the grasshopper in winter

ASH ...

ASH ...
August 15
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APRIL 19, 2012 12:26PM

The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 4/20-22/12 ~ DUST AND DREAMS

Rate: 15 Flag


mud and dream 4




I am a weak, ephemeral creature made of mud and dream

Nikos Kazantzakis from The Saviors of God (1927)


I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.

The epitaph of Nikos Kazantzakis (18 February 1883 – 26 October 1957)



          Your eyes are blossoming in darkness like flowers hungry for light.  I am no longer your light.

          “Hey, Old Pal, Where am I?  Am I dead?  I remember closing my eyes in my own bed.  My children are with me.  My son the teacher is saying, ‘We love you, Dad.  It’s OK to let go’.  What does he mean?  My daughter the nurse is saying, ‘You have Alzheimer's disease, Dad.’  My son the TV news producer is coming to town with Logan my grandson to see me soon.  What a great little kid.  Logan is going to be an athlete someday.  I hear my daughter say, ‘Dad will deteriorate in sharp steps.  One day he will be helplessly bed-ridden and then he will just dream like Mom did.  Remember how Mom talked to her dead sister as if Shirley was right there with her?  At least Dad will be able to die at home the way Mom did.’”

          Your wife, Jeanie… She is the blood of sea captains.

          “My wife, Jeanie...  Do you know how lucky I am to find her?  She is with my friend George on a double-date.  I just keep looking over at her.  It works out OK.  George is gay, you know?  You kids are really lucky to have a mother like that.  What a mind.  I’m just a guy from Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  Who could have ever told me that she’d end up with me?”

          I am the voice of your thousand ancestors.

          “Hey, Old Pal, Jeanie and her dad are listening to the Bates College football games on the radio.  They are listening on the day I score three touchdowns.  I come to Jeanie’s house for that first date and her father knows who I am!”

          I am your oldest friend.

          “Our football team is all veterans of World War II.  Bill was shot down over Germany and survived.  Norm was in France where he would cross into enemy lines and kill them in their sleep.  Arrow manned a machine gun on a dead tank in Salerno and saved his squad.  You can imagine what animals these guys are on the football field.  I am fast, that’s all.  Fast like my grandson little Logan is going to be and a better athlete than I am”

          I am the desires of your thousand descendants.

          “Our coach is 'Ducky' Pond from Yale.  I met him when I was boxing in the Navy but he doesn’t remember who I am.  I wish Logan could meet him.”

          I ask you not to die.

          “I am a pilot in the Navy.  Losses in the Pacific campaigns are not as great as feared so they are slowing down our graduation and sending us to colleges in different Southern states for more classes.

          Listen only to me.

          “I love to fly.  But I am lost, separated from my squadron.  I am diving down to that train station to read the city name.  I am young and cocky.  I execute a perfect landing back at the base.  There is a red light on the tower.  They want to see me.  A Marine is in my face threatening to wash me out.  I don’t know what I’ve done wrong.  I think it was a perfect landing.  Maybe he has the wrong guy.  I am not asking.”

          Everything you see is yourself echoing.

          “I am just a kid picking tobacco for extra money for our family of eleven kids.  Father is a mechanic but he drinks.  On Father’s payday Mother marches with all us kids like ducklings down to the bar to confiscate Father’s money.”

          Hope for nothing.

          “My brothers and sisters want me to come to town with them to see my first moving picture show.  I see the movie posters lining the wall inside and I am thinking that ten cents is too much to pay to look at a bunch of posters.  My big brother Donald explains it to me and he laughs at me.  The movie is a Gene Autry picture show The Singing Cowboy.  I love it.”

          Fear nothing.

          “My friend Kenny is cleaning his shoes with gasoline and he catches on fire.  He dies.  My friend Arlen drowns diving into the Connecticut River and I watch from the bridge as they are pulling him out.”

          You are free.

          “Old Pal?  Old Pal, where are you?  I am sowing Jeanie’s cremated remains onto our favorite mountain meadow.  I find a slender bone from Jeanie’s finger.  I touch my face with it.  Who is touching my face with it?”

          You know.  You are now Old Pal.



          “Time out, guys!  Hey, Logan!”

          What does your coach want now?

          “Logan!  Your father is here.”

          Uh-oh.  You never see your dad at your practices.  He sleeps days and works nights producing the news.  Yeah, fuck is right.  The only good news is no news.

          “Logan, get over there!  Your Grandfather passed away.  You’re going home for the funeral.”




“Old Pal” is from Pagoo, my favorite book as a child





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Everything you see is yourself this. Loved the bone caressing the cheek. Deep. Very deep.
Haunting. Each little vignette is like a complete story unto itself loosely tied together by the refrain. Well done. R
Love the format, cinematic - I cd hear, see, feel and felt like a part of the events.

Love the idea: everything you see is yourself echoing
I have to agree with the cinematic comments-- this is a film.

The age of the voice changes with each vignette, really beautifully done.

My favorite line: Your wife, Jeanie… She is the blood of sea captains.
A beautiful film but a hard read. Sad and encompassing. It really is a brilliant piece AsH. It does feel like a screen play...interesting...thanks I've read it several times and will link to Pagoo.
Wow, just wow. Great combination of prose and poetry. The flashes of memory bringing the commanding philosophy down to a more earthly, a more human level; making them the product of experience rather than an esoteric pronouncement. The effect is both eerie and calming, like the peace after battle. I liked this a lot.
Indeed a relenquishing of the sword. The fight is over; long live the experience of life in a flash.
A heartfelt poem, sand flowing through the fingers of each story, existence described, when most difficult to face, in a moment of mourning. Well captured.
Easily your best piece from what I've seen. Praises to the thread, seriously rated. This should be anthologized and further awarded.
Reminds me of "and time marches by." We don't move through time, rather it moves through us. As we die, I don't think we go back over the past, as much as the past travels through our minds. You have caught the moment in slow motion, set with a quick pace.
I really like how you told this story. Really well done.
A glimpse into another mind. Sharp, at first, cognizant, the characters introduced, clearly. Then, with each descending paragraph, the lapses begin. Then, finally take over. This is just astounding what you've depicted, the slow, and methodical erosion of the normal train of thought, the wandering thoughts, half sentences, as if perceived from INSIDE a mind afflicted with this. Ash, you've outdone yourself, and believe me, that looks like no mean feat from here. Big ole' R, matey. Truly.