Boo

One day when I’m dead I’ll be all over

with except for memory if that counts

and the life to come which I’ve come to then

and if there’s a third way I’m not so sure

that I know it but maybe I’ll find out

when finding out’s too late, it’s right funny

how that works, at least from life’s side and if

not from the other then I expect to

 

know if one can know anything, I know

I can’t be alive forever, enjoy

good and avoid bad even as I make

bad happen, somehow I just can’t help it

and if there’s such as thing as sin that’s it

though I should know more when I’m no longer Continue reading “Boo”

Pasture statues

Millie mooed.

Cate mooed with her.

The cow stared at them.

Millie giggled at the old joke, a pure, authentic song.

Cate giggled with her, exaggerated, trembling notes.

The cow stared at them.

Millie continued to pet the cow’s cheek. Cate stroked the other, looking for signs of impatience in the otherwise stoic animal, searching its blank yet somehow knowing eyes for knowledge of her charade. What made her want to release the scream that had been lodged in her throat for inconceivable minutes was how Millie, sitting comfortably in her numb arms, was so far away from screaming; Millie, who had every justification for adding her shrill voice to the one behind them.

She hadn’t asked Millie if she was all right; doing so would have given her the impression something was wrong. She hadn’t asked Millie her actual name; as far as the little girl’s amiable behavior indicated, they had known each other all their lives, and names didn’t matter. She hadn’t asked Millie her age; from the moment she took the little girl into her arms, she could tell the small human being was no older than her career. Continue reading “Pasture statues”

Return of the writers

When Kafka woke from unsettling dreams, he found himself brought back to life. And he was pissed. He requested most of his works be burned upon his death, but they were not. “You better reincarnate Max Brod so I can give him a piece of his mind.”

Thanks to reanimation technology, the world rebooted some of the greatest literary talents. Shakespeare was, of course, the priority. He couldn’t believe the tourist trap Stratford-upon-Avon had become. But he got the biggest kick out of the fact his works were taught in schools. “People read my plays instead of performing them? What nonsense is this?”

Homer spent all his time listening to television. He loved the cartoon character that shared his name.

Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky were comparing. “Mine’s longer,” Tolstoy bragged.

The Bronte sisters got their own television talk show, and invited Jane Austin along for good measure.

Charles Dickens would spend the rest of eternity trying to watch all the adaptations of A Christmas Carol. “Did this world run out of ideas?” he was heard saying. His re-existence answered that question. Continue reading “Return of the writers”

Herbert Farnsworth

To Hubert Harold Farnsworth, the dying were legion.  Never hesitating to broach his Pro-Life views on anyone willing to listen, Tom, the eldest of the Farnsworth clan, noted as he grew older his parents were invited to fewer and fewer social gatherings.  To Tom, his father’s life seemed to revolve around his professional work as a detail man for GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals; his religious life at St. Stephen’s Church, where he was he collected the tithe at every Sunday Mass; and, his participation in the Knights of Columbus, the right arm of the Catholic Faith, and all that that entailed.  As a Knight of Columbus, Tom had to listen to him rant and rave about abortion.  Millions of lives were snuffed out by godless gynecologists across the country.  Roe v. Wade was the sorriest decision ever handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States.  For his father, fighting abortion became the touchstone of his life.  It was what he lived for.  It was the itch he couldn’t scratch. Continue reading “Herbert Farnsworth”

Beyond good and bad

Matthew and his brother Charles, eight and eleven respectively, were quietly playing with their tiny trucks on the living room floor. As their father sat reading the paper and drinking his martini, a juvenile tussle erupted, beginning with the usual insistence of ownership over a particular truck.

“Quiet down boys. Be good,” was the request of the impassive father.

“Yes, father.” A duet.

The boys were thus pacified and returned to their mild play. They were taught to always be good, that being bad was a monstrous offense to righteousness and civility that could not be tolerated. To their young minds, father was the paragon of good. Churchgoing, professional, loving in a reserved way, kind to the beleaguered stranger or bereaved widow, a reader, stoic, restrained. The two boys and their dutiful mother lived almost idyllic lives in the tranquil home that father created, until the fateful day to be recounted by yours truly.

That weekend, the happy crew were to descend upon their lake house about a hundred miles away. The two boys dared not fight in the back seat, despite their boredom, for fear of being bad and incurring a less wrathful reproach from father. They arrived, unpacked, the children dutifully helping with the smaller bags, and the repose of a happy weekend, to be shattered, began. Continue reading “Beyond good and bad”

Those who serve humanity

In a trip through various South-East Asian nations, American John Stuart was traveling by bus from Phonm Penh, the capital of Cambodia to ancient city of Siem Reap to explore iconic Angkor Wat Temple complex.  In a rest stop, he got acquainted with a fellow traveler Mike Thomas, a millennial German youth.  After exchanging pleasantries, John learned that besides English, Mike also spoke fluent Chinese (mandarin).  After graduating from the university in Frankfurt, he landed a job with a multinational organization, subsequently migrating to Shanghai.  This was the time when the celebration of a Lunar New Year just started in China.  Like his fellow Chinese colleagues, Mike was also allowed to take a week off.  Instead of going back to Germany to visit family, he’d decided to visit this part of Asia, now heading to explore Angkor Wat complex

Next day, in a coincidence, John again met Mike, both of them being signed up with the same tour company to guide them through the mammoth temple complex.  Over next few days the duo bonded more while exploring the ruins, spread over several kilometers.  They also began to hear news coming out of China about a new virus causing flu-like symptoms and in some cases mortality.  Not surprisingly, international traveling, a byproduct of globalization was beginning to ferry out this new virus across the international borders.  Mike remembered hearing a rumor about the emergence of this new virus at his workplace.  Soon the sight of populace wearing face-masks became ubiquitous in various tourist sites as the fear of a pandemic began to prevail. Continue reading “Those who serve humanity”

I don’t want to grow old

Steve Hale, a forty-year-old billionaire, lay on a couch in the office of Dr. Mark Carr, a psychiatrist. “So, Mr. Hale, what brings you here?”

“Worry. Anxiety. Fear.”

“What do you worry about?”

“My fortune. I’m afraid I’m going to grow old and die and have to leave my estates and my yacht and everything I’ve worked for behind. What I have belongs to me and I don’t want old age and death to take what’s mine away from me. Dr. Carr, I grew up with nothing. My father ran off, and my mother cleaned houses to put food on the table. Sometimes, we went without food, and I swore that I would never be poor again. I worked hard and finally made a fortune, and I want to keep my fortune.”

“Mr. Hale, I understand why you feel the way you do, but everybody grows old and dies. It’s inevitable. Can’t you just enjoy what you have while you’re young?”

“I do enjoy what I have, but my fear of growing old and dying is always on my mind. I don’t know what to do?” Continue reading “I don’t want to grow old”

Laksa soup

The soup

is of golden glow.

Waves

break in against the shore,

beancurd puffs are exuding

like doormats on a rainy day.

 

It is a tropical fiesta.

Coconut breeze from a nearby island

is stealing spicy ripples under sporadic leaves.

Prawns leap

and immediately dive

to join the fish of white flesh.

 

Sail a boat of egg yolk,

snug as a baby dreaming

of a mythical creature

in her cradle.

 

 

By Pamela Ho

 

Bad luck at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

Valentine’s Day, 2020, Bachelor’s Grove,

Cemetery, Midlothian, Illinois.

 

It was Valentine’s Day, 2020,

and a newlywed couple, George and Annabelle

Henderson were looking for something fun

to do for a special date for Valentine’s

Day. George wanted to take his new wife

to Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, a cemetery

in Midlothian, Illinois, that had been rumored

to be haunted. Many ghost sightings had been

reported over the years, where two hundred

graves existed.

 

Nobody knew why it was called

Bachelor’s Grove. But when George was a

bachelor, he used to go there with all his

buddies and get drunk in the cemetery.

They never saw any ghosts, and they

would be drunk and laugh at the old

wives tales of the past. Continue reading “Bad luck at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery”

The flood and its aftermath

Brown waters sweep over the banks,

flood the farms on one side of the river,

the town, on the other.

 

Squirrels scramble to the tops of trees.

Families eye the rooftops for possible safe harbor.

They wonder, should we leave or stay?

The answer is a cop going door to door.

 

It’s too late to save

the bedding, the stuffed animals,

the books, the photographs.

The orders are

if it doesn’t breathe

it has no place

on higher ground. Continue reading “The flood and its aftermath”