We asked people to share some of their write-a-thon works with us, and we got three brave takers: Sandy Kleven, Nancy Deschu, and writing from Alabama and with us in full write-a-thon spirit, former Alaskan Cindy Bell.
Enjoy their writings and please help us out by voting for one PEOPLE'S CHOICE, just for fun. Casual rules: one vote per person, writers are allowed to vote for themselves (as a scholar once asked: if we are not for ourselves, who will be?), winner gets a $20 Title Wave Books gift certificate.
NANCY DESCHU, TICK FEVER
Yellow flowers drift from the canopy
onto the dark soil path.
Traces of tapir, capybara, panther,
raucous calls of scarlet parrots,
bird songs and butterflies
float on humidity.
Ticks fall from dark trees,
small as silver pinheads
hunting for warm-blood.
101 degrees, we sweat,
Our necks drip wet.
We sit on a log, swab our faces,
I tuck my hair up in a cap.
A monkey above us looks down,
and pees, streaming onto our lunch.
We pick ticks from each other,
then lift our backpacks and begin again,
Walking through a tunnel of color and song.
Day by day tick bacteria
slip into my system,
in blood, heart, liver, nerves,
skewers into my brain.
My body boils with fever,
then shivers with chills.
But I do not die and feed the forest floor.
I live to tell about the flow of the forest –
prey predators, predators prey,
The petals on the path,
the panther print on the trail.
CINDY BELL, EXCERPT FROM AN ESSAY IN PROGRESS
Far too many days, I feel like Edgar Allan Poe’s character, Fortunato, in The Cask of Amontillado; I feel as though I could scrape my fingers, tattered and bleeding, down the brickwork and maze of morter joints in an useless effort to free myself. No one can hear my scream, silent as it is, caught in the thickness of my prison, grey matter and bone, muscle and skin. The difference, of course, is, no one “put” me here, behind this barrier to life, coarse and unforgiving, no one, unless that is, you believe in God. It’s in these times that I cry out, as Fortunato did, “For the love of God!” Nothing answers but the thump-thumping of my heartbeat which I myself can almost count in these moments of darkness.
These moments of darkness, known to the uninitiated as major depression, have gripped my life as long back as I can remember. While some people’s depressions are known to bring with them a palpable pain in their bodies, something that can’t be identified but which radiates and throbs the same as any life-altering injury, mine has always brought with it a painlessness, a high tolerance. When I was only 6, I sat across the road to our trailer on my little red bike, fresh out of training wheels. I watched a boy pumping the pedals of his bike downhill toward me. I miscalculated and sped across the road. He ran over me. I casually walked home with a broken collarbone...
SANDY KLEVEN, THREE POEMS
The red estate of my mind found purchase
in a clicking house of seventeen balconies, the sea.
Ordinary fields took root, the brook ran cold.
Festivities continued for hours – unmatched and fro.
No one was clumsy and a difference could be held in mirrors.
The highest notes were welcomed to the song.
As before, I was grateful for small favors, the kicking horse,
the trailing star, the half-wish matching of wit with chance.
No regret ever shook so many.
No design ever said so much to so few.
Large men begin to live within
my own small house on the south
side of my mouth where everything
was left to smolder. Last summer
it was done, a finished balustrade
strewn with men who strum.
Leave your guitar at home next time.
It is your voice I require.
You must get beyond this particular moment.
You have been stranded here, long enough.
Welcome the next with its bindle of paint,
gloves with no fingers, a comb.
Press your heart to the plow, wholeheartedly.
The one word is not strum. Neither
is it sinew or straw. When asked who will go
to the woodshed, shout your own fearful name.
Good job writers! And readers, please do us the favor of voting at right. We know they're all worthy, but we have a certificate to give away.