Sunday, September 28, 2008

Inclement Storm

Photo by Ron Janoski

Inclement Storm
A magenta sun inched downward in the dusty twilight sky as Joe the bartender shined a beer mug with his spotty rag. The last of his day customers, office workers and shoppers, had gone; and soon the night owls would wander in, asking for  beer and steaming fish sandwiches or a plate of oysters. At first, he didn't spy the mop of red hair at the bar's edge. Then he noticed two disembodied hands spread wide next to an empty, leftover mug, while a head bobbed up and down like a jack-in-the-box as a little girl, standing on tip-toes tried to lift her face up into view.
"Excuse me, mister!"
Joe bent forward to look over and spy the munchkin.
"Can I help you?" He laid the mug and rag down and offered a hand to hoist the little girl onto a stool.
Settled, she folded her miniature hands in front of her, studying Joe with huge brown eyes that questioned.
"I came to ask you a favor," she stated.
"Well, okay." Joe rubbed his chin while he looked the girl over. She appeared clean and not too shabby. Well, a little shabby. Her tiny dress had a button missing and a stain on the collar.
"Could you please not serve beer to my father?"
She looked back with a hopeful expression.  "He comes here every Friday night. He gets all dressed up in his Sunday suit, and he comes here."
The wide, brown eyes darted back with a determined glare. "He comes here and he gets drunk."  She paused and looked to the floor before returning her gaze, this time with a tear trickling down one pink cheek. "He gets drunk and yells at my mother...and hits her."
Joe shuddered, taken aback by the remark. His eyes scanned her face for bruises. There were none.  Thank God.
His silence was broken by the sudden sound of fresh rain swishing against the windows, next to run in shimmering cascades coating Market Square in a lustrous sheen. The weather had changed suddenly and without warning.
"Get out of here, kid! You're bad for business." He shot her a deft wink, evincing a smile on the little girl's face. She crawled off the stool and skipped out the door.
Three hours later, he came. The suit showed signs of wear and tear...rough treatment, careless treatment, the knees scuffed, a tear in the elbow, small blemishes apparent only to eyes that study...and know the whole story.
"Gimme a beer."
Joe glared at him. "Wouldn't you rather have a ginger ale?"
"No, dammit! I said a beer, and I want a beer. Are you nuts?"
The bartender's face flushed, growing redder with each rugged heart beat. He leaned forward, pushing his face close, their noses almost touching.
"Get the hell outta here!" It was a growl, not a whisper.
The fella backed off, looking at the barkeep as though the proprietor was not merely cantankerous, but dangerous. Without words, he turned and ran for the door.
"Go home and take care of your family!" Joe yelled.
They were the last words the drunkard heard as he pushed through the door. He stood outside in the rain, hands like ice, heart pounding, as the words sunk, the words laced with anger. Slashing, crashing anger it was, an ire that extracted a pint of flesh with its meaning, painful, bleeding, ripping, until a piece of him was gone.
He turned on his heel and headed home. It was a bad night out to go drinking anyway.
Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Friday, September 26, 2008

From 20,000 Feet

A poem inspired by my recent (first) airplane trip:

From 20,000 Feet
Floating world
nested in patient blue sky
time doesn't touch me
as long as I dress up in
soft cloud shoes
and move in slow motion
in time with white velvet rhythms
of ethereal light.
All the while
my soul streams
alongside a Force, a Power, I strive
to understand,
but can't.
Glaring metal wings tossed me in this soup
away from all I know.
How can this world exist
up, up, high above my universe.
My all-important universe,
or is it?
And I am king of my destiny there,
or am I?
Up here, floating, I barely exist,
or rather, I never existed so much,
or this way.
When I'm here
I'm someone else.
I'm eternal.
I'm pure,
and I'm free.
I'm not king, but
I float.
Just like clouds.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

WordCatalyst Writing Workshop is back! Try our latest prompt!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bob Church!

Magical miles of wonderment
sailing clouds by heavenly doors
on a quest to paint true faces
on memories forevermore.
Spin life's wheel to match up faces
and so we play roulette games
but it's not a gamble, really.
These spirits whisper their names
...without sound, in words on paper.
This post is a public note of thanks to Bob and Louise Church for their generous invitation to our gang of Word Catalyst columnists to fly to Moberly MO and help old Bubba celebrate his birthday. Words escape me to describe the thrill of meeting cyber acquaintances face-to-face for the first time. Photo faces come to life like cut-out dolls in the hands of a five-year-old, talking, laughing, confirming nuances of their personalities already well expressed by their words written over the years.
We were not strangers meeting for the first time, but rather family who just hadn't seen each other yet.
Louise cooked up a feast worthy of, well, to be honest, the entire Russian army--ribs, a whole turkey, ham, salads, sandwiches, cookies, pies! Bob's woodsy three acres, complete with a brook and the laughter of grandkids, made for a soothing, happy, love-filled day as we pulled out the stops and savored every minute. We talked, we laughed, in a no holds barred mixing of  minds and spirits to make memories to elicit smiles for years to come.
A little music and song filled the fresh air, featuring Harry Furness and his harmonica, plus a grand finish from Bubba himself, doing a raucous comedy that littered the living room with sprawling, roaring, laughter-collapsed bodies rolling in glee. Well, as you can see, a good, make that an forgettable, magical time, was had by all. And we thank you Bob, for letting us into your heart and into your home. God Bless!

Photo download available here, thanks to Techie Dave.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Butterflies by Andy Warhol 

To fly
seeking nectars
of all earthly delights
traversing on butterfly wings
your way.
Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Note: We're on our way soon, Bob!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alone Again

Alone Again
Alone again, walking barren streets,
rain-glistened pavements,
giggling water drops dancing around me
in rivulets
laughing back at my misery
all happy to be set free
from disagreeable black clouds.
Droplets on the move, rippling in excitement
drenching my shoes in merry slobber
as they go rolling on ahead of me
happily clamoring a perky rhythm
on windows and rooftops
before toppling to ground
to make happy water mobs in motion.
At least the rain has somewhere to go.
I don't.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Six Unremarkable Things About Moi! I've been tagged!

1. I don't drive. I've tried, but I have an intense fear of physical danger.

2. I haven't listened to popular music hardly at all since the late 60's. I love classical music even though I don't know much about it.

3. I love everything from the 19th Century. I absolutely swoon at antiques of any kind. I'm convinced I lived then and then somehow in a weird cosmic burp I got dumped here.

4. And yet, I embrace modern technology. I love computers. I've used mac, windows, and ubuntu. I have no fear.

5. I love nature like it's religion, but I'm not a tree hugger, but rather an artist of a sort, writing about it and photographing it, never politicizing it.

6. I absolutely hate having company around the house. Please don't visit me. I'd rather meet friends at restaurants.

Many thanks to Jo (the other one) for tagging me. I in turn tag Bob, Harry, Shirley, Scot, and Terry--You guys know who you are!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lady Illusive

Le Blanc Seing by Rene Magritte

Lady Illusive

Lady illusive
coming, going, unnoticed
horse trots whisper soft.
Forest winds echo her name
after she has gone
in swirling crescendo songs.
Hymns remembering
her plaintive sighs of longing
wishing to stay on
but unable to linger
just to see his smile.
Every-day decision
love in green grasses
splendid, dew-drenched emotion
or heed bleak warnings
of dangerous illusions
from love's master magician.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Monday, September 08, 2008


red-dressed damsels
fluttering petal fans
swaying sweet summer melodies
at dawn.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Cheap Thrills

Knives - painting by Andy Warhol

Cheap Thrills

And so you are a razor wit
cutting slashing 
through meat and mire
searching for laughs.
I chuckle along
through gritted teeth
because I'm never sure
of your aim 
or purpose
and I don't want to bleed
for your enjoyment.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Clandestine Love

Boats Leaving the Harbor - painting by Claude Monet

Clandestine Love

What if we meet on sparkling waters
just before end of day
in sailboats side by side
gliding never touching
in a clandestine ballet
our secret safe
with only white-tipped splashes
against wood-planked sides
to telegraph our love
in exciting ripples
only we can see.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski