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Joel Chace

Letters—words, sentences—from soldiers under fire, or about to be, or having been.  When demons

also come out of the light.  Where each peripheral tree, Blake’s tree, demands notice, but slightly

turning the head is peril.  A voice that said, “My favorite battlefield is Antietam.  Not like Gettysburg—

you feel that you can do it in one day.”

 

from Antietam

 

After using a hammer to smash open the desk’s jammed roll-top, they found papers covered with sentences and the skeleton of a bat.  Between the physical fear of going forward, and the moral fear of going back, there is a predicament of exceptional awkwardness from which a hidden hole in the ground would be a wonderfully welcome outlet.  As our grandfather’s farm was being auctioned off, the three of us sat up in the highest part of the dark haymow, trying to comfort the old barn dog.  Syntax can be as lonely as anything you’ll ever see.

 

 

 

Tiny saints are little bits of time.  Witness for the prosecution claimed that the teacher had old money; however, the statement “He sinned badly” brought a perplexed expression to the courtroom artist’s face.  “On the floor,” she said.  “That’s a sign of true passion.”  The mental strain was so great that I saw at that moment the singular effect mentioned, I think, in the life of Goethe on a similar occasion - - the whole landscape for an instant turned slightly red.   Meaningless phrases.  Not ice.  

 

 

 

Never in my life have I spoken ironically.  Crafting sentences in the mind—forming, revising, rehearsing to perfection—is a beneficial employment; or can be—if the mind is right.  A silence fell on every one at once, for each felt that the momentous ‘now’ had come.  You won’t believe this—not yet—but we have your best interests at heart.   Pretty high up in his career.   From late morning to early afternoon, the lace maker worked intently, in a swath of light on a curb; only when a small cloud finally obscured the sun, did she pull back her hands, rest them on her thighs, and look up from her creation.

 

 

 

His only comment after watching Freaks was, “Did they have to put in that human hot-dog guy?”  Thought she was black because of her name.  Carefully, precisely, he pushed the book into its place on the shelf and had no signal that everything would change before he again touched the leather binding.  “Goddamn it, sir, unhand her immediately!”  Now and then a bullet from them cut the air over our heads, but generally they were reserving their fire for that better show which they knew they would get in a few minutes.

 

 

 

Your rope is our hope.  He tried to explain what his mother meant, but the doctor told him to shut up; there was no way he could  translate her suffering.  During that hour, while the bullets snipped the leaves from a young locust tree growing at the edge of the hollow and powdered us with the fragments, we had time to speculate on many things.  Huge problems with the petard.  Night started at the end of the creek water.  His handwriting is neat and legible, he spells accurately, his observations are hardly ever emotional, and he rarely mentions religion. I would like to think that he is part of the burial party in that photograph.

 

 

 

There were a great many left unburied, and where they were exposed to the sun they were as black as darkies.  I will here correct an effort made on the 13th page.  Butterfly or penguin?  Manifestly, there’s a point to bad taste.  She could feel it coming, so she kept her composure when—right in the middle of the film—he said, “What do you think’s going to happen?”  He runs the place, on paper, at least.  Wrenching an answer out of that set of variables.  I avoid clichés like the plague.  He was officially exchanged about three weeks later, which meant that, as he says it, “I was once again, legally and technically, food for powder.”  

 

 

 

Puts a person to a point, inside.  Soak in water, and hold the dread.  Just as we started I saw, with a little shock, a line-officer take out his watch to note the hour, as though the affair beyond the creek were a business appointment which he was going to keep.  Nothing as dead as a gray cat dead in the gray rain.  He takes a couple of steps but stops abruptly when he notices a piece of paper that has been placed beside the food tray, on the small table, which is situated slightly to right of center stage.  I mean, how can you be here?  She thought that she’d  made it through unscathed, but when the video of his solo began, she felt tears flowing down her cheeks.

 

 

 

Opposite is obvious, and well beyond.  She wondered what had happened to her grass.  This narrowed the field and brought us to consider the work before us more attentively.  Again and again, hour after hour, by charges and counter-charges, this portion of the field was lost and recovered, until the green corn that grew upon it looked as if it had been struck by a storm of bloody hail.  While photographing the Nazi bunkers, she must have disturbed a gulls’ nest; swooping at her repeatedly, one bird smeared her hair and camera lens with feces.  Very soon, you and I will meet, face to face. 

 

 

 

How they came into the ark.  She couldn’t look her sister in the face.  Who else’s dad fished in a suit coat and tie?  In order to make it more readable I added periods where they seemed reasonable and the next word was capitalized as if it were the beginning of a new sentence.  Most of the dead are now buried, but large numbers of horses still remain and pollute the air.  Wholesaler’s comeuppance.  That city kicked our ass.  She clutched the  revolver, cleared her throat loudly, and jostled his leg with her foot.  But there aren’t always doors. 



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