Ghost Trees Wailing At the Wind

 

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

facing Arctic wind’s

ferocity.

I make my way up the hill to 23

turn left onto the bike path for

a mile or so, past

the alabaster pipeline then 

return 

the way I came

to 

the top of

the hill.

Descending the hill I hear

the SNAP CRACK! of dead fir trees

breaking like sticks

the bottom half still attached 

to the ground

The top looking like a snarling beast, suddenly 

Escaped from 

Inside the tree 

patches of bleached wood where bark had fallen 

with jagged, pointed, dagger teeth 

An angry beast released from its confinement within the tree 

Splintered teeth pointing skyward

still attached to

roots rotten and brittle below ground

(the only force keeping it 

from tipping over)

the broken trees are 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!

The fir trees wail with silent fury now,  they’ve become

ghost trees wailing at

the wind!

Their pain punctuated by

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

the initial sound

of ultimate

rot …

Nature’s Life

dsc_0363

She looked with cold indifference 

at His efforts to teach us 

the connection between

our lives and

nature.

Bridge parties, the daily routines of life and of course 

her afternoon naps,

were the essential

components of Her

life.

He gave us the freedom to

explore the sandy beaches, 

the dunes, trout streams and 

The Great Lake where

I spent my days

submerged in glacial ice 

melted to

65 degree water for

hours at a time, running through

the woods exploring, or 

camped out alongside windbreaker trees  

stretched 3/4 of a mile along the shoreline 

in sleeping bags next to camp fire embers 

staring at the stars

through crystal clear skies blown clean by 

on shore winds  cold or

chili at times even during the summer.

fishing off the end of 

the Coast Guard dock 

stretched a hundred or so yards into 

the bay where

the “Amphibian” and smaller 

rescue boats hung inside the boat house at

the same place where

he learned to fish as a boy.

He taught us how to

fend for ourselves, to

catch food, to

make fire, cook outside, provide shelter 

if necessary.

He gave us opportunities for unique forms of thought patterns deeper sorts of problem solving more essential the world around shown wider in scope made more real; how to live impeccably in the natural world parallel to and inclusive of the confines of life in the everyday “real” world.  

One day,

temperatures in the ‘20s

the ground covered by

light wings drifting 

like feather’s down 

falling,

I followed his tracks

through

two feet of freshly fallen snow to 

a row of scrub pines bordering

the back side of sand

dunes running parallel to 

the lake where

left alone with

shelter, warmth and

food

in a world of 

muted silence 

wrapped inside a black and white shell

the ground rising

upward before me

I pondered without 

words or thought 

the timeless mystery surrounding me 

in a world of

liberation …

Bluegills

gray scale photo of trees on snow

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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 to a place where Deac 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.

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 … 

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.

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!”

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.

 

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.

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.

Becka

Earlier, she ate chips and salsa off paper brought to swimming pool’s edge, earlier than earlier.

Later, he came with hot coffee sipping looking beyond ahead in front, silently.

‘I bet you can’t drink that whole thing,” she said her voice behind.

‘No. But I can take a really big gulp.’

Chugging, eyes closed vision; coffee blowing comedy movies funny.

Diaphram force contraction spraying blowing coughing … drooling? coffee blasting outward shot forward falling mist.

Turning. Smiling. Sheepish.  Expectant.

“I did that on purpose.” (hahaha???)

Cold eyes, staring behind.

(*Flashback twenty minutes earlier, chips and salsa taken poolside, resting on paper.)

Following vision line behind slowly turning.

Seeing!! Unexpected!!

Forehead pulling contractions wrinkling muscle lines eyes pulled open wide and round and wide wider still lids exposed vast surprise! Unexpected! Amazement! Not a little humor! Embarrassment …

Seen??

Coffee pooled on salsa, limp chips brought to pool side earlier ugly coffee drippage spattered larger drops toward pool deck drainage strip moving, ugly gray lines.

Thought: Hilarious! Would humor share with 9 year old mind!?

Turning spinning wheel colors flashing. Expectant. Looking, seeing.

Eyes cold, staring toward pool edge. Arms folded.

(Suppressing laughter)  Pointing behind. “I didn’t do THAT on purpose!”

Pause …

Waiting …

“YOU’RE SO STUPID!”

Turning heel, pulling slider open shut behind nine year old glass reflections testing self limits finding honesty exposed to absurdity adult fallibility unconditional love adults kids too.

Doubling over, bent at waist, unlocking knees, slowly spiraling downward.

Thought: Be careful not to abrade yourself rolling around on pool deck stucco floor.

Neighbors hearing cackling?

Miriam

Miriam

He told me about the time he was at the hospital a year ago at the same time he would be at the same hospital this year, in the same room where last year he suffered the same procedure as he would be suffering this year .. exactly a year later.

He told me about the great nurses and others who cared for him then, he told me a tale about some crazy stuff that happened one night that no one would have ever dreamed could happen.

He laughed that Sinead O’Connor laugh while shaking his head from side to side, “Not I,” he said. “Or, the hospital staff, the bouncer who looked like he wanted to kick my ass, or that Air Force Academy guy who was the charge nurse downstairs.”

Laughing he said, “But, then how can anyone anticipate the world suddenly collapsing around you after you’ve had some crazy idea? Life has its ups and downs but the sloppy fit between a crazy thought becoming a crazy idea leading to some crazy behavior tightens like welded steel since you NEVER know when some crazy IDEA is gonna pop into your brain!”

I didn’t understand a word he said but, he ket  piquing my interest as the night wore on.

The world seen through the eyes of my grandfather Gile Steel would be an interesting one, indeed.

 

More Miriam ……

 

 

 

Deadbeat Amputee

Deadbeat Amputee

Oh! Hi! … OH! Jeeze. Hi … Hey, you know what?  I’m a bad person!

I was tied up for a whole week so I couldn’t send you the money.

My wife finally came home from Borneo and untied me from the hose I got wrapped up in when I fell hosing the back porch back on the day she left.

I really wanted to send $10 via Pay Pal!

The computer was close but I couldn’t get my right hand free and my left hand was amputated a few years back.

I thought I could reach the keyboard with my nose.  I tried so hard!  But no cigar!

And I live in a community of deaf mutes.  So, no one heard my cries for help … and  I couldn’t do sign language with just the stump!  It was So frustrating!

Do you still need the money? Hahaha … who doesn’t need money, right?

Oh!? .. O.k. … o.k. …  ok so, can I send you a check in a couple days??

Grand Canyon Phil

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.’’

The word ‘’asshole’’ escaped from her lips.

When Phil looked at Lynn everyone in the group looked at Phil.  Lynn dug her fingernails 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.

Setting Free the Birds

Setting Free the Birds

 Unknown-2

I was the smoking monitor for ten patients, in the screened porch one day.

I lit their cigarettes. They smoked and we talked.

Next to me sat gracious, sweet southern born Clara, her ankles swollen twice their size, blue, onion thin skin, ripped and torn, wrapped in gauze.

Deserted by her children,  she lives in a movable lounge chair forever her prison, crying, ‘’Help, help,’’ all night, every night.

Suddenly two female cardinals streaked past attaching themselves to the screen in front of us, their tails fanned, the sun highlighting beautiful shades of brown with red streaks.

Desperate to escape they skittered from panel to panel.

I herded them toward the opening saying,  ‘No, go that way!” or  ‘’No, go back!”

First one found freedom, curved upward and disappeared.

Confused, the other flew past the opening moving further away from freedom.

I moved past and with hands raised shouted, “It’s your turn now GO!”

She dropped from the screen, scooped low and was absorbed by the pale blue sky.

Turning toward Clara I watched tears of despair spill over onto her cheeks.

When our eyes met, I knew exactly how she felt.

Where There Were Snakes

Where There Were Snakes .. 250 Words

When I was a boy, we caught garden snakes in a field next to a place called the Tub Factory over by the railtracks.  We trapped the snakes by stepping on their tails. We’d pinch them behind their heads, pick them up, look at their flickering tongues and peer into their angry, cold eyes.

Their teeth were little bumps.  You didn’t bleed when bitten, but they wouldn’t let go.  We’d collect six or eight of them in coffee cans, all writhing at the bottom.  I took a can home to my mom once.  She wouldn’t let me keep them as pets.

The field of snakes was behind the rambling old Eden house with its clapboard exterior that time had painted weathered and grey where seven brothers and sisters lived.

Their father Mit, a full blooded American Indian was a mean, hard drinking railroad man cruel to people even outside his family.

His oldest son Don was a bad apple who combed his greasy black hair into a pompadour, wore cuffed jeans, points, white t-shirts with cigarettes rolled into his sleeve.  His half smile and white teeth belied angry, cold snake eyes that said he could kill you if he wanted.  People said he even scared his father.

Legend was he tied cats’ tails together, threw them over clothes lines and set them on fire.

Later in life he changed his ways, married a nice girl and became a Baptist minister.

Flip the Bird

images copy 42

Flip the Bird

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 snear, his face not 18 inches from mine shouting, “Why don’t you learn how to drive you dumb fuck!” looked 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!

The Amphibian

The Amphibian

Occasionally the amphibian/rose out of the water/climbed the dune then clamored along the sandy lane in front of the cabin.

If we were lucky we got to see it
lumbering past dripping water,
it’s propellers still spinning,
balanced on six huge tires
taller than me,
three on each side
in the middle/it’s two powerful diesel engines roaring,
the air vibrating with sound and power,
thick black smoke blown rearward
from curved exhaust pipes
six or eight feet high
on both sides of the raised cab
where we could see the top half
of the drivers face
his eyes peering through three narrow windows
and the individual faces of ten men
looking through five portholes
on each side/before it disappeared
around the curve two houses away
the only remnants of its presence
the decrescendo
of its twin diesels
moving toward the lime rock road
I rode to go fishing …

and a black haze of
smoke slowly moving west
pushed along by an on shore breeze
blown in from the lake/before only

silence

filled the
air

The Last Time I Saw June

The last time I saw June was at a birthday party she threw for her nephew at their big old house one Saturday in late fall.

I’ll tell you what the inside of their house looked like because it plays a role in the tragedy.

Through the front door darkly colored stairs lead to a landing then right a few steps to the second floor.

Straight ahead on the first floor, half way to the kitchen, on the right was what we would call today, the living room where June threw the best birthday party ever; one continuous strand of low level activity, never boring, exactly like her summer yard parties except instead of booze and poker we drank Coke and played kid games.

June moved around the room cajoling, laughing at our antics, giving prizes.

With candles blazing, June brought the cake into our midst.  We gathered, around, the room quiet for the first time.

Knife poised over the cake June, master of the tease, poked and prodded each of us until we were practically drooling before giving each of us a good sized piece of her frosted cake.

It’s easy to see how she lured him into the temptation to eat a piece of her cake deliciously sweet as I’m sure he thought it would be.

Unable to resist, within seconds I was asking for more.

After cake,  we could play games inside or run around outside getting grass stains on our pants.

I explored the house.

Starting with the big yellow kitchen with its old fashioned faucets, windows looking down on the grassy area where Jim and June had their summer parties before the tragedy struck.

After looking into a scary space below the stairs so dank and dark I couldn’t see where it ended I decided to go outside but first, I had to pee.

June told me to use the bathroom upstairs.

I creaked up the stairs to the landing, turned right rising to where I found myself standing between the bathroom to my left (with its black and white tiles, green walls, pedestal sink and cast iron tub with curled feet) and a room at the end of the hall behind a closed door.

After peeing I tip toed toward the door at the other end the hall.

Half way, on the left, a well lit bedroom with high ceilings, a good sized six over six window looked down on the same sidewalk June and my dad walked on the night the tragedy began to unfold.

I opened the door and looked inside the room at the end of the hallway.

There was a ghastly darkness in the corners of the bedroom that seemed to suck light from the walls and floor creating a death like pall where later, I was to learn, June’s husband Jim had blown his head off with a shotgun.

Bluegills

We bought two cardboard containers packed with 15 or 20 corn bores covered in loose black muck, at a farm five miles from where we turned 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 line, 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.

He chopped five holes through the two foot thick ice (careful to angle each larger at the bottom so as not to be funnel shaped, impossible to pull a fish through) using a heavy iron spud rounded at one end, a leather strap at the other wrapped around his wrist 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, 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 etched close to where we sat, sending shivers of fear through me that the ice would open its jaws and swallow us into the inky black depths where not even the slightest ray of light could possibly exist.

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.

Nick and Jessica Ask: Why Was the Telephone Invented? Was I Because Of the G Spot?

Here’s a funny one that happened at the office the other day,  Jessica..

Lay it on me Nick.  Oops!  Did that come out wrong?

I think you said, ”Lay on me?”

He he he … !  Shut up Nick .  Maybe I did but … tell the frickin’ story will you?  (Nick and Jessica smile at each other.)

Wull, one day last week there was a work assignment so they called but, I missed the call.  A little while later I showed up at the office. This is what happened.

Pause …

Ok so, the three of them were talking.  I was doing my paper work when Carol, she’s real aggressive says, ‘’Why do you think phones were invented?’’

For some reason I stared over at Suzanne’s office, behind the wall on the other side of Carol’s desk, into the space between the edge of the open door and the window on the far wall.

Don’t ask me why I looked at that particular spot. I just raised my head and fixated on that spot for a split second.

I was thinking about Linda’s question, wondering why telephones WERE invented. My first conclusion was , I knew damn well telephones weren’t invented so that people could be called for work assignments.

Well you know I was being completely over analytic …

As usual …

… coming up with all kinds of conflicting thoughts. For a split second I even saw Alexander Graham Bell calling his assistant, what was his name ? ….. was it Watson…? to come upstairs because he had spilled some chemical on his hand.

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

Pause ..

Are you waiting for me to start playing the drums on the table Nick?   Hey I never realized you’re a door peeper!

You learn something every day don’t you Jessica?

Silence …

Anyway, I guess they were waiting to hear what I was going to say so, there was some suspense in the air when suddenly I realized I didn’t know why in the hell the telephone was invented.

I felt this kind of confused or maybe it was a concerned look, come over my face. I said, ‘’Wull .. to tell you the truth I don’t know WHY the telephone was invented.’’

I guess I hit three funny bones at the same time since a wall of sound washed over me … you know, that high pitched cackling sound women make when they all start laughing at the same time? It practically threw my head back. I thought I may have aggravated an old football injury.  Don’t they call that the G note, or something like that?

I think you got it all wrong there Nick.  But it would be my pleasure to enlighten you on the difference when the time is right.  

Oh yeah … right!  Jeeze Jess, I’m pretty excited about that.  Isn’t the time at hand always right time, Jess?

Nick looks at Jessica … a sly look on his face.

Don’t get sidetracked Nick.  Gimme the punch line o.k.?

O.K. So, what’s funny is, I wasn’t even trying to be funny. I think it was one of those moments when you find yourself being honest in an almost unconscious way.

The words just popped out of me.  It seemed like I was having one of those out of body experiences.

The thought of total and complete honesty is so far from people’s minds … maybe because it’s so rare… it catches people totally unaware; it’s totally unexpected and… then it makes them laugh.

Gosh Nick, you’re so funny.  Even when you’re not trying to be funny ‘yer funny aren’t you?   

Pause …

Goshdarnit Nick!  You showed ’em whose boss didn’t you?  Real power comes in response to that G spot … I mean note … 

Wull, you’re damn right Jessica.  They won’t do that again! (Nick looks at Jessica, a ridiculously serious look on his face. Jessica’s eyebrows are arched in mock seriousness.)

Nick and Jessica dissolve into laughter.  Pause …

Now, what about that G thing Jess?

He he he …. 

P1010812

Revealed

Journey Home

 

 

Unknown-1

At the end of the road I turned and faced the wind.

Flying dirt or bits of snow piled about in patches stung my face.  Small sticks, newspapers tumbled past. What few leaves left over from Fall were being plucked and sent flying over empty farmers’ fields like dark butterflys speeding along at breakneck speed in circular patterns.

I stared back at the road where moments before I had sailed through life, the wind at my back speeding past life’s beauty, aware only of the burden of unforeseen consequence and pain, the beauty of the world having passed by passed by unnoticed.  My only concern … TIME.

I tossed the heavy knapsack I carried for longer than I can remember into the tall grass where it disappeared.

Golden memories flowed into my mind.

“I must journey forward now,  against the bitter cold.” My destination?  A world where I once lived within the light.

Arms around my chest to keep warm the beating heart within,  I stepped forward and  began the journey home.

Elizabethan Songs

In the village of the offspring/they kept true what they believed/they kept their secrets to themselves.  

Each stem and root among them grew/the tallest oaks and elms/and there were many! living there as well/foxes/and hens/deer and rabbit/ pheasants, starlings, doves.  

The dove! Beautiful light of angelic heart.  

It’s the dove’s first song/that leads the way/with gentle wonder/from the dark of winter/through endless days of summer.   

In the Place of Hearts/there were those lives/joined more not less together/than all the others/equal genius their greatest gift/equal visions their common trait/their natures known before even seen.  

In the Village Of the Hearts/before meaning and time came together/the offspring went different ways/each achieving wisdom along their separate journey’s/the best that they could be/both worlds /a part of destiny/but apart …… 

Pleasure and Pain In the World of the Mechanical Man

Titanium, high grade plastic and epoxy are part of the foundation helping me to stand straight on the right side of my body where those worn out, bone on bone surfaces, taking constant friction have been replaced by shiny new ones. Yippee !!

How long has it been now? Two weeks and four days since they slashed me open and poured molten titanium inside my knee?  For all of that, I’m not doing too bad. That spot welding they do is amazing! 

I’m still stiff and it hurts like hell. I sleep poorly at night but that’s getting better since John from Seattle sent me some herbal mixture that relaxes your body. It comes in tincture form.  Drops you right off into darkness.  

The incision looks better now that the 25 staples holding my skin together have been removed. Those scabs!  Wow!  You should have seen them basking in the sunlight and air, eager to dry up and fall off!

Wull, being a dumb ass like most men, I had the false perception that I could perform most of the the duties I ever performed before this ‘surgical invasion of my senses’ befell me.  

I figured, as long as I work more slowly, don’t push so hard  and pay attention to how I move my body – without twisting – I won’t get hurt. So, I ventured forth.  

One day I swept the pool.   Child’s play, but I felt pretty good about it.  

Another time I was on a safari stalking two little female people screaming with hysterical delight, hiding under a vinyl raft where they THOUGHT they could escape the torrents of water I threw at them from my new hose nozzle!  

 “Now THAT was fun!” the one girl said.  Another example of child’s play but, no pain no strain on that one too.  

At the end of the day on Sunday, after walking across the parking lot to get into the mall, then all over looking for the bathroom, then waiting around at the Apple Store THEN, the whole thing in reverse; my knee was the size of a large cantaloupe!

I had to ride home in the back seat, my leg extended, a pillow over my face to silence my whimpering.

continued:

Monday Tina the Physical Therapist With Her Bone Jarring Expectations

Fall Tragedy: The Lost Tapes

 …..  I didn’t want to try and fit the slapping incident or the  into my normal routines, the sense of security that all kids need.  

 ***

Kids don’t want change.  They fear change when it’s even a little close to their radar.  They depend on stability to keep the vicissitudes of life at bay none of which they know about except for some scary feeling deep inside that tells them there’s a wild beast out there, just outside the boundaries of their lives. 

Maybe the fear grows as they become more aware of the the strange behavior of adults;   the need to get drunk,  the clinging woman or man, the  growling resentful wives, needy women lured into illicit affairs by lecherous men.  The never ending search for love,  you can see it in their eyes.  A yearning for some missing ingredient.  The spark that will ignite the engines of their lonesome souls.  

continued … 

Reliving the Moment One More Time

She faced downward, her spine curved, one side of her face drooped.  He held her hand, wiped the drool from her mouth. They seldom spoke.  Their hands spoke for them.

I pictured her as a slender and beautiful young woman.  Was she a good dancer?   Did she have children?  I imagined them kissing with youthful passion.

I thought; true love can’t be described, it’s a vibration between two people.  Was I seeing true love?

She turned and looked at me, seeming to sense my presence. The left side of her mouth curled into a half smile. Were her eyes telling me she understood my thoughts? Was she answering my question? “Yes, dear boy, you are seeing true love.” How did she know my thoughts?

She faced her husband.  He inclined his head, listened then rose and pushed her to the opposite side bench.  I wondered why they moved. Was the sun too hot?  Did she think she had answered my question and it was time to move on?   Was she too tired to continue our silent dialogue?

After moving I craned my neck to see them. Facing forward, they spoke softly then turning toward each other, they smiled and nodded their heads in unison. Were they telling each other secrets? Was she telling him a boy flirted with her? Or maybe she remembered when they first fell in love and wanted to relive the moment one more time.

Where There Were Snakes Reprinted January 22, 2015

When I was a boy, we caught garden snakes in a field next to a place called the Tub Factory over by the railtracks.  

We trapped the snakes by stepping on their tails.  Pinching them behind their heads we picked them up, looked at their flickering tongues and peered into their angry, cold eyes.  

Their teeth were little bumps.  You didn’t bleed when bitten, but they wouldn’t let go.  

We’d collect six or eight of them in coffee cans, all writhing at the bottom.  I took a can home to my mom once.  She wouldn’t let me keep them as pets. 

The field of snakes was behind the rambling old Eden house with its clapboard exterior that time had painted weathered and grey where seven brothers and sisters lived.  

Their father Mit, a full blooded American Indian was a mean, hard drinking railroad man cruel to people even outside his family.  

His oldest son John was a bad apple.  He combed his greasy black hair into a pompadour, wore cuffed jeans, points, white t-shirts with cigarettes rolled into his sleeve.  His half smile and white teeth belied angry, cold snake eyes that said he could kill you if he wanted.  

People said he even scared his father.  

Legend was he tied cats’ tails together, threw them over clothes lines and set them on fire. 

Later in life he changed his ways, married a nice girl and became a Baptist minister.

Zumba My Ass – Part II

continued … ‘’call 911 yourself you clumsy idiot … it’s all your fault … !  ’’ she said 

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 broken shoulder)  …

but the battery was dead … !

…..

a moment  later she came back into the kitchen …

…..

she began picking the groceries up

but 

she ignored him …

…..

‘’but you’ve never used that thing,” he said … !  it’s bleached out from lying outside in the sun for TWO YEARS … !  

for crying out loud!  

i made a landscape ornament out of that thing 

after the first year … !”

…..

she said, “i was thinking of joining that zumba class
starting next week…!”

she got huffy again and said,

“why don’t you just put the damned groceries away  yourself?”

she stormed out of the kitchen a second time …

…..

despite the pain he yelled,  

‘’but zumba doesn’t USE exercise balls … !’’

…..

the last thing he heard before the door slammed was…

’’Good!

I didn’t  want to take that

stupid class anyway … !

….. 

Later …

he had to drive the Mustang in first gear

all the way to the hospital

 five miles away … !

(the pain was too intense to shift gears)

…..

while it seemed strange to him at the time …

(and despite the pain)

he laughed all the way to the

hospital …

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 could have gone to Brazil or

Paraguay or even

Chechnia but …

i couldn’t find my 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 said,

”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 …

the 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 … !‘’

the younger guy smiled and said, ‘’why not?”

the older guy said … ”well, ok …

… but make it quick … (!)

we haven’t got all day!’’

…..

i grabbed my Detroit Tigers souvenir program (when 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 i locked 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 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

mine …

A Day In The Life IV

continued …. some barn shots to put in the barn file …then i said … fuck … i’ve got to take a shower and get the hell out of here …

images

 … so finally i took a shower … and got dressed … i wanted to go out but i looked at that sunburst mirror, remembered i hadn’t taken the measurements then i looked over at that great vintage bentwood magazine rack … shit …, i’d better get these fakers posted on ebay … when i picked up the magazine rack that was on the couch … i noticed a few tiny little mice turds on the cushions … son of a bitch … ! i took all the cushions off set them aside, got the flashlight to see if the little fuckers had maybe made a nest in there … they hadn’t but i had to vacuum up the tiny little turds … there weren’t that many and it was no big deal but … wull jeeze … little mice turds??…….. i decided to keep moving forward … ! … i needed the dimensions of the starburst mirror to determine shipping costs …  looked for the tape measurer but i couldn’t find it so i went to the computer … (going to the computer is my ‘default’) as soon as a blank space enters my mind i’m pulled to it) ! … i sat there thinking for a minute then, went to the blog site … i read that Little Monster Girl (lmgcomics.com)  said it was ok for me to use her name in the title of the piece i posted … she said she thought it was cool … so, whew … i didn’t want to offend her by assuming i could just use her name … so now i’m stuck sitting here … i decided not to go to Wall Mart to exchange the water purifier and furnace filter until …..

continued …

I Love Sugar I Love Sugar …

… Seconds later I watched them fly over the tops of the trees cawing as they flew away … 

DSC_1060

Shortly after saying good bye to the crows,  I walked through the front door just in time for dinner; tender strips of chicken thighs pounded into cutlets and  a vegetable salad made with these tiny nuts called quinoa.

At one point, while eating, I took a breath to say something and sucked one of the little nuts way back into the sinus regions of my head.  I knew I was going to start retching so I threw both hands over my face and ….. retched!

In between the gagging noises, I heard laughter so I peeked between my hands.  Ellie and Lisa were both laughing pretty hard.  Ellie had thrown her head back.  With her mouth wide open, she was laughing hysterically at the ceiling.

Finally,  I coughed so hard I had to leave the table.  I continued to cough and gag in the bathroom around the corner.

When I returned, they were grinning at me. Hugh’s chin rested on the palm of his hand, index finger curled over his upper lip.  Jodi looked up at me through the tops of her eyes.  It looked like Ellie and Lisa would burst out laughing at any second.

I don’t know what that was all about. I told them the nut I coughed up, was about the size of the kidney stone  I passed earlier that summer.  No one said a word.  I guess they didn’t make the connection.

After the dishes were washed we sat around the table talking about music.  Elli played the music of whatever artists we talked about … the Beatles, Frank Zappa, music from the musical Annie, a little Zepelin and Kaskade.

She danced and everyone was entertained.  But, she wouldn’t let me move my chair so that I could watch her.  I think she thought I might make fun of her even though at one point I showed her how to do The Jerk and The Pony.

After that, we sat around eating platters of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Lisa kept saying .. I love sugar, I love sugar!

The Bob Middleton Story

Unknown-3 🏆✨💛 Winner First Annual Little Monster Girl Award For Excellence

I watched Bob navigate perilously close to high cliffs, in imminent danger from falling cans of tomato sauce if he made a clumsy Y turn.

After we paid for his food, I loaded everything into the car and we drove to his apartment where I helped him pack his walker full of groceries before parking the car.

When I came inside, Bob and another man with a walker were chatting next to the elevator doors.

“Hey Bob,’’ the other man said,  “Bring plenty of dough to the game tonight. My wife could use some extra shopping money.”

“Yeah sure,” Bob said, nodding his head while looking up at the  slowly descending numbers above the doors.  “I’ll probably have to use a credit card to buy groceries next week.’’  They both laughed.

Back inside his apartment, Bob stared at the groceries stacked on his kitchen table.

“That doesn’t look like $75 worth of groceries to me.’’

I showed him the receipt for $47.64.  He nodded his head, abruptly turned and walked away.

‘’I gotta go,” he said.  “Nature’s calling.’’

I put the groceries away then set a cluster of grapes on napkins at both ends of the table, like I always do and waited for Bob to return.

Bob stared silently at the two clusters while I stood waiting.

“What makes you think you can just take grapes for yourself without asking? Why not grab few cookies while you’re at it?” He pointed to the cookie jar.

Bob, a former deep sea diver, stared down at me from his six feet four frame.  His  stare was unrelenting.  I felt like crying.

When I reached for the refrigerator door he punched me on the shoulder.

‘’Just kidding,’’ he said as he sat down.

I didn’t think it was funny.

“Don’t ever pull that shit on me again, Bob,’’ I said.

I took my grapes and went into the living room.

Within a couple of minutes I thought, if Bob could bluff me into crying he should have no problem taking money from that yahoo next to the elevator downstairs.

dogs-playing-poker

The Gray of Darkest Night

images-15

I sat and watched in peaceful trance

water cascade toward me,

it’s white caps reaching for the shore

where purest water and land met

in perfect balance.

A half mile off shore men fished in the trough between

shallow water colored tan and

deep water blue that extended to the horizon

then further where deepest knowledge lies hidden beyond the

fog that blurs the boundary line

of the event horizon  …

… when the world and everything in it

came alive!

an immense delta shaped cloud miles across

morphed into a giant sparrow

its tail feathers tendril-like

emerging from a roiling line of black

trailing far behind

each twisting through air

in its own unique way …

parts of the whole drifting away,

thin strands of cloud DNA

seeking like minded life forms

reforming into new more powerful forces or

receding into the mist

i listened for words grown silent;  empty space greater than

the sound of crashing waves,

or the passing wind that filled my ears …

when shades of gray surrounded me;

the sandy bottom of the great lake became a subtle shade of gray;

the white caps a more subtle shade … with motion …

the shoreline grass multi faceted shades,

the sky in slow diminishing muted shades of gray

slowly turning toward

the blue black of night

I was living in the gray zone before nighttime on the

boundary line between time when

 dreams from beyond the horizon are born

within the light of darkest night

The Animal Chronicles: Crows

Crows … 

 images-1

 It

happened last spring  while

walking a winding black top road in

rural tennessee past

rolling hills

green pasture land

trees with fresh new leaves

bathed in magical sunlight on a quiet

peaceful day the

Nikon strapped under my arm

around my

neck …

…..

WHAT HAPPENED … ?!

OH … !!

my encounter with

THOSE NOISY  CROWS … !

*****

… as i rounded the curve

i encountered a gathering of ten to fifteen

in the dense undergrowth on the

opposite side of the road

all

cawing and yakking and

talking and squawking at

the same

time … !

…..

they sounded like a group of school boys on the

playground arguing and yelling

at the top of their lungs

each intent on

outshouting the

other …

…..

when they realized i stood

not thirty feet away

they became

silent …

…..

surprised … perhaps … that

they had let their guard down long enough for me to

approach them so

closely …

…..

they seemed such a funny group inside my

imagination

their

heads suddenly jerking toward me at the same

time …

their curved beaks pointing downward …

their eyes unblinking …

listening … looking stupid and

unawares

briefly startled away from the calamity and constant

clamor

of their daily

lives …

 …..

so i railed at them with sarcastic

comments …

…..

i laughed …

telling them how

ridiculous they sounded … all yelling and

crowing  at the same time …

blah, blah, blah blah … !!

…..

they remained silent …

unmoving …

…..

 i continued walking …

…..

i shouted over my shoulder that they were

ridiculously ill mannered animals

who spend all their time

behaving poorly … yelling for hours on end

forcing all manner of beasts and humans to

escape from wherever their incessent talk

could be

heard …

…..

i shouted that

they should be arrested for

disturbing the peace … !!!

and laughed even

louder … !!

…..

within seconds

i watched them fly over the tops of a

stand of trees

across the road … all

cawing at the same

time ….

…..

i waved good bye

yelling  …

HEY YOU GUYS … ! THANKS FOR LISTENING FOR A

CHANGE  … !

…..

then …

they were gone …

and the air felt soft and cool

and the tuscany sun shone on the

rolling hills giving the

whole world a magical

glow …

Within the Fragments of His Mind

DSC_0179

He lived with Her until  she couldn’t

stand it so

she relocated him to a

room in an old house next to a

gas station …

…..

that house was consumed in

flames

one night in

defense – he said – of the

FBI lurking outside his

window …

…..

the court said he did it on

purpose …

“Why would the FBI be there … ?” they

asked …

…..

they called his demons

arson …

…..

they relocated him to the

county lockup for 60

days …

…..

after that, he took a

test …

…..

he passed with flying

colors … !

…..

they told Her he had a

schism

of sorts …

some kind of

void

in the area of his

pre-cognition …

…..

so

he was relocated to a

room half way between

Her life and the

flames of his

past …

…..

that new place had some

greatness to it

but eventually –

because of a variance of

gender

 his curious desire

to

peer through windows in the

darkness of night,

 his

perverse intent,

his

inability to

attach …

…..

they couldn’t stand him any longer …

…..

once again he was

relocated …

…..

after that, he lived in

four walled

singularity

where he found

peace

in the world of his

schism

and the gloominess of his

void …

…..

She visited him

frequently …

…..

they laid about watching the

light while

sleeping …

…..

few words passed between

them …

…..

She gave him

sustenance …

…..

he accepted her

gifts

with bland

acknowledgement …

but …

…..

after death consumed

Her

his needs

festered and

grew

to

phantasmagorical

proportions …

continued …

Tea With the Cat and Me

images-9

While my wife and I

sipped morning tea I told my

cat

she was

beautiful …

…..

the cat

squinted her eyes, flicked her

ear

(telling me she understood)

then,

dropped to the

floor

turned and

walked across the

back of the

ottoman she had been

 lying on …

(her tail moving along the edge like a curved round feather suspended in midair)

turned the corner, walked

past us

stopped …

then …

pointing her tail at the

ceiling

drew three circles,

dropped it to

the

left …

sashayed it

right then

straight up where she

twitched it

two or three times

before

lowering herself to the

floor …

… facing away from us …

with the

tips of her

ears

pointing back

(… toward where we were sitting … )

…..

 since I understand cat

language quite

well …

i decided to tell my

wife about the

language of

cats …

…..

 “ … cat’s thought vibrations link up to their

tails

the same way our

thoughts link with our vocal

chords … ,” i said …

…..

“… if you focus on the

nuances of their

behavior

(watching their tails closely)

and

stop your mind from

chattering

… (cats of course don’t think using words) …

their

thoughts

can be

understood quite

easily …

i have conversations with the

cat

all day

long … !”

…..

i looked over at the

cat …

one ear twitched …

…..

my wife

who had been listening

 quietly …

caught me off guard

blurting …

” … ARE YOU MAKING THIS STUFF UP … ?”

*****

for years I had

observed my cat’s

behavior …

but hadn’t read anything

to

support my

claims …

…..

all I could say was,

“wull I guess so but …”

…..

and that’s when I found myself

sitting alone with the

cat …..

Purple Words

After a while they began to/glimpse the world between the/lines … pointing to things I/would never have/noticed … continued …

images-6 Five blocks from 

school at a 

red and yellow 

blinking light

we 

crossed over the 

road

and

continued walking

two blocks

north

to a 

Dairy Queen

where i bought each of them

chocolate or vanilla 

cone … 

….. 

We ate our cones sitting

under a 

giant 

oak …  

…..

Leaned against the 

tree I marveled at the 

sweet innocence of my 

eight year old 

students … 

…..

At the right moment 

 i 

spoke of the unique

objects

sounds and 

thoughts

i

experienced along our 

seven block 

journey … 

…..

i asked them to 

describe

what they 

saw, felt and 

heard … 

….. 

Once they began sharing

stories

their thoughts

 and  

words

flowed  

as 

bright streams of 

light … 

…..

And so …..

watched and 

listened as a 

sun 

born from winter into spring 

shone

through 

budding leaves

dappling their 

faces 

with ever changing 

patterns of 

light 

while they spoke of  

discoveries 

taken from separate 

worlds … 

and …

their thoughts were 

fluid 

and 

bright …

and …

sunlight streaming through

the leaves  

knitted their words and 

thoughts 

into a

tapestry 

and …

as the 

sun rose

higher

details of their 

remembrances

grew …

and …

the tapestry became  more 

complex and

beautiful

as sun’s light

arched

higher and 

higher …

continued … 

The State Theatre

images-1

One day during the summer of  ’59 we drove 

to Lansing, thirty five miles south of where we

lived,  to visit  

relatives ….. .

…..

While the adults drank and laughed in the back

 yard,

we were shipped off to the

State Theatre downtown where we would see 

the movie Giant,  with Rock Hudson, Liz Taylor and 

James Dean .,..   

…..

It was Friday afternoon so, 

there were few people at the 

theatre …

…..

There weren’t any 

people in the balcony 

… where we were …

so we had the   

run of the 

place .… 

…..

The first thing my brother did was 

look over the railing to see if there were 

any heads below he could spit  

on …

…..

Too bad … no one within 

range … 

he walked away

disappointed …  .

…..

Having never seen one, we were

fascinated with 

the balcony … a

wide curve of seating that 

extended from opposite sides of the 

theatre 

over the audience downstairs,  toward

navy blue velvet 

curtains that

opened and closed at the

beginning and 

end of each 

movie …

…..

A triple decker organ 

occupied the 

space between the 

front row of 

seats and the 

blue velvet 

curtains  … 

…..

We had never seen an 

organ in a movie theatre …

… we wondered, 

when does somebody play

it?

…..  

Since we were alone up there whenever boredom

set in we 

ran all over the 

place …  

…..

….. up and down the 

stairs, around the 

seats, on the 

seats,  over the 

 seats …  and even

under the 

seats … 

……

We had a 

contest  to see who could 

walk across a row of seats while 

stepping on each 

cushion without 

falling … 

…..

Then, we played the same 

game only on the arm 

rests …. 

…..

We raced the 

“pulling yourself on your back under the seats’’ 

race from back to 

front …  

…..

When the movie was 

good we stopped playing and 

watched … 

…..

There were a couple of  

good parts even though this was an adult  

movie … 

…..

One part I liked was when James Dean, 

called Rock Hudson a

“son of a  benedict … ”

 and I thought he was going to say

bitch … 

another part i liked was when 

James Dean got 

drunk and made an 

ass out of 

himself at a big 

party … 

…..

The movie ended after one final fight 

scene, at a

roadside diner, when a

prejudiced cook wouldn’t

serve food to Rock Hudson’s  

daughter-in-law because

she was

 Mexican …

…..

 Rock and his son won the 

fight,

of course … 

…..

We had fun that 

day at the 

State Theatre, chasing 

each other over and 

under the 

seats, walking on the 

armrests and 

looking over the 

balcony for a theatre goers 

heads to spit on …..  

…..

….. After the movie, i realized  …..

life is a story with good 

parts and bad … it’s

beautiful or ugly, and 

if you’re lucky,

Liz’s face will appear 

somewhere along the

line  …

…..

Then i realized 

that …..

Life is a playground in a 

movie theatre full of empty 

seats …..

– Russell –

Unknown-1

She sat against an angular chair tipped

back, legs propped on a railing,

relaxed, half in

sleep,

trusting ….

…..

Their streams of picture words

meandered along common

pathways …

…..

They were two old friends with shared lives from the

beginning of

time …

…..

He spoke with gravely,  slow resonance of past

glory, sad love taken … crazy half

formed thoughts and

ideas …

tenderly given from

his gentle

soul …

…..

His thoughts and words could have been

beautiful were they not so curled

about …

…..

But it didn’t matter …

the distant past played its

familiar, comforting

role …

…..

They talked about life through a kaleidoscope lens of

colors slightly

out of

focus …

…..

 Events and people

shared while he

slowly,

gently

stroked her

leg …

Another You Know … Death!

You Know …. Death!

images-1

Another Encounter

one winter i was a 

crossing guard along the

road way across from my 

school … 

…..

i had time to play, one

day, all alone … 

i took a running head 

first dive into the deep freshly 

fallen snow above the drainage 

ditch … 

…..

my neck cracked when i stopped 

falling … barely touching the 

ground  … two inches more and i’d be

dead …  

…..

my feet stood straight up

above the 

snow … 

i couldn’t get out, standing

on my 

head … !

i finally got out …probably by 

wiggling …

The End 

 

You Know …. Death!

images-1

You know … DEATH … !

Death and i have brushed 

shoulders many 

times in my

Life …  

for example …

…..

One day i found a loaded

deer rifle at 

home in the 

closet down 

stairs:  but, i didn’t know it was 

loaded … !!

….. 

i pulled the cocking 

lever back and 

forward like the Rifleman did on 

t.v. then 

pointed it … 

…..

my brother looked down at the 

barrel pointed at his 

stomach … 

…..

one half second before 

pulling the 

trigger i 

wheeled around to shoot a 

bad guy sneaking up on 

me  …

…..

the force of the 

explosion drove me 

against the closet 

door …. 

 the bullet 

punched a 

hole in the third 

step,  leading 

upstairs to our 

bedroom … 

…..

carpet on the 

steps covered the 

bullet hole … 

i put the rifle where i  found 

it …

…..

my mind is a 

blank after 

that … i think i 

blanked it 

away … .  

…..

it took five years to get 

caught …

(when) … 

…..

Carpenters found a bullet in a 

wall, remodeling the 

garage into a 

kitchen … 

…..

they scratched and 

scratched their 

heads and so did 

He (my dad) … how?  

why? 

when? …  they

asked …

…..

perplexed, at 

dinner that 

night, He told us the 

mystery …

why?,  how?, 

when? … a 

bullet … ?!!

…..

i broke down … told them the 

truth … ‘’i found the rifle in the 

closet … ,’’ (I feared for my 

life while  telling

them  … .)

She said, “but your brother is still 

alive!” …

…..

i had  never 

seen them so 

happy … !!

…..

i guess you’d call this the  

story of  ‘death and

life’ …

…..

The End 

ESOTERICA !

Thrown out shit, ridiculous, almost worthless works combined into one stupid, bullshit and not a LITTLE fricking  brilliant (at times) collection of; poems, incomplete thoughts and ideas .. very brief stories all told in the most esoteric way.

It’s Esoteric !

 images-5

Holding Onto A Rope Hooked to the Back of A Car While

Standing Inside A Pair of Skis Just Prior to

Rolling Down the Surface of

A Gravel Road 

Falling from a pair of skis while being towed behind the

car after announcing one lazy Sunday morning, “I 

can ski behind a car!’’

 If he had known she harbored secret resentments from 

long ago resulting in the car being driven dangerously fast over 

patches of gravel where the 

ice had been worn away,  the gravel grinding 

his skis down like sandpaper which of course 

separated him from the skis and the rope but, 

did not impede his 

body from rolling down the road like a  

rolling pin further and further away from the 

back of the car (and the rope) … he might not have been quite so 

cavalier in the first place.  

***

(Here’s another one … )

I was so tired i had to open my eyes to see what i was doing. 

images-3

(It’s so esoteric!  It’s Esoterica!)

Esoterica

Thrown out shit, ridiculous, almost worthless works combined into one stupid, bullshit and not a LITTLE fricking  brilliant (occasionally, very occasionally) collection; poems, incomplete thoughts and ideas .. very brief stories all told in the most esoteric way.

images-2

ESOTERICA

They lived in one of those big mission style houses with the dormer windows out front.  Just inside the front door you walked up creaky steps, to the second floor where two bedrooms to the right, a short distance down a hallway,  sat next to each other … where death changed my life.  

Downstairs just inside the front door at the end of the hall, the kitchen looked like a lighted rectangular picture with yellow walls, a red melmac table with curved chrome legs and the shadows of moving mothers.  

Halfway down the hallway to the right you entered what we would call the living room where the best birthday party I ever attended, happened.  

We played a boys version of spin the bottle and we dropped clothes pins into milk bottles and we played pin the tail on the donkey and it was all boys and we were very much in tune with what boys do best which is to cavort around, while something has given it’s attention to us, for brief periods of time until whatever it was we were doing became the least bit boring (you wonder why we channel surf?) … when we dropped what we were doing and continued the search.  

On this day, we all channel surfed around the room at a pretty good pace!  

It was fun and we didn’t get bored because games and things carried us along when suddenly … the cake appeared with candles burning and we all stood around watching it get cut, every one of us hoping at the same time, that we would be lucky enough to get the corner piece.  

Within seconds cake was in my hands and I was eating it.  

That party;  one continuous strand of low level activity drawn through a crowd at a very lackadaisical pace, moving forward .. always moving forward.  

So I was familiar with the house downstairs and I may have gone upstairs to go to the bathroom so I was familiar with where it happened upstairs .. beginning to end.  

Within the Lakes and Fields of Life

stock-photo-flock-of-sheep-grazing-beneath-a-tree-on-fresh-spring-meadow-45080338

And her?  It’s hard to say what she liked to do with her time.  She put no demands on us.  But I have to give her credit.  She made me kneel down with her to teach me the correct way to wash a floor.  You can’t wash a floor standing up!  And just because we were boys we weren’t exempt from washing the dishes.

She was a stickler for certain details like, stray strands of corn silk left over when you shucked corn for dinner, which we always did in the lot next door on the east side of the house.  (He had taken a liking to lamb so,  he put a fence around the lot and soon four sheep took up residence there.  We climbed the fence and wrapped our hands around fistfuls of wool and rode them bareback.  After that, they skittered away along the fence line when we even came close to them.  The four of them escaped one day.  It’s a tragic tale but, that’s another story.)

The basic difference between the two of them had to do with time. He liked to fill his with  meaning while she liked to create empty space without meaning.  She needed her nap every afternoon.  Maybe teaching us how to wash floors and dishes was her way of creating  the very spaces that he liked to fill.  But she never asked us to do those jobs to give her the empty time she craved.

The Day I Felt That Way

images-1

I wondered if she thought about my feelings

after that day?

The day we talked and she

made me cry …

I wondered why the tears came so quickly, like

dust blown at my face then, a slow drizzle on a

misty gray morning.

It took days to realize the

strange transgression of feelings

between us …

Finally, I emerged into the sun

drawn toward the relief I pursued.

I felt a rush of wind just before my

final step up the

steep grade …

Behind the Green Door – One (of Three)

Unknown

While waiting for my stylist to finish the customer ahead of me, my attention was drawn away from People Magazine because I had to pee.

I rose and walked toward three doors where I thought the bathroom was probably located.  Just to make sure I asked which of the three doors was the bathroom.

The lady in the chair and the one with the scissors (who I will call Scissors Lady and Chair Lady) both pointed straight ahead.  It was unclear which door they pointed to so, I opened the door facing me where I was surprised to see the air conditioning air exchange unit crammed between two narrow walls.

A PVC pipe at the front of the apparatus evoked the memory of a similar PVC pipe on my AC unit at home; the one that needs to be shocked with chlorine occasionally to kill algae that can build up and stop condensed waste water from flowing outside, away from the condenser unit, where it’s supposed to go.

Since my attention was focused on that pipe i said, loudly enough for everyone in the room to hear, “Am I supposed to pee into that little pipe?” I heard some chatter to my left … the familiar sound of the G Note ratcheting up.

Scissors and Chair lady both chimed in,  “Nooo … .  It’s in that other door.”  It looked like they were curving their fingers to the left.

“Ohhh …. sorry,” I said as I turned left.

 Next: The Door to the Left

A Larger World

Unknown

I can still see, with exquisite detail,  a

path,

leading to the creek where I played as a boy,

  that cut acres of brown field grass where

pheasants, snakes, and monarchs lived alongside

 curved streets where houses built

from grains of sand taken from the earth

not far away

slowly filled the empty spaces

between.

***

Beyond the creek I can see the behemoths slowly rolling their

captured, boxed freight on risen ground after

long hauls over

ribbons of steel …

… the sound of  their resonant cleansing breath so deeply powerful , and  

for a brief moment

terrifying,

that it  seemed to lift me off my feet!  

***

At times these worlds

Float and swim around me, they

draw close then, move away,  again and again.

I pirouette through space and time with them.

We share eyes and light streams.

We twist and flow into one another and

even when they are

dim and far away I sense them

behind the veil …..

The Big House

images copy 19

The Big House

There was a Big House in my universe.

A place where dreams were born and people/ rode into the world pulled by fire breathing ‘gines and/later, by the new breed of groaning beasts.

We heard them day and night/Their power was awesome but we were NEVER afraid/The friendly beasts gave us our lives!

We often journeyed where they were, to watch and/ stand in awe of them/We talked to our fathers who tended, fed, groomed and loved the beasts.

When they finished caring for the beasts they told them where to go and we watched them disappear into the world.

We dreamed of the day/when WE would ride with our beasts into the world.

Those beasts, they were our Lives!

Dragons who did not fly but rolled across the earth over ribbons of steel.

We loved our dragons, our fiery beasts/They lulled us to sleep with their night work.

They sang lonely notes to us

In our dreams …

Ex-It

images-2 copy 8

images-1 copy 17I feel an angry black whirlwind blowing against me./My emotions churn within.  Dust, dirt, bits of/stone sting my eyes and ears … batter my face.

I can’t think.  The fierce wind is too loud; the black/wind blows through my eyes and swirls within my brain./I blindly grope for something – anything – any fucking/thing to hold on to as I am buffeted about.

I flail my arms,  I howl in desperation to/confuse the raging whirlwind, but it whips me/more fiercely.  The wind mocks me; it threatens to /submerge me into the soil; to bury me inside the earth.

I am sinking into the ground shouting for help.  I know my/words cannot be heard above the din.  Below me a voice is repeating, repeating/youyouyouyouyouyou ………

In desperation i scream …

I sense calming air, a/ flicker of light that’s/too distant to understand.

I let myself fall into an abyss; I feel the/pulse, pulse, pulse …

I’m in a tunnel lying on a sled a/sloping incline before me with no end in sight.

To my right I see doors.  Door after door, after door sloping/down and down and down along the right side of /an endless incline.

A voice asks me if I want to go and I say, “Yes.”

The sled slides down the slope and gathers speed./With more speed the doors pass by more quickly.

To the front of me I see a limitless number of doors as I /approach them faster and faster.

I realize that each door is a period of/TIME.  I see hundreds of thousands, millions, millions of/millions of doors in the distance as they approach and/ pass by.

With increasing speed, the doors become slimmer/until they are thin lines almost touching … then, they/blend together and the wall becomes solid grey.

An incline appears in the distance.  My sled/slows and gradually comes to a halt in front of a/door the width and height of my sled./A voice says/ – “Do you want to enter?”

The voice is calming.  I have no fear.  I think for a moment.  “Yes.”

A sign above the door says one word “free-ze”.

My sled moves through the door into blackness … .

The sled is gone.  I lie supine; my eyes closed, within the/grip of a warm, nurturing hand … soft and alive .. living matter.  The/ warm humas of the earth.  And I sleep.

You Have No Idea What It’s Like To Be Me – 250

images copy 54I had a date for lunch.  I wore dockers, a new shirt, sweater and nice boots.

Driving to the restaurant,  I heard engine noises.

I parked at Wal Mart to check the oil.  I unscrewed the radiator cap but it fell into the engine compartment.  I searched the engine for thirty minutes until black grease covered my hands and sweater but … no cap.

I bought a flashlight at Wal Mart.  For another thirty minutes I searched, sometimes on my back, but … no cap.

I went to the Wal Mart automotive department.  A clerk said they had no caps.  “Go to the parts place next door.’’

I walked there in snow and freezing temperatures.

“Do you have radiator caps?”

‘’Cats?”

“Yeah right, I always put cats in my radiator!’’  Laughter.

‘’Having a bad day?”

‘’You don’t know.’’

I paid $3.75 for the cap and walked to my car.  It fit!

But my lunch date was a failure.  And my clothes were a mess.

Later, I called my ex-date, scrubbed my sweater,  showered and don’d old clothes.

After a cheese sandwich with milk, I napped but, restless legs woke me.

I thought about the day.  People always tell me, “You’re so lucky.  You have so many experiences to write about!”

Spare me the ridiculous! I’ve got plenty to write about!

But, why complain? My car has a new radiator cap and I have another grand experience to write about!

Wull o.k but … you have no idea what it’s like to be me.

Central Time, Bible Bread, Crows, Midday Sun, Retching Orzo, Laughter and More …..

images copy 42

I worked from six thirty eastern time (Tennessee is in the Central Time Zone) until around eleven o’clock.  Then I showered and rested until around noon.

After resting I drank a cup of coffee and talked to Hugh about computers.  Elli came into the kitchen to make sandwiches.  Hugh asked if I liked avocados.  I said yes but wasn’t prepared for the fabulous sandwich she made: swiss cheese with sliced avocado, mayo and mustard on that thick dark bread made from a recipe they found in the Bible.  Unique … like nothing I’d eaten before.  Strong muenster cheese made in Israel.  Very tasty.  Then I went back to work.

DSC_1042I finished the back of the house, took another shower and laid down for a half hour or so.  Then, I grabbed my camera and walked a quarter of a mile or so along the curving country road in front of their house taking pictures of the incredibly beautiful rolling countryside, surrounding Thompson Station Tennessee, thick with trees and pasture land.  The air, clear and clean and calm felt cool against the overworked skin on my face and neck and arms.  You could see a speck of pollen pass before your eyes if you stopped and waited long enough.

The rolling land and trees seemed to glow much like pictures of Tuscany that I have seen where sunlight has a magical quality … and so it was there …..

On the way back I approached an area where a noisy group of crows were having an argument in the thick vegetation near the side of the road left of where I walked.  They were fun to listen to … like listening to a bunch of guys argue about which NFL team would win the Super Bowl but, you could’t understand a word they said.  I couldn’t understand what the crows were arguing about either but I understood their sentiments.

DSC_1059I didn’t want to interfere with their angry exchanges.  I thought that if I surprised them, they might attack me.  Seriously!  So, I  crossed to the other side of the road.  After a few steps I think they sensed my presence and stopped “hollering” at each other.   Maybe they suddenly realized that, because of their incessant squawking they may have allowed a human to get too close to them.

After they quieted down I made caw, cawing sounds and laughed at them, as if to make fun of their squabbling and fighting.  A few steps later I hurled a couple of epithets at them for being so rude and stupid then laughed at them again.  Stupid crows!  Seconds later I watched them fly over the tops of the trees cawing as they flew away.

Shortly after that,  I walked through the front door just in time for dinner; tender strips of chicken thighs pounded into cutlets and  a vegetable salad made with small nuts the consistency of ‘orzo’.

At one point, when I took a breath to talk, I sucked one of the little nuts back into the sinus region of my head. I knew I was going to start retching so I threw my hands over my face and ….. retched!  (and retched and retched) I heard Elli and her mom … Lisa … laughing hysterically.  I peeked through my hands and saw Elli with her head back laughing.  Finally,  I coughed so hard I had to leave the table.

When I came back from the bathroom I told everyone that the nut I coughed up was as big as the  kidney stone  I had passed a couple of months ago.  The four of them were still laughing pretty hard.  I don’t know why.

After the dishes were cleared and stored away, we talked about music.  Elli left the table and, played the music of whatever artists we talked about … the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, music from the musical Annie.  (no Zeppelin, Cream or drum and bass)

Elli danced and everyone was entertained but she wouldn’t let me watch her.  I think she thought that because I had been funny,  I might make fun of her even though at one point I got up and showed her how to do The Jerk and The Pony.

After that, we sat around eating platters of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Lisa kept saying .. I love sugar, I love sugar …  L

Rolling In the Rolling Hills of Tennessee

DSC_0942 A worse day than the day before because it was the most  critical day.  If I didn’t hit goals today i’d never finish the work I wanted to accomplish tomorrow.

I got very hung up in heights today … a lot of adjustments to a heavy motherfucking ladder that opens and closes to fit different purposes which I’m in favor of except the thing is so goddamned heavy.  But I guess I should be happy that Hazoose  brought the thing over.  I can’t decide whether it was the worst favor a person could have done for me or … whether it gave me a chance to do the whole house which indeed,  would have been a prodigious amount of work to have accomplished.

DSC_1019Wull but,  just think about it; one person repeatedly scaling the heights, about 20 feet up, to paint the gable end of the house, fixing a custom front entry that was so out of square I had to use about fifteen tubes of caulking and many coats of white paint, to make it look gorgeous.  There still isn’t a ninety degree angle in the whole thing but you’d hardly know it.

To add insult to injury, even more work was accomplished at the end of that second long day.

I had finally called it a day when I couldn’t work any more.  That’s when my friend came out and hosed me off.  It was the only way to cool down after working all day in the hot Tennessee sun.  My friend by the way, her name is Ellie.  She’s ten years old.

images-3 copy 4After she hosed me off and we created quite a bit of mayhem, I got fixated on the front porch steps which, are going to be replaced if all goes well …  so I removed them with a hammer and wrecking bar before dinner while the couple across the street and Hugh and Lisa and Jodi all kibitzed while i worked and everyone was watching me while they talked and having a good ole time.  I’ll admit they’re nice people … great neighbors.  there are a whole lot of stories i could tell you about that family.  But the tangent’s not worth it.

A walk with my camera in the beautiful countryside at the end of the day, were all I needed to feel good again.

After dinner I read out loud, all three parts of The Cathy and Derek Chronicles which was a pretty big hit then, I read The Crossroad Heading South but I couldn’t finish reading it because I couldn’t stop crying when I got to the part about Olympia dying.  Actually I barely made it through the whole piece but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t make it past Olympia’s death.

After that there was a formal gathering of people outside where we all sat staring at the front door.

The Cathy and Derek Chronological Ending – III

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I turned my head again to look at the yard sign where I saw Scooter Guy attempting to saddle his scooter having tipped it right side up all by himself … 

One wheel of the scooter rested on the shoulder, the other on the black top of a much busier “through” street, ninety degrees left of the street he was on, where he’d soon be driving his scooter against traffic.

(Across the street, a wide concrete bike path watched Scooter Guy with cold indifference all the while thinking, ‘’Jesus, what a dumb shit.”)

When I looked back again at the sign all thoughts of Scooter Guy evaporated.  The penis inserted between the A and D seemed to have grown larger and much more prominent than before.  I asked myself,  why in God’s name would Scooter Guy insert a penis between the R and D of his yard sale sign?

I pointed at the sign, turned to look at my friend and while looking into his eyes shouted,  ’’But there’s a penis on that sign!  Can’t you see it!”

My friend’s eyes were squinting … his teeth still showed.  While his head and shoulders bounced up and down from giggling laughter, he suddenly turned and an instant later all I saw was his back receding away as he rushed toward the passenger side of his car.

Meanwhile, six or seven cars had lined up behind my friend’s car oblivious to the circumstances at hand, their passengers anxious to move past the stop sign and continue along on their various well worn paths.

I looked at the face of the female half of my friends relationship, her head still outside of the passenger side window.   With that shit eating grin still on her face she yelled,  ‘’So, whaddya been doing with yourself these days!’’ then laughed hysterically, while I stood on the black top with a grin on my face.

Suddenly, standing in the left lane all by myself facing a line of incoming traffic growing longer by the minute, I felt embarrassed.

I made eye contact with my laughing friend, felt the common bond of friendship and shared mirth between us, shrugged my shoulders and walked three steps to the left  toward my car door which was still open.

I slid into the black leather of the Mustang but, before slamming the door, craned my neck to look back at my friend … her head still visible outside the window, the rear view mirror obscuring  the bottom half of her face.

When I had her in my sights, I pointed and yelled. ’’BUT THERE’S A PENIS IN THAT SIGN!’’

I slammed the car door, put the Mustang into first gear, looked both ways and slowly let out on the clutch.  A split second before moving through the intersection  I looked into the left side, outside, rear view mirror.

My friend’s head was still outside of her window.  She still had that shit eating grin on her face but now her head bobbed up and down and up and down and up and down … like one of those bobble headed hula girl statues I remembered (from when I was a boy), that my grandparents displayed on the shelving unit that separated their tiny little living room from their tiny little kitchen.

The Cathy and Derek Chronological …. II

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While Scooter Guy …  tanned and shirtless wearing bermuda shorts and sandals, around 75 years old,  struggled to escape from beneath his scooter I took a moment to weigh my options;

would Scooter Guy’s male ego assert itself with resentment if I attempted to help him get up?

When I stared down into Scooter Guy’s glazed eyes I saw no trace of male ego so I said, ’’Hey, do you need some help with that thing?”

While watching Scooter Guy squirm beneath the weight of his scooter,  I heard a female voice shout my name.

I turned and there sat the female half of the couple I hadn’t seen in a year, her whole head extended out of the drivers side window of her car, her face beaming with joy, enjoying the experience of witnessing something totally apart from the circumstances of everyday life.

Not surprisingly, instead of asking about Scooter Guy’s condition (does he look hurt, do you need help lifting the scooter?) she said,  “Can you believe how that guy spelled yard sale?”

I looked over my shoulder at the sign where “yard’’ was spelled ‘’yeard’’ but my first thought was that the R on ‘yeard’ looked like a penis standing tall along side the A and D which struck me,  along with the misspelling of the word, as being pretty funny.

The misspelling also explained why Scooter Guy’s eyes appeared to be glazed.

When I turned to remark about the penis in ‘’yeard’’ sale, the male half of my two friends …  a giant of a man, six feet four inches tall at least, his bald head shining in the afternoon sun, his front teeth showing from behind lips stretched back into a wide grin … loomed  larger and larger within my field of vision until only the buttons on his plaid shirt were visible before I closed my eyes and felt a hard embrace which, because I hadn’t seen him in a while, I responded to by throwing my arms around him while slapping him hard, on the right side angel bone of his back,  with my right hand.

When I pulled back from his hug and looked up at his smiling face …  his eyes wide and round and blue, his mouth still stretched side to side, his teeth still showing …  I heard him say,  ‘’Can you believe how that guy spelled yard?”

I turned my head again to look at the yard sign where I saw Scooter Guy attempting to saddle his scooter having tipped it right side up all by himself …

More ….

The Kathy and Derek Chronological … I

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I hadn’t seen my married friends for quite a while.

I like them because they aren’t afraid to laugh at stupid humor.

In fact they seek it out in conversation and by their actions so,  as they move through life funny situations are always  happening to them which means they are a lot like me so, we have a lot in common.

I hadn’t seen them for at least a year until that Saturday,  about a week ago.

I sat in my car at a stop sign that day … the second car in line …  when I realized a commotion was taking place on the corner to my left, between two people …  the driver of the car in front of me and another man I’ll call Scooter Guy who sat on one of those three wheeled scooters that elderly people ride all over town.

At first I thought the driver was a friend of Scooter Guy since it appeared that he was helping Scooter Guy put a flappy little sign into the ground advertising a giant yard sale.  I thought they might have been having one of those joint yard sales, until the driver turned,  walked away from Scooter Guy, got into his car and drove away in what appeared to be a state of exasperation.

I sensed cars backing up behind me so I moved the Mustang closer to the stop sign but I couldn’t take my eyes off of Scooter Guy who, sitting on the scooter, was attempting to jam the stick attached to the sign into the ground with just his left arm when …  the combination of his weight shifting to the left and the back wheel dropping off of the black top into a 12 inch rut,  caused the scooter to flip onto its side pinning half of Scooter Guy’s body beneath it.

More …

The Journey South After the Crossroad

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… I had arrived at the first crossroad of my life where my dreams of the straight and narrow were instantly transformed like some strange algorithm; the plus signs suddenly replaced by unknowns …

My Journey South

After the crossroad, I became a half assed ‘’grad.’’  I lived in the haze between night and day with blues and jazz music, in smoke filled rooms and minds, freaks of the night with drunks, misfits, thieves who lived in the underworld that I had become part of.  A crowd who, with single minded intent,  killed themselves from the medicine in their needles while,  at the same time that cold hearted winter’s bitch kept stalking me ….

her wicked killing icy fingers relentlessly, reaching out to me,  the 

high pitched tinnitus in my ears,  her cackling intent beneath my struggle to live,  her

dancing fingers in relentless pursuit of my life blood her single minded intent, to

pull me down … 

…. on more than many nights.

I searched for a road away from that life when one night in frustration and despair I gave up the fight.

Determined to break away from my self imposed bonds I threw on my army coat and scarf, scraped together a couple hundred dollars and ran away into a night of bitter cold determined to hitch 1,200 miles away from the cold winter bitch to another place where maybe I’d find the warm nurturing wind I felt before the roadblock I encountered at the crossroad.

I didn’t know if i could leave my frustration and rage behind.  It didn’t matter.  All that mattered was that I was on the road away from the past. As I watched the miles fly by through the rolling hills of Ohio and Kentucky, the mountains of Tennessee and Georgia recollections of the past streamed further and further behind.

I existed for the moment.  I gave no thought to my future life.  I had no ideas.  Nothing had yet filled the void.  I consoled the vacancy of my expectations with the thought that … the future will make itself known.  All that mattered was that I was on a different path.

When I passed into the flat land of Florida where I saw palm trees and abundant sunshine, so strangely different than what I had lived with all my life I thought,  maybe my life will take on a different look just as these trees and the white hot sun of this new land.

I made my way further south to the coast where I settled into a community of Greeks, a little island of Greek culture apart from the surrounding world; people who searched for sponges in the warm waters of the Gulf, built boats and told endless stories of beauty and passion through the ancient language of beauty and thought.

Stories that captivated my mind even though I didn’t understand a word (Their words were music to my ears, melody and cadence that rose and fell filled, I supposed, with adventure and humor the details hidden from my mind yet, endlessly interesting or hilariously funny like an adventurer from another land might feel at first encounter with blues music, captivated by its power but unknowing of it’s history or intent.) Where in between the giant chalks that balanced the 70 foot shrimp boats above ground I gave maintenance to their hulls scraping barnacles from their underbellies, filling their cracked seams with braids of cotton pounded in with a wooden maul or dressing them out with coats of copper paint before returning them to gulf waters after a few days of R and R.

I was an ‘educated fool’ in their minds.  In their eyes I lacked common sense from too many books and time spent indoors learning instead of using the connection between hands and body and mind to accomplish work that could be seen and felt.  But they loved me anyway and I learned from the inclusion they gave me into their world.

While there, I met several Greek Gods.  There was the God of Recollection and Mirth who told stories vivid with color and emotion peppered with laughter and wide eyed expressions one minute, howling with laughter the next or speaking softly so as not to be heard by the imaginary characters who I supposed lived within the world of his recollections and dreams.  His words, the timbre of his voice, the ever changing forms of his face, the movements of his body generated a kind of energy he shared with all who gathered around him eager to hear him speak, to laugh and even cry,  anxious to absorb the energy he gave so freely.

There was the quiet Timber God who could resurrected dormant beings from within cubes of wood into shapes that appeared lifelike within the mind though static and unmoving in the outside world except for the shadows and the sun and the movement that surrounded it ever changing.  A thousand or two or maybe even three thousand years of knowledge flowed through his fingers and his body and mind.  Knowledge passed on by men and women who over countless generations had passed on to him bits of knowledge left behind from a never ending flow of seeds bearing the fruit of their existence.  Knowledge that streamed far into the past.  By his inheritance he made wood come alive!

Then there was a god/man who must have grown from Pericles or some Greek warrior or general.  He too possessed the birthright of the carpenter’s hands but it lived within his heart and I watched him drive himself so relentlessly to live that he lived all his years by midlife when he buried himself into the ground.

He was the one who showed me what life is or what life could be! He lived with abundance far beyond the stamina of the everyday person yet was possessed with gentleness made more potent by the contrast of his drive to embrace all there is in life.

Among the gods there was a goddess named Olympia.  A mountain of a woman, soft hearted yet steadfast, determined to feed and nurture all who came within her circle.  She gave all she had to others until one day in the white hot heat of summer her heart burst and she died when she lost her brother to his sad life unlived.

Her brother? … he rode the waters day after day reaching for a dream that was only a fantasy,  life lived without the flame of a dream … his fanciful aspirations the result of his infatuation with a false god who daily sucked dry larger and larger portions of his life until tinder dry,  flames consumed him and took Mount Olympia too.

The Brown Fawn Aurora

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The Brown Fawn Aurora

I see the soft brown fawn aurora as white sky draws light ‘round curved shoulders that taper, long neck framed by natures green reflected into shadow curve of small indentations ‘round hard defining bone.

Within the outline drawing white and green two curvatures soft and serene look down, the soft brown fawn aurora is within loving sight!

Behind closed eyes the shadows and shapes revealed by sightless vision, the brown fawn skin tone is absorbed around the rising mass within, while touch sensations stream rivers through dark forms;  wet firma, soft pungent earth, fertile ground given and shared.

Night sounds speak of growing need with shallow breath to touch, to absorb with tender force, separate, rest then touch, absorb and separate again and again.

Night sounds speak whispered words of love.  The brown fawn aurora fills with thrilling force! Dark forms bend, give life to the rising wet mass; within the forest the fawn deer streaks with abandon toward the bright dawn while river water floods with great force!

Dawn brings light once again.  Love’s night sounds grow silent.  The fawn deer lies down to sleep; the river finds its banks; the risen mass and soft brown fawn aura alone again but one.

Reliving the Moment One More Time

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I watched the elderly couple.  The husband visits her daily.  She faces downward, her spine curved, one side of her face drooped.  He holds her hand, wipes the drool from her mouth with a white handkerchief.  They seldom speak.  Their hands speak for them.

I pictured her as a slender, beautiful young woman.  Was she a good dancer?   Did she have children?  I imagined them kissing with youthful passion.

I realized that,  true love can’t be described,  it’s a vibration between two people.  Was I seeing true love?

She turned and looked at me, seeming to sense my presence. The left side of her mouth curled into a half smile. Were her eyes telling me she understood my thoughts? Was she answering my question? “Yes, dear boy, you are seeing true love.” How did she know my thoughts?

She faced her husband.  He inclined his head, listened then rose and pushed her wheelchair to the opposite side bench.  Why did they move? Did she think she had answered my question and it was time to move on?   Was she too tired to continue our “silent dialogue”?

After they moved I craned my neck to see them. Facing forward, they spoke softly then turning toward each other, smiled and nodded their heads in agreement.  Were they telling each other secrets? Did she tell him a boy flirted with her? Or maybe she remembered when they fell in love and wanted to relive the experience one more time.

 

The Bob Middleton Story

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I watched Bob navigate perilously close to high cliffs, in imminent danger of falling cans of tomato sauce if he made a clumsy Y turn.  After we paid for his food, I packed his car and we drove to his apartment.

We packed his walker full of groceries back at his place.  While he took them inside I  parked the car.

Next to the elevator, one of Bob’s buddies sat hunched over a book laid flat on his walker.

“Hey Bob. Bring plenty of dough to the game tonight. My wife needs shopping money.”

“Yeah sure, I’ll probably have to use a credit card to buy groceries next week.’’  They both laughed.

Inside his apartment, I put the groceries on the kitchen table.

“Doesn’t look like $75 worth of groceries to me.’’

I showed him the receipt for $47.64.  He nodded his head.

‘’Oops, nature’s calling.’’

I put the groceries away while he was in the bathroom then, a cluster grapes in two bowls.

Upon returning Bob pointed at the bowls and said, “What makes you think you can take grapes for yourself? Why not take a few cookies while you’re at it?”

Bob’s stare was unrelenting.  I felt like crying.

When I reached for the refrigerator door he slapped me on the shoulder.

‘’Just kidding.’’

“Don’t ever do that to me again, Bob.’’  I ate my grapes in the living room.

Minutes later I thought, if Bob could bluff me into crying he should have no problem taking money from that yahoo in front of the elevator downstairs.

 

Setting the Birds Free

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I was the smoking monitor for ten patients, in the screened porch today.   I lit their cigarettes then we smoked and talked.

Next to me sat gracious, sweet southern born Clara, her legs swollen twice their size, blue, paper thin skin ripped and torn, wrapped in gauze. Deserted by her children,  a movable lounge chair forever her prison, she cries  ‘’Help, help,’’ all night, every night.

Suddenly two cardinals streaked by attaching themselves to the screen.  Their tails fanned showed beautiful colors brown with red streaks.

Desperate to escape, they skittered   panel to panel.

I rose, herding  them saying,  ‘No, go that way!” or  ‘’No, go back!”

First one found freedom, curved upward into the blue and disappeared.  The other stayed, confused imprisoned. ‘’It’s your turn now now GO!” She scooped low,  rose up then, the pale blue sky absorbed her.

Sweet Clara watched with tears of pain.  She knew how they felt.

Making Use of the Cackling G Note or … How I Learned to Keep My Mouth Shut and Stop My Car From Wasting Gas

Chapter IV
Making Use of the Cackling G Spot or – How I Learned to
Keep My Mouth Shut and Stop My Car From Wasting Gas

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.  Then I stood up and walked very carefully, for fear of knocking over a waste paper basket, past the three of them to  the door I had been looking at earlier when I was thinking about Alexander Graham Bell, where I dropped my paper work into the Inbox attached to the door.  I turned around and before anyone could say a word 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.’’ and left.

Before the door closed I looked back. The three of them were smiling. Jennifer looked like the girl from the Exorcist the way her head was twisted around. I was trying really hard to continue being nonchalant. Finally I heard the door click and I was free.

I saw myself walking away, wondering if they were looking at me through the window thinking what a ‘’Clyde’’ I was.

To tell you the truth, sometimes life seems like a never ending series of funny episodes. I don’t always think of it that way. A lot of the time I think it’s a pain in the ass. The end of this episode was fairly satisfying though. I was happy to get the hell out of there without suffering their slings and arrows then later, beating up on myself, like I usually do.  To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure that what happened wasn’t really stupid.  All three of them had smiles on their faces, so I guess everything turned out o.k.

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Like Death Warmed Over Or: I Could Have Had A Job With A Carnival!!

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Hey how ‘ya doin’?  … Oh yeah? Me too .. Well, hey listen!  Last night I laid on the couch watching movies and dozing until three thirty.  So, I had like, three hours sleep.  This morning when i got up I was shocked by what I saw in the mirror.  If you want to see a rough looking dude come on over.  I should have spent the rest of the day in bed with the curtains closed, the lights off and no mirrors in the room.  I looked like shit!

…  Couldn’t have looked that bad?  You don’t believe me?!  Wull, let’s put it this way … it looked like I had aged about 5 … maybe 10 years.  Actually I was afraid to look at myself in the light after I peed so it’s possible I looked even older … What?  I don’t know,  it’s anybodies guess although I wouldn’t want anybody to guess.  … Why?  Anybody who knows me might think my real name is Dorian Fucking Gray that’s why!  Shit!  I don’t know.  I might even look like I’m 100!  I could probably get a job with a carnival as the oldest looking 66 year old man in history, that’s how nasty I looked.

… Couldn’t be that bad?  I guess you had to be there.  Let’s just say, you wouldn’t want to be seen with me in public.  People would mistake you for a health care worker with a patient who has had a major illness or maybe they’d want information from you about hospice, thinking I was on my last legs and you were taking me on a final walk around the mall.

Hey, I gotta go man.  I’m feelin’ my age.  The couch awaits my sleepy body.  Take it easy, ok?  …  What? …  Shit!  You take care of it ok?  I’m too tired.  Later dude ….

Holy Crap!! Now THAT’S COLD!

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Hey hi .. how ‘ya doin? I’m trying to stay warm mostly … What?! Not that cold? You gotta be shitin’ me.  Do you want to know how frickin’ cold it is up here?  it’s fucking cold, cold, cold that’s how freeking cold it is.  It was so cold that when i got up this morning i wanted to climb into the refrigerator to get warmed up.  That’s how  cold it was.  Holy crap!  

Holy crap!? ….. Oh yeah, that’s a funny one too.  Do you want to know about holy crap? Let’s put it this way.  If some priest would have taken a crap in the front yard of the rectory this morning, it would have froze to his ass like an icicle .. before it hit the ground!!  Can you picture that?  The steam coming off that thing would have turned to snow. it probably would have covered his boots. Now that’s some holy shit!  The Bishop would probably call something like that a miracle!  A life changing event! They’d probably make a saint out of the guy.  St. Urassmus the first, right?  

… Hey, I gotta go.  When I peed it made a hole in the ice but I didn’t flush because you called so I think the hole froze up.  I have to find the awl I think I put in my toolbox a while back. ….. What for?  Oh, sorry.  I don’t have an ice pick that’s why.  I’ve got my work cut out for me so I gotta get going.  Hey, take care ….  What? Yeah?  Ok see you later. … Whaaat? ….  Oh yeah,  I love you too.  Bye …

So They Shut Down the Water Pumps In Eden?

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They hardly spoke during lunch until she took a bite of a huge strawberry, looked at it fondly and said, “Strawberries are nature’s perfect food.’’

Something about her comment triggered his rage.  His face turned red.  He bared his teeth and with religious zeal shouted half baked truths plucked from within tumult of his brain.

“They should put those goddamned tree huggers in jail,” he said.   Then, scattering logic to the wind, his tone softened and he declared how deeply he cared about the environment.

There was no room for discussion.  His belief in the unsubstantial was unshakable.

“Electric cars use twice as much energy as gas powered cars.”

“Death panels will determine who lives or dies.”

“They shut down the water pumps in Eden because of a minnow sized fish, and now it’s a dust bowl.”

When the door slammed behind him I listened to the hum of the air conditioner, the weeee of the tinitis in my ears.  I watched time trudge by, second by second around the clock on the wall. To my left, the bathroom door was open.  A sign inside said,  ”Dress For Success’’.   I ate my sandwich.

Walking though the door to leave,  I took a final sip of my Coke and tossed it into a bin full of aluminum cans.

Where There Were Snakes .. 250 Words

Where There Were Snakes

250 Words

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When I was a boy, we caught garden snakes in a field next to a place called the Tub Factory over by the railtracks.  We trapped the snakes by stepping on their tails.  Pinching them behind their heads we picked them up, looked at their flickering tongues and peered into their angry, cold eyes.  Their teeth were little bumps.  You didn’t bleed when bitten, but they wouldn’t let go.  We’d collect six or eight of them in coffee cans, all writhing at the bottom.  I took a can home to my mom once.  She wouldn’t let me keep them as pets. 

The field of snakes was behind the rambling old Eden house with its clapboard exterior that time had painted weathered and grey where seven brothers and sisters lived.  Their father Mit, a full blooded American Indian was a mean, hard drinking railroad man cruel to people even outside his family.  His oldest son John was a bad apple who combed his greasy black hair into a pompadour, wore cuffed jeans, points, white t-shirts with cigarettes rolled into his sleeve.  His half smile and white teeth belied angry, cold snake eyes that said he could kill you if he wanted.  People said he even scared his father.  Legend was he tied cats’ tails together, threw them over clothes lines and set them on fire. 

Later in life he changed his ways, married a nice girl and became a Baptist minister.

 

Snakes

Snakes

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There was a field next to this place called the  ‘Tub Factory’ over by the train tracks where the behemoths roamed back home, above the  creek where we caught crawdads and …

we went there to capture  dozens of garter snakes that we could take for the asking.

We stepped on their tails and pinched them behind their heads so we could  pick them up and look at their tongues flickering and their angry eyes.

Sometimes they’d open their mouths but you could hardly see their teeth.  If they bit you …

… which you didn’t want to happen … it didn’t really matter because they had tiny teeth .. more like little bumps than anything … so their little teeth wouldn’t even break the skin.

Still, you didn’t like it because you had a hard time getting them to let go …

If you weren’t careful and rubbed their bellies, they gave off a foul smell from their pee which usually made you let them go … unless you knew not to do that.

We used to collect them in coffee cans; 6 or 8 to a can all writhing at the bottom.  I don’t know what we did with them.

Once I took a can home to show my mom.  She wouldn’t let me keep them as pets.

That field was in back of the old Eden house big and rambling with sagging facia, an uneven porch; clapboard wood siding that time had painted weathered and grey.

Do you remember them?

They were Indians … of Native American descent.  Six or 7 brothers and sisters.

They had typical Indian characteristics; brown skin, high cheekbones, the distinctive nose and thick black hair.

One of the sisters Francene, was my age.

She was sad and sweet and very shy perhaps embarrassed that she looked different or because she was abused by her father a heavy drinking railroadman.   An angry, mean man.  Abusive to people even outside of his family.

Or maybe sad Francene was shy and sweet all by herself.

One of her brothers John was the bad apple of the family.

He combed his black hair into a greasy pompadour.  He wore cuffed jeans, pointed black shoes, plaid shirts open at the neck with a white t-shirt, cigarette packs always visible in his  front pocket or rolled into the sleeve of his t-shirt, even at school.

His white teeth belied his half smile and his cold snakelike  eyes told you that you were a weakling he could kill if he wanted to.  Some said he even scared his father.

Legend was that, when John was younger, he tied cats tails  together, threw them over clothes lines and set them on fire.

Later in life, he married a nice girl,  changed his ways and became a Baptist minister.

One Day At Risk Management

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One Day at Risk Management

One day, I climbed the stairs at the County Administration Building looking for the Risk Management Department.

A lady in the Break Room told me it was located in the building next door but, it would be closed until 2:00.  It was only 12:20 so I rode the elevator down to the first floor and waited.

I sat on a wooden bench and leaned back.  Brick walls surrounded me.  Bright sunlight flared outside.  Three sets of double doors opened mechanically, one or two at a time, as people came and went.

A senior citizen sat next to me staring straight ahead.  It looked like he was staring into inner space.

I looked over at a long line outside the Driver License Bureau.  I wondered why the line was so long.  Two slender girls wearing slim fitting pants walked past me.  Two or three feet to the right of me a man with the sleeves ripped off his denim shirt stared at a bulletin board.  I heard somebody mention George Bush’s name.  I looked over at the line outside the Driver License Bureau. Only five people stood in line.  I wondered why the line got so short.

I looked over at the Information Desk, to my left.  A guy joked with three men and a woman.   The men laughed.  The woman looked perplexed.

A man and woman walked toward the mechanical doors.  The man complained that something cost him $500.

Two elderly black women walked past me. The women spoke in pidgen tongue. I wondered if they were from Jamaica or Haiti.  I decided they were from Jamaica since their words didn’t sound like massacred French.

I watched an old friend, who was never that friendly, walk toward the elevators deep in thought with a look of fear on his face then vanish,  behind two elevator doors.

I saw plenty of young girls walk past with showing their cleavage.  I thought, that’s the way they like to dress these days. I wondered if their grandmothers were ashamed because they displayed their cleavage.  Then I wondered if the girl’s great grandmothers felt shame for the way their grandmothers dressed.

I thought the girls looked slutty.  I didn’t want to look at their breasts.  They were so young!  I thought this was funny because when I was young I loved to look at slutty girls.

Two middle aged women walked past.  One of the women said to her friend, “They call me the Fairy God Mother.”  I thought this was funny because she was older but, her cleavage was on display too.

Summer Breeze On A Winters Day (A Reflection On Alzheimer’s Disease)

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Summer Breeze On A Winters Day

I walk among lost souls who /live in a land of despair and confusion/ spending their time adrift on dark seas or /pitching through the gales of their personal storms.

Their eyes stare out from darkened rooms at /a world that’s only vaguely familiar;/a place they may have visited once upon a time/ in a dream.

To them, I’m a moving object/ uttering a strange language in an /unfamiliar world. / I can’t touch them because time gone by is their only refuge and /I don’t live among the ghosts of their past.

Their light is an infrequent moon glow,/an occasional blaze of lightening, or/a meager sunrise.

Bright sunlight is as infrequent to them as /a summer breeze on a winters day is,/to you and me.

Remembering One More Time

 Remembering One More Time

images copy 23I’m watching an elderly couple sitting next to each other outside, under the portico where I work. The husband comes to see his wife every day. She sits next to him in a wheelchair facing downward with a curved spine.  One side of her face is drooped.  When she drools her husband uses a white handkerchief to wipe her mouth. They seldom speak but he strokes her hand. Their hands speak for them.

Despite her physical condition, I see beauty beneath her age.  I can’t take my eyes off of her.  I wonder about her past life.  Was she a good dancer? Did she have children? Was she slender and beautiful, like I picture her?

I pictured  the two of them in the joy of their youth then later, supporting each other as they grow older.

After giving it some thought, I think, it’s easy to see true love.  There’s something special about a man wiping drool off his true love’s lips.  The same lips he kissed with youthful passion during their time gone by.

There’s something beyond words to describe true love; a vibration that exists between two people.  You know you’re seeing true love when you feel it… without words.

While I watched and wondered, the woman turned her head and looked directly at me.  She seemed to sense my presence or maybe she even read my thoughts.  I gazed at her face.

The left side of her mouth curled into a half smile.  Something about her eyes seem to be telling me something.  Is she telling me she understands my thoughts?  Is she telling me, “Yes, dear boy, you are seeing true love.”  How can she know what I’m thinking?”

She blinked and turned her head toward her husband.  He inclined his head while she spoke.  He rose and pushed her across the portico entryway.  They sat on a bench opposite with their backs toward me.

I wondered why they moved. Maybe it was too hot in the sun?  Or, maybe she felt she responded my thoughts  and didn’t feel the need to continue our silent “dialogue”.

I watched them after they moved.  They stared straight ahead then turned and faced each other.  When the woman spoke, her husband lowered his head close to her mouth.

They nodded their heads in unison then smiled and looked into each others eyes.  I wondered what they said to each other.  Were they telling each other secrets?  Did she tell him a boy flirted with her?  Or maybe they remembered when they fell in love and wanted to relive the moment one more time.

celticheartknot

Hickory Love: Part II in the series, Space Devoid of Time: Life Seen Through the Eyes of A Boy

– HICKORY LOVE –

 8849411772_88c91c9c05_mShe was a stormy, misbehaved, fighting girl, defiant and tantrum prone;  a whirlwind of anger, frustration, defiance, and cheek, prone to storm and caterwaul about, chin thrust forward, head back, unafraid to bellow or scream challenges at the adversarial towers who chase her fleeing pony’s tail while she seeks  distance from their enclosure and taming tools.

Theirs are not the horse master’s taming tools; the rope, the bridle, the nailed shoe.  Their tools: the hard brush, the kitchen flap, sibling’s cat claws driven or, the bent switch of a sapling tree; quick burning strokes given with howling protest to take away power and drive her temper beneath a blanket of humility.

 Their taunting blows only fuel her fury.

On days when cool water lapped sandy shores, (two natural elements in perfect balance) the girl sought maternal warmth and together, they lay  curled in sleep and shared their day’s dreams.

NatureLater, in shadows born of an orange autumn sun I watched them ride on dirt roads past fields of cut yellow corn to a copse of hickory trees where they gathered bounties of nuts and bittersweet vines …

While I sat on a hickory tree’s outstretched limb we  … the Mother tree and I …  looked down on the girl  and when I asked, the mother tree spoke and with nature’s smooth vibrating tone says Yes, the girl and her mother were the same as the offspring trees grown from her seeds.

When night sky crept into evening light dreams entered the girls mind.  Cradled in grass under the hickory tree, sunlight pours nurturing warmth upon the girl while a crown of seeds gently strokes her cheek.   

As the gray light of dawn slowly absorbed the night sky, wakefulness crept into her sleep.  Drifting into awareness the girl felt the crown of seeds stroke her cheek.  Through opened eyes maternal light poured down upon the girl while her mother gently stroked her cheek.

On the Docks and the Dunes

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– On the Docks and the Dunes –

… at nine I ranged freely along the northern

shoreline, over dunes, pine trees and scrub

growth on a point of sand hooked

around a fresh water

bay …

…..

I bought Black Jack, Beechnut, Dots and Bun

Candy Bars at the marina where minnows

ladled and counted from open

concrete tanks of flowing water,  were

sold in batches of twenty five to

men with double buckets, boisterous

voices, wearing canvas

vests …

…..

 I watched their flat or round

bottom boats, powered by Johnsons or Evinrudes, rise

up, cut white and run straight,  to where

abundant numbers of schooled

perch, bass and pike waited

to be taken for the

asking by those

downstate city men who

sought their

capture …

…..

I glided over the dock one day, the

tires of my bicycle playing a steady

drum beat in concert with the

two by fours I slowly rolled

over on my way to

nowhere in particular at

that particular

time …

…..

inside boats i saw ropes and anchors, open

tackle boxes,  daredevils and jitterbugs strewn

alongside fishscalers, dead ‘’minnies’’ stuck to the aluminum

gunwales, empty Shlitz and Strohs beer

cans,  stringers with 20 or 30 yellow perch,  covered

with flys, drying in the sun

each fish the prize for a

day spent guzzling beer while dropping

baited hooks into the chop of the

bay …

when …

….

i lost momentum, pitched to the

right … tumbling into shallow

marina water, bicycle and

all … !

…..

when i bobbed to the

surface a thick meaty

hand greetd

me …

a deep voice said,

“Can I help you up son … ?”

 …..

My bicycle rose

first …

…..

after hoisting  from the

water i mounted my

bicycle, rode away

dripping with

water feeling

so much

humiliation i couldn’t even say

thank

you …