I resigned myself to the fact that life wasn’t going to be neither easy nor hard. Nature is indifferent to moods and emotions, everything is, as it is. Fill the emptiness with what you choose yourself to be.
Letter writing is a lost art. In the olden days receiving a letter was a momentous occasion. It may be the only link to a loved one who’s now many miles away. It might be a soldier who’s off to war, or a prospector who’s gone out west to a gold rush in search of his fortune, or maybe someone who’d left everything behind to seek freedom and opportunity in the new world, or maybe a letter from mom and dad after they’ve shipped you off to summer camp. To the homesick, a letter is like a life preserver tossed from home.
Somehow, written words are more intimate and heartfelt than texts, zooms, emails or face-timeing. There’s a formality of ink meeting paper, there’s something unique about thoughts laid out in black and white—–it’s like letting someone peer into the corners of your mind, to hear your voice, the timber, the rhythm and the flow of words being enunciated—-It’s like being given wings when standing on a collapsing bridge.
Written letters are saved in old shoeboxes or under well worn mattresses. It would be a foolish thing to throw away someones words and thoughts. Letters are snapshots of moments in time. They can be pulled out and reread and given life again. It’s like placing the needle of a phonograph on a favorite song. You can pick the letter up and smell its scent, imagining the hand that sealed the envelope. I once had a girlfriend who’d put on lipstick and then leave an imprint of her kiss on the letters she’d send me. She’d spray perfume on the stationary and leave “X’s” and “O’s” next to her name. It was a virtual hug and kiss.
I’d always carefully put my letters back in their envelopes and then place them in a box I dedicated to these precious communications. Most folks won’t let you into their world the way a letter can. A well written letter requires time and attention to create a composition that expresses what is laying dormant beneath ones tongue.
We’re all adrift on a vast ocean of loneliness and a letter is like a bright red flair against an ebony sky. It begs the questions—- Can you see me? Do you hear me?—Please don’t forget me?
Victor S. Uriz II
Soundtrack “Son Of A Highway Daughter” by Ruston Kelly.
I messed up again, got drunk and pissed everyone off, let myself down with a thousand discarded and broken pledges, I’m wanting morning light at this 3:03 am, its the darkest of corners to turn in the middle of the night, the sheets have become untucked and tangled, the room is stuffy and hot, I’m mad at the likes of me for being a poor version of what I might have been, I’m pleading with the dark shadows and demons to stop coming round and convicting me with a movie reel on repeat, revealing me and all the stupid shit I’ve ever done, my sanity meter is starved for another quarter, for a shard of clarity——the walls are closing in=====Oh my god, where are you now, my holy ghost has gone MIA
I’m nervous all the time, my breath stale beer and bitter nicotine, people can see through me, I never learned how to be coy or clever, my bravado has caved in, I’m teetering on being too far gone to come back again, I no longer belong anywhere or to anyone, everywhere I go I feel out of place, people stare at me like I’m a two headed monster in a nickel and dime freak show——can’t you see, that under all this ugliness it’s still me
I’d call you, but at this hour it would be a selfish thing for me to do——-I wish I’d never worn you out with my rants and ramblings, I’m afraid I’m gonna drag you down with me—— a drowning man with arms flailing, we played hide and seek one too many times with our emotions, and what was once found is now lost. it’s Amazing Grace in reverse——-I’m sorry I painted you into my landscape, you’re far too pretty to be sketched within the same canvas with the likes of someone like me
People want to choose relationships the same way that they pick out corn on the cob. They secretly peel back a small portion of the husk and take a quick peek to see what’s on the inside. They take a hurried look around to see if anyone is watching and then hastily decide if it’s a keeper or a throw back.
I wonder what becomes of the cobs that have been discarded and left behind, their husk pulled down exposing all their flaws, for all the world to see. Maybe some are fed to the pigs while others are sent to the popcorn factory.
And now you know why popcorn explodes—–
Soundtrack “Mercury” by Ruston Kelly.
When sitting at a extra long red light, do you ever wonder if perhaps you’re wasting your life
When standing in the chips isle, struggling to choose between Doritos and Barbecue Chips, have you ever found youself questioning if maybe you’re wasting your life
When lying in bed with the snooze alarm going off for the third time do you ever conceive of the notion that you’re probably wasting your life
Have you ever sat in a crowded bar watching everyone laugh, flirt and drink and come to the conclusion that you’re possibley wasting your life
When sitting in front of your big screen watching the same commercial for the third time, have you ever pondered why you’re wasting your life
Sitting silently in a cluttered break room, have you ever decided that you’re definitely not doing what you’d like with your life
Have you ever sat on a couch in the middle of some big party filled with laughter and loud music and despise the idea of wasting your life
Have you ever traded three hours of inebriation for a tomorrow that guarantee’s a headache, sour stomach, a worn outness and once again it leaves you questioning why you’re wasting your life
Has your life ever felt like a grainy B movie with no plot, or a corny country song about a broken hearted cowboy and you find yourself humming along to the soundtrack of his wasted life
Standing in a long line at DMV waiting to renew your vehicle registration, have you ever viewed yourself from above and watched as you wasted away
Sitting on a squeaky pew in an empty church, crumpled up and praying for faith only to find that my guarding angel is refusing to circle, Jesus is busy choosing the next big lottery winner and the fucking silence of it all grows ever more deafening
Have you ever found yourself watching the news, different day, different names, but the same old bullshit and ask yourself why does everyone seems to be wasting their life away
While waiting in a huge line at Starbucks to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a fancy coffee, I suddenly become shocked by the insanity of it all
Does anyone else suffer a similar craziness to it all?????
I pump gas, pay bills, feed the cat, do laundry, shop, cook and clean, only to find myself tearing another month off my calendar
Have you ever walked into another room and forgotten what you came there for, and this is what wasting my life feels like
Amongst all the nothingness of me, I see us flying kites on a windy day and the green field smells of freshly cut grass, the blue sky stretches out to the Sierra Nevada foothills—–and your dress blows up in the wind and it makes us laugh. We let our kites go and I kiss you and it feels like I’m cutting all my strings. And for that small moment, all the nothingness of you and me no longer matters to anyone or anything……
They’re on their way
Not recommended for bedtime reading
Soundtrack “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones.
I’m two beers and a shot past midnight as I make my way down a rainy street on a dying Sunday. I pass an old rundown house that’s still wearing it’s Christmas lights in late March. What a sad and pathetic sight. But after all, everyday down here feels as morose as the day after Christmas. I stroll past a group of bums huddled together under a tiny bus-stop shelter. They aren’t sad, they throw their heads back and laugh and hack deep husky coughs. I watch as they pass their generic cigarette around and count their beggars change to buy another bottle. This is socialism at its best.
I score a couple of rocks from a big black dude who’s street name is killer. He has sleepy red eyes and a bulge under his leather coat that corroborates how he’d acquired his nick name. Killer is an evolutionary capitalist, his philosophy is that the big fish eat the little fish. He wears a face that says “Don’t fuck with me”. This corner is his domain and if you know what’s good for you, you won’t question his Province.
I lean against the wall of the damp alley and light my pipe. I smell and taste that familiar chemical flavor I’d been craving. I’d promised myself that this would be my last time and that tomorrow I’d straighten up and start writing my great American novel. Man, when I’m high I can feel a million stories exploding through veins. I’d love to write some of this shit down, but I’ve pawned my computer, my phone————-my soul.
The devil keeps my redemption locked up in a cage down in that fiery netherworld. Salvation is a hard thing to come by when the key to it is held by my worst enemy—– that enemy being me. You see, the devil isn’t in the drug, it isn’t in the guy who sell’s me the shit, it’s in the bullshit I feed myself. We all have our devils and demons, but some of us just feed our’s better than others. I’ve gone from believing I’m the master of the beast to realizing that I’m his slave in a freak-show.
I’ve decided that today will be the day I stand up and face the devil and his cadre of demons. I’m going down into the belly of the beast to do battle. It won’t be as simple as one battle, it will be a lifelong war. Satan has the high ground, he can give me extreme earthly pleasures. He will make me feel like I’m right and the world is wrong. He’ll support my victim mentality. But there’s a high price to paid for unearned luxury.
There are only three types of people who dare trespass into the belly of the beast. They’re either holy men, madmen or those who have come to the stark realization that it’s either fight for redemption or dive into those eternal flames. I’m in the latter group, I’ve used up all my excuses and burnt all my bridges. I’d worn out all my friends and family and squandered whatever potential I once possessed. I’m done waiting on someone or something to come and save me. Salvation is a personal quest.
Some go into the belly of the beast and never resurface. Some go there and resurface as a Bodhisattva. And then there are those who lose their mind in search of their soul. But if you’re gonna go down there, you gotta go all the way and you gotta go it alone. No one can save you from yourself——–but yourself.
Hell is knowing that you’re a fraud, it’s hating yourself for becoming the worst possible version of what might have been. It’s intentionally pushing everyone away who cares about you because it hurts too much to have others care about something you’ve long ago given up on My god, I’m fucked up——but here I am again, in the alley, siting on the curb with my feet in the gutter. Damn, it’s so hard to believe I can do better when I feel worthless. Hating everyone and everything made my addiction bearable, these dark emotions fueled my self destruction. Self hatred has robbed me of my most potent of tools; love and courage. When I descend into that inferno I will need love to be my sword and courage my armor. I’m tired of being ashamed——-tired of being sick, tired of being what I’ve become.
I’m on a dark stairway that’s slippery from the blood of broken hearts. Above there’s a chandelier constructed of sun bleached bones. There’s a chorus of horrifying screams and god forsaken moans from the other lost souls. In the background an organ plays its mournful dirge. I tentatively push open the squeaky gates causing a flock of bats to take flight. The beating of their wings startles me.
There is a heaviness in the air, it feels as if this place is the center of gravity for all of the worlds unforgiven sins. I make my way down a candle lit corridor. It opens up into a cavernous cathedral of horrors. From the ceiling there swings decaying corpses with their red bulging eyes dislodged from their sockets. Drooling zombies rush about with dozens of hypodermic needles stuck in their arms. A goole hunches over a withering body as he repeatedly stabs at it and then licks the blood from his knife. In the shadows ragged figures fornicate with half goat, half human creatures. This is not only the theater of the absurd, it’s a chamber of pure evil. Above me flying beast with bat wings screech and rain spit down on me. The air is filled with an over powering oder of rotting flesh. Creatures in chains with putrid breath scream out asking for mercy as they are being led by demons into a lake of fire. From the lake comes the revolting smell of singed hair and burnt flesh.
Every fiber of my being is telling me to turn around and bolt back up the stairs to a place of green fields, where I might negotiate for forgiveness and pray for the rarest of commodities——-a second chance. Sitting upon a throne on a high riser sits Lucifer the prince of darkness. His eyes are red like burning coals, where his feet should be there are hoofs. He amuses himself with an anaconda as it curls and constricts around his arms and neck. He bites into an apple and offers me a sinister grin. He stretches out his hand and asks in a deep throaty voice “How about a nibble? You look like a lover of forbidden fruit.” I nervously shake my head no. He stands up and yells in a death metal scream “What the fuck do you want?” I try to speak but my mouth is to dry to form a word. “Speak up you little bastard, a good servant should never makes his master wait.”
I muster all my courage and manage to speak in a squeaky voice “I’ve come to take my soul back.” He throws his head back and laughs. “You’ve got a fucking short memory. You signed the fucking contract. You traded your soul for all those little goddamn things you said you wanted, desired, needed.” My fear was beginning to lean towards anger. “You never gave me shit. You used me.” He looked me straight in the eye and laughed.“You struck a deal with the devil, what did you think you’d get, honesty, integrity? You’re gonna get what you fucking deserve, an eternal timeshare in hell.” He removed his purple robe and spread a pair of huge black wings. “Do you like my wings? I can give you wings just like these. All you have to do is to continue to do my bidding. Just keep being as bad and evil as you have been and someday you’ll have dominion over all this darkness.” He offers me a mocking thunderous laugh.
“I don’t want your wings. I don’t want your darkness. I want my soul back. Our contract is void because you never gave me any of the things I bargained for.” He gives a snide little snicker as one of his minions fly to his side and hands him a paper. “Here is your contract. Now let’s take a little gander at what you traded your sour for. Number one. You asked for ecstasy and I gave you crack—check. Number two. You asked for a loyal family. I gave you a group of gang bangers made up of thief’s, thugs and murders—— check. Number three. You asked for a profession. I made you a thief to support your drug habit—–check. Four. You asked for unrestricted sex with many. I made you a prostitute to support your drug habit——check. Number five. You asked for freedom. I gave you the street and homelessness—–check. Number six. You asked for a purpose. I made you an addict—– check.” “You tricked me. You twisted my words and made a fool of me.” “No shit, I’m the devil and that’s what I fucking do. I break hearts, I steal souls, I tear apart families and friendships. I’m a destroyer of hope, a revoker of faith. And now it’s fucking time for you to pay up ass hole.”
I stammered, “What about love? What about self respect? Why can’t you give me those things?” He just shook his head, “I can’t give you what you’ve never asked for. Those are things only you can give yourself. You should’ve read the small print kid.” He points to the backside of the contact where there’s an extremely small line of written words. In a mocking voice satan reads from the contract. “By signing this contract I agree to no longer love myself. I agree to shed myself of all integrity and self respect. I will be an instrument of hate and loath everyone, everything——including myself.” He stretched out his wings in a show of power. “Something you dumb shit mortals never seem to understand is that if you don’t love and respect yourself, then how the fuck can you ever love or respect anyone else.”
He straightens the gold pentagram around his neck. “I have power over many things, but I have no dominion over love and ones self worth——those things are god given. I deal in the transitory sins such as desire, vanity, money, greed, drugs, pride, alcohol, sex, power and possessions. These are the tools that make it easy for me to enslave mortals such as you. These bargaining chips are extensions of the seven deadly sins, also known as the cardinal sins spoken of in Revelations. It never ceases to amaze me—–what evil mortals will do for such petty prizes.”
He spread his wings and circled around before landing in front of me. He encroaches into my space. “I’ll give you back your soul under one condition. You must deliver to me a man who rivals my evil, possesses my hate and has the power to deceive and divide humanity. I need such a man to lead my apocalypse. Do you accept my challenge?” I allowed myself to show some bravado as I stared straight into his eyes. “I know of such a man. He worships all the things you have to offer. He’ll gleefully exchange eternal damnation for your earthly pleasures. He will mount and lead the charge of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” Satan nodded in confirmation. “So be it! I will provide whatever is needed to make this monumental deal a sucess.” He grimaced showing his yellow fangs and exhaled a ball of fire that singed my eyebrows and hair.
I awoke face down in a dumpster. In a daze I stumbled out of the alley. Had I awoken from a nightmare or was this vision a drug induced hallucination? There lingered the smell of burnt hair in the air and the soles of my boots left a trail of bloody footprints. I knew then and there that I’d struck a deal with the devil and this would be my final chance to redeem my soul.
I opened my wallet to find it stuffed with hundred dollar bills. I went to the most expensive tailor in New Your and purchased the finest suit that money can buy. I then went to a spa to have my hair styled, a shave and a manicure. I placed both my hands on my briefcase and summoned the credentials I would need to close this deal. I looked in the mirror and was amazed at my transformation. If you can judge a book by its cover, then I resembled a wind swept hero on the cover of a cheap pulp fiction paperback.
I sat in the back seat of my chauffeured limousine as it made its way down 5th avenue towards midtown I opened my briefcase and retrieved a cellphone with the number of my contact preprogramed. I pressed the dial button and waited for someone to answer. From the other end there came a stern and impatient voice, “Hello.” When I responded l was surprised to hear my voice come out with a thick Russian accent “Hello, I think you know who I am. I’m your handler from the East. I was hoping that you’d be available for a discrete meeting? And, if you are available, I’d like to introduce you to the greatest deal maker of all time.” I knew that this comment would set a hook in his ego. From the other end of the phone there came a gasp. “Bullshit! Everybody knows that I’m the greatest dealmaker that’s ever lived. Who the hell is this person you’re speaking of, and what does he have to offer me?” “He has anything and everything that you’d ever desire, at a basement price. In fact, he’s willing to take matters deeper than the basement.” He responded “I’m a busy man, so this had better not be a waste of my fucking time. I’ll meet with you and your so called deal maker. I’ll show you both who’s the greatest deal maker of all time. I’ll let security and my secretary know to allow you and your Monty Hall impersonator into my tower.”
I felt that little head rush that comes when taking an elevator to the the upper floors. The elevator stops at the thirteenth floor and in walks an immaculately dressed Lucifer. He tips his hat and offers up a sinister smile “Thirteen is my favorite number.” I press the button for the top floor. The elevator doors opens and we’re escorted into a large office. Behind the dark oak desk is a huge floor to ceiling window with a panoramic view of New York city’s skyline. One might even mistake this grand office as heavens vestibule.
“Please have a seat” He gestures for us to take a seat in the leather chairs facing his desk. “So, my Russian friend here say’s that you want to offer me one hell of a deal?” The devil nod’s and begins “Yes, I think you and I have much in common and many similar interests and aspirations. You are also a man of wealth and taste who possesses great intelligence. You alone are the only one who has the capacity to rule this floundering world.” I sit back and watch as he sets the hook ever deeper into his narcissistic soul. “I have the power to make all of your dreams come true.” Feigning disinterest, he leans back in his desk chair and begins to clean beneath his fingernails with a pewter letter opener with the initials “DT” carved into the handle. “And in exchange for this what do want from me?” “I will get to that, but first let me tell you of all the things I can lay at your feet.”
“I will make you the most powerful man in the world. I’ll give you authority over the largest and best equipped army ever assembled. I’m offering you the power to destroy your enemies with the push of one button. I will give you the ability to make your followers believe your lies as if they were indisputable truths. I will rain down on you billions and billions of dollars. As for women, I will make it possible for you to lay down with Playboy centerfolds and Porn Stars. I will make you more famous than the pope and you will be worshiped like the greatest of pop stars. You will be famous with your name and face plastered on every magazine, TV news program and newspaper. You will have every material comfort that any man might ever ask for. I offer you these things because I know that you are a man of discriminating taste and know the virtues of fame and fortune.”
He places his letter opener on the desk and folds his arms. “You have my attention. But what is it you want from me?” “What I require from you is written within this contract.” He motions for me to open the briefcase and provide him with a contract. “I’ve taken the liberty to draw up a cursory contract itemizing the minor concessions you need to provide in exchange for all the gifts, pleasures and powers I will bestow upon you.”
“Let me read to you the paltry stipulations required on your part. You must turn your back on those who’ve trusted in you. You will side with the East cover the west and in doing so you’ll solidify your earthly power. You will use your orator skills to deceive and manipulate the masses with lies and falsehoods. You must use all your powers to sew divisiveness. You will exploit the diversity in individuals and cultures to fan the flames of hatred. You will build walls to separate countries and foster mistrust. You must be willing to separate families and cage children. You will turn people against one another by promoting fear and hatred. Through fear and hatred you will create friction between faiths, nationalities, races, gender, political affiliations and ideologies. You will take credit for the rising stock-market making the rich richer, while the less fortunate die due to the lack of shelter, food and water. As chaos rages around you, you shall retreat to your castles and send out inflammatory rhetoric fueling your fires of divisiveness and hate. Many are called but few are chosen, and because of your greatest, you are the chosen one.” The hook has been set, the line now drawn taut and all that was left to do was reel him in.
He unfolds his arms and clasps his hands together. “This sounds like a reasonable deal, but what about those who are close to me? I must be provided with an assurance that I will have the power to pardon them from all earthly laws.” “Yes of course. I will also allow you the power to pardon yourself of earthly laws. You will have dominion over all earthly laws because you will be above the law. If this meets with your satisfaction all you need to do is sign right here on this doted line.”
He takes a golden pen from his pocket and reaches out for the contract. Satan shakes his head and takes the pen from him and hands him the pewter letter opener. “I’m sorry my friend, but I’ll require that signature in blood.” He takes the letter opener and grimaces as he pierces the tip of his finger. He then smiles “Sir, you drive a hard bargain but I’m the only one who’s truly mastered the art of the deal.” He pushes back his orangish hair to reveal a set of stubby horns. “As you can see I’ve acquired my horns. I can’t wait to earn my wings.”
In order to retrieve my soul I headed back down into the belly of the beast. “I’ve fulfilled my obligation and I’m here to retrieve my soul.” The devil gives me a little smirk and responds “I’ve been thinking about you and was hoping that perhaps we might work a new deal. I remember you once saying something about wanting to write the great American novel. I could maybe help you out with that.” I defiantly shake my head no. He continued “Imagine having your novel being number one on the New York Times best sellers list. I can arrange that. In addition, how about having your novel recommended reading by Oprah’s book club? I can make that happen too. Maybe we could arrange to have that novel turned into to a screen play and a winner of numerous Oscars. You’re so talented and gifted, it’s only right that you receive some recognition and compentsation for all your hard-work.” I could feel my chest begin to swell with the thought of attaining all of these accolades. “I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up this little arrangement and it awaits your signature.” I take the contract and pen in my hand and stare at the dotted line. I take a deep breath and hesitate. I pick the contract up and tear it into pieces. “I’ll take my soul back now—–and as for you—–you can go to hell!”
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, respectively.
The seven deadly sins or cardinal sins.
The seven capital sins, also commonly referred to as the seven deadly sins or cardinal sins, are pride, greed (or covetousness), lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. These are thought to be the sins to which human nature is most susceptible, and they are said to be the origins of other sins.
All I wanted was to be understood, to once again lose myself in someone’s eyes, rather than being sucker punched in the heart. She said it’s hard to be understood when you don’t even understand yourself. I thought to myself “Yeah right, you never even took the time to try and know me, you were too busy trying to prove how you were right——-and how I was wrong.” One thing for certain, I was right about her being wrong for me. Love with all its inherent bad descions makes fools of us all. The more I tried to reach out the harder she pulled away. Maybe blindness is what love is. Maybe it’s tracing with my fingers what I can’t see with my eyes. She shoved my hand away, “Stop, you’re gonna smudge my make up”. Damn, she had all the romance of a cactus.
I’m a fool for girls with sexy eyes in lose fitting see through sundresses. I’ve bumped into a lot of people, but we collided and burst into an awkward erratic orbit—-pulling together then pulling apart. When I peered closer, I realize that I was never really in her eyes. But god, I remember how the sun shown through her cotton dress and how I mistook a body for a soul.
During the day it’s easy to believe in god, clocks and getting to work on time. When the sun is up I can find purpose in simple walks down by the river. I’m not shaken by the absurdity of remaining stopped at stale deserted red lights. But at night, the enormity and emptiness of the universe fills me with an uneasy feeling of insignificance. I toss and turn in my bed and then get up and stumble into the kitchen for my fourth glass of water. I’m stuck in a midnight cycle of drinking water to ease my dry mouth and then having to get back up and take a piss. She hollers from the bedroom. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you up.” I reply, “I can’t sleep, I’m worried about stuff.” Her voice is tired and cracks as she speaks, “Worried? Worried about what?”
“I’m worried about life and the inevitability of death and what’s it all for. I’m worried about things I should’ve said and done. I’m worried about pretending to be something or someone I’m not. I’m worried about my insecurities, my false intentions and my need to be validated——–by people I don’t give a shit about. I’m worried about our sun and how someday it’ll become a super nova and explode vaporizing our solar system and turn our planet into ash along with all it’s history, paintings, music, books and everything that makes up me and you. I’m worried about sick kids lying in hospital beds, scared and praying under their starched and stiff hospital sheets. I’m worried about lonely old people in rest-homes with nothing to do but watch gameshows and play bingo. I’m worried about never being able to write with the truthfulness and rawness as Bukowski, Steinbeck or Kerouac. I’m worried about roads not taken. I’m worried about why I no longer have friends who I can trust with my secrets. I worry about being misunderstood. I’m a hypochondriac so I worry about every phantom ache and pain. I’m worried and wonder where’s god in all this mess?” She gasps,”What the hell’s wrong with you? You make Woody Allen seem normal. Come back to bed.” I gulp down another huge swig of water and head to the bathroom to relieve myself——I swear, how is it possible to pee more liquid than I drink? I’ve grown weary of waiting on another tardy sun.
When I go back to my hometown I drive down my old street and park near my childhood house with it’s yellow nightlight burning on the porch. It’s just me and a moonless sky dipped in ink. Tonight I’m filled with melancholy as I creep along in the shadows of haunted streets. Maybe we all leave little pieces of ourselves in the places we once called home. I’ve come snooping for clues that will put “then and now” back together.
When I grew up I was in a hurry to get out of my hometown and escape this puny street that once comprised my world. But now I’m ironically drawn back to this tired old house on a dead end street. After everyone has gone to bed I buy myself a tallboy and park by the field that’s adjacent to the Catholic church and my childhood house. The cold air with its silent stars brings back the loneliness I knew as a child. Even then under that misty Milky Way galaxy I’d lose myself in the majesty and unreal-ness of it all. I think about my old friends and my family, I listen for voices and keep an eye out for falling stars or maybe a UFO. I haven’t come here to repeat the past nor exhume old ghosts, I’m in search of a lost innocence. Right now, all over town it’s autumn and the wind is creating mini tornados of yellow, red and purple leaves. The air is filled with the scent of burning wood streaming from brick chimneys. November is breathing its chill into the coming night.
This was the place where my father would come home wearing his weary work-face. I think back on all the sacrifices my folks made for me and my sisters. For my dad, everyday must’ve felt the same except for paydays. On paydays he’d come home late for dinner with beer on his breath and the smell of tobacco clinging to his work shirt. I remember how he’d wrap mom up in his arms and foxtrot her around the living room singing “I don’t get around much anymore”. Is that what life is, brief moments of joy surrounded by days of nihilistic sleepwalking? In spite of all the hardships we were a family fortified by love who found ways to share our tears and exploit life’s humor. Our house was filled with loud voices and much laughter. My folks did a good job making us a home and they were always there for me. There is still something calming about this funny little house with it’s sagging fence and unkempt gardens——it still defines home. Memories are my eternal path back home.
This is where my mother cooked our dinners and neatly ironed our clothes. Maybe I’m guided back here to try find pieces of me that I’d forgotten, or that I’d left behind. I can hear the voices and see the ghosts as I sit in my car with the heater on and the radio tuned to jazz. I sip off my beer and let the smell of fresh laundry and pot roast cooking in the oven bring me back to a simpler time.
I know now, that you can’t go back in time and fix things or make good on delinquent thank you’s. Things break, mistakes are made, we all say things we regret. And then there are those missed opportunities where kindness and patience would have played better than selfishness and unrealistic demands. I watch as we all age. There’s a feeling of solace that’s found in marching together through the passage of time. I search for myself with the eyes of days gone by. Buddha would say that attachments to the past is the cause of suffering, but for me there is such a sweet sorrow in these nocturnal sojourns. I feel a sense of belonging under these frigid autumn skies. We may all just be passing through, but my life is held together by the continuum of shared memories.
Soundtrack “Stop” by Joe Bonamassa.
It takes space to give a person or a thing a fresh perspective. Time tastes like expensive bourbon—–at first a cozy burn in my belly, then a flushed buzz across my reddened face, followed by a grimace and a wince. Yesterday and tomorrow remain the same and open to interpretation. Everyone changes, some for the better, others for the worse. I’ve always contended that to be understood is to be loved. But, you can’t understand someone until you let go of your relationship with their relationship. There is often much truth in what appears to be a bizarre contraction.
People are complicated, relationships are messy, normality is a mirage—-we’re all blind to our disfunctions. One man’s crazy is another man’s fetish. I wonder what parts of me are living in you? And, what parts of you will always be withheld from me? Cause if I’m gonna love you, I gotta touch, taste and feel all of you. I’ve walked around in you, I awoke inside you; what a beautiful world. There’s much hidden in the fog of what we desire verses what we get and who we wanna be verses what we’ve become. I wonder how you’d privately describe me to your girlfriends. Woman talk about men as if they were capital. They estimate their earning power and their value on the free market. “He buys me whatever I want. You ought to see his portfolio.” Men talk about women as if they were property, as if they were a new sports car. “Look at what I own, look how shiney and pretty she is. She does whatever I ask her to do, and I mean anything.” I swear I’ve felt you walk through me, what a strange world in which to lose yourself. The record skips at the same old place every time, our steps go in circles, yet as hard as I try, I still step on your toes—–
Out of thin air we found one another, our chemistry volatile. Desire is like a rubber band. If never stretched it will become brittle and one day break when most needed. Or, if stretched beyond what it’s capable of handling, it will abruptly snap. What we expected isn’t what we hoped for. What we get is karma and karma reminds us of what we deserve—–So, you better stop.
I have this ex-lover I carry around with me like a faded legend. I have these movie reels of us taking up space in my head. In one we’re in a stark white room and we’re both wanting to be touched by the other, but instead we keep poking our fingers into one another’s soft spots. And then there’s the reel of us driving down a flat endless desert road and were fighting over the steering wheel. The brakes fail us as we careened out of control. The horizon becomes a cliff we fly over into oblivion. I’ve been told that oblivion is where new stars are born from the explosions within dying stars. Now, isn’t that the way of nature, creating beauty out of cruelty, birthing new beginnings from our finalities.
Laughter is the orgasm of the soul….God smiles knowing the punchline lies within us all………
Soundtrack “Sailing The Wind” by Loggins and Messina.
She is with me, even though she doesn’t know it. The oppressive southern humidity causes my shirt to cling to my sweaty back. The drapes billow in the late afternoon breeze as a honeysuckle scented zephyr washes over me like a tall cool glass of water. In the distance a Southern Pacific moans its farewell. I feel myself melting into the over stuffed leather chair in the dimly lit living room. It doesn’t feel like a living room, it’s a gateway into my growing hollowness. How many chances in one lifetime does one get to know love, to feel love——to be loved—–to give love? Love doesn’t seek meaning or purpose, it seeks only itself. If you aren’t quiet and still, you will miss it. If you doubt it—- when you are touched by it——-then it will orphan you.
She’s in me, even though she’s no longer aware of it. She’s in each breath I take. She’s invasive, giving me life as her memories softly kill me. Such a cruel contradiction. Love is a living thing, it can nourish you—–or it may desert you. It’s a monster, a ragged angel with broken wings. It’ll shake you, scare you—–surprise you, make you believe in miracles and allow you to indulge such sweet misery. And as quickly as she comes on to you, she’ll mysteriously abandon you.
She’s leaving me, I know it now. The living room is shrinking. I feel her silhouette in the days dying sun. I smell her skin, taste her mouth. My voice sounds like that of a stranger. I hear myself whisper——- “Stay, god please stay.” She is going on without me. She no longer gives a fuck. I’m overthinking everything, I’m over feeling everything. I no longer have a place to go. I forget what it’s like to be me without her. A honeysuckle scented zephyr washes over me like a tall cool glass of water.
On a bike ride the other day I came across these Snow Flowers. I bent down to smell their fragrance only to be met with a cloud of spores. I suddenly became light headed and had to sit down.
For a moment I lost my sense of being and my awareness of space and time. I drifted into a vision where I was introduced to this old Indian Chief named John Hollow Horn from the Oglala Lakota tribe. He held me in his gaze and said, “Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die.” In disbelief I rubbed my eyes. “Man am I high or what…..?”
I sat still for a moment and then asked, “Dude, that’s some heavy shit. Can ya break it down for me?” He said, “Cover your ears and listen with your heart. Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
As I reached out to touch him, I was suddenly jolted back into “reality” by the voice of a tourist asking me “Hey bro, how do you get to the Marriotts from here?” I was tempted to say you can’t there from here, but instead responded, “Sure, just squeeze into the traffic jam on Highway 50 east and head towards the noise, commotion and the stench of Rome burning.”
“Follow the crowds Bro —— lose oneself.”
The tattoo sleeved kid clad in his Under Armor tank top and Hurley ball cap, takes a swig off his IPA. He shakes his head in frustration “I’ll find it on my own” then in an act of deference he bows his head to his cellphone and request directions. The old Indian’s image began to dissolve as he gave me a wink and a grin. I could swear he was humming “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell.
I believe I’d been given a vision and a mission. So, I pass this experience on to you as a Prophesy—–. What we do to nature, is ultimately what we do to ourselves (universal reciprocity is karma via mother nature).
Be courages, be forthright——be uncompromising stewards of the land—Be a soul warrior for mother earth.
I can hear the trolls already “Man, I want whatever drugs he’s been doing.”
Disclaimer: This vision was not precipitated by the use of peyote, Mushrooms or the ole peace pipe—-it blossomed from the soul of a Snow Flower. Even rocks have a soul–if you sit very still for a long period of time and listen, they’ll divulge their secrets.