Wednesday, July 31, 2013


            Linus stared out the window of the train. A light mist had peppered the windows. The world was gray and damp. Linus sighed and shook his head. He felt the weight of another day slogging it out in the trenches wash over him. The train came to the next stop and Linus watched a young couple get on. They were giddy with Wednesday morning downtown excitement.

             “Oh my God I can’t wait to get there,” said the young woman in short shorts and a loose fitting top.

            “I know. I’m excited too,” said her bearded, sunglass wearing beau.   

             They took the seats next to Linus and the young woman cuddled up next to her man. Linus immediately felt a searing hatred for them. He hated their youth. He hated their excitement. He hated their callow faces. He hoped they had a terrible time downtown. He hoped they got lost or ran out of money and they would get into an argument about how the boyfriend is never prepared for anything and the girlfriend was tired of his irresponsible behavior.

             The girl looked around the train and she caught Linus staring at them. She smiled at Linus as she caught his judging gaze. Linus fake coughed and pretended like he was looking past her and not directly at her. He tried to be nonchalant but she knew.

             “Hi,” she said to Linus.
            “Hello,” grumbled Linus.
            “Going to work,” she asked.
            “Yeah. The daily grind. What are you two up to,” asked Linus.

             He wasn’t sure why he asked her that. He didn’t really want to know. He just wanted it to stay quiet on the train so he could mull his hatred toward work over in his boiling hung over guts.

             “We’re going to the zoo and then the lake and then whatever else comes our way I guess,” said the girl as she grabbed her man’s thigh.
            “Yeah, it’s going to be a good day. We’ve been planning it for a while,” said the bearded sunglass wearing beau.

             Linus nodded.

             “Yeah, that sounds like fun,” said Linus.
            “We just got married on Monday so this is kind of our mini honeymoon,” said the girl.

             She giggled and pulled her man’s arm closer to her. Linus nodded again. He thought that was probably a mistake. She couldn’t be more than 23 years old and he looked even younger.

             “Wow. Married. That’s great. Congratulations,” said Linus.

             Linus forced a smile. The young couple kissed each other. Linus looked around at the other riders of the train and he could feel their mutual hatred for this young couple. Everyone begrudged them their youthful happiness. Their youthful freedom. He imagined that if the crowd on the train had their way they’d kick these two people off . Linus looked back out the wet window and felt bad.

             He couldn’t remember when he got so cold. So cynical. He should be happy for these two people but he just couldn’t find it in him anymore. The couple’s in your face happiness was just painful to watch. Linus was jealous.

             “We’ve never been downtown,” said the girl.
            “Well, I have. When I was a kid,” said the guy.
            “Right, but that doesn’t count,” giggled the girl.

             Linus nodded again. He’d lived his whole life in the city. He’d been working downtown for as long as he could remember. Their naiveté made Linus very uncomfortable. He felt a hot sickness building up inside his stomach and he wished that these two happy assholes would just get off the train so he could get back to his uncompromised misery.

             The train stopped at next station and the young couple got up.

            “Nice talking to you,” said the girl.
            “Nice talking to you too. Have a fun day,” said Linus.

             The bearded beau nodded at Linus and the train doors opened and the young couple, hand in hand got off the train.

             Linus could feel the relief of the other passengers as soon as the train started moving again. He looked out through the window and caught a glimpse of the couple kissing each other and laughing. Linus hated them. He hated everything. He hated what he’d become. A cold corpse of a man entombed in a glass case unable to make a real connection to anything outside.

           The rain picked up and pelted the train window.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lunch Thoughts

            I have spent a lot of today writing and erasing. There were several pieces I wrote concerning the passage of time, the concepts of aging and the benefits of perspective that comes with age. I wrote about the safe choices I have made. The foolish ones I regret and how I wear that regret on my face but hidden behind a boisterous laugh. Then I wrote about a guy with a pizza obsession.

             So this article is later than usual. I’ve been having trouble gathering my thoughts into a coherent story or essay. I used up all my coherent thinking last night while wishing one of the dearest people in my life a happy birthday. We discussed certain things about each other and I actually was able to make a lot of sense. Direct honest expression seems to be one of my newly understood abilities.

            It’s hard to write something relatable or concise while wallowing in memory or in thoughts of what could have been while simultaneously knowing what the heart can achieve. I wrote about the limitations of my heart, but that got erased too, since it’s difficult to write about one’s own limitations. In fact, it was almost too embarrassing to write. But then, maybe that’s what I should write about.

             If it makes my face flush then perhaps it’ll make yours flush too and then we’ll be somewhere together, even if we’re not in the same place. Or I should erase that last sentence because It sounds flowery and silly. Almost like something out of fortune cookie.

             Now all I want is pizza.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Damn Dreaming

Things were exploding,

the skies where streaked

with trails of flame.

The ground was shaking

and everyone was screaming.

I was outside, near an old

wooden porch, looking up

at the skies as it seemed the

world was coming to an end.

I woke up. Somewhat startled.

The way the world was collapsing

was shocking. But the details had

already faded.

Who was I with?

Where was I?

What was with the porch?

Was I old?

Was I me?

I rolled over in my bed,

looking for the cool side

of the pillow. I checked the

clock and frowned.

I’m tired.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Fire Blood

It was in her veins.
It was in her body.
It was in her mind.
Running wild,

“Consequences be damned,”
she’d shout over the slowly
tiring bar patrons as she
drank another shot of

The sharpness no longer
affecting her, no funny face
to be made after tossing her
head back and downing that
Irish elixir.

It was Old Hat as they say.
Just something to do to
keep the wolves of
memory at bay and the
vultures of the future
circling overhead a
little longer.

“One more,” she shouted to
her ever drunker companions.
They laughed and slurred
some off-handed comment
about how pretty she was
when she didn’t dribble
whiskey down her chin.

“To us, to me, to we,” she raised
her shot glass high and clinked with
the other intoxicated we.
Another shot down, followed
with a beer.

There were no barriers,
everything seemed possible.
There were no rules, no reasons,
no pressures, no problems, nothing
but the hot stinging whiskey
and the cold beer.

Space and time were only
concepts for others to dwell on.
The here and the now, the moment
was all that mattered, in slurred, blurred
tones of neon and gibberish.

It was a stampede though her veins.
It was a trampling of her body.
It was a bewilderment of her mind.

“One for the road.”

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Trash Day

            “So everybody has problems,” said Roger, “and that’s not my problem.”

            Roger flipped the garbage can over into the back of the garbage truck and pounded on the side to make sure all the bits of refuse made it into the truck.

            “Yeah, I know everybody has problems. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m saying is that even with all these problems people have, in general, how do two people seem to meet, fall in love, get married and all that crap,” asked Nate.

            Nate stood next to the compactor lever waiting for Roger to finish with the trash can so he could smash the leftovers of people’s lives. People’s garbage always smelled like orange peels and banana peels mixed with piss to Nate. Roger pulled the trash can from the back of the garbage truck and shoved it back toward the end of the driveway where it came from.
            “Are you serious? Last I knew, Women’s Lib changed how it’s all supposed to be between men and women. What the hell do we know about love or relationships anymore,’ asked Roger.

            Nate flipped the compactor lever as Roger stepped up onto the rider’s platform. He gave a whistle to Big Connie who was driving the garbage truck and they lurched forward toward the next set of garbage cans along Plainview Street.

            “I just thought that maybe I’d’ve met someone special by now, you know,” said Nate over the roar of the compactor and the diesel engine.  
            “What happened with that blonde girl,” asked Roger.
            “She had problems that weren’t compatible with my problems I guess,” said Nate.

            The garbage truck pulled up to the next house and stopped. Roger and Nate hopped off and headed toward the two trash cans at the end of the driveway. As they approached Nate stopped and nudged Roger in the arm.

            “You hear that,” asked Nate.
            Roger craned his neck toward the house at the end of the driveway.

            “Wow, sounds like a helluva an argument going on in there,” said Roger.
            “Yeah,” said Nate.

            They slowly grabbed the garbage cans and quietly moved them toward the truck while trying to listen to the fight going on inside the house.

            “See, that’s what I’m saying,” half whispered Nate.
            “What,” asked Roger.
            “Those two people, having that argument in there, they both got problems of their own and they have their shared problems as a couple. And even though they’re arguing now, I bet tonight, after work, they’ll apologize and make up like lovers are supposed to,” said Nate.
            “Have you been drinking in the mornings,” asked Roger.
            “No. I’m just feeling…lonely I guess,” said Nate.
            “You’re always feeling lonely. Every time you meet a girl you get so excited and you think that this girl is going to be the one. The special one to settle down with, but as soon as things get a little too serious, you dump her like an orphan on family day,” said Roger as her lifted the garbage can into the back of the truck.

            “I do frigging not,” protested Nate, “I tell girls that I like them, that I really like them and I think they’re special and cool and that I want to spend a lot more time with them and they just aren’t interested in that. They just want to party, or screw around or do whatever it is that girls do before they meet the douche bag they end up marrying and being miserable with.”

            Nate dumped his trash can in the back of the truck as Roger operated the compactor lever. Nate grabbed both trash cans and pulled them back toward the end of the driveway. The argument in the house seemed to have quieted.

            “I don’t know what to tell you man. Your problems, are everybody’s problems. I mean every single person in the world has these problems. I dated forever before I met my wife,” said Roger.
            “But I bet you knew she would be the woman you would marry the moment you met her,” said Nate.

            Roger whistled to Big Connie and the garbage truck shifted into gear and moved toward the next house on the street.

            “Well,” asked Nate.
            “Yeah. I knew the moment I laid eyes on Karen’s blue eyes that she’d be the woman I’d spend the rest of my life with,” smiled Roger.
            “See… so what’s so wrong with me and the girls I meet. I’ve had that feeling a bunch of times,” said Nate.
            “Maybe that’s the problem. I never really had that feeling until I met Karen,” said Roger.

            Big Connie stopped the truck at the next house and Roger hopped off and walked toward the trash cans and some cardboard boxes along the street. Nate stood on the side of the truck and wondered that maybe it was his problem after all. A car backed out of a driveway down the street and honked. Nate absently waved at the driver and stepped over toward Roger to help him with the garbage. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Music Overhead

Wheezy, boozy, lazy
alto saxophone wavering
over my head.
Piped in through speakers
while I sit in my cubicle.

It’s noir-ish and gritty,
black and white.
I feel like Sam Spade.
Feet propped up on
my huge oak desk,
cigarette dangling
from my lip, the
sting of last night’s
whiskey still fresh.

I’m trying to decide if
that dame will be
trouble or if she’s the
innocent plaything of
the wealthy Mr. Cairo.

Except, that’s not it.
I’m really trying to
solve the mystery
of why I’m in this
cubicle in the first
place, instead of some
job that I actually
fit into.

I’d rather work in the
realm of imagination
than the realm of
clocks and nit-picking
nonsense of the day to day.

I’ve realized that I’m not
cut out for it, after nearly
20 years. Cue the car chase,
it’s time to make a break for it.

The music has changed.
It’s now something groovy.
Or at least what passes for
groovy by Musak standards.

Finding something new though,
that will take some detective work.
Hopefully it’ll be to a soundtrack
I enjoy, doll face. (Wink)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

There’s Trouble

It’s not going well today.
There’s a lot of behind
the scenes ramblings that
have me nervous.

It’s trouble that seems
to follow me everywhere
I go. A monster, creeping
and crawling from the
darkest sludge of my
life that prevents my
ultimate happiness.

The crippling nature of
the beast that resides
in the most well
meaning parts of me
that always causes me

It’s effects are far reaching
and completely evil in

I’m incapable to
defeat it in my
weakened state.
But I must continue
to suffer through
the slings and arrows
hurled at me.

It’s trouble.
Always trouble nipping
at my heels.
I’m tempted at times
to let it just get me.

But I don’t.
I suffer in the clutches
of trouble and pretend
I can survive it. But I
know it’ll get me one day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Justice For Us

            I wasn’t exactly sure of its definition and I had to look it up. The usually clever Wikipedia had the following definition: Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity or fairness, as well as the administration of the law, taking into account the inalienable and inborn rights of all human beings and citizens, the right of all people and individuals to equal protection before the law of their civil rights, without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, color, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, or other characteristics, and is further regarded as being inclusive of social justice.

            That’s a wonderful sterile definition of justice. I’m not sure how religion fits in there but perh… holy cow I just killed a spider at my desk… anyway… religion within the concept of justice will have to be addressed at another time. Today’s piece is more about the moral standards of justice. So those looking for my usual stories about how that girl on the bus didn’t look my way when I smiled at her or for the ninja zombie killers you can probably stop reading now.

            Even though I have that fancy definition up there, I’m still not to clear on justice. What does justice really means when the concept of moral rightness evolves within an ever evolving society? Or is justice still as basic as an eye for an eye? The moral code that is supposed to guide society seems wayward and adrift within the specialization of the numerous groups that claim their rights are being infringed upon, or in some cases completely trampled.

            I’ll use homosexuality as an example. 40 years ago the average American felt they were in the moral right to treat homosexuality like an aberration and perversion. There was something wrong with homosexuals and they needed to be ignored or punished for their decision to avoid heterosexual coupling. And yet, in the last few years that moral position has changed and homosexuality isn’t completely viewed by a lot of people as an aberration or perversion, so much so that it’s now, in a lot of places, considered morally right to allow same sex couples the privilege of marriage. The morality changed to be inclusive instead of derisive. So in a sense, you could argue that justice was done as defined by the moral rightness by those that established what is morally acceptable. The majority sets the tone of morality, thus setting the parameters of justice.

            Justice throughout history has evolved to match the change in social order. In ancient, medieval, and even colonial days there was usually only one punishment for committing a crime; death. If you stole a loaf of bread or killed a famer for his cow the punishment was the same, death. Society considered that just and right and it kept the social order. As societies became more complex, degrees of the degradation of moral standards were applied, murder could be manslaughter or theft could be robbery or burglary and the punishment didn’t have to be death or maiming. Society felt that justice would be better served though punishment via incarceration. In some cases even when the death penalty was granted by a jury or judge, it has been stayed due to the moral outcry of the citizenry.

            The basis for what we consider justice changes and evolves with each new massacre or violation of the public trust. Justice is defined by the collective will of the majority and applied into law by the establishment of facts gathered to explore the morality of any particular crime. We no longer just say that a man stole a loaf of bread and he needs to have his hands cut off. We examine why he stole the bread, his motive, and if it was to feed his starving family, then we accept it as a moral right and a criminal wrong and acknowledge it is not mutually exclusive.

            We say to this fictional man, “we understand your family was hungry and we sympathize and hope they can get on the right social program to help support them while you do six months for theft”. That’s how we justify it. That’s what we consider justice. By the same token though, if the facts gathered to explore the morality of any act is not complete, that is to say, the evidence is incomplete, we have no choice but to abide by the rules of the larger morality and let that person go free. Because in the American justice system, no matter what people say, we are innocent until proven guilty. The burden is on the prosecution to show a jury or judge that what the accused did is against the collective moral right and merits punishment.

            I live in Chicago. As of July 1, 2013 there were 184 homicides and 843 shootings in the first six months of the year. There were 101 fatalities in the last six months in Operation Enduring Freedom That’s so startling to me that there’s been more death in Chicago than in an ongoing occupation after a war. Yet the moral outcry is nowhere to be seen. We seem to accept that this is how it is because the moral majority deems it unworthy of attention and therefore justice goes unfulfilled.

            Justice may be blind, yet even the blind can be offensive at times. I’m sure there are blind jerks out there, swinging their cane all over the place, hitting people in the shins and laughing about it. We simply accept it however because they’re blind, much like we have to accept that justice doesn’t always work out the way we think it should. I’m not sure I understand justice any more than when I started this piece. All I know is what was taught to me and that is of course to follow the golden rule; to treat others as I would like to be treated and in that, Justice will be served. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Unfortunates

            She screamed at him at the bus kiosk. She called him a bum. A crazy old bum and that she didn’t want to spend any more of her precious god damned time with him. She threw a luggage tote against the side of the bus kiosk and walked away from the shriveled and shrinking gray haired man. He was stooped and defeated and wore it like a man might wear a fine suit.

            She was old and thin and in possession of the wiles a younger woman might have had. She approached me after yelling loudly on the sidewalk at her good for nothing bum. She said to me sweetly and kindly, “How you doing sweetheart?”

            “What,” I said.
            “You want a cigarette,” she said and she rested her old chin on my shoulder.
            “You have to be kidding me,” I said.
            She lifted her chin from my shoulder.

            “I have my own cigarettes. I’ll roll you one if you like,” she said.
            “No. No thank you. I’m fine. Thanks,” I said.

            She smiled at me and then her face went cross. She turned away from me and to another woman waiting for the bus. She had a conversation with that woman, eventually driving her away from the space she had been standing. I held my ground though. No crazy old woman was going to make me move. I was already pissed that it was hot out and it was morning and I had to go to work and do very little. I would not be moved by her mad ramblings.

            She stood behind me and out of the corner of my eye I saw her drop to her knees and start bowing in the path of an even older woman. She bowed in praise as this older woman shuffled very delicately toward the train station. I looked over toward her old man companion and he was gathering his things. Well, thing rather, as he only had a sofa pillow to sit upon. He may have had a paper coffee cup as well. He stood from the bus kiosk seat and started his own very slow shuffle away from the scene.

            My summer mad woman adjusted the red handkerchief covering her head and put a blue baseball cap over it. She was wrinkled. Wrinkles as deep as canyons. She looked like an old time football left out in the rain then left in the scorching desert. She retrieved her luggage tote and vanished around the corner. I sighed with relief and then cursed the lateness of the bus. Where the hell is this stupid bus to take me to stupid work where I’ll sit in my cubicle and pretend to do something of meaning and substance?

            Finally. The bus.

            I boarded and found my way to the back and sat down. I looked at the clock and silently cursed the hot weather and the slowness of the other people boarding. Then I saw it. The luggage tote found its way onto the bus and my mad summer woman appeared. Her old, worthless bum companion, was now staggering across the street, headed for a different bus kiosk it seemed, someplace out of the hot morning sun.

            She sat near the front of the bus and started going through her bag, finding St. Patrick ’s Day green beads with a Bud Lite advertisement medallion hanging from it. She resisted her urge to put them on. She then produced a small flask and had herself a nice morning jolt. She offered a swig to the hipster wearing his ear buds but he declined. A woman in uniform boarded the bus and my mad summer woman asked her quite loudly if she was a cop. The woman identified herself as a traffic management officer. This satisfied my mad summer woman and she offered her a swig from her flask as well. The traffic management officer took it from her, likely not sure what she was supposed to do with it. Once she realized what it was she returned it un-sipped to the mad summer woman as politely as could be.

            My old summer madwoman shrugged and took a swig herself. That last swig must have loosened something in her nose because she began sniffling. She started rummaging through her bag again until she found a neon green shirt. That would have to suffice evidently as she proceeded to blow her nose into the green neon shirt. Once she was done she tucked it back into her bag as if it had never happened.

            My stop was approaching and not soon enough. I rose to the back bus doors, as did the hipster and the traffic management officer. They looked at each other with a knowing silence. When the bus stopped and we disembarked they had a good laugh at this mad summer woman offering them some sort of drink so early in the morning. I stayed silent and walked past them. I had started to wonder and imagine this mad old summer woman as a young summer girl.

            I walked toward my office building and wondered if she was free; truly free from the bonds I was now saddled with. She seemed contented in her madness as I seem miserable in my sanity. I wondered who really was the unfortunate one. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting Thinky

            Mona sat on her front stoop. She was attempting to find a cool summer breeze. Her apartment with its western exposure was a stifling hot box of hell, even with the air conditioner running on high. It just wasn’t comfortable. She decided there was enough shade on the front stoop now from the Maple tree along the parkway that she and her son Seth could find some relief. She watched her three year old son play with his stuffed teddy bear, “Thinky”.

            Seth had long conversations with Thinky and it made Mona wonder if Seth was ok. She figured it was normal for little kids to have imaginary friends, or imbue toys with personalities, but Seth’s relationship with Thinky seemed different. It was as if Seth really believed Thinky was alive. She could hear the one side of Seth’s conversations with Thinky as they sat in the shade on the sidewalk.

            “I’m not sure the English should have removed Winston after the major aggressions of WWII were over,” said Seth.

            Although to Mona it sounded very different.

            “I’m not a-gonna make-ah. No, no, no,” heard Mona.

            Mona sat forward on the front stair and toward Seth. He was sitting cross armed in front of Thinky with a furrowed brow. She thought it was the look he had when he had to make a boom-boom.
            “You have to go to the potty Sethy sweetie,” she asked.

            Seth shook his head in the negative. Mona smiled and leaned back against the stairs. She was glad she didn’t have to take him to the potty because it was just too hot in that upstairs bathroom. The air conditioner just didn’t quite make it to the bathroom. Seth continued mumbling to Thinky.

            “Because she’s my mother, that’s why dear boy,” said Seth.
            “She really coddles you,” said Thinky.
            “She does not. I may remember most of my past life but with this little baby body I’m hardly capable to take care of myself. Just ten minutes ago I had a nice cup of milk which I somehow managed to spill all over the damn place,” said Seth.
            “Yeah. I saw that. That was funny,” said Thinky.
            “It was not. I was terribly embarrassed,” said Seth.

            A single cloud moved across the sky and blocked the bright summer sunshine for a moment.

            “Ah, that feels glorious,” said Seth.
            “I’m sure. I bet the air conditioner upstairs would feel nice too if you hadn’t jammed all those crayons in there,” said Thinky.
            “It was science,” said Seth.

            The cloud continued its march and soon the sun reappeared just as bright and powerfully hot as before.

            “So, when you were in your past life, what did you believe would happen after you died,” asked Thinky.
            “I certainly didn’t think I’d come back to New Jersey,” said Seth.
            Thinky chuckled a little bit. It was had to tell when he was laughing considering the condition of his sewn shut mouth.

            “I’m serious though. What did you really think,” asked Thinky.
            “I thought I’d go to heaven. I thought I’d die and go to the bright clouds of heaven and live in the paradise as described to me all through my life,” said Seth.
            “Yeah. That’s amazingly common,” said Thinky.

            Seth scooted himself closer to Thinky and to stay in a little more of the shade from the maple tree.

            “Common? Well, I guess it would be, what with the millions of Catholics and Christians on the planet. I can see how a lot of people would believe that,” said Seth.

            Thinky nodded a little.

            “So, what did you used to think,” asked Seth.
            Thinky sighed.

            “I never thought I’d wind up as a stuffed animal. I mean, it’s so temporary too. By the time you’re nine years old, my little magical life will have diminished to the point that we’ll hardly be able to converse at all. And when you hit puberty, I’ll have moved on to the next child,” said Thinky.
            “Do you remember who you used to be,” asked Seth.
            “Not really. It’s been so long. I think I might have been a teacher or philosopher, but I’m not sure,” said Thinky.
            “Maybe that’s why I call you Thinky,” said Seth.

            Thinky smiled the way a stuffed bear smiles and Seth could see it.

            Mona stood up from the stoop and stretched her back. She walked down to Seth and Thinky and squatted down next to them.
            “Whatcha playing,” asked Mona.
            Seth looked up at her, unable to tell her they were discussing the relevance of their past lives.

            “Raisins”, is what Seth blurted out.
            Seth looked at Thinky and shrugged.

            “You want a snack little guy? Ok, we’ll get you some raisins,” said Mona.

            She scooped Seth up in her arms and then bent down to get Thinky. She dusted off Thinky’s bottom and started moving toward the stairs.

            “I like this lady,” said Thinky.
            “Yeah. She’s pretty nice,” said Seth.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Weight of Gravity

The blankets were too heavy.
They pressed down more
than was comfortable.
It was crushing me.

I kicked the blankets off
and rolled over on the bed
to my left side yet still felt
the weight bearing down.

I started to wonder about
the weight of things, the things
that make me hunch my
shoulders when I walk,
the things that keep my
head down, that keeps
a frown on my face.

The weight of it all.
The job.
The responsibility.
The unrequited fantasies.
All the good, all the evil.
What I can change,
what I can’t.
The means to know without
the ability, the tools, to do.

I rolled over onto my back
under the weight and
felt it pushing me down
further. My heels started to
hurt under the pressure, I had
to roll to my right side.

Time had slowed in this
gravity well. I was in slow
motion while the world
sped by, relativity whizzed
into reality. My brain trapped
in the spinning event horizon,
stretching worry and doubt,
love and hate, dreams and prayers
into infinity, then to nothingness.

Thoughts, spinning, untamed,
unharnessed, unhinged.
Pressing down on me.
The weight of it. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Failing Fingers

            It’s very hard to come back to this keyboard after having been away for nearly three days. My fingers refuse to work. I’ve been making too many typos and it’s annoying. Teh, Alos, estiamte, are just a few of the words I’ve been butchering today.

            As a kid I got the basics of typing on an old Regal Typewriter. It was a giant steel behemoth that took considerable effort to operate. It was heavy and looked like it could grind up your hand if it got caught in there. It was the kind that went “ding” when you reached the edge of the page before the margin and then you had to manually hit the return bar so the paper would move up for the next sentence. Setting the margins was a tremendous pain in the butt but it was simply how things were done then.

            In grammar school we got lucky and they had a few Commodore 64 computers in the “Computer Lab” that we got to use every so often. Back then, there really wasn’t much you could do on a Commodore 64, unless you were Matthew Broderick in either War Games or Ferris Bueller. I don’t remember doing much more on those computers other than a Typing Tutor program.

            The strange thing was when I got to high school; we didn’t have a computer lab. We went back to the old IBM Selectric type-writers for our typing class. This class was in my Catholic High School run by the Christian Brothers and they were not afraid to give you a crack on the back of the head if they caught you looking at your fingers while you typed. It was a very good motivator to get better.

            I didn’t really start using a computer keyboard until my sophomore year in High School. By then my family had moved on from the old Commodore 64 and to a PC and it made doing school assignment and logging on to the burgeoning World Wide Web a lot easier. I got laughed at the other day actually for still having an AOL e-mail address, which I still use.

            Now, in my nearly 18th year in the office workforce, where a keyboard has been the essential tool, I find my fingers to be tired. The “C” is actually worn out on the keyboard I am currently using. It’s how it is though. I can’t give up using a keyboard. It’s how I want to make my living. It’s not like I could go back to handwriting.  I can hardly even handwrite anymore too. The only thing I can really write in script is my name, and that looks terrible. It’s illegible. A blind person might be better able to figure out what is reads before a sighted person could.

            I just cracked my knuckles and stretched out my fingers a little. I’ve so much more typing to do today. I hope at some point I get back into the swing of things and I stop with all the damn typos. They sure slow me down. It sure did lead to a really boring article today. It took me almost half an hour to write this drivel. Which, by the way, I spelled correctly the first time, without any typos.      

Friday, July 12, 2013


I should go for a walk.

The sun is shining, the wind
is cool. Children are laughing.

I should go for a walk.

But there's dishes and
vacuuming to do.
There's a self-pitying
wallowing to do for
playing hooky on
this day designed
for casual walking.

I should go for a walk.

I'm a little tubby and
tired, maybe a little
hung over.

I should go for a walk.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fan Dance

Propelling air in
spinning bursts
to cool parts
unquenched with

Simulated summer
breeze blown directly
at the legs, feet and knees.

A dress twirled up,
shorts flapping,
wind tickling.

Turn over,
show the other side.
The joints.

A dream of a blessed
breath rinsing the heat
from the skin come true.

Smiling when the fast
air snakes up and over
the body, through hair.

Eyes closed, a gentle wind
caressing eyelashes, sweat
vanished from the brow.

Cool drink.
Good memory.
Slow dance.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bread & Butter

            “The first woozel to get the Purple Beguzzle will be crowned champion of all the enchanted Woozel of the fair and black woods of Eldar,” said the wizened High Grasshopper, Menenga. 
            The Woozels gathered at the foot of Ant Hide hill at the feet of the wise and powerful High Grasshopper Menenga. They each hoped that this would be their year to obtain the adoration of the other Woozel’s by completing the trials and hold the Purple Beguzzle close to their chests. 

            “I’m going to do it this year,” said Hickfar
            “You say that every year,” replied Cagnee
            “This time, for sure. I’ve been really working out. Feel my muscles,” said Hickfar.
            “Dude, don’t be weird. I’m not touching your muscles,” said Cagnee.
            “Don’t be afraid. They won’t crush you, too hard,” smiled Hickfar.

            A Plesnucket sounded, announcing the arrival of Lord High Valmordica, King of the Woozel’s and bearer of the sacred crest of Eldar. All the Woozels stood at attention as his chariot of octane horsemobilius pulled him toward the thrown above Ant Hide Hill. It would be the Lord High’s duty to start the hunt for the Purple Beguzzle by banging the ceremonial headless corpse of the most recently executed prisoner against the water bell of Algar. Algar of course being the former and now defeated enemy of the Woozels.

            “I’m so freaking excited to get this thing started,” said Hickfar.
            “Dude, you have to relax. If you get too excited you’ll explode,” said Cagnee.
            “That’s just a myth. No one is going to explode from excitement,” said Hickfar.

            Hickfar wiped the small beads of sweat from his forehead as Cagnee lit a smoke stick.

            “The purple beguzzle will be mine. I’ll put in on my mantle so me and all the hot babes can look at it while we do it in front of the fireplace,” said Hickfar.
            “Dude? The babes? You’re not going to get any babes. All that Purple Beguzzle is, what it really is, is a tool to keep all of us in line. Every year they trot us all out here like our whole lives are just meant for this one moment. It’s cowfernicus crap and you know it,” said Cagnee.
            The Plesnucket sounded again as the Lord High Valmordica took his seat on the thrown of the Vanquished and the crowd cheered. He mildly waved at the people and yawned slightly. His Princess, his Queen, the beloved Saramay, took her seat next to the Lord High and waved to the masses of Woozels. They immediately went crazy for her. They cheered and yelled and threw the pink petals of the marcar flower at her feet.

            “Oh my god she’s hot,” said Hickfar.
            “Pssht, like you’d have a shot,” said Cagnee.
            “If I win the PurpleBbeguzzle I will totally have a shot with her. I’ll just have to eliminate the Lord High and sidle up next to her. I’ve got some pretty smooth moves,” said Hickfar.
            “Smooth moves? You once crapped yourself in high school when Stalicy, captain of the cheer squad accidentally touched your arm as you passed each other in the hall. You don’t have a chance,” said Cagnee.
            “Seriously, dude, why are you crapping on everything I’m saying? Can’t you just be positive for one second,” asked Hickfar.

            The High Grasshopper Menega quieted the crowd and started explaining the hallowed and sacred rules for obtaining the Purple Beguzzle. Then he moved on to the part that gave every Woozel a tingle up their spine. It was a speech every Woozel knew since their hatching time.
            “Those worthy of honor, worthy of the heavy weight of pride, shall therefore seek the majestic Purple Beguzzle. It’s pulsing power will fill their eyes with the hope for a new harvest moon and invigorate the constant unwavering spirit of all Woozel kind,” said the High Grasshopper Menega.

            The crowd closed the incantation with the usual, ‘Hiwatcha’.

            “I love when he does that,” said Hickfar.
            “I wish this day was over already,” said Cagnee.

            The Woozels moved to the start squares drawn in the dirt along the bottom of Ant Hide Hill. There was room enough for eight woozels in each square. They took their starting positions as the Menenga watched the sun move across the sky. It had to reach its optimal apex for the official start of the hunt.

            Hickfar was in a crouched position, licking his lips in anticipation. Cagnee was just standing next to him, watching Menega perform the swaying ritual.

            The Lord High Valmordica hoisted the headless corpse and on the signal from the High Grasshopper he tossed it into the water bell of Algar. Hickfar took off like a lightening bolt as Cagnee sort of started walking while the rest of the Woozels took off in a mad rush into the black enchanted woods of Eldar. Hickfar looked back over his shoulder.

            “Come on Cagnee! I’m not going to win this alone!”
            “Whatever,” said Cagnee and he sprinted to catch up with Hickfar.


            This is what I write when I can’t quite come up with anything profound. I wonder if Hickfar will win the Purple Beguzzle? I hope he knows that all that beguzzles, isn’t purple. And what of Cagnee, will his apathy get the best of him? It’s the sort of story that always floats around in my head. Imagine if it was my bread and butter though. Pretty cool right?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cereal Cringer

            Harold cringed at the mess he’d made. There was milk and cereal all over the floor, the carpet and the edge of the couch. He picked up the cereal bowl and found the spoon wedged under the TV stand. He returned to the kitchen, back to where the argument started and grabbed some paper towels from the counter. He hurried back to the living room to sop up as much of the milk as he could before it set or got sticky or did whatever it is that milk does when you spill it on stuff. Thankfully it was only a corn flake cereal and nothing with crazy fruit combinations or giant marshmallows. Cody didn’t care for overly sugared cereal.

            It was a long time coming for Harold, the mess he’d made. He could tell Cody hadn’t been happy for a while now and she was doing her best to put on a brave face in front of their friends. She worked a lot of hours at the hospital these days while Harold struggled to just find a job. He’d been laid off from his job as a supervisor at the Coffee Copy. A combination Coffee shop and copy service. Harold thought he had it on easy street there until management realized the reality of a paperless society. They closed four months after opening. Cody said Harold could live with him until he got back on his feet and he moved in that very week. That was 19 months ago.

            This morning Cody started in on him about shaving. He hadn’t shaved in nearly three weeks and his facial hair was getting terribly unruly. She also mentioned the College tee-shirt he’d been wearing constantly for the past four days. He just didn’t feel like changing it. It was comfortable, even if it did have a big mustard stain on the front. She nagged and nagged and nagged at him about all the things he was doing wrong and his only response was to hurl the cereal bowl across the room and stand there chewing the last mouthful with his arms crossed across his chest.

            Cody had it and grabbed her keys and stormed out of the apartment leaving Harold to look down at his bare feet. He’d made a mess out of it all. Two nights earlier he’d accused her of cheating on him, even though deep down inside he knew it wasn’t her. She wasn’t cheating on him. She cried and pleaded and swore up and down that she’d never do something like that to him, that she loved him. Harold felt like a monster, manipulating her feelings that way just so he could have something to feel good about.  

            Harold cleaned up the rest of the cereal and put his thrown bowl in the sink and leaned against the counter. He saw his own reflection in the glass of the cabinet face and realized what a total wad of poop he’d been.  He’d been so lazy and careless with Cody. He’d just made the naive assumption that she’d always be there to take care of him. He closed his eyes and listened to his heart beating fast and hard in his chest. He’d hit the bottom of this relationship and knew it was time to stop being a sponge and get back on his own. The first thing to do was to shave. Cody was right, he looked like an ugly bear with shit matted in his fur. He cringed at the thought of shaving it all off and how much he’d probably cut his face up with the razor. But sometimes, restarting your life comes with a little bloodletting. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Immovable Noise of Curious Deafness

The cars, the engines, the
sirens, the creaking floorboards,
exhaust, construction, trains, planes,
the chatter, the birds, the wind, all the noise in
the world causes a different
sort of deafness.

A deafness of the mind,
of the spirit, of the heart.

A hearing of everything,
but hearing nothing.

I thought of it while looking
at one of the rocks on the
fringes of the train tracks,
amid the roar of near-by
traffic and the disappointed
conversations of Monday
morning commuters.

A rock, nothing special about
it. It’s hued in grayish, purplish
colors and wouldn’t make a
geologist excited. Not a specimen
for the mantle or museum.
What I marveled at was the fact
that it was there. Unmoved.

This non-descript rock of
unknown origin hasn’t moved
in years. It has sat, quietly
against the noise of the world,
the chugging of trains, blustery
winter winds and summer rains.
It has sat still. Patient. A silent
passenger in time. 

I wondered what it had heard in
its patient silence and if I could
ever be still enough to hear it

And be strong enough to bear it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

American Morning

The morning of the 5th of July
is ridiculous.
Sulfur odors still linger
in the air and the rising
sun shows the scorched
Earth left behind.

Garbage cans are ripe with
the spent shell casings and
firework caskets of American

No over-sugared cup of
coffee can replace the
bitter taste of a work
day morning after
a Thursday holiday.

The silence after such
an explosive night echoes
the cruelty of a life in a
cubicle. No American dream
being fulfilled in the trenches
of the American worker bee
life. No matter how much
we, “Ooh-ed” and “Ahhh-ed”,
at the bombs bursting in air.

There’s no Friday morning
liberation from the tyranny
of the corporate machinery
that provides us with the meager
scraps of mediocrity to
survive on.

It’s greatness we yearn for
on July the 5th. Something to
impress our founders with, as
if to say, look what your fight
for liberty has wrought. Yet,
I sit, in a cube, in the silence
of a nearly abandoned office
clacking away at a keyboard
on another American morning.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

As it Were

            “So I was all like, yeah. And she was all like, whatever,” said the teenage girl I passed on the street.
            “For serious,” said the other teenage girl.
            “I’m totally texting her,” said the first teenage girl.
            “OMG Bitch, riiiiGHt,” asked the second teenage girl.

            I turned my head to look back at these two girls who were furiously texting. I was reminded that these girls weren’t too unlike the girls I once knew, except the girls of my generation had to write out their messages via paper and pass it around to the other girls in the class room. And if it was summer, forget it. You’d never even hear if there was a problem. Although I’m pretty sure some of those girls could hold a monster grudge all summer and unleash it the first day school was back in session or when they bumped into each other at the school carnival near the Nauseator.

            You remember the Nauseator, that ride with the terrible 80’s hair band rock blasting out through cheap speakers overhead. It was like a mini-roller coaster that just went in seriously fast circles past murals of snow wizards and scantily clad barbarian women. The whole ride smelled like burnt popcorn throw-up and children’s tears. It was run by that one carnie that knew where to score the “good” H. He’d hit on the youngest and likely the least dressed girls, offering them a “free ride”. I think he’s a Senator now.

            I recently made a reference to a young cousin of mine about women’s liberation. She was fiercely defending her desire to be left alone when she got to college and didn’t want any excessive visits from family. I said that she wanted her independence, to be a Mary Tyler Moore as it were. She looked at me blankly, not having the slightest clue about Mary Tyler Moore or what she represented during the age of Women’s Lib. My young cousin never lived through a time when women were just asserting themselves in the workplace. For her, Women’s Liberation is something she’ll hear about in her woman studies course.

            I often wonder about Women’s Liberation. I say this only because of my continued use of internet dating sites. It would seem that there are a lot of women between the ages of 25 and 30 with excessive tattooing and facial piercings. I am a man lost in time when I see that. I never really “got” the whole body modification thing. I thought about getting a tattoo, but I could never find anything that appealed to me in any real way. So I’m inkless and I’m fine with it. These young women though, with huge tattoos over the tops of their breasts, extending up and over their shoulders, to their necks and onto their backs, with rings through their noses and sparkling studs in their cheeks has me completely miffed. The word demure is one lost to history I guess. It would seem every young woman has embraced the empowerment their foremothers worked for and have blasted off into the stratosphere, without in some cases, knowing anything about their foremothers. I’m sure there are plenty that do know what MTM stood for and others like her and they are simply expressing themselves as individuals and I have no qualms with that. You go, girl.

            I’m sure I’ll see a few of these young women over the coming Independence Day holiday. By the way, it isn’t much of a Holiday when you have to work the day after your nation celebrates its independence from tyranny. What’s that about ‘Merica? I remember the Fourth of July as one of those super kick-ass holidays when it seemed like summer would go on forever and lighting those Black snake fireworks on fire and watching them grow on the sidewalk was quite possibly the coolest thing ever in the history of everything. It was a contest to see which Black snake would grow the longest. (Hm, it would seem that’s still a contest between most men). As kids, we’d run around like bat-shit crazy monkey’s with our sparklers, waving them around like lunatics as Uncles drunk with beer and fire and beer would light ever more dangerous fireworks. (When you could still buy them in Illinois).

            Those two teenage girls really sent me on a rant today. I should text them to thank them for this meandering riga-ma-roll.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

If She Only Knew

            Howard didn’t realize he was dreaming about her until he woke up in his bed alone. The dream didn’t seem sped up like so many of his other dreams. This dream seemed to operate in real time, minus the cut scenes to other events he seemed to have been narrating. The fuzziness of the dream started to close in and Howard wished he hadn’t woken up. He was really enjoying the dream life. 

            It was because of her. The way she felt in his dream. She seemed so very real. He could feel the softness of her skin and the gentle curves of her body. They were naked in a large bed, lying with each other; discussing how it was that they got to be naked in that large bed. The room was lit by the morning sun reflecting off the ocean and Howard could hear the subtle sounds of the surf rolling up against the beach. There was a misty morning grayness to the room, but it wasn’t dark. It was cozy, with light wood trim, maybe pine.

            Howard could feel the sheets against his own nakedness and the weight of her body against his as they lay together. Her curly, wavy, sandy blond hair was so clear. He could smell the sea water in it and feel the softness of it against his fingers as he brushed it from her smiling face. They spoke to each other in loving whispered tones.

            “How did we get here,” she asked Howard.
            “I think we were wading in the ocean, near that big red buoy,” said Howard.

            The dream turned into a memory within the dream of Howard holding onto a buoy in the water, the sky was showing the signs of a very early morning sun just coming up over the water. She was wading out to him, getting her clothes wet. Her green windbreaker had water lines all across the bottom and she was feeling silly. Howard could tell but he reached his hand out to her and pulled her close to the buoy. He sat her on the edge and he stood in the water in front of her. Howard was still holding her hand and looking at her blue eyes. The wind was blowing her hair about and she was moving her head to keep her eyes on Howard. It was quiet except for the barely audible sound of the waves moving in and out.

            “I want you to marry me,” said Howard.
            “No,” she said, “I can’t marry you.”
            “We’re doing things in reverse aren’t we,” asked Howard.
            “I think so,” she said.

            Howard returned to the bed where they were lying. He held her very close to him and she held him. Her skin was delicate and Howard caressed her up to her breast and felt its youthful smoothness. She smiled at him and laughed.

            “It is in reverse. The physical passion, the comfort with each other, the ease. After all these years. It’s backwards,” she said.
            “So you will marry me,” said Howard.
            “We are married,” she said.
            “I guess it is backwards then,” said Howard.

            They embraced and pressed they’re nakedness against each other. Howard felt her breathing, her passion for him expressed in long contented sighs. He felt at peace. The white sheets were rumpled around their bodies. The sun reflected off the water and through the windows casting a light morning glow on the walls of the room.

            Howard had woken up. He knew who the woman was in real life. He knew she lived far away and that the dream was just that, a dream. He dragged himself from his real world bed and remembered how soft she was and how he wanted that softness in his life more than anything in the world. If she only knew.