Sunday, August 31, 2014

Writing Prompt #3

In February, Mary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, gave a lecture at the British Museum titled "Oh Do Shut Up Dear!" - New Yorker September 1, 2014.

It's no wonder the Sphinx,
that silent desert mistress of secrets,
is a woman.

How much further would we be,
if we had listened to the half of the
human race who had,-father's, husbands, sons-
 the most to lose?



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Writing Prompt 2/9

For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can.
-Karl Ove Knausgaard  My Struggle

That rhythmic one-two punch
that spasm of muscle
the organ grinder that makes my monkey of a body dance.

That little engine that can
that metronome keeping time
that stopwatch counting my days.

That symbol of love,
that skipper of beats
that magnet pulling me towards you.

Our new "Writing Novena" is based on a sentence from a book, magazine, or newspaper.


1/9
All through "Little Red Riding Cap" no father is mentioned, which is most unusual for a fairy tale of this kind.
-Bruno Bettelheim The Uses of Enchantment

Ah, the absence of fathers.
That missing angle
in the geometry of families.
That hole which should be filled with
aftershave, leather boots, Sunday grill outs,
little league, car repair, and the occasional beer.
That ghost who should be at the game, the dance,
the birth and the wedding.
The phantom who should be there to scare your boyfriends,
to tell you about women, to bail you out.
The absence that makes your mom work two jobs,
and ages her twice as fast as is just.
The absence of fathers is our reality.
Not our fairy tale.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Novena #9

Caravaggio got this right.
The seeds of doubt lie in our flesh.
The flesh is poor ground for the rose
of faith.
We lust, we grow old, we die, all in our bodies.
Our entire lives are one long betrayal by the flesh that covers our bones.
So for one man, one angry doubting man, to regain his faith
by pushing his flesh into another man's flesh is a miracle.
Doubt is the forge in which our faith is tempered.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Novena Writing Prompt #8

Human hands
trying to undo what human hands
have done.
This is why humanity is so great
and so terrible.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Novena Writing Prompt #7

The Elephant

It's gray immensity thudded out the door,
and the air filled with the smell of hay and dung,
a wild smell, stronger than the horses in the street,
pushing back the sweet, burnt sugar smell of the cotton candy,
making me want to ride the rails,
and see all that it had seen.
Novena Writing Prompt #6

These shadows are no photographer's trick.
The lens saw the truth, not he.
My eyes in darkness because of the deceit they have seen.
My mouth obscured because I have no voice.
My cheeks bruised by life's blows.
My chest cut in two by love's jagged knife.
These shadows are no photographer's trick.
They are the story of my life.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A psychotic break is never pretty, but when it happens to a nurse shark, the Nurse Shark as a matter of fact, it can be particularly ugly.

For years the Nurse Shark had cared for the children of the other sharks. When the Great Whites left for the summer to terrorize the beaches of Australia, she showed their children how to hop on the ocean floor like kangaroos. When the Tiger Sharks left to prowl their jungle reefs, she watched their cubs while they batted great balls of kelp. When the Hammerheads volunteered for Habit for Humanity, she entertained their children with Bob the Builder videos.

It was a selfless existence and she gave too much of herself. One day she snapped. The baby sharks were darting here and there and everywhere. "Sit still!" she commanded, but they wouldn't listen. Something inside of her broke. Scooping up each young shark she stuffed them in bottles.

At last they were still.

Novena #4   8/23/14

"Have you ever gone skinny dipping?" she asked.
"No," he said and blushed.
"There's a first time for everything," she whispered.
"I guess so," he answered and smiled.
That was the start.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Novena Writing Prompt #3

The ever-changing clouds float over the parking lot
Billows piling high as a Texas bouffant.
Clouds mean change, an order constantly reordered,
ever transitioning
and shading an order man has imposed.

Below lie rigid lines, black pavement
cars whose roofs glitter like the carapace's of beetles
spread in an entomologist's tray.  Not sterile, but lifeless. Waiting

Waiting for rain to make iridescent rainbows in puddles,
Waiting for hail to dent the the cars and break the street lights,
Waiting for heat to crack the pavement
Waiting for weeds and ants and wind and sun
to reclaim what man has made.