A Clown Walked Into My Bedroom…

A clown walked into my bedroom. It was 4pm on a Saturday.

That’s a lie.

A clown didn’t walk into my bedroom. It walked into the room I was in and I was in a bed. I’m pretty sure it was a Saturday. I think it was a Saturday because the day before, on the Friday, before sunset, a lady Rabbi walked in with two battery operated Shabbat candles and a loaf of cholla. As to the time, I’m guessing there.

I didn’t see the clown walk into the room.I opened my eyes and there it was. When I saw the clown standing in the doorway I closed my eyes. Waited a moment or three, and opened them again. The clown didn’t go away. In fact, in those three moments, it moved closer. It stood right at the foot of my bed.

clown

This Clown Walks Into …

I’m not afraid of clowns, but looking at this one with it its purple and orange satin oversized jumpsuit, ruffled collar, yellow Elton John glasses, white pancake makeup face, blood red lips and wild orange wig and a small red dot at the tip of its nose, well, in that moment, I understood the phobia.

“You know,” I said. “People hate clowns.”

“I know,” the clown says, “I have permission.”

Permission? From the nurses? The doctors? The old patient down the hall that screams at everyone and throws things at the nurses? I feel bad for the nurses and I tell them so. They’re nice, all except for the cranky one.

“Why are you here?” I push myself up. I have to use both hands and it hurts like nobody’s business. This isn’t a complaint. It’s a fact. Just that morning they wheeled me down to radiology, put me on my stomach, and drilled a hole in the left cheek of my derriere. Something about draining an abscess in my gut, like I’m some kind of engine block and they’re the car mechanics.

“You can watch if you like,” the nurse had said and pointed to the monitor above my head and to the right. I don’t think so. I’m on my stomach, in a cold white room. They had to use an x-ray machine or something so they could see what they were doing—guide the tube to the correct place above my stomach and to the right, or the left. I don’t know. “That’s okay,” I said to the nurse. “But you can give me more drugs.” She obliged and shot something into my IV. I was getting used to the icy liquid of morphine shooting through my veins, my heart skipping a beat and forgetting to breathe.  She held my hand during the procedure. I squeezed tight.  She was a good nurse.

The clown doesn’t tell me why it’s in my room. Instead it reaches into its clown pocket and pulls out something wrapped in cellophane. The clown walks closer to me and I push myself harder, away from the clown and into my raised the bed.

“Here,” the clown says and pushes a pale veined hand at me. She reveals a red nose wrapped in cellophane.“This is for you.”

Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle. I flinch and it hurts. I take the nose from the clown. “Thank you.” I lay it on the table to the right of my bed, next to my cell phone.

“If you put your nose on,” the clown points to the nose. “We can take a picture together for Facebook.”

Are you kidding me right now? I don’t post pictures of myself when I’m sick. I’m just not one of those people. I don’t post pictures of chicken soup with captions that say, “I’m sick”.  I don’t post status updates that say, “Got a stomach bug” or “Hey, I’ve got food poisoning, guess where I am?” I had been in this hospital bed too long, my hair was greasy and I looked pretty green. No amount of make up would make me Facebook-photo-ready.

“No thanks,” I say.

The clown won’t leave.

“Can I take a picture of you?” I ask the morphine-clown.

“Of course,” the clown seems happy with this.

I snap the picture. I thank the clown and I close my eyes.

When I wake up it is dark. The room is quiet. I reach for my cell phone.

doors close…

 

All that worry
All that comparison
All that fear
Turn it out
Let it move through
Let it leave
Open the door and
Let it out
Dance it away
Sing it away
Write it away

Let it
Be gone

When God shuts a doorclosed door
some where he opens a window …

wait for the breeze
let it kiss my cheek
let it wrap itself in me
let it lead me to what’s next

Let go of the closing door
Let it close
Let it be
Let it

Allow

Let it close

Let it slam shut
If it has to
Let it

Allow

Lots of closed doors
Lots of open windows
Lots of attachment
And the practice

Let it close
Let it slam shut
If it has to
Let it

Allow

I can hear the crumble
Echos
Tumble and fall
Echos
Of a dream
Echos
As it rams head on
Into that iron door
Ahhhh but my dreams
will stand up
back away
maybe examine a wound
treat it
or not
let the breeze from the open window
heal mend strengthen fortify

breath
Let it open wide
Let it enter
it will
Let it

Allow

begin from this placeopen window

I’ve done this
Over and again

Let the magic
Blow in through that open window

The magic of unknown
The magic of letting go
The magic of trust
of knowing and desire and bliss
of miracles

all I have to do is
breathe

 

 

Poetry About Horror Movies?

I was on the radio last night.  Speak and Be Heard  

Remember "The Shining"?

That famous scary scene from “The Shining”


I was asked to write a poem about horror movies.
I was curious and needed more details, (I almost always need more).

The topic exactly:  Do the producers of horror movies make these movies to keep us living in fear?

Interesting topic.
I wasn’t alone in my perspective, although I had to bring serial killers into the conversation (see Fright Night below), I mean why not?

The host, Barry, was alone in his position that these films are meant to keep us living in fear.  Consensus around the table was, Then don’t go, no one forces us into the theatre.  Except maybe our own twisted desires… (Insert spooky laugh here).

About half way through my poem the line dropped out.  They called me back laughing, ahhhhhh the supernatural has stepped in, taken control, let us know we are not alone. Cue paranormal music here.

What a blast.  The whole process. Writing on topic.  Writing about something I would have never thought to write.   Writing to read on air.  Writing to share.  What a blast. I look forward to coming back, (I’ve been invited).  Next time, I’ll be in studio.  What a blast. What a push.  Pushing beyond where I feel comfortable, pushing myself to write something in poetic form ON TOPIC, pushing myself to dive in deeper, deeper deeper.  Ahhhhhhhh

Here’s to mainstreaming poetry!  More and more and more poetry being shared in the media.  Using poetry to bring us a new perspective on the topic, to bring us inside ourselves, to bring us to the heart of the matter, to connect us with our own hearts and thus with others.  Cheers I say!  (Listen to the show here in their archive.)

Here’s my poem:

 

Fright Night

We wait
Leaning forward
Breath held tight in our chests
Twisting with anticipation
Squirming with glee
In delicious dread
For the unveiling of horrors
Chasing chill up and down our spines.

Does life imitate art?
Or does art write life?
Coursing plasma
winding through words
a scarlet splash
splattering thick crimson blotches
projected through light
on the big screen
Over-Exposing whose demented truth?

Disturbed minds
predate modern emulsion
Vlad the impaler
George Chapman
Jack The Ripper
are just a few

What motivated these hollowed out
haunted souls
shadowed by Hell
to hover above shallow graves?

Who’s obsessed with whom?
We recreate
the hunt
the kill
the capture
the buzz.
Over and again
new grim fairy tales
track their clues
uncover their hints
dissect their moves.

Is it for thrill?
Is it to prevent repeat?
Is it answers we seek?
We are the characters
giving our life
to resuscitate these spirits.

The Delberate Stranger
Helter Skelter
To Catch a Killer
The Boston Strangler
Son of Sam
Citizen X
Badlands

Into the dark we stare
watching gruesome scenes
anticipating our scare
our eyes open wide
as we step inside
dark twisted minds…

Beware.

 

Carolyn Ziel September 10, 2012

Speak and Be Heard

 

 

Scattering Seeds

I unearthed an image.  I was digging through a dream of two high school freshman girls excited, bright, hopeful, best friends, flowers opening to spring showers and sun kisses.

We were standing under the Elm Tree on the corner of Gregory and Peck on an Indian summer Friday, on our way home from school.  Stacey, brown saucer eyes, long arms hanging, distended breastbone, had plans for popularity and I needed to understand.  “I can’t be your friend anymore, I need to be popular” her voice like the hot autumn day, dry, quiet, still.

A gardener, she had scattered seeds. Budding girls dressed in white organza tied in pink and blue ribbons with bows, powder blue suited boyfriend heads peaking in over shoulders, anticipation, round cheeks. Stacey smiling proud, brown saucers, convex breastbone protruding from the bodice of her ruffled dress.

They grew into hearty vines extending beyond her reach even when she was uprooted.

Plucked up by her mother and husband number six, adrift in the gamble of a better life far from their decaying one bathroom apartment on the outskirts of Beverly Hills.

Her garden grew untended. Vines crept along, up the manicured lawns to the high school’s entrance, they gripped the halls, zigzagged in and out of lockers, around metal legs of plastic chairs in classrooms decorated with periodic tables, chalk boards and art projects.  They tangled legs and arms, braided into the hair of girls and boys laughing in yearbook pictures.  They knotted beyond high school, into my summer and winter college breaks, when I would walk to the corner store,

“Hey, aren’t you at UCSD?” a shaggy haired voice calls out, eyes glinting green, pushing closer with a laugh.  “I hear people kill themselves down there”.  Hadn’t we once kissed?  Stealing a moment after school, in eighth grade, behind the double doors of the multi-purpose room. Stacey’s vines had taken root in this boy.

Like an abandoned garden on the side of a deserted farmhouse overrun with sprouted grass and weeds, becomes part of the landscape, unnoticed, the vines kept growing.

Memories fade, decompose, transform, become mulch for a healthy garden.  Till, dig deep, cultivate the earth, offer worms, cut spent blossoms, thin out dead, diseased and damaged stems, pull weeds, fertilize and deep water.  I did all this, on my knees, hot sun beating down, sweat pooling, dripping, fingers earth-digging, clearing, planting new seeds.  We all have gardens to tend.

That ginger moment, under the elm with my best friend, the one I captured and buried, looks different now.  I hadn’t noticed it then; the ripening emerald undergrowth Stacey’s mother had used to swaddle her.

August 1, 2012