Feigning a Fine Fettle

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Author Archives: M.R. Dorough

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El Capricho de Las Corrientes / The Whim of Currents

La gente va y viene como las olas en una playa
inundando la costa lejana de oro en la sucesión intemporal
o como las hojas que crecen cada año en un árbol
sólo para caer al final de las temporadas en que el mundo es frío.

¿Qué es la existencia, sino un estado transitorio de las olas y las hojas?
Cambiamos las arenas y cubrir la tierra
medida que nos movemos en la arena y están cubiertos por la tierra
cada uno a su vez como pasar las páginas de nuestra vida.

Me pregunto en la inmensidad del mar
y todos los granos de arena aplastado bajo el peso de los océanos.
Todos pasamos la vida tomando el sol
sólo para ser arrastrado contra de nuestra voluntad más allá de lo que sabemos.

Abajo, en las profundidades
más allá de toda luz y sonido
sólo podemos esperar el día
cuando las corrientes nos puede llevar de nuevo a la costa

People come and go like waves on a beach
flooding the far coast of gold in timeless succession
or like the leaves that grow every year in a tree
only to fall at the end of the seasons when the world is cold.

What is existence, but a transient state of waves and leaves?
We change the sands and cover the earth
as we move in the sand and are covered by the earth
each one in turn like passing the pages of our life.

I wonder in the vastness of the sea
and all the grains of sand crushed under the weight of the oceans.
We all spend our lives awash in the sun
only to be dragged against our will beyond what we know.

Down, into the depths,
beyond all light and sound
we can only wait for the day
when the currents can take us back to the coast.

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Haiku I

Red blooms swaying once

upon a blue summer day-

gone by autumn’s winds

Striations

Mapping the fibrous striations
Of the flesh is like mapping
The striations of roads,
The multi-faceted under-
Pinnings of circling carrion
Eaters over the blacktop,
Grinding to tight tension,
Ready to spring and unwind
As you drive past a dead
Bird on the highway,
Flattened to a clump of feathers,
Strewn over the asphalt except
For a single wing, waving
In the wind as if to say
“I, too, was of flesh-
I, too, surrender.”

To My Son on Father’s Day

I put you to bed the other night and, after I walked out, you wailed and cried, essentially demanding that I come back in there and comfort you. As I sat on the floor in the dark rocking you, I felt, to my shame, a little put out by your neediness, thinking about the work that I still had waiting for me in the other room, of the chores I needed to finish before going to bed myself.

But then, as I held your tiny form against my chest, I became lost in the moment, became aware of its fragility, its ephemerality. How there are only so many moments like this, too few really. How we don’t stop and cherish the things that are passing and so soon passed. How we’re so caught up in life, with its responsibilities and habit and tedium, that we muddle the miraculous with the mundane.

How many fathers throughout time have comforted their child upon a dark night? And, before long at all, how many children have buried those same fathers decades later? I can’t speak to those countless numbers, but here, in our brief now, it’s us. As surely as the cycle of the sun, of the ebb and flow of the tides, we will pass into memory, and even memory will fade. There won’t be so many more moments like this in the grand scheme of things. It will be over and gone in the blink of an eye.

Yet here, now, holding your head to my heart in the dark, we’re timeless. Somehow infinite. Just another father and son on the tides of time, rocked—even as I rock you—upon a fathomless expanse with neither beginning nor end.

While I’m celebrated today for being a father, I celebrate today because I’m your father. I know you’re too young to read this, but I hope over the past three years you’ve felt the sentiment: you’re my sunshine, my unwavering good. I love you, I’m proud of you, and I am so honored and privileged to be your “da.” I’m not perfect. I lose sight of what’s important. I’ve made mistakes (though I know you’re too gracious to keep count), but I hope to always live up to that title and I’m striving every single day to earn it.

Hellbent

Christ’s Descent into Hell – Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, ca. 1550-1560

Hell, they say, is an unquenchable burn,
An endless torture amidst streaming streaks
Of infernally bursting flames,
The pipe organ bellowing steam as
Charcoal clinging needles and beetles feast
Mercilessly on the chitlins of the condemned.

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Snippets & Cantrips

Nothing lost is never said
For every word uttered
meanders on a thread,
taut on a wire, thought
in each head, whispering secrets
to the ceiling, speaking to the dark
before bed — floating snippets
on the wind and strewing
cantrips about the floor,
marking each where we step
as we head out the door

Burden’s Desperation, Part I

Burden shouldered Hope as he trekked across the wasteland. Hope had worn out yet another pair of shoes and he didn’t want her to cut her feet up on the cracked and rocky terrain. His old leather boots seemed to be indestructible, so much the better. Hope wasn’t heavy to bear, despite being older and larger than when he found her in that cannibal shack. The wasteland didn’t offer enough to get fat.

The world don’t offer seconds no more. No second chances, not a second’s respite, and definitely no second helpings, Burden could imagine his father saying as he divided a can of beans between them, always giving Burden the bigger portion.

Hope whispered into Burden’s ear, breathy and only semi-lucid, muttering about water and cool breezes and other sparse blessings. The sun beat down on their backs relentlessly. Only a threadbare tarp covered them, a treasure that they’d scavenged in the last stand of buildings they’d come across. Burden had used a length of cord to tie it around his neck, creating a sort of hooded cloak. There was enough excess cord that he’d been able to tie it around both his neck and Hope’s scrawny shoulders as she clung to his back.

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The Soul of Combat

Two doomed men, barely more than boys, rode at the head of a column full of women, children, and elderly out of the Rook’s Gate and underneath an overcast sky that promised wind and rain.

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Yours the Hand

Shadow and fog blind my peril at sea,

and waves batter the vessel that bears me.

But you are the lighthouse blazing on land

That guides me through the deep night to safety.

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The Trail Not Taken

Cole could hardly stand to look at Roland Fuller as they attempted to draw him out the back of the covered wagon, covered as he was in vile growths that seemed to jiggle with fluid with every slight jostle. Black webbing grew from his eyes, nostrils, mouth, and ears. Mrs. Fuller was wailing from another wagon, incoherent with her grief. The Fuller boys, Ben and Gabe, watched from a distance with the rest of the party.

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