Shot

beads 8Across town, a woman waits along the Mississippi River.  In New Orleans it’s about twenty minutes before 1995 turns to 1996, and as she waits, without warning , she is struck in the head by a bullet not intended for her.  She dies shortly thereafter.  The bullet, police find, comes from a gun not fired at anyone in particular but sent directly upwards into the air, likely in a benign gesture of celebration for the coming new year, the person who triggered it probably unaware of its resting point, unaware of the conclusion.  When I hear about this I can’t help but track the bullet in an imagined narrative, a rowdy pistol waving and repeatedly shot, not much different from the way Hollywood portrays post-warring Native Americans, the bullet rapidly moving through the night sky into the continue reading…

Waterland

water 8I grew up in an apartment complex not far west of Chicago under a landing path that routed planes in and out of O’Hare airport.  I was eased daily by the ebb of sound, by the whistle and roar of heavy jets and the mill-thrush churn of propellors from smaller planes.  At the apartment complex we had a pool where I’d watch the planes land, able to tell their breed by their underbelly as they glided overhead.  Sometimes I would float on my back with my ears just below the water surface and listen to the plane noise and the muffle of the water took away nearly every other nearby sound and being left with just the engines made me feel like they were my own, as if we were the only things sharing the world’s space.  The pool was an “L” shape with a deep part and a shallow part and it continue reading…

A Calendar Revisited

March 8March 1984

Eventually, the sky set in a systematic deadening of color, in blues and purples, and the sand cooled around my feet and I was alone. My friends went home long prior and losing the buzz of the sun made me, there with half-buried buckets and grit-scratched trucks, feel even more solitary. I liked the quiet at these times because it felt like the time of day when there should be quiet, when the world packed up and relaxed its shoulders. Intermediately, the stillness would be cut with growls of landing planes and then the quiet would once again come and at some point I would start a countdown from continue reading…

The Light of What They Suffer

IMG_4086An egg-shaped paperweight sits on top of a stack of books in one of the cubbies of our largest bookshelf. Fixed in the middle of its transparency is a jellyfish, frosted white. Its body, the part that pulsates and spreads as it travels through the water, is about the size of teacup and the tentacles hang from its inversion. In the egg, there’s the reflection of the outside—in another time, the blue of summer midday, now, a sliver of white, of cold season and I squint to see the snow that’s falling, to witness its movement, hoping it transfers to illusion of movement of the wiry thin tentacles, to watch the jellyfish swim upwards towards the surface, to break free, to stretch through its resin.

When I stop imagining, stop seeing it swim, the entire action of my scene continue reading…

The Weary World

Rest 8A story from Emily Culella about a birthday, another birthday, our then culture, and our now culture. It’s beautiful, and for the season, to be read and reread.

Advent comes from the words “ad” meaning to, and “venire” which means to come. It’s the wait for something better. It’s the hope that the future will be brighter. It’s the admission that things are not so good in the present.

Christmas eve is my favorite day of the year. It’s also the saddest day for me. And it’s my birthday. This day, a day of dichotomies and contradictions is continue reading…