Progress

The August sun traces the southern horizon as the silent tree’s cast long shadows over the lazy afternoon. There’s no hurry to go anywhere or do anything. It’s too goddamn hot to be ambitious. I pull my ball-cap off and let the cool breeze tousle though my sweaty hair. 

I’m hiking through the Washoe Meadow. I imagine that the path I’m on is the same one that the Washoe Tribe followed on hunting expeditions. Their ways and traditions are no longer known. I’d give anything to know the things they knew, to see the things they saw. We’ve traded our place in nature for our love of power and progress——–Progress? Huh?

The trial turns and twists through Jeffery Pines. The sweet scent of Sage permeates my body. I take the fragrant air into my lungs and it becomes a part of me——maybe this is what they mean when they say “all things are connected”. I exhale my breath. It dissipates into the pine needles and becomes absorbed into the blueness of the out stretched skies. I feel bigger than my body.

A stellar jay sits atop a Spruce Tree and loudly scolds me, a chicory scampers across my path and from a distance a coyote keeps a weary eye on me. The coyote is my spirit animal. He’s a trickster, a loner and a little bit scruffy—-but most of all he’s a willful survivor. Yeah, we are a part of one another. The trail opens up to a huge meadow displaying purple lupin and yellow scrub grasses. It’s a pretty place, a calming place. It would be nice to share this with someone, but I’ve always been my own best friend, so I’m in good company. I take my boots off and rub my toes in a patch of cool green grass. I feel the sun on my face causing me to involuntarily smile to myself. A breeze blows across the meadow, it blows across the sweat on my body, it cools me down.

Under California Skies

Soundtrack “My Funny Valentine” by Chris Botti.

Sitting here, waiting on the sky to snow

This town looks better dressed in white

Your footprints from my door to your car

I stare from my window

Red taillights fading into your city of gray

You said you couldn’t figure me out

I said, I know what you mean

Cause, I can’t figure me out either

Bless the losers and the beginners 

January’s the coldest month of winter

Don’t let the resolutions for the New Year fool you

I’m full of love and rage

Oh such a fine line

I’m in hate with myself 

Look what you’ve done to me

I want to find me a new city

Where winter never comes

Maybe go west under California skies

Sit on cliffs and feel the warmth of July’s sun

Bless the losers and the beginners 

January’s the coldest month of winter

Don’t let the resolutions for the New Year fool you

Soundtrack Of You

We walked those old city streets like we owned them

Warm breath turning into clouds of white

Walking back to your tiny apartment

Ellis street dark, we once found love here

You take your coat off

The sounds of the city, from open windows

You ask if I wanna know you

You play me your play list

Every song reminds me of you

Is this still the soundtrack of you

I asked you to leave this town with me

You stared out the window, into dying stars

You say nothing, another silent no

It’s so hard to move on, knowing you moved on

I hate this city

I’m so tired of everything

That old apartment always drafty and cold

Impatient traffic rolling off to distant places

I now avoid Ellis street

Strangers spying from broken blinds

God, this is all killing me

Do you ever think of Ellis street

Was it a dream we once lived in

I wish we’d moved out to the country

In the past, there’s no new beginnings

I’m homesick, wishing away my past

You say nothing, another silent no

It’s so hard to move on, knowing you moved on

Static

These times are strange, no they’re a mess. There’s this constant background hum coming up from my backside. I don’t know if it’s coming from inside my head or is it a demon creating this lingering static in the ether. There’s always been horrors, but today it grinds on and on through social media, newscasts and radio talkshows.  People are angry, living on the edge. We’ve become victims of a constant bombardment of bad news filtering into our psyche. People on the street wear the mask of emotional fatigue on their drawn faces. Where do we go from here? Everyone’s looking for a way to turn down the static. 

This is what pushed the pioneers west, the thought that somewhere,, somehow, someplace—-things have got to be better than this—-All the same, we tote our clutter and emotional baggage along with us. No matter where we go——there we are. There’s no escaping this house of mirrors. There’s no out running our shadow, but we can always change the stories we tell ourselves. We’re the star of our own life, why not make it a comedy rather than a tragedy. There’s no better time than now, no better place than here. The static grows louder.  I swiftly turn around, but there’s no one there——-“Huuuuummmmmmm——“ 

You’d think that after all the laws, politic’s and religion we’d be more civil and kinder to one another——-fat chance.  We have no choice but to seek solace in one another. We’re awful, deceitful, jealous and——-mean vermin. But at the end of the day, it’s too hard to go it alone. It’s only through tolerance and acceptance that we keep our companionships alive. We’re all uniquely the same——in irony there is truth.   

One time strangers become our friends and lovers, but then they slip away becoming strangers once again.  The longer we know someone the harder it is to see them anew. The rags of our past distorts “what was” with “what is”. 

I miss the peace that comes with silence.  It feels as though this static is growing louder——do you hear it too? “HUUUUMMMMMM——”

Turn the dial, change your frequency, adjust the station, fine tune your antenna away from the static——–and find your music.

Magic

I can’t go back in time so I keep moving. My movement isn’t always forward, sometimes it’s backwards, sometimes in a circle. Movement offers me a false sense of progress. This life seldom dispenses second chances, it offers up lessons.  I keep moving, I keep reaching out.

It’s a lonely quest, scavenging through life in search of purpose, love and someone to relate to. To be understood is to be loved. To expect to be understood is “crazy”. If you want to be loved in spite of all your weird idiosyncrasies and foibles, adopt a rescue dog. If you want to be exploited and abused, allow a cat to adopt you…Relationships are built on such subtle differences. Friends will change without telling you, others may ghost you for unknown reasons and some pass away never to be seen again———at least not in this life.

I worry, “Did I let everyone I love know how much I appreciate them in my life (Note to self, tell everyone I appreciate them in my life, excluding those occasional assholes). I fret over the thought that perhaps I never let my parents know how much I respected and loved them. We become so accustom to our parents unconditional love, that it’s easy to take this gift for granted. My parents stuck by me, in-spite all my stupid life decisions. Time goes by quickly, words are free, don’t hold back——let those you care for, know how much you love them.

These days I lack a meaningful connections with others,…….Maybe I could better define this malady as a disassociation syndrome. In other words, so many things no longer fit together—My “Why’s” far out weigh my “How’s”……..The veneer of this thing called reality is wearing thin. Everything seems so unreal and strange to me. I stumble about thinking, “Is this the way things are supposed to be?” “Is this the way I supposed to be?” We all have our own brand of craziness, we just become comfortable by wrapping it in our own private shiny distractions. If you don’t know how the trick is done, then it’s magic——misdirection, sleight of hand, illusion, Love?? Life??

King Of Sorrow

It’s mid October, the season that gives way to the beauty that comes with the death of a fading summer.  Leaves turn golden, red and purple before being swept away in the autumn winds. Outside its dark and cold, the sun surrenders its dominion over the sky earlier and earlier, this relieves me of the guilt of fixing myself a drink too early, but as we all know, there’s always an excuse for drinking. I hear the faint fizz of carbonation over ice cubes——my oh my, Jameson and Ginger-ale in my favorite tumbler.

It’s the season of tangled sheets, as ghosts whisper under beds and the hellhounds bay up at an angry moon.  I swear I hear the footsteps of shadowy specters moving across the creaking hardwood floor.  The doorknob to my closet appears to be slowly turning. I foolishly decide to step deeper into this nocturnal quicksand. There’s something bittersweet about allowing my darker angels to run loose. I flip through my playlists and click on “Sade”. God almighty, her music always takes me there. It’s got that hypnotic groove that’s made for soul searching, lovemaking——it’s drenched in unrepentant sensuality. The beat pulls me into a grinding pocket. I feel like having a cigarette, but I had to give that up over a decade ago, it’s always the hardest thing to give up on something that you know you’ll remorselessly love forever——and she taught me——forever is a long time!

Some woman know they have it from an early age and they carry it with them through old age.  She has it, she knows how to use it——-she exudes a steamy erotic energy. It affords her an unfair advantage. “It” has nothing to do with beauty or flash, it’’s in the way her body moves through space, it’s that certain look in her hungry eyes. Her heated body radiates the fragrance of lust. When her hand nonchalantly brushes up against my skin, it’s as if a million volts of electricity convulses through my body.  All those other bland pretty girls have no lightening in their soul; they leave no ache in those empty places, no burn in ones darkness. 

The prisons and insane asylums are filled with men who’ve let this black magic rule them, clouding their better judgement and making them do the bad things they never thought they were capable of doing.  I search through a junk drawer and find a single crippled cigarette, I rip off the bent filter and take a deep drag and then slowly exhale the blue smoke. It hangs in the air, mysteriously taking the shape of a maligned dragon. I feel myself going back on things I swore I’d never do. I scroll through my phone contacts and wonder if her number is still the same. The thought of her warm damp voice invades my nervous system with a shot of adrenaline, causing my hands to tremble. I hesitate with my finger hovering over the green call button. “King Of Sorrow” begins to play on my mix. 

Stale Piss

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The breath of early June is in the air, so sweet, so warm——-laced with the scent of lilacs.  The evening breeze ruffled through my hair, for me, this is the fairest time of day.  Thinking back, her face resembled someone with a hybrid pedigree, part French, part gypsy——-a precocious child of the Greek God Hedone.  She hid unspoken promises and dirty secrets behind her waning smile.  She must of thought I was a pervert because when she noticed me staring at her, she gave me the stink eye. 

I liked the way she stroked a pool cue and the way her cleavage was exposed when bending over the perfectly lit pool table.  She took her shot with blue cigarette smoke hallowed around her. She spoke softly with an exotic accent from an unknown foreign land. It didn’t even matter what she had to say, I just liked listening to her hypnotic voice.  Then she screeched, “What are you looking at weird-o?” I knew right then and there, this was not going to have a 1940’s happily-ever after movie ending.  But I was already in way too deep to back down now. The shot of tequila burned the back of my throat. I knew I wasn’t going home until either I made her, or she made a fool out of me.

She was like an old fashion vinyl record, something that needed to be treated with reverence and handled with sensitively——-to hurry and fumble with her would only leave an indelible scare on something of such perfection. She’s a song I’d never grow tired of.  Pretty girls grow old, but good songs never do.  She had me humming “Girl From The North Country”. 

Her rose colored lipstick clung to an empty shot glass. She wasn’t one of those chardonnay sipping bores easily impressed with stock-market babel, she craved the excitement that came with jazz musicians, black magic dealers and men who knew what they wanted and how to get it. My palms were sweaty, my heart pounding as my libido pushed me forward.  I prowled about in a circle at the edges of her perimeter.  I threw back another shot and walked on over to her and with a pandering voice asked her to dance. She shook her head no.  Shaken and perplexed I blurted out, “Okay, how bout an an arm wrestle?”  She didn’t answer, she just spit on her palms, rubbed her hands together and then stretched out her small manicured fingers——-at least I was touching her flesh, even if it were in a contest of strength and courage. She dipped her head down and then locked her eyes on mine in an intimate manner. Neither one of us allowed ourselves to blink.

Her hand felt soft and warm.  I applied pressure and she responded with a quiver in her grip.  I felt the momentum moving in my favor as her forearm began to falter. From under the cocktail table she allowed her soft warm inner thigh to rub up against my knee. That poor cotton summer dress didn’t stand a chance, inching up closer and closer, slowly giving way.  She looked up at me with those fucking eyes——she wasn’t playing fair, she played dirty——Goddamn, losing never felt so good. From the jukebox the song “Bitter Sweet Surrender” blared—–her leg began to mercilessly move in rhythm with the song. For God’s sake, she was taking advantage of me, breaking me down.

My forehead glistened with sweat, my bicep began to tremble——my trousers grew even tighter. She had me, she knew it——-She teased me——moving in a little——moving out a little—there was a wave of tension leading to a singe point of no return.  She was unexpectedly much stronger than she first appeared to be—–isn’t that the way of all woman.

They tore down that old bar where we use to hangout. It was a place where we spent many a night laughing and getting drunk.  I have a memory of us dancing beneath a streetlamp at two in the morning. She had the power to turn a dark dank alley into a place where broken glass, dumpsters and the sound of screeching car tires became a stage for danger and romance.—— Yes, I said romance, minus the stench of stale piss.  

If Ya Wanna Know A Man

 

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If ya wanna know a man,

Watch how he treats an abandoned, angry, scared, flea-bitten, sad-eyed, mangy mutt. 

Feel free to substitute any living thing in place of the word mutt, then extrapolate what becomes of those who’ve been hurt, abandoned and mistreated.  Anger is the child of hurt. To be disconnected and made to feel invisible leads to a masked rage. It may erupt at anytime, at anyone, for seemingly no reason——-but there are reasons! 

He sits there, motionless on a bench in the deserted park, late January——the cruelest of months nestled within the dark soul of winter.  Head stooped, glassy eyed, staring into the nothingness of an empty playground at 3:13am——there are reasons he sits here. 

The courts, madhouses, homeless shelters, and prisons are full of those who’ve been denied love.  Technology has given us more ways to communicate, but the best we can do is send silly faced emoji’s to communicate our feelings. Unknown-1

When he cried no one came to hold him.  When he was hungry no one came to feed him. No one comforted him when he was frightened—– or showed up to chase away the boogie man hiding beneath the bed. There were no whispers in his ear telling him that everything is gonna be alright. The technical term for this malady is “failure to thrive”. What a stark definition——for someone left loveless. Without love all living things wither, curl up and cease to breathe.  Love is the only nutrition to sustain ones soul. 

Why are the ones most starved for love, the last ones to receive it? To have never known love is to be emotionally orphaned. Those that have never received love, will never know how to show love. We become the product of our environment. The surest way to kill a living thing is to treat it with Indifference. Neglect is worse than hate, it reduces living things to inanimate objects—As if broken people can be replaced, or dismissed as irredeemable, locked up and kept out of sight.  We’ve become a disposable culture, with a throw away mentality. Our society will be judged by the way we’ve treated our old, our young and those most vulnerable.

The swings squeak in the chilly breeze, a raven lands on the monkey bars, frost clings to the silent blades of grass, clouds of steam rise from the duck pond. All is in waiting for the rising of a better sun. 

If you have a love surplus, spread it around. You can’t keep it, unless you give it away.

Love is a holy thing.

Magic

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Soundtrack “Comatose” by Sierra Eagleson.

I have my fathers temper, stirring just below my skin

And then there’s my mothers compassion, lingering in the marrow of my creaking bones

I’ve made my camp in this flag tattered crossfire 

It’s always been a battle of attrition

I’m forever at war with myself

It’s trench warfare, two steps forward

Two steps backwards

Where’s god in this circular calculus

Beware, history is written by the winners

For the rest of us, it’s white flags, white crosses and unmarked graves

On guard!—-Touche! 

I may offer you an olive branch with a hug 

Or perhaps a sucker punch to the nose

I’m a danger to myself and others

A classic case of 51-50, 

I’m the static clinging to the radio station, while you’re straining to hear your favorite song

We don’t get to decide if we are born

Who’s to say when it will all come to an end

That’s fate, destiny, god’s propagative 

But in between birth and death 

There’s much to lose, much to gain

Refusing to choose, is choosing

There in lies the hazards of freewill 

Anything is possible

Nothing is promised 

Surrender to the openness

Do what inspires you

Love’s an imperfect science 

It’s the art of misdirection

Sometimes you pull the rabbit out of the hat

Other times a rat……

Regardless, don’t give up on the magic…….

Abracadabra