Silent Flapping


It is indeed that hour before dawn that we seem to be our most intimate with the Universe. Stillness cloaks us in the knowledge that our globe has stopped at least until sunrise. The blooms on the heartiest of sunflowers yawn as if to beg for another hour’s sleep. And that blasted cell phone is yet dormant.

     A May sunrise is indeed glorious, but its anticipation is more precious. It is a charm, tentatively set in a bracelet of stolen mornings. Appreciated for that day, it is soon forgotten in a moment of wee-ness. The unspoiled air fills our lungs. The unsung melody gently rouses the lonely heart, as the quietness fades into the light of a new day.
     My world is still a-slumber, begging still for more. The only stir is the bird that time has to taught to flap its wings in anonymity.
     I am that bird.
(Image: “Strange Flowers Blossom” by Tino Rodriguez, 2004.)
By the way, “Silent Flapping” is not a Mike + the Mechanics tune.

Beet Red and Tickled Pink


I find the concept of receiving flowers, especially from an admirer, embarrassing, awkward, and often horrifying. Admittedly, however, there have been three times in my life that I have been such a recipient; and each time has been noteworthy as far as romance goes. Of course, that is usually the intent of the sender. Granted, I have sent my mother, sister, and nieces grand and eclectic arrangements. But within the boundaries of my ancient and traditional sentiment, as a man it still seems odd.

The first time was romantic and quite unexpected. It was the summer of 1984 and I had just been transferred to Boston. I had been in the city no more than two weeks, opening a new Godiva store at Copley Place, and was mesmerized by the many facets that define Beantown. On one such Sunday night, it was humid with an unpleasant stillness in the air. I joined some friends at Paradise, a quirky dive at Kendall Square in Cambridge. I always enjoyed the jaded, faded, and smoky ambience … complete with beehived, middle-aged barmaids who were as savvy as they were sassy.

     Just as I noticed it was getting too late to continue rationalizing the increasingly challenging juggle of martini and cue stick, a dapper, muscular blond and bearded man walked over to me. (I tend to get more descriptive as I become titillated, my friends.) Ned (yes, Ned) asked if he could buy me a drink, which naturally the clock prevented me from accepting. We exchanged pleasantries, glances, and efficient flirtations when my friends starting nagging me to wrap it up. It was time to depart and, unless I wanted to walk alone across the bridge back to Boston, I needed to say goodnight right then.
     Neither one of us could find a pen to exchange phone numbers so we simply said our speedy goodbye, facing the night’s disappointment head-on. For the entire drive home and well into the wee hours, I berated myself for being so unprepared and chastised Master Fate for his dalliance of cruelty.
     The next day I went into work at noon (as I had scheduled myself to close that night), I noticed on the counter a huge bouquet of crimson stargazers dotted with a few pink ones. The card read: “You mentioned Godiva. I hope this isn’t presumptuous. Dinner this Friday at seven?” I was beet red and tickled pink as I started fantasizing of what the following weekend might hold in store.
     I won’t bore you, my friends, with any of the tedious or lurid details, let it suffice that Master Fate had more twist s and tricks up his imperial sleeve. Ned lived in Springfield at the opposite end of the state and I, living in Boston, had no auto. By the time we had worked out a rhythm and had smoothed out the logistic hurdles, Godiva transferred me to New York. The two month flirtation had become simply an exercise in restraint, hurdles, and determination.
     A quarter century later, I recall more of the splendid floral arrangement and less of Ned. Except that I learned to always have a writing utensil handy.
     As for the other two times I received flowers, one was when I was working for an extremely conservative firm in Washington and a persistent, somewhat dramatic (read flamboyant) suitor sent me a huge bouquet of lipstick-red Anthuria, perhaps thirty stems in a definite Revlon shade. Each bloom did indeed look like a “little boy flower”, at full and pubescent attention, perhaps to taunt me. That exchange never led to much more than a polite thank you and many weeks of denial.
     The last time I received such flowers was from the anti-Christ after a nasty Albee-esque argument that had lasted for days and terrified the entire Lorcum Lane corridor. I choose not to elaborate further about this bouquet of solemn nondescript red roses … except to mention that they were as forgettable as the sender, at least in retrospect.
     There you have it, my brief history of receiving either floral arrangements or the superbly elegant box of freshly cut “long-stems”. My beloved, Dr Markle, is always one to buck a trend or eschew conformity. In 2002, he brought me a effulgent potted hydrangea, the perfect gift for a first date. More than a decade later, it majestically flanks the front stoop.
(Image: from a series by Theodor Gyger.)

Dr Jon: Marklewood’s Heart Whisperer


Andrew Batcheller  art 1 2 3

The pusses and I are remodeling Tartuffe’s Folly, as Jon cheers us on and supplies us with the appropriate victuals and libations. The progress seems a bit slow, however, at least in securing readership and subscribers. Please let me know if you have ideas to share. And either register or subscribe.

Currently, as we seek appropriate and artful furnishings, we’re struggling to take advantage of visual options. I am confident that Tartuffe’s Folly will be fully resurrected. Hopefully, it will soon surpass the former site’s readership of over 420,000 hits (over a 2 1/2 year period). You are certainly aware of my impatience and obsession, so please don’t take it personally if I am irritable, distant, or hyper. Yes, I am in pursuit of more effective medications.

By now, you are surely aware that I’ve had several serious cardio “events.” Both in February 2011 and August 2012, my heart suffered a several drop in its function evaluations. After the last attack, my heart was functioning below 25% and has dropped to just 16% over the past eight months since. Yes, Dr Rose told me today and I whisper: “you need to immediately file for disability and then secure Medicaid. It is time for a heart transplant.”

     “Yikes. Egads. And Damn.” Jon will have to play nursemaid for me as I convalesce. For now, I just want to find the ball steadily and quickly rolling at Wake Heart and Vascular. For once, though, I shouldn’t focus on the future but, instead, remain in the present. A heart transplant. Geesh!

The recuperation period will demand that Jon be the caregiver, for a reversal of roles. As is the Marklewood tradition, the Twelve Erstwhile and Apostolic Pusses are assembling a soundtrack for that future date. But don’t expect any tune that might be construed as trite, crass, grossly over-played, or just dated:

“Heart Attack” (Olivia N-J), “Achy Breaky Heart” (B.R. Cyrus), “Heartless” (Heart), or even “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” (BeeGees) I admit that an instrumental might be a little more apropos.


 “Misery loves company but she will never foot the bill.” 

(Images above by visionary San Francisco artist Andrew Batcheller.)