One Among


When the church purchased the building that shared the back wall of the education wing, I had visions of it becoming either a youth activity center or the new home of our food pantry.  The day the keys were handed over to me, I went into this obviously limited but amazingly cool space. Long and narrow – barely twenty feet wide and ninety feet of open floor with a cast iron spiral staircase in the very back – it drew me in.

What held me was the wall of exposed brick, a hundred years or older, with slap-dab mortar slopping out between the rough red masonry.  The bricks all were stamped with an eight-pointed star, a logo, and the name of the defunct and forgotten company. Every brick of a piece; uniform red, uniform shape.  But for the one with the fatal flaw.

One brick among the many had obviously been handled roughly.  A corner of the brick, about a quarter of its length, was broken away.  The mason had simply tapped the brick into place, slapped on extra mortar and kept moving.

I considered that one brick for a long time.  I don’t know how long.

In it I found my own failure.


a rock covered beach
ocean waves lift and drop them
every stone a voice


* * *


Haibuning at dVerse Poets Pub with guest artist… host, qbit (Randall).  The prompt is One Self, En Masse.  Come along and see what all that entails!

36 thoughts on “One Among

  1. That one brick, along with the many bricks, is part of the foundation that built that building and church. That brick is part of the history. I wouldn’t call it any other name. Thanks for the personal share!


    • That one brick was a means of seeing myself. The wall became background scenery to a sense of personal failure. I can’t explain it better than that. Thank you for reading and enjoying.


  2. A fascinating twist on the prompt. For me, it is the imperfections of others, scars, blemishes, unique tics and world views that , like the one brick, makes them stand out. As a photographer, and a person, I seek these folks out.


  3. I love re-reading this. The brick with a flaw — and you responding to it as your own failing instead of some sort of celebration of how unique you are among all the “normal” bricks. And yet in the Haiku you look for redemption of sorts, “every stone a voice”, although you don’t make any simple claims that it makes it any easier.


  4. This is a compelling narrative, Charley. The words ‘handled roughly’ are key – the brick has had a time of it – the poet voice, too, is the message I see here. The micro-poem loops back to the setting and brings to mind ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’ Well done!


  5. I found your story very interesting especially in the comparison you drew to yourself. In life there are mostly flawed bricks. Their flaws are called character
    traits. Unlike the bricks we are all different! Well done Charley!


  6. that moment when we see truth we might have missed before – a beautiful comparison – but that one flawed stone/brick was made to feel part of the entire wall too – they all grouped together to hold it up


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