Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Al Maginnes: Creative Writing

Life isn’t like that, one student says,
objecting to the end
of Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral,” how
it leaves the narrator, eyes closed,
between his wife and her blind friend,
everything suddenly unfinished.
Life is just like that, I counter.
Our existence is badly plotted,
a hegira of things unseen and unfinished.
And let us spend a little time
in the gardens and steep landscapes of plot,
the islands where drama roars, where
outcomes lie uncertain, and we cry
for the plain dirt, the dry sandwiches
of our slow-walking lives.
However many of my childhood stories
end with my moving away, waving
from the back of a station wagon
as my father drove us down a street
whose name I was already forgetting,
nothing ends. We live in murals
like the endless canvas backdrops
that once unreeled to give stage plays
a sense of continuity. For my students,
it’s all shootout and car chase
with occasional interludes of porn.
But mostly we are walk-ons,
extras in stories others tell
to roomfuls of strangers who shake their heads
over some kind act or rudeness
we forgot the moment it happened.
From a train window I watched
a woman stumble in her hurry
across the platform, saw the splash
of coins, lipstick, a phone, hairbrush
and paperback book from her purse.
Her face knotted. I was turning
the empty page of my own face away
when she smiled, refusing,
like Carver’s blind man, the role written
for her. Already composing
the next scene, she kneeled
to gather her things, to gather
the story she would tell and laugh.
Copyright 2017 Al Maginnes. From The Next Place (Iris Press).
.

Al Maginnes

4 comments on “Al Maginnes: Creative Writing

  1. Dacian
    June 2, 2017

    Beautiful!

    Like

  2. triciaknoll
    June 1, 2017

    Lovely. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandi Evans
    June 1, 2017

    Love it! Walk-ons, extras in stories others tell…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. pbsansar
    June 1, 2017

    wonderful sir

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on June 1, 2017 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .
%d bloggers like this: