Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday, oh and Chapter 16

It was so hard to get to work today. Sitting in front of a computer is a dangerous place to be on Cyber Monday--especially if you love to shop online like me. Yikes. Big confession--I procrastinated a lot checking out those deals. I mean Ann Taylor--40% off and free shipping--sorry, but that needs attention.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Our kids made it home from Utah despite the blizzard. Phew! Their flight was twelve hours or so late, but whose counting? They got a hotel room and got a few hours of sleep. It was very fun to have the whole family together. Massive games of LOTR Risk, D&D, and Rock Band Three. And a shopping trip to buy my daughter a fancy black dress. But now the house is back to normal, and it's time to get to work.

This isn't a particularly poetic poem. It's really just dialogue broken up into short lines. I was hypercritical through the first two pages of rough draft, but then I got into it and stopped picking at myself. It needs to be a poem, and it needs to be a dialogue. Fixing it is what revision is for. And I've learned to accept that every Leesie poem will be "verse," but not always a true poem.

It feels good to be back in the saddle again. Hope you enjoy it!



Seth’s off this AM,
drunk again last night.
“Can you wash him?”
Alex says through her toothbrush.
I pull a bleck-are-you-crazy face. “What?”
She spits. “Watch him—hang out until we”—
she pauses to rinse—“all get back at lunch.”
“What would I do with him?”
I can see Seth through our half-open bedroom door,
awake earlier than he needs to be, turning his nose
up at bacon and eggs.
Alex rinses her toothbrush. “Keep him
away from the beer.”
“How am I supposed to do that?”
She gives me a don’t-be-this-stunned-this-early
grimace. “Feed him coffee.”
“I don’t do coffee.”
“It’s a machine, hon. Already done.”
Me serving coffee? To hung-over Seth?
What a joke. Maybe I’ll try some.
Or join the guy in a couple of beers.
Michael won’t be around to stop me.

The apartment empties out.
Michael’s the last to go. He kisses
me good-bye and gives Seth a wave.
Friendly? Weird.
I don’t want Michael to walk out
that door and leave me behind
with Mr. Broken Down Boozer.
But he does.

I give Seth his coffee, disappear
into the bathroom, take too
long in the shower.
Loud knocking on the outer door
penetrates my steamy retreat.
Somebody’s yelling like there’s a fire.
I turn the water off, wrap fast in a towel,
drip my way to the door, don’t open it.
“What?” I yell at the wood.
“You all right in there?”
Seth’s yelling, angry? Still pounding.
The knocking stops. “Oh, sorry.”
“And you?” Too rude not to play
my part in this strange ballet.
“Perfect. Can I get dressed now?”

I put on my yellow dress, sandals,
the baseball cap that matches,
open the door, peak out—

Seth’s sitting in the living room
mess of pulled out couch and unmade cots
sipping a beer.
I begin to withdraw, hide, renege on my promise,
but I push myself forward instead, march
up to him and grab the can. “Alex says
no beer this morning.”
He holds out his hand.
“Just let me finish that one.
I don’t want to waste it.”
I sniff the contents—reeking nastiness—
like grain that’s gone bad in the elevator—
fake a smile. “That’s okay. I’ll drink it.”
He’s out of his char, lunging at me, grabbing
the can—dumps it down the sink.
“No way, girl. Michael would kill me.”
My forehead folds into ugly creases.
“What has he told you guys about me?”
Seth stares at the retreating golden
liquid and mumbles, “That you don’t
drink beer, and you’re a—”
The guy actually blushes.
I reach over and turn on the faucet.
“What’s going on here?”
He pulls the spray gadget free
and squirts the sink clean.
“Michael asked me to—“
“Watch me?” I flip off the water. “That’s rich.”
“Alex asked me to—”
Seth’s eyebrows arch and I start
to see what Dani saw in him.
He grins. “Babysit me?”
Heads shake. Nervous laughs.
“We’re officially pathetic.”
He crushes the empty beer can.
“Dangerously psychotic.”
I take the can and trash it.
We both blurt,
“Who do they think they are?”
He yells, “Jinx.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“You can’t talk.”
“Nobody’s jinxed me since—”
Phil the Pill. A lump gets
stuck in my throat just
above my heart.
Seth’s got a pained look on his face, too.
“Damn. Sorry. Dani was goofy like that—
way into kid’s stuff—jinx and slug bugs
and—” His voice breaks. “Crap.”
I look down at the white linoleum I need
to scrub. “Sorry to remind you.”
He takes a minute to get control.
“No one mentions her—I hate that.
It’s like she’s dead or something.”
I close my eyes tight. “That would be worse.”
“Maybe not.”
“Trust me.”

We walk up the highway to East End’s
tiny grocery, buy hot dogs, buns,
and a foil pain full of easy-light mini
charcoal that we light on the beach.
I focus on the red glow creeping
through the miniature grill, glance
up at Seth, catch his eyes.
“Did you love Dani?”

His eyes drop down to the caged fire.
“I thought it was just for kicks—until
she left.”
I touch his hand. “You should tell
her that.”
He jerks his hand away from me.
“How? I don’t know where the hell she is.”
I speak slowly, not sure what or why,
just let the words tumble out.
“But what if she misses you?
What if she’s sick of Kai?
What if she made a horrible mistake?
What if she loves you?”

He searches the horizon for returning
boats, stirs the reddening charcoal.
“The office probably has her address.”
I nod, smile. “Don’t you have her email?”
“Of course.”
“What are you waiting for?”


  1. P.S. The auction for a marked copy of TAKEN BY STORM ends tonight. Here's the link in case you want to bid . . .

  2. I love how they both have assignments to keep an eye on the other!

  3. I've missed you!! :) Glad you had a great Thanksgiving with your family. Your kids live in Utah? That is where I live as well. Awesome.

    Back to the story. I really like Seth, and I think it's cute that he would not let her drink either. Although, I am hoping Leesie will snap out of it one of these days..poor girl. I must admit I'm a little worried about what is going to happen, from what you said in a previous comment..about things are going to get much worse for Michael and Leesie. I know it needs to happen. But it's scary all the same. I need a happy ending. I loved Sing me to Sleep it was written beautifully, but I bawled at the end..I was so sad...Ahh! I need happy endings! :)

  4. CUTE CUTE CUTE! In a bittersweet way. I KNEW Seth had it in him to be a darling. The poor guy was just brokenhearted, Leesie. Gosh, it's good she gave him time!
    It would be so exciting, when, after Michael and Leesie's saga is over (NOOOOOOO!) Seth had a chance at a story too. That would RULE.
    NONONO I do NOT want Dani to miss him. He's WAY too good for her! Stupid girl. How dare she ditch him in cold blood like that? And besides, Alex cares about him too much, for me to not be sad to see nothing happen between them. Because Michael and Alex are kinda paralleled in this scene, aren't they? That would be so cool! Or, wait.. was it Alex and Gabriel? Am I getting my guys confused?
    Wait, whoa. I just read the previous comment. Things are about to get WORSE for M+L? I'm not that surprised, but darn, I was hoping they wouldn't. They've been through so much, poor things. But I agree with everyone else, Leesie really does need to snap out of it. And it'll be painful. Oh, well. I'm still looking forward to that! Michael will always help Leesie out and rescue her from the ends of the earth! <3

  5. I like how they are caught supposedly watching over one another. way cute

  6. Loved this chapter! From fighting to on good terms. That's always a start. :)

  7. Don't worry. I'll lull you with happy closeness for a few more chapters. And the worse is relative . . . depending on your POV, you might think what happens is better for Michael and Leesie. Yikes. I'm hinting too much. She will need rescue again, but not a physical rescue this time. He's handled that. But we still all see she needs a spiritual rescue, too.

  8. If Michael and Leesie are not together in the end..then I wont think anything is better... Ha ha! Just saying..;)

  9. This was pretty sweet! I liked this! More Seth please! :)

  10. This is taking another turn, I like it! And I like Seth.

  11. I'm glad you had a lovely thanksgiving! :)

    I know a lot of people have said it already, but Seth is turning out to be a really promising character. I'd love to see more of him!

  12. Awesome turn here. Going to try to finish the rest tonight to catch up.