Terracotta Big Lips
     Pick up the turtle that's trying to cross the highway, and turn it around. Nothing more we can do. Every time we pass the body of a small dead animal on the road, I say in my heart-head "sorry" to offer it some kind of comfort.

Fossilized Speechifier
     Oh yes I've seen him waving his hands around. He's the very same one I think who told M her job was over, not over but taken over by another. I wrote him a speech once, which he never appealed.

Lady Strolling with Umbrella
     And strolling, as they say, is the operative word. There she goes down the main street in the sun with the rain falling everywhere but on her. Remembering old movies. Thinking of fringes. Remembering how she'd admonished someone to go easy on the use of the letters i-n-g.

Asphalt Caperer
     Horribly sloppy job, the kind I've always done sometimes. When he is nervous he makes too many jokes. "Have you seen the happy faces in here on the wall?" he asks her. She says "oh no," and feels very anxious.

The Traveler Gone Astray
     This is the saddest part. He was on his way to a new straw life. "This is the day tomorrow" and "Tomorrow is certainly the day" were still on his lips. He felt, indeed, like a loner bright mallard. Rainwater collected on the brim of his hat until it could hold no more, then fell into his lap with a splatter.

     The cool sweetness of the blue bar of soap. Aquamarine, really. And she was pleased with the crowd's reaction to her solo, pleased although they didn't understand everything: how could they? The clouds lifted slightly, an alabaster sky.

Landscape with Moon and Bird
     This is the one everyone likes, for the wrong reasons. The bird is not simply a bird, but two swans with six cygnets who swim like a family of altars in front of our windows. Here it is not here, not now, but all their doing.

Four Gentlemen in a Car
     Well it was all easy enough for them. First a fine dinner with perhaps oysters, no one having a problem with that end of the food chain, and then a trip no possibly a dash around the park in a rented white car. Toyota? No. Something snazzy like a Lincoln.

They Hold Council
     They do and they scare me to death. And the airplane fell down between the convent and the third grade school classroom and the children prayed the rosary but the pilot was dead. Who cared? Everyone. Little T found the pilot's burned tie.

Two Arabs Gesticulating
     All they wanted was the certain kind of zinnia that grows near the Sphinx. They were gravely misinterpreted. The whole thing led to an enormous bloody war and all for a flower.

Arab with Rose
     Rose was her name but her mother made her change it at birth.

Musicians in the Desert
     In the holy afternoon we discussed not liking the flute, not just in Beethoven, but in anything. The viola, the violin, and especially the cello or violoncello or viola-cellophane another story. There in the moonlight, just as you suspected, the desert breaks into its concerts of bloom. Cacti. Small owls. Shooting-star hoya. Just as you suspected.

Two Camels with Packsaddles
     Wouldn't they rather be free! Two camels with backpaddles. Two camel backstrokes through breaking waves of sand. Honor their fine thick toes, the wide caves of their eyes, their linen lips, their ochre chalk smiles.

Diane Wald | Screen Three
Contents | Mudlark No. 10