I Said, She Said … Seeing The Light

These colors.

“Yes?”

It’s what you’ve captured.

“Is it?”

Of course it is. You can’t deny your intention.

“I can’t?”

Yes.

“Yes I can?”

No.

“Which is it? Yes or no?”

It’s no, as in, you cannot deny your intention to capture the colors in this landscape.

“Well, I can.”

Don’t be ridiculous. They’re right here on display, splashed across the canvas.

“If that’s all you see, then your pulp criticism is guided by expectation and form. I’m not painting for color’s sake.”

You’re not?

“No.”

What are you doing then?

“I’m doing my best to replicate the light.”

The light?

“And the dark.”

The dark?

“It’s the areas where the light begins to fade or is, for the most part, absent … the transitions.”

I see.

“Good.”

What about me?

 You?”

What about my transitions?

“I haven’t ever considered your transitions.”

That, I have noticed; but what about right now? What do you think?

“Could you slow down your pivot a bit?”

 Like this?

“A little slower … just like that … all the way around.”

Well?

“Curvaceous.”

Curvaceous?

“Your transitions are all kinds of cambered curves … with an occasional line or two that draws attention.”

One can only hope … I don’t have any angles?

“Angles? You? I’d need a transit and a box of protractors to cover all your angles.”

 I’ll take that as a compliment. As I was saying, I see … a lot of color.

“That’s okay. Color is good.”

But I do see the light too. Sunset.

“Oh?”

Long shadows.

“Could be sunrise.”

Not a chance. I’m pretty sure that I’ve walked through that meadow. Long shadows  stretching in that direction … has to be sunset.

“Then it is.”

You should paint more often. This is very relaxing to look at.

“Thanks.”

I should come with you next time.

“Next time?”

When you go out to paint another landscape.

“Okay. That would be nice.”

I have a place in mind. It’s special to me.

“Special?”

A hillside. The view from there is amazing. You’d like it. There’s always a nice breeze.

“When?”

Like I said … always.

“No. I mean when would you like to go. Tomorrow?”

Tomorrow is Sunday.

“Well, after we’re all prayed up and sanctified, you can take me to your hillside.”

Okay; But, leave your paints and canvas here.

“Why?”

We’ll just enjoy the view. You can capture the light some other day.

Sounds good. It’s a date.

Yes, it is … isn’t it.

 

James F. Ross

2016


Screaming In Paradise

Angry
Desperate
Hurt
Frustrated
Humiliated
Pushed Aside
Forgotten

Ignite a blue-tip off my tension
And watch me burn
A hole
A wonder
A crying shame
A memory that should never be

My mind
Suspended by a nonexistent cushion
Is on the brink
No respite dreams to waken

The erupting opus in my rift
Knows discord not that chord
An effortless bowel movement
Forget about it
Trying to waltz to this piece of junk manuscript
Is useless
A squandered life

Disappointing to you
Shame
A barge headed to Twelve Point
Midnight runs for self-respect

A monochrome rainbow of downward glances
Piercing even the best armor of hope
Every black and white waiting
To call in a disturbance of their harmony

From sea to shinning sea
There are cries of hunger and pain
Walking among you
God’s Grace has been shed

Screaming In Paradise
No one can see me

Screaming In Paradise
No one can bear me

Screaming In Paradise
Are you listening?

I AM

Screaming In Paradise

James F. Ross

2010

A Wonderful Review

I Am FlyingThe latest review for my short-story, I Am Flying, was graciously posted on Amazon yesterday, November 13th, by Ms. Molly Gapp. For your convenience, I Am Flying is available as a free download throughout the weekend. You don’t need to own a Kindle to read this story; a free Kindle app is available for most major smartphones, tablets and computers.

Molly’s Review

“This is a short but lovely, tender story of a kindly retired professor who still very much misses his deceased wife, Marie. I’m glad I discovered this little gem—so much so that when I reached the end I immediately reread it, and enjoyed it even more the second time. I have a feeling I will be thinking about this story for a long time to come.”

                                     My gift to you,

                                    James

The Far Wood

My Way
Well established and embraced,
An attentive examination of the village cobble
Would reveal a worn uneventful path, characterized as
Predictability, seasoned with an occasional diversion

The Orchard Café
Midday breakfast tea with shortbread delights
On the long-wall, wildflower and wooded landscapes
Frame the portrait of a well-tended and thriving orchard
That gently persuades my daily moment of introspection

My Walk
Takes me past the village main to Prospect and Hope
An eternal optimist, the florist shares an observation with prediction
An uncommon northerly wind … Change is coming, sooner than never
A fresh yellow rose then, cradled with a blanket of baby’s breath

The Round
A gift from one to benefit all who care to stroll and linger
The rose garden is Mother’s signature gesture of love,
Where an assemblage of Poets gather to hear the latest muse
Today’s reading, augmented by a somber melancholic cello

At the Stone Library
Children long for the patience that is so fervently demanded —
Joy suppressed to convenience those who’ve misidentified bliss
Wandering minds escape their plight with every flyleaf bowed
A clandestine journey, known only to those who remain unbound

The Half Acre
All roads lead to slumber — common ground for the resilient and weary
A cold wind escorts me through the shadow of Iron Gate
On Shepherd Hill, sheltered by a magnificent maple, lies a mighty rock
Who introduced and nourished many to faith, wisdom, and character …

My Mother
Her love and devotion admired, amid reverence for inspired compassion and joy
Sweet William pedestals column a vase of vintage wine-colored corolla
My golden-haired Rose, cradled in a blanket of baby’s breath, forever laid to rest
Silence comes to those who kneel and pray … I long for Mother’s cherished consent

At Prior’s Cottage
Over tea and sweet bread, I barter a tap of harmless prattle and wag with Esther P.
Our village weaver, her gnarled hand tremors aside, my aged willow punnet now mended
A shared barren condition, I have nothing to fill the void; however … Change is coming
Her insistent premonition dictates that today’s hike will take me deep into the Far Wood

Blackthorn Lane
Paved with the barbican old stone, past the clock tower onto the Grand Gate arch,
Following along Narrow Brook, the lane marshals west, down into Old Town and beyond
My ritual is to take the Near Wood trail, gather wild flowers while I may, and then return home
However, Esther’s leaf reading foretold joy. Enough is enough; today, I choose the new path

On this day
I’ve taken a step of hope … Content, the way is pleasant and my thoughts are free to wonder
Were I a gifted painter, how might I capture these meadows composed of variations on a theme
Passable, the path begins to taper, my long-shadow tags behind and the familiar becomes less so
Fallen leaves and pine cones crowd my basket; a sweet tart apple aroma calls to remembrance …

An Orchard
Before me stands a once sanguine hardy stock, congregated with purpose, now tired and bent
My gentle persuasion, my everyday embrace of hope, forgotten, left to wither by neglect of want
In the near-corner, a lone mackintosh defiantly bears fruit, in stark contrast to its lack of splendor
Love — a grand delusion, dancing in a moonlit orchard, alone again, perhaps forever … Where is joy?

A Northerly Wind
Whines its way across the meadow to Far Wood’s edge, causing the elder trees to groan and sway
Coaxed by a notion, I enter into the wood, guided more by intuition and perception than trail
Leaf and needle quietly descend from the woodland canopy, scattering throughout the forest floor
The resonance of my track startles the unsuspecting; a small herd of deer spring and run for cover

Deep in the wood
An old rock wall, under duress, stands its ground; in either direction, its run cannot be determined
Reclaimed by the forest, a farmer’s cherished vision no longer yields a harvest; I grasp the potential
Imagination and passion allow us to close our eyes and dream, to awaken in another place and time
Fortunate are those who are able to linger and dance, brushing aside the mundane with broad strokes

Preparing for Joy
After clearing my mind of expectations, the corner gate is easily discovered along the outer wall
Beyond the wood, a rise overlooks a familiar setting — meadow and brook gently merging into a pond
On this broad brook pond, my skipping stone ripples a wave across the way toward a small cabin
Smoke bellows from its chimney; the seasoned hackberry aroma, grabs my attention and interest

A tranquil peaceful moment, interrupted by a young collie chasing my notion out of the Far Wood
Joy, greets me with lively spirit

James F. Ross

2012

The Arrival

Oh to have leisure charmed in such a way
That your disposition is envied by the freckled calico grimalkin
Vacillating between trepidation and cunning, a gentle push precedes my entrance
My presence, betrayed once again by my own handiwork

Your lack of acknowledgement strengthens my hope
That feigned resistance truly is an invocation for attention
Improbable as it may be, this moment’s splendor surpasses my expectation
The long bluestem and Junegrass now have competition for my hand.

Soon, late season petal and bloom will mantle meadow and pass
An enchanting fragrance awaits those prepared to dance and linger
Majestic pines cathedral their praise and worship toward heavens gate
Innately, beneficiaries of nature’s gift, aspire to learn their harmony

A weary gadabout seeking refuge, I’ve missed sharing our expressions
Free and open discourse however, is not wise in an unsecured epistle
The content of which might become prattle and wag for even the closest of friends
We share not long-winded rumor but instead meaningful respite from loneliness

Own this gaze forever; allow the seasons to mark our time
I am waiting for this moment to unfold
To capture your awakening, in the manner of dreams
A gentle initial touch; pressed from tender, passionate, unfurled affection

 

 

James F. Ross

2011

The Reception

Your elusive matter not withstanding
The moan of the worn spring-gate declares your arrival
Confidence warranted without confirmation, until…
The creak of the porch stoop matches your pace

A shoeless absconder from normalcy
My eyes resist the sun’s midday intrusion
Color, as well as shades of gray, ineptly incurs detection
Unfinished reflections of sincerity rest at my side

In a language commonly reticent for adoration, I eavesdrop as you
Decipher the signs and wonders of the pending solstice
Nature’s essentials distilled to realize their purest form
A gift so potent, cries for frugality resonate with their use

As usual, your intentions are absent of pretense
Treated am I, to a well-rehearsed impromptu recitation
A dialog this time, between a couple so clever and coy that…
I hardly recognize myself… Nor you

Although you would have others deem you capable,
Never could I imagine your lips purse an astringent word
Patiently waiting for courage to arrive, I open my eyes to silence
A tender affectionate kiss captures my blush with perfection

James F. Ross

2011

My Life … My Sea

My Life…My Sea

How long…will this continue?
When will I have peace of mind?
My Mind
Statues have better odds and get more attention

I can remember buttoning my own shirt
Combing my hair by myself
Saying Grace
Giving Thanks

I still give thanks
No one can hear me
My hands brought together in prayer

Life
My Life
Now a spectator sport of monotony

By the way,
I perceive sound…hear everyone plainly
Every word…Every syllable
Sounded out e∙v∙e∙r    s∙o    s∙l∙o∙w∙l∙y
Like a jackass trying to get my vote

Shouting at me…doesn’t help

I am responding to you morons
Can you not see how happy I am?
I am drooling, just so that you’ll take the time to touch me again
And, for the love of God,
Would someone please throw away the sandpaper wash cloths!?

The window to my soul
Is no longer open…alive
Shuttered now

A blank stare is all I can offer

When I am pleased…When I feel good
I give you my Sunday Go to Meeting stare
And in return, you gift me with your worn out
Buckner impersonation, letting it go right through you

Blue has always been my favorite color
To your irritation, I choose it everyday
It is brings me joy

Every thought echoes in my memory
I know Mary had a little lamb
But, I can’t remember why

My mind wanders
Adrift in bewilderment
No longer staying by my side

I am not parched
I am trying to get your attention
I can’t drink thirty glasses of imaginary water
I am trying to get your attention
I am wearing my blue shirt
And…I am thirsty for life

My Life…My Sea

All those photos
I never finished sorting them
No one will know where they go

Or the names of relatives
Who know and enjoy the rest I seek

Friends
Parade by me as if I were already dead
I can hear, and no, you are not in my will

I miss the ocean breeze
Always cool to me
Comforting
Casting my line was an art
Artistically believing I might actually catch something
I know now….that when wearing my lucky shade-hat
I caught a boat-load of memories

Closing my eyes to this cruel twisted existence
A mind-movie loops
The sea, My Sea…calling to me…calling My Life
In each and every frame
I can walk…and cast
You can hear me
Singing songs

My Life…My Sea
Embracing me again

james


Copyright 2010, James F. Ross
Written permission required to reproduce in any medium

No Room Inn

So, there was no room at The Inn?

“That’s what I heard. Booked solid.”

The Wise Men … They showed up that night?

“Gifts in-hand. Dressed for the occasion.”

Makin’ an entrance.

“Somebody’s got to bring a little class to the party.”

What about Joseph?

“He was working that “Aw, shucks” surrogate-father grin of his.”

I hear he was stoic. Almost invisible.

“An ugly rumor—one that won’t survive the end of the week.”

And Mary?

“Once again, a yard or two of blue with a sash of white.”

Perfect. She certainly knows how to deliver.

“Amen to that. She sure did that night.”

An early evening?

“For the Wise Men anyway.”

Where’d they go?

“Not far. They arranged for accommodations in advance.”

A hostel?

“The Inn. They each booked a room.”

Living the life.

“Well, they had a long day of diversion ahead of them.”

I’m sure Mary and Joseph were understanding.

“Like the infant, they didn’t make a fuss at all.”

An all-around glorious night. Need help with tending those sheep?

“These sheep? Nah. They’re fairly obedient.”

Same time next year?

“I’ll be right here waiting. Peace to you.”

And also with you.

 

 

James F. Ross

2013