Tag Archives: Romance

McArthur Street: Episode Eight

Continued from:

McArthur Street: Episode Seven

     My father got a job managing a small, man-made lake south of Tucson on the two lane highway to Mexico.  It was in a tiny town called Kinsley.  The name of the lake was Kinsley Lake.  My father took me and my brother, Daniel, to the lake very early one morning.  When we got there, there was still a little chill in the air in the shady places but already the Arizona sunshine was getting hot.  He taught us how to “police the area” which meant picking up trash.  There was a building that had a long hall inside with pinball machines along the walls.  Near the front entrance was a counter with a cash register where tickets were sold for picnicking, swimming, fishing or to rent a rowboat or kayak.  Behind the counter were shelves and racks with fishing rods, fishing tackle and fishing lures for sale.  My father sat on a stool behind the counter, selling tickets and let us explore the lake.  He gave us each fifty cents for helping him to police the area.

     My father kept taking me and either my little brother or older brother with him to police the area in the morning and enjoy exploring the lake and the surrounding area.  We found a concrete irrigation ditch to jump in and play in the water.  We wore blue jean cut offs in those days because that was the cool thing to do and just let the short pants dry on us.  My father brought all three of us to the lake one day with our fishing poles so we could go fishing.  Sometimes my brothers didn’t want to go to the lake because they wanted to play with their friends in the neighborhood so I would go with my father.  My father taught me how to run the cash register and sell tickets.  He showed me how to count back the change to the customers.  He left me to run the cash register while he went out managing the lake.  He had to make sure that people had paid.  My father would give me a five dollar bill for helping him.  Later he would pay me more.

     I became very proficient at operating the cash register.  When people came and asked about the cost I was able to add the totals very quickly and accurately in my head the way my father had taught me.  I became very good at selling rods, reels and tackle.  When the owner of the lake came in he was so impressed that he would order more rods and reels.  He even brought in live earthworms in round, cardboard containers that I started to sell very quickly.  Eventually he even bought more fishing lures to stock the shelves with because I was starting to sell those.  I always seemed a year younger than my actual age so when adults walked into the office and saw me behind the cash register they started looking around to see if there was an adult around.  When they realized I was the only one there they would start asking questions.  Sometimes they seemed really amazed at how competent I was at what I did.

    When my older brother came to the lake he spent his time playing pinball.  He got so good at playing pinball that he became a pinball wizard.  He could knock the machine on the side without tilting it to keep the ball in play.  Once he walked away from a machine that had 150 games on it just because he was bored with playing.  When he wasn’t playing pinball he would go out and explore the little town of Kinsley with its western style buildings.  There was a restaurant and saloon there.  On the winding road that went up a hill behind the buildings there were the homes of people who lived in this desert area with its surrounding farm fields.

     When my little brother came to the lake he wanted to fish all the time.  He was very good at catching blue gill and bass.  He was so good at fishing that if he forgot to bring bait he could catch fish with the cotton from cigarette butts that he found.

     More often my brothers would not come and it would be me and my father.  When he gave me a break and worked the cash register himself I would go out exploring the lake in one of the kayaks.  Sometimes I would walk out on the wooden wharf and untie one of the rowboats.  I would row out on the lake.  I liked to row out to the middle of the lake and look down at the bottom of the lake.  The water was so clear.  Twice I swam to the middle of the lake and looked down.  I felt like I was floating high up in the air and after a little while it became scary so I swam back.  I felt aware that sometimes when I walked out on the wharf to untie a boat or came back and tied up a boat that the cute, young girls who were swimming and sunbathing in the swimming area must have thought I looked pretty cool.  One of the popular shows on television was Flipper which had two boys who were always walking out on a wharf and untying a boat. 

     My parents had become acquainted with Jimmy’s mother.  My father decided that he wanted to invite Jimmy and his brothers to come with me and my brothers to Kinsley Lake on a Saturday to enjoy the lake and camp out overnight.  When we got to the lake we had races where we raced in the kayaks, then grounded them on shore and ran around the hall to come back to the kayaks to race them around the lake once more.  When I took them out on the wharf I felt that Jimmy noticed the cute girls in the swimming area watching us.  When I looked at Jimmy while we were in the middle of all these fun activities it seemed that he noticed I was looking at him.  It seemed he felt proud of being at the lake and enjoying what it had to offer all for free but he never smiled.  I realized that Jimmy was too overly competitive with others. 

     We camped out that night on the narrow strip of land between the two sections of the lake.  The office with the pinball arcade was on that strip of land.  We roasted hot dogs and had them with pork and beans that we heated in a campfire in one of the fire pits in the picnic area.  The boys talked and laughed.  We all slept well and woke up to the sound of the ducks quacking.

     I was in Jimmy’s house with his mother in the living room one day.  Janet Holly was sitting on the couch and Keith’s sister was there.  Keith’s sister said I should sit next to Janet on the couch.  I looked at Janet.  She looked so beautiful.  She didn’t say anything.  I wanted to sit next to her but I felt embarrassed.  Keith’s sister was insistent.  Jimmy’s mother came and grabbed a hold of me.  She led me over to where Janet was and I sat next to her.  I couldn’t believe I was sitting next to Janet on the couch touching her.  I didn’t want to move.  I didn’t say anything.  I looked at her.  She didn’t do anything but just stayed there looking very calm and serene.  Jimmy’s mother from the dining room area watched us with a smile on her face.  Keith’s sister said, “Mark is sitting next to Janet!” just as my little brother with Ronnie and Donnie emerged from the hallway that led to the bedrooms.  “Mark is sitting with Janet!” they all exclaimed with big smiles on their little faces.  I stayed for as long as I could but I had to get up in embarrassment.  I looked back at Janet before going for the front door to escape.  She still sat there motionless, looking serene.

     I was sitting with Mike in front of his house on another day.  He said we had to keep our voices low because his mother worked at night and slept during the day.  He said she was a very light sleeper.  He wanted me to know that the place where his mother worked was a restaurant, not just a bar, and his mother worked as a cook there.  This made me feel better to know that she was a cook and not a topless waitress.  Mike said the reason she worked there is because it paid so well and that most cook’s jobs didn’t pay very well.  Mike told me that his mother said there were Catholic priests who came into the bar to drink.  I found this hard to believe but I had no reason to think Mike or his mother would lie about something like this.  I didn’t think that the priests from my church would ever do such a thing.

     Keith came walking up to us from across the street asking, “What’s happening!” with his usual grin.  The conversation turned to Jimmy.  Mike said that when Jimmy’s father came home from work all he did was have dinner and then go into his bedroom with a six pack of beer and a Playboy magazine.  Keith said this was true.  They told me that Jimmy would go into his father’s bedroom to look at his Playboy magazines.  I said, “Jimmy said that he wants to be a priest”.  They said that he still does but he still looks at his father’s Playboy magazines.  I was having a hard time dealing with the idea of someone who wanted to be a priest but who looked at Playboy magazines.  My feelings were that he would probably never become a priest.

     One day I was in the living room of Jimmy’s house.  I saw one of the album covers of a Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass albums resting against a shelf on the floor.  Jimmy’s mother loved to listen to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and they had several albums by this popular instrumental band in the living room.  I noticed that all the album covers had a picture of a beautiful, young woman looking very sexy on them.  My little brother, Ronnie and Donnie wanted me to come into a bedroom to play board games.  They liked to play Sorry and a card game called, Old Maid.  I played games with them for awhile and then left.  As I walked through the hallway I saw Jimmy lying on the end of his father’s bed looking down at a magazine.  Jimmy got up from the bed when he saw me and came over to me with the magazine.  Jimmy tried to get me to look at the Playboy magazine.  I took a glance from where I was standing and said I had to go.  I let myself out of their front door and went home.

     One day I came to McArthur Street and there was an ambulance in the driveway of Keith’s house.  I stood in front of Jimmy’s house in the gravel and dirt next to the street.  McArthur Street did not have sidewalks like our street did.  The neighborhood kids were out including Robert, Richard and Diana, Jimmy and Mike.  Janet was watching from a lawn chair in front of Jimmy’s house.  Keith’s father had a heart attack I was told.

Life went on for Keith and his family.  His father did not die. They acted as if everything was normal.  I never noticed that Keith or his sister seemed upset. 

To be continued.

McArthur Street: Episode Seven

Photograph by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez from The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry

Continued from:

McArthur Street: Episode Six

Keith had a birthday party at his house.  My younger brother and Jimmy’s younger brothers were there.  My brother, Daniel, and Jimmy were not there.  They often made the long walk to visit with their friend, the older John.  Mike Holly was not there.  Mike had told me that since it was his last year at Wakefield, when his family moved to McArthur street, he had been allowed to remain at Wakefield instead of being transferred to Utterback.  He often went visiting with his friends from Wakefield.  Keith went to Utterback.  It was amazing the rivalry between these two junior high schools.  Janet Holly and Keith’s sister were there.

     Keith wanted to arm wrestle with me.  He always seemed to want to do this when I was at his house.  He would always beat me but this time I had a strategy.  I acted like he was winning and kept letting my arm lower back.  At the same time I was letting him waste his energy by giving just enough resistance to his pressure.  When my arm got rather low to the tabletop I started slowly pushing back until our arms were in the starting position again.  Keith was getting frustrated and started pushing with all his strength.  I just held the position, not trying to push forward.  When I could see that his arm was getting tired I slowly started pushing his arm back.  I kept doing this slowly while resisting his frantic efforts to push my arm back.  A little at a time I was able to push his arm back until I could see that his arm was getting really tired.  Then I pushed down on his arm as hard as I could, slamming his hand down on the table.  “Damn it!” Keith yelled.  “Mark beat Keith!” I kept hearing the other kids saying.  I felt a little shocked that Keith would cuss in front of the little kids.  Keith was mad.  He wanted a rematch.  I didn’t want to but he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I tried to use the same strategy but Keith got frustrated and lifted his elbow high off the table to push my arm back.  I just said that was cheating and he didn’t really win.  He wanted another rematch but he did the same thing again, lifting his elbow off the table. 

     I said I wasn’t going to arm wrestle with him anymore if he was going to cheat.  I was glad that I said this because I was tired of the way he always wanted to arm wrestle.  I remembered when he wanted me to hit him in the shoulder as hard as I could and I didn’t want to. He kept insisting.  He said it didn’t even hurt.  I said I didn’t hit him as hard as I could have.  He said he wanted me to hit him again as hard as I could.  I must not have had the ability to want to hurt someone so I couldn’t hit him with all my strength.  He just told everyone that it didn’t even hurt.

     Keith’s sister brought Janet Holly to me and said she wanted to see which of us was taller.  Keith’s mother wanted to see, also.  They had us stand back to back.  They told me to stand up as tall as I could.  They had a ruler to put on top of our heads for measure.  Janet’s body felt so warm and soft against my back.  Even the back of her head with her soft hair was against mine.  I marveled at her softness.  Keith’s sister said, “She’s taller than you!”  Keith’s mother said, “She’s taller than you!”  The kids chimed in, “Janet is taller than Mark!”  Keith reappeared to keep shouting at me, “She’s taller than you!  She’s taller than you!”  I didn’t see why that should be such a big deal so I just smiled and shrugged. 

Keith’s mother couldn’t understand why I didn’t want more cake and ice cream.  I actually had a low tolerance for too much sugar.  Ice cream made me feel a little queasy in my stomach.  The cakes that Keith’s mother had made seemed to have double the amount of sugar in them.  They had about an inch of frosting on top and a lot of frosting in the middle.  After she asked me if I wanted more cake and ice cream and I said, “No, thank you”, I just ate some potato chips and drank some punch.  She came back and asked me again if I wanted more cake and ice cream.  She seemed frustrated.  She just couldn’t understand why I didn’t want more cake and ice cream.  I walked back home with my little brother from the party to our house on E. Illinois St.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Janet Holly.

     On summer nights I and my two brothers often slept outside in the back yard in sleeping bags under the sky since the summer nights were so warm and beautiful in Tucson.  Countless stars were everywhere in the sky.  Even without a moon there were so many bright stars because of the clear, desert sky that there was light.  My father had built a small fire pit on the ground with red, clay bricks and cement that he called a fireplace.  We would build a fire from scrap wood and sit around the fire on large, smooth stones my father had collected. 

     My mother and father said it would be okay to invite Jimmy, Ronnie and Donnie over to sleep outside in the back yard.  Keith was invited, too.  We roasted hot dogs on long twigs from the weeping willow tree.  Then we had fun roasting marshmallows.  We twirled the red burning embers at the end of the twigs in the air to make circles of red orange light in the darkness.  I even got fancy and tried to write longhand words with the glowing embers in the dark.  The boys loved this.

     I had read a book from the Tucson public library of ghost stories for children that was published by Alfred Hitchcock.  Although it took me awhile to finish the book when I did finish on a Saturday I was so impressed that I read all the stories all over again. 

     I gained a reputation with my brothers for telling ghost stories around the campfire.  They wanted me to tell ghost stories.  I started to tell the same stories again.  I told the story about a man who had bad luck because he had been tricked into walking a widdershin.  A widdershin was a counter clockwise circle and this was considered to be bad luck.  Then my brothers asked me to tell the story of Old McDonald.  It was the story of a farmer named Old McDonald who stayed too late in town and had to walk home in the dark.  Along the way he encountered a ghost.  He had a conversation with the ghost.  As I was telling the story I looked at the faces of the boys in the firelight especially the little ones, my brother, Ronnie and Donnie.  They had smiles on their faces and listened intently.  I told a few more stories and they wanted to hear the story of Old McDonald again.  Even my older brother wanted to hear the story again because he said it was one of his favorites.  Story telling was interesting because I found myself embellishing the stories just because of the reactions and sometimes questions from my audience.  It was as if they wanted me to add to the stories.  I had to admit that the telling of the stories was never the same and they seemed to change over time.

     After the fire had turned to glowing embers I walked to another part of the yard and was talking with Jimmy and my older brother.  Soon there was a hissing sound.  I looked to see that Keith was urinating on the embers.  There was steam from the fireplace and a horrible smell.  “Uuhh!” I exclaimed and moaned a little.  What kind of person would do such a thing?  I was in disbelief.  I walked over to Keith and scolded him.  It didn’t seem to phase him any.

     The little boys were still running around the back yard playing when I retired to my sleeping bag.  I couldn’t sleep.  I was lying on my stomach.  I drew in the dirt with a stick, “Mark + Janet” and started singing quietly to myself with the melody of a pop song, “I love Janet Holly”.  The little boys noticed and started to tease me.  I messed up what I wrote in the dirt and turned on my side to go to sleep covering up my face with the top of the sleeping bag.  I still sung very quietly to myself, “I love Janet Holly” a couple of times before going to sleep.

     It wasn’t long before Keith invited us to sleep in his back yard.  His backyard was entirely under all of these trees so there was only dry grass and some patches of dirt underneath.  My brother, Daniel, and Jimmy weren’t there.  My little brother, Ronnie and Donnie were there.  First I had to deal with Keith’s now overly friendly German shepherd trying to lick my hands and slobber on me.  I was starting to feel dirty and grimy.  Then Keith’s mother gave us packages of hot dogs.  When I went to open the packages I noticed there was a white, milky liquid in with the hot dogs.  I pulled one of the hot dogs out to see that the milky liquid was sticky.  I smelled the hot dogs and they had a sickening, sweet smell.  I realized that it would be dangerous to eat these wieners.  I told Keith and the boys that the hot dogs were spoiled.  I had eaten supper at my own home earlier so I wasn’t too hungry. 

     There was a spotlight in Keith’s backyard.  There was the yellow, incandescent light, shadows and darkness under the trees.  It was perfect for making the little kids want to play tag.  I played tag with them as they ran around.  At a certain point I emerged from under some trees to find myself facing Keith who confronted me.  He grinned and punched me in the stomach.  I doubled over with pain.  My little brother ran up and asked me what was wrong.  I told him, “Keith punched me in the stomach”.  “Keith punched you in the stomach?” he exclaimed.  I starting walking to my sleeping bag with my hands over my stomach still doubled over.  My brother, Ronnie and Donnie ran up.  Ronnie and Donnie asked, “What’s wrong with you?”  I said, “Keith punched me in the stomach”.  “Keith punched you in the stomach?” they said and then they ran off.  I was lying in my sleeping bag on my side.  I had never been punched in the stomach before.  I had no idea how painful it was.  The little boys continued to run around the back yard playing tag.

     The next morning I walked home with my little brother.  I knew that the days of sleeping in back yards with the other boys from McArthur Street were over.  My brothers and I still slept in our own back yard with a fire and ghost stories the way we had always done. 

     Why I continued to remain friends with Keith seems like a mystery.  I actually felt a sense of being understanding towards him. As young as I was I read a lot of articles in magazines about all the social problems in America.  I understood that Keith was the product of his background and that he went to a tough public school with a bad reputation.  I still liked his sense of adventure.  I sometimes would see his father coming home from work.  His father was a tall, chubby, burly man.  He looked like a worker, wearing his blue jeans and white, cotton undershirt.  He often came home with a case of beer.

Continued on:

Catholic School Stories: First Holy Communion

Communion

I started school in first grade. Kindergarten was not
required in those days. I was still five. It was then that I had
my first big crush. Her name was Theresa. She had pale,
blonde hair and fair skin. She was so beautiful I couldn’t stop
looking at her.

I was considered to be the smartest boy in the class. She
was considered to be the smartest girl. I was, also, the smallest
boy in the class. She was the smallest girl. Consequently
when we had to march in single file to go somewhere else in
the school or to the church we were first in each of the lines
with the boys in the left line and the girls in the right line. The
smallest to the tallest in each line and so we always held hands.
I must admit I loved to hold her hand. She didn’t seem to mind
holding mine although she seemed a little embarrassed and she
smiled coyly. I was glad. I loved to walk beside her through
the breezeways of St. John The Evangelist School.

In the second grade we started to study for our first holy
communion. Our parents had to buy us boys a little, blue, clip
on tie to wear. The boys got a package with a black prayer
book. It had a cover that held a rosary. The girls got a white
prayer book and rosary.

On the day of the first holy communion I was the first in the
line of boys on the left side of the center aisle. Theresa was the
first in the line of girls on the right side. We marched slowly as
we were taught with our hands pressed flat together, fingers
pointed straight up in prayer on our way to the altar. When we
got to the altar the boys knelt down at the altar in a line to the
left. The girls knelt down in a line to the right. Since I and
Theresa were at the front of the line we were the only boy and
girl kneeling down at the altar next to each other.

I couldn’t stop turning to my right to look at her. Her hands
were on the altar pressed together in prayer. She had a circle
of white lace, bobby pinned on top of her beautiful, blonde
hair. She looked so beautiful in her white, communion dress.
She looked straight ahead with a rhapsodic look in her eyes. I
thought I saw just a trace of a smile on her dainty face. Two
priests came to us to give each of us the host. Altar boys held
gold patens under our chins while each priest took a host from
their gold chalices to place the hosts on our tongues. They said,
“The Body of Christ” and we both said, “Amen”.

 

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McArthur Street: Creative Non-Fiction: Episode One

McArthur Street Downsized

All evil seems to arise from the desire to dominate others.
Most men in our society are taught from a very early age to try
to dominate. It isn’t something that they think about
consciously. It operates at a subconscious level. They are
taught by the adults around them and their peers. Someone
dominates them and they in turn try to dominate others. They
do it without even realizing it and they do it without even
thinking about why. It is without question. In their conscious
awareness they may aspire to grandiose ideals but their actions
speak for what really motivates them from a subconscious
level.
-Mark Alberto Yoder Nuñez

When was it? When I started sixth grade and I was still ten
my older brother, Daniel, the oldest of the family, a year older
than myself, made friends with a boy in his class, Jimmy. It
turned out that Jimmy lived on the next street to the north of
ours, a street called McArthur Street. Our street was called E.
Illinois Street. It was unusual to meet someone who went to
our own school who, also, lived in our neighborhood since we
went to a Catholic, parochial school miles farther away than
the local public school. This was certainly a novelty. So it
was in a mood of high spirits that I went with my older brother
on a warm, Tucson, Saturday morning to visit in a foreign land,
McArthur Street, the street next to ours.

Jimmy was standing in his front yard expecting us. It was
the second house from the end after crossing the street. The
day was already growing hot in the desert climate. Jimmy was
much taller than my brother. He had blonde hair and was very
Caucasian looking with his pale skin. My brother introduced
us. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits.

I think the first thing that made a serious impression on me
about that first meeting was when Jimmy talked about the boys
who lived in the corner house next to his. It was a neat
looking, little house with a low chain link fence around the
front yard, a nicely mowed lawn and well cultivated flower
beds and shrubbery with a shady tree in front. Jimmy said to
watch out for the boys who lived there because they were
really ba-a-ad. Having never met Jimmy before and being a
child, together with the fact that he seemed an amiable enough
boy, I decided to trust him with the things that he said.

We were looking toward the house across the street and I
saw a very pretty, teenage girl walking in the front walk
towards the front door of the house. She had bouncy, medium
length, dark brown hair and she smiled at me with a big, nice
smile showing her white teeth. Then she went into the house.
Jimmy said that once she went out on a date with a guy on
Saturday night and he didn’t bring her home until the next
morning. I had to think for a moment about what Jimmy was
trying to imply. With the tone in his voice it sounded like he
was trying to put this pretty girl down. I liked her. I wasn’t
going to pay attention to what Jimmy said.

After this we had made our way to the gravel and dirt
driveway of Jimmy’s house. Suddenly a younger boy came
out of the house on the other side of Jimmy’s. He had medium
brown hair and came running up to Jimmy like a happy puppy
excited about meeting new friends. Jimmy said, “This is
John.” Jimmy then promptly started hitting John over the head
with a rolled up newspaper he had picked up from the
driveway. The poor boy ran away crying back into his house.
I was horrified at what I had just seen. Jimmy simply resumed
his conversation and invited us into his house to show us
around.

At this point I suppose had we been a little older and more
experienced in life we would have seriously started to wonder
about Jimmy. However since we were charged with the
euphoria of something that is so important to children at that
age, making a new friend, together with how nice Jimmy acted
towards us, we accepted his friendship. We went with him into
his house, met his mother and accepted his hospitality.

It wasn’t too long after this that one Saturday my brother
took me along with Jimmy to meet another friend of theirs on a
long trek, miles away, beyond St. John’s school. This boy was
named John, too. He was in the same grade as my brother and
Jimmy. He had brown hair and was tall like Jimmy. John had
a nice, big house with a very large yard and an apple orchard
adjacent. He took us out in the middle of the orchard. It was
cool and pleasant under the shade of the apple trees. John had
very short hair like a crew-cut and stood up very straight. He
actually seemed slightly taller than Jimmy. John was the kind
of guy who wore buttoned sweaters and sometimes would wear
a turtle neck dickie under his shirt. He was very conservative
looking. This was the mid-sixties era. John seemed like an
intellectual, scientific looking kind of a guy. He seemed
almost a bit aristocratic in the way he spoke. Walking back
toward his house John pointed out his tree house in the back
yard. It wasn’t like our tree house in our back yard which was
just a wooden platform in the tree limbs made of scrap wood.
John’s tree house had plywood walls and a roof. John had
electricity and a television in his tree house.

We went into John’s house and Jimmy and John suggested
that we play a board game called Risk. They wanted to be on
one team and have my brother and me be on the other team.
Not knowing any better we agreed. It didn’t occur to us at the
time that Jimmy and John knew how to play the game and we
didn’t.

In this game there was a map of the world and various
armies in different colors with equal numbers of pieces. Each
team member received two armies and the world was divided
evenly between the two teams with an equal number of
countries. At the beginning of the game each team was
supposed to distribute its armies across all of its countries.

My brother and I logically assumed that we should
distribute our armies as evenly as possible in all the different
areas to protect against attacks. John and Jimmy to our
surprise left the minimum of one army in most of their
countries and massed the bulk of their armies in a few areas.
We soon found out why. Everything was decided by the roll of
the dice but besides the roll of the dice odds were taken into
account based on the number of armies engaged in each battle.
So therefore the roll of the dice could be in our favor but the
odds in terms of the number of armies could be so
overwhelming that we would still lose the battle. While we
were losing armies they were gaining armies. We of course in
our turn attacked only their countries that had minimum
protection and kept gaining countries while they were only
losing one army at a time. It wasn’t long that we had control
over most of the world but had lost most of our armies. The
armies we had left were thinly spread while Jimmy and John
had armies massed in a few areas. The tide of the battles
turned completely against us as the odds were so high against
us that we soon were losing every battle. Even when it was our
turn to attack we were faced with battles we couldn’t win.

At this point we wanted to just quit and end the game. John
and Jimmy said that we couldn’t and that we had to finish the
game. We finished out the game to satisfy our new found
friends but we were reduced to a state of total demoralization.
Even when I asked again to quit the game they were insistent
that we had to finish the game. I couldn’t help but wonder
what kind of people are these? If they had wanted a good
game they would have had an inexperienced person on the
same team with someone who knew the game. Instead they
wanted to crush and dominate. They weren’t interested in a
fair game.

Continued on:

https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/08/03/mcarthur-street-episode-two/

From The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry. EBook for free in exchange for a review on Noise Trade!

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New Poem: Rare Love

Rare Love Downsized

Artist: Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez

Rare Love by Mark Alberto Yoder Nuñez

She looks into his liquid eyes
And feels the flow of mysteries
His hands so gentle on her body
She feels her soul and body melting
Her thoughts melt and all she knows
Is hot breathing and two hearts beating
There is the warmth and heat where their bodies are touching
All outside is cold and fleeting
From schoolboy’s crush to wild imagination
Romantic novels and burning fascinations
Never giving up despite the years
Holding on despite the fears
Dreams melt into waking life
As the schoolgirl becomes a wife
Many have lived and died in vain
For a love that is so elusive
They couldn’t know the fire in the rain
They thought it all was so exclusive
Holding out as no one else would dare
For a love that is so rare
Experiencing rare love such as this
In a moment is eternal bliss
It takes a lifetime of learning
Boys and girls learning from each other
Developing skill
Learning to trust each other beyond their will
Learning to care
A love so rare

From: The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry

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Reflections on The Poet’s Vow by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Reflections on The Poet’s Vow by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Essay by Mark A Y Nuñez

During the course of settling the estate of my deceased parents I received back a volume of poetry that I had given to my sister. She said that she did not read poetry much anymore. Being alone in the empty home of my parents I started reading. I read The Seraphim and then The Poet’s Vow. It was a strange experience. I felt that I was reading the poetry for the first time and yet at a point I noticed that there seemed to be familiarity. I felt at home with the poetry much as I felt at home in the empty house that I had not visited for years. Then it occurred to me that I had read the first poems in the book before giving it as a Christmas gift so long ago to my sister.
I was amazed at how powerful of a poem The Poet’s Vow is. It had a very powerful effect on me. I pondered on the reasons why. I couldn’t help but think that the poet in the story was the opposite of myself. In the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning the poet is so incensed by the moral weaknesses of his fellow human beings that he makes a vow to live alone and have no contact with any of his fellow humanity thereby purging himself of being soiled by their spiritual shortcomings. I, myself, have always tried to embrace humanity. The balance of trying to be a positive influence in people’s lives while not allowing people to have a corruptive influence on me has been my life’s challenge.
I am certainly writing this essay with the influence of events and my reflections about them that are current in my life and what I am observing in the world now. Not the least of these reflections has to do with interacting with my brothers, sisters and extended family during the course of selling this house and settling the inheritance. What this has to do with The Poet’s Vow is about interactions with people. Then in the time of Mrs. Browning as now at the beginning of this 21st century the moral and poetic principles are the same.
I observed after reading this powerful and sadly beautiful poem that Elizabeth’s poetic work gets much of its power from Christian religious references such as mention of God and angels. These religious influences of course are still with us today from our European heritage even here in America. I thought that in Elizabeth’s time this was the only avenue of spirituality that was open to her to use in her work. She may have gone against the grain in a sense by being a woman poet in a time when men had careers and women supported them in their careers. To this day however in our modern times when I had mentioned Elizabeth Barrett Browning to men they snidely made reference to her poem, How Do I Love Thee, as if to dismiss women poets as inferior. However in spite of going against the grain in that sense she seems to be very traditional for her times and not a counter cultural person. However putting the strong Christianity aside I simply can enjoy her work with the sense of universality to spirituality that is common to all peoples in all times. Her work would not be so powerful without the references to the absolutes of spirituality.
It was fascinating that the theme of the bond between a man and a woman as absolute was more meaningful to me because of being from a woman’s perspective. This negated any thought of the writing being like a sexist man using religion as a tool for keeping a woman in bondage to a man. It spoke more of the universality of the strong emotional ties in romance that become rooted deep in the psychology of a person. The fact that Elizabeth chose to use death as the absolute that would clearly show how powerful a force the love between a man and woman can be is what gives this poem so much emotional impact.
Once again when it comes to romance I seem to be the opposite of the poet in the story. I have declared my love to more than one lady but the circumstances of my life were not conducive to developing a lasting love relationship. The rivalries and jealousies among the ladies only contributed to the problems. The Poet’s Vow however makes me think of the hearts I broke along the way without intending to do so. It is definitely a reminder of the intense pain a human can feel when there appears to be a bond growing between a man and woman.
In the end The Poet’s Vow impressed on me how beautiful and awesome in her power as a poetess that Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s work is to this day. The universality of the themes about people needing people and the powerful bond between a man and woman transcend any differences in times and cultures. Credit has to be given to the poetess for her ability to make us reflect on the experiences of our own lives and bring out our emotions and thoughts concerning romance. Perhaps I am not in a stately mansion like the Hall of Courland, like the poet in the story but in this empty home where the clouds from the sea speed overhead to the inland areas the absolutes of the power of Nature make the experience of reading this poem even more meaningful.