Chincoteague Wedding Poem

by Karla Mancero and Brian E. Langston

sand, wind
drops of rain
a peeking sun
surprises the clouds

somewhere distant
gears churn into motion
machines evacuate the earth

a photo, black and white
a texture of color
lost on a day
spiritual waves

he shoots a gun, his silver teeth
a tin star, desert bronco
eight cylinders churning, gasoline

a story begins
and ends with
the sunset
the machines die
without learning anything

the grain has no direction
birds fly against the wind
sand in the teeth
sapphire Atlantic, rumble
and ivory foam

he gains a
compass as
she breaks the
distance, the
fires are seen
before recognized

wildflowers, yellow and red and orange
the color of autumn’s flames
smelting two hearts into one golden sun

to the beach they
go regardless of
floating time
hourglasses left over

the machines decay in saltwater
are ground smooth and timeless
become corral reefs
or are worn into sand

if brothers and sisters
cross drowning land
and parches waters
then the worn down
machines can grow
over with flesh

he pawns his silver teeth and empty gun
buys himself some driftwood and a mizzenmast
ties an anchor to his leg
and sets sail, out to sea

30 years later she holds
the hand of an old
man and turns up the
volume on his teeth

on his teeth … he has no
solid ground to walk on, takes
her by the arm and they
gray haired amble past machines
springing forth with flowers
and the timeless sun, textures
of waves, and a day in which wind
surprises the clouds, brothers and sisters
grains slipping past
like hour-sand, quick-sand
an anchor washes ashore
bound to driftwood, an old sail
the sun setting in a photograph

Capital “L” Literature: Part 1

The time has come to help define Capital “L” Literature, as opposed to your general, everyday lower-case “l” literature. Not that there’s anything wrong with that other stuff, but Capital “L” Literature is the kind of writing that reminds you what it is to be human when you start to forget in this ultra-modern, light-speed world we live in with its technology creeping in at every corner. It’s the kind of writing that makes you understand yourself, your world, your life, or breaks your prejudices and pre-conceived notions, or reminds you in a new way about the old truths, or warns you against the possibilities of the future…

It’s hard to describe exactly what Capital “L” Literature is – it must be different for each reader. However, I’ve begun to compile a list of writings that I believe fall within that category.

When I first started out with this blog entry, I had the ambition of including the complete list within it, including works from all genres and spanning thousands of years and hundreds of languages. Of course, that quickly began to spiral out of control…

I realized the improbability of ever being able to complete such a list, so instead I’ve limited this post to the seventeen contemporary (in this case read “post-World War II”) novels (as opposed to poetry collections, short story collections, essay collections, plays, memoirs, manifestos, unclassifiable writings, etc.) that most immediately came into my mind and that I feel are important Literary works.

What follows is in no particular order of preference or importance. It’s simply seventeen novels that have influenced me as both an aficionado and an artist, and that I feel define Capital “L” Literature. I’m certain I’m missing many, many more…

Read these books!

  • Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  • The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  • Neuromancer – William Gibson
  • This is Where We Meet – John Berger
  • House of Splendid Isolation – Edna O’Brien
  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  • Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino
  • The Stone Raft – José Saramago
  • Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climes – Tom Robbins
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami
  • The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  • Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  • Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman – Manuel Puig