Club Members Share Their Writing
The Writers’ Circle
This page features recent work by members of the Writers’ Circle. These were added on July 28, 2021.
Members and guests with an interest in writing fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama are welcome at the Writers’ Circle, which meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. At the present time, these meetings take place via Zoom. To be put on the Zoom list, contact Martin Jones.
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for you –
tiny perfect poems
with my eyelashes
on the harbour of your neck,
the silent small of your back,
each brush stroke
being brilliant, calligraphy,
and the language –
by Ron Evans
The Coin of Truth
Is “good” but evil’s modern counterfeit?
Has all life’s coin — our words — been so debased
That head is tail, tail head, and truth made fit
For naught but to deceive the common taste?
There seems to be a Gresham’s Law in force:
“Bad money drives out good.” So too when truth
Expressed by words, full-weighted coin, of course,
Is faked, and meanings warped to ends uncouth.
Soon words are re-designed with values forged
And issued as of royal mintage cast;
When with false currency the mind is gorged–
A subtle shift — the lie is then made fast
Let obverse/reverse their positions hold
And bid fresh-minted truth shine ever bold.
When Other Eyes
When other eyes caress your face no more,
Yet mine shall feast thereon as they have done
Since first we met beneath warm winter’s sun,
And beating hearts inspired my soul to soar.
When other hands no longer seek to feel
Your glistening cheek, yet mine shall speak for me
The verses locked within my heart, and be
Unwitting means whereby these thoughts I seal.
When other lips no longer ache to taste
The wine your smile pours forth each day, yet mine
Shall sing your praise and kiss the vintage vine
Which bears this luscious fruit forever chaste.
That beauty wrought by time I’ll never scorn
For in maturity ripe love is borne.
by Raymond Peringer
The Other Side of Paradise
Eve yawned and stretched languidly. A mosquito landed on her leg but didn’t bite, since that wasn’t allowed in Paradise. Eve was in no mood to be tolerant and swatted it because no one was looking.
Boredom. That’s all she had to look forward to for eternity.
A little background would have been nice; a memory or two of growing up, of mother love, heck, even some sibling rivalry would have given her something to be nostalgic about. But no, one moment nothing, the next, dazzling sunlight and the soft, bubbling snores of Adam next to her. She realised that there would be no diamond ring and Barry Manilow for aeons, but was it too much to ask for foreplay and candlelight? Somehow she felt the Almighty could have done a better job by adding a touch of romance and not laying her out like a hunk of meat in front of a starving lion.
At least her hunger pangs could be immediately satiated by plucking some of the abundant fruit, always ripe, from nearby branches. Eve had overindulged in a primitive fruit salad the first day but it became evident that God had not perfected the newly-minted digestive system of his two humans. Eve had crawled behind a bush and stayed there, groaning, for the entire second day of her existence.
But one had to eat and Eve eyed a young pig speculatively as it wandered by and thought hazily of bacon sizzling on a frying pan but, since neither frying pans nor fire had yet been discovered, the potential joys of a BLT would just have to wait. For now, she just watched as the pig rooted through the fallen fruits.
Those fallen fruits did cause a problem, however, because of the heavy smell of fermentation and the strange behaviour of the animals who gorged themselves on the sickly sweet harvest. The poor creatures would exhibit a loss of balance, weaving and falling over into a stupor.
Adam, too, would stumble back into the cave, holding his head as though to keep it in place. The conversations was limited to grunts, with the occasional burp thrown in for flavour. So the romance was definitely gone and arguments would have followed, if disagreements were allowed in Paradise.
Eve considered learning to weave together some of the bits of sheep wool occasionally found in clumps on thorny bushes, into something resembling a generic t-shirt but Adam had insisted that if God had wanted her to be clothed, he would have created a wardrobe and, therefore, covering herself up was indicating that she was not satisfied with the way she had been made. Eve muttered that if God didn’t float above the surface of the world, he would have invented Reeboks a lot sooner.
And so, the days repeated themselves endlessly. There was only one food that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat. In the centre of a clearing in the garden, growing alone, was one spindly little apple tree. It had been explained that this was one of God’s first experiments and therefore unsafe to eat (and expensive to update) but Eve suspected that there was something more. One day, a serpent slithered close to her and lisped how God was keeping the two of them there as restless pets with no real responsibilities, but that could be changed if they ate of the apple. Eve decided to try it out on Adam first.
Knowing Adam’s penchant for fermented fruits, she picked one of the forbidden apples and mashed it in a coconut shell with one of the over-ripe ones for disguise. Trying to look innocently like Martha Stewart in a fur-skin wrap, she offered it to Adam as a sample of her culinary skills. Accepting the improvement in her attitude, Adam scooped the pulp from the shell and gulped it down.
A familiar rumbling preceded the sudden parting of the clouds and, poof! God appeared, seated on a modern, Ikea-style throne, its construction proving that he was a god since there were no screws left over.
God patted his long grey locks into place but looked distinctly irked. He pointed one bony finger at them and thundered, “Thou hast committed a sin! Verily, I spake onto thee that the fruit of yon tree was forbidden! The patent is mine own.”
Eve sighed. God was doing his ‘ye olde englishe’ bit again, practising for the King James version of the Bible. He often boasted that the Book would be the No.1 best-selling biography on the New York Times list. “Oh, damn it, Eve,” God continued in a more normal tone. “Couldn’t you have left it alone?”
“What’s the big deal?” asked Eve plaintively and walked away, leaving the Almighty and his sidekick behind. They deserved each other.
“Wait!” called God. He held up his finger in the universal ‘wait’ signal, although Eve wondered how it had become universal with only the three of them existing. “Ye are hereby banished from this kingdom! Nevermore are ye to show thy face in Paradise,” he proclaimed.
Adam nodded his approval. It took only a glance at him to realize that Adam thought God was talking to her, so that Adam could have a more compliant model. But then God added, “I hereby banish you ungrateful humans from my heaven.”
Adam had time to glance at his Creator with horror since now he understood that he, too, was included in the edict. Before they could react, fog swirled around the figures of Adam and Eve and they felt themselves lifted and carried away by the wind and away from Paradise.
The landing on Earth was not soft, the sun was not shining in this new place. Indeed, something wet was falling from the sky in droplets and Eve noticed goosebumps forming on her body — was this some new disease? The couple looked around at the barren landscape and Adam thumped his chest with one hand and looked around, eager to explore. “I go work. I go find something to eat.”
“You do that,” encouraged Eve. “I’ll try to work out some Italian pasta or couscous or something.” She looked around at a scene that promised bounty, but with food that had to be found, collected and prepared. It would take time before the next meal would be ready without recipes or a kitchen. There was a list of things for Adam to do, too, in order to kickstart modern technology. She would have to get him to invent fire.
by Anya Orzechowska
Don’t I Know You from Somewhere?
On a steaming August night, so humid and slick the shirt sticks to shoulders and back, a man in a brown suit hurries up the narrow street and flags a passing taxi.
The cab brakes screech and through the open passenger window, the white-haired driver shouts: “Where are you going?”
The man is going north, about two miles, and the driver motions him into the back seat. But when he gets in, a woman is already sitting there, directly behind the driver. She leans forward, toward the old man. “This is outrageous. You don’t let someone in the cab without asking me.”
The driver shrugs. “What’s the guy to do? The streetcars have stopped for the night.”
The younger man glances over and smiles at the woman. She is a bit younger than him, early thirties he imagines, attractive, with a sweet face, a nice figure and shoulder-length brown hair. She has been drinking, he guesses, as she awkwardly moves a black purse to her left side. The upper button of her blouse is undone and he notices the silver pendant hanging from her necklace.
“Don’t worry about me,” he says. “I will sit quietly on my side.”
“I’m angry at the driver, not you.” But the car is already moving north and the argument has been settled.
For a while, no one speaks. Then the younger man says: “It is so quiet tonight, even the houses look asleep.”
The woman glances at him, furrows her eyebrows and asks: “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
There is a brief pause. “You know, I’ve been thinking the same thing. But I can’t remember where.”
“It must have been years ago. Maybe a foreign city?” she says.
“I have the same feeling. Europe somewhere?”
“Maybe. I spent a year in Paris, after university.”
“That’s right,” he says. “It’s coming back. You were working …where?”
“I was studying French. But I worked part-time, in a hotel.”
“Yes, of course. Mary, isn’t it?”
She is startled by this. “Close enough, Maria. My god, you have a good memory. I apologize; I can’t remember your name.”
“John,” he says. The two remain quiet for several seconds. “Well, Maria. It is great to see you after all these years. And a bit strange too.”
“Yes. Both those things.”
There is silence as the cab slips narrowly past some parked cars. The coincidence of meeting in a cab after all this time is so odd, it takes time to sink in. Finally, John asks: “Do you remember the place where we spent the afternoon?”
“I remember going somewhere with a man I just met. The House of Rodin?”
“Yes, the old house with the sculptures. That was memorable. I still think about that afternoon.”
“Really? That’s nice.”
“Do you remember how we ended up in Place Pigalle? We thought it would be fun to visit a cabaret.”
She thinks a moment. “It sounds familiar.”
John sits quietly, a slight smile on his face. Maria moves closer to him. The driver stops for a red light, and casts a puzzled glance in the rear-view mirror, just as a police cruiser flashes by. The light turns green and the taxi moves on.
“You know, Maria, I remember more now. We walked from Place Pigalle downhill to the Seine. It was a warm night like this, except there were so many people about. We followed those narrow streets beneath the stars for two hours, sometime stopping to say a few words with strangers.” He thinks a moment. “There was a sweet couple who invited us to sit with them and share their wine. Do you remember that?”
“I think I vaguely remember that. God, it sounds so beautiful.” She smiles at him and holds her stare a while. There is an awkward silence. Perhaps they are both lost for words, then Maria offers tentatively: “John, you’re a nice man. Why did I never see you again?”
“I was in Paris for only a few days. I gave you my home phone number and said we should get-together when you got back.”
“I have no memory of that. But then again, it was a long time ago.”
“Just think how strange life is. Maybe if you had called me, Maria, our lives would’ve turned out differently.”
“That’s a funny thought. I hope it would’ve been a better life.”
He considers this for a moment. “It’s tough out there, isn’t it?”
“Somehow, you expect it to be better than it is.”
The driver turns onto a side street and the car moves slowly ahead. “What number was that again, ma’am?”
“One forty-seven.” She gestures over the front seat. “There on the right, the duplex with the outside staircase.”
The taxi draws up to the curb and stops in front of the house. Maria lifts her purse and opens it, but John places his hand over hers. “I am going a lot further. It makes more sense for me to pay.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. It was great meeting you again, Maria.” Maria sits, not moving, unsure what to say next.
“Ma’am?” asks the driver.
“Just a few seconds, driver.” She smiles at John. It was a long smile, and then she reaches into her purse and takes out a pen and some paper and begins to write. She hands it to John. “This is my phone number. Call or text me sometime.”
John studies the paper briefly. “I will.”
“Don’t let another twelve years go by.” She opens the car door and pauses. She turns toward John. “Maybe we still can make our lives turn out differently.”
“Maybe we can.”
The taxicab pulls away from the curb as John watches Maria walk toward the house and the wrought-iron staircase.
At the yield sign at the end of street, the cab slows and comes to a stop. The driver turns and looks at John. “That was quite something, meeting a girl you haven’t seen in 12 years. “
“Yes. Quite something.”
“One for the books,” says the old man. “Paris, that’s a place I’ve always wanted to see. Is it as beautiful as they say?”
“Oh, definitely,” says John. The taxicab pulls onto a main street and John wonders about Maria. He is drawn by her kind, pretty face and the soft way she has of talking. She is very desirable. He likes what she said – that maybe they can still make their lives turn out differently. Perhaps he will phone her in two or three days.
But then again, should he really do that? After all, he has never been to Paris. And as he considers this, he wonders what Maria might be thinking now as she undresses for bed. He imagines her putting a finger on the silver pendant hanging outside her blouse, the one in the shape of the letter M and realizing, suddenly, how easy it might be for a stranger to guess that your name is Mary … or Maria.
No, he will do it. He will take a chance and phone Maria. He will invite her to some place nice – a fancy restaurant downtown, or maybe to a concert. If she agrees, he will take her there and tell her the truth. He will confess that he really does not know her but wants to. He thinks she is beautiful.
Maybe they can build something together. Maybe a better life. He will say all this to Maria. He will say: “I’m sorry for pretending to know you in the cab.” He will say: “You and I have a chance. I think we should give it a try.”
by Martin Jones