#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Mother was like an onion–
her many layers gradually being peeled back–
causing the tears to come quicker.
Her history had not been known
but was still being discovered,
&, like the universe,
would never be all the way known.

Though we had never gone anywhere outside the U.S.,
I traveled through David’s lectures,
through the tastes & smells of unfamiliar foods,
the sounds of music, the sight of photos,
the touch of artifacts.
He didn’t take me around the world
but brought the world to me.

According to David,
God was either a figment of imagination
or an extraterrestrial with powers
more advanced than ours.

Caitlin was denim & lace,
I, satin & pearls,
but Mother was cut from a different cloth;
whatever it was had a high thread count.
Other women were nylon & polyester,
but she was like the finest Egyptian cotton,
her skin like the softest silk–
even the wool she pulled over my eyes
was vibrantly colored.

David believed Jesus was a great prophet,
that Jesus only believed He was God
because others had told Him so,
for hadn’t there been many Messiahs
before & since?
Perhaps Jesus had simply been better
at branding himself.

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#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

He’d never read to me Mother Goose
or Dr. Seuss,
but the Dead Poets,
& the works of a particular student of his–
Marianne something–
who fancied herself a poetess.
We’d never seen puppets teaching shapes & colors
but musicals as bright as candy corn.

For our family tree was such that
if there were older generations left,
I could not see them through the leaves at the top—
where cobwebs had netted them together
through the shadows my mother had placed there.

The graven image of Moroni topped
Mormon temples like a wedding cake,
the interior of which were supposed to be like the
Celestial Kingdom of Heaven on Earth,
but my dream heaven was high on a mountaintop
where snowflakes fell in Spirograph-like creations,
or riding an elephant on a beach,
the sun at our backs,
or deep in the bayou under the Spanish moss
where the crawdads sang—
anywhere in nature,
where the words of the poets
were painted on the sky.

They all spoke on the Law of Chastity,
& you would think there was only one law to break
but to them,
breaking this law led to every other sin—
abortion, poverty, & eternal damnation.

The idea that God had once been
as we once were,
that He had been dust imbued
with the breath of life–
an inhabitant of another earth–
frightened me.
I wanted Him to have always been–
without beginning,
without end.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Children were like little Christs,
for every spirit child of God the Father
that was brought into the world
brought their parents
one little footstep closer to heaven.
It was one thing to accept the Mormon gospel
for oneself–
that was regular interest–
but to duplicate oneself through procreation–
that was compound interest.

Caitlin would’ve been fascinated by the seance–
she, who’d always wanted to witness an exorcism,
but this, this was religious fanaticism,
or what she would call crucifixation–
an obsession with Jesus & His gruesome death.

David never tended our gardens,
& so everything grew a bit wild—
like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Our careworn home showed signs of neglect,
but there was a regality about it
that said something about the owners—
like those who held onto the Old South
on crumbling plantations.

We had the newest television
but watched movies from 40 or more years ago.
David had the newest computer
but wrote most of his notes with a fountain pen
on an old desk.
We lived in the South
but on our walls were pictures of New England’s
covered bridges in the fall.
We were the essence of existing
beyond the constraints of time & space.

Caitlin was the dove,
& the rest of us were like crows,
feasting on each other.
All through school,
I’d avoided offers of friendship–
counting the hours
like I numbered the stars
till I would be home with David again.

Book Review: Let the Children March

March

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019

What I liked about this book is that it uses all of its real estate (a historical timeline with children holding up cards like protest signs is printed inside the cover; it was clever and visually appealing).

The illustrations capture that time period perfectly with its retro colors.  Let the Children March opens with a child’s-eye view of a chain link fence supporting a White Only sign.

Even though it is stated that Dr. King is in a church, a Bible passage that Dr. King also used should have been included (though I can understand the author wanting this book to appeal to more than just Christians, as equality is an issue that should transcend religion).  The page of Dr. King in profile behind the microphone with his Bible on the pulpit was a powerful image and a wonderful likeness. 

This book contains some of the best children’s illustrations I’ve seen, as so much depth of emotion is conveyed in the faces of the main characters.  

I can understand why the adults feel like they don’t have the freedom to march–as exercising that freedom would come with consequences⁠—out of fear of losing their livelihoods.  You’re told you have these rights, but if you exercise them, there are dire consequences.  No one should have to choose between their jobs and their freedom.  

March showed the fearlessness of children⁠—children who were able to do what their parents could not.  They represented an almost innocent sacrifice, though it is stated that Dr. King did not like children being put in harm’s way.  It is heartbreaking that children had to fight for what adults should have been able to fight for them rather than just be children, learning to read and playing with their friends.  How frightening it must have been to march towards the unknown, knowing only that it was filled with angry people who were much bigger than you.  

The aerial shot of the children surrounded by hate in the form of angry dogs and rushing water made my throat catch.  The policeman with the hat over his eyes, pulling the curtain on the windows to his soul as he pushed a little girl by the neck and locked these young children into a jail cell was chilling. 

Children need to see that Dr. King promoted non-violence as the news prefers to cover only violent protesters.  It would’ve been nice to include the song lyrics to the songs of freedom.

“For they are doing a job for not only themselves, but for all of America and for all mankind,” Dr. King says.  I think this was an important quote to include because what is not good for a certain group of citizens cannot be good for any citizen, as it promotes feelings of disenfranchisement and stirs unrest.  

The juxtaposition of the white parents whose children sat safely between them in the comfort of their own home, watching the television where this ugliness was not a part of their world but something they saw on TV with the black parents being separated from theirs, not knowing what might happen to them, struck a chord.  I could just feel love and relief emanating from the black parents who held their children in their arms as if they never wanted to let them go, contrasting this tableau with the white parents who didn’t have to hold onto their children so tightly, knowing that they would never be targeted because of their racial make-up.

I greatly admire these (fictitious but based on truth) followers of Dr. King, for it must have taken an amazing amount of grace for them not to become violent back; they gave their enemies no ammunition for treating them like non-persons.   

The last picture shows children in the park (bringing it back to the beginning), black and white, playing together; it was never the children who minded⁠—it was only some (not all) adults who wished for the races to remain separate.  

Let the Children March is a beautiful book that will help any child “walk in another’s shoes.”

Suggested activity: Read Dr. King’s most famous speech, but if you can, listen to it in his own voice. It’s all the difference between reading someone else’s poem to yourself and listening to the poet who wrote it, speak it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32510367-let-the-children-march

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

My mother was once like me
as I was now,
even as she was now
what she would always be,
& I would never be–
like the unspoken Goddess of Kolob.

She would never change her mind
about the Church,
for the Church had changed her.
It was not the figurative blood of Jesus
that put the scarlet in her cheeks,
but it was the psychological hold
that the Church had on my mother
that removed her scarlet letter
like an old tattoo.

As she drew closer to God,
she withdrew from us,
even as David & I grew closer than ever,
but a part of me still feared losing him
if he lost Mother completely.

Those Mormons were a patriotic sort–
red, white, & blue all over–
for their church had been born
& come of age
in the American pioneer days;
they had abandoned God’s higher law
of polygamy
to bow down
& kowtow
to the less-enlightened practice
of monogamy.

What separated the occult
from the Divine?
Was it a matter of whom was sought out–
the God of our mothers & forefathers
or our ancestors & friends gone by?

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

Burgundies, navy blues, & hunter greens had been replaced with shades of cream, ecru, & chartreuse. It was as if the royal richness that was David had been replaced with the plainness & blandess of Mother.

Modern art that looked like shards of broken glass & felled raindrops had been replaced with several of Greg Olsen’s paintings, & the place began to more resemble a Mormon temple than a museum.

Mother had put off the natural woman to put on the spiritual; in her eyes, the 2 entities could not co-exist, for one would always rule over the other.

The Church cautioned against forbidden fruit, yet they dangled it in front of me, tied up in the most attractive packaging.

I had never heard David thank God for anything before, save that night in the hospital, & I wondered, if, in his own way, he was changing, too.

The sky was pitch-black, the clouds that floated across it a grayish purple, sailing past as if I was in a time machine, watching the many moons go by. It was cool, but not cold, yet I felt a chill, a foreboding, as I approached the house.

The Schafer home reminded me of the Cleavers’ house in “Leave it to Beaver.” The hedges surrounding the front porch had all had a crew cut, whereas ours grew like wild ferns. Our home on Harrington Court made me think of an aging Southern belle.

Though the new elders were polite, they were distant, & weren’t the friends we had known in Elders Johnson & Roberts.

When Sister Corbin & Sister Kyle left the area, we received one piece of correspondence from each–a wedding invite & a postcard of a broken engagement. It was the last we had ever heard from them.

Elder Johnson still said hello to what he referred to as “the new Dalton family” through the grapevine, or the grapes of wrath known as the elders. Wariness had replaced openness with them, at least towards us, despite Mother & David’s morally married state. I only hoped Elder Johnson would still think of us once he got back home.

#Micropoetry Monday: The Faultlessness of their Stars

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When the learned astronomer went blind,
he hired a foundling—
a lost soul hovering between heaven & hell.
A wealthy intellectual
(which was an oxymoron, for some),
he asked the boy to be his eyes,
to describe everything he saw.
And it was through the eyes of the blind,
that the learned astronomer’s apprentice,
through service to another,
reached his potential.
When the learned astronomer closed his eyes
for the final time in earth-space,
the boy’s eyes had been opened,
for there’d been nothing he’d ever had
that had been of value to anyone,
except to the learned astronomer
whose last sight was feel of the boys’ wet face
in his hands.

She bicycled, upcycled, & recycled,
burning calories,
not waste.
Her collar had faded from blue to white,
only to deepen into green.
She planted herself where she would grow the most–
an environment where she could be her most creative.
And with every ripening
& every reaping,
there would not be an uprooting,
but a replanting,
for she would leave a seed in her place–
ready to help the next person grow
in that place.

As Angel & Demon walked side by side in a parallel universe,
they came upon an impressionable human being
hitchhiking their way through the galaxy–
now standing before that split in the wishbone.
These 2 otherworldly beings were on a mission:
the former,
to gain a soul,
the latter,
a lost one.
The Demon told this being
that all their senses would be heightened
to anything they had ever experienced on Earth;
the Angel said that what they would experience
beyond the mythical pearly gates
would transcend all senses.
When the human being chose the planet
of the sun rays & the moon beams
over the one of candlelight & firelight,
they realized that they’d been to this place before,
& that the life they’d known had been a scavenger hunt–
where only a minority had figured out
that it was not themselves they were looking for,
but the Ticketmaster with the unlimited tickets
that had already been paid for.