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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)

TITLE: The Secret Lives of Pool Tables
By Lisa McMillion


The Secret Lives of Pool Tables

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes…

When I was just a slab of wood, I had hoped to go into the ministry. An altar, perhaps a pulpit. A better place I would’ve made then for one woman who walked into the bar. She leaned against me provocatively as so many others before her while her newest purpose in life and Levi’s waltzed away to get another drink. She opened her purse, presumably for a handheld mirror, and noticed the forgotten baby’s bottle inside. She’d looked around for a place to dispose of it before her comatose conscience aroused itself and, instead, pushed it down into my laced-leather pocket, grabbing his arm in deference to the dance floor. Bourbon lapped from his glass and onto my felt green shores as they two-stepped away.

I all alone beweep my outcast state…

A pew. That would’ve been nice. A pew to comfort the next one putting quarters into my slot for a solo game. She was plain despite her efforts at adornment. As she made the first shot, she noticed the ball peeking above the green instead of sinking deeply down. She placed her hand inside to find the baby’s bottle. She gripped it like a promise until her knuckles went white and, while no one was looking, slipped it into her own purse. One woman’s junk… is another’s one desire. She walked curiously around me, reaching into my other pockets to see what she might find. A man? A wedding ring? I willed a signal of warning to her to get out, that this wasn’t the place for purity and innocence. I don’t know if she sensed it or not, but her next shot missed entirely. White ball in the corner pocket. Embarrassed, she walked out of the exit door alone.

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries…

I had seen them come and go. They came expectant. They left dazed, uncoordinated, and worse off than when they arrived. I had grown to despise the puff of blue chalk emitted by the cue stick’s impact, a phenomenon only I could see—a sepulcher opening itself to a blue demon, a destructive blue flame ignited. I hated the way they haughtily pretended to know my secrets – force, acceleration, Newton’s Third Law of Motion—until they missed a shot. Then they’d throw down their sticks in drunken anger like they’d thrown down their own lives. My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me? Am I not a created thing? Do I not belong to you?

And look upon myself and curse my fate…

You have to watch the light. The way it makes irregular rectangles on the cue ball and its target. You shoot where the light is on the cue in relation to the target. And then you ignore what you desire most. You don’t look at the ball you want to bank. That’s the secret.

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, Jesus…

I know of wood that the Savior was pierced upon. How it believed itself cursed when it was, in fact, blessed. All of his life, he worked as a carpenter and yet, I do not know of one thing he made. Not a house or a hutch of his handiwork received fame or celebration. Surround me when life and purpose confound me, oh God! For you will comfort me, my wilderness will be Eden, my desert, like Your garden! Joy and gladness shall be found in me. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody!

For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings…

I was moved to the back room recently. No one trusted my worn surface or leaned against my chipped edges in their diminutive finery. Business just wasn’t what it used to be and I’d like to think my connection to The Maker had a hand in releasing a bit of his Spirit into the dark, desperate atmosphere. A deliveryman with a penchant for refinishing noticed me on his route. He asked the owner how much, and I’m proud to know how little of the world’s currency I translate into. He saw a demonstration on a home improvement show where a creative woodworker had turned an old pool table into a dining room masterpiece. It is seven months to Thanksgiving and there’s plenty of work to do to prepare me for the family.

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This article has been read 729 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Deikun04/25/05
Now this was creative! An interesting route to deliver your message.
Dixie Phillips04/25/05
Your creativity is in a league of its own. Wow! You've left us all with so much to think about!
Pat Guy 04/25/05
Thankyou for such a well written perspective of how life seems to just happen sometimes. Yes, a pew would have been nice and useful but this table will now enjoy the usefulness of providing a place of laughter, cherished gatherings, announcements, love -- life. It will be stroked with care and will be passed down to other generations - as I have my grandmother's table that carries many years of memories. Weel done. Pat
Mary Nellum04/25/05
Creative and well written!!

Mary N
Delores Baber04/25/05
Very creative! If someone had told me to write a story using a sonnet from Shakespear, I just don't think it would have been about a pool table. And only a writer who is very gifted could have pulled it off. You certainly did. Sort of a grown up version of "The Tale of the Three Trees", but drawing from Shakespear put it over the top. I envy your talent.
Linda Germain 04/25/05
Very impressive! You make a good case for a 4th level - PAST Advanced. (This "voice" sounds familiar, though not with us for so very long. It will be fun to see if I guessed. :0) )
Blessings, ~LG~
Kyle Chezum04/25/05
Wow, what an original idea! And this was so well written! Keep up the good work; you've got talent!
darlene hight04/26/05
Speaks on several levels.
Excellent piece!
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/26/05
WOW! What wonderful imaginings. . . what wonderful use of the poetry. . .Wonderful story!!!
Val Clark04/26/05
A creative story beautifully told. You sucked me right in and had a 'twist in the tail'. I hadn't thought before that 'all creation groans' could also mean a pool table. A metaphor of our lives with lots to think about on a variety of levels.
Maxx .04/26/05
Very creative. Nice piece!
Lori Othouse 04/27/05
Wow, this was so creative and just awesome! Very well written with so much to say. I feel like I could read this a dozen times and come away with a new truth each time. Fantastic!
Lynda Lee Schab 04/28/05
Oooh - talk about creative! What a unique and clever take on "thanksgiving." Wish I'd thought of it.
Great job!
Blessings, Lynda