Friday, June 28, 2013

A Party in Red

A youthful explosion of
excitement pouring into the
city in celebration of the
accomplishments of

They're our momentary
heroes in the excellence of
the minute. We honor them,
praise them for doing the
things most of the masses
only wish they could do.

The cheering, adoration and
applause is deafening. The
smiling faces and pats on the
back are ceasless today.

There's no stopping the
unbridled joy associated with
the Indian Head.

A cup, a trophy, a symbol,
a city. Pride swelling through
broad shouldered shirts.

Chicago celebrates.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

All of Me

            Lenny turned his satellite radio up louder to hear Frank Sinatra croon his way through All of Me. He loved that song. It didn’t matter that it was 9:30 in the morning and the streets were bustling with sweaty business people. It was a stifling humid day and the sidewalks were filled with the miserable masses. Lenny had his car windows rolled down anyway, cranking the super tunes of the 1940’s, hoping that in some small way he could bring a little relief to the melting mobs as he rolled by.

            At a stop light he saw a tall blonde haired woman wearing a very light sundress, one of man’s best inventions, crossing in front of his car. The way she was backlit from the still rising sun he could see the curves of her body through the thin dress. He felt his heart flutter as she continued to step in high heels across the street and up onto the sidewalk. Lenny noticed the gawking of every other man on the street. It was clear that Venus or Aphrodite had returned to Earth.

            Lenny flicked his turn signal on and turned right to follow this blonde woman in the light, practically white, sundress. It wasn’t something he would normally do. He wasn’t the type to go chasing after a woman on a crowded summer street. He normally would let her pass by, enter his memory, and let her go on about her life in the arms of some other, more deserving man. Maybe a man with a penthouse apartment in New York or a beach house along the New England coast and he’d whisk her away there to camp on the beach in white sweaters and all the other crap Lenny remembered from Polo ads.

            The goddess of ancient myth continued to walk confidently in her white high heels along the street, seemingly immune to the stares and gawking and ogling of the men she walked past. Her hair was slightly curly in the summer humidity and it bounced playfully with each of her measured steps. Lenny pulled over into the first available parking spot, legal or not, and hopped out of his car just a few feet away from where this Earthly visitor was about to walk. He had no idea what he was going to do or what he was going to say. He was just compelled to act.

            She started to get closer and Lenny pretended to look for a parking meter and tried to blend in with the marching workhorses of the business set. She got closer and Lenny could see her face, her soft, perfectly proportioned face; round in the right spots, no angular masculine jaw, no sharp edges to her nose of cheekbones, a nearly perfect face for an angel. She was six feet away and Lenny knew what he had to do.  It was bold, it was crazy, but it just might work.

            Lenny spun around in front of this woman with flourish and dropped to one knee in front of her. She stopped and put her hand up to her heart as if she was startled. Lenny winked at her and started singing with all his heart.

            “All of me. Why not take all of me. Can’t you see, I’m no good without you. Take my lips, I want to lose them. Take my arms I’ll never use them…,” sang Lenny.

            The Earthly vision of beauty in a sundress smiled at Lenny and giggled a little bit but kept walking. Lenny rose from his knee and started walking slightly next to her and behind her.
            “You’re good-byes left me with eyes that cried. How can I get a along without you,” continued Lenny.

            Lenny was pouring it on as best as he could, making a complete fool of himself on the hot sidewalk. The woman finally turned and faced him and Lenny’s heart jumped and he nearly lost the tune.

            “You know, you took the part, that once was my heart, so why not, take all of me,” finished Lenny.

            A few passer-bys applauded his aplomb and he took a little bow, all while looking at the object of his recent affection. She smiled at him.

            “My name is Eva,” she said, “that was quite a performance.”
            “You should see the encore,” said Lenny.
            “Oh I should,” Eva said slyly.
            “Absolutely. I’d be happy to buy you a cool lemonade and tell you all about it,” said Lenny.
            Eva bit her lip as she thought about it and it sent Lenny’s heart racing. He continued to smile at her and tried to exude as much confidence as he could. She smiled and nodded.

            “I’d like to hear how it ends,” said Eva.
            “Me too actually”, said Lenny.

            Lenny extended an arm and she turned with him toward a near-by coffee shop which just happened to serve iced drinks. Lenny looked back toward his car and saw a cop writing him a parking ticket and placing it on the window. He didn’t care. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The mortar between the bricks
of my apartment building
must have felt
the four o’clock AM wave of
doom that shattered the skies

A booming crackle so momentous
it seemed the pillars of heaven
were collapsing to Earth.

I was startled awake by the
explosion in the sky as it
worked its way through the spine
of my apartment.

Rattling windows,
cracking ceilings, shuddering

I thought something, a monster,
Cthulhu, or a fallen Saint had
ripped through the veil of this
universe and was now on a
collision course with humanity.

It would be dire. There’d be few
survivors. Humanity had seen its
last days and they weren’t even
that interesting.

My sleeping brain came to
recognize the familiar pings and
pelts of heavy raindrops
drumming the exposed portion
of my air conditioner.    

There was nothing coming to
tear this world asunder. It was
angels bowling. God taking off his
shoes and dropping them to the
floor. Merely thunder shattering
my slumber.

I drifted back to sleep, calmed
by the percussion of rain battering
my air conditioner. Relaxed in the
bosom of my bed.
I dreamed. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


            Last night the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2013 Stanley Cup in spectacular fashion. Two amazing come from behind goals in the waning 17 seconds of a hard fought game pushed the Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup in four years. The city of Chicago erupted with joy and revelers spilled out onto nearly every street. Fireworks exploded and car horns blared up and down the numerous city blocks. The parties raged on for hours and into the wee morning. It must have been something.

            I really don’t know though because I denied myself the joys of participating in the excitement by staying home and watching the game on my TV in my living room. I chose being a responsible adult over being a championship crazy partier. I hate that I even had to make that choice. I really, really hate it.

            I know that if I had gone out and bathed in the reflected glory of a championship team, a team that plays with all it’s heart and epitomizes the never quit spirit of Chicago, I would likely have had too much to drink. Probably a few too many shots of whiskey as well and today would have been miserable. If I was even able to wake up on time to get to work. I hate work, but I hate missing it more; especially when I call in with a case of the brown bottle flu. I feel like a loser then.

            I get judged by family and friends when I call into work. I get the, “tsk, tsk, tsk’s” and the wagging of an index finger in my face. Along with the, “You’re going to get fired if you keep that up”, lecture I’ve heard an honest billion times. I hate that lecture and that judgment. It makes me very angry to be told, again and again, about how I screwed up. I need my job, I’m fully aware of it. I can’t afford to be without it. I totally understand that. I don’t need to be told over and over by people about it. It makes me really unhappy with my life that people feel the need to remind me.

            So, out of fear more than responsibility, I stayed in last night and went to bed a little after 11:00 pm. I could still hear the revelers along busy Irving Park road whooping it up. I was drifting off to dreamland with a simmering anger in my chest that I was in bed. It was as if I was grounded for something stupid like forgetting to hand in a spelling assignment in grammar school and my punishment was not being allowed to attend the big game. I was missing out on something pretty cool, all because I had to be awake and ready for a job and a career I despise. The failure of logic burned inside of me and made its way into my dreams. Angry and sad dreams.

            I don’t often get to do the things that bring me happiness because of my fear of losing my job. If I actually did the things that made me happy, that honestly made me feel awesome about me, I’d have lost my job years ago. I’d probably be living in a cardboard box on the sidewalk and peeing in jars and on anything else really. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be happy about that either though.

            The real problem is two-fold, going out last night would have had problems with this morning and I’d hate that. Staying in last night was boring and aggravating, but I’m on time and awake for the job I hate. I’m not sure how to find a happy medium. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m getting too old for the adversity of pursuing one’s dreams entails, plus I’m not even sure what those pursuits would involve since I still have no idea what it is I want to do with my life.

            It’s too bad that there aren’t motivating coaches in life like there are in hockey; a gray-hair, mustache sporting, confident coach pointing out the directions and explaining the strategies for success in life. Then again, I’m so anti-authority I’d probably quit just because he tried to tell me what to do.

            Either way, I’m a proud Chicagoan and proud of my team for bringing home Lord Stanley’s Cup. Now to get my own Lord Michael’s Cup of shitty office coffee. 

Monday, June 24, 2013


The alarm clock on my
dresser is the death knell
of “weekend me” and the
resurrection of “weekday

Weekend me is fun and lazy
and carefree. Sleeps late in bed
or on the couch, no one really
cares. Spends too much
money on frivolity and laughs
like a maniac for hours.

Weekday me is sad, morose,
annoyed and grumpy. I have
to go to bed early and get up,
early. I have to try very hard
to find my smile.

I’ve never been a weekday
person. I’d prefer to stay a
weekend guy. That guy has
fun and adventures and could
actually spend time on doing
things that have meaning, in a
soul searching sort of way.

Weekday guy would prefer
to just not start sweating when
the bus is running a few minutes
behind schedule. Weekday guy hates
you. He hates everybody. He’s mean
and if he were an old man he’d swat at
you with his cane and curse at
you in some “Old Country” language.

Weekend me, he puts on a
Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and
disappears for four and a half days while
Weekday me limps about town cursing
the very nature of the universe; frowning at
smiles and furrowing his brow with

A grump of the highest degree.

All hail the return of weekend me. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Randomness of Sleeplessness

            The real trouble with not getting enough sleep for me is the crazy half sentences that start to form in my head. For instance, as I was walking toward my train station this morning I saw a very short woman holding a very long umbrella. The umbrella was almost as tall as this woman. I thought to myself that I should write about this woman and her umbrella. Perhaps she is a Third World Mary Poppins bringing spoonfuls of water purification tables to the underprivileged children with song. Then I thought that was sort of dumb and probably a little insensitive to my large Third World fan base. So I tried to empty it from my head.

            But Third World Mary Poppins is still lingering in the back of my mind, singing a ballad, on a Spanish guitar. “Sólo una cucharada del azúcar ayuda a la medicina a bajar.”
Which just makes me chuckle.

            I moved on in my thoughts to my family’s ability for mimicry. My mother, sister and I are adept at picking up accents and the speech patterns of others. When we speak with someone with a Southern accent, we cannot help but to start speaking the way they do. I think we all can copy a British, Irish, Cockney, Indian, Michael Caine, French, Polish, and German accents. (Dare is such a fing as a Michael Caine accent). We pick up the nuances of the speech and replicate it. It’s quite a gift we’re all blessed with. However, our actual use of a foreign language is very limited. I think we all took Spanish in High School, but retained very little of it.

            My thoughts then turned to my own sleepiness. I started thinking about Sleepy of the Seven Dwarves. I almost wrote something about him today. But due to my more than usual tired nature I couldn’t really come up with anything interesting to say about him. Other than I really can relate to the poor guy. I feel very tired today and could easily doze off in my cubicle mine shaft. But his issue was far more serious. I mean, he clearly had an illness that the Dwarf Miner’s Union clearly wasn’t able to diagnose or provide proper medical care for. I wonder what the Dwarf Miner’s Union dues were. Was there a mobbed up Dwarf Mibner’s Union President? A Jimmy Hoffa type Dwarf pulling the strings of puppet dwarf union leadership?

            On a personal note, I must say that the sudden death of James Gandolfini at 51 years old from a heart attack was very sad this week. As an actor I thought he was phenomenal and as a person he seemed to embody someone who really loved their craft. As far as I’ve heard in the news, he was a very nice and pretty regular guy. His presence will be missed. Luckily we have a library of his work from the Sopranos to his early work in True Romance to sate our appetite for heavy nose breathing. 

            It seems like it’s time for another cup of coffee to try and ward off the sleepiness that is teasing the edges of my brain. I hope I get a second wind soon and straighten out my… my…. (Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze)… oh, excuse me. Sleepy sneezes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Piper Payment

It's terrible that my
enjoyment of the
nightlife leads to
the ruin of my

I'm weak in the pursuit
of perceived happiness,
a false front of enjoyment
parenthesised by booze,
cigarettes and misdirected

Living in the moment
has dangers unknown
while attempting to
prepare for the next

Moments of consequence
are left in the wake
of irresponsibility.
I am often my own
worst supporter.

I'll just have to move
along now. Shuffle barefoot
to the next moment and
pay the piper his due.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I bought a comb last
week and it made me
happier than anything
has in a very long time.

It’s a very simple thing,
a comb. Just a bit of
plastic, teeth, black, cost
about seventy nine cents.

The hairbrush I’ve
had since childhood seemed
lonely. It’s a Sears boar hair
brush with a sandalwood body
and handle. It’s finely polished
after over thirty years of use.
It’s a wonderful hair brush.

But sometimes a man just
needs a comb. And I wanted
one. I’ve wanted one
for a very long time yet I
didn’t really know where
to get one.

Until I happened upon one
in a corner store. It was pure
chance and once I saw it I
knew I had my chance to
buy it.

I couldn’t wait to use it.
I couldn’t wait to run it
though my thick locks.
I was giddy with

As soon as I got home
I went to my bathroom and
started combing my hair.
I giggled and laughed and
marveled at it. I smiled and
chortled and snorted.

I combed my hair up.
I combed my hair back.
I combed my hair to the right.
I combed my hair to the left.

It felt wonderful to have
this little bit of plastic,
something I wanted for
so long finally in my hand.

It reminded me that I have
the capacity to be happy.
That it hasn’t all been taken
from me by the world.

I could still feel joy and
wasn’t fully dead inside.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Meaning It

            The mountain top was a dizzying blur of pummeling snowfall and freezing winds. Larsen had spent the last two months leading this expedition and scaling the towering peak of India’s mythical, but now discovered, Indubuti Mountain. The mountain was famed through antiquity as the legendary place where Alexander the Great met with a holy man who told Alexander the meaning of life. A meaning so powerful Alexander never recovered and he died shortly after hearing the wise man’s words. Larsen was starting to care very little about this wise man. He’d lost two men to frostbite and the pack mules plummeted to their deaths so early in the climb. He was left with Dr. Richard Sorgon and his adventuring wife, Mrs. Claire Whittle-Sorgon, to reach the summit and the legendary cave of Guru Ashany Wic-Ani.

            Larsen returned to the base camp he and the doctor had set up just a few hours ago. They had stopped their climb to review the map that Dr. Sorgon had discovered in an Egyptian Curiosity Shop. Larsen doubted the authenticity of the map at first. What were the odds of finding an accurate map in a curiosity shop? He’d thought it was a fake for sure. Once they discovered the first two markers, a winged sphinx of granite and a statute of Isis, his doubts were somewhat belayed.  The map was in Egyptian and Greek, which did make sense since Ptolemy returned to Egypt after his campaigns with Alexander and became Pharaoh. It was still suspicious to Larsen.

            Larsen approached the thick winter style tent and unzipped the door. He stepped in to find Dr. Sargon huddled over a small table carefully examining the map and Mrs. Sargon working the small heating element they had set up. Larsen turned quickly and re-zipped the door flap.
            “Ah, Larsen. How’s the weather looking,” asked Dr. Sorgon without looking up from the map.
            “It looks like the winds may break tomorrow and we should be able to continue up toward the peak. We can leave the tent here as we’ll need it for our descent. We’ll just take what we need. I guess if we leave at first light tomorrow. We should reach this cave by mid-day. We can make camp in the cave. If it’s there,” said Larsen.
            “It’s there Larsen,” said Claire, “I believe in my husband”.

            Larsen nodded and removed his gloves and moved toward the heating element next to Claire. He leaned in close to her.

            “If he’s wrong we’re all going to die out here,” said Larsen.
            “He is not wrong. We will find it,” said Claire.

            Larsen didn’t trust Claire Whittle-Sorgon one bit. She reminded him of a dark witch that lived in a rickety old house in his youthful home fishing village. The stories alleged she turned young loose women into cats. All through the night you’d hear the mournful mewing of those poor whores as they stalked the streets. The witch’s husband apparently fell in love with a loose woman and carried on an affair with her. The witch went crazy with jealousy when she found out and cursed the woman and turned her into a cat. Then she continued her rampage, turning any woman she thought loose into a cat. Larsen’s village was nearly overrun with cats. He didn’t really believe the story, but there was something about Claire that made him think of that witch. It was her strange steely green eyes.

            “Larsen, have you any questions for the great Guru when we arrive,” asked Dr. Sorgon as he folded the map and moved toward his wife and Larsen at the heater.
            “No. I do not wish to know the meaning of life,” said Larson.
            “You don’t want to know the meaning of life? The meaning of everything,” asked Dr. Sorgon.
            “I know the meaning of life. My father taught it to me many years ago,” said Larsen.

            Dr. Sorgon smiled and nudged his wife.

            “Do you hear that my dear. Larsen here already knows the secret for which we’ve been searching for these past two months. Won’t you enlighten us Larsen,” said Dr. Sorgon.

            Larsen bristled at Dr. Sorgon’s condescension. He had tolerated it for this trip because the money he was being paid was far superior to anything he’d ever made, for any expedition. Plus, while Mrs. Sorgon might be an evil witch, she was very attractive.

            “The meaning of life,” paused Larsen, “is to live it.”

            The wind outside the tent howled and the flaps of the tent fluttered loudly. Dr. Sorgon and his wife looked at each other and then burst out laughing.

            “Oh my dear Larsen, there has to be more to it than that,” said Dr. Sorgon.

            Larsen moved away from the two and toward his cot. He pulled his heavy sleeping bag open and lay down.

            “You two should get some sleep. It will be a long day tomorrow,” said Larsen.

            Dr. Sorgon and Claire stopped their chuckling.

            “Don’t sulk Larsen. I’m sure your father was a wise man. But tomorrow we will find the most wise man ever and we’ll see for certain if you’re right,” said Claire.

            Larsen didn’t respond. He let his mind drift quickly to the days of his youth in his village and was quickly sound asleep.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Muse

            Allen stepped away from the canvas to take a look at his painting progress. So far he was pleased with the form his brush was taking as it moved across the surface. It felt right this time. The picture that was forming was starting to look just like he’d sort of planned it in his head. His hands and wrists were finally cooperating in the artistic way he wanted. He dipped the brush in a little more red and stepped forward, almost touching his nose to the canvas as he started again to spread the red paint up and over in high arcs starting near his face and up over his head. The red paint, thick on the brush, dribbled and dripped down the length of the eight foot tall canvas and onto the wood floor.

            Every stroke of Allen’s brush added to the depth he wanted to build into what he thought would be the painting that could change the world. It was a special painting. In fact, there wasn’t one like it anywhere in the world. Allen stepped back again and shook out his arm. It was getting a little sore from painting over his head so much. He wasn’t quite used to it. Plus he’d put on some weight since quitting his job at the bank so that was slowing him down a bit.

            He didn’t start out as a painter. He was a financial planner and was happy in the logical world of numbers and figures and sums and decimal points and percentages. He loved it all. He knew that was what he wanted to be ever since he was a young boy and he found an old adding machine in his grandfather’s attic. His grandfather showed him how to use it and Allen fell in love. He devoted all his energies to being excellent at math and took a great deal of pride in the practical and logic sense it made. He never had an artistic bone in his body. English classes and literature classes weren’t his thing. He’d struggled with the required reading and his book reports were always dismal. He’d rather be doing fun calculus than having to read about some dumb Hobbit or Dracula.

            It wasn’t until he was walking home from work earlier this year when things changed. He was possessed with a singular loneliness as he trudged along the sidewalk. An attractive woman was jogging toward Allen and he was transfixed. He’d never made much time for women in his life. He’d had a few girlfriends, one for eight months in college. Since then though he’d been so career focused he just never really spent any time looking for a companion of the fairer sex. He was rather blissfully unaware of his own need for company until he saw this woman jogging toward him. She was wearing a very tight work-out outfit. She was bathed in late afternoon golden sunlight and seemed to be moving in slow motion. Allen’s mouth dropped open as she got closer and then passed him. She didn’t look at him; she just kept running, focused on her goal. Allen felt something inside snap. His stomach seized and he felt dizzy. He watched her well toned body run away from him and round the corner. Allen started to cry.

            It didn’t make any sense to Allen’s finely honed logical brain. He’d seen pretty women before and it didn’t get to him. Now he was stunned into a realization that he was terribly lonely and ultimately unfulfilled. All his work on numbers and figures seemed pointless. He continued to walk up to his apartment building in a stunned fog. He barely remembered getting into his apartment, taking off all his clothes and dropping into his bed. The running woman was on a continuous loop in his brain and he was overwhelmed with arousal. It felt shameful to him though. He felt guilty for thinking about this woman in such a way, but he felt compelled. He wanted her as much as he wanted to plan for someone’s retirement, except more so. The flashes of light in his imagination as he continued to imagine the running woman seemed to unlock something in Allen’s brain and he was awash with passion.

            Two hours later Allen was sitting on his living room floor, wrapped in his bed sheets, drunk on two bottles of red wine and ice cream. Computer paper was thrown about the apartment, some blank; some had scribbled pencil drawings. He knew he could never go back to the bank. His days with numbers were over. He had a vision and now he had to express that vision to the world.

            Allen closed his eyes and paused the brush on the canvas. He had to take himself back to the moment of ecstasy, the burning red of his lust, the way the sun was like an echo of the jogging woman’s beauty. He found it, felt himself getting aroused, opened his eyes and continued to spread the paint across the canvas.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

It’s in My Eyes

            There’s a glare reflecting off the exposed HVAC system over my head. The trouble with converted industrial space is often unexpected since no one ever considered there would be a skylight cut into the ceiling. So as this wonderful late spring morning sun flares above, it reflects off the silvery exposed ductwork and right into my damn face. It’s very distracting, annoying, and all together dumb.

            I have no idea what this industrial space was before being converted into the current business offices I am currently employed with. I like to imagine it was something important, maybe making buttons for WWII G.I. uniforms, or pewter soldiers for a child’s classic play set. Perhaps it was a Twinkie factory or maybe a glass company. It’s been so stripped down to the bare brick and wire and old coal chutes that it’s impossible to tell what it was.

            I’m also aware of the irony of sitting in a cubicle in a space that might have been occupied by another worker tasked with some mundane chore like painting eyes on a doll a billion times a year. I imagine a long line of hollowed out men and women all standing or sitting in the very spot I now reside all sighing deeply with the yoke of “this job” hanging over their worried brows. It’s like that infinity picture when you hold a mirror in front of a mirror and it reflects back and forth and back and forth forever. A long line of discontented, dissatisfied, worker bees all lined up through history, griping about the sun glare.

            It’s curious though, with the amount of light that now pours into this place from the skylights. I have to imagine that at one time, this place was very dark inside. Before the skylights it must have been a dark hole people went into for 6-8 hours a day as they tried to do better for their families or hot stripper wife. You remember the guy, the one with the wife that was way too hot for him and everybody couldn’t figure out how he got her to marry him. He kept her in the black with all the finer things in life, thanks to his soul crushing factory job, where my carpeted cubicle now sits. He toiled in the dark spaces of this building while she stayed home, thinking of the milk man.

            I wonder about the thick layer of cigarette smoke that probably used to hang in the air in this old factory building. I bet at one time it was so thick you would need an industrial chainsaw to cut through it. It was a thing. The smoke probably got a paycheck. That makes me think of some stingy old industrialist guy, smoking a cigar, top hat wearing, black suit, standing over the dirty faces of his slavish employees, grinning as their efforts earned him more gold for his pockets. I can imagine him, watching the workers and then turning to some sycophant and saying, “These boys aren’t working hard enough, tell them they can’t leave until they produce 8000 more units, otherwise, they’re fired”.

            “But sir, it’s Christmas,” one lean accountant would mutter.
            “You’re fired,” the industrial fat cat would reply.

            Yes, I bet this building I now work in has a pretty impressive personal history. I can’t help but think of the grimy faces of the workers here before me. It makes me wonder who’ll be here after me. And if they’ll have the sun shining in their stupid, worker bee, sucker faces. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013


By years and form,
I am essentially grown.
I have reached
the adult stage of human

Not Pupa or larval,
baby, child, teen, but
full blown adultitis.
I’m not sure I like
it much.

I always wanted to be
older, so I could do the
things I wanted without
anyone telling me what
I could or couldn’t do.

And yet, here I sit, in
another’s manmade cubicle,
typing information I don’t
care about into a system
built by another man,
that worked at a company
owned by another and all
of us, likely adults, still
doing what we’re told to do.

I’m not sure where the freedom
of adulthood went, or if it
existed at all. Was it an
illusion? Why, don’t I feel all
that grown up but, feel old?

I’m worn out by the constant
worries of the drowning man,
lost at sea. Fending off sharks of
everydayness and giant killer
squids of mediocrity and all I
know is how to swim.

I’m glad I had swimming lessons
as a child, if only I had some
adult lessons, or “How to be
in your late thirties” lessons.

The water is cold. It’s deep.
I’m jostled by the waves. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

God’s Socks

            “See, the good sock, with the good elastic, is the one being eaten by my shoe. The one with the crappy, worn out elastic is the one staying up. Isn’t that crazy,” asked Rob.
            “Uh, that is weird,” said Carl.

            They both looked at Rob’s outstretched legs and at his white tube socks poking from the inside of his well worn sneakers. They socks were as white as his bone white legs and it was hard to tell really where the socks began and the legs started. Only because of Rob’s khaki shorts could Carl tell that Rob’s legs actually weren’t just huge pieces of chalk.

            “Yeah. Weird. You might consider getting a little sun on those legs,” said Rob.

            The bus rocked over the rough surface of the street and Rob and Carl bounced along with it. Rob lowered his legs and put his feet back on the floor. Carl shook his newspaper like the old timey movies always showed men doing to straighten it out. He cleared his throat.

            “It’s just that I don’t understand why the universe would choose to pull the good elastic sock down while leaving the clearly worn out elastic up where it’s supposed to be on my leg,” said Rob.
            “It’s a mystery alright,” said Carl.
            “I mean, what does it say about this crazy universe? That everything is completely random without any form or function? Those things just happen just because?”
            “I don’t know if there is any higher significance,” said Carl.
            “Does the universe care about socks,” asked Rob.

            Carl lowered his newspaper and sighed slightly. He looked over at Rob and the disheveled state of his left sock. Rob looked up at Carl.

            “I don’t think the universe cares about socks; other then when it needs to feed on them from the dryer. I think that you knew when you put those socks on this morning that one of them would wind up getting sucked down into your shoe as you walked. You selected those socks from your drawer and consciously placed them on your feet. I don’t think the universe had anything to do with your socks. You picked the socks, not the universe,” said Carl.

            Carl returned his glance to his newspaper and Rob just stared at his own pasty legs. The bus continued to roll along and Carl and Rob jostled in their seats as the moon sized potholes were traversed by the steely armed bus driver.

            “So what you’re saying is, I’m the instrument of the universe,” said Rob, “the universe placed that choice in front of me and practically commanded that I become part of its randomness,”.
            “I’m not going to get through to you am I,” asked Carl.
            The bus rolled toward Hamlin Street and Carl reached up for the cord to request his stop.

            “I’ll see you tomorrow,” said Carl.
            Rob looked up at Carl and started swinging his legs like a child in a chair that’s too big.

            “Only the universe knows for sure,” said Rob.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Affection for Memory

Some might call it nostalgia,
others might say the good
old days. A few more might
call it the Salad Days, or
Days of Wine and Roses.

Back when I was young,
or before you were yet a
twinkle in your mother’s
eye. Or you were only
knee high to a grasshopper
or that’s just how things used to be.  

There was an existence
before your existence and
it’s remember it in so many
different and shocking ways,
by so many different people.

I’m afflicted with memories
of an ever growing past
and a fear of the shortening
future. Remember whens are
becoming more frequent than
the soon to be seen.

Perspective on the past can
lighten the darkest history.
I called you terrible names and
felt a deep anger about how
you treated me, but now, after
time has dealt its hand, I don’t
feel that way so strongly.

Memories are softer, smeared
with Vaseline over the
lens of history, smoothing the
rough edges and tenderizing the
original anger into milder
annoyance, then into nearly
nothing at all.

All that is left is the a vacant
feeling that you’ve seen this
before, but know how to handle
it deftly and without too
much kerfuffle. The benefits
of memory, stretched out
in front of you like a familiar
road home.

Home, where your heart is,
beating your own drum to
the melody written by
your memory. 

I dance through the
past with a wry eye on
the future. The tune resembles
one I’ve known forever, but
learn new ways to hear.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Faster and with Alacrity

I don’t have a lot
of time today
to fill the page with
all sorts of
crazy words.

I’m a cubicle guy
with appointments
and meetings and
paper to push.
Coffee to drink and
hands to shake.

I’ve got my tie on,
tie clip too, ready
to make a good
impression on the

The dastardly bit is
that I don’t really
care. The office life
makes the meaning
of my life somewhat
less than meaningful.

And yet I’m compelled
to hurry, to rush, to march
forward against my will
toward the towering cliffs
of mediocrity and graying

I must go. I must get there.

What’s that boss?
I don’t have to go?
But…. the tie? I’m all
ready and dressed.
Won’t take long?
Not worth me going?

Cough… um… okay.
I’ll just sit here, and do
nothing because I
did everything
yesterday in anticipation
of the meeting.

I’ll just stare at these
cubicle walls and
try not to let myself
go crazy.

Hurry up,
to do

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Personal D-Day History, plus.

            June 6, 1944 – My grandfather was part of the third wave going ashore at Omaha Beach with the 30th Infantry Division 117th Regiment. They were sent in to replace units of the 29th Infantry which had become lost during the initial attack. How they became lost is not quite clear. By D-Day plus four the remaining balance of the Division arrived on the beaches of Normandy. They were immediately thrust into heavy action against the Germans. The Nickname for the 30th was Old Hickory after Andrew Jackson. They were tough and gritty.

            The German High Command named the 30th Infantry “Roosevelt’s SS Troops” because of their vigor and the terrible pressure they bore on Hitler’s elite 1st SS Division. The 30th tore through the elite 1st SS Division at St. LO and again at Mortain allowing General Patton’s armored forces to race across France.

            Throughout the war there was struggles for the 30th, including accidentally getting bombed by the Air Corps and suffering a high casualty rate. They kept up the fight however and by September-October 1944 they had made their way to the Siegfried Line. The Siegfried line was a literal wall of German pillboxes, entrenchments, road blocks and various other obstacles designed to keep Allied forces out of Germany

            The 30th continued their push through Europe and again faced the 1st SS Division in the “Battle of the Bulge” during the Ardennes-Alsace Offensive near Malmedy Belgium in the winter of 1944-45. The 30th decimated the 1st SS Division and they never returned to the war.  January 13, 1945 they launched a counter offensive and drove 2 miles south of St. Vith and left the battle by January 26th. I can only imagine the hell that must have been in one of Europe’s most brutal winters.

            By February of 1945 the 30th crossed the Roer River as part of the Roer offensive. After a short rest and rehabilitation they were returned to action by March and made their crossing of the Rhine River. They continued their push, taking Hamelin, Braunschweig and Magdeburg by April 17, 1945. They met up with the Russians near Gruenwald on the Elbe River. There they began their occupation and were rotated out of Europe by August of 1945.

            The 30th was designated as the number one Infantry Division in the European Theater by General Eisenhower’s Chief Historian, Col. S.L.A. Marshall and the 117th Regiment was awarded 13 Meritorious Unit Citations, as well as numerous other citations for the whole Division.

            The trouble with a lot of the information on this distinguished unit is that in July of 1973 there was a fire and the 30th Division combat records were destroyed. However the Silver Star records are available and my Grandfather’s information is available.
Heffernan, Daniel J.      Rank:   S/Sgt.   Regiment: 117  - However, it appears the records are somewhat incomplete and I will have to contact the editor of the website with more information.

            Whenever D-Day comes around I get very nostalgic about the WWII years. Not for the sensationalized Hollywood versions of the War, but for the actual men that fought so bravely for a just and right cause. They were truly heroes and I hope we never forget what price they paid. A price paid not only in death but in the long term affects a war like that can have on men that returned home.

            Back then there was no treatment for Combat Fatigue, you were just Shell Shocked and told to suck it up and deal with it; which a lot of men did, with troubling consequences for their growing families. It doesn’t diminish their accomplishments however and I always feel a deep sense of pride whenever I think about what men like my Grandfather did. Both my Grandfather’s actually, since they both served in the same division without ever knowing each other.

            On this D-Day 2013 I ask that we remember those men who bore the mantle of freedom so heavily on their backs.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


            Elle wasn’t pleased with the way his hands felt on her exposed shoulders. He was like some sort of kitten playing with a ball of string. He kept pawing at her skin, reaching down and kissing her neck. The attention was welcomed at first but now, in this crowded concert hall it just seemed awkward. Elle felt like the eyes of the room were all over her as this complete tool bag dragged his hands all over her body. Elle wondered at what point she let herself get into this type of situation.

            “Stop it,” said Elle to her older companion, Dave.
            “Stop it? C’mon baby. I thought this music turned you on. I know it turns me on,” said Dave.

            He continued to run his hands over Elle’s body. He pulled her close and she could feel through his pants that he was indeed turned on. Dave was 12 years older than Elle. He dressed like the current trends; he had sunglasses on the top of his head, at night. He wore a gold chain around his neck that poked through his black tight tee-shirt. He called it his muscle shirt and admired the way he looked in it. In every mirror, every chance he got.

            “I’m just not feeling it tonight. Can we go get a drink,” asked Elle.
            “Aw baby, c’mon, let’s just groove with each other for a while,” said Dave.

            Elle rolled her eyes and pulled away from Dave’s touch and groin and fixed her short skirt. Dave had managed to slide it up to the point that it was barely covering much of Elle’s bottom. She felt a wave of disgust come over her. She was sorry she made out with him earlier. Now he just expected it. She walked toward the concert hall bar and caught the attention of the bartender. It wasn’t hard; bartenders always flocked to Elle because she was a rare beauty, that and she was showing a lot of cleavage.

            “Vodka tonic,” ordered Elle.

            Dave squeezed in at the crowded bar next to Elle and sat down. He pulled her close again and started kissing the back of her neck by her ear. Elle continued to just let him do what he wanted while she looked around the packed bar. She felt the judging eyes of the people around her. She thought she could see people’s lips forming words like, ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ as Dave continued to grope her. She shuddered.

            “What’s wrong baby,” asked Dave.

            He stopped kissing her long enough to notice that she wasn’t exactly in his sexual power.

            “You don’t know do you,” said Elle.
            “Know what baby,” asked Dave.
            “How ridiculous you are,” said Elle, “and how ridiculous I am.”

            Dave was looking at his reflection in the mirror behind the bar. He fixed the sunglasses on his head.

            “I am not ridiculous. I’m hot. You know I’m hot. You like me. Just wait till we get out of here. The sex, now that’ll be ridic. I’m gonna to make your toes curl baby,” said Dave.

            Elle realized Dave was actually talking to his own reflection in the mirror and not to her. He still had his hand on her butt though and he gave it a pretty hard squeeze. The bartender brought over Elle’s drink and looked at her right her eyes. It startled her. She couldn’t remember the last time a man looked her right in the eyes. She thanked the bartender and paid him. Dave couldn’t be bothered to pay for a drink. The bartender, with sweet brown eyes, nodded and smiled at her and walked away without a word. Elle picked up her drink as Dave started gnawing at her shoulder.

            The cold drink wasn’t enough to cool the bubbling rage Elle was suddenly feeling and she wanted nothing more than to just go home and crawl into her bed and hide away from the world forever. Dave said he had to urinate in an elegant fashion.

            “I gotta piss,” he said.

            He got up and moved through the bar, checking out the other women as he walked to the washroom. Elle moved into the seat he left vacant. She considered that he didn’t even offer the chair to her. He just sat down. As soon as she settled into the uncomfortable bar stool the vultures appeared. They swarmed her out of nowhere.

            “Can I buy you a drink”, asked vulture number one.
            “Are you a model,” asked vulture number two.
            “My friend thinks you’re the hottest chick in here and he wants to know if you’ll screw him in the bathroom,” said vulture number three.

            “No thank you.”
            “I was, still trying.”
            “My boyfriend will be right back,” responded Elle to the vultures.

            They continued to circle her and were clearly undressing her with their minds. Elle pulled her skirt down over her legs a little more and looked away and to her own reflection in the mirror. Her reflection was tired. Tired of being a thing.

            “You ready to see this show,” said Dave as he returned from the bathroom.

            The vultures scattered as Dave put his hands on Elle’s shoulders. He leaned in to kiss her neck and nibble her ear. Elle pulled away.

            “Take me home. I don’t feel well,” said Elle.
            “What,” asked Dave.
            “Take me home or I’ll take a cab. I don’t care. I want to go home,” said Elle.
            “Do you know how much I spent on these concert tickets? You owe me,” said Dave.
            “A cab then,” said Elle.
            “Whatever, slut,” said Dave and he walked away from her at the bar.

            Elle stood up and started for the door. She looked back and saw the brown eyed bartender watching her. He waved. Elle didn’t wave back. She opened the door to the concert hall and hailed a taxi.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Fitful Night

I longed for sleep after
tiring my heart with
long conversations
of yesterday and
the things that could
have been or should
have been.

I was brought to the
edge of the grave
where I thought it
was buried and I
laid flowers on
the headstone.

I said a prayer for
the old pain, so
often the same pain,
that never will stop
being a pain.

The ache of it is so
resounding and full
that sleep, so needed
and wanted is forced
away in tossing and

The pillow my
tombstone for
my love addled brain.

Monday, June 3, 2013

I Dream in Color

I was not living in a hotel
with a faceless brunette or
feeling frustrated by the
pressures of some job
I’ve never had.

I was flooded with feelings
of loss, of love, of regret, of
joy and deep sadness. The
feelings lingered as I woke up
and I had a hard time realizing
I had only been napping deeply on
my couch on a Sunday.

I know the dreams were in color
and vibrant. I somewhat recall
feeling mournful love in one
dream. Then it changed to
an icy coldness in my heart.
I was no longer invested
in whatever I had been so
deeply invested in as the
dream had started with.

The colors added to
the rawness of the
dream, like seeing the sunlight through
a prism and seeing the rainbow
colors swirl against the wall
and change depending
on where you’re standing.

You don’t see red, it is crimson.
You don’t see green, it is emerald.
You don’t see blue, it is indigo.

The true cruelty of dreaming
is the inability to describe it
or explain it to the non-dreamer.
My dreams had all the color
intensity of a salt water fish
tank bursting with tropical
fish around a sun dappled coral
reef. It’s all a jumble however.
And Sunday napping on the
couch can lead to all kinds of
early afternoon confusion. Who was
she? Why was she there? Why
was I with her?

The answers are further away
as she fades into the colors
of reality. Will she wait for
me to return to sleep and
swaddle me in the rolling
blanket of dreaming color?