By D. Marie Fitzgerald
the straw hat seeker of truth
alone I don the straw hat a Huckleberry seeking freedom under overhanging clouds always there obscuring vision I can’t even see the roses brought to me by someone who said he loved me offered me teacups of wild herbs holding prophecies could come true during a sacred September a month when school starts when we buy pencils and pads of paper that will contain memories like water that seep into our consciousness drift all the way down to our very feet take us where we think we are going over time black and white in a photo I don the straw hat which protects me from bittersweet memory as I approach the river where suspended dreams for the time being float on the water of truth like debris nature has discarded meanwhile a straw-hat seeker of truth floats endlessly on an alternative highway
How to make a person awful
Previously published by One Spirit Press I. Preheat the household, simmer with underlying tension. Place praise in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle children with criticism; coat them with constant judgement. Heat tablespoons of anger in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add children; cook, turning several times, until done. Remove children from household; release them into the world unprepared and damaged. II. Heat remaining adult years, constantly stirring in spoonfuls of bitterness, resentment, more judgement. Add guilt, let it blend with the other ingredients until each soul is a crusty braise. Increase the measurements for many more years and cook until each member of the household is thickened. III. Bake until inside temperature is highest it can possibly climb.
A Changed Heart
Previously published by One Spirit Press The day his youngest son was born with a hole in his heart my grandfather made a novena. As a child I was told the cruel history: how he poured hot soup over my grandmother’s head, chained his sons in the garage to a coal stove, made them go without food, would not allow children to talk at the dinner table, slapped them across the head if they did. As an adult I faced his hilly garden, admired the ascending rows of peppers, garlics, tomatoes, onions, grape vines. Pointing to a plant I did not recognize he motioned me to a shed where rows and rows of unfamiliar leaves hung on string, the aroma making them known to me. He pulled one large leaf down, crinkled it between his plump fingers, deftly rolled a cigar, lit a match; it smelled like home to me.
Previously published by One Spirit Press Is not always hard to do, especially when it is a sendoff to a person place or thing. It is sometimes a natural thing to do. Leaving can be a departure from a place, be it a house or apartment, be it a city, a state, a country. Leaving can also be an exit from a restaurant or the off-ramp of a freeway. It can be a parting of the ways between yourself and a friend, or yourself and a lover. It is always though, a good-bye, a separation from something or someone former in your life. In the going, there is also a coming, like Moses leading the exodus out of Egypt so the Hebrews could come to the land of milk and honey. Leaving can also be a withdrawal from substances or a situation. You might even call it a retreat. You can leave on a trip, a going-away. These are usually happy leaves, to depart on a jet plane, boat, or train. Sometimes when you leave you abscond with the residual dregs, the whatever that is left behind. Sometimes you disappear from former acquaintances, or a gathering place that no longer offers attraction. Leaving is a renouncing of what once was, a forsaking, like shaking off old clothes or peeling off old skin. It is a put-aside, a removing, but it can also be a delicious escape, fleeing the scene with the evidence that you knew all along it just wouldn’t work out. Sometimes it is a leave-taking; he leaves taking with him the memory of you, and his leaving is all you have left.
Drinking Champagne While Washing the Dishes
Previously published by One Spirit Press This has been a year of broken appliances. The garage door would not open its mouth, therefore, no life could emerge from its depth. The oven would not ignite, its passion grew cold and uninviting. And now, the dishwasher refuses to drain its waters. So, I figure if I drink champagne while washing all these friggin’ dishes, the job won’t seem so tedious. I am thinking now about the contrast between drinking champagne and washing dishes, how these two opposites can be a metaphor for life, an analogy. We have those days of wine and roses, all the highs, the fallings in love, the parties, good friends, travels, successes, and we have the tedious: washing dishes, folding laundry, heating up leftovers, boring jobs, boring lovers, having to visit a relative whose repetitive stories are monotonous. So, I raise my flute, drain my glass, wash another dish, and contemplate dichotomy.