A Child’s Rain

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Soundtrack “Bird On A Wire” by Joe Bonamassa.

I run my hand along the rough red brick wall. If you could touch truth, this is what it would feel like, if you could wear yesterday, it would fit like this. Brick buildings never age, unlike most things, they never grow old, they are the silent sentinels keeping watch at eternities gate. Time is in the raindrop that erodes away the mightiest of mountains one patient drop at a time—-We never seem to notice the passage of time until one day the mountain is gone.

Brick and mortar merges man’s creative life-force with natures unfaltering power to endure. ——Such walls keep some things out and other things in——-it all depends on what side of the wall you find yourself falling or standing——

I envision all of those perfect rust colored bricks meticulously hand laid, so even, so artfully composed——-the craftsman’s sweat droplets mixed in the slurry and forever embedded within the cured cement—–blood, sweat and tears, like long lost fossils hidden between the layers of time.

Long after another generation’s life-story has been told and then consigned to oblivion, these edifices remain as statues to a forgotten past—— bricks like memories, one stacked upon the other—— one timeless moment entombed within a dying eternity.————-Tell me this?  Why the brevity of life, we’re here then gone, everything and everyone just passing through, my grip on the ephemeral is slipping, the impermanence of it all has me chasing tomorrows horizon on this lonely highway.

Skyscrapers are impressive because of their hight. But there is no romance in their architecture. Their birth pushed out into loveless cement forms and fitted together with the support of I-beams. The spaces we live in define our culture. Our cities are gray, cold and crowded with despair, boxes within boxes, where men while away their lives in cubicles, sucking recirculated air, no songbirds cooing outside the tinted windows, only the ever present monotonous hum of air conditioners—–there’s no place to hide from those harsh florissant lights, the computer screen is our window to the world, the feel of cool damp grass no longer beneath our feet——it’s a landscape of migraines, mind-games and lost virtues. All the symmetrical lines make the few remaining trees and plants seem out of place.

All the old buildings in my hometown are constructed of stubborn bricks. There is grandeur in those old buildings, the church with its pious stained-glass windows, the honorable courthouse and contemplative library. These buildings of stone reminds us of our need for safety, shelter and community.  I feel holy when standing in the ancient brick church with it’s towering steeple—-it pierces the heavens like a hypodermic needle, injecting god’s blue sky with silent prayers.

The first time I saw rain, I asked my mother what it was, this water falling from the sky. And she said it’s rain. I thought a child’s thought, how wondrous, this thing called rain, water falling from the sky cleansing the streets and sweetly scenting the world. Who’d of thought up such a phenomenal thing?

The rain made all the old red bricks appear new again. Everyone was in a hurry to escape the rain, but I stayed outside to enjoy this spectacle of water falling from the sky. I stood there with hands outstretched, head tilted back, mouth open, tasting rain, feeling rain.

I once asked my mother about the tiny specks of light twinkling in the night sky.  She said they are stars and that there are billions and billions of them—- they are like our sun, but millions of light years away.  She said some of these stars have already burned themselves out and we are looking at light from their past. I thought a child’s thought, these things called stars are even more mysterious than rain. I sat on the porch staring up at the Milky Way galaxy—–Rain and stars, how unbelievable yet beautiful.

Maybe this is what Buddha contemplated while meditating under his Bodie Tree. At peace with oneself and the universe, walking the middle path of love between the yen and the yang——intertwined with everything yet separate…….Insignificant and small, yet omnipotent and omniscient———wandering between the birth and death of each moment———Nirvana——-

Victor

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Soundtrack “If I Go, I’m Going” by Gregory Alan Isakov.

 

raindrops falling and disturbing still water
she smelled like fresh laundry and the newness of a morning sun
this ole heart is wearing worn and cracked work-boots
It’s the miles not the years

You fell in love with me

like a frozen statue

like a fallen hero
Mistaking love for things that never change

even our sun
will someday die
put on a sun dress
and I’ll wear flip flops
and we’ll get sunburns
while drinking beer at the beach

Internal wallpaper is how we decorate our lives
You were my star in this darkened theater

There is no poetry in Los Angeles, it’s got chicken scratch graffiti on concrete, where tattoos are mistaken for art, its train like cities that have no beginning or ending, just endless strip malls, fast-food joints—-with its smog hallowed sun. How can there be so much loneliness in these crowded places, we have become citizens of cloned hometowns, we’re generation X, or Y, or millennials,—–held together with Facebook velcro.

Nobody really knows what’s going on or what it’s all about. We’re all just running around trying to figure out what we should do, where we should go next, whom do we dare pretend to be. The clock is always ticking, all is uncertain. Before it’s all over we are desperate to discover our part in it all. Occasionally you’ll touch something and it will shock you, like the unforeseen bite of static electricity, or glimpsing a dead falling star. And for that instance your puny life takes on a speck of meaning—–one random piece of the puzzle falls into place.

Her love was like wisteria. At first it brought a subtle beauty to everything it attached itself to. But in time its clinging nature enveloped and entangled what had once been a free-swinging garden gate. Over time there was no way to gracefully enter or exist, the overgrown gate was forever intwined and frozen. It clawed over, across and on top of what once gave the garden its structure and form. In time its need to control and twist all it touched would cause the lattice to sag, to crack under the weight and finally give way. Such beauty strangles the life out all it once embellished. She was my weed strewn garden, she was everything I wanted, but the last thing I needed.

I’ve heard it said that writing is the loneliest of pursuits. It’s just you, a blank piece of paper and your thoughts. I don’t know how writers of pulp fiction feel about their craft, but I suspect that the poet is much more of a desperate soul. His ankle is tied to a huge rusty anchor and it is plunging him to the bottom of the sea. He’s headed to a place where there is no light, no sound, an inhospitable cold region. Poets aren’t depressed—-—no—they’re truth scavengers trapped in a world of forgers. If they were afflicted by depression they might find relief in a drug or in a support group. There is no clinical diagnoses or magic cure for being a poet. Please don’t be afraid, its not contagious.

My father and I share a common name—“Victor”. My dad was called Vic by his friends but I prefer Victor. As I’ve grown older I’ve seen parts of him rise to the surface in me. I was his only son and we tried to reach one another, but we were separate boats being pushed by opposing winds.

I went through a period when I was an adolescent where I’d have night terrors—-I was a sleepwalker pacing the floor in sheer terror, crying and screaming out at things no one could see but me. My dad would shake me, pat my cheek in an attempt to wake me, but I’d carry on in my neither world of monsters, demons and madness. This would go on for hours. He would ask me at breakfast if I remembered these fits. I never remembered these night events. But I’d have a faint memory of something that filled me with terror.

My dad use to say “You’ll find out someday”. And what he meant by that was, someday I’ll learn that life is cruel and bitter and hard and full of frustration and let downs. He would almost say it with a sense of glee. Like he couldn’t wait until this life beat every ounce of idealism and romanticism out of me. He’d just look at me after making this repetitive proclamation, shaking his head and giving me a snide little snicker.

I don’t know how, why or where, but somewhere along the way he surrendered his personal power. It’s always easier to give in, give up and throw your hands up and concede, but that just isn’t me. I take my name seriously, I’m a Victor, I’m born to take on all comers—bring it on—–I’ll go down swinging.

Don’t fear the inevitable, such as death. But rather, fear not taking action on the things you have the power to change, such is your life.

Be a Victor———–Do something!

Paint Me A Picture Green and Blue

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If love were a color, it would be green——like the traffic light that screams GO!—like the grass that’s always greener on the other-side, green like a twenty dollar bill earned the hard way—– leaving you one blistered heart, its in that sweet scent of sappy pine needles in early June, rare like a four leaf clover, it’s in her emerald flecked eyes, like the squirt from a lime after a shot of Cuervo——–but never the color of envy—–

My love is blue, like the deepest part of the ocean, like the sound of Muddy Water’s graveled voice singing “You Shook Me”, as wide open as a cloudless Summer sky, it’s the blue that flickers at the tip of a campfire flame, it’s in the bluish colored veins showing through her ivory skinned neck, a river of life rushing from her quaking heart, her body like a little factory producing beauty, it’s hiding within a cold azure tiki drink—-it’ll kick your ass like a stiff right hook to the soul.

Time is transparent, you can’t see it as it passes through you. I remember all the little things in my wake, the big things are chapters in a book I’ve reread a thousand times. I never tire of my memories, even though they can sometimes leave me sad and nostalgic, the fleetingness of time sifting though an hour glass, grains of sand like moments slipping by—-slipping away.

I once thought that if I talked faster, lived faster that I’d get more living out of life. But no, I got it all wrong, it’s exactly the opposite, the slower I live, the more of life I absorb. I also once thought that the harder I prayed, the more god would turn my wants and desires into reality. But, God doesn’t care about my hopes and dreams, what concerns him more, is how I walk through the fire, how I carry myself—–do I cower in fear? Do I hold another fire-walker’s sweaty palm? Do I piss on the coals?  Is the heat an oven to melt sandwiches of gram-cracker, marshmallow and chocolate into S’mores? How do you make your way across the coals—–doing your tip toed river dance while passing through….Cause were all just passing through…..Dancing on the sharp edged blade between chance and fate…..

Paint me a picture green and blue.

Still Fighting It

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Soundtrack “Still Fighting It” by Ben Folds.

I remember those backroad travails, we weren’t lost, we were searching for something to call our own, neiave enough to still be blameless——- perfectly young, rolling down gravel roads to nowhere. We meandered through misty, foggy mornings, the taste of her coffee flavored kisses on my lips. That old VW bug was our winged Pegasus, time meant nothing, we weren’t ever gonna grow old, it would always be a kind Sunday morning world. Bored cows stared passively, red-tail hawks circled, steam rose from the river, rusty barbed wire dangled from broken down fence posts, telephone poles stretched out into infinity, the earthy smell of dew on freshly tilled soil, you at my side, we were high—–soon the cruel August sun would force us under the shade of cottonwood trees.

The lights are out, he’s on his paint chipped front porch, glowing cig, cradling an old guitar——no one to sing to cept that merciless moon. She still swims through his veins like a fully charged ell. He’s trying to remember what songs were on that old mixed bag cassette she made for him. All he remembers is the first song “Still Fighting It” by Ben Folds.

He’d of changed everything for her, but she’s a chameleon who’s forever changing. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t find the right match within him—-to suite her. The more he changed the uglier he became. He teetered between love and hate on a quivering tightrope——gravity stubbornly siding with hate—–poor love flounders about like a lame duck emerging from an oil spill.

When a man goes pride-less—-his pulse clanks like a rock against a rusted out heart. Don’t talk to him of love, cause all he ever knew of love perished in her eyes —-everyone he’d ever loved and lost frozen there. He swore that he’d never open up to another person again—-that he’d move into a cave and exist on cheap wine while scratching out pitiful sad poems about her and that stingy body she lived in.

Freaks Of Nature And Poets

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Soundtrack “Everglow” by Coldplay.

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?

My Funny Valentine

Soundtrack “My Funny Valintine” by Chris Botti.

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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.

Forgive

Soundtrack, “Old and Wise” by the Alan Parsons Project.

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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.

Get over your self——–Forgive