My mother, Carol Saling, died September 27, 2018. She was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1924 and would have been 94 this Christmas. Her dying, which was unexpected, followed a stroke that had occurred several days before. There was some lucidity for a day or two that brought about a rush of hopeful optimism among my brothers and me. But I think we recognized it for what it was and weren’t surprised when it proved itself short-lived.
Mom died in the hospital. But the house where she was living when she died is the same house she’d bought with my father 54 years before. It was the first house they’d bought since before I was born, and, for all I know, it was the only house either of them had ever owned. My father died in 1999, and for the 19 years following his death, she lived by herself in that house.
Yeats was a golden doodle who died too soon. A member of the family, my daughter called her Sister and told her daughters Yeats was their aunt. It was meant to be fun, but it was also befitting. She was the third member of our household — Sandy, Joe, Yeats. She completed us.
She was born, as close as we can tell, December 8, 2008. She died September 20, 2018. Nine years 9 months. Too soon. She is missed, but she will always be a part of who we are.
When I was seven, I was hit by a car. It was early March, the month of St. Patrick and of my special day, the feast of Saint Joseph. The accident is significant to me because that’s where my chain of memories begins. Before that, all I have is a collection of vignettes any one of which could be a memory, the residue of a story someone else has told me, or the imprint of an imaginary episode. When I rifle through them I sometimes feel I can order them chronologically. But they don’t connect to one another the way the memories do beginning with coming to while lying in the middle of the street one block from home with a mosaic of faces I didn’t know hovering above me.
I called for my mother and she answered even though I couldn’t see her. She said, “Your OK. Just lie still. You’re going to be all right.” She stayed with me all the way to the hospital. I know because I could feel her hand holding mine, and I could hear her talking, but for some reason I couldn’t see her. Continue reading
The Bacon Review was an online literary journal published from 2011 to 2016. Its editors Jason Barry and Eric Westerlind were a delight to read as well as to write for, and their commitment to good writing and to the writers they published is evident in the effort they made to preserve the work in an archive that’s easily accessible and well worth the time to peruse.
In July of 2013, they published my short story “Fireflies,” which you can find (all but the conclusion) in the archive. Or, you can read it here. But if you do, please don’t forget to click through to the archive and spend time with work worth reading.
First Published in The Bacon Review (on line) July 2013
(c) Copyright Joseph Saling 2013, 2018
Mary Ann, with autumn hair and eyes the rarest green. Mary Ann feeds the pigeons in the school court yard and prays at early mass with the nuns. Mary Ann teasing, running with my hat in her hand, throws it into a rose bush in front of the convent.
“Ouch! Stop that Jason! You’re pulling my hair!”
July 10, 2018
Issues Related to Supreme Court Nomination
What type of free, democratic society would exempt its public officials, including its highest elected official, from criminal investigation and indictment while in office?
An article in The New York Times by Adam Liptik dated May 29, 2017, says the closest the Constitution comes to addressing the issue is in Article 1 Section 3 that addresses the outcome of impeachment which “shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.” But then it also goes on to say: “But the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgement and punishment, according to law.”
Yesterday, I posted a notice on Facebook that I was closing my account at some point within the next two weeks. I am also on the verge of making a similar announcement about my Twitter account followed by closing my LinkedIn site. For many of us, the social networks are neither social nor real networks. They steal our time, they steal our independence, they even change who we are. And what makes it insidious is we choose to let it happen. I choose not to let it happen to me any more than it already has. Continue reading
Can you explain something to me? I heard Paul Ryan at his press conference describe how the new tax code will help America “recover.” And to give an example of how cutting the corporate tax to 20% will bring American businesses back, he used an example from his own state – Wisconsin. He said the biggest company headquartered in Wisconsin used to be Johnson Controls (or something like that), but they’re not there anymore. Instead, they’ve moved their business to Ireland where the tax is something like 12.5%. But when America cuts its tax rate to 20%, the company will come back and build new buildings and hire new workers.
Now I know my mind’s been clouded by all those years of teaching and defending the teaching of critical thinking. But I don’t even need to use critical thinking to figure out that 12.5% is significantly less than 20%. So are the operators and stock holders of Johnson Controls, who moved the company from America because they wanted to go where the tax was lower, just not smart? If that’s not the case, why will they be bringing the company back to America?
Maybe it’s just something about trickle down that I don’t understand.
First, you’ve got to clear your head. Because your head just keeps saying things that aren’t true. Well they are true most of the times you’re saying them. But sometimes like last Wednesday, they aren’t true. That was the day I saw the biggest, most beautiful butterfly I’d ever seen….
Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t answer when you called on the day after my birthday to congratulate me for getting through another year. But I was busy. See. It was my night to make the dinner, but I’d forgotten where the kitchen was. So I had to remember this whole series of mental exercises the therapist gave me so I wouldn’t get lost if I couldn’t remember where I was going. And I did get through them and found myself at the end standing outside of Publix Grocery Store. So first I was mad, but then… Continue reading
Before I get to poetry, I want to pose another question particularly for two groups: Actors and real people.
The other day, I saw an add on TV for Chevrolet and the awards they’ve won. As the add opened, The following appeared on screen laid over a group entering the set:
Real people not actors.
I know a few actors. Several, in fact, who are not only good at acting but are very good friends. It never occurred to me to ask them if they were real people. I just took it for granted. Now I wonder what they would have said to me.
Have any of you out there who have actors for friends or who just know some actors well enough to talk to them ever asked if they were real people? (We’ll assume they are real something — but it’s the people thing we need to know.) What did they say?
Now for the poem. “The Telling” was originally published in Aberration Labyrinth February 1, 2014. Continue reading