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Pandemonium on Pomeroy

Late…far, far, too late, to continue
Striking midnight clocks sounding
Slush-filled winter streets flashing red
As jungle-eyed tail lights fled the scene
‘Crazy lady has no sense’ Ned said smugly
As we parted (Ned the cab driver that is)
He had deposited me like a coin
At my own insistence on the East Side
Corner of Pomeroy, The Antique Store

In the back of my mind it was fitting closure
Like used luggage I would pack things up
Finalize this entire sorry episode and nonsense
Turn lemons into lemonade. Forget Gerard
It had taken awhile to arrive. I had hesitated.
Window shopped for two hours on a whim
But now gloved hand slipped a small note
In the slotted door and let out a gasp
Door yawned wide open…Hello, anyone there…?

I had spoken aloud hearing echos of
Ten thousand drums pounding in my brain
Telling ‘self’ this can not be taking place!
But pinpointed through blackest black
A light glowed faintly somewhere
As I minced and inched forward groping
Found my way as though through murky fog
And heard an awful desperate moan
Gerard…Slumped on cold hardwood floors
‘Amelia…thank God…call police…you must…
They’ve got…it…the book…’

To say pandemonium and all else broke loose
Would be to put things mildly I suppose
Police, detectives, questions hammered for hours
But we set things straight between us at any rate
Gerard and I decided agreeably there and then
We were in this together and would not doubt
Our affection, but now a matter far more pressing
To nab a thief and recover a priceless codex

To be continued…

Copyright 2011 S. Michaels
Curiosities – (Poetic ‘novelette’ Episode 6)

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The Ignominious Mr. Hemingway

Clingy icing sugar snow coupled close
With shivers of romance at Old Fernando’s
I arrived early waltzing lightly on frosted air
Embraced by firelight warm and cerebral chatter
Gerard must be late or do I have the wrong date?
No matter joy bloomed red roses and waiters floated
And steamed windows let me rub a bird’s eye view
Where streets crunched and he would soon stride in

I bent into a leather booth and blended obsequiously
Obscured by burled wood and flocked walls teal on teal
A surreal moment in time cornered by scarlet lamps
Wine splashed nearby in rounded globes of glass
Twiddled thumbs nervously unwound my silk scarf
Drowning in Merlot thoughts about him and ‘us’
Swinging in and out of revolving doors of mind
Another tiger-eyed streetcar darted in the dark
While I waited, bronzing trophies in my heart
Dreaming of everything we would do and say
And how Amelia and Gerard were ‘an item’’

Only at 7:15 pm the sharp bite in solar plexus
Niggling nexus of nerves and no sign of Gerard
Eighteen, Twenty-two minutes, Thirty-seven
Sixteen hundred and twenty seconds exactly

Counted like prayer beads and deep down
Convinced this was patently impossible
Gerard, surely the most gentle and genuine
Was he in truth ignominiously odious?
Cheap lines sold quick as faux goods
Wisely whisking wherefore’s aside

Fact: I was stood up

Hedged in by a wedged dessert (with candied ginger sauce)
Humble pie choked down in tears, I mumbled, ‘Check please!
Cold lungs raw as a cab driver chipped, ‘Ok, where to?’
The Antique Store, corner of Pomeroy and Plimpton, please
I barely breathed but managed to scribble a note
Scrawled on yellow square crumpled and addressed
To: Mr. Hemingway, ‘Goodbye’
From: Amelia Jane Pepperdine

p.s. Do not call me

Copyright 2011 S. Michaels
From: Curiosities – (Poetic ‘novelette’ Episode 5)

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Odds & Sods – Telephone, Circa 1950

Let us be perfectly clear about this salubrious situation
It felt ‘right’ and all began with my decision to buy ‘self’ a gift
A lamp circa 1920 “owned by Hemingway” he said it was
And only now recalling the chain of events since then
I am astounded by my giving in to a lizard-like sloughing off
Of my once demure senses, reasoning, and diplomacy
The odd sensation that I was losing ground hit this week
While soothing wandering feet over a wild oolong
Sipping serendipitously, I might add, my visit not planned
But applauding my choice of stopping in at Selma’s
So conveniently down the block from The Antique Store
Where as you know by now an odd affair-de-coeur
Has left me not undisturbed by my purchases of things
Needed or not , and weakening at the knees over him
My ‘homme de mes rêves’ – a certain Hemingway (with one ‘m’)

Silly, yes. Heeding a soft warning from my pal, Virginia O.
Are you certain he has not been pulling the wool…?
Over my eyes…? Said I…somewhat lugubriously
But she was oh so right, Virginia O. was sharp, I knew
And following up I swiftly pursued the route of an appraisal
On the lamp, circa 1920, my first purchase, the initial ‘snare’
That had brought me here, and it appeared – I was fleeced

Thus returning with lamp underarm, I strongly avowed
Come …high water, I would have it out with him, truth
It was two hours before I finally mustered nerve to move
Beyond my hiding place behind glass shelves of Twinings
To stand at that enticing glowing window as soft snow
Tumbled like my strange silly heart worn on my sleeve

Where a sprig of mistletoe hung and in spot lit haze – a note
I’ve been waiting for you…beside a Black Desk Phone, circa 1950

The lamp remained a matter we did not discuss after ‘the kiss
I was swept away and suddenly the phone was purchased
And a dinner date set in a ‘quiet dark nook’ at Old Fernando’s

What next?

Copyright 2011 S. Michaels
From: Curiosities – (Poetic ‘novelette’ Episode 4)

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Odds & Sods – Typewriter, circa 1940

November the 17th, Pomeroy at Plimpton Street
I stand beneath suave heliotrope watercolour skies
Nine times, like a cat, I have relived ‘this place’
The Antique Store, such a plain dreary name

Oh…but I do love it anyway. Have I gone mad?
In my dreams at night, I meet Mumbler outside
Half-bowing. Smiling. Romancing me, surely!
He’s been gone a few days and I admit remorse
Oh, why do I say so? I lie. Of course, he’s there
It is I, Amelia, now transformed into third person
Ambivalently walking by mincing on eggshells
Suede-lined Weitzman boots weary of treading
Always back simpering over tea at Selma’s
Criss-crossed ankles bent & twisted as pretzels
Rainy day coins dissolved in deep blue pockets

 I really, really should, I really, really really

Bravely swirling my unreason in cup of Chai
I know of absolutely no concrete reason why
Why not step aside all potential roadblocks
Why not stroll by for a peek preview of new items
& lightly linger outdoors at his shop window?
It is him, isn’t it? Mumbler (the all-wise one)
He is the reason why not.

He would know why I feel I must stay away

By some miracle of mind, I muster bravely an approach
I’ve taken leave of senses most likely, but ah! There!
My grand excuse for being here. I silently applaud.

 An L.C. Smith Bros. Typewriter. Circa 1940

I am out of breath to hear a sudden sharp rap on cold glass
With palpitations I glance up expectantly and see – someone else!
Not Mumbler? Not my foolishly-dreamed of Mumbler?
Instead a fair woman about my age & height, but slightly plump

He’s been ill with some rather nasty stomach bug
She says cheerily. She is his sister. I sigh a strange relief.
I’ll remove the tag, & have you got our new card?
I am discounted on the typewriter and lug it out

She has handed me an antique white business card
His name appears at the bottom in plain Times Roman Bold
Gerard E. Hemingway (with one ‘m’).

Too bloomin’ perfect, methinks.

Copyright 2011 S. Michaels
From Curiosities – (Poetic ‘novelette’ Episode 3)

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Odds & Sods – Ink Well, circa 1910

Tell me I didn’t plan it exactly back then
All I know is I am meticulous about expenses
But two weeks later there I was sharp at 4:00 pm
Pomeroy Street having tea and asked myself
Honestly, what sane person stops at Selma’s Teas
And then dares breeze by that oh so sweet sanctum
That treacly lemon oil hibernacula of temptation?
You know what I mean – the antique shop

Sensible heels made me stand my ground
Outside, a peek at depression-era glowing orange
Hooked! Mumbler (remember him?) espied me transfixed
He had become a funhouse figure warped in waved glass
A Methuselah with a twist the way he led me in
Tugged me swiftly on pinioned elbow & starched sleeve
A damsel whisked up a wide wedding aisle of desire

How he ever figured out my passion about the ink well
Who knew? And the genuine ostrich feather quill pen
He led me right to it, there in the centre aisle, upper left
A set – circa 1910, for the lady of rare ambiguity…

Something was going on as I squirmed and paid up
Not shopping guilt, it was him – a transmogrification
We have other ‘eras’ you may enjoy next time
Could blue eyes horned rimmed romance a girl silly?
Crisp as apples I read the white gift card aloud
Discounted on all items over a certain price
He nodded, I hmm’d and suddenly out of breath

Decided it was time to escape this new Mumbler
Or whatever his real name, it irked how he knew
In November air I floated home on Earl Grey fog

Copyright 2011 S. Michaels
From Curiosities – (Poetic ‘novelette’ Episode 2)

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Odds & Sods – Desk Lamp, circa 1920

Shadowy corners netted me off the street
To step in & observe a pond-green globe
Tree toad on a stand, I wondered?
No. Lamp actually, rather scholarly
Shopkeeper stared goggle-eyed into space
As I hovered, I was somewhere else

Picturing deep-set dark orbs
Poring over sheaves in dark nights
Quaint pen blotting on finest papier
Art deco match struck thrice
Alighting wine-dipped cheroots
An intense writer…at his desk

Shopkeeper grumbled and shuffled
Voice scratching like a vinyl record
Finger pointed towards a Quaker shelf
Strait-laced rude implied, (i.e. buy or get lost!)
He then unleashed a plethora of lamps
Squat. Wide. Narrow. Chimney.
Iron. Clay. Pewter. Tin. Glass.

And shrugged at my indifference
As I forged back in dusty shadows
To ponder again the lamp circa 1920
Roaring mad years, ‘Mumbler’ harumph’d
Perfect, I replied with aplomb
And what, pray tell is your price?
Yours for a song! Mumbler chirped
Not literally, of course, said I, perturbed
Oh no, but the lamp was Hemingway’s, he said

Suddenly provenance being cited
I took out my purse and paid fifty bucks
Lamp bundled underarm I fled afoot
Charmed by antiquity (with teeth)
To catch a bus, as the pedantic Mumbler
Insisted he knew…I would be back

Copyright 2011 S. Michaels
From Curiosities (Poetic ‘novelette’ Episode 1)