First Communion

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

At the Frick

It’s been a while, but I can’t not post anymore. Please take a moment to visit the Bacopa Literary Review Editors’ Blog and read the post for today put up by Mary Bast, the Bacopa Literary Review Editor-in-Chief. My story “Eva” was published in the 2016 issue and was the 2016 Fiction Runner-up Prize Winner. Mary’s been very gracious and generous in her comments to me about the story, and now she’s taken them public. I know it’s not nice to boast, but I feel very honored to have a blog post about my work that starts with the mention of Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), Alice Walker (The Color Purple), Russell Banks (The Sweet Hereafter) and  Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale ).  And then while you’re there, don’t just look at today’s post. Spend some time looking around. It will be time well spent.

And now for something different…

The pigeons in the picture are not  at the Frick. They’re part of a fountain at a former convent that now houses a school of art in San Antonio. The Frick is an art museum in New York. The poem below is a repost from a few years back.

At the Frick

In the museum, the bronze statuary,
Small enough to be held in hand, excites
You. The artist’s craft, his love of form both
Transparent, his hand invisible, his soul,
Poured like liquid stone, became these figures,
And we become the air through which they move.

Yet in a poem, I could give you more
Than these perfect bodies. I could give you
All of their warmth, all of their hue, and more.
I can give you the sun in a blue room,
Balconies with no way down, salt-laced rhythms
Of tides, sea birds unreachable. But still
I can never see nor feel in the cold
Dead bronze the things you see, the things you feel.

Originally published in A Matter of Mind, Foothills Publishing, 2004.
© copyright 2004, 2015, 2017 Joseph Saling and The New Word Mechanic Blog.
All rights reserved.

From the Archives: Series 1 — The Anti-Meeting Movement

First Settlement marker at Bedford NH

First Settlement marker at Bedford NH (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t take sole credit for all the items published under the label of “From the Archives.” Some, like the Anti Meeting Movement, are the result of a collaborative effort of academics who wanted to think themselves beautiful people living in a world that could have only been created by J. D. Salinger.

Not Minutes

Nor Hours

Nor Seconds

Nor Even Days

Enter the Catalogue

“The effect of the three-part series is normality and reasonableness, and it is related distantly to the syllogism. But when the writer creates the third kind of series, of four-or-more parts, he achieves another effect: that of plethora, abundance, the unlimited, or what Professor Corbett calls the ‘weighty and exhausting.’ At times the effect is extended to that of the diversity that is confusion. With the longer series the writer moves from the certainty of the two-part, from the reasonableness of the three-part, to the more complicated emotional realism of the catalogue.” (Weathers, 97)

s, m, xl, fat
bl, br, chartreuse
$37.00 ($2.50 members)

Since the first order of business we did not conduct at the first tri-annual, bi-weekly departmental anti-meeting was to not appoint someone to take minutes, those of you not present at last Friday’s session will never know what happened there unless you ask someone who wasn’t there, but then that wouldn’t help. Just be advised and otherwise informed that this is not an apathetic society of sorts but a genuine movement toward anti-movement–unless trust is mis placed, in which case, those in formal dress will be considered to be in an anti-trust suit. (We can tell you, though, that attendance was good among those who went and not so good among those who didn’t.) (Please specify color and size and include your membership number on all checks.)

(available in either Beta or VHS)

A Cat and Its Tale   Since some members of the department left other members of the department holding the bill last Friday, there will be more departmental undergraduate-level ego stroking at a departmental anti-meeting, but not this Friday, owing to the disloyalty of some members of the department anti-organizing committee who think social engagements are more important than anti-social meetings and some members who won’t be sane enough to start the whole process over again this Friday. Therefore, the next anti-meeting will be held a week from this Friday (That’s February 22) (note the vag ref of “that’s) (SEE HNDBK, P. 24). There will also be a change in venue. (Idiom). The trial (see, I knew what it meant) will be held at the Sheraton Wayferer (sp?) in Bedford, NH, starting at 3:30 in the afternoon. (Mature audiences only. Must be 21 to order.)