A New Short Story to Check Out

emergency2-1137137_1920

I just published another story on my blog at Steemit.  The story refers to my brother’s brush with death when he was nine years old.  He had severe heart disease. One hospital refused to treat him.  St. Francis Hospital, in Roslyn, New York accepted him as a transfer patient.  The physicians at St. Francis saved his life.

I think my story is a commentary on the fragility of life and on the importance of seeking care at a topnotch medical facility.

I was five when my brother had his crisis.  Everything was clear to me as it unfolded back then.  All of us knew, my siblings and I, that my brother might die.  Although he came out of his acute crisis that first night, he struggled for months to overcome the heart disease that had plagued him for years.

My brother’s struggle became part of my developing psyche.  I don’t think I would be the person I am today without having gone through that early trauma.  While I was just a witness to my brother’s struggle, in a family there is no such thing.  Each person is part of the event.

If you feel like checking out my story on Steemit, please do.  The story doesn’t talk about my brother so much.  It deflects the panic of the moment onto an attending physician, who goes through a life-altering crisis of his own.

Thanks for reading my blog.

 

Recesses: A Really Dark Poem

 

 

Swamp public

I’m posting a poem here with a bit of hesitation.  It is a dark piece, and not at all representative of my writing.  I blame the darkness on my subconscious.  As readers of this blog may know, I grew up in challenging circumstances.  In a previous blog, A Burial, I refer to a grim episode in which several of my dogs were poisoned.  The family never discovered who poisoned the dogs.  Each poisoned pet had to be buried.  Since my father was absent, my older brother took charge, as he often did.

It was winter, and the ground was frozen.  My brother was obliged to improvise.  He found a bog, deep in the forest, in which the deceased animals’ bodies could be dispatched.  The mud would absorb whatever was thrown onto it.  This constituted a sort of burial, the best he could manage.

Years later, when I began to write, I searched my mind for inspiration.  The poem posted below came to me, almost in an unbroken stream.  There’s little doubt I was healing an old wound.  In the poem I imagine a murder, in a swamp, but this time the murderer doesn’t get away.  My subconscious metes out a rough justice.

Here’s the poem.  Beware: It is dark.

 

Recesses

In the rustle of the swamp reeds

In the ceaseless crackling clamor

Of the swamp’s pursuers and pursued

A very careful and interested listener

Might have heard

The faintest sigh

An expiration of breath

Blended casually and perfectly

With the flow of generation and degeneration

So its individuality

Its particularity

Was lost

 

No one heralded its passing

Except the swamp’s general chorus

Of insect and animal activity

Which signaled without prejudice

The birth and demise of multitudinous creatures

 

In the wetness of the earth

In the dark and malodorous puddles

Seeping through an eternity of swamp grass

The smallest rivulet of blood tinted the ground

Blended with greater streams and

Became indistinguishable

From the enveloping deepness of their color

 

Through tangled trees and weeping weeds

He fled

The mute rebuke of her still presence

Propelling him

The hours since he killed

Darkened the earth

Until night dwellers rose from their nests

And joined the uncensoring cacophony

 

He knew this dense and murky world

It would have granted him a bed

Had he stopped

He could not

Panicked by the specter of her face

He pressed on

Past the creeping oozing things

The silent crawling essences in the mud

 

He was wet

From his excretions

From excretions of soil and plant

His shoes heavy with moisture

His clothes clammy

He became as like the swamp as he could ever be

And it became less a friend to him

He who confided in the swamp

Discovered its treachery

 

He was lost

The absolving obscurity which had drawn him

To commit this deed

Ordained his destruction

 

The first rays of sunrise did not penetrate

To the depths of the swamp’s floor

Rather they gradually colored the dense undergrowth

And muddy pools of its recesses

Only moments before those traces of color appeared

He fell

 

His body slumped to earth

Perhaps his head hit a rock

Or an exhausted vessel hemorrhaged

A rivulet of blood

Tinted the ground

Blended with greater streams and

Became indistinguishable

From the enveloping deepness of their color

 

In the depths of a wild and immense swamp

Amidst the hawing and cawing

Of embattled entities

One predator and his prey

Rested

The swamp protected the secret of its protégé

And with the force of irresistible passivity

Received the final traces of his crime

Into the fabric of its all absorbing life

Art Literacy

art literacy excerpt2
Clementine Hunter

 

In November of 2016 I read about a symposium that addressed the challenge of educating immigrant children.  The symposium was held at the Roosevelt School District, in Roosevelt, New York.  Not long after this symposium was held, I read that research indicates children from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit from cultural enrichment.   These two bits of information were connected in my mind and from that connection grew the idea for Art Literacy

Art Literacy is a showcase for artistic expression, and an invitation to create art.  The picture at the top of the page, of Clementine Hunter, and the excerpt below this paragraph, are typical of material students will find in the book.   A total of forty-three feature images are presented.  At least one smaller image accompanies the feature image.   In the case of Clementine Hunter, there are two feature images and two companion images. 

A caption that describes Clementine Hunter’s personal history:

clementine Blurb

A smaller image that helps to introduce Clementine Hunter to students:

clothesline website
Clothesline, by Clementine Hunter.  The Picture is Credited to the Ethel Van Derlip Morrison Fund.

 

With every picture, there is an invitation to act.  Students are asked to write a response and to create a visual work of art.  They are reminded of art’s essential nature:  It is a genuine expression of an individual’s perspective and experience.   

The kinds of images featured in Art Literacy range from a Sami family (Lapland) posing in front of a traditional residence, to children playing along the seashore in Zanzibar.  Subjects covered include Stone Age cave art and NASA space missions.  

There are quotes from James Baldwin, and there is poetry from Rabindranath Tagore. 

The question is asked at the beginning of the book, What is art?  By the end of the book, students may be prepared to answer,  Art is a form of communication, a way for people to share their perceptions and insights.

A supplemental guide to Art Literacy has been created.  This consists of keyed sheets that offer background information on some of the covered topics.   The sheets can be copied and distributed to students who want them.

Collages introduce the five thematic sections: Animals in Art, Fantasy in Art, People in Art, Places in Art and Things in Art.  The collages are visual demonstrations of the book’s operating theme: Let imagination be the guide as experience and perception are explored.

A representative collage, from the section entitled Fantasy in Art, is shown below:

 

collage fantasy elsas pig2 website

Art Literacy is for sale on Amazon.  However, the long-term plan is to set up an apparatus through which the book and accompanying material can be distributed, at no cost, to students.  

 

art literacy front cover website

 

A. G. Moore    June, 2017