Archive for June, 2008

Taryn, the Dramatist

In the schools of Spoon
River, I
learned the truth of how people were. Their
petty grievances,
their wolfpack
mentality, their tiny codes that
formed the basis of
what they called
“real life.” When I went out into the
wider world, I saw
everywhere
else was basically the same. It was
all a comedy
of manners.
Like my plays, my life, mere comedy.

Damien McCoy

I knew all the kids at
school whispered about
me behind my back. I
never caught them, but
I knew for sure. If I
tried to tell someone,
they would look at me like
I had gone crazy.

So I did some reading
and do you know what
I found? I was crazy.
Nobody would help
me, they just told me to
get over it. So
I did, by swallowing
a whole bottle of
pills. And it worked. Now, no
one talks about me.

Scott deMayo

My folks would rarely
let me out of the house.
They were scared I would
get caught up in the gangs
that ran around our
neighborhood. So I stayed
in and was lonely.
And none of it mattered
when that stray bullet
shattered through my bedroom
window. I wish they
would have let me out more.

Miguel Elliott

I never listened to
public service announcements
that warned against riding
in-between train cars. Then I
lost my grip, and became
the warning. I’m sorry, Mom.

Christine Siegel

I picked the fight with him that morning
over nothing at all.
He married me, even though I was
pregnant with another
man’s baby. I was scared that he was
regretting it. He left
for work, slamming doors behind him. I
raided the medicine
cabinet. I lay down in bed to
read, but never got up.

Shelly Leithouse

Shelly Leithouse

As a kid, all that I
listened to was classic rock. But when
I went to the U.K.
for a study abroad year, I was
exposed to so many
different new sounds. And then my friends dragged
me to the festival
at Glastonbury, and I spent twelve
blissful hours in the
Experimental Sound Field. I walked
away a changed person.

I came back to Spoon River with my
DJ boyfriend and tried
to open a club. He took off soon
thereafter, but I did
not give up. I spent the next decade
trying to bring music
and joy and life to this dreary town.

But the powers that be
finally forced me to close down my
Cathedral. Soon after
I got sick, and to their glee I did
not recover. I don’t
know why I could never escape them.
And now I will lie here
forever where there is no music.

Paul Robeson Law

Paul Robeson Law

My father was
always going on and on
about how
I needed to
be responsible to the
family,
to our people,
to make something of myself.
My life, it
never belonged
to me, it was always the
property
of someone else.
I couldn’t go along with
that. So I
didn’t become
a lawyer, a judge or a
respected
entrepreneur.
Instead, I enjoyed my life.
So maybe
I was too drunk
to drive and killed myself by
smashing head-
on into that
tree. But hey, at least I did
it myself.

Hannah Ward

Hannah Ward

Jimmy, it’s so clear to
me now. Please don’t
mourn for me anymore.
My husband knew
all about us, and he
suffered as much
agony as we did
in trying to
keep it secret from him.
But give him this
message from me. Tell him
my love for you
did not diminish my
love for him. Love
is not finite. The more
it is shared, the
more it creates. Go and
love him for me.

Officer Copeland

Officer Copeland

We rotated with other
squads, but I always loved the night
shift. Sure, during the summer,
when it was too hot to stay calm,
it meant that there was a lot
more crap to deal with. Shootings and
stabbings almost every night.
And of course drugs, always the drugs.

But in the wintertime, most
people would stay inside trying
to keep warm. It was just too
damn cold to make any trouble
And it would be so quiet.
Sometimes I would get out of my
patrol car and walk the streets,
like a beat cop of the old days.

Every night is that quiet
now. I could not be happier.

Doctor Jason Centrone

Doctor Jason Centrone

Long after house calls had
become a relic,
I was known throughout the town
as the one who could be
called on at any
hour of the night. And the
people loved me for it.
But the truth was my
wife was a harpy, my kids
were strangers, and my work
was the only thing
that kept me from jumping from
the Deegan Bridge. Any
excuse to get out
of the house, I would take it.

So, when I finally
passed, the entire
community came to my
funeral and they
cried in memory
of my infinite kindness
and patience. But when I
saw my Cassandra
hiding at the edge of the
crowd of mourners, afraid
to show in public
what we hid for so many
years, all I could do then
was hate myself for
being a lying coward.

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