David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN. His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher. He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with a recent grant in Indonesia. His literary publications total more than one hundred and ninety. David Flynn’s writing blog, where he posts a new story and poem every month, is at http://writing-flynn.blogspot.com/ . His web site is at http://www.davidflynnbooks.com .
An Inherited Photograph
Cattle mar the field with their hooves.
carpets all the earth in geometrical.
Each different. Like
the death of ants.
And that snow chills the ground but keeps it from greater cold.
A tree never speaks of the wind that irritates it so.
It is all great.
Great great great great great.
Fear the white snow of peace.
Fear the brown bushes that spot the hillside
where the brown bear hides.
Fear cattle. Fear water, muddy and crystal clear.
Running and still.
Be human in the ability to speak;
but need only to think.
Love, but love only ghosts.
Fear sun fire;
then at night, the moon.
For only by fire do you see.
Without heat the shapes of earth would freeze
as in a picture inside a picture album
inside a cardboard box.
If exposed to light,
Aunt Bertha and Grandfather Roy.
I run the fan in my apartment
for the white noise.
Today, however, a storm blew across the city,
and the electricity is off.
Without the fan
I hear the world as it is.
the man upstairs is banging across the floor in mid-afternoon.
Has he been laid off from his job?
Sirens fill the streets.
Some murder I don't know?
Worst is that
sitting in the dark on the sofa
I hear my own life:
a job that is low-paying and temporary;
teeth about to fall out.
I need the fan and quick.
When the white noise returns
and the world becomes nothing but my wishes again
I will continue trying to find love;
continue paying my bills.
A smile will return to my face.
I will think in dreams.
That is how I have lived before,
and how I will live my remaining years:
a fan and white noise.
The trees are coated with ice.
One lesson I learn from this is
use the heater.
For nature is limited as regards
to our safety.
Bears eat us.
The death of a human is a water drop
heavier and heavier
until it plummets to the ground.
So far seventy-five billion humans have died.
Die when the time comes.
Kiss everyone you know good-by.
Look around at your favorite view,
mountain or downtown.
Birthdays are bad days, steps to hell. I die
because of birthdays. If I could stop still,
like a bug in amber, I'd forget my
birthday. Life would be dreams of how I kill
my loved ones. They curse outside my door.
They ruin my dinner with their sarcasm.
Unmoving, I would move in peace, no more
the burn of healing. I would replace them.
You forgot my birthday, all of you. I
waited for your card, your call, your present
wrapped in red foil. None came. You accepted my
presents like ordinary lunches. What I resent
more than being alone, more than birthdays
as workdays, is my birthdays as bad days.
An Educated Man
The worry is
that the bridge will not hold.
Not a symbol, the bridge has to keep my car
from falling into the river.
Not a symbol, the river
has many jobs to do:
feed the fish, wash the land, fill the sea.
Which is a large basin of salted water,
an end to itself.
Those who do not read do not have these worries.
Books are microscopes
and this work of finding small grids
is so human
I could cry.
Live and die:
that is our job.
How we spend the time is beside the point.
'There is one God' begins my religion,
thinking on an ancient text
I find that I cannot eat pork,
nor cut my hair.
This language is so human
I could cry.
I have faith in the bridge,
for it will or will not hold me.
David, cross the damn bridge
to the grocery store.
You have nothing in the refrigerator.