“Underneath the Waterfall in a Green Dress” by Bob Rich

Alone in a cloudy green valley,

by himself in the green misty canyon

where steaming vapors trailed up in prayers toward the sky,

he felt cold, cold rain

pouring in sheets and buckets inside his chest

for years: bright blue burning seas of falling rain.

From the rain emerged a river,

finally releasing its burning blue sorrow

into a stream in the green valley,

in the lush green empty canyon where no one embraced.

Through the cold green valley,

the river carved a weary path

like a strong solitary liquid fist,

pushing intensely through the mud

through towering neon green trees of longing,

through dark green vegetation of bitterness,

in watery fiery ache across the wet salty earth.

The river was looking

for warm eyes,

and curved, cupped, soft hands

to catch perhaps just a handful of its cold burning ocean.

The river consisted of several sections as it wound its path through the valley,

like a song:

the first part of the river

stretching to the right like verses of sighs,

with lightly plucked guitars shown by ripples over the cold waters;

the second part of the river

swinging to the left like a chorus of prayers,

with a violin quietly humming, causing the river’s surface to vibrate,

kicking up the brittle leaves riding on top of the river;

the third part of the river

arcing back to the right like verses of whispered wishes,

with lightly brushed drums seen through gasps of misty cloud-bursts

breathed up from the river

as the curious neon green trees peered down and watched from overhead;

and the fourth part of the river

arcing back to the left like another chorus of prayers,

with a bass guitar plucked in loud resounding notes

as cold wet fists of water leapt up from the river’s surface

in defiance and desire.

The river deepened into the muddy earth,

grinding down the rocks and hard minerals into a river bed,

etching a dreary journey into the green valley’s frozen terrain,

spraying tears into the grass

as the green trees bent over to silently stare

at the river’s solitary path,

untouched by the single stroke of an oar

as it stretched on toward the night-time horizon

where falling stars drizzled down the sky

in bright yellow streaks

from a weeping constellation.

And, as the cold dark fury of the night settled over the nocturnal valley,

the river’s murky waters sent up clusters of weary bubbles to the surface of the water:

with some clusters of bubbles like mournful lamps in bright blue,

and other clusters like swaying bunches of lamps in burning red,

and others were swirling hot orange lamps like translucent grapes of fire,

with more bubbles grouped in sad shining purple clusters like solitary royal treasure.

The river moving on,

in darkness…

Until somehow,

morning came!

The loyal warm sun.

And the river, still traveling on,

saw a cliff up ahead,

where the river could finally dive off into the free blessed air,

out from the chill of the green cloud-smothered valley.

And, at last, the river’s many tumbling sheets of water

fell like clear ecstatic birds

over the cliff,

in liberated downward flight,

where, far below, a woman was waiting,

wearing a satiny green dress,

her dark hair arrayed in yellow stars from her sweet perfume

that carried the warm fragrance of an endless rose,

with a white blooming carnation flower in her hair,

as she softly opened her fiercely-shining eyes,

golden earrings resplendent in sunlight above her shoulders,

and a basket in her arms with clusters of fruit and colored glass lights,

her bare feet softly stepping in the warm powdery dirt.

The woman, with a beaming smile, began to wash herself in the falling river,

which warmed against her touch

as hundreds of wet singing birds fell around her

and a tunnel of warm air opened up above her

so she could breathe through the plunging river,

while her green dress darkened

beneath the surging warm waterfall’s gentle hands

which lightly pressed its palms against her

like a tango dancer’s soft skilled embrace,

turning her slightly to the right, then slightly to the left, then slightly to the right again,

in a slow savory dance,

as warm clear ribbons of water and light streamed all around her

like long luxurious streams of white shining confetti at the parade for a queen.

The river spilled all around her like soft crystal downpours of watery fireworks,

until, finally, at her feet,

fish appeared, flapping and diving in bright colors,

as the water cascaded in warm sheets away from her,

and fresh green leaves spilled at her feet from rejoicing trees

while she soaked in the last feathery drenches of the warm waterfall,

her bright womanly figure silhoutted in shadow within the downpour.

And the man from the valley no longer felt rain inside his chest,

as the river ignited into a sighing breath of steam within the valley

like a long winding row of exhaled musical notations

lifting off a page of sheet music from a finished opera,

each musical note turning into flames above the dry river bed,

while he imagined:

a boy running, who became a young man leaping,

who became a grown man suspended happily in the warm air;

and three dolphins leaping up over the wide sea in synchronized freedom

as they triumphantly rotate like slow-motion wind-chimes above a bed of sparkling waves;

and three gazelle jumping from the air into warm cradling grasses;

and one fiercely-standing lioness facing the orange-red setting sun.

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