Open Your Eyes

 Open your eyes, wipe the night away.
Open your eyes. It is morning,
the eastern sky awash with the sun and its many colors of light.
Slowly the world arises to do its daily dance.
The lonely and the loved gather themselves up for the new day.
Some waltz easily through the early hours;
for some, it is a difficult march
to be walked only after several cups of coffee.
Early runners dash onto city streets
where they run their morning runs.
Their sneakers pound a steady beat.
From the houses, from the homes that the runners pass,
breakfast aromas seep out to them,
voices rise and fall in a chorus of conversations.
“Up and at ‘em,” they chant,
some with a slight tone of the resignation that is Monday,
many accompanied by the sound of running water
as they shower, they shave, they brush their teeth and comb their hair.
In a suburban backyard,
butterflies flitter from roses to wisteria to crape myrtle.
A squirrel scampers from tree to ground and goes foraging for breakfast.
Two robins touch down on the birdbath, scoop the water into their beaks and drink.
Blue jays chatter while the bluebirds come singing,
their best songs sung for they who give an ear.
With its air cooling the skin, a breeze
eases through the oak, the mimosa, the loquat tree,
all standing near the tall metal fence at the property’s edge.
Leaves rustle. Wind chimes tinkle. Occasionally a dog barks.
A clarinet and piano jazz duet drifts in from two neighbors away.
Three cats appear at the kitchen door, a gray, a tabby, a black-and-white
meowing, scratching the wood, hungry from a night of out-and-about.
The door opens. The cats rush inside,
each heading for a bowl of Purina,
each chomping the dry brown pebbles of chow.
The black-and-white looks up. His big round eyes whisper,
“The day is such a joy, such a wonder,
if you open your eyes. Just open your eyes.
See and taste this day. Chew it well
and let its season pass in God’s good time. Soon
the butterflies will be gone.”

Two Short Pieces

 

The Cat
The cat.
She runs.
She makes for the sky.
She catches the bird.
Then she flies.

The Artist

A long time ago in a faraway land called Japan, there was a boy. His name was Uta and he wished most of all to be an artist. His father said no. HIs mother said no. His grandmama said no. His grandpapa said no. His uncle Jeff said no. His aunt Missy said no. You will be a farmer as we are, they all told him. But farming was not for him.

He was no good at it. The plants he planted died. The milk from the cows he milked turned sour. The horse he used to plow broke a leg. The barn he threw the hay into caught fire and burned to the ground. Still his family said he would be a farmer.

One night his grandmama Nana dreamed. A god, one of the Sacred Seven, appeared and spoke to her. “Uta is to be an artist. Do not resist his desire for such a thing. If you do, the gods will weep.”

So the boy became an artist. And not just an artist, but a famous artist. Thus it is told.