Friday Fictioneers: Tanner’s Plague

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson. Click photo to go to Rochelle’s prompt page.

“Father” Tanner, had a lovely wife, two wonderful daughters, and a future as church rector. Young, bright, athletic, and handsome; he inspired the congregation’s vibrant teen and Boy Scout groups. Eventually, he was ordained to the priesthood.

However, Tanner’s sexual relationships with teenage boys were discovered. He was defrocked, dismissed, and ordered to therapy, without legal action. Soon “cured,” he was again hired as Sexton and advisor to parish youth groups.

Thirty years, over 450 victims, and 2,500 counts of sexual assault later, Tanner was imprisoned, where at 67, he died of natural causes; shamed and disgraced, but never cured.


Click for link to other stories.

Look both ways.
Be alert for predators where least expected.
Never expect victims to confess.
Mind the gaps, remain skeptical, and verify if you trust.

Poetry: Moving Forward


The boy hid quietly in the back,
never raised his hand, got low grades
for lack of class participation. A shy,
quiet, introverted mama’s boy—
a child, it was his nature.

Adults criticized that he cried too easily.
He cared too much.
Felt too deeply. For a boy.
They would not let him be.
His siblings knew
and encouraged another side.
He learned to deny
his own deep-felt emotions.
Authority ran his life,
maybe his spirit.

He listened, learned, observed,
and grew; first, into a troubled teen, then
he became a young man.
Gradually, he moved
closer to the front, like a warrior
toward danger. Down range.

Today, an old man walks in and sits
front and center. Sharp tongued,
the quick-witted septuagenarian,
with a grin of secret wisdom,
is ready to advise any damn fool
playing games of authority.


Look both ways in the spirit of the young
and the eyes of the old.
Be careful what you wish for,
watch your step, and mind the gaps.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

Poetry: Enigmatic Paradigm


Bukowski said
he dedicated much of his life
to avoiding people.
Humanity, he said.
Yet he wrote about people.
So, I assume he failed,
or he lied.

An allegedly unwilling celebrity
bemoaning attention,
lambasting unlively banality,
complaining constantly
about women. His ladies.
Many men, too.

I understand the blessing
of being alone.
I like many fine souls, yet I confess
to not always being kind
(yet not exactly cruel) to
undeserving deplorables.

Hank asks; is he ugly,
unkind (sometimes),
misanthropic, or misogynist?
Some thought so. Maybe he was.
I really don’t know.

Crackpot, with no hope of love?
Bitter and unfair?
Did he put glass in our sandbox?
Was he without morals or mercy?
(Maybe he was.)

Is he my phantom’s mask?
or am I his? Or yours?
What is truth? What love?

I neither know nor care
what most others thought
of Charles Bukowski.
He’s long dead. But
I read and re-read his poetry and prose.
I must have some reason.
Do I want to know my reason?
Do I care?
Or, is this one of those things?
His paradigm, or mine?


Look both ways when considering and discerning humanity.
Mind the gaps. Every day is judgment day.

Sammi’s Weekender #217 (requisite)

Click to go to Sammi’s blog.

Tread At Your Own Risk

American men and women at war,
fighters. May I call them warriors?
For their military service
we want to thank them.
Combatants
share experiences
only they understand.
Only they feel it.

Requisites are hated enemies,
courage, weapons, desire for glory, fear,
comrades, pride; and a cause
to die for, one worth killing for.

There’s more.
Much more.
They carry much.

To fear death, or not? To love
and despise simultaneously?
Is war forever part of humanity?
Are we the only creatures
that kill our own for no reason? Just to kill.
To cause death unnecessarily?
Is that combat?


Look both ways for glory and dishonor.
Mind the gaps between mind, heart, and soul.

 

The Greatest Gift

There’s joy,
in the smiles of others,
in visions of those we love,
people we care about,
that is where truest,
most honest, happiness thrives.

To see such dancing zest is to feel
the same in my bones, heart, and mind;
while tears of delight run down
my cheeks. When babies laugh.
Hope laden felicity. Even
an old man simply must smile.

To sing and dance
with those we love most,
to see and hear them rise
in rebirth to life’s glorious days,
to overcome fears and sadness
that come with what we call
our human condition.

How strange, that we may
give or receive no greater gift,
no higher prize,
no nourishing of the spirit,
no deeper love than to allow
others to be and to see us
high on being alive.
Even more, to here and now
let love swirl among us all. Hallelujah!


Look both ways for the joy of love.
Mind the gaps, but live and let live.

Poetry: Bloqueo de Escritor


My brain
or is it my mind?
Whatever. It’s rebelling.
Just for today,
as they say in AA.
It will not allow
even a crumb
of creative thought
to come in,
much less,
fall
to the page.

“No, no, no,” it says,
“I will not go!”
As I sit here.
(Ever have this?)
It feels like fear,
but otherwise,
I’m empty
of emotion and purpose.
Where to start?
Much less, any thought
of how to finish.

Just this silence.
The sleep that disallows
doing the exercise,
I’m unprompted
with lines pulled too tight.
I feel stymied
by an overworked
empty whiteness.

Sometimes,
it simply does not
work for me. I’m sorry.
I have ED of the mind.
I should leave.
Take a nap. Wane a bit.
They call it “block.”
I’m sure it’s temporary.
But what a shitty
suffocating feeling.
I feel museless.


Look both ways for the walls of chaos.
Mind the gaps, gasps, and gyps. And this…

“Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” – Margaret Chittenden

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #205 (uncanny)

Click image for Sammi’s Blog

Magic Music

Music finds my mood,
picks at my soul
it finds my feelings,
uncannily,
making music mine.
Is our love for sound and music
the saving grace of life?
Or is it our destiny
not to think about it twice?


Listen to the music but look to see it both ways.
The gaps between the notes, a place where angels play.

Poetry: Stupid People (NaPoWriMo day 12)

Today’s NaPo prompt is to write a poem using at least one word, concept, or idea from each of two specific dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

The online classical dictionary was too difficult to use, so I used one of my own. The sci-fi one was easier, but I couldn’t find “galactically stupid.” I got “fugginheadness” from it and piled on “gormless and vacuous” for the poem. I reached out to youtube for some help from George Carlin and a scene from the movie, A Few Good Men.


Like Average, Man!

If someone lacks intelligence, it’s not their fault.
No one arrives at birth, or from another planet
(the ones we used to call space cadets), and decides
they will join the fugginheaded, gormlessly English gang.

We couldn’t take it if seemingly vacuous souls made
such choices, like ordering an IQ from a menu.
But there are some out there in the world, whose
behavior is ordered right out of willful ignorance.

And I’m not sure that every Mensa member is sane.
I try to understand. I really do. But please tell me.
What is with those who join the fan club of the
Galactically Stupid? Super-stupid on purpose?


Look both ways from dead center under the bell curve.
Mind the gaps and disregard outliers.

Poetry: Winning (NaPoWriMo Day 3)

For today’s prompt, or assignment, I was to make a “Personal Universe Deck,” and then write a poem using it. My deck needed 50 index cards with 100 words of my choosing but I had to follow 17 rules.

I was to have fun making the deck, which should also be revealing. After I had my deck assembled, I was to shuffle it a few times, then select a card or two for words to use as the basis for a poem. I was not to agonize over my word choices.

I did all that. I blindly selected two cards at random, each with two words. The words were thirst, light, song, and mystic. I admit to liking these words.


***

My Mystical Song #75

I’m quite average in many ways.
Excellence is not common to me,
as neither stage nor spotlight quench
my introverted comfort zone.

I sing poorly, but I love music.
I’m not spiritual, but I love mystery,
and I drink a bit of the adult life,
which I try not to take too seriously.

When I do well, or simply succeed
to cross the marathon’s finish,
to survive addiction or disease,
I bow my Irish head and take a smile.


Look both ways to find the real you and the real me.
Mind the gaps with special care. That’s where our secrets are.