Death By Shovel

At lowest tide I visit our town beach. A purposefully unfashionable time after all the poets searching for god have finished walking their dogs. Scrup-fwop, scrup-fwop, can be heard beyond the jetty. I see two lifeguards young and tall, their sun-blond hair in matched French braids. With long handled steel shovels from Parks and Rec  they scoop up jellyfish and casually lob them up to a hot dry death upon the rocks. The oversized orange windbreakers our teen guardians wore urgently proclaiming “RESCUE”. Mercifully, jellyfish can’t read.
by – Doug Mathewson

Plan B

Since Dad was in the Air Force our family often moved when we were growing up. Even after they divorced Mom kept moving us. It just became a pattern I guess, and seemed natural. Finally after we ran out of child support and alimony Mom needed “Plan B”. Santa Fe seemed like a good choice for the three of us. I already painted a mental picture of myself in Art School, my sister planned to rope and brand a cowboy boyfriend for her very own, and poor Mom just wanted a life. A small restaurant with an apartment upstairs over in the Rail Road district was for rent and we got to work. The three of us were excited and all pitched in. Mom is a great cook (she make left-overs exciting even on the third or fourth time around) and got guys from other restaurants to moonlight in the kitchen on their days off. My sister would wait tables and turn her charm up to eleven. All I was much good for was bus tables, mop the floor, and do whatever art work was needed on menus, signs, and such.
We all wanted a south western name for the place. A woman’s name, something with appeal that felt intimate and friendly. Arguing back and forth over “Cowgirl this” and “Coyote that” got us no place. It was my sisters idea to hang around the Central Plaza and ask some of the old-time cowboys for advice. “Fine,” said Mom, “you decide, I don’t care, just hurry up, and tell your brother so he can do the signs and print some flyers”. Sis did go talk to those old boys who sat and smoked in the shade by the bandstand. She asked them, “what is your most cherished memory? The best, most wonderful thing you have ever known? Something that will always, always makes you smile no-matter what.” They were a little shy at first, but finally agreed unanimously. When I heard it, I just couldn’t help but go way-way over the top with the artwork (I thought Mom would be mad).
The restaurant has really worked out ok. Yup, “Rodeo Whore” is quite the little success story, and man do we sell a lot of t-shirts online!

by – Doug Mathewson

Safe Harbor

In Under Milk Wood Old Captain Cat in his delirium calls out, “Let me shipwreck in your thighs”.

For me, at age fifteen, it carried such a sensual weight and power.

As a grown man it struck me as both selfish and arrogant.

These days I find it speaks of redemption and a loving forgiveness.

by – Doug Mathewson

Computer Safety

Humming softly in the darkness, beneath an “ early-curb-alert-found-object desk”, my computer resides in a plastic bucket.

That’s how I like it, and let me tell you why.

The cooling fan no longer devours the dust tigers who arrogantly roam my floor.

No building maintenance mop-slopping reeking bleachy cleansers into serial ports for me!

Office mascot Brutus shall not Bulldog wizz through cracks surrounding disc-drive doors ever again.

And should Emperor Fudd’s tax man come a-knocking, I’ll just grab my PC bucket by the handle and run like hell.

by – Doug Mathewson