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Mothers Day

W. Maguire        copyright 2017

The last time my mother knew who I am was on Mother’s Day a few years ago.

She had started forgetting and remembering in the wrong order. Forgetting the things around her, remembering the distant past. Like Time was suddenly dyslexic.

They had her in this hospital ward for the elderly that was on a street called Memory Lane. It was some back street off the main drag, hard to find and everyone there seemed lost.

Memory Lane would be funny if it wasn’t so cruel. Sometimes living's the same way.

She didn’t know her husband or daughters or sons anymore.

She was 17 trapped in an 80 year old body.
Once she asked for a mirror and didn’t recognize herself…like a young girl looking at some distant person she would become.

She thought I was her long dead uncle some days…or her brother. Once she thought I was her father.

She pleaded with me to let her see that Irish boy that was just back from the war, the one that got shot in the head, and surviv…
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The Smell Of Bleach                 W. Maguire         copyright 2017

Part 1

I have a scar on my hand and another on the back of my head. I got them both when I was 22 working on a construction crew down south.

The scar on my hand came from trying to beat back loneliness. And for a time I did. I shattered it one night along with a pane of glass.

The scar on my head came from the business end of a shovel swung by a guy whose jaw I broke trying to save a girl.

As it turned out the girl saved me….though that took the better part of a year.

A scar is where the true gets forced in.
That’s never easy. Something is usually broken when it tries.

That year what’s true about loneliness and bravery, about the stains we all carry and the hope of absolving them cut their way into me.

Some nights I can feel them reach toward each other, trying to  meet somewhere in the middle like the true is trying find its way down into the heart of me.

My scars are a kind of map. They are full of right turns and…
Saving Christmas     copyright@2016  

When I lived in NYC in my early 20s there was a panhandler that stood in Times Square next to the 'doomsday is here' preachers.

Instead of hollering 'the end is near' all day long he would chant over and over -

“Living is hard. Living is beautiful.

 The hard is trying to make you beautiful.”

By the time I was 20 I had already seen a good bit of loss and  way too much death and together they crept up into my dreams. As a result I developed a bad case of insomnia.

So often in the middle of the night I would walk the streets for a couple hours no matter what weather.

That year in mid December a blizzard blew in. It was 5 degrees, a foot of snow on the ground. But I couldn’t sleep. So I started down Third Ave.  happy to be alone in a storm on the deserted city streets.

It was the first fall that year.

Sometimes in a blizzard the city can grind to a halt for a few hours.

The snow is clean and fresh and cold. And everything grey and cra…