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Thursday, March 26

A Taste of My Short Fiction Course


Mary had always been a good neighbour.  The kind of lady who never said anything about my walking naked by the window on my way to the shower each morning.  When she saw me sitting out back on warm pre-autumn nights, she would wobble over with a beer in her hand and sit down unasked in the matching chair beside mine.  A favourite topic of hers was Dusty Springfield’s life.  She must have read a biography.
            I was surprised one night when a woman in her thirties came sauntering over from Mary’s porch.  She shared her mother’s gait and freeness about sitting in other people’s chairs.  She never did say where Mary was that night or how she came to be there instead, and I initially feared the worst.  But the story she told was not her mother’s, but her sister, Linda’s.
            Linda was a pharmacist and fond of the names of the drugs she dispensed.  Albuterol, methocarbamol, irbesartan HTZ – they were musical words, magical words, words that stopped the pain.  One day a customer came in for some klonopin.  He had a girl with him whose Japanese features did not match his own sunburned face.  The girl’s name was Lucy, and she was a budding equestrienne, adopted through great beaurocratic struggle, and the man’s pride and joy.
            But Lucy’s horse had died.
            Nothing the man could do would ease her grieving heart.  It was as if her soul had been pinned beneath the horse when it fell, and try as he might, he was not strong enough to pull it free.
            What the man did not know was that Lucy was suffering greatly from schoolyard cruelty.  The loss of her horse was only a catalyst for her pain and helplessness.  In a way, she was glad for it.  It gave a focus to her aching and was something she could share with her father when he asked about her moods.  For Lucy, no magic words could fill the gap.  Linda felt powerless, just as the girl must have felt.
            Months went by, and Linda stopped noticing the names of the drugs she counted out.  Each was a dead horse in her fingers.  Each seemed to gang up on the others.  Eventually, she left her job.  When her sister had seen me sitting there, she had recognized the sadness in my eyes as similar to Linda’s.  That was all she had come to say.  That I was not alone. 

            And then she left me, waddling back to her mother’s porch.  I never saw her again.

Friday, January 23

A Mary Heart


Your children are of vocal stock
One thing that they can do is talk
And fill their face with laughter lines
That overlap and intertwine
But I was born to stand apart
And ponder these within my heart
To wander in the yard and see
To dream, to get to know a tree
And so amid the word-filled air
You may not have known that I was there
But sight may be a thing we shared
And you indeed may not have cared
That I was somber, staid, and terse
And slow of tongue and filled with verse
You may have known something at least
About a heart that holds its peace
But in the end you had no choice
When sickness took away your voice
And I would sit beside your bed
And not regret the words not said
While all around were laughter peals
While words were whittled, wheels in wheels
But in that raucous holy place
A Martha practiced Mary grace
Within, your deep would call to deep
And you would blink and drift to sleep
And I would note the cherished depth
Of holy secrets that you kept
And now that death has closed your eye
We sit in silence, you and I
And dream a dream of sainted throngs
And bellowed praise and angel songs
Where loud reunions fill the air

I think you’re going to like it there

Tuesday, July 8

One of these days


One of these days
I may decay
And fizzle instead of flourish
If I decay (and Lord, I may)
If I decay,
May I nourish

            

Saturday, May 3

Ready and Waiting


I’ve read all the books;
Now I’m waiting for life to begin.
So I’ll just watch TV
While I wait for the joy to kick in.

But a stepstool never taught me height,
And a candle never taught me light,
And this world never taught me sight–
Just enough to crave.

And assurance never quenched my fear,
And logic never made things clear.
Invocation only brought you near
Enough to just behave.

So I’ve checked off the list,
And I’m waiting for sanctification,
And I’ll sit by the door
‘Til your message is preached to the nations.



            

onely


a
table
with
one
chair

my
idea
of


safety



Friday, April 11

Kiss the book


Kiss the book
But read its writ
All that is and shall be said
About love
Is nothing
Is no thing among things

But reify the deified trait
By clarifying your rarefied state
For God is love
And God is a verb

So bite the bitter book
Swallow that script-scrawled scroll
And when it strikes you sick
Know that that means love
Action it

And all shall be well

Friday, April 4

In Hall


The words from the wilderness taught us to live,
But when we grew weary of their wildness
We went to the man in royal robes.

Gold had gathered in icicles that hung from his beard.
They chimed each other as he talked,
Sketching out the way he had for us.

The music was alluring, lulling us into his words,
Though they were only I-cycles that echoed nothing.
But we would learn the hard way.

He was many.  The hall was filled with him.
And no one thought of the single voice that had cried,
Calling us in, making the first mark on our souls.

We were hungry to listen, to follow a word,
And his felt so free in its shackles.
We gave his words our actions.

Actions echoed out of the wilderness, knocking words on their knees.
The wind had come to reap its wild children.
But we were seated at royal table

And felt nothing.

Friday, March 28

“Let there be light.”


And the Word said,
“Let there be light,”
And so few of us
Followed the command,
Full of our own designs.

But we, the blind,
Were sighted by light,
Who brought our own
Darkness to the well
And drank of His brightness.

And let it be.
Let it slither and crawl,
Stride and leap,
Swoop and soar
Across the nighted world.

In our spaces, let it be.
In our places, let it be.
Let the music of our
Spheres of influence
Be light.

To not seek to create it
But simply to let it be
That we may say,
“By this I see,”
Even uncomprehended.