Monday, May 31, 2010

When I Think of Home

Decoration Day 

Memories are buried
under flatstone.

Well-kempt cemetaries, once-a-year mowed by patriarchs in preparation.


Tended now by survivors, the left-behind women.
Unarmed by power mowers, but equally empowered by cans of Pledge and clean-as-Downy rags.

Spritz! Let the Shout be Heard!:

Shine!  They will make clear the dates again, some not So distant.

Women of the family tend to their husband's graves with well-armed Pledge and clean Downy rags.  Shine!  Amid the plastic flowers.

Wipe it off, once a year, now.

Dinner plates, nightly, then, when he was alive.  Scraps of taters, melon, maters.  Compost.

"Take it out to the compost, son, it will make our garden grow strong."

Amid the plastic flowers.

And now she is gone, too, with him below the facade.
under flatstone.

Memories are buried

Amid the plastic flowers.

And the children will not weep.  The weeds may grow.  And God will bless what is below.

God can NOT forget to grow,

Despite the plastic flowers.

And for those of you still here, gracious readers of this altogether sometimes disjointed blog, I leave you this powerul literary quote:

Fred Sandford:  Didn't you learn anything being my son?  Who do you think I'm doing this all for?

Lamont Sandford:  Yourself.

Fred:  Yeah, you learned something.

---Dedicated to the ones who have left us behind, both in military and civil service.  Who make this country great, and something to strive to fulfill their promise of an even greater America.  MJM  Memorial Day 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the happiest sailor

I broke a HUGE rule tonight.  I went up into the attic of the garage here on Merino.

Tom:  asleep. He and I made a promise never to do that without the other watching, caring, because:  What if one fell?

Anyway:  I needed to find a gift I had given him, one year into our time together.  I had a need to share it with all of you.  He'll forgive me. 

I found it.  In one of those "Why the Hell do we Hang onto Boxes like This" moments.  Here's why:

A poem I wrote him and gifted him on Valentine's Day, 1985, when words were all I really had to give.

the ship
and sails
and sun
drift on toward
the sky...

The men on board
hoist the sails of
white...and clear
their minds of

        The sunset
sings, as the Gulls
from some distant
island lull the men
into a moist rum-
chilled stuporous sleep.

Ship, sails, and sun
continue drifting
as the men wax
upon the dreams
they've left behind.

But the sundrenched
thoughts of one man
conjures are not of what he has left behind

but of what awaits
him upon his return.

and, he...

is the happiest sailor.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Little Engine That DID

Tonight, I have lived a Story Book.

There were princesses wearing favorite dresses. 

Table set. The promised rain waited until most of the gathered had arrived. Helping the cast look flawless on arrival. A little fiction.

He arrived, the Honored, with his Lover by his side.  Took their place at the table.

Presents were lauded.  Drinks were poured.

As if Walt Disney himself had a hand in it, and not the latterday saints, even a-most-cutest-dog-ever showed up. 

Later, dances were danced, and all the people of this Story Book tale had their chance to, well, dance.

At the beginning of this Once Upon A Time is a boy named Jason.  He came out to his parents, by the way, this same week, as a proud gay son.  At the end is a Graduate.

I know you can.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


My sanctuary is novel.  I take to my daybed and read.  Escape.  I know, that's so last decade isn't it?
Latest, though, has me wondering:  Why do I put myself through this?  Am I better for having read this tripe?

Amy Greene, born and raised in the foothills of East Tennessee's Smoky Mountains offers Bloodroot.

I have spent the past few weeks with she and her Myra, John, Byrdie.  A cast of tens that, to the very core, remind me of exactly everyone I have ever met in my growing-up-mountains and nothing like I remember it. Maybe that was her intent. 

The first sentence drew me completely in: 

Myra looks like her mama, but prettier because of her daddy mixed in.  She got just the right amount of both. The best thing about Myra's daddy was his eyes, blue as the sky.  They'd pierce right through you.

 I looked forward to spending time with Greene's story of these people.  Lost in their world.  The scrap of knee, the loss of summer, the promise of lakeside bliss in a trailer home that became a palace, for them and me. 

SPOILER ALERT:  Things do NOT go well.  I stayed with them.  Put the book (OK, kindle, but whatever) aside for periods of days when my life seemed like the last thing I needed was time with the Odoms.

But I returned.  I became part of this family, and couldn't turn my back on them.  I dreamt about them on nights when I hadn't read a chapter.   I would return to sentences like:  "It doesn't take as much to poison a horse as people think."

Strangers. Family. Friends. 

One enters into a novel and becomes the unwritten character.  If  I could only have been there, things would have turned out differently, wouldn't they?  Would I have stepped in?  Shouting from the balcony in the theater?   That rock, over there, described by the author, would have landed Just. So. on the head of that bastard. 

And now, it is finished.  All 5466 kindle "locations" of it.

I miss them.  I don't know what happens next after the violent disaster that concludes this novel.  But now it is a story I take with me.  And want for better lives for Myra, her twins, and me.

Not tripe.  Bloodroot.  Whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Every wake of day takes upon itself a promise:  Wonder?  Compliance?  Defeat?  Victor Hugo?

The wind of afternoon, even in stillness, arrives.

Then:  We leave our professions and confessions and go to:

1.  Nap  (Yay!  I'm all for it.  My bed loves me and I love Her.  My ship comes in.)
2.  Chores (boooooo.  But the tomato plants really like the water, and, what the hell, it only costs 37% less than it will when KYAmericano gets their way.  Spill some, even.)
3.  Think about dinner.  (Tom takes care of that, back to One.)
4.  I forget what I was saying.  Let's go with......nap.  Yay!

And then, every now and then, I get a chance to be Danny.

"That summer," his family called it.  Even though it started in the spring, in April.  Or, "that year."  If they said "that summer" or "that year," they all know what it meant.

Or Sarah.

That time she cracked open an egg, and instead of a yolk, a bloody chick embryo fell into the bowl.  The maimed chick felt important, somehow, a sign of how bleak and bad things had become.  An omen.

Danny and Sarah and me.  Not napping, or choring, or dining.  Just, well, living.  Novel.  Fiction?

The kindness of strangers.

Thank you for your fiction, Katrina Kittle.  Thank you for letting me be Danny and Sarah for a bit on the wind of an afternoon.  And how novel to understand others.  Novel.