Member Monday: Finding Denis, Part 1 by Alicia McCauley

Alicia & some of her Ugandan kidsWelcome back to Member Monday.  Today we feature a piece by Alicia McCauley.  Alicia spends her summers teaching writing and committing acts of Vigilante Kindness in and around Gulu, Uganda.  She will be sharing about her last trip and her upcoming trip at our May meeting.  Welcome, Alicia.

Finding Denis, Part 1

by Alicia McCauley

The boda driver killings in Gulu, Uganda began on May 28th and on May 29th I received a frantic message from my boda driver, Denis, that a rebel group had entered Gulu and was killing boda drivers in the cloak of night.

Denis’ message to me was quick and to the point.  “A group of people are killing boda boda riders in large.  And they are using guns.”

Messages from my other loved ones in Uganda came in frantic bursts.  The number of drivers killed was nearing twenty.  A mandatory curfew was put in place over the town.  The police were vigilant in their pursuit of the rebel group, but drivers continued to be shot and killed.

I called Denis.

And messaged him.

And sent my son, William, out to Denis’ village, Bungatira, to find him.

His phone was disconnected.  He didn’t reply to messages and worst of all, he was nowhere to be found in his village.

For weeks I tried to find him.

Then weeks turned into a month.

Time kept on growing and still no word.

The pit of my stomach felt like it was full of rocks. I thought of the voice in my ear telling me to let go.

No, I would not let go of this.  I would not let go of my friend.

I spewed angry prayers from between clenched teeth.  I am not letting go of my friend, God.  NOT LETTING GO.  So You and your voice are going to have to help me find Denis.

I wondered if Denis was alive.  And if he was alive, why wasn’t he home?  Why was his phone, his life line, not working?

Something was terribly wrong.

Since the summer of 2013 I’d heard from Denis at least every other week.  He regularly filled me in with reports on his pigs and reports about the village treasury.

And now nothing.

I arrived in Gulu and tried calling Denis countless times to no avail.  I planned to go to Denis’ village the following day to figure out for myself where my friend was and whether he was alive or not.

I can’t tell you how happy I was later that day when I picked up my phone and it showed a missed call from Denis’ number.  I kicked myself for having it on silent.

Again I called and didn’t get through.  Later William called and talked to Denis.  Denis was in Te Okot, the land of his clan.  William reported that Denis was walking to Gulu to come and see me.

Again alarm bells sounded in my mind.

Te Okot is 2-3 hours from Gulu and that’s if you go by motorcycle.  Why was Denis walking?  Why was he so far from home?

I called Denis and nearly cried when I heard his voice.  I fired questions at him.

“Where have you been?  You scared me to death.  I thought you were dead.  Why isn’t your phone working?  What are you doing so far from home?  Aren’t you in school?  Where’s your boda?  Why are you walking from so far?”

“I’ll explain it all when I reach you.  I’ll be there around midnight,” Denis replied.

“Why don’t you take a boda?  It will be much faster.”

“It’s expensive.  I can’t pay for it.  My pigs were poisoned and died.  My future has died.”

“What???  Who killed your pigs?  And how much is the boda ride?”

“40,000 shillings.  I’ll explain everything when I get there.”

40,000 shillings is roughly $15.

I told Denis I’d pay the boda driver, that he should just come and come quickly.

Then I waited one of the longest hours of my life.

Come to the May Writers Forum meeting to find out how the story ends.  Can’t wait that long?  Click here to read more.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Shadows by Jennifer Levens

Welcome back to Member Monday.  You deserve a little more poetry in your life and Writers Forum Treasurer Jennifer Levens is here to give you your daily dose.Welcome, Jennifer.

Shadows

by Jennifer Levens

I walk the dog in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me low on the back and makes me fifteen feet tall

And so slender that I wish I could stay that way, thin and shapely an

Almost girlish in figure, lithe and agile striding along with dog in tow.

 

I go for a walk in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me on the hill as I walk into it and I can not

See behind me, so I miss the tall long slender person who is following me;

 

And the dog walks in front of me, sniffing here and there

For messages from his fellow dogs, unconcerned that his walking partner

Is longing for a younger slimmer self to match her thoughts and feelings as

She breathes the morning air and pictures herself loping with the dog over field and stream.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: I Highly Approve of Failed Vasectomies by Dale Angel

Welcome back to Member Monday.  Yes, you read that title right.  Dale Angel is back, stirring up trouble and making us love her to bits for doing it.  For your own safety, swallow whatever food or beverage you may have in your mouth before proceeding.  Welcome, Dale.

I Highly Approve of Failed Vasectomies

by Dale Angel

I highly approve of failed vasectomies.

We don’t live long enough to find solutions to all of life’s verities.

Whole countries have tried to control births. They wiped out from under themselves a whole generation of future tax payers that would keep their own government intact, serious repercussions. Then they reversed that in favor of washing down river, future females…they now have too many males with no partners, what can you do with that?
You think of these things when you practice this on a small scale. These man-made solutions are dicey.
Looking back, after the fog settles you better understand the frailty of human errors.
It still rings in my head, ”You can’t be…I assisted in that operation.” They tried to blame it on me after two failed vasectomies.
Hindsight helps one to better understand… The doctor’s wife had run off with a tennis player from La Jolla, keeping in mind this is golf country adds insult to injury.  His assistant Miss ”You can’t be, I assisted in that operation” stepped in and consoled him and got pregnant herself.  You can’t blame him for losing confidence in his own practice.
I learned to breathe with my head in a sack, I had three more babies at home.
That’s probably why my beautiful sisters-in-law decided not have children.  Instead they drove around in convertibles and cars with fins.  Their hair blew in the California wind.  They dressed in bathing suits under minks as they traversed the highway to Hollywood fun.
They had matched shoes and purses, matched luggage, tickets to travel on airplanes with propellers to vacation spots where they had cocktails before dinner. They had houses made of adobe with low windows that looked out over swimming pools among the lemon groves, and a 12 inch televisions!
Today my beautiful sisters-in-law are both in a rest home, they have no comforter or anyone to hold their hands, they weep.
This week I was invited to meet the second generation of one of my failed vasectomies; a ten pound great-grandson who looked me in the eye. I like him. He comes with history.
At my table recently one of my sons asked me why, when I pinned up his school pictures I always put the pin in his head. Another recently came out with the truth, why he cut the cats whiskers off. That’s how he learned to cut off his own eyebrows and eyelashes. That motor driven thing they made out of the neighbor’s trash came up in the conversation.  They reminded me what I said, “I wouldn’t come to the rest home and wipe slobber off their chins or push them in wheelchairs.”
They talked about the value of cameras and how they stop crime then went on to talk about us. We’d still be in jail if they had cameras when I drove over all those gravestones when we got lost in the fog.
I blame this on not getting enough air when I lived with the sack over my head managing life’s verities.  I like failed vasectomies. They to have to put up with me now.
A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Gardens Driven by Dale Angel

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a piece by the always hilarious Dale Angel.

Gardens Driven

by Dale Angel

I have been accused of being obsessive…me! I’m sensible…I think?
In my opinion one of the most beautiful of God’s gifts is a compost pile. It quietly invites all kinds of beneficial life that are producers, do you know how hard it is to find producers? And they work in harmony. Lower uneducated forms of life do better at this than we do, and add creating something like a divine product that is welcome to all circles, including the very highest of society. When it is very good, like good wine, people will stand in line to get some. It’s Gardens Driven.
When my family wants to come and clean up my yard, a family affair, we disagree. It’s not trash, its like a pregnancy building a future life. So…it’s not always in pristine beauty-who is? The future will reveal all the potential hopes.
I know, I carry every leaf and twig to it, my family says it’s almost a religious experience to watch me feed it, carry water and food scraps. I’m obsessive. Nothing leaves my kitchen without a hope, coffee grounds and orange peels have a useful future life. I know it’s not beauty to every eye at this time. Give it time to flower.
Why can’t I just buy a sack of fertilizer and sprinkle it and remove the eye sore?
Because the last enriched sack of their prescribed precious compost killed my Coconut Thyme in a few hours!
It’s not openly discussed but in garden circles and Universities the new herbicides/pesticides are contaminated with some new unheard of by-product that kills plant life and the earth on contact for up to two years. It’s almost like a new weapon the powers that be are covertly trying to figure out how it works. Could it be an Agent Orange product leaking?
I promised to hide it, but where? I guess I could quit the worm bin. It is cranky during the heat and it is getting hotter. They are such uncomplaining little creatures and ask for so little and are so generous. I suppose I could pile it in that corner. I like worms, to throw them out of their house is as bad as throwing people out of their homes, it’s cruel.
I can’t watch a compost pile being desecrated, piling it in the garbage can and carried away leaving a clean raked area. I have friends who don’t allow a stray leaf to land in their yard, it makes me unsettled. They indicate my yard would be as beautiful as their yard, if I’d clean up the mess…bring me the smelling salts!
I may be sicker than I think, is obsessiveness kin to Alzheimer’s?
A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: All the Forever We Had by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.  Welcome, Linda!

All the Forever We Had

By Linda Boyden ©2014

All the forever we had,

four days,

three nights,

a speck of time

but with enough joy

to last an eternity

apart.

 

Joined at the heart,

time and space

could not separate us.

We wait for Time to

loop us together,

cradle us again.

 

Until then

we stay apart,

forever lovers,

heart-in-heart

against the dark.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Dylan Retrospective by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.  Welcome, Linda!

Dylan Retrospective
By Linda Boyden ©2014

What happened to the wild poets
the crazy word makers?
Red
White
Black

            Brown
Hell, get drunk enough and everyone’s Irish,
30 pints of Guinness reveals the truth.

Where are the crazy poets?
We were the wanderers,
the word listeners,
the rat-ta-tat-tat beat
filling our brains
guitars trilling
to Smoky Mountain blessings
thoughts blurred as snow fields.

We passed the bread basket,
played jug band music,
hoped to eat,
sometimes didn’t.
So we wrote
we hoped
we lived to write.
We sucked up coffee,
and often just sucked;
used hunger as the fuel

to wind up unforgettable.
Immorality is one letter shy of immortality, a few cigarettes

and beers from the gutter.
Stolen lyrics, forgotten lines,
who cared, who remembers?
We got our words out.
We got our worlds out.

Now who will catch the torch?
Who cares where the hungry poets spend the night?
Who knows how to feed one?
Do we? Does anyone?
When are you going to howl, America?
Or are you star-spangled to death,
a no-child-left-behind-single-file-parade
to acres of beige houses with white trim?

When will you howl, America?
Where are your crazy poets?

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Online Class by Dale Angel

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a piece by the always hilarious Dale Angel.

Online Class

by Dale Angel

I’m taking an online class. The subjects are varied and useful for everyday life. The teacher is well-known, educated and comes with credentials and a title. The instructor’s name is Judge Judy.
I personally learned how to dress for the work environment. You need a white lace collar. It made me realize I need the services of the physical landscaping skills of her surgeon. She looks sixteen and last class she showed up with blond hair, the necessary equipment for the job.
She shows us the value of personal worth by refusing to get involved in domestic affairs. What she calls, “playing house with benefits”.
She will not divide up the items fought over like the plaintiffs toothbrush holder and running shoes or the defendant’s rims off her car. She will not unmingle their toys.
She’s not using up her life or education over trivias, especially when both want a refund and compensation on their bad investment…we can all learn something from this.
She’s very astute in unraveling who threw the first punch…and she can identify the keys of rejected lovers…who used them to damage the cars belonging to the party of the first part.
Her work ethics are so creative when ones spouse sues, and the problem is from unemployment that brought it about, her advice is ”just gather cans and hire your own attorney”.  She’s fair.
She is a master at identifying manufactured disabilities that her bailiff pays his taxes to support so the disabled party has an income…while surfing.
The case of the women who sued for back injury and pain and suffering was enlightening. Judge Judy told her to try climbing down off those shoes, see if that helps…next!
Her practical questions are so skilled you see people tattling on themselves.
She is very good to youths who have coping problems, who she says, ”lie when their mouths are moving”. She is so kind, she never deprives them of consequences. It shows a great deal of experience in this area. I need to know more about things like this, at present, I’m under qualified.
Never do business without defensive receipts-you will need them for decades because someone may come out of the woodwork…save all receipts…good to know.
My new electric blanket has instructions. ” If it fails, mail back only in the original box plus the warranty.” I’m saving the required box and warranty for the next five years.
As an advocate of defenseless old people, she can spot a looter and plunderer with a couple of pertinent questions. We all need to know more pertinent questions. I’m not sure when to use them. I may need that information, this class will show me how.
She will not accept Dr.Phil’s failed cases, she says, “Some things can’t be fixed.” Isn’t that sensible? I need to know that, I’ll quit climbing ropes with fire at my feet trying to outrun problems I can’t fix.
Dogs and their problems are of current concern, if you have one, go out and buy insurance, if not for the dog, for their owners. Dogs are big business and Judge Judy loves them and sees through any who are into dogs for profit. She has no problem separating and restraining dogs, but untangling their owners are another matter. She says, ”The dogs are better mannered.”
She’s not above calling names and screaming when necessary and knows how to properly use these tools online.
I’m especially impressed with her ability to hold her tongue when she wants to swear and how and when this is done professionally with dignity while driving…without using ones finger.
This class contains a variety of beneficial subjects to help negotiate life’s gridlocks
A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!