Excerpt from El Catrin, by Kenneth Weene

 

Father Eduardo opened the heavy wooden door of the church. He stepped inside and inhaled deeply. The priest loved the smell of the old mission; the hint of incense, the sweat of the people. He loved its cool darkness, so unlike the harsh heat of daily life. In the priest’s mind, the church carried the essence of conquistadors and of an unbroken line of faithful priests who had served the impoverished native community for centuries before him.  Now, this was his parish.

Eduardo had surprised his superiors when, five years before, he had requested the post. They had pictured their popular student in a big city, with a wealthy congregation, starting a career of growing authority and notice within the Church. Having read about so many impoverished Native communities struggling to hang on to their traditions and to their faith, Eduardo had opted for this – a small, careworn town of Indians who still wove their sandals and hats from Willow and Devil’s Claw, who raised goats and scratched at the earth with the help of mules — campesinos who tried to worship in ways that echoed both the Church and the ancient faith which those first conquistadors had found and had tried to eradicate.

This morning’s mass would mark the beginning of Holy Week. Father Eduardo knew the Church hierarchy would not approve of the way this small tribe would mark the week. He knew that their theology was unique and that he, as parish priest, was expected to guide them in the true faith. But he also knew that God would forgive them any errors, for the fervor of their faith and the energy of their worship rivaled any other place on Earth.

The priest walked to the front of the church and to one side where the cross was hung. There he genuflected and paused to pray. Then, he went to the altar and checked the statues. These, not the cross, were the objects of the community’s veneration: Mary and Joseph, Saint Anne, John the Baptist and his blessed mother. Set among His family, Jesus – a simple figure with hands upraised in benediction. Then the apostles and Mary Magdalene. Lazarus was there and his daughters. Paul and Saint Francis, favorite saint of simple farmers everywhere. All of these were exquisite carvings done by the ancestors of the people whom Eduardo now led in faith. All the carvings were dressed in local garb, clothing painstakingly woven and sewn by women who wore the same colorful embroidered dresses as these, whose husbands and sons wore the same loose-fitting shirts and rough-wool ponchos.

Eduardo checked the figures carefully, making sure they were placed just so, making sure that their clothes were in proper repair. He did this even though he knew that Mariana and her friends had already done the same careful inspection the evening before. It was they who had brought the fine new clothes which the figures wore, clothes the women of the village had made during the past year. Every year it was the same; each year the saints were thus re-sanctified.

All that was except Jesus. He would lovingly be dressed in new raiment when the church was reopened on Easter morning. That was part of the tradition – the marvel of resurrection celebrated by the symbolic new clothes.

Next, Father Eduardo took the great key to the church from its peg next to the altar and put it into his pocket. Usually it hung unused, the heavy church door left unlocked. Today, however, the key would be part of the tradition when the priest and Mariana’s husband, the headman of the village, Tomaso, would be the last to leave the church. Together they would lock the door, and the key would be given to Tomaso, who would use a thick leather thong to tie it around his waist. It would be his responsibility as headman to keep the key safe until sunrise on Easter, when the door would again be opened.

Bonfire of Poetry

What happens when four poets meet every week to share and discuss? There are sparks of inspiration that can ignite excitement and a desire to share a love of poetry with the world. We, the editors, hope this poetical anthology helps to warm and inspire you and to ignite your passion to read and write poetry. With great thanks to the other poets who have added their fuel to our bonfire, we are Alicia Kimberly, Kenneth Weene, Christy White, and Mark Young.

Coursing

The poems included in the collection reveal a remarkable poetic excellence. These poems aptly show profoundly imaginative power. No doubt, the poet is an adept in the intimate and convincing analysis of emotions.

Jumping Over The Ram

What an extraordinary story Deng has to tell! It is not just about South Sudan; it is a universal story about survival and determination - how a child can face the most difficult of situations and find a way through them. It is a privilege to introduce you to Deng Atem and his moving memoir, Jumping Over the Ram.  ~Anderson Cooper, CNN Anchor

The Rightful King

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Times To Try The Soul of Man

What do an overweight stripper, the CIA, corruption in New York City, the Israeli Mossad, ancient Inca civilization, terrorism, political intrigue, mad dashes across America, and a waste-case of a teenager have in common? They are the ingredients of this action-packed crime and coming-of-age novel. Much of this story is based on true events, perhaps too true to be believed. Guaranteed to make you think and probably to shudder as you relive 9/11. "In his book Times To Try The Soul Of Man, Kenneth Weene paints a vivid portrait of the peripatetic freelance journalist peering from the outskirts of mass corruption at an American horror show." (Anthony Flacco – NY Times best selling author)

Broody New Englander

Three stories set in New England explore love and seduction, commitment and infidelity, death and mourning. Literary fiction with some hints of science fiction and the paranormal. Broody New Englander offers deep psychological and sociological insights and combines warmth of character and plot with lyrical language.

Sweet & Sour

Short fiction some filled with sweetness and some filled with pain.

Red & White

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Memoirs From The Asylum

What is it like to work inside a state hospital or to be a patient in such a hospital? What is it like to live inside the mind of such a patient? This tragi-comedic novel takes the reader inside the asylum, inside the worlds of three central characters: a narrator who has taken refuge from his fears of the world, a psychiatrist whose own life has been damaged by his father's depression, and a catatonic schizophrenic whose world is trapped inside a crack in the wall opposite her bed. This is the interwoven story of their lives, a story that includes love, sexuality, violence, deaths, celebrations, circuses, and surprising twists. As the plot unwinds, the reader learns a great deal about the nature of futility, frustration, and freedom.

Widow's Walk

Mary Flanagan, caught between her sense of religion and obligation on one hand and her very human desire for love and life on the other, is in emotional limbo. When she meets Arnie Berger, who becomes both her lover and philosophic guide, Mary's world seems to be transformed. Changes also come for Mary's children, who have been trapped in their own dilemmas. Sean, a quadriplegic, is looking for a fulfilled life. Mary's daughter, Kathleen must cope with infertility and anger in her search for happiness. The lives of all three Flanagans are turned upside down by happiness and tragedy.

Ashes

Hundreds of years have separated Wyndel Blackman and his mother from his father’s homeland in Africa. Now they have come from America to scatter his father’s Ashes. What will they learn on this journey? What will they teach the people of that distant community?

Tales From The Dew Drop Inne

"Tales from the Dew Drop Inne" reads like a darkly humorous sitcom. The tone is both heartfelt and deliciously irreverent, showing that one does not need to hate humanity to appreciate the humor of life. Here are tales of drifters, alcoholics, religious renegades, veterans, and drag queens set in pub that is at once a confessional, a circus, and a psychiatric hospital. --Marina Julia Neary, author of "Martyrs & Traitors: a Tale of 1916"

El Catrin

Can Father Eduardo protect Jesus? Will the Devil best his brother? What mysterious things can happen among those who believe in holy mysteries? Who is El Catrîn? Magical Realism by Kenneth Weene.

Two Tales of Terror

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