John Irving: A Prayer for Owen Meany

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For this month we are reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by  John Irving. We will meet again on Thursday evening, January 12. More details to follow. Happy reading and Merry Christmas to you all.

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November 30 Poem

Angle of Repose

The angle of repose, or critical angle of repose, of a granular material is the steepest angle of descent or dip relative to the horizontal plane to which a material can be piled without slumping. At this angle, the material on the slope face is on the verge of sliding. The angle of repose can range from 0° to 90.

 I’m slumping,

clawing at the earth

as it tilts, and I’m slowly

sliding toward the abyss.

What is my angle of repose?

When I’m not slumping and sliding

the earth stops abruptly and I’m off balance,

like stepping off a merry-go-round,

I’m weaving around like a drunk,

off balance and disoriented.

This life is a slag heap

thrown in my path

blocking my way,

one step up

two back.

 

I’m slumping,

clawing at the slope

as it tilts away and I’m

off balance, sliding

toward the abyss.

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Rick Bass and Salt

Just a reminder that we are meeting tomorrow night (Dec. 1, 8:30 pm) to discuss the works of Rick Bass. I am also planning a little salt tasting. If you have any interesting salts, bring them to add to the 5 or 6 that I have. You might also consider bringing something sweet to balance out the night.

As usual, feel free to share with the others what you have been reading, and if you are a writer, we can even do a little workshopping if you like.

See you tomorrow.

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November 29 Poem

Sometimes I try to remember

what her body felt like lying

next to me in bed, or how

her voice sounded when we

were alone and she spoke softly.

I try to remember what she looked

like when she was happy,

and the smells that came from the kitchen.

You’d think these memories

would come easily—

just take them down from the

shelf like old familiar, loved books,

and browse through them with a smile,

but they’re lost now and I cannot

find them. I’ve searched everywhere

but they have simply vanished,

and I am left trying to imagine

what she was like in that

time before the sky fell upon us.

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November 28 Poem

Finally. Snow,

drifting down

swirling silently,

piling up on the lawn,

dressing spindly branches.

It has been a long wait.

I think the woods

would be lovely today

with a new white

covering and the hushed

silence that snow brings.

 

What if it kept snowing

all night and all day,

like white sheets

against the windows,

piling up deeper and deeper,

maybe so deep we couldn’t

get out of the house. Gleefully,

I’d have a big leisurely breakfast,

then gather my things—books,

a blanket, downy pillow,

my notebook, some pens,

and set up camp on the couch.

 

I’d open the curtains to let

the pale blue light leak

into the room and so I could

monitor the storm, watch

the glorious clean snow pile up

deeper and deeper. I’d make

another cup of hot chocolate,

dark and bitter, spiked with

chili pepper and cinnamon,

and a little splash of vanilla.

 

And when I grew tired of

watching the snow cascade

down from a tilted gray sky

I’d burrow down in my

blanket and doze off

dreaming of a world

clean and white and

full of peace and quiet.

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November 27 Poem

Forgot to post this last night.

There are a thousand love poems

hidden deep in my heart, trying

to get out. They come knocking

at all hours, but mostly at night

when I’m alone and the house

is quiet and my heart aches with

the knocking and I want to open

that secret door and let those

words come flying out to find

their way to paper where they

can live and be seen and held close.

But instead they remain locked up,

forgotten, waiting for another day,

another time.

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November 26 Poem

Some nights seem to live on,

like the night I held her hand

on that dark beach with the lights

at are back and the crashing waves

before us. We paused, sat down,

and buried our bare feet in the sand.

She leaned into me, her head

on my shoulder and whispered

things into my ear that I have

forgotten, but I remember that

summer night lone ago when a

brown-haired girl held

my hand and whispered sweet

things in my ear and the roaring

of the waves surrounded us.

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