by Michael Crane
To the young man who left his dreams at home.
My father left my mother today. He caught a taxi to the airport and boarded a plane to Mexico. This confused my mother as she didn’t believe he knew anyone there. I was my parent’s only child and close to my father as any daughter could be. I stayed with my mother for six weeks. “Why did he leave? Why did he go there?” my mother always asked me but I didn’t know the answers to her questions. I visited the Men’s Club at the End of the World where my father often went to play poker and bridge with his friends. All of them were tight lipped except for Jim, the bar man. He used to let me sit on his lap when I was five years old and he confided in me a little. He told me that maybe my parents should never have married because my father always dreamed of owning a fishing boat. I didn’t know if that was true or not. A few weeks later I was cleaning out my fathers’ things in the attic. I came across a box of books about boats and fishing. There was also a box of old forty-five records and I played some of them on the old record player downstairs. There was one song called ‘Jamaica farewell’ sung by Harry Belafonte. My mother joined me in the lounge room and told me it was my father’s favourite song when he was growing up. Later after dinner we sat together on the chairs on the veranda and my mother said she now knew where my father was. I think I know too. I can picture him standing on the deck of a small fishing boat looking up at the same moon my mother and I now were watching.
From the woman
on the train taking
to a stranger.
by Michael Crane
Dear Albert Einstein and your love machine.
I met a man with a golden voice tonight. I am a literary agent and one of my clients was getting married. Theirs was an unconventional wedding. They had hired a restaurant beside the river and had prepared a stage for the band to play after dinner. A celebrant was hired and after they exchanged their vows, a friend of theirs read a poem by Gregory Corso proclaiming that lovers should denounce tradition and rebel together against the world. He had a deep husky voice and I noticed every single woman in the room watching him intently. Later I walked to his table and talked to him and he said he was a writer but didn’t want to talk shop. He asked me to dance. When we got to the dance floor, several other women got up to dance close to us and were all looking at him. They were all beautiful. I didn’t think I could compete with them and I walked out into the cool night and sat on the pier. I could smell the water below and watched the lights from the city buildings reflecting on the water. I felt someone tap me on the shoulder and he sat down beside me. We spoke for a little while and he told me how his father used to take him swimming in a river when he was a young child. It reminded me when we lived on the bank of the Clarence River and when I was young my father would row my mother and I across to the other side. We kissed for a moment and I let him take me home and as we left the wedding and walked to the car I could hear the music from the band echo in the night.
the independent woman
with the need for love.
by Michael Crane
To the obese woman in the dress shop trying on a bikini.
Karen was concerned when Mark suggested they go the casino. He used to be a professional gambler who lost a lot of money on the horses. She made him promise to stop his habit and settle down with her. ‘It’s okay,’ Mark said, ‘I’ll just play a little black jack and then I’ll take you for dinner at one of those restaurants at the Casino. When they got there he headed straight for the fifty-dollar table in the blackjack ring. He won a little at first and Mark told Karen that she was bringing him good luck. Slowly he began to lose and within an hour he had lost fifteen hundred dollars and she asked him to stop and take her to dinner as he promised. ‘Okay honey just one more hand,” Mark said. He bet big on this deal and was given a jack and an eight but the dealer had two tens. Mark took a punt and asked for another card and received a three. ‘Now can we go” snapped Karen. Mark looked up to her and smiled. ‘Karen my luck has turned, I’m going to play for a little longer.’ His wife walked away from the table and through the sliding doors and hailed a taxi. She took off her wedding ring and stood there for several minutes trying to decide if she would throw it in the bin beside her.
From the smiling croupier
with four ace of hearts
in his breast pocket
Michael Crane lives in Melbourne and has been widely published in Australian Journals and newspapers and a small smattering of US magazines.
His literary heroes include JD Salinger, Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, Margaret Attwood, Elmore Leonard and Barry Yougrau.