Archives for posts with tag: Catholicism

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A Canticle for Childhood
by Patrick T. Reardon

He looks out from the cave of his skull.

His lip is swollen from a top bunk fall.

His hair is cut by his father.

His First Communion shirt,
his First Communion tie
draw attention.

He is in the cavern of the church,
in the rows of children, alone.

He soars up,
up the gold spire atop the altar,
up the stained glass windows,
blue with sparks of red, green, white, gold,
up the mighty organ chords,
up the Host to heaven.

The brown wood of the pews
is new-turned soil.

He is suspended.

He waits.

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PHOTO ABOVE: The author and his fellow First Communicants at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Chicago, Illinois (1956). PHOTO AT RIGHT: Close up of the author at age seven in the above photo.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is an author, essayist, and poet who worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune for 32 years.

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MIRROR TALK

Memoir by Barbara Alfaro

I don’t have as much time for reading as I’d like – if it were up to me, I’d read as a full-time occupation, eight hours a day. Most of my reading these days is work related – material I’m editing, manuscripts I’m evaluating, or reference materials for writing projects. But once in a while I’m able to spend time with a book that’s so enjoyable the pages just breeze by – and, I’ll admit, books like these aren’t easy to find. I’m happy to report I recently encountered a book that succeeded on all fronts – beautiful prose, laugh-out-loud humor, as well as depth and introspection. The book is Mirror Talk, a memoir by Barbara Alfaro – winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award.

In the approximately 30,000-word book, available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions, Alfaro covers a lot of territory – from her Catholic girlhood in New York during the 1950s, her career as an actor and director during the 1960s and 1970s, and her eventual development as a poet, playwright, and writer.

The Mirror Talk chapter entitled “Make Mine Cognac” about an experimental play Alfaro appeared in was the funniest story I’ve read in years – and had me laughing, and laughing, and laughing out loud. Alfaro’s sharp, witty writing style is reminiscent of the wisecracking reporter Hildy Johnson in the Ben Hecht comedy His Girl Friday or even the ultimate wit – Dorothy Parker herself.

About the experimental play “smuggled from behind the Iron Curtain,” Alfaro writes: “After weeks of rehearsal, it became depressingly clear that no one in the cast had the slightest idea of what the play was about…the director said something about ‘symbolic juxtaposition.’ Finally, one of the symbols clanged. ‘What the hell is this play about?’ The director smiled that knowing, smug smile only directors and successful orthodontists seem able to accomplish…”

If you’re looking for a quick, fun read with a lot of heart and soul, check out Mirror Talk by Barbara Alfaro, available at Amazon.com. The Kindle version, available, here is just $1.99!

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Story Poem by Jason Kerzinski

Mr. Porres, Mr. Porres, Mor. Porres. Is it okay to call you “Mister”? Or would you prefer Mr. Saint Porres? Have I offended the man who brought mouse, cat, bird, and dog together? That must have been a chore. How did you manage it? Did you tempt those creatures with lasagna? It must have been lasagna. Italian food can unite any group of folks. Lasagna and breadsticks. How stupid of me to leave out the breadsticks. Mouthwatering breadsticks with garlic butter. Did you serve wine? Again, I’m not thinking. Wine, lasagna, and breadsticks can unite a toad and a fox. Have you taken on that task, Mr. Porres? Pack your bags immediately and head for Grimes, Iowa. They have a large population of toads and foxes. I will rent a car for you this afternoon. I will rent you a Ford Taurus so you will remain inconspicuous. Good luck, Mr. Saint Martin de Porres, and Godspeed.

Note: “Godspeed” by Jason Kerzinski was originally published in the New Orleans Review, Volume 33, Number 2.

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Before her art restoration at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church was rudely interrupted by local officials in Borja, Spain, Cecilia Gimenez, 81, intended to repair the neglected 19th century fresco to work off some her Purgatory time. Let’s face it, at Cecilia’s advanced age, she thinks about such things — thinks about them a lot!

Now, Cecilia has found a new way to apply her artistic talents — and do good works that will shave away some time in the fiery furnace. (Note for Non-Catholics: Purgatory is like hell — only temporary.) She has volunteered at a Spanish tattoo parlor (see below), where she has agreed to tattoo images of winged beings onto the assorted and sundry body parts of the unholy unwashed.

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Cecilia thought this penance would be akin to the Lord washing the apostles’ feet, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way. To date, she has not felt a sublime union with the divine — but has only experienced an endless barrage of ridiculous requests for unnameable creatures and obscene sayings.

When she offered to draw winged creatures on the tattoo parlor patrons, she thought she would be inking in angels, cherubs, and even an archangel or two. Instead, she’s faced with persnickety customers who expect her to recreate intricate drawings of Pegasus and every last flying demon from the Inferno.

Cecilia has decided to keep the gig until she figures out another way to do penance through good works.

Photo: 9gag.com