Bedfellows – Charlotte Ehney

Bedfellows

By Charlotte Ehney

At night they appear

Anxiety, fear, bad memories, what ifs

I see them in the corner of the room

Tiger eyes staring me down

Ready to pounce and tear me to shreds

I squeeze my eyes shut to block them out

But still they hunt me

Their growl echoes through the room and shakes the windowpanes

Heavy paw pads pace close to my bed

I feel their hot breath on my neck

I turn to the rituals of childhood for protection

A fort of pillows surrounds me

The comforter tight beneath my chin

The voice in my head recites fairytales with happy endings

I drift into sleep where I escape them

At least until the morning breaks

And I’m forced to resume my role as an adult

Where I smile and chat and direct my day

Pretending nothing is a big deal

All the while knowing what is waiting when the night returns.

Charlotte Ehney is a native of South Carolina. She received an Honorable Mention for her short story “The Game” in the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition (Genre Category) and an Honorable Mention in the Fifth Annual Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards for the story “Full Circle”. Charlotte’s poems have appeared in the column “Birthing the Writer Mother” on LiteraryMama.com and in Thump magazine. Charlotte has published two books Blood Adversaries and Family Vows.

Ripples (A Grandmother’s Prayer) – Lee Wyndham

RIPPLES

(A GRANDMOTHER’S PRAYER)

By Lee Wyndham

The day you were born,

I thanked God for the miracle of your mother,

The miracle of you,

 The miracle of creation.

 When you first stood alone,

I asked if you could dance.

And dance you did!

Clapping your tiny hands, you wiggled in place.

I prayed you’ll always stand up for what you believe.

 You held my hand tightly

As we jumped the ocean’s waves.

I prayed you’ll jump all of life’s hurdles with grace.

With dignity.

 When you learned to water ski,

You held on tightly to the rope.

But when you fell, you learned to turn the rope loose quickly.

I prayed that when you fall down,

You’ll always know when to hold on or when to let go.

 I’ll cheer for you as you develop your skills and talents.

I’ll bring you red roses.

I’ll pull for you in victory and defeat,

Knowing full well you’ll learn more from your losses.

 Your Christening was a special day,

As was the day you were confirmed.

I pray that you’ll always use Jesus Christ as your compass

As you journey in your faith.

 Someday you’ll choose your prince charming.

Hold his hand ever so tightly

As you navigate life’s turbulent waters.

Love passionately.

Never take each other for granted.

 Before long your grandmother will need to let go of the rope.

Let me go ever so gently. Ever so peacefully.

But I pray that when you are very still,

You’ll be able to sense ripples of your Le-le

In the deepest waters of your heart.

Excerpt from Honey from a Lion – Fred Bassett

Here’s a section from Fred Bassett’s second novel Honey from a Lion that consists of a conversation between Barsh Roberts, the protagonist, and Angela Kundera, who will become a member of the faculty at Cooper College in small town in Upstate South Carolina. Barsh, who is chair of the Humanities Division at Cooper, picked her up at the Charlotte Airport, and they are in his car headed for dinner before checking her in a hotel. She is down from Providence, Rhode Island, for a job interview.

I’ve selected this section to share because of its relevance to the current controversy about the Confederate flag and the Civil War.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Barsh and Angela have already talked about a variety of thing, getting to know each other, when Barsh says:

“Actually, I’ve been reading to become a generalist in the humanities. Two years ago, we changed the academic year to include a January Interim. The students spend the whole month studying a single subject designed specifically for the interim. The first year, I taught a course on Perspectives in Black Literature, and this year I taught one on Sexuality in Contemporary Fiction. My approach was to look for ideas, world views, that kind of thing.

“Those are the kind of courses I would enjoy teaching.”

“Then Cooper just might be a good place for you. If you’re passionate about a special subject, Catherine, that is Dean Thompson, will let you develop that passion into a new course, and only you will get to teach it. Over the years, she has become my closest and dearest friend.

The two of us have wide-ranging discussions on a regular basis, and sometimes we’re on opposite sides.”

“Like what?”

“The Civil War for one thing. Catherine still laments it as The Lost Cause.

“She defends the Confederacy?”

“Yes, but from a philosophical position: the sovereign rights of the states and the rights of the people to assert their independence from old unions and form new ones. She has a point given the philosophical notions found in the Declaration of Independence.

“The difference between us lies in the fact that I cannot separate slavery from the political position of the Confederacy and she can. I do not believe the Southern States had a just cause for seceding from the Union. There were significant regional differences, but I do not believe the Southern States would have seceded if it were not for the issue of slavery. Because here is no valid justification for slavery, there was no valid justification for the Confederacy.

“General Grant was only half right in asserting that the Confederate cause was one of the worst for which people ever fought. The South fought, with justification, to defend its homeland from the invading forces of the Union. I only fault the Southern States for seceding without just cause, not for defending their homeland. So I agree with Dean Thompson who calls the conflict the War of Northern Aggression.

“True, South Carolina fired first on Fort Sumter, but they considered it a foreign fort in their homeland. The matter should have been resolved through negotiations, and South Carolina had appointed a commission to do that.

“The Union definitely brought the war to the Confederacy. Therefore, I fault the Union for two things. First, I see no moral justification for the Union to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of its own people to conquer the Confederacy. Second, there was no moral justification for the brutal way the Union ravaged the Confederate States. Although freeing the slaves became a significant byproduct of the war, the primary mission of the Northern armies was to defeat the Confederacy and bring the Southern States back into the Union.

“In spite of all the horrors caused by both sides, I do find two redemptive things about that war: the restoration of the Union and the abolition of slavery. That means the South had to lose, no matter what the cost. And both sides paid a horrific price. It has taken the South a century just to begin to heal from the curses of slavery and the devastation of defeat.”

Silence, except for the sounds of the Audi as they sped down the Interstate. What was she thinking? Had he just blown the case for Cooper?

“Angela, I’m sorry I brought up the subject. I’m afraid I’ve given you the wrong impression of Dean Thompson. She holds the South responsible for its ungodly system of slavery, and she is by no means a racist. She led the fight to integrate Cooper.”

“Please, I don’t have a problem with Dean Thompson. Besides, you just told me she is your dearest and closest friend. You’re lucky and I’m envious. I’ve never had a friendship like that.”

“Okay, you’re on. Take me into the world of Angela Kundera while I drive us to Jackson’s Steak House by way of Cherokee Falls.

“I was born in Peekskill, New York. It’s on the Hudson River not far from New York City, and I have always lived near the Big Apple…”

They were headed south on I-85, Angela sketching the highlights of her youth, Barsh soaking up every word with pleasure. For the moment, he had forgotten his troubles.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A native of Roanoke, Alabama, Fred Bassett is an award-winning poet and Biblical scholar who holds four academic degrees, including a Ph.D. in Biblical Literature from Emory University. His poems have been published in more than eighty journals and anthologies.

Talking to Myself – Musings by Jorge Castillo

Talking to myself –
Inspired by the Same sex marriage Supreme court ruling
By Jorge Castillo

The SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) decided that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states of the Union.
The LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bi and Transsexual) are celebrating; Why not? Now after they made the decision of getting married, they do not need to worry for their legal status to change if they move to other State. So no more complications, you see, now one partner can claim the other in their tax return. They can file their return jointly. They also will have rights about alimony, child custody and support, as any other couple that decide to get married.
The democrats (members of the Democratic party) will celebrate also, because this undermine the position of their rivals the conservatives republicans, doesn’t matter that they personally do not agree with the decision and also think that Marriage should be between a man and a woman. And will deem un-acceptable one of their sons or daughters to get involved in a same sex relationship.
The republicans (members of the Republican Party) as conservatives, will oppose the decision by any mean available, they will question the legality of the Supreme Court’s decision (what an irony), they will argue that this is a decision that each state should make by itself. And finally they will raise their Bible and state that God defined that marriage need to be between a man and a woman (I don’t know if that is true). Who can argue with that?
As I see it, we are mixing two different issues; God and human laws. As you see in the first paragraphs they only talk about the right to file a return together, to be recognized as a couple anywhere in the United States for any legal purpose. You see, we are talking about legal issues and want to interpret them with a religious point of view that may or may not means anything for a large number of the population. If you are not of a Judeo – Christian faith and even if you don’t believe in the interpretation of the Bible, that for some people said, that marriage should be between a man and a woman this discussion do not make sense to you.
So far no one has brought the discussion to the real issue, how this same sex couples, have, perform or do, exactly that, SEX, How they do it? How they feel while doing it? The rest of the arguments used to discuss this subject, are just pointless arguments. Like the lawyer (Denzel Washington) expressed in the movie Philadelphia; who does who and how they do it.
So, all come to the unacceptable point of view of the people called straight, that can’t accept that someone can find love and care and wants to commit to live with another person no matter what their sex is.
Some of the defenders of the traditional definition of marriage, forget that marriage is no more the idyllically relationship between a man and a woman. Let’s take a look, every marriage performed today, as a normal practice, is followed by a pre-nuptial agreement that involves a lawyer, accountant, real estate agent, etc. Also some may argue that even a mistress or lover should be included. So too many people around.
So in the human plane and under the human law, the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman does not holds any value, so mixing this definition with the religious or atheists considerations also contributes to a bigger confusion.
Let’s call it what it is a civil contract performed by civil courts that are regulated by civil laws and as such it doesn’t matter of have any meaning under the religious point of view.
The people that believe in the traditional definition of marriage should follow their heart and marry under their church or sect to comply with their spiritual conscience (called whatever they want) but remember you will also have to get your marriage license to be able to deal with the legalities that are associated with this type of marriage, to the ones that believe that two people (here I am accepting a convention that tomorrow may not hold true under the law) can live as a couple enjoying the rights and dues that the human law provide to couples that decide to live together, you are now by law granted those rights.