Tomorrow I’ll work twelve hours. Maybe more. I took a second job. We need money. The build is going over budget. As they do, and I am happy to do what I need to do. Pulling wire isn’t what some wish to do, but I am among the few that will know how to do it. My company is functioning, too. Always. It’s been fifteen years of slathering my mind all over what to make it. I’ve made it tick long enough. If it can’t continue without me holding its hand I’ll see it when it wakes up, dust out its corners and revive what’s worth caring for. So here I sit, yet again with a beer, looking out our condo window thinking of the build. The great build. Or, so it is for us. Our tiny family- our house on the hill. Our second story windows face north and happens to be where my office is going to be. I’ll watch blizzards from my office window while reading a good book. It’s worth the hours of work. Twelve hour days with sweat running down my back is a gift to feel while knowing we’ll have what we’ve always wanted after the sweat has dried; receding into the same stillness that helped create it.
I have no time to read smart things right now
I can barely speak my name
I spent the morning in a basement pulling wire
with no AC on a hot and humid day
which produced truthful thunderstorms
Laughing down at me while I held hammer
in hand trying to swing, but couldn’t do to the
sweat pouring from my body whishing for rain
and when it finally came it didn’t much matter
as I listened to the crackling of electricity
‘Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting.’ -Hemingway, ‘The Snow Of Kilimanjaro’
A brilliant short story written by my favorite author. Notice his use of words and non commas when many would argue a comma was needed. I would debate that the commas not used were by design and the flow of the sentence as Hemingway saw it in his mind is much more important than where a comma ought to have been placed. The first line is a good example of what I’m typing about. Imagine a comma after ‘Now’ the entire sentence would stall. In my opinion he wanted the reader to keep pace, or to speed up.
And further, what Hemingway is writing about is truth. All of us writing currently, or whom have stopped writing, know exactly what Hemingway is talking about. For Hemingway to sum it up in one fucking sentence is why I honor the man. There is only one Hemingway and there can never be another.
I appreciate any and all of you who have continued to read my work.
I have your brass Railroad Maintenance Shop plate hung on display. It’s on a beam in the basement. I’ve hung many other antiques around it. I try and choose mostly cast iron. I think the color of the iron helps to represent my thoughts. The entire beam is covered with items and I’m still searching for more. Often I’ll pray underneath your brass plate. I’d say I miss you, but that wouldn’t be telling it all. I miss your physical form. I do not miss your presence. You’re still here and you still guide me.
You called us honey and you’d pull us in and hug us. You did this every time we saw you. I still remember how you sound when you breath. Your hands were massive and I could see strength in your fingers. For two summers you looked after us three. We’d run around your backyard while you worked in the garden, or in your shop. You’d break off pieces of rhubarb and give them to us and watch us squirm while trying to chew the bitter tasting plant. Then we’d turn on the hose and drink from it and wash away the after taste. We’d watch you pounding with your hammer or cutting wood planks while you were working in your shop. Your suspenders made your large frame look to be among the most solid of all men. You could create anything and you knew everything without boasting. Us three would ask questions without limits and you never tired of us.
There was a pile of bricks you wanted moved from the backyard to the plot of land across the street. You parked the tractor with it’s trailer next to the pile of bricks and told us to fill the trailer. We filled the trailer. It was summer and it was hot. We were sweating, as children do. It starts on top of the head and drips from the brow down the nose and off the body. Our hands were dirty with lime and dust. You drove the tractor, slowly, and we followed running and shuffling behind. Now, you said, line the bricks up like this and then stack them neatly. We had crossed the road and were in the second plot of land.
We lined the bricks and we stacked them neatly. It was still hot and we were still sweating. After we finished you peered at our work and said it looked good and to put the bricks back into the trailer. Then, drive the tractor back to where the bricks came from and lay them back in the yard.
We three didn’t mind stacking the bricks again. We three wanted to drive the tractor.
If only you had us each summer. I often write of you within a story. I think of you every day. I’m realizing that with your actions you have shown me something of the utmost value. I remember asking you who had built your house. You did. It started as a very small house. The bank wouldn’t give you a loan to build more. You then built the house steadily in sections. You did this when you had the money to purchase the supplies. Board by board. Your house is beautiful. I visit Gram; she says she still loves the house and we do too. The interior is hard wood with thick beams lining the ceiling. That’s why I put your brass plate on a wooden beam in the basement. I spend much time there. I remember all of the moments we shared and I wonder how you had so much time to spend with us.
Freedom. I see now that freedom isn’t what we were taught in school. Freedom isn’t getting up when a bell tells us to because we’re part of a group and aren’t we lucky. Freedom isn’t having things to show others, and look at us, we’re lucky and we’re good. Freedom isn’t climbing a ladder of success to then peer down from the top and pat oneself on the back. So many are left behind and forgotten in the wake of these illusions. You allowed me to witness that freedom is owning your time. And now I have an idea.
Thank you Grandpa.
I woke early this morning with these thoughts of my Grandfather. Megan and I leave for Maine shortly. I knew I had to write this or lose it. Good morning.
His heart pounded in his chest and his ears rang. He was in hell. He was sure of it. This moment; with this feeling of sickness, and pure hatred for what he felt, was hell. Welcome to hell.
No vomit came from his stomach. No vomit came from his throat and no vomit came from his mouth. His mid-section wretched up and down looking like an October cat in a filthy dance. Up and down his body rose and nothing came out. Yet he smelt his own vomit lingering all about him. Again, he rose up, and again he produced nothing. Beads of sweat were on his forehead and it wasn’t long before they fell onto the surface of the tub. He lurched heavily downward with a massive cough and something came up. Something vile and red landed onto the tub’s floor. Black. He saw nothing but black as he slowly faded and fainted again.
The full story is published and can be found via a link on my profile. – M. Taggart
An excerpt from Chapter 1. ‘Don’t Be A Sally’ – Written and published by M. Taggart