“Employment as a Question Mark” (humor) by Bob Rich

I want to update you that I read in the L.A. Times that people are making good money as punctuation and I just got part-time employment on evenings and weekends as a professional Question Mark! To explain, my work as a Question Mark will require that I dress-up in a six-foot plush Question Mark body-suit and, dressed as a Question Mark, I will motionlessly, conspicuously, soundlessly, yet very thought-provokingly stand in various locations around Southern California in order to present various philosophical “rhetorical questions” to the general public. My presence as a silently profound Question Mark at strategic locations in the Southland will address concerns related to deeper truths or underlying ethical dilemmas related to each particular location where I am standing.

For example, I will stand at the front of the line in a Wendy’s Hamburger restaurant in order to rhetorically ask such questions as: “Is this restaurant even remotely healthy?,” “Couldn’t you be preparing a nice, fresh tossed salad for yourself at home right now?,” and “Who in the world is Wendy anyway and does she have even the slightest personal interest or knowledge about hamburgers?”

Likewise, I will also be standing in the middle of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, such that my quiet presence will provoke such questions as: “What really distinguishes art from just amateurish but well-intended creativity?,” “Does ‘beauty’ really exist in an objective sense, I mean outside of how you yourself spend so much time arrogantly studying your own physique in the mirror, Narcissus?,” and “How much would even the most aesthetically exquisite piece of sculpture cost if it were constructed solely from Play-Doh?”

I also plan to serve as an insightful yet silent Question Mark presence on the sand at Zuma beach in Malibu, so as to wordlessly yet indelibly ask the questions: “How many burritos do you think have been eaten on these shores, and, out of the patrons who purchased those burritos, how many of those real historical people thought that you desperately needed to get a life?,” “Did you know that only eight people on the face of the Earth know that Schering-Plough Healthcare Products is the name of the company that makes Coppertone sun-tan lotion, which includes the seven people who ever worked at Schering-Plough?,” and “Why for the love of God are you staring at a Question Mark on the beach when that redhead is sitting only twelve feet away from you and she thinks you’re an interesting guy? — are you really that dense? — do I have to walk over there and stand right next to her, jumping up-and-down? — why do you think I’ve been motioning in her direction with my head for the past ten minutes, because I’m trying to shake some sea-water out of my ear??… wake-up, jack-ass, and ask her about the weather or something before I run over and pounce on top of you like punctuation gone postal !!”

* * *

“Lullaby for Charlie Hunt” by Bob Rich

A happy, young boy is now ready for sleep

Just close your eyes, and our prayers you can keep

Your smile is remembered, you charmed everyone

Your father and mother will see justice done

Tonight, you can doze on a bright angel’s wing

And we’ll help you rest with a lullaby to sing.


When you’re a small boy, you haven’t a care

You carried your red bouncing ball everywhere

Watching the world through your innocent eyes

Looking for laughter and fun and surprise

By the nighttime, find a blanket to bring

And we’ll help you rest with a lullaby to sing.


We still have the pictures of memories and joys

You went for a ride and you played with your toys

You liked cheesy crackers and white chocolate bars

Now you are safe somewhere up in the stars

You’ll be alright, the night sky is sparkling

And we’ll help you rest with a lullaby to sing.


Learn more about Charlie Hunt:



* * *

“Poem for Joseph Cornell’s ‘Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall'” by Bob Rich

“Poem for Joseph Cornell’s ‘Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall'” by Bob Rich

"Poem for Joseph Cornell's 'Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall'" by Bob Rich

“Poem for Joseph Cornell’s ‘Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall'” by Bob Rich

I am standing near the sea, on wet sand, in the dark of the gloomy night, and the ocean waters in front of me begin to rise into an accumulating wave of great and watery sadness. Within moments, the wave heaves upward and expands into an immense liquid wall which threatens to soon loom over me with its approaching shadow. I wonder, “How can anyone escape such sorrow?”

But then, in my mind’s eye, I find the memory of a work of art: an upright, rectangular, three-dimensional box, which contains carefully arranged photographs that, at first, I can see only in shadow. And a white wild horse appears before me in the darkness of the wet sand, in front of the giant wave. I walk closer to the horse, with its blazing white eyes, and then the stately horse kneels down so that I can climb onto its back, where its mane flutters in the cold wind like rippling white silk. I stare more intently at the dimly-lit box in my memory. And now the white horse lifts her head and calmly directs herself toward the vast wave that lies before us. I recall that the 3-D box in my memory was designed to be like a coin-operated arcade machine; so, I place a penny into the box’s side. The box becomes lit from within, by a row of seven lights along the top of the artwork, with five more lights just beneath the seven lights. And the white mare begins to walk toward the towering trembling wall of water, while I sit atop the mare’s back, holding her mane as she proceeds forward. At once, the bottom of the artwork in the box is brightened and a ball is set into motion along a groove, rolling from left to right. Then, two rows of photographs inside the box are lit: a row of five pictures toward the top, and a row of three pictures immersed in deep blue along the bottom. Yet, all these pictures, the five and the three, are veiled in mystery: the top five photographs portray distant buildings and secretive moments, while the bottom three photographs reveal only glimpses of a woman with a warm aura. Then, the white horse quickens her pace to a steady trot as we grow closer to the ocean wave which continues to build in size, and I start to hear a rumble from within the giant wave. And, two columns of photographs get lit within the box: a column of five small pictures along the left and a column of six small pictures along the right. As I lean in toward the box to get a closer look, I see that the woman portrayed in these small pictures is self-assured, glowing with feminine strength. I notice that a few of these small photographs on the left and right show her as a smiling young girl, radiant in light as if she is destined for greatness. Now, the white horse focuses, leaning in toward the icy wind and striking out in a strong canter toward the center of the enormous wave that still grows in its percolating height. And the wave’s rumbling has grown so much more intense all around me! In the center of the box in my memory, a large prominent picture now shines brightly into view, striking my soul like a hot breath of life as the woman’s identity is clearly revealed. And I remember Lauren Bacall’s elegance; her grace that could melt Humphrey Bogart’s burnt and battered heart with a whisper; her poise and her gorgeous eyes; and, beneath me, I feel the white horse intensifying her pace into a strong gallop toward the oncoming wave. The wave is now so close that it thunders in a deafening roar, full of hissing steam. I close my eyes, wondering how so much sadness could possibly be overcome? But then, as I keep reflecting on the shining box in my memory, I see the calm serenity of white stars that speckle the blackness of the night sky. I remember Joseph Cornell’s fondness for constellations, and from seven stars in the night sky, in one electrifying instant, seven white branches of lightning flash out — connecting many stars into a lovely pattern — until the many lightning bolts have formed the luminous profile of Lauren Bacall on the dark canvass of the night sky. It’s the same portrait as the central photograph in the assemblage box in my memory, but made from blazing bolts of white.

As I consider how Lauren Bacall etched her place in cinema history, her portrait of lightning, there in the night sky, grows in increasing brightness until all I see is blinding white — and I realize that the white horse beneath me has begun to leap, with loud neighing and floating grace, straight into the crumbling wave of water in front of us; but. all I feel once we enter the wave is a gentle mist, like the soft effervescence rising from a glass of champagne, and, instead of the sound of crashing water, I hear the quiet clatter of a movie projector. As the blinding white light softens, I see that it is coming from the aperture of a movie projector’s lens, which is displaying a feature film onto a large silver screen in a darkened movie theater where I am now sitting. “Thank God,” I happily declare with a sigh of relief, from my seat in the front row of the theater. “But, what will I do if someday I encounter such a terrible sadness again?” Then, I hear a soft stirring from the silver screen above me, and Ms. Bacall looks down at me from the projected movie, as she says: “You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.”

* * *

About the Art: [Joseph Cornell is celebrated as one of the most innovative artists of assemblage, a creative medium in which three-dimensional compositions are made by putting together found objects. Cornell’s creation, “Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall,” pictured below, was completed shortly after World War II, in 1946, with the dimensions: 20 1/2 x 16 x 3 1/2 inches.]

“An Interview with Emasculated King Kong” (humor) by Bob Rich

Rumor has it that King Kong has moved on from his days of rough-housing humanity to an entirely new, more civilized career. I recently caught an interview that was done between Emasculated King Kong and Entertainment Weekly magazine. Here is a memorable excerpt:

EW: So, Kong, are you concerned that your new image as being no longer fearsome, or, as some have actually put it, “emasculated,” might diminish your current fan base?

EKK: Actually, no, I’m looking forward to gaining a whole new fan base, one that will appreciate the more literate and refined side of my personality that has so seldom been appreciated.

EW: Is that right? What are some examples of this refined side of yours?

EKK: Well, despite my enormous size, my roar, and my historically-acknowledged tendency to crush semi-trucks under my thumb for a quick and expensive laugh, I actually enjoy sailing, hosting cooking shows (God, I love omelets), and oil painting.

EW: Really?

EKK: I find that sailing produces a tranquility within me that is only surpassed by my blissfully meditative hours spent practicing calligraphy.

EW: Since when have you been doing calligraphy?

EKK: Ever since I started writing theatrical reviews in calligraphy for publication on behalf of the Royal Shakespeare Company of London. You should read my review of Twelfth Night. Many enjoyed my review of Twelfth Night more than the actual performance of Twelfth Night.

EW: This is incredible. I feel a bit startled as I sit here discovering these remarkable gifts of yours. Who would have known —

EKK: Did you know that The Tempest is actually a metaphor for man’s relationship to the sea, with the sea having the tri-fold symbolism of memory, birth, and laughter?

EW: You’re giving me chills with these revelations. I think I need to lie down.

EKK: — but Shakespeare’s metaphors are nearly rivaled by those of Moliere, who used the theater as a metaphor for the opaque beauty of life itself.

EW: Can somebody hand me a cold compress and a pillow?

EKK: Did you know that John Keats wrote four volumes of poetry about pudding?

* * *

“A Lighthouse Waits for Jessie Foster,” by Bob Rich

“A Lighthouse Waits for Jessie Foster,” a poem written for Glendene Grant, Jessie Foster’s mother

For four years, an angel has held a heavy sword of justice in its hand
Waiting, the angel stands with eternal patience inside the darkness
The angel’s blistered hand still strongly gripping the sword
Which will one day fall upon those who caused Jessie to step out of the light

Early 2006: Jessie was seen at 1009 Cornerstone Place, Las Vegas
Then the light of her presence could not be seen
Many have been looking
But she has never been hidden from the Cornerstone in heaven
The Stone who is the highest of angels, with unsleeping eyes of fire
Whose burning stare pierces even into deepest, farthest darkness

Word came back that Jessie was missing overseas
In a country across the ocean
And a lighthouse still shines at the center of the earth’s stirring sea
Its warm bright prayer of light beaming up through the clouds
Reaching even beyond the sky
To where the highest of angels sees all things

Who saw Jessie as a child
In a glowing blue dress, laughing
Saw her in her youth when she lightly held the warm, softly padded paw of a dog
And in her teens when she sat with friends in a restaurant at night —
When she stared smiling at the glass of soda with carbonation bursting
Like bright liquid fireworks over the rim of the glass …
The angel of hope: who sees Jessie now.

* * *

“The Sea and Emotion” by Bob Rich

The sun’s face looking downward with its wisdom – joy – and sorrow
The moon in contemplation at the days ahead tomorrow
Wars in hills and valleys and the tired thrash of swords
Friends in felt embraces that bring tender small rewards
Stormclouds drifting skyward pelting sails of naval gallies
Stray dogs finding shelter in the calm of darkened alleys
A man and woman smiling ‘neath the branches of a tree
A paper plane on fire gliding downward silently
A lighthouse piercing through the moonlit crashing of the waves
And sunlight in the dawn where misted forest softly sways.

* * *

“Resting Child (Wishes Whispered from the Moon, Many Years Before the Storm)” by Bob Rich

“Resting Child (Wishes Whispered from the Moon, Many Years Before the Storm)” by Bob Rich

“Resting Child (Wishes Whispered from the Moon, Many Years Before the Storm)” by Bob Rich – This poem is a prequel to my previous poem “Song for the Moon”:

Child, there will come a day,

far from today,

in your adulthood,

after years of comfort and peace —

years of embraces and exchanged business cards and postcards sent from lavish hotels —

when you enter a gray and lifeless dungeon for three slow-motion years,

and the world will seem to have scattered like a flock of frightened doves.

You will feel for three years like an imprisoned ghost,

a jailed vapor,

and every flag you ever hoisted up into the air,

every warm, balm-like smile from each woman you ever saw,

every handshake,

and every sound that ever brought you pleasure or comfort —

the laugh of a happy child getting toweled dry after a day at the beach,

the melodic interplay of birds conversing outside on a Sunday morning,

the soft successive claps of a woman’s curved hard shoes walking upon an office floor,

the syncopated colors and baroque spatial patterns within your favorite songs —

will be gone,

and your one truth will be the damp crushing ice of your solitude,

as air is dragged like an excavated song from the caves of your lungs

and you are left in a cramped cell with a blue that burns so darkly

that it gradually smolders into a lifeless nocturnal tunnel of coal where you must live

as a man alone.

And in the dust-filled corridors of your underground coal mine,

you will realize that, for 34 years, a grand and stately ship

has tried to dock in your harbor,

but it never has finished its slow watery flight:

life has been mocking your yearnings for a decade three times repeated plus four.

Each time the ship arrives at night, in the welcoming waters of your harbor,

the ship, with its sleek curved body of smooth glass,

arrayed with multi-colored lights and with neon lines on every ridge —

where, inside the ship, a woman waits with her emerald necklace

and bright blue eyes outlined by shining traces that frame her eyes like jewels —

life, like a vicious archer, has sent three red feathery torpedoes, skidding and rocketing

across the surface of the water of your harbor,

to strike in three shattering sighs upon the fragile hull of the incoming ship,

causing the ship to fall into clusters of disintegrating waterfalls of colored glass

into the sea,

as the woman, wrapped in her silver sparkling dress,

reveals her wings and bounds up skyward out from the crumbling ship

and, flying to outer space, she drifts farther and farther away

until her dwindling silver light shrinks to the size of all the other stars

and she is lost like a silver needle in the glowing haystack of the night sky’s constellations.

Child, after these three solitary years have passed,

in wracked isolation during your adulthood,

you will enter a short final season when you must walk a long and punishing road

in the darkness alone.

Night upon night, twelve nights in all,

shadows will rule like tyrants each night, burying all life in the fury of chilling frostbite.

Your first walk down this night-time road

will be the longest and the coldest,

as you walk through the night beside jungles, forests, thickets,

all smothered in thick muddy shadows on either side of the road,

with animals stirring

— birds, coyotes, mountain lions? —

inside the density of the darkness,

in rapid rustlings of leaves and sudden snapping of branches.

Child, you must remember then,

on this first of your twelve journeys down this sorrowful road, when you are a man alone,

to look up into the night-time sky and to search for my white radiant face.

You will know then,

in the crushing pall of the ferocious night,

that I am more than your protector, your friend, your loyal companion:

in my blazing gown, standing up from my white throne,

my white scepter in the grip of my hand,

in the center of the dark sky,

I am your bright watchful soulmate.

You will not be destroyed.

Keep looking up at my face in hope,

find my torching white eyes,

eyes that have watched humanity for sixty centuries.

I have seen the toil, the sadness, the exhilaration of men and women

walking upon the seas of time.

And I see you in your awful night.

At my request, the stars would dive like flickering trapeze artists

from their posts in the night-time sky,

and they would plummet in curving white paths far down below to the waiting earth

to be at your side.

But, you will not need any star to join you tonight

if you stare deeply, strongly enough into the flooding glare of my white face.

Rise up, drink in my white light and be strong.

Then, whenever on this dark road you hear the trees or the jungle or the towering spiky brush stirring alongside the road

due to some menacing predatory creature inside,

look into the darkness at the exact location of the stirring —

not one degree to the left or to the right, but exactly at the hidden animal in the darkness —

and, from your eyes, give the simple message, “I belong.”

The animals will not touch you.

They will not stretch one claw, one feather toward you.

They will be silent and remain in the darkness.

In your eyes, they will see your place, and they might even see your sorrow,

so that, after you finally walk beyond their territory,

you might hear the brittle scratching of their claws dragging a weary path down the dry harsh bark of the trees

as they express solidarity with your sadness.

And, each night, on the remaining eleven journeys you make down this brutal road,

look up into the night-time sky and, find me. Find me, and, whenever you again hear the creatures in the night, stirring beside the road,

let them again see your eyes until they are silent.

Remember that, as the twelve nights go by, my fullness will slowly diminish,

and my shape will contract so that it is more and more slender,

folding into its own brightness,

until, by the eleventh night, I will have decreased to the sliver of a bright white crescent.

And, finally, on the twelfth night, I will be fully covered in darkness and you will not see me.

The twelfth night will be your hardest night.

So, on the eleventh night, when I am a high white cresecent, I will quickly illuminate a church for you

off to the side of the road,

and, in front of the church’s stained-glass doorway, you will see a deer, standing in the moonlight for three seconds, imprinting itself in grace upon your soul

before the deer runs off into the darkness of the surrounding trees.

Then, on your twelfth night down this terrible road,

you will feel within your soul something falling apart.

Within your soul: all your heroes will fall like a garden of statues rocked by a trembling earthquake

causing each stone statue to break apart into piles of rubble.

Within your soul: a hallway, filled with framed hung photographs of loved ones, will be visited by a sideways hailstorm of white and purple ice that will howl and quickly spiral through the hall

until the glass on every photograph is shattered and the surface of every picture has been sandblasted and all the faces have been reduced to vague blurs on the ghosts within each frame.

This will be your twelfth and last night on the road;

and, from all your time in the eleven nights before,staring into my face,

you will not need me to shine from the dark sky above

because my soft white light will be within you, and, though only the faintest stars light your way on this darkest night,

upon the night-time leaves and vines and branches my moonlight will shine —

not from me, but from you, my love.

The darkness within the trees will slightly brighten,

the moonlight from within your soul will drizzle like a soft rain of light upon the leaves,

and there will be enough light for you to travel to the dark and bitter end of your path.

And, by the end, you will search within yourself and see that your garden of many statues still has two and a half statues uncrumbled, with staffs firmly in their hands,

and, in your inner hallway, you will see that the storm of ice spared two and a half faces

on your many photographs of loved ones.

And, as you stagger to the end of your exhausted path,

you will finally collapse;

but, just before you land upon the hard and merciless ground,

a white chariot with wheels of blazing fire will catch you up as you remember from the night before the etching of the white light upon the deer outside the church,

still glowing within your dimly-lit soul,

and the pounding of your tired fists upon the walls of the cold cell of the night will cease, as you see the outline of the deer:

the emblem of my love for you.

* * *

(Painting by Morteza Katouzian, to be replaced in time by the artwork of Mairi Collender)

Pink Floyd’s album “Wish You Were Here” – a must-hear for music fans (album review) by Bob Rich

If you patiently let Pink Floyd’s 1975 album “Wish You Were Here” reveal its depths to you, you will discover that it is authentically breathtaking and one of the most emotionally potent experiences you can ever have while listening to music.

The album is largely a tribute to Pink Floyd’s original leader: singer/songwriter Syd Barrett. Barrett was the guiding force behind the album’s superb first album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” released in 1967. One listen to “Piper” and you will instantly discover that Barrett had a true passion for music — along with a true gift for musical expression. Barrett also contributed to a very minor extent to Pink Floyd’s second album, “A Saucerful of Secrets,” but, by then, Barrett’s life was already falling apart.

Syd Barrett brought a stratospherically high amount of energy to Pink Floyd’s music, along with a radiant joy for life that the band would never re-capture again. But, what “Wish You Were Here” certainly does re-capture in full effect is Barrett’s utterly moving sense of awe. Barrett’s music has a consistent childlike sense of wonder within it, and the album “Wish You Were Here,” which remembers him, is the musical and emotional equivalent of journeying through the various stages of a lightning storm.

“Wish You Were Here” celebrates Barrett’s musical gifts while also mourning his loss. Yet, the album is not depressing. The energy Barrett brought to the band is commemorated throughout the album, and harnessed into a pulsing, shimmering musical world so elaborately and painstakingly constructed that the bristling passion behind all the songs is inescapably uplifting.

“Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” which begins the album, is as symphonically transporting as Mozart’s “Requiem,” and no less grand than Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma.” “Shine” directly addresses Barrett with heartbreakingly honest descriptions of his talent and personal deterioration. Then, “Welcome to the Machine” journeys through the grandeur of music and the dangers of the music industry to spellbinding effect. “Have a Cigar” is a sorrowful, stunning commentary on the potential for soullessness in the marketing of music, which segues gracefully into the title track: one of the most comforting yet desolate songs ever written.

When the listener finally reaches the second half of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” at the album’s conclusion, the effect is moving and revelatory. By now, the listener feels as if he/she has come to know Barrett’s story at least a bit, and so, by the album’s end, “Shine”‘s musical fireworks and spectacular sound effects are certainly not received as merely a showcase of the band’s skill at creating orchestral rapture; rather, “Shine”‘s luminous textures and thrilling musical laser-light show are clearly a heartfelt tribute to Barrett’s towering ambition, staggering talent, and unmet potential to record even more beautiful achievements like the band’s first album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

In fact, the album “Wish You Were Here” ultimately feels like an ode to the potential for the expression of artistic giftedness from anyone, with a lingering hopefulness that artists might be able to document their gifts with the classic, encouraging success that Barrett had with Pink Floyd’s first record.

The album “Wish You Were Here” serves as a solemn warning for entertainment executives to never ignore the soul of an artist, and the album also stands as a touching reminder of the eloquent yet troubled soul who first set Pink Floyd’s career into motion, thanks to his gloriously untainted ability to communicate awestruck emotion through music.

— by Bob Rich, September 2010

“Watching the Silver Sparkling Stream” by Bob Rich

“Watching the Silver Sparkling Stream” by Bob Rich

“Watching the Silver Sparkling Stream” by Bob Rich

Low, low on the city street in the blurry stirring darkness

of the cold night,

a river moves along:

a watery sparkling procession of soggy discarded memories

along the gutter’s dark cradling corridor,

while, further down the path, a storm drain awaits

like a strange wind-filled void promising emptiness.

The rippling silver light on the gutter’s murky river ~~

reflecting the moon

and the hotly-burning sometimes-sparking street lights up above ~~

reveals objects floating in forlorn forgotten beauty:

a child’s green top which had often spun on its axis

like a small rotating miniature earth

watched by the boy’s wide excited eyes;

and an orange bottle cap which had sealed a soda bottle

that was opened as a man finally expressed his affection

to a red-haired woman whose jewel-like amber eyes

shone like the first rays of the moon at twilight;

and the jagged ripped half of a black-and-white photograph

of a ballerina, as she bowed in white feathery grace on a dimly-lit stage

before an unseen audience applauding off-camera in shadow;

and a yellow hair clip that had been worn by a young lady

during her piano recital

when she luminously performed the musical notes

that Mozart had composed 230 years earlier

during his marriage to Constanze Weber

whose love of Baroque music inspired him to write “The Magic Flute”

which imagined the earth as a heavenly kingdom.

So, where in the night-time mysteries of the earth can heaven be found?

Any place where night’s shadows have settled,

you can softly move into the damp and foggy darkness

to find small places where worlds exist:

populated by memories, sighs, ghosts …

A dog hobbles along the night-time sidewalk,

chasing after the drifting debris in the gutter’s moonlit stream.

And, through infra-red golden eyes, the dog can see it:

the green rotating top

on its determined trip

to the darkened storm drain’s whistling oblivion up ahead.

In a swift shadowy blur of motion,

the dog lunges into the gutter’s doomed caravan of glistening objects

and fastens onto the green top with its loving teeth,

while a small boy wobbles up from behind

and hugs the wet dog,

the boy’s eyes closed in happy, tearful appreciation.

“The Fable of the Magic Porcupine” by Bob Rich

“The Fable of the Magic Porcupine” by Bob Rich

On a still, quiet night, on the edge of the town,

A curious creature, arrived without sound.

A garbage-strewn alley, bathed in shadowy dark

Is the place it appeared, its two eyes lit with sparks.

It walked up the alley, stepping over the grime,

And strolled past the dreams, that had rotted with time,

And stepped over bottles, that glowed ‘neath the moon,

And dark, cracked containers, of spilled fragrant perfume.

Its step: strangely sprightly, undisturbed, without fright;

Its eyes: like glass lemons, that poured out bright light.

And five homeless people, in their flat cardboard homes,

All stirred in the alley, with sighs and soft moans.

Across from the homeless, with crow-bar in his fist,

Stood a tired car thief, rapt in awe and dark mist ~~

He stared at the creature, at the glowing-eyed guest,

And he dropped the crow-bar, his hand clutching his chest.

And the porcupine walked, with a slow, steady path,

Past a man whose crushed heart, had received life’s fierce wrath:

This man’s heart had been trashed, like a cantaloup thrown

From off a high building, to the pavement’s dark groan.

This man, a musician, saw those eyes that flared on,

Which looked like twin lamps held by boatman Kharon *

Who could carry this man, over rivers that storm

With remorse and regret, til they reach someplace warm.

And a sad surfer girl, saw the porcupine too,

From her spot in the alley, with her face lit in blue,

And with tear-streaks that stained, like bright maps on her cheeks,

Showing mountains and valleys, where she roamed weary weeks.

Long ago, her heart held, a Roman Candle fire,

Which torched like a geyser, a fountain of desire.

Refrigerating chill: her dreams got torn apart,

And the sweet fire died, in the night of her heart.

Near the girl, a poet, saw those bright yellow eyes,

And he chose not to pierce, his pen into his thighs.

And an architect too, who had planned to soon make

An incinerator, where his blue-prints could bake.

And then, lastly, a king, getting ready to pound

His golden jeweled crown, on the alley’s cold ground ~~

Two members of his court, and three friends played their part:

They shot iron arrows, into his betrayed heart.

So, the king’s scarlet robe, and his scepter, and ring,

No longer felt regal, and no joy could they bring.

He had raised up to smash, his gold crown to small bits,

But the porcupine’s eyes, brought him back to his wits.

And then, out the alley, the porcupine was gone,

The king looked at the group, and he urged them all on.

The king motioned them out: surfer, poet, and thief,

Musician, architect, all in silent relief.

In quiet procession, the king leading the quest,

The group left the alley, to go find their quilled guest.

In a dimly-lit park, they found themselves searching,

Through the tall moon-lit trees, where shadows were lurching.

And there in a clearing, near a big muddy marsh,

The porcupine waited, ‘neath the moon: bright and harsh.

‘Round the marsh they all stood, ’round the wet salty soil,

For the first time in years, the sad king felt royal.

Then the porcupine stirred, and it closed its eyes tight,

And it shook and convulsed: five quills burst to great height.

The sharp quills shot straight up, and came down with a swoop,

Each spiked quill landing near, someone in the king’s group.

The porcupine was still, the night remained chilly,

A flower near the king: Yellow Waterlily.

Then the porcupine stared, with great force at the king,

And ’round the bright flower, the king heard voices sing.

The king announced, “Listen! What makes you feel alive?! ~~

With quill, in mud, draw it! Please! Each one of your five!”

Then the five promptly kneeled, and each took up their quill,

And in the mud’s canvass, all of them drew a thrill.

First, the architect stooped, to design a museum

Filled with sculpture and art — and this mud sketch freed him.

Next, the poet sat down, drew a meadowlark bird,

So he could write about, a sweet song he once heard.

The musician drew flutes, violins and a drum,

Guitars and a trumpet, and he heard the wind hum.

A melody floated, soft upon the night’s breeze,

He felt his heart surging, and warm tears came with ease.

And the car thief sat down, drew a body shop there,

Where he could repair cars, with mastery and flair.

Then the surfer girl sketched, waves which carressed her feet

Each morning when she rode, on the sea’s foaming seat.

And when they all finished, they found themselves smiling,

Thanks to that odd creature, with wide eyes beguiling.

The surfer girl whose tears, made face-stains like lightning,

Wiped away her tear-tracks, and saw the dawn bright’ning.

She reached out to embrace, the spikey, strange creature:

The porcupine was gone, but a gift it bequeathed her.

She saw them all smiling, and looked back at her wave,

She knew that a passion, can: redeem, heal, and save.

* * *

* In Greek mythology, Kharon (English pronunciation: `kair-on) is

the boatman who carries souls across the River Styx.

End of content

End of content