IRNF – novel excerpt

Like I said before, we are a farming people, so we keep a farming Jesus. Accordingly, he shows up different for everyone. I don’t get out much, but I have heard telling of a man called Christ dressed in an Armani suit wearing sheened leather shoes. Animal leather. Alligator. Three piece pastels and torn jeans and wife beater. Overalls. Big and small. I mean fat, I’ve seen a picture of some Christ characters up in Canada, a big big brown faced man with a patch beard and short cropped black curls. The man told us he was clay. He said he was nothing but a branch. The way. A path. He turned into an old man before an empire’s eyes, and died better than anyone ever had. Telling stories. Supposedly, he kept chickens as a kid. Preferred their company over sheep. There is a myth we rarely mention, of him calling Judas down to his side, and whispering something dramatic and revelatory in his ear, as was his way. A kiss on the cheek. Soft, raspy, tumbling speech, bubbling along the crevices of his lips like a creek. No one knows what words, of course, but this whisper was in the record. He demanded they write down everything. And they did. Preacher pulls out the new testament from time to time, but it is rare. In there you find books from all sorts of interesting people. Judas has one. Mary wrote two. Peter, the rock, never got one down, but Joseph, Jesus’s father, wrote a stout tome of lyrical poems.

“Tomatoes. Are you listening? Red womb of orange seed. Loose tower of viney green. Trellised tall. For they would surely fall. From the weight of their own progeny.”

The minister was on about tomatoes again.

Like an arrow

You’d build a fence that could hold water before it would keep in a scared goat. An animal with the unique ability to divorce itself from its vision, cast out its eyes like weighted lines, lost to woods deep as water, tangled on the bottom. A scary look, when you come invisible in the eyes of an animal staring right into you. If they had the force, those eyes would push you, and if he gets a chance, the body would too. Poor fellow. Ran headlong away from the only creatures in the world who care about him. Thinking that he needed to. Broke through wire two. Five thirty on a November night means there’s men up in the trees wearing orange hats and a gun laid across their knees. Like an arrow, like this flimsy pasture was his bow, tightly drawn and full let go. We will never see that goat again. Like a grain of sand. Flaked off and fallen. This pasture was his stone.

Broken Pieces — Writer Actor Farmer

You want to know my secret. You could ask my sister. I remember one night, she had graciously invited me to venture out into the world with her friends. In the car on the way out of town, we were passing a cemetery, and I looked over and said that graveyard is full of people […]

Broken Pieces — Writer Actor Farmer

Farm Stuff

Farm stuff. Alarm hush. Like getting dumped. You wake up when it goes off.
Takes the truck. Take your stuff. All that’s left is chores. Yours. You are a prison guard.
You run a farm. Animals in cages that would kill them if you didn’t come around to all the
empty buckets to refill them. Take the egg. Leave the grain. Milk the goat. Her pleasure’s your pain. Hands hurt. Back’s worse. Hip we still we ignore. Not to mention the tooth. And the glue-stapled boots. Bubble poots. Coffee with two scoops. Pantries to loot. So dark out the owls still hoot. The roosters start at four twenty five reminding the neighbors they’re still alive. Goats go up pasture as soon as they see their feet more so than eyes will lead them to feed and when they grow tired they’ll lie down in breakfast basking in ten thirty sunshine and moaning cud across their tongues. The autumn leaves will make love to the soil and infect it with worms. The grass is already whispering where they once screamed green. The chorus has changed masks, the trees are dressed in tragedy.
And the sky has layers like spoiled milk.

All that farm stuff. Telling yourself, if you run it well enough, the prisoners will forget what you are. And you too, hopefully. How hopelessly alone you are. When the alarm clock you’re married to gets up the nerve to go off.