Remember when we walked out along
the gray mud track in the light cold rain—
the smashed fruit of the limestone nuggets,
almost like wet concrete. We talked of
tedious politics till we found ourselves
having to catch our breath. It wasnÕt solely
owing to the chill air that I shuddered in
such a racking way it reminded you of the
old dehumidifier downstairs. Your cheeks
were ruddy and cream.
We came upon that farm and rugged
field, peaceable animals. Shifting gears
we trod slowly over raised clumps of misted grass,
eyes drinking in the shaggy beauty; snowy coats
sprinkled with dirt. The farmer manifested in the
barn and all moved toward him—a staggered chorus
of that gorgeously obnoxious sound swelling the air.
We stopped and stayed, listening as if to an orchestra.
Later we agreed it was like our spirits had been
showered clean in the ancient warmth
of a sheep noise storm.
Nearly as clean, you mused, as the fawnÕs ribcage
we spotted back past the mailboxes—which stand like
a giantÕs crooked teeth, not far from the road.
The trees are like graphite
sketches in the first morning light
(which is filtered through nimbostratus,
faintly blue round the edges of the gray).
Their leaves are all skittish, like a
restless living monument of bird or
I stand by, shoes rooted in the gravel,
arm holding the clarinet case, ears tuned to
hear the fearsome groan of the yellow whale.
A scout I stand, my skin wet-kissed by a thousand
tiny pricking points of mist, my mind knitting itself
into the wind, the hairs on my hands striking like
lightning. Legs sturdy, like the trunks of oaks, yet
I take her hand, together we walk up to the
Distant Parallel, Or Cousins
driving in toward Washington from the southwest, our automotive
approach along with thousands of others like a march, a smooth
rounded lockstep, the pavement a light gray, the highway signs in
green and white or digital, the people deposited stiffly in illimitable
natty vehicles traveling like giant fish each capable of such destruction.
My mind begins rooting around, intrigued and hypnotized
by the conformity, the rigidity and regimentation and regard for
lane lines, the willing obedience, the massive sense of responsibility,
the evident safety, not a crash in sight, the Achievement!—
the being, beings on the same page, whatever divergences kept
crammed in each speeding pen, kept under lock, under skull. My
mind is opening cabinet doors in there, little windows, some of them
I see now look on to certain YouTube videos—yes, thatÕs it, the
parallel is emerging clearly into view. I recently viewed several movies
of HitlerÕs brown-green troops (in black and white), triumphant fascists,
washing in to Paris like harnessed floodwaters, marching in on horseback—
the animals seemingly as indoctrinated, as conscious of cadence and the
importance of synchronized steps—and later marching down the boulevard
sans horses, all sharp-kneed and held tight together as if by black magic.
So this is what my mind is busy doing, constructing this elaborate
distant parallel, this visceral comparisonÉ Apples and Oranges I tell myself.
But that old Orange Line train now running alongside us on our left, once
so shiny new and silver now with age and use so dull and drab and gray,
is sporting streaks of dead-brown that are suspiciously like armbands
or sashes, and call to mind the word Brownshirts. These touches seem
to corroborate my story, seem to finish off my little picture which,
of course, I keep strictly under skull and key,
In the Mundane Desert of My Damnable Indecision
I have a camel cricket good and trapped.
The house mistress wants it dead.
Off with their heads she half-jokes.
But itÕs a serious feeling that strikes
Inside me, like jarring a soundless bell.
She explains they will multiply and think
Nothing of chewing through all her papers
But I have come to regard the creatures as
Basement guardians in the night—intrepid
Patrollers; knights of the deep; eaters of
And their colors are quite dashing—
The flesh of their backs like swirls of
Salted caramel ice cream.
Now I have one surrounded by the high
Walls of the dehumidifier bucket, and I
DonÕt know what to do.
One last time I consult my conscience. Then
The internet. I realize camel crickets are no great
Thing to have around, that the mistress is right.
But when I go to maybe execute it, I find that it
Has, Houdini like, escaped.
Incredible. So everything works out.
It fled right into the desert of
My mundane, damnable indecision.
© Warren J. Cox
Bio: Warren J. Cox lives and writes in beautiful southern Virginia, where he also works as an editor and artist. Beyond creating, he is passionate about human rights, animal welfare, and tennis. Warren's work has previously appeared or will appear in Eunoia Review, Ducts, Coup d'Etat, Intrinsick, Empty Mirror, The Creative Truth, Haiku Journal, and Fluland. He can be found on Twitter @WarrenJCox.