The Story of Ann Hicks

Ann Hicks was a little old woman who sold gingerbread and apples in Hyde Park in 19th-century London. She was apparently a very convincing writer, because a letter to a certain government official secured her permission to set up a little store-house for her goods.

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So she set up a house — but not just a storage shed. An actual house, which she immediately thereafter commenced to inhabit.

“Before anyone had quite realized what was taking place, Ann Hicks was living in Hyde Park in a comfortable brick-built house with a decent-sized private garden surrounded by stout fencing” (Arthur Bush, Portrait of London).

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But Ann Hicks’s house presented a problem for the builders of Queen Victoria’s Crystal Palace. You know, the iconic structure of iron and glass which was afterwards relocated to South London?

Ann held them off for a while, and it wasn’t until the intervention of Parliament and the Duke of Wellington that she was finally removed. She was, however, compensated with a small allowance.

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I think I’m going to build a hut in the park up the street, get them to kick me out, and then see if I can get a “small allowance” out of it. Nice going, Ann.

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Sky Clock

Elastic wishes

Adjustable thoughts hanging on

Purple stars dipped in moonshine.

Unthinkable words

Inaudible whispers dripping from

Her red lips soaked in sugar and dew.

Clarity

Parody

Possible insincerity

Drift through her rose-petal mouth.

The clock outside my window

Is painted in crimson across the black sky

And it’s ticking ominously.

I Miss You, Daddy

One year ago today, I found out you were gone.

I knew something was wrong, but you were so far away.

You didn’t answer your phone.

When I picked up the phone that night, I already knew.

Uncle Charlie told me what I already knew.

Our path was complicated, Daddy,

Filled with twists and turns.

But I’ll always remember being a little girl,

Goin’ 4-wheelin’ with you,

Eatin’ cheeseburgers with you.

We had so much fun.

As I grew older, we grew apart,

But I never loved you any less.

Those last couple years were a blessing,

Because they brought us back together.

Even if it was only on the phone.

I miss you, Daddy, and I can still hear your voice

Singing country songs.

I sing country songs because you sang them.

I love you, Daddy, and I always will.

Throw a beer back for me up in Heaven,

Won’t you, Daddy?

Say hello to Uncle David

And Grandpa Walter

And Dale Earnhardt.

I love you, Daddy,

And part of your heart’s still here with me.

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Transformations

Traffic diverted us round Ludgate Hill, and I watched as St. Paul’s great dome slid past the window.

I thought of it for a moment. A cathedral dedicated to a man who must have had one of the most radical transformations in history – going from someone who persecuted Jesus’s disciples in Jerusalem, to a man struck blind and given back his sight, ever afterwards to proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. It was an idea too large to wrap my head around. I couldn’t imagine such a transformation. I couldn’t imagine going from something so low to something so high – and it made me dizzy.

But the church was gone as quickly as it came, and it was never very close, so I quickly forgot about it.