Sunday, May 3, 2009

sleeping in the summer, see you in the fall

Showed & Told is excited it's spring. Spring break time! Bike rides and bbqs for everyone!

We're taking a little hiatus for the summer so we can soak up the sun and work on some retools of the S&T format. We'll be relaunching in the fall, but until then you can check out all the great stuff we've been doing this past winter, like writing and art and photography and music and craft. Here's your chance to catch up. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

how long would it take to find me?
in a crowd, would you want to...
with the windows closed and barred,
washed and polished with care.
i don't think i will ever know what he meant-
to open and close.

notions phrases paragraphs so often get cut
holes you can see through
like my windows and my words
sentence structure attacked
and the grammar is all wrong

relief from those twisted voyeurs and mirrors
i don't remember entering this fun house.
no one steps forward
with nothing to offer.
i think i am losing my will.

lines get stuck in my head
i can't make it 24 hours
without wondering which is better
i'm afraid i'll be gone forever

the beauty in that timid contact was not lost on me.

Monday, April 27, 2009





Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

things come and go

Our bungalow was actually two apartments, side by side, under one roof. The neighbor on the other side was a young, single woman. Our house was crammed in comparison, with a cat, and a kid, and a mother, and usually, a live-in-ish boyfriend. It seemed like all the live-in-ish boyfriends had one-syllable names. There were several repeats: “Tom” was probably the most popular. “Tom” always sounded like someone solid and level-headed. They were. But then there was something in my mother that dug out that solid foundation, and made “level-headed” seem like a bad word. And then that particular Tom would stop sleeping over for the whole night, then not showing up quite so much, and finally, whatever it was that made him a distinctive “Tom,” whether it was a Redskins baseball cap, or Marlboro cigarette butts in the flower pot in the tiny sliver of back yard, or a Bruins knit cap that landed on top of the refrigerator, or the pungent scent of Old Spice, would disappear from our lives. And my mother’s slight perfume would take over again, until the next Jim, or John, or Pete, or Bill would start the process all over again.

The “Tom” that I liked best won me over with a Strawberry Shortcake ice cream treat. He was a summer Tom. All of the summer boyfriends seemed to spend a lot more time with me, probably because the days were long and lazy, and sitting on a bungalow porch waiting for the ice cream truck seemed as good a place to be as any. This was the Tom that smoked Marlboros. My mother wouldn’t let him smoke in the house, so that was another rule to pull him outside. Mostly he wouldn’t say anything more to me than “hey there.” Depending on how hot it was, I would either be practicing cartwheels, or begging to water something with the hose, hoping to cool off my feet. Or, on really hot days, I would be content to just sit on the porch step, while Summer Tom sat and smoked.

I got an allowance that translated into fabulous bounty: one ice cream treat a week. The cash was doled out every Monday afternoon. It took a lot of willpower to get past the first rush of instant gratification, an impulse to use it up immediately as it passed from my mother’s hand to my own. Sometimes it went straight to the ice cream vendor, barely touching my fingers before the coins tumbled into his practiced hand. In those moments of weakness, the week stretched ahead, as bleak as a parched wasteland. So I learned to bring my cravings under control. Monday would pass, and Tuesday. Sometimes I got as far as Thursday, finally realizing that the thrill of expectation had a little frisage as much as the taste of real ice cream melting in my mouth. That was when I was being Grown Up Beyond My Years. In truth, an eight-year-old is chronologically challenged, and three days of watching the Sunshine truck approach up the street (such potential), then disappear, might as well have been a month. The very tune hung in the air, the notes almost palpable. Unlike a bakery, where as you walked past you could at least get a whiff of yeasty warmth, the truck left nothing behind. Other kids, luckier, richer than I, contemplated their choices, agonizing over the chocolate/non-chocolate choice, then fine-tuning the decision (Fudgsicle? Sundae cup?).

The day that Summer Tom won me over was hotter than usual for July. It was a Tuesday. That Monday had been one of those days where I recklessly surrendered to a craving for sweet creamy goodness, and now there was no hope in sight for days and days. There was lemon water in the refrigerator, but that wasn’t going to satisfy me. I was jonesing for ice cream, and nothing was to be done.

Soft sounds began -- the endless repetition of jingling bells in a half-recognized tune. I had been sitting on the top porch step, wreathed in Tom’s lazy smoke rings. By instinct, I sat up straight, gazing expectantly to my left. Oh, sweet torture. I imagined all the bright colors of the menu card, the colors saturated, each frozen treat prominently displayed, the text just an afterthought, probably added so that ignorant adults would know what to call things and would order the right thing for their child. (Hearts could be broken when the parent said “ x “ and got “y.”) I gave a heavy sigh. My shoulders slumped. Behind me, I heard the front legs of the chair hit the porch boards, and a sort of shuffling and jingling sound as Tom rearranged himself in the chair.

“Hot day today,” said Tom. “Why don’t you get yourself somethin’ cold.”

I turned around in disbelief. Tom leaned forward with a few coins.

“Go on,” he said, “that ice cream man doesn’t have time to wait for someone as slow as you.”

I grabbed the money with one hand, and with a voice that sounded something like “thanks,” sprinted to the curb. There was one other kid already at the side of the road. We exchanged grins, looking at the magical money in our hands, waiting for the moment of transformation when it turned from hot metal to cold treat. I knew what I wanted. On Monday, I had been all about a Creamsicle. It was probably the citrus tang I was craving, with just a soupcon of creaminess that signaled “treat” to me. But today, in a fog of bliss, I was all about the commitment of a Strawberry Shortcake. There was nothing like a Strawberry Shortcake bar. The color, an artificial, neon bright, surreal pink, with a crumbly coating. All of its fabricated, unreal goodness wrapped around a solid bar of vanilla ice cream. It was a toothsome challenge, but one that I was up for. After all, this was a miracle.

“One Strawberry Shortcake bar.” “One Strawberry Shortcake bar.” “One Strawberry Shortcake bar. Please.” I had to remind myself about the “please” because I was so intent on getting those sweet syllables right, so he wouldn’t have to ask me a second time, or, even worse, give me the wrong thing.

“One Strawberry Shortcake bar, please” I said to Danny, the ice cream guy. I remembered to say “please” because this was a moment that was special. Before, I might have just thought “please,” and Danny, probably an ex-firefighter who took early retirement and settled on selling ice cream to do something else special in his life, would have seen that “please” in a little kid’s eyes and, not being one of those “teach you a lesson in politeness” grown-ups, pushed to hear the actual words.

Danny handed me the treasure. I took it with my left hand, and handed him the coins with my right. I felt like one of those old balance scales – one hand tipped one way with the weight of the ice cream, and then tipped to center itself when the weight of the coins fell out of my hand and into his.

I knew exactly what would be beneath that paper. But as I peeled it off, it was almost as though as I was doing this for the first time. Crumbs stuck to the wrapper, inviting a little lick. This was the tricky part. It was hot, and heat and ice cream were incompatible on several levels. Too slow, and you were licking a drippy mass of frozen cream. Who could enjoy that? Too fast, and you were crunching chunks of ice cream that could lead to the dreaded “ice cream headache.” Where was the joy in that? I started at the top, nibbling the thinnest peak of the treat. There’s nothing but pure sensation in that first bite. The ice crystals hit the tongue, melting so quickly that the creaminess flooded the mouth with vanilla and strawberry and dreams. The other kid! There was that other kid who was at the curb, waiting for the ice dream truck with me. Now that the first wild cravings had passed, I had a chance to look around and see how the world had changed since I took that first bite. Hmm. The sun still shone in the sky. There were a few fluffy clouds. The air had a certain special warmth that before had been just plain hot, but now was a delicious compliment to the ice cream.
The other kid was down to the stick in some places on his ice cream. He was a sprinter. Maybe he got three, maybe even four ice creams a week. He might have been in danger of becoming a glutton, or maybe had an undiscriminating palate. I would have to keep my eye on him. Or maybe he was just a little kid and would grow out of the gobbling phase. I had high hopes for him. But in the meantime, I had my own ice cream to concentrate on. And Tom! Oh! The founder of the feast, and I had forgotten him from the moment the quarters hit my hot hand.

I looked up. The sun was still high in the sky, but it was behind the bungalow roof. The rays cast themselves out from the side of the house. And there, on the front porch was Tom, sitting, tipped back on a wooden chair, squinting as his last inch of cigarette butt blew smoke into his eyes. He could have been Zeus on Mt. Olympus. He had given some mere mortal the gift of Fire, or Ice Cream. Or whatever. The mortal whose life he had touched was already building a marble altar to him. Tom didn’t show it, but I knew that he was tickled.

This was only one afternoon. This was the only time he ever put his hand into his pocket and pulled out some change and gave it to a little girl for ice cream. I loved him from that moment, and didn’t stop loving him, even though he was turning into a shadow three weeks later, and into a ghost six weeks after that. He represented a giving spirit, even when he wasn’t required to be giving. I asked my mother where he went.

“He had to go,” she said. And by the tone of her voice, I knew not to ask anything more than that. It was ok, though. It was like collecting a butterfly and then having it on display. You knew that one such butterfly existed, and you could imagine another one coming along. For now, eight year old that I was, I was ready to move on.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Five Haiku About Bigfoot

Erudite sasquatch,
embarassed by Southern kin,
thinks, "Skunkape, indeed..."

"Yeti?!?! What is that?!!
Canadian for bigfoot?!?!?":
jingoist sasquatch.


I once told my dad
bigfoot was a cross between
human, ape, and bear.

film bigfoot think he all that...":
envious sasquatch