Curiosity to Satisfy and Fear to Placate
by J. J. Steinfeld.
from "DRINKER CHOKES TO DEATH ON WORD"
Magnified under your empty shot glass, halfway between epiphany and
hearsay, is the tiny newspaper headline, DRINKER CHOKES TO
DEATH ON WORD, the cruelty and unfairness slapping you like a
forgotten morning or an erased night. You refill your glass, simple
ceremony, slight piercing pain of dislocation, and wonder what the lethal
culprit wasperhaps fear or pity or shame, or, you reflect, it could have
been a longer weapon, polysyllabic bullets, vengeful projectiles, like
betrayal or unredemptive or meaninglessness. (...)
* * *
from "Would You Rather Have Sainthood or...?"
(...) I bet you the devil can be pretty petulant out on the greens,
breaking golf clubs at the least little mistake, sending caddies into the
eternal flames of damnation, turning entire 18-hole, par-72 golf courses
into something nightmarish, like out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting.
Just the other day, I heard a golfer say that golf is hell and then hit the
ball farther than the human eye can see. Quite the sight, I tell you. That
golfer smiled, and it was the most transcendent smile I'd ever seen. The
Devil, leaning against a nearby tree, chuckled, the most self-satisfied
chuckle I'd ever heard. They both had gotten what they wanted. I merely
recount what I saw and heard. There is no moral or warning in what I say. (...)
* * *
from "Marriage Vows"
When the announcement was published of the forthcoming marriage of
the six-foot-ten, thirty-seven-year-old woman to the five-foot-three,
twenty-eight-year-old man, in what was supposed to be a small, private
ceremony in a sparsely populated, rural area of the province, it caught the
attention of a local newspaper reporter, who told a local cable-TV-station
producer, who contacted an old buddy at the CBC, who told a journalist
at Maclean's, who informed a foreign-correspondent friend, and before
you knew it, the event became the focus of worldwide attention. At the
summer wedding there were eleven invited guests and over four hundred
reporters, photographers, and curious onlookers. "Talk about craziness.
We were nobodies," the small man said. "Why couldn't people leave us
alone?" the tall woman said. One of the locals, standng in the crowd,
commented, "All the cameras and folks here, you'd have thought it was a
real important politician coming by or some rock concert taking place." (...)
Curiosity to Satisfy and Fear to Placate excerpt ©2003 J. J. Steinfeld
website and its contents are ©2002-2007 Mercutio Press