Straying Thoughts

Punchline 

Three days waking up acutely feeling all that I lost. 

There’s no such thing as an abused husband. An abused husband is the punchline to a comic strip; it’s the little man in Mary Poppins who, during “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, meekly claims that he once said the word to his “girl and now me girl’s me wife”, to which his huge, domineering wife takes offense and pops him one on the head. “And what a lovely thing she is, too,” he says to placate her. And that was me for most of my adult life. 

When…

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Birth of a Monster 

(They may lack scales and fangs, but monsters exist)
 

“WHY ARE YOU TAKING YOUR PENIS OUT, GARY? DON’T TAKE YOUR PENIS OUT!”   

You’re eight and your eleven-year-old brother is watching a tv show and you turned the channel on him. When he tries to take the remote from you, that’s when you shouted that.  

His expression is surprise and then disgust and then anger. When he balls up his fists and moves towards you, you shout again: “I DON’T WANT TO SEE IT, GARY!” And then he leaves the room, and you take his…

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Some Poems 

Coming Over Catawba

Coming over Catawba and I see it again: 
this natural color, this morning stain 
I’d never known before, spread out plain 
across the top of a line of brushy mountains – 

a fired-up pink and orange grain, 
a palette-dance with a draping, drifting line  
of purplish shadow scratched lean and fine, 
and with splotches of forest-green spattered 
here and there in these pine-tree ragged tatters. 

Then the road swings me around an edge of upthrust 
granite; a curtain of white pine pulls back: a blush …

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Rise 


Scarlet letter hanging like fruit low on the cherry tree 
Thunder tumbles – when will Jesus ever struggle free? 
Nobody, it never seems, has ever heard his screaming plea 

          We point our finger; we throw our stone 
          We blame our brother; we break our home 

This is the world – we created the world 
          Let the scales drop from your eyes 
          You been in hell long enough now it's time to rise 

Poison apple missing a bite – my foe stretched in the shade 
I held my wrath – look now…

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Goatsinger Tale on White's "Effect and Cause" 

She left the party angry because it was his fault she’d gotten pregnant by his chauffeur. It was his fault that she threatened to blame him for her pregnancy. It was his fault she’d gone up to Wisconsin to have the baby and get rid of it rather than accept the chauffeur’s offer of marriage. 

She drove too fast down Sheridan Road, but she had every right to because when she showed up at the party in that stupid pleated evening dress she’d had to give... a favor...to that chubby salesclerk in Neiman Marcus…

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Start of Something with Agnes 

            

She didn’t ask for it when the bird flew in her window. One moment she’s driving her little coupe down the boulevard and wondering where her daughter might possibly be this time, and the next there was a flutter and a thump at her passenger’s side door. At first Agnes  thought someone had thrown something. She’d just passed a group of teenaged boys, three of them, out walking together, one pushing another, all laughing, and the next there was the flutter-thump. 

Those little bastards threw…

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Fast Scratch on a Greek Actor 

When he stepped out into the glare of the morning, the drift of the mask over his head tilted ever so slightly and he found himself wondering just exactly how he was going to interact with the others on stage. The smell within the mask was like a barn – that earthy, healthy smell of horse and cattle and hay, but held in close – a feel of warmth like an itch in the nostrils, a sense of air a little too tight. 

His mother had been one of the women behind the skene who had dug clay from out of the banks of…

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Spit Thoughts on Odin 

(Fast-Scratched Work is often what gets posted here: a timer is set for a half-hour and a minimum of five hundred words need to be generated in that time. A friend of mine dabbled in pottery and was taught to dig his own porcelain clay from out of the shores of Lake Michigan. Fast-scratched work is the literary equivalent.)

Odin surely shoo’d the two ravens, Hugin and Munin, from his shoulders every once in awhile. Thought and Memory – poetic as the image may be it must’ve driven him half-mad from time to…

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One for the Cat 

Skitty Kitty is trying to catch a bird. 

But there’s a window in the way. Every morning, he comes running down the hall and jumps up the carpet-covered tower and to the windowsill in the split-level basement apartment. In fact, he practices every morning. When the man comes dragging himself down the hallway from the bedroom where the woman remains sleeping, turns on the lamp in the wee morning hours, and then settles himself down with his bitter-smelling drink and the laptop on his lap, he first pulls open…

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On the Banks of the Jabbok 

It feels like a child standing on the edge of great Iowa field looking out past the fence but feeling too scared to go beyond them. 

I can see him, in his bib-overalls, his straw hat, his bare feet, boots pulled off and set to the side, a small stream down the other side of that fence that he just wants to jump and wade in. But doubt comes with the thought of run-off, of bad shit floating throughout the flow ready to drift into his pores and toxic-shock the ---- out of him. This is no good, he thinks, the…

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