I saw this on fy character development and was dissatisfied with the answer as I thought there was a lot more opportunity for character and story here; a reason, something more important than gender; simply, a relationship. I do like fiction writing, as seen in my poetry, but fiction prose is, for me, more elusive. The act of telling a story with a beginning, a middle and end is a monumental task. I find the questions to fy character development inspire me and I visit the blog often. Perhaps it is the limited character length allowed in comments on tumblr. My response to the question above for example could easily be turned into a poem instead:
I needed to be father or mother, but always her protector. Pea-Paw she’d say when she was two, grasping my fingers. Pea-Paw she’d say, squeezing my hand during her blood tests. Pea-Paw she whispered when she passed away. She had always called me Pea-Paw.
A poem for the Fourth of July
We Were Firecrackers.
After we rose screaming and before we became a shower of stars,
a sudden silence and the body floats slow; but the soul’s velocity still wants to go.
Cover your ears. We’ll puncture the air next to drill a hole in it, straight to shake the ground.
A faint crackle burns in our thunder across the towns below
who couldn’t care less as we fade among the sound of a new row.
the ones with nothing left to give
This is a story about the guy who works at the auto salvage yard whose job is to catalog useful parts on the worthless shit cars in the mud.
It’s a story of how he’s able to choose one of the new arrivals, to spot a good one and start it with a screwdriver. He always knows from a distance which ones will run though, and this one, the ashtray’s still full of cold cigarettes and the dashboard is covered in a film of dust. Maybe the windshield’s gone, maybe the foam in the seats is eaten up by mice, but it’s still got a little bit of gas, and even the heat works.
“You’d be surprised how far a car will go with three wheels!” he imagines himself saying to those he imagines are interested in what he does.
The radio is missing the knobs but he can still tune it. The car saves him from walking through the rain and the mud as he drives it around with his clipboard with a picture of his daughter taped to the top and his can of spray-paint for marking the cars with hints like “cracked block, “broken driveshaft,” or ”good trans” and a big letter X for the ones with nothing left to give.
This is a story about how everyday he reminds himself, that maybe he could, he hopes, he might find one of these cars in better shape one day and fix it up for his daughter who could drive it instead of riding the bus to her job at the liquor store where she’s saving up for community college.
This is a story about hope, hope of something left to give, in a guy who works at the auto salvage yard whose job is to catalog useful parts on the worthless shit cars in the mud.
replacing the barbed wire
Violent devices are the bodies we inhabit.
Life passes through us.
It has no time for prolonged visits.
There are symptoms which are present,
in this dust.
Work, blood, pain and sweat
are the evidence
in the eternal argument
that claims we are alive.
A simple man directed the build.
We followed a section of eternity,
a line of slight angles,
to mend a fence that defined a cathedral of land.
*This is not a new writing. This is a new edit, but I wrote this while working a cattle ranch in Montana in 07 or 06 during a terrible heatwave.
I’ll sail along this sky.
on a ship of promises
or as some would say,
cross your heart,
and hope to die.
I’ll be here, sailing,
or drifting in a very particular way,
believing your promise.
Not drifting, you’ll say,
I’ll see you smile.
I’ll sail along this sky.
What it’s like for birds
A field’s most difficult edge is its very center. The mind prefers outer edges. We look for refuge in a side and the mind tends to drift you to one. Staying in the center requires more activity, like controlling a dream. Maybe that’s what it’s like for birds to cling to branches, always being pulled away into the refuge of the air. You can only manage to cling to the center as long as you’re not aware of it. Tell a bird how marvelous it is how she clings to the branches and she’ll surely be pulled into the sky. Once you’re aware of what you’re doing, you’re veering into the side. You can no longer hold the center. The composition collapses. All the birds scatter, all at once.
We Were Firecrackers
After we rose screaming and before we became a shower of stars
a sudden silence and the body floats slow; but the soul’s velocity
still wants to go and go.
Cover your ears.
We’ll puncture the air next to drill a hole in it, straight to shake the ground.
A faint crackle burning in distant thunder across the towns below
who couldn’t care less
as we fade among the sound
of a new row.