Archive for February, 2014

Choose Wisely

Posted: February 28, 2014 in Humor

So, you think you want a sensitive man do you?
A poet, a writer, creative and artistic?

A man with feelings, who can truly express them,
and who understands yours too?

A man who knows how to cry, and does so?

Really?

You’d better think this over carefully,
are you really ready for it?

A man that you can so easily hurt
with the wrong words, or a cross look?

A man who really gets scared, and tells you?

A man who wants to talk it all out?

A bit less sure now, are you?

Think it over carefully before you approach him,
before you start attract his feelings.

Don’t add more scars to his heart than
are already displayed there.

Maybe you want a manly man,
closed off, quiet, a little detached?

Choose wisely please.

Back to Baltimore

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Micro-Story, Song
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[Author’s Note: It’s a follow-up song to Bruce Springsteen’s  Hungry Heart. I know he’ll never see this, but I liked doing it anyway.  I picture it being sung at a much slower tempo than the original. Maybe just Bruce and his guitar.]

Back to Baltimore

I went back to Baltimore
after thirty-some years
To face the sins of my youth
and some of my deepest fears

The mother of my kid is gone
but I found my daughter Ruth
I needed to reach out to her
if only to tell her my truths

I was confused by what it meant to be a man
and I thought it meant do anything I want
runaway from the hard things I made
but ghosts only live to haunt

I didn’t know if she would see me
I didn’t know what she was taught
I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t
But she was always in my thoughts

I thought my heart was hungry
but that was my ego and pride
I wanted to be a hero
so to myself I just lied

I’m standing on a downtown corner
flowers in my shaking hand
I told her I’d meet her
by the Lexington Market hot dog stand

Her half brother’s and sisters in California
they all know her name
they all know what I did,
and how I carry that shame

I waited for a long time
and felt she wasn’t going to show
my heart hung heavy in my chest
and I turned to go

Suddenly I heard my name called
softly through a crowd
I turned to see Ruth there
looking beautiful and proud

I thought my heart was hungry
But man I was wrong
This is what was missing
from my life all along.

Love might be like a river
that don’t know where it’s flowin
but sometimes it makes it out to the ocean
and comes together with what’s it’s always known

I crawl out from the closed flap in the teepee, it’s just barely the dawn. I am the first to rise, as usual it seems. The smoke from the previous nights fires is still rising in the cool morning air. It’s a true summer morning, and I know there is much to be done today. The open grassland affords me a clear view for a great distance around us. I walk a short ways from the camp, through the dry grasses to a knoll, pull aside my breechclout and relieve myself. As I slowly walk back, I stop and look at the dome of light the rising sun is creating. I smile, as this all feels good to me. I look at my own arms, dark and lean, my skin is beginning to crease. In not too many cycles, I will find myself an elder. But, for now, I am here in the grasslands with 9 of my brothers. Nine good brothers I must watch, and keep to their tasks.

We are far from our brothers and sisters of the longhouse, but we will return in some days time, with fresh meat and skins. I know that it will not be very long until the sun, and the air will tell us it’s time to move. Down from our light housing, closer to the sea. The shelled fish will be plentiful, and the cold winds more bearable there. Doing as we have done for many cycles, it is as it should be. I feel a sense of peace and purpose here, it is hard work, but it is all good work. And, soon afterward we will have a time for celebration, and we will all enjoy the foods and goods we have worked hard for.

The sun breaks the horizon finally, and the light feels good to my eyes. Brother sun will light and warm another day for us. I am grateful for what we have, and all that we have had as well. I take nothing for granted, for the blessings we have now can be easily taken away by the spirits. A grateful heart is a gift to the spirits, and in turn they provide us the game we need. For others in our tribe, the spirits help make the plants grow and bear fruit that we all will share. Everyone has a job to do, and every job is important to us all. I have done all of these tasks in my life, and I have appreciation for them all. I can show the younger ones how to do many things, and I am pleased when they learn. Life is a gift, and I am deeply satisfied with it.

(This was a vivid and somewhat lucid dream I had many years ago. I can still feel, see and smell everything in it. I apologize for any part that is not accurate or in any way offends.)

Cycles

Posted: February 19, 2014 in Poems
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I spiraled downward

Hit bottom hard and broken

Even though it was she

that took a leap of unfaithfulness

Leaving me here
, eviscerated

Washing off the black blood of betrayal

Feeling branded, marked and unworthy

Blinded and foolish,

I stagger up on to my feet

‘It wasn’t meant to be’ I say out loud

‘It’s all for a reason’ right?

This. too. shall. fucking. pass. I spit

Hardness envelops me

Protection mode engaged

Fool me once… fuck everyone afterwards

Seasons roll on past me

The rain washes away the dirt

I smile more, make a joke

Friends call again

The sun seems so bright

The days longer than the nights

The heart re-blooms with the sweet morning sun

Rain

Posted: February 16, 2014 in Poems
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When we knew each other before
I'm not sure when
Past life, between lives...
All I know is I called you Rain
Probably not spelled like this
But, the real sound was 'Rain'
And, it was you.

I have no doubts now. It's you.
Your eyes contain the soul I know
Even your smile radiates Rain
An energy connection from long ago
still felt from so far away

Rain has occasional clouds
but her spirit is clear and sunny
Rain has amazing eyes that clearly see
the hard lessons we're here to learn
I'm so grateful I've found the Rain again
Because I am growing now too.

The Argument

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Short Stories
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“Is everything you bought organic?” He asked, as he was helping unpack the hemp grocery bags.

“Yeah, I’m still making sure I don’t buy any genetically modified foods, so organic is the only safe stuff I can depend on.”

He noted a mild irritation in her voice when she answered him.

“Sure, uh, okay.” Now he was taking cover since he suspected he’d most likely triggered a small storm. (He was right.)

“Well, that was kind of a lame ‘okay’ from you. I do this for us you know. Don’t you want me to get healthy foods? Do you want the cheap freaky GMO stuff? Because I don’t, I really don’t.”

“Yeah hon, I know. I wasn’t saying anything against it.”

“Well, you could have fooled me. I saw your face, and could almost hear your eyes rolling when I mentioned GMO foods.” She was on a roll now and there was no place to hide. He’d seen this wind-up so many times before that he knew all the signs, all the signals. A gasket was about to be blown, and there was no way to stop it.

“I didn’t roll my eyes, I didn’t make a sound.” He said quietly.

“I can hear things in your voice you know, I am aware of when you’re mocking me. But that’s okay, if you want to be like that it’s fine with me. I just do what I think is best for us and I am not expecting a parade for it. I just thought you were behind this idea a little more than that.”

His better judgment told him not to respond, but he couldn’t stop himself, the words were already coming. “Look, I’m as concerned as anyone might be about GMO crap, and I don’t want to eat it either. I guess I just didn’t think that every single non-organic product was suddenly GMO laced.”

“Well, I ‘m not saying it is. But, the fact is we don’t really know, do we? So why take a chance on it then, right? And, furthermore, I don’t think you’re as concerned as anyone else, unless you’re speaking of people who aren’t really concerned. I think you just go with the flow, and nod your head a lot. I don’t think you really see what’s happening. You can’t see what this is going to do to our kids, or their kids!”

“Well, you’re right, I don’t know what it’s going to do to them, I don’t know what it’s doing to anybody. I’m not a scientist, I don’t read medical journals, so I don’t know. I just hear it from you, or see an occasional news story about it. I’m not on a crusade against the evil corporations that are going to screw up our food system like you think they are. I happen to think that for every evil corporation that’s messing with things like this, there’s good people, and good scientists that are working on unscrewing it!”

“Oh Christ, that’s so naïve David! Why would any scientists be working on un-modifying GMO foods? There’s no money in that, there’s no research grants for that. The money is in tweaking things they barely know about so they can save the corporations millions of dollars. So they can get ten stalks of Franken-wheat from one seed. That’s where the money is and that’s their motivation.”

“God, your view of the world is so negative. It’s like you think there’s sinister forces controlling everything, and we have no chance of escaping them. Well, I don’t buy it, I can’t believe in a world like that, where conspiracy lurks around every corner. I just don’t believe that’s how things are.”

“Okay Pollyanna, you keep telling yourself that, and in a few years we’ll see who’s right and who’s wrong. I know for a fact that people are motivated by money, and that’s about all that corporations care about is their bottom line. They don’t give a rat’s ass about us, or what their products do to us. They don’t care if we start dying from their GMO foods because they will already have our money. You think I’m being negative, but I am just being a realist. You’re the one with his head in the sand.”

“I am a positive person, and I’m not an idiot. I just don’t see things as negatively as you do. I tend to think that things will get figured out, that they’ll get better in time. It’s just how I am. But you label me as Pollyanna and Mr. Positive, and other names meant to demean me, just because I don’t see the world like you do. I believe there’s good people who do see the big picture and some have dedicated their lives to helping fix what’s been messed up already.

It doesn’t even make sense that big-agra would want to loose upon the world harmful products when their families probably eat the same stuff! Why would they knowingly produce foods that could kill their own families?”

“Because there’s no one-person at a corporation David. There’s no one single boss who has his little family working there with him. It’s a board of directors, and old men with fancy titles that are all paid way too much for what they do. And, there’s the stockholders who want to see a profit every single quarter. None of them give a shit about us individual people! They care about money and growth, and that’s it!”

“That’s so fucking dark Rachel, it’s like you take the smallest thing and blow it up to some uber-negative conclusion.”

“I do no such thing!” She screamed back at him.

“You sat there in bed, just after I read you that small paragraph about the genetic transfer thing and you said Well, we’re doomed then. Humans deserve to all die from what we’re doing to the foods. You said we all deserve to die! Everyone! Do you even remember me asking you if you were for real? Everyone around the world deserves to die because some corporations are fooling with the food? I’m still shocked.”

“Maybe I do think that sometimes, so what? Humans have fucked up this planet and for what? Always the same damn thing, money! If it makes a buck, then screw everybody and do it! That’s the business mantra, and has been for like two centuries. They’ll mow down the entire rainforest if they could make a buck selling chopsticks!”

“All I know is one simple story like that and you go into a negativity spiral that I can’t follow you down! To hear one news story and decide that we’re all going to die, and deserve to, is just crazy in my book. I think there’s a lot more good people in this world, who are working on solutions to the fucked up things we’ve done thus far, and they’re going to make a difference. Hell, they already are! Our country passes all kinds of laws to protect the environment, and in Europe, they have even stronger laws. I can’t believe you think politicians and business owners don’t think about their own kids, or grandkids. They know they have to live here too, and no one wants to poison the future intentionally. These are people, not monsters.”

“They don’t have to be ‘monsters’ to worship the dollar more than other people’s lives David. They can be regular church-going people, but still value money more that anything else. I mean, even if they get old and realize what shitty choices they’ve made, it’s too late! The damage is done, and they can’t do a damn thing about it even with all their money. And, they ain’t giving that up!”

“You know, truthfully, it’s been like this almost our whole relationship. You can’t even watch the evening news with me because you get too depressed about the stories you see. It’s like we’re hearing two different broadcasts. I’m not blaming you for being the way you are, but it’s so different from how I am that I feel alienated from you. I have to work hard to not slide down that hole you’re in. That dark place where everything’s wrong and everyone has some hidden agenda. I can’t go there! I don’t want to go there.”

“I’m not in some dark hole, you asshat, I just think about how screwed up things are and it depresses me. Maybe I’m more sensitive than you are. Maybe I have more feelings for things like the planet and animals and birds eating plastic. People do screwed up things every day and no one seems to want to inconvenience their lives in any way. I mean what? Use a reusable bad for groceries and not a toxic plastic one? Oh no, that’s too much trouble! That’s how people are David, face it.”

“Look Rachel, I love my life, I love the people I know, hell I love people I don’t even know yet. I know the world isn’t perfect, I know there’s a shit load of things wrong all over the globe, but most of it has so little to do with me that I can’t relate to it. I just keep my focus on my life, right here, right around me.

I have concerns about the world, but I can’t take on worrying about it like I have some affect over it. I can use a cotton bag for groceries, I can never use plastic water bottles, and I can make a compost pile in my kitchen. But that’s me, just me! And you know what? If other people see me doing that, maybe one or two of them will decide to try it too. That’s how the world changes, in tiny little steps.”

“Oh and you think that’s enough? You think people all over are going to notice that David has stopped buying plastic water bottles, and change their whole fucking way of life?”

“I don’t know Rachel, and suddenly I don’t give a shit either! I just want to be happy. I just want to live my life for me. Not to please the rest of the world, and not to please you either. I just can’t live like this anymore. I can’t live for a future that only exists in your mind. There’s not enough room in there for me anymore, and I think you sense that too. You’re trying to make me into something I’m not, and it’s like being a shoe that doesn’t fit right. You keep trying it on,  but it still hurts.”

“Wait, what? How did this become about our relationship? What did I say, or do that made you suddenly want to leave me?” Tears were close now, a rare thing for her, and he knew that.

Become about our relationship? It’s all about our relationship, it’s always been about our relationship! Everything we do, or don’t do – every choice we make, every discussion or fight we have are all affecting and forming our relationship. It’s a living and changing process, and ours is actually dying. There’s a lack of oxygen in this living space, Rachel, and we’re suffocating slowly. 

Today Everything Changes

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Short Stories
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5 AM was way too early for any human being to have to wake up. He knew that in the future he’d have to change this, but for now, up-and-at-em. Rushing into the shower, water way too hot, he soaped, shaved and got ready as fast as he could. As he was getting dressed Jim thought he felt a tremor, like a light earthquake but much lighter than he had ever felt before. Living in California this wasn’t anything to get too excited over, any earthquake that didn’t shake the dishes out of the cupboard wasn’t an earthquake to worry about. This looked like one more day he’d be late for work but not by too much.

Jim turned on the radio; he liked listening to the news in the morning while he got dressed so he’d be ‘up’ on current events by the time he got to the office.
“The office” he thought, sometimes Jim chuckled at the sound of that. He still marveled at the fact that he was the manager of a group of technicians for a large state agency. It wasn’t too many years ago Jim was doing all kinds of different jobs to make ends meet. That was about the time he decided that he needed to go back to college and get a degree or he was going to be doing those kinds of jobs for the rest of his life.

Two years at the State College, many sleepless nights and gallons of coffee finally got Jim the degree he needed. Not long after graduation he got an opportunity to accept a part-time state job. Jim hesitated at the offer because it wasn’t exactly his dream job. But, on the other hand, benefits and a nice retirement made him think twice and he agree to it. About a year afterward they offered it to him full-time and he accepted quickly. Now, 12 years later Jim is still there, and still pretty-much enjoying what he’s doing.

The drive to work was so routine he was almost sure he could do it with his eyes closed by now. 45 minutes of stop and go, fast and slow, friendly drivers waving their middle fingers at each other. Today seemed a little different though. People were being much more respectful of others, and he didn’t see one rude gesture the whole way to the parking garage. In the office, his coworkers also seemed to be in exceptionally good moods as well. Almost every person he passed had a hearty ‘Good Morning’ for him. Must be something in the water, or the coffee this morning he decided.

In his office, going through the morning’s email, he realized he too was in a better than average mood for a Monday. Plowing through redundant messages, but humming an old song to himself all the while. Suddenly, another tremor hit, a bit stronger than the one he had felt at home. His secretary stuck her head into the doorway, “You feel that one?” she asked. He nodded, and asked her if she’d felt the one earlier. She hadn’t, but had heard about it from many others.

Susan was her name, and she’d worked for Jim for almost two years now. She was usually shy and did not engage in much small talk, but this morning she seemed almost effusive. She actually came in to his office and sat down to chat. Jim couldn’t remember if she’d ever done this before, but it certainly was pleasant now. Their conversation was fast and animated, and Jim counted at least six times they had mutually complimented each other. Had he had some of this coffee too? No, couldn’t be that, but something sure seemed different. Not bad, just different.

Before they had finished their conversation, another tremor struck. Not much stronger than the last one, but lasting much longer. Jim counted off in his head what he thought was about 20 seconds of shaking. That was unusually long for a California tremor. Jim stood up and looked out the window of his office, Susan joined him. The rumbling had stopped but now there were many faces in the windows of other nearby buildings.

“I hope this isn’t a run up to a much bigger one.” Susan said to him. Jim reassured her that sometimes tremors are just small adjustments deep in the ground and don’t necessarily lead to anything else. But, in his own mind he actually shared her concern too. “Look at the people down there.” Susan said as she pointed down at the sidewalk. Jim saw that lots of people below were all looking up in to the sky. His office window did not afford much of a view of the sky so they couldn’t see what the people were looking up at, but they were all smiling about whatever it was. Jim suspected it was one of those airplanes that pull a huge advertising banner behind it. Maybe it had a cute message for someone on it.

“What do you think they’re pointing up at Jim?” Susan asked in almost a whisper. He was getting very curious too. Maybe it was time to go see what was going on, he thought.
“C’mon, let’s go out and see what’s going on.” Jim said. But, before they could start out of the office another temblor hit, and Jim silently counting it got up to 55 seconds. Very unusual he thought, very unusual.

Jim, Susan and many of their coworkers all began to leave the building at the same time. This wasn’t a typical earthquake since it had kept shaking for so long and it seemed like it wasn’t going to stop. The shaking wasn’t terribly violent, and the building wasn’t coming apart, but almost a full minute of quaking made it very weird. Things weren’t falling off shelves, and nothing seemed damaged, but that was weird too. As they made their way outside they noticed the sky seemed to be dimmer than normal, as if clouds had suddenly rolled in. But, as they looked up, it wasn’t clouds that were blocking the sun. No, it was something huge, something so much bigger than any of them had ever seen before, it made Jim gasp.

Jim looked right up at it, and found himself trying to blink it away in disbelief. It was just so completely fantastical that it was hard for his mind to accept what it was seeing. It literally looked like a planet in the sky. Obviously it couldn’t be a small planet, but it was huge, truly the biggest thing he’d ever seen floating in midair. It was so big that it was hard to tell how close it already was, but it seemed as if it was very slowly moving closer still. It was a dark bronze color with a greenish hue, and large deep vertical crevices, but yet a perfect sphere. Jim couldn’t hear any noise coming from it, but he did feel something he couldn’t explain.

By now there were hundreds of people in the street, and everyone seemed to be streaming in the same direction – down the main boulevard towards the great park in the middle of the city. He wasn’t sure why everyone would be heading there, but when he stopped to think about it, something inside him made him feel like he needed to go there too, so he did. Even Susan was walking to it several yards ahead of him, as if she didn’t even need a moment to wonder why.

Most people were just walking, some jogging, and some were actually running towards the park. Jim joined the people that were walking at a slightly faster pace. Everyone was seemingly in a very good mood; smiling, laughing and chatting with anyone and everyone near them. No one seemed to be afraid of this giant sphere in the sky, and Jim had to admit to himself that he didn’t feel fear either. How could he not be afraid, he wondered, of the most irrational and abstract thing he’d ever witnessed? He had no answers.

As he was walking Jim felt somebody run past and brush hard against his arm. It was a woman, and as she stopped to apologize for bumping into him, they looked at each other and Jim realized he knew her. It was Jane, a woman he dated several years ago. They smiled at each other in happy recognition. He hadn’t seen Jane in over 5 years, after an abrupt and unceremonious breakup which was completely his fault. Yet for some reason, he didn’t feel embarrassed or guilty anymore. “Jane what’s going on with all this?” He asked her, before he could think about why he’d ask her this question.

She looked at him and smiled very calmly, and she thought for a minute before she answered him. “They’re really here” she said “My people have finally come, and now they’ll all be here with you, with us.”
“You’re one of them?” Jim asked in surprise. But even as he was asking that, in his own mind, Jim knew that this was true. He’d always felt she was kind of unusual, different than most any other women he’d ever dated. She was calm, thoughtful, loving, and very wise for her years. Someone he thought of as an Old Soul. She had definitely been different than any other woman he’d ever slept with. Slow and quiet, sensual and sensitive – and she had made him feel the same way. Like time had stopped while they were together. Now though, at this moment, he couldn’t even remember why he’d broken up with her, but maybe it didn’t matter anymore.

“What’s going to happen, why are they here now?” Jim asked her.
“They’re here to join us, to live with us, to teach us. Well… all of you anyway.” She said, her face beaming. “Listen to your inner voice Jim, you already know there’s nothing to be afraid of, everything is going to be just fine and you can trust that feeling.”
With that, she turned away from him quickly and began running again towards the park. As she left she shouted back “Jim don’t worry so much, you’ll see me again. We met for a reason and this is it. I’ll meet you down there and you’ll soon understand.” He wasn’t positive what she meant, but he trusted that she was right, that maybe he’d understand it all very soon.

Jim mixed back in with the flow of people who were all moving towards the great park. The park was an enormous green space the original city planners had placed in the center of the city almost a century before. It was prime real estate, and many a developer had tried unsuccessfully to purchase it from the city. But, each time they tried they were met with almost unbelievable public outcries and demonstrations. Jim couldn’t help but wonder if there was something unconscious in the back of people’s minds that helped motivate them to protect this space. Maybe something planted there long ago.

As Jim arrived at the edge of the park he could see people slowing down and gathering in small groups, speaking in low tones. Everyone was smiling and happy like they were at the state fair. No fear, no panic, no sign of slightest amount of distress appeared on anyone’s face.

The gigantic sphere seemed to have stopped getting closer, it looked to be about a mile up in the sky now, not moving. As Jim moved towards the center of the park he could see a narrow beam of light was emanating from the bottom of the sphere downward to the grass. It made a circle of light like a stage spotlight, but not quite as bright. Somehow he knew that this was the exact spot where these new visitors were going to appear.

He saw Jane just across the way, on the other side of the beam of light. He made eye contact with her and she smiled broadly at him. As she walked towards him, Jim felt a warm sensation all through his body, like pure pleasure coursing through his veins. He knew he was about to witness the changing of everything he’d ever known, and he was as excited as a child on Christmas morning.

Electricity

Posted: February 1, 2014 in Poems
Tags: , ,

A visible energy surrounds her body

I see a faint glow

She has a look that halts time when directed at you

and the world moves in slow motion

So,

We dance

We fly

We dream

We sing

We make love

We soar through the golden sunset clouds

Choosing one for our bed