Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 29: Snow and Book Club, God's Love Number Forty, Classic Saint Marty, New Cartoon

It has been snowing since early morning.  The wind is making a fine, powdery haze of the world.  I've been expecting the snow to switch over to rain.  That's what the forecast predicted last night.  So far, however, the precipitation has remained solid and white.

Living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, this kind of early spring snow shouldn't surprise me.  In fact, I should expect it.  In the past two years, the Easter Bunny has brought not only chocolate and jelly beans, but also lots of snow.  The rest of the week is supposed to be much warmer, in the fifties by Thursday.  Tonight, however, I will have to shovel.

I'm tempted not to shovel.  Let the sun do the snow removal.  However, the members of my book club are coming over this evening.  Therefore, I am obligated to provide safe passage to my front steps.  I don't want any broken hips or concussions on my sidewalk.  In about an hour, I will go outside and find the pavement, throw down some salt, and probably swear the whole time I'm doing it.

Last night, I wrote a new poem for next Sunday's Easter services at church.  I'm still tinkering with it, but it is, for all intents and purposes, done.  I will post it next week.  That's God's love number forty:  a new poem.

Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired four years ago, right around the beginning of this blog:

March 29, 2011:  Hiroshima, Low Blood Sugar, and Psalm 21

Last night, I had a low blood sugar.  I've been teaching the book Hiroshima by John Hersey to my Good Books class in the last week.  When I woke up with my low blood sugar, I was having a dream about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  For several minutes, I was in this weird state of waking sleep.  I actually thought I was in Hiroshima just after the bomb was dropped.  I was nauseated, believed I was suffering radiation sickness.  It was one of the scariest five or six minutes of my life.  It took me that long to figure out what was really going on.

I eventually drank some apple juice, ate a candy bar, and went back to bed after about a half hour.  It was an uneasy sleep I had for the rest of the night.  The dream stayed with me.  My dreams don't usually do that.  Within seconds of waking, they're usually slipping back into my subconscious like breath into winter air.  Maybe because of my low blood sugar reaction, maybe because of the intensity of those few minutes after I woke up, I just couldn't shake the experience.  It became the subject of my poem for today.

Many of the details in the poem are taken from John Hersey's book.  Reading it directly after the tsunami in Japan has been profoundly moving, for me as a teacher and for my students.  Now, we're heading into Cormac McCarthy's The Road.  I will be passing out the Prozac tomorrow with the reading quiz.

Tonight, I have to go to my daughter's chorus concert.  Grades 4 through 12 are singing.  It's going to be a long night.  We can't even sneak out after my daughter's performance.  We're in for the long haul.  I'm bringing papers to grade, maybe a pizza and some two liters of Diet Mountain Dew.  I'm hoping to be home by midnight.

Pray for Saint Marty.  He's in for a bumpy ride tonight after a really bumpy ride last night.

Psalm 21:  Surviving the Bomb

At 2 a.m., I wake from dreams, nauseous,
Sweaty as my daughter’s breaking fever,
Convinced I was in Hiroshima just after
Little Boy detonated in resurrection light,
The air, wave after wave of heat, took
Breath and buildings away, left
Skeletons, black fingers pointing
Heavenward, at the ascended Jesus,
At God, accusations etched on skin
By the blast, kimono flowers, leaves,
Fat keloid blossoms across spine, shoulder.
I rise, stumble to kitchen, sit on floor,
Remind myself of date, year, time.
Over and over.  August 6.  1945.  8:15 a.m.
A prayer.  A chant.  To bring me back
To reality.  My fridge.  My table.  My house.
My life.  I swim, kick back to surface,
The cells of my body not weak
With charged atom, not in process
Of firestorm, decay.  I breathe deep
Breaths, hear my son cry out
In his crib.  My son.  My daughter.
My wife.  I remain in darkness, aware
Of winter air on my arms and legs.
Grateful.  I think of how Hiroshima,
One month after, cracked, opened
With goosefoot, morning glories, sesame,
Spanish bayonets and day lilies,
How ash and bones grew green,
Everywhere, grass, bean, weed.
Green, green, green.  Everywhere.  Green.

Hiroshima after the bomb

Confessions of Saint Marty

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