B & B

The room didn’t get it. “Why,” he thought, “do they always make romance pink and frilly, more a mauve, that color between awful and bordello?” He brought his wife here for their twentieth anniversary. If he’d known the pictures were this accurate, he’d have made reservations somewhere else. The bed and breakfast had four poster beds, chintz curtains and tasseled tie backs and oh well, they booked two nights. “We can put you in the Shangri La room,” the woman said. What a woman, blousy and slightly smelling of spray perfume, probably Paris Nights though he had no way of knowing and would not ask. “I love it,” his wife said when they entered the room. “This is just right.” They had been married twenty years. They had their differences. Then it happened. He began to look around. The room had been decorated on a theme. A woman had gotten […]

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One More Excerpt

The answer does not come from the problem. The answer comes from God. The cabin on the frontier, the mansion on the hill, do not come from the inventiveness of man or woman. They come from the willingness of God that they should come at all. It is not us against the wilderness, it is us in agreement with the will of God. The way we find our way is the way God allows us to find. The wilderness journey is not a test of our endurance, it is a test of our faith. Endurance is the manifestation. The origin is our relationship with God. If we have one we live and we live illuminated. If we don’t we live anyway, but darkness prevails and without light we fail of direction, hope or knowledge of why we came into the mysterious design. The answer does not come from the problem. The […]

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Another Excerpt – Same Novel

I want to sing as the bird sings in anticipation of the dawn. I want to sing as the bird sings in sunlight and clear blue skies. I want to sing as the birds sings in the twilight and gloaming, under the leaden skies of impending rain and through the tempest, yet keeping my wings over the flock for which I have been made responsible. I want to sing as the bird sings. They have no reason to do it, other than the fact they are birds. I have every reason to do it, born as I am and into a country of heritage and dreams so big even the world cannot hold them for we have gone into the void. We have gone to the moon and there are so many more void and barren places into which we must go, but first we must learn to sing. Everything […]

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Don’t Give Up – Excerpt of a Novel

Don’t give up, America. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Don’t let them tell you it isn’t worthwhile. Don’t let them rob you of the confidence to try by telling you it isn’t as pure or fine or noble or heroic as you thought. They haven’t gone through what you’ve gone through. They’re trying to make a name for themselves by denigrating yours. They’re revisionists, but their revisions don’t read as well. They just leave you with a vague sense of indecisiveness. They rob you of yours confidence. Don’t let them do it. Don’t let them tell you the old stories aren’t true or the great stories aren’t great, that the method of transmission is more important than the message transmitted and that media is the message, that what matters is numbers not individuals and everyone has a right to be exactly who they want to be without reference to anyone […]

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Paternity

“You son of a bitch.” That’s what he said. That’s what the man heard sitting at the bar. “You son of a bitch,” the kid said a second time when the man at the bar old enough to be his father didn’t respond. You don’t respond right away to son of a bitch if you’re sitting at a bar. You take your time. You want to turn around real slow if you turn around at all and see who said it, see if they’re talking to you and if they are talking to you it may be a fight whether you are one or not. So he started turning real slow. “You raped my mother. I’m your son.” “So that’s it,” thought the man half turned from the bar. This guy is my son. He looks like me. “Glad to meet you,” he said. “Buy you a drink?” The younger […]

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An Open Letter to His Honor The Mayor

Your Honor, Let’s talk about prejudice. You have in public hearing referred to the Daughters of the Confederacy as Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and Liars and you have said it does not matter what those women say about themselves, what really matters is what you say about them. Remember they are women and you are a man. Remember they are private citizens and you are a Public Servant. Remember you have never met any of them personally or spoken to any of them personally, but you have liabled them and slandered them in public as Mayor of the City of Madison. Although you represent the city in its entirely, you alone have done this. Remember you alone ordered the removal of a privately funded monument in Forest Hill Cemetery and now belatedly seek approval from other city committees as a tacit endorsement of your executive and exclusive actions. You find the […]

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Paradise

It happens everywhere. You don’t have to escape or go anywhere. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then let’s go to a perfect night. The air is sweet, not altogether wet with rain or mist but ready, moist and humid. It haunts the senses on the other side of a doorway or a window left open for the draft. It doesn’t need be open very far to let in the air, the outside air so sweet and fragrant and full of darkness. You need to be warm and cozy, safe and snug, but you need the contrast lightly fanning your face, suggesting glittering drops on distant limbs and the sway of branches bare or leaf abundant. It will help if you are home and therefore can come to a new place without restraint or fear. You’re safe. Say it again, “I’m safe,” and know the feeling. You know […]

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Polishing The Rust

“Do not forsake me, oh my darling.” He sang as he worked. “On this our wedding day.” He polished his truck. “Do not forsake me, oh my darling.” His pickup truck. “Wait. Wait along.” He made love to her on the hood of this pickup truck. “I do not know what fate awaits me.” He polished that hood now. “I only know I must be brave.” She left him for another man. “And I must face a man who hates me.” He did not know the man. “Or lie a coward, a craven coward;” He rubbed really hard to get off every bug. “Or lie a coward in my grave.” Perhaps the man had a new pickup truck. “Oh to be torn ‘twixt love and duty.” A truck that didn’t need polishing. “S’posin’ I lose my fair haired beauty.” Or maybe the guy could pay to have it polished. “Look […]

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Road Kill

It’s war. The crew stood there with their shovels and rakes and the big guy walked up to the foreman and the foreman spoke first. “What’s up?” “That,” said the big guy. He pointed to a dead deer on the side of the road they were building, on the other side of a concrete barrier to keep them from being killed while they worked on the road from passing motorists who tended not to slow down or give much of a good goddamn about road construction crews unless warned and threatened with massive fines or the presence of a state trooper in a marked car with flashing lights and lots of radios and radar. “What about it?” asked the foreman. The big guy looked at him. The big guy had a wife and three kids and he needed this job. He could do the work of two or three, but […]

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Found Objects

You might look around and see things that make you remember. It made him stop short. He saw it in the garage on a shelf where he kept his important tools and things he intended to use again or thought likely he would need and there he saw it, the small yellow container with a black lid screwed on. He’d kept it for decades, used it once decades ago, a container of black carborundum grinding compound, industrial abrasive made into paste for Hardened Steel Seats or Cast Blocks the faded writing said on the back of the yellow container, still smudged with residue of the one and only original job and the black tin lid rusty from years of neglect and storage. He remembered. He remembered it all the night he used it, the night he used it back on the farm in Iowa in the rude shed after he […]

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