Here is a new feature on this website. As well as posting readings and events you can attend, I will be posting texts and audio-recordings of my poems and stories, so you can read/listen in the comfort of home. The first entry is “Night Lights of Kansas,” a fictionalized story about an event from my own childhood. Anyone who has read Jane Rule’s 1964 novel Desert of the Heart, or seen Donna Deitch’s 1985 film Desert Hearts, based on the book, will recognize the setting. The story is from a child’s point of view, however. (and, for those interested in the transition from memoir to fiction, I have created the character of Danny. The birds in the hotel lobby are real, but the mysterious bird in the jungle is taken from The Book of Beasts: Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century by T.H. White — this bird has fascinated me for years, and was first the subject of a story I wrote in 1968; now he has flown over here.
Central Avenue at Night, in the Rain
Central Avenue at night,
in the rain, without my glasses on:
you tell me about this painting
you did at school —
hazy swirls of red and green,
blue angles rising, surprising,
intersecting circles of dark and light.
Abstract, everyone called it,
except your mother – who said, “Oh yes,
you’ve been out in the rain again
without your glasses.” A painter herself,
she saw forms with fine-tuned eyes,
their colours, textures, smell.
She taught you well.