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My Estes Park Wedding

In by Chris on February 19, 2016 at 9:57 pm

Everything is perfect. The venue is perfect. The cabins are adorable. The aspens are a lucky flaming shade of gold.

Well, there’s a little rain. A light drizzle. I know it’ll stop in time for the ceremony. And there’s a little ice on the walkway. But we warned our guests.

Everyone looks amazing. The mountains make them look amazing. We make them look amazing! Even the turkeys look amazing.

Wait a sec. What? Turkeys? Really? There are turkeys wandering around behind the altar. Making a bizarre noise. Will turkeys be in our wedding? Gobbling at us during our vows? Seriously?


Right Place

In by Chris on February 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm

“I just don’t think I’m in the right place for a relationship. That’s the problem. I need to get myself figured out before I get into another relationship.”

I tried to suggest that the right girl would help him figure himself out. That he’d never get to a solid, figured-out place. That the right relationship would help.

He seemed to have thought that through already. “I know. It’s just that if I can’t help myself get better, how can I help her get better? It’s a two-way street. I’ve got to figure out how to do it for myself first.”

Motel Closed

In by Chris on December 1, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Even the car is waddling along after Thanksgiving dinner. I ease it into the motel parking lot, where there are actually quite a few people out.

The lobby door is locked. There’s a hastily typed sign: “Motel closed. We are going home to be with family. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Back in the car, I relay the news to my wife and kids.

“Where will we sleep?” she asks.

“I have no idea.”

On the one hand, you have to admire the guy’s priorities. But looking around at the people shivering, worried, you get to wondering about his choice.

Sunday, November 3

In by Chris on November 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm

yellowjackets are sucking
sap off the pines
in City Park

did you want to bike
or go lie and
read or…?

cyclones of photosynthetic
litter, the largest cottonwood
leaves fall first, yellow to
brown on down

six feet of double helix
spun into every nucleus,
cistrons assemble polypeptide
chains fold into proteins
that literally build us

wink, nod to the
other room and grin

pay these things no mind
they will align
give them no names
they go on all the same

the cold front
fans through the debris
like screens of static,
see clouds strained
through the Front Range

Brawl (II)

In by Chris on October 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

“Hey!” The first friend’s stunned yelp echoes back hollow. Cursing himself as a coward, he runs forward. Dark spaces grow in the alley.

The other is curled, hands to his side, eyes gaping, mouth slack as if asking for an answer. If there is blood, the night hides it.

And the crushed kid? He feels his face and staggers to his feet. He sneers at the friends, spits out, “I dunno who you are but that serves you right.”

“What? We just… He just…”

“Yeah? I don’t need nobody’s help. I had that dude. Fucking heroes. Go to hell.”

Prius in the Passing Lane

In by Chris on October 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm

            When one of those goddamn go-cart hybrids, especially a Prius, clogs up the highway passing lane, I get twice as aggressive as ever. I swear, twice as aggressive, and that’s saying something.

            Makes me sound like I hate the environment. Naw. I appreciate those hybrids, they’re all fine and good. But you know what, goddammit, I’m in a truck, like it or not. Nothing you or I can do about it. Unless I get a raise. And I sure as hell won’t be driving my truck like a flaccid hybrid.

            It wasn’t made for that. Well hell, neither was I.

Brawl (I)

In by Chris on September 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm

The rowdy night grows silent. Streetlights like spotlights stay fixed on empty stages of sidewalk. Two friends, buzzed, pass through the city.

Muffled shouts on a sidestreet. Thuds. A panicked yelp.

The friends turn the corner, see the beating, one kid with hands raised and the other above, fists falling fast.

The first friend halts, searches the scene, alert heart pounding. The other dashes forward, bowls into the brawl, throws the attacker back and turns to the crushed kid. Then the attacker’s on his back, hand to pocket and a knife, an angry shout.

The attacker dashes; the friend collapses.


In by Chris on April 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

“The hospital, really? No. Why are you doing this?” She shuffled after him, nose dripping and eyes feeling like pillows. Moonlight lay splayed across the gravel path.

“I love you. That’s why.” His shoulders, skinny under a ratty T-shirt, led her on. “You know that.”

She pleaded with him one more time, knowing he had set his mind. He ignored her, pulled out a cigarette and returned it to his pocket.

From over his shoulder their child looked at her with his soft, dumb, sick eyes. Even carried by a man he hardly knew, his pear-shaped face showed no fear.

I Could Do Better Than This

In by Chris on April 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Maybe we’re all struggling at our jobs and in our relationships because we let consumerism dictate the way we approach life.

That boredom at work that leads to possible-futures speculation? That inability to give one person all our love?

Both assume that what we’ve got is unchanging, that a better model exists, that the world is run by things, not processes. By conditions, not our approach.

Is life only about the obituary? Does joy come from optimizing external conditions or channeling internal passion?

We search for prefabricated solutions instead of acting like handimen: mending and improving upon what we’ve got.

Out of the Cabin

In by Chris on March 9, 2013 at 9:58 am

She raises her face into the swirl of wet snowflakes and smiles. Alone in a sloppy snowstorm, she can’t help but leave the unspoken morning grumpiness in her cabin behind. The snowdrift melts away beneath her snowshoes when she stops. A perfect temperature for leavening the air with the scent of Sitka spruce.

She begins to wonder about the source of her husband’s truculence, but a posse of silent gray jays arrests her attention when they swing into a tree above her. They look expectant. She shakes water from her jacket, grins at them and continues on down the drainage.