Joseph Dawn

Joseph DawnI loved my wife, but I
cheated on her
constantly. Every job
I had, there’d be
an office lover. The
business trip trysts.
Secret lunchtime meetings.
The last time, it
was behind a line of
bushes down the
block from the office. As
we finished, a
police car stopped in front
of us. She ran
away and left me to
fend for myself.
I didn’t even know
there was a pre-
school across the street. They
didn’t believe
my story, and since the
woman wouldn’t
help me, I looked like a
liar and a
pedophile. And I
knew that my wife
would take that easier
than my cheating.
I confessed, went to jail.
But my wife stayed
with me. And when I got
out, I never
strayed again. I thought of
it constantly,
but I didn’t acted
on it. Never.

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Noreene Andersen

Noreene AndersenI had sight. I didn’t want
it. I tried to hide from it, turn
it off, block it out. But I
saw. I saw when people lied. When
they cheated, when they had fooled
even themselves. I could still see.
And I had to say what I
saw. The most transparent lies were
my own. So I was hated
and shunned. For being honest. The
truth is I loved you all, and
I’m sorry I couldn’t keep from
telling you what you didn’t
want to hear. I envied your peace.


Idris Earle

Idris EarleI was an ardent
Democrat, and backed
the ticket, fought for
it. But I broke with
my liberal friends
on one issue that
perplexed them. I would
not back down on funds
for exploring space.
I know the money
could have been used for
education, to
fight poverty, to
ease suffering. And
I know there was waste
that stuffed the pockets
of oligarchs and
scammers and weapons
dealers. But it is
a fact that we held –
you still hold – power
to destroy all life
on this planet. And
those kinds of genies
never go home to
their bottle. So it
is imperative
that we send people
to other planets.
To ensure that our
species survives. My
time has passed, and so
has my danger. But
make time for yourselves,
and for your children,
on Earth or elsewhere.

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Arnold Edson

Arnold EdsonAfter eighty years, this
world was nothing I
could recognize. We might
have been colonized
by Martians; that’s how strange
these people, these so-
called children of mine, have
become. I could not
understand how they lived
the way they did, thought
the way they thought. Maybe
I had become the
alien. Either way,
I was ready to
go. I was ready four
years before I went

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Hugo Bryton

Hugo BrytonI wanted, and
I needed, so I prayed
to God. But God
didn’t care. I fell ill
and cursed God. He
still didn’t care. Then I
found love, and thought
I’d make my peace with God.
Again, silence.
So I forgot about God,
and in doing
so, I think I may have
found him. I’m not
sure. But that’s fine with me.


The Skeptic-Believer

The Skeptic-BelieverMy town was
full of people who worshipped
fire gods and revenants and
things that went
bump in the night. And it had
people who decried Faith as a
delusion
and an invitation to
bamboozlement. But having Faith
is much more
important that believing
in a deity, nor does it
require
believing in anything
supernatural. Faith is a
practical,
rational position. Faith
is the opposite of Control,
and it’s a
crucial survival skill in
a world where so many things are
outside of
your ability to change.
The world continues to revolve,
even if
you don’t, can’t, won’t validate
every microscopic piece of
it. If you
try to check each possible
outcome, every permutation,
you will lose
your mind and your self. So the
only rational answer is
Faith. Faith that
the planet will still be there
tomorrow. Faith that she loves you.
Faith that things
you do have meaning to some
one, even if you can’t see it.

I hated
God. My Faith was the bedrock
of my life and my happiness.

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Soren Kiteway

Soren KitewayI was the last of
three. Born late. An accident
and an afterthought.
So I learned to survive with
less. Love, attention,
consideration. But my
siblings both grew to
squander my parent’s love and
support and money.
Whereas I, who got nothing
but the freedom that
comes from being ignored, grew
strong and made myself
a life. Expectation kills.

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Kenan Connor

Kenan ConnorThey always said I
was slow. And they said that
Doctor Centrone was
my real father, because
I looked like him, but
he said he wasn’t. And
even though I was
slow, people were nice to
me and gave me things
to do to help out. I
was good at taking
care of their animals,
so I walked a lot
of dogs and fed a lot
of cats and fish, and
one time I even got
to feed a turtle.
But nobody believed
me that I could hear
what the animals were
saying, and could talk
back to them, and that’s why
I was so good at
taking care of them. But
it was true. It took
me a while, but I learned
to stop saying it,
because folks would get that
look in their eyes that
meant they were gonna get
serious. When I
got sick, I could talk to
lots of other things,
like flowers and grass and
soil. And then I
saw folks who had died when
I was small, and they
told me to not be scared.
So I wasn’t. I
came here and talked to the
grass and the trees and
the dirt to tell them I’d
be there soon, and they
were happy to see me.


Sylvester Rowan

Sylvester RowanGod must be dead. Because it is said
that we are made in
his image. And we die. And our deaths
are the things that give
our lives purpose. That is what they say.
So, if it’s true, it
stands to reason that God, creator
of all, to fill his
Creation with meaning, would have to
perish, would have to
leave it behind. If not, then what does
any of it mean?
God must be dead. If not, then he’s a
fraud and a coward.

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Beryl Clovis

Beryl ClovisThey’ll try to beat it
out of you. Through logic,
and ridicule, and
if necessary, fists.

But never forget
that you are right, and
this world is more than
what your eyes see. Even
the churches want to
pin you down, by giving
God a backstory.
God is a mystery
and it will never
be solved. Hallelujah.

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Donavon Bode

Donavon BodeI belonged to no party.
Each side had their
points. Each time the contest came
due, I wavered
and waffled and tried to make
the most right choice.
They all made sense at times. They
all were crazy
too. I always had trouble.
And more than once,
I went in the voting booth
and closed my eyes.


Dirk True

Dirk TrueAs a student,
I was good at
geometry.
It was ordered,
had rules, made sense.
People are non-
Euclidean,
and axioms
did not hold. So
I abandoned
the path they all
thought I belonged
on and struck out
on my own. A
disappointment
to many, but
leaving that world
was worth it. I
proved, if only
to myself, the
shortest distance
between two points
is never a
straight, direct line.

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Vita Diego

Vita DiegoI got bored of
the academy
and their endless
circle-jerks. I quit
and became an
acupuncturist.
All my former
friends were aghast at
my fall into
new-age quackery.

But they could not
understand what I
saw – a system
of metaphor that
captured our whole
cosmos, from atom
to universe.
And a metaphor
that was good for
more than monographs,
conferences, or
drunken, flirtatious
arguments. A
metaphor that healed.
That touched. Garden
overwhelms machine.

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Eli Blanchard

Eli BlanchardCarson is
always going on and on about
how peaceful
Spoon River was; how good and simple.
But he was
rarely around to see how mean life
here could be.
If I could have traded places with
him, I would
never have come back. Now I’m stuck here,
listening
to him forever. Reminding me
I never
did leave this place. And now never can.

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Jared Carson

Jared CarsonThis world is what you
make of it. I made one
full of beauty and
joy, and I travelled far
and wide to see as
much as I could. But I
always loved coming
home to Spoon River, its
peace and good nature.
And even though I saw
far-flung cities and
the wonders of this vast
planet, I’m content
my final peace is here.

Comments are closed

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