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Regis Auffray

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It was at that Time and long, long ago
By Regis Auffray   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, December 02, 2008

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A story in verse by Sha'Tara, a local writer and friend.

It was at that Time and long, long ago

          [thoughts from  *changing woman*   Sha’Tara]

A black sky reluctantly reflects faded lights:
it could be harbinger of an icy Prairie drizzle
or maybe a blizzard of snow, who’s to say
all he knows for certain is
it’s all the colder because this is the city
and it’s only been a month since he left the country
when the leaves were turning red and yellow
and through denuded hedgerows one could see
the combines hungrily searching for late harvests.

Without plan he walks along a poorly lit street,
unsure, thinking perhaps he shouldn’t be there at all
thinking also that not being there would mean
not hearing, or seeing; not observing
and remaining ignorant of a way of life
billions experience, endure and he knows nothing of.

He passes a bar, a drunk staggers past him,
he dances out of his swaying path
to be rewarded with a round of curses,
Get used to it he thinks to himself under an uncertain light,
‘it’s the city, don’t let it intimidate,
and forget the ‘always ready to offer help’
for although they need it, they don’t want it
for they are afraid, and their fear has turned to anger:
a black, involuntary anger cultured in blind hatred.

He passes an apartment, a man is yelling at a door,
pacing the wet cement walk on the ground floor. 
A woman shouts obscenities and a child wails.
Lewd swearing accompanies verbal threats;
a door slams and the man backs away,
turning slowly back toward the bar—his second home
and in that moment he becomes a leaning shadow
beside a creosoted power pole—the unseen watcher
hands clenched tightly, heart full of tears
watching the drunk going to keep faith with his bottle.

He walks on into sprawling suburbs of row houses
that all look the same silhouetted in the dark,
stunted trees and shrubs creating ambiguous shadows
on dried-grassed lawns waiting to hide under snow.
A dog barks behind a fence, a cat hisses and snarls,
and on the far side of the river a whistle blows
a shift change at the brewery.

Further along the broken sidewalk
and frost heaved pavements of un-kept streets
a row of slum-lord housing outfaces him,
dark phantoms protecting their sleeping ghosts
for another night—if no one comes by, if no one shoots.
A light smell of garbage endures the cold,
mixed with spilled gasoline fumes from a wreck
without front wheels or doors—a sad old Buick
that has already told a story no one remembers
until now—for he listens and it tells him
of the drugged up teens in the back seat
and the engendered child—now dead.

It was at that time and long, long ago
that the stranger walked a city’s cold-shouldered streets
and sought to see into the heart of the people,
but found only fear and rejection.

It was at that time and long, long ago
that the stranger turned from the city’s unfriendly streets,
looking for other places where the people lived
but everywhere he went he found the people
busy building another part of the city,
buying and selling shares in corporate misery.

It was at that time and long, long ago
that the stranger left the city with a sad sigh,
returning to the country where he died quietly
just before the people came with another section of the city
to establish themselves in depravity
and when they burned down the farmhouse
they also burned his diary and his notes.


Reader Reviews for "It was at that Time and long, long ago"

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Reviewed by Pierre Ortega 12/15/2008
An ode to the misfits of the corporate world of which I am one. The seekers of fortune through greed have silenced so many.

Great Write
Take Care Pierre
Reviewed by Sheila Roy 12/6/2008
Strong sights and sounds gripped me while I read. I like how this glimpse has messages interwoven throughout. Great writing~
Reviewed by Jon Willey 12/5/2008
very well written Reg -- so incredibly sad -- Draconian morbidity lurks at the end of each line -- peace and love to you my friend -- JMW
Reviewed by John Leko 12/3/2008
...wonderful writing...dark reality...searching so that even the soul could not find a place of comfort to exist...unmatched deterioration...leaving one alone and final.
this is most excellent work Regis...
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 12/3/2008
A bar fly, just out of Gorki Prospekt on a dark evening with Moscow not yet dressed is snow but the smell of it coming near. Bar fly, perhaps the KGB will not be looking for him/her here, tonight; maybe busy shaking down a few Godfathers...and the odor of garbage enduring the cold on unfriendly streets, depravity will burn diaries and notes so there will be not even a suspicion of a ghost left.
Magnificent writing!


Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 12/2/2008
Hello Regis,

Very emotive write; and done so exceedingly well!!

Best regards,


Reviewed by Lew Duffey 12/2/2008
but everywhere he went he found the people
busy building another part of the city,
buying and selling shares in corporate misery.

Is this progression or regression? It is well described as a sad part of life.
God Bless,
Reviewed by Leland Waldrip 12/2/2008
Stark images of the darker side of life, at least for one who hasn't found a way to fit in. Slice of life excellence.
Best regards,
Reviewed by Ron (sketchman) Axelson 12/2/2008
Your friend Sha'Tara is quite the story teller..
Thanks for sharing her story Regis
Reviewed by Bonnie May 12/2/2008
Oh Reg this is so sad...heartbreaking write. Well written and the pictures you painted in your words were remarkable. Love and hugs, Bonnie

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