Archive for the ‘What Pegman Saw’ Category

Pegman took us to New Orleans today. Oh! What could be better to write about near Halloween than an old graveyard? Thanks, Pegman!

Fabiola read them bones better en anybody. Yes, sirree, she surely did.
Chucked em in a rusted coffee tin, rattled em up, throwed em right on the ground.
Mind you, the ground had to be soft sand or ruffled-up garden dirt.
No concrete nor asphalt.

She told us them bones were from coyotes or pigs.
But soon we notices dat graves being tampered with.
Not zactly dug up. No.
But holes appeared, like somebody done been using a clam gun.
Or something like dat.

Den one-by-one peoples whose ancestors been dug up started gettin sick. Fluenza. Rat-bite fever.
Well, by rights, we mens needed to protect our families
so we took old Fabiola and throwed her in Bayou Teche.
Felt good about it, too.

Funny thing? Since Fabiola been gone, bones been appearing in trees long the trail to the Teche.
Thems that see um rot from the inside out.

 

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Pegman took us to Hyderabad, India today. While wandering around, I found this archway over the entrance to an Opera Garden. Wow! thought I, a great story can come out of this. Sorry, my muse took me to the dark side again and on such a sunny morning!

The day has been too long, too full of screamed accusations, loud music played to cover the sound of thrown objects shattering on walls and floors or breaking windows. And the hatred! That is the worst of it. And for no reason Siya can think of. The feeling permeates the air, tainting it with something she can almost smell. Like burnt chalk or a jar of desiccating rubberbands.

They love one another. She has proof. Some tangible, some not. Hugs. Small gifts of teddy bears and cotton candy. Snuggling on the couch when they are alone and the house is quiet. Walking hand-in-hand to the Erragadda Market. Tickling. Taking baths.

Shouted words rumble up the stairs into her bedroom. “Touch her again I will rip you apart with my bare hands!”
“Oh, Baba.” Siya presses her hands over her tiny ears and finally begins to cry.

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Today Pegman took us to Duoro Valley, Portugal. Thanks, Josh and Karen, for using my suggestion. A friend of mine is traveling in Portugal and I fell in love with her pictures. Now Portugal is on my bucket list. In researching what people do for a living in this region, I discovered the history of Port wine and this delightful picture. That’s how our Beatriz was born. But, like the person listening to the story, I’m skeptical that Bea came up with the idea. On the other hand …
I’ve added a link to the end of my story if you are interested in the history of Port.

Beatriz came up with the idea.
What? You say a woman could never think of such a thing. Pffft, you know nothing!
Now, let me tell my tale. The sale of wine was failing.
Why? You may ask. Because the wine spoiled before it arrived down river.
No one likes to open a keg of vinegar when they expect fine wine.
The village was slowly dying. Young people left. No one remained to pick the grapes.
What? No. Seventy-year-old people are meant to rest. Not harvest under the blazing sun. Quiet!
So, our Bea came up with the idea of adding brandy . . .
What now? How did she think if it? I should know this?
Anyway, merchants began to call our wine Vinho do Porto.
Yes, yes. Today it is called Port but it should be called Vinho do Beatriz for it was that clever girl who saved our village.

http://www.fonseca.pt/en/vineyards/douro-valley/history/

150-words

 

Legitimate Secrets

Posted: September 22, 2018 in What Pegman Saw
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This week Pegman took us to Goizueta, Navarre in Spain. Thanks, Karen. Now I want to visit this gorgeous country.

A delicate balance, our relationship. You down beside the road, me up on the hill. My husband leaves. Your wife returns. My husband returns. Your wife goes into town.
A mere half-hour passes in between. When no one watches we exchange winks and nods. Touch hands in our kitchen or your hallway.
Our children play together. Sadly we use their playtime to exchange notes; tuck papers inside their tiny socks. It’s not our fault. We do what we can.
I don’t believe either of us remembers how this started. Church? The market? Whispers in the alley?
But we must keep up our relationship. We must, for if we don’t, one or all of us will surely die. Times have come to that.
We no longer know which side we’re on, but we do know our secret exchanges will keep our families from dying in our country’s ugly war.

 

 

Swallowed Time

Posted: September 8, 2018 in What Pegman Saw
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Today Pegman took us to Hanoi, Vietnam, and the memory of my nineteen-year-old boyfriend getting a low number in the lottery flooded in. Thanks, Karen, for the bittersweet recall of a good man.

Nineteen: Got it all. Good lookin’ girlfriend. Football star. Accepted to a high-end college. Gonna’ be a doctor.
Nineteen: Drew #25 in the Screw-You, You’re-Going-to-Vietnam lottery. Feeling empty. Can’t focus.
Farewell party. Beer. Hugs-n-Kisses. Loud music. Tears. Smell of fear.
Twenty: Celebrated that birthday lugging a 100-pound pack on a 50-mile march. Thanks, U.S. of A.
Twenty: Free ride to jungles loaded with bugs, mud up to my ankles, orange-colored defoliants and villagers carrying hatred in their eyes. Some live. Some don’t.
Twenty-one: Hello, LSD, mescaline, cocaine, heroin. Life is easier now that skulls in the bushes don’t register as anything more than a flash of white tangled in a heaviness of green and stench.
Twenty-two: Few of us mark our birthdays. Just glad to be alive. Or not.
Thanks, LSD, for swallowing time.
Twenty-four: Home. Greeted by strangeness and anger. And a fear I cannot heal.

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Extinction

Posted: August 26, 2018 in What Pegman Saw
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Pegman took us to Resolute, NU, Canada this week. What an interesting place.

Me and my brothers lived along the shores of Qausuittuqall Bay all our lives. When little we tumbled around and over each other like cubs in a pack til our muscles grew stronger than the inside of an iceberg. As men, we tracked polar bears by the light of Nanjuriks’s eyes and killed those big white beasts with our bare hands. Laugh if you want. But it’s true. Tonraq ran beneath their bellies and after one, two, three jabs the bears sighed and fell. Ha! Those beasts didn’t have a chance. What did I do? I, Nukilik, sang the death songs. “We honor you, Nanuq! Thank you for your gifts of meat, fur, fat, and bones. We will use them wisely. We will use them well.” After all, gifts must be acknowledged.

Now, no longer honored, our Nanuq float on disconnected ice sheets, vainly listening for their song.

(Nanurjik – Star, Tonraq – Tiny Man, Nukilik – Strong)

 

Today Pegman took us to Pripyat, Ukraine. Years ago I met a Greek couple who had been affected by the Chernobyl Disaster. Although they were elderly, they were frailer than their age warranted. “Chernobyl,” the husband said, “was a very bad thing.” I’m dedicating this story to them.

 

Oh, such a racket! Men shouting, babies whimpering, feet stomping, horns honking, dogs barking!
The eerie sound of gears grinding to a halt.

“Enough noise to wake the dead,” someone said. But the dead did not wake up.
Thirty-two years later the bodies are no longer counted because after all this time
there is no proof The Disaster caused the aches and pains that drag people toward death then allow them to plunge into darkness.

No proof?

For nine days heat from the fire spilled poison up into the sky where it drifted like a bevy of black angels hiding inside the wind.

How far? Who knows?

Tourists come to view the remains of our town, snap pictures of themselves in front of the decaying Ferris wheel, dust-covered dolls hiding behind gas masks, empty beds, blackened toys.

But no one can take a selfie beside the acrid scent of destruction.