Tag Archives: caring

Indifference To A Walk In The Park


The writer wished he  was a painter. In his mind, he painted, as he strolled through the park that surrounded the lake. “An artist that crafted something permeable,” he thought.  “People would enjoy the aesthetics of my creation. Or not. Who cares?” He knew his words held power, but they came fleeting, more often then not. He wanted a blank canvas on an easel, paints, brush…all the accoutrements. What he had was his hands in his pockets as he walked around the shallow body of water.

He thought in tones of realism, but wished he was  a writer who tended to the abstract, maybe even pointillist, impressionist or surrealistic styling. He wished to dig at the what emits through the nature of things, taking away the shell and leaving the essence.  He wanted words that would fly, forgoing concrete for emotive deconstruction. The writer who wanted to be a painter wanted intrigue, disgust, passion…not the indifference of being one of so, so many.

His thoughts led him along the path, noticing moments: the couples on the benches that were shaded, not in direct sun; the gangs of geese, on land or in the water, their droppings littering almost any step he could make; the twin girls learning how to bike ride, both in pink helmets and pants, one free wheeling, the other still attached to dad, who yells out “Be strong!” to her as he’s ready to let go; the bicyclists who pass him by; the joggers who run, stop, start, all around him, in various work out clothes, both loose and tight; the woman with the  lame leg trying to keep up with her younger walking partner; the broken pathway, cracked earth, the cloudless blue sky that’s letting the sun light to beat down on the surroundings, on him, sweating. He wants to paint these moments, these scenes.

It happens in a lost thought. Coming up the path, straight towards him, wide open eyes staring at him, a smile plastered across the dirt streaked face. A collision course, chicken played out in daylight. A foot splashes into one of the many puddles that dot the walkway, sending a light spray towards the writer, towards geese sitting to the side, silent. The writer stares back, keeping to his path, and a reflective smile creases his face. His hands, which are at his side, reach up towards his belt, elbows bent, ready.

The mother shouts “Liam!” and  takes the three year old’s hand, moving him out of the writer’s way, just as the writer side stepped the child. She and the father apologize for their child, but the writer waves it off, laughing, and says “It was just a showdown. Liam would have won, ” and he continues walking. Looking back, Liam is riding high in his mother’s arms, looking over her shoulder at the retreating writer. His little hand waves. The writer waves back, then continues on.

From there on, the writer observes the dragons that come to roost on the banks of the lake, the mates and their dragonettes in clusters, resting. The Swan King settles down in the middle of the water, standing on one foot, and calls out to all his turquoise and brown brethren, who swim in a circle around the king, genuflecting into the water, and coming up with catch for their supper. A high speed chase flashes down the path, two wheeled and two legged, a race on a moebius strip of gravel and dirt. The writer notices things out of the corner of his eye, but he pays them no heed, for when he looks directly at them, they are altered forever.

He sits on a throne of blue painted planks held up by ornate grey cement, etched with decrees of love and foul curses. Breathing in the moments, it all plays out for him in hundreds of different ways. He is an artist, and he is a painter, and he sings and conducts and composes and his mind dances to all the tunes he can imagine, and all the colors are at his disposal.

Levitating off the throne, he wings his way home.

When Did We Get So Old? (A Picture Book)

When did we get so old?
I don’t mean the aches and pains
The loss of memories
Nor the furrows in our brows
The wrinkles and changes
Sagging skin
When did we get so old
That we shake our head what is new
And “tsktsktsk” like our grandparents
And hold onto regrets
Or retreat into the past
Saying goodbyes
More often?
Have we lost sight of fun
As vitality slowly takes flight
Of purpose more then money
Holding onto things
Letting people go
More afraid of dying
Then living
What is wrong with living young,
Being silly and thinking free?
Afraid more of the grey on top
Instead of the growing malaise
Of the grey reaching down
Sucking us dry
Withering insides

(c) Matt Brown

When did we get so old?
Time is a passing thing
We have no control
It is what it is
So let it pass
So let it pass
I have a kite to fly


Sonnet: Wishing You


Wishing you were here does not make it so;

Extraordinary surprise, waiting

Holding onto unsaid words; what I know

Creates an inner need that needs sating.

Wishing you felt so exactly the same

Craving what has not been inside so long

It is unfair to you to force equal, no blame

Should rest on one whose spirit is so strong.

But, wishing all that I wish for can drive

A chasm that could not be crossed inside

Ceasing feelings that would die, not so thrive

Pulls me inward, keeping silent; I hide.

Oh, wishing you felt like I truly do

Wishing I  the nerve to say I love you.

Candy Stripe Ward: A Tale of The Abysmal Dollhouse


Other Tales of the Abysmal Dollhouse (in order):

The Unfolding Doll

The Shopkeeper

The Movie House

The Wall Of Death

Candy Stripe Ward

The Shopkeeper could smell the customer’s cancer as he walked into the store. He had entered The Abysmal Dollhouse with a face that held no emotions, but they were laying deep underneath, and she could feel them. Putting on a smile, The Shopkeeper glided over to the man. She asked if he needed any assistance.

“If it’s OK with you, I’ll just look around. Yes?” he asked. She nodded. “Good. Thank you. This is a very…interesting shop you have.”

“Thank you. Our dollhouses are all unique. Interesting, in many ways. Let me know if you  need any information or help,” she offered one more time, and one more time he refused.

The Shopkeeper went to stand behind the main glass encased counter. She had to shush a few of the Dollhouse’s pleas of “Mine!,” excusing their desperate cries as just noise from outside when she noticed her customer looking around for what made that noise. He looked out the window and saw that the street had been like it was when he approached the store: it was empty. He smiled, shrugged, and continued to look around.

The Shopkeeper studied him. Short for a man, standing a few inches under her own five foot six, he was gaunt, with sunken eyes and cheeks. Salt and pepper stubble covered his face and neck, and he was mostly bald. The smile he had was gone now, replaced with that dead look he had when he first entered.

He examined many of the Dollhouses, reading the legends neatly hand written on their display placards. He made a few small grunts if he bent over too far on some, wheezing a few other times. The Shopkeeper noticed when he closed his eyes and then his face screwed up, wincing, as he stood in front of the Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée. She  hurried over to his side.

Just in time, as the Unfolding Doll was approaching him from behind, out of the shadows of some of the deadliest Dollhouses. Exerting her will, unflinching in her stare and challenge, The Shopkeeper spoke a few warding words under her breath, forcing The Unfolding Doll to retreat. There was a hiss of a threat thrown back at her, but The Shopkeeper won this slight skirmish. The Unfolding Doll oragamied itself away. All this happened in the few seconds it took for the man to get his composure back.

“I would like to show you a special Dollhouse. I think this is one that would be of interest to you,” she offered to the man. This time, he allowed her help and followed her to the opposite wall, nearer to the front windows. It was a replica of the Orange County Hospice, a double floored straight line design. The man choked and took a step back, but The Shopkeeper went to the Dollhouse and opened the side wall.

He stared; just…stood there and stared. The beds held little figures of cancer: he could just tell. The wards sectioned off with other terminal cases. It was all apparent, to him. It was like the one he had just visited, before he walked aimlessly around, winding up here. It was sterile clean, bright and open. He hadn’t been ready-not yet-to surrender when he had left the hospice with such heaviness. This…this was different.

He, Charles, noticed a doll standing off to the side of one bed, holding a closed book in her hands: a candy striper. It was odd to see one in this setting,  the candy cane look of the red and white-striped pinafore just so not right. Yet, Charles was comforted by seeing a volunteer there, someone to help, to assist, to care. The candy striper moved. He passed one hand over his eyes, rubbing them, but when he opened them again  the doll had the book open. It was sitting down, and he was looking up at it, as he was laying down in a bed.

The candy striper was reading to him. “Peter Pan,” his favorite book since he was a child, so long ago.  Charles got lost in the telling of the tale, of Peter and Wendy Lady, of Michael and John, of Nana and Tinkerbell. He relished the reading, the escape into a world he loved, and in this… he forgot how much pain he had been in before.

The candy striper stopped at the end of the chapter, closed the book and rose. In her hands she now held a tray of baked goods, and all of them were ones Charles loved: Chocolate Eclairs, Napoleons, Black & White Cookies, Charlotte Russe, and those trio-colored cookie/cakes that he and his father had loved. “Take as much as you’d like, Charles,” the doll said. There was no mistaking the candy striper for a real woman, but he just didn’t care. He sampled and ate, and was more than sated. It had been a long time.

“Mr. Roman in the next bed says he could beat you in a wheel chair race. Are you up for the challenge?” she asked, her doll face not moving,  but the excitement in her voice was evident, as it was also so nurturing and caring sounding.

Charles smiled the first real smile he’s felt in a very long time. He nodded, got into the wheelchair at the foot of his bed (it hadn’t been there before this, but Charles just didn’t care), and said “Ready!”

As the candy stripper helped get a beaming Charles into position, The Shopkeeper smiled as well. She got up from the kneeling position she had been in for so long, enjoying the feelings. Closing the wall  of the ward, she heard laughter and friendly shouting noises. “Good,” she said out loud, looking for The Unfolding Doll. “Good. This one will never be yours.”

The Unfolding Doll was folded into the far shadows of the shop. The knife in its hand glinted of it’s own accord. It could wait, as its wielder could wait as well.  Both thirsted for The Shopkeeper, but knew this was not the day. The Unfolding Doll crept from the far shadow into The Serpent House, to play.

The Center for Litearcy Enrichment: New Web Page


The Center for Literacy Enrichment

Many moons ago, I had  the privilege of taking an early education class with Sr. St John Delany at the then College of White Plains (which, now, is the campus of PACE Law School).  I had known the Sister more through my then girlfriend, but I quickly came to admire and respect Sr. St John for her intelligence, humor, and welcoming attitude. Even though my time, then, in early education was short lived, what the sister gave to us has stayed with me through the years.

A short time ago, we reconnected, after I started to really utilize LinkedIn. It has been a further extension of admiration  as I get to work with her on programs of literacy and education, things that I have embraced through my performing and educational careers.

Her concerns have remained true: bring your best to the students, be the role model as a leader of the classroom as you are meant to be, and work with the students to achieve set goals and find their successes in what they can do, which is their own individual best…and then reach higher. We just had a discussion, about reaching the students on a level of global acceptance for each other, a desire to learn how to really communicate and create dialogue, and to find ways to break the many social disconnects that so  often create problems were there are none.

Please support the Center for Literacy Enrichment. I do. Join me.