#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.

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#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Because Jesus had paid for my sins,
I could not short the Lord–
I had to pay Him back through tithing,
through prayer & scripture study,
through keeping His commandments,
& through good works that surpassed any good
that had ever been done to me.
There was no question that I would pay;
the only question was: Gross or net?

If my answer was different than theirs,
I wasn’t praying in the right spirit,
so I let them believe my conversion was to their Church
& not to their version of the God they claimed to serve.

God’s favor wavered–
the God who wasn’t always fair
but just,
as many Christians claimed.
It would take me many years to realize
that I was glad God that wasn’t fair,
for if He was,
then I would’ve had no place with Him
in the afterlife
for all the misdeeds I’d done.
It wasn’t fair that Jesus had to die,
but God had let Him know that it was the only way
so that Jesus had no choice,
for what was autonomy when you could only escape
the sting of death
by letting everyone else burn in hell forever?

The Word of Wisdom
was not the word of the wise.
It was an admonition to abstain from strong drink–
hot drinks & alcohol–
but fried food & all the chocolate cake you could eat
was just dandy.

I lived the law of chastity,
& that seemed the greatest law of all,
but it was through default
& not being devout
that I was still a virgin,
for just being with David
in a non-Biblical way
had always been enough;
he had kept me pure.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

My mother had lost her virginity & heart to David; I would lose only one of these to him.

Mother saw emotional self-flagellation as a form of atonement for adultery, but she’d only denied David marriage, not sex.

Like David, the great king, he had taken a woman who had belonged to another, except that David, according to Mormon doctrine, had been barred from the celestial kingdom forever.

David Dalton, like that same David who had slain Goliath in his youth, had been responsible for my father’s death?

My intake of breath was acute, as if the sharpness in Mother’s words had floated upwards & entered me, cutting me up inside, so that I bled.

I prayed not for God’s forgiveness, but for my father’s, for wishing he hadn’t been mine.  Had I been David’s, Mother would’ve loved me as a mother should, for I was the ball & Caitlin, the chain.

My disappointment overshadowed the love I had for them, & it ate at me—not the disappointment itself, but that I allowed my disappointment to be so great. 

A CTR (or “Choose the Right”) ring in the Mormon Church was akin to the “True Love Waits” rings the Protestants wore.  Both were centered on remaining pure before marriage & would no longer be worn after marriage, for it was assumed that as long as people got sex, even if it was only with one person their entire lives, they would be pacified.

I tossed my CTR ring away–the way a disenchanted ex-wife would her wedding ring.  I was neither married in the Church nor to it; it was a purity ring–a promise to remain untouched before marriage, after which I could have as much procreative sex as I wanted.

The revelations in the yard hadn’t just told me I had lost my mother, but that the mother I loved & admired hadn’t existed at all.

#Micropoetry Monday: Opposites

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He was a team player,
who enjoyed watching
a bunch of men
running around with numbers
on their backs,
throwing what looked like a
misshapen Hostess cupcake
through the air.
She was a team of 1,
who wrote & edited
her own stories,
for there wasn’t always
someone there
to read them.
And to keep the peace,
he agreed to never make her watch,
while she agreed to never make him read.

He was a purveyor of magic tricks,
she, of magic treats.
When they crossed one another’s paths
at a Halloween party
like a pair of black cats,
they became unlucky in love,
for she found out that his tricks
were nothing but an illusion,
& he,
that her treats were flavor-enhanced with MSG.

He loved secular holiday tunes,
she, spiritual Christmas carols,
for she saw Christmas as a holy day,
& he, a holiday.
For him,
the lists were naughty & nice,
based on words & deeds;
for her,
the lists were Heaven or Hell,
based on belief.
Even though they would forever
disagree on everything else,
they could agree that
whatever the reason
for the season,
kindness should be
the universal code of conduct.

Truth is its own magic: A Mother’s Day message

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When you’re a mom, some of the things that come out of your mouth may sound strange:  “Don’t chew on Jesus,” “Will you just hurry up and poop?”, and “Stop putting chicken on your head!”, are some of my greatest hits.

As I was getting my daughter ready for bed the other night, thinking about what I wanted to read to her (praying she wouldn’t mention Minnie, as in The Mouse), the Beatitudes of Jesus came to mind.  I realized then that I’ve spent so much time reading and singing to her and teaching her the things she will need to know to get on here–like letters and numbers, saying “thank you” and not littering–that I hadn’t focused much on the religious part of her education.

Thinking back, that’s exactly how my parents raised me.  For them, church was something you needed if you were an ass.

When I was in high school in the nineties, a lot of kids were self-proclaimed “Jesus freaks,” wearing “True Love Waits” rings and WWJD bracelets.  There was a lot of talk about the rapture and born-again virginity.  Church was their social life, Praise and Worship music their vibe.  Some of them even carried their Bibles around at school.  

Just as Felicity (remember that WB show?) followed a boy to college, I, a freshman, followed a senior boy to his church.  One evening, after service had ended, we sat in a pew as he led me through the salvation prayer, and I was like, “That’s it?  Are you sure? It’s that easy?”

I had been expecting a feeling–a total transformation like Saul’s to Paul–and now I wonder when Jesus told Doubting Thomas that (and I paraphrase) blessed are they who don’t see but believe, that “see” could also apply to “feel.”

Four years later, I joined the Mormon Church.  All the good feelings I had expected to feel when I had gotten saved, I felt then, but who isn’t going to feel good when they’re around so many friendly people who open their hearts and homes?  Even though it’s been years since I sent my name to Salt Lake to be expunged (er, removed) from the records, I will admit that the Church made me a more spiritual person.

In the Church, I was taught that the glory of God is intelligence and yet, according to these same people, for those who had mental challenges, the devil could not touch them. 

To my understanding, a lack of mental capacity (e.g. intelligence) saved a soul.  It seems contradictory, and yet, it somehow makes sense to me.

As I gaze upon my child, I see that light and intelligence.  She knows so much more than she communicates, which can be frustrating, but I have learned to overcome the need to explain why she is the way she is to people who don’t know her–to explain why she doesn’t respond when people ask her her name–but then, I have had several people who’ve taken one look at her and ask if she’s autistic.

I may never know how much she understands, but I do know that I will teach her everything I know and believe, whether it’s that adverbs are the enemy of good writing or that respect doesn’t have to be earned but it can be lost.  (You don’t disrespect people until they “earn” your respect.)

I’ve striven so much to give her a magical childhood through imagination and storytelling.  (Children’s author, Nancy Tillman, is a master at this.)  Nearly every night, since my mom passed from this earth, I ask my daughter to tell Grandma “good-night” and “I love you” and to blow her a kiss.  And then I seemingly catch that kiss in midair, letting her open my hand and take it; sometimes I place my palm on the crown of her head–a blessing from Heaven.

Of course, I don’t really know how things work up there, but part of parenting, for me, has always been teaching truths with just a pinch of magic.

C.S. Lewis did that very thing with his Narnia series, just as I will someday do with mine.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

I grieved for the father who had never been lost to me at all—the father I was just now finding, only to lose him all over again.

My mother had not charmed a snake, but rather, she’d beguiled an Eve in male form—a man who’d taken a bite of the apple that hadn’t given him knowledge, but rather, diminished it.

For the first time in my life, I prayed for my father to wake up & save Mother from David, so he would be saved for me.

A Church talk had freed my mother from the guilt she carried over my father’s attempted suicide, even as it would free my father from the medical technology that had kept him in limbo.

For neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, could separate David from Mother, save Mother herself.

Into my father’s ear, I whispered for him to accept the gospel in the next life, so that David would be dethroned as Mother’s eternal companion.

As my father was taken off life support, I wondered if his soul was finally leaving his body, having been imprisoned in 13 years of solitude.

I would learn that my mother had visited my father in the hospital until David had rescued her from a life of single motherhood & lonely widowhood.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

I’d idolized David,
for I’d been as Mary Magdalene—
seeing my salvation in the form
of a man who spoke not in parables
of the everyday man,
but in the philosophies of the enlightened man.

Like most women,
I blamed the woman—
my mother—
for her adulterous affair
with the man I loved.
She was the seducer,
& he,
the charmed participant
under her hypnosis.

For Christians, the Bible was the once upon a time,
the happily ever after.
For Mormons, it was only the story of God’s reign as God,
the story of this earth—the planet He had created,
a planet that belonged to him only because He had earned it.

The words of this modern Prophet with the middle initial
were underlined,
like scripture—
words that had become like newsprint
left on the sidewalk in the rain.

While he lived,
my father had been a stranger to me,
but as he lay dying,
& I beheld my co-creator;
I experienced an intimacy for him,
if not with him,
for the first time.