Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

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He had been there to see him leave the earth
but not to see him put into it,
& I was angry at the world
that had not magically changed
because someone was no longer in it.

In burying my father,
she had buried, it seemed,
the last facet of her old self.
She had gone from a grieving widow
to a blushing bride-to-be
in the matter of an hour,
& no one from the LDS Church knew
of the quickening of Patrick Nolan’s soul
to the Spirit World.

The first ceremony would be a civil one,
followed by a spiritual one.
Just like everything else,
the marriages of other churches
were the preparatory marriages,
& Mormon marriages,
the sealant.

Because my father had died,
my mother would live as she pleased,
but hadn’t she always?
For if one had already enjoyed the intimacy of marriage
without taking the vows,
then how special could making it legal be?
For what was marriage but a representation
of monotheism—
of being subject to one entity
till the death of oneself or the death
of the other.

I was a hollow vessel
where Mother’s empty words echoed,
taking no delight in what I had dreamt of
for as long as my eyes had beheld
the glory of David Dalton.

#Micropoetry Monday: Stranger Things

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When the fog settled over the Gulf Coast
for days that seemed to run together
like a week of binge-watching,
life was like walking through a dream
in varying filters.
It was that last day in the middle of the night—
before the fog lifted—
that the 3 boys came to her door.
Their frightened faces had been framed
in the frosted oval glass,
& their owlish eyes had looked sickly
in the illumination of the orange streetlight.
They said that the Londoners had taken their parents
& spoiled everything.
She chastised herself for opening the door
so carelessly,
for what if they’d been followed?
And it was when she thought to look back
that she realized her family had disappeared
the second she had opened that door,
just as she was here
because someone else wasn’t.

When he was alive,
she slept to escape him through dreams,
but when he died,
he haunted those dreams,
& she became an insomniac who,
from sleep deprivation,
began to see his reflection in every window
& imagine his presence behind every door.

Famous writers haunted ghostwriters,
cases were tried by the judges perfected in Christ,
& the scientists who’d practiced the healing arts on Earth,
imparted their knowledge from Heaven—
even as those who’d passed on ages before
were able to witness the wonders of humankind
while living in the presence of the wonder of God.
Funerals were truly a celebration of one’s mortal life,
& grief became a thing of the past.
There was no moving on,
for to see & hear their loved ones was enough
to make up for the loss of the other 3 senses;
this new way of life & death helped keep their memory alive,
even as new conversations with the departed
were being had.
Where there had been faith,
there was now knowledge,
save for those who believed that man had never walked the moon.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

The terrestrial kingdom was Protestant heaven,
the celestial, Mormon heaven,
but even the telestial surpassed all understanding.

While my father had hovered in earthly purgatory,
I had been living in a heaven on earth,
my mother, in the hell she had created for herself.

My childhood had been one of opaqueness,
my adulthood, of startling transparency.

If God had wanted Patrick to live,
he would live without a machine,
but by that rationale,
if God had wanted him to die,
no machine on earth should have kept him in limbo.

When I’d believed my father dead,
I’d never wept,
but when I saw him alive & dying,
it was then that I finally grieved,
for his death finally became real to me.

#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?

#Micropoetry Monday: The Writer’s Life

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She left so many pieces of herself behind,
that even as the memory of her body faded,
new memories of her spirit—
as she was at the time of her death—
were made.

Every day,
she posted pieces of her history
& her imagination,
the two converging like rivers on a map,
so that no one knew what was true
& what wasn’t.

When the calligrapher met the typist,
a war of words ensued—
a war where Functionality trounced Beauty in speed & legibility,
but Beauty trounced Functionality in artistry & forgery.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

No one from the LDS Church knew of the quickening of Patrick Nolan’s soul to the Spirit World.  It was the saddest, strangest day I had ever spent.

The funereal funeral was a secret affair.  No one knew Patrick Nolan had died—that Laurie Nolan had been living in mortal sin for 13 years.

Caitlin & I did as we were told, Caitlin, still grieving & I, taking no delight in what I had dreamt of for as long as my eyes had beheld the glory of David Dalton. 

In the B.C. era (before the Church), I had wanted Mother to marry David, but in this New Era, I realized 2 wrong people were trying to do the right thing.

The glories of the terrestrial & telestial heavens shined their pallid light upon us as David knocked on the pastor’s door, bearing redemption on the other side.

A baby grand sat in the corner of the room, the top of which sat a picture of Jesus.  For some reason, it made me think of a picture of a woman’s late husband.

Swiss clocks adorned the high walls, chiming ten, creating a clamor, signaling that the hour of reckoning had come.

To write one’s own vows was to promise more to one another than even God expected, & so it made sense that David & Mother had written their own.

We were to become a blended family, but our mixture would remain homogenous.

“David, when I think of you, I think of the guardian angel who came to us all those years before, bearing good tidings of great joy,” I said.

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.