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Saving Christmas

copyright 2017   Will Maguire


When I lived in NYC in my early 20s there was a panhandler that stood in Times Square next to the Doomsday Preachers.

But instead of hollering “Jesus is coming, the End is Near!’ all day long he would chant the same two lines-

“Living is hard. Living is beautiful
.....The hard is trying to make you beautiful."

By the time I was 23 I had already lived a good bit of loss into me, the kind that makes you turn over at night, because you ‘ve become afraid of your dreams.

I would try each night to sleep but after a few hours would go out and walk the city streets, just hoping to exhaust myself.

That year, in mid December, a blizzard blew in.  5 degrees, a foot of snow on the ground.

I didn’t care. My dreams were far colder so I bundled up and started down Third Avenue, alone once more  in a storm on the deserted streets.

It was the first fall that year.

The first fall is always the hardest. The heart of the city isn’t ready for the cold, s…
Recent posts
Chopin’s Heart
copyright@2017Will Maguire



At 39, in his artistic prime, the composer Frederick Chopin began to feel a nagging and then constant ache in his chest.
That year he had been in a tempestuous and ultimately ruinous affair with a woman, but only later did it become clear that the pain was a medical issue.
She loved him, but Chopin lived the financially insecure life often demanded of an artist. 
So she gave herself to a man that could better provide for her and they both went on ruined in the way that love can ruin two souls simply by the knowledge of each other’s existence.
She became someone else’s wife and then a mother and lived with a tepid affection for her innocent husband…haunted by that rare Supposed to Be passion that she had given up.
Chopin for his part took what was given...which is to say what was taken, and used the longing to forge a music. 
It was the sound of a heart fractured by its own feeling. 
Later that year, over the course of a few months the pain in h…
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…
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…