From the bar at dVerse, Lisa pitched me the Prosery Monday poem, “When We Sing Of Might,” by Kimberly Blaeser (see it here).
From the poem, Lisa lifted a line for me to fold into a piece of prose of fewer than 145 words of my own making but including the line, “I dress in their stories patterned and purple as night.”
I had to use every word of the entire line. I was allowed to change punctuation and to capitalize words, but I was not permitted to insert words in between parts of the sentence.
But for the Grace of What?
I walked the muddy road through the depressingly disgusting homeless camp. There was nothing but mud everywhere; muddy tents and muddy mad people totally demoralized and pissed off at the world that had put them here. They were angry about being in this place and they refused to come to terms with what they themselves had created, not just a camp, but a metaphor for their lost lives, an intractable bog of stink and decay. The city provided piss pits and shit pots smelled to hell and back. These lost souls were in the grips of unshakable petulance. It was in their eyes, posture, and the way they walked. To report on this homeless debacle, I knew what I had to do. I would be in Rome and do as they did. Briefly, I dress in their stories—patterned and purple as night.
Look both ways to see all that’s there.
Mind the gaps, but spare judgement.
There, but for the good grace of random fortune, go I.
I’ve noticed that you seem busy doing nothing but lazily hopping about. You look brown. You were green. It’s past mid-October. I assume you’ll be leaving us soon if you’re not already gone. But why now? Your end nears, but y’all been jumping all around for months.
Alas, your hop seems to have lost a foot or two. And your wings look stiff. Summer’s done, and I’d say you may be too. Do you know that? Does it bother you? Any day now you’ll be sidewalk ant food.
Soon there will be none of you. Then, like magic, Spring will bring you back to life in swarms. Like hungry chewing herbivorous flying insects, you’ll eat and reproduce again as you’ve done for 250 million years, a perpetual plague.
And you’re not alone. Your eleven thousand brothers and sisters are your type. Let’s not forget your rude, thankless cousins from the cricket, katydid, and locust families. They are always coming around singing for a free dinner or a little play time.
The ants are busy. But you’ve laid your eggs. Winter comes. You couldn’t care less. You’ll just happily fiddle away your time until the quiet end. But is that really the end?
Look both ways, horizontally and vertically.
Mind gaps and notice change.
“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.
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.