Mister Stork

In the lounge room of my childhood
there’s this little box made of wood,
and when I open it’s varnished lid
up pops a proudly painted stork.
A cigarette wedged in his beak
with the promise of something good.

“Care for a Peter Stuyvesant?
They’re tailor made for the Jet-Set!
You’ve been on a plane,
and you’re a big boy now,
all of nine, so try one of mine.
You’ll find the taste most pleasant.
Ignition … prepare for take-off.
Never mind the cough.
You’ll soon be feeling fine.”

Curious that neither
of my parents were smokers.
A mostly absent
long distance father,
and two much older brothers.
All too distracted
by a cold war meltdown
to bother about
a nuclear family explosion,
as the Bay of Pigs became
my happy hunting ground.
The Lord of the Flies
on California Sunshine,
upon a rough ride
on the wild side
with a down on his luck
angelic guardian
reluctantly riding shotgun.
Yet ever in the shadow
of a brooding Mount Zion.
The secret herbs and spices
of a teenage existential crisis.
Given no grand plans,
and with idle hands,
I was left to my own devices.
Deep in the groove of a move
known as the Duck and Cover,
a street kid refugee
fleeing a world torn asunder,
with not a chance
of getting it all together.
Is there nothing left
but to become
a living protest?
A performance art piece
of self immolation?
Mister Stork
I need a bitter snort
of your sweetest inspiration.

The fat controller,
and proprietor of the nearby
convenience store,
would sell me a pack of ten
for the handful of coins
that I had begged,
borrowed, and stolen.
As through a smokey dream
I seem to remember
he had a particularly
beautiful daughter.
A friend of my sister.
Years later he was found
driving aimlessly around town
with the lifeless body of his wife
in the back seat of his car,
cruising with the bรชte noire
of murder in suburbia.

No need for fiction
when life is much stranger
in a neighbourhood
where children would disappear
without a trace
to that whispered kingdom
of overdose.
The agents of prohibition
leading us all in a merry dance.

“Be careful. Be good.
And don’t go too far.”

With youthful exuberance,
and spriteful stealth,
I would break into
the empty mansions
of the rich and the infamous.
Searching for just a taste
of that elusive good life.

But then …
there was always
Mister Stork,
in his varnished wooden box,
ready to greet me
with a loving embrace.
A constant companion
who always made me happy,
if even for just a moment.
Till the day he came up short
and a beak sadly empty!?
With hand painted eyes
he just stared at me blankly …

“You’ve been chasing toxic thrills,
and I can see you’ve got the chills.
You’re becoming quite a scoundrel.
Perhaps it’s best you go get
some of mum’s favourite pills
and swallow a big handful?!”

All done and said …
there is something
strangely liberating
in being numbered
amongst the dead,
by friends and family alike,
whilst still alive and kicking.
Yet always a feeling
that something isn’t right,
that something is missing.

All said and done …
It’s been one hell of a fight.
With Mister Stork,
just out of sight.
Lurking in his box,
waiting to take flight.
Brooding over schemes
yet to be hatched,
beyond any doubt.
Beware if ever
you should open that latch.
But he was never a match
for my Father in Heaven.

Now it’s Sweet Liberation
with a key freely given
from a roughly hewn
old wooden cross.
All has been returned
that once was stolen and lost.

~ by David B. Redpath ยฉ 2019-2020

David B. Redpath ยฉ 2019

75 thoughts on “Mister Stork”

  1. Most beautiful. Mr.Stork is inspiration
    of your imagination. “In a neighbourhood …
    … he just stared at me blankly … “.
    How much sad things for children and youth.
    Inspirational and thought provoking.
    We should take some steps against Mr.Stork.
    Well done, dear!!
    Oh, most heart touching, all lines.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you exceedingly, Aruna.
      I was trying to walk a mile in the shoes
      of someone who no longer exists.
      But there are far too many looking for
      that slow motion painless exit.


      1. A game of shadows
        in the shallows of life.
        As the stork flies high
        we are but running from self.
        Best to close his little wooden box
        and put it back on the shelf.
        He sucks you in,
        only to spit you out again,
        after being well and truly chewed
        With him, your spirit
        is never renewed.

        Thanks for the “Shadow Game”
        inspiration, Rachel โœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ž

        Liked by 2 people

  2. A profound autobiographical poem, David.

    Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

    The mysterious Stork in the box of your mind getting you to try cigarettes and then pills.

    This was no stork who delivered babies down the chimneys of rooftops but a stork who ascended up from the furnaces of Hell and delivered lies.

    A compelling testimony to the power of Christ who overcomes demons in all forms.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Chris, I suspect that Mister Stork
      was an emissary for that Prince of the
      air, despite having his wings clipped,
      and being confined to a small box.
      I wrote this story for all those who’ve
      “… walked according to the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience …”
      ( By coincidence, The Sons of Disobedience
      is also the name of a leading Washington
      far right think tank ๐Ÿ˜Ž)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Steer clear
    of that sneaky little stork
    with his box full of snort
    His box full of shiny will put you
    on your hiney
    I like you much better with a blue
    pin upon your lapel
    Of course your last words are the
    most important off all
    Glad you are amongst living
    With the stories you tell
    That I love to read so well
    Wonderful writing David!:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Stella,
      for your words of grace.
      The Word has preserved my soul,
      despite life’s heavy toll,
      in time and space.
      From the fullness of the heart
      words tumble and flow.
      Love is always the answer,
      where hope and faith,
      are allowed to grow ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜Ž

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
    And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all
    Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall ”
    David, you have an excellent way of making a point. This piece has powerful written all over it. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Anna for the positive feedback.
      Some choose to cruise the heart
      of darkness, Some find themselves
      there, with not much say in it. But there
      is always the choice to depart from it
      … following the light of the Spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, Peter Stuyvesant… unbelievable David.
    You took me back to the 80s. My mother smoked those like a chimney. Crazy and random that you’d mention that.
    The whole piece was amazing and nostalgic. You’re an artist

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your mum was also a member
      of the globe trotting jet-set! โœˆ๏ธ
      A Peter Stuyvesant coincidence ๐Ÿ˜Ž
      Thanks Queen Fiery for your
      positively sparkling comment ๐Ÿ™

      As they say in the classics,
      if you play with fire ๐Ÿ”ฅ
      expect to get your fingers burnt.
      But I’ve learnt from experience,
      a hot flame can be very nice ๐Ÿ’›

      Liked by 1 person

  6. a stunning piece; a tour de force; there is something in the language that reminds me of the hallucinatory passages in Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’. There is much to take in here, I will read it a few more times during the week. Mesmeric, David ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanking you most metaphysically,
      John โ™พ๏ธ ๐Ÿ™
      I must admit that I’ve often felt like
      a fictitious Richard combing through
      the flotsam and jetsam of a remote
      oriental beach ๐Ÿ–๏ธ ๐Ÿ˜Ž
      An esoteric existence ๐Ÿค” Not to
      mention, my ex is a dead ringer
      for Sal (a.k.a. Tilda Swinton) ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you fortuitously, Lia.
      Now that you mention it, that stork
      would take an occasional snort of
      Southern Comfort. Straight up from
      his hip flask … True!
      I always declined his kind offer of a
      swig as I had no desire to catch that
      avian flu ๐Ÿฆฉ๐Ÿ˜Ž

      Liked by 2 people

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