I grew up in the Midwest, but ended up living for many years in the state of Virginia, working as a Black & White Darkroom Photographer — long story. I owned a medium format Mamiya film camera then — the digital age hadn’t arrived yet — and I kept it loaded with Verichrome Pan film and lugged it everywhere I travelled in the South.
I never set out on the road in the 90’s with any intention of opining or reporting anything about the South — I just happened to be in the area and began collecting images of old…
This is a second gathering of my short fiction on Medium — the first is at the bottom of this list. If you have already read and clapped for my work, many, many thanks. If not, may you find something around this bend that resonates — your very valuable time is much appreciated.
Now available on Amazon! A collection of poetry I’ve posted on Medium from the beginning. Available as ebook and now available in paperback. Many thanks to all of the support I’ve received from Medium friends.
…continued from The Home, Part 9
This is the final installment of an excerpt from a larger work in progress, still in the planning stage. I hope to self publish a final version of this memoir in the near future, which will include sketches and tales of life in a Catholic Orphanage beyond the” Little Girls”. Many thanks to all who have clapped and encouraged along the way. I hope that once again, down the road, we find ourselves traveling companions on the pages of this story. V.
Sister M. began packing our clothes. We had been living in the…
…continued from The Home, Part 8
The Sisters piled us on a bus early on the morning of Father’s funeral and we headed to church downtown. It was a regular yellow school bus, tainted a bright orange in the morning sun with GUARDIAN ANGEL HOME in black letters painted across the side so that everyone in town knew we were orphans.
Many people honked as we rode through town, or craned their necks at the stop signal to get a peek at us, some waved. People in the outside world would do the same as they drove by the orphanage…
Spring is a free verse
the poet regales her pink
tulip daffodil crocus
a solo song
before the chorus of green
mired in dirt
shadow swaying on
her bombs bursting in
at her feet
throwing her babes
feast for the eyes
beast for the nose
take your medicine
she’s a free verse
a rough road
constrained only by
a kind of chaos
under which she was wrought…
…continued from The Home, Part 7
There were a number of very old nuns who came through to help with the Little Girls. Some were sweet, filled with nothing but a desire to give everything their ancient hearts could muster. Others, like Sister C., ravaged by physical decay and a lifetime of giving, lost the spiritual war with their good side, allowing aching, aged bones to rule, where once they were lead by youthful vitality.
My rage was out in full force when one Sister G. arrived to help. She came occasionally to care for us when Sister M. was…
…continued from The Home, Part 6
Pierre — Part 2
In retrospect, Pierre seemed to be Sister’s escape from pain, loneliness, hard work and perhaps daily exposure to the effects of trauma on the little girls she cared for. Her own abuse was common practice in those days — it was an old world approach to child discipline and control that she more than likely experienced herself as a child.
Later in my life, I heard ideas about why Catholic nuns were so strict, sexual frustration being the most unkind theory that floated. …
The name of the parakeet escapes me now. He was a minor character in my life, but an important one to Sister M. It may have been Pierre or Louie, something French, probably Pierre. Sister found him dead one summer day and allowed us to gather round and view him.
He lay stiff on the newspaper below his perch amidst a few last droppings of meal and poop, his little beak slightly open and his claws still curled a bit as if they were still clinging to the little round wooden dowel from which…