columbia - Edited


the bird eyes the scene

the bird eyes the scene

By J. Parrish Lewis

remember when we muddied
our elbows and knees, crawling
through the creek? we kept
our eyes trained
for the enemy. we built
forts above and below
and sometimes in between
we saw eyes staring
out of sewers and imagined monsters
it was probably only imagination
because imagination
plays and plays
it crawls
through the water. it sleds
down the snow-covered hill
it flies when you fly
but flees when
your leg breaks
until you are lying there staring
up at the sky and up at the trees
and a little black angel comes
that you’ve never seen before and
never will see
now you walk those paths again
there by the creek
and it isn’t
ever the same
only drifting memories


By J. Parrish Lewis

 I drove into sunlight
 63 miles an hour
 the Sun’s stare skipped across the heavens
 — a sharp pebble across the stream —
 godrays knowing
 as if knowing and illumination
 were one and the same
 I had to shield my eyes
 and pull down the visor
 but there’s no hiding brilliance
 that truly wants to reach you.

The Raven Nevermore

By J. Parrish Lewis
Respectfully dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe*

Art by Justin Lewis

Art by Justin Lewis

     Once upon a wet night rainy, while I flittered, soaked and zany,
Over many a large and luminous house of begotten man,
     While I fluttered, dearly flapping, suddenly here went I tapping,
     As a raven, lightly rapping, rapping at a window pane.
“’Tis just a raven,” I muttered, “rapping at thy window pane—
          Only me and nothing more.”

     Oh, precisely I remember it was in a brisk November;
And each separate falling raindrop brought a frost upon my core.
     Hopelessly I chased the morrow;—sadly I had thought to follow
     With my heart’s desire to wallow—shadows of the lost Crenore—
For the dark and brilliant raven whom the Spirits name Crenore—
          Flightless now for evermore.

     And the sopping, slick, uncomfy drenching of each glossy feather
Chilled me—filled me with such spastic shivers never felt before;
     So that then, to calm the pounding in my brain, I sat recroaking
     “’Tis but one raven requesting shelter in thy chamber dry—
A wet old raven requesting shelter in thy chamber dry;—
          That it is, oh nothing more.”

     Presently my beak grew icy; the air feeling then so frosty,
“Cawd,” thought I, “oh human, only some warm shelter I implore;
     But the fact is I was flapping, and so soundly you were napping,
     And so softly I was rapping, rapping at thy window pane,
That I dare not hope you heard me”—there he opened wide his door;
          — “Over here!” thought Nevermore.

     Deep into that chamber peeking, long I sat there pondering, creeping,
Plotting, thinking thoughts no raven ever dared to think before;
     But the human was a moron, and his dullness sparked no hoping,
     And the only sounds I heard then were two whispered words, “Len Or?”
This he questioned, and so I merely croaked back the words, “Len Or?”
          — Merely me, oh Nevermore.

     Back nearby the window croaking, all feathers thoroughly soaking,
Soon again I went a-rapping somewhat harder than before.
     “Come on,” thought I, “come on, I am needing just thy chamber’s shelter;
     Let me in, then, where the warmth is, from this misery escape—
Let thy heart be kind a moment and this misery escape;
          — ‘Tis the raven, Nevermore!”

     At last here he slammed the shutter, then, with many a flit and mutter,
In there flew this weary Raven from the deathly touch of cold.
     Not the least of welcomes made he; not a cocoa poured warm displayed he.
     So, with mind of bird so sulky, plopped above his chamber door—
Plopped upon a dusty statue just above his chamber door—
          Plopped, and griped, this Nevermore.

     Then this quite bony man conjuring necromancy through his grinning,
By depraved and mad qualities of the expression he bore,
     “Thothi crustbe shor nand shay venn, thow,” he said, “urt shur noh cray venn.”
     Quickly then this baffled Raven suffering from this wordy chore—
Tuned I out his snooty speeches on that night’s Plutonian snore!
          Poor old Raven Nevermore.

     Much I wondered this unruly man to speak his words so coarsely,
For his babble very lacking—quickly triggered drowsy snores.
     And you cannot help agreeing that no living lordly raven
     Ever yet had graced a human being with his presence grand—
Bird of Kings upon a bulky statue with his presence grand,
          As such the bird Nevermore.

     And the human, staring blankly at my regal self, jaw dropping
At my name, as if my name in that one word prompted terror.
     Not a token did he offer—not a live worm did he proffer—
     Then he barely more than blabbered: “uth er frens hahv flon bea fohr—
Onthuh mar roh hee wil leev mee, asmi howps hahv flon bea fohr.”
          So croaked this Raven: “Nevermore.”

     Baffled by his dullness proven by discourse so lamely spoken,
“Doubtful,” thought I, “that its mutters are so truly thoughts and words
     Taught by some impatient teacher whose quite fanciful features
     Swallowed feats and hollowed creatures with his choice of pointy swords—
Till the fables of this Hero that bore a choice of pointy swords
          Were shared then, nevermore.

     And the human still befuddling my grey matter into numbness,
Straight he wheeled a lumpy seat toward me across dusty floor;
     Then, upon his cushion plunking, he postured his Self as coolness,
     Fancy and so schmancy, posing with a majestic bird to adore—
With this trim, unmanly, mighty, modest and majestic bird to adore
          Quite the Raven, Nevermore.

     There I perched ensnared in dumbing, with no interest forthcoming
In the man whose bleary eyes now fixed onto my noble self;
     Thus, therefore I sat daydreaming, with my thoughts a breeze streaming
     On a cupcake’s velvet icing that some sprinkles floated o’er,
But whose velvet chocolate icing with the sprinkles floating o’er,
          I shall taste, I never know!

     Then, methought, the air grew rotten, perfumed by the human’s bottom,
Stung my nostrils then, gross vapors spreading through my sodden core
     “Wretch,” I thought, “my God, what ate ye—oh these odors you hath sent me
     Mercy—Mercy and urgent rest from thy incursions of odor;
Help, oh help this poor raven guest to escape this gross odor!”
          Breathe, oh Raven, never more.

Artwork by Justin Lewis

Artwork by Justin Lewis

    “Beastly!” thought I, “scent of devils!—beastly swill, of good or evil!—
Whether breakfast vents, or whether noontime snacks be hairy boars,
     Adequate yet so distasteful, in this garish room disgraceful—
     With this man with manners hateful—smell me truly, every pore— Is the—is the stink in my feathers?—smell me—smell me, I do roar!”
          Fart-bombed Raven Nevermore.

     “Beastly!” thought I, “scent of devils!—beastly swill, of good or evil!—
By Lord Raven who rules above us—by that God I doth adore—
     Tell this bird with nostrils hurting if, within this musky chamber,
     You do have a certain perfume which angels name Lavender—
Have a fresh and reviving perfume which angels name Lavender.”
          Cawed this Raven, “Lavender!”

     “Let that end your time of farting, vulgar man!” I willed, imparting—
“Give this shack unto thy damp guest and walk swiftly on out the door!”
     How his shrill squawks were a proof, then, of that sign his brain hath broken!
     “Leave thy grouchiness unspoken!—quit this room I now adore!
Take thy feet from off my rug, and walk thy self on out my door!”
          Quoth Lord Raven Nevermore.

     And the Human, ever gritting, still is spitting, still is spitting
With a putrid gust of bad breath just beneath me like a spore;
     And his mouth spouts all the seething of a dragon’s that is teething,
     And perched I right o’er him breathing, watching mad throes of a bore;
And my wings over those mad throes that cry flopping on the floor
          Shall be sopping—nevermore!
*This poem has been crafted carefully with the utmost respect for Mr. Poe’s original poem, The Raven. When I was a young man, I read his works obsessively and was inspired by his mastery. Today I remain a fan of Mr. Poe’s work. In the process of creating this poem as a humorous homage to his famous work, I developed a deeper appreciation for how much talent he possessed in order to write the original. I don’t know what he would have thought of my version, but I Iike to think that perhaps it would have brought a few laughs to a man that wrestled with a lot of darkness in his own life. May he have found peace and laughter in the afterlife.

It was a dark and stormy Father’s Day

Thunder crashed. Wind lamented its life with haunted howls. Cats screeched or perhaps meowed. I heard none of this, of course, but it happened. Lightning flashes lit up the frame of the front door.

The doorknob turned. Slowly, steadily, ever so mercilessly. From across the room, sitting in my Daddy chair, I watched. The lights flickered in the room, then extinguished one by one until I was left with only the darkness within and the bright storm without. An imagined click sounded in my head as the door popped open just an inch.  Continue reading

Moving Boxes

We recently moved to a new home, which meant we were in possession of boxes upon boxes upon boxes. We started out at the old house with everything (well, about half of it mostly everything) packed neatly into boxes.

We forked over extra to have professional movers for a few hours, but amazingly we had much more stuff than I would have figured, so the movers did half while we took care of the other half. Carload after carload, and a truckload from a friend as well, before the movers came to do the rest. Continue reading