Monday’s Rune: A Memoirish Library Essay


Howdy! And Happy Monday, Y’all.

Since the American government still had an active conscription/draft system, I enlisted during my senior year in high school (1964). I eventually went to college after four years in the U.S. Air Force, which would later result in my first of three closely related “career” choices.

In May of ’66, I married Yolonda. More than half of our first two years together were spent as 20/21/22-year-olds living and working in Ankara, Turkey. I was not sent to Viet Nam. Happy Honeymoon.

I started college in September of 1968, as one of what would become known as Vietnam Era Veterans. I registered as a sophomore transfer from the University of Maryland, Overseas Division.

The Viet Nam War was raging and nearing its high-point years. LBJ was about finished. The Tet Offensive had hardened much more of U.S. public opinion against the war. While not ambivalent, I disagreed with both sides of the argument at that time. I was confused, as were many Americans. I had two short term goals: graduate and get a job. Yolonda was the Brazos County Attorney’s Secretary at the time. Every cop in the county knew her.

We lived in “on campus” student housing. Our “home” was a small one bedroom, one bath, unairconditioned apartment in southeast, central Texas. We eventually bought and installed a window a/c unit.

The campus library was my retreat, a place to read, study, and to people-watch. At the time, everyone exiting the building was forced to have their possessions searched to prevent theft.

One evening, Yolonda waited for me at that library while I was part of a psych department research study. I found her waiting in our car. She asked me if I would know if my penis was exposed out of my pants. She had been cock-flashed by a student employee. The perv got busted, and we’ve been sharing the experience for fifty-plus years. They are everywhere.

I’m writing this while sitting comfortably, sipping coffee, and eating a pastry from my public library’s coffee bar. These days book checkout is on the honor system, and nobody is searched.

I still like libraries. I am not a prodigious reader, although I read every day. Libraries are strangely comforting to me even though everyone has access to the facility, library card or not. Libraries are what they are and do what they do. The same is true of people.

My first library from childhood was in an old, mid-19th century, church building and still is. I also like old church architecture. Maybe there is a reason for my library/church juxtaposition of interest. I recall no pervs in the stacks from back then, but if those books could talk… (wait, we have talking books nowadays.)

Computer stations at the Central Branch of the Osterhout Free Library

It seems like it began for this boomer with the assassination of JFK. My first ten years after high school, the sixties, and early seventies, were a coming-of-age time for me and a tumultuous period in American History.

More than fifty years later, I still like to sit in libraries and write, read, search for books, people watch, and sip coffee. I may ponder what others say or claim. I think about how differently we all see the world and each other.

But at this point in my life, I really don’t give a shite what anyone thinks of me, except for Yolonda and our three middle-aged kids; less so, a few teeny-bopper or early 20s grandkids.

So far, I think I pass muster. Sort of.

Bill


Look both ways for what is right. Arguing does little good.
Mind the gaps lest they become crevasses of civil division.
Find your tribe and take a side. Keep trying to understand.
Support public libraries, not book bans or burns.

Sammi’s Weekender #277 (renege)

Click on this graphic to open Sammi’s page with links to more 49-word renege writing pieces.

Renegade Renegade

I was born into a world that no longer exists.
I was dealt this hand when my life began,
then and there.

Convinced, cajoled, and directed into treaties and agreements by threats, guilt,
intimidation, and false promises;
when given limited control, I reneged.

I wasn’t the liar. Not then.


As days pass, everything changes in us.
Regret and mind past gaps enough to make things right.
“For everything there is a season and a time….”

Monday’s Rune: The Value of Time

 

When Dad’s a Dick

I returned to your place of business, like I said I would.
A clown-man there told two jokes. At first,
I glared at him to the silent end. The other
I interrupted so I could give you my coffee order.
I allowed him to finish. I again stared
before telling him his joke was unfunny and that his
comedic skills were woefully lacking behind his
overflowing obnoxiousness. Was he your father?

You would not take my money. He paid.
I sat quietly, typed my poem, drank the
Americano and chewed the muffin.
Now I wish I hadn’t. You
did not look at me or say another word. Then,
you left.

Sorry. Henceforth, the city library
has much more to offer and
better silence, too. No jokes.
Is Divinely Beautiful your real name?
Tell your father that my low opinion
of him has declined and my vote
is not for sale.

No apology necessary.


Look both ways but think on your feet.
Mind the gaps of silence when the wind passes.

Expect the unexpected, they say. How?

 

Monday’s Rune: On Labor Day 2022


Let Me Clarify

They were not smart or rich. Some might write. Few to none finished school. In many ways they were all slaves.

The children, the men, and the women were trying to survive, to make it through the night.

No great athletes, not a genius among them. The company was the enemy. The boss.

I think of them on Labor Day. About my dad, the filthy coal miner, who swore I’d never work in the mines.

He was right.

When the mines shut down, he was lucky to find any job. He was a plumber’s helper. He mowed lawns and dug sewer ditches. Finally, as a nurse’s aide for the same pay I got as a teenage knucklehead, for my summer job, as a gardener’s assistant, he worked until it was finished.

Mom was a cleaner of footwear in a shoe factory. She had to take two early morning buses and often walked home. Her hands were always dirty and stained from cleaning factory shoes. Sucky work.

I never did piece work, nor had black lung, but at a young age I knew all about both.

Labor Day! I love it, but the more I think about it, and the more I learn about the labor movement, the more pissed off I get.

Wars and soldiers did not build this country. The rich damn sure didn’t. Cowboys (not the jerks in Dallas) and labor did. Workers built America.

Damn it!

“No gods, no masters.”


Look both ways and try to understand.
All workers and all labor around the world are brothers and sisters.
Mind the gaps and may we treat them well. Welcome to America.

 

Sammi’s Weekender #275 (avian)

Click the graphic to fly to Sammi’s blog page to submit and to read other’s prose or poems.

Got My Six

His name was Jay.
We called him Jay Bird
due to his avian-like
looks and behavior.
Callsigns were
seldom complimentary,
like Maverick or Viper.
Jay Bird was my friend.


Look both ways in life but memories are treasures of the mind.
And mind the ever-present gaps as you connect the dots and wonder why.

Monday’s Rune: Code Red?


Patience Grasshopper

I don’t give a damn what
you think about what
I think I thought
that am entitled to,
or what is my business.
Motive matters. How are ya
means I fucking care
about you and your problems,
no matter how ya got ‘em.

When you shut me out,
when you will not talk,
when anyone close
informs me just
exactly what the fuck
is and is not my business,

Blood boils, tongues twist,
ears backen, and eyes redden.
Sir, the witness has rights!

Code fucking red. RED!
Read it right. No matter
WHAT! I’m on your side.
Hell, high water, thunder,
fucking flashes of lightning
or the end of my damn sidewalk.


Look both ways and see it as you must,
but I’ve been minding the gaps in this wall for more than 50 years.

 

I suppose it depends upon what it is applied to and how.

 

Sammi’s Weekender #266 (flippant)

Click to flip over to Sammi’s blog and more 74-word wonders.

Was it something I said?

Many things I’ve done and not done
which brought me much self-inflicted grief;
like transfers or removals from jobs,

I’ve sat smiling at wrong times,
adulted too young, or the drink I tasted
when I got more than a little bit wasted,
‘twas most often my spectacular speech
that others appreciated the least.

I’m gifted this flippantly waggish tongue
emitting my intently presented voice
speaking a cutting language, exposing
my cantankerously lighthearted snarkastic choice.


Look both ways when words fly like the breath of buzzards.
Mind the gaps and if your gunna do it, go all the way.

Sammie’s Weekender #263 (vernacular)

Click this graphic to open Sammi’s page in a new tab.

Dead and Gone

When they ask me, where do I say I’m from?
Why ask? What difference does it make?

Do I say from a blended Irish Catholic coal miner family
of the northeastern Pennsylvania Wyoming Valley?
From a time and place, now too far away?

A way to which I cannot return. My blood no longer mixes.

A place foreign to the vernacular of history,
now threatened by polite inclusiveness.

Now none of me lives there.
Only cold rainy nights and forgotten headstones
on lost graves of people I never knew remain.


Look both ways for ancestral truth, but the past is gone.
Mind the gaps for reality’s dark shadows before landing right here, right now, in this world.

Friday Fictioneers for May 27th 2022

Brenda Cox threw in with the ever-mystical mistress of purple, Rochelle our belle, who took time from the pool to deliver this refreshingly cool love shack photo to inspire one hundred words of well mused Friday Fictionary to charm and warm all readers.

Click on the PHOTO PROMPT by © Brenda Cox to outrigger on over to Kansas City’s most swimmingly artistic native, the maven of purple, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ addicting blog.

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

Genre: Twisty Memoir
Title: Escape
Word Count: 100

***

I walked up to the bar and told my lady, “I’ll have a piña colada, please.”

She smiled and said,

“If you like piña coladas
And gettin’ caught in the rain
If you’re not into yoga
If you have half a brain
If you like makin’ love at midnight
In the dunes on the cape
Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for
Let’s plan our escape.”

I replied, “I never knew. Meet me tomorrow noon, At a bar called O’Malley’s.”

Me and my old lady been on the run since then, never fallen into the same old dull routine.

***


Look both ways and love the love
of musical tunes and magical lyrics, especially 70s tunes.
Mind the gaps and put a wedge of pineapple with the rum, coconut, coco lopez,
and suck it through a fat straw.

***

Click on the 19-year-old love birds (now [27 May 1966] married 56 years) to read a bunch of other inspired stories.

***

If you’re not familiar with the piña colada song (Escape), here it is with lyrics. Hopefully, this works for everyone. Cheers, y’all.

Friday Fictioneers for May 20th 2022

To shed light on her creative corner, Mistress Rochelle, our lady of many talents, has cast upon us a home-grown photo of her own, to be transformed into no more than 100 gifted words with which we tell a fictioneer’s story for Friday, 20th of May, when we celebrate the 76th birthday of another lady of wonder and many gifts, Cher.

 

Click on Rochelle’s corner to be whisked over to her page for the why and wherefore of FFs. If you decide to cop her picture, she asks that you tell her how you used it. All FF pics are owned by the contributor, in this case, Rochelle herself.

Genre: Autobiographical Fiction
Title: Secret Friends
Word Count: 100

***

Home alone at last. No one to say no.

To the dark, dark, dramatic cellar. The one dim light bulb cast eerie shadows over dark corners. The crypt like odor. What mysteries? What hidden fears and excitement?

A wet dirt floor crunched as I searched. I found him hiding behind the old coal furnace. He swore to protect me if I never told.

Now in my office I write about him. I sketch and paint him. Is he still there? Does he remember? Will I see him again? Will anyone believe me?

I was his friend; he was my protector.

***


Look both ways for what was then and what lives now in many memories,
be they fact or fiction.
Mind the gaps to be filled for the pleasure of the picture.

Click on your favorite Cher decade to find the squares and more magnificent stories.