Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Crimes of Passion

—Poetry by Linda Klein, Playa Vista, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


A descending sun sparks shades of purple and blue
in the trees and bushes alongside the canal, a floral festival.
In its final fiery glory, the sun casts blood red on the water.

Is it merely the brilliance embodied in that powerful orb,
or has a heinous crime occurred, a mystery to be solved?

Soon the water becomes as dark as its overhead cover.
I am left imagining a shriveled, lifeless corpse floating,
the remains of an unfortunate, discarded lover.

I see nothing but fluid movements of tiny, black fish
that inhabit this area of the canal, drinking up
a possible victim's blood, soused on scarlet serum.

Day's end is a crime of passion.


Mona and Harry Fu's apartment was directly below mine.  Harry used to own a Chinese restaurant.  He is retired now, but still cooks at home.  The pungent, spicy smell from his cooking travels up.

When I open my kitchen cabinets to get pots and pans, I am overwhelmed by fumes.  I imagine he uses a lot of pork, fish, garlic, and soy sauce.  To me, whatever he cooks seems to smell the same.  I get a strong whiff as though he had used my pots to prepare his food and put them back unwashed.

I find the smoky, sinus-clogging odor unpleasant, and since I am my own version of kosher, I am violating my own rules by breathing it in and letting it mingle with the essences in my kitchen.  My solution is to avoid cooking or even being in my kitchen when Harry is cooking downstairs.

When I was new to the building, one afternoon I heard a hesitant, gentle knock at my door.  "Who is it?" I inquired.  "Is you neighbor, Mr. Fu."  I opened the door and saw Harry standing in the hall, clutching a plate with both hands.  I knew immediately why he was there.  I would have to refuse his offering in a gracious manner.  Would he understand?

"I thought you like to try my roast pork with snow pea," he said, pushing the plate toward me.  "How sweet of you," I replied, backing away from the familiar smell.  "I'm afraid I cannot take this, Mr Fu.  You see, I do not eat pork.  I'm sure it is delicious and that you are the best Chinese chef in Los Angeles, but it is against my religion to eat your food."

Harry looked confused.  He said, "Marian, she Jewish.  I bring her all the time."  Marian was another neighbor.  "Yes, I know.  Not all Jews are kosher."  I told him.  "Oh,"  Harry sighed, taking a few steps back.  Is okay.  I bring Marian.  She like."

As he took the elevator downstairs, I exhaled, relieved.  It didn't seem to ruin our relationship.  I think he probably mentioned my refusal to Marian and she said something to soothe him.



Be they fears or premonitions,
secret desires or admonitions,

these picture-story movie reels,
whatever they reveal or conceal

as they automatically unwind
in my overactive mind,

be they somber and darkly foreboding,
or pleasantly engaging as puzzle decoding.

When my body wants its rest,
I welcome dreams.  With them I feel blessed.


In a long, dark tunnel, I see light,
though it is difficult to gauge the distance.
Nevertheless, I must find a way to it.
That persistent beam is my only hope.

I hold my arms out in front of me,
but I cannot see them, nor
the solid form of my body.
Attempts to move make me dizzy.

I have no sense of space, cannot judge depth.
I am a struggling spirit in the darkness,
but I am unable to float, and
quite capable of stumbling and falling.

I know this because I have already done so
several times; I stubbed my toes and staggered
to a hard floor I felt, but could not see.
In places it is honed smooth, in others still rough.

My steps become slow, the sideways slide of a crab.
There is a wall.  If I reach and grab onto it,
it will guide me toward the light.
Unsure, I move

to my left, left arm extended.
That must be best because I am left-handed.
Yes, the wall.  I've found the wall.
Took a chance.  Didn't really have a choice.

I touch it with both hands.  It's cold,
but I don't mind.  I trust its presence, firmness.
I know I can get out of this tunnel tomb.
The light shines luminous ahead.


Waiting for us to discover,
surrounded by varied degrees of light
is the miracle we uncover
when we use our gift of sight.

Shapes and depth appear before us.
Colors sing and make us swoon,
softly blending as a chorus
of a sweet, romantic tune.

You may walk away, ignore it,
show disinterest in your eyes,
or come closer and explore it,
showing wonder and surprise.

The choice is yours alone to make,
while many others pray the might
have that chance in life to take.

So revel in your glorious gift of sight.


Today’s LittleNip:
—Linda Klein

The tree extended a branch
offering me the world
encapsulated in a drop of rain
and I knew at once
trees actually do this.


—Medusa, with thanks to Linda Klein today for her fine poetry! "Day's end is a crime of passion."
Volcano Meets Falling Star at Nightfall
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

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