The Open Screen, #152

Move though we might,
we find ourselves asleep,
seemingly always,
in first floor apartments,
be it due to space
or finance or the simple joy
of being close to the earth.

It means we have decks
and access and never
had a balcony.
But, at night, it means
we must walk around,
check every window,
lock down each pane,
bolt the sliding glass door,
which in this apartment
means flipping down
a bar, slipping it
into the holster.

A crude lock,
like a broom handle
in college, unrefined
but effective.

As the weather warms
and heat becomes
oppressive, as I fight
for fan privileges,
just to move the air,
which she claims
is simply too loud
to allow her to sleep
through the night,
and I claim
I can’t sleep without.

Uncle Oggie save me.

Tonight I have lost
and the fan is off,
the window wide open
for the third night in a row.

I know I have no hope
of winning tomorrow.

And while she sleeps
rigorously and I lie
wide awake
my mind begins
to ponder the toils
of this world,
elections and self-rule,
play-dough and currency,
the sin of possession,
prophecy and religion,
organized crime
and government.

In this foul brain
that can not be put down,
I picture some thief
creeping his way
around our street, deciding
these apartments look good,
setting up shop outside
the first one he finds,
mine of course.

And in this town
where a neighbor remarked
they have to import criminals,
in this forest of suburbia,
I am frozen
with the thought
of being asleep
and someone cutting
through our window screen,
sneaking in… And stealing
what? We have nothing
of consequence. Of killing us?
Absurd. But I am awake

And have not written,
so the imagination
wanders and jots down
a script and ships it
to a hollywood executive
who looks it over
and asks if we could
ramp it up a bit.

So we go back, add
a scar on his chin,
make the knife bigger,
his motives more sinister.

Now the bells
and alarms in my head
are blaring. My wife
still sleeping, calm
and still and uncaring
about what could, might,
maybe, somehow happen.

I want to close the window.

But closing the window
means no night air,
no air at all, no birds
or passing cars,
no crickets and no bugs,
none of the undertones
I find so comforting.


Leaving it open
puts my family at risk.
So I wonder, which
would be sadder, to keep
the night air out or let
the madman in.

I ponder staying up
all night, letting her sleep
and being the sentinel
at the gate. I ponder
setting the unplugged fan
in front of the window
to act as an alarm.

Should the man enter,
he would trip, make such
raucous noise as to wake us.

What then, now that there’s
a pissed off criminal, face down
in my apartment, probably
with a knife, maybe with a gun?

I ponder getting up, finding
my nine iron, sleeping
with it next to the bed, cocked
in my hand and ready.
What dreams may come
clutching that weapon?

Palm Beach? Carnoustie?
My mind has become
a burn or a bunker.

I’m sure if I slept
with such a weapon
at some point in the night,
the hazards of my memory
would kick in
and I would end up
chipping myself or others.

I will never own a gun.

In the end, I decide
even if I tried
to play guardian
I would fall asleep
and at best wake up
to find myself dead.

And so I get up
slowly, let the blinds
down, shut the window
and slip the bar
into the holster, quieting
the innocent night.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

One thought on “The Open Screen, #152

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