He knelt, and he wept

And now, he couldn’t pray once more. The silence in his head was deafening. His body leaned forward, and his legs buckled at the knees as if the breeze had ushered him into a station to receive penance. He knelt, and he wept.

He knelt, and he wept

It’s Monday and not the good kind. It’s like the saying goes, “All news is bad news.”

I got word that one of my Uncles died this morning and it was a shock. I feel bad for worrying about how it's going to affect my mom's health and her mental state, instead of taking the time to mourn him properly. My cousins, his sons are close to my age although my uncle was 8 years younger than my parents. He was my mom's baby brother at 70 years old.

I've been feeling sad lately and punishing myself for not accomplishing all of the things. The things I should have done by now... And I realized that I was already sad when I got the news, and I wondered if I'd forgotten how to grieve. Then I took a nap and when I woke up I remembered that I'm one of those people whose body just kinda shuts down when I'm overwhelmed and by falling asleep on the couch I was in fact grieving in my way.

I hope you rest in peace, Tio.

He was super religious and it got me thinking about my dad who wasn't...

He Ain’t Got A Prayer
The character is an old man who was never religious. Now death is near and he only has religion. He feels like it’s not enough. He needs something more to face death. He needs something to soothe his spirit and the spirits who will shortly come and take him away.

One of the leaders at work today shared this quote at the bottom of an email.

“Motivation is not the cause of action. It is the result. Do you want to be motivated? Get up and go do something.”

Sounds about right, I guess, but it didn’t make me get up and go do something. I already had enough shit to do.

Anyway, something that I can actually get excited about is sharing a sneak peek of my latest project with you. It's a historical fiction novel called "Gospel Storey."
I've been working on it for a while, expanding on a character my dad came up with years ago.

My dad wrote,

In the short story — The Virgin, seventeen-year-old Gospel, an orphan from Tennessee born in 1863, the year President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation, ended up in Texas when Fort Quitman was re-commissioned in 1880. Like most of the soldiers at the Fort, Gospel was transferred in from Fort Selden in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In the early days of the Indian campaigns, the troops were made up mostly of former slaves, but now young men like Gospel joined the army to support the cause, riding the open plains and deserts, chasing and fighting the Comanche and Apache warriors of southern New Mexico and West Texas.
The army offered a hardscrabble life with no regular recreation, save that made by the troops. There were no tasty meals and no women. That was life, and some soldiers had "sweetheart heart" duty, which meant riding escort on stage coaches heading west with payrolls to west Texas and southern New Mexico towns. Buffalo Soldiers who "won" this duty returned to the Fort as best they could. Most of the time it meant a long walk home, but Gospel didn't mind the rigors of such a life. He thrived on adventure and enjoyed chasing the Indians and warding off attacks.

In my adaptation, that was a long time ago.
Gospel Storey lives to the age of 59 years old, so what happened in his life before the army? How did he live the next 42 years of his life after the story of the Virgin?

This is — Gospel’s Story.

I'm sharing part of the Prologue with you down below. I like to think of it as a cool mix of history and imagination. I doubt if anyone else will think of it like that but, it makes me feel something when I’m working on this. Something that I haven’t felt for a long time. Something that I need to feel.


I hope you enjoy it. Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of "Gospel Storey." You can also show your support by signing up to receive the latest posts straight to your inbox 👇🏽


La Cruz de Robledo



The child’s body had been shrouded in elk skin, his face painted yellow with corn pollen.

He died early the same morning, and now as the sun began to disappear into the valley and painted the sky in hues of violet and orange, his father took stock of the equally striking landscape.

Weary travelers have long considered The river's bend an oasis of respite from the harsh desert to the south, the east, and the west for centuries. La Cruz de Robledo, as it had been called for almost 300 years, was north of where they stood along the banks of the Rio Grande.

All was covered with the dust of the desert southwest, as it was embedded upon every crease of his sun-ripened and melanated skin. Everything it touched became indistinguishable as time, wore and withered the edges of the often fertile valley.

His wife’s ancestors had traversed this area long before the Spanish passed through more than 300 years ago.

From where they stood, traveling north could be considered the most favorable route, but only after, la jornada de muerto – “the journey of death”.

Mesquite, mescal bean, & cottonwood, spaced only by hardened soil. Now in some spots, especially those unreachable by the shade provided by sparse leaves of the cottonwood trees. The dirt curled up in perfectly even and sun-dried squares, where the water had risen and then receded again too quickly to be of any use to the reeds which were content not to grow beyond the banks of the Rio Grande.

He thought that it shouldn’t be so quiet. Of course, It must be the time of day. Only a few hours earlier, the songs of redwing blackbirds would have filled the void that was now an eery silence, broken. A Chihuahuan raven cawed above their heads as if she were speaking directly to them, a tribute in solidarity for a kindred soul gone too soon.

He would remember where he was buried, although he had been instructed not to, and reluctantly agreed. He intended to honor the customs of his wife and child. They had a stronger connection to the land beneath their feet than he felt as a forgotten son of his ancestor's homeland. It was a broken promise lost to grief.

He sought a mark among the cottonwoods he would surely remember, except they were everywhere. All along the banks of the river. Until, a tell in an inviting branch that stuck out like the swing he had built for him on the front porch.

“That’s the one, Wolf”.

He reached under his chin to feel the scarred skin on his neck, an ever-present reminder of how much he should hate himself. Lest he forgot, the driver had made sure to remind him daily. Even before the day that the Master’s son killed his Pa, and beyond the day the overseer gave him his mark. It was his fault then. It was his fault now.

He was numb, and his head felt light and full at the same time. All those years ago, while stationed at Fort Quitman, he had been told that praying was easy.

And when he spoke to la Virgen de Guadalupe, it was almost as if he could see her face, listening intently with a look of grace and salvation that always made him feel better. Only, It wasn’t working now.

Surely, she knew. Anybody who looked at him knew.

He had called upon borrowed faith when there was nowhere else to turn, all while abandoning any effort to restore what was rightfully his. Sacred rituals and sacraments passed down from generation to generation through story and song. All of it cast aside along with the blood and flesh of his people. Who were his people? He wasn’t sure he knew. True freedom was the only thing that seemed further away than, Angola? Still, he wasn’t sure if he heard that before or was making it up.

As much as he wanted everything that matters now to be all that was in front of him, he couldn’t help but feel judgments cold reach grasping to call him home away from this life.

He felt, ready.

And now, he couldn’t pray once more. The silence in his head was deafening. His body leaned forward, and his legs buckled at the knees as if the breeze had ushered him into a station to receive penance. He knelt, and he wept.

A cool wind whistled through the mesquite as it traveled to the south and east.

“Should be blowin west”, he thought.

West was the prevailing wind direction for this area of the Chihuahuan Desert, at least until fall.

The air was cooler now.

The sound of the wind was eclipsed by the wailing sounds of the woman who called him, Tsét'soyé. So much time he spent trying to get her to say, “Gospel”. Still, he was her Bear, and she, his Owl.

She had knelt a few feet from the small grave beside him while his face had been buried in his hands as he wept.

The knife she held was privileged to more stories than they had ever spoken to one another. The stone blade was with her on the day they met in the foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas. It would have one more story had it not been for a divine intervention.

Today, it was this same blade that she abruptly cut her hair with, and was now without ceremony being used by her hand to slice into the flesh below her left eye as she continued to wail.

Within arm's reach, he did not touch nor console her. It smelled of rust, her blood on the desert wind.

He called her name.

“Nascha… It’s time to go”, said Gospel.

Her fingers clenched the wooden handle tightly as she pushed her fists down into the earth to lift herself. She turned to face the mountains and started walking.

As he rose, his eye surveyed the river bank one last time.

“I reckon, I’ll be seeing you again, Wolf.”

Gospel turned to follow his wife as they began their journey, home.

He would remember the cottonwood.