Archive for November, 2008

Kylie Templeton Udzinger

Kylie Templeton UdzingerIn my lifetime, I
saw superstition replaced with hard
science. You’d think that would be a
good thing, but you’d be
wrong. They just replaced unquestioning
reliance on the church with a
reflexive worship
of science. But was the New England
Journal of Medicine any
less remote than the
Vatican. Both were sold stories of
how the world worked, and both turned a
profit from belief.
I trusted my own anecdotal
evidence instead, with a dose
of charitable
skepticism towards all, including
myself. And it served me just fine.

Rosalinda Wyatt

Rosalinda WyattThose who make the laws are the most in
need of being ruled
over. Those who enforce the laws are
the most likely to
break them. The ones who play at power
are the deluded
ones. Those of us they derided as
common, stupid or
hopeless, were building the only world
that truly mattered.

Linus Ballard

Linus BallardEveryone is the
hero of their own story,
their life an epic.
But they’re also the villain
of the tale. And they
play all their own supporting
roles. Other people
are merely standing in for
aspects of themselves.
Or maybe I’m the only one
who thought that way. And
maybe I was the only
one to be alone
at the end of their story.

Jacob Bryson

Jacob BrysonMy children, I am
sorry I am not there
to see what you will
become. But I know you
will do well. And if
you only remember
one thing for me, let
it be this: that no one
else has the power
to make you do, or feel,
anything that you
don’t want to, unless you
give them that power.
If I would have learned that
lesson earlier,
I might have been there to
see you have your own
children. Hopefully, you
can learn it through my
failures instead of your
own. Be the master
of your own state of mind.

Elizabeth Nickle

Elizabeth NickleMy father loved baseball, but more than
that he loved old stories
about baseball. He loved telling me
bedtime tales of the feats,
misdeeds and malaprops of all those
legends. But the one thing
he told me that always stayed with me
was that famous saying
of Satchel Paige about not looking
back, because something might
be gaining on you. My Dad taught me
to play, and I loved it.
But more, he and Satchel taught me how
to live, a lesson I
never forgot. I didn’t slow down
until I stopped for good.

Jamil Cleave

Jamil CleaveI devoted my
life to justice and I
failed. So damn all your
remembrances and shrines
to an image of
me. Curse me instead, for
falling before the
forces of repression.
Curse me, and carry
on the fight. When you praise
me, you only damn
yourselves, set back the cause
and abdicate your
responsibilities.

Dominick Banks

Dominick BanksIn almost a full century,
I had the world and
the cosmos explained to me in
dozens of ways. The
meaning of God thrust upon me
from thousands who sought
my voice for themselves. The fabric
of the universe
shredded, re-stitched, shredded again.
But God was always
with me. Sitting right next to me,
in Lyla’s smile.

Lyla Banks

Lyla BanksNinety-three years.
A near century.
Who was I when
I met Dom, decades
and decades past,
in another world?
Seventy years
together. Children
born and passed on,
grandchildren saved and
slipped away, great-
grandchildren to start
the cycle once
more. Every sight you
can imagine,
I saw it. Every
emotion you
could feel, I burned with.
Every mistake,
I made. My dearest
children of dust,
life is short and long.
You did what you
could. Leave it now. Rest.

Remington Paisley

Remington PaisleyHe would not have been remembered, if
it weren’t for me. His books
had mostly been forgotten, but they
came back into vogue near the
end of his life. And why do you think
that was? In the short time when
he was famous, I was a boy in
the village and heard stories
of how he used to teach in Sunday
school and take long walks wearing
a queer-looking hat, or how he would
prattle on to the matrons
about Solomon or Suleiman
or syphilis. Later, when
I had grown and reached a place of small
influence in the world of
letters, I dug out his forgotten
stories, added them to my
syllabus, and wrote some few pieces
for the major journals. Soon,
there was a flowering revival.
But was he grateful? Did he
thank me? He just squinted at me with
irritation, as if I
distracted him from important things.
But what is more important
than legacy? Would he have his, had
I not been his champion?
Did he think he did it all alone?
Was my value so paltry?

Mordechai Torrey

Mordechai TorreyI took over the department store
picture-taking franchise.
It had been losing money for years,
as the new cameras gave
people the tools to do the job for
themselves. But families still
came to me, drawn by the rituals
that they remembered their
own parents dragging them to. And I
would take portraits of their
babies and toddlers, and wonder what
world these children would live
in when they made it to adulthood.
(If they made it – I did
a surprising amount of business
in funeral reprints.)
What world would these children inherit?
Would I recognize it?
Would they even be human? Would I
be a caveman to them?

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