Bobbi Troy

My Heart Was Hurting

(For a friend)

By Bobbie Troy

my heart was hurting

when I heard the news

that my sister’s head pains

required testing

my heart was hurting

and I wished I could

remove it for a rest

from all the stress

my heart was hurting

and I wanted to give it a hug

to return it to normal

if there is such a thing

instead

I had to remain calm

and wait

just wait

for the diagnosis

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Dianne Deloren

Mother and Daughter

We’re not just any two people,
We’re mother and daughter
We have a past, a present and
(God willing) a future.

She has a story about us
That lives inside her,
I have a story about us
That lives inside me.

Yet we’ve never shared those stories.
I’m certain they wouldn’t match.
I wonder what her story about me is?

Can I say anything to heal the hurt?
Can I let the present be good enough
To override the past?

Dianne Deloren is an artist, writer and speaker living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Harris Tobias

The Miracle

There is a church in Moltz, The church of St. Bartholomew, It’s an old undistinguished stone church in a town of many undistinguished churches. It has the dubious distinction to be the church closest to the old Jewish ghetto now called the Jewish quarter. Indeed, one whole side of the church forms a portion of the quarter; but otherwise there is nothing to distinguish this church from a thousand other Romanesque stone churches exactly like it. In the church’s square tower is a great old brass bell made, it is said, from the melted cannon of the defeated Moors or the Ukrainians, there is some dispute about this as the records were lost decades ago.

The great bell rang only a few times a year on significant Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas and of course on St. Bartholomew’s Day. A smaller, lighter, easier to ring bell rang for daily prayers and to mark festive occasions like weddings. There was no mistaking the great bell’s voice. When Father Ignatius mustered his strength to ring it, its booming, clamorous gong could be heard for miles. 

One summer day, the great bell rang for no apparent reason at all. The town’s people stopped in their tacks and looked at each other. They shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders and wondered what was going on. The following day the bell sounded again, this time in the evening, again for no reason at all. No one in Moltz could figure out what was going on. The church fathers denied they were the cause. Indeed Father Ignatius was seen taking coffee in the square when the bell sounded.

It quickly became a local mystery. People listened for the random strikes. A dozen wild theories sprang up to explain the phenomenon. Those Christians of a superstitious nature thought the bell was announcing the arrival of an angel sent by God to watch over and protect the city. Others said that bell was tolling for the departure of another soul to heaven.

The town’s Jews had their own theory. They claimed, strictly amongst themselves mind you, that the great bell rang whenever the Pope in Rome farted. They would hear the bell and give a conspiratorial chuckle.

But the truth was that no one really knew why the big bell rang when it did. Some days it did not ring at all. One day it rang three times. It came to be known as the Mystery of Moltz and slowly but surely, it brought a measure of fame to the drab little town. Learned men would come to study the bell and write their theories in scholarly journals. They would couch the mystery in scientific jargon using words like ‘temperature fluctuations’ or ‘seismic activity’ to explain the bell’s bizarre behavior.

Slowly word of the mystery spread and people would come to Moltz in hopes of hearing the bell sound. They would consider themselves lucky or blessed if they heard it. Tourists, at first from nearby cities, would book a room in Motlz’s few hotels and hope to hear the bell. While they waited, they would walk around the square, eat in the restaurants and see what little there was to see.

After the first visitor claimed she was cured of her congenital blindness by the fortuitous ringing of the bell, there was a flood of pilgrims that came to be cured. The lame and afflicted from all over the region limped or wheeled or groped their way into Moltz in hope of experiencing the miracle of the bell. Suddenly, Moltz was a destination. 

The whole town prospered. The hotels were booked to overflowing. People rented out rooms in their houses if they had extra rooms. They rented barns and sheds if they didn’t. St Bartholomew’s vestibule began filling with crutches and braces from the pilgrims who were cured by the healing bell. The Bishop himself came from Metz and declared the bell an official holy site.

In the Quarter, the Jewish merchants saw no reason why they shouldn’t join this tidal wave of prosperity that had washed over the town. Moishe Cohen, the baker, baked a batch of bell shaped cookies and put them in his window. He couldn’t keep up with demand. The tailor, Yitzak Pearlman, began embroidering bells on hats and shirts— people loved them. A history of Moltz was hastily written including the wholly fabricated legend of the bell describing how it was blessed by St. Bartholomew himself.

The bell became the unofficial symbol of the town. It’s image appeared everywhere—on post cards, souvenirs, clothing. Guide books began to mention the phenomenon. This stimulated more interest and brought more business. The ‘Random Bell of Moltz’ the papers called it. This went on for three years before stopping as suddenly and mysteriously as it began.

At first, the people were not alarmed. Over the years there had been many days when the bell did not sound. That was what made it random after all. “Not to worry,” the locals told the pilgrims. But after a solid week of silence, there was serious consternation in the town. People can get used to prosperity. And after three years, everyone in Moltz was hooked on it. No one wanted it to end.

There were increasingly urgent meetings of the church fathers. Father Ignatius met with the other clergy men in town. Together they prayed and fasted for the miracle to return. Was God punishing Moltz they wondered? Had they offended Him in some way perhaps by acting too greedily?  The mayor and town council met in emergency session to see what, if anything, could be done to continue the prosperity in a post bell era.

 In the Quarter, the rabbi and the synagogue board met to hash out what meaning an inscrutable God might have had for ringing a Christian bell in the first place. Who could fathom the creator’s reasons for doing anything? Naturally no one had an answer. No one that is except the Rabbi. He had been thinking long and hard about the bell and its larger meaning for his congregation. When you are a small and persecuted minority, everything that happens in the world goes through the prism of “is this good for my people?” The Rabbi had to admit that in general the miracle of the bell was a good thing for the Jews of Moltz and that, if it continued, the families in the Quarter would benefit. Coming to this realization, the Rabbi waited until the next day for school to begin. When it did, he called Little Chiam Sadowsky into his office and sat the boy down opposite him.

 He stared long and hard at the boy now twelve and big for his age. Two weeks before the Rabbi had caught him misbehaving and punished him. Now he looked at the boy, soon to be a man, and pondered the ways of a strange and mysterious God. He reached into his desk drawer and took out the confiscated sling shot and handed it back to the surprised lad.

 As the boy reached out a tentative hand to take it, the Rabbi said, “Just not on the Sabbath, alright Chiam? We understand each other?” The boy nodded and took the object from the Rabbi’s hand. 

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Fabrice Poussin

 Contemplation 

Magician with a thick dark amber

she dreams another world

poet of lands known to only her

and the few who still follow.

 

Letters, syllables and song

dance in the depth of her mind

she writes in silence the light

which night cannot penetrate.

 

Standing by the hazy glass

she mixes the thoughts and flashes

watches as the jar stirs with life

aromas arise from the trembling pages.

 

Her soul floats between the lines

success at last comes to the artist

who lives in the land of precious dew

she is the prospector of unknown wealth.

 

Memory to travel the ages

transcending the realms of her being

ever present yet stilled she speaks

loud words into the quietude of this land.

 

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Dr. Ralph Monday

Tongue Wagging & Snake Waving 

The holler where the church sits deep

as Dante’s pit. Over in Bell County

across the state line, a preacher’s wife

died from her faith, bitten by the slithering

garden. They cry out in tongues unknown

from the time of Caesars.

Frosted hemlocks frame the woman through

the window as she lifts the copperhead where

its mouth opens & the women call out in

primal dialects, spirit songs, snake dangerous

muse & warning.

The snake is the color of new copper pipe,

burnished, glowing, twining about her forearm,

a vine climbing a disenchanted tree.

Around her throat a big diamond back is strung

like a black pearl necklace, forbidden lover

touching the heart from a black core as did all

those backseat lovers the snake exorcises.

The songs & the cries & the hieroglyphic

vowels vomited from pews to make a hell of

nothing outside the windows, for in here the

nothing inside, empty as a cistern in drought,

devoutly desires filling by snakes, song, spoken

tongues that no one understands, new lover

sought in the spirit.

Snake handling is secret now, the faith outlawed.

Bad publicity and media coverage drove them

underground as in the time of Roman persecution.

One snake per Sunday, some drums mingled

with voices, long, godly hair, blue denim

skirts, empty windows.

A trinity of reptiles on Christmas & Easter.

 

 

 

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Harris Tobias

My Mother’s Hands

Those hands 

Knarled and wrinkled

They hardly look like hands at all

More like fledgeling birds

Or the lumpy fruits of some exotic tree

I do not recognize them

Though once they meant everything to me

They shielded me when I was young

They bathed me and changed my clothes

Those hands

Soft and loving

They were smoother then I suppose

Resting now they need do no more

I hold them now that they are old

I squeeze them to let you know that I am here

I hope you’re young again inside your head somewhere

And strong and busy with all the doings

Of a family and a million chores

Resting now they need do no more

They were talented hands

Flitting softly on the piano keys

They made symphonies 

Those hands

They could be severe

They struck me more than once 

And just as often dried my tears

They served you well for 90 years

Resting now they need do no more

Those hands

Those able hands that led me into manhood

And taught me right from wrong

Still now

They are silent as your song

 

Some stories

My books 

My Blog

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Frank Adams

Reminiscence 

In mother’s kitchen there was always the aroma of something cooking – but my favorite food was her chocolate chip cookies.  No words adequately describe their scent and allure – the first bite – the taste of butter, sugar, chocolate and vanilla extract.  These were holy wafers – my desire knew no bounds. I was never sated.  Food was the balm to reward achievement – a good report card – and the tonic to take the away the sting of a bullies words and fists.   And, for me – food was a also a punishment.  I was a fat boy who did not need more food – who hated myself for wanting it – hated myself for eating it – called myself all of the names the bullies used – then wept when no one heard my despair.  Appeals to mother always ended with the words, “You’ll grow out of it, ” –  which I eventually did.  But, only after years of therapy, diets, pills and remorse.  Now, the aroma of chocolate chip cookies reminds me of childhood – of mother and home.  It also reminds me of the fat boy I was – the fat boy who still looks out at me from every mirror I gaze into.

Biography –

Frank Adams is Lambda Fellow in Poetry.  His poems have appeared in Chelsea Station, Q Review, Iris, Glitterwolf, Down-go Sun, Cavalcade of Stars  and Vox Poetica, as well as in other venues.  Two collections of poems, Mother Speaks Her Name and Love Remembered were published by Wild Ocean Press, San Francisco, California.

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