Places I Left My Heart

The house I grew up in and the swing set in the yard, the lid of the sandbox colored with marker to look like a giant pumpkin

in the town I attended college and the nature preserve behind it, the walking trails bursting with the smell of green life under the light of a full moon

the beach near my apartment in Los Angeles, the smell of sunscreen and salt, and the bluffs of Palos Verdes overlooking a sparkling ocean

the crowded, bustling streets of New York City, decorated with lamplight, no stars in sight, and soft snowfall melting in my hair

on Gramma’s porch, where she would tell me about chickadees and sing A Bushel and a Peck, feeding me chocolate covered graham crackers or popsicles

the theater in LA where I spent hours in rehearsal, selling tickets, and partying until the early hours of the morning, the smells of cigarette smoke and sweat hovering in the doorway

a house my aunt no longer owns, where we had dozens of Thanksgivings and Christmases, carving our names in the foam exterior of the air return in the basement

the house my Pépé built, with its glass doorknobs and pine paneled walls, and late summers picking blueberries from the bushes around the pond

in the heart of a friend I haven’t seen in half a decade, who lives in a city I’ve never been to, without whom life hasn’t been the same-

Pieces of my heart lie in memories and loves, lost feelings and burning hopes,

they are the sum of my scattered soul.

Today

I miss early morning showers, walking through brisk air,

and the first cup of coffee in the office before anyone else gets in.

I miss the hustle of the city, hurrying to catch a train,

laughing with friends while running to get out of an unexpected downpour.

I miss quiet, dirty bars,

with tipsy bartenders and bad karaoke singers in the back.

I miss sunny walks through the park,

seeing endless amounts of dogs and people laying out on blankets.

I miss the city at night,

pools of light on street corners and the soft cooing of sleepy pigeons.

I miss ten minute train delays, waiting too long for an under-baked bagel,

I miss tripping into a puddle and shrieking when my pants get muddy,

I miss the quickening of my heart when I think I’ve lost my metrocard,

I miss the smell of street vendors even though I hate hot dogs,

and I miss the kindness of strangers, the reliance we have on each other.

I miss New York.

I miss my life.

A Price to Pay

There is something in my house.

They hide in the corners of my eyes

and disappear when I turn my head,

but the open cabinets and missing items

tell me they are real.

So if there is something in your house,

leave out a saucer of milk,

or a cup of honey now and then;

some of them like whiskey, others prefer cookies, some enjoy wine.

If there is something in your house,

even if you can’t see it,

perhaps especially if you can’t,

give them a gift.

These fairies, or goblins, or ghosts

will only return your beloved things

for a price.

Confections

Chocolate dipped oreos lay in neat rows

beside white chocolate pretzels

and beyond that is a few pounds of peanut butter fudge

Sour coated gummies sit in clear bins with scoops

beside a cascade of lemon drops

and a haphazard stack of boxes brimming with salt water taffy

Old fashioned ribbon candy lines the shelf below the myriad of chocolates

And the young person behind the counter

smiles at you

but it doesn’t reach their eyes.

A Film Script I Never Wrote – Black Sheep

I had this idea once and wrote almost the first page of a movie script. It’s funny and I like it, and as I have no desire to write more of it right now, I thought I’d share it with you. (It’s not 100% formatted correctly, I know, but I usually do that when I’m done with a script.)

EXT.  DAY. A GRAVEYARD.

In the distance, a U.S. Naval officer’s fueral is being held.  A somber crowd is gathered around the grave.

Nearest to the coffin, which is perched over the open grave on the lowering mechanism, is a row of seats.  In the chair by the aisle sits a young woman of about twenty eight, crying as her shaking fingers run through the hair of a child too young to know what is happening.  An officer kneels before her, holding up the flag of the United States of America.

CUT TO

A girl, PAULIE, who is two or three years old is struggling to get her dress over her head.  It gets caught on her elbows, then her chin. A few feet away, Paulie’s AUNT DANA is distracted by something in the distance.  The child’s struggle is comical as the camera slowly zooms out to reveal that the young girl is actually only a few yards away from the funeral.  

The child gets closer and closer to the gathered crowd, still attempting to pull the dress off but the older woman who was supposed to be watching her does not notice.  The dress gets caught on her her chin, and then her nose. She bumps into a member of the crowd, and the older woman has noticed, and begins delicately running through the grass in her funeral heels. 

The girl’s dress is stuck around her forehead, and she struggles with it.  She laughs at the challenge, and she tugs on it as she runs, bumping into more funeral goers.  Most of the crowd, except her mother, has noticed her antics.

PAULIE (V.O.)

I guess I’ve always been the black sheep of the family.

Finally, Paulie has freed herself from the dress, and flings it away.  It lands on the coffin, and now all eyes are on her. Her mother, JAN, still shaking as she holds the flag, faints, and is caught by another funeral goer as Jan’s own mother beside her snatches the baby out of her lap.