Monday, May 16, 2005

He buried Paul.
—It still makes me so sad, here, what, almost thirty years later.

—Let it go, my friend. I have.

—Sure, it’s easy for you, being, you know, pure spirit and all.


—Still, isn’t there a hankering, a yearning for continuance, for, at the very least, more songs?

—No, not even that.

—Not one song since the shooting?

—Not one.


—Yeah, imagine.

—I can’t. Of course, I can’t imagine writing a song at all.

—Of course you can. You’ve got words in you. Let them sing.

—They don’t sing. They plod. They trip, stumble and fall. They are words that remain earthbound.

—All words are earthbound. Here, we have no need of words.

—No words!


—Yet, you continue to talk to me.

—I do, that’s true.

—Why is that?

—You seem to need it so. You seem to fairly burn for connection.

—And you were always the empath, the one willing to take on your fellow man, the planet’s ills.

—Kind of you to say.

—Did it do any good, John? Your passion, your engagement?

—I think so.

—From your perspective now, did it change anything?

—All the changes, my friend, were in me. Where changes should linger and resonate.

—And that is a brief, good thing?

—Yes it is.


—You still blue?

—Sure, sure. Would you sing for me? Just this once, just a snippet?

— …

—It’s O.K.

— ~ Blackbird singing in the dead of night … ~

—That’s Paul’s.

—Is it? I could have sworn it was mine. It was so long ago.

—It’s O.K. Thank you. It’s a beautiful song.

—It is.

—A brief good thing.

—Better than brief.


—Lighter than air, it is an air, lighter than all human hope, a tinkling harmony in the human heart, a silvery, chiming balm.

—Is that a song?

—More soon, my friend. Let it rest.

—I will.

—Let it be.

—Paul’s again.


Corey Mesler is the owner of Burke’s Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, Cranky, Thema, Mars Hill Review, and Poet Lore. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, published by Algonquin Books. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. Nice blurbs from Lee Smith, John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Frederick Barthelme, and others. He has a new novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, due out in 2005 from Livingston. His latest three poetry chapbooks are Chin-Chin in Eden (2003) and Dark on Purpose (2004) and The Heart is Open (2005). He also claims to have written “It’s My Party.” Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe’s dad and Cheryl’s husband.

Reasons Why the Female Characters in Certain Male-Written Fiction Are Not Like Actual Women at All The Logical Reason We’re sorry, but trying to portray the thoughts, feelings, and motives of irrational people is actually impossible. Please, think clearly before you react. Irrationality precludes meaning, does it not? And meaning is what fiction is all about,...

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