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John Hindle
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Hobo Poet
Hobo Poet

34 followers
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Widow

She slips her arms into his sleeves
And wraps herself in the cotton vessel
which once held his flesh.
She entwines herself 
in the grapevine of his bathrobe
with cotton scented by his cologne
Her thighs embrace terrycloth
and she holds it against her breasts 
like a sacred shroud
 
Just as an autumn leaf
put between the sepia pages
of a memory book,
she presses his cherished robe
into the heat-slickened folds 
at the crux of her thighs

Widow

She slips her arms into his sleeves
And wraps herself in the cotton vessel
which once held his flesh.
She entwines herself 
in the grapevine of his bathrobe
with cotton scented by his cologne
Her thighs embrace terrycloth
and she holds it against her breasts 
like a sacred shroud
 
Just as an autumn leaf
put between the sepia pages
of a memory book,
she presses his cherished robe
into the heat-slickened folds 
at the crux of her thighs

Does Separation of Church and State Exist?

I have this notion that even though our government is secular, it is still heavily influenced by Christians and their values. And our culture, both on and off the net, reflects our Christian heritage. I just saw that Google+ is prohibiting nude images on their site. This is a new policy. I wonder who they are bowing too? I believe the arguments in favor of restricting such media are based in Christian values. I know Google+ is not a Christian entity. However, I believe they exist in a Christian culture which abhors nudity. Hence they are allowing Christian values to control the free sharing of imagery. Separation of church and state, as it supposedly exists in America, is a pleasant fiction. It is imaginary. It is tenuous at best. I do not find the human body, clothed or unclothed, obscene. What is truly obscene is war, hunger, and poverty. These are the obscenities we should try to eliminate. 

John
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Door to Home

     The late afternoon sun cast a golden hue on me as I passed through the wheat fields. On either side of me the grain tassels waved in the wind as though acknowledging my passage. My husband of twenty years had just died under the blades of a reaper.
     My family couldn’t understand why I had walked away from the scene, not even weeping or showing any sign of emotion. However, the pain I felt was real. I simply couldn’t stand to see the body, which to me had represented the perfection of beauty in the male form, so mangled and distorted. He had reminded me of one of the statues of Apollo I’d seen in an art book back in high school. This is why I had married him.
      Strange, I thought how a mental image could exert so much influence on my choice of a mate. I wandered past the mill pond and saw the orange light sparkle on its surface as the breeze made ripples through the calm waters. I sat on a tuft of grass by the shore and felt a deep peace fill my troubled heart. I felt guilty for feeling such serenity at such a tragic moment in my life.
      I remembered seeing him swim across the lake so long ago. His body looked so sleek and strong. His physique had a symmetry which seemed to be perfect. His body had intrigued me like one of those perfect Pythagorean forms must have intrigued the ancient Greeks. As I sat by the pond, a lark sang in the tree above me. I felt the lark’s song fill me with melancholy. Yet still not a single tear flowed down my cheek.
      A week later at the house wind blew through the tattered curtains of the open window. My daughter was staying with my sister till I got better. So my solitude was complete. It was just me alone in this house haunted by memories.
     I laid in the bed and looked out at the dust clouds which whirled across the parched yellow Oklahoma fields. The sun had almost fallen across the sorrowful land. I looked down at my breasts as they rose and fell with each silent breath. My nightgown was spotted with mildew. I had always planned on getting a new one. But plans have a way of going awry; especially when after twenty years of marriage you are left with a daughter who can’t understand why mama seems more dead than alive.
     The Prozac seemed to have little effect. Sometimes I thought anti-psychotic medicine would have been more appropriate. I would wake up at night and feel a cold sweat across my brow.
      The next day the fog of my depression had lifted enough for me to read the Bible. I reminisced on my Sunday school days so long ago like the murmur of a dream.  I contemplated the ultimate sin of committing suicide. I felt terrible unbearable shame. I couldn’t banish my dark thoughts. When afternoon came they devoured me like a pack of wolves and made my heart beat fearfully.
     I sat in a corner of the living room in an easy chair.  The light coming through the window created a golden crescent on the dusty old faded red sofa sitting in the middle of the room.  I sat in the easy chair for an hour gazing at the crescent scimitar of light as it changed shape and moved across the brown hardwood floor. 
     Watching this golden scimitar of light move across the floor this evening produced strange feelings in me.  I felt like my life had been building to this moment.  I felt as though all the events from my birth to the present were part of the larger pattern of my life.  Slowly the golden scimitar faded as the sun sank below the horizon.   I gazed out the window watching the red light reflected on the glass as it gradually faded away.
      The sun was down now. The wind had died down and I could look out across through the window at the dark fields and see stars on the horizon. I recognized Sirius twinkling across the light years. A cool breeze blew through the window. I felt my body pulsing with life. It seemed that my soul was in a dark void and my body continued to breath and live apart from me.
      Then the room was almost too dark to see.  I had always been afraid of the dark as a child, but as I got older I craved darkness and immersed myself in it.  I had an almost physical need for darkness and was a creature of the night. 
     I got up, went through the kitchen door, and turned on the lights.  I was momentarily blinded as the intense light flooded my eyes.  I went to the stove and turned on the burner. 
     I lit a match and as I touched it to the gas the blue flames leaped up at my hand.  I withdrew my hand as I felt the burst of heat touch my fingers. In my state of nervousness I had allowed the flame to touch my fingertip. The burn, though only a small blister, hurt like a razor cutting into me.  For some strange reason, which I could not understand, the pain aroused me. 
     I turned off the burner.  I sat down at the table and gazed at the picture of my husband hanging on the wall opposite the stove. He had been such a handsome man I thought.  The memory of our last encounter flooded my mind with vivid images. 
     I went into my bedroom and knelt by the bed praying.  I did my rosary.  Then I looked at the bottle of sleeping pills sitting on the night table.  I looked at the picture, sitting next to the bottle, of my husband and I which was taken just after our wedding.  He looked so bright and confident.  I thought of myself as some kind of leper who was cursed to be alone for the rest of my life. 
     I went to the sink and poured a glass of water. Then I swallowed the entire bottle of sleeping pills.  I laid in the bed with my head propped on a pillow and watched the pendulum on the grandfather clock in the corner swing back and forth.  With each swing I became drowsier and drowsier until
finally everything went black.
     My mind reeled out like a kite let go ascending into blue space. I floated in such a deep aqua sea of tranquility while my ticking heart grew faint.
     My dizzying lightness suspended me amongst a seas of stars. The stellar fields grew thick with light. The points of light multiplied like red clover in spring. An aura of warmth permeated my being with deep consolation. My mind expanded into distant places of the past.
     I gazed into remembered paths. On the edge of forever I found myself home. I strolled the fields I’d walked so long ago. I approached the house at the top of the hill which I’d once called home.     My river of life had been a golden thread winding past rocky cliffs. My dinghy was bashed leaving my body bobbing like drift wood, deep in cataracts lost in time. My lifeline to safety had been my maternal grandparents who berthed me in a peace home where love wrapped round me like a quilt in winter.         
     I felt the same instinct of Salmon as I followed the road uphill homeward bound. I listened to a voice which sounded familiar yet faraway as though heard in a seashell.
     The porch swing  swayed  in the breeze  just like it did years ago in a different lifetime. The door was open and his face gazed out. With irrepressible joy I climbed the porch steps to his waiting arms.
     My husband hugged me with the undying love I’d never forgotten. He held my hand and walked me across the living room.
     Where my heart was tormented I felt peace. Having traversed the tempest tossed sea, I was home again. My man embraced me with that strength he had when he was alive.
     We sat together at the kitchen table and prayed. As he held my hands I felt the pulse of life again. The pieces of the puzzle fell into place. At last I’d come full circle.
     He said, “Karen, stay with me here. We can be together again, just like we were on earth.”
     I replied, “Dan what about our daughter? I can’t leave her alone.”
     He put his hand on my face and brushed away a tear. He said, “Aunt June can take care of Betsy. I can’t face being apart from you here. Please don’t leave me.”
    I held his face in my breasts. I said, “Dan you know I can’t do that. You’ll always have a place in my heart. At night I’ll send you messages of love. That is the best I can do my love. Our daughter needs her mother.”
     Dan pleaded, “Karen,  your Grandpa Harry is here. So is your Grandma, Margaret. They’re eager
to see you. Your grandma leads a crochet class here. I remember you always wanted to learn that.”
    The prospect of seeing my grandparents again filled me with joy. Dan led me out into the yard. Dusk settled across the land. Fireflies flickered while floating ephemerally. They illuminated our backyard sanctuary. Grandma’s eyes twinkled with starry warmth as she sat with grandpa snapping beans. “Come join us” she welcomed me with a smile. We worked together in bond of love till evening shadows enfolded us in the sacred night.
      I sat in the lawn chair and grandma smiled her wry smile at me. I asked her, “Grandma, why do people have to die?”
    Grandma gazed up at me. She said, “If people didn’t die there would be chaos on earth.”
    Dan sat in a hammock between two trees. I joined him there. We laid down together and
swayed. I kissed him to remember how his lips felt on mine. I said, “I’ll remember you when the whippoorwill sings by the pond. I’ll see you in our daughter’s eyes. I’ll think of you when I swim in the lake. You are the most beautiful man I’ve ever known.”
     Dan replied, “I remember when you gave birth to Betsy. Grandpa handed out cigars to everyone in the room. I was the happiest man alive. I wish I could join you down there again. But I don’t know how.”
     I said, “I know you love Betsy as dearly as I do. You sacrificed for us. You got health insurance for me and Betsy but not for your self. You worked long hours so that I could be a stay at home Mom. I want our daughter to know about her father.”
     Dan got teary eyed. He said, “I’ll visit you in your dreams.”
     I squeezed his shoulders and said “You better. Or else when I get up here you’ll have to answer to me. Let’s say goodbye now my true love.”
     Suddenly, an image of my little girl flashed before me. She looked distant and sad. I felt tears  well out of my eyes. She reached out to me, but her image was receding. I knew that soon she would be lost forever.
     I ran toward my little girl. Dan stood, reached out his arms, and receded. I looked away and ran till the scene faded.
     Then I began to awaken.  In the dark void of my unconscious mind I could feel my heart begin to pulse with life again. Slowly, the image of a hospital room materialized.  I felt my arms and legs with a ghost-like sensation. My eyes opened and my vision cleared.
     I found myself in the strange world of a psychiatric unit. I told the staff of my meeting with my late husband to their utter disbelief. Yet his kiss bore his taste too strongly not to be real.
     When I got back from the mental hospital it was morning. The rain had just begun to clear.  Soon the golden sun shone through the clouds and mists rose from the wheat fields stretching out in all directions around my house.  The golden mists hovered over the amber fields of grain like a depression that wouldn’t lift. I couldn’t understand why God had let this happen to me.   
     I had always been a good Catholic in practice if not in faith. I had never cheated on my husband.  I had always been the sweetest, most pliant girl you could imagine. Sure, I had entertained thoughts of adultery.  But didn’t is say in the bible, “He among you who is without sin cast the first stone?”
     I sat on the front porch having been told that I was deemed well enough for my daughter to return.  I didn’t really want to blame God for my husband’s death but I felt anger mixed with sorrow in my heart.  I knew it was wrong to feel anger.  I knew God had a plan in everything.  Didn’t it say in the Bible that God counts every feather on every sparrow? To everything there is a purpose under heaven. 
     Thoughts of Jesus, my daughter, and my deceased husband danced in my mind like an obsession.  I went into the kitchen and drank a cup of hot chamomile tea.  It burned my tongue, but I drank anyway.  I was beyond fear of physical pain. 
     The evening wore on and my husband’s absence felt like an open wound.  Soon the stars came out over the fields.  I sat on the front porch in a rocking chair and felt the cool night breeze caress my face.  I heard the phone ring and ran back inside. My daughter was to be brought home to me sometime later this evening. She missed me I was told.
      I woke late that night and my little girl pleaded with me. She said, “Mommy, I can’t sleep. Can you tell me a bedtime story like when daddy was alive?” I wept and told her that Mama would never leave her again.
     I had been so selfish and cruel to put my little girl through this. She’d lost her father and almost lost me. I made an effort to get out of bed every day and spend quality time with my girl. We went to the park, ate snow cones together, and fed the
ducks.
     It was a long road to recovery, but I knew I had to do it, if not for me then for her. Having lost her father, I could not allow her to lose her mother. The ultimate tragedy would be to abandon her. 
     As I watched my girl spinning around on the merry go round I felt the fog of my sorrow dissipate. The sun of hope broke through the clouds as brilliant as the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes.
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