mbird1
Search Moongate About Jodey Bateman Pablo Neruda Translations by Jodey Bateman Contributors Michael Eliseuson Ken Peters Daisy Sidewinder Uncle River Abuela Musica Jalapeno Peppers Children’s Page Finder Submissions

 
 
 
 

 

                                          Thank
you
for
visiting....

 

SACRIFICE

SECOND FUNERAL

SPELLING BEE





























 
 

SACRIFICE
 

"Death is static and downright boring;
one needs the patience of the devil's confessor
to endure an eternity of lifelessness."

It's the process of dying that seduces interest.
A slowly dying mimosa.
Half the tree is green and full with seed;
half the tree is naked and gnarled.
Sap oozes from the dying side,
and a congregation hovers there;
ants, butterflies, hornets and bees keep a gluttonous vigil.
A blanket of the living covers that wounded bark,
and beneath the puffy white foam of sap lies a gash,
very straight, very deep, and very unnatural.
An idle hand held a knife,
on an evil whimsy--a flick.
The roots on the living side still rip through concrete.

But death closes its girdle,
and the concrete will begin to settle
as the living roots shrivel.
But not completely,
for each living form alters what's around it and dies,
then the altered resumes its former course,
almost.
For all of the sidewalk will not exactly fall back into place.
And the white foamed manna feeds the swarm,
as the last few seeds make their escape.
A sacrifice
not of anyone, anything on the tree
but of the tree itself.
It is finished
for the tree,
but not for the congregation.
 


next ~ top ~ Moongate






































 
 

SECOND FUNERAL
 

Miss Jane Somers probably died in Switzerland in 1929 of T.B.,
I surmise, though not from her words exactly.
Her words were couched in hope, but
with each succeeding letter her handwriting seemed weaker.
Always, she wrote, the doctors were keeping her a bit longer,
but she'd be back soon in Coney Island.
No letters dated after 1929.

The wrecking ball had done its work,
an entire neighborhood modernized into broken bricks.
In the tangle I found the box, in the box the letters,
always, "Dear Father." She was 19 in '29.
The box was in a closet,
dusty letters from a long dead daughter.
Now light shines on them one last time,
a final viewing;
the mourner--a rummaging stranger.
Rat droppings, I must wash my hands.
Can't keep the letters, no masterpiece of prose,
and Miss Jane Sommers never made the news,
no lost diary of the famous revealed,
nor was she anyone at all to me.
I put the letters back in the box, put the box on the curb
and leave them for the garbage men.

"Dear Father,

. . . miss you . . . can't wait to come home  . . .
write please . . . wait for your letters . . .
hope you wait for mine . . . I'm sure I'm in your prayers,
you're in mine, always."


next ~ top ~ Moongate

































 
 
 

SPELLING BEE
 

That brilliant contest of dullness.
A prodigy of rote assumes center stage,
well-meaning child.
But the meanings are reduced to mere cues.
No one really wants comprehension on stage.
To understand every word is scary,
safer to recite consonants and vowels
in their correct order,
before beaming parents,
until each child in turn
garbles that center stage moment
and leaves the light.
This spotlight is the first of many
and is for children only.
Adults must recite their alphabets
among themselves in the audience.
And the children study the audience.
There are many teachers teaching the same ABCs---
proper spelling is part of proper attire.
The child who memorizes this lesson best,
defines the future
and gets a trophy from the local politician.
It's the slick delivery that counts---
wear the appropriate business suit,
and mouth well-practiced sounds.
But remember prodigy
when you're grown up
and reciting within another, even more blinding, spotlight---
the audience eagerly listens for that misspelled word.
 
 

top ~ Moongate