Paragraphs : Christy

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I went to him quiet with a notion to jump in the lake and drown , a sonnet of redemption playing for miles and miles and miles upon my tired face , my first cry opening a flame which the glass of water he gave me could not extinguish . I went to him alone , alone like pregnant camels are when left unattended . After listening when I told him what happened , William read from the Quran , ” In the name of God , merciful to all , compassionate to each “. I was scared , telling a lie as to coming here , even more so not divorced yet , actually being in his apartment , the cushions aligned , fine carpets outspread , the goblets all gleaming in the window green reflecting over Garfield Park where I take my children swimming and where he had first embraced me under a tree . I was frightened by the news flashing over the screen of the murder / suicide report of Christy , who I had grown up with , found dead by her lawyer husband , her naked body entwined around her lovers in a bed on the east side of town . She had looked at me only two days ago as she was leaving and I stood to enter the psychologists door , her blue eyes watchful and violet with vulnerability yet something paradoxically courageous in her direct gaze , a watery gaze staring straight into mine creating with it a strange sense of motion , a tide like ebb with an epilogue so swift , withholding almost as much pleasure as it yielded . Her search for Neverland a pandemonium furious and fearful leading her … and leading me too . Feeling the thud of an elevator , I was scared of the thirteenth floor . Would I spend nights in heaven hanging with the dead ? Thunder turned into the calm deep voice of Will reciting again , breaking an opening thru the clouds hovering in my mind . ” He it was who spread out the earth and placed in it towering mountains and rivers . Of all fruits he planted therein two pairs . He causes night to envelope day . In these are wonders for a people who reflect “. I was scared , scared to even think about what had happened or what I was doing . Where was God , where was the promised land , the land of the human skeleton , a skeleton of white bone , the meat of dead bodies picked at by crows and wild dogs , a body of muscles , organs , ovaries , lungs , the sound of the human heartbeat , the sound of a kiss , the wind over the sea , the call of the whale , the humming of the flying creatures , the long glide of the water swan , the sunrise on Lake Pontchartrain , the plink of the tiny tracks of the Plover bird , the blue avatars ? Where did it all exist ? Did it live on the Golden Record in the sky , pulsing behind a veil in the cosmos or was it here on the dirt path behind the narrow street of naked judgement in my neighborhood , the path into the Nature Center where dew like pearls on the grassy moss and branches reminds me of my children’s tenderness , my love for them always heading ” straight into the shining sun “. The air speaks falling leaves surrounding Will and me as I leave him standing still with restraint , a heroic eagle in the city . I pass a holy shrub growing which many years later a friend would compose a poem about and I hear a voice coming from the bed where my friend lay dead , telling a tale like poetry from her shroud , a tale that can still be true even if it’s not accurate like the creation story happening in only seven days . I walk into my house but I remain scared , scared and helpless , my secret scared about the tiny breath inside of me that no one knows , turning and turning and turning . I write these words to you if in heaven we don’t meet . . .

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Paragraphs : Francis

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I am born to die . I write an endless country . It is the year 2015 and until yesterday I had followed that summer day of 1983 , the day when love found me , into a muggy silence . A silence like the poems of Ahmed Matar , banned by the Muslim world , seeking freedom and looking for the promised land , throats covered by thorns . That morning , the man I was married too , returning from his 60 hour a week night job , walked in the side door as usual , fell into the bed I had just risen from where dreams lingered and my babies whimpering still echoed , erasing both , and me , with his rancid body odor of sour milk . I opened all the windows , shutting the bedroom door . ” You are a God of seeing ” ( Genesis 16:13 ) . Nineteen eighty three , it was the year a terrible storm cut short a free concert in New York Cities Central Park , the same year Kiss appeared on MTV unmasked and the year of amazingly beautiful light flashes seen on Jupiters’ moon , Io .  I sat on the front stoop listening to the birds first chirpings when he walked towards me , a stranger , a neighbor from around the corner who I had never spoken too , walking smooth like flowing black lava escaping , something rupturing my senses , something quenching an awareness of the famine  of my married days , days of pulsing flames laid bare by visions of the Mermaid Cafe near the Caves of Matala , Crete that I only saw on the pages of the National Geographic . And so it was , it was this day , this certain day after the rains when he approached that I suddenly inhaled the wind thru the giant Oak tree in our front yard on Jefferson Street , the 800 block that had been my entire world . He sat on the warm brick as my little boys splashed in the walkway puddle . In peering at the sky out of shyness , I caught a glimpse of the treasure hunter holding open the sky of majestic language where Solomon sprinkles both saints and sinners with hyssop . And in that single moment , it all began . Beginning with a lonely abduction from unhappiness into shame , soundlessly along the fog line , the white line painted on the outside edge of the freeway where morning stars sing without a care for the darkness of night . The mist of August summing up the whole world . I heard the Oracle of Delphi , ” know thy self ” as a turbaned man sitting outside Hotel Kahn drinks dark tea from across the divide . I could hear the sound of seeds falling into the rabbits cage and my father asking , ” don’t we have to eat , we didn’t die yet “. The fish in Lake Michigan slumber , the Ojibwa arrow spins , smoking immense thru the landscape . It is a moving world . The wind feels insane flying my hair as he looks at me , ” hi , I know your Francie , my friend told me …I’m William “. The antennae on the nearest tower receives and transmits from Voyager 1 , ” there is never any going back “. My silence of 32 years has been drunk on the memory , wanting mercy . And in this waiting , my story begins as my own soul drifts into my view . I ask , how could it possibly help to plant a lie in the middle of my life ? If someone loves you so much you really like how they smell . I saw the flaming sky soon to burn my spirit to transformation but not before wrath , destruction and sorrow pierced its weeping wound into a strange birth . I write a death march down these pages , a long , lone dark black line .

” oh let the sun beat down upon my face

stars to fill my dream

i am a traveler of both time and space

to be where I have been ”

Robert Plant , Led Zeppelin : ” Kashmir ”

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Credits : first two photos by Denise Thomasin Photography

end photo by David Talley Photography

Paragraphs : William

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She pulled chimes in me . It could have been anyone , but it wasn’t , it was her , my destination unknown until then of which nothing can be said . She sang to me from a heart graced with eternal deserts , of gazelles , of souls complete , running towards the borderline of Mecca . She was the silence of a colorful arid flower , the silence of sandstorms . She was older , still breast feeding her baby , not yet divorced when I sent her letters from the Gulf War . ” Come she is your soul , let’s go to bed together , mount my bed and mix the magic , the work of love will breed trust between us “. ( Ulysses ) . She was my lover for three months , my illicit lover before I flew over the Persian Gulf . Changing my name , embracing Allah , leaving her behind she expanded awareness , not always hearing what I wrote but always hearing what I meant . She would never do me harm . She lied about me for those few months . I felt her shame , a shame so soundless . She wasn’t always open with me , not really open with anyone , soundless as if appearing in the frame of a camera held high above , looking down . No one understood us together , different ethnic races , me a black man and much younger . But then no one saw her sit in the bathtub with her thin arms wrapped around her knees the way I did . And when the night caught its breath at the window , she reminded me of a wandering albatross drifting out to sea with no control over direction or fate . While I drove my tank on the outskirts of Kuwait City , the desert birds , soundlessly standing on the cracks of Highway 8 , brought her back to me . On the coffin of war , rumbling faint , rumbling continuous , rumbling loud I lost my mind and on the flight back to the United States , I saw her image in someone else’s goggles peering back at me . I asked for tea , the copper lid shining like burning oil fields and the tea pouring to a thundering symphony with drums triumphant , strings mournful . What happened to Francis , my beloved ? Only the Most High could foretell . ” You will leave life even more beautiful than you entered it . Heaven will take you back ” …

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Last quote from ” The Reader ”

The Book of 1000 Beginnings : Sylvies Paragraph

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Her name should have been Francie ( my mamas name ) . I made a huge mistake and gave my only daughter the wrong name . I don’t want my memory to fail me now , not now , not when my middle sister Juliet is so terribly broken with grief , afraid of everything that could be . Death always scared her , words like ” heaven ” do too . There are three of us , three daughters first and then my brothers . My mother knew how I expected her to one day live with me . She understood the culture of South America especially after seeing the movie , ” Like Water for Chocolate ” and becoming aware of the Spanish tradition dictating the youngest daughter care for her mother in old age . Her favorite scene was when the youngest sisters heat and passion transfers to her older sister , who overcome with lust , takes a shower outside only to be carried off naked by a revolutionary soldier on horseback . My older sisters were tough competition and we fought for how long she would stay with each of us and just how many movies she could watch . But I’m the smart one ( buying her a one way ticket so she would stay longer ) yes , me the so called smart sister despite the fact that I took ayahuasca in the deep forest with the shaman along a strange river in Columbia where Gabriel Garcia Marquez lived ( my mamas favorite writer ) . I told her that story again and again , embellishing it more and more whenever she asked , which was often . I earned a masters degree in neuroscience , with a career in the research department of a university  and my mama always delighted that by looking at me , one would never know these puzzling facts . So how did I make that mistake with my daughters name ? I forgot the visions in forgetting the romance of my mothers life . I forgot that her brain heard whispers from her soul and that the imprint of her cell was the same as mine . ” Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again , though lovers be lost love shall not , and death shall have no dominion   ” ( Dylan Thomas ). I won’t forget again , not now , not with the black eyes of my daughter looking at me with my mothers emotion , eyes , the artifacts of her grandmothers mystery .

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For my youngest daughter

The Book of One Thousand Beginnings : Dana : Final Paragraph

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I took a photograph of her , her mouth wide open when a bird hit the window , a messenger from across the species divide . It lies on the grass before me and my dead mother . A flying creature , knowing things I do not , a divine emissary . Do I share kinship with this one who mimics my speech , my sobs ? Just who is guided by this passerine bird to this room of death , this pale room of my mothers end . And what will they do with her remains , the Christ-like stillness of her body , a body of delicate white bones , a body dead with skin like that fish I once saw aglow , not yet cold , blue moving with fog across waters of the Great Lake . Flowers are everywhere in this place , messages , repeated words on cards , ribbons caught in the air of a musky smell from life’s underbelly . I remember my brother once shooting a songbird out of its nest with his Daisy B-B gun and wonder when will he be here . I want to embalm my misunderstood mother and this raven together and watch them be mummified in beeswax and honey . But I know it will not be allowed . In what corner of my mind are my dead mothers poems hidden ? I cannot capture everything or anything with words any more …

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Personal note : I have been lost in my story , words and more words , editing and cutting until only the ending above remains . I can’t find the plot anymore . Writing has become the long , long dance with music that refuses to end , even without any lyrics … but alas , I’m rather tired of searching for that plot . . .

Thank you , each of my friends for following and for always encouraging with your kind comments and inspiring hearts …it matters so very much …

It’s Here

 

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This is is where I live – it’s here . I miss you . The land called Michigan is mysterious , paradoxical , soulful , wild – we all have lake in our eyes here . It’s here too that I think of you … your stories , your poetry , your photos , your places . I want to tell you something , it’s this , you are not far from me . I’ve come to know you as friend in discovering the dance of your words and spirit . I want to tell you that I remain so deeply grateful … the waters surge … and you are here .

with love glorious,

meg

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Credits : first two photos of Lake Michigan by Dale DeVries Photography … Third photo of children swimming by my son Ted Ippel .

Vulnicura ( injury , care of souls )

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chanting , chanting

a woman grey screams

terrible terrible revenge .

 

the bamboo flowering

a hundred years transplanting

the man who fell to the earth

he walks towards new love from Kandahar panting .

 

the yellow frock opening

a sudden kiss upon her stomach. ner to mourn

he protects her , he does not tell her

a dove on the distant Oak yet unborn .

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the naked neck shyly speaking

a sunbeam large as Zion to adorn .

the boy who appears from the hole in the ceiling

music heard out of the soil stillborn .

 

the insects chirping

some carry shelter wherever they go .

his mouth the brown nipples swallowing

sweet as he lays her below .

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the tunic like a sheet now breathing

the lovers rise to the heavens sky

the flower of a saffron petal omelet

rests the white blush pure of her thigh .

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Heras heart has a wicked tongue

a mouth filled with one thousand eyes

her threat burning resentment . yet behold

milk sprayed across the skies .

 

chanting , chanting

the lovers whisper with suckling contentment

terrible beauty to blossom avenge .

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Credits : Girl in White – photo by Katie Chausheva … Sculpture by Christina Bothwell

Special gratitude to Aquileana ( La Audacia de Aquiles ) my wordpress friend for her inspiration from her beautiful blog on mythology