I Will Wait

We Are Only Children Then -To: LMR

I’ve decided I’m not a great commentator. So, Instead of comments, I will begin posting poems. That I’ve written. I hope no one tries to claim them as their own. I’m not making any money off this, I just like to write. Thanks, and this is the first one: WE ARE ONLY CHILDREN THEN – […]

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I’ve decided I’m not a great commentator. So, Instead of comments, I will begin posting poems. That I’ve written. I hope no one tries to claim them as their own. I’m not making any money off this, I just like to write. Thanks, and this is the first one:

WE ARE ONLY CHILDREN THEN – To: LMR

We are only children then and drifting in

the back seat of the family car.

as blue & orange neon, tungsten

red & green, and brilliant halogens

whirling-dervish past us fade

into darkness all around. I have a sister and

we are only children. drifting

in the astral seas of youth & language.

“Look” her hand says at the moon.

“Someone must of smacked him with

a rabbit cross’t his face to hush him quiet.

so that night could still be.

and so that mysteries coud still outreach us.”

We count the stars

apart from us and lonely.

“Eighty” ignorant and pretty.

“Eighty-one!” unique.

“Eighty-two!” predictable and lifeless.

“Eighty-three!” oblivious to reason.

Of that we take both leave and notice

drifting,

nodding off.

But sleep’s one fault is that it so resembles death.

–BOOM!–

supernal freight trains like an earthquake shake the sky.

The roar of jet-black jaguars tears the hush-hush

fleshy shroud of sleep

from off us. scattered.

terrified & violent

shadows. schizophrenic fractures split

like spider’s lace across the opaque,

transparency of night.

Then trickle off like rain.

So easily a pebble strikes a windowpane.

the vessels shatter.

My sister wails “What happened!”

The Nightmare House

A Sudden storm done up

And took the quiet from the night.

The thunder

     -burn’t & broken bricks-

Tumbling from the sky.

Pale fires smouldered within the charred shell of a slumped and smoking ruin.

Where once I’d stood

     -now open enticingly wide-open

Was a crater deep enough to bury me upright.

It was easy now to picture what this home would soon become:

That sad & desecrated wreck

     – The Nightmare House.

I’ve only one other dream more vivid of when I would soon meet Her.

Every feature of Her virgin face obscured by mad, starling sworms of the purest ebon.

But when She turned Her naked almond eyes to me I was stripped bear.

I felt fear of an awe both terrible and furiously conjoined.

Fear of what I saw when I stripped Her of Her secrets.

Fear of my own securities being laid bare.

And then She took off running,

     Laughing.

And I can’t you if She flirted or was just…

What?

But I new forever in that instant that her stares,

Her unkempt hair,

Her playful mockery would one day fill our house.

So I chased her,

     God forgive me,

And wherever we went the ground would crack into her feet, sheer gravity bowing to her regal footsteps.

Every few yards, I had to leap across gaping chasms,

Bottomless flames licking at my bootheels.

Portcullises would drop to right and left

 for every hole I jumped another hole 

wouldopen up.

Endymion’s Lost Apple

There was once a young and handsome shepherd king in Anatolia. However privileged, poor Endymion, was touched by sadness. He was lonely and although one day he might find love, he knew death would come to take it. And so, to ease his melancholy, Endymion would take long strolls through the country side at night. Eventually Selene, the goddess of the moon, took notice of his beauty and his sorrow and wanted so much to rid him of his despair. She fell in love with him, but from a great distance. She was nervous to even cast her light on him, because he was a mortal and would one day surely die. Until, that is, when finally she thought of asking Morpheus, the god of dreams, and his brother, Hypnos, the god of sleep, to grant her an intriguing favor: if Endymion could live forever in his dreams, where no one dies, surely he would be close to an immortal. Sebele worked up courage, then, to meet Endymion and the two fell deeply in love. She told him her plan and he agreed: in dreams he could be like as a god and live with Selene in her palace on Olympus. And so he became like one of them in his own odd way and, like anyone who knows he’s dreaming, unafraid of consequences. He filled his life with constant diversions because he was now no longer weary. He became a hero in his imagination, fighting centaurs and harpies, retrieving golden apples from the tallest trees at the ends of the earth. And he was happy. He was in love and it would never end, but in his earthly kingdom trouble came.
A hundred years or more had passed and still Endymion’s subjects were beholden to a sleeping king. Not only that but Death, Thanatos, brother of Sleep and Dreams, grew resentful. Of all the gods, he was most hated by the living: Death is never welcome by the children of men, and yet here this fool Endymion makes a mockery of his only sovereign power. He embarked upon a ruse to trick Endymion and give his subjects their relief. There was a cave not far from the Laurel tree beneath which Endymion would often rest his eyes. Thanatos disguised himself as a raven and interrupted the pseudo-deity’s idle daydreams with a song:
“But, why miss does the baby cry? Because she’s lost an apple? But I have here two to share with her, And yet she goes on weeping.
“Does she not know there are no laws down here and all the vagabonds are kings?
“Or does she miss the one good thing she knew would always be around?
“But though she hasn’t any teeth to eat it with,
“She still has hands with which to hold and misses it.
“Come my little darling, do you hear that laughter down below?
“Or is it singing: the joy of forgetting what we know.
“Below, but not beneath us, are canaries in the coal mines singing.
“They forget the only reason for their being
“Is to die and flood the halls with silence should the good air go.
“But, mother, why does she go on?
“The hungry most of us are missing something,
“Why can’t we stop the wanting?
“Maybe what we’re missing’s in the mines below.
“That unremembered paradise before our mothers’ birthed us,
“Cursed us to chase our apples down the holes.
“But was there ever any reason to go out seeking an end to sadness?
“Once we eat the apple it is gone forever,
“But our memories of how good it was go on forever hurting.
“And the apple slips away from us, gently down the stream.”

And with his cordivae calling, Thanatos led the king into the cave.

“The ground beneath your feet opens wide its doors, go on and enter hero, see what lies in store.Perhaps a golden apple, maybe more.” And with that Endymion ventured down into the shadows never to be seen again. For though he could not die in his endless sleep, he could get lost forever in the labyrinth and tricked into believing he had been killed, which is just as close to death as one can get without giving up the flesh.
But for whatever reason, Thanatos changed his mind and let me live.

No Love Lost

“In a sick world even the hale are sick. And we two, spinning our little life mostly by rote, seldom with clear cognizance, seldom with firm intent, were products of a sick world.”

Olaf Stapledon

“The Starmaker”
An excuse or explanation? I think of all my love’s long lost.  But of one especially (my friends know who I mean).  Did I fail, did she? Or is it that this modern age’s apathy to True Love, that is to say to Compromise, Integrity, Loyalty, Patience And Passion, is a sickness manifest in Hollywood and Disney; a false world where lovers never quarrel and if ever there exists a moment of complacence, the briefest absence of Young Love’s euphoria bodes ill for the fate of the relationship.  True Love, as opposed to Romance.  Which is what we should strive for? And is either guaranteed sustainment?
I look to Jacob who met God in a dessert.  They wrestled.  Jacob became Israel and ever after pondered YHWH’s decisions.  His doubts did nothing to degrade their Love.  But, in my life at least, here on this human plane, whenever one or the other questions the object of their affection, there comes a rift; an ever so slight tear in the fabric of the relationship so small we barely see it until one day we awake and find the thread’s unraveled. The Gordian Knot in opposite.  And we find ourselves too weak, or maybe careless, to pick it up and knit.
We became complacent.  But why should we be enemies?  The struggle that I’m left with.  Was it ever really even Love then?  Or just a pastime to distract us from the tedium of growing up?

*Sigh*

Tea Reading

I just don’ want my kid to end up like the dinosaurs.  Words have weight.  I no longer want this world to burn down – I am certain of it. I am certain that our species will do the Will of God: after the Flood He said next time it will be Fire.

I lived through a tornado that destroyed my neighborhood.  Ringgold and Cleveland before that. As the Family of Humanity we shared tears over the Christmas Day Tsunami, held our breaths over Fukushima, and the Mudslides of Pakistan.   When the Towers Fell, all the world was with us but we pushed them away.  The shootings an gassings in Paris, Tokyo, London, Mumbai all had their starts in Man.

What am I trying to say?

That nothing brings people closer together than tragedy?

The First World War was supposed to be the War to end all wars, but it didn’t.

And now.

Now what?

I’m scared, y’all…

If we haven’t learned from our mistakes, then I wish you Happy Darwin Day:

No more dinosaurs…
“‘The usual state of nature is recovering from the last disaster,” she said. It was a truism of ecological biologists, and she said it the way a religious person might pray. To make sense of what she saw.  To comfort herself.  To give the world some purpose and meaning.  Species [arise] to the environment and that environment [will change].'”

James S. A. Corey

“Cibola Burn”
I guess God’s gonna let us ride it out until the Roaches take our place.  We haven’t seen a Purely religious War since the Crusades, but we’ve made plenty of excuses since: mostly land-grabs and economics.  The current administration is poking at that hibernating bear Look at who has Nukes and tell me this is not the escalation of the Armageddon: Pakistan, India, Iran, Russia, China, DPRK, Great Britain, the United States and Israel.
We have GOT to stop shouting, organize and ACTIVATE!  And I don’t mean with marches, but with a well armed militia.  As is our right under the Second Amendment.  I never thought I’d say this but, “Lib-Dems should put the fight about firearms to rest.”. Choose a side.  A war is coming.

And, no, I am not a millenarian.

I just read tea leaves.

What I Mean by Savage Vagabond

Trumps first ten days.

“God Loves A Lost Cause”
Soured milk, fermented fruit, and dying honey bees

A February high of 80 degrees

the memories of dreams

I woke up more miserable than when I fell asleep
sure anger is a part of it

but I just don’t think I’m one for this world no more

a hundred years ago our great gramprents’ paddle boats and trains were the fastest news could go with out a trusty palomino.
Burr & Johnson took to guns at dawn for chrissake!
We hear in History:

 The Donner party ate their neighbors to survive.

            (Though no one did)

And in the Orpheum, we gleefully participate in cannibalistic orgies of downed soccer teams in the Andes and cruelly name the horrific episode “Alive”.  

Carmike released the secret Melville omitted:

 the part where Nantucket men drew lots to see who’d be on the dinner menu. Over half a year at sea in nothing but lifeboats.
And today we joke of eating the rich…

Doing nothing near it.
“Made in His image,” they say.

“I am fiercely and terribly made”

We’ve fire-bombed Tokyo killing thousands.

Nuked Nagasaki & Hiroshima.  Millions.

Dresden too, Americans, civilians.

Stalin in bed with Roosevelt slaughtered 10 million, but we don’t think of that.

We think instead of Hitler’s 6 to 8 million at the hands of ordinary men “just doing as they were told.”

But we at least had recourse to the Hague and Neuremburg. As late as that may be.

Yet it is very true Columbus sailed the ocean blue to find no gold during his quixotic admiralty.

And out of rage and desperation directly butchered a million islanders and for what? Sugar and molasses?  Yet he has his own Holiday.

The architect of our “God-fearing” nation’s own genocide still defiles the twenty with his self-righteous face.
Shame!

Goebels slandered Neitzche with his  interpretation of the Ubermensch.

Dostoevsky strived to understand his own Raskalnikov, but found him wanting in the balance.
Ubermensch: above the law, superhuman.

Raskalnikov was a rat and coward. Hitler, too. And Stalin, Caesar, Ghengis Khan, Pol Pot, Allende, Torquemada, Alexander.

I need not continue.
Some Americans now consider themselves the hens of the Neuvo Ubermensch: cops that kill, a president that defecates on our shared American liberties a thousand ways in just his first ten days.
Facebook and Twitter flame wars, a Civil War on social media pits friends and relatives against each other.

And all the while our children hear with open ears. 

And they learn.

They learn to be self-righteous, yet remain complacent.
The Reverend Doctor King, the Kennedys, and Ghandi… Shot for seeking peace.

Should we turn our sites away from pacifists and feed the tree of liberty with blood, and bombings, martial law and violence in the streets?  
Soon enough Kent State and Watergate and burning Mississippi will be as tinder for the fuel we Lib-Dems now ceaselessly toss upon the fire.  

Soon enough it will become a pyre into which the Nation in its own rhetoric has eagerly stepped into.
Yet I am not for 99%ers bongo stroking laziness.
Condolences, I give up on pacifism.

I stand with the fifth estate. I March with the black brigade. I want to watch this whole world burn.
What surprises me as I say it is that I do not regret it. I’m fucking sick of turning cheeks and bending backwards.
I am finished with forgiveness.
I once claimed that Mother Nature will eat her children all in time.

But why bother.  We’re doing it already.

A finger for complacence!

Soldier on believers.

God loves a good lost cause.
What was Israel but an Immigrant?

Jacob, Mary, Joseph, Mohammed, Buddha, Christ.

More drifting vagabonds than refugees.

Today the WASP won’t let them through the gate.

Given time all dictators fall.

Pray for our nation and go ahead and scream. 

Smear your door with lambs blood.

Remember Lot, his visitor, and what happened to Gammorah.
With any luck that night will once more come.

Lovers Complacent

“In a sick world even the hale are sick. And we two, spinning our little life mostly by rote, seldom with clear cognizance, seldom with firm intent, were products of a sick world.”

Olaf Stapledon

“The Starmaker”
An excuse or explanation? I think of all my love’s long lost.  But of one especially (my friends know who I mean).  Did I fail, did she? Or is it that this modern age’s apathy to True Love, that is to say to Compromise, Integrity, Loyalty, Patience And Passion, is a sickness manifest in Hollywood and Disney; a false world where lovers never quarrel and if ever there exists a moment of complacence, the briefest absence of Young Love’s euphoria bodes ill for the fate of the relationship.  True Love, as opposed to Romance.  Which is what we should strive for? And is either guaranteed sustainment?
I look to Jacob who met God in a dessert.  They wrestled.  Jacob became Israel and ever after pondered YHWH’s decisions.  His doubts did nothing to degrade their Love.  But, in my life at least, here on this human plane, whenever one or the other questions the object of their affection, there comes a rift; an ever so slight tear in the fabric of the relationship so small we barely see it until one day we awake and find the thread’s unraveled. The Gordian Knot in opposite.  And we find ourselves too weak, or maybe careless, to pick it up and knit.
We became complacent.  But why should we be enemies?  The struggle that I’m left with.  Was it ever really even Love then?  Or just a pastime to distract us from the tedium of growing up?

*Sigh*

“Considered even without reference to our belittling cosmical background, we were after all insignificant, perhaps ridiculous. We were such a commonplace occurrence, so trite, so respectable. We were just a married couple, making shift to live together without undue strain. Marriage in our time was suspect. And ours, with its trivial romantic origin, was doubly suspect.”

Candy, My Stocking’s Stuffed With

Candy, My stocking Is Stuffed With

Chris Rozema
Somehow or another I was able to slip out through the sliding glass door just off the kitchen without waking anyone up.  Come dawn, some restless aunt or third-cousin-twice-removed would doubtless make it her chirpy morning mission to get the coffee going, start the cooking, and indulge the pets with crudites from this evening’s feast.  But at this time and on this night it’s just me and the moon.  And a chilled westering breeze.  By the time I strike my Zippo and grab my first puff of the last three hours, a veil of powdery snow, like a ghost of ashes, drifts across the lawn then gets caught in the creaking trees.

It’s Christmas in Tennessee and I can almost hear the moisture freeze each time I breathe.  I venture away from the house, away from the shadow of this evening’s cacophony of relatives who know each other only through this ritual gathering in Gatlinburg at the timeshare-cabins that everyone chips a little in for.

I’m not sure why we all celebrate Christmas but for tradition… my side of the congregation consisting mostly of atheists and nobody inside the cabin is at all particularly religious. I suppose we gather to celebrate that another year’s done gone without anybody being taken from us.  We share cheap, gallon-jug, red wine and participate disinterestedly in the 5,000 piece puzzle strewn across the coffee table in the den.

There’s a yule log in the fireplace and beside it is hot-apple cider marked either “grown ups’” or “kids’”.  This year the music is more for persons of a particular age: velveteen Bing Crosby or Ella Fitzgerald, sprinkled here and there with Vince Gauraldi.

Of course we all unspokenly rejoice in the very real comfort of a-whole-nother year passing with no one in the family going insane.  This family is as gilt in genius as we are wrought in pain.  From childhood through-on to centenarian, some part of our inheritance will come whirling dervishly at us.  My son once when he was younger awakened both myself and his mother at two in the morning with howls of fear and imminent pain.  But when we opened the door we found him still sleeping – upright on his futon bed, eyes wide, arms at his side, and we could not wake him.  The next day we rang his pediatrician who explained it with nonchalance as “night terrors”.  As if a two year-old child could have anything to be scared of besides missing a nap now and then.  And five years ago my cousin Jamie, just then recovering from rape, while we all played White Elephant Gift Exchange, wandered outside to just about here when she’d stopped to exclaim: “GETTHEFUCKOFFME, GETTHEFUCKOFFME!!”.

Childish of me to wonder if the smoke I exhale might disturb the Jade Rabbit.  Could my wishes be heard by the stars.  But what then could they do for me?  All pasted in place.  So sad and alone, so beautiful. So distant.

“Starlight, starbright,” I catch myself whispering.

Suddenly the peace of this utterly silent night is shattered by the remote stirrings of some creature about three yards out.  A mouse or a shrew out rummaging about within this selfsame spot for what – two minutes – four?  It seems like forever; it may well be just a couple of seconds

− PEEP

− peep peep!

−   …     … PEEP

− (even the beats of his silence sound desperate for answer)
PEEP-PEEP
− peep!

It may be that he’s broken his leg or something and he’s calling out for help.

That lie.  That greatest lie a man ever told: that sweet relief to hear that everything’s gonna be alright.  That from one moment to the next to the next there will exist an unbreakable continuity which God Himself – should I be so bold? – could not and would not break.  As if the details of our days either matter not – we are so minuscule – or, paradoxically, are such vital gears in the works of God’s greatest timepiece – so we’d best wind on unafraid and ever forward.  Either nothing really matters or everything counts!  So why be so timid?  Why would a coward die a thousand deaths if he could die but once?  Surely, there must be some explanation waiting for us at the end of our road to perdition that must be some answer, some apology for all of life’s great deprivations, humiliations & indignities?!

– PEEEEPPP!!

As if his friends & family, like mine, just inside, might hear his pleas for help and come rescue him from extermination.  Right.  Maybe his leg is fine.  Could it just be that like me he’s left the dank den for some air on this full-moon night to gather his thoughts?  Or maybe he’s wishing on those sequined stars up above us.  It could well be that his wood mouse squeaks might be more a Pater Nostra than an S. O. S.?  Or could it be that I’ve read waaaay to much into this?

Hmph.

It could be that this year my family won’t have my sanity to celebrate.  He squeaks until I smoke my whole cigarette; Five? Six minutes – start to finish?  Then another full minute longer…  the intervals between each new peep sound more resigned to fate, yet so much more utterly desperate.

– peep?

Then from above me and just missing my right-sholder and ear
__
THUMP
– –

a BIRD like a torn-off limb simultaneously lands and uplifts:  a great-horned owl, I’m certain.

The whole world once again returns to ice crystal silence except for the breeze being torn through the arthritic knuckles of the dagger-like trees.
Next morning I’ll rise with the biscuits and reach in my stocking all but certain only coal there awaits me.  A daily, if repressed, pang of involuntary knowing:  we are all blind here and slowly rushing toward a cliff we know not how far away.
I slide the door back in place as my restless son, who’s awakened by my own awakening wanders up. I bend to lift him and kiss him and bring him back to bed.
“What is it, daddy?”
“Nothing, Otis.  Everything’s okay.”

But is it? up. I bend to lift him and kiss him and bring him back to bed.
“What is it, daddy?”
“Nothing, Otis.  Everything’s okay.”

But is it?

Next day we’re all awakened by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bell’s”. No doubt a prank my uncle pulled to motivate us all out of bed to herd us to the Christmas Tree.

I expect no presents, but oddly size up my stocking’s filled with coal. Candy. My stocking’s stuffed with candy.

You’re Late

YOU’RE LATE

Christopher S. Rozema
Lonely neutrinos & unnecessary muons,

Your ghostly gravity:

Spooky action at a distance.

Immediately, I felt your heart break

From the the fifth corner of the globe.

An angel needed me…

But I was somewhere else.

Drowning in your river, buried in gardens,

Letting my freedom turn into stone.
The circle was broken-

Superstring now common helix,

Charming, strange and maybe,

Demising bosons prove the weight of woes heretofore unknown.

Joyce & Pauli called a conference.

The only sense

I make of it:

A ghost on the road to nowhere ordered once; by whom?

Rabi’s bewilderment when met with fact:  “Who ordered that?”
The fear is not of “What?”, but “When? ”

Never of “Enough sleep at night.”

That way leads to decay-

Real as the bones in my body,

The stench of the flesh as it rots away.

The Plainness of the World, I Guess

The Plainness of the World

Christopher S. Rozema
I should have pulled you down the moon to make our love upon

So that the stars would envy us our passion.
But I didn’t.

God, our hearts pumped blood back then.

Not all this vitriol & hate

And there was the ground

beneath your feet I could not worship:

No weight could bring you down

Despite your certain gravity even envied by the galaxy

which kept us pulling back into each other explosively for more
There is the plainness of the world I guess,

The getting on through days.

The memories of unrepentant joys irrevocably past.

And that is what I’m left with.

My sense of self

-forever more,

Will be defined by the memory of your embrace.
There was no ground beneath your feet back then or else I would have worshipped it

No weight could bring you down

But somehow it was I who did
And that is what I’m left with;
The unrepentant memory of joys irrevocably passed
Below but not beneath us lie the embers of the city

Just now

the masters all

are up flirting with the rooftop wind

And the stars just then fall one by faintly one from out the sky

And flags gust ripping at the empty wind
I should have pulled you down the moon to make our love upon

Then even the most distant stars would envy us our passion

(the only true romance is sad & cold & distant)

But I didn’t

I should have laid you down on wine & bread & blankets

So the waves would sing to us alone and the wind would forever moan our names

But I just didn’t
And that is what I’m what left with –

I almost cannot bear to see the springtime world play

The joyful noise of jays’ wings, chickadees and finches feeding.

It’s the emptied husks of seeds the robins drop that hurt the most

Spent things –

used to be so full of life

have served their purpose

and are so then cast delightfully away.

The smiling faces flitter, then, to higher branches.
And I would rip the skin from off my back to bring a smile to your face

I would die to feed you once

To give you life for one more day

But work and school and mortgages and child-rearing somehow got in the way.

Imatience

Impatience

Christopher S. Rozema
Impatience caught

By the open window breathing

Wraithe or saviour

Gossamer creature

The gap between us filled with words

Empty                   empty

Only those things left unsaid &

The freckles on your cheeks have meaning

Don’t get my daydreams twisted in the sheets

I’m not some rabid beast

Confusing love with lust

Salivating, wanting, needing

All them baser instincts I suppress

As you lay sleeping in the bed beside me

Undressed and blushing in the morning

Not quite as naked as the dawn

But more revealing than the light of a hundred

Suns in nothing but your flimsy cotton

A patient passion’s embers

Fueled inexplicably & unforgivably

By rare texts & fading memories

Indulgent silence

There’s canaries in the coalmine singing

In school we would have traded mixtapes

As adults at the beginning of our nervous(was it courtship?)

Instead we swapped youtube music links

Incandescent shades before us

Flicker twitterpated

As the much too rapidly approaching

Certain distance only weeks away

Comes a-rapping at the gates

Impatient

And I guess you are my type of crazy

I keep forgetting to forget you

Madness

A Writhing Beauty

A Writhing Beauty

Christopher S. Rozema

The South will rise again,

Forever.

Despite Her own best efforts.

Knowing what  She now knows,

would Water Spider still bring the flame to man?

My lovely home,

my birthright,

my refuge.

The Cherokee Treblinka,

place where two spear points meet,

A place of owls now,

Forgets what her own name means.

Look close at any gastro-pub.

The walls bear bullet holes.

The mortars mixed with blood.

The Grand Histories once had voices all theiir own,

but they don’t read the way they once did,

worn after all these years collecting dust.

Despite Sequoya’s magic &

the Phoenix risen from the ashes of Her burnt forest.

The South will rise again,

floods and flames be damned.

The Turuoise birthright of the Seven-Nations continues to expand.

The South will rise again,

some dare utter flurling Stars & Bars.

How right they are,

The mud remembers the Place of Blood

the battlefield, the chains.

And haints continue in their midnight charges through the sky.

Macabre cadavre snatchers diggging up the slaves.

But master & servant have exactly the same fate.

The hills remember, the valleys too,

The hickory and honeysuckle.

Mother Earth will devour us all in time
The South will rise again, forever.

To spite the pain.

Each time stronger than the last.

Flayed and broken men, unburnt

usher forth from mines.

Hard-ass world.

Damn dirty life:

to not give two whits to bird-call…

until all of the sudden it quits.

But beneath the mountain no one cares what tongue you speak or what color your face,

just put your back into it.

And heed the words of Mother Jones whose aim’s to take the haints away –

a fair days pay instead of scrip, imagine it –

And so around the hollers towns are built.
The South will rise again.

Forever.

Each time more fecund than before.

And sho’ nuff, By GOD,

She will celebrate.

The music & the moonshine,

once we crawl again from muck,

Means it’s safe to breathe again.

But if the South’s to shimmy

then the Earth’s to quake.

And once again Mother Eartth & daughter Appalachia will once more lose their feet.

The earnest trembling of new birth,

this time fed by again by dead,

comes at the cost of children burning live in churches

and pastors shot by cowards as they greet the sun from balconies.

How’s that for irony?

But that’s the doings of the moon more than the hand of man,

working hard  on lunatics.
The South will rise again,

forever.

Short life of trouble,

but our mothers know these trifles pass.

So bring the floods of our own damns.

Crow will come again,

raise the dead as dancing spirits

as she once rose the furrows of the Land from Sea.

Knight of the Queen of No Substance

Chapter 1 -Who Am I

I try to think of myself as a simple man. One filled with Love who communes with nature. But invariably I find myself standing at a place where two points meet and the world then demands my attention.  I was a born a ram, an Aries. I was born to firmly stand my ground as the ever looming precipice quietly awaits beneath me. I am not scared that I will fall. What I fear, my only fear, is my desire to jump.  As I move through this life both physically and temporaly, I am aware of the ground constantly shifting beneath my feet.  As pebbles, rocks and stones give way beneath me, I can’t help wonder which stone may strike a boulder and end it’s trajectory or which precariously entrenched pebble may dislodge an avalanche to the horror of them passing unawares below.

And careful as I am to plant my feet on solid ground with every step I take, I’m always prone to make mistakes.  And I’ve caused whole mountain sides to collapse behind me as I wander along my trail.

I am connected to the Earth, the Foundation of my being, but I hold my head up facing ever towards the Firmament. I can feel telluric currents gently nudging the unfolding of events. But every time my actions cause the cliffs I tread upon to collapse, I can’t help wondering where the true fault lies; was it me or circumstance.

I am a hermit but not oblivious of my responsibilities to life. I am no friend of nostalgia, the pain of longing to return home.  But I am and ever will be a sentimentalist.

I try so hard to stay away from situations that could cause harm, but they seem to seek me out.  

My ex-lover, the love of my life, she sought me out. Poor her.  We spent a year or two getting acquainted and when we found out she was pregnant, we started fighting. The fights were constant. But our arguments always ended with brutal & persistent silence.

You see.  I’m always lonely. I have my novels. I have these pretty words. But I have no story.

So i await the storm. Let it wash away the past. So that I might move on along the slopes and hope it wasn’t my tread which crumpled the cliff in my wake. 

Each step I take I focus on the landing. For despite the possible repurcussions of my acts, I must move through this manifest world. To lay down in fear of hurting others is to assume the role of a god. I act when I must act. I go because I must ascend the heights. To reach the summit is not my goal, for what lies at the summit besides further vertigo and the inevitable return to the world below?  I must reach the summit because I must go. It’s as simple as that. And if rockfalls thunder down the mountain taking trees and homes in it’s wake it has been the will of Brahman, YHWH, Tao, Allah, Krishna, whomever has borne me on this path.

Not to go, to do nothing, would be to defy God’s will and shame will be my burden.  And it seems I must tread my trail in solitude – to be sure, quite distinct from isolation. I want a companion to share this mission with, but all quests of the heart must begin alone.

I have been told that on this path no effort is wasted; no gain is ever reversed; and that even a little of this practice will shelter me from great sorrow.  Therefore I must go. I seek the Godhead, Theotokos, Gaia, Balance. Not for my own sake but for the sake of my son and family, I go dutifully on. Trembling with every step I take, I defy the Earth to give way beneath me or the sky to come crashing on my head.

It might seem like pride, to continue upward despite the possible -inevitable- consequences of my actions. But to lay down and die? I fear whatever might or, worse, might not await me at the end. To continue is not pride, but courage.

I love my son and I love his mother. But she and I will never forgive each other.  And it wrenches my heart both day and night to imagine he might come in time to only think of me as a boulder rolling down into his world or that I may have been the one who dislodged such.

But where will flights of fancy take me? I breathe deep thin air and wonder at the valley below. So many folks going on about their lives, they take no notice of me. Am I conceited? No. I just don’t want my one true love, my only son, to become just another one of them. That… That is what terrifies me most of all.  That I will be villified by his kith and kin for my being kept from him so long. That he might not learn how to be independent of others’ judgement of his father. 

I keep him with me in my heart and there I have gouged out for him a home. And that is where my emptiness comes from.  A ram longs for his kid and it is getting harder to breathe up here alone.

I am ultimately unattached.  But is that a good thing? The choice was not my own. He was taken by his mother for her particular reasons. And I endeavor to forgive her. I fought with all my heart to keep hope alive, but passion soon overtook hope, leading me to shameful acts, and now I must learn patience. I still clutch tightly to my dreams. I am conflicted. Unattached, did I say? No: I hold onto hope as if it were a shower curtain and I, a man of no importance, slipping in the tub. I will someday rend the fabric of the universe and make it so that human kind can fly and so avoid these slippery slopes.

If God had wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings, some say. Troglodytes, rooted forever in place. He gave us brains and imagination. Free will to get ourselves in trouble. With which to build airplanes, wage war, contemplate life’s meaning.

I was an addict. That was her principle reason for leaving. If God didn’t want us to use nature’s pharmacopeia He wouldn’t have given us poppies, cannabis, St. John’s Wort, valerian, kava kava, yeast, tea, coffee, coca, psylocybin, tobacco, willow trees, cocoa, ginseng or ephedra. But he gave us these to use as sacrement, not for recreation. And here is where I made my mistake.

We have forgotten that the seed bearing plants and herbs were given us to use for nourishment. Instead, we use them to turn a profit or to temporarily escape. Here we are: wretched prisoners draped in clanging chains. Imperceptibly connected to the Earth’s atmosphere by fire and rain. It is an untenable position. 

But with faith I reach higher to the summit. I will meet my maker and I will face Him.

There is no peace unless we force it, such a contradiction. It does not simply come.

Their is no justice unless we make it. And mine has just begun. Woe to them in Ivory towers. I shall make the Earth quake with a stomp to send them reeling back to the realm of mortals. Where the masters go on flirting with the cliffside wind and them who sleep on benches are vagrant princes, vagabond kings drowsing on their thrones.  The shamed will one day have remuneration against the high priests and magisters who defile God by handing out, as if it were there’s to give, damnation. In a world where accusations are equivalent to condemnation, blessed are them for whom human justice failed, for God in his great wisdom has increased their numbers so as to overwhelm the self-righteous. If only the masses of discouraged had the will to take back their inallienable rights. There is no room for liars in the courts nor for them who bear false witness in the heavens. And for all who’ve passed a beggar whilst themselves feighning deaf and blind, refusing even the generosity of a dime, they shall know shame in time. It will be incumbent upon us, then, to usher them into the flock with loving-kindness.

For it is writ that we must forgive, show mercy, but never were we told we must forget.

There is no shame left in this world today; only arogance: mirth, gossip, greed and anger. Those of us who are still with conscience are seen as malcontents or anarchists. Our failure to conform is seen as an emotional leprosy and so we have been put out to the margins. We see that life has more than only joy in store for us, but our worries are felt by those same troglodytes I mentioned earlier as anachronistic in this land of TV, milk and honey.  Envy of the Joneses keeps the lump sum of “civilized” man twittering of jokes and posting only happy telegrams.

Real life comes with real emotions. An examined life, the only life worth living, finds contentment with both decay & growth; ecstacy, depression. But in this modern age we must turn to strangers with whole alphabets following their surnames and take into our bodies chemicals created by lesser beings than the Great Provider or else be turned out by friends and family for ever feeling blue; for daring to disturb them with our woes, seeking only consolation. We few who truly live must hide our hearts with gay replies or else be perceived as freaks to pity. Or, worse yet, be numbed by prescription medication. 

 

There are so few artists whose works bear weight. Everything enjoyed by the masses is just so much bubblegum.  Where are the goddamn songs? And what’s wrong with blue emotion? It is the color of the rivers, lakes and oceans; the shade of the sky in which birds so delight and the average man perceives a glorious day!  Indeed what is wrong with darkness? It is the time of sleep, of peace, of dreams and of rejuvenation! 

We must learn to cry again, or else fall prey to laughter and forgetting. That’s not to say joy has no intrinsic value, but it must be balanced before it turns to mania. And in the valley they are fond of madmen.

And suddenly, I feel as though I’m no longer treading towards the summit, but balancing on a thread. I fear, here, I must make myself clear; to ready my intention. That is, I don’t wish for folks to suffer, rather just be honest to their deeper being. To go on pretending as we do now, is to wallow in hypocrisy. We have become somehow endentured to the notion that only joy can be sublime. So much so that in hiding our pains and shames from others, we’ve actually reached a stage wherein we deprive ourselves the transfiguration brought about by crisis. Short of forging strength in the flames of true passion, we imitate. Or we deny those galvanised by pain the nobility of their tortorous baptism.

Furthermore, in refusing to face our own hurts and humiliations, we begin to fear them who are most honest or, worse yet, pity them and offer silly platitudes and reflexive condolescence. Today, we may see a news piece which for but a moment solicits a meagre and self-indulgent compassion, but tomorrow, if not just minutes later, we will have forgotten that token gesture of sympathy as if it had never cut us to the quick. And so, by denying the darker nature of our inner-selves, we deprive the tormented souls of loved ones courageous enough to ask for help the lifeline of dignity and companionship, throwing instead a gossamer thread of heartfelt but empty words capable of bearing nothing. Money to the Landslide victims of Pakistan. Prayers for Fukushima victims. We point out the irony of tsunamis taking place the day after Christmas. As if the news were just another drama show interrupted by commercials. “This special coverage of the BP oils pill, brought to you by Doritos. Dare to be bold.” And despite their good intentions movies about such tragedies as the Chilean miners, gets turned by Hollywood into Gold.

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:13

As a kid I took great delight in stumbling through the forest at night. The moon would cast her loving gaze upon the crooked dogwoods, oaks and hickories, intricately weaving their shadows into the cloak of my memory as I eagerly sought the place of owls I’d heard, but could not see, or the cave from which the bats I saw, but could not hear, must have come. I delighted in June with its dancing fireflies so close, so brief, so magic. Even the howls of wolves and chirping dens of coyote kits seemed to me as warm a blanket as the midnight rains and bellowing of bullfrogs. Crickets played their violins at eventide and all was right. And all was right.

I never felt the crackling of fires, the pops of sap from incinerating greenwoods, the light of camps were meant to keep the darkness at bay, so much as to stake our claim within it. For, ever was there truly darkness? If the moon was new the stars shone that much brighter. And if it stormed the forge of Thor would briefly light the way. The thunder never menaced me any more than Nana’s voice easing me to sleep.

And between the night and full daylight came slowly yawning dawn.  Be she in mourning veiled in indigo, adorned in resplendent crimson, awakening from tangerine dreams or rising next to nude from the horizon barely covered in her flaxen gown, the world was yet unchanged.

But as I’ve aged, I’ve changed. I’ve become indoctrinated by the empty, fleeting pleasures of material things. Purchasing power has become its own sense of accomplishment for many. Work’s become mundane. Less a source of pride, than that with which the dollars earned can buy.

And that is why I’ve left the world behind. To seek my own true nature. Am I the evil man, the loser, the narcissist? Or am I humble, brave and good? I have read the Scriptures of the world’s greatest holy books. I’ve pored over Leibniz, Heiddeger, Pascal and Descartes. I’ve read the Tales of Heike, Genji, Camelot, Gilgamesh and Beowulf. I’ve been a cinephile for a while. I know the historiographies of our human race. I know what authors, poets, artists, bards and Hollywood expect. But the concept of right over wrong, of light over dark, I thoroughly reject.

Zarathustra was wrong about Ahura Mazda. Angra Mainyu’s influence and the daevas brought balance. Ahura Mazda, Mithra, the yazatas would not share the world in peace. How many deaths have been caused by the quest of “good” to overcome “evil”? How many witches burned, Musselmen and Jews slaughtered? Christians butchered, Buddhists raped and children orphaned by two or more people’s of different perspectives claiming they fought for justice?  The concept of what is “right” is wrong, fundamentally flawed in that dessert nomads seek oases abundant in water, seafarers quest for dry land. One day wine is sacrement, the next a sin.

And so now I’ve taken steps to leave all the world’s ignorant prejudice and want behind. All want but one. I want only to deserve the love my son so enthusiastically offers me. But according to the world, I am not a man. I trust strangers more with my secrets than I do my friends and family. I am a cynic, yes, but not a pessimist. I believe in hope and love, in magic and miracles. My very life has been a fairy tale. I have been hit while hopping trains, I’ve climbed mountains so high I could look down on the rain. I’ve been through deserts where there is no sound. I have been bound and gagged and tortured in the name of someone else’s idea of Justice. I have been a pirate, a thief, and a hero who’s saved lives. I’ve been tempest tossed, served up by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes. I’ve stood among a clutch of flowers that were said to be the last of their kind. I have heard the wind call my very name. I have stared into the Sun and not been blinded. All that happened was that I sneezed. But when I close my eyes to meditate, I find no peace. Just meaningless emptiness. Not Nirvana, not abandonment of attachment, but a blinding, eerie void.  And when I pray, day after day, year after year, I receive no recognizable answer. I am a beast, yet tremendously and fiercely made. I have been called loser, monster, narcissist, racist, libtard, tree-hugger, faggot, ignorant and wise beyond my years. I put no faith in other men. Less yet in what words they utter. I have been abandoned by friends and family, left to raise myself. Be true to your inner-nature, the sage Boddhidharma teaches us. But I was thoroughly indoctrinated by materialist consumerism into believing the sustainment of hedonism – greed, lust, gluttony, pride, envy, sloth and wrath – is not just possible, but a virtue in it’s own right. What is my inner nature? What is it that I am? I do not ask these questions for myself alone. I do not share with you my story out of vainglory. It is my experience, my life so far, the only truth I know. And it is an allegory, nothing more.

My first intent upon release from prison was to hike the Appalachian Trail. You see, my childhood was a lonely one, my earliest memory of being picked on in daycare. From kindergarten through the sixth grade I had a better time of things: my entire class was composed of only fourteen other kids. At home I was left alone to watch TV and eat. My entire world revolved around these fourteen other kids and what I’d learned about society through shows like Saved By the Bell, ALF, Married with Children, Rocko’s Modern Life, The Simpsons and In Living Color. So the day in seventh grade when I arrived early at school and all the other children were awaiting class, my entire world came shattering down when out of nowhere all my childhood friends chose to hogtie me with jump ropes and encourage younger kids from other classes to pelt me with basketballs and sling hula hoops at me as if I were a horseshoe post. Later that week was my first attempt at taking my own life. But I tied the knot in the make shift noose wrong and landed on the floor. I got into fights, withdrew from schoolwork and my parents grounded me and sent me to a therapist. I guess I can’t blame them entirely, but they made little effort to console me or understand my side. They just had no understanding of the trauma I endured. Some say get over yourself, everyone gets bullied. But not everyone is demonized by every single child, teacher, parent and sibling that they know. Banishment would have been preferable to being forced to endure day after day the same classes as all my tormentors. I entered high school afraid of others; terrified. And the only kids who did accept me were the “bad kids” parents tell their kids to stay away from. My point in this is that an early age I came to reject the social constructs of good and evil. It was a topsy-turvy world, in which, like Captain Kurtz, I found black to be white and evil welcoming.  The horror was intoxicating. I longed for dreary skies and months of rain. I did not stalk and plot in the night, but hid from the terrors of the light.

I was a privileged kid in that I came from a well to do home, but I had no friends outside of class. At home I had no parents. Don’t get me wrong: they were present, but usually too absorbed in busy work or arguments to pay me any mind. I love them. I don’t blame them. But I vowed I would never become them. As I had come to learn, the price of wealth and privilege is hypocrisy and ignorance. I chose a different path. My college years were wasted by contradictions. Finally, I’d made some friends but it wasn’t long before they realized I lacked in social graces. I was a gifted student and would have made straight As if the school hadn’t the policy of mandatory failure due to absence. I aced my tests, turned in the homework that was required, my reports and essays received the highest marks and I wasn’t even trying. Why go to class if I knew all this stuff already; which I’d taught myself in high school high on pot and coke and acid?

A Brief History of Time, Gödel, Escher, Bach, the theories of general and special relativity, quantum mechanics, the emerging wonder of string theory, I perused while playing Nintendo and eating psylocybin. Same with all the classics of Western philosophy and Lit. And the more I learned the more I realized how pointless any of it is unless you’re happy. I turned to drugs and sex, because of my distaste for academe and my lack of faith in humanity. “Vanity of vanties; all is vanity.” It seemed the friends I thought I had were interested more in my wit and knowledge, than in the deep disturbing notions I had tearing me up inside. Whenever someone seemed to plead with me to open up and I’d relent, they’d look at me askance, break up with me as crazy, or just disappear from my life forever. Everyone but the so called scum of the Earth.

I turned away from education and high society. I sought out the depths.  It was there I was accepted. They knew pain. They understood loss. They were just as disgusted by the shallowness of the upper classes, fraternities and sororities. The social mandates behind such groups were not altruistic. Self-righteous,  more like it. They understood the need to escape.  But even then, surrounded by my kindred spirits, I had to hide my background. Whenever it was found out I came from the suburbs, suddenly everything we had in common didn’t seem to matter. And once again, the labels: poser, phony, narcissistic ass.

Alone again. I wandered: hitchhiked, train-hopped, slept on benches when it rained. Slept beneath the hedgerows in public parks on dry nights. I made myself become the invisible man. Everybody hated me for who I truly was. And for years I hid myself. I isolated. I dove in dumpsters, fasted of necessity, was pulled over by five campus police cars because I was wearing a trench coat during the Indian Summer after Columbine, my backpack ransacked, and I was questioned as to how I’d accumulated so many library books. I didn’t have my wallet on me or lost my student ID or something and despite my pleas that they call the University library where I worked I had to finally invoke my father’s name. My father the tenured professor, who’d worked at that college longer than I’d been alive. I was asked why I was carrying surgical masks and rubber gloves, as if I weren’t taking any chemistry classes in which I might need them. unfortunately I let slip the truth: I was going to DC to protest the war in Iraq brought about by George Bush the Second’s conspiracy theories. And didn’t know what to expect. They judged me a threat because of fear and ignorance and hate.

But I seem to be rambling. The point I’m trying to make is that I could no longer trust the “trustworthy”. And I would never be accepted. And so I sought escape. I took drug use to the extreme, fucked as many women as I could get. I tried self-murder, or as I saw it: autonomous euthanasia. But it seems even God and Satan would not accept me. A hundred sleeping pills only made me vomit. Ropes would brake. I drove my car at maximum velocity, unbuckled, airbag disabled, into the wall of an underground parking structure. Only to awaken from a coma a few days later. I overdosed on Intravenous cocaine, but I guess it was too highly cut. Eventually, I just gave up.

Then, while dating a Seventh-Day Adventist who wore dreadlocks and had a curious habit of only wearing leather if it had been given to her, that she had not bought, yet loved to eat chicken in spite of how they’re raised, I finally cracked. The technical term is a fugue state. I wound up in a mental ward having no recollection of my day. it seems I woke a friend named Maggie at her dorm room while draped in an American flag. She told me not to move, she’d get some clothes on and come back.  When she returned I was gone. I crossed the street, pounding on locked churchdoors, I guess to find some sanctuary, I rushed through traffic, nearly got run over by a bus, was found atop a stadium light at the old football field screaming at the sky and was taken to a mental ward and medicated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, continued my studies in the hospital, and was broken up with on St. Valentine’s day in a card which quoted Nietzche’s “Zarathustra”: “One must have chaos inside one’s self to give birth to a dancing star.”

Despite visits from two people who truly wanted to be my friends, I despaired of ever truly being intimate with any other person in this life or the next. I was different. Essentially and fundamentally so. The son of a mathematician and an historian. Brother to an archival scientist, I was driven by my spirit in a family full of empiricists. I was born to privilege, but rejected it as meaningless. An atheist in the Bible Belt. A hopeless Romantic and a cynic. An anarchist who voted Democrat. When I was finally released from the asylum, having never found the sanctuary which I seemed to have sought during my psychotic break, I ran away.

I mean, I guess that’s how I should say it. Realizing I could never please others by being myself, I listened to the Doctors. Took their fucking pills.  They made me feel numb. I could experience no joy in life before anyway. And it appeared as though others began to actually like me. But I felt no pain. One could be forgiven in asking the most obvious question: “So, you finally felt no pain.  What’s wrong with that?”  Until then, although at that time in my life I’d yet to realize it, all I knew was pain. Unbeknownst to me, and without my invitation, pain had insinuated a place in my heart most people would only allow their loved ones to share. Pain had become my sinister companion. A darkness that made me feel safe, like a kid beneath his blanket, hiding from the monster in the closet. My mind was no longer mine. It was ruled by the medication. I had friends who truly cared for me, at last, but at the cost of all emotion. J Emotion had always been my compass. Now I was lost in a world where the sun neither rose nor set. I had lost my orientation. So, in that since I ran away. I sacrificed my Being to make others feel more comfortable around me. But I’d become a soulless robot.

I quit the medication and thus embarked upon this journey. I will meet my maker. He owes me explanation.

Chapter 2 – Out of the Hospital

I was released from the Hospital soon after I’d begun cheeking my meds. Doctor’s are very easy to fool. Psychiatrists especially. Just act complacent. That’s all society wants from us and it’s all it expects our professionals to allow them. Status quo.

I began walking. To where I didnt care. All shit flows downstream, so I reckoned if I just went where gravity and other matters led me I’d find the source.

First off, personal affairs. Next, financial. Third, vendettas.

 As I was passing a girl on the sidewalk, a car swerved over the curb and I pulled her to safety. The prick at the wheel just kept on going.

“Are you okay? Are you injured anywhere?” I asked.

No response.

“My name’s Chris. Can I ask yours?”

Again, no response. Then I noticed. That far away look in her eyes as only one who’s been beaten by this world can recognize. In the eyes of a twelve year old.

So I shut up and just held her. I began to cry. I’m bipolar and was off my meds, so don’t go trying to ascribe some deeper significance here, but finally I heard her voice.

“Are YOU alright?”

I reluctantly released her from my embrace and held her shoulders at arms length. 

“Of course I am.”

“So, why are you crying?”

“Because you are.”

“I’m crying?”

I laughed a little, “No, because I’m glad you’re alright.”

“Well. I’m not.”

“You’re not glad that car didnt hit you?”

“No. But that’s not it. I’m not alright.”

“Are you hungry? Do you like chocolate?”

“No,” she sighed… “But I like red velvet.”

“Then let’s go get some milk and a cake, huh?”

“That sounds okay, I guess.”

We spent our walk, hand-in-hand. In that most intimate silence that only two people who truly trust each other could know. She seemed infinitely older than her apparent age. She wore a blue tu-tu and bare legs. Knobby knees and a turquoise blouse, like Belle I suppose, from Disney. Her feet were the perfect size for a girl her age, but I had no idea they made Doc Martin’s boots for children. Red leather.

When we got to the restaurant and ordered: Velvet Cake for the wee made with milk, Miller High Life for my self, I asked her where her parents were. She simply shook her head. Whether this meant she didn’t know or didn’t care, I couldn’t say, but that flicker of recognizement between old souls which passed as our eyes met earlier told me better than to press the issue. So I started talking about her dress.

“All it seems you’re missing is a tiara and slippers,” I said.

“Don’t want slippers. Get dirty. And I’m not a princess, so no crown,” she replied forelornly mincing at the slightest bit of cake. 

“Well, I really DO like your boots,” I said peering at the one poking out from beside the table. She was a country girl, I’d say by the way she slouched in the booth, letting each heel rest wherever it may. Not excitedly pressing her child’s breast to the table, not locking her legs together with feet on tip-toes as I’d seen so many other girls her age do during my countless years as a service worker.

She put down her fork, cake still on it, looked me in the eye and, I swear, as she took a sip of her milk, she took in my full measure; eyes ranging for the first time from my stubble to my scalp. She set the glass down, returned to her cake and replied, “They’re practical.”

“Do you remember what I told you my name is?” I asked her.

“Does it matter?” She replied around a mouthful of vanilla frosting.

“Why wouldn’t it? I mean I’m an old man, a stranger. Surely, your mother taught you better than to talk to strangers?”

She never looked up at me, but did wipe her mouth with her napkin, like a little mademoiselle. “You saved my life. You are no stranger.”

This is a twelve year old girl almost killed by a motorist just minutes ago, I had to remind myself. How could she seem so unconcerned by it all?

She let loose another small sigh, not out of tedium, but as if she were preparing to tell me the secrets of Life and her sigh were merely prelude. For the first time she sat erect, placing her napkin primly on the table and looked into her milk as if lost in deep revert. “Call me Cecilia. I’ll call you Julio. I always liked Paul Simon. Deal?”

“Where are you from, Cecelia?”

“The woods.”

“And why are you alone?”

“I prefer it that way.”

“You ran away?”

“From the woods? No. I’m going back soon.”

“I meant did you run away from your parent.”

“I don’t have any parents.”

I let this sink in and took a chug of my beer.

“Which woods?”

“The Northern woods.”

“So why are you in Chattanooga, all alone?”

“I meant to find somebody.”

“And did you.”

“Yes. I found his body.”

Plain as if she had found her crayon. 

“And did you call the police?”

“No need.”

I let a second pass, sorting out all the questions in my head. They coalesced around this one: “You found your dead friend’s body. That must have been hard on you.”

“Better for me than him,” she replied immediately and took a gulp of milk.

I took a deep breath. “Where is your friend?”

“Gone.”

“Yes, but where’s his body?”

“Gone, I said.”

“Washed away by the river? Buried? Burned?”

“No, just gone.”

Brick wall after brick wall, I turned in my seat to take out my phone. I had to call the police.

“Don’t,” Cecelia said. For the first time I noticed emotion in her voice. Fear? Panic? Concern? “Don’t call the police.”

I turned back to look her majesty in the eyes. One was copper, the other green. “And just how do you propose I respond to a missing child, with no family, who says she’s witnessed a dead body?”

Both her eyes positively glowed, both green now, both like emeralds caught between me and the purest ultraviolet light, I dropped my jaw.

“I propose you don’t respond. Nobody will find Theodore and you just got out of a psych ward. Now, here you are with a beer and little girl. How’s that gonna play out?”

“Hey! I checked in voluntarily,” I responded, missing the forest for the trees.

“But you left, you ran away.”

Then I suddenly noticed what I’d missed. “Hold on. How’d you know about that?”

“Come. Finish your beer, pay the tab and follow me.”

I did as commanded. Her directive was neither regal nor an order, but a humble request. As if she were actually a princess beloved by her people… Was I delusional again?

We started back towards the river. I needed something stronger than beer. We stopped briefly so I could buy a pint of Bourbon.

“Do you want a Coke?” I asked Cecelia, queen of the world.

“No. Thank you.”

We continued to the waters’ edge and hobbled over some boulders way off the trail. “This is where Theodore’s body was a half-hour before you saved me.

“But there’s nothing here.”

“He was a being composed of pure energy. He materialized waiting my arrival and our enemy found him as he was vulnerable.”

Again, I had to remind myself of the apparent physical age of the girl. “Waitwaitwaitwaitwait,” I thought. Did I just think to myself “apparent”? She IS twelve. She doesn’t look twelve. She IS twelve.

“So, Theodore was a fairy, then. A pixie.”

“Theodore was an agent. But if it helps you to think of him that way, then I suppose, you could say that.”

She removed her eyes from Theodore’s final resting place and probed me deeply with her one emearld eye and her other, now copper eye. Her taciturn face, suddenly took on the weight of the world. Her lips pursed. Her brows beetled. Her nasal cavities constricted. She held her breath never taking her eyes off mine and I could feel this “girl,” although now reluctant to use the term, evaluate me thoroughly. I took a deep swig of my Jim Beam.

At last she spoke.

“You have seen things. Felt things. Heard things.”

“Yes, but I’m not crazy and I don’t believe in fairy tales. I checked myself into a hospital because I knew what I was experiencing was another part of me taking over and I didn’t want that.”

“But why not. And why did you run?”

“Because i just want to be normal.”

My answer to both questions.

“In whose eyes?”

“My son’s.”

More silence. I brought the pint back up to my lips, thought better of it and wiped my mouth.

“How old is he?”

“You’re the one with all the answers. You tell me.”

“Eight is a magical age. Who’s to say what he thinks is normal?”

“Well, then if not for him, then for the courts.”

“Bugger the courts. If you really believed that you’d still be in hospital. You were afraid you were going insane. Then realized you were perhaps the only one in the whole world who actually wasn’t. That’s why you ran away. In spite of the possibility of losing your only son, you ran away because you wanted to save your own mind. You vowed to never be like them and damned if they take your child, he would grow up and understand one day. Right?”

No answer.

She looked among the boulders and found a chunk of quartz.

“See this? ‘They’ say it’s just a meaningless rock. That it has no intrinsic value because it’s commonplace. But I find it beautiful. I find it more beautiful than gold. It has value to me. And I won’t let ‘them’ tell me otherwise.”

“My son would give me rocks everytime we went for a hike,” I replied. “I’d never sell them for anything.”

“Intrinsic value is meaningless. It’s a thing’s subjective value which matters. What is the intrinsic value of a soul? Is there a price on a human soul? No. But that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Quite the opposite. It’s worth is incalculable. And the enemy has just taken the soul of my friend Theodore. You have felt things that other people call abnormal. But what do you feel now?”

I took a shot. And thought for a moment drifting off into the upcoming twilight.

“Anger.”

“That, my dear Julio, is a substance which can change the course of History.”

Chapter 3 – Into the Playground

I don’t know if it was she or I who said it:

“I have to leave here. Now. I have to think.”

Maybe it was a thought, shared but never spoken.

Regardless, we wound up on some swings in a playground overlooking the Great Tennessee.

I stared off at the ripples in the river. Flung stones. Skipped the good ones. The sunlight faded. Cecelia let me be alone with my thoughts… For awhile.

“So what are you going to do,” she asked me through her Doc Martin’s.

“Whatever needs doing.”

“I need a man.”

“I’m not a man. I’m a lush.”

By this point I’d accepted that Cecilia was of noble birth. A woodland princess. Stranger things have happened.

“I don’t care about that, I mean I need a human agent. Drink whatever swill gets you through the day. Or helps you sleep at night.”

“What’s the pay?”

“Honour. Pride.”

“Can’t exactly sell that as income to child support.”

I took another draught of my pint and stood.

“Might as well take a piss off the pedestrian bridge.”

“Behave now, Julio. You’re drunk in the company of royalty.”

Me, I didn’t feel drunk. Just ballsy enough to speak my mind to “her highness”, the 12 year old.

“Just who the Hell are you, ‘Cecelia’? You told me before at the diner you didn’t wear a tiara because you were no princess. And you better get your facts straight. I am not your subject.”

“True enough. But let me answer your question with another: who the Hell do you think YOU are, Julio?”

“Chris Rozema. Not Julio.”

“Semantics. What’s in a name. The constellations all have names. Do you think that defines them?”

“No. It helps us define ourselves.”

“Then define yourself, Julio. Who the Hell are you?”

I turned away and answered, “I am a man of no account, with few friends and an ever dwindling pocket book. I am an addict that screwed up my one true chance at Love and lost my son in the process. I am a man who can’t hold a job for more than a few months. I am a man who has failed at suicide too many times to count. I am a loser.”

“Is that your definition of yourslef, or others’.”

I hesitated.

“I am a man of infinite potential.”

“And I am a Queen, by birthright, to a nation on no map, teetering on the bring of collapse. We have more in common than you might think.”

That one took me a while to ponder out, but I saw her point. We could just both throw our hands up in the air and surrender, or fight for what we know is right.

I turned to her. “You’re a queen?”

“Does that surprise you?”

I thought back to all the words she spoke. The way she phrased them. She was certainly no mere twelve year old.

“I guess not.”

I hanged my head and sat back next to her on the swing.

Forelornly, I suggested we were at least the same in that we were both the Queen and King of nothing.

It was the first time I heard her laugh.

“Say what you will, but nothing is a wonderful thing indeed.”

I thought.

“But anything is more than nothing. Even if you were queen of an acorn, one day you’d be queen of the tree.”

“And there would end my reign. You see, nothing is unencumbered potential. Things, places, all have limits. I’d rather be a queen without bounds than a queen of a gilded cage.”

Again, I thought.

“Then the Queen and King of Nothing we shall be,” I exclaimed.

Again, that laugh, “Who said I’d ever marry you?”

I looked at her and laughed as well. “You’re too young for me anyways.”

“But I’d take you for a Knight,” she replied in all seriousness.

Maybe it was the drink, but I escaped the confines of my swing and knelt before her, eyes toward my feet. “Then have me Queen Cecelia.”

She rose herself, took either side of my jaw in her precious, tiny hands, kissed my cheeks and brow and ordered me to, ” Rise, Sir Rozema, Knight of the Court of the Queen of No Substance, defender of all most held dear, honest and brave in defiance of hopelessness, true to beauty, hope and wisdom.”

I rose. A wholly different man. 

I finished the last of my pint of swill.

Chapter 4 – The Unwelcome Guests

“It’s getting dark. We should probably head home. Somewhere safe,” I ventured.

The night is safe. It is the refugees of the stars and the playground of the owls. Are you afraid of the night?”

“Nope. Just the cops.”

“Don’t worry. Now that you are my subject you are a man of no substance. We shan’t be bothered by them.”

“Then what of the enemy?”

“You miss my meaning, Sir. We are ethereal.”

“But the enemy tracked your agent Theodore when he was invisible. How could they not track us?”

“Again, you missed something there. I cannot be tracked. You cannot be tracked. We are now encloaked in the shade of non-existence, a completely different thing than immateralism.”

Incorporeal beings of neither weight nor energy. Non-existent. Made a certain sense to the ill-versed amateur physicist within me.

No. She hadn’t said we were “non-existent”, merely that we were “cloaked in the shade of non-existence.”

Shadows in the night.

But the moon was out. I again suggested we get to somewhere safe.

“Are you a superstitious man?” Cecelia asked.

“I used to consider myself an empiricist. A Romantic. An atheist. But now…”

“Well, where would you have us go?”

“First, tell me who this enemy is.”

“You used to be among their numbers.”

“How now,” I reacted. “That is, whatever is that supposed to mean? Your Highness.”

“Please, just Cecelia. But you were a skeptic… A skeptic of all things. You were skeptical of God, of fairy tales, of Love, of Good and Evil. But then you risked your life to save a stranger. You broke free from their ranks.”

“I just reacted, Cecelia. There was no motivation.”

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. The highest form of altruism is done without regards to consequence. No thought. No mind. Just action. You were skeptical of all things but never lost Hope. The loss of Hope is the enemy.”

“Forgive me, but how did this ‘concept’ kill your agent Theodore?”

“He lost Hope.”

“Lots of us lose Hope at some point in our lives, Highness, but we keep grinding with the gears.”

“To what purpose?”

“Laziness, I suppose. Or responsibilities.”

“Tedium will kill a man. But not responsibility. Responsibilities include holding yourself out just a little longer because you beleive, in the end, you have a duty. Be it to a boss, a son, a friend or co-workers, that duty is an extension of Hope. Hope that your actions matter. When you stop seeing meaning in your life, when tedium and drudgery surround you and you just give up, then and only then is all lost.”

“Then, Theodore -” 

“He’d been with me a thousand years. These ‘gears’ of your finally wore him down. It is a constant battle. No war. No winning. Just the fight. And he was tired.”

“I need another drink.”

“Name the place.”

“Where the HELL would you and I fit in… Begging your pardon.”

“Stop it. All this Highness shit and pardoning. I have been with you since man first carved graffiti on cave walls. And I have loved you ever since.”

“Then where?”

“You think this moppet-outfit is the only gown in my collection,” she winked.

Ten minutes later I was sitting in the corner booth of an Irish pub with an overweight accountant.

Fine, whatever. Vanity be damned. I’d wished she’d turned herself into someone who’s beauty would make the head of every man spin. But humility is the hallmark of valour. It was her mind that mattered. She seemed to ascribe to Cromwell’s view: paint me warts and all. We sat drinking Irish whiskey. I prefer Tennessee or Kentucky but it  was the lady’s treat.

“It is apathy that is the enemy. Not Evil. Not Hate.”

Huh? “Then you advocate such things? Genocide, murder. Rape.”

“Of course not, you poor, sweet man. But where does glory come from? The defeat of those with wicked intent. Where does sorrow come from? The loss of love. Am I to war with glory and love as well?”

“But what does Buddha say about desire?”

“Siddhartha. Poor confused Siddhartha. I was his wife, you know?”

Of course I didn’t.

“When he set out to end all suffering on Earth, it was with good intent. But he abandoned me, his children and his kingdom. You might say it was selflessness which drove him. But there are two possible ends to suffering. Death and nullification of self-will. When the self is nullified whom or what might take it’s place? When one obliterates one’s self there is a vacuum created.”

“Then all these monks vaccuous souls have been disposed to wrong-minded thought? Ill intent”

“Did I just say that? All I said was there was a vacuum, not that anything has filled it.”

“But you are a Queen of No Thing. Surely vacuum is preferred to intrigue?”

“Watch your tongue, lest it lead you and not the other way around. Emptiness and Non-existence are two entirely different things. From emptiness comes further emptiness. A lack of Passion, Drive, Creativity, Procreation, Hope and Love. From Non-existence all things may proceed.”

I was dizzy. I suggested we leave. I had to clear my head for this sort of talk.

We caught the bus to the foot of the mountain. There was an abandoned church there.

“Ah. Jehovah,” Cecelia gave a wry smile. “Appears as if we’re neighbors again.”

“More than likely, unwelcome guests,” I mumbled. “Given your advocacy of Darkness.”

She approached tenderly and with a new disguise. “Does this gown suit you better?”

I turned and saw my ex.

I had nothing to say, except, “How dare you! Mocking me like that, it’s cruel.”

“But it’s inflamed your Passion.” She turned into a twenty-something blond. I turned away.

“You see Jehovah promises us things lost. Immediately, you saw the treachery in this. Such reasons are why I chose you.”

“The Devil can make itself the most sublime creature on Earth. But I’d never have her.”

“Are you sure of that?”

My mind started racing… Within hours of meeting this innocent looking victim, I’d come to learn of her ferocious aversion to apathy and acceptance of fate (or God’s will, however you name it), her devotion to passion and the necessity of evil, her love of darkness and ability to she’d skins like a snake.

“Are you the Devil, then?”

“Hah. No. Lucifer was the trickster in that mythology. Much like Coyote. He was not evil incarnate. He served a purpose. To keepan guessing. To ensure they stayed alert. I suppose you could compare me in that regards, but there is where all similarity ends.”

“What are you then?”

“All will come in time. But I love Creation. Please, never doubt that.”

“You said yourself, I am a skeptic.”

“Then ponder on it.” She laughed, returned to her tu-tu and Doc Martin boots. But she remained the same age. “We’ll build a small fire. What am I thinking, this is a Church. We’ll have ourselves some candles.” 

She returned a quarter hour later, surrounded by lit candles floating in mid air, an escort of moths of all varieties, and an old, abandoned hound. Her blond hair, now braided in a daisy-chain around her crown did take on a tiara-like visage which reflected the flames. The moths gathered in her hair and I never felt so comforted by contradiction: moths surviving the flame. I couldn’t tell you what I felt. Passion doesn’t scratch the surface.

“Now don’t go getting any ideas, there, Gallahad. I am your queen.”

You are my question, I retorted in thought. In word I replied, “Lancelot.”

“I’m sorry?”

“It was Lancelot who slept with his queen. Galahad had a pure heart and was Lancelot’s son.”

I plucked some candles from around her illustrious countenance and set a few on the floor around me, as we mortals don’t have the luxury of telekenesis.

“So. ‘celia. You’re breaking my heart.”

“How’s that?”

“The lyrics. The Paul Simon lyrics.”

“Oh,” she said. “That was never my attention. Is this form too distracting. I only meant to take on a shape you felt you could trust.”

“To be honest, I’m not sure their is one.”

“Then, I’ll remain this way. Bart seems to like it.”

“You named the lame dog, Bart?”

“I think Bartholomew is a fitting name for him.”

“And here I was thinking you were a Simpsons fan.”

“I was, for awhile, believe it or not. When they were about family, not pop-novelty.”

“I will admit, it lenda him a regal heir,” I said as I beckoned Bartholomew over. He hobbled, favoring his left rear leg. I took a look. Must have been in a fight. A week ago I’d say. I caressed his velveteen ears and massaged his back. All good dogs deserve a descent rub-down from time to time.

“He likes you.”

“My blessing and my curse. Beloved by animals, betrayed by men.”

“A modern Francis of Assisi?”

“Please, Highness. No more courtly manners from me, no more condolences from you. Okay?”

She just shrugged.

“So. ‘celia. You never exactly answered my question. Who the hell are you?”

“In a nutshell? I am the Creatrix.”

“God.”

“No. Creatrix.”

“Right. God.”

She sighed as if the weight of the world rested upon her shoulders. Perhaps it did. I did not envy her this explanation.

A full ten or twenty minutes passed in silence.

“I am the point in place and time at which existence occurred.”

“Like God.”

“No. Your concept of God presupposes divine will. I, this universe, it’s laws, Bartholomew, Theodore and you were accidents.”

“But you were born with consciousness.”

“I was not born, I simply and suddenly existed. And no, I had no consciousness.”

Chepter 4 – The Tedium

Otis

you are a wonder Child

who makes all my worries forgotten
a wonder Child
who reminds me that all the world’s not rotten
you bring with you the joy of Laughter and forgetting

and leave me with a fondness for reminiscing

to hear your voice alone is sweeter than all the music of Heaven

to see you smile but once is indeed my soul’s protection

a day, a week, a month apart but still present in my heart
I awake each day and sleep each night content that we’re apart
because I know you love me
and that I’ve found that purest love for which my whole life was spent in search

because I know you love me

I can be at peace; that into my life can come no hurt

you may be eight and like to fart and punch and burp

but I see in store for you a future full of wonders, hope, and worth.

Cut the Tree Down

I’m beginning to lose faith in my country. I used to be Blac Bloc Anarcho-Syndicalist. But I long ago decided I need to vote and participate in non-violent action. Even knowing that in my district and in my state my liberal ass views are in the minority, still I vote. Still, I protest. Still, I chain myself to backhoes to prevent deforestation. And still nothing seems to change. Could it be possible that maybe our TACTICS need to change? Maybe we should use the opponents’ weapons against them.  Hate, Anger, Insults, Libel, Bible Verses, Mace, Bats, Guns? I mean “the tree of liberty sometimes needs to be watered by the blood of martyrs,” right?  We don’t live in the 60s anymore. What was the result of the 99%er sit ins? Awareness, yes, but not CHANGE. If anything, i feel like it might of contributed to Trump’s election. It was mocked by everybody as being a pot infested hippie drum circle. I’m not saying WE need to start the violence, I’m just saying THEY shed first blood. And I for one am getting sick and tired of being kicked around. By the courts, by the legislature, by the cops, by the governor, by the president. It wasn’t Woodstock that changed the 60s it was the deaths of four little girls in Birmingham and three college kids in Mississippi. There were more than one auto-immolations in protest of the Vietnam War. One was done right in front of the Pentagon.  How many deaths is this generation gonna take before we say “enough is enough”? Maybe the tree doesn’t need to be watered anymore. Maybe it’s so rotted and windblown and lightning struck and full of termites and weighed down by poison ivy that instead of waiting for it to fall on our house in the middle of the night it finally needs to be torn down and have the stump burned, because whatever it has become it isn’t the liberty tree that I fell in love with anymore. But what would replace it? I’m honestly hoping for a Zombie Apocolypse, lol! Am I crazy?

Blue Harvest

I try to think of myself as a simple man. One filled with Love who communes with nature. But invariably I find myself standing at a place where two points meet and the world then demands my attention.  I was a born a ram, an Aries. I was born to firmly stand my ground as the ever looming precipice quietly awaits beneath me. I am not scared that I will fall. What I fear, my only fear, is my desire to jump.  As I move through this life both physically and temporaly, I am aware of the ground constantly shifting beneath my feet.  As pebbles, rocks and stones give way beneath me, I can’t help wonder which stone may strike a boulder and end it’s trajectory or which precariously entrenched pebble may dislodge an avalanche to the horror of them passing unawares below.

And careful as I am to plant my feet on solid ground with every step I take, I’m always prone to make mistakes.  And I’ve caused whole mountain sides to collapse behind me as I wander along my trail.

I am connected to the Earth, the Foundation of my being, but I hold my head up facing ever towards the Firmament. I can feel telluric currents gently nudging the unfolding of events. But every time my actions cause the cliffs I tread upon to collapse, I can’t help wondering where the true fault lies; was it me or circumstance.

I am a hermit but not oblivious of my responsibilities to life. I am no friend of nostalgia, the pain of returning home.  But I am and ever will be a sentimentalist.

I try so hard to stay away from situations that could cause harm but they seem to seek me out.  

My ex-lover, the love of my life, she sought me out. Poor her.  We spent a year or two getting acquainted and she decided to have a baby without informing me. We started fighting in spite of our agreement to bring him full to term. The fights were constant. But our arguments always ended with brutal & persistent silence.

You see.  I’m always lonely. I have my novels. I have these pretty words. But I have no story.

So i await the storm. Let it wash away the past. So that I might move on along the slopes and hope it wasn’t my tread which crumpled the cliff in my wake. 

Each step I take I focus on the landing. For despite the possible repurcussions of my acts, I must move through this manifest world. To lay down in fear of hurting others is to assume the role of a god. I act when I must act. I go because I must ascend the heights. To reach the summit is not my goal for what lies at the summit besides further vertigo?  I must reach the summit because I must go. It’s as simple as that. And if rockfall thunder down the mountain taking trees and homes in it’s wake it has been the will of Brahman, YHWH, Tao, Allah, Krishna, whomever has borne me on this path.

Not to go, to do nothing, would be to defy God’s will and shame will be my burden.  And it seems I must tread my trail in solitude – to be sure, quite distinct from isolation. I want a companion to share this mission with, but all quests of the heart must be undertaken alone.

I have been told that on this path no effort is wasted; no gain is ever reversed; and that even a little of this practice will shelter me from great sorrow.  Therefore I must go. I seek the Godhead, Theotokos. Not for my own sake but for the sake of my son and family, I go on dutifully. Trembling with every step I take, I defy the Earth to give way beneath me or the sky to come crashing on my head.

It might seem like pride, to continue upward despite the possible -inevitable- consequences of my actions. But to lay down and die? I fear whatever might or, worse, might not await me at the end. To continue is not pride, but courage.

I love my son and I love his mother. But she and I will never forgive each other.  And it wrenches my heart both day and night to imagine he might come in time to only think of me as a boulder rolling down into his world or that I may have been the one who dislodged such.

But where will flights of fancy get me? I breathe deep thin air and wonder at the valley below. So many folks going on about their lives, they take no notice of me. Am I conceited? No. I just don’t want my one true love, my only son, to become just another one of them. That… That is what terrifies me most of all.  That I will be villified by his kith and kin for my being kept from him so long. That he might not learn how to be independent of others’ judgement. 

I keep him with me in my heart and there I have gouged out for him a home. And that is where my emptiness comes from.  A ram longs for his kid and it is getting harder to breathe up here alone.

I am ultimately unattached.  But is that a good thing? The choice was not my own. He was taken by his mother for her particular reasons. And I endeavor to forgive her. I fought with all my heart to keep hope alive, but passion soon overtook hope, leading me to shameful acts, and now I must learn patience. I still clutch tightly to my dreams. I am conflicted. Unattached, did I say? No: I hold onto hope as if it were a shower curtain and I, a man of no importance, slipping in the tub. I will someday rend the fabric of the universe and make it so that human kind can fly and so avoid these slippery slopes.

If God had wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings, some say. Troglodytes, rooted forever in place. He gave us brains and imagination. Free will to get ourselves in trouble. With which to build airplanes.

I was an addict. That was her principle reason for leaving. If God didn’t want us to feel closer to him he wouldn’t have given us poppies, cannabis, St. John’s Wort, valerian, kava kava, yeast, tea, coffee, coca, psylocybin, tobacco or ephedra. But he gave us these to use as sacrement, not for recreation. And here is where I made my mistake.

We have forgotten that the seed bearing plants and herbs were given us to use for nourishment. Instead  we use them to turn a profit or to temporarily escape. Here we are: wretched prisoners draped in clanging chains. Imperceptibly connected to the Earth’s atmosphere by fire and rain. It is an untenable position. 

But with faith I reach higher to the summit. I will meet my maker and I will face Him.

There is no peace unless we force it, such a contradiction. It does not simply come.

Their is no justice unless we make it. And mine has just begun. Woe to them in Ivory towers. I shall make the Earth quake with a stomp to send them reeling back to the realm of mortals. Where the masters go on flirting with the cliffside wind and them who sleep on benches are vagrant princes, vagabond kings drowsing on their thrones.  The shamed will one day have remuneration against the high priests and magisters who defile God by handing out, as if it were there’s to give, damnation. In a world where accusations are equivalent to condemnation, blessed are them for whom human justice failed, for God in his great wisdom has increased their numbers so as to overwhelm the self-righteous. If only the masses of discouraged had the will to take back their inallienable rights. There is no room for liars in the courts nor for them who bear false witness in the heavens. And for all who’ve passed a beggar whilst feighning deaf and blind, refusing even the generosity of a dime, they shall know shame in time. It will be incumbent upon us, then, to usher them into the flock with loving-kindness.

For it is writ that we must forgive, show mercy, but never were we told we must forget.

There is no shame left in this world today; only arogance: mirth, gossip, greed and anger. Those of us who are still with conscience are seen as malcontents or anarchists. Our failure to conform is seen as an emotional leprosy and so we have been put out to the margins. We see that life has more than only joy in store for us, but our worries are felt by those same troglodytes I mentioned earlier as anachronistic in this land of TV, milk and honey.  Envy of the Joneses keeps the lump sum of “civilized” man twittering of jokes and posting only happy telegrams.

Real life comes with real emotions. An examined life, the only life worth living, finds contentment with both decay & growth; ecstacy, depression. But in this modern age we must turn to strangers with whole alphabets following their surnames or else be turned out by friends and family for ever feeling blue; for daring to disturb them with our woes, seeking only consolation. We few who truly live must hide our hearts with gay replies or else be perceived as freaks to pity.

 

There are so few artists whose works bear weight. Everything enjoyed by the masses is just so much bubblegum.  Where are the goddamn songs? And what’s wrong with blue humour and emotion? It is the color of the rivers, lakes and oceans; the shade of the sky in which birds so delight and the average man perceives a glorious day!  Indeed what is wrong with darkness? It is the time of sleep, of peace, of dreams and of rejuvenation! 

We must learn to cry again, or else fall prey to laughter and forgetting. That’s not to say joy has no intrinsic value, but it must be balanced before it turns to mania. And in the valley they are fond of madmen.

And suddenly, I feel as though I’m no longer treading towards the summit, but balancing on a thread. I fear, here, I must make myself clear; to ready my intention. That is, I don’t wish for folks to suffer, rather just be honest to their deeper being. To go on pretending as we do now, is to wallow in hypocrisy. We have become somehow endentured to the notion that only joy can be sublime. So much so that in hiding our pains and shames from others, we’ve actually reached a stage wherein we deprive ourselves the transfiguration brought by crisis. Short of forging strength in the flames of true passion, we imitate. Or we deny those galvanised by pain the nobility of their tortorous baptism.

Furthermore, in refusing to face our own hurts and humiliations, we begin to fear them who are most honest or, worse yet, pity them and offer silly platitudes and reflexive condolescence. Today, we may see a news piece which for but a moment solicits a meagre and self-indulgent compassion, but tomorrow, if not just minutes later, we will have forgotten that token gesture of sympathy as if it had never cut us to the quick. And so, by denying the darker nature of our inner-selves, we deprive the tormented souls of loved ones courageous enough to ask for help the lifeline of dignity and companionship, throwing instead a gossamer thread of heartfelt but empty words capable of bearing nothing.

As a kid I took great delight in stumbling through the forest at night. The moon would cast her loving gaze upon the crooked dogwoods, and hickories, intricately weaving their shadows into the cloak of my memory as I eagerly sought the place of owls I’d heard, but could not see or the cave from which the bats I saw, but could not hear must have come. I delighted in June with its dancing fireflies so close, so brief, so magic. Even the howls of wolves and chirping dens of young coyotes seemed to me as warm a blanket as the midnight rains and bellowing of bullfros. Crickets played their violins at eventide and all was right. And all was right.

I never felt the crackling of fires, the pops of sap from incinerating greenwoods, the light of camps were meant to keep the darkness at bay, so much as to stake our claim within it. For, ever was there truly darkness? If the moon was new the stars shone that much brighter. And if it stormed the forge of Thor would briefly light the way. The thunder never menaced me any more than Nana’s voice easing me to slumber.

And between the night and full daylight came slowly yawning dawn.  Be she in mourning veiled in indigo, adorned in resplendent crimson, awakening from tangerine dreams or rising next to nude from the horizon barely covered in her flaxen gown, the world was yet unchanged.

My Dear Boy

Into this world you were born

Through no fault of your own

And where I see shadows and lack of light

You delight to hear the call of owls

And where I had no use for life and all its woes,

This veil of tears became swept up by laughter

You asked me to smell the flowers

And I overcame my fear of blinding color.

You never asked for me,

Yet still you let me need you.

Thank you, child,

For your very being reminds me yet to breathe

With you I count the stars and make up stories

Where before I saw only absence, cold and distance

With you I know God’s love

My sapphire, my tulip

I will dig for you a garden

mine diamonds, gold and rubies

From the future.

This empty homes become a field where horses play.

How I Dare to Go Alone

I try to think of myself as a simple man. One filled with Love who communes with nature. But invariably I find myself standing at a place where two points meet and the world then demands my attention.  I was a born a ram, an Aries. I was born to firmly stand my ground as the ever looming precipice quietly awaits beneath me. I am not scared that I will fall. What I fear, my only fear, is my desire to jump.  As I move through this life both physically and temporaly, I am aware of the ground constantly shifting beneath my feet.  As pebbles, rocks and stones give way beneath me, I can’t help wonder which stone may strike a boulder and end it’s trajectory or which precariously entrenched pebble may dislodge an avalanche to the horror of them passing unawares beneath me.

And careful as I am to plant my feet on solid ground with every step I take, I’m always prone to make mistakes.  And I’ve caused whole mountain sides to collapse behind me as I wander along my trail.

I am connected to the Earth, the Foundation of my being, but I hold my head up facing ever towards the Firmament. I can feel telluric currents gently nudging the unfolding of events. But every time my actions cause the cliffs I tread upon to collapse, I can’t help wondering where the true fault lies; was it me or circumstance.

I am a hermit but not oblivious of my responsibilities to life. I am no friend of nostalgia, the pain of returning home.  But I am and ever will be a sentimentalist.

I try so hard to stay away from situations that could cause harm but they seem to seek me out.  

My ex-lover, the love of my life, she sought me out. Poor her.  We spent a year or two getting acquainted and had a baby. We started fighting.  All the time. But our arguments always ended with brutal & persistent silence.

You see.  I’m always lonely. I have my novels. I have these pretty words. But I have no story.

So i await the storm. Let it wash away the past. So that I might move on along the slopes and hope it wasn’t my tread which crumpled the cliff in my wake. 

Each step I take I focus on the landing. For despite the possible repurcussions of my acts I must move through this manifest world. To lay down in fear of hurting others is to assume the role of a god. I act when I must act. I go because I must ascend the heights. To reach the summit is not my goal for what lies at the summit besides further vertigo?  I must reach the summit because I must go. And if rockfall thunder down the mountain taking trees and homes in it’s wake it has been the will of Brahman, YHWH, Tao, Allah, Krishna who have borne me on this path.

Not to go, to do nothing, would be to defy God’s will and shame will be my burden.  I must tread my trail alone. I want a companion to share this mission with but all quests of the heart must be undertaken alone.

I have been told that on this path no effort is wasted; no gain is ever reversed; and that even a little of this practice will shelter me from great sorrow.  Therefore I must go. I seek the Godhead, Theotokos. Not for my own sake but for the sake of my son and family, I go on dutifully. Trembling with every step I take I defy the Earth to give way beneath me or the sky to come crashing on my head.

It might seem like pride, to continue upward despite the possible -inevitable- consequences of my actions. But to lay down and die? I fear whatever might or -worse- might not await me at the end. To continue is not pride but courage.

I love my son and I love his mother. But she and I will never forgive each other.  And it wrenches my heart both day and night to imagine he might come in time to only think of me as a boulder rolling down into his world or that I may have been the one who dislodged it. 

But where will flights of fancy get me? I breathe deep thin air and wonder at the valley below me. So many folks going on about they’re lives, they take no notice of me. Am I conceited? No. I just don’t want my one true love, my only son, to become just another one of them. That… That is what terrifies me most of all.  That I will be villified by his kith and kin for my being kept from him so long.

I keep him with me in my heart and there I have gouged out for him a home. And that is where my emptiness comes from.  A ram longs for his kid and it is getting harder to breathe up here alone.

To Jilliana Babb

When the world drives by her walking in the rain heading to or from their hateful jobs where they sacrifice their dreams, lost in their own imagined pain, it seems she knows a secret and smiles full of self esteem and somehow she is gorgeous with forgiveness, courageous in her patience.  The sky is falling and the multitudes are muttering, yet here she is, dancing through the puddles. Not angry, only slightly saddened by the loss of courtesy. Feet rooted firmly to the Earth, arms upstretched to the clouds above, a pillar connecting the Foundation to the Firmament.

Speaking as a fellow Aries on the cusp of Taurus I fight. Let detractors be damned and hopelessness be buried deep behind us in the past.  Let the rains come and dowse the fire, embers burn on still. With patience and with passion tend the light and let it grow and be not afraid of night.  Climb the mountain even as its passes crumble, narrow and steepen. Climb on steady feet up toward the summit and bring the flame of spiritual Love up to the highest height. Alight the evening’s stars persistent Ram and should the darkness cloak us once more in fear seek out once more a cinder and then begin the quest again.