deadly silent wells of grief;
The gathering bell and
The graveyard’s slope I know full well.

God still speaks and prayer is the torturous act
Of listening.

M C Biegner

Sunday, October 15, 2006

POEM - Leaf

The orphaned leaf set ablaze by the season
And God’s blinking eye, scratches at the asphalt
At the wind’s very beck and call. Torn leaf from limb,
Freely tumbling, separated by the Fall,
Left to stare upwards at a pin prick night sky,
Free-floating and wondering about the way
To unearth all those things it needed to say –
Like the sleepy maple syrup held trapped and
Untapped, locked deep within the trunks of trees
Kept away, guarded tight with such zealotry;
Wondering if forgiveness was the way
Despite the heaping mound of absence in its
Short life that keeps reunion off, held at bay.
Until the cruel winter snows cover it up,
Turning the leaf into atomic things:
What becomes nourishment for hungry trees.
Which, with Spring’s heartfelt grace, pushes out
Buds, round and like an infant’s fists, yearning to face
Fresh light, like an open hand greeting friends;
Wanting to be accepted once again.

M C Biegner

Friday, October 13, 2006

POEM - Isadora Duncan As A Down's Syndrome Child

You are this Isadora Duncan to a
Bleating over-caffeinated expresso
Machine – laughing like holiday cellophane
Dishing wordy smiles and festive eyes that have
Drunk whole white-capped oceans: a blue suggesting
No limits. So worldly in an “own world” way.
The music is yours alone, tones I cannot
Hear – outside my frequency - it makes me love
You so hard and without fatigue. Quick step, hop,
Skip, step again; swing jangling arms and legs
Until at last you go to sleep, where I place
My head next to yours and I fill your ears with
Kisses. Then you and I are healed here. We both dance,
Clasp arms, and feel the impulse that some people
Call joy, but what we simply call “each other”

M C Biegner

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

POEM - Choice

Silence and sun washes everything amber -
Blankets really -
Soft fog aims to hide
What light spray-paints the color of one aching heart.
With broad strokes,
Sinewy shadows, drawn as objects bleeding black.

everything holds a sturdy desire to rest.
Bent as I am toward silence
That washes over black road, uphill,
Light in the face of large open face houses.

But on I go passing through
a painting, in some sort of reverie.
Called, I respond.