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Mel Green’s new poem “Cut” is featured this week in Cultural Weekly.

Cultural Weekly’s mission is to draw attention to our cultural environment, illuminate it, and make it better through rich conversations.  We look at culture through the different lenses of media, money, technology and entertainment, always with prime focus on creativity in action. it is a great webzine and if you haven’t checked it out you should!

Here is the link:

(lots of FREE street parking! EASY. Right off the405) Lots of talent, for one hour, in one room, for $10bucks. Ya just can’t beat it! See you there.

Mel Green will be joining Story Tellers Bruce Gray, Christine Blackburn, Pete Goldfinger, Michael Kass, Robbi Morgan Walberg, and music by Down Home Syndrome

Your Hosts- Lauri Fraser and Chris Pina Reservations 310-850-8814 or 310-622-2046

3815 Sawtelle Blvd. Culver City,90066 (Southwest corner of Venice and Sawtelle)

Can’t wait to see you!

When I was boy, there were few things more delightful than terrifying my little brother. Torturing the younger sibling is one of nature’s unattractive conventions like balding or dying while you still have money left in the bank.

Anyone who has either had or been a younger sibling knows the gamut of abuse runs from name calling to actual physical wounds. But in my tenure as the MC of Mayhem in my brother’s early life, the Cave of Blood ranks as the most well-imagined and executed. It was the high point of my low behavior.

The Cave of Blood was situated beneath our ranch style house in Odessa, an overgrown oil town that clung like a like a wart on the chin of the Texas panhandle. It was a region completely devoid of trees and so flat that you could stand in the middle of the highway and see fifty miles in either direction—a hundred if you stood on a Tuna fish can.

There was no wandering in the woods or exploring nature because—as you could clearly see—there was nothing out there. So we, as a people, were constantly thrown back on our imaginations and the liberal use of alcohol.

I conjured up The Cave of Blood to amuse us (I make my brother a party to this invention because I never would have done it if he hadn’t been there, his gullibility gleaming like a new coin begging to be spent even though past experience had shown him time and time again that following my agenda often led to some kind of pain.

It was a winter night in West Texas. A cold wave had dropped down from the panhandle. Mom and dad were out at the Golden Rooster wearing lobster bibs and getting hammered. The babysitter, a mature woman with a fondness for “resting” her eyes,  was snoring on the sofa by 8:30.

I was considering giving beer a try when my brother appeared and asked if we might be going to the Cave of Blood tonight. It had been an ongoing fiction for some time and I had promised that one night I would take him, but only when he was old enough and wouldn’t be scared and run away because “they” always caught you when you ran. He assured me he was not scared and would never run.

But you will tell Mother.

No, I won’t’ tell mother.

You’ll tell dad.

No, I won’t tell dad.

Ok. Basically, my brother was calling me out—he wanted to see this Cave of Blood or tell me I was a big fat liar. You see the position he put me?

There was a special door that led to the Cave of Blood. It was located in the bathroom—the same bathroom that separated our two bedrooms. I instructed him to prepare himself by spending the next ten minutes praying. That gave me time to get busy art directing the Cave of Blood.

I made sure the door that entered the bathroom from his room was closed and locked from the bathroom side. Then I turned on the hot water full blast in the shower. Clouds of steams begin to rise. There was a long, tiled counter top that stretched for about five feet and just above it a mirror that ran the length of the counter top and rose up to the ceiling. It reflected everything in the room.

From my closet I dug-up a cheesy old Halloween skeleton mask with the black one piece, tie-around the neck pajamas of painted bones. These I  hung from the shower curtain rod where they moved slightly in the billowing clouds of steam. With mom’s lipstick, I made bloody red finger prints across the counter. I took from a bottle Vitalis, dad’s hair tonic, and poured puddles on the ceramic tile of the counter top, struck a match and lit them.  With the lights off, the flames from the burning puddles were reflected in the mirror doubling the effect as was the skeleton costume wavering in the clouds of steam that filled the room like an eerie fog.

I switched off the lights in the hallway and closed the door to the bathroom behind me.  I called out to my little brother, “Are you done praying?”

He appeared wide-eyed at his bedroom door nodding his head.

“Are you sure?” I asked. Again he nodded. “No mom, no dad—pinky promise?” He nodded. “Then follow me,” I said and slowly opened the bathroom door. The puddles of flames flickered as if suspended in the fog and were reflected again in the hazy mirror, seeming far away, as if the room had expanded. The skeleton costume rippled in the clouds of steam that swirled around us …

My brother looked as if he’d just been stabbed in the neck with an ice-pick—his face a      rictus of horror frozen around this gaping mouth. It was worth a thousand beatings.

“Don’t let them catch me,” he cried as he turned on his heel and ran.

I retired to my room where, God, help me, I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Then mom and dad came home and things got very quiet. I figured he would rat on me and began constructing an elaborate lie involving a science fair project.

When my mother opened the door, I pretended to be asleep. When she switched on the light, I didn’t move. She ignored all that and got to the point.

“What have you done to your brother?”

“Whaa … “I said rubbing my eyes.

“He won’t use the bathroom. He won’t even go in there. What have you done to him?”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“Why is he scared of the bathroom? What did you do to your brother in that bathroom? It’s your fault if he wets the bed, mister.”

My brother wouldn’t even use my parent’s bathroom. I guess he figured all bathrooms led to the Cave of Blood and was probably lying in bed, his bladder bursting trying to delay the humiliation of wetting the bed. Or worse …

I was up and out of my bed. Moving quietly, I crept into my brother’s room.

“Hey, it’s just me. Are you awake?”


“How you doing?”

He didn’t answer.

“Hey, the whole Cave of Blood thing was joke. I just did it to scare you a little.”

“I saw the fire.”

“That was dad’s hair tonic. I poured it on the tiles and lit it. It burns like a candle. The skeleton was an old Halloween costume. There’s nothing in the bathroom now. Honest, I can show you. Come on get up …”


It hit me then what a bully I had been to my brother. Even if I’d never laid a hand on him, I had traumatized him mentally which would probably take longer to get over. I felt terrible and swore then and there that I would never do it again.

I walked over to the door that opened from his room into the bathroom, “Come on, I’ll show you …”

“Don’t …” He buried his head under his pillow.

I opened the door and flipped the bathroom light on.

“Look. It’s just the bathroom. That’s all. Come on. I’ll stand right here while until you’re done. I promise.”

He eased his head out from under the pillow and squinted into the glare of the lit-up bathroom.

“Now, come on and use the bathroom so you don’t wet the bed and mom gets mad at both of us.”

My brother got out of his bed and shuffled to over where I stood. First, he stuck his head in and peered around just to be sure.

“There is no Cave of Blood, there never was. It was just a story I made up. Now go ahead and go will you?”

He stepped into the bathroom and lifted the toilet lid. A stream of pee came blasting out of him.  The relief was visible on his face; I remember the expression of contentment. My little brother actually seemed happy just to be peeing.

That’s when I reached over and turned off the light.

“Don’t let them get me!” he cried, peeing on my foot as he fled back to his bed.

I could hear Dad say, “Awww hell.” As he rose from his bed and began to move my way. It became clear to me that though suffering was hard, changing was even harder.

The End

(lots of FREE street parking! EASY. Right off the405) Lots of talent, for one hour, in one room, for $10bucks. Ya just can’t beat it! See you there. Not for kids this month.

STORYTELLERS: Keith Blaney,  Loretta Fox, Mel Green, Michelle Joyner, Vicki Juditz  MUSICAL GUEST: Ali Handal

Your Hosts- Lauri Fraser and Chris Pina Reservations 310-850-8814 or 310-622-2046

3815 Sawtelle Blvd. Culver City,90066 (Southwest corner of Venice and Sawtelle)

Can’t wait to see you!


Theatre Palisades

941 Temescal Canyon

(Between PCH and Sunset)

For tickets/reservations:

Little Boxes

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

My wife keeps the box the thing comes in. Any thing. She has the boxes the phones came in. The box to The Palm (the second one).  I was staring at the shoe boxes stacked in the closet and it came to me–this is where it must have started–women generally save their shoe boxes to keep their shoes in. Makes sense–keeps dust off the shoes, keeps a pair from separating and it makes them easy to identify–if you’re a woman. I never saved my shoe boxes, at least not to keep my shoes in.  I wore my shoes. Probably had no more than three pair at a time: sneaks, dress and casual, maybe the odd pair of cowboy boots, but I’ve never been seized with regret over “where did I put that shoe box?!”  Is this a gender thing? And does it have to do with the numbers of shoes being held at one time? Just curious …