Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Procrastination = Poem

Orange poppy

Orange the color Mom said not to wear
Orange the heart-thumping sunrise
Poppy with germy hands in Seinfeld
Poppy so fun to p-p-pronounce
Orange poppy a weed in California
Orange poppy exotic back home
(my inspiration: photo by Peter deZordo)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Guard Dragon

Maybe if I mount this feller on top of my roof he'll ward off would-be soap snatchers? Photo by my friend Peter deZordo.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stolen Staging

Who did it? Who?

Who pocketed that dainty round bar of soap – still in its pleated paper wrapper? I’ll admit it was pretty as a piece of candy. That’s why I put it there: in the clean white soap dish, next to the glass of cotton balls, beside the fluffy white towels, atop the shiny marble counter top, in my master bathroom.

Twenty years of doing open houses and never has a client reported a theft. Then today, in my own home, in my own bathroom! A kleptomaniac strikes.

They didn’t take the prescription drugs or the jewelry or the painted decorative box or the cell-phone charger tucked hurriedly in a drawer next to the toothpaste. Only that cute cake of soap.

Whoever you are: Bring me a full-price offer on the house and all is forgiven!

Over His Shoulder, Through the Window

This is a photo of a photo I took 28 years ago at a Mennonite estate sale in Virginia. The original photo was part of a series I did for a photojournalism class at VCU. A few weeks ago, I sold the photo frame (with the photo in it) during a yard sale but snapped this picture beforehand.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ahoy Mateys: A Poem

Pirate Picture
by Cynthia Cummins

Out of the bath
and brushing my teeth
a message appears in the mirror
from my son

It's a boat with three sails
waves below
and a pirate with sword, off to the side

Drawn with a mushy finger the night before
by a naked boy
still wet
his towel hanging, swamping him
as he leans over the vanity

His picture has been there all day
emerging now from the fog

So much I miss
so much I have missed
going on in his beautiful life

Friday, April 24, 2009

Things to Do in the Belly of a Whale

I like the idea of being swallowed by a whale, without any hope of rescue. I'd be able to abandon all hope, stop fooling around and finally get on with my life.

Maybe, after a while, walking around the whale belly would seem normal. Strolling from stem to stern would be as ordinary as going down to the corner for a pack of Marlboro lights or stopping at Trader Joe’s for cheap organic lemonade or dropping by Kinko’s to make some copies. No cigarettes allowed in the whale belly, but that’s ok since I don’t smoke.

Going to work would be straightforward, 9 to 5. I’d begin my shift by punching the clock. It would be a clever clock made of blubber, not unlike the live-bird quitting-time whistle in The Flintstones credits. Now wouldn’t that be fun to live in a cartoon version of the whale: Everything clean and shiny and in primary colors? You wouldn’t have to worry about stepping into some blobby pink bit like you see inside the rib cage of a chicken ready for roasting.

Maybe I’d have a mate in the belly with me. I’d improvise a grill from some old radiator parts and he’d catch fish. He’d make knives out of bone. I’d use sea salt liberally. We'd eat at a little table made of driftwood, and there’d be a lamp fueled with whale oil. But soon we’d run out of things to talk about and I’d be searching the swirling water every time the whale opened its mouth, hoping (alas) for somebody new to wash in. I’d be hoping for a new man. Maybe a better one than this one. Maybe I won’t be disappointed this time.

From a writing exercise posed by Laurie Wagner, inspired by a poem by Dan Albergotti

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why Finger Puzzled?

Because apparently Finger Trap is slang for something, ahem, slightly unsavory. Because I love the way those little colorful woven cylinders look. Because there's nary a beat between the urge to stick your fingers in and the actual sticking in of the fingers. Because "puzzle" sounds better than jail, prison or cuffs, although those terms might have some special appeal for a special population. Because a Finger Puzzle is a metaphor for solving a problem by not trying too hard to solve the problem and, god knows, I need to try "softer," as Lily Tomlin once said. Softer, not harder. Softer, not harder.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eating Crow

So, I’m holding open a house on one of those all-too-rare sunny hot San Francisco Sundays. The house has a gorgeous garden. All the favorite Realtors’ adjectives apply: incredible, amazing, unparalleled, stunning, spectacular, unrivaled, and so on.

There are Meyer lemons and vining roses. There are roses and lavender. There are trees shimmering in the soft, warm breeze. And in the center is a bird bath where tiny yellow songbirds are splashing joyfully. Mother Nature herself is helping to stage this beautiful home!

Into this urban idyll flaps a gianormous black crow with — get this — a whole cupcake in its beak, purloined from a kid birthday two fences over. And BAM! He (or she) bombs it right into the birdbath. Tweeties scatter. The cupcake disintegrates upon impact, forming a scummy soup with a ridged wrapper floating on top.

So much for Staging by Mother Nature. And guess who gets to clean it up?