Archive for October, 2008

Wally Cleveland

Wally ClevelandEverybody knew
about the novel I was writing.
But after a while,
people stopped asking about it. My
bits about finding
a spare hour to write before work,
or during lunch, or
after everyone had gone to sleep,
were all wearing thin.
The truth was, it was easier to
talk about the work
than it was to actually do
the work. I never
finished it. I barely even started.

Jake Papac

Jake PapacAll you bleeding
hearts, bleating about
freedom and choice.
You liberals, like
Ben Ridley and
his ilk, who mocked me
as a backwards,
intolerant, God-
botherer. How
did you feel when, on
your watch, there were
more drug murders, more
school dropouts, more
divorce, more children
out of wedlock,
more dead babies? In
your addiction
to freedom, you have
destroyed our home
and our country. I’m
glad I’m gone and
left you the wreckage.

Some things should not
be tolerated.

Commodore Jenkins

Commodore JenkinsTell me, what did Celia do with
the insurance payment? I
bought the most expensive policy
I could in case something kept
me from my sixty, seventy, and
eighty hour weeks in the
office. So much of my money went
into our insurance and
retirement funds. I always thought
I’d be there to spend it with
her. Tell me, did she use it well? Did
it make her life without me
easier? Did she think of me when
she spent it? I need to know.

Dawn McCain

Dawn McCainMy mom used to
send me the newspaper
clippings that tracked
all my exploits. Which red
carpet I’d been
on. What foundation I
was supporting.
Nightclubs I would frequent.
No one living
remembers who I am.
The parties are
over. The clubs are closed.
And newspaper
clippings are as extinct
as all of those
men who used to chase me.

Marci Ward

Marci WardI lived in a rich,
fancy house that
became a prison
of unspoken
recriminations.
In college I
was engaged to James,
who was only
with me because my
family name
could help further his
aspirations.
When he found out the
truth of what we
really were, he dropped
me with a cruel
efficiency. No
one would touch me
afterwards. Even
after I moved
far away to start
a new life, I
always feared people
could see my shame.
So I tried to stay
unobtrusive.
I succeeded, since
I died alone.

Eric Ward

Eric WardRather than this
headstone, they should
name the thruway
interchange for
me. It was my
vote in the State
Senate that cleared
the way for the
seizure of the
land and the forced
removals of
the families
that lived on it.
And even though
it never got
out to the news,
somehow they all
knew that I’d been
paid off for my
vote. I did it
to provide for
my family,
to ensure their
security.
But things we do
in the name of
security
often destroy
exactly what
they are meant to
protect. And so
my children grew
up timorous,
not daring to
speak their minds in
public for fear
of ridicule
and pillory.

I did it so
they’d live better
than me. Instead,
I poisoned them.

Christophe Stennis

Christophe StennisThe guys on the corner used to laugh
at me when I looked both ways
before crossing the one-way street. I
told them that you can never
know when some fool’s gonna decide they’re
more important than the rules.
So, of course, the one time I didn’t
look the opposite way would
be the day that that drunk decided
he needed to make a left.

Martha Stennis

Martha StennisMy Christophe, he was on
disability most of
the time and spent his days
on the corner talking
what was wrong with the world.
So I had to support us
with my cleaning. The maid
sees all the secrets people
try to keep. The cleanest
hero leaves behind dirt, grime
and prints, and nothing can
ever be cleaned completely.

Matthias O’Meara

Matthias O’MearaI was always told that I was
destined for greatness, for
an important role. But all I
achieved was a lofty
title and some small influence
in a town full of small
minds. Married to a wife of cruel
judgment. When I became
old, my successors bought the rounds
and begged for stories of
how it was in the grand old days.
I obliged, even though
those days were never real. They thought
me great. I knew the truth.
I should have done better. I should
have done more. What a waste.

Samuel McGreuder

Samuel McGreuderI was prosperous and
respected by all in the town. All
except my youngest son.
He loved me, yes. But he always thought
he knew better than me.
I tried teaching him but he would not
listen. When at last he
got control of the business I spent
my lifetime building, it
was wrecked in less than three years. But by
then, I was too weak to
stop him anymore. Do not get old.

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