Last Communion of an Island Dog

I died today or yesterday of fleas and famine – sooner both, but consciousness and hunger haunt my rest. I fought life hard, bore countless pups, though none would know me now, And ran tantivy with my gang, now mostly gone. Today, I hop three-legged door-to-door, my fourth snapped by a motorbike when I was young, a mangled stilt I always wanted gone. Like cleats my dry dugs wither in the sun. I lean against a wall or splay on restaurant floors in hopes of table scraps, kind words and touch. New fingers rub behind my ears, massage the cartilage below, and gently rub the wetness of my nose. My tongue lolls in the sand. The words elude me, though …
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Fawn In Headlights

You will never again be this alone or alive, Near your mother lying dead in the breakdown lane, And you in the travel lane, trying to stand on spindly legs, A fawn among the speeding headlights, mystified. How did you get here? who licked you clean? Will you, too, be hit? If not, who’ll suckle you? Will a highway crew or highway crows recycle you? I cannot sleep for thinking of you. – Bill Schubart November 2017

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From Lila and Theron (June 1, 2017)

Lila and Theron do not imagine themselves poor, nor do they covet what they don’t have. They are whole in themselves and on their land and progress impinges little on their lives. Be cold Forage and grow Haul wood and stone Be hungry Use hand tools Be bold Raise children Walk without light Keep animals Grow old Adore someone Greet wildlife Pay rapt attention Ferment your food Forgive yourself and others Bill Schubart   “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The third Beatitude, Matthew 5:5,   “Lila thinks often of her father, not about his death in the Big River, but about how much she wishes he was still alive. She has questions about how men …
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Jeeter’s Memorial Service

Jeeter’s friend Zephyr invited him to his mother’s memorial service in the Methodist church basement. He knew Jeeter had run out of venison, winter was setting in, and Jeeter’s meager garden plot was now frozen solid. What little Jeeter hadn’t picked and eaten, shared with ravaging critters, or stored in the garbage can beside his trailer that he used for a winter freezer was now frozen in the earth. The church ladies always turned out a fine meal of casseroles ranging from the ever-popular mac and cheese with hot dog slices and hamburger goulash, to the less popular “Cheese Whiz broccoli,” a mortar-like dish made of frozen broccoli florets, Minute Rice, and a jar of Cheese Whiz. Jeeter asked Zephyr …
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I Am Baybie

The novel, I Am Baybie, is a first-person narrative of a blind street singer in New York City. “Her early life was marked by a succession of tragedies,” Bill has written. “Blinded at birth by a drunken doctor, she was later molested by a foster father and then sterilized as a young woman by a doctor who thought he was doing her a favor. Yet the few people in her life, those she met on the street and the six who attended her small church in an abandoned storefront in Brooklyn, brought her joy. I had never met anyone who saw life and the people she encountered with such generosity of spirit. Only by putting her story into words could …
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Snippet from “Fat People:” “Dear Diary,”

“Fatty, fatty, two by four, Couldn’t fit through the bathroom door, So she did it on the floor.” Dear Diary, Since Marty’s visit to the principal’s office, he no longer sings the words out loud. He just hums it, stressing the rhythmic accents when I pass him, usually loud enough so the others can hear him, but not loud enough for the hall proctor to hear. I don’t care anymore. I guess I’m use to all those pathetic looks. I wasn’t a fat baby. I didn’t really begin to get fat until I was about ten and mom took her job at the agency. Now, except for breakfast when everyone’s more or less around, I’m pretty much left to my …
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Leyte Gulf 1944, excerpt

On a coral reef you lay to die and breathless lay there eye to eye
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Fat People, Baybie Denton, excerpt

Baybie Denton lives in a trailer behind the dump. Her stepbrother Floyd lives in a nearby trailer perpendicular to hers so he can’t look in her windows, least that’s what Baybie thinks. Baybie is blind from birth and Floyd sees to her needs when he’s sober enough to do so.

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Photographic Memory, excerpt

His thoughts drifted and he remembered himself sitting far back on the bench seat in the cab of a snowplow. It was dark and Uncle Ben was at the wheel of his sister-in-law’s dump truck with its two rusty yellow plows on the right front, a curved scarifier plow that lifted the snow from the ground and then a deflector blade higher up that sent the snow aloft in a continuous white stream to the side of the road, burying the pasture fence.
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Fannie Fancher and Crazy Chase

It was his second day in first grade and his first time walking home from school. Maple Street was a half-mile long, one of several streets in Morrisville beautifully canopied with elms. There were twenty-three houses on the left side and nineteen on the right and, try as he might, he could not count both sides as he walked home from school. He would lose track as his eyes darted from left to right and the sums vanished. Just below the hospital, Maple Street merged into Washington Highway which led east out of town towards the hill farms in the shadow of Elmore Mountain. The street’s lofty named belied its rutted gravel surface. His house lay just beyond the hospital …
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