day’s writing now done
softly sang the muse to me
the story’s ending
golden muse she sings
the resonant words of prose
close now with whisky
"Bird Cage" - Taken at South Eden Plantation, Georgia.
Copyright © 2021 by Shane Huey. All rights reserved.
walking in the dream
dare to wake up and live it
it could be real now
in tattered notebook
rereading fountain pen words
words not mine the muse
by S. Huey
I tossed and turned throughout the night, unable to sleep. There was a long day ahead, but I would get all of the sleep that I needed soon enough, unable to resist sleep when the night comes. One misses so much while the eyes are open as it is. There is no one who, truly, fears not the stage. Whether fear or excitement, no matter. The effect is the same.
The sun would be up in a moment and spill the soft rays of Nature's stage lights into my room, but I would rise before it today and begin my rehearsal in the darkness. Fitting! My best work now long for the shadows, as it were.
I arose. I stretched. I washed. I arrived at the theatre. Dressed in my finest attire, the costume carefully chosen and laid out for me by a loving hand, with face tastefully decorated just so as to catch the light perfectly, capturing and preserving my every expression—a face known for its gesticulations.
Today promised to be a very special day. The final act. The final performance. There would be no more encores. All shows, even the great ones, draw to a close. Knowing this made it nonetheless sour. The show had run its course and it is always better to go out on top, as they say in the business, than to overstay one's welcome. That I should go out with such a "Bang!" I would leave the stage with the same reverence with which I approached it, exiting stage right, no need of the old Vaudevillian hook to make the modest thespian of me.
The stage is an altar, a place of belief and ritual and magic…movement and doing. There is celebration and there is worship. There is the cult, the performer a priest, the faithful congregation. There is love and there is sorrow, both real and imagined, but there is emotion, always the emotion...rising and crashing simultaneously upon both performer and audience in often unexpected waves. No performance ever the same nor its effects upon the souls of officiant and parishioner alike.
One is fortunate to have lived as she would have chosen not otherwise to do. The summation of my career--my life—predicated upon sharing with others the experience of the entirety of the catalog of human emotion, from the depths of low to the peaks of high. Such a life one dare not dream of exchanging for the nightmare of not living life such as it is. Praise...critique...no matter, the show must go on, life must go on. This is the human condition.
"Showtime!" I am informed. The butterflies launch from their perch in unison to begin their wild and aerialbatic dance. I feel them as always, perhaps more so now in this final moment of glory. I could never tame the wild little things. Peeking out from behind the curtain, a full house! I smile...no I laugh from the sheer rush of joy! Each and every soul here for me! Eyes upon me, the star of the show. I never dreamt that I might touch so many souls. I have been blessed, truly I have. And here they were now, waiting for me, and I knew that they loved me for I could feel the love burning in my heart as I drew nearer them and they to me. I, in turn, loved them with a fierce reciprocity. I was who and what I was for them and because of them.
Curtain about to open...the butterflies now as though sparrows... I would miss the stage. I would miss my role. I would miss my fellow cast. I would miss my beloved audience. But I would savor every morsel of these, the final moments, of this encore presentation. I would give my very best!
As Time is so prone to do when one is caught up in rapture—living in that singular moment where one feels amidst the sinews the truth that there is indeed neither past nor future—it passed, the show was over, and the curtain closed. But tonight, there would be no curtain call. No last exchange with the audience, no final bow. It was all over. Now I would have that long overdue sleep…the peaceful rest.
As I closed my eyes for the final time that night, my last memory is of the taste of saline upon my lips from the lone teardrop that had fallen as I listened to the minister read my eulogy. It was such a beautiful monologue. And then I slept through the night.
This story first appeared in Raven Cage Zine, Issue 57 (May 28, 2021).
I am pleased to announce that, over the Memorial Day weekend, two of my short stories and one poem were published. "Hitogui" was released by The Chamber Magazine as were "Lament of the Pandemic Children" and "Curtain Call" in Raven Cage Zine (pages 36 and 157).
Another short story, "The Old, Grey Barn," is to be published today by Purple Wall Stories.
Please check them out and let me know what you think.
Rest in peace,
Died of adulthood.
Circa 18-years old
- S. Huey
From my forthcoming chapbook, Buried Alive, a personal reflection on living as though dead and dying without having lived.
mommy and daddy,
please go away…
i want you to miss me,
come home and kiss me,
and then, like we used to,
together all play
all you do now, is stare at a screen
and talk on the phone,
while I feel so trapped here,
five days a week, at home all alone
i am here but you don’t see me,
i speak but you don’t hear,
you are both so far away,
even though so near
i have all of my stuffed animals,
i have all of my toys…
but I’d rather be playing with you,
or at least with real girls and boys
so mommy and daddy,
please go away…
but come home like you used to,
at the end of the day
tell me you missed me,
pick me up, then kiss me…
now mommy and daddy…
let’s go out and play!
* First published in Raven Cage Zine, Issue 57 (May 28, 2021).
Commentary: I make no pretense at being a poet. For me, this is a short story with a few words of rhyme. How does this "poem" make you feel? Hopefully, sad. But such verse can also open our eyes to truths both previously unseen and unfelt. How often do we look at life through the eyes of our children? To see as they see, to feel as they feel? They live in their own heads as do we. Food for thought I'd say. One of my personal favorite short stories (speaking of those that I have penned) was inspired by watching children play on a playground. I learned a lot that day.