The world is overflowing with writers but it gives birth to few warrior poets. A writer will tell you the temperature of a room, the hues of a dying day, the silent movement of shadows on pavement, the changing phases of the moon or maybe describe the light cast during a particular time of day in autumn. A poet bypasses all this obvious crap, but instead shines a blinding light on the darkest corners of your soul—–cause deep down we’re all the same, we share a common misery, we suffer a shared sadness—–and once a poem takes you there, you’ll never come back the same.
You can fall out of love with someone and still get it back. But, once you fall “Out of like” with a person it’s gone forever———irretrievable——irreversible. We fall in love for crazy reasons. You may love someone for their hair, for the shape of their ass, or maybe its the car they drive. It may be the clothes they wear, or what they look like naked. Sometimes it’s the title attached to their name, their possessions, or the size of their bank account. Love’s a superficial and primal emotion that can lead to murder——-to madness—–to jealousy and pandemonium—–not to mention unintended pregnancies and failed marriages. Love makes fools of us all. The fruits of love is bedlam—–it decays ones ability to reason. You stumble around love drunk, saying and doing things you’ll regret in the morning.
Its possible to live with someone you no longer love, but living with someone you no longer like can drive you to homicidal fantasies. If you no longer love someone, you can still exist as roommates. You can divvy up expenses and household chores—–you can even share a pizza and a movie. But once you no longer like someone it becomes extremely painful to be in the same room, breathing the same air.
To be “In like” with someone is to be enamored with the way they carry themselves. It’s who they reveal themselves to be in a dark musty hotel room at 3:12 am on a rainy Tuesday—-after the buzz has worn off——- and the loud music is replaced by dark confessions——modesty and clothes lay tangled on the floor———all the piddly ass small talk gives way to restive honesty. There’s no place to hide once we’re stripped of our vanities.
Love is the illusion of what you hoped another person to be——a fleeting mirage composed of phony pleasantries, a facade concealing an alien beneath the mask. Authenticity is the rarest of human commodities.
Liking someone is how the other person makes you feel about yourself. I like how Maya Angelou put it “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” A friend helps you untangle who you thought you were from who you no longer want to be.
You’ll know a true friend cause they give you energy when you feel like giving up. Their presence makes you smile. They make you laugh at yourself——at the world——-at the futility and absurdity of it all. They’ll open your eyes and mind to unforseen possibilities? Their sadness makes you sad. They’ll turn an ordinary day into something extraordinary. If stranded on a desert island this is the person you’d choose to have by your side. They’re the one you want to share your time with, because time is all life really is. They make you feel alive? When you’re “In like” with someone, you want nothing to be different then the way they are.
We’re living in sandcastles waiting and watching as high tide slowly creeps ever closer. The waves are unrepentant, they crumble the walls you’ve built brick by brick over a lifetime.
Soundtrack “A Different Corner” by George Michael.
I’d take raw emotion over a calm and collective indifference. Indifference is a wall built of blind bricks———nobody see’s their own loneliness from the outside in. The opposite of love isn’t hate, but rather indifference. It’s that mute emotion of not giving a damn———-Nobody hears the screams of their own loneliness from the inside out. Love is the tiny kindnesses we toss like pennies into a beggars heart shaped cup. Why do we deny one another passage into each others world?
I knew a girl who was childlike; she protected her stained-glass heart. Like all things of beauty, it was fragile and transcendental. She walked on rainbows, she called to the thunder, ——-and she smiled with the eyes of a child, wide open with wonder. She was impetuous, headstrong, soul-strong. She was shy, mystical, complicated, sensual and not yet broken by the restraints of womanhood.
She found the door to my world carelessly unlocked. She strolled through all of my dusty rooms flooding her light on my dark empty spaces. Her eyes fractured the morning sunlight casting tiny prisms on the walls, ceiling and floor. Her breath billowed through my sheer drapes. She smelled of citrus, her skin was salty and savory like the sea. She let me move through her, we moved in unison, we swelled, we crested and then violently crashed in on ourselves.
Outside, their cites burned, their temples crumbled and the laws of the righteous went unheeded. We trespassed into the forbidden garden———and we defied the rule of jealous gods……………as we found eternal love in a mortal’s world.
This life is a shallow grave I’ve been digging with a dull shovel and a shot glass. Slowly burying myself beneath December snows, camouflaged smiles and broken pledges. Time doesn’t stand still, it’s a freight train carrying away everything and everyone; it leaves me with these stillborn dreams——— tattered memories, fleeting victories and mounting troubles. This life doesn’t easily fill in an inside straight. One day you’re gonna lose someone too———it’s a matter of time and how the cards fall…….
They say that time marches on, but when my mother became ill and bedridden, I saw the parade become a stumble, a fall and then a crawl. And yet she held on by her fingernails, she held on for us. Love wrestles with time. Neither of the two compromise nor offers up apologies or excuses, they sever the strings on the most beautiful bouquet of balloons.
This life is a shallow dug grave. I lie sleepless, entombed In the emptiness that fills this darkest of nights. I’ve been fooled by counterfeit kisses and the charade of wilted romance. I never knew love until I found you.——-I should’ve never let you go or told you that I’d given up on us. This regret keeps me awake at night, it’s a blunt dagger plunged into destinies back.
It’s always cold here. I can feel winter creeping in, chilling me to the bone with its impassive wind. You once gave me a perfume scented photo. On the backside was the lipstick imprint of a scarlet colored kiss. I’d close my eyes and put my lips to it. I couldn’t stand to look at it any longer, so I tore it up. I lit the scraps of paper on fire and watched them burn yellow and red.
For the first time in my life I’d felt understood——-I’d always been a social catastrophe, saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person. And things were no different when we first met. In a feeble attempt to impress you I mumbled “I’m a writer”. —-You mockingly asked me to write you a poem—- so I did. As you read my words there flashed a nakedness in your eyes—I could see a quiver in your lip. Everything before and after that moment has been nullified. Vulnerability is a free fall few loves endure.
Our bodies naturally fit together——-we moved in perfect rhythm———like siamese twins, we shared a common heartbeat. I miss that inseparable closeness, like the finale pieces of a puzzle miraculously finding their intended resting place.
You and I were drawn to one another like two awkward kids on the first day of school. One misfit can always recognize a fellow misfit, like how an addict recognizes a fellow addict. It’s in that hollow look the homeless street beggar carries in his eyes. Only the bullied know that helpless feeling of being singled out for the most grievous of reasons, for being different. You made it okay for me to be a renegade, to be unusual———to be what you once called me——“Your poet“. You understood these things, because you’ve hitchhiked that same lonely road only to be passed over by a world that wants nothing to do with freaks of nature and poets. And such banishment only brought us closer together.
Close your eyes and see me still inside you. I’ve been saving all my receipts because one day I’m gonna return all this shit I never needed. You and I burned it all down, until all that was left was snuffed candles and fine white ash. You left your blue flame smoldering inside me. I dreamt you walked through the fire, and once again I watched it burn yellow and red——-and it warmed me?
Lets occupy space, lets pick up this body with these legs and dance from chair into thin air, tumbling through unoccupied space. I listen to my footsteps fall, this is the sound of me falling through time. I circle your orbit, eternal victims of one another’s gravity. Every step a choice leading me from here to there——- a journey fating me back to you
It’s like the sound of my voice in a large empty church, the words take on a hollow character of their own. They boom and echo forming meaning out of vibrations that break the fertile silence. We’re all lost and orphaned, calling out for someone to fill our sacred spaces. Its like hearing my secret thoughts spoken aloud, like someone reading my poems to a deaf congregation—cause nobody really cares that much about what anyone has to say, except for the words they whisper to themselves,——the best poetry is never committed to paper nor given breath———their resonance evaporates like hushed prayers pressed against midnight pillows.
All this empty space waiting to be filled. Fill it with life, with love——with you——-with me. I fill my space feeling you. Cause that’s all there is, you and me with all this infinite empty space erupting between us.
King of pain, the queen of sadness Broken hearted poet, the lonely troubadour With a smile, the key that unlocked your castle gate
Your ancient kingdom has crumbled The dragons fire takes our breath away Innocence lost to another defeated yesterday
The Sorcerer casts his spell Love awaits a truer destiny And once again, I”m tired of you, without me
My bridges have all been burned My ships all lost at sea I pray a storm will bring you back to me
And we’ll fly far from here We’ll share your winged mare A sword pierces the providence, buried within us
Autumn isn’t a season, not so much as it’s a mood, culling me in, breaking my spirit with its pockets of regrets—–with its naked trees and flocks of blustering leaves. I put on my favorite flannel shirt and make my way through a biting northern wind——All to soon this town will be covered with a blanket of white snow——-The smell of pine smoke comforts me…….Somewhere there’s a fire waiting to be shared……A warmer space to fill——
There’s a finality to the end of a summer season, and once again I’m reminded that there’s no turning back, such is the nature of life. Yet, there’s a longing for something familiar, a desire to hold on to someone or something. I spend my life reassembling memories only to find that at the end I’m several pieces short of a complete picture. All the traffic-lights have conspired to greet me red. The road that threads its way down west cliff is gray, the sky is gray, the sea is gray—— it’s a world of gray on gray——I’m making my way from here to anywhere——I’m driving just to be driving, just to give me that sensation of getting somewhere—-that I’m moving on and past this grayness. The sun spins, the earth circles, the universe exhales——summer turns her face away from me——the cold breath of winter is on my neck——yesterday is irretrievable—-and such is the sadness of time elapsing, of age whispering in my ear———like an impressionist watercolor, another season blurs and fades—— into another. I feel myself creeping closer to nowhere——
I’d call you, but I no longer know what city you call home. What would I say if I met you again in a windy park? I imagine you dressed in a lose fitting sweater, your hair tousled by the wind. You’ve readied yourself for the birth of autumn. And me, I’m still dressed in shorts and flip flops, clinging to a dying summer. Once again, we find ourselves falling out of one another’s season. Does “true” love have an expiration date? I don’t even know what’s“true” anymore. My life has been a series of let downs without you in it. I hoped you could be replaced, and god knows I’ve tried———.
Rain, now on my windshield like little diamonds in the exaggerated light of oncoming traffic. Chris Botti’s melancholy trumpet plays like a soundtrack that accompanies my reverie. Inside, you occupy the warmer rooms of my being, you haunt the quieter spaces of my soul. Outside, I irrationally scan crowds of strangers searching for your face—-failed love makes fools of us all.
If I knew then, what I know now, it would not matter where the road led us, as long as we were together. But the past leaves no room for marooned passengers. I pay my fare in silent movies that I replay over and over in my head. I see you in vignettes———visions of us walking mountain trails, the beaches we laid on, the dark drives through shiny cities, the sensation of you giving yourself to me, the smell of your hair, the taste of your skin, the electricity in your touch, the soft sound of your sighs. With you, making love was always so comfortable, so easy, so natural. I’d come to know your body better than my own.
Good poetry makes you believe that each word written was composed personally for you. Like someone reached between the bones of your rib cage and pulled out your heart and spilled out all of its quivering secrets . And for you my love, this is true, for you, I bent and stretched my words into a net so I might catch you.
Soundtrack, “Old and Wise” by the Alan Parsons Project.
I hate unsolicited advice. Most men know that it is not wise to give another man unsolicited advice. The most important thing to a man is respect and his pride. These things are earned and not idly parceled out like cans of beer—–although oftentimes such libations are swilled to make up for the lack of such noble qualities. On a rare occasion a man may give a fellow golfer advice about how to grip a club, how to adjust their swing or stance, but guys like that seldom get asked back for a future game. Guys have gotta figure shit out for themselves, it’s just he way it is.
Men like to give women advice. It makes them feel superior. It inflates their anemic ego’s. Most women will politely listen even though they know that men spend eighty percent of their time thinking about how to get pussy and what to eat next. The remaining twenty percent of their time is spent picking their nose at red lights or making fart jokes. Under the three piece suits, the impressive job titles and fancy cars, men are basic creatures bumbling their way through life. Women don’t give advice, they make sly suggestions. “Honey, maybe it would be better to use dental floss rather than a pocket knife to clean your teeth.” “Please don’t use gas to light the barbecue dear. Let me fry the burgers on the stove.” KABOOM!!!
But, in spite of my prior warnings regarding unsolicited advice, I have decided to dispense some brotherly advice. So please, “Forgive Me”.
Our time here is so short—–it doesn’t pay to deny ourselves and others forgiveness. Anger only cuts off circulation to the heart and puts a strangle hold on our ability to convey empathy. Forgive, because in the big scheme of things your petty grudges will emotionally bankrupt you. It’s like paying interest on a debt but never reaching the principle—-ya see, you can’t loan love or forgiveness, their value is only realized when given for free.
I wonder if we wear clothes out of shame, or is it a means to hide our insecurities. It’s tough to take another person seriously when they’re parading around bare ass naked. Nakedness is God’s way of showing us that in spite of Madison Avenue fashions and photoshopped vanities—–we’re all allot more alike than we are different. Under skin and bone our fragil humanness flickers…..
Forgive——-because like a fart, the longer you hold it in, the more pressure it builds, hurting only you, and in time growing louder and smellier—- Forgive because sometimes you have to pull the bandaid off along with the scab in order for the wound to heal, Forgive because there is a child with a bald head dying in a hospital rather than playing on a jungle gym. Forgive because nothing seems that bad until it happens to you. Forgive because there but for fortune go you or I. Forgive because there is already enough darkness in this world—-enough sadness to superglue the softest of hearts eternally shut. Forgive because the shits already out of the pony. Forgive because with age the nights grow longer and peace more elusive. Forgive because winter need not be your favorite season. Forgive in spite of God and his promised heaven. Forgive because the shortest distance between point A and point B is love. Forgive because there’s a supernova a thousand times bigger than our puny sun imploding in on itself. Let go, let go, let go—–because as the old Zen proverb tells us “Let go or be dragged”.
Forgive, because one day you’ll realize that all the stuff you once thought so important were just things made up in your head. This clarity only comes after a major life event like getting fired, losing someone you love, going through a divorce, having a major health scare, facing your mortality or watching reruns of “Friends” (they all look so young). You’ll flop around like a trout out of water, realizing you’ve mistaken the barbed hook for the golden ring.
It all seems so absurd——all the girls you tried to impress with false bravado, the fake laughs given for free to please your dim witted boss, the loud arguments availing only hurt feelings——its all comes back to you like a strange dream, like staring up at the shimmering surface of the water while holding your breath at the bottom of the sea. Down there, there’s only shipwrecks, rusty anchors, the eight armed Kraken and the tiny fart bubbles you release as pieces of your forgiveness. Farting is God’s way of telling you to not take yourself to seriously.
We stubbornly withhold our forgiveness, we’d rather offer up snide remarks and sarcastic smiles. We expect others to rain apologies down upon us, but the sad truth is, some people don’t know how to be sorry. They only learn forgiveness by being forgiven—-and the bible along with all the other holy books speak of this irony. The currency of unspoken forgivenesses pays out in wasted time, it lengthens the bridge we’ve all come here to cross.
In my humblest attempts to write something that sounds Twain-ish, I came up with the following.
“If you wanna know a man, meet his dog first.” You can unpack that quote several ways, but I’ll leave it up to you to deconstruct as you see fit.
For Chasey——-my Pal….
I don’t walk my dog, he walks with me. We go to fun places together, not stores, restaurants and malls, I think that’s stupid and weird. That’s as absurd as taking a cat to church. Cats don’t believe in god, they think they are god.
We prefer walks around our neighborhood or hikes in the woods. Being a Lab, he loves his swims down by the lake. He tips the scale at over a hundred pounds. That’s twenty pounds of sweetness, thirty pounds of slobber and fur and fifty pound of love. He shakes his wet coat all over me, drools water across my freshly shined hardwood floors and steps on my bare feet with his heavy sharp paws—–Ouch!!!—–If he wasn’t so damn cute he’d get a lot more scoldings.
There’s a quiet calm about him. He’s at peace with himself and the world, minus the mailman, garbageman and the neighbor’s cat. The cat sits smugly behind her window as Chase is pulled back to his yard by his collar. I’ve never been at peace with myself, the world, or anybody or anything. I’m more the restless type who’s easily tangled up in my own expectations. I anxiously cling to desired outcomes that are out of my control. He stares up at me with his eyes that seem to say “Don’t worry bro, it’s all good man, everything is as it should be”. Chase is Zen; he’s simple, honest, loyal, kind and empathetic——-he expects nothing. He lives in the moment, joyfully running in circles, never mired in selfish conclustions. He doesn’t even care when he misplaces his favorite tennis ball. He naps when he’s tired, eats when he’s hungry and walks around with a big contented Zen smile on his doggie face. In his serene mind he wags his tail in time to “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley.
He doesn’t much care for fighting, but if provoked he can be vicious——-he has a highly developed “bullshit detector”. Lying and cheating must give off a subtle scent, because his keen sense of smell can detect those qualities from miles away. His intense listening skills alert him when someones words don’t match their voice inflection. He’ll piss on the lawns of those who are deserving of his mark….
People fall out of love. They change, they lose touch, they move on, They’ll selfishly take more than they give, until one day they wake up and find themselves friendless and loveless. Little by little they wear out others with their chafing annoyances. I think you know what I mean, like the petty cruelty of repeatedly leaving the cap off the proverbial tube of toothpaste. It becomes a process of slowly wringing out their partners patience like a stiff old dish rag until they’ve squeezed out every last drop of civility. All that remains is bitterness and lawyer fee’s.
Dogs don’t know how to keep score. They only have two emotions, love and forgiveness. Unlike humans, dogs make great listeners. Most folks don’t listen, they just yammer on with all the eloquence and articulation of a squawking Stellar Jay…….Chase cocks his head sideways, props up his floppy ears and offers up a sigh of acknowledgment.
There’s a fine line between love and hate. Most people don’t know when they’ve crossed that line until it’s to late. They refuse to learn or change, they prefer casting blame rather than trying to become a better person. It’s hard to teach old humans new tricks. They always want to know, “What’s in it for me?”
Old dogs don’t learn new tricks just for a treat, they learn new tricks to please you. Some folks will say “I love you” every chance they get, but they never take the time to show it through their actions.
My dog is ten years old. They say a dog ages seven dog years for every human year. My dog at ten knows more about life and love than I ever will—–and I’m middle aged—– I’m being conservative in regards to defining my age.
Chase and I are growing old together. He’s slowed down a bit, but he still has the heart of a pup. He barks a jet airplanes, gets excited when I put on my shoes for a walk and would follow me to hell and back agin. I wish my dog would never grow old, because when he’s gone I’ll be lonely here without him……..
Some people know your secrets before you let them slip, before ya allow them to spill out during one of those beer riddled drunken nights. They can see through you, as if they’ve known you before this brief life stint. There’s no pretending, they draw out the best in you, like a spike struck to the heart, or the rude awakening that accompanies a stiff slap across the face——Boy, she sure shook me up, she took me back to a life I’d forgotten. I knew from that first glance, she belonged to me…..She’s a part of me, always had been, and always would be—-there are few who can make one feel less alone in such an indifferent world, maybe that’s the definition of love? She was partial to me, like the sound of a familiar melody, she could play me by heart…..
I’m gonna take off every piece of your clothing till all that lies between us is freckled skin, damp breath and sloppy wet kisses, we’ll go around and around, then back round again, peeling off our tawdry disguises one layer at a time, till we’re naked, till we’re almost perfect, except for fresh blue bruises and old stubborn scares. Here, take my wallet, my car keys, my cigarettes, along with all the other bad habits I’ve used to hide myself—cause I belong to you like a bad habit. All I need right now is to be wrapped up in your arms, let me tear down those walls that protect your secret garden—now come over here—-yeah, just like that. Let us for now be silent and we’ll speak to one another with our eyes closed. I don’t need to know your name, your age or the name of your hometown, all that stuff is ordinary, frivolous and unimportant to me. You my love, are anything but ordinary——I cut my dreams on the teeth of her diamond shaped heart——
We’d been more than friends but less than lovers, we offered one another awkward goodbyes with tenuous hugs——only our eyes kissed farewell. She’s my little wing, “When I’m sad she comes to me with a thousand smiles she give to me free.”
I’m in a Walmart state of mind. The fluorescent lighting gives the vast yet cluttered place a harsh two dimensional appearance. It’s a landscape crowded with cartoonish characters wearing thousand yard stares. I’m staggering my way through this cathedral of capitalism, a place where everything has its price, but negligible value. It required the consumption of two tall boys and a shot of Jameson in order for me to enter these doors——I’ve come here to hopefully find an old friend of mine.
I do my best daydreaming while wandering through these isles of meaningless shit. There’s something about the endless isles of blurred colors and the monochromatic shopping muzak that puts me in a walking meditation. I peruse my way through the shameless drooping bra display, past the old ladies laid out in the pedicure highchairs, the in-house McDonalds with ketchup smeared tables, the strange optometrist alcove next to the restrooms and then past the immaculately arranged shiny fruit and vegetables, through the wall of HD TV’s, housewares, hardware, sporting goods and the disheveled toy department. I feel myself being swept away into a Fellini plot with its array of bizarre looking zombies. It’s a nightmarish funhouse of warped mirrors, insane laughing clowns and Andy Warhol’s stacks of Campbell soup cans. The deeper I’m pulled into the bowels of the store, the more surreal my thoughts become——— Maybe I’ll find her in the shoe department.——
Why is there no three quarter life crises? It’s a misunderstood age ignored by a world consumed by youth culture and the next “big thing”. At this stage of my life, it’s no longer what I’m becoming, or who “I’m supposed to be” I know these things. Today, it’s more about “What have I done”. Or, “What haven’t I done?” If you’ve aged well, you no longer give a damn what other people think, you are——–(good, bad or indifferent) uncompromisingly “you”. Time strips away vanities, insecurities and pretentiousness. There’s comes a forced introspection knowing there are more days behind me than in front of me——-
The mirror has become a contemptuous tool of fucking deceit. My internal mirror has me forever young. When I smile at pretty young girls they offer up blank stares,—–Just for kicks, I give a sly wink====”Better to be the one who smiled than the one who didn’t smile back.” Adam Smith
From the corner of my eye I catch the blur of something flittering amongst the exposed heating ducts, light fixtures and skylights. I scan the upper regions of the massive ceiling. I hear a sound reminiscent of a bird chirping. I follow the sound into the infant department. Could she be here?
My children are now grown and on their own. I carry their old memories frozen in time, but as I’ve grown older they’ve begun to thaw and slowly drip into my consciousness. Out of nowhere an old memory will surface and I will suddenly be consumed by a sense of nostalgia—- I’m taken back in time to cartoon gibberish, ski trips on snowy days, nervously letting go of the handlebars as she wobbles off without me, contentious teenage arguments with my son, teaching them how to swim, drawing the line “because I said so”, sleepless nights listening for the sound of the car returning in the driveway, holidays, family get togethers, loud parties——-tears and laughter——-I wonder, did I do it right? Did I do the right things for the right reasons? Did I tell them how much I love them? Did I say it enough? Did I show it enough? The past is malleable, I wonder about the memories they now carry of me???? Those were the best of times…….irreplaceable, irretrievable, irreparable, pressed like rose pedals within the pages of my heart——-
Perhaps she is by the water fountain near the layaway counter. Haughty shoppers offer up smirks as they jockey past me. They’re in a hurry to fill a hole left on their shopping list. The hunter gatherer gene lingering in their DNA causes them to stalk the shelves with a competitive killer instinct. For some, enough is never enough——hoarders of
“things” forget that everything they purchase comes with an expiration date…….
Have I failed god? Is he mute or am I deaf? Why are we born, why does everyone we love have to die? When I was young I was reckless, such things didn’t matter, back then I was unbreakable, irreverent—— There was always more time, time to say the things I needed to say, time to make up for the things I did wrong, time to apologize to those I’d wronged. I never looked at my watch or a calendar as a fuel gauge, or as an alarm to go off as time grows shorter.
I use to think I had control over my destiny, but not so much anymore. My grand designs flip flopped so many times that I’ve forgotten where my ego ends and my destiny begins. Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs, two way mirrors, dead ends, trap doors and enigmatic mysteries. I use to take credit for my successes and make excuses for my failures, but time has humbled me. Someone must have been looking out for me, a higher power, God, grace———Thank goodness that the divine takes pity on little children and fools….
Such a beautiful disaster, filled with prophetic accidents and comical mistakes, the art of life, falling apart and coming back together, riding the wave of brief eternal moments……recollecting all the people I’ve found and lost along the way. There’s always been more room for love. I should’ve hugged more, forgave quicker and been slower to anger——-
I follow the sound through the doors leading to the Yard and Garden Center. I know that she likes it out here where there is sun and fresh air. It’s an atrium of sorts, here I’m surrounded by chain linked fencing and a netted ceiling. I whistle hoping to coax a response from my shy friend.
Did I make them proud. After all their sacrifices and compromises had I come up short? Did I become a better part of their dream. It makes me wonder how others perceive me and what are the blind spots I fail to perceive in myself. Unconditional love, like the air I breathe, has always been there, taken for granted, worse yet——-expected.
Youthful enthusiasm kept me running in scribbled circles, impatient, forgetful———memories of sitting on my folks couch, with the evening news in the background, they leaned into me, listening as I explained my scrambled schemes and how I was going to have things my way. It must have taken monumental patience on their part to allow me my fanciful indulgences. In spite of all my false starts and wrong turns, they were behind me, no matter how cocksure I must have appeared. I hadn’t counted on all the fractured relationship, career stumbles, strange lonely towns, sucker punched failures, bad days, night terrors, faltering steps and stumbles——-but I always carried with me the knowledge that there was a place I could still call home, someone who would answer their phone no matter what hour of the day or night, they’d see me through—what a beautiful complete love——
In the corner of the atrium there’s a nest behind a flood light fixture. And there she is, sitting above the rows of patio chairs, barbecues and artificial plants. Her nest is constructed of candy wrappers, recipes and colorful strings gathered from the clothing departments. I’m reminded that to adapt doesn’t always mean to evolve……
I’d first noticed her several months ago perched upon an exposed vent. She must have accidentally flown in the store when the electric doors were open. I’ve continued to make occasional visits to see if she was still making this place home. I’m not sure if she is trapped, or if she has found this way of life to be more predictable then what lies beyond these walls—-Life without surprises leads to complacency, and complacency compromises ones soul.
She must subside on the fruits and vegetables and other tidbits tossed into the trash cans. The water dispenser has become her birdbath and drinking fountain.
This Walmart will be her chicks only world, all that they will ever know. It seems cruel and unfair that this sterile box-store will be the extent of their universe. But, if this is all they’ll ever know, then I suppose it makes no difference. They don’t know—-that they don’t know——-that they’re captive birds.
Toknow that you don’t know, is where wonder collides with wisdom. I reach in my pocket and pull out a handful of birdseed and place it in the plastic rubber plant.
Leaving the store I’m filled with a sense of freedom. I inhale a deep breath and look up at the sky above me and wonder what doors may be hidden up there. I suppose we are all captive in one way or another ——-insnared by gravity, stiched to space and time, enslaved by our beliefs, stalked by our memories—-and ultimately, entrapped by the limited time we are here and alive………..