Mute Elation Part 01 - Little Girl Lost (Mute Elation - A Street Wolf Mystery)
He was just a person to talk to and help me figure things out. X and I spent the better part of a year questioning my life choices:. One typically sunny Thursday so not conducive to therapy! I was his wing woman. So how could I leave him? I looked at my therapist in horror. I had no feelings for my boss — he was married. I started breaking a few other Jewish laws to boot. Perhaps my doctor was confusing me with another patient? X shifted out of his nonchalant stance in the comfy leather chair across from me and leaned forward. He knew exactly who I meant. Apparently he believed I felt bad about leaving my job not because I was letting someone down, but because all my feelings for my boss were romantic — or worse, tawdry.
But no matter how secular I might ultimately become, an adulterer is not the kind of woman I wanted to be. My therapist and I rarely talked about sex. Which is probably all I really felt for Brian. Independence, finally! No one controlling my every move, monitoring my religiosity. In twice-weekly sessions with a psychotherapist, I learned the suppressed sadness was my past catching up to me, and the sooner I let the emotion out, the better I would feel. So I left therapy, I thought, for good. Ten years later, when I got deadlocked at work and with the boyfriend, I again sought help. X because he seemed my opposite: a secular atheist who, I learned over the past year, was a staunch individualist, unable to understand why anyone would do anything based on what other people thought.
I loved how into me he was. But was that enough? For once I was silent. Did people really live like that? Without planning everything every step of the way? So what if Brian was a good provider who loved me, or my job paid a good salary and my boss counted on me? True, they anchored me from the abyss. Just as religion once protected me from the nebulous secular world. But they were imprisoning me, too. But over the week, I kept thinking about his preposterous mistake. And I became more and more upset.
But this time, I needed to explore what happened and call Dr. X on his error. I did not get it. I thought that by knowing me, Dr. X could help me become me. But he was just like all the rest of them. We humans are far more complex than the news headlines and clickbait would have you believe. Let the Narratively newsletter be your guide. Love this Narratively story? Sign up for our Newsletter. Send us a story tip. Become a Patron. Follow us. How a brilliant scientist went from discovering a mother lode of treasure at the bottom of the sea to fleeing from authorities with suitcases full of cash.
Thompson had long insisted that he suffers from neurological problems and chronic fatigue syndrome, which impairs his memory, and that his meandering explanations were a symptom of the distress foisted upon him. Thompson was genuinely sickened and overwhelmed, however, and he found it extremely frustrating that nobody seemed to take his condition seriously. In the 30 years since, the weight of the find had upended partnerships, ended his marriage, and set loose the specter of greed.
What began as a valiant mission of science turned into something else entirely. O n September 11, , about 7, feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, a set of glowing orbs moved smoothly through the darkness and illuminated the mysterious world below. That far down there are few currents, the water is close to freezing, and it is almost pitch black. The only light typically comes from the bioluminescent creatures that float by like ghosts, but in this case the lights were from a six-ton, unmanned vessel.
The Nemo , looking like an industrial freezer with two robotic arms, made a small adjustment to its thrusters and hovered above the scattered remains of a sunken ship. Video of the wreckage was relayed to a vessel bobbing above, giving the crew — and the world — the first look at a ship whose location had stymied treasure hunters for generations. It was the SS Central America , a massive side-wheel steamship that sank in a hurricane off the coast of South Carolina in The find was remarkable for many reasons.
The artifacts eventually recovered from the ship were a window into a bygone era and gave voice to the hundreds of people who were pulled into the abyss. But the discovery was also a spectacular victory for pocketbooks — the ship was carrying gold when it sank, and lots of it: coins, bars and nuggets of every size surrounded the wreck and covered its decks and rotting masts. And that was only what the crew could see — somewhere in the remains were said to be between 3 and 21 tons of gold, a haul some experts valued at close to half a billion dollars.
For Thompson, the Edisonian genius who masterminded the expedition, the discovery was the first salvo of what looked to be a long, impressive career. He became an American hero, a mix of brains and daring in the tradition of the scientist-adventurers of yore. But Thompson was subjected to a legal hell storm as soon as he set foot on shore.
Numerous people and companies were vying for their share of the gold, and the unending litigation was compounded by the lawsuits filed by investors who claimed Thompson had ripped them off. In , long after the litigation had sidetracked his calling, Thompson went underground, allegedly taking with him suitcases full of cash and gold. Months later, Thompson was staying under an assumed name at a hotel in Boca Raton, Florida, trying to keep his faculties in check. He was unkempt, unwell and barely left his hotel room, as he had been on the run from federal authorities for the past two and a half years.
From the witness stand in Columbus, Thompson disclosed startling information in a story already laden with tragedy and fortunes lost — and shed light on the mystery of millions in still-missing gold. The pressure 8, feet below the sea is times greater than on the surface, and Tommy Thompson was squeezed by something even more intense for the better part of 30 years. He grew up in Defiance, Ohio, a small city in the northwestern corner of the state. He was always drawn to the water, and he enjoyed challenging friends to breath-holding contests. When he was a teenager, he bought and fixed up an amphibious car, and he loved pranking his friends by driving unsuspecting passengers into a lake.
Rife with lore, the hunters spoke of ships sunken somewhere out in the ocean with more gold than could ever be spent. However, nobody knew quite where to start looking, nor could they afford the technology necessary to undertake the search. Following his graduation from The Ohio State University with a degree in ocean engineering, Thompson went to work for the Battelle Memorial Institute, a prominent research lab in Columbus that has developed everything from kitchen appliances to nuclear weapons. There, he was able to work on deep-sea engineering projects, at one point developing technology that allowed the U.
Thompson wanted to work exclusively in deep water but was routinely warned that such jobs were hard to come by. So he began looking for other ways to pursue this heady scientific passion. It was actually the means to an end. One of the first orders of business was to find the perfect wreck to hunt.
Thompson worked with Bob Evans, an equivalently intelligent polymath and professional geologist, to winnow down the list of candidate ships. The Central America ferried passengers to and from California at the height of the Gold Rush in the mid 19th century. Six hundred people, and up to 21 tons of gold coming from California, were aboard the Central America when it disembarked to New York from a stopover in Cuba on September 3, Five days later, the ship found herself floundering in the middle of a terrifying hurricane.
Passengers attempted a hour nonstop bucket brigade to keep the ship afloat, but the engines flooded and the storm ripped apart masts and sails. The ship was doomed. The vessel let out a final tortured groan as it sank on the evening of September 12, sucking souls down in a horrifying vortex.
The loss in gold was so profound that it was one of the factors precipitating the Great Panic financial crisis of Finding the Central America would be no easy matter — proportionally it would be like finding a single grain of sand in the floor plan of a four-bedroom house. The key, Thompson knew, was to undertake a logical and hyper-organized search.
Bob Evans used every known detail about the fateful voyage, including passenger and crew accounts of the weather as the ship sank, and worked with a search theory expert to determine that the wreck was likely somewhere in a 1,square-mile grid miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, in part of the ocean that was nearly a mile and a half deep.
Each square on the grid was assigned a number based on the likelihood that the ship had ended up there, and the idea was to trawl a sonar apparatus up and down the grid and take in-depth readings of the most promising results. Obsessed with his work, Thompson was said to be indifferent to food and sleep, dressed in a thrift store suit and hair afrizz. As a result, the high-powered investors waiting in their upper-floor offices and elegant conference rooms were often skeptical of his bewildering presence. But time after time, Thompson would speak to them reasonably, thoroughly and intelligently.
He was realistic about the low probability of success, outlined various contingencies, and emphasized that the mission offered the chance for the investors to participate in a journey of good old American discovery. Investors soon found themselves chuckling in delight at the audacious fun of the project and the inspiring confidence they felt in Thompson. Wayne Ashby told the Columbus Dispatch in Thompson was the head of both. Under the aegis of these companies, Thompson outfitted a search vessel, put together a crew, and developed a seven-ton remotely operated vehicle capable of withstanding deep-ocean conditions.
They also conducted various other experiments useful to the recovery, such as purposely giving Evans the bends. As Gary Kinder writes in Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, the deepest an unmanned submersible had gone previous to this was 6, feet. That vehicle had been difficult to control, with only one arm that could perform rudimentary functions.
The technology Thompson and his crew developed in secret streamlined and refined the submersible so that it was much easier to control and could perform the delicate tasks needed for the recovery of the ship. It was one of their secret weapons, and the mission to find the Central America was officially launched in June The mission was subject to numerous difficulties: seasickness, short tempers, errant weather, malfunctioning equipment, little sleep, and a stretch of time when the only food served was fried chicken. Investors groused about the delays, but Thompson always managed to assuage their fears.
In late summer , the crew sent the submersible robot down to check out an overlooked blip on the search grid. The control room aboard the ship, with its walls of monitors and technology that made it look like an alien craft from an old movie, exploded with profoundly human joy. Gold and artifacts were brought to the surface starting in fall , the beginnings of a haul that would grow to include gold ingots, 7, gold coins, and, at 80 pounds, one of the largest single pieces of gold ever discovered and at the time the most valuable piece of currency in the world.
Wayne Ashby told the Dispatch when the discovery was announced. When asked by a reporter to estimate the value of the haul, Thompson demurred. The first haul of gold was taken from the ship straight into armored cars by guards carrying machine guns amidst cheering investors, well wishers, and descendants of the survivors of the Central America wreck. But as it would turn out, that brief glimpse was the closest any investor would ever get to the treasure found at the bottom of the sea.
I n , the Columbus-America Discovery Group had secured its right in admiralty court to excavate the Central America site and retain possession of whatever they discovered beneath the sea. But this ruling was challenged almost as soon as Thompson set foot back on the shore.
Thompson and his companies were sued by no less than separate entities, including 39 insurance companies that had insured the cargo on the original Central America voyage. Things got even more complex when an order of Capuchin monks sued Thompson, alleging he had copped the intel given to them by a professor from Columbia University whom they had commissioned to do a sonar search of the same area. Recovery operations were suspended in because of the lawsuits, leaving the fate of the gold brought to the surface in legal limbo — and tons of gold still on the wreck at the bottom of the sea.
The back-and-forth continued until and in the process established case law in admiralty court when Thompson and his companies were finally awarded Coupled with a significant devaluing of the rare coin market, a few investors wondered about the future of their investment. The pressure mounted as Thompson attempted to balance his obligations to his crew, his companies, and his investors while being a dad to his three kids.
He was right there, every time there was a hearing. He read every page of every brief, and a lot of times he was helping with the writing, too. Army, but this later proved to be a myth. Meetings with investors became less frequent, they said, as did updates and newsletters. Once lauded for his openness, Thompson appeared to go into a shell.
Thompson said that his silence was necessary to protect trade secrets. By , some of the investors were fed up with the way Recovery Limited Partnership was being run and made moves to establish another company, this time with the investors in charge. The companies were restructured, with the reworked Columbus Exploration as a partner company to Recovery Limited Partnership.
Thompson was again the head of both entities, though it was stipulated that he would draw a salary only from the former and not the latter. Much of it was sold to gold and coin dealers, and some of the treasure was displayed in a lavish traveling exhibit across the country, with Thompson sometimes making an appearance alongside his discovery. Thompson then allegedly told investors that they would not be seeing any of the proceeds, as all the money went to pay off the loans and legal fees that had accrued since the mission began.
Thompson took the coins without approval from the board, though his attorney Keith Golden maintains there was nothing clandestine about it. Nonetheless, in , two former investors filed lawsuits against Thompson for breach of contract and fiduciary duty: Donald Fanta, president of an investment firm, the Fanta Group, and the Dispatch Printing Company, owned by the family that ran The Columbus Dispatch. Dispatch scion John W.
However, he died and his cousin John F. Convinced that Thompson was ripping him off, the cousin pushed the lawsuit ahead. Thompson was next sued by a group of nine sonar techs from the original mission who claimed they had been duped out of 2 percent of the profits from the gold, plus interest. The two cases were combined with a third into a mega-lawsuit in federal court, creating a labyrinthine legal situation with a rotating cast of attorneys and thousands of motions and maneuvers that bewildered even seasoned courtroom players.
Missions to the Central America were once again put on hold as Thompson put his mind to work filing legal briefs and appeals. Once having bragged of being the subject of more than 3, articles, Thompson had long since stopped talking to the press, and now spent half the year living in a Florida mansion rented under another name.
Thompson began to show symptoms of the gilded affliction. In he was arrested in Jacksonville after a sheriff observed him hiding something under the seat following a routine traffic stop. In July , U. Organ had never actually met Thompson and claimed that he was out to sea. But Judge Sargus shook his head and declared bullshit. The two were presumed to be together and, some of the investors speculated, in possession of millions of dollars in cash and the gold coins.
On top of the civil suits against him, Thompson was charged with criminal contempt of court, and U. Marshals were tasked with tracking down him down. Marshal Brad Fleming told the Associated Press in the midst of the pursuit. Once the most successful treasure hunter in the world, Tommy Thompson was now the one being hunted. I n late summer , a handyman named James Kennedy walked up to the porch of Gracewood, a large home in Vero Beach, Florida. Kennedy took out his cell phone and pretended to call the landlord.
I picked up my cell phone and I said it real loud. He had been a handyman for decades, but even he was taken aback by what he found inside. Thompson had been renting Gracewood since , a home away from the hassles in Columbus, and the mansion had become their home base when they fled Ohio two months earlier.
As renters, Thompson and Antekeier had always been friendly but maintained their distance, Brinkerhoff said. He searched for Thompson on the internet and learned that the tenants were wanted by U. Kennedy himself had once found a mammoth bone and was similarly besieged with people trying to take advantage of his find.
So he called the Marshals. But by that point, Thompson and Antekeier had long since fled Gracewood, and law enforcement was once again unable to determine where they went. Marshal Brad Fleming said in an interview. Based on material found in the Pennwood cabin, the Marshals were alerted to the Hilton Boca Raton Suites, a banal upscale setting where the pair of fugitives had remained hidden since May 30, Marshals prepared to descend on the hotel.
Thompson was a brilliant mind and incredible strategist, but he was not suited for life on the run. One of the last times anyone had seen him, it was a worrisome sight: Thompson was in the backyard of a house he was renting, yelling into his phone in his underwear. Think more along the lines of Dilbert in charge of the operation.
But what had to be one of the most intense disappointments in the saga, for Thompson, was the fact that the excavation of the Central America would carry on without him. Kane in turn contracted a company called Odyssey Marine Exploration to finish the recovery of the Central America.
Listen, Little Man!
The goal was to bring the rest of the gold to the surface and ensure that the investors got paid. Thompson has significant holdings in the U. If there are dollars that he is hiding, I want every penny of it. The renewed excavation launched in April , with U. Marshals putting a wanted poster of Thompson aboard the ship in case he attempted to rejoin the mission. The operation was quite successful, bringing up more than 45 gold bars, 15, coins, and hundreds of artifacts over the course of numerous dives, including a pair of glasses, a pistol, and a safe filled with packages.
The sale of the gold was once again undertaken by the California Gold Marketing Group. O n January 27, , Thompson, then 62, was pale and sickly as he sat in his room in the Hilton Suites in Boca Raton, his body racked with the paranoid tics of a man on the run. She took almost comically cinematic precautions when appearing in public, wearing big floppy hats and taking a succession of buses and taxis to lose anyone who might be on her tail. The hunt was led by an intimidating and extremely direct U.
Marshal named Mike Stroh. He had been involved in manhunts all over the country, but the mission to find Thompson had special resonance with him as a professional person-finder. After seven hours of following her, Marshals crashed their way into the hotel and surprised the two, screaming at them not to move. The Marshals would ultimately cart away 75 boxes of evidence from the room, but they came up empty-handed in one aspect of their quest.
Investigators found boxes in the Gracewood mansion that looked a lot like those that had held the restrike coins, but the gold itself was nowhere to be found. Thompson tried to fight the extradition. Marshal Brad Fleming said Thompson was chatty as they made the journey back, perhaps relieved that he no longer had to hide. Both pleaded guilty to criminal contempt. T he capture of Tommy Thompson made for a fairly pedestrian end to a story that had captivated Columbus for years.
Other associates were wistful about the turn of events. But the notion that not even a brilliant mind could resist running off with gold was too salacious not to report, and the allegations of thievery became the dominant narrative. It was an unfortunate bookend to the legacy of someone who had long maintained that the historical and scientific aspects of the recovery were the most important point of the mission.
Indeed, the non-gold accomplishments of the Central America mission are impressive and resounding. Michael Vecchione, a zoologist with the Smithsonian who briefly worked with the expedition, said the jerry-rigged technology of the Nemo is now standard practice for deep-ocean explorations. The mission took thousands of hours of video, giving scientists an unprecedented look at deep-sea life and revealing new species and their evolutionary adaptations, he said.
Deep-sea sponges were retrieved and studied for their antitumor properties. And the way in which they physically nabbed the gold was incredible in its own right: The robotic arms of the submersible gingerly placed a frame around a pile of coins and injected it with silicone, which, when solidified, made for a block full of gold that could be stored until it was ready to be brought to the surface. Controlling all of this were systems less powerful than those contained in the average smart phone, Bob Evans said. The coins and other gold items recovered from the Odyssey Marine—led excavation debuted in a public exhibit in Los Angeles in February to record-setting attendance, and they were next seen in May at an NRA convention in Dallas.
After administrative costs, court costs and creditor claims, there would theoretically be a distribution to the investors in Recovery Limited Partnership — the first time they would ever see a dime, 33 years after the initial investment for some. The prison, an imposing but generic detention facility surrounded by razor wire, is about three hours from Columbus, and it is the place Thompson has called home for more than four years. It appears to be his home for the foreseeable future, as Thompson is serving an indefinite sentence in federal prison for civil contempt for refusing to divulge the whereabouts of the coins.
It has been hard to deduce his motivations, even for those who know him well. His intense concentration and extreme focus found the Central America , and the same focus applied to trying to find an answer to his current predicament is taken as unwillingness to play ball. Only two of the hundreds of investors in the mission have sued Thompson because they knew it was a gamble to begin with, she said.
Moreover, as Bob Evans explained, the actual value of the gold was highly speculative in the first place. The inventory has been published. There is no other gold that has been recovered. Perhaps the math is not simple, but it is not beyond the talents of the most elementary minds, or at least the reasonably educated.
But according to Quintin Lindsmith, attorney for the Dispatch Printing Company, recouping the supposedly missing returns is not the point. Thirty years and two months after the treasure was found, Thompson was driven the long three hours from Milan, Michigan, to Columbus, Ohio, to stand trial and answer questions many people had been waiting a long time to ask. The missing defendant suggested a repeat of previous events.
Had he somehow fled? Thompson, in a navy sport coat and light-colored plaid shirt, was momentarily nonplussed, and his eyes, behind his black, thick-framed glasses, registered a small amount of surprise. Most damning, however, was alleged evidence that he had stashed gold at the bottom of the sea, presumably to be retrieved later on: When the receivership went back down to the Central America in , they found coins and gold bars that had been neatly laid out on trays. Thompson also admitted that he had made off with the gold coins as a form of remuneration he felt he was due.
In her testimony, Alison Antekeier said that between and she moved them from California to a safe-deposit box in in Jacksonville, and then to a storage facility in Fort Lauderdale, where she gave them, in a handful of suitcases, to a man who was supposed to transfer them to an irrevocable trust in Belize. This was the point Thompson was trying to make all along. As his attorney Keith Golden explained, an irrevocable trust means that once the trust is set up, the person who opened it cannot access it without the permission of the named beneficiaries.
Who was supposedly named as beneficiaries on the trust is unclear. Dark geometry skims over late August fields: a symphony of eating, wild, graceful hunger. You never answered the question. I sometimes feel as if I am losing my marbles. Darla slipped on them, broke her ankle. Slippery slope. Settling back in, paciGood. That is the difference.
Ah memory. We are snakes in the garden of the world. End of play. Joshua Plack A thousand man-made suns scream off the windows of the Loews Hotel on Broad Street making me stumble back and lose myself for a moment. I remember. I am meeting Bill Elliot from the police union at the Brasserie for highballs and turkey clubs. A young woman passes, stealing my gaze with the bobbing motions of round shadows. My stare holds a touch too long and she looks away fleeing my eyes. Girls have to do that, pretend to hate what they secretly love, especially when you have what I have.
Across the street there stands an old man, looking lost, at me, in that tired, flannel uniform of old age that fills my nose with moth balls across four lanes of traffic. I move out of his way but his movements mirror mine with perfect fluidity. When I reach the shop window I look at myself and remember that Broad only has two lanes. I touch I remember that wry smile of the woman who smelled of orange blossoms and wore sundresses no matter the weather.
How she said no and how it drove me wild. How she taught me to give up the weight of the world and carried it herself when the world felt cruel. How she took my name, and how that name came to be etched in marble on a stone behind the church we were married in. I remember how long it had been since I sat by that slab of granite and listened for the voice of the woman who carried my sons, saw them off to war and welcomed one home. My sons The clouds part and a thousand man-made suns scream off the windows of the Loews Hotel on Broad Street, making me stumble back and lose myself for a moment.
Cursing, I dip my head under the faucet and turn it on hastily. One of my limbs, forever vexed by gangly ungainliness, knocks over the can of Coors Light I had balanced on a domino-like stack of eyeshadow palettes. Looking at myself in the mirror, I see the scorching red burn just above my collar bone. If Robby saw me, would he want to talk to me? Do you think I should wear leggings or shorts? Sometimes for the worse. She looks up and grins, backlight of her cell phone glowing, face looking like a ghost prettied-up for a daguerreotype photograph.
We made it a game of pretend, challenging each other to go to stores with made up names, accents, and backstories: Tatiana, a Russian technology startup CEO. Lucia, a Midwest girl with a secret foot fetish. We got good at it. And then there was that night. Staring at the mirror, I frown at my belly, rolling my eyes at the wispy trail of blonde hair beneath my belly button that I always forgot to shave away. I enjoyed the act of getting ready, of becoming. I hid my too-wide nose with clever contouring and a diamond stud in one nostril.
I hid my eczema-blotched skin with a creamy layer of foundation. I try not to take it as an insult. Melancholy, tedious brown. Taylor Brown. She catches me looking at her in the mirror. Instead I observe my mother as she carefully manipulates her hair into submission, frothy cotton texture pressed into sleek modernity with degrees of heat. I look at her face, pock marked and blemished, a hundred pale potholes from old cystic acne. Diamonds shone like dewdrops around her neck, a gift from my oblivious father the day after their latest anniversary.
She pulls the mirror open, revealing a scattered trove of chapsticks and vaginal ointments. My knees tremble at the words, fingers suddenly quivering at my sides. My mother rose to embrace me after the ceremony, proud tears dampening the sleeves of her blouse. It was one of the only garments that fit her anymore, over pounds of weight gain relegating her once floaty blouses and tight jeans to the bottom of her closet.
My father appears next to me in the doorway, glances my mother up and He could eat grilled chicken, white rice, and burnt asparagus for the rest of his life and be completely content, so it confused him endlessly why my mother gorged herself on slices of cheesecake and pizzas stacked with her own supply of veggies.
You can do it! It was hard not to get frustrated. But now, guilt choking me, I want to shout out at him and tell him to call her gorgeous. Even pretty. I want him to wrap his long arms around her large waist and tell her she looks so pretty tonight. We arrive at the bar tipsy and shivering, bare skin exposed to January hail.
Naomi babbles on about her latest Tinder date, and I try my best to follow along while surveying the horde of college kids clumped together in warm huddles, each stealing glances at the strangers around them. Before I even have a chance to look at a bartender, two boys, both alike in averageness, approach us with six drinks that bear the unmistakable turquoise hue of Blue Caracao liqueur.
Half amused, I wave them in. Haley is the name for a girl who can order a Sex on the Beach at bars without indecision or flushed cheeks.
Haley pounds her liquor without pulling putrid faces afterwards, never worried And of course—Haley is beautiful. The boys test drive the name out on their tongues like a new Ferrari: Hailey. Naomi looks uneasy, so I give her a wink. We all go around the table like schoolchildren and share the conversation starters that bond college students together in tedium: What year are you?
How drunk are you already? She blames the alcohol, and they seem to like her more for it. Naomi remains uncharacteristically quiet while thumbing through her Facebook feed in a darkened corner of the booth. I want to shake her, tell her to have fun! Haley grow livelier as the drinks grow sweeter. I am gorgeous. I notice the crowds of boys, drops of beer trimming the ends of patchy mustaches, plastic cups full of foam. I realize they are looking at me. Winking at me. Wanting me. I am exhilarated by it all.
Broke kids with ripped baseball caps buying rounds of drinks with money their mothers gave them for rent. I am swept up in the games of pretend around me, a layer of shiny wax that transforms the sticky divebar to a laser-dappled fantasy land. My father and I both pause from wounding our steaks with thick knives, and look up at my mother, who is scanning the restaurant full of strangers.
I look around now, taking in the faux-rustic architecture of the restaurant, counting the number of elderly people.
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Most of them eat with fingers so shaky that My father chuckles, but my mother still looks reflective. Seated there is a young couple, baby making fussy hissing sounds in a high chair at the head of the table. The pair sits close together, smiling every so often as they share a menu. The woman is cute and petite, feet barely scraping the ground in her chair. Wanna share a plate together? The manufactured cheeriness felt foreign in my throat, but I pile it on thick as the note from earlier rips into my memory like a pronged hook.
Be happy with myself. They both sit there in silence, waiting for me to make a move. We did eat a lot already. And wet. A bead of sweat runs down my ribcage, chilling me. My chin rests on a toilet bowl, and my stomach contents have made their fabulous debut onto my blouse.
I read once that the Earth travels over 30 kilometers per second; at this moment I could feel every kilometer, no seatbelt in sight. Get fucking wasted and regret it later? See their thin heels under the door, dried mud caking onto toes. Smell their lavender perfume. I retch again. Lick my lips. Squish my eyebrows together. Ignore the spinning. Breathe again. He was in the living room while the two guys took me in the bedroom… He was there. The morning after. I remember the look on her face as she drooped onto my couch, wide eyes focusing only on the television.
I remember watching a marathon of some campy home renovation show together in silence, not a word from a girl whose normal stream of consciousness made it so easy to know what she was thinking. What is there to say? And now here she was, kneeling beside me in a bar bathroom, pulling my hair away from my own mess. Picking myself off the tiled floor of the stall, I tremble back to the throng of the bar, not registering anything but the pulse of music. The sweat under my arms. The boy I wanted so badly to hurt. I walk over to him with the small shred of poise I still had left, elbowing my way through a dense gridlock of shoulders and exposed hips.
I know he sees me when his face wilts to disappointment, eyes blank, frowning. As if he had been cheated. The spell had been broken. Pale Blue Cover In the middle of the night Matt would fly to Vancouver so he could take a walk on the sea wall the next day, then go home. No one can imagine Matt teaching religion at George Bowering b.
Dear Updike I dreaded those future aeons when I would not be present — an endless succession of days I would miss, with their own news and songs and styles of machine. Evelyn Lau b. Living, I had no claim On your great hours. Now the thin candle-flame, The closing flowers, Wed summer with my name, — And these are Marjorie Pickthall Bear up, bear out, bear onward This mortal soul alone, To selfhood or oblivion, Incredibly thine own, — As the foamheads are loosened And blown along the sea, Or sink and Bliss Carman Deep throated base tones dissipate, swallowed by the earth; Lee Maracle b.
Letters I threw away your letters. Years ago, just like that. The last items I had left. The dates. The phrases. The things you said. Snowflake patterns. Leaf diagrams. Russell Thornton b. A Dream Within a Dream Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow — You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream; Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem The limpness of a bird's legs in flight. The place, the question, the question. The place, the interest, the question. There is the place. There is what you do in the place. There is your belief. There is the faith in a knowing. There is your instruction by the gods. There is your instruction as you are told. There is your relief Aisha Sasha John b. Song for a Silent Treatment. I told her, in plain language, how I felt. It doesn't matter. Allons, feignons David McGimpsey b.
Christian severity etched in the lines he draws from his mouth. Clearly a noble man who believes in work and mission. See how he rises from Armand Garnet Ruffo. Let the Ponies Out oh papa, to have you drift up, some part of you drift up through water through fresh water into the teal plate of sky soaking foothills, papa, to have your breath leave, escape you, escape the weight of bone, muscle and organ, escape you, to rise up, to loft, till you are all breath filling the room, rising, escaping the white Marilyn Dumont b. But I cannot leave them Adebe D.
Charles Lamb You are on the highway, there is a kind of laughter, the cars pound south. Over your shoulder the scrub-grass, the fences, the fields wait patiently as though someone believed in them. The light has laid it upon them. Dennis Lee b. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Leigh Hunt Not Waving But Drowning Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking Stevie Smith Liz Howard b. Experience The lords of life, the lords of life, — I saw them pass, In their own guise, Like and unlike, Portly and grim, — Use and Surprise, Surface and Dream, Succession swift and spectral Wrong, Temperament without a tongue, And the inventor of the game Omnipresent without name; — Some to see, some to Ralph Waldo Emerson William Butler Yeats Kaveh Akbar b. Wayne Keon b. A Stone Diary At the beginning I noticed the huge stones on my path I knew instinctively why they were there breathing as naturally as animals I moved Pat Lowther Two Words: A Wedding There are things you have words for, things you do not have words for.
A diamond ring. It ate promises and rants. Sue Goyette b. The Cremation of Sam McGee There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, Robert W. Service Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run, And do run still, though still I do deplore? When thou hast done, thou hast not done, For I have more. Wilt thou Full desertness, In souls as countries, lieth silent-bare Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare Of the absolute heavens.
Poor Speaker I understand you. I get it. You want me to understand. Got it. These Poems, She Said These poems, these poems, these poems, she said, are poems with no love in them. These are the poems Robert Bringhurst b. Matthew Rohrer b. Paul Muldoon b. Wild Nights — Wild Nights! Were I with thee Wild Nights should be Our luxury!
Rowing in Eden — Ah, the Sea! Might I but moor — Tonight — In Thee! Changming Yuan b.
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The Princess: Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white; Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk; Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font. The firefly wakens; waken thou with me. Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost, And like a ghost she glimmers on to me. Heat From plains that reel to southward, dim, The road runs by me white and bare; Up the steep hill it seems to swim Beyond, and melt into the glare.
Upward half-way, or it may be Nearer the summit, slowly steals A hay-cart, moving dustily With idly Tractor More than a storey high and twice that long, it looks igneous, the Buhler Versatile , possessed of the ecology of some hellacious minor island on which options are now standard. Cresting the sections Karen Solie b. Solitude Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own. Sing, and the hills will answer; Sigh, it is lost on the air; The echoes bound to a joyful sound, But Ella Wheeler Wilcox Robert Creeley Or as Robin teaches the gap, from which all things emerge.
A left handed compliment. Bats, houses of parliament, giants, stones. What woman, witness to such Thought, does not feel Sharon Thesen b. Were we not weaned till then? But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? And now Sometimes a Voice 1 Sometimes a voice — have you heard this? Sometimes, even in the midst of making sense or Don McKay b. These are mine acolytes and these my choir, And this mine altar in the cool green shade, Where the wild soft-eyed does draw nigh Wondering, as in the byre Of Bethlehem the oxen heard Thy cry Whether he vainly cursed, or prayed indeed, The Bullets chirped — In vain!
Machine-guns chuckled, — Tut-tut! And the Big Gun guffawed. To be relationship advice for L. To be a more comfortable hospital bed for my mother. To be, in my spare time, America for my uncle, who wants to be China Chen Chen b. The Gods and Fortune take their part Who like young monarchs fight; And boldly dare invade that heart John Dryden We romped until the pans Slid Theodore Roethke Gwendolyn MacEwen Good Day Villanelle You ran naked out the door.
The Mystery in Rock Hill
The neighbours laughed; I chased you down. I hardly see you anymore. Did I tell you when you were little how you ran naked out the door? You got halfway down the street before I caught you in my arms. Damian Rogers b. The New Experience I was ready for a new experience. All the old ones had burned out. They lay in little ashy heaps along the roadside And blew in drifts across the fairgrounds and fields. Blackberrying Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries, Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly, A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea Somewhere at the end of it, heaving.
Blackberries Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes Ebon in the hedges, fat With blue-red juices. These they squander on my Sylvia Plath — The Poet Out of the deep and the dark, A sparkling mystery, a shape, Something perfect, Comes like the stir of the day: One whose breath is an odor, Whose eyes show the road to stars, The breeze in his face, The glory of heaven on his back. He steps like a vision hung in air, Diffusing the passion of eternity; Yone Noguchi Light Shining out of Darkness God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.
William Cowper Invictus Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head William Ernest Henley Rudyard Kipling Alice Oswald b.
Badlands Your father worked Drumheller while you ate and slept at home. He travelled the badlands, squatted below rocks, read books you never knew he read. He sat until his eyes strained to know what the prairie insisted he must see. Once he found a hoodoo, toppled after centuries of reaching beyond the flattened earth we all become and remembering that, Mathew Henderson b.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned, Since from myself another self I turned. My care is like my shadow in the sun, Queen Elizabeth I Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. From Correspondences Sometimes we are led through the doorway by a child, sometimes by a stranger, always a matter of grace changing the past, for if there is anything we must change it is the past.
To look back and see another map. Anne Michaels. Shane Book. From The Titanic: The Iceberg Calved from a glacier near Godhaven coast, It left the fiord for the sea — a host Of white flotillas gathering in its wake, And joined by fragments from a Behring floe Had circumnavigated it to make Pratt Of many was I sought their mistress for to be. But I did scorn them all and answered them therefore: Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more. How many weeping eyes I made to pine in woe, How many sighing hearts I have not skill to show, But I the prouder The Tyger Tyger!
In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, and what art, Now here is your father inside your lungs. Ocean Vuong b. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson b. Not Horses What I adore is not horses, with their modern domestic life span of 25 years. Natalie Shapero b. Under the Answering Sky I can manage being alone, can pace out convivial hope across my managing ground.
Someone might call, later. I would catch, not my echo, but their guarantee that this Denise Riley b. Dionne Brand b. The sedge has withered from the lake, And no birds sing. O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, So haggard and so woe-begone? Harryette Mullen b. The Emperor of Ice-Cream Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. Take from the The Fish wade through black jade. Marianne Moore A Fixed Idea What torture lurks within a single thought When grown too constant, and however kind, However welcome still, the weary mind Aches with its presence. Dull remembrance taught Remembers on unceasingly; unsought The old delight is with us but to find That all recurring joy is pain refined, Become a habit, and we struggle, caught Amy Lowell Hoa Nguyen b.
Miniver Cheevy Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn, Grew lean while he assailed the seasons; He wept that he was ever born, And he had reasons. Miniver loved the days of old When swords were bright and steeds were prancing; The vision of a warrior bold The Lake Isle of Innisfree I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls The tide rises, the tide falls, The twilight darkens, the curlew calls; Along the sea-sands damp and brown The traveller hastens toward the town, And the tide rises, the tide falls. Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls; The little waves, with their soft, white You thought this myth arose from poor translation. I can attest to your misapprehension.
My social studies teacher in grade 8, Ms. Rogers, believed it was customary for the Chinese to walk Weyman Chan b. Isabella Valancy Crawford If Stone Dreams We cannot know this statue, this satyr with his head propped on a wineskin; we cannot know if he dreams. For what has been lost we are to blame, for what has been kept to be thrown away. Mary di Michele b. Alootook Ipellie — Tongo Eisen-Martin. Lofty mansions, warm and spacious; Courtiers cringing and voracious; Misers scarce the wretched heeding; Gallant soldiers fighting, bleeding. Wives who Mary Robinson Chimwemwe Undi Richard Lovelace William Carlos Wiliams Life has loveliness to sell, Music like a curve of gold, Sara Teasdale It would be quite impossible to have less sense of Michael Ondaatje b.
Richard Cory Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim. And he was always quietly arrayed, And he was always human when he talked; But still he fluttered pulses when he said, Sherman Alexie b. What peaches and what penumbras!
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Whole families shopping at night! Allen Ginsberg Portrait of Alice with Elvis Queen and King, they rule side by side in golden thrones above the clouds. Stephanie Bolster b. Time drives the flocks from field to fold, When Rivers rage and Rocks grow cold, And Philomel becometh dumb, The rest complains of cares Sir Walter Raleigh O Pussy, my love, Edward Lear Rita Wong b. The Road Not Taken Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as Katherena Vermette b.
One shade the more, one ray the less, Robert Herrick There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, Laurentian Shield Hidden in wonder and snow, or sudden with summer, This land stares at the sun in a huge silence Endlessly repeating something we cannot hear. Inarticulate, arctic, Not written on by history, empty as paper, Scott And so their bland-blank faces turn Margaret Avison The Potato Harvest A high bare field, brown from the plough, and borne Aslant from sunset; amber wastes of sky Washing the ridge; a clamour of crows that fly In from the wide flats where the spent tides mourn To yon their rocking roosts in pines wind-torn; A line of grey snake-fence, that zigzags by Charles G.
Roberts Alden Nowlan Connie Fife b. We posed with our wide grins and best-friends-forever certainty. Souvankham Thammavongsa b. Hail Hello from inside the albatross with a windproof lighter and Japanese police tape. Adam Dickinson b. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor public K was supposed to come with the key, I was K was supposed to come with the key, I was to wait outside the gate. I arrived on time, the time we had agreed on and waited, as agreed, outside the gate.
I waited a long time, waited and waited, waited a very long time. I stood next to the security guard from Securitas, who also stood outside the gate. I waited, the security guard Ulrikka Gernes b. Oh, Hope! How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn! For me wilt thou renew the withered rose, And clear my painful path of pointed thorn?
Ah come, sweet nymph! Charlotte Smith Joy Harjo b.
Sonoma He totaled his blue truck — slowly spun out on an icy bridge, rammed it into a guard rail.