Lost In Black

TRAPPED IN BLACK

     At the precise moment I realize my only chance for survival is to reach the cell phone 12’ from the bathroom shower (where moments before I had recreated the shower curtain scene from Psycho) I come to the realization that it will be impossible.

…..“NOOOOOOO!! DEAR LORD NOOOOO NOT AGAIN!” I scream at the realization.

     I’m stuck in one position, contorted, feeling like every ball and socket in my body is on the verge of suddenly wrenching apart, each bursting ball breaking through to the surface looking like a round egg emerging from the shell of skin ripped and torn to shreds, eggs dripping with blood.

     I’m suspended in space, frozen in pain, fearful of moving a micrometer the thought too excruciating to even contemplate.

Warm water cascades against my back wrenched sideways away  from the faucets. My hair slippery with hair conditioner.

     One end of the curtain pole rests on the lip of the toilet seat, the other points downward resting on the grills of the hot air register on the floor not far from my hand.

     The white cloth curtain and vinyl lining are wrapped like a very thick rope, half on and half off the pole. The metal clips are scattered from one end of the pole to the bunched clips held in place by the register at the other end.

     An inkling of a solution briefly overrides the pain. “I need tools. I can use the pole as a cane.”

With snarling teeth and awesome weight the pain takes away any further thought processes, replacing them with single minded agony.

     Panic, from a medical standpoint (in anticipation of what will happen at the hospital if I ever get there) along this journey to survive, doesn’t really exist. The challenge of not being able to reach my cell phone 12’ away on the breakfast bar, does.

     I’m feeling stupid, trapped, surrounded by an invisible force field three feet thick of glowing hot bricks then, freezing crystals of ice on the same bricks, back again to glowing hot and ice, on and off on and off and … so on. You get the message, right?

In a word, unrelenting.

continued …..

Nails In the Coffin Of Our Democracy

Complacency Is the Root Of All Evil

Methinks, let’s not get too complacent. 

Social unrest will be a major factor in the not too distant future. What is being done to  prepare ethnic communities for invasions of racially motivated terrorists from within our borders?

The Separationists will incite unrest in black and Hispanic communities as an excuse to go in and kill. 

This will be the match that sparks the flame for a REAL race war these terrorists have been training for for years.  Preparations must be made in those communities most vulnerable, to avoid their invasion.

I hope the equivalent of the CDC is out there looking beyond the horizon line for signs of armed insurgence. Working to anticipate the needs of at risk communities far enough in advance to avoid great social unrest that most likely will happen at a tremendous cost financially and in terms of lives and liberty lost not just in those communities but in every community throughout the United States.   

There WILL be social unrest. They WILL attack. We WILL all suffer the consequences of a race war within our borders.

Will the Separationist’s gunshots be the nails in the coffin of our democracy?  

One lesson learned from the pandemic? Without preparation more lives will be lost; a war between the races could be a worse epidemic with consequences beyond our power to control. Plans must be made.

What’s being done in the those “at risk” communities to stave off this even more lethal disease? What are we doing to strengthen the bulwarks against their invasion? 

Love Is …

What Is Love?

All anyone wants is to feel loved … positive beautiful affirming of self/each other.  It doesn’t have to be anything.  It just is.  It’s a place that ‘rises above.’ 

Love touches in different ways than everyday “socialisms” between people.

You read love on paper sometimes on the screen words that kiss and caress they sooth and like and liken and hark and bring light and memory and shine with crashing wave on paper that tell stories of laugh and joy and lots of sensual pleasure.

Love remembers love hears love listens love takes fear away.  Love eats distress, chews it with gusto like swallowing cum to please even though it tastes like bleach.

Love releases dreams love creates a reality of its own shared delightful giggling it can’t contain itself sometimes it’s overwhelming in its magnetism

There are no choice words to describe it at times.  It’s not concerned with self it gives in for pleasure it shares pain gratefully it suspends time it creates visions it draws a body to a body in unique ways (for each person is unique in their own way) it matches up it magnetizes it finds and realizes it sleeps well with itself it looks beyond itself it seeks to know it revels in what it sees and hears it wraps warmth around the other it looks beyond reality it sees, it wonders, it mesmerizes at times lost in vision and fascination finding humor not because it’s funny but because it’s indescribably beautiful to see a personal representation of all you’ve ever wanted to love.

Love sees danger and looks ahead.  Loving is caring; it’s more than caring.  Love is loss of self for other self judged more important.  Love wants to give another life more life.  Love splendors itself when it sees sparkles and sunlight streaming from eyes; it reflects the same light. 

Love will do whatever it takes to make another happy.  Love wants to give and give .. Love looks for ways to give searching searching always looking for another way another reason.  Love wants love love wants to be loved love looks for other love, love loves love.

Love  strikes when you least expect it if you are lucky and it pulls you and it suspends you in time.

Love sees colors and shapes that exist for a moment and held forever.  Love wants to please.  Love wants warmth for another.  Love can touch and touch and touch and never grow tired  touch and touching.  Love gives pleasure vast amounts if possible.  Love seek beauty to see in another.

Love knows that if it knows it’s there it will find it and bring it to another embracing with eyes seeing the other, the world falls away.

Love hears and listens it celebrates the unique world that lies hidden but that it can see and only it sees

the uniqueness of the other.

Love celebrates another with its whole self it feels love gladly it wants to touch it wants to give.  Love is carried everywhere, it’s another presence in the world that’s always there even though a thousand miles away.

Love has hope galore:  hope for wellness, hope that it can heal just by thinking.  Love wants to celebrate the joy of living with another, magnificent as two can be.

Love yearns for another because it knows the secret that each one is only half so love makes people whole.  Love makes people whole with themselves.  Love feeds on the pain of another.  Love wants another’s pain .. Love thinks only of the other.  Love loves .. love loves loving .

It’s easy for love to be spellbound .. When spellbound it spellbinds with another: love binds without thinking.  This is when love just ‘’is” when it’s mutually spellbinding.  Love celebrates another life.  Love cries when its sad but it doesn’t matter, it knows another lover feels the pain ..

Love can be so surprising! It springs from unknown places for no reason.  Surprising with delight like magic from unknown places sudden treasures seen or brought to bear ..

Love loves surprises: sudden appearance face to face when least expected creating delight, that sudden intake of breath, the extra measure of others air received, a drop of unseen honey in the air that makes things funny without words or words without knowing where they spring from unknown delightfull and confounding.

Love has no beginning.  When you find it it was always there but unaware you waited unaware and when you find it glows with color.  Mine was the color blue ..

Yes, love glows with colors eyes and clothes and skin and toes and veins and birth marks in secret places no one else knows.

Love can draw a person inside another or make two people want to be another.  Love grows with time.  How could it not .. It induces knowing so the mind keeps growing and growing, you give me your light i’ll give you mine.

Love wants to give it’s light so the other shines.  Love loves to bask in loving shine.  Love is a jewell and it’s a treasure.  Love is freely given.  Love is all there is and all there is is, love that’s given.  

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He’s A Bad Mother …… Well, I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout ….. !

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He’s A Bad Mother …. Well I’m Talkin’ Bout’ ……

In a fit of not rarely happening ridiculously dumb, funny shit that I’ve done and do, that happen to me constantly and because I’ve been moaning in my sleep lately and because of my hip, I decide to sleep in the little tv room on the ‘day bed’ where I go to watch my classic movies and write, when I come awake around three a.m.

Hungry for all kinds of things in the middle of the night, last night it’s for a piece of cheese.

So I stumble into the kitchen, get myself a small chunk of sharp cheddar and a plastic cup of water so I can rinse my mouth after chomping down on the cheese.

I lay on my right side holding the water in my left hand close to where I know I’ll soon be drinking it.

For the heck of it, I flip on TCM just in time to see the opening credits for the movie Shaft.

Oooh yeah! I love that Shaft theme song by Isaac Hays, don’t you?!!

One of the coolest, bad ass songs ever!!  So I listen and watch but I’m already feeling drowsy.

I’m just finishing up with the cheese, still in a semi reclined position when I hear, ’He’s a bad mother ….. SHUT YOUR MOUTH … well, I’m talkin’ ‘bout ….. “

The last thing I remember is, ‘well, I’m talkin’ bout,’ when I briefly nod out, my muscles immediately drooping into sleep mode in compete relaxation for less than a split second when I drop an entire half filled plastic cup of water onto the left side of my face most of it going into my left ear, the remainder going into the day bed.

I don’t know what to do first!

The day bed is wet but I feel pressure in my ear so I jump up and start thumping the right side of my head with the palm of my hand!

Pretty sure all the water has leaked out, I turn off the t.v., I grab a bath towel from the bathroom trying to sponge up whatever water can still be reached at the higher levels of the substrata below.

Finally I fall asleep.

I sleep fitfully, waking at seven.

I THINK I had a dream about being on the Titanic but I’m not sure.

Just kidding!!

When I come awake at seven I wonder why it feels like I have ‘swimmers ear’?  Then I remember why.

For the longest time I can’t get the Shaft theme out of my head.  Finally, an idea comes to me that, the four of us;  Matthew, Jamie, Jodi and I, could make a video of the four of us lip synching the Shaft theme song as part of a video Christmas card to everyone!

(sad to say I’m pretty sure the chairman of the board has ‘tabled’ that suggestion at least for now.)

But, isn’t it strange how creative ideas just pop into your head at the weirdest times sometimes for the weirdest reasons?

For the longest time, I keep hearing that great song running over and over in my head, enjoying every moment of every part.

“I’m a complicated man but no one understands me but my woman …. “. Ummm,” I think, “Does that make me a, “bad mother ………. “?

“Oops, sorry,  I’ll shut my mouth.”

They’ve Stolen My Serenity!

I told you yesterday
that spring had sprung

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

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

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

There are gnats and mosquitos
and other tiny things

i can’t imagine
sharing air that a week ago

floated crystals of lace like wings
each a drifting masterpiece

floating down or streaming sidewise
with crystal clarity seen

within air that was
mine to breathe

while witnessing the beauty of
each and every living thing

stripped bare of
all distractions;

Air that I’ve shared
with no one

now,

that I share with all
the little things

that come alive each spring.

My life more complicated now
no longer distraction free

avoiding their lines of intersection
between the search for

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

air i’ve shared with no one.

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

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

where all these beings waited within
their clear winter amber

quick frozen in gathered humus
or crystalline within the muck,

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

to dim orange

when trees released
their bed covers

to darker still intensity
captured by cold stillness

within their sleeping spaces
during gestation’s time

to lie in wait, for
warmer sun’s return

to free the life within
those amber spaces

not sleeping
having never been alive (as such)

waiting to emerge
from broken water,

released by whiter light!
These creatures that

surround me now
within my sight!

that feed upon my light!
that touch my flesh!

that share with me my breath!
my choice bereft!

the world no longer stripped bare
of all confusion and complexity

black and white and
clean and fresh!

They’ve STOLEN my

Serenity … ! !

The Agony and the Ecstasy V Ending

 

continued …. I guess you’re just supposed to put them on and pee but, I couldn’t help but wonder what was the standard volume limit?   

Volume of the Dam?

I looked all over for the table of contents or for some of those FAQ’s.  I found nothing about volume.  Would the damn burst after a second down pour? 

What do I do?  I didn’t want to “pee the car”! 

I felt those desperate feelings coming on but I said, “Screw it.  I’m living la vida loco!” and let ‘er rip.  

A Spot the Size of A Silver Dollar

Glancing down, I noticed a wet spot on my black jeans at the top of my right thigh about the size of a silver dollar..  

“Consarnit!”  I’m pissed.  This is not what I was hoping for.  Without thinking I curse my dilema.  I get so pissed I can’t stand it.  Soon after I regain my composure when chuckling to myself I remember my earlier thoughts of being pissed off and feeling pissed on.  And I thank my lucky stars that I have a good relationship with my inlaws instead of having to hang with my outlaws whoever they might be.  

Suddenly, my thoughts about being with my outlaws or being pissed off or even pissed ON become a moot point.  The diaper experience taught me just how strong I can be since nothing compares to being pissed ON AND pissed OFF at the same TIME!  

I’m being philosophical and open about the whole experience.  In fact I’ve already started pricing the ‘double wides’ but ONLY if Jodi tells me my ass looks basically the same.  

The Agony and the Ecstasy IV

 

 

 

continued; Boy howdy did that ring a bell with me!

I Got the Urge 

Next, I’ll tell you how all off these factors came together to form this super collision.  

The morning of my departure I ‘suited up’ for the trip.  The gray ones looked almost dressy in my estimation.  Nice and cushy up front with a little frilly gathering work around the leg slots.  Jodi reassured me my ass didn’t look any different than usual (which would have been a ‘deal breaker”).

We said our good byes and I hit the road.  An hour and a half or two hours after leaving Port Charlotte on I-75 north of Tampa I felt the first blush of an impending shower and the anxiety that usually comes with it.  

Then, with hardly realizing it I felt the warmth.  

Golly, my habitual frustration, anger and pain was no longer an issue.  I was in heaven.  I dropped the Mustang into 4th gear, dusted the slow poke in the left lane upped my speed to 85 punched in the cruise control and cruised, smiling.  

All That Time!

Whilst flowing, I thought about all the TIME I was saving by not having to stop to pee the old fashioned way.  

By the time it was time to get gas I was so relaxed, I didn’t even think about peeing.  When the Mustang was full,  I thanked my lucky stars, got in and was back on I-75 in slightly less time than it would have taken a pit crew from the Indy 500.  

Shortly after the gas up I felt the urge to go again while at the same time feeling a bit confused because of my lack of experience in certain matters. 

I wondered what the volume limit was on these things.  It didn’t say on the package in fact, there were no directions at all.  I guess you’re just supposed to put them on and pee but, I couldn’t help but wonder what was the standard volume limit?   

continued …

The Agony and the Ecstasy III

 

Wondering About the Glory 

One day during the golden hour at the end of the day mulling things over while feeding bread to the turtles I wondered, what will it be like to simply keep the gates open and let the water flow when the bladder wants it to flow all natural like?  

In other words, what will letting myself pee as soon as I feel the urge, without giving it a second thought,  be like?  Will it be liberating?  

The Third Leg

There’s a third element that fits into all these revelations I’ve been having.  

I can’t help but feel frustrated with everybody always being pissed off like you’re pissed off or I’m pissed off and she’s pissed off or he’s pissed at her and everybody’s pissed at somebody while some are pissed at everybody!  When this girl, the only intelligent person in the whole group, spoke out saying, “But don’t you realize?  It’s so much better to be pissed off than it is to be pissed on!”

 The room got quiet then everyone started clapping and agreed.  She really put everything into perspective for me.  In other words,  we should be thankful for what we have instead of lamenting what we DON’T have because often what you wish for is ten times worse than what we already HAVE.”  

A Similar Razzle 

That comment about being pissed off reminded me of a similar razzle that occurred one day when I had a fleeting conversation with this guy in new York way back in the mid seventies when I mentioned I dreaded having dinner with my in laws.  The guy got real serious, came a little closer and in the softest matter of fact tone looked around and said, ‘Let me give you some good advice.”  He looked around again, locked his eyes onto mine and said, ” It’s a lot better being with your in laws than it is being with your outlaws.” 

Boy howdy, did that ring a bell with me!    

continued …

The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy

The agony of suddenly having to pee with great intensity while cruising eighty five miles an hour on the interstate with no place to pee in sight, cannot be understated!

After a minute it hurts. Longer than a minute? It hurts bad.

The Eternal Battle

In case you’re wondering many of us men are victims of the eternal battle between the full bladder demanding to be emptied immediately if not sooner vs the sleepy bloated enlarged prostate gland supposedly no longer useful ignoring pleas from the bladder lazily refusing water’s passage.

It’s never easy having to suddenly pee when you’re on the road.   No matter where you are or what you’re doing, when it’s time to go you suddenly gotta go with every fibre in your body!

With meds you get relief once you find a place to go. Without meds, it doesn’t matter where you are since no matter how bad you have to go, a few golden drops may be all you’ll get.

Then, you know you’re screwed.

Homicidal Astronaut

Sometimes when you least expect them, brilliant solutions can pop into your head.

A couple weeks ago while working on the dock down there at Turtle Cove an idea popped into my head when for no reason I remembered the story about an astronaut woman a few years ago who figured, if she wore extra absorbent adult diapers she could drive non stop from point A to Point B, kill another woman and return so quickly that authorities would never suspect she could have been at the murder scene.

Her plan didn’t work. She didn’t kill the other woman. She made it back and forth in record time. But, she got arrested and lost her job as an astronaut.

Creativity At Work

Despite the absurdity, a creative force began stitching together the agony of having to pee during long distance journeys and the woman astronaut clad in super absorbent diapers intent on murdering the other woman.

“Gosh,” I realized. “Despite the fact that she doesn’t have an enlarged prostate gland and I’ve NEVER had the urge to commit murder we have a lot in common!”

continued …

What Is A Gandydancer?

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What Is A Gandydancer?

The piece below is a segment of a larger picture.

People I know with a railroad background have wondered what the railroad term Gandydancer pertains to?  There’s even a song about the gandydancers ball.

My grandfather’s name was Dietrich Sr.  This is a story about how I as a ten year old boy with his grandfather in ‘the box cars, learned what a gandydancer is.

Dietrich Sr. and the Grand Trunk

At the beginning of his career Dietrich Sr. had something to do with bridge building in some engineering capacity.

Later toward the end of his career, I went with him to the box cars where he investigated injuries or misconduct where the traveling gandydancers lived, 25 to 50 men sleeping in box cars, traveling place to place where their strength and manpower was needed. A rough bunch mostly immigrant workers finding their foothold in the new country and ‘no goods’.

I don’t know where the actual word “gandy’ came from I think it came from eastern Europe but I know what the term ‘gandydance’ means.

Dietrich Sr. told me the actual gandy ‘dance’ is the motion of 50 or more gandy’s each equipped with an iron bar with a dull point on the end, placed under the rails, pulling their bars on command, quick pulls in unison to re-align the rails after doing maintenance on the tracks replacing ties or rails, building crossings or working derailments.

From a distance their movements, seen through the shimmer of heat rising from the stone beds and fumes rising from the creosote in the ties and the the glare from the polished rails appear with a strange, shimmering snake like motion since there’s a split second delay from one man to the next pulling on their bars.  In other words, they don’t all pull at the same time.

This strange, shimmering, almost otherworldly motion is, according to Dietrich Sr. the gandy’s dance making them, the gandydancers!

Later that day I watched him interview some rough looking guy in the dining/kitchen box car about some fight the guy was in.. The rough looking guy kept looking at me like he resented my presence and wanted to kick my ass.

It was all very formal. Deac Sr. was straight forward with the questions at times pointed in his desire for the truth.

I had one big meal with them. Lots of meat and potatoes. Good food was one of the incentives for being a gandy in the first place. That and you could hide from the world.

It’s not a bad job if you’ve got no skills and are willing to work hard at different locations, if you don’t mind sleeping with a bunch of men who snore and fart in their sleep, immigrants who don’t speak English, making new lives for themselves and the ‘no goods’a bunch of foul mouthed drunks who talked about sex constantly like they were having a contest to see who could refer to it in the most vile terms possible.

More ..

Nature’s Life

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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.

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story 

It’s  

cold and crisp, 

the air between each time  

crystal clear or full of light wings falling/

fat with fluff  

sailing where they please, drifting sideways in the breeze with crystal memories 

See them resting quietly in the trees? 

On the ground adding curve to rugged spaces giving shadow’s warm embraces?  

Hear them dampening sound with suspense and quiet anticipation? 

See the ground with sparkling memories of all the Christmas’ past?  

Each snowflake reflecting back the light from each, its very own star? 

Or so, we liked to think.  

The  Stage  Is  Set 

And so the stage is set for the most memorable Christmas of my lifetime when as a ten year old boy the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents) gathered at our house for a rare celebration of gift giving on Christmas Eve when a surprise guest came into our midst adding even more magic to that magical time.  

Stranded At the Depot/A Stranger In the Night  

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This was the year my grandfather Dusty Peck, who worked at the Grand Trunk Railroad Depot brought home a guest from Canada stranded at the station with no place to sleep on Christas Eve after blizzard conditions forced cancellation of passenger train service to Chicago.  

We welcomed her into our family as an honored.guest. 

Knowing rules would be more lax in her presence, we give little effort to restrain our laughter and sense of mirth reveling in the joy we create as our Christmas gift to her.

High Jinks and Hilarity

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

Up In Flames

This is the same year that most of the frilly girly gifts my two girl cousins received went up in flames after being accidentally gathered together with all the Christmas wrappings and burned In the fireplace.

Everyone is sympathetic while my one cousin cries.  My brother and I think it’s hilarious!  

Roasting

This is also the year that Deac decides we’ll have a traditional style roasted pig with an apple in its mouth for dinner on Christmas Day..

Our oven isn’t big enough for a whole pig so a baker named Mr. Gregory who lives in the apartment above the bakery downtown gives us permission to use his big gas fired oven with rotating shelves to slow roast the pig all day.

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Shortly after sunrise Christmas morning with temperatures below freezing, we park in the alley behind the bakery.  The back door is unlocked.  Ten feet from the back door we see the wide stainless steel door of the big oven.   

Baker’s Hours

Mr. Gregory, who bakes bread starting at four a.m. every morning doesn’t mind lighting the gas oven for us before we arrive.  We don’t expect what happens next.  

When Deac pulls down on the stainless steel door handle warm dry, desert like heat washes over our faces and hands reminding us how cold it is a few feet behind us just outside the back door.  

A long chain moving over sprockets turned by an electric motor pulls the shelves around blue flames hissing through b.b sized holes along a metal tube the width of the oven.

Our pig rests on a square cast iron skillet with curled edges so that juice won’t leak inside Mr. Gregory’s oven AND to capture the juice that my grandmother, will use to make her delicious ham gravy.

After turning the motor off we tent the pig with an extra heavy strip of aluminum foil folded down the middle.  Deac uses a wooden bakers pole to slide the cast iron skillet into the center close, but not too close to the blue flames.

Before leaving we turn the motor on, pull the back door shut tightly and drive home. 

Every Two Or Three Hours 

Every two or three hours during the day, we drive downtown to the bakery, to check on the progress of our roasting pig.  The blue gas flames light the inside of the oven just enough for us to see it turning golden brown as it slowly rolls past our eyes …

Later That Afternoon/A Pig In A Blanket 

Later that afternoon around five o’clock the pig is cooked to a dark, rich, golden color.  It doesn’t need to be roasted any longer.

We use the bakers pole to pull the big skillet to the edge of the open door where we cover it with more aluminum foil.  

Wearing thick insulated gloves we lift the pig and iron skillet from the oven, carry it down the back steps to the car.

We place iron skillet covered with more foil into the trunk of the car with blankets over the top.  

While Deac starts the car I run back inside to close the oven door and make sure the back door is slammed tightly shut! 

On the way home we laugh about having a pig in a blanket in the trunk of the car!

Dining

We need two dining tables to comfortably seat ten people;  one aunt, one

uncle, two girl cousins, a grandmother, a grandfather, a brother, Deac and Donna and our guest from Canada. 

Deac carves the meat into chunks that are so tender they fall apart when served.  A combination of flavors; cloves and cinnamon and garlic and onion fill the air.  I finally understand what “melts in your mouth” means!

My grandmother’s ham gravy forms golden pools on top of Donna’s creamy smooth mashed potatoes.

The menu includes scalloped corn and scalloped oysters, fresh green beans quick fried in bacon fat with sautéed onions pieces of bacon tossed with apple cider vinegar and a touch of sugar.

My grandfather eats mint jelly with some venison Deac set aside as a special treat.  

My cousins, my brother and I drink tall glasses of milk, my grandparents drink black coffee with their meal while the adults drank red wine.

For desert there’s apple and pecan pie (my favorite). Each year Deac makes a creamy rich sauce in a double boiler from butter, sugar and an egg yolk that makes even fruitcake taste good!

After everyone raves about Grandma Peck’s apple pie we get a good laugh when she tells us it’s ‘mock apple pie’ made with Ritz Crackers! 

Telling Stories 

The adults keep us entertained with funny or interesting stories about growing up or daily life.

We relive Uncle Bill’s accident with the pogo stick.  Each of us tells what we saw from different points of view.  Each story is a different version but they’re all the same and we laugh a little harder with each re-telling.  

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

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

They Met At the County Fair 

Grandma and Grandpa tell how they met at the Shiawassee County Fair during a band concert in 1918.  Grandma tells how hard they worked growing up on farm 10 or 15 miles outside of Owosso tending the big family garden, canning fruits and vegetables all summer long, stocking up for the long cold winters, caring for the farm animals seven days a week, gathering hay before hay “balers’’or harvesting corn with implements that seem ancient today.plus there was no electricity or indoor plumbing.. Despite the hardships Grandma Peck says she had a wonderful childhood growing up on a farm out in the country with lots of brothers and sisters. 

Tap Dancing On the Radio 

Donna and Aunt Jo talked about the beautiful costumes my grandmother made for them when  they tap danced at gatherings in different towns and 

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cities all around the state.  They re-lived their experience riding the train to Chicago where, since television hadn’t been invented yet, they tap danced on a popular radio program!

The Episodic Past

I have many boyhood memories from Christmases past but, they are all episodic.  Scattered memories from different years.  

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

There’s a partial memory I have of a very young boy walking down the aisle at the Congregational Church cradling his favorite gift, a white football that he leaves at the alter for some less fortunate boy or girlThen there’s the year I got the second best gift ever (the first being a new bicycle) a new pair of black figure skates with runners that, as Deac pointed out, were made of Sheffield Steel.

Christmas Morning/Ice Skating In Winter Wonderland 

Very early one Christmas morning after the gifts are opened, the sun barely casting a gray shadow onto the world I grab my new skates, sneak out the side door, cross the road walking west a block and a half along the north side of the athletic field to the ice pond in the park where I skate in a magical world devoid of human movement or sound.  It feels like I’m dancing with an invisible partner carving out figure 8’s any size I want, free to skate as fast as I want then turn and use the sharp teeth at the front of my blades to cut curved grooves in the solid ice showering fractured ice crystals curling to the sides like broken waves while stopping on a dime.  

Other Stories

All the Christmas memories are special. But, the year we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve while making the Canadian lady a part of our family made this Christmas celebration even more special since all the inns in town were closed that Christmas Eve.  It almost seemed like she was meant to be with us.  Her presence was a gift releasing a spark that added extra measures of laughter and joy.  By her presence we were elevated into becoming the best people we could be even more full of love, transcending the needs of the immediate family. 

It seems strange that THAT Christmas is the only Christmas I can still clearly remember from beginning to end.  By the time our guest departed next day she had become a special part of our lives.  She will ALWAYS be a part off me.  A vivid memory from beginning to end that after 50 years I can still share since otherwise how could I have written this story! 

My Christmas wish is that may we re-live Christmas each year with renewed appreciation while adding more wonderful memories each year better than the last.  

Merry 2018 Christmas 

Happy New Year  to all  and 

To all a 

Good Night!  

From Kurt and Jodi Struble and the Struble/Logan clan 

Or as Tiny Tim said, “God bless us all.  Every one.’”’ 

Crane’s Obit

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

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Inanimate 

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHERE LIFE GOES by kurt struble

Where it goes is 

EVERYONE’S 

guess!!

I suppose  

I don’t know 

where life goes but, 

it’s got to go 

somewhere don’t you guess?

I’d hate to think it just 

comes and goes with nowhere else to go 

each life a tiny pebble and so it goes,

dropped into 

the vast infinite depths of 

space

within the 

infinite sea of 

Cosmos ! 

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

To Kill/An Oath

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

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

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

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

And do you know what?  

I never do.                                   

The Crane Continues IV

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The Verdict 

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

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

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

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

Waiting for Death

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

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

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

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

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

I hear Jake approach.

Jake’s Gun

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

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

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

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

Red Feathers 

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

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

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

Unable to move I feel frozen in place and time.  

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

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

continued …. Inanimate 

 

The Crane Part III

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Lowering the Crane 

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

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

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

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

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

She Strokes Its Neck

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

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

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

Jake Willis 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Verdict 

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

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

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

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

Next: Waiting For Death

The Crane

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

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

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

 

It’s Alive, It Has Awareness!  

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

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

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

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

Baby Squirrels 

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

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

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

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

next … Lowering the Crane 

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

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

In Flight

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

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

Crane’s Eye/Seeking Awareness 

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

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

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

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

It’s Alive, It Has Awareness

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

continued … 

Constructing the Crane

A Story About A Boy and His Pet Crane 

The Crane: Prologue 

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

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

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

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

Earlier 

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

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

Gray’s Discovery 

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

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

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

I decide to take a closer look.

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

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

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

Feathers, Neck, Beak,

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

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

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

more ….

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

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

Red Sun Rising

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

Dow down 2.4% less than beginning of the year. 

Nasdaq down 4.3%

S & P down 9.68%.  

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

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

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

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

T pulled us out of Syria ceding Syria to Russia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I Fell From First Chair Drummer to Band Outcast

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

How I Descended From First Chair Drummer To Band Outcast

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

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

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

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

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

Anger Multiplied

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

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

Which infuriated Green!

More … Much More … 

The Tragedy/Darkness/Death/the End

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

Darkness/Death

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

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

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

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

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

DEATH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End

The Tragedy: The Last Time I Saw Janey

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

The Tragedy: After Midnight

The Tragedy

continued … 50sTown

Continued … 

That night after midnight, I heard a commotion outside.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next: The Last Time I Saw Janey

images

The Tragedy; the Incident

THE INCIDENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I rode my bike home in the dark.

AFTER MIDNIGHT

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

The Tragedy: Lost Tapes

The Tragedy III

The Lost Tapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEAC

He sold insurance.  He was successful.

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

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

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

Those few enemies he had hated his guts.

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

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

SKIING BEHIND THE CAR

He was an adventurous soul unafraid to take chances.

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

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

NO REGRETS

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

MYSTIFIED

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

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

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

INSANE JEALOUSY

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

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

BROKEN DISHES

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

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

They weren’t.

Next: THE INCIDENT

 

 

The Tragedy II

II

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

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

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

Their Parties

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her temper flared one Saturday afternoon.

She Raided the Stash

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

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

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

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

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

Jim and Janey
Janey

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

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

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

She taught me how to laugh at myself.

Jim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nex

 

 

 

 

 

The Tragedy

The Tragedy

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

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

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

THEIR PARTIES

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

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

Next:  Some Janey and Donna. 

The Further Adventures of Gile Steele

Further Adventures of Gile Steele

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

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

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

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

And so, he did.

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

I loved the way he described it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grand Canyon Phil

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

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

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

Lynn pulled up next to Phil.

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

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

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

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

That night Lynn drove eastward toward Las Vegas.

Phil’s body was never found.

G-Note Decrescendo, Finale, Bump Note

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

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

People laugh in relief after being surprised by the unexpected.   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 … 

FaKakda fakakda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I looked all over the place!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The guy on the right said, “No way!‘’

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

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

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

That’s when i discovered my passport!

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

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

They looked at each other then back at me.

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

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

Zumba My Ass Once Again?

Zumba My Ass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the battery was dead!

A moment  later she came back into the kitchen.

She began picking up the groceries but she ignored him.

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

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

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

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

She stormed out of the kitchen a second time.

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

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

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

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

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

London Broil: the End Again

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

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

“Hmmmmm”, he thought.

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

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

The End ..

London Broil: Butter or Parquay?

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

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

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

That one night she told him she wanted popcorn.

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

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

Maybe that’s why.   

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

But she insisted,

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

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

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

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

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

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

continued … 

London Broil

 They had meat for dinner almost every night.

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

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

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

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

Which, this was the problem!

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

(Even though they had plenty of money!)

He just shook his head.

But, why feta cheese he wondered ??

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

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

And the fact that he wasn’t working.

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

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

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

(He hated bleu cheese even more!)

She followed him to the bathroom chortling the whole way!

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

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

She laughed again!


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

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

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

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

He smiled.

What’s a ‘flack ass’, he wondered?

continued …

Maple Sap

 

Maple Sap

Something Discovered I Thought I Had Forgotten

We took turns gathering sap
from the big maple trees

along the street
perpendicular to my house

before sunrise/during late winter and
early spring.

What’s the world like at 4 a.m.?

Not a sound
in the world

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

quick frozen in slush during
a brief span

winter allowed spring to
show itself before

pulling us back into
the deep freeze

one more time.

Three street lamps
at each end and middle of

the block threw yellow halos
onto the snow; sparking

frozen crystals flashing
bright from cold moon’s

night time light echoing

points of light shimmering
bright against

the clear blue-black
sky.

Between each light
shadows momentarily

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

in succession to
the end of the block where

turning, with brief visit

with each tree began the

one block journey home but for

brief visits
at the trunk of each tree

collecting drops of sap
slowly collected in

little tin pails from copper tubing

tapped

into each tree.

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

Synthesized energy!

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

The taste?

Clean and cold,

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

as refreshingly cool to drink
on coldest mornings

as cold water is
on a hot summer

day.

 

That Night At the Lodge II

Part II
A Night At the Lodge

It was a cold night!

I mean, it was cold as hell!

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

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

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

She got that quizzical look on her face!

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

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

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

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

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

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

But she didn’t.

She got mad as hell!

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

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

Pause …

“I had other things on my mind!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Night At the Lodge

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

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

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

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

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

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

So i said “OK!”

You know! I had to be positive!!

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

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

I’m not sure.

So I kept my mouth shut!

I didn’t want to hurt her feelings!!

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

My Conversation With the Cat

My Conversation With the Cat

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

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

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

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

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

Pause …

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

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

I looked at the cat.  One ear twitched.

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

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

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

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

 

Fred and Ethel

 

By late stage marriage
most men want to spend their days

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

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

Speaking of being

LEFT ALONE

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

a short statement before we begin.

There are two states of LEFT ALONE.

LEFT ALONE! by choice.
LEFT ALONE by circumstance.

With that in mind;

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

both have needs that
after lifetimes

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

they have endured.

-Poor Fred-

I mean that literally!

Born to a poor family in a poor
Memonite neighborhood outside

Philadelphis his father a
bread baker, life was not easy

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

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

His favorite saying was always,

“That’s shit.”

Oh! Did I tell you?

Fred’s a bit older than Ethel

But not by that much.

She’s 70.
He just turned 100.

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

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

everyone else but,
without a clue how to

“do” it. or even what it
looks like!

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

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

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

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

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

a front loading
washing machine.

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

On the other hand …

Ethel just wants to be
left alone ……..

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

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

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

Ethel’s words to Fred
are angry resentful words

dripping with finality after a
lifetime of frustration contained within

his presence.

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

to convey her thoughts with words that ricochet off walls

-Their Talk-

Talk is not the language they speak.

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

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

…… words chosen
reverberating with unknown vibration

words with more than meaning  …

words deflecting the tonality of ‘being. .

 from years of
non abuse, abuse casual abuse.

They forged the scars of their failures
into emotional exchanges using

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

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

-She’s Tired-

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

She slams the door he
crashes his walker

against her door.

Sitting on the couch
that afternoon watching

The Pickers and
the Pawn guys

on the ‘boob’

Fred searched for words
to tell his story.

His fragmented thoughts came with softness

easy to bridge the spaces between
with meaning

his sad regret and wonderment,

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

Ethel just wants time to be left alone.

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

wondering if he’ll ever

get it …..

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

For Amy and Deborah and anyone else who was there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third and Nine; The Rise And Fall Of Civilization

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

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

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

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

One girl fell face first into the snow.

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

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

Briefly, she appeared as a live snow-girl.

One boy rolled in the snow laughing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or at least it’ll be an equal exchange.

 

Triangulation

One of those
wide awake days

seconds flowed
‘round the bending way

on different roads from distant past to

different places
never been.

On streets and
roads un-traveled

i’d never
seen,

in between,

within
the world

i do
my living
in,

different lands
so near

the way not clear
most days

I find my way through

triangul strangulation

needing

planetary lines
and sun’s position seeking

hidden
paths

and distant
possibilities

with destination clear
i thought i’d found

where i’d been

a thousand times before
i found

a different place within
each different time!

This time
this place

new?

it seems

an extension of
the strange world

i had just
journeyed

through …

What I’d Write About

I stay up all night and write.

Then I sleep, get up and start over again.

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

 I listen to people and write what they say.

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

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

 I look at magazines and write the words I see.

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

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

They Have Paid; They Are ‘Us’

A man who by his actions

does not care about the citizenry of

our country … got me

wondering

as I do …

the amount of

taxes paid by the 700,000 during their

lifetime

jobs well done and

voluntary support and building of

communities and passing on

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

the land … they have

paid their fair share they have

given their all to the country as have we all

no different them from

We … or even “He”

and those he’s captured

the minority among us.

.  They deserve better these 700,000 are

the people who make us great for

who we are THEY are

the results of our great quest for humankind’s best

 how could we turn them

away?

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

sad story given

the torch to carry forth

the dream that all brave migrants have

from families come before us

who paid their way with suffering

no different from you or I

they ARE

YOU AND I;

high school football stars and

valedictorians they’ve

given their lives for the land

they have sacrificed to defend the land!

They deserve detention?

Forced migration?

THEY are the ones who shape my dreams for

the future as were

the  dreams of our fathers and their fathers before

who shaped ours;  individuals created EQUAL

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

The threat NEVER so great as now

by so low and vile a personage more

beast on prowl than gentle man’s gentleman.

From WITHIN he comes to steal thought and

high ideals from those alive

the right to be

all things

that they can

be

he

aims to destroy, to besmirch, to undo

the greatest human experiment in mankind’s

history!

With defication on our ideals

defaming those intentions of the

fathers,  he would

destroy, he would

take away the benefit of our

beliefs, the belief of freedom and democracy

stolen by their colusion, two

of the hungry beasts their

greedy talons seeking blood

given power by those who are

eslaved by doctrine

and blind belief.

 

Mustang Sal by Request

Mustang Sal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Apple of Our Lives; An American Christmas

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

A Roasted Pig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

continued …..

Slice of American Pie: A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

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

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

“An Unexpected Guest; High Jinks and Hilarity”

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

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

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

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

“Up In Flames”

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

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

continued …

The Creature From the Black Canal

The Creature From the Black Canal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A big fugator!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

I struggled!!

“Would you like some cheeze and crackers?”

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

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

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

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

The Same Strange World

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

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

 

I Wasn’t Even Trying To Be Funny … Part II

if I had the balls to say ” … hey, i’ve gotta go, i left my car running … “i’d probably be just as capable of saying, ” … hey, i gotta go, I’ll see you guys 

later … ”  continued … 

images-4

 Part II

 So anyway, the first thing I did when I got into the office was get stuff out of my message box.  

Then, I sat down at the table to check my paper work one last time and read a memo about continuing education.

Jennifer, Linda and Carol were sitting on the other side of the table where I sat facing carol who sat behind her desk.

They were discussing which one of them wanted the stray cat they’d been feeding  outside the office for the past two months.

While I read the memo Carol told me she called yesterday for an assignment and since I didn’t call back she had to cancel the order.  

She said she left me a message.  

I didn’t say anything so the room got real quiet.  

I think that within the silence of the room Carol was questioning by implication, that I was irresponsible since, I didn’t return her call.  

I sat there scanning the memo thinking, am I supposed to be feeling guilty? Or contrite?  Or, what? 

Then, I thought, ‘fer Christ sake!  You’d think it was common knowledge by now that I’m gone a lot of the time and don’t constantly check for messages!  Doesn’t a person have the choice NOT to check for messages?  What if something earthshaking had happened so I couldn’t check?! 

I wasn’t going to let them get the best of me!

So I kept reading or maybe I muttered something like, ‘’Oh well, you know how it goes, blah, blah, blah …. ” when suddenly the woman named Linda (who’s pretty aggressive) says, “Why do you think telephones were invented … ?!’’ 

continued … 

Purple Words

Purple Words –

One late Spring day, my students and I
walked to the Dairy Queen with

the thought in mind that we would
capture unique experiences and

write about them when we returned to
the class room.

After lunch, we formed a single file line
crossed Monroe Road to the sidewalk,

walked west for two blocks, past
the house I grew up in (at the end off Mackinaw Street) then,

along the north side of
the fence surrounding

the big athletic field where all
the games were played on Friday night and

past the town park where
I played and

ice skated
as a
boy.

While we walked I roamed from
the front to the back of

the line pointing out details that
their eight year old minds

might not
notice.

I told them to listen to
the sound of car tires rolling over
the blacktop.

While stopped, we heard
the distant moan of a diesel engine.

They thought that
the groaning engine was probably

working hard to push boxcars to
different places at the ‘’rail yard’’.

One girl said, maybe
the engine was pulling a

quarter mile long
train of

boxcars.

I pointed to the diverse shades of
green and the different shapes of

leaves on maple or elm trees.

When a breeze gusted past,
i asked them how

the breeze felt and
what words they would use to

describe the sound as it passed over
their ears.

After a while they began to
glimpse the world between

the lines

pointing  out things
I never would have noticed.

Five blocks from school
at a red and yellow blinking light,

we crossed over Monroe Road and
walked two blocks north to

the Dairy Queen where I bought
each student a chocolate or vanilla cone.

We ate our cones sitting under a
huge oak tree.

Leaned against the tree I looked around,

marveling at
the sweet innocence of

my eight year old students.

At the right moment
I spoke about some of

the unique objects, sounds and
thoughts we experienced

during our seven block journey.

I asked them to describe
what they saw, felt and heard.

Once they began sharing stories,
their experiences flowed out of them

like bright streams of light.

And so I watched and listened as
the sun born from winter into spring

shone through the budding leaves
dappling their faces with

ever changing patterns of light as they
spoke of discoveries taken from

the world around them.

Their thoughts were fluid and
bright; sunlight streaming through

the leaves  knitted them together into
a tapestry of sorts.

As the sun rose higher so did
the details of their remembrances.

The tapestry grew more complex and
beautiful as the light arched higher.

When it was time to
return to school,

I told them they were to walk silently so that
their story or poem, would be

different than everyone else’s.

Later, with pencils, brown school paper and
their visions I watched them silently write.

One by one, they brought their their
papers to me and as they did,

I read each story.

Every story was beautiful in
its own way.

Unique reflections of each student’s personality.

Their words were like beautiful
uncut gems, some

the color of rubies or emeralds.

Others vibrated with sound, were simple with quiet emotion or
restless, anxious to please,

listing every impression.

One piece stood out from
the rest.

Written in purple ink by
the shiest girl in class,

her ten line poem captured
the essence of

the entire journey.

At the end of the day I
looked back at the experience with

a clarity of detail I had
never experienced before.

That night when I had dinner with
my Dad he told me that

a lot of people in town saw me walking with
my students and many of them commented that

I looked like the Pied Piper … but of course
the gentle side of the Piper …

I Wasn’t Even Trying To Be Funny Or, How A Chorus of G Notes Changed My Life

I Wasn’t Even Trying To Be Funny

I wasn’t looking forward to going into the office because according to procedures, paper work is to be turned in the next day before ten o’clock and I was already one day late PLUS I’d be going in after ten o’clock.

On top of that, when I’ve done something wrong, I get intimidated by all the women at the office. I know they talk so, I knew they were all aware that, once again I didn’t get my paperwork in on time.

Sometimes I feel like they gang up on me.  Or, maybe I’m just paranoid.

I don’t want to dwell on my paranoid feelings about women though.  Shit happens to me every day not just in the office but, all over the place. I’m not sure if it’s interesting or funny.  It doesn’t have anything to do with women per se.  It is what it is but, sometimes when it’s all over with at the end of the day, I get a chuckle out of reliving all the crazy shit that happens.

Before I left the house I made sure all the information on the forms was filled out correctly.  I’ve made every mistake in the book when it comes to filling out those forms.  I don’t want to be classified with people who are either dumb or crazy based on the definition that, if you keep making the same mistake over and over you’re one of them.

Then I drove over to the office. I parked my car in the circular drive out front and left the motor running thinking that if I needed an excuse for a quick getaway I could always say, ‘’Hey, I gotta go… I left my car running,’’ which … well, I do this all the time and I always think I’m so fricking smart but I’ve never once used it as an excuse to leave.   Sometimes I get stuck in there for 15 or 20 minutes just jabbering, while my car runs.  The whole time I’m involved in some inane conversation I’m thinking about how much gas I’m wasting and how ridiculous I was to leave the car running.

Before I go in, I always think it’s such a great excuse to leave but after I’m in there, it seems like a shitty excuse to be rude. continued ….

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?

There Was His Face

There was his face …

A mixture of youthful mirth, his right eyebrow a calligraphy flare at the end of a sentence, his mouth twisted into a half smile, his head cocked to the side, mischievousness written all over the place; a question mark at the end of his eyes that said, you don’t know what I’m thinking do you?

He looked into her.  He saw the color and its dark circle corona and the black pool.

She stared back .  Her benign smile said, “What’s on your mind?”

Waiting …..

Tell me about your excellent day,” she said.

“I spoke softly and the vibrations went into people and made them feel good.”

Waiting …

“There were plenty of smiles and laughter.  It felt like I was spreading something around.  It seemed like people were flowers that hadn’t been watered for a week.  I gave them a drink of Miracle Grow and they perked up for a bit… took in a little more sunshine.”

Thoughtful pause …

“It seems strange that I can pass all this positivity around but I can’t spread it to myself.  Fear still lurks. Fear can pounce without warning.  A crystal vase that  can fall and shatter in a heart beat.”

 I know his states of mind the way he thinks … his moods,  both bright AND dark but I only see his light.   Only HE  knows and sees the dark.  

Waiting …..

So you were fearful a lot of the time?

“Fear!!… that common concoction that mixes so well with just about any occasion?”

“You have nothing to fear. This I’ve never understood.”

What’s it like when things are really good? Explain it to me in words I’ll understand.

“O.k. My feelings,  my thoughts are a river that carries a river boat.  The boat is my physical self.  It and I float along on the river of feelings that are beneath. They are the feelings you have at that moment  …….. but, no matter what you think you feel it’s bigger … It’s the river and then … well you know.  There’s so much more.  There are forces that control the river!  The river is a constant force … a powerful force but there are many other forces to contend with as well.”

Waiting …

And, when you have a day like today what’s it like?  

“The guys in the engine room had that engine running smooth.  The fuel injectors were working perfectly.  I was at the helm of the ship.  I took it to different places and I was in complete control although, I only thought I was.”

“The engine was still in control  but the river controlled the engine. Even the boat thought it was  in control but it wasn’t.  Still … everything ran smooth for a change.”

“But, it was so great!  I could steer into little coves and inlets.  I explored little communities along this journey …
I could stop for a while, and even get out of myself for a change.”

Waiting .…. Thinking …..

“Oh, you know … that’s when you stand back … apart from  your ‘ME’ …  you SEE the world …. not ‘ME’  … for what it is. That damn ”Me” … it’s always getting in the way things …

I can watch the river flow by and I understand it better.”

“I see logs out there on swirly sub currents.  Murky water, whirlpools for crying out loud!  I don’t even want to go there!”

“I don’t know where the source of that fucking river is.  I ask myself, what is the source of that raging river?  A little stream like the mighty Mississippi?”

“Or, does it bubble to the earth from some dark, black place within the planet?  Maybe I was born in that black place and bubbled up with the black water?

Waiting … Both Smiling ….

N. rests his head back against the palms of his knitted fingers. He squints his eyes and stares into space.

“Although, there are times most often when the river is clear and runs smooth and it’s a pleasure to coast along at a slow enough pace that the world looks beautiful and you have time to see it  as

a wonderful

montage.”

Stooley …

They told me to take
a stool softener since

Roxies make you
constipated;

I decided to try …
those little gel caps;

gray and burgundy
(pretty colors that go together … )

that slip down your gullet pretty easily, so
I tore off a chunk of
Matt’s homemade all grain bread, started chomping,

looked down, saw the little Stoooley capsule,
popped it into my
mouth and said  ….

Oh fuck … !

i moved the little capsule around

defending it from the crushing blows of my molars

(which required a lot of coordination)

while swerving my food I

heard the name Donald Trump spoken

and

at that precise moment
heard a “snap” behind

my right molar.

Taking a quick pull on the water tumbler I quickly swallowed

the mostly chewed

piece of bread and

the deflated capsule and

 waited …

I didn’t have long to wait  …

A black inky, muddy taste
began spreading itself

across the roof of my mouth

and tongue

(directly below the roof … ) that …

“hurricane like” had decided

to stay in one place dumping its

vile taste  onto my

taste buds  …

and

that’s when i realized i’d had

a bad taste in my mouth for a long, long time …

BLEAH … !!

CONTINUED:

Miriam

Further adventures of Gile Steel.

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

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

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

Soon aft he returned to his room and fell asleep on a lounger that took a bunch of pain away, after the charge nurse downstairs (an Air Force Academy graduate) convinced him it would be better if he DID return to his room.

And so, he did.

As to the significance of the occasion? He told me, “When an unexpected event occurs, you get startled out of your senses and if you’re lucky unusual forces from all over the place join together, making all kinds of sparks and new connections and shit that gyrates, that sends light out crossing with other paths, pinging, making, striking all colors never seen, crossing, drawn from people normally grazing grass turned brown, bored, lonely.”  I loved the way he described it.

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

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

They go back to their separate flight paths but with fundamental change.  Maybe startlingly singular unexpected conflagrations such as these, reach into our genome level,  depending on intensity,  The genome makes a recording of the event using stripes and numbers, the recordings are a measure of intensity.  They’re probably color coded constantly building, writing it’s own individual formula, building building.  Intent to reach some point in time … to ‘build out’.  Anxious to accomplish the task or just doing what’s necessary to move about?   Recording of events totaling itself within the endless array of neural connections it has been  branching off and growing ….. we see evolution as a result.”

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

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

He loved the absurd humor of these situations; the startled first time behavior, the surprised looks, the brief return to childhood, a re-creation of the 16 year old smile, faces dripping smooth then frozen in time with white teeth and sparkling eyes, adding color, filling in a few of the voids within,  boiling it all down distilled and rendered into pure unadulterated … laughter.

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

Next:  Miriam

 

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 ……

 

 

 

To Be Alone In Misery

On the third day after a terrible night, having felt pain all night and hardly sleeping, sick to his stomach and with a fucking headache that wouldn’t go away moving from room to room had become a painful process.

At one point, he found himself in the middle room when she made breakfast; two poached eggs on sourdough bread toasted in butter on both sides where they ate together, and with a good appetite he was surprised that the food tasted so good and he enjoyed the meal.

He didn’t notice that there was a distance between them because he’d been feeling fortunate lately, that she seemed to care about his well being.  She even said endearing words and made statements like, ‘’Look at you!” a compliment she paid him on his strength and determination in the face of all the pain that 18 staples top to bottom across the patella of his knee could bring.

Or he wondered, could it be, that maybe these condescending words are what one is supposed to say under those kinds of situations as a matter of good manners? He scoffed at the idea. “But what a great way to disguise yourself,” he remarked.

Often he felt lulled into certain states of mind … comfortable states of mind … and even though he reminded himself many times not to feel too complacent. “Sooner or later Maxwell’s silver hammer always comes crashing down on my head,” is how he put it.

After the incident when he thought about it he realized that when the hammer struck he was usually feeling vulnerable just like he did on this day when he sat on the edge of the bed sick and dizzy and in pain where, he had tried to get dressed to go with her to see B. but being too weak he had to rest and they decided he wasn’t up to the ride.  He felt even shittier because he wouldn’t be able to see B. too.

Forlorn, he told her of his sadness but at that time, he hadn’t considered the fact that she hadn’t told him in advance.  “Maybe if she had told me in advance I could have had a limping chance up a long ramp to get dressed instead of having to do it all at once on such short notice.  He wondered if she had planned it that way.”

He knew he’d still feel like shit but at least he’d get to see B.

She offered words of consolation and continued … in the same breath … to say good bye when he found himself sitting alone on the edge of the bed in pain and forlorn somehow let down, and dizzy from trying to put his jeans on.

When he said in a not too loud tone as she walked away … (he didn’t want to sound angry), “Don’t you know a plea for love when you see it?”

He had to repeat himself a couple times and he admitted to me that the low tone was used to lure her back since each time he repeated himself she couldn’t quite hear him. He was hoping that she would come closer so they could talk, so he could tell her straight out that he was asking for her love, an appeal to feel close to her because he needed her because he was in distress and had been for some time.

He told her how nice it would be that every once in a while he could feel as though his feelings were “locked onto” like you’d feel if another presence was inside of you since, “It’s no good to feel alone when you are in misery.”

When suddenly a picture appeared and disappeared in a flash within his mind but, he saw the picture clearly.  At that moment he had visited a place where unburied feelings lay sleeping; feelings that he hadn’t felt for a long time.

He thought about what it would feel like to be in misery but to share it.

After considering all there was to misery he told me, “To be locked into another person’s feelings would feel,” he said,  “like what it would feel like to be with a loved one on a cold winter night, billows of breath vapor misty white for a split second against the stark fingers of the black trees, powder snow sparkling on the ground each individual flake reflecting moon and stars everything alive sleeping their way through winter, at peace with dreams from Mother Earth, no sounds at all … perfectly quiet, the stars beating and shining and twinkling their various spectrums, each star’s individual spectrum as unique to every other star in the universe as each snowflake on the ground against the black of night … the black of nothingness. everything exteraneous  stripped away but for bare elements of life the beauty of the moment made more beautiful when shared with another.”

“How beautiful to feel that way!” He exclaimed.

He was thinking and seeing how nice this would be when suddenly, he realized he was sitting on the edge of the bed feeling ill and dizzy, in pain, a stinking headache that wouldn’t go away, his jeans around his ankles feeling forlorn, a little angry and very alone.  .

The Third Epoch

Did you hear about them coming?
yes i did. they said, ‘in droves’ but, what does that mean and where will they be coming from?
they’re already here! they’re INSIDE MY HOUSE!  they won’t leave me alone.  they keep sucking my blood.   good God, face facts.  it’s what we’ve ALL been suffering from for so long!
but, where … ? what are we gonna DO? We don’t even know what they look like!
people are setting up perimeters around their homes.
has there been any mention about flame throwers?
flame throwers are against the law dummy! you know that!
why did they said there’ll be so many?
Lucas’ science teacher told me he thought it had to do with global warming.
you hippy dippy assholes blame everything on global warming don’t you? Pastor Clint says it’s God’s punishment on the liberals in Congress.
that’s a bold faced lie you asshole!
and so it went ….
The next day as missiles from the thermal nuclear powers crossed each other half way to their respective mainlands, the ground opened and the infestation began … with numbers far beyond what anyone had expected.
Ironically … humans who weren’t consumed by the infestation were instantly vaporized.
Once again, the earth had been saved!
And The Third Epoch began.

 

Within the Fractures of His Mind

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 …

Desperate to satisfy his

need

 he stole

Time

from his

landlady …

…..

he milked it from the

telephone during her

numerous but

brief,

trips

away …

…..

of course she discovered his

deception …

…..

he hid behind his

deceit

but

it’s easy to see lies when they stand

naked

in the

middle of a

room …

…..

her hatred boiled

over …

it shattered his roomed

confinement …

…..

she couldn’t stand to be

around him  any

longer…

…..

she hated the air he

breathed …

…..

she gave no

succor

to his

loneliness …

…..

so,

she vanquished him from the

four walls she sold

him …

…..

she banished him from her

brick

Victorian space

and

when he turned his

back

she

burned every vestige of his

life in the front

yard …

…..

she watched with calm

detachment while every

remnant

of his history rose up in

flames and black

smoke …

lost forever to the

destiny

that awaits us

all …

…..

another death had

overtaken

him …

…..

another relocation awaited

him …

…..

Now, he lives within the

fire and the

demons

he could not

fight …

…..

he lives inside the

void

of the

schism

he fell

into …

…..

through windows into

darkness

he seeks

nothing

that can be

found …

…..

he’s a sad and lonely

little boy

who’s

lost somewhere in

time …

…..

an old and toothless man

who

wanders inside

rooms

within the

fractures of his

mind …

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??

Voyage: The Flatlands of Ohio

*Photo above: Dayton, Ohio from I-75

Across the Border: Into the Flatlands

Across the border into Ohio
hard to keep my eyes off

the furrowed fields, sprouts of
corn, wheat or soybeans

lines of green velveteen beckoning
my eyes to distant silos
and barns …

beautiful country given
as secret knowledge to those of us
born inside the breadbasket

(boring as hell to those who aren’t)
our genes and DNA possessed of this

loveliness … given deeper sight to
know its vast beauty …

past Dayton, Ohio

into Cincinnati with it’s never ending
road construction,

the depressing sight of
mid 20th century decay;

towering church spires, five story brick schools
miles of deserted factories

block after block
crumbling shingle by shingle

worm wood burrowing water absorbing
rot taken into each

crumbling grain of red clay and mortar
separating once wrapped ‘round

the fibres of life within giving
animation and purpose

barely clinging now …
to the present

shells of the exoskeleton,
of a once great city

those fortresses of
sustenance where

generations of life lived and worked
and died within

the clay and concrete
the lintels and mortar lines,

those slate roofs, cathedral spires,
schools and factories now

turned brittle, the life within deserted
devoid of functionality, of

all humanity,
used and abused,

willing partners now
deserted friends

thrown aside/turned away from

the stories contained inside now
dripping with finality

the final insult to all that was
the past unknown to those who never saw

and will never know

the life that grew
and lived inside

the countless souls who believed
their city’s life would live forever now …

those outward stories slowly sucked
into the ground of obscurity ..

drawing closer every day to
the black hole of anonynimity

at the center of a world
no longer real …

brittle forms now
of deserted husks

the greenery of growing life
sucked dry by

the winds of time
unmercifully leaving

a cluttered tabla rasa
of ruin and ghostly silence

the cord with past life
broken by slow decay

all precious life forsaken
fallen seeds taken

from the distant past
and thrown asunder

the next chapter of our
destiny or ..

maybe the

last?

continued; Lexington and beyond …

Voyage South

After the Departure; The Road South

And so the voyage goes …

Uneventful miles rolled beneath
the balding tires of The Explorer …

along the Huron coastline
over the Zilwaukee Bridge past

Fisher Body in Flint a skeleton
of what it used to be

when time was ‘LIGHT’ where
i used to be when all was right

alive with simple delight and small town splendor

(… while, a lurking vision of a blow out tagged along
an anxious silent vision in the back of my mind
that dogged me

a sleeping spark of possibility
ever since

the tread flew off the D Mobile
2000 miles in past time on

the road north (away from the Tropics) … stripping
the back panel from the Mustang

knocking off the rocker … a
near calamity in

the third lane of
’75 rolling along at

80 mph … toward northern/ pine wood forests …

you’d be paranoid too!)

with all my barreling through time
i wondered

would i live a dozen or so minutes
or maybe even longer

in accordance with
the laws of physics

slowing time with all this
forward motion?

or …

with greater distance
traveld through time and space and

probability

would my life end
the next

instant!?)

past the Arborland sign,
(over Washtenaw Avenue) I continued

its lofty height looking down
a beacon of constancy

a point of reference
a sign post of history marking

the golden age of youth spent
in intellectual pursuit

the days of higher learning
Timothy Leary, the Fugs

Iron Butterflies, blues bars
shady characters, lost lovers

Viet Nam

the dog days of youthful exuberance
and experimentations

success and failure
triumph and rejection

faces of friends and lovers
roommates i lived with

in the house of
our endeavors

the beating heart
of shame and lost success …

the choices that i made wrapped
most often with

careless consideration
meandering roads along

unbeaten paths

maturing to regret … but mostly
grateful that i escaped the

doom …

continued … The Flatlands of Ohio

Of Men and Mice

i’m perfectly aware that those sticky mouse traps are cruel.  but i figure the captured mice die alone.  me?  i decided the sticky side of some vinyl strips i recently used on the floor would be more humane and maybe i could find a humane way to dispose of them far enough from the cottage they wouldn’t return.   here’s what happened … so far … 

So … last night i got up to pee around three a.m.

(i don’t turn on the light so sitting to pee increases my chances of hitting the water unless i sit and the seat is down which can be painful.)

while waiting, i glanced to the left just as a tiny mouse scurried past the door opening. i jumped up and went after the sucker with all the sticky tiles i could find. then, while wiping up the dribbled pee between the toilet and the door i saw either the same little ‘mickey’ or another one, i’m not sure.

i picked up a sticky tile and threw it at the little bastard. it happened to be next to a quart can of paint. when the tile hit the paint can it formed a little tee pee under which, was the little guy.

lucky little bastard, i thought …  BUT, part of the sticky vinyl touched its tail. momentarily delayed, its little feet running in place, it managed to escape the sticky grip disappearing between the washer and dryer.

i used the sticky side of the vinyl to fish for the mother, waving it under the washer and dryer but … no stick.

i said to the little invader … ‘don’t worry you bastard, you’re an uninvited guest and your ass is grass.”

i stripped a couple vinyl tiles, dropped on some trail mix making sure there were a couple of m and m’s on the strip along with some choice pecans and a couple p nuts and laid it across the entrance to the laundry room calling it out for a little snack.

before retiring i used another vinyl strip … with some nice crunchies on it … along the baseboard behind the couch since mice like to hug the walls and the couch was a good place to hide in wait.

i put another strip on the floor between the end of the breakfast bar and the front wall thinking if there was another one, it might want to check to see if there were any crumbs laying around in the kitchen.

i didn’t know if mice can climb that well so, i covered the dirty dishes in the sink with the glass cutting board thinking … ha ha … i’ll get you you little vermin bubonic plague carrier!  (this part if fictionalized i would never leave dirty dishes in the sink.  it sounded entertaining so i wrote it.)

this morning i went on a small game hunt first checking the strip behind the couch. i found traces of hair stuck to the vinyl strip by the couch. could it have fallen on its side?

while feeling some concern that it was able to escape i laughed … maybe i’ll recognize the little bastard by missing patches of hair on its hind quarters!

i look the strip outside in the daylight to look as closely as i could, for any tiny little mousey toe prints. there were none. hmmm .. i wondered, how could that be?

but then i realized mice are smart … maybe it tried to roll over the strip???? then i realized, that would be kind of a dumb thing for a mouse to do.

i put the thought out of my mind, retiring to the laundry room since, while lying in bed i came to the conclusion that the fucker(s)(i wasn’t sure if mice bonded with mates like ducks do) probably got into the house through some cracks or holes behind the washer, dryer, hot water heater or furnace.

anxious to blunt any further incursions, i searched for steel wool after discovering an actual hole about 3/4 of an inch in diameter that i’d never seen before beneath the dryer.

i sounded like Simon Lagree stuffing the hole with steel wool. then, i discovered a large enough crack for them to slither through since i’m aware that mice have the ability to somehow morph snakelike so to get through tiny crevaces.

i stopped my evil chuckling as anger and determination took its place with a growling sound deep within my throat.

i stripped another strip of tile laying it against the smaller crack along where the wall joins the floor.

“let’m scurry down that highway to hell!” i thought.

then i realized that maybe the dryer vent could be one of their secret passages so i moved the dryer so that it lined up perfectly with the vent hole leading outside, turned on the dryer, went outside to check the wind velocity.

feeling a warm strong wind i decided that the two were lined up pretty good. i promised myself i’d duck tape the connection later.

in order to get the dryer lined up perfectly, the space between the dryer and the hot water heater had widened revealing pipes and the gas line i hadn’t noticed before. so, i slid in some vinyl strips over the tiles that the hot water heater sits on.

i got ambitious and stuck down tiles i precision cut, to cover those ugly tiles.

i had a hell of a time cutting the little triangles i needed to fit in since, little triangular spaces are always present when tiling around a round surface.

finally, thinking while snipping the little triangles, i devised a plan for trapping the little bastards.

the problem had always been … where to put the strips?? i realized that, the sticky sided vinyl strips should be placed across the entrance to any open area like, the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room AND surrounding the washer and dryer which … i will put in place tonight.

while submerged between the hot water heater and the wall i discovered two empty packets of ‘de-con’ mouse poison with little holes through which some mouse in the distant past had eaten through to get to the deadly substance. i imagined the stomach ache they must have experinced before dying.

i felt that Simon Lagree laugh involuntarily rise from my throat once again.

was i becoming psychotic, i thought … without thought or conscience about taking a life? AND what would i do if upon waking in the morning one of the little Mickeys was stuck to the vinyl strip struggling to get loose before my very eyes?

if that happened i was hoping our eyes didn’t meet since, i’d see the fear of death in the bastard’s eyes and probably want to make a pet out of it.

then i remembered having blood poisoning from a mouse bite when i was a kid trying to catch a mouse to make into a pet and decided to squash the son of a bitch with my boot heel! NOT REALLY!

i was hoping all my efforts would be preventative in nature.  i didn’t want to face that possibility since catching vermin with a sticky strip of tile is cruel to begin with but … i don’t want the bastards running around the cottage with their little droppings everywhere.  i kept thinking of the plague which was the perfect rationalization for sticky vinyl removal of mice as long as the end result is as humane as possible.

so i thought, maybe i could take it across the street and shake it off the vinyl tile which would serve a double purpose.  maybe the shaking would addle its brain enough so that it wouldn’t rememer where the cottage was and return when …. once again, the simon lagree in me rose to the surface and i pictured myself cutting its little feet off with my toe nail clippers … ewwww … too nasty and cruel to even think about. and, i’m not that kind of person but i guess everyone has a ‘shadow self’ … mine just happens to be the personage of simon lagree.

then, with a chuckle i thought, maybe i’ll take it into town where i’d stick it to the railroad tracks since recently, i’ve been hearing the train passing by each night. hahaha, i thought. this would be poetic justice wouldn’t it?

so this is how i spent my morning … setting traps for small game …

i didn’t have one of those hats you see big game hunters wearing in the Tarzan movies so i wore my Nike hat as a gag. hahaha …

then, i washed my hands really good … feeling sure that, if i didn’t i’d for sure get a bad case of the bubonic plague or at least a bad case of thrush.

that’s about it. there’s been a cold rain still going from last night. the kinder side of me keeps thinking … maybe they just came in to get warm.

i just noticed some bumps on my neck. those fucking spiders are at it again. i slapped on some cortiozone cream and started searching in the corners for those little egg sacks.

it hasn’t been a bad day. luckily it’s still raining so, i didn’t have anything better to do than hunt mice and spiders.

hopefully the rain will stop and i’ll decide i’ve done enough and abandon the hunt. or not!  maybe my obsessive tendencies will rise to the surface, i’ll lose control and be totally obsessed!

But i would like to get some work done outside … i’ll keep you posted … .

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.

A Day In the Life

continued …… I HAPPENED TO PASS BY THE LAUNDRY ROOM ON THE WAY TO THE BATHROOM, I SAW SOME JEANS THAT NEEDED TO GO INTO THE DRYER … 

imgres

… so i put them into the dryer then I started to move the furniture back to where I wanted it.  When I finished I remembered I was going to take a shower so I went in and took all the tools out of the tub,  that I had brought in earlier.

I grabbed my tools put them where they needed to be then  … Oh!  There’s that sandwich! I hadn’t eaten it all.  So I continued eating the sandwich while walking around looking for my camera (so i could take a before and after picture of the tub) when I remembered taking some cool pictures a couple of days ago … I decided to take a look a them … so i sat down, logged in,  started to peruse when i looked over and saw two globs of grape jelly on the floor … shit!

after considering my options i grabbed an old wash cloth, wet it down in the bathroom and wiped up the jelly … ummm i wonder if i should throw the washcloth in the laundry basket … hell yes, so i threw it into the laundry basket then,  i remembered there was dirt in the tub from my tools.

So while I was in the laundry room I grabbed the shop vac went into the bathroom and and sucked it up …  CONTINUED ….. WHILE SUCKING  I NOTICED HOW LOUSY THE BASEBOARDS … A Day In the Life ………

A Day In the Life

 A Day In the Life
Prologue

Night words floated out of reach ‘till almost
dawn …

Then, morning, noon and night passed by,
my wings still clipped;

(far too many extraneous thoughts
lurking in my peripheral vision

kept me from taking
flight …)

I knew i’d get
my inspiration back

i just knew it … !

Next morning I returned to work confident/not expecting the pain of
thought rejection

I worked on what little I’d started the
night before but

All I did was massacre the words …

Take life out of the thoughts …

Resigned to being a dullard I thought,

“Why not do something useful in the real world
for a change?”

What resulted is the story of a day in my ‘real world’
that day I decided to do something ‘useful’.

I looked around for something to do then  …

Part I

“Ahaa!,” I thought, “I’ll work on the tub!”

I began visualizing my moves; writing problems down, making a materials list. It felt good that to be taking the time to plan the job since I thought of problems that wouldn’t have occurred to me if I’d have jumped in there head first!

As I was leaving the bathroom, I realized I hadn’t eaten.

That’s when I got sick to my stomach.

So I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on toast …  threw down my meds, drank a cup of coffee, while bouncing around listening to Kincade or Underworld, wondering what i was going to do next, when I happened to pass by the laundry room where I saw a pair of jeans that needed to be thrown into the dryer …

continued …

There Was His Face

There was his face …

A mixture of youthful mirth, his right eyebrow a calligraphy flare at the end of a sentence, his mouth twisted into a half smile, his head cocked to the side, mischeviousness written all over the place. A question mark at the end of his eyes that said, you don’t know what I’m thinking do you?

When he looked into her his eyes his face lost expression.

He saw the color and its dark circle corona and the black pool he fell  into.

She stared back . Her benign smile said, “What’s on your mind?”

Waiting …..

Tell me about your excellent day?

“I spoke softly and the vibrations went into people and made them feel good.”

Waiting …

“There were plenty of smiles and laughter. It felt like I was spreading something around. It seemed like people were flowers that hadn’t had water in a week. I gave them a drink of Miracle Grow and they perked up for a bit… took in a little more sunshine. It seems strange that I can pass all this positivity around but i can’t spread it to myself. Fear still lurks. Fear can pounce without warning. A crystal vase that can fall and shatter in a heart beat.”

I know his states of mind the way he thinks … his moods, both bright AND dark but I only see his light. Only HE knows and sees the dark.

Waiting …..

So you were fearful a lot of the time?

“Fear!!… that common concoction that mixes so well with just about any situation?”

You have nothing to fear. This I’ve never understood.

“My feelings? My thoughts are a river that carries a river boat. The boat is my physical self. It and I float along on the feelings that are beneath. They are the feelings I have at that moment …….. But, no matter what you think … you know it’s bigger … It’s the river and then … well you know. There’s so much more. The river is a constant force … a powerful force. But there are forces that control the river!

Waiting …

And, when you have a day like today what’s it like?

“The guys in the engine room had that engine running smooth. The fuel injectors were working perfectly. I was at the helm of the ship. I took it to different places and I was in complete control although, I only thought I was. The engine was still in control but the river controlled the engine …. still … everything ran smooth for a change. Even the boat thought it was in control but it wasn’t. But, it was so great! I steered into little coves and inlets. I explored little communities along this journey.”

“I can stop for a while, and even get out of myself. You know … get out of the boat … for a change.”

Waiting .,…. Thinking …..

“That’s when I can stand back … apart from ‘ME’ … I SEE the world …. not ‘ME’ … for what it is. That damn ”Me” … it’s always getting in the way of things … .”

“I can watch the river flow by and I understand it better. I see logs out there on swirly sub currents. Murky water, whirlpools for crying out loud! I don’t even want to go there!”

“I don’t know where the source of that fucking river is. I ask myself, what is the source of that raging river? A little stream like the mighty Mississippi? Or, does it bubble to the surface of the earth from some dark, black place within the planet? Maybe I was born in that black place and bubbled up with the black water … ?

Waiting … Smiling ….

“… Although, there are times most often when the river is clear and runs smooth and it’s a pleasure to coast along at a slow enough pace that the world looks beautiful and you have time to see it as a wonderful montage ….. .”

Does Anybody See?

 Can ANYONE read

 the writing on the wall?

**********************

Ronald Regan founder co/conspirator; Jerry Falwell,  leader of the Silent Majority.  Regan gets the support of millions of Christian voters in return for supporting Born Again Christians in government races nationwide.  The Christian Right begins its infiltration into positions of power.

Within the Senate and House of Representatives great numbers of Christian Right politicians/officials are now poised to seize power to save the country by bringing ‘Christian Ideals’ to the people.

Donald  Trump creates the schism through incendiary oratory.  Hatred is a powerful force driven by lies.

 Lies stoke hatred. Hatred Divides

Diversions/Secrets/Deals/Deceit/Lust/Hunger/Power/Lies

Greed!

Insatiable Appetites

Divide and Conquer/Bait and Switch

Divide to Conquer ..

Waiting For the End

Sheep of the Land

Well Fed Pastures

has no one read


Watership Down ?