penance and Italian Jesus

A delicate silver cross dangles in her secret slice where nuns prayed over, no lad venture until such proper time that he morph into a man goodly intended. Light is reachable with fingers, soft and sliding. Trees close in over the road and darken earth. Dappled light is heaven on man’s road is it not. Well-intended eyes gaze at her. Does he know she holds beads in her fists tightly wrapped? Hail Mary’s whispered in the heat of day. These are not for football. When I was little, I watched the priests. I wanted to sit on their blue velvet thrones. Maybe Jesus would notice my tears if I sat up higher. He was so sad. I couldn’t walk in that place without crying. Why did he have to stay on the crucifix for me to look at. He was in my heart. A symbol of love for the person sitting next to you, near you, below you, above… Did ‘they’ want me to cry at this monolithic cross hanging from the ceiling. Who put him up there like that? I didn’t like them. I believed back then, Jesus was Italian. We sit down to a nice spaghetti dinner and he smiles with teeth so brilliant they dapple the white linen table cloth mama laid to impress him. We break bread. The garlic makes Jesus sneeze a little, but he swallows and thanks mama anyway. Everyone in my life and near me and around me today–garlic bread. Warm. I remember too, passing out in the heat. I think it was on the tenth Hail Mary. I went down like a sack of flour. No pasta with that. Back then choices were plain black and white like Sister Maryanne’s habit. She also had another habit of riding a bicycle during recess and laughing. Once we all saw her underwear. This was an accidental viewing. Blustery day like Winnie the Pooh. I don’t know where she went off to after that. (This is a work of fiction sort of). I don’t go to church anymore. I think I stopped praying a long time ago. Love is a dappled thing that makes man’s road look pretty. Despite the nuns’ warnings, men happened and I happened upon them. I lied in the confessional too.

Penance. Try living blissfully each day.

peace wish


sketched last year, while on break subbing a middle school social studies class (never ever math)


15 thoughts on “penance and Italian Jesus

  1. Beautiful work AnnMarie! Not doing well this morning. Only got 3 hrs of sleep last night. I don’t know if I told you but a beautiful nice young lady indy horror movie producer and horror actress started following me on twitter. I decided my next horror book I am writing for her and to have her as the main character. The book will be very good when I have extra motivation in doing this for someone who also loves slashers and trying to revive them I am sure it will be one of my best horror books ever. I tweeted to her I was doing the book for her. Hope she likes it. AnnMarie= Number One! Woo hoo!


  2. Now this, my dear, is what I’m talking about, that digging with words. So tender, so descriptive this piece — I’m there as reader/observer in these scenes (I was thinking about Sister Maryanne’s underwear, of all things!, today as I was running up a hill; I imagined her wearing those underwear with the day of the week on them, although I know that’s crazy, but even that one bit started me thinking of a character–you see what your words can do?).

    More riffing here (which I adore) and love how “dappled” and other details get picked up and woven in and returned to–so very, very nice (which makes this feel more prose poemy, if you know what I mean). Religion, and one’s relationship to it, is always such heady stuff, and this post so wonderfully pulls back the curtain (like that of the confessional) on the speaker’s (whether it’s yours or not) religious life and it feels so sincere because it doesn’t rely on rhetoric but true emotion, real feelings. I would much rather have this speaker (and the writer behind her words) as a friend any day rather than have an overzealous, unthinking, “devout” (read: “rigid”) person for a friend. And as for that knockout last line: “Penance. Try living blissfully each day.” Well, amen to that. Also, how so an oxymoron — penance & bliss — and why in the hell on this earth do we not trust, have faith in bliss? What’s so wrong with it? Why must we desire the other?

    Finally, again, my Marina Abromovic character! Those eyes, those lips. Really, AM, ya gotta pick up your pencils and paint brushes and use more of that God-given talent of yours! I think in my old religious days I was taught that one who doesn’t bring forth her talents is not only wasting them … but ain’t it some kind of sin against God (you know, everything is a sin in the religious realm, so it’s gotta be a “sin,” right? LOL). More art, Miss! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • these words here are paper publish worthy, my friend and I so thank you for them from the bottom of my guilt-ladened heart
      oh how those things settle in so very deep so very young – and what equally deep digging to unearth and set them free
      it has been most challenging to fit time in to even write – and my art has been falling by the way wayside – not good
      more effort required (and perhaps much more wine and whine;))
      thank you again, DS
      really just spectacular thoughts here and spectacularly appreciated

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are spectacularly welcome. I appreciate reading your words, seeing your incredible images each time you post them. I actually think you’re incredibly prolific considering all you have on that plate of yours. And you’re absolutely right about unearthing to release.
        Keep writing and making art, AM–I know I keep saying this, but you have a gift, one set in gold and silver, and you must use it always. Your gift gives–to others, to yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lol, DS
        I now have Sam the Snowman singing, “Silver and Gold,” in my head and I’m thinking of Christmas:) (that’s never a bad thing)
        you’re very kind, my friend
        but I so often feel I’m not doing enough – the art has really taken a back seat of late and I really need to remedy that
        humbly do appreciate your extraordinarily uplifting words here

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done, my friend! As of Jesus on the cross, it’s heart wrenching but the good thing is He is alive in Heaven and to me that is the greatest hope.💕


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