Tuesday, December 31, 1991


(a brief telephone conversation from the other side of the world)

Stricken by the binary division of male and female,
last night I burned translucent amber. Sacrifice.
In the air above our heads, an aurora borealis
alive with blue light, the rosiated sky timeless, & of no age.
Solar winds entered our crowns, our last chakra,
we tumbled like leaves across the autumn bed.
Our morning eyelids bathed in red corpuscles
dancing between membrane and cornea.
Reflections on stone, clearer than blood.
The time we didn't have, thick sacramental wine.

Someone said the art of compromise,
not conflict—is the basis of civilization.
Somewhere inside all of this, another story is waiting.
We come into this world innocent
only to be toughened by life's school—
What separates us from ourselves and from each other?
It makes me think this trouble goes deeper than culture.
Someone said, it's the men who suffer most of all—
We wonder why there's so much trouble in the world;
we can't even build a bridge to meet half-way.
We keep diminishing love,
as if love and pain were stillborn Siamese twins.
Guilty beasts rising up from within the self,
we felt bound to each other, and to time;
we became our own worst enemies.

I burned the precious resin more ancient than Man,
because to find a love that endures is rarer still.
In the fire surrounded by fire, on dawn's watered cusp,
your voice is distorted by phone lines—Sunspots.
Satellites, precocious star sounds, the cackle of deep space.
The path of the corona extends to the limits
of the solar system as solar wind.
Each ring of the bell, a matin of the heart,
a prayer wheel and flag for all our tresspasses.
As in the fairy tales, we'll mourn
the obligatory year and a day.
But I can't answer those bells yet—your voice,
as if from the dead, still argues from within.

1991  date? Who is it to? Oleg? Bruce?
rev. 5/92

House On Via Gombito: Writing by North American Women Abroad

House On Via Gombito: Writing by North American Women Abroad
by Madelon Sprengnether (Author) , C.W. Truesdale (Editor)

Amazon 2nd ed. listing, has my name, but no link
I had NO idea that it even went into a 2nd edition in 1997, and a 3rd printing!
Well, I guess have a first edition, then.

My story Night Train to Moscow: Waging Peace, was picked up by Black Dog & Leventhal (Workman) in 2001. Writing the Rails: Train Adventures By the World's Best-Loved Writers  by Edward C. Goodman (Author). Alas, it was remaindered right after it came out, right before 9/11. I never did get to do an author reading at Barnes & Noble. I will publish more info on this in 2001 entry. 

Night Train to Moscow: Waging Peace / Maureen Hurley p. 179
I do not have an electronic facsimile of my story. Only way to get it is to scan pages, but I've no OCR software. I may scan pages direct.  —MH, 2014

House On Via Gombito: Writing by North American Women Abroad

From Publishers Weekly:
The nearly 50 short pieces of travel writing that comprise this volume display such a wealth of perspectives and explore such a variety of locales that the book is a splendid adventure in its own right. In "Ramont Hall" Rhiannon Paine looks back to 1973 when, at the age of 25, armed with a broken umbrella, a "dilapidating Mini" and youthful enthusiasm, she set out to see England. Helen Degen Cohen, who, as an eight-year-old Jewish girl narrowly escaped being deported to a concentration camp, describes her "Return to Warsaw" to visit the Catholic woman who hid her during World War II. Patricia Hampl's "Italian Two-Part Invention" savors the romance of a damp Venetian winter; a visit to a monastery during one sunny Umbrian spring triggers a memory of the author's childhood. Melissa Sanders-Self's fictional "Nameless Things" follows the daily grind of a young American woman who serves drinks in a Tokyo club that caters to Japanese businessmen. Catherine Stearns's "Icarus in Africa" is a series of letters from a feisty woman who signs herself "Ma" and who, at 60, starts out to teach at a rural school in Zambia. Sprengnether wrote Rivers, Stories, Houses, Dreamsone title and Truesdale is publisher of New Rivers.

Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Madeline Sprengnether