I Guess It’s Best To Pause

The ad above the urinal in the Toot’n Totum

in Dalhart, Tx read JJ’s fruit pies, 2 for $2.

To say there was dissonance in that moment

would be understatement, so even though

yes, a steal of a deal on fruit pies, no, no thanks.

Yet as I drove away bladder happy I wondered

if that was a sign, a message from the universe

that I should’ve seized upon and snagged 2 for $2?

Even at my advancing age, it’s still hard to know.


Days later, leaving my driveway at 4:30am there

they stood, seven deer and a buck smack dab in

the middle of cul-de-sac suburbia, grazing intently

on what little is left of grass and Aspen. Their eyes

in the pre-dawn unsettled me—dissonance again.

I idled in the middle of the street, staring hard at

each one again wondering “Is this some kind of sign?”

If I spoke in the tongues of deer I’d have asked them,

but I don’t. So I slowly left them to their business.


How exactly does one parse the dissonances of life,

these encounters in place that are slightly out of place?

I wish I had a good answer for you, a way to know,

but I don’t. I guess it’s best to pause at the urinal or in

the cul-de-sac or wherever the harmony breaks rank

momentarily and give attention to these oddities that

in the end may simply have been odd but then again

may have been dispatches from beyond, via deals and

deer, stuffed in the cracks of our wailing walls of life.






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  1. alice scott-ferguson on February 3, 2021 at 8:47 am

    SO always love your captures of the slices of life!
    Not least your tongue in cheek
    approach and somewhat
    self-deprecating demeanour.

  2. Kara Peterson on February 3, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Whoa—love this, John! I’m a visual artist and would appreciate your permission to use a three-word phrase of yours for a title.

    • John Blase on February 3, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Sure, Kara. Thank you.

  3. Megan A on February 3, 2021 at 8:55 am

    The last lines “then again…the wailing wall of life” GOLD! Thank you.

  4. Michele Morin on February 3, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Even Noah’s rainbow had audio explanation. I’m with you in the puzzlement over interpretation.

  5. Sarah on February 3, 2021 at 9:43 am

    O, Lord, yes!

    Nice one, Sir John poet Blase.

  6. Jacky on February 3, 2021 at 11:34 am

    My oh my….John. Words from you again that blast straight to my core. The first setting cracked me up, then you go on to another stunning scene that offers a deeper look at what I sense is a call to stop and pay attention, to give attention to what is before me — perhaps thereby forfeiting for a time “the next thing” that pulls me back into my peewee world.

    THANK YOU for whatever it takes for you to offer us these gems — the both the words themselves and the spaces between.

  7. Jill on February 3, 2021 at 2:36 pm


  8. Abby on February 3, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    Oh. Oh. The dissonant spaces. they are also “thin places”, I think. (But have no idea whether I should have just put those two words in quotes or if “everyone” (yep. Did it.) knows what I mean. Anyways, John. your words are, as always, balm over my tender heart. Thank you.

  9. sharon graham on February 4, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Today, while getting lost coming home from the Atlanta Airport and whispering, “a little help here.,” I saw a sprightly fox race across 6 lanes of crazy traffic to safety. You words caused me to tuck that away and smile.

  10. Sherrey Meyer on February 14, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    This is a good one!

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