#338: The Crossword

black and white laptop

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Back in the day, when Alex and I first started dating, one of our best routines was hanging out on a Wednesday night and completing the Hamden newspaper’s weekly crossword puzzle together. I remember buying her a book of crossword puzzles back then, probably for a special occasion as one of our series of gifts, and we still have that book and plan on using it again tonight, hopefully. Being in touch with our former selves is a good way of rekindling past memories, and it brings character and nostalgia to our lives. I strongly support doing as many joint activities like that as you can with your partner as a way of building your relationship and making sure it has special attachments to certain things. Our mug collection, for example, has a lot attached to it and each individual mug could be its own blog post on this. Maybe one day I’ll do something like that… As a way of preserving their origins before we inevitably forget them.

Regardless, completing crosswords is romantic to us. I know that sounds super nerdy, and it is, but it’s the kind of activity we can do together that keeps our attention and uses our brains. It’s perfect for the two of us, and it allows us to collaborate and cooperate on an end goal: that is, completing the objective that is the crossword puzzle in front of us. Some puzzles are notoriously difficult and come down to the wire, where we end up having to look up a clue because we simply wouldn’t be able to figure it out with all the available hints and letters. In those moments, we don’t feel too much shame in completing the puzzle; it’s a matter of our knowledge being limited for the time being. That’s all.


Clockwork Paintings


In the shadowy, dusky realm of illusions and evil known as

Hamden, Connecticut

I see clockwork paintings lining the walls like

Ladders and siding hanging in an architect’s garage,

Which is likely somewhere in Hamden, too.


The paintings depict and march to abnormal music,

Some abomination of black metal and jazz fusion,

And I can see them grabbing for the saxophones

And the guitars

And the microphones

Like instruments of torture to the ears of unsuspecting, innocent

Passers-by in front of a Walmart in the Bronx,

Who are blissfully unaware of the pain about to breach their eardrums.


Like clockwork paintings shifting back and forth from one land

To another,

Moving like red silken curtains beneath a second and third floor

Of a large, windy mansion where the curtains often shake about

And cause distress to the children feeding in their beds

And crying for the wind to halt for they cannot sleep with the noise

But the tricky architect built the mansion on a hilltop

Near his garage in brisk, comely

Hamden, Connecticut


The clockwork paintings are singing lullabies to the humanities,

To the arts, the sciences, the world,

Spreading the word of angels and demons and humans,

Ensuring they rest easy and safely while a thunderstorm

Shakes families into unrest in the neighboring village,

And the careless arts and careless sciences dance in the rain

Celebrating success and fulfillment and time,

Like clockwork.


The whole world is a painted sunrise above cliffs of rainbow hues

Shouting outward to the masses below to

Paint them so they can stand there forever in color,

As if the world is a black and white Disney cartoon

And the cartoonist got bored and decided to

Stop production and focus on colored movies, instead.

All these paintings and more, in action, in clock towers

Changing with time like the moon does when it shifts from

Waning Gibbous to Waxing Crescent and then back again

One month later;


I imagine time resembles a rabbit, hoping from place to place

Rather quickly, I might add,

And similarly leaping past the tortoise who is

Taking rest stops beneath every passing tree

And then reigniting his flame until he sees another tree

And decides that the feeling of shade once more would be divine,

But the rabbit wins the race and

I think that’s how the story is told

But the tortoise is still underneath trees when sunset comes

And like clockwork he wakes up at dusk and the rabbit is

Lapping him again;

That jerk, he’s probably from Hamden!