So Grandpa’s a Writer

May 7, 2012

To write is to let things pass slower than they happened, to toss negative space from memory and arrange leftover fragments. Summer sand; yellow pails; cold moats. Numbing bass; glasses kicked from the table; soft graze of cherry chapstick. High balcony; her grip uncurls; the smell of my own fingernails.

It seems to me that writing imitates life in that we are at first all things and through the art of forgetting, not remembering, do we chisel the pyramids of ourselves.



May 4, 2012

If there is a God, he must be wearing black.

Blood matted in young, blonde hair twists into this old mind like rings into tree trunks, hard rivers that stretch wider with age. Green shoots were breaking the snow, I remember, and daylight refracted off the pond’s mulchy glass. The children couldn’t help themselves, sledding on their stomachs, pulling imaginary triggers at each other before the first landmine screamed in my ears. Things rolled to my feet.

If there is a God, he’s on his knees.

Toward High Noon

May 1, 2012

Egg yolk spilled across the sky three minutes earlier this morning, pooling over metallic blue in patches. As I trudge forward, sand screws up to my knees during long gusts to remind me that even in the desert I am not alone in waking. This is not a spiritual quest; this is not a nightmare, for that implies brevity. This is a purposeful challenge to that slobbering, scrap-iron pig, Death.

Wilted cacti already duplicate in periphery and my hands tremble over my pack’s straps. I will not spend energy thinking on this. I may survive. And I may die. But this fight is going to end with cold fists meeting dry metal.


June 14, 2010

We carried our backpacks through bazaars on the edge of Patan without a destination.  The dirt road stretched out like a ladder to be scaled, its rungs carved by the wooden wheels of commerce.  Nepalese potteries and screen paintings of Katmandu sunsets gleamed behind bargainers waving to foreigners.  I stopped at a table of statues.  With fatigue, I ran my fingers over the fused beads of steel clumped on Buddha’s head, the color of dark tourmaline.  I paid for the figure and handed the elderly merchant an acrylic of the Temple of Lord Shiva I had worked on all of June.  She hovered her hands over the carved rose brick foundation, then the two tiered golden roof, then the silver doors.  She took one of my hands and her easy smile buoyed me in the buzzing world around me, humming of happiness displaced.

DSC_0492 by dorgel1.

Photo taken by dorgel1 on flickr


June 6, 2010

They released me from underground isolation in the summer of 1972.  The citizens’ group that demanded a second review of evidence against me cheered outside barbed wire as guards unlocked my cuffs.  The warden who that morning had dug his thumbnails into my throat now waved to the public and while flash bulbs sounded like gunshots the world seemed painted in different colors.  Burner-blue sky cordoned around me like a gas oven and humidity hung like volcanic ash.  An officer in brown and blue rolled my new sleeves down to cover the bruises, but I never looked at his face.  My eyes fixed on the ink-black sidearm in his holster.  The leather dimples in its handle caught sunlight like beads of sweat and I imagined jamming the barrel far back into his mouth, pulling my index finger back into a fist, and howling before lead ripped through me.

They shuffled me into a Volvo as rectangular as a coffin and the civilians rejoiced for justice served.