Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Chef

The Chef

He's a triumphant Italian chef,
expression glazed in a determinant glare
while chunky hands like gracious G clefs
spark in culinary genesis
with a life beat staccato
pounding dough
before twirling it on one finger,
a flattened cloud where angels float
awaiting splatters of tomato sauce
to soil their wings
while dodging pepperoni slices
in a flattened pan flurry.
Those big hands sprinkle cheese
in scatterings of genius put to music
for an aria of love, opera of life,
this symphony called The Chef's Pizza.

Copyright 2009 JO Janoski

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Her Hats

Hats like music hiding her face.
Melodies race
past my logic.
Ribboned magic.

Gauzy glances vibrant flowers
exert powers
meant to deceive
what I perceive.

Lurking under ribbons with plume
eyes speaking doom.
Her hat obscures
dark smile demure.

Copyright 2009 JO Janoski

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Gardener

Ted dropped the cardboard box to the ground, stood tall, and took a long, deep breath. Spring! He'd just heard the lively chirp of a bird, and there was sunshine this morning. Both were sure signs of spring and time to plant his peas. The sky hummed in a soft blue murmur with white wispy clouds feathering across. And an imposing sun beamed warm enough to make him remove his dusty, brown gardening jacket.

"Life is good," he muttered, setting about to spade the soil. "Yes, sir! There is nothing like communing with nature on a beautiful spring day." Kneeling, Ted worked with diligence, depositing several neat rows of seeds, next standing to survey his work. With a battered watering can poised and ready, he covered the rows in sparkling streams of water. Finally, he brushed the dirt off his pants and went inside the house for lunch, satisfied.

Tessie, his wife, sat in the kitchen eating. Grabbing a tuna sandwich, he plopped into a chair next to her and gazed out the window at his handiwork, beautiful rows of seeds planted and moist from being watered. He had taken a fresh bite when he jumped out of the chair with his mouth full, sputtering and spitting bread, "WHAT THE HECK?"

"Ted, what's wrong?" Tessie asked.


Ted ran to the yard flailing his arms and screaming, "SHOO! SHOO! STOP EATING MY SEEDS!" Unearthly squawks and fluttering black wings encircled the poor man, leaving him to swing his arms about wildly until finally the birds disappeared into the trees. Exhausted, Ted looked at his neatly sown rows and sighed. The soil was pushed around and the rows of seeds were picked clean.

He spent the afternoon pondering how to scare away the birds for good and decided on making a scarecrow. First, he found some old blue jeans and a red flannel shirt in the rag box. A search through the house uncovered an old straw hat, and he packed some rags into a pillowcase and fashioned it into a round head for the scarecrow. He stuffed the clothes full of rags and attached it all together into a giant doll, then set it up in the garden by tying it to a wooden post. It loomed as if guarding him while Ted replaced the seeds that had been stolen by the pesky feathered creatures. This time he completely forgot about how invigorating spring can be. Mostly, he cussed under his breath.

The scarecrow worked well. No birds returned, and the next day as he enjoyed his lunch while gazing out the window. Ted again felt satisfaction for his gardening work.

"Looks a little like rain today!" Tessie commented as she took a bite of her sandwich.

"Nah! It's not going to rain! Even if it does, it will be good for my garden," Ted replied.

As if by magic a burst of thunder rattled through the kitchen, and raindrops pelted the window.

"Good for the garden!" Ted repeated.

The rain, gentle at first, intensified until its pounding on the roof drowned out all other noise. Ted gazed lazily out the window. Suddenly, he jumped out of his chair. "MY SEEDS! THE RAIN IS WASHING MY SEEDS AWAY!"

Indeed, the teeming rain didn't have time to absorb into the soil and instead flushed through the dirt, uplifting the seeds and carrying them downhill in a muddy river to the neighbor's yard. Next, as if bowing out in response to events, the water-soaked scarecrow slid from its post in one slow, sweeping motion with a whoosh and a plop.

The next morning, Ted rose early and started anew. He picked up the scarecrow and placed it back on the post. He sowed new seeds and fussed around building a dam so a rush of water wouldn't wash his seeds away again. He had forgotten by now the joys of spring and cussed out loud rather than under his breath.

His diligence paid off. The birds stayed away. It rained again and the floodwater was diverted away from his freshly sown garden. Now he was ready to check every day for sprouts to appear. One morning he came running into the kitchen from the garden, flushed and jubilant.

"Tess! Come outside! My seeds have sprouted!" He led her out, and she paused to admire the tiny green shoots.

"Ted! Oh, they are so cute," she said. After a thoughtful pause, she added, "Ted...what about rabbits?" She pointed to a bunny at the edge of the garden studying them, sitting up, one ear twisted in interest. Ted and Tess looked back at each other in dismay.

The next day, he bought a six-month supply of frozen peas and a bag of grass seed to cover over the garden. Store-bought peas ... good enough!

Copyright 2009 JO Janoski

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I love this Van Gogh. The colors can't help but make you smile, and the painting itself is neat and controlled, an unusual product coming from this artist.

Flower Beds in Holland 1883 - Vincent Van Gogh


Flowers humming soft winging songs
I tread through sounds of yesteryear
hearing voices that still belong.

Wind carries cries muffled by tears
like rushing light on petal's dew
fluttering as their ghosts pass near.

Light archaic reveals anew
holiness wrapped in remembrance
Life's gentle garden reconstrued.

Copyright 2009 JO Janoski

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Pitcher of Milk

A rewrite of a story from a couple years ago...

A Pitcher of  Milk

"Oh, MAN!" I moaned as we pulled into line at the drive-through. "I'm definitely going to be late for work now."

"I'm sorry, Dad!"


My genius of a son spilled a pitcher of milk this morning and in the havoc ended up missing both his breakfast and the school bus. His school was on my way to work, so I was driving him. My wife, Sally, insisted the two of us stop for a breakfast sandwich, too. "He's a growing boy," she said reminding me of my fatherly duties.

"I hope you know the trouble you're causing me." Glancing at my watch, my heart thumped louder as I realized the meeting at work I was supposed to chair was about ready to begin. "Is this line ever going to move?" I pounded the steering wheel with my fist. The navy blue Ford in front of us inched forward. "What were you doing taking the early bus anyway? I thought you go later."

"I'm in the play, Dad! Rehearsal."

"Oh...I didn't know that," I mumbled. My thoughts returned to the pitcher of milk tipping off the table. White liquid soaring through the air...

"Mom knew."

"Oh." ...Milk raining, some slapping against my chest. "What play is that?" 

He looked at me like I was green with antennae coming out of my head. "The Senior Class Play!"

"Oh...You're a senior this year. That's right." The pitcher crashing to the floor and milk spreading like a river...out of reach, out of control...

Cars moved while we spoke, and the navy Ford in front of us jumped up several spots.  I looked at my watch.

"Dad, we could skip the breakfast if you want."

"No.  I promised your mother." The blue car ahead inched again. "So what's the play?"

"'You Can't Take It With You.' I must have told you a thousand times."

"Oh, I guess I forgot." The milk spreading across the floor, never to be contained, neat and tidy, in the pitcher again...

The navy Ford finished at the order window. We were next.

"Welcome to McDonald's! Can I take your order?"

"Two egg McMuffins...and a coffee..."  I looked at my son.

"I drink coffee, too, Dad."

"Make that two coffees." I turned to him. "When did you start drinking that stuff?"

"About two years ago!"

"Oh." The milk making rivers with tributaries running into cracks and corners, never to be mine again...

I drove while we ate in silence. We pulled up to his school. "So when is this play?" I asked to break the silence.

"Friday night."

"Oh, I'll be out of town on business Friday."

"I know. I already assumed you wouldn't be there." He paused. "You never are." Our eyes met and he turned away. "See ya sometime," he said swinging open the door and bursting out. I watched him walk away.

Reaching for the shattered pitcher...the broken glass cuts me, makes me bleed. I looked at my watch; I could still make the end of the meeting.  I decided I couldn't worry about the pitcher. Besides, it was only spilled milk.

Copyright 2009 JO Janoski

Monday, March 02, 2009

Word Catalyst Magazine-March Issue

A new issue of Word Catalyst Magazine has been posted, chock full of fabulous Art, Poetry, Stories, Photography, and more. Here is a snippet from my column, this one entitled My Dear Husband:

...He fell into the room rather than walked. With one grimy hand along the wall for support, the other one swung wildly seeking balance when it came in contact with a lamp, bumping the shade and sending the precious antique flying off the table. Gloria released a tiny yelp of alarm when it hit the floor. That was when he spied her.

"What did you do? Wait up all night for me?" The effort of formulating speech was too much in his drunken state, sending him catapulting to a nearby recliner. The overstuffed chair rocked and squeaked when he landed.

"Did you blow your paycheck again?" she asked, standing taller, preparing for battle.

"Is that all you care about is my money? What about me?" With both arms he struggled to lift himself out of the chair. He failed.

"At this point, I don't give a damn about you. But this was my mother's house, and I'm here to protect it."

"Protect it from what? Me?" His outrage propelled him out of the chair. "I ought to kick your ass across your 'mother's house' just to show you who's in charge now."

"You lay a hand on me, and I'll kill you."  More...