chocolate is a verb

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Tag Archives: Halloween

found poem: the miasma

found poem: comes a dragon

found poem: shadows

found poem: floating

found poem: witch

found poem: shady

old ghosts…


HalloweenHe was two, his ghost head twisted round as he tried to peer through one ragged eye hole. I was three, my plaid skirt and saddle shoes too stiff, my black cloak too small, my witch’s mask designed for someone else’s face.

The little ghost lived down the street in a house full of kids and toys, open doors, loud voices and laughter. I was dazzled by this permeable place that seemed to have no rules, where I, and everyone, was welcome.

And while she didn’t stop me from going there, and she couldn’t stop my father from welcoming the children into his workshop, as he did all the neighborhood kids, my mother quickly found reason to criticize. These people were “unsophisticated,” “bawdy,” “loud.”

The little ghost, who was kind and shy and eventually grew taller than his tall father, was “dumb,” by Dorothy’s assessment. She was wrong. He became a physicist.

And I, confused by the twin realities of my mother’s voice and our neighbors’ house, tilted my head back to peer at the world through her eyes until I discovered that it was just a mask, and it wasn’t mine, and I could take it off.

ART/LIFE Volume 4, Number 10

jik ~ ART/LIFE November 1984

cover ~ ART/LIFE ~ November 1984Another page from the eminent but erstwhile ART/LIFE, this one in honor of Halloween. Dress ’em up: print, cut, color. Boo.

Page by jik in a numbered edition of 160.

toy season…

toys by LRKIn addition to his woodcarving, my father made toys. From a furniture manufacturer and the local hardwood lumber yard (if you live in a big enough city, there is a hardwood lumber yard!) he would collect scraps of wood and bring them to his shop, a car-trunkful at a time.

With a minimum of fuss — a drilled eye, a slice of smile, a quick bit of sanding to knock off the splinters — the scraps turned into beings. These, at the rate of a thousand or more a year (mostly around the holidays), he would pile into cartons and deliver to children’s wards in hospitals all over Los Angeles.

He also gave them away to friends and family, often “discovering” that he had one or two tucked into a jacket pocket. At the front door, on Halloween, instead of candy, he let the princesses and goblins choose a toy of their own from a big bowl.

After he was gone, when there would be no more toys, years later, and in another city, I filled a big basket with most of those remaining and gave them away one Halloween. It was surprising to watch the reactions, and poignant to feel myself costumed in his persona. I’ve never really wanted to celebrate Halloween since.

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