Footloose

Bill Salter

Untrammeled, freed, set loose, released, let go –
I wander blameless where no one would know
the things I’ve done, or have not done, or do.
And best of all, they do not know of you.

Arriving here, where not a soul aspires
to circumvent the heat of my desires,
I make my old course in a country new,                        footloose
and fancy free. (Except I think of you.)

Loosed to create in any shape and size,
the things I’ve lost I find that I reprise
and shackle new found freedom to redo
the whole world that I built and lost with you.

For though my elder self pursues the new,
inside is my old younger self, and you.

©Bill Salter, 2016

Bill Salter “was born by the river in a little tent Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ev’r since It’s been a long time, a long time coming But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will…” [Sam Cooke]

Spirit Flight

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Dear Valued Customer,
Thank you for flying with us! 
We would like to get your input on your recent experience with this flight by completing this quick survey.  We recognize that listening to our customers is one of the most important things we can do, and your response will help us ensure that your next experience exceeds your expectations.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-2-36-32-pm

Well, that’s a tough one, frankly. My overall experience on December 04, 2016 from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Baltimore, MD (BWI) was really not at all about Spirit Airlines, until, abruptly, it was. My overall experience was about my father in the hospital, dying, in Baltimore, and me, in Chicago, trying to get out to see him for the last time. So as you can imagine, Spirit Airlines, my overall experience that evening was both all I could think about, and all I could not think about.  Instead, I focused on details: the email you considerately sent informing me that the flight had been delayed by 45 minutes; the amount of shit I could cram into a carry-on that would be light enough not to be confiscated at the gate, at which point I would be charged $100 to check it; rushing to the airport. I was not overly concerned with missing the flight (I had some other things on my plate, like getting someone in to feed the cats, finding a place to park the car that wouldn’t overdraw my checking account, merging onto the rush-hour Kennedy Expressway, speaking to the nurse who stood at my father’s  bedside, her voice timid and southern-inflected in the Bluetooth-configured cabin of my car, assuring me that while he could not speak, he smiled as he heard my voice: ‘I’m on my way, Dad. Hang in there. I’m on my way.’

You had assured me there was a delay, Spirit Airlines, and I had left enough time that I was certain to be at the gate before even the flight’s originally scheduled departure.

There was plenty of time.

I was reassured, upon arriving at the airport, that the delay was still in place: all six monitors I obsessively checked assured me of this.  So imagine my surprise when, upon arriving at the gate, 15 minutes prior to the *original* departure time, I was informed that the plane had already left and was taxiing down the runway.

If you actually gave a shit, Spirit Airlines, about your employees, those beleaguered and expressionless gate agents who have to break this kind of news and then endure the blowtorch of wrath from your paying customers, you would ask these particular two what they had to hear from me, maybe have given them a little bonus, or at the very least a day off.  There was a lot of obscenity, some flying spit (I’m a theater major; my professor tells me if you aren’t drenching the people in the first row you’re not enunciating sufficiently), some tears, some flung baggage.  What could they do? The plane was on the runway. My father was, as the doctors called it, ‘actively’ dying. I was, I’m embarrassed to confess, on my knees, clutching my head, wailing.

Oh well!

I’m going to assume that ‘overall experience’ includes my attempt to reach your customer service line, a succession of cheery bots who led me in a mechanical circle right back to where I’d begun, so I’ll toss that into the mix too.

My overall experience? Are you sure you really want to ask me that?

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Hmm. The primary reason.  How about ‘you fucking suck’?  I think that about covers it.  I have not filled in any of the holes above because there is not a number low enough. How likely? How likely?

departureWell, now, see, this is easy, because none of this part ever actually happened. It’s hard to assess a boarding process when you didn’t get to even fucking board.  I mean, I suppose I could apply this to the flight the following morning, but I was a little distracted by the fact that by the time we landed in Baltimore my father was dead, and I had an email from you, time-stamped two hours earlier, assuring me that the delay on the flight that had departed before its scheduled departure time the previous evening was still in place, so hey! No rush!

Now, this afternoon, in the Uber on the way to the funeral home, I have occasion to ponder your choice of name. Spirit. I assume it’s meant to evoke a sprightly will, a zest for life, a seize-it-by-the-horns, embark on an exciting journey kind of feeling. But I find myself drawn-chalk it up to the emotional intensity of the present moment, I guess-to its more ethereal, metaphysical connotations: spirits, like that of my dead father, like mine, like those of all of your other passengers, all of whom, I’m guessing, have reasons to travel that are, well, shall we say, pressing.

You bear each of our spirits into the air and back down again. We give you our money. We pass through security, throw away our water bottles, take off our shoes, stand in the backscatter booths with our arms over our heads like caught criminals, participate in the magical-thinking rituals, reassuring ourselves that we will not fall from the sky or careen headlong into an office building, screaming the names of our children, our parents, our lovers. We run down the concourse, draw up breathless at the gate, only to find that you have left us.We trust you with our lives and those of the people we love. But you have left the gate, and as one of the blank-eyed gate agents told me, almost wistfully, ‘I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do.’

But I’m here now, Spirit, and I have to pay the driver and go in to pick a coffin. I hope that this survey will help you ensure that my next experience exceeds my expectations.

images

©Melinda Rooney, 2016

From the Clickbait Archives: The Cycle

clickbait

scribblelive.com

i.

He brings his girlfriend to the hospital to deliver
quintuplets
But gets a huge
surprise
instead

Their baby seemed normal
Then they saw this

Nine Secrets
Doctors Wish
Parents knew

Are we over vaccinating our children
The answer might surprise you.

Three year old hears for first time

The things this four year old is doing?
So cute
The reason he’s doing them?
Heartbreaking

She was bullied for being different
So she did this
And stunned everyone

As soon as I
Heard
Them
Sing
I knew

These girls are the future

 

ii.

Something totally bizarre is happening in
Alabama
Texas
Kansas
Massachusetts

Enter your name
Wait 17 seconds

This drunk girl wrote notes to her sober self

Her dress dropped jaws

I was a
Teenage
Lesbian
Cybersex
Junkie

A stranger approaches a woman’s bed
Puts an onion in her sock
You won’t believe
the results

iii.

So I have been
using this every day for about

3 weeks now.

I can’t begin to desribe how incredibly this works!
Ladies, if you
want
feels
free
from wrink-kle
lets try this soon

Watch a married couple
Confront each other
About other sexual partners

Eleven reasons
You need to make your
Divorce Lawyer
Your BFF

iv.

Celine Dion’s
Announced the launch
that is because her husband is deid
and she is very sad

Madonna weeps
Oprah weeps
Ellen weeps
Mariah weeps
Fans Furious
The treachery

I’m crying!
I’m shocked!
The Dirt
Linked to their name
I’m stunned!
I can’t stop laughing!

I was speechless
I am speechless
Speechless
Speechless

I’m destroyed

The judges have no explanation
Bankers don’t want you to know this

v.

20 Celebrities you didn’t know were
Gay
Muslim
Actually Black
Bi
Trans
Men
Women
Dead
Living
Citizens
Twins
Cancer Survivors
Real Life Disney Princesses
Real Life Superheroes

Where are they now?

 

vi.

UGH…
after Menopause
I had bigtime problems
with sun-spots & wrinkles.

Now my husband can’t get over it…

The wrinkels that covered my forehead,
eyes
neck
just
vanished like
ghosts

Even after I showed him, he still can’t believe
this is what cut half-our-years-off our faces!

OMG
This botched plastic surgery
Is HORRIBLE

vii.

a folding robot
made of pig parts
removes batteries from stomachs
with magnets

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself
not the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.

this really made me think

I really need a potato ricer

Ducklings see water for the first time
Cows see fields
This dog was left out in the rain
Just look at him now

O Brave New World
You won’t believe what happens next

[all misspellings are verbatim]
©Melinda Rooney, 2016

Annapolis Poem

“The William Paca Garden is a two acre oasis of natural beauty in the bustling center of Annapolis’ Historic District.  Although many colonial Annapolitans had gardens, only Paca’s has been returned to its original splendor and opened to the public.  Intrigued by garden details in the background of Charles Willson Peale’s 1772 portrait of Paca, researchers were able to reconstruct the site from a series of archeological digs that turned up evidence of the garden’s former glory.”
-from the Historic Annapolis site:
http://www.annapolis.org/historic/william-paca-garden

 

Ruth Johnston

unknown-5

 

 

 

 

 

In Paca Garden, walled and dry
they built the Old World in the New,
and there walked girl and woman, I
with man and boy (remember?), you.

As if to keep all life at bay
and shut our eyes to hear a story
we dressed the truth in solemn play:
my quiet house of ancient glory,

linen and tea; your Russian home,
the dying count, a summons back
Were those bricked streets our sunny Rome,
or Paris?  You spotted in a crack

a flash of gold; I wore it round
my neck for days.  You wondered why
I prized the broken chain you found;
you feared and could not meet my eye.

We played pretend, but much came true:
our Old World gave us the refrain,
with words dictated by the New.
I have, but never wear, the chain.

Like faery queen and knight of old
we lingered in determined bliss:
a string of nonsense, trampled gold,
a small thing, but too bright to miss.

©Ruth Johnston, 2016

Ruth Johnston is a writer. See her work at ruthjohnston.com.