… my little boy says, meaning what I know he means, the way sounds hit you near enough, the fox with the frazzled tail dashing as we approach, its life at risk between the hedges, so flashes in fatherhood strike you as worthy of forever, which is how long you would drive with him remaking the world one sound at a time, after the lightning that comes and goes in storms, vivid days like this in between—and perhaps it did strike that tail. Now to find a new word to say not simply “life” but much more than.
––––––––– “(I write) for the same reason I read: for a love of words and stories that connect us.” – the writer
I fought my way through the nettles and tall grass, stepping tentatively since the flagstones were long buried now. The old greenhouse emerged, its glass shattered, with only rust holding the door upon its hinges.
A mouldy violet rosette hung from a bent nail above the forgotten plant beds:
*3rd Place Marrow, Newlands County Show, 1973*
I smiled, remembering happy hours spent outside with Grandma beside the cold frame, willing that vegetable to grow whilst Grandad battled with his own cultivars inside.
I resisted touching the decaying prize, afraid it might crumble to dust, taking my memories with it.
–––––––––– “I write to clear my mind.” – the writer
“Stale English Muffin,” she read with disgust, unfairly labeled in her old boyfriend’s new book. She wished he knew about her metamorphosis over the years. What would she be now – a crispy apple, an exciting enchilada?
After stewing about it for way too long, she became aware that time was no longer a commodity she could afford to waste, so she decided not to let him suck up another minute. Nostalgia, yearnings, what-ifs, were in the past, happiness was now. She put the book in with the trash and smiled as she erased him from her heart.
–––––––––– “I write for the joy of it.” – the writer
Thank you to the ones who, Before starting a repair, Say, let me record this.
Thank you to the ones who Act goofy, sing a song, and remind me, In my fit of frustration, To have a light heart.
But, thanks most of all For explaining the smallest detail. For making me feel that I am not alone In not knowing how to fix what’s broken.
Thank you for all you’ve taught me, For your generous impulse to share your expertise, And for being there, a click away, When I need you.
–––––––––– “During the pandemic my home has decided now is the perfect time to have an all systems breakdown … I have been tackling home improvement projects I never would’ve dreamed of trying. The generous folks on YouTube have saved the day more times than I can count.” – the writer
Expected. One night, Across the Tracks, dancing with arms raised over a sea of bobbing heads, the blarney flowed — glasses of cold beer and laughter and seeing old friends turned inside out — the angles of arms & legs, and faces tipped back in the spin of colored lights. A weird worship. Crowd dancing, but feeling down- right alone; the accidental touch of shoulders, or hips, or lips — it never happened; even though I swear it happened — face to face, we were made restless in heady times. We were tired of being so vulnerable. Our hearts broken, beyond words, we danced.
–––––––––– “Writing has been my constant companion, my inner voice, trying to make sense of the world around me.” – the writer
Like many toddlers, John was asked what he wanted to be, when he grew up. Surprisingly, John answered that he wanted to be an Old Age Pensioner. He’d been spending time with his Grandad, who had his own shed.
In his mid-teens, John secretly decided that an ideal profession would be that of a professional sperm donor. At a student party, he told a woman that he wanted to be the person who chose the paintings for reproduction on the covers of the Penguin Modern Classics series (she was impressed).
Now he’s 66 and his world has come full circle.
–––––––––––– Michael Bloor only discovered the exhilarations of short fiction after he retired.
I have a bipolar friend who—now in our late 50s—texts me: “Who am I?” How do I respond; do I respond?
I tell her she is a dear old friend, a beautiful, talented, and intelligent woman. When in fact, I feel like she is *past tense.* I AM her friend. WAS her friend. She is all but lost to me now. Even herself.
This is the nature of disease. The disease straddles our world and the next, leaving her to blindly balance on the sharp edges of crescent moons—offering no rounded or soft places to fall.
–––––––––– Keith Hoerner lives, teaches, and pushes words around in Southern Illinois. His memoir, The Day The Sky Broke Open, (Adelaide Books, New York/Lisbon) is out now.