YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

September 2009

VOL XVII, Issue 9, Number 197

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson

European Editor: Mois Benarroch

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Evan Light; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401



   David Sparenberg


   Rebecca Lu Kiernan 
      #999 My Brad Pitt for Mayor T-shirt
      #1000 Billy Bob Thornton's Crashed Jaguar

   Aristotle Sinclair
      External Introduction to a Scene of Isolation
      An Anger
      Investigation into an Altered Existence
      Various Degrees of Visiting Relaxation
      Trickery of Psyche’s Unexplainable Control
      Sacred, Sacred of the S’s Elegant Appearance
      Unfinished Beginnings

   changming yuan
      Winter Vision
      Comics of Kanata
      Dialectical Dialogue (2)
      Outer Spaces

   Joseph S. Pfister
      The Things We Never Say


   David Sparenberg


David Sparenberg


Here is only a partial reply to your question.  While I have studied the world's religions, 
those of the present and several of the past, I now take little interest in t metaphysical 
or theological arguments.  What has become important to me is the wakefulness and vitality 
of the soul, of soul-to-soul communication, people finding their way to the pathos of the 
divine, individually and together, and our participation in the creative healing of the Earth, 
history and the human condition.  Within this open invitation to take part in the voice of the 
hour, what President Obama calls "the fierce urgency of now," there are but three central tenets 
I adhere to: respect for life and the acknowledgement of vulnerability, which moves the heart to 
humility, courage and compassion; the recognition that there is an interconnecting intimacy of 
pathos that extends from the divine source throughout all of creation and which we are responsible 
to respond to, and that within the dynamic of the dialogue of response awaits the possibility of 
the prophetic promise of a steadily emerging and evolutionary globalization of peace, justice and 
lovingkindness, borne from creativity, respect and a sanctifying embrace of otherness.  The 
furtherance of this communion of hallowing requires what James Endredy calls “counter practice” 
and I have no doubt that the creation of democratizing counter practices is revolutionary.  However, 
it is gentle and quiet revolution, which demands no bloodshed for accomplishment, but requests in 
the depth of living articulation a bonding commitment to the future mutuality and biotic integrity 
of planetary life.

Rebecca Lu Kiernan 

#999 My Brad Pitt for Mayor T-shirt
I dive into my sea foam sheets
With Brad's face 
Pressed against my breasts,
Roll around 
Imagining how tender and kinky he would be.
We break into a traveling circus at 3 A.M.
We strip on the back of a tinsel-draped elephant.
His bronze hands cup my face
Like he is Jesus, or Mother Theresa at the least.
He slips his thumb into my mouth,
Whispers, "Baby, it's too late to change your mind."
He is pretending I am a surgeon with his heart in my hands.
I am imagining he is Smokey Bear encouraging me to play with fire.
The elephant groans, rises, begins to dance.
We fall off, startling the dog-faced boy.
Brad kisses me as if the guillotine comes next,
Convincing me I have the ability to communicate with the dead
And we will whisper sweetly to each other and laugh together
Long after the basket catches his head.
The ghost of him would be a playful pest
Stealing my Brad Pitt for Mayor T-shirts
So I would have to keep buying more and more.
On my birthday he would send me a Leonardo DiCaprio t-shirt
Wringing his hands that I might sleep beneath another's face.
Before bed each night he will sigh beggingly,
"Choose me." 

#1000 Billy Bob Thornton's Crashed Jaguar ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Without gentleness, mercy or permission, I ravish the slightly injured Billy Bob Thornton In the red leather back seat of his crashed Purple Jaguar. The confusion of his concussion makes him sexier than usual. He says he thinks he broke a rib. I tell him to stop his whining. He is imagining I am Helen Keller Feeling my way over his defenseless frame. I am pretending he is a contract killer. I demand he spank my bare behind. With every blow he grimaces in pain, And moves me closer to the gun under the seat. An avalanche traps us there for hours. He kisses me in a manner that reminds me I have always had the power to kill with a smile. We will never speak again. Six months later he steals all the orchids from my hot house, Press them in books until they turn black, He gets trashed on raspberry vodka, New Year's Eve, I am another tattoo on his back.
#1001 Claw Marks on Nicolas Cage's Tuxedo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I remove his cuffs and blindfold, Shove him into the orchestra pit Of an abandoned opera house. Clumsily he hurls himself Onto the metronome, Shredding his midnight blue tuxedo. "Damn it...custom made Armani!" He sighs calmly, As if this is the first unexpected event Of the kidnapping. He is imagining I am the perfume counter girl at Macy's. I am pretending he is a lion tamer. He asks if I have anything That smells like hyacinth in rain, Brown-sugared apricots, Crayons melting in the sun. I lick my nails and paw the air, Another tear in his frock, Four red lines on his white chest. We fall through the trap door. I land upside-down on his face. He laughs accusingly, "You've done this before." He kisses me in a way that teaches me I have the ability to fire-walk unscathed. Exhausted, I say to my dazed victim, "Your head should always be On the pillow beside me Or between my trembling legs, Or resting on the back of my neck, Dripping sweat. "Run away with me.", He says in a manner-of-fact tone. "Too busy running away from myself." It's the only answer that cannot break the spell Of a sexually enchanted man, And will also serve to dilute his delight of conquest When he has regretted the offer. His career lands in the toilet. He gets kicked out of rehab twice, Pounds on my door. He says he can see my feet, hear me breathing. He breaks the stained glass window With a stone lion, Ties me up and ransacks the place. He steals my koi pond One knob from my stove, Unties me and makes dinner for two, A candle between us. I think about walking through Such a short distance. I can run but I can't hide. He lifts me up to the table, Spreads me wide. The candle falls over. The curtains catch fire. "Anywhere with you!" I scream, Gathering a change of clothes, My purse, passport. We watch the house burn. Through his fingers and without eye contact He mumbles, "You gotta know it kills me To be unkind...But, well, I think maybe, Nevermind."
Aristotle Sinclair External Introduction to a Scene of Isolation ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Arms of pines wrapped in humid sleeves. Night’s charcoal coat away in cornered isolation facing bodies of numbered countdowns. Voice of a woman landed near my lap. Instead, a bird. Anomaly of sound, of social context, various voices blending into heat and delirious patterns of daytime’s many winds.
An Anger ~~~~~~~~ Her touch left a shadow of scent circulating my arm. Her leaving intensified the level of aroma, a darkened scheme removing self from an acclimation, contours colored through mystic cravings. After waking into a room of blurred rendition, her body with eyes dressed in vocal interpretations gauged my emotion as absence, as the scent on my arm rose into the distance her body became at dusk.
Investigation into an Altered Existence ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On blonde beach fingers of extracted seaweed wear green variations on painted nails. Seashells scattered form abstract bodies breathing sounds of waves’ gliding brand of walking. I sit and watch my loneliness look into fragmented glass. A seagull dives into feeding. Together satisfaction blends into green voices of assorted understatements. Fulfilled we comprehend without our eyes intertwining.
Various Degrees of Visiting Relaxation ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Air laid still, curled into a twig’s promissory pause. Water’s blanket, stored, dissolved into dissipation’s open mouth. The riverbed now fragments, fragranced with fresh monotone skin naked beneath filament sand. Air’s breathing exhaled, day began journey elsewhere. Night, its altered rotation slid onto a silvered shaving of moon’s delicate reappearance, angles formed in the dangle stripes of a spider’s ornamental mesh.
Trickery of Psyche’s Unexplainable Control ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Near a distance of littered oaks headstones erect like pointing fingers. Fingers perform a copacetic conjure. Pulled by strings of curious clothing, bouquets of the deads’ attire unseen by the burial of sounds. Heard, a blue jay’s language of a blue eye’s staring forth. Near my feet of trembling cultivation, I see through imagination one of the dead reaching for my truncated movement. Immediately, the shadow of the blue jay’s voice absconded, and now alone I lean into parting, leaving my imagination to fend off grasping of the reinvented dead.
Sacred, Sacred of the S’s Elegant Appearance ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Today a snake crawled into an alphabet of sounds on pale fibers of a carpet’s alabaster-blond hair. Skin of pennies untainted by the spending hands of mans’ collective cost— of an orange burn believed to bring spark across the belly of continuous curled manipulation. Its eyes of steel focus, but unknowingly attractive to the watcher unscared by its elegant slice into infinite shapes of dimensional curiosity.
Misinformed ~~~~~~~~~~~ After rain, absence wears a shrunken dampened wardrobe. Alone, I look into the charcoal canopy, listen to silent tongues of air’s influential soliloquies. My feet have left, gone to comprehend an afterlife of dance. My legs tremble, miss the movement of rain’s darting thighs. Alone, I realize rain has not absconded, my eyes only closed hearing the black shapes of Plato’s cunning cave, deviate me from the reality of rain dancing atop my uncovered scalp.
Unfinished Beginnings ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The dancer plunged and posed. She an alteration of classical posture. She a performance calamity preferred as is as an option leading watchers into a room of erroneous promises. The dancer plunged and posed. Outside an orange leaf lifted by wind’s one free hand twirled among a shifting aliveness. The dancer and the leaf spoke a common dialect though their voices never combined. And she later left her shoes among a pile of other disasters equating to the abandoned life painted by the hand of an autobiographic rendition of vacant self portrait.
changming yuan Winter Vision ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Two little crows Popping up From nowhere Try to Establish themselves: Two truths On the skeletal tree top Yawing fiercely Towards the sky, the wind, the buildings The fields and the entire afternoon All so fluffy white In jade-toned snow
Comics of Kanata ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ in London we speak like Americans in New York, we sound like Britons Comics of Kanata in London we speak like Americans in New York, we sound like Britons we mean to have American economy British politics, French culture yet we are lost in British economy French politics, and American culture one reason is we only look skookum another is too proud of our face off our blue line, and especially our puck more important perhaps, we pronounce z as zed rather than zee, eh?
Dialectical Dialogue (2) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the intensity of the night grows into a dream that rises like a cloud drifting above the skyline the emptiness of the day shrinks into a tiny mouth that blows like a whistle forgotten in a drawer isn’t that morning glow all made from such bright paradoxes hatched in the dark?
Outer Spaces ~~~~~~~~~~~~ the landscape is wildly wide is thin-colored thoughts loom above the skyline impulses swirl near the hills with no wind of feeling blowing the spirit sails on the sea it is boundless in the limbo the whole outside is at the tip of my mind’s tongue
Pumpkins ~~~~~~~~ Arhats squatting around in a fast fading field each flushed with protests against frost coming all too soon Buddha puts you there to guard an entire season but we will relocate you to guard our empty houses the last of an orange-dotted landscape the last to ripen
Joseph S. Pfister The Things We Never Say ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The snow comes down in fluffy chunks, making it impossible to see out the windshield. “For God sake, would you slow down already?” Rebecca says for the third time. I am only driving thirty, if that. “Can you do something besides critiquing my driving?” I ask, peering over the steering wheel. “Like maybe put on something we haven’t listened to five times already?” She snatches up the iPod, which has been on the same playlist—Spring Break ‘08—since Indiana. “What do you want to listen to?” she snaps. “How about something that doesn't suck?” I suggest fictitiously. We have been driving for five hours straight. Somewhere around Chicago the gray and blue skies opened, and the storm weather.com had been predicting dumped on us with all its late-spring fury. We’ve gone maybe twenty miles in the last hour, and from seventy-degree temps to thirty all in a day. But mostly, we’re sick of the cramped front seat of the teal-green Mazda we’re driving back from Georgia as a favor to my parents. “Well, that rules out just about all of your music,” Rebecca says. Brake lights up ahead shine through the flurry of white that hides the Illinois landscape. “If I hear Miley Cyrus one more time, I’m gonna puke.” “Shut up. I like like one song,” says Rebecca, sinking back in her seat and putting her feet up on the dashboard, a remarkable feat considering how small the car feels at the moment. “I was supposed to be in Milwaukee tonight,” she says, bringing up a topic we’ve already been over a dozen times and agreed is not worth discussing again. When we were in Georgia, Rebecca’s father called to warn us about the storm, but we simply crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. So far, the best hadn’t happened yet. Massaging the bone between my eyes, I guide the car with my other hand as it slices through the slush coating the interstate. Welcome back to the Midwest, I think. Rebecca puts down the iPod. “I just wanna sleep in my own bed tonight.” The heater between us—not used to being used in Georgia—is working overtime, and the ice-covered wipers squeak loudly as they cross the windshield. We haven’t shared a laugh since yesterday morning, and I’m beginning to think that spending spring break with my girlfriend instead of drinking beers at the cabin with my buddies was a poor decision. “Where are we staying tonight?” Rebecca asks, her voice tired and hard. She is looking out her window, though I know she can’t see anything. I certainly can’t. “A hotel probably. I hadn’t really thought about it.” “A hotel where?” “I don’t know. Somewhere. Once we get tired of driving.” “And when will that be? I’m already tired of driving.” “I don’t know,” I say, picking up the iPod. Rebecca gives me a threatening look. “Don’t you dare put on any of that screamo shit.” Snorting, I settle on the first loud band I can find. I don’t know if it’s because I really feel like listening to it, or if it’s just because she doesn’t. Rebecca lunges forward and fiddles with the heat, trying hard to disguise the fact that she can’t stand me at the moment. She doesn’t say anything for a long time, and neither do I. It is Well after one when we decide to pull off for the night, finding a small motel off I-90, north of Chicago. The first motel we try—a Ramada Inn—has no vacancies, and after a few choice words from Rebecca, we find a motel on the other side of the highway. The trail of lights from the interstate ignite the dark sky behind us, and the parking lot encircling the low-stretching building is littered with snow-covered cars. Pulling up to the front entrance, Rebecca gets out, slamming the door behind her. I leave the car running and start pulling out our luggage, even though I don’t know if there are any rooms available. Based on the look of the parking lot, though, my guess is there are. Shit, it is freezing. I have to jog in place just to keep warm. I know getting back in the car seems like the logical choice, but my thighs are stiff from the long drive and I don’t feel like sitting anymore. In fact, I don’t feel like doing anything but sleeping. The never-ending, disorienting swirl of snow continues to fall around me, illuminated in the glow of the humming Comfort Inn sign. The whole scene would probably look beautiful if it weren’t the middle of March. It was during finals week right before Christmas when Rebecca appeared in my doorway and yanked me from my desk, demanding I follow her. Where are we going? I asked. Outside, she replied. Should we grab our coats? It was snowing, giant flakes outside gliding past my window. No, she said, leading me out the door. Once we were outside, she broke into a run, disappearing into the wall of falling snow. What’re we doing? I called, trying to keep up. Just trust me, she said. The sudden cold made my eyes sting, and finding it hard to breathe, my jog turned to a half-hearted amble. Rebecca waited for me up ahead in her red sweater at the foot of a large snow bank formed by the parking lot and a rarely traversed path. I wanted to make snow angels, she said, grinning. So we made snow angels right there, in a T-shirt and red sweater in the falling snow. Rebecca liked to do random things. They made her feel alive, she said. We’ve been dating for almost a year, and it’s getting to that point where I have to ask where this relationship is going. I love Rebecca—and I’m pretty sure she loves me too—but I’m graduating next year and the future isn’t so clear. I try and imagine myself without her sometimes, but I can’t. I don’t know where I am going to live or if I am going to have a career. Rebecca still has another year left of school, and she’s from New York. She loves it there. I visited once, but I didn’t think it was anything special. Every day with her is an adventure. When I think about it, I realize that’s why I love being around her so much—her spontaneity. But tonight that liveliness isn’t there. We both just want sleep. The car is still running. I want to sleep in my own bed tonight as well, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Traffic is at a standstill, and it’s probably better just to wait out the storm until morning. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Where the hell is that woman? I’m freezing my ass off here in this parking lot that looks like it could be used in a made-for-TV holiday murder mystery. Go in, ask for a room, come out. That’s it. I’m about to stick my head around the corner and look inside when Rebecca’s petite frame appears in the glass doorway. Flinging a key card in my direction, she turns around and goes back inside. Sure, I’ll just park the car and bring in the luggage while I’m at it. No problem. “Which room are we in?” I mutter, meeting Rebecca outside the lobby elevator, a fresh dusting of snow in my hair. She has put her hair back in a sloppy ponytail and looks as tired as I feel. We both just want to sleep. “Two-twelve,” she says, as if she can’t believe I am actually asking. The desk clerk—a middle-aged Pakistani with a craggy face and a moustache—observes us quietly from behind his computer. I feel like a valet standing there with my bag slung over my shoulder and Rebecca’s suitcase in tow. She avoids my gaze, arching her head back and watching the numbers slowly unwind as the elevator approaches. The door dings open, and I follow her in with our bags, saluting the desk clerk who watches us as the doors slide closed, smiling. Glancing at Rebecca, I realize she is smiling, too. The short ride to the second floor is a quiet one, and we’re too tired to argue. There’s nothing that hasn’t been said in the last eight hours, and Rebecca seems perfectly content to stand silently on her side of the elevator, which is fine with me. Rebecca had said she wanted to see animals on spring break, so we did. We took my uncle’s car and drove forty minutes south to Wild Animal Safari. She fell asleep on the drive, though I wasn’t surprised. We had to rent a minivan fitted with metal bars once we got there, and we saw animals from every continent—camels, sheep, reindeer, pigs, tigers. Rebecca giggled when a zebra came up to the window and ate out of her hand. She said its breath was warm on her arm and gave her the shivers. Later, she shrieked and cowered against me when two long, sticky buffalo tongues swabbed the inside of the van like strange, hungry eels searching for food. She spent all afternoon tossing pellets to the smaller animals that kept their distance from the van. Her favorite animal was the giraffe. When the elevator stops, I stumble out, tripping over Rebecca’s rolling suitcase as she leads the way down the narrow, poorly lit hallway. Looking up and down the corridor, I get the feeling again that I’m in a Stephen King novel or a bad horror movie, and am secretly relieved to see Rebecca stop at two-twelve and slip the key card into the door. “Son of a bitch,” she moans a moment later, standing in the open doorway without going inside. “What?” I ask, joining her. “They didn’t clean the room.” She is right. A bed with what looks like day-old vomit on the sheets and a rollaway spilling its blankets like guts sits parked in the middle of the pastel-colored room, facing the TV, which is still on. The walls are decorated with tasteless, framed prints of mountain peaks covered in snow. Dropping my bag, I say, “I’ll go see about another room.” With an irritated look, Rebecca hands me her key card. “I’ll just wait here.” The front desk is abandoned, and the square clock on the wall behind it reads quarter to two. Ringing the service bell, I hear shuffling from the back. The smiling middle-aged desk clerk from before appears, though he is no longer smiling and looks as if I have roused him from a peaceful night’s sleep. “Can I help you?” he asks. He has a thick, foreign accent. All I want is a clean room to pass out in. “Our room hasn’t been cleaned.” The clerk looks surprised and gives me a worried frown, as if somehow I can’t be telling the truth. “Which room?” “Two-twelve.” He looks up something on the computer that I can’t see. “You said it hasn’t been cleaned?” “Right,” I say, trying to mask my irritation. “Okay, well,” he says, looking slightly flustered, “how about two-fourteen?” “That’s fine,” I say. Exchanging keys, the desk clerk mutters an apology and then disappears, leaving me alone in the empty motel lobby, waiting for the elevator. The first time I stayed with Rebecca and her parents, I almost killed their dog. It was an accident, though I’m still not entirely sure she’s convinced or has completely forgiven me yet. Rocco. The damn dog’s name is Rocco. I don’t even know what kind of name that is. Sure, Rebecca told me when I arrived at her parent’s place, don’t leave any food out because Rocco will get into it. And, sure enough, he did. We were in the living room watching “Seinfeld” when Rebecca realized that she hadn’t heard Rocco in a while—usually a sure sign that he was into something he shouldn’t be. That something was my gum on the end table in the family room where I was sleeping. Apparently, there is some type of chemical in gum that when ingested in large amounts—like say an entire pack—can be toxic to pets. Xylitol, or something like that. Needless to say, an emergency trip to the vet with a vomiting dog and Rebecca’s parents wasn’t on the itinerary. And what made it that much worse is that that dog is like the son Rebecca’s mother never had. A furry, pain-in-the-ass son who gets into gum instead of the liquor cabinet. If possible, Rebecca looks more infuriated than she was when I left, and doesn’t say anything upon my return. She hasn’t moved from the spot where I left her and doesn’t appear to care if she does. Scooping up my bag, I nod down the hall. Lugging her suitcase with two hands, she reluctantly falls in line behind me as I lead the way to two-fourteen. Inserting my key card and giving Rebecca a look, I shove open the door. Holding my breath, I flip on the lights. The room is—clean. Plowing inside, the unmistakable stench of cigarettes stops us before we can even close the door. I drop my bag with a sigh. “You’ve gotta be kidding me.” “Gross,” says Rebecca, shooting me a savage look, as if all of this is my fault—the weather, spring break, the motel, all of it. The reek of cigarettes from the last guest still hangs in the air, attaching itself to the drapes and walls like mold. “At least the room’s clean,” I say. “I don’t know if that’s the right word for it,” she says darkly, dragging her suitcase onto the queen-size bed at the center of the room. Extracting a small perfume bottle, she moves around the room, filling the air with a Burberry London mist. After a good dozen squirts, the room smells like an Abercrombie & Fitch store that has just recently allowed smoking. Grimacing, I empty my jean pockets of spare change, watching out of the corner of my eye as Rebecca pulls out her pajamas and starts to undress. Once she realizes I’m watching, she turns and heads into the bathroom. I finish changing, and plugging in my cell phone to charge overnight, I whip back the sheets and fall into bed. The sheets are stiff, but I don’t complain. I have a bed, finally. Peninsula State Park, Rebecca said, is something everyone should see, especially in the fall. We went up to Door County with my family, and the morning we decided to climb the observatory tower it was cold—the kind of cold you feel in your bones and makes you wish it was still summer. The 75-foot observatory tower soared above the trees in their autumn suits. Every inch of the painted, mud-brown tower was covered with names encircled with hearts, or couples with FOREVER carved beneath them. We added our names. When we reached the top, we could see for miles. The sea of trees below us roared in flames of red, yellow and orange, and we pointed out which islands on Lake Michigan we’d build mansions on someday. As breathtaking as the view and jagged coast looked in the late morning sun, we didn’t stay long. Rebecca reappears from the bathroom in an old T-shirt and sleeping pants a moment later. She has let her hair back down, and reluctantly lies down on the bed beside me. “The sheets smell like cigarettes,” she says. I nod, my face still buried in a pillow, facing away from her. “I don’t wanna think about what else they smell like.” The fatigue from the day has finally hit us full-force, and even the silence feels exhausting. Turning off the lamp on the nightstand, we lay in silence, listening to the heater on the wall sputter. Rolling over, I can see that she is lying, arms folded on her stomach, staring up at the ceiling. It’s not often you get a perfect day, she said, but this was close enough. It was our last day in Savannah—part of our mini-vacation while on vacation—before heading back to my uncle’s. We had the day to do whatever we wanted, and Rebecca was happy just to sit in one of the squares. Savannah, she said, was the most beautiful place in the world. That’s why we went there in the first place—because she wanted me to see it for myself. We sat in the green grass beneath the sprawling oak trees coated in Spanish moss and old-fashioned lampposts, listening to the life around us. The mood to draw struck Rebecca, so she pulled out her drawing pad and pencils and started sketching away. I didn’t learn until a truck stop in Indiana that with all that beauty surrounding us, she had chosen to draw me instead. “We’re never staying at a Comfort Inn again,” says Rebecca. I nod in the dark of the room, a smile I can’t help spreading across my face. It begins as a chuckle, but soon we are both shaking with laughter. In the morning, the sunlight on the snow outside our window is blinding. We dress quietly and check out before ten, the night before feeling like the remnants from a night of heavy drinking where bad decisions were made and have to be faced. We say nothing to who we assume is the desk clerk’s wife, and after loading our luggage into the Mazda, we drive across the street to the BP we somehow didn’t see the night before. We get breakfast—Pop-Tarts and Mountain Dew and a copy of The National Enquirer that Rebecca grabs—and as we pull out, destined for the barren vein of interstate that cuts the snow-covered landscape, Rebecca reaches over and clutches my hand. She is reading about cyber-hookers, and that is when I realize she is probably the best thing that will ever happen to me. THE END


David Sparenberg


The pure and sweet souled 
Mahatma Gandhi 
commonly said, 
"I am a Hindu and a Moslem, 
a Christian and a Buddhist.” 
In his ashram 
at daily prayers, 
Gandhi prayed 
to include all faiths. 
We too would benefit 
from his lesson 
in tolerance and participation. 
the essence of 
all religion is compassion. 

Can we say: 
I am a human being, 
living here, in this time, in this 
space, a citizen of the world; 
an integral and engaged member 
of this One 
Earth Global Village. 
I am a Hindu and a Moslem, 
a Christian and a Buddhist, 
a Pagan and a Jew. 

I am one 
with all compassion, 
with all genuine love, 
with authentic integrity, 
for freedom for justice, 
for peace and for honesty, 
affirming dignity 
protecting diversity 
in nature and of cultures. 

Wherever there is humility 
and an open heart, 
I am, in my soul. 
Wherever there is kindness 
and an open hand, 
I am with these 
unconditional hands 
of flesh and life-giving energy. 

I am food 
and I am water. 
I am air 
and I am light. 
I am many 
and I am only one. 
is the phenomenal power 
of cosmic unity. 
Where a voice is necessary, 
I shall be 
a steadfast word. 
Where an ear is called for, 
I shall be the foremost 
of heartfelt concern. 
Where eyes are required, 
I shall bear witness 
with uncompromising vision. 

There is no purpose 
here, in this life, 
greater than devotion and praise. 
There is no path 
for the mortal sojourn 
more worthy 
than the way 
of expressed compassion. 

I am a child 
in the family of living spirit 
and in the unboundaried 
of universal souls. 

Like the genuine 
I would open my hands 
and my little self, 
releasing the canker 
worm of violence 
and welcoming the butterfly 
of peace.  

Here, between my tears 
and the smile 
of awakened serenity, 
I offer my prayer: 

Generation, you, 
let me stand 
among us all, on this wounded 
mother earth, with 
naked feet, 
in humility and courage, 
to be who I am, 
when I have understood 
and transcended 
the misconceptions 
and the betrayal 
of who I was. 

The poem Compassion is from HEALING, A Book of Poetry by David Sparenberg


All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

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