Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23: Need to Withdraw, Beverly Matherne, "I Wonder What It Was Like"

I am feeling the need to withdraw today for some reason.  Not be around too many people.  That doesn't work too well when you're the father of a teenage daughter and eight-year-old son.  Plus, I usually have dinner at my parents' house on Sunday evening.  It's one of the few times in the week that I can visit with my siblings.

Yet, I have cloistered myself at my parents' dining room table, headphones on, listening to music and writing blog posts.  When I'm done blogging, I will probably pretend that I'm still blogging, just so that I won't have to talk to anyone.  I know it's a terrible thing to do, but my weeks are full of human interaction.  On weekends, I try to be as antisocial as possible.  It helps me recharge my supply of human compassion and empathy for the week.

I think that poets need to do this every once in a while, too.  Poetry requires a certain amount of isolation and introspection.  To think and feel things through.  Figure things out.  Find the perfect word and phrase.  To wonder and speculate.

So, if you're looking to talk to Saint Marty today, he won't be answering his phone, unless you are a publisher; head of a university English Department looking for a full-time poet; or member of the Swedish Academy selecting the next winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

I Wonder What It Was Like

by:  Beverly Matherne

I wonder what it was like
when Mama met Daddy
that spring dance
at Ascension Catholic high,
her brown hair
to the slim waist
of her white organdy dress,
Daddy's Billiantined hair,
his green eyes sparkling.

I wonder what it was like,
their white shoes
scuffing waxed linoleum
to Louis  Armstrong's band,
crawfish and Jax Beer
and fruit punch and
magnolias filling the air.

I wonder what it was like,
their high-pitched laughs,
the differences between their dialects:
l' epouvantail, la paillasse.

I wonder what it was like,
Daddy tipsy, reciting
"To-morrow, and to-morrow . . ."
to show he knew English,
Mama's movie-star smile,
her perfect white teeth,
their long stroll on the levee,
as the Mississippi licked the shore
and rolled on, rolled on . . .

July 23: Work Tomorrow, Classic Saint Marty, "Rules of Fatherhood"

A year ago on this day, I was on vacation, in a condo downstate.  Swimming.  Eating.  Hiking.  Taking too many pictures of my kids.  It was a really good time.  Hot every day.

This afternoon, I'm thinking about going to work tomorrow, all the stuff I have to accomplish in the coming week.  Feeling a little overwhelmed, as I always do on Sundays.  The piles of work never end.  And, to make things worse, I have to prepare everything for next week, as well, because I will be on vacation for four days.  So, my workload is doubled.  It's the price I have to pay for wanting a few days off.

My daughter has been gone since Thursday evening, camping with her boyfriend's family.  Now she's texting to ask if she can stay another day, come back tomorrow.  I can say that having a teenage child is a joy and a struggle for me.  I love the young woman that my daughter is becoming, but I have a really hard time opening my hand and letting go.  Change has never been my forte.

Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired a year ago, when I was on vacation, practicing living in the moment.  Don't do that too much nowadays.

July 23, 2016:  Ethos of the Moment, Kids in the Universe, "Zootopia"

Last summer some muskrats had a den under this tree's roots on the bank; I think they are still there now.  Muskrats' wet fur rounds the domed clay walls of the den and slicks them smooth as any igloo.  They strew the floor with plant husks and seeds, rut in repeated bursts, and sleep humped and soaking, huddled in balls.  These, too, are part of what Buber calls "the infinite ethos of the moment."

I'm not quite sure of the context of the quote from Martin Buber (although I admire anyone named Martin).  I think it has something to do with finding something eternal in every lived moment.  There's something both very present in the muskrats for Dillard, and there's also something very timeless.  Muskrats doing what they've done for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, following some kind of divine plan that was put into motion way back in the Garden of Eden, when Adam looked at the first muskrat (or the first muskrat's ancestor) and named it.

Today, I tried to live in the ethos of the moment.  I didn't have any particular plan for my time.  I didn't set an alarm.  Woke up around 9 a.m., which is a good five hours later than I normally do.  I took a shower, made breakfast for myself, and then sat outside and dined al fresco.  It was a lovely beginning to the day.  In the moment.  Listening to cicadas sawing the morning in two.

Eventually, I ended up at the water park with my son and wife for about four hours.  My daughter went on a zip line tour, soaring through the forest canopies for three hours (talk about living in the moment).  She had a great time.  My son had a great time.  I always try to imagine what kind of kid Jesus was.  Did he beg Mary to go swimming in the River Jordan on really hot days?  Or climb olive trees and scare birds out of their nests?  That's what kids do.  They carve places for themselves in the universe.

Tonight, at dusk, I went to an outdoor screening of the movie Zootopia with my family.  My fifteen-year-old daughter loved it.  My seven-year-old son, who suffers from a severe aversion to sitting still, got incredibly uninterested after about twenty minutes.  He and my wife and my sister left early while I stayed to watch the end of the film with my daughter.  It reminded me of the drive-in movies I saw as a kid.  King Kong with Jessica Lange.  Freaky Friday with Jodie Foster.  Orca with Richard Harris.  Everything huge and wondrous under the moon and stars.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that everything today felt really new and really familiar, as well.

Saint Marty is going to sleep in again tomorrow morning.  Maybe have some oatmeal al fresco for breakfast.

And a poem for this rainy afternoon about the struggles of being a father . . .

Rules of Fatherhood

by:  Martin Achatz

When I first heard my daughter's heart
Ten years ago in the doctor's office,
I had no clue how to care for a girl,
Those unwritten rules new fathers
Must learn over time.  Make your girl
Sit frog-legged in the bathtub
To allow warm water to flow
Into areas of her body where skin
Turns raw, pink or red as grapefruit,
In the privacy of diaper or panty.
When she turns three or four,
Teach her to wipe front-to-back,
Not back-to-front, to avoid kidney,
Bladder infections.  Comb her hair
As soon as she's done bathing.
Slide the teeth through and through,
To remove all tangles, then braid.
Start simple, one ponytail at the back
Of her head.  Work to French braids,
Beautiful as sweet, curled loaves
In bakeries at Christmas.  Never
Utter the name of the boy she likes
When she's five or seven or ten.
Just watch them play together.
Notice how he always insists
She climb the steps of the slide
Before him, his neck craned upward,
Cheeks flushed, as she goes higher and higher.
Invite said boy to her tenth birthday
Party, watch him squirm when you sit
Beside him and say, "What are your
Plans for the future, son?"
Even though you don't believe
In guns, buy one to hold
In your lap when she goes
On her first date.  When the boy arrives,
Stare at him, the way a lion stares
At a wounded water buffalo.

All these rules I've learned
Since that day the doctor waved
Her wand over my wife, pulled
From the top hat of my wife's belly
That sound:  crickets singing
On a summer night, Love me, love me, love me.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22: Cemeteries, Beverly Matherne, "Feux Follets"

I have always liked walking through cemeteries.  Loved reading headstones, finding little clues about the history of the place.  Flu epidemics.  Civil War veterans.  World War I & II.  It's all there for anybody who takes the time to look.

Where I live in the Upper Peninsula, there are wonderful cemeteries with all kinds of stories.  Ishpeming Cemetery has graves that date back to the early nineteenth century.  Back then, people knew how to write beautiful things on grave markers.  There's poetry sometimes.  Heartbreaking declarations of eternal love.

I believe that, if you really want to know what a place is really all about, you have to visit the place where the dead are buried, because the dead speak.  Tell their tales to anyone who takes the time to listen.

Saint Marty likes to listen.

Feux Follets

by:  Beverly Matherne

For M. Hebert

     By March, the Japanese tulips were bare, their lilac petals on the ground so soft she lay upon them, naked, her body opulent, the sky clear overhead.

     No one in town knew anything about it--how her hair came undone, her hair black and luminous in the sun, her hair, its waves, folds of a funeral dress spread on the still cool ground.

     No one in town knew anything about it--her body smooth, her body moist, beneath soil, fingers lengthening, circling shard and root.

     No one knew anything about it--the tide coming in, the tide going out, breaths of her body, the pull from earth to moon, breaths of her body, votives, in the holy night.

July 22: Little Green Hands, Control Freak, Grace

All the little green hands closed tight, because Montana's terror was so unpleasant to see.  The head zoo keeper ordered a crane operator, who was standing by, to drop a navy blue canopy over the dome, thus simulating Earthling night inside.  Real night came to the zoo for only one Earthling hour out of every sixty-two.

Billy switched on a floor lamp.  The light from the single source threw the baroque detailing of Montana's body into sharp relief.  Billy was reminded of fantastic architecture in Dresden, before it was bombed.

Montana has lost control of her life, if she ever had control of it at all.  She was sunning herself next to a swimming pool in Palm Springs, and she suddenly finds herself in a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore without a single notion of how she got there.  Complete loss of control.  She is at the mercy of her zookeeper.  And it terrifies her.  The veil of her life has been torn away, and what's behind the curtain isn't too pleasant.

I must admit that I'm a little bit of a control freak.  I like routine.  Getting up at the same time every day.  Doing the same things every day.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day.  Going to bed around the same time every day.  I find great comfort in that kind of schedule.  It allows me to believe that I'm in control of my life.

Of course, I know that isn't true.  Just like every other human being on the planet, I am at the mercy of lots of factors.  Environment--yes, global warming is real.  Health--can't control illness.  Finances--money does make the world go 'round.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  My routine is built on a pretty shaky foundation.  One little shift in that foundation and everything falls apart.

In the last few years, I've experienced a lot of shifts in the foundation.  Some good, some bad.  That's life.  When that happens, the veil that covers the dome of my life is torn away for a while, and I'm reminded how little control I actually have of my existence.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that God is some race of aliens from a distant planet.  I'm saying that most of us walk around, confident in our places in the world, and then God sends us reminders of Who's really in control.

Now, when this happens, we can react like Montana.  Scream and scream.  Or we can accept the reminder (good or bad) as a blessing.  A moment of grace.  As Flannery O'Connor said, "All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful."  Most people think of grace as the Holy Spirit descending in a beautiful cloud.  I'm here to tell you that grace can hurt like a bitch sometimes.

But, grace, in whatever form, is good.  And Saint Marty gives thanks for it in his life.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21: Resurrection, Beverly Matherne, "For Albert"

Another long day.  Thank goodness that the weekend is upon us.  I may actually take a nap tomorrow.  Still trying to recover from last weekend's activities.  Wedding and birthday party and poetry reading and wedding reception.  All in one day.

It seems nowadays that the only time families really come together are weddings and funerals.  Love and death.  The last time all my brothers and sisters were home was for my sister's funeral.  And, as is the custom at most funerals, we sat and stood around, telling stories about my sister.  And those stories somehow seemed to make sense.  They brought my sister back to life, if only for a few short minutes.

That's what poetry can do, too.  Resurrect things long gone.

Saint Marty is ready for a little resurrection tonight.

For Albert

by:  Beverly Matherne

You think I am bones boxed
in a mausoleum in a California desert.
But I am alive in the rattlesnake
under the tobacco leaf,
the combine in the cane fields,
the hot sax on Bourbon.
I am alive in green lawns and fuchsia,
salmon facades, bay windows, and decks
in the summer heat and las calles de la Jolla.
I am alive in my daughter's dark complexion,
my son's lean chest, and
their mother's memory
of the first time she saw me.

I am alive in bodies covered
with melanoma the size of green peas,
bodies too emaciated,
too sedated, to tell the difference
between hallucinations and day.
When you think
you have forgotten my face,
I will come to you in a dream.
When you think
you have forgotten my voice,
I will speak to you.
Because I am alive,
I am alive.

July 21: Screamed and Screamed, Fear, My Son at Camp

Now she fluttered her eyelids.  Her lashes were like buggy whips.  "Where am I?" she said.

"Everything is all right," said Billy, gently.  "Please, don't be afraid."

Montana had been unconscious during her trip from Earth.  The Tralfamadorians hadn't talked to her, hadn't shown themselves to her.  The last thing she remembered was sunning herself by a swimming pool in Palm Springs, California.  Montana was only twenty years old.  Around her neck was a silver chain with a heart-shaped locket hanging from it--between her breasts.

Now she turned her head to see the myriads of Tralfamadorians outside the dome.  They were applauding her by opening and closing their little green hands quickly.

Montana screamed and screamed.

Montana is young.  She hasn't had the experiences that Billy has already had with the Tralfamadorians.  In every sense, Montana has undergone a stereotypical alien abduction.  Taken against her will, sedated, and transported via flying saucer to a distant planet.  Now, the aliens want her to mate with Billy.  She has become an experiment in human interaction and sexuality.  But the Tralfamadorians aren't expecting a basic human emotion--fear.

Fear is a very powerful force.  As most of my disciples know, I have an incredible fear of rodents.  Mice.  Rats.  Hamsters.  Gerbils.  Guinea pigs.  Rabbits.  I do not like any member of the rodent family, no matter how cute or fluffy it may be.  It is an irrational fear, not really driven by any kind of personal trauma that I can recall.  I just don't like rodents.

I picked up my son from Bible camp this evening.  He has a strong fear of the dark, doesn't do well at night without the security of a nightlight.  I wasn't sure how he was going to do, being away from home for the first time, in a cabin full of strangers, who may or may not understand this fear.  I fully expected a phone call from the dean of the camp after the first day, telling me to come retrieve my son.

It didn't happen.  In fact, one of the teen counselors gave my son a note that thanked him for being a calm presence in his cabin.  I had to read that note a few times.  Checked to make sure it was actually written for my son.  It was.  After the closing worship service at the camp this evening, my son ran from camper to camper, counselor to counselor, having them sign his camp tee shirt.

My son had a great time, and everybody loved him.  Everybody.  In the car, on the way home, he said, "I am TOTALLY going to summer games camp again next summer!"

No fear.

Tonight, Saint Marty is thankful for his brave, funny son.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20: Poetry Comes Flooding, Beverly Matherne, "The Moon"

It is late.  The moon is out.

I love this time of day when most people are already under the covers, drifting off.  I love being awake when everyone else isn't.  It's a secret time, when poetry comes flooding through the window and gilds the grass and trees.

Saint Marty is going outside for a little while.

The Moon

by:  Beverly Matherne

Take me up.
Oh, please take me up
the hill, mother.
I want to touch the moon.
See it there, so close, so big?
I want the moon to light me up
the way a firefly does my hand.
I want to put my arms around the moon.

July 20: Tremendous Wang, Netflix, Defying Expectations

Montana was under heavy sedation.  Tralfamadorians wearing gas masks brought her in, put her on Billy's yellow lounge chair, withdrew through his airlock.  The vast crowd outside was delighted.  All attendance records for the zoo were broken.  Everybody on the planet wanted to see the Earthlings mate.  

Montana was naked, and so was Billy, of course.  He had a tremendous wang, incidentally.  You never know who'll get one.

Where do I go with this passage?  A tremendous wang.  A naked movie star.  Granted, Montana does soft core porn, but still.  She's nude, and she stars in motion pictures.  I suppose that would be like me finding myself in the same room with a naked Kate Winslet or Claire Danes or Beyonce.  I will just leave it to your imagination when it comes to Billy's endowment and my own.  Billy Pilgrim is expected to mate with Montana Wildhack.  That's why the Tralfamadorians brought her to the zoo.  That's why they're both naked.  Billy has a choice to make.

It is already quite late.  I have spent the night on other pursuits.  Mainly binging on another TV series.  Just signed up for Netflix, so I have quite a lot of catching up to do in my future.  I believe my next obsession is going to be 13 Reasons Why, just to see what all the hubbub is about.  And then Breaking Bad, which I have never seen.

I have a problem when people tell me that I have to read a book or see a movie or watch a television series.  It feels a little too much like a classroom assignment, and I left being a student behind me a long time ago.  That's why I just read The Handmaid's Tale.  It took me a while to get around to Stranger Things and Commonwealth, too.  I don't like doing what people expect me to do.

It's getting late.  I'm expected to go to bed right now because I have to work tomorrow morning.  But I'm not going to bed yet.  I'm watching Titanic with my daughter, and we're only about an hour into it.  I think I'll wait until the iceberg shows up before I go brush my teeth.  Not going to do what's expected of me.

This little streak of rebellion will probably leave me exhausted tomorrow morning.  Craving something caffeinated.  And a little crabby probably.  But I'm not going to give into expectations.  I am who I am today because I didn't use my degrees in computer science and math for a career in programming.  I am who I am today because I didn't abandon my wife when she was in the grips of her sexual addiction.  I am who I am today because I followed my heart, not my head.  That may sound corny, but it's true.

Saint Marty is thankful tonight for defying expectations.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19: Poet of the Week, Beverly Matherne, "Paper Boat"

Yes, I have the energy to name a new Poet of the Week.  I have chosen my friend and poetic mentor, Beverly Matherne.

I have know Beverly for over twenty years.  She was the director of both my Master's thesis (short stories) and MFA thesis (collection of poems).  I always tell people that she is the reason that I'm a poet.  Once day, while we were going over a short story that I'd written, she leaned back in her chair and said, "You know, Marty, I think you have the makings of a poet."

I immediately dismissed the notion, but she persisted for almost a full semester.  Eventually, I relented, signed up for a poetry workshop.  The rest, as they say, is history, and I was launched on a lucrative career in poetry.

In some ways, Beverly saved my life because she introduced me to poetry, which has kept me sane over many difficult times in my life.  I am so grateful to her for that.

So, tonight, Saint Marty is introducing his disciples to Beverly Matherne.

Paper Boat

by:  Beverly Matherne

As though we'd rehearsed it . . .
our hands on the hairline of your
forehead, the tips of your shoulders,
your shins, ankles, the tops of your feet;
with one ceremonial push,
we launched you out the window,
through the fog in the swamp,
under the hidden moon;
we urged you on, did not oppose
the drift, as your breaths became
labored and fewer then stopped.
We let go of you, the way
a small boy float a paper boat
in his back yard coulee, the space
between the boat and him widening.

July 19: Montana Wildhack, Poetry Conversation, Eleven

Barbara called the oil-burner man, and she made Billy go to bed, made him promise to stay under the electric blanket until the heat came on.  She set the control of the blanket at the highest notch, which soon made Billy's bed hot enough to bake bread on.

When Barbara left, slamming the door behind her, Billy traveled in time to the zoo on Tralfamadore again.  A mate had just been brought to him from Earth.  She was Montana Wildhack, a motion picture star.

Yes, the aliens decide that Billy needs to mate.  So they bring in Montana Wildhack.  Now, from what I remember of the movie, Montana was portrayed by Valerie Perrine.  I used to have a book of science fiction films that had a picture from the movie.  Perrine was topless, with the actor playing Billy standing behind her with a shirt.  You can imagine how many times I looked at the picture when I was in middle school.  Let's just say, A LOT.

First, I want to apologize for my absence last night.  I went to a poetry discussion last night.  Three fantastic poets talking about writing poetry--Keith Taylor, Thomas Lynch, and Cindy Hunter Morgan.  It was a really good night.  Poets know how to tell entertaining stories and keep an audience engaged.  Sort of like putting them in a Tralfamadorian zoo and letting them interact.  Plus, I walked away with three new books (two collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction).

By the time the presentation was over, however, I was not feeling the greatest.  A little feverish.  Really tired.  By the time I got home, I only had energy to take four ibuprofen and watch an episode of Stranger Things.  I tried to write a blog post, but everything I typed came out looking like this:  "alkjsIla;ls;e   sjlkdflkvnz,189234laslsnfslflass!!! peepeee!!!"  So, I went to bed and did not sleep well at all.  Imagine me as Billy Pilgrim under that damn electric blanket, baking like a loaf of bread.

This malaise has held on all day today, as well.  I came home from work and went to bed for forty minutes.  Woke up a little refreshed, but now, at around 8 p.m., I am on a downward spiral.  Even Montana Wildhack/Valerie Perrine won't excite me right now.  I may have the energy for another episode of Stranger Things.  That's about it.

So, Saint Marty is thankful tonight for ibuprofen and new poetry and Eleven.

If you haven't seen the series, you should

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 19: In the Name of Love, Parents Decline, Dignity

"Did you hear what I said?" Barbara inquired.  It was 1968 again.

"Of course."  He had been dozing.  

"If you're going to act like a child, maybe we'll just have to treat you like a child."

"That isn't what happens next," said Billy.

"We'll see what happens next."  Big Barbara now embraced herself.  "It's awfully cold in here.  Is the heat on?"

"The heat?"

"The furnace--the thing in the basement, the thing that makes hot air that comes out of these registers.  I don't think it's working."

"Maybe not."

"Aren't you cold?"

"I hadn't noticed."

"Oh, my God, you are a child.  If we leave you alone here, you'll freeze to death, you'll starve to death."  And so on.  It was very exciting for her, taking his dignity away in the name of love.

Taking dignity away in the name of love.  I suppose Barbara's intentions are good, even if she's on a power trip.  She thinks that her father is losing his mind, sitting in a house with a broken furnace, not eating, writing letters to the local newspaper about aliens and time travel.  I would probably come to the same conclusion if I were in her shoes.

It's difficult seeing your parents decline.  Six or seven moths ago, maybe more, my father fell down a flight of stairs and injured his shoulder.  Up until then, he ran the snow blower, mowed his lawn, drove to the post office every day to get his mail.  He never let anything slow him down.

Nowadays, he has trouble walking across the living, gets up from his chair and shuffles in the same place for about 20 seconds before he starts moving forward.  He can't drive anymore.  His eyesight isn't that great.  He still tries to do stuff for himself, but he's limited.  And it really frustrates him.  He gets angry.  Really angry.

My father and I have a complicated relationship.  I've said this before.  We don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.  Politically or spiritually or aesthetically or . . . You get the idea.  We are very different people.  However, he worked hard for our family.  All the time.  Sunrise to sunset, and sometimes later.  He provided for nine children.  I never felt deprived, never went hungry, never felt unsafe.

I love my father, even though he drives me up a wall with his unflagging support of Donald Trump.  My father used to be a member of the John Birch Society.  He even forced my sisters to go to a John Birch camp one summer.  I suppose he was trying to be the best father that he knew how to be.  I do the same thing.  Being a father doesn't come with an instruction manual.  You make it up as you go along.

So, this little passage from Slaughterhouse reminds me not to take away my father's dignity, even if it's in the name of love.  He's always been a really proud guy.  Independent.  Writer Martin Amis once wrote, "And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.”  I guess my job, as a dutiful son, is to make my father feel less like shit now.  It's tough, though.

Saint Marty gives thanks this morning for his happy childhood.

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17: Love and Loss, Her Hand, "Letting Go"

You're going to have to forgive me if I don't name a new Poet of the Week until tomorrow.  In honor of my sister's birthday, I've decided to publish one of my poems that she loved.

It's an appropriate poem for today, as well.  It's about love and loss.

I stopped by the cemetery on the way home to sing "Happy Birthday" to her.  It was beautiful there, bright, warm, and green.  As I was leaving, I swear I felt her hand on my shoulder.  It may have been the wind.  I'm not sure.

Saint Marty misses his sister.

Letting Go

by:  Martin Achatz

My daughter left this afternoon,
Will be gone until tomorrow morning.
I packed her backpack for the trip.
Breadsticks and cheese, for protein, health.
Banana, apples, so I look responsible
To chaperons, teachers.  Vanilla goldfish
Crackers for dessert, to remind her
She's still a child, not to be concerned
With weight, body, hair, boys.
I gave her one hundred dollars,
Lectured her about responsibility,
Budget for food, souvenirs, told her
Not to take money from her pocket
Until she had to pay for something,
In case strangers were near, strangers
Who take little girls from parents,
From school field trips to theaters,
From ten-year-old lives.  They take
Little girls, I told her, make them
Disappear like Harry Houdini, send
Them to places of precious, lost things:
Her charm bracelet, mommy's pearl earring,
Grandma Cheryl with her big laugh.
I gave my daughter a pillow for sleeping,
There and back, with flannel pillowcase
That matches her bed sheets, a gift
From her godmother for her third birthday.
I packed a thermos of water and ice,
Because I know how she craves water
The way a lilac does in May
To grow green, bud, blossom into summer.
I did all these things for her, then
I let her go.  I sit here now in silence,
Think of her far away, out of reach.
I think of Mary as she watched her son
Ascend into the sky, wonder if she
Packed Him a snack, honey, dark bread,
For His long journey away from her.