Portrait #1 - He Shuffles His Feet

Driving this morning, I see him walking. Old man with a fisherman's hat, walking slowly. Maybe it is because I am halfway to 70 that I wonder if I will love an old man someday. If I will find the stoop in his shoulders and the shuffle of his feet endearing. If I will kiss his thinned softened lips and still feel a little spark.

As it happens in imperceptible increments, will I notice him growing old with me? Or will we look at each other and see each other exactly as the day we met?

*From the Velvet Verbosity archives. This was originally posted May 25, 2006. This was the first "word portrait" I did.

100 Words on Chasm- Howling


The distance between who he showed himself to be and his shadow self was blackened by an impossibly wide chasm. The ground around his core eroded slowly by lies. Dug deeper still by the lies required to protect the lies that came before. He always thought he could fill it in, but the hope of unifying inner and outer was now nothing but a whisper written on the bones that lay at the bottom. The bones of what-could-have-been. His eyes revealed nothing of it from a distance, but to stand close was to hear the howling of the damned.

Gratuitous Charm

You walk in here all gratuitous charm, flexing your seduction, locked and loaded for play. I brace to dismiss you but an argument rages in my skull. I could walk out of this restaurant in a second; ask the waitress to pack your tired stories of wanderlust and indecision in a Styrofoam container, take them to go and let them quietly decay on a chilled shelf. Instead I listen with relaxed shoulders and a steady gaze, but my hands tremble beneath the table. Or is it my thighs? My god, my god, you’re beautiful. Your packaging is so fucking sublime.

My 100 words on gratuitous as part of the weekly 100 word challenge.

100 Words - The Mask

They say hindsight is 20-20. Should’ve seen what was coming down the tracks. Should’ve laid my ear to the ground – paid attention to that rumbling intuition under my feet.

Vague answers to easy questions, odd disappearances in the middle of the day, intermittent disconnect between words and action, out of place comments that threw awkward silences into the flow of conversations, the wandering eyes and ears and attention, mood swings without visible trigger

I didn’t want to see what was right there in front of my face -- the frayed edges on the seam between the mask and the man.

Elegance in Contrast


She has a couple of scars on her left hand. Unrelated, but both from burns. These tiny little flaws bother her.

It bothers me that they bother her. The way even the most beautiful creature ruminates on a few and barely noticeable blemishes. As if she loses points for this. As if everyone notices and thinks less of her for this. I've shown her how the world is airbrushed and prettified mechanically and artificially. I've gotten frothy in the mouth over studies that illustrate the damage we do with our not-of-this-world beauty ideals.

And yet, haven't I stood before the bedroom mirror fretting over the deep crease in my brow? Haven't I spent money on pots of magic in hopes of putting my hand against the chest of time to hold it back? Haven't I dusted my bosom and clavicle and shoulders with shimmer for an evening out?

Precisely where is that line between pride in one's health and appearance, and neurosis?

I'd like to find it, mark it in glow-in-the-dark paint, and stand with her just this side of it, laughing.