Squirrely

So let me see if I got this right. You pick up a green walnut from the ground and you sit there on a branch and you tear into it with your sharp incisors. That’s a beautiful tail you’ve got there for balance by the way. Anyway, you sit there chewing and spitting and spitting and chewing, making your way through that bitter rind. Makes me think of a lots of situations in life and all the time you’re getting down to the really hard part, but you know there’s something sweet and nutritious deep inside. I watch you work. You’re really good at it. I’ve got a few talents too, but that’s why I’m resting. Anyway, eventually you get down to the nut and then, just when I thought you’d risk a tooth gnawing through to the meat, you jam the whole thing in your mouth. You scurry away […]

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Signus

There atop the thorny bush there is a rose. One rose in late summer. One rose against the odds, against the sky, against the elements, against gravity itself, a thing of beauty, a point of vivid life against the backdrop of normalcy, the green, the standard vegetation and so am I. Let it be for me as it is for that rose and so it is. I have no complaint against the communion of my soul with this emblem of ascendancy. Let me be as I am, as it is, as it was meant to show me. Grow above the rest, everything else and bloom before the curtain, against the way things are and this for certain. Victory is mine. Triumph is a rose that has been given. ♥

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Keys

Worthless shards of serrated metal, ground to keep valuables secure, like Tutankhamun’s tomb, liquor on the Titanic or cars from ever being stolen. There’s one for your heart. Unless you leave it open. ♥

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Antikythera

In the year 1901 on the floor of the Aegean Sea a diver found the lump of something unimaginable, unthinkable, unfathomable, an intricate mechanism indistinguishable from anything of value until technology revealed the workings of a complex mechanical computer capable of predicting with perfect accuracy the swirling of the cosmos, the relative position of stars and planets for any year entered with the turn of a handle, a symphony of gears, levers and inter-connected cam shafts, astonishing and thousands of years before our own. The only thing it could not predict and failed to grasp utterly, the day on which a storm would send it to the bottom and transform it into a mirror. ♠

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Ukraine

I saw them through the open window. Spring brought them to my life and I felt life within me. A flight of geese pounding through the air breasts beating, hearts honking, wings cleaving all eternity toward me as I stood astonished and rushed outdoors to cheer them on their way. Winter came. The house burned. Machines pushed my life, my hopes, my labor, my love into a ditch. But when the wind blows through open windows now and I remember oh so vividly the sight, the smell, the sounds of all everything is meant be be I long for heaven where once I lived to see the way I thought it ought to be. ♥

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Pair of Queens

Although I have a fine sensibility for tradition, honor and luxury, I make a choice, having seen two queens approaching their respective one hundredth birthdays. One in a palace with a crown, surrounded by pomp and circumstance, protected and revered and another wearing a babushka in a damp cellar hiding from the bombs, illuminated by a candle, accompanied only by her daughter who swears, “You will live to be one hundred. I swear.” Two regal women. One in Buckingham. The other in Mariupol. Perhaps they are the same. Perhaps they are created equal in the eyes of God. First let me carry a crown into the basement for one to wear, then a worn out scarf for the other to wear upon the throne. ♥

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Matriculation

What you do is send your soul off to school. You know the day will come. You dread it in a way, selfishly wanting the child to stay at home, but you know there comes a time. So all neatly dressed and ready as you’ll ever be, shoes without a scuff, Big Chief pad, two pencils and a pink eraser, clutch of coins for lunch or sandwich in a bag and off you go. What you do is learn. It doesn’t matter what, but learn some subject other than yourself so fine and heretofore unknown you fall in love with learning and the subject grows within your soul until you’re filled almost to the top and overflow. Then your soul comes back to you with a report card you’ll have to sign and homework and questions you can’t answer and you will be so proud, because your soul is becoming […]

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I Saw Wonderful Things

Once I drove a school bus in Iowa. Quite a few times, actually, over a number of years. Out in the wild, wide places of time and place long, long ago and I had four little boys who rode my bus. The Vlegers. Their last name was Vleger as I recall and cannot forget and they always smelled of soap and bacon, because their mother always sent them off to school clean and well fed and they were well behaved, perfect little gentlemen of various little sizes in the seats of my bus. I drove Number 15. Their mother, a big handsome farm wife, would stand with arms folded watching them walk down to the bus in the morning or back from the bus in the afternoon, like a hawk, stern and vigilant and loving of her brood and they had a little sister, a golden haired cherub too young […]

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Florentino

There is a man who places linen and silverware on tables. He places linen and silverware on tables. That is what he does where people sit and eat. They spoil the linen and soil the silverware and they leave. This man removes once crisp linen and not too long ago spotless silverware and once again places immaculate linen and gleaming silverware upon tables for people once again to do what they do all day long and into the night. He insists the linen be right side up. The factory label must not show. There is right and wrong for even linen and knives and forks and spoons must be exact a certain distance from the table edge. He uses his first and middle finger side by side to measure the distance and napkins, but of course, he folds to pyramids just so. If no one sits where he has worked […]

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Titanic

Remember all those throes upon the slanting deck. Place yourself where you are placed by destiny and behold the craven acts of others, the heroics of some and take your measure upon the stage about to sink beneath your feet. Strike out, survive and live to tell what life meant when life sank unsinkable below the inexhaustible waves. ♠

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