I meet this guy. This morning. Under my desk light because the sun is not yet up on my apparently very dirty keyboard.
No long hot shower unless it’s spent reciting poetry. No breakfast but a scant piece of something and lots of black coffee so that my stomach rumbles, suffering just slightly. No hello to my neighbors or their children or their cats as I slam the front door and march my mission to the train station. No smiles on the sidewalk. No conversations in the second class car. Tomorrow is a writing day, which is to say my calendar is full. Meetings from dawn until dusk and then some. Tomorrow is a writing day, and even if I had a cell phone I wouldn’t answer it.
On Fridays, my brain is nearly finished with me. And so, on Fridays, I steal things. I write only what shows up in front of me. Words the three Turkish children yell as they run up the sidewalk. Songs the construction workers sing between beats of hammers as they make patio doors for our New Zealand neighbors. Sometimes I write the ambulance sirens. Sometimes the church bells. The meows of the impatient cat who likes to sit on the hood of a matte black BMW outside my office window. This Friday, I stole words already eaten. The dictionary page I had opened to yesterday, still wide-eyed on the dining room table, gobbled by a small still-green Asparagus Fern.
Page 571: Something that Looks like Asparagus Fern but Isn’t
Verb: To beget.
Born upon the surface,
especially the upper,
as fungi on leaves that no one can reach.
Noun: A poet from the earth,
growing closer to the ground.
Relating to the epiglottis,
Something always upon the tongue,
the upper mandible,
as a parrot, a gull,
a piece of something that
hangs from the page.
“The opening line of Christine Stocke’s ‘Plan for Paradise’ drew me right in…And so did the second one, and the next as I was drawn along by a disjointed narrative that is quirky, wavering, and yet so very personal, as if the narrator is talking directly to you.” –Robert Vaughan
“Plan for Paradise” was originally published in the magazine Wisconsin People and Ideas, and in case you missed it in stores, the Winter 2013 issue is now for sale online. Buy your copy of the magazine HERE. Or purchase an author-signed copy of the story HERE.
p.s. The photo above was shot onsite at the lake that inspired the story.