Intercative Session 2 – Round 2

11 Nov

Welcome to the second round of this interactive session. In this session we have poems by Catherine Ayres, Shreyas Tripathy, Allison Johnson and stories by Monica Crosson and Lesley Crigger in response the Future Writing Task.The last day to submit your entries for the Future Writing Task is tomorrow.

The descriptive writing contest went very well and we received some beautiful literary pieces which you all must have read by now. And the winner is…………………Allison Johnson’s poem “The Girl Who Snuffed Herself Out”.

There is a great opportunity for the group members, we are opening up a column in the magazine of the Miracle Bond. We want a member of the group to represent the group in the Miracle e-zine. If any one of you is interested, just e-mail us and we’ll let you soon if you’re selected. Best of luck!

1. Poem – Catherine Ayres

The clean sheet of the future
Depicts flying cars
And bus stops in space
Bringing visitors from Mars
But it’s only made up
Of sheets from the Past
Scrumpled into the Present
And gradually mashed
So clean sheets of the Future
Twenty years from today
Will depict the same things
In just the same way
2. Future – Lesley Crigger
3372 BC, Mexico City  “Papa!” A small voice cries. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”The ageing man wipes a wrinkled hand across a wrinkled face, smearing beads of perspiration into greasy smudges that glisten in the afternoon heat. The boy clutches his grandfather’s large, callused hand in a tight grip with both of his. Not for the first time the child notices the contrast in his small, delicate hands and those of the old man’s. The boy often wondered why his grandfather’s hands were spotted with brown blotches and why the nails were yellowed and thicker than his. When he had asked, his grandfather had asked him why his hands were always sticky and grimy.“I have seen all our ghosts,” the man exhales in one shaky breath as he looks upon his life’s work in dismay; the work once brought satisfaction and meaning to his life now it taunts and teases of impending destruction.Running a bony finger over of the grooves and juts of the intricate design the man reflects upon the painstaking hours, 52 years of his life, it took to chisel the dates into the large rock calendar. He thought he was doing the work of the gods but now wonders if it was not something more sinister leading his artful hand.

Try as he may, the old man will never be able to erase the images his prophecy revealed; the future, thousands of years from now.

In his vision, his tribe grew by the thousands with each passing decade. Large metallic beasts screeched and wailed on paths of black sediment. Faster than any animal he’d ever seen, the monsters raced; dodging each other and growling at men as they venturedfrom their polished gravel into the beast’s black rock territory.

Beasts of yellowcould be seen sneaking to the outskirts of the black slab and swallowingmen, sometimes multiple men at once, in a single gulp. Other times the beast would vomit a man, wholly intact, and both man and beast would rush away in opposite directions.

Temples stretched far into the sky, reaching the heavens. Throngs of people rushed in and out, worshipping their almighty god. The old man thought pleased, thousands of years from now his tribe would not lose their religion. Smaller huts were tightly packed amongst the temples, perhaps to protect themselves from the metallic beasts roaming the land.

Gone were the cattle, ducks and dogs raised for meat. No farms of corn, beans or squash grew in vast fields of lush vegetation. Only a handful of saplings fought for sunlight in the shadow cast upon them by the massive temples.

The elderly man shuddered as he returned to reality and tried to push the nightmare to the back of his mind. He patted his grandson on the head and gave his best effort at a reassuring smile; a ditch effort to comfort the boy.

Picking up his tool the man began to carve the last date on the calendar. He hoped his future tribe would heed his warning in time. A single tear crept from the corner of his eye and slowly slid down his sagging cheek, finally plopping into the last date on the calendar.

December 21, 2012; New York City

Thousands of New Yorkers swirl about the city. Taxi cabs honk horns and squeal tires as impatient businessmen jaywalk across the pavement. Singles and couples pile into cars and tumble out of them, rushing about, as they do every day.

Multitudes of people crowd through revolving doors and into sleek skyscrapers; selling and buying a variety of useless products, services and information.

The arbor club chats over drinks in a local bar after a hard day’s work on their rejuvenation project. From their corner booth they can admire the young sapling that stands tall, defying anyone or anything that threatens its survival.

After the mass stupidly of the Y2K scare, most New Yorkers decided to ignore the warnings of the Mayan Calendar. When the earth underneath their feet begins to rumble and the air seems to vibrate with an unseen current, everyone thinks the same thought; we should have listened.

It will be hours yet, but today, the wrath of the gods will smite the Earth for not heeding the warning they gave thousands of years ago.

3. My Tomorrow – Shreyas Tripathy

A hot, fuming planet

With hardly any life left

Once the longest river, now dry

No more Egypt’s sorrow

Oh! Save us from the metal monsters

Living in the towering homes

Oh! Save, the planet pleads

“Give back what you borrow”

We cut, we burn, we slaughter

We’ve murdered our own mother

And have painter her all grey

No green, no blue, no yellow

The birds do not fly anymore

The skies belong to the scrapers

The machines we fill our homes with

Have sucked our insides hollow

No more laughter, no more joy

Could this be a nightmare?

But no… not with my eyes wide open

I know this is my tomorrow

 4.Ephemeral – Allison Haferman-Johnson

pollen captures tendrils
of hair that spiral
with the wind
as fingers interlock
to keep these
the palms of lovers hands

autumn spread between toes
beneath these trees
bind together branches
so they may grow as one

breathe future
root to vein
perpetual infinite space
for our symbiotic exchange

we exist between each breath
and point at time
its vapor shape

5. THE CURTAIN- Monica Crosson

I know that we lived for thousands of years without knowledge of the curtain, but it’s hard for me to imagine life without it.

This is the thought that ran through my head as I carefully smoothed my daughter’s hair.              Unlike me, my daughter was meticulous. Her bedroom was spotless.  Her books alphabetized on shelves and toys organized in baskets according to playability.  Her clothing was to be wrinkle free and comfortable- not too tight nor too baggy.  She checked her image regularly in any reflective surface- not because she was vain, but because it gave her control.

I grew up a wild child.  My hair left uncombed as I swung from branches in large maples and alders that surrounded my home.  I would wear the same clothes for days and slept comfortably in a bed of chaos.

“I have decided to take my journal.”  My daughter folded her stocking for the third time.

“I think that’s a wonderful idea.”

“I want to make sure I record everything.”

“Well, then maybe you should take two pencils.”  Anticipating her wishes, I handed her the extra pencil I had already set aside.

She smiled and took the pencils and notebook and carefully placed them in her bag.   “So, tell me again about the concrete forests, Mama.”

She had heard the tales one hundred or more times.  But this was her first trip to see them, so I obliged.  “Well, a long, long time ago-“

“Before you were born and grandma too?” she interrupted.

Yes, before me and before grandma- most people lived in large forests of concrete.  The Concrete trees were taller than the trees we live amongst now.  They were so tall they almost touched the sky.” I dramatically raised my arm in an upward motion.

“Is that why they called them- sky scrapers?”


“And tell me about their carts and wagons.  Tell me how they didn’t need a horse or a donkey.

“The people of that time traveled in swift moving wagons called automobiles.   They suffocated this land with the exhaust from their transportation.

“And the flying machines, what about those?”

“We’ll talk about those on our way, sweetheart,” I showed her my time-piece.  “It’s time to go.”

It was a warm day- a good day to travel.  We would be at the historical site in two days time.  I had planned the trip carefully and if all went well, we would be at Clayborn Inn for a warm meal and soft bed by nightfall.

“So, Mama, are you stopping to pass through the curtain?”

“Of course.”  I smiled.  “It’s what I do before every visit to the historical site.”

“Me too?”

“Yes, my lovely.  You are of age.”

She was quiet and fumbled nervously with the tassels decorating her cloak.

“Are you nervous?  I asked.

She shook her head.

“Don’t be, Honey.  You’ll be great!”

“What if I don’t do it right?”

“You’ll do fine.”  We rode in silence for a time.  The only sound the rhythmic clip-clop of Sebastian’s, hooves and the jangle of his harness bells.

“It’s not fair.” She finally said, quietly.

“What’s not fair?”

“That we have to do this.”

“Whoa, Sebastian.”  I pulled back on the reins and eased the horse to a stop.

I lifted my daughter’s down-turned face.  “We are the keepers of her memories.

It is our responsibility that no-one ever forgets the mistakes of our ancestors.”  I smoothed back a loose strand of her silken hair.  “You should be proud.”

“I’m just afraid that it won’t work for me- or that I’ll tell the people the wrong thing.”

“It will work.” I patted her knee.  “And you, of all people, will not say the wrong thing.”

“Let’s go, Sebastian.”  I said, addressing the reins.

Sighing, my daughter took her favorite traveling doll and settled into the back of the wagon.

As for me, my mind drifted.  I thought about my own mother and the first trip I took to the historical site.  It was on that trip that my mother led me through the curtain for the first time.

I was excited. My heart was beating so hard that I felt I might explode.   I ran my fingers lightly across the spot where the sunlight danced on water.  The air around me stirred and then rippled creating a transparent curtain.  It took my breath away.

“Can I go through now, Mama?”

“Yes, my darling, but remember,” she added.  “No matter what you see- it is crucial that you only observe.”  She smiled.  “You cannot interfere.”

I shook my head- more eager than ever to pass through the thin fabric of time.

I glanced once more to my mother.  She nodded.  I closed my eyes and stepped through.

When I opened my eyes, I found myself in a chaotic land where the air was thick and foul smelling.  I was in one of the concrete forests I had heard about.  There were no green living things- no shining sky- no birdsong- only the oppressive concrete trees and people moving hurriedly around me.  My head spun with their anger, hatred, jealousy and bitterness.   I wanted to escape it- and I pushed through them trying to find refuge.  But the more contact I had with them- the more of their emotional residue absorbed.

“Hey, want to have some fun tonight.” I heard a girl about my own age say to passersby.  Her clothes were thin and revealing.  She was ill- frail.  A man approached her and I could feel he was tormented and dangerous.  He more than any other, frightened me.

“Run!” I yelled out, forgetting my promise to only observe.

He spun around, but I quickly ducked behind a large garbage bin before he could see me.  I squatted there for a short time- nauseated-  until I heard the faint tinkling of a bell – and was that the sweet scent of cottonwood…

“My darling, you’re with Mama now.  How are you feeling?”  My mother placed a cold cloth on the back of my neck.

I had passed back through the curtain.  I breathed deeply the clean, sweet scent of earth- then smiled.  “I know what I have to do,” I said.

“Did you hear me?” My daughter’s desperate expression startled me.

I shook my head.  “What? I’m sorry.  I was day-dreaming.”

“I said, I’m not doing it.  I refuse to be a keeper of anything.” Her voice trembled.  “It’s stupid and it’s not fair!”

Oh, Honey, you…”  I stopped.  I didn’t know what to say to her.  For the first time I was speechless.  I had never heard of a keeper not wanting to pass through the curtain.

As she leaned into me, her tears soaked my shirt sleeve and I desperately wanted to turn around and take her back to her warm bed where she was safe- in control.

That’s when it hit me-  She needed to feel in control of this situation.

“You know,” I lied.  “The first time I passed through the curtain I was so scared, my mother practically had to push me through.”

She peeked up from my sleeve.  “Really?” Her voice was tiny.


“But you’re not afraid of anything.”

“I’m plenty afraid, my sweet girl,” I wasn’t lying that time, “of lot’s of things.”

We crossed the bridge over Gilly Creek.  Sebastian was leery of bridges and snorted and side stepped as we crossed.  “It’s okay, boy,” I coaxed.   “See, even Sebastian is afraid.  You know,” I said and kissed the top of her head. “ it’s okay to admit if you’re afraid.”

She released her grip on my arm and rode the rest of the way to the banks of the Sauk River- where the sun danced on water- in silence.

The walk to the river’s edge was punctuated by the shrill of King Fishers and the hum of a bee colony that produced the sweetest honey in the region.  We thanked the elements together and then it was time.

“If you’re not ready, my darling, I’m not going to force you.”

She was calm and collected.  “No, I’m fine.”  She smoothed her hair.  “I’m not the kind of person to let fear stand in my way.”  She ran her fingers across the place where the sun danced and the ripple appeared- as it always does.

I told her what my mother told me.  “Remember- you are only there to observe.”

“I know.” She said and she was walked through.

I was proud.  The torch had been passed.  She would do well.  After a moment, I picked up a small bell and shook it gently.

She was back.  I took a cold cloth and placed on the nap of her neck.  “It’s Mama,” I said.  “How are you feeling?”

She breathed in deeply- then smiled.  “I know what I have to do.”


8 Responses to “Intercative Session 2 – Round 2”

  1. Natasha November 12, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    @Shreyas Tripathy–This poem was really saddening but someday might be true of our planet because of what people have done to it—we have to protect our enviornment, not harm it- i thought the poem was written well and had a solitary state

    Catherine Ayres- i thought this poem was pretty good..a bit short, i think you could probably expand your idea in a longer format. I did like your usage of the word sheet and referring back to a black canvas type imagery

  2. Shreyas Tripathy November 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    @Catherine Ayres – i really liked the way the poem ended, and also how it was driven there ! I mean, yes it was a little short but I guess the idea that this poem brings out needs only these many lines … Great work !

    Allison Haferman-Johnson – I thought this poem actually had embedded the tasks of both the weeks !!! Highly descriptive yet future bound ! Nice work and clever word play !

    • Catherine Ayres November 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      Thank you . I wrote it in three verses but it hasn’t been added in verses for some reason. I wanted it to be short and rhyming, almost like doggerel as this would contrast a bit comically with the subject matter

    • Catherine Ayres November 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

      Allison i really like this poem great imagery and a very ephemeral feel to match the title

  3. Shreyas Tripathy November 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    I hope miracle ezine also reviews our works just like the last time …

  4. miracleezine November 16, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    @Allison the poem was written beautifully with a rich word usage. Great imagery. We think you should omit the word ‘the’ from the 6th line in the first stanza. The rest is perfect.

  5. miracleezine November 16, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    @Catherine it was a nice short poem depicting how our past has boiled down to our future.. You’ve got your point across, that’s what matters, you need not increase the length of the poem.

  6. miracleezine November 16, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    @Shreyas a very nice description of what our tomorrow is going to bring us if we keep destroying the environment. We want you to change the third line and in the 11th line, it should be ‘painted’ instead of ‘painter’.

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