The Gile Steele Tapes

The Further Adventures of Gile Steele; The Man Wearing A Camel Hat

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Who WAS that man in the Camel hat?

 

Interview: 12/18/18 TGI Fridays

So, I guess it was a couple hours ago.  I was waiting on that table in the corner and over to my left was this guy with all the looks of a typical older guy, white haired with one of those goatees every man over fifty seems to have to have like it’s some kind of requirement that if you are a cool older dude you have white chin hairs! .. ha ha ha .

He scared me at first because I couldn’t figure him out.  He was definitely different.

So I’m talking with the customer about the shrimp on the menu and she said something funny and I’m laughing when out of the corner of my eye I see this guy … this man … signaling to me like he’s lost at sea.

I glance up and my eyes meet his and they’re pleading eyes really big and he’s pounding the palm of his hand against an imaginary ketchup bottle like it’s a HUGE ketchup bottle, kind of ridiculous looking.  He does these ketchup bottle moves then gets carried away and it looks like he’s pumping ketchup through one of those plunger type squirt guns you use in the pool.  

He’s either got a grin on his face or he’s looking like he’s pleading with me for ketchup but he looks serious and deadpan at the same time.

I know right away he wants ketchup!  Before I even nod my head he’s giving me the thumbs up and I’m so surprised because originally I was kind of afraid of him but now I realize he’s just this non obtrusive guy who doesn’t look like he could hurt a flea. I forget all about the ketchup because Matt took them their ketchup but, later when I walk past their table he collars me and he wants to talk about ketchup so we’re talking real close like our faces are two or three feet away from each other having this mock serious discussion about ketchup and I don’t know what he wants from me so I just play along because it’s fun sooo … it’s obvious he’s “putting me on” about the whole ketchup thing. 

He tells me he’s a super hero whose name is Ketchupman.  He asks me if I want to know what his super power is and it’s that and he can tell when people need ketchup before they even KNOW they want ketchup so can be there in a heartbeat.  This is so ridiculous but it’s funny because, whoever heard of a super hero named Ketchupman?

I ask why he didn’t have any ketchup on him back a little while ago and he tells me it’s a long story that he’s not feeling well these days and I say maybe you’re sick and you should see a doctor and he just fires right back like he already knew twhat I was gonna say “Yeah, I think it’s time to start taking medication.”  Which seemed a funny ass thing to say at the moment because we both gave each other that ‘look’ … 

His eyes follow me as I have to walk away but, we are both laughing because of the …. insanity of the conversation, and I have to keep walking to my table but I can’t stop laughing.   For some reason it’s the funniest thing.

And it was so funny to be with somebody who’s funny like that and … maybe, unconventional I guess you’d say.  I just can’t remember ever just …. ‘bungling’ like that.  

“Wasn’t that the guy with the camel hat?” 

So I say, “I don’t know I didn’t see no camel hat.” 

We’re both heading out the door when we run into Sharon.  

“Hey you guys,” she says.  “Who was that man wearing the camel hat?” .  

Gile Steele; The Man Wearing the Camel Hat

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Crane’s Obit

continued … At precisely the same moment the explosion rocks my world I witness the most amazing sight I’ve  ever seen.  

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Inanimate 

I need to look more closely at the bird to satisfy my curiosity about what I had seen or, not seen.

I walk toward the mound of gray feathers where the bird once stood. I search for the bird.  Strangely enough, I have a hard time distinguishing the bird from it’s surroundings.  

It’s as if the bird has simply disappeared.  Gravity simply took back what was its right to reclaim.  

Its head and beak in profile lie flat against the sand, the black iris I looked into less than an hour ago when sensing its awareness, covered with an opaque film now, its lifeless eye and head and beak and neck inanimate objects attached to a mound of gray feathers lying flat, a few of the shorter feathers lifting in the breeze, like they’re holding onto some memory.  The object of their lives, lies flat against the sand the absorption process having already begun returning what’s left of my friend the crane, to the earth.

I still ponder the event.  When Jake fired the shot that rocked my world I had no idea that the bird would simply disappear. 

That’s what I saw! And that’s what I take away from the experience.  Death.  It’s when life disappears!

WHERE LIFE GOES by kurt struble

Where it goes is 

EVERYONE’S 

guess!!

I suppose  

I don’t know 

where life goes but, 

it’s got to go 

somewhere don’t you think?

I’d hate to think it just 

comes and goes with nowhere else to go 

each life a tiny pebble and so it goes,

dropped into 

the vast infinite depths of 

space

within the 

infinite sea of 

Cosmos ! 

Seems like it’s oughta be something better than that!!!

To Kill/An Oath

We should participate to the least extent when it comes to stealing other beings lives away … human or beast.  It’s best to let nature take care of herself in that regard without our interference.  

That’s why I thought Jake and Donna’s decision to end the bird’s life was adult thinking at its worst.  

A little while later,  while Donna cooks hamburgers on the gas stove inside the cottage Jake naps in his big easy chair the afternoon Detroit News crumpled at the side of his chair.  I’m still looking down at my friend the crane.   Finally, I rouse myself from these complex new thoughts about life and death that have entered my mind.  Turning away from the crane I walk toward the cottage, then stop. 

I turn, and while looking back at the crane I make a solemn oath to myself that I will never grow up and and become an adult.  

And do you know what?  

I never did.                                   

The Crane Continues IV

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The Verdict 

continued ….. I hate them for saying that.  Who are they to decide whether another living thing should live or die?  

They look at each other then back at me.  Without saying a word I know the verdict. 

I look at the crane, its head feathers tousled by an on shore breeze remembering the moment I saw its head above the cat tails such a short while ago.  So much had happened during that brief span of time.

Then I have an idea!  I open my mouth to tell them I could take the crane back to the swale where I found it so it can die in peace but, it’s too late.  Jake is already more than halfway to the curve.

Waiting for Death

I follow Jake to his house where I sit hunched over on an old wooden bench made from two tree stumps and a thick board facing eastward toward the lake, waiting for Jake to emerge from his house not knowing what to expect.

Halfway between where I sit and the the top of the rise at the far end of the lane, the crane stands motionless on one spindly leg, the left side of it’s body in profile it’s long neck and beak sharply defined.  

The lake appears as a grayish blue ribbon between the top of the dune at the end of the lane and the pale blue afternoon sky reflecting off the horizon line.“

I’m wondering if the crane was aware of my presence back when I stared into its unblinking eye thinking I had seen a flicker of awareness?  Had we really made a connection back in the swale where Gray had made her discovery?

The crane seems lifeless now almost like a statue. Maybe I was imagining things.

I hear Jake approach.

Jake’s Gun

The double barrels of Jake’s shotgun appear pointing skyward to my left.  Jake lowers the gun barrels so that they’re pointing at the ground while, with his thumb against the locking lever he jerks up sharply. The barrels, one on top of the other crack open.

Jake cradles the open shotgun against the left side of his body.  I see into the black holes of the ‘over and under’ shotgun barrels waiting to be loaded with the fat red shells Jake holds in his right hand.

With one continuous motion, Jake’s thumb press the two shells into their chambers then, pulls up while pushing down at the same time locking the double barrels into place. 

The barrels of the shotgun move upward disappearing from my field of vision as I continue to stare at the bird its head feathers ruffling in the breeze as I had seen them do back in the swale after Gray’s discovery brought us together.

Red Feathers 

I can’t take my eyes off of those dancing feathers it feels like I’m in two places at the same time.

In some strange way maybe those feathers are acknowledgement that, there HAD been a connection between us. Things can be funny like that sometimes can’t they?

The air is still.. I’m not breathing.  

Unable to move I feel frozen in place and time.  

The only sound? Deadly silence when, without warning an explosion lifts me off my seat!.  I’m falling over backward but manage to regain my balance.  

At precisely the same moment the explosion rocks my world I witness the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen.  

continued …. Inanimate 

 

The Crane Part III

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Lowering the Crane 

I lower the big crane onto the sand in the open field across from the cottage.  The instant its feet touch the ground its head drops back into the S position.

Before running around to the back, I stop and look into its eye one more time.  I see no flicker of awareness.  Instead, the same blank stare I saw when I first looked into its eye when?  Was it less than an hour ago??

So many experiences crammed into such a short period of time!

I run to the back of the cottage where I tell Donna about the big bird. I tell her how beautiful it is.  “Maybe it’s sick,” I tell her, “But, we can feed it frogs, nurse it back to health like you did with the baby squirrels.”

I run around the side of the cottage, anxious to get back to the crane.  Halfway there, I turn and look behind.  Donna stands motionless, her mouth agape, staring at the crane.  .

She Strokes Its Neck

To reassure her I stand next to the crane, lightly touching its back. 

The crane opens its eyes unfurls its long neck, while slowly turning its head left to right before staring straight ahead, motionless.  

Unable to resist Donna caresses its long neck with the back of her hand, speaking to it in low tones, while asking me stupid questions like, did the bird act like it was sick? 

Jake Willis 

I sense her feelings are warming to the subject so, I say to her. “‘Well Jeez, I don’t know mom.  I’ve never met a sick bird before.” Her smile is soft … and caring.  

Jake Willis, the old guy living on the opposite side of the curve three houses west appears out of nowhere.  We become a group of three thinking indecision. 

Jake isn’t saying much.  He squints a little staring at the crane his thumb and index finger moving along his chin line, in deep thought.  

Donna repeats her concern that the bird could be sick only this time, she looks to Jake for confirmation.

Jake asks me if the bird tried to stab me in the eye.  I just stare at him.

They insist the bird could have blinded me.  They tell me the bird is too sick to live. 

The Verdict 

I hate them for saying that.  Who are they to decide whether another living thing should live or die?  

They look at each other then back at me.  Without saying a word I knew the verdict. 

I look at the crane, its head feathers tousled by an on shore breeze.remembering the moment I saw its head above the cat tails such a short while ago.  

Then I have an idea!  I open my mouth to tell them I could take the crane back to the swale where I found it so it can die in peace.  Alas!  It’s too late.  Jake is already more than halfway to the curve.

Next: Waiting For Death

The Crane

continued … his awareness of sights so different from its everyday world gliding high, looking down at ponds and streams, wading through water searching always searching to satisfy the hunger that gives life meaning.  The desire to live.

Suddenly I know its alive!   It has awareness.  I feel a link between our searching ever curious minds.

Suddenly I know its alive!   It has awareness.  I feel a link between our searching ever curious minds.Unknown

 

It’s Alive, It Has Awareness!  

I move closer, wrap both arms beneath the crane’s belly lift it out of the water carry it up the side of the swale to the lime rock road for a short distance then, turning right on the black top begin walking east toward the cottage and the lake, cradling the bird in my arms trying to see over the top of its back, feeling its wing feathers against my chin and the side of my face.

I try to stay focused on the road ahead, straining to keep the bird’s talons from scraping the black top, oblivious of the passing cars, their honks, stupid comments and questions.

Gray trots along beside me keeping a wary out for my safety while the bird, its neck fully extended gazes at the passing trees and empty spaces along the side of the road.

Walking along, I picture myself nursing the bird back to health; feeding it, loving it, giving it life once again, then watching it fly away free to ride the wind currents once again aware of its world with a renewed desire to live.

Baby Squirrels 

I had watched Donna raise 6 baby squirrels from the time they were hairless, no bigger than the end of her pinky finger, feeding them every 4 hours 24 hours a day for weeks until they grew and became such a nuisance, all six of them climbing over her body like she was a small tree, tangling her hair, knocking her glasses off, that she finally had to set them free outdoors.

Surely,  she will help me rescue the bird!  At least, I hope she will.   

I had high hopes for my friend the great Crane, who had allowed me to gaze into its eye and be part of its life.

Little did I know what was in store for both of us.

next … Lowering the Crane 

Constructing the Crane: It’s Alive, It Has Awareness!

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continued ….. its wings, so large that they stretch the length of its entire body from its breastbone to the shorter thin feathers on the backside, it’s feathers lying next to each other, slightly overlapped when not in use, like a tightly louvered fan pointing downward while standing.

In Flight

I picture its wings in flight the shorter round feathers at the back edge vibrating or fluttering through the air like the sensitive fingers of a pianist each in tune with the incremental movements needed to stabilize and direct the strength it takes to create forward thrust, their giant wings beating downward, pulling themselves upward or in graceful flight gliding through the sky two different parts of its body telling it what to do the breastbone and the long tail feathers telling it to rise up and up effortlessly higher and higher flying free over clouds of air they see, that we can only imagine.  

 I creep forward cautiously until we stand next to each other.  I sense a strangeness about its lack of movement, as if it’s in a trance. 

Crane’s Eye/Seeking Awareness 

I look closely into its eye, the iris a thin orange/blood red ribbon surrounding the the pupil so large it nearly fills the entire eye socket, a dark black pool without a flicker of life.

While looking into its eye, I think how great it would be to see some sense of awareness.  Something that would tell me the crane isn’t dead or dying when, suddenly it breaks out of its trance.

It’s pupil flickers, a spark of sunlight reflects off of the surface of the black pool.  The iris contracts, the dark pool grows smaller until it finds a focal point.

I see its eye tracking from place to place over my face feeling bewildered perhaps by my curious movements, the soft shapes and colors of my face, the black pool of my awareness filling his awareness of sights so different from its everyday world gliding high, looking down at ponds and streams, wading through water searching always searching to satisfy the hunger that gives life meaning.  The desire to live.

It’s Alive, It Has Awareness

Suddenly I know its alive!   It has awareness.  I feel a link between our searching ever curious minds.

continued … 

Constructing the Crane

A Story About A Boy and His Pet Crane 

The Crane: Prologue 

They said the crane was too sick to live!  They insisted it would poke out my eye.  

This was adult thinking at its worst!  The kind of overly cautious bullshit thought that leads to really stupid decisions.  

I hated them for using untrue accusations as a justification to steal the life away from something alive and beautiful. 

The crane had become a friend I had made a connection with when our paths first crossed only an hour and a half earlier.  As … 

Earlier 

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Gray (my Weimereiner dog and constant companion) and I were minding our own business, 100 yards south of Jerry’s Marina along the shoreline of Tawas Bay in northern Michigan where, fifteen minutes ago I had fallen off the dock into the oily marina water after riding too slow to keep my balance. 

Still damp, I take one last look over at Jerry’s remembering my humiliation shrug it off  and begin walking the lime rock road alongside a swale, toward the black top that will take me back to the cottage, while Gray sloshes around in a foot or so of water at the bottom of the swale trying to pick up the scent of some animal within the thick growth of cattails,  when I hear Gray barking non-stop.

Gray’s Discovery 

I walk a little further to where Gray is barking at a giant water crane standing in the shallow water at the bottom of the swale, its head above the cattails, where it was probably hunting for frogs when Gray made her discovery.

Gray continues to bark while circling the crane occasionally pausing to sniff or nip at its leg.

The crane looks unafraid,  strangely motionless seemingly unaware of the dog’s barking or my presence.  

I decide to take a closer look.

I slide down the embankment then creep through the cattails careful not to make sudden movements or splash water.

The crane slowly curls its long neck into a flattened S shape the back half resting along its spine its head and beak in profile.

Suddenly it occurs to me that if I take one more step the bird might fly away. I never thought I’d get a chance to be so close to such a beautiful bird.  I want to soak in all the details of its beauty before it’s too late.  

Feathers, Neck, Beak,

I admire the curve of its head, the tiny nostril holes on each side of its beak perhaps ten or twelve inches long.  Red mini feathers dance in the wind on the crown of its head.  .

I see tiny scales covering its stick-like legs each smaller than a dime overlapping themselves like tiny shingles, smooth aerodynamic in design.

I look at the variations of gray coloring along the short hairs of its neck that gradually lengthen into 6 to 12 inch feathers covering its wings, so large that they stretch the length of its entire body from its breastbone to the end of its tail feathers.  It’s feathers lie next to each other, slightly overlapped like a tightly louvered fan pointing downward while standing.

more ….

I Guess It’s Just What You Believe …..

Don’t blame me, I can’t get this post to show double spaces between the paragraphs.  I think it looks terrible but … whaddya gonna do?  
Of course I have friends on Facebook!  We share the past like, we’re brothers and sisters.
So, one of my Facebook sisters wrote this piece as a comment to someone about some sheets that were advertised to help people sleep better.
Since I’m from a small town I’m aware that topics like these can become the focus of some pretty interesting conversations and points of view.
When I first read her comment I didn’t know what she was referring to with these sheets.  But I thought what she wrote was hilarious.  I tried to make up a conversation whereby I’d make a statement to fit what she had written … but I couldn’t do it.
So I decided to let it alone and post it as I first discovered it like … a little jewell.
The whole piece is so insanely funny and sweet and innocent and honest that I couldn’t help but want to share it. Maybe I’m the only person who feels this way in the whole world!  Still, I didn’t care.  I hope there are a few who enjoy it for what it is.
I told Karen I’d give her credit for writing it but in my haste to just get it posted yesterday I didn’t include her name.  I thought maybe there was a married name to go with her maiden name.
So, may I present from a “sister” of mine from the little town of Durand, Michigan the railroad center of the state this piece I titled:
I Guess It’s Just What You Believe In To Help You Sleep
By Karen VanKuren
…  I think this is just a ploy to buy their sheets.  There are tons of reasons why people don’t sleep good at night.  It all depends on the person.  
I have finally found that if I turn off the tv at night,,, I don’t have something in the background to wake me while sleeping.. I now sleep all night (except for having to pee 3 times during the night,, haha),,, but the pitch black does cause your body to produce more melatonin…
I also like my bedroom cool and I’ve been sleeping all night for about a year now since I changed my ways…. Come daylight,, I put a fuzzy thick sock over my eyes also.. The darker it is,, the deeper sleep I get..
I was wearing an eye mask,, but the thing that goes around my head over my hair was breaking my hair off after a while and I had a whole new hairdo for a while till it all grew out again,,, so now I just put the thick, soft, furry sock over my yes..
Now as far as what they said about Alzheimer’s and sleep,, I believe,, but (I’m) not so sure about those sheets…. :) Just like the pillow guy.. I have friends that bought them and love them,, and friends that hate them….
Just my opinion but, I guess it’s just what you believe in to help you sleep.
****
Right on, Karen! Right on ….. !

Red Sun Rising

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The S & P down 3.09%, lower than beginning of the year. 

Dow down 2.4% less than beginning of the year. 

Nasdaq down 4.3%

S & P down 9.68%.  

Government debt highest in history borrowing based on consistent three percent growth Growth rate is 2.5% and will either remain or drop further.  

New home sales, always the ‘driver’ of economic growth,  down 5.5%.  

Inventory of unsold homes 7.7%, highest level since 2011.  Higher interest rates expected.  

Stock analysts:  “A wall of worry trying to climb over a mountain of doubt, ” because of T’s policy decisions; trade tensions with China, political tensions, rising interest rates, weakening technicals, insufficient labor pool (companies all over the U.S. can’t get enough workers.  They’ve been deported.)  

T pulled us out of Syria ceding Syria to Russia.

Since T broke treaty with Iran they can go back to enriching uranium if they please.  Without U.S. backing Europe doesn’t have the power to keep Iran from making nuclear weapons.  

T has devastated the economy of Iran by his decision.  They hate us more than ever and that goes for Israel aS well.   

By T’s policy decisions we’ve given up control of the middle east.  Only the bad guys are in control of the Middle East now.   I’d say Israel’s in big trouble.  

T backed out of the Strategic Arms treaty with Russia.  So, we’re back in an arms race with its increasing the possibility of nuclear war either by accident or from a ‘staged’ event.  

T’s trade policy has forced China and Russia … two huge powerful countries have forced them to become allies already doing joint naval training.  Unable to defeat us individually they could do so as allies.

Putin made statement, he’ll be “targeting” countries with U.S. missiles.  

Several generals have made the statement, “We are on the verge of war.”

Russia is deep into our internet could bring down the grid whenever they choose to do so.  

FINALLY: T finally mentioned for first time, the words, “National Emergency” if the migrants get close to the U.S. border.  When a national emergency is declared, a president assumes dictatorial power while being commander in chief of armed forces outside of the rule of law and the checks and balances outlined in the constitution.     

His coup d’gras will be when he declares a national emergency which he has already said he would do.  At that point the U.S. government will have been overthrown. 

Repeat:  When the president .. any president … declares a national emergency they are outside of the control of all checks and balances.  Congress will be powerless to take his power away.  It will be his to keep as long as he deems it necessary.

Of course he will rely on his cronies in congress who will be complicit in his treason to make it SEEM we are still the United States of America.

None of this is speculation.  It’s all true as we speak.  The trend is not going to stop.  There’s too much inertia.  Psycopaths don’t stop their quest for power until they have all power.  Power is the air they breathe.  They’re never satisfied as long as there’s more power they can steal away.  

Mueller needs to release his findings NOW to show the people we have a traitor in the White House in league with Putin bent on destroying the U.S.  

It won’t be enough.  Impeachment isn’t an option.  If Mexico stops the caravan, there’s always the grid.  

KEEP YOUR MONEY LIQUID.  HAVE A PLAN.  KNOW WHERE TO MEET.  IT’S COMING.  

Naked As A Jailbird

black and white cartoon donald duck spotlight

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I can’t believe that one single person has not stood up to T and told him he’s naked.  

But I CAN understand why no one wants to tell him he’s naked.  It’s his mouth!  

He “shouts people away” from telling him the truth because he’s ALWAYS been naked and he hates it but he can’t help it.  Poor guy doesn’t want to ADMIT he’s naked.  He has to keep trying to prove he’s NOT.  Which is ridiculous.  Just take a look.

Beneath the swagger and the downturned mouth and that stupid fucking hair that history will find as iconic as that stupid fucking ‘stash’ that H wore,  is a fat laden paunch of a belly creased where it hangs at his waist, an ugly little penis, spindly legs holding up his frame and a flat ass.  

We’ve all seen it!  Detailed descriptions abound.  T’s nakedness is a shared vision.  My grandson Max is fascinated by it and talks about it all the time.

T’s nakedness is the best kept secret that only WE know about.

T’s nakedness is an unpleasant truth we all share.  He’s the only one who doesn’t know.

But I CAN understand why no one wants to tell him he’s naked.  It’s his mouth!

So, I just keep wondering, who’s going to have the balls to tell him he looks so fucking stupid walking around naked as a jail bird?.

 

Hey you …..

He ceded Syria to Russia thus, enabling Assad and Putin to join forces against the U.S.  One less vantage point for the U.S. to stave off all out war.

China … was a useful ally between Russia and the U.S. since Kissinger.  Never a trade war or otherwise.  We supported each other’s market ambitions favorably.  Our political views?  We didn’t discuss.

There was balance of power.  Not so now.

T started the trade war forcing China to lose face.  Putin appealed to China to form an alliance.   The two largest communist countries both rich and powerful in their own right unable to win a war against the U.S. by themselves, now united against a common foe.

China’s closest friend Russia has ambitions for the U.S.  China, a valuable ally in his quest.  Beneath China’s thriving economy old school feelings of animosity.  The communist party hates the U.S. for standing in the way of them spreading their brand of governance, since the 1950s.

They’ll work in league with each other perhaps splitting the spoils in an equable way.

The scorecard?  Russia and China those two huge communist countries partnering  against us.  Russia is a strong player now in the Middle East the balance of power there, turned upside down.  Russia united with all the bad guys against Israel and the U.S.

Assad will be P’s oligarch off choice to rule that region.

Iran’s economy has suffered since Trump broke the treaty.  There’s a bitter taste.  They hated us then.  They hate us now.  Another vantage point the U.S. has lost.

Saudi Arabia the biggest arms dealer, could be a winner or suffer much with defeat.

Not an ally of the U.S. he’s part of the supply chain.  T’s the one who’s taking in the big money with the latest sale of armaments.  Lining his pockets with blood stained hands.

He made that deal within months of taking office, remember those pictures of T on his knees sucking up to the crown prince not long after taking office.

Back then, T knew we’d be where we are now.  After all, his job has been to facilitate our demise from the beginning.

Watch the economy as, eventually it becomes superheated, lacking the necessary labor pool to keep it growing, it implodes.

Where do we stand now Trumpies?  Are we great again?  If you say yes, you ought to be committed.

Can you deny,  that the greatest powers in the world are united against the U.S. by his decisions?  Can you deny we have no treaties to give us leverage, by his decisions?  You cannot deny that everything he has done,  has made us weaker.

We stand alone now.  Without the U.S. as allies, NATO forces will not be up to the task. That beacon of light on the hill, may be on the verge of being blown out.

We are outgunned 360 degrees.  We are on the brink of war all made possible by decisions from the one who will be seen as the greatest traitor in history.

Keep your money liquid.  Watch for the signs.  Have a plan.  Decide where to meet.

 

How I Fell From First Chair Drummer to Band Outcast

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I watched them hit that old pine floor with perfect syncopation; touch and bounce, touchwood bounce from tip to tip/ bouncing tip to end tapping ratatapping their own rhythm as if guided by unseen puppet strings.

How I Descended From First Chair Drummer To Band Outcast

The drum section in the back left corner of our tiny band room was cordoned off from the rest of the band by a bass drum, three snare drums, three kettle drums, a set of chimes, a full sized gong and a silver glockenspiel on a stand.  

Most days Mr. Green (the band director) worked with different instrumental sections while we in the percussion section sat around waiting to play usually not until the end of the period when to appease us, we played couple of marches.

Out of boredom, my ADD aversion to sitting still and plenty of free time, I visited various vantage points where I could peek through all the cracks between the different percussive instruments at different band members, flirt with a couple of girls or, watch Green his angry face bright red, his pock marked chipmunk cheeks puffed out more than usual, his words cutting and sharp, humiliate various band members who weren’t able to play their parts perfectly, haranguing them to practice more, questioning their commitment.  

”If you’re not committed to practicing at least a half hour each night then get out of here right now!”

I could move around back there as long as I didn’t interfere with his teaching which eventually was why I began the slow descent from first chair drummer to band outcast.

Anger Multiplied

My descent to outcast status wasn’t only because I had the freedom to move around.  It was what I carried in my hands when I moved around; a pair of 2B drum sticks in constant motion against the side of my leg, banging out the rhythms to Motown or rock songs that constantly flowed through my brain.

Inevitably the tip of one of my flailing sticks would click against another.  If I was real careless I might tap a music stand or send a cymbal zzzzing …… or worse of all,  one or both of my sticks would slip out of my hand.  I’d watch it fall helplessly as my life passed before my eyes, before hitting that old pine floor with perfect syncopation to touch and bounce, touchwood bounce from tip to tip/ratatapping their own rhythm,  bouncing tip to end tapping out their own improvisation as if guided by unseen puppet strings. 

Which infuriated Green!

More … Much More … 

The Tragedy/Darkness/Death/the End

“I can only describe what I saw without saying HOW or WHY I was seeing what I saw!”

Darkness/Death

 continued … I creaked up the stairs to the landing, turned right eight more steps where I found myself  stranding in the middle of the upstairs hallway.

On my left the bathroom door opened to black and white tiles, green walls, a pedestal sink and an old cast iron tub with curled feet.

At the opposite end of the hall in near total darkness the door to the front bedroom was barely visible, so tightly sealed as it seemed, along its edges and corners, that not a single ray of light could escape from that front bedroom behind those three dormer windows that looked down onto the front sidewalk.

A pale white light moved across the wood grain floor outside the third bedroom half way down the hall on the left.  I crept softly toward the open door.

I peered inside. A nice big bedroom brightly lit with a high ceiling, two six over six windows looking down onto the sidewalk along the east side of the house, the same sidewalk Janey and Deac walked the night my world began to come unraveled.

DEATH

The first time I attempted to open the front bedroom door, the knob seemed to pull itself out of my hand.

I braced myself, pulled hard again when suddenly with a low wobbling sound, the door flew open.

I stepped into the room. But a sense of foreboding stopped me in my tracks.

A vaguely repulsive force, like a hand lightly placed against my chest kept me from further advancement.

What was it about that room? Was it a smell?

The air smelled stale with darkness as if I were looking through a sheer gray curtain like the light inside that room had been captured, trapped with no new light allowed to replace what had come before.

The corners of the room possessed the same creepy empty void of darkness I had seen below the steps downstairs but, more well defined with tapering points of blackness almost like sooty tentacles spreading outward, tapering to points where the wall and ceiling surfaces met.

The room seemed to get imperceptibly darker the longer I waited just inside the door.

To my amazement it seemed the existing light was slowly being sucked from the room as it seemed to be getting minutely darker the longer I stood there speechless, unable to take my eyes away from what I was seeing in the corners of the ceiling.

When my eyes adjusted I saw more deeply into the empty gloom, a dime sized empty void where the wall and ceiling surfaces came together.

Mesmerized by these unnatural visions I focused my attention more deeply on the black tentacles reaching out from the dime sized void. I saw what looked like a thin gray line of movement, almost like cigarette smoke, emanating from the black tentacles.

I can only describe what I saw without saying how or why I was seeing what I saw!

Pale gray particles of darkness finer than any dust I had ever seen had covered the walls and every object in the room erasing any vestiges of light from any surface capable of reflection giving the room a sickening pall.

It seemed the corners of the room were slowly sucking the captured light from the room leaving an otherworldly gray in its place.

It seemed the room was slowly dying from lack of light.

Feeling an odd sense of fear and loathing a prickling feeling on the back of my neck, I backed out of the room, pushed the door shut as silently as possible.

I quickly flew down the stairs, out the front door to the grassy area where I joined the others playing, in denial and rationalization, minimizing the nightmare of all I had seen.

Some time later while riding alone with Donna, she stopped the car in front of Jim and Janey’s house.

Turning off the key, we sat, in dead silence while it seemed Donna was collecting her thoughts to speak.

With a sense of resignation she pointed at the three dormer windows on the second floor of the house.  Then, she told me that it was in that room behind those three dormer windows that Jim had blown his head off with a shotgun.

The End

The Tragedy: The Last Time I Saw Janey

THE LAST TIME I SAW JANEY
The last time I saw Janey was at a birthday party she threw for her nephew one Saturday in late fall.
Here’s what happened that day and how it figures into the tragedy.
Picture yourself walking across that wide front porch to the front door.  The door opens so, you cross the threshold and step inside.
Immediately to the left, stairs rise up to a landing then right, ten or so steps to the second floor hall.
At the end of the hall downstairs, the kitchen looks like an modern, abstract rectangular picture with yellow walls, a red melmac table with curved chrome legs, a black and white wall clock of a cat, its tail slowly moving side to side and the shadows and sounds of moving mothers.
Halfway to the kitchen on the right would originally have been called the parlor or in today’s parlance we call the living room, where June threw the best birthday party I ever attended; one continuous strand of low level activity moving forward, always moving forward, never boring, exactly like their summer yard parties except instead of drinking booze and playing poker we were eating cake, drinking Coke while playing kids games like pin the tail on the donkey or dropping clothes pins into a milk bottle,
Janey wandered about engendering herself to every boy making the games fun by teasing us, laughing at our mistakes, encouraging us when we did something well then drawing everyone’s attention to the lucky boy receiving a prize.
By the end of the day I think every boy had fallen in love with Janey.
THE CAKE
With candles blazing at just the right moment, Janey brought the birthday cake into our midst. We gathered around staring down at the cake, our mouths watering, the room quiet for the first time all day.
Holding the knife over the cake Janey whetted our appetites, teasing each of us one by one about the hungry looks on our faces even accusing some of us of drooling.
Skilled tease that she was, she knew how to increase our appetites poking and prodding until I could hardly wait for my first piece. I knew I could go back as many times as I wanted.
Within seconds, I was back asking for more and more and more until I was completely satisfied.
EXPLORING INSIDE
After cake, we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted. We could stay inside and play games or go outside and run around getting grass stains on our pants.
I stayed inside to explore the house starting in the kitchen with its yellow walls the square green asbestos tiles on the floor, the old fashioned faucets, above a deep galvanized sink, a window above the sink that looked down on the grassy area where they had their parties and the back door to the right where steps leading down to and up from the grassy area carried either food and drink or full bladders.
Just outside the kitchen in the hallway to the right, a short door opened into a space beneath the stairs. I opened the door and peered inside, a creepy dark place, the air stale, hard to breathe, so dark even with the door open, it seemed the entire space was devoid of light.  I couldn’t even see the wall opposite the open door.
That place gave me the creeps.  I quickly shut the door afraid to look inside any longer.
I had to pee so I asked Janey if I could use the bathroom. The one downstairs was busy so she told me to use the bathroom upstairs.  continued ….
Next:  The Air Stale With Darkness … Death

The Tragedy: After Midnight

The Tragedy

continued … 50sTown

Continued … 

That night after midnight, I heard a commotion outside.

Curious, I crept downstairs, tiptoed across the kitchen, slowly opened the sliding glass door, stepped into the screened in porch and stood in the shadows.

Fifeen feet from the porch they were fighting next to a big elm tree in the back yard while I stood motionless listening to their heated exchanges.

Donna was growling louder and louder, getting more hysterical by the moment sounding like she’d lose control, break through the sound barrier any second and start screaming.

With a forceful guttural sound Deac hissed at her to shut up.

She continued as if she hadn’t heard a word, in greater frenzy, closer still, to completely losing control, when I heard a piercing crack similar to the sound a whip crack or a snapped branch would make.

Things briefly quieted down. Then I heard her whimper. I slowly backed into the kitchen, closed the sliding door and crept back upstairs too afraid to listen further.

With a sense of heightened anxiety, I climbed into bed and hid under the covers where I convinced myself that what I’d heard and seen was ‘normal’ in some adult way.

Of course, I didn’t know at the time I had entered into the world of denial.  But then, what does a 10-year-old kid know about denial?

Next: The Last Time I Saw Janey

images

The Tragedy; the Incident

THE INCIDENT

More boisterous than usual, they partied into the night at their last gathering of the summer.  At one point they stood in a circle looking like a bunch of school kids on the playground rocking back and forth on the balls of their feet, teasing each other,  giggling and guffawing.

A couple of the guys told off color jokes while the girls twittered.   The guys were getting frisky touching (or close to it) girls who weren’t their wives while everyone laughed.  The girls slapped at their hands as if it bothered them but you could tell they enjoyed the attention.  Donna’s body language said, “Stay away!”

At one point the group dispersed leaving Donna to sit by herself in the gloaming smoking Kents or Trues or whatever brand she smoked at the time,  perfectly happy to sit and wait for everyone’s return while nursing her umpteenth Manhattan.

Within fifteen or twenty minutes they began drifting back. Two of the guys had their arms around each other calling each other vile names then laughing loudly.  The girls made fun of them with high pitched laughter.

Deac moseyed in a good 15 or 20 minutes after everyone else looking happy as a clam. Five minutes later June showed up by herself looking downhearted.

“Where were you Janey? “ the girls asked with that “sing songey” sound to their voices.

Janey stood next to Jim her arm wrapped around his waist her head against his rib cage, a forlorn, lost look on her face.  She said they had walked around the block to get some fresh air.  When she looked up at Jim for the kiss of reassurance, Jim gazed down at her the corners of his mouth turned up but a sad broken-hearted look in his eyes.

Deac stood behind Donna his hands on her shoulders kneading the space between her shoulder and neck smiling like a kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

The air went silent for a few heartbeats, so tense you could hear a croquet ball drop onto the grass.

Then, one of the guys belched loud and long.  Everyone laughed, dropped back into their well-oiled selves, said good bye for the summer,  good night for the night and went home.

I rode my bike home in the dark.

AFTER MIDNIGHT

That night after midnight, I heard a commotion outside.   Curious, I crept downstairs, across the kitchen, slowly opened the sliding glass door stepped into the screened in porch and stood in the shadows.  Fifteen feet from the porch they were fighting next to a big elm tree in the back yard while I stood motionless listening to their heated exchanges.  Continued.

The Tragedy: Lost Tapes

The Tragedy III

The Lost Tapes

Seems obvious but important to note that, looking back I can say with great surety, kids don’t want change.  They want to stay as far away from change as possible.  They want to do what they are doing and they think they can do it forever because they don’t realize that change is inevitable.   

When real physical change creeps into the body the world becomes full of bright new ‘pursuasions’.  With new awarness we turn away from ‘kids world’ to embark along the pathways of our search for love; the missing ingredient that we think will calm the quiet despertion that grows with each disappointment faced throughout life.  

I saw the desperation in their eyes that summer long before I understood or became aware that the tragedy had occured.  It wasn’t until decades later that I understood.

Their parties were a desperate need to fill the empty spaces of their lives after those first disappointing years of marriage when shadows of the void begin showing up around the edges, when it became clear that marriage wasn’t the answer to the question or a destination the where the search for happiness would end. 

Maybe kid’s fear grows as they become more aware of the strange behavior of adults; their need to get drunk, the clinging man or woman too cowardly to resist temptation, the growling resentful wives consumed by rage, needy women lured into illicit affairs by lecherous men or … the choice to die, one more choice along the road of choices another choice along the many pathways, driven by a single aspect of life; the never ending search for love. 

Now I understand the sad, desperate looks I can still see on their faces all those years ago.  A yearning for the missing ingredient.  The spark that would ignite the engines of their lonesome souls.

DEAC

He sold insurance.  He was successful.

A respected businessman and community leader. He taught me how to handle a shotgun and we often hunted and fished together.

His philosophy of life was that anything of value can only be achieved by hard work and pain.  Suffering builds character!

He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh.  People had a hard time saying no to him. While most people liked him, he was a shyster and wouldn’t hesitate to screw any person out of five bucks if he thought he could get away with it.

Those few enemies he had hated his guts.

A U.S. Marine, radioman and sharpshooter during World War II, you could say he was a lucky man.  Not because the bus he was riding on that night was broadsided by a train trapping him in the wreckage, with a crushed foot, rather the accident prevented him from being shipped out the next day to Iwo Jima.

He spent the rest of the war recuperating in hospital near Seattle in Washington State.

SKIING BEHIND THE CAR

He was an adventurous soul unafraid to take chances.

One Sunday morning out of nowhere, he proclaimed, “I can ski behind the car.”

A preposterous thing to do!  But he did it and despite the fact that he told me he had never made a mistake in his life, I’m sure that by the end of that day, his arm in a sling, wracked with pain from gravel imbedded road rash and debilitating contusions, you might think he’d at least consider that he made a mistake.  But, he wouldn’t admit or even consider that he had.  Only that he had no regrets.

NO REGRETS

Did Deac consider his role in the tragedy a mistake?  Did he feel guilt because of the tragedy?  Did he regret his dalliance with Janey and the tragedy that resulted?  Or, in HIS world of denial did he tell himself he had no regrets?  Did he even realize he played a role in the tragedy?  If so he never confided in me.

MYSTIFIED

I was mystified by behavior that I had no reference for before that summer.  After all, I was only ten years old at the time.

I didn’t know that Deac and Janey had been seeing each other off the radar for weeks.  If I did, I wouldn’t have known what they were doing.

What I DID see were the ugly looks Donna gave him and his feigned attempts to act nonchalant.  Even I could tell he was acting strangely talking incessantly about events that happened during the day as if he were enlightening us.

INSANE JEALOUSY

Donna’s volatile temper, her insane jealousy, the bitterness she felt toward Deac roiled like an angry sea just below the surface. During tempests of fury her ocean of madness, spilled over, drawing everyone within reach into her storms of fury even those she loved the most.

We lived in troubling times never sure when her volatility would spark the flames of jealous insanity when we least expected.

BROKEN DISHES

Then one day I walked into the kitchen while Donna was breaking dishes on the kitchen floor, calling Deac a son of a bitch.  While he calmly stirred the spaghetti sauce,I passed by unnoticed.

By the time dinner was served the floor had been swept.  They regained their composure and were civilized toward each other while we ate.  For a while things seemed ok.

They weren’t.

Next: THE INCIDENT

 

 

The Tragedy II

II

It all started the summer Deac and Donna partied almost every weekend with three other couples on the grass along the west side of Jim and Janey’s house one of those big ‘mission style’ houses with three dormer windows looking down onto the front sidewalk, a wide front porch six or seven steps up from the sidewalk, a slender Roman column at porch level supporting the front left corner of the second floor probably built during the 1930s it filled an entire corner lot front to back and played a major role in the tragedy from beginning to end.

During their get togethers I roamed around on my bicycle playing with kids who lived in that neighborhood. I always brought my glove and usually found someone to play catch with in the street or throw the football around with or maybe even have a game of “two against two” football on the grass as long as we were careful not to throw any forward passes into their booze bucket.

We spent the rest of the time laughing at the adults and their antics.

Their Parties

Their parties followed a routine that never varied. The men played poker gathered around or hunched over a card table at the back half of the lot next to the house, red white and blue poker chips scattered about the middle of the table, piles of chips stacked according to their value in front of each player while drinking Strohs, Blatz of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer from metal cans, two holes punched at the top of each can with a ‘church key’ hung from the handle of a galvanized tub full of beer and ice beneath a card table holding every type of booze and mix you could think of.

The women gathered in the kitchen or sat on aluminum chairs in a circle on the grass smoking, drinking and laughing not far from the men who guffawed, teased each other or were serious depending on how much money was in the pot.

Janey drank ‘seven and sevens’;  Seagram’s 7 Crown whiskey with 7-Up while Donna drank Manhattans, whiskey with sweet vermouth with a maraschino cherry,  Straight booze like a martini only ebony in color.

Donna wasn’t a sloppy drunk. You’d hardly know she’d been drinking until her temper flared then things could get pretty ugly.

When she wasn’t drinking you could say she was sweet or even funny. But I never knew which of her ‘selves’ I’d be sitting next to at the dinner table each night.

She was an alcoholic but I didn’t know that drinking was a the heart of her crazy flares of temper.  Like the time I came home while she was breaking the dinner dishes on the kitchen floor.

Her temper flared one Saturday afternoon.

She Raided the Stash

I heard a verbal commotion, looked over at the adults, watched Donna suddenly rise, speak forcefully to Deac then turn and make a bee line toward the car across the street from where I was playing catch on the sidewalk.

When Donna got angry she growled and hissed and swore under her breath. Passing by me on the sidewalk she growled, “Get in the car,” pissed off because Deac told her to go home and get more money so he could recoup his poker losses.

I still don’t know why she made me ride along. Maybe in her drunken state she thought she’d stay home to embarrass him. Maybe she thought if both of us deserted him it would cause him further embarrassment.

She growled and swore all the way home as if I wasn’t even there. I stared straight ahead afraid too open mymouth.

They must have had a pretty good sized stash. When she got back in the car she carried a wad of dough big enough to choke a baker. She had an ugly look on her face.  I got the feeling she grabbed a lot more money than needed just to spite Deac.

Jim and Janey
Janey

Janey was petite like Donna, less than five feet tall with dark auburn hair, the perfectly proportioned body of a budding school girl, soft round and hips that conformed perfectly with her small frame, the same age as Donna which would have put them both in their mid twenties, not beautiful, maybe not even pretty but, ‘cute as a button’ with a constant smile on her face and an engaging laugh.

She knew how to make people laugh. She brought her highly focused energy into the empty spaces surrounding people’s lives. She wasn’t a giggler. She had infectious laughter that came from some place deep in her throat.

She was engaging. A good listener. She asked questions while we talked. She showed an interest in my thoughts and made comments. She teased me good naturedly. She shared her warm laughter with mine.

She taught me how to laugh at myself.

Jim

Janey’s husband Jim, six foot two, broad shoulders, a good looking guy on the order of Rock Hudson or even George Clooney with an extra layer of muscle looking like he could kick the shit out of anyone who gave him a hard time.

But he didn’t impose his size on people.  For example,  it wasn’t until after you spoke with Jim while seated in the shadow of the sun at his back, that you realized after he walked away that it seemed like you had been sitting in the shadow of a small tree.

Jim was the perfect foil for Janey. Opposite in most ways. Soft and gentle he tempered her sometimes over the top behavior with quiet acceptance content to watch the group’s antics, constantly smiling, chuckling, amused at the sight of everyone’s drunken revelry.

It tickled Jim that Janey always seemed to be in the middle of things when the action became either kinetic and fun or frenetic and crazy.

Jim had a great sense of humor too!  Different than the bellicose antics of the others, his low key sarcastic or understated comments took a moment to sink in but once they did, everyone howled with laughter practically rolling on the ground.

At the height of the group’s craziness Janey often turned to Jim for solace. With her arm around his waist she’d tilt her head back for the kiss of acceptance he always gave her when things got out of control.

When Janey was on the scene,  Jim’s eyes never left her.  The low key smile never left Jim’s face.  Janey’s laughter was all that mattered to Jim.

To anyone who knew them it was obvious that Jim was madly in love with Janey.

 

Nex

 

 

 

 

 

The Tragedy

The Tragedy

Dragged along on their journey of repentance after the tragedy not kicking and screaming but depressed about losing life long friends to a new world, we ricocheted through time and space to the four corners then home again to where it all began before, hoping to put pieces back together that would never fit together again. 

It all started the summer Deac and Donna partied almost every weekend with three other couples on the grass along the west side of Jim and Janey’s house, one of those big two story mission style houses with three dormer windows looking down on the front sidewalk, a wide front porch five or six steps up from the sidewalk, a slender Roman column at porch level supporting the front left corner of the second floor, probably build during the 1930s it filled an entire corner lot front to back and played an important role in the tragedy from beginning to end. 

During their get togethers I roamed around on my bicycle playing with kids who lived in that neighborhood playing catch in the street or football on the grass as long as we were careful not to throw any passes into their booze bucket.     

THEIR PARTIES

Their parties followed a routine that never varied.  The men played poker, gathered around or hunched over a card table at the back half of the lot next to the house, red, white and blue poker chips scattered about the middle of the table, neat piles of chips stacked according to their value in front of each player while drinking Strohs or Blatz or Pabst Blue Ribbon beer from metal cans, two holes punched at the top of each can with a ‘church key’ hung from the handle of a galvanized tub full of beer and ice beneath a card table holding every type of booze and mix you could think of. 

The women gathered in the kitchen or sat on aluminum chairs in a circle on the grass smoking, drinking and laughing not far from the men who guffawed, teased each other or were serious depending on how much money was in the pot. 

Next:  Some Janey and Donna. 

The Further Adventures of Gile Steele

Further Adventures of Gile Steele

So, there he was at the hospital exactly a year later at the same time, same place having the same procedure performed, by the same doctor, in the same room, next to the nurse’s station where a year earlier several factors came together in the middle of the night causing  an unexpected event to occur after his nurse gave him a tiny pain pill to alleviate the fiercest, most relentless pain of his life … then told him the next little pill would NOT be due for another four hours … (four fucking hours?)!  What was he to do?

After the nurse left his room he thought about what had just happened then, in a drug and pain induced brain fog pulled the tubes from his left arm and, using the food cart as a walker made a half assed attempt to escape the hospital for some unknown reason.

From that point forward the “real” world fell away was rearranged, reconstructed and put back together again when  the strange figure of a man appeared moving down a darkened hallway away from the nurses station, at two a.m. looking very determined, pushing a food cart, wearing black shorts,  t-shirt and a pair of white TED hose, where he stopped and was seen telling two nurses, a CNA, a security guy (with arms crossed over golfing shirt … NOT proving that he was a bad ass),  that he had every right to leave the hospital if he wanted to.

Soon after the exchange he returned to his room and fell asleep on a lounger that gave great comfort even though it didn’t take the pain away, after the charge nurse downstairs (an Air Force Academy graduate) convinced him it would be better if he DID return to his room.

And so, he did.

As to the significance of the occasion? He told me, “When an unexpected event occurs, you get startled out of your senses and if you’re lucky when this happens, unusual forces from all over the place join together, making all kinds of sparks and new connections and shit that gyrates, that sends light out crossing other paths, pinging, making, striking all colors never seen, crossing, drawn from people normally grazing grass turned brown, bored, lonely jolted awake by something worth seeing having never seen before!”

I loved the way he described it.

“Most of the time we steer ourselves along on rigidly separate flight paths,” he said.

“We are all far flung variables of differing spectrum with varying degrees of heat that would NEVER have crossed paths, becoming heat/light broken/arcing/tapping new rhythms, twisting smoke like colors never seen before, sparks and brief waves of light thrown into the void of all their dark spaces, the light of “being” allowed to exist if but for a moment, during the event that ends with people usually returning to their grazing.”

“They go back to their separate flight paths but with fundamental change.  Maybe startlingly singular unexpected conflagrations of attraction coming together such as these, reach into our genome level based on intensity,  the genome makes a recording of the event using stripes and numbers, the recordings are a measure of intensity.  They’re probably color coded constantly building, writing their own individual formulas, reflections of time and light twisting, building, building intent to reach some point in time to ‘build out’, anxious to accomplish the task or just doing what’s necessary to move about?”

“A recording of events totaling itself within the endless array of neural connections it has been branching off and growing,  we see evolution as a result.”

I must have looked perplexed so he explained, “Everybody every day has experiences that impact and startle them awake, that affect them on a fundamental level.  A split second after surprise comes the relief of being safe.  We laugh in relief that we are still alive.  People love to be scared at least momentarily.  It’s what we call ”funny” hahaha” … it’s a part of the primal instinct not to get eaten called, self preservation.”

“War is the most powerful experience bringing about change. Self preservation reduced to it’s fundamental opposition, boiled down to black hole level.  But war is no laughing matter.”

He loved the absurd humor of these startling, suddenly wide awake situations producing laughter in relief, the sight of people’s faces,  the startled first time behavior, the wide eyed, surprised looks, a brief return to childhood face, a re-creation of the 16 year old smile, faces dripping smooth then frozen in time with white teeth and sparkling eyes, adding color, filling in a few of the voids within,  awareness boiled down,  distilled and rendered into pure unadulterated laughter.”

He joked, “The opposite of war.  Haha ha ha ha …!”

Even the Crazies

 

I’ve been to the monument 

I’ve seen the inland sea ..  

I’ve walked between

the rising sun  

among the trees 

of blackest night

beneath the moon and 

star filled sky 

and midnight sun’s 

reflection.   

I’ve heard the diesel’s mournful wail 

along the rails of time 

the trail of tears I walk alone

now, sadfully reflecting, mine.  

Through tears of lace 

and wicked armor 

I see tears of endless treasures  

wrung from faultless lies.

Shameless tales of sacrilege and greed 

told with hapless glory

‘midst tales of cold belief;

The lost objects of our affection

seen rushing hrough abandoned buildings 

interiors with scorched walls 

through rooms and spaces, hearts and reason,

through mirrored ceilings hanging

scars of pain, lost inner light.

reflections wander aimlessly in

sightless worlds of virtual 

fantasy.  

 With love no longer 

the object of affection even 

the crazies 

can get 

crazier.

Two’fer

Two F’er

– Two –

I was flying sideways in my car

along streets full of passers by

looking for tomorrow

and a day that will never come.

Past fields of wheat and flax I drove

past lines and furrows

along roads well traveled

where spiral masses lie in wait

for early spring

past the mystery of silence

so near, but yet

so far …

– F’er –

Within the rural sun

mornings arrive

and day is nearly done.

Sun and moon and in between

miles along the roads of time.

Too much distance

too little time to make

the world my own.

Too much time to never see

everything between

growing in the sun of

tomorrow’s

destiny.

Ultimate Rot

A picture couldn’t do justice to  

Arctic wind’s ferocity 

blowing across the 

great lake thirty or forty m.p.h. 

white caps rushing toward shore 

water, trees, sand and leaves … 

combined 

Shhsssshing relentlessly,

my hoody inflated into 

a reverse parachute 

pushing my head and 

body backward,

dots of rain prick

my face 

the occasional 

snow flake spirals by.

 I’m forced to retreat 

to calmer climes 

along the road where 

not so long ago it seemed

cold before cresting 

the hill at the shoreline 

to face Arctic wind’s 

ferocity.

I made my way up the hill to 23 

turned left onto the bike path for 

a mile or so, past

the alabaster pipeline.

I turned around, walked back

the way I came to the end of 

the bike path at the top of

the hill. 

Descending the hill I heard

the SNAP CRACK! of dead firs

breaking like sticks 

the broken half still attached to the ground 

with jagged, pointed, dagger teeth of angry beasts pointed skyward still attached to   

roots rotten and brittle

the only force keeping  

the trees pointing skyward,

with snarling fury 

the soul of each tree’s pent up frustration 

raging at nature’s forces  

finally allowed to express 

their furiosity at

the plague of beetles who caused their

demise, long gone now

off to greener pastures. 

The fir tree’s plaintive wails,

their pent up frustration,

their solitary ghost sounds 

their howls of pain

unheard

in their after lives.

Ghost trees wailing 

at the wind!

 punctuated by 

SNAP! CRACK!! SNAP!! SNAP!!! CRACK!!!!!

the initial sound 

of ultimate 

rot … 

Second Life

See the angry acts of many rich
too proud to bond

with mother earth
their caskets bulge

with stolen goods,

no thought to share their riches
with generosity, given freely

their greedy souls ever searching
their habits deadened, never knowing

thoughts worth thinking.

Some people care within their own demise
their envy keeps them living,

their thoughts so easily lead astray
their longing never ending.

It’s how falsehood gets passed down
from generations onto

those seeking
sustenance over fear,

plentitude over awareness,
bitter after the war to win all wars is lost,

roles played again and again
they sing their lonely anthems.

Their search for meaning never stays
the price too high

the road too steep and winding
the streets unpaved,

muddy ruts along the way
too deeply formed

too costly to repair with academic kindness

too easy to surrender with utter blindness.

The end result?

Blindness, winds its way along/its pathway leading nowhere/
no hope of rescue from their dying,

too lost to find/the road that’s never there/their narrow thoughts an outside force/that seeks to win the day/despite their loss of living.

Their fear? Death before living life.
Their regret? Unknown dreams and fantasies never lived/locked up crying within/never seeing the light of day/never real love finding,

a game they play with no winners.
except those few who find themselves

home at last
at journey’s end

at the place where life is

living …

Endless Possibilities

 

Driving out endless possibilities/pictures skating over thin ice/holes chopped through frozen reality/broken dreams in hospital/waiting for repair.

Unknown encounters passing by/sparks of visions wondering why/lives joined in sequence/the river meandering by/sweet and terrible waters.

Birth spring summer fall reliving/gifts supreme/singularly seen with double meaning/sun’s heavenly face moving/fresh air beyond belief/old worlds torn asunder.

Rising swells /moving sands/deadheads floating by/imagination captured by wandering seas/renewing themselves …

endlessly  … 

It’s Ironic

Something funny transpired today 

between my nurse practitioner Matt 

and Me after our 

consultation.  

He ended our visit saying,

“These are things you have to do when 

you start getting 

older,” and so

we had touched on 

the subject of

Life. 

“Men don’t live as long as women you know. “ 

“I know,” one of us said,

“It’s the payback they get for 

bringing babies into 

the world.”

(and then)

“Oh man, you mean they get to live in this shitty world a little longer?”

To wit, it was said,

“The high point of their lives is when the men in their lives are gone.  Way before then, men can be more than just a nuisance. “  

The “other” said, “Much more than a nuisance man!!

Many if not all of us will be blabbering fools by that stage! “

(then)

“Idiots even!!……no wait……….. “What was I saying??

“It’s ironic ..”

Hideous Nature, Life

Hideous nature,

life …

Ghastly in its death bed/its beseiging compass

run its course.

Bewildering with its struggles/

writhing in its pain/

desire seeking fire/rifting 

terrorism’s claim.  

Severed thinking/

thoughts of creepy crawlies/

struggling through fright’s night  

against

all reasoning.

There’ll be no full moon tonight to guide

the single masted ship 

sailing saw tooth tiger’s biting cold/

forces wrought by ghastly winds

likely to prevail.

Tossed about by night time breezes blowing/

dark clouds racing toward

every horizon filling every void

every which way/all shades of gray/

lashing tempest breezes 

blowing light’s deepest freezes into

nascent; sadness into dreamer’s hearts

with misery’s delight …………

Hideous nature,

life.

He Gave Us the Freedom

She looked with cold indifference at 

his efforts to teach 

the connection between

our lives and

nature.  

Bridge parties, 

the daily routines of life and 

an afternoon nap, were 

the essential components of 

her life. 

He gave us freedom to

explore the sandy beaches, dunes, trout

streams and 

the Great Lake where

he had fished and camped as a

boy.

We spent our days

swimming

for hours at a time,

we ran thorough 

the woods like wild 

Indians.

We fished in the bay 

off the end of 

the old Coast Guard dock 

at the end of 

the limerock road 

where he fished at 

the same 

age.

He gave opportunity for

unique forms of

thought patterns taken from

the world around;

deeper sorts of problem solving

made more essential

more real

  in a world parallel to but 

inclusive of 

the confines of

our ‘’everyday’’ lives. 

One day,

temperatures in the ‘20s

walking in his tracks through

three feet of snow

 the ground white 

light as feathers rising while passing by

quarter sized light wings 

drifting

slowly downward

 soft and mesmerizing.

We traveled past

the scrub oaks

a century or more

old

gnarly and twisted from

Arctic winds 

their rise and fall,

deadly cold fronts, biting winds,

great lake storms 

blown onshore,

adapted to biting cold

surviving.  

We walked to

a line of scrub pines

behind dunes running parallel to 

the lake where .,..

with food and shelter and warmth 

he left us for 

some indeterminable 

length of time

in a world of silence

to contemplate a world 

stripped of all conveniences 

wrapped in black or white

the ground softly falling through 

air 

from 

upwards.  

Grand Canyon Phil

 Lynn started having severe headaches a year and a half after marrying Phil who considered himself a libertarian pledged to be a pain in the ass to every person he met.

One summer they were on vacation at the Grand Canyon riding donkeys down a trail along the canyon wall around 200 feet above the Rio Grande.

The trail widened just as Phil called the guy in front of him a fucking jack ass.

Lynn pulled up next to Phil.

‘’The nerve of him,’’ she thought to herself. ‘’I’ve about had it with this asshole.’’  Without realizing, the word ‘asshole’ had escaped from Lynn’s lips.  

Phil’s head spun sideways to look at Lynn, a look of astonishment on his face just as Lynn, with a vice like grip, dug her fingernails into the skin around the top of Phil’s shoulder.

The last thing Phil saw before a tumbling blend of spectacular Grand Canyon colors enhanced by an immense orange setting sun was, Lynn’s smiling face mouthing the words, ‘’Good by asshole.’’

When they returned topside the entire group reaffirmed Lynn’s version of the story.  Phil had leaned over too far while yelling, “Fuck off!’’ to the group leader and had fallen over the edge of the gorge.

That night Lynn drove eastward toward Las Vegas.

Phil’s body was never found.

G-Note Decrescendo, Finale, Bump Note

Continued.  I finally realized I didn’t know WHY the telephone was invented.  I stared straight ahead at nothing.  With a pleading look on my face I said,  ‘’Beats the shit out of me.”  
When I uttered those words, all my senses shut down except my hearing.  All I remember is a wall of sound washing over me.  You know that high pitched cackling sound women make when they all start laughing at the same time?   Don’t they call that the G Note, or something like that?  
When that wall of vibrations hit me I thought my head might fly back so hard I’d re-injure an old neck injury I got when I played football.   Continued.  

What’s funny is, I wasn’t even trying to be funny.  This was one of those moments when you find yourself being honest in an unconscious way.  The experience of total honesty on an unconscious level is so far from the real world it catches people totally unaware in the real world.  

People laugh in relief after being surprised by the unexpected.   

What’s even funnier is looking back, I can still see myself continuing to ponder the question while the chorus of G Notes washed over me; maybe Alexander Graham Bell was just trying to figure out a way to let his servants know it was time to bring the soup into the dining room, when he invented the phone.  Or, maybe he didn’t know what the damn thing would be used for. he just knew someone else was trying to invent one and he wanted to be first.  

So, how could anyone really know why the phone was invented? 

I was sure those three women didn’t know that the question had taken on such large philosophical dimensions to me and no way was I going to give them even an inkling of my thoughts. 

Just before the cackling started to die down I knew the room was going to get quiet and  further comment would be expected from me.  I got nervous and tried to think what I’d say but a soft voice inside my head kept whispering, ‘’Quiet, quiet, quiet.”

So, I decided to refrain myself and shut up for a change.  

A lot of the tension in the room had been released so I figured, if I played my cards right I could slip out of there unscathed by further attacks about my other infraction, the tardiness of my paperwork but, only IF I could refrain from saying something dumb which would start the talk cycle all over again.  I needed to move straight ahead with little or no verbiage.    

I was in the cusp, so to speak. I could have disappeared to the far side of the moon at that point or laid flat on the surface of a full moon, fully exposed for all three of them to take pot shots at me, whatever in God’s name all of that means.   

I know you’re probably waiting with ‘baited breath’ to know what happened next which, I don’t even know what ‘baited breath’ means.  Baited?  Baited breath to catch what?  How could your breath be baited?  Or, maybe ‘baited breath’ has to do with being aware that someone might be telling you a fish story?

Of course I know this is all ridiculous.  But, if you really care, here’s what finally happened.  

After the laughter died down, I played it real cool.  I stretched, like I had just finished putting the finishing touches on my Ph.D. thesis and was satisfied with the results.  Then, I very nonchalantly (I had to be very careful not get too close to the waste paper basket since, within 12 inches or less it’s a ‘given’ I’ll knock it over.) moved past Carol’s desk, past all three of them, toward the same door I’d been looking at earlier while I was in LaLa Land thinking about Alexander Graham Bell and dropped my paper work into the Inbox.  

Then, I turned and before anyone could say anything I said, ‘Hey, I gotta go.  I left my car running.  Have a great day.  Call me if you’ve got something for me Carol.  I promise I’ll check my messages more often, ok?  I promise!’’   

I pushed the door open and stepped outside.  Before the door closed I snatched a quick look back into the office.  The three of them were looking at me with smiles on their faces.  Jennifer looked like the girl from the Exorcist the way her head was twisted around.  

I was trying really hard to continue being nonchalant.  I kept a pleasant smile oj my face.  Finally I heard the door click behind me and I was free! I pictured myself walking away, limping of course because of that stupid hip of mine.  I wondered if they were looking at me through the window thinking what a ‘’Clyde’’ I was?

Most of the time life is a never ending stream of ridiculously funny, unpredictable events that stream along side the river of consciousness that’s part of my real world.  I never know what’s going to happen next or, what I’ll do in response.  It’s as much of a surprise to me as it is for anyone else involved so, I get to laugh along in “third person” which, for all intents and purposes, I think I am.  

The end of this episode was pleasing, enough.  I was happy to get the hell out of there unscathed.  Therefore, I didn’t have to go back to my car and beat up on myself for saying something really dumb like I usually do AND it was reaffirming that I finally had the balls to use the car as an excuse to get out of the office thereby NOT wasting a shit load of gas. 

Truth of the matter is, I’m not even sure what happened wasn’t really stupid.  All I know is, all three of them were smiling when I left so I guess everything is just fine.  

Ergo Again

Ergo 

i’m torn 

in many 

wonder ways 

captive held

by scalding seas 

narrow channels  

heights 

below

surfeit ever

changing seasons 

finding mark/steady 

back against

chest walls

contact surface

shot to shit 

with sweet 

nostalgia.

—————–

one single look of 

‘wonder why’ 

exchanged

was it that or 

or simply 

sad?

—————

contact!!?

spark !!!

breath alive ?

pre-existing

existence; 

live!!  

floating 

grains of sand 

fresh water 

sea

————–

new Light changing sight

no longer held 

captive … 

How the G Note Gave Me A Neck Ache

continued … maybe I muttered something like, ‘’well, you know how it goes,” blah, blah blah,  when suddenly the woman named Linda (who’s pretty aggressive) says rather forcefully, “Why do you think phones were invented?!’’  
continued …

The first thing I thought was, what the hell kind of bullshit attitude is this? 

Was she trying to put me on the spot to test my mettle or something like that? 

To tell you the truth I didn’t really care what she said while at the same time  some little voice inside my head kept saying, “Fuck you bitch,” AND “Uh-oh, this could be trouble,” at the same time!

And yet, on top of all of this intrigue the question intrigued me!  On the deepest level, why was the telephone invented?

It gave me ‘’pause’’ for thought during that brief interlude.  

I must have said something pretty stupid after mulling over the question since, when I replied a wall of sound swept over me.  

Here’s how it happened …  continued ,…

When Carol, (the aggressive one) said, ‘’Why do you think phones were invented?’’ looked up and stared over at Suzanne’s office, on the other side of Carol’s desk, into the tiny space between the edge of the open door and the window on the far wall.

I don’t know why I fixated on that particular spot. I stared at it wondering what the REAL reason telephones were invented?

I knew damn well they weren’t invented so people could be called for work assignments! I mean, did Alexander Graham Bell even consider that some day there’d be answering machines?   

I was being totally over analytic as usual mulling this stupid question over and over in my mind coming up with all kinds of thoughts on the subject.  

For a split second I even saw Alexander Graham Bell calling his assistant  (what was his name Watson? ) to come upstairs because he had spilled acid on his hand.

All of this thinking and wondering happened within a split second but I guess the timing was perfect  you know, one beat, two beat … . 

 The room got real quiet.  Suddenly it dawned on me.  I didn’t know why the fucking telephone was invented!

I went from being confused to concerned.  I know it showed on my face.  Maybe it looked like I had been deep in thought and was about to speak a pearl of wisdom.

So I said, ‘’Well.  I don’t know why the telephone was invented.’’ 

Suddenly it seemed like all my senses shut down completely, when wall of sound suddenly washed over me!  You know, that high pitched cackling noise groups of women make when they all start laughing at then same time!?

Don’t they call that the G-NOTE  or something like that?

That explosion of sound practically knocked my head backward!

(continued … 

For tribalmysticstories: A Tribal Mystic Story; Poem For My Father

  • – Poem For My Father –

One day he took me to a copse of trees 

where we sat under a canopy of 

newly formed leaves  

above us a clear blue sky 

where he gave perspectives to me

different from anything I had 

learned.  

Thoughts from the other side of

what we think we know.

How wind and leaves 

are not separate forces rather 

part of one single entity

connected to an infinity 

of larger and larger wholeness

stretching outward from 

the air we breathe,

beyond heat and light 

from the sun then, 

further into space and time until  

I saw myself in a world 

quite different than my own,

a world I’d never seen before, 

of single limitless form.  

He drew my attention to 

the random movements of 

the leaves

rising and falling, relentlessly 

shooting ‘round and ‘round,

limbs branches leaves and needles 

the grasses and saplings below 

touching one another 

sharing unique thought patterns 

not unlike the synapses 

of our brains though 

infinitely more complex,

not confined by 

the craniums of our skulls,

gathering awareness,

from earth and sky,

the mysteries of the world 

above and below spoken to them

content to accept all that is true

without conscious reflection.  

“Trees are the supreme creation of life along the continuum of awareness, free from all bonds, able to gather all knowledge from earth and sky and share with one another.”

I listened and within 

the silence of my mind 

heard leaves and limbs 

whispering to one another,

their voices rising and falling 

in concert with 

the wind, 

it seemed I was watching  

a playground of laughing children. 

He told me all root bound life 

the trees and even the grasses reach 

the tendrils of their minds, their 

roots, 

into the planet where they feel 

the living vibrations of the earth and glimpse 

the secrets of life

“They know the stuff we struggle to understand.” he said.  “From the smallest particles outward, one long strip of awareness from where they are rooted, to the edge of the horizon and beyond, while we scurry about like ants grabbing pieces of sticks or crumbs of knowledge thinking how clever we are.’’

Without Love

Without Love

… we make our way across
the frozen tundra of
our hopeful desires

unaware that beauty rests
just below the surface of
our painful hearts;

a streak of light unseen
nestled within each throb of hurt
the light of hope

the knowledge that Love exists
only were it not for
the pain that comes with it,

verification of Love’s existence
its very presence the other half needed
to complete the whole,

darkness and light
giving form to our illusions
the clarity to continue unfettered

the price we pay for knowledge of truth
the dark pain we feel
the price we pay to find life’s meaning.

We walk into the fuel can
of our hearts unknowing
the air stifling and flammable

pock marked faces
the scars of infidelity
the permanance of death

the knowledge of wasted time
the loss of hope
the bitter balm of lost love.

The random scars of life and love
all beauty and all pain

giving meaning to all consuming desire
beautiful with lust or anger
the call of bliss and freedom

the prisons of our minds
the sight of everything good given meaning

yet steeped in painful search along the way

the choices that we make
the human condition;

Are they real or an illusion?

Without love/life has no meaning.
Without pain/there can be no love.

 

FaKakda fakakda

Heard today downtown: “Fakakda this fakakda folker spoiling far a pongha fakakda, the fakakda fun a Yiddisha fakakda? that’s me!  I’m the number one fakakda fakakda best fakakda there is by far! Fakakda Me! Wooh woohwhoospuke spoof woof …. Oye veigh …. so

If you don’t think this is funny then I probably need to see a psychiatrist.  This definitely proves that stupid is funny which figures since, I’m the stupidest guy I know! oy .

Living most of my life within the Jewish culture taught me a very funny word and it popped into my head today … fakakda!  and I laughed.  So I scrambled around for something to write on when I realized the computer was on.  I had a V8 moment without the can!

So, I let my fingers do the walking through the sound within my brain.  Wanting to put just a LITTLE humanity into this ridiculous tirade of words I threw in the “Me” aspect … so fucking dumb …then, I had to immerse myself within the word world of “Me” (wherever that is ) and it needed to be in lock step with rest of this … I won’t say ..

See it’s all about rhythm to me.  Make the words skip across the page like flat skipped stones thrown across the water.  I may or may not know how to do this. But I have respect for what it is and how it feels to me!

To immerse yourself in the words is like crawling inside another world, stupid and asinine as often they are and I can be.   Really!  You didn’t know?   ok . bye .k

Where’s My Passport? Look Under the Underwear You Idiot!

I was conflicted.  Should I return the money or go on a spending spree?

I thought about going to Brazil or Paraguay or even Chechnia but, I couldn’t find my freeking passport!

I looked all over the place!

I got so tired of looking I said, “Screw it!  I’ll stay home and watch the Ali Foreman fight on T.V.!”

The fight was cancelled which really pissed me off.  But, I found a Looney Tunes cartoon festival which was even better.

I wasn’t two minutes into the first Woody Woodpecker cartoon when the door bell rang.

Two guys told me they were from the IRS.  They asked me if i knew a certain woman on the 5th floor.

I told them I did then, “Whew! I thought you were looking for me!”

They started asking me questions.  They said they liked me and everything but they had to take me to headquarters for processing!

The younger guy on the left smiled, “It won’t take long.”  The older guy on the right stared hard at me his eyes slightly squinted, a left to right movement of his head barely visible.

I asked if I could take a few things with me.

The guy on the right said, “No way!‘’

The younger guy smiled and said, ‘’Why not?”

The older guy said,”Well, OK.  But make it snappy!  We haven’t got all day!’’

I grabbed my Detroit Tigers souvenir program (the year they beat St. Louis for the world series), my favorite t-shirt and an extra pair of jeans.

That’s when i discovered my passport!

“Oh shit!” I thought.  “There’s my frickin’ passport!! Under my underwear where I put it for safe keeping!”

After locking the apartment door (as we were leaving)  I said, “What about the woman on the fifth floor?’’

They looked at each other then back at me.

The older agent who stared hard at me smiled and said,  “She’s an IRS agent.  We were meeting her for lunch!’’

The younger guy who earlier had smiled barely shook his head from side to side his eyes piercing into mine.

A Time For Sleeping

A Time For Sleeping

Saturday was a cold, gray day.

I lit the fireplace for a quick warm up.

Before leaving the warmth of
the cottage

I wrote a little more,
donned my hoody and coat

turned off the gas
grabbed my camera and

entered the cold but
beautifully pure, refreshing

northern air.

I walked up the hill,
along 23 to

the alabaster pipeline then
backtracked toward where

my journey began.

At the bottom of the hill
frozen water looked like a small stream

or a miniature river system or
what a large river basin would look like

from high above.

Two sets of raccoon tracks lead to
a fork along

the frozen highway dusted white with snow
where they parted ways.

My frozen world had become
suspended in time,

fully sleep within
the ground of shadows,

all things living
framed in shades of gray

naked, dead or
alive and

waiting.

But, for what?

For summer’s light to return
life’s burning ember,

for warmth to come again,
a time to grow

from liquid water sugar fed
the leaves and buds of trees absorbed

from sunlight stored
a hundred differing shades of green

their roots reaching deeper
seeking … seeking …

seeking to remember …

But for now?…

a time for

sleeping .,..

Zumba My Ass Once Again?

Zumba My Ass

Once again he was saddened by the thought that, “She never thinks i’m funny!“

Most of the things HE thought were funny, SHE thought were either stupid or sexually degenerate.

She hated the word ‘’shit’’ which he thought was the funniest word in the English language!

And she didn’t think sex was funny which he thought was even funnier than the word shit!

She used to say, “I don’t appreciate your barnyard humor.’’

He remembered the time she stormed out of the room after he said,  “I’d love to be able to fly like a bird but, I wouldn’t want to BE a bird because when they have sex it’s over after a couple of quick thrusts!”

She said something over her shoulder as she stormed out of the room. All he heard was, “Compared to you.” He didn’t catch the rest.

Strange as it seems, he chuckled at the craziness of the situation.

“IT’S OK she doesn’t get it most of the time!’’ he thought.  “’Fer crying out loud you can’t connect on everything!”

Still, he hoped that occasionally she’d laugh at what he DID or SAID to BE funny instead of the unintentional things that happened which she thought were  hilarious!

Like the time he was carrying the groceries in from the car, tripped over that stupid exercise ball she never used, fell and separated his shoulder!

She laughed so hard she didn’t even hear his pleas to call 911!

“I can’t,” she replied laughing hysterically, “I just peed my pants!”

Through the haze of pain he thought, “Well, at least she’s laughing!”

But then she got pissed because the exercise ball hit a nail and went flat.

As she walked out of the room the last thing he heard was, ‘’Call 911 yourself you clumsy ass hole. It’s your own damn fault! “

He had to fish the phone out of his back pocket. Which isn’t an easy task when you’re lying on the floor with a separated shoulder.

But the battery was dead!

A moment  later she came back into the kitchen.

She began picking up the groceries but she ignored him.

“But you’ve never used that thing!”,  he said through clenched teeth, in pain on the floor.

Pleadingly he pleaded, “It’s bleached out from lying outside in the sun for TWO YEARS! I made a landscape ornament out of that damn thing after the first year!”

She stared at him like she was in deep thought.  Then, glaring at him through narrowed eyes she replied, “Well, I WAS thinking of joining that zumba class starting next week!”

Then she got huffy again. “Ohhh … Why don’t you just put the damned groceries away  yourself?!”

She stormed out of the kitchen a second time.

Despite the pain he managed to say rather loudly, ‘’But honey, zumba doesn’t USE exercise balls!’’

Just before the front door closed behind him he heard her yell, ’’Good! I didn’t want to take that stupid class anyway!”

He opened the driver side door of the Mustang, sat sideways butt first, slowly rotated his body while holding his right arm tightly with his left hand until he faced the front of the car.

His right arm was useless and it was impossible to reach across the steering wheel to the shift knob and steer at the same time, so he had to drive the Mustang in first gear all the way to the hospital five miles away!

While it seemed strange to him at the time and despite the pain, he laughed all the way to the hospital.

London Broil: the End Again

continued …  “she’ll just have to eat her goddamned popcorn with butter tonight  … !  he wondered if she’d know the difference … but, he knew better … )

Two hours later when he got home she was fast asleep in bed.

“Hmmmmm”, he thought.

He figured that, since the next day was Saturday (and she’d be sleeping in) he’d leave early for his appointment at Peter’s Quickie Loan Place (across the street from the Piggly Wiggly), pick up a couple tubs of margarine for the popcorn AND a couple pounds of butter, just in case!

He knew he’d have hell to pay if there wasn’t any butter in the house since she preferred only butter on her toast.

The End ..

London Broil: Butter or Parquay?

continued … when he doubled over she called him a doofey unemployed jake ass.  He laughed to himself.  ”What the hell is a ‘jake ass?”  he wondered.  continued …

Most nights after cleaning the kitchen he joined her in the t.v. room even though he hated that goddamned western channel …

He usually curled up with a book by his favorite author Louis L’Amor.

That one night she told him she wanted popcorn.

He took great pride in his popcorn making skills but that night they ran out of margarine!

(It was a mystery to him why she didn’t like butter on her popcorn.  He loved buttered popcorn!)

Maybe that’s why.   

“Wull,” he told her, ”There isn’t any margarine.”

But she insisted,

”The car’s got plenty of gas,” she said, “And i could use some quiet time.  So why don’t you just leave?” 

So, he drove 8 miles to the Piggly Wiggly in town but it was closed for the annual inventory.

So he drove around the corner to Charly’s Convenience Store but it must have burned down; the walls were charred black and the roof was missing.  

‘’I’ll be damed if I’ll drive another three miles over to Plank City for a tub of frickin’ Parkay,” he said to himself, out loud..

“She’ll just have to eat her goddamned popcorn with butter tonight!”

(He wondered if she’d know the difference but, he knew better.)

continued … 

London Broil

 They had meat for dinner almost every night.

But for months he had been eating tomatoes and feta cheese each night even though he hated feta cheese!

He couldn’t stand the taste and it made him sick!

She insisted all along he become a vegetarian and she insisted he eat feta cheese even though he loved meat and potatoes.

“Honey,” she said, “As long as you bring home the bacon you can have whatever you want!”

Which, this was the problem!

He hadn’t worked for months and tomatoes with feta cheese is a LOT cheaper than two people eating London broil!

(Even though they had plenty of money!)

He just shook his head.

But, why feta cheese he wondered ??

(She said it had something to do with goats milk and the symbiotic relationship goats have with tomatoes???)

She gloated it over him.  The meat thing, I mean.

And the fact that he wasn’t working.

Naturally, he didn’t want to make waves so he ate the damned feta cheese. (After all he WAS unemployed) But he would NOT give in when she asked if he liked the feta cheese!

She always laughed, “I can tell by the look on your face it sickens you!!!”

One night he had to leave the table after eating a piece with green mold!

(He hated bleu cheese even more!)

She followed him to the bathroom chortling the whole way!

’’I know why you’re sick you jake ass!’’ she said. “It’s that cheese you liar! You hate it!’’

He told her he thought it was something he ate at the unemployment office.

She laughed again!


“Probably one of those meaty hot dogs you like so much you meat eating, in denial, vegetarian!” she yelled. A shit eating grin on her face.

She put her arms around him which, he though was kind of nice (for a change), but she faked one of those knee jabs to his crotch!

When doubled over she called him a doofey unemployed flack ass!

“You doofey eyed unemployed flack ass!” She yelled laughing.

He smiled.

What’s a ‘flack ass’, he wondered?

continued …

Maple Sap

 

Maple Sap

Something Discovered I Thought I Had Forgotten

We took turns gathering sap
from the big maple trees

along the street
perpendicular to my house

before sunrise/during late winter and
early spring.

What’s the world like at 4 a.m.?

Not a sound
in the world

but for my felt lined boots,
scrunching over school kids foot prints

quick frozen in slush during
a brief span

winter allowed spring to
show itself before

pulling us back into
the deep freeze

one more time.

Three street lamps
at each end and middle of

the block threw yellow halos
onto the snow; sparking

frozen crystals flashing
bright from cold moon’s

night time light echoing

points of light shimmering
bright against

the clear blue-black
sky.

Between each light
shadows momentarily

snuffed me into darkness,then
back into the halo three times

in succession to
the end of the block where

turning, with brief visit

with each tree began the

one block journey home but for

brief visits
at the trunk of each tree

collecting drops of sap
slowly collected in

little tin pails from copper tubing

tapped

into each tree.

It’s early Spring/the trees still half asleep/these early spring time nights with winter’s lingering cold,
some beating heart within/in tune with spring time light pumping upward /sap from fingers reaching deep.

Synthesized energy!

stored in caskets of root below ground
aged five months the finest wine.

The taste?

Clean and cold,

faintly sweet, maple wood flavored,
the perfect essence of each tree,

as refreshingly cool to drink
on coldest mornings

as cold water is
on a hot summer

day.

 

Serenity

 

I told you yesterday
that spring had sprung

and i knew because
i saw a fly and a bull ant

on the floor by the fireplace,
a tickling on my arm as i wrote this piece

not fifteen minutes ago
a tiny spider had invaded my space!

There are gnats and mosquitos
and other tiny things

i can’t imagine
sharing air that a week ago

floated crystals of lace like wings
each a drifting masterpiece

floating down or streaming sidewise
with crystal clarity seen

within air that was
mine to breathe

while witnessing the beauty of
each and every living thing

stripped bare of
all distractions;

Air that I’ve shared
with no one

now,

that I share with all
the little things

that come alive each spring.

My life more complicated now
no longer distraction free

avoiding their lines of intersection
between the search for

whatever it is they’re searching for
inside purest air I’ve been breathing,

air i’ve shared with no one.

The soil fecund now … i do not use that word lightly!

Stored snow or frost grown permanent
five or six ‘moon go ’rounds’ ago

where all these beings waited within
their clear winter amber

quick frozen in gathered humus
or crystalline within the muck,

the eggs of their existence
captured when sun’s light slowed

to dim orange

when trees released
their bed covers

to darker still intensity
captured by cold stillness

within their sleeping spaces
during gestation’s time

to lie in wait, for
warmer sun’s return

to free the life within
those amber spaces

not sleeping
having never been alive (as such)

waiting to emerge
from broken water,

released by whiter light!
These creatures that

surround me now
within my sight!

that feed upon my light!
that touch my flesh!

that share with me my breath!
my choice bereft!

the world no longer stripped bare
of all confusion and complexity

black and white and
clean and fresh!

They’ve STOLEN my

SERENITY! !

It All Started At the Lodge That Sunday Night: The End

continued: I saw the glint she gets in her eyes when she thinks there’s a bar within reach.

– II –

“What are you looking at?”   I asked.

“Why don’t we go to the lodge so I can warm up by the fire and have a brandy?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Why not? Maybe we could have a steak afterward.” But, she said the food at the lodge was lousy.

Then I thought, won’t she be surprised when she discovers they don’t have a fire place at that lodge?  It’s one of the worst lodges in town!  And it’s not that big of a town!

Then I thought, “Oh, oh.” when I remembered it was Sunday!

I was pretty sure they weren’t serving liquor on Sunday!

Boy was she mad!

That was about the funniest thing that happened all day!  You should have seen the look on her face!  It was pure irony!

Later, that evening around nine thirty ..

We got home around nine thirty.

She was angry and wouldn’t speak to me.

“You knew all along didn’t you!” she said.

“Well kind of.  But i was hoping.”

Pause.

Finally I said, “Well,  you know how it is!”

But she still didn’t believe me!

She walked away in a huff to take her evening bath but, the pilot light for the hot water heater had blown out and we didn’t have any God forsaken matches!  The ones we had were wet!!

Then she got sick!

I thought at first she might be pregnant!

I asked her but as soon as the words spilled out of my mouth I realized we hadn’t had sex in over a year!

She cried after that.

“I wasn’t going to tell you,” she said in between sobs and retching, “But, I’m pregnant with Dick’s baby!”

“Dick’s baby!”

“What a relief,” I thought! “I’d been wanting to break up with her for almost five years!”

“That son of a bitch Dick had actuality done me a favor!”

That Night At the Lodge II

Part II
A Night At the Lodge

It was a cold night!

I mean, it was cold as hell!

It felt like there was ice between my jacket and my shirt!

She had that mink thing on but it only covered her neck!

We stood outside waiting for about a half hour!  Finally I said, ‘’Where in the hell are Dick and Jeannie?“

She got that quizzical look on her face!

“UH-OH,”I thought.  “Here comes another one of her zingers!”

“I’m freezing my tukkus off!”  she exclaimed. “You told me it wouldn’t be that cold!”

I knew I had done no such thing.  So i said, “I did no such thing!’’

So she says, “Well, that’s what I’m talking about!!”

She was so angry she spit the words right out out of her mouth!

I told her I wasn’t really trying to be rude which didn’t seem to satisfy her at all so i said it again, hoping she’d understand!

But she didn’t.

She got mad as hell!

Then she became contrite.  She said she was sorry she was so mean. “You weren’t really being rude!” she said.   “But i still think it’s your fault!”

Then she said, “Truth of the matter is, I wasn’t paying attention to a word you said!”

Pause …

“I had other things on my mind!”

I didn’t want to be rude.  So I took the blame.

“I’m sorry,” I said.   “If I would have known.” Pause.  “I thought Dick and Jeannie were going to meet us here anyway!”

“Dick and Jeannie!  Fer christ’s sake they’re the last people I want to see on a night like this!”  Pause.  “I hate that Dick … !!” she said.  “He’s so goddamn irresponsible!”

I noticed she was looking over my shoulder at the bright lights of the lodge.

I saw the glint she gets in her eyes when she thinks there’s a bar within reach.

“What are you looking at?”  i asked.  continued.

A Night At the Lodge

It all started that night when I wasn’t sure what she was asking me!

At first I thought it had something to do with skiing!

Truth of the matter is I didn’t know WHAT she was thinking but I didn’t want to make waves.

I thought that maybe we were supposed to be meeting Dick and Jeannie for a night out at the lodge!

Or maybe it had something to do with that scheduled court date?

When you get right down to it, I didn’t really give a shit.  As far as I was concerned, it was six of one and one of those bakers dozen of the other … (haha heard someone say that once … it put a smile on my face.)

So i said “OK!”

You know! I had to be positive!!

I KNOW how she is about that ‘being positive’ stuff. She’s always stressing it so much!

Well, I think I AM positive but, does a little more than 50% of the time qualify as most of the time?

I’m not sure.

So I kept my mouth shut!

I didn’t want to hurt her feelings!!

Later that evening we drove out to the lodge. continued …

Inner World

Four square tiles, wandering spaces, shapes of faces, talking heads saying nothing.

Coffee groups of three and five.

A lonely female sits and dreams her lonely dreams outside the world inside her.

Couples grasping meaning wrapped ‘round shoulders in stages of adulation, their voices echo hands held in wonder, eyes roused with affection, drawn to secret dreams, the face of life’s intent.

While store front neon lights
surrender to

the cause …

Comments On Second Birth …

“Second Birth” tells the story of the rich and the poor; the depravities and blunted feelings weighed down by greed and the need to dominate the “Outliers” willing to fight for false values and lies

I’m always making polar opposite distinctions; the ugly extremes of greed and the hungry souls despairing of life.  People on the street with disorders, the potential for violence that surrounds us, money spent on killing and death instead of meaningful, humanitarian measures.

More meaningful, easy to implement approaches with small expenditure …. perhaps one percent of the military budget, could be used, if used right.

A tiny fraction of the defense budget, money spent to kill lives could be used to save lives and keep the fabric of our society from being ripped apart.  The success of a  simple humane approach, would spread.  It could get into the mainstream because of its effectiveness.  The returns on the investment in terms of human life, would be huge.

With a twinkle in his eye, Vladimir Putin recently pointed out to Fareed Zakaria that the United States is no longer a democracy.  He’s right.  As he pointed out, in 3 of five elections presidents were elected with a minority of votes.  How could we let this pass by unnoticed?  We ARE no longer a democracy.

Putin’s narcissistic need to draw attention to himself made him careless recently but, no one picked up on it.  His statement that we are no longer a democracy was a taunt that in my mind was an admittance of his participation in our election.  That cocky face told me that, “We proved you are NOT a democracy.  That your system is weak,”  alluding to the electoral college which, it was the electoral college that elected our president even though he received a minority of the votes.  Putin’s cocky smirk was to me, an admittance of Russia’s participation.  His smarmy smirk telling us our democracy is weak.  He’s setting us up.   There IS a conspiracy.

Oh well, overall, I think this poem is bullshit.

Way too many words with too little meaning.  Nicely written but contrived, narcissistic.  Nothing new,  a theme I’ve used many times before, the realization that real birth comes when you go back to where it all stared; a blending of the child and the adult fully integrated.

The piece?  A piece of crap I think.  Mediocre I think because I let my “self” become too involved in the creative process.

Just for the hell of it, here’s how I write.

I start by throwing down words and phrases that come to me, like clay thrown onto a potters wheel or a block of marble to be sculpted.

After moving things around certain words or phrases create a flash of light and momentarily I might find a spark of meaning.   It could be stupid meaning or, something colorful and thought provoking or fragmented and abstract or, worthless to pursue like discovering you’re on the wrong path to the Emerald City.

When I find something with viable meaning I start to work on it like a sculptor would work with a slab of marble searching for the forms hidden inside. ( Only with me, it’s the search for ‘form’ within the words thrown down.)

I like to build my words with sound and color and definition and beat, all equally important for me.   It seems poetry can be abstract and meander but behind whatever form it takes there needs to be a good rhythm section.

Sometimes when I’m really lucky I can play the words like Thelonius Monk!

At other times I wax in story telling mode, happy if it’s even a fraction as good as Stephen Vincent Benet, my favorite poet.

Now I’m working on a jig saw puzzle and a paint brush adding details or erasing sometimes endlessly.  Faces and shit emerge from the fog.

I try to write ‘in reference’ to or one step removed from the obvious.  Why should I make it so easy for the reader, it seems so sophomoric to me and boring.   What’s the use in being too concrete if it doesn’t rouse within the reader thought or wonder or a sense of freedom?

I let the ‘abstract’ carry me along and often it feels like I’m channeling from some source of creativity way below the surface.  I don’t know the place.  All I can say is, it’s a river of creativity and it has to do with dreams and occasionally it overflows its banks or rains on us and we get to glimpse something beyond the so-called ‘real world’.

As I struggle to make sense of my words I start seeing events from the past when light sparks for fractions of a second and I see exchanges between myself and many people or circumstances I hadn’t thought about for years; catching a grounder at first base,  bedroom scenes, the time I met a friend on the street I hadn’t seen for a long time or, the hilarity  my best friend Buzz and I felt when we heard the word “bullshit” spoken for the first time by two older kids, while we were walking home from school one day.

So, I keep working, dabbing some purple there, striking long lines for simplicity.  This goes on and on until I feel I’ve found and formed something from the words and should step away.  If I don’t, I often spoil the freshness even though the words might not be grammatically correct.

The writing in this poem “Second Birth” isn’t so bad but the words and thoughts are extemporaneous, spoken or done without much preparation.  Not well thought out.

The distinctions between the poor downtroden and those ‘outliers’ with guns and misunderstanding guided by forceful rhetoric spoken to them in Hitlerish fashion from the mouth of the beast throwing fire onto the source of their dogmatic thoughts are separate from each other.  .

Too many distractions blow a hole through the finality of a pretty good ending.

Maybe I’ll go back in and throw it in the trash.

Thanks for all you are … ks

Second Birth

 

See the angry acts of many rich
too proud to bond
with mother earth
their caskets bulge
with stolen goods,

no thought to share their riches
with generosity given freely
their greedy souls never searching
their habits deadened, never knowing

thoughts worth thinking.

Some people care within demise
their envy keeps them living
their thoughts so easily lead astray
their longing never ending.

It’s how falsehood gets passed down
from generations
onto the many seeking
sustenance over fear,

plentitude over awareness,
bitter after the war to win all wars is lost,
roles played again and again
they sing their lonely anthems.

Their search for meaning never stays
the price too high
the road too steep and winding
the streets unpaved,

muddy ruts along the way
too deeply formed
to costly to dispute

with academic kindness.

The end result?  Blindness, winds its way/along its way,
no hope of rescue from their dying]
too lost to find/the road they think/that’s never there,

Their narrow thoughts an outside force that seeks to win the day despite the loss of living.

Their fear? Death before living life.
Their regret? Unknown dreams and fantasy that never lived,

locked up crying within,
never seeing the light of day

never love finding,

a game they play with no winners.
except those few who find themselves

home at last
at journey’s end;

the place where

life

began …

My Conversation With the Cat

My Conversation With the Cat

While my wife and I sipped morning tea I told my cat she was beautiful.

She squinted her eyes, flicked one ear, dropped to the floor, walked across the back of the ottoman, her tail the only thing visible, looking like a curved round feather moving along the edge, turned right then, right again slowly walking past us, her eyes slightly squinted.

She stopped, pointed the tip of her tail at the ceiling, drew three circles, dropped it to the left, sashayed it right then straight up before sitting faced away from us, her ears pointed back.

Since I understand cat language quite well, I told my wife about the language of cats.

“A cat’s thought vibrations connect to their tails the same way our thoughts link with our voices.’’

Pause …

“If you focus on their nuances, stop your mind from chattering (cats of course don’t think in terms of words) their thoughts can be understood quite easily.”

I looked at my wife. “The cat and I have conversations all day long.”

I looked at the cat.  One ear twitched.

My wife, who had been listening quietly, caught me off guard saying, “ARE YOU MAKING THIS STUFF UP!?”

For years I had observed my cat’s behavior but had not read a single word to support my claims.

All I could say was, “Well I guess so but … ”

And that’s when I found myself sitting alone with the cat.

 

Fred and Ethel

 

By late stage marriage
most men want to spend their days

talking while most women just want to be
left the fuck alone! …

Oh jeez! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to do that.

Speaking of being

LEFT ALONE

I’d like to tell you a story but, may I prefix my blabber with

a short statement before we begin.

There are two states of LEFT ALONE.

LEFT ALONE! by choice.
LEFT ALONE by circumstance.

With that in mind;

I’d like to introduce you to
Fred and Ethel Steen
married 40 plus years

both have needs that
after lifetimes

have yet to be
fulfilled ….. and yet … !

they have endured.

-Poor Fred-

I mean that literally!

Born to a poor family in a poor
Memonite neighborhood outside

Philadelphis his father a
bread baker, life was not easy

they spent way too much time surviving/  time taken ‘way from/  what it takes to know what “happy family” means …

He grew into the army by
17, went to war came home, became a
pipe fitter, married Ethel,

His favorite saying was always,

“That’s shit.”

Oh! Did I tell you?

Fred’s a bit older than Ethel

But not by that much.

She’s 70.
He just turned 100.

On another “Poor Fred” level …. “Poor Fred”

refers to his intense need and desire
to be loved just like

everyone else but,
without a clue how to

“do” it. or even what it
looks like!

The only way Fred knows how to
ask for or show affection is by

displaying aggressive behavior resulting in
the thing we fear so intently!!!!!

the vicious
circle !!!!!!!!!!!

There’s nothing worse than
being dragged kicking and screaming into

a viscous circle, it’s like
being tossed head first into

a front loading
washing machine.

I hate those things! I don’t even want to go there.

On the other hand …

Ethel just wants to be
left alone ……..

It’s sad that Ethel never fulfilled
Fred’s need for love.

I’m sure she tried and and tried but
she had to have given up a long time ago.

Sad but, here’s the rub …
Ethel will tell you they talk often.

Ethel’s words to Fred
are angry resentful words

dripping with finality after a
lifetime of frustration contained within

his presence.

Her voice an instrument she plays with
timbre and tone and volume

to convey her thoughts with words that ricochet off walls

-Their Talk-

Talk is not the language they speak.

Words strung together
carefully chosen words honed to perfection; constant reminders

words searing or sublime with anger
honed like sharp knives words …..

…… words chosen
reverberating with unknown vibration

words with more than meaning  …

words deflecting the tonality of ‘being. .

 from years of
non abuse, abuse casual abuse.

They forged the scars of their failures
into emotional exchanges using

word triggers that trigger words
triggering bullets of sadness, anger,
humiliation and
regret.

I’m glad I didn’t know Fred when
he was his “WHOLE asshole self.

-She’s Tired-

Ethel is tired of being a
caregiver to an abusive man.

She slams the door he
crashes his walker

against her door.

Sitting on the couch
that afternoon watching

The Pickers and
the Pawn guys

on the ‘boob’

Fred searched for words
to tell his story.

His fragmented thoughts came with softness

easy to bridge the spaces between
with meaning

his sad regret and wonderment,

his bewilderment wrapped ’round the confused meaning of
broken thought.

Ethel just wants time to be left alone.

So, Fred waits, mostly in private, a prisoner of his loneliness in
forlorn despair wondering what it is he still
yearns for

wondering if he’ll ever

get it …..

Third and Nine To Go … How I Learned More Than My Third Grade Students

For Amy and Deborah and anyone else who was there.

Third and Nine to Go …
How I Learned More Than My Third Grade Students

I fired math questions at them first thing in the morning while strolling around the room, writing problems on blackboards at the front and back of the room.

I walked  between the aisles looking into their eyes to see if they were paying attention.  If any kid had that dazed look on their face I pestered them with questions until they were awake and alert.

I gave them the freedom to cut up National Geographic, Sports Illustrated Life and whatever other magazines I could find, paste the pictures together in any sequence they chose (You could find school paste everywhere; on the floor, their desks, their fingers and faces, their hair and of course, in their mouths. A lot of kids out there are addicted to white school paste) then, make up stories to go with the pictures.

If they finished their work before nine thirty, they could get a book and read.  Or, they could work on their stories before going out to recess.

You should have seen the excited looks on their faces when they realized they could work on those stories for fifteen or twenty minutes before recess.

Every day after lunch I read them books like Huckleberry Finn, the Wind In the Willows, a couple of the “Catfish Bend” stories and other stories every kid should be familiar with.

Third and Nine; The Rise And Fall Of Civilization

One day I watched my third grade graders play from behind glass windows running the length of my classroom.

Before recess was even half over several boys had built a snowman.

Afterward, searching for something to do, they pelted the girls with snowballs.

The girls screamed and ran away delighted by the sudden attention.

One girl fell face first into the snow.

I heard peals of laughter from the boys who pointed at her cackling loudly.

Snow covered her face.  A moist black hole appeared where she spit the snow away.  Her eyes appeared through two black dots at the top of her face.

Briefly, she appeared as a live snow-girl.

One boy rolled in the snow laughing.

The girls stood off to the side, mittens covering their mouths hiding their smiles.

With little time left before the bell, I watched four boys demolish the snowman.

After watching the dramas unfold it seemed a couple of life’s secrets were revealed.

Within 15 minutes I had witnessed a model for thousands years of warfare; construction, destruction, the death of innocents. Even the symbolism of rape.

“Maybe warfare is part of who we are,” I thought. “Will we ever rise above it?” I wondered, moving my head side to side.

Then I thought, maybe by the end of the year, I’ll learn more about life from my students than they will learn, from me.

Or at least it’ll be an equal exchange.

 

I Was Just the Postman

 

A comment I wrote about the poem titled, “When I Was Born.”

This is one of my favorite pieces not just because it describes what childbirth might be like but, I think it’s beautifully written.  I like how it flows and trips along with cadence and sound.

Hey! I can comment about my own work can’t I?  It wasn’t even ‘Me’ who wrote the thing.  I remember it well.  “I felt a slight glow on the pads of my fingers a kind of pulsing and I began to stroke the keys and it felt like my digits were being guided by Aphrodite herself.”  

Not quite.  More like, my inner roulette wheel spinning words and with the luck of the draw I was able to catch a few every once in a while.

Anyway.  BIRTH!  The most significant event of our lives!  (And, at such a young age!)  After all being born into this fucked up world is no easy job.  It’s true!  Ask any new born kid!

Birth!  It’s the door we step through to gain entry into this place with its good and bad and every increment in between, evil and good and all the polar opposites that are the price we pay for living on a planet with a North and South Pole.  Shit!

Then, there’s the mistakes we make!  Think about how many concussions you’ve given yourself after slapping your self in the forehead saying, “You dumb shit!”  Or, I coulda’ had a V8 but with the can.

But that’s life!  Right?

The never ending parade that cascades before us, our journey through light with density that we are contained within and can exist in along with other beings just like us and we like them; plants and animals, trees and birds and all those finials from biology no species better or worse we think we are the high ideal but, all we’ve ever done is destroy things.

Yet, BIRTH continues.

Perhaps we judge our lives by how significantly apart we grow from the newborn child’s ultimate experience; the outside and the inside world coming face on with each other at birth, a double brightness, a kind of symbiotic relationship with light given/taken in/returned/then, given back in a never ending cycle.

Just like love and marriage.  Right?  Except, you can’t have one without the other.

Or, on the abstract level, seen in its entire and completely different and absurd light and really hard to understand level; if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it is there a noise?

THAT’S ONE FOR THE AGES ISN’T IT REXI?.  Fuck yes! There’s NOISE because there’s SOUND because the WHOLE PLACE heard the tree fall by the birds and the other trees and the lichen and the bear who was rubbing his butt when the tree fell.  Jeez.  What a ridiculous posit that, if a human being wasn’t present there MIGHT NOT be no sound.  That’s kind of pre infantile thinking isn’t it?  Oh?  It’s not important?  Good.

(That, and the angels dancing on the heads of pins discussion always gets me.  Sooooo interesting.  Someone should put THAT posit on a post it note and file it in the floor file.)

I think that every day it’s possible that at some point in time when time is the right time and the stars and all that other crap fit together just right I could find myself in the ‘real’ world behind all of the facades of daily life.  We need those facades but they can be all consuming!

To suddenly experience the revery of speechless awe at the world around us.  We all KNOW that other place is here, waiting to be experienced.  Is that desire what keeps us going?

I think that, as life moves along we judge the degrees of success with our lives by the baseline of CHILDBIRTH.  Which brings us back to the poem.

The words in that poem flowed through my fingers with such DELIGHT!

Wull … it’s ok to comment on my own work isn’t it? Actually, I don’t even know who wrote this piece remember?  I was just the postman.  Check out the post, “When I Was Born.”  I hope you like it as much as I do.  Au’revoir.

 

 

When I Was Born

That summer hot and sultry
mid month mid year mid way past midnight
bright lights shining blinding
hands grasping fingers smashing
through the air

i did not really care
it was not my problem

i was their’s for the taking …!!

i heard the pain that wasn’t mine
explode into my space,
the air, the rush of light that came before the crack of dawn
exposed the ship that i’d been riding on
between the worlds where i once lived
when i was born … !

with great surprise i threw away my aqua lungs,
I sucked in air while water flooded,
breathing synapses firing new born pistons,
283 horses blowing streams of light
in all directions!!

so this is what it’s like to live in the land of milk and honey … !!!

Come time to leave for home
i looked into the sky i’d never seen,
acorns falling through the air,
cool harmonies on the breeze singing memories
from where it all began
wrapped around light
that fueled the seeds of future’s flight

while tightly woven earthly patterns
leading everywhere in sight
gave great brilliance
and such

delight .. !!

Each night I see the world inside my dreams

wrapped inside the morning dew;

Each morning my life begins anew,
never sure of all that i have seen
until i return

and do it all again and again and again and again and again and again … until i think …

therefore

i am …..

That summer hot and sultry
mid month mid year mid way past midnight
bright lights shining blinding
hands grasping fingers smashing
through the air

i did not really care
it was not my problem

i was their’s for the taking …!!

i heard the pain that wasn’t mine
explode into my space,
the air, the rush of light that came before the crack of dawn
exposed the ship that i’d been riding on
between the worlds where i once lived
when i was born … !

with great surprise i threw away my aqua lungs,
I sucked in air while water flooded,
breathing synapses firing new born pistons,
283 horses blowing streams of light
in all directions!!

so this is what it’s like to live in the land of milk and honey … !!!

Come time to leave for home
i looked into the sky i’d never seen,
acorns falling through the air,
cool harmonies on the breeze singing memories
from where it all began
wrapped around light
that fueled the seeds of future’s flight

while tightly woven earthly patterns
leading everywhere in sight
gave great brilliance
and such

delight .. !!

Each night I see the world inside my dreams

wrapped inside the morning dew;

Each morning my life begins anew,
never sure of all that i have seen
until i return

and do it all again and again and again and again and again and again … until i think …

therefore

i am …..

Triangulation

One of those
wide awake days

seconds flowed
‘round the bending way

on different roads from distant past to

different places
never been.

On streets and
roads un-traveled

i’d never
seen,

in between,

within
the world

i do
my living
in,

different lands
so near

the way not clear
most days

I find my way through

triangul strangulation

needing

planetary lines
and sun’s position seeking

hidden
paths

and distant
possibilities

with destination clear
i thought i’d found

where i’d been

a thousand times before
i found

a different place within
each different time!

This time
this place

new?

it seems

an extension of
the strange world

i had just
journeyed

through …

Bluegills

Bluegills

We bought two cardboard containers packed with 15 or 20 corn bores covered in loose black muck, at a farm five miles from town before turning off the black top then, another three miles along a gravel road, snow plowed high on both sides, past farmers fields barely visible stretched white to the gray horizon, snow tornados rising and falling then rising and falling again and again.

We parked next to a mountain of snow plowed higher than the car. Hidden from sight, a frozen desert of ice where we fished on an inland lake the shoreline a hundred yards from where we parked.

Through knee deep snow the Arctic wind gusting 25-30 mph against our backs we dragged our plywood ‘fish boxes’ to the shoreline then another quarter mile across the slippery surface.

Dad chopped five holes through the two foot thick ice using a heavy iron spud rounded at one end, a leather strap at the other wrapped around his wrist so as to keep it from slipping into the black water when punched through the the last few inches of ice.

We spent the rest of the day fishing for bluegills or pike watching for the slightest movement of our bobbers, scooping films of ice that formed over the exposed water every few minutes, moving from hole to hole, watching for the red flags of our ‘tip ups’, sitting on our ‘fish boxes’, staring downward, hunched aerodynamically against the icy cold wind flowing over our backs.

You could hear the ice thunder and moan menacingly like an angry bear, as it grew thicker; ripping sounds heard in the distance or nearby, crackling for seconds at a time; jagged points of iced lightening suddenly etching close to where we sat, sending shivers of fear through me that the ice would open its jaws swallowing us into the inky black depths below, where not even the slightest ray of light could escape.

Toward the end of day, the sun a vague halo of yellowish white against a dreary gray sky, we packed the poles and tip ups into our fish boxes, 20 or 30 bluegills frozen stiff at the bottom.

Faced downward, pushing against the north wind, my toes and the tips of my fingers frozen numb, my face burning, we trekked toward the shoreline, through thigh deep powdered snow, over the mountain, returning to the warmth of the car.

We drove through the dimming light of late afternoon into the dark sky of mid winter’s early evening night, arriving home just in time for dinner.

What I’d Write About

I stay up all night and write.

Then I sleep, get up and start over again.

 I take a notebook and write when I go to the mall or when I go to restaurants.

 I listen to people and write what they say.

 I write what people say when I talk on the phone.

 I write what flows through my head even though most of the time it’s junk and doesn’t make much sense.

 I look at magazines and write the words I see.

 I’d describe the granite counter top I’m writing on if I felt like it then, I’d describe the edges.  Or,

 I’d write about the plastic bottles I took from the garbage can at the gas station the other day and the crotch of that fat girl I saw bent over cleaning her car of empty plastic bottles when I pulled in to get gas while she was throwing them into the can.

When Night Birds Take Morning Flight

When Night Birds Take Morning Flight

I watched night birds take night time flight.

While breezes washed ashore

I walked the line where all three meet.

Sky within dark water,

waves of moonlight,

sparkling grains of sand

reflecting light

below/above …

between each other’s sight

within their kisses

of the night …

I looked into the grounds of sweet good byes,

the thought of daylight in disguise,

my thoughts on morning’s rise,  with

each new morning’s light;

the sky that touches deep within

the sound of inland seas.

I climbed back into bed and slept again.

With speckled stars above the nighttime breeze

with moonlight showing through the leaves

I’ll sleep ‘till morning light

when

daylight birds

take morning

flight …

 

Love Gone By

Songs of life gone by

Once familiar
faces, stored emotions

with strands of light and sound
from long dead memories can return

to life with sudden force
from fields of color

passing by.

When first time love was in the air
and loving words so dearly spoken return now

whispered in your ear when least expected.

Familiar faces clearly seen with
long ago shared feelings.

Forgotten strands of time’s light stored

that flood the senses .

Perplexed we ask …
how could dreams of such remembered

splendor

(the force of passion born anew, 
the scent of lover’s neck recalled, 

first delight shared when senses
came alive with life’s most precious

 pleasures)

life’s long forgotten treasures

have passed by so unseen?

Some thoughts come to mind
with sad regret:

the precise moment when
playful eye’s appeal once given

was stolen from sight
by random sound come crashing by,

love’s precious moment stolen
never to be returned.

(the seed that once planted yields
life’s sweetest fruit).

Precious time and light recalled
from special moments flashing by

can bring sad regret to life;

those fleeting moments

like specks of golden pollen
drifting clear

against a deep blue sky or

points of light seen wandering
among stars in the

darkest hours of the
night …

They Have Paid; They Are ‘Us’

A man who by his actions

does not care about the citizenry of

our country … got me

wondering

as I do …

the amount of

taxes paid by the 700,000 during their

lifetime

jobs well done and

voluntary support and building of

communities and passing on

the best qualities …  that the 700,000 have given to

the land … they have

paid their fair share they have

given their all to the country as have we all

no different them from

We … or even “He”

and those he’s captured

the minority among us.

.  They deserve better these 700,000 are

the people who make us great for

who we are THEY are

the results of our great quest for humankind’s best

 how could we turn them

away?

It’s the 700,000 who are the heroes in this

sad story given

the torch to carry forth

the dream that all brave migrants have

from families come before us

who paid their way with suffering

no different from you or I

they ARE

YOU AND I;

high school football stars and

valedictorians they’ve

given their lives for the land

they have sacrificed to defend the land!

They deserve detention?

Forced migration?

THEY are the ones who shape my dreams for

the future as were

the  dreams of our fathers and their fathers before

who shaped ours;  individuals created EQUAL

by “self evidence” as stated in the declaration of our freedoms.

The threat NEVER so great as now

by so low and vile a personage more

beast on prowl than gentle man’s gentleman.

From WITHIN he comes to steal thought and

high ideals from those alive

the right to be

all things

that they can

be

he

aims to destroy, to besmirch, to undo

the greatest human experiment in mankind’s

history!

With defication on our ideals

defaming those intentions of the

fathers,  he would

destroy, he would

take away the benefit of our

beliefs, the belief of freedom and democracy

stolen by their colusion, two

of the hungry beasts their

greedy talons seeking blood

given power by those who are

eslaved by doctrine

and blind belief.

 

Black Hole Sun

He lived within the half arch of light
clueless about space and time –

his simple thoughts were only concerned
with food, sex and shelter.

He felt safe in his world except for the force
of an endless dream.

An ancient story told to him
by rods and switchbacks buried deep within his being.

Little bits of a story passed on to him
from the trillions who came before,

an ancient story told and retold
countless times,each retelling

given a twist or turn in the plot
of a never ending story with one theme …

to stay alive, to survive.

He ventured beyond his world from time to time
driven by the mystery … to fly through space, to

discover another reality, to satisfy his craving, to feed his curiosity.

One day he passed through light
with gathering speed, confident to find

his unknown destination when he was swept within the grasp of a circular path.

He felt gathering speed driven
by an unknown force, much greater

than anything experienced in his world
as the energy of smaller and smaller circles

drew him deeper and deeper into
a darkening world.

In vain, he gave himself over to
the power before he vanished within

the blackest hole where not even
light could escape!

In the end he found himself
in another world much more profound in

nature where vibrations from the past, present and future

joined to welcome him

in chorus

to a new universe of possibilities
in the nebula of another galaxy, where

the endless dream of every flying
cockroach that ever lived

comes true within

the confines of

an underground

septic tank …

Making, Making, Making

 

It’s ok to feel good every
once in a while!

Life’s treasure doesn’t come along
that often!

It lies in wait for
the right trigger.

Or is it time, and
we all run on

cycles?

For me the treasure never lasts
as long as I want it to.

(which would be most of the time)

Alas, far more time I’ve spent with
the bad seed brother in:

days of functionless, boring self regress, the urge to make, not part of the scene to put it mildly,

disconnected.

Those long days spent waiting for

the light,

the difference between/the two places living (with and without treasure)

unequal in their
distribution.

The longer distance in between has got

the upper hand?  There’s only so much

time to live in Treasureland?

My only hope?

To keep on making, making, making

until

the very very

end.

Reflection: The Web of Time

We are a travelers moving along

a web of time within the mist we call

life.

We see with light given from somewhere,

outside, within, in-between, seldom seen

at best,

reflected.

We make decisions;

where to go, how to get there,

what to think and feel;

assuming truths, affirming movement

we’re not sure of, through space most often

blindly.

Life is like that; crossroads, turnings here or there,

seconds late determining fate,

returns returned again and once again

returning, to differing paths we navigate,

endless toil, obliteration, sensory pleasures,

death, fulfillment or broken hearts,

(to learn or not to learn (that is the question … !?)),

wandering paths through space

unknown, face to face with

those we think we love?

We want to love but,

is it love we crave more than

the ones we may or may not love?  For, don’t we give love to those we may not love at all?

We drag through murky spaces, love’s truths obscured, half known half not knowing, unknowable, self importance, interfering combat, crackling static,  white noise, huge space separating single spaces, seldom crystal clear.

We take our chances.  We make our choices.

We fill our lives with dreams? Or are they fantasies?

 We self induce our misery.  We thrive on living pain.

And who’s to blame?

Mustang Sal by Request

Mustang Sal

I was driving south on U.S. 41 in the middle lane around five thirty, hungry as hell, anxious to get home but not looking forward to another microwave chicken pot pie (I hate to cook when I have to eat by myself) when I spotted my favorite Italian restaurant so I thought, why not have Italian tonight?

When I veered out of the middle lane a whole series of sights and sounds followed; the deafening blast of a diesel horn, the sight of rubber flapping behind four huge spinning tires, the blaring horn of a car growing louder as bright blue LED lights filled the passenger side window, followed by the sight of a boy riding a bicycle veering off the side of the road flashing me the bird while disappearing down a steep embankment.

As my tires dropped onto the gravel parking lot I glanced to the right just as the boy and his bicycle disappeared into the thick growth of cat tails at the bottom of the swale.

I looked up just in time to avoid side swiping a black Mustang. The owner, his body extended half way out of the car window his lip curled into a sneer, his face not 18 inches from mine shouting, “Why don’t you learn how to drive you dumb fuck!” looking like he wanted to kick my ass.

I cut the wheel avoiding the back panel by about six inches, kept my eye on the rear view mirror to see if the guy would get out of his car while at the same time wondering if I had enough room to hang a U turn and get the hell out of there when I remembered a GT emblem on the front of his car and realized it would be impossible to outrun the guy.

When I heard the rumble of the GT’s 425 horses I looked back just in time to see a cloud of rocks, pebbles and stones shot like grapeshot from beneath the Mustang’s spinning tires against the passenger side and back window of the Aztec.

The guy fish tailed out of the parking lot, hit the concrete, squealed his tires for about 100 yards, his middle finger visible above the roof line before veering into the maze of traffic.

Safely inside the restaurant I was finally able to place my order but decided to ‘take out’ since i was pretty shook up.

Back home I flipped on Orphan Black, sat down to eat then got so freeking pissed off I completely lost my appetite!

Dammit!  This was the second time in a year they forgot to put extra pepperoni on my Domino’s Pizza!

 

 

Christmas Story; A Midwestern America Christmas!

Christmas Story

An Unexpected Guest; High Jinks and Hilarity

When I was 11 I experienced a Christmas I’ll never forget.

It started on a night when the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents) had gathered at our house for a rare celebration of Christmas on Christmas Eve; … (the air crisp and cold, the sky crystal clear, snow the size of fat cotton balls falling on a soft white blanket sparkling like diamonds each flake reflecting a different star, … when my grandfather, who worked for the Grand Trunk Railroad, brought a lady home from Canada who had become stranded at the depot with no place to go or sleep that Christmas Eve. after blizzard conditions forced cancellation of passenger train service to Chicago.

The addition of a stranger in our midst added an air of excitement to the festivities. Knowing rules would be more lax in her presence, we gave little effort toward restraining our laughter and sense of mirth reveling in the joy we created as our Christmas gift for her.

I can still see her sitting in the blue ‘Naugahyde’ chair next to the fireplace her head thrown back, mouth wide open laughing along with all of us after Uncle Bill, while bouncing around on a pogo stick in the middle of the living room lost his balance knocked over a lamp then rolled over onto the shade while trying to stand up.

Up In Flames

This was the same year several of my cousins gifts; pajamas and other girly things, went up in flames after they were accidentally gathered up with all the Christmas wrappings and thrown into the fireplace.

Everyone was sympathetic while she cried. My brother and I thought it was hilarious.

Roasting

This was also the year my dad decided that, since we were hosting more people than usual, we’d have a traditional roasted pig with an apple in its mouth for dinner on Christmas Day.

Our oven wasn’t big enough to slow cook a whole pig all day so a baker named Mr. Gregory who lived downtown above Gerry Gregory’s Bakery gave us permission to use his big gas fired oven with rotating shelves. to slow cook the pig.

Shortly before sunrise Christmas morning with temperatures well below freezing, we parked in the alley behind the bakery. We used a key to let ourselves in. The big oven was located several feet from the back door.

Mr. Gregory, who baked bread every morning starting at four a.m. didn’t mind getting up early, even on Christmas Day, to light the big oven so that by seven a.m. when we arrived it would be preheated.

What a surprise when we opened the oven door! Warm dry air flowed over our face and hands like a desert wind instantly warming us. A startling reminder of how cold it was a few feet away outside the door behind us.

An electric motor attached to a chain moving over a metal sprocket turned the shelves around the blue flames hissng through b.b sized holes along a metal tube the width of the oven.

Our pig rested on a square cast iron skillet with curled edges so that the juice wouldn’t leak inside Mr. Gregory’s oven AND to capture the juice that my grandmother would use to make her delicious gravy that soon, I’d be spooning over my mom’s mashed potatoes.

After turning the motor off we lifted the pig onto the shelf where my dad used a wooden bakers ole to slide the cast iron skillet into the center close, but not too close to the blue flames.

Before leaving we turned the motor on, locked the back door and drove home but every two or three hours we’d return, park out back to check on its progress.

Dining

The dining table was big enough to comfortably seat ten people: one aunt, one uncle, two girl cousins, a grandmother, a grandfather, a brother and mom and dad and our guest from Canada.

My dad carved the meat into chunks of meat that were so tender they fell apart when served. A combination of flavors filled the air making my mouth water. I finally understood what “melts in your mouth” means.

My grandmother’s gravy formed golden pools on top of my mom’s creamy smooth mashed potatoes.

We ate scalloped corn and scalloped oysters, fresh green beans quick fried in bacon fat with sautéed onions crumbled pieces of bacon tossed with apple vinegar and a touch of sugar.

My grandfather ate mint jelly with his meat. My cousins, my brother and I drank tall glasses of milk, my grandparents drank black coffee while the parents drank red wine.

For desert there was apple and pecan pie (my favorite). Each year my dad made a creamy rich sauce in a double boiler from butter, sugar and an egg that made even fruitcake taste good.

We had mince meat pie made from the venison of a buck my dad shot during deer season.

My grandmother made a fake apple pie that everyone raved about before telling us it was made from Ritz Crackers.

Stories

While we ate, the adults kept us entertained with funny or interesting stories about growing up or daily life.

We relived Uncle Bill’s accident with the pogo stick. Each of us told what we saw from different points of view. Everybody’s story was different but they were all the same! We laughed harder with each re-telling.

My brother said it looked like Uncle Bill was shot from a cannon when he flew into the table knocking over the lamp.

The lady from Canada told us her sister lives in Chicago where she worked as a bookkeeper at the Chicago stockyards and that she lived in Thunder Bay, Ontario where she booked fishing expeditions on the Alcona Railroad into the Canadian bush country.

Grandma and grandpa told how they met at the annual county fair during a band concert.  They talked about how hard they had to work growing up on farms 10 or 15 miles from town back when there were few cars, tending the big family garden, canning fruits and vegetables all sumer long, stocking up for the long cold winters, caring for the farm animals seven days a week, gathering hay before hay ‘balers’’or harvesting corn by implements that seem ancient today. All of this plus there was no electricity or indoor plumbing.

My mom and Aunt Jo remembered the beautiful costume dresses my grandmother made for them when they entertained gatherings at different towns, counties and around the state.  They relived their experience of riding the train to Chicago to tap dance on a popular radio program.

Uncle Bill told us another funny story about a pet crow he trained to perch on his arm while he fed it red cherries from a tree in his back yard.

Each time the crow ate a cherry, a pit from a previous cherry popped out of its butt! Nobody believed the story until I told them it was true because I saw it happen!

The Past

I have many boyhood memories from Christmases past but, they are all separate episodes.

There was the Christmas Eve I rode around town with my dad leaving turkeys on the doorsteps of families not as fortunate as ours.

There’s a partial memory I have as a very young boy walking down the aisle at the Congregational Church cradling my favorite gift, a white football that l gave to some less fortunate boy or girl.

Then there’s the year I got the second best gift ever (the first being a new bicycle) a new pair of black figure skates with runners that, as my dad pointed out, were made of Sheffield Steel.

Next morning too anxious to wait any longer I grabbed my new skates, snuck out the back door before breakfast, headed for the ice pond a block and a half away where I skated in a magical world devoid of human movement or sound carving out figure 8’s any size I wanted. I was free to skate as fast as I wanted before turning to dig the teeth at the front of my skates into the ice spewing chips curling away on both sides like fractured waves before stopping on a dime.

Other stories
continued

All the Christmas memories are special. But, the year we celebrated Christmas Eve by opening our house making the Canadian lady part of our family was special maybe because we gave her a place to sleep when there were no rooms at the inn … Her presence was much a gift to us as our inclusion of her into our family was for her.

She brought to us a spark that released extra measures of laughter and joy. By her presence she caused us to be the best people we could be; more full of love and giving than were she not in our midst. i

Her presence gave proof that giving to others is as much a gift to the giver as it is to the receiver which, isn’t this the true meaning of Christmas?

By the time she left on the passenger train to Chicago she had become a part of us and we were part of her. She still lives inside otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to write this wonderful story!

Funny how it turns out that THAT Christmas is the only Christmas I can still clearly remember from beginning to end.

My Christmas wish is that we be united by the knowledge that we ALL share special memories of Christmas because memories are all we have and Christmas memories are the best. May we re-live them with renewed appreciation while adding more wonderful Christmas memories this year .

As Tiny Tim said, “God bless us every one.”
.
Merry Christmas 2017

Kurt Struble

 

Savoring the Melt

Snow covering the ground at 8 by 1 had

disappeared.

By 5 newly formed powder flakes/bigger than cotton balls/floated downward, /so light they rose and fell a second time/as I passed by,/turning my world white

once again.

Crystal flakes given form/from clouds high above/each its own and unique world/alive within the tiny gales/and silent currents forming/atmospheres above, 

giving

gentle revolution, softest landing covering ground/like thin gauze stretched/within minutes inches deep/earth tones and/ green luminescence vaguely visible

beneath.

Above, afternoon sky darkening /moves toward night time light.  

Already giving their precious gift, the gauze stretched thinner/

shadows of color emerging from

the melt.

 

 

The Apple of Our Lives; An American Christmas

continuing … That was the same year several of my cousins gifts; pajamas and other girly things, were accidentally gathered together with the gift wrappings, thrown into the fireplace and burned.  Everyone was sympathetic while she cried. My brother and I thought it was hilarious.

A Roasted Pig

This was also the year my dad decided that, since we were hosting more people than usual, we’d have a roasted pig with an apple in its mouth for dinner on Christrmas Day.

Our oven wasn’t big enough to slow cook a a whole pig all day so, Mr. Gregory who lived downtown above Gerry Greory’s Bakery gave us permission to use the big gas powered oven with rotating shelves that he baked bread in every morning starting at four a.m. so, he didn’t mind getting up early, even on Christmas Day, to light the big oven before the sun came up, so that by the time we arrived the oven would be preheated.

We drove downtown to the bakery.  We parked in the alley behind the bakery.  It was cold outside.  Well below freezing.

We let ourselves in the back door with the key.  The oven was just inside the back door. When we pulled down on the big oven door warm dry air washed over us, warming our hands and face.

An electric motor attached to a chain moving over a metal sprocket slowly turned the shelves around blue flames hissing through the b-b sized holes of a metal tube the width of the oven.

Our pig rested on a square cast iron skillet with curled edges so that the juice wouldn’t spill inside of Mr.Gregory’s oven where he’d soon be baking bread AND so there was plenty of juice that my grandmother would use to make the best gravy in the world! Gravy that I’d soon be spooning over my mom’s mashed potatoes undoubtedly, the best mashed potatoes on the planet!

After turning the motor off my dad used a wooden bakers pole to slide the cast iron skillet onto the center of the shelf close, but not TOO close, to the blue flames.

We turned the motor on and went home but every two or three hours we drove downtown parked out back and checked on its progress.

continued …..

Slice of American Pie: A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

Don’t you think those unexpected, unique events that sometimes occur during Christmas are presents more memorable than any single gift received?

Memories are more powerful because, unlike the new bicycle or the baseball glove or even that favorite new pair of ice skates that have long turned to dust, they can be dusted off, relived and shared with family and friends year after year.

“An Unexpected Guest; High Jinks and Hilarity”

Like the year we gathered an aunt and uncle, cousins and grandparents at our house one Christmas Eve the air outside crisp and cold, the sky crystal clear, snow the size of fat cotton balls falling on a soft white blanket sparkling like diamonds each flake reflecting a different star (or so our ten year old minds thought), when my grandfather, who worked for the Grand Trunk Railroad brought a lady to our house from Canada, who had become stranded at the big depot due to heavy snow, to join us for our Christmas Eve celebration.

The addition of a stranger in our house added an air of excitement to the gathering. We treated her like an honored guest.

Knowing the rules would be more lax in her presence, we gave little effort toward restraining our laughter and sense of mirth reveling in the joy we created as our Christmas gift for her.

I can still see her sitting in the blue ‘Naugahyde’ chair next to the fireplace her head thrown back, mouth open wide laughing along with all of us when Uncle Bill lost his balance and fell while bouncing around on a pogo stick in the middle of the living room floor knocking over a lamp then rolling onto the lampshade.

“Up In Flames”

That was the same year several of my cousin’s gifts like pajamas and other girly things, were accidentally gathered together with the gift wrappings, thrown into the fireplace and burned.

Everyone was sympathetic while she cried. My brother and I thought it was hilarious.

continued …

To Be

To Be

Childish to think that
everything’s linked

from centered soul past
the ID into

the land of ink and

despair …

linking oneself yup with
life never had nor

life never lived,
the moments between

the anchor that keeps  us from
letting go

the weight surfeit enough
to hinder flight

from taking flight enough

to pass letting go then all

the way

up

to letting

Be …

 

The Creature From the Black Canal

The Creature From the Black Canal

They kept warning me about the alligator they saw paddling around the canal in back of the house but, I scoffed at their advice. “I need to whack those weeds along the canal bank!  They’re unsightly!” I said.

I waited until mid afternoon so I could work in the shade of the big pine trees back there. “Who wants to whack weeds in ninety nine degree heat?  I can’t lay around all day!”

At the shoreline I turned away from the water to whack weeds within the stalks of the banana trees when I felt a sharp tug on my right foot then, intense needle like pain!

I looked down. My ankle was between its teeth! The last thing I remember was water being forced into my nostrils and a sense of hopelessness.

I woke up sputtering and retching in the hammock under the pines out back where I had been resting after weed whacking the bank. At first I thought I was drowning! Then I realized I had poured an entire bottle of Fuji water onto my face most of it having drained into my nostrils.

While coughing violently, I happened to look down at the canal where I saw two giant marbles a little smaller than tennis balls floating on the surface.

When a paddle shaped, warty snout with two puncture holes at the end and what appeared to be thousands of teeth (although there could have been more) began to rise out of the water, I knew I had come face to face with a big alligator!

A big fugator!!

Still coughing violently I scanned the area for a limb to throw at the big fucker when the hammock I’d been dozing on flipped me!

The canvas had wrapped itself around me!!  I was trapped like an ear of corn!!

I swayed like a pendulum for around 30 seconds before coming to rest my head 12 inches or so above ground staring down at the gator, my world turned upside down, my arms clasped along both sides of my body feeling totally helpless.

What made it even worse, the Fuji bottle had lodged itself against my nuts!

The gator took two steps onto land its beakey snout with all those teeth leading the way.

Feeling paralyzed, I sensed the reticular area of my brain frozen in place,  totally confused since fight or flight was not an option so, I did the only thing I COULD do.

I struggled!!

“Would you like some cheeze and crackers?”

Her voice pierced into my consciousness like a bright ray of light on the darkest day. Hallaleuia … I’ve been saved!

Her appearance or the sound of her voice startled the gator. Quicker than splickity shit  all I could see was white water froth, little whirl pools and the yaw of its rounded beak slinking into the inky depths of the water.

She didn’t look down quickly enough to see the gator’s snout and those teeth before it disappeared. She thought the movement of the water was caused by turtles. She warned me again about the gator they had seen.

A half hour later, finally free from the clutches of the hammock I ate two crackers with cheeze and threw up.

The Same Strange World

And so, he did. .. (go back to his room.)

He loved the absurdity of
these kinds of situations;
the startled first time behavior and
the look of surprise, like a kid finding
an agate in the sand
excitement, wide eyed, incredibly
amused at the absurdity,
a brief return to childhood wonder,
the disappearance of self characature
a re-surfacing of
the 16 year old smile,
faces dripping smooth then
frozen in time with
white teeth and sparkling eyes,
given color by their surprise,
a little extra light to
fill a few of the voids
past memories and such … boiling it all down distilled
rendered into unadulterated … laughter.

 

Three Musets

Three Quarter Seasons

spring time
trees grow green leaves
new life

bright sun
great days to swim
much fun !

snow days
light wings falling
skies gray

Winter’s Warmth

great lake
frozen water
skating

fire warm
skaters gathered
popcorn!

days end
hands held walking
best friends

Trout Stream Camp

cool stream
flowing gently
light dreams

shadows
sun dapples leaves
wind blows

sunlight
slowly falling
star shine …