Spot 024: Looking Forward


by Paul de Denus

Dearest Mom and Pop,

This is my third lap on my journey home. I’m writing this from Mrs. Bennett’s little desk in Warrington. I arrived here about teatime and were they surprised! Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are both looking very well. They have a lovely home with roses everywhere. There is a small pond and rockery just beside me out the window. They told me Ron was in Rangoon. He will be home in sixteen days. They miss him very much.

It has been a hectic week over here; everybody’s so excited, they’ve gone mad for a few days. We are all very relieved and thankful it is all finished in this area. I think I realized – for the first time in five days – the war is over. It’s so wonderful when you think about it. That George could see this day! But that is not for us to decide. God rest his soul. We will never forget him.

Mrs. Bennett and I went to town to look around this morning. I tried to contact Emmie Flavell at Pont Street but nobody home. We had coffee at a nice place then back home for lunch. After supper we took a walk in the country.

I slept in Ron’s room last night and had tea in bed this morning. It’s wonderful to be a human being again. I do hope you are both well. The way things are going I should be there well within two weeks time. Keep smiling.

All my love,

Inspired by letters from my Dad to his folks 1945. See Authors page for Paul’s bio.



…and it makes her want to drink.
by Grey Johnson

They are walking down a rusty dirt road, and the sun is kissing little clouds of afternoon gnats in the golden aster. The day is at that sweet spot where the light turns warm and low but the clouds have not gone wanton. She is walking slightly ahead, holding his hand, and just as she turns to see his face, he becomes distracted by an early moth. Absently, he drops her hand, and there, in the dirt, she sees the bigger picture, as the releasing motion of his hand magnifies to fill her heart. Their shadows spread behind them, like parted cloudy water…

See Authors page for Grey’s bio.



by Gita M. Smith

Sixteen rusted boxcars stand in line, joined by rusted couplings on a long-abandoned sidetrack. From a distance, they are beads in a necklace strung out against a blue silk sky.
They, and the fallow land around them, have no more use, mirroring what America has become. All they can do is stand in place and decay.
Here in this vast, flat Mississippi Delta, stasis is as much a fact of life as cotton bolls and red-tailed hawks.
Stand or walk among the rows for one full day until the sun’s long evening rays turn everything auburn. Stay until the sky is bruised and the first stars blink on.
You will understand how the land can fasten your humanity to a place and hold you down. You’ll understand that change is temporary and all man’s endeavors – subdivisions, boxcars and microchips – will eventually fail.
You don’t need a geomancer to divine that all your plans and resolutions are phantoms. Only the land is for certain, and it will swallow you and take back your phosphorous as surely as it reclaims the iron of old freight trains.
This broad indention that was a sea bottom 65 million years ago, that was worked by slaves 300 years ago, is a mighty force. Do not be fooled into thinking it is only a stretch of soil.
It is a magnet more powerful than any modern tool and certainly more powerful than fools with plans to change it.

See Authors page for Gita’s bio.



by Michael D. Brown

I waited too long. There was all that moving and shuffling and the problems with Immigration. Nice people sent photographs dynamically charged with fervor and meaning, but I had no Internet connection, and the days slid into weeks. The New Year is already upon us, and the stories I have lived through are yesterday’s news, but I am not beyond slipping in a dream or two to grease the wheels.
Know what I will do? Next issue will comprise the missing images and I will theme it Mime. You, dear reader, will have to supply your own tales. As we are still behind the halfway mark, there is plenty of time to catch up. I know, I know. We have already played that game, but this time there will be nuances to make it worth your while.
When the Mayan calendar concludes, and we are screaming at the edges of craters, we will have moments to remember, and won’t that feel like a safety net? Well, maybe not so much. If we lose the electricity, all will be virtual, but some of these images should provide a respite before we succumb to disaster.
I’m not making this up as I go along. I promise you, I had it all planned out, the issue, I mean. I never counted on the artful pioneering leaving me disconnected, but that has always been my problem, the lack of foresight. Plan, plan, snap, snap; before you know it another year has gone belly up.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.



by Sandra Davies

She was always one to speak as much for effect as to impart information and I had grown resistant to her oft-repeated tales, always told to put her in a good light. This one was meant to demonstrate her quick-thinking, her ability to outwit a fortune teller. She’d removed her wedding ring and had been both amused and scornful to be given the usual ‘meet a tall dark stranger’ spiel, because he was fair headed.
But he was shortly after dead, and less than two years later the tall dark stranger became my Dad.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.



by Bill Lapham

My sister died of leukemia when she was thirteen. I was the big brother who couldn’t keep her safe from those sorts of things, like disease. After her funeral, I was mad at God, but I tried to remain friends with him. About thirty-five years later I gave up on the bastard as if he existed. When I heard the last line of the poem you read yesterday, “God allows three year olds to die of leukemia,” I was shocked, but I’m guessing it was the reaction you sought to evoke. It took me a second to realize I needn’t be angry, though; indeed, I suspect we share a similar perspective on divine providence. To get to the point, I look forward to the day when we can protect all children from all evil, tyranny, disease and dogma.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.



No illustrations included in Spot 024.



5 Comments to “Spot 024: Looking Forward”

  1. Paul – what memories and so apt with all those troops coming home.
    grey – the dirt and the shadow. eloquent.
    gita – fabulous ending and there was poetry in this one!
    michael – your years, your plans, your writing never go belly up!

  2. My only New Year’s resolution is to write more for you, Mud. With the stable of fine writers you have, I doubt I’m missed. But to be among this crowd? Awesome.

  3. I loved Grey’s last line and Gita’s “From a distance, they are beads in a necklace strung out against a blue silk sky.” and “You will understand how the land can fasten your humanity to a place and hold you down.”
    Michael: when the Mayans come there will be plenty of images to write about. Keep going.

  4. Gita, my plans are indeed phantoms, and after reading your words, I kind of feel proud of it.
    Paul, I felt like i was reading something from another time, but could not (and still cannot) put my finger on what it is that made me feel that way. That is a tribute to the subtle language you used.
    Michael, Thanks again for this forum. I look forward to the upcoming issue, and am always happy to be your dear reader.

  5. Gita – every time I read this I hear the high hum of a summer sky, so different to Grey’s in way I cannot fathom, and Paul I have WWI letters – they always contain such poignancy.

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