Shattered plate, shattered dreams. Foot in dress shoe raises up and smashes down right on top of napkin covered plate – Mazel tov! Weddings and luck and traditions. The colors in the room are white and dark blue. And maybe lavender. Herbs growing up from dead grass, characters from movies and books. Barnes and Noble contentment. The smell of a new book. Plate. Primary setting. Fork on the left, knife on the right. Knight in shining armor, gleaming metallic excellence. Hoping it doesn’t move, but wishing it would. It feels cold to the touch. A meal will touch down upon that plate, smelling good. Like the promise of satiation. Chicken and rice and vegetable. Or pasta with bolognese sauce. Or anything, really. It is warm. The steam melts the cold from your heart and soul. Holder of sacred meal. Dinner table as sacred circle. I will paint the stained glass windows to represent this moment. Pinegrove and evergreen trees and Christmas morning. The forgiveness of sins and birth of something new in winter. Saturnalia. Roman holiday. Audrey Hepburn. Kate Mulgrew. Powerful women. Who could take that plate and launch it like a frisbee to be cute, to be lethal. Plates as two cymbals, shattering on impact. Hardened egg yolk from a sunny-side up egg. I can still smell the bacon sizzle, now sitting cold on the counter. That diner smell. It is a drug, intoxicating. Salt and fat and carb, coming together as emotional cure-all – until I step on the scale. They say to slay your dragons, but that is one I don’t think will ever be dead, one I constantly work on. Ceramic, paper, and plastic plates. China. Is it a party? Is it a holiday? Is it just dinner? Should we remove this setting? Who has called and cancelled? Did we miss a setting? Where do I add one more? Inclusion, forgetfulness. Let’s wash the remains. Load up the broken dishwasher and hope it goes. 3D heated cube that works magic wonders. What sucks is the unloading part, the work that goes in afterwards. I hear the hum of its rumbling, the swishing of water and soap. Again, feel the steam after its complete. I warm my hands and face. The only incentive of putting everything away. I usually start with the plates. Bottom rack.


Open up to me and show me your petals. Night-bloomer, wishy-washy belief. Late-bloomer that’s me. Strong strong stems supporting the fruit, the meaning, the show-off. Petals so delicate they would feel like soft kisses or soft tears, or a ten-week-old puppy’s ears. All kinds of colors red and white and purple and blue and teal and turquoise. Smell like nature, so sweet, heady, earthy, natural. Sometimes overly perfume-y. Sometimes it stuffs up my noses. The bees dig it more than me. That’s the honey, that’s the pollen, that’s their lifeblood. In the summer time if you sit out side on my warped wooden deck in the backyard, when it is warm and humid, there are choruses of cicadas singing and talking, starting up and then dying away. Neighbor’s dog barks, there may be a car horn thrown in there too. Maybe freshly mowed grass. But on this deck there are two planters of flowers that my parents with upkeep or replace every season. And the bees love these planters. They love the flowers, especially the ones that are thin and tall and have little nodes protruding all the way up their stalks; littler floral nodes. And these bees gracefully fly over early in the morning and hop from node to node, perfectly content, buzzing about. Some full grown, some babies, but definitely bumblebees. They are large, fuzzy black and yellow. They do not mind that you keep them company, as long as you don’t interfere with their work, their livelihood, their life. I could watch them all day. And they do stay all day. Usually from way in the morning, until the sun goes down. It makes me feel special that our yard can accommodate these bees, especially when many are dying out. I’m sure their honey tastes so sweet. And I wonder if it’s the same bees come back every year, or if this crucial information on where the best flowers are are shared with the hive before death, whispered into another’s bee’s ear. Perhaps their consciousness and though absorb through their honeycomb like a last dying breath of sorts. I’ve never seen their hive. I don’t know where they live or commute from. Hornets are a different story. They are thin and angry. Their hives have popped up on my house throughout the years, always to be removed by a professional. Lately they haven’t come back, but once in a while they do.

Seeing a flower bloom in real time is probably so beautiful, too beautiful and that’s why stop-motion –


Fall in slow motion and you can lean on me. I’ll be your table. Down on all fours, I’ll support your back. I won’t let you fall even if it means you having to fall on me. My strong back will keep you off the ground and keep you safe, especially when the ground is lava. I won’t mind if it burns my hands, I will stay rigid and strong. Until all I have are the stumps of my wrists and ankles. But I will be your table. I will be there for you. The gods of Mount Olympus will transform me into well-sanded and polished walnut or mahogany or cherry. I will be smooth to touch and smell like I was just carved, I was just sanded. I am more than driftwood, but even if I was driftwood, I would own it I would rock it. It wouldn’t be so bad. I will hold this shape until I know you’re alright and if you’re never alright, I’ll hold this shape until the death of you or me. I am strong and supported. All my energy concentrated. I’m concentrating on it. Do you smell trouble on the horizon of a cold, frigid sunrise? Does it smell like no trouble at all? I taste the woodshop, flecks of bark and tree flesh dust my feet as I walk across. I see nothing but the space right above my hands. I close my eyes more than I open them. I need to get balanced get right. Blisters will form at my hands as I hold this shape, even though my hands will likely go numb. I can’t feel them. Cold tingly fear, like I’ll never feel them again. And it gets like this in meditation, well – without the pins and needles. But when you close your eyes, your hands just (my hands just) disappear. Where are they if I can’t feel them? Phantom limb with it all still attached? The smell of woodworking gets caught up in my nostrils. Sharp, but mellow. Sweet, but still sharp. To take one of the shavings and put it to your lips would probably taste just like a communion cracker. No flavor, but a wheat aftertaste. Bland and disappointing. But these wood shavings are not for eating. Imagine running your hand opposite the unsanded grain get deliberately getting splinters. I could karate chop this thing in half. I could throw it at the wall. I remember flipping the coffee table in a blind rage when I didn’t get accepted to Drexel.


George Washington jumps the gate headfirst into wooden rowboat. Out on the Delaware the creaking of the oars in the ice cold river. There must’ve been lanterns lit so that when the artist sitting dockside took out his paints and paintbrush to paint nightside could have had adequate lighting and painting a man in his heroic prime leading a war in freezing cold temperatures. I am soldier feeling the strong breaths of wind invade my too thin jacket. Every assault is traumatic. Feeling like a block of ice, glacier on the water. I’m not even a person anymore. My brass buttons are so cold if I brought the tip of my tongue to it, it would surely stick. Fly paper afternoon, stoned to the couch. Stuck. Like sticky sweet caramel brownies that Gretchen Janeway will always be making. Jeri Taylor with the details. Me with the details. I stick out my tongue to catch a snowflake. Melting upon impact I pretend it is a chicken dinner that I, a soldier, would kill to have. Literally kill to have. I’m killing to have it. When will it come? Willy Wonka Gobstopper where art thou? I’m waiting for my mashed potatoes with gravy and blueberry pie for dessert. I don’t care what color I turn or how big I balloon up. Roll me away forever, but give me solace and comfort in the food I feel like I’ll never have again. Smelling the frozen water dispels the stinking of other soldiers. The air enters my nostrils so cold it’s like cocaine clarity. My nose runs and I can’t stop it. My hands are on the oars. I must row on. Let the snot freeze icicles. I don’t care as long as I’m not left in some unmarked grave by the enemy. Redcoats are just as good as dead as the skin on an old injury. As I wiggle my numb toes I imagine a beach and sunlight and it takes me out of the present moment, but not nearly long enough. Lantern leading the way, showing time and promise me you’ll never leave. Maybe I could imagine being in the flame. Allowing it to consume me. Feel the heat licking at my heels now. What I would do to be that flame encapsulated and ensconced in that holy glass chamber. Where do I sign up? I see nothing but the black water around me, hear the dip and splash of the oars, feel the splintery seat upon my rear, trying not to move too much.


Diving down on my stomach, both hands protective across the back of my head, I am dunking behind a snowbank as I am pelted with snowballs. Frosted tips and sunglasses. It’s a deleted scene from Jack Frost. It is so so bright out. Despite my refuge, there is nowhere to hide. I am found out everywhere I turn. 360 panoramic camera view, I breathe and I am discovered somehow. The white, bright snow that reflects the light of the betraying Sun makes me squint, the cold wind whips my face, and I can’t help but cry. My nose is a helpless faucet turned on. Still on my stomach, I taste the purity and promise of winter. But as the barrage keeps coming, I think of all my dead snowmen comrades who have come and gone each winter. The wind finds passageways through my winter jacket, scarf, and gloves. I am wet and betrayed. Suddenly, there is quiet and silence and hope. The attack called off, my trembling heart starts to decelerate, taking its foot off the gas one toe at a time. Summer is never this hard. I feel someone approach me and cower. But it’s only a helping hand who helps me up and dusts me off. No face on his body, but I am glad to see him. An avalanche of attraction. Marquee with big lights, floodlights on a stage. Dancing the can-can but knowing that I can’t-can’t. Sipping his beauty through a straw slowly; Afraid to spoil it. Afraid to waste it and waste this moment. This has only been a scene in a snowglobe and I know am I trapped here. Know that I can’t get out. But this moment is so nice, so worth it. I will live out this time loop forever knowing that this is how it ends. It’s that simple. My mittens slide off my sweaty palms and my insides are warm climates and palm trees and coconuts. The face starts to defrost into marketable features and sear themselves into my brain. They say, “Do not forget me”.