Assorted poems and short stories that I write down when struck on the head by a blunt instrument, er, inspiration. Most of it sucks, I'm sure.

Table of Contents



July 23, 2001

There is a certain beauty,
 I suppose,
 In cat's eyes and mistletoes.
And in having someone to hold...
why can't I have it to?

I am solonelyicoulddie, every time I see

 A couple, in love, be they straight or gay
 holding hands down the street, in a park, wherever.
I watch from afar, wanting, not them, but to
Where is my someone?

How do you meet them? People just don't fall 
front of you. That would hurt.

I can't just go up to J. Random Stranger and start talking.
I'm not wired that way. Introvert. Quiet. Shy. Wallflower,

Bars? The noise and the smoke scream STAY AWAY.
They are not for me.

Online? Sure. But everyone I've met and loved on the net 
lives       too      far          away,
or already has their RL someone... making me just a distraction.

I don't want to go through life alone,
a hermit in my cave or apartment.
Where is my someone? That special someone? 
 I want to know.
I want to share that certain beauty too.


August 19, 2001

A windy spring morning in a national park, somewhere. Maybe Yellowstone. Maybe Denali, if that's a national park. Maybe somewhere else. It doesn't really matter where. The bears have emerged from their winter hibernation, skinny and hungry after the long long sleep. One of them is in a roadside field, foraging. Grubbing after mice and plants and whatever else smells good. Refueling.

There's tourists, of course. There's always tourists in national parks. Some of them have pulled over, out of their SUVs and RVs, to get a better view of the hungry bear. A few people have incredibly expensive cameras on tripods, with telescoping lenses that are at least 6 feet long out. Maybe they work for National Geographic. Maybe they just don't want to end up with their thumb over the lens. Then another car, dwarfed by the rest, a small 4-door stuffed with camping gear pulls over, and the driver gets out.

A guy. Mid-20's, probably. Shaggy hair and beard. Dirty clothes. Hairy chest under his ragged neck-stretched-way-too-large t shirt. Off on a road-trip around the country, or maybe just wandering about with no place to go. Whatever. Anyways, he gets out. The bear looks over, letting a frantic shrew get away, only to drop dead of a heart attack. The bear sits up, cocks its head to one side. Looks right at this guy.

The bear starts to amble over towards the road, towards the guy. The other tourists chatter loudly to themselves, like anxious squirrels. Some mother makes her little kid get back in their road-dominating moster of a motorhome. The other monster, the bear, just keeps walking over, in no hurry. Shutters flicker. One camera starts to rewind the film, loudly. The bear keeps on. People start to get nervous.

They've heard too many stories about bears mauling humans. Actually paid attention to the 'Do not feed the bears' signs. It's a small miracle that nobody does something stupid. They back off, get in their gas-guzzlers and hope the aluminum and plastic will keep them safe. Except this one guy. He just stands there, staring at the bear, meeting and returning its stare. Waiting, as if he expected this. Knees aren't even shaking.

Finally, the bear gets to him, only a foot or two away. Seems like everyone else, those watching in the cars, aren't even there. They don't matter. Just the bear and hairy man. There seems to be a physical resemblance. Guy's big and hairy. Bear's bigger and hairier. Bear shoves its nose in his face, whuffs. The bear's breath is kind of sweet, surprisingly. Honey and clover. Hasn't had much of a chance yet to start smelling like rotten meat. Guy stands there. Closes his eyes. Bear licks his forehead with a sloppy raspy tongue. Guy smiles.

Bear stands up on its hind legs, towering over the guy. Guy, eyes still closed, tilts his head back, looking up at it. Bear takes a swipe with one paw at his forehead, right where it kissed him. Sends the guy sprawling, blood on his head. Bear plops down, and ambles back off into the field, crosses a stream, and vanishes into the woods on the other side before anyone in the cars stirs.

Some brave soul gets out of their fifth-wheeler, cheap first aid kit in hand. Maybe he remembers something from cub scouts 40 years ago. But the guy is sitting up now, rubbing at his forehead. It isn't blood, at second glance. Just mud and dirt from the bear's paw, really. Red clay-ish dirt, so it looks like blood at a distance. The bear must not have hit as hard as it looked. A love tap. Didn't even break the skin. Guy shrugs off offers of assistance, gets back in his clunker of a car, and drives off. None of the tourists ever see him again. Sometimes they think of him and tell the story of the near-mauling to the person in the RV next to them at some laughably-named campground, to oos and ahhs and titters of fear.

The guy was unhurt. But when he wiped the mud off onto his shirt, not making it much dirtier than it was before, 4 dimpled scars were underneath. Scars like from the tip of the bear's claws. But old scars, years old. Nobody looked at him close enough before to tell if they were there when he got out of the car in the first place. But you know they weren't (When you heard the story from an elderly couple from New Jersey that pulled up next to your spot in the KOA just outside Missoula), that the bear left the scars. And that it really was blood, old dried blood, not mud.


January 1, 2002

Pitter patter of little raindrops falling on an awning.
Below which you sit, wrapped around a blanket to keep away 
the cold and damp air. Curled up in a lawnchair with a book,
Tam Lin I think. Something modern with lots of classical references,
at least. I remember you quoting it quoting Shakespeare or someone
like him. Maybe someone more obscure.

You face out towards the lawn, shining with the rain. Behind you,
in the wood pile, a semi-tame, certainly spoiled, squirrel rummages
around, looking for the peanuts that have been squirreled away 
(ha ha)
and scolding when it can't find any. Squirrels in cities are different,
you know, than the little douglas squirrels out here in the countryside.
They're much better out here. Many things are.

The magic and the mood of the moment, the quiet peaceful stillness of
the person, the quiet gentle noises (Except for the squirrel chatter)
of nature. The heavy grey sky. The raindrops, unbroken, balancing on
leaves of grass, or running down the awning and falling off in
strand-of-pearl-like waterfalls. Birds in the distance. Crunching as
the squirrel finds it long-awaited nut. This is what I want to remember.

Dog on a Sunny Afternoon

March 30, 2002

Something noticed one day, remembered
like a photograph from my childhood:

While driving along the country highway
I saw a dog, lying by the side of the road,
asleep despite the cars zooming by,
all stretched out, soaking up the sun
(For it was a rare bright warm sunny day),
its bright red leash trailing behind.
A peaceful scene.

I did not realize for some time after that it was
not a leash.

The window

April 25, 2002

An old woman is sitting in her rocking chair,
old well-worn, twin ruts worn into the carpet beneath
from long use.

The chair is before a window overlooking a garden,
lots of greengrowingstuff, trees, flowers, shrubbery,
even a little fountain, 





could be taken as rather unpleasent imagery by those of a
different twist of mind than the old woman, who just likes to look.

The woman, rocking endlessly back and forth on her endless journey to
nowhere, is holding a baby doll, plastic face and brown-paint-hair
scratched and faded against her shoulder, patting its unyielding
cotton-covered back once in a while.

The sun shines in on her spot, making it pleasantly warm.
Young filipeno girls in brightly-patterned scrubs come by now and then
looking over her. Sometimes, others.

A middle-aged woman, prehaps once beautiful, now face lined with age and care,
blond hair showing hints of silver.
She kneels before the rocking old woman, touches her on the knee.

Old woman says, in a shakey voice:
"Can I help you?
"Did you come to look at the garden?
"Would you like to see my baby? Her name is June...
"What's wrong?
"Why are you crying? Did I say something wrong?
"Don't run away..."

The sun shines in on her spot, making it pleasantly warm.
Young filipeno girls in brightly-patterened scrubs come by now and then,
looking after her. Never, others. She doesn't remember to miss them.

Shawn Wagner

Last modified: Tue Nov 19 23:22:21 PST 2002

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