Friday, April 22, 2011

Let Us Begin

Let us begin,
dust the dust off the typewriter and truly begin,
letter after letter, word after word,
the bending silence of the gracious echoing,
a humble beginning, the little gallop of the television,
grandfather hides his pain and smiles so that you know everything is okay and everything will be okay and nothing will be different even when someone tells you otherwise,
older and older I become, little does she know,
little does he know that tonight will carve out their existence in their minds until the end of the end,
gracious host, gracious again and again,
please, I beg you, lift up your voice to the ramblings of God,
he is there on the streets, in the market, in the bowling alley,
there is a great stirring in my soul, a level of transition,
the Spring has arrived, guitar and muscles fading,
justified beginnings come and go, here and there is the palace,
in moments now, as the music swells, the smell of gas and garden,
soon the commas will end, the induced coma will end,
frightened of the beginning, scared of the end,
littered among the next word and the last word,
I find the beginning:

“She sat on the lawn chair, a pile of magazines at her feet, the smell of grass, freshly cut, the fresh smell of spring. Her eyes are closed but she is not asleep. She wears a striped one piece, breasts of gold peeking out. Little words now to express my memory of her correctly. She sits, the angel of plastic. Sunglasses, a straw hat, a daiquiri in the holster. She sits and the sun perceives himself the victor of her pale skin. There is the occasional car, translucent to her perception.”

No, that is not the beginning. I do not even know this lady.
I will find it. Let me continue to search among these broken letters
until something comes to me again,
like a mother of two having trouble wrangling her small children,
like the handbag of the apocalypse: devouring the forgotten,
like the yeast of yesterday,
like the underlining metaphor in a sex ed class,
like the wasted wasteland of the internet,
like the recycled memory of the first day of kindergarten,
like the – have I lost you? Good. Now let us begin again:

“She uses the sponge to mop the floor. This is her life now, a modern Cinderella because of her father. Her apron says “Kiss the Cook” but she is neither cooking or does she have someone to kiss. She revels in the irony with a slight smirk on her face, though smirks are slight to begin with, aren't they? Her yellow gloves protect her sensitive skin from the harsh chemicals. The radio plays a tune of the current generation, which she is not a part of, though you would be hard pressed to guess her age. She does not lose sleep over her age, though she does lose sleep if her floor is not clean.

She yawns a stifled yawn and dumps the water into the sink. She looks outside at her lazy cousin who is asleep in the lawn chair again and steps carefully to avoid muddling the clean floor. My God, how her beauty makes me believe in you.”

I must interrupt again because this is going nowhere,
the clock ticks as your eyes tick across the page,
a mere wasted minute, but none the less we will begin again,
let me see if I can find a word or phrase
that might entice you to read further:

“Two Mormon brothers, dressed in their Sunday best on a Friday, cross the street to a small cottage with a girl in a one piece sunbathing in a lawn chair in the front yard. The taller of the boys gives a knock to the door. “Just a minute.” is the answer from inside. An eye comes to the peephole and then disappears. There is silence for a minute or two, so the brother knocks again. Nothing. They smile gently at each other and walk on.”

Hmm, yes. Now what we need is a deus ex machina.
Let me see if I can't stir one up:

“There is another knock on the door, but she ignores it. Silence except for the radio. Suddenly, the locked door flies open and Truth walks in with a scent of gin and pastrami.

'What have you got to drink?' Truth asks.
'I'm sorry?' she says.
'What have you got to drink?' Truth repeats with a sigh, holding the bridge of his nose with his index finger and thumb.
'We are fresh out.'
'Well, shit, lady. I need a drink or you need a drink. I'm loaded with triviality and suffering. Luckily, for the both of us, I carry.' He pulls a flask from inside his coat, slicks back his hair, and takes a pull. 'Okay, Hannah. It's Hannah, isn't it?' Hannah nods. 'I've come with some rather heavy news. You may want to sit down.'

Hannah sits, unquestioning. Her interest is fully piqued by this strange man. 'Today,' Truth says, 'is the last day of your life.' He pauses to let this process. 'Your organs will shut down tomorrow around one and you won't wake up from the coma. So, as they say, seize the day.' He gives a little bow, turns and leaves, closing the door behind him.

She removes her apron and lays down on the couch. 'At least the floors are clean,' she thinks.”

Creative Commons License
This work by Scott Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


  1. I like it, though I want to know more about this woman before you kill her off.

  2. I agree. But that is not my first thought. My first thought is breathlessness and relief. Both at laying down on the couch and at having read this.