Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wee hours

In the darkness of 4 a.m.

I lay awake

My creative mind is stirring

Thoughts come quickly

I have to put them on paper

Before they fade

And the light of daytime melts them

With distractions

That disrupt imagination

And stop the flow

Of my mind's wonderous wanderings

Haunted house

About a block away from the elementary school I attended from grades kindergarten through eight, still stands an old rickety two-story house that long ago should have been condemned. I don't know how the myth got started, or when, but it had to have begun with a simple rumor based on the neglected appearance of the and bits and pieces were added to the story over time.

Most of us children were terrified to go near the "haunted house" where it was said that ghostly figures peered from behind dirty window panes and ratty lace curtains. Some kids even claimed to have seen an eerie white figure of a man come outside on the dilapidated porch to collect old newspapers that accumulated by the weather-beaten door, although whenever I cautiously walked by on the other side of the street, the newspapers were still there in a rotting heap. But I would have sworn on the grave of my great-grandfather that I saw the ghost of a tall man on two occasions, once on the porch and once watching me from an upstairs window.

Halloween was a particularly popular night for the old house with children double-daring each other to walk past the house on the sidewalk directly in front of it., or for an even braver challenge, to walk right up onto the porch and peer inside, OR for the greatest dare of all, to actually knock on the front door!

One time, as I have been told (for I was not an actual witness to this event), a class big-shot and bully accepted the challenge and in an air of pretending not to be afraid, he knocked boldly on the door with three hard pounds of the tarnishes brass door-knocker. As he turned around to laugh smugly at his friends hiding in the bushes at a safe distance across the street, the paint-peeled door opened with a loud and eerie squeak and out walked an old gray-haired man wearing a tattered, faded bathrobe! He didn't need to say a word or shake an angry fist. What I was told, the boy's feet never touched the ground as he fled, screaming at the top of his lungs and his friends who had been hiding in the bushes were way ahead of him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Photo art by D. Bowden

At the Lincoln Park Zoo Great Ape House in Chicago, the old gorilla sat calmly in his glass prison, leaning on a log and resolved that he was never going to be free. As the younger gorillas jumped around in their confined space, the old one just watched, and appeared to be deep in thought. Was he thinking about days when he was young? Was he wondering what life would be like without the humans staring and gawking at him day after day? No privacy till the night and darkness came when the zoo is closed and they are all allowed to go about their business unobserved.

As I snapped photos through the window he gazed over his shoulder at me for a few moments before shifting his position and turning his back to me. He wasn't about to pose for a pretty picture. What he wanted was to just be left alone. He wasn't going to pound his great chest with his mighty fists and put on a show. He had done that in his young days, but now he wasn't putting on any more shows.

I feel a sadness for this creature.


Raindrops falling down

Down to the ground

Like tears from the clouds

Drenching the crowds

As they hustle through the streets

Scurrying to meet

Their trains and taxi cabs

That will take them to

Their peaceful retreats

Where they all can play

And forget about the day

As the rain taps, taps, taps

On the window panes

They are warm and dry

And for awhile, tranquil and secure.