Friday, April 28, 2017

Making Friends

                “Holy smokes,” said Teddy.

                He looked up at the darkening clouds rolling through the once blue sky.

                “It was so sunny, like, a second ago, now it’s like, midnight out here,” he said.

                Teddy nudged the guy next to him on the bus. The guy looked up from his phone and out the bus window.

                “Yeah. Weather. Amazing,” said the guy who then looked back down at his phone.

                “I mean, it is sort of amazing when you think about it; the atmosphere, the layers of stratosphere, the winds, the edges of space, ocean currents, the Earth’s rotation. I mean, yeah, it’s pretty amazing to say the least,” said Teddy.

                Teddy was bouncing in his bus seat. He had a broad smile across his wide face. He loved when the weather shifted in a real, visual way. There was something exciting about it for him. A good summer storm rolling in always reminded him of when he was a kid and he and his dad would put out the old folding chairs on the front porch and watch the thunderstorms and count the seconds between lightening flashes and the rumble of thunder. It gave him butterflies in his stomach, like playing hide and seek.

                The guy next to Teddy nodded his head. He was watching some sports news thing on his mobile phone, oblivious to the world around him. He tried to slide over a little bit away from Teddy to which Teddy was oblivious.

                “I tell you what, if I were younger, and had the means to get a real education. Not the HV/AC repair school I went to but a real education, like an Ivy League type of school, I totally would have become a weather man. Teddy the weather man.  Yes sir. That’d be me,” said Teddy.

                The guy next to Teddy tried to turn his body away, but the bus was getting crowded and there just wasn’t much space to turn. Teddy was absently tapping his hands on his knees as he swiveled his head back and forth to get a better look through the windows at the darkening morning sky.

                “Wow, just look at that rolling in, so dark. It is so wild. Just, wild,” said a gleeful Teddy.

                The guy sighed with noticeable exasperation and looked up out the window. He wanted to say something to Teddy, Teddy the weather man, about being quiet and maybe not talking so much to strangers. He wanted to say that maybe he shouldn’t bother people who are just trying to get to work and had to take the damn bus to get there because their wife left them a month ago because she was sleeping with his best friend and she left him with nothing. She took the car, the house, the money and his best friend, so if Teddy could kindly shut the hell up he’d really appreciate it. He really wanted to say that.

                The bus came to a hard stop and the passengers were flung forward. A few lost their balance but managed to hang on. There were groans and a few swears from the commuters.  There was a rumble in the ground that started shaking the bus.

                “Hm, that doesn’t seem right,” said Teddy.

                The guy next to Teddy looked toward the front of the bus, in the direction Teddy was looking.  Teddy was no longer smiling. He no longer had that warm, fun, excited butterfly feeling in his stomach.  Pedestrians on the sidewalk had stopped their mindless march between the buildings. People were trying to steady themselves by grabbing on the side of the tall buildings and light poles.  The wind had picked up and fast food wrappers and dust were swirling in the air.  The guy next to Teddy looked at him.

                “What’s going on,” he asked.
                “I don’t know. I think there’s a tornado, right in front of us. Or… I don’t know. Like I said I didn’t get that fancy ivy league education,” said Teddy.
                “A tornado? In the city,” said the guy.
                “Like I said, I don’t know, but it sure is strange,” said Teddy.

                A woman screamed at the front of the bus. The windshield cracked. People on the sidewalk started to run, pushing and yelling, trampling each other. A dog was barking wildly up at the pitch black morning sky. Teddy wondered who brings a dog downtown on a Tuesday morning.

                “What should we do,” asked the guy next to Teddy.
                Teddy shrugged and continued to watch out the window as a bolt of fire shot down from the sky and scorched the side of a building. A shower of burning concrete and glass and paper rained down on the bus. Teddy and the guy next to him ducked down and put their heads in between their knees. The bus was shoved violently to the left and the people on board screamed and fell over each other. A young man was screaming to be let off the bus while another started kicking at the rear window.

                “Oh my God. Oh my God. I’m so sorry Gwen. I’m so sorry I let you down. Please, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die,” pleaded the guy next to Teddy into his knees.

                Teddy put his arm over the shoulders of the guy next to him and pulled him close.

                “It’ll be okay. I’m Teddy by the way. What’s your name?”

                The guy next to Teddy turned his head to the right and met Teddy’s face very close to his.

                “I’m Ed. My name is Ed,” said Ed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Covet

I covet.
That is my sin.
I feel the pangs and
electricity of jealousy
whenever I see a happy couple.

I covet their casual grace and
ease. I’m jealous of their quick
loving pecks on the cheek, hand
holding and intimacy of a thousand
little private moments.

I covet their quiet enjoyment
of each other. I’m envious of the
twinkle in their eyes as they look at
each other in some heartfelt moment
and revel in their mutual trust.

I covet their freedom from my
curse. I dream of those moments,
rapt in passion, humor, lust, desire,
the heat of some kind of love I don’t
even know that I’d recognize anymore.

I covet their innocence of passion.
I take it out on them.  I imagine their
ruination, the drunken, screaming 2:00 am fight in
front of the drive-way over some burned
waffles and a mysterious text from “Sally”.

I covet their ability to overcome whatever
scenario I imagine about them.
 I am replete with sinister grudges at the
 happiness I believe I am entitled and disappointed
because I know I am entitled to nothing.

I covet the times when I didn’t know about
loss, hurt, the pains of patience, broken hearts,
the confused anger with those that found their
complimentary person.  It is truly my sin.
I covet.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Swimming in Sand

“Get up! Get up! Get up!”
They shout. As if their pleas
will somehow roust us from
our comfortably narrow

“To Arms! To Arms! To Arms!”
They rally. As if their demands
will be met with anything other
than our complete resistance to
being told what to do.  

“Rise! Rise! Rise!”
They cajole. As if their nudging
will make us do anything other
than be bothered, and circle tightly
around our warm and cozy apathy.

“Make way! Make way! Make way!”
They push. As if their shoving will
make us move from the spot of
Earth we’ve tethered ourselves,
our place of obstinacy.

“C’mon guys! C’mon gals! C’mon!”
They beg.  As if our hearts will be
swayed by their personal prayers
for action, for our indignation and

“We’ll get to it! We’ll get to it! We’ll get to it!”
We scream back. As if they’ll listen to us
after all our protestations, denials, and
general ennui and snooze button

“Okay, maybe later! Maybe later!”
They shrug. As if our swimming
in sand will somehow make us
better fish.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Great Lover

                The Great Lover gently brushed back Sharon’s ruby hair off her forehead. She snored gently in The Great Lover’s arm crook behind her head.  The Great Lover was too warm under the blankets on Sharon’s bed. He tried to adjust himself so at least one leg was out from under the heavy comforter but the way Sharon and he were wrapped up around each other he just couldn’t get comfortable.  Sharon’s bare leg was wrapped like a boa constrictor around his. The physical ability to do this was perplexing to the Great Lover. He knew many things about a woman’s body; how to please her, make her moan, give her shivers, make her hair stand on end, but he didn’t understand how her leg bones seemed to be bending around his like a serpent.

                Sharon cooed as The Great Lover attempted to settle himself in her lumpy bed. It was probably a very old mattress, handed down over and over through her family. He imagined some lost relative carrying the lumpy mattress to Ellis Island amid the throngs of immigrants, all shouting and spitting and speaking in curious tongues.   He imagined this lost relative holding the mattress up against the railing of the ship carrying them to the new world. He imagined the relative pointing to the Statue of Liberty as they sailed by saying, “See that-a mattress, that’s-a where-a we’re-a gonna live-a.”

                The Great Lover scratched his upper thigh and wondered where he’d flung his underwear in Sharon’s darkened bedroom.  Things moved quickly, as they usually do for The Great Lover, from the bar to Sharon’s bed room. It didn’t take too much to move Sharon away from her small group of after work ladies and get her alone at the bar and caress her already weakened sobriety with another martini.  The Great Lover was a master at seduction, creating the aura of mystery yet confidence, with his charm. He also knew the secret of women. He knew that in order to get what he wanted, he had to love them.

                The Great Lover did. He would fall in love with every woman he wanted. He would look into their eyes and see the potential of their lives together, growing old, grandchildren, retirement communities, great grand children. He could feel the butterflies in his stomach as he gazed deeply into each woman’s soul, and yet, after it was all over; after the beds, counters, bathrooms, sofas were messed, he fell out of love. He broke up with them in his mind without the women being any wiser of the lifetime they had lived in his imagination.  

                The Great Lover’s arm had fallen asleep and felt the pins and needle tingling his finger tips. He delicately and with practiced grace slid his arm from under Sharon’s sleeping head.  She snored a little louder but relaxed once she was resting on the thin pillow. The Great Lover then carefully unwound Sharon’s leg from around his. She hardly noticed. She was spent from the two hour love fest he had provided for her. It was clear that she hadn’t been involved in quite some time so The Great Lover felt he had done something wonderful for her.  

                He gingerly got off the bed and searched the floor of Sharon’s bedroom for his underwear and the rest of his clothes. He was deft at maneuvering in the dark after so many nighttime liaisons. He found his underwear hanging on the edge of Sharon’s dresser. He smiled at his Zorro like ability to toss his underwear with such amazing dexterity. He dressed with a smile on his face and crept silently into the living room. Soft music was still wafting from the stereo. Sharon’s unfinished glass of red wine was back-lit by the one candle she had lit when they arrived. The shadows were soft in the flickering candle light. The Great Lover found his shoes at the end of the couch and quickly slipped them on. Loafers were always his shoe of choice since they were easy to kick off and easy to slip on. He grabbed his light Burberry trench coat off the lounge chair and moved to the apartment door.  He quietly opened the dead bolt and opened the door. The Great Lover stepped into the bright hallway and closed Sharon’s apartment door behind him. He exhaled with relief the he was now in the clear. “Good-Bye, Sharon,” he thought, “I cannot love you.”

                The Great Lover walked to the elevator and took it to the ground floor. He exited the apartment and realized the early morning birds were chirping and the sun would soon be up. He turned west and started walking toward the train.

                Sharon woke to find Gary was gone.

                “Oh thank god,” she said to her bedroom.

                Sharon threw her covers off and grabbed a large tee-shirt from off the top of her dresser. She walked with it to her bathroom where she went pee and then cleaned herself up.  She washed off her make-up and brushed her teeth. She couldn’t get the garlic taste of Gary out of her mouth. 

                “Ugh, he tasted like he bathed in garlic olive oil,” she said to the mirror.

                She put the tee-shirt on and went to her living room, turned off the stereo and grabbed her wine glass and brought it to the kitchen. She was not satisfied. She practically threw herself at Gary and had to almost beg him to come back to her place. She couldn’t figure out what his deal was. He was so aloof and weird. He was nice enough but his act was so cheap and reeked of insecurity. Sharon dumped the remaining wine from her glass into the sink. She heard the morning birds chirping outside her window.

                “Damn it,” she thought, “Another wasted night.”  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Nervous Truth

The realm of Anxiety is
filled with nameless terrors,
horrors, and general confusion
over the proper way to respond
to various levels of stimuli.

Sometimes silence is the answer,
sometimes anger is the response,
sometimes it’s the appearance of
uncompassionate shrugging,
sometimes tears well up.

It’s curious how so many
unknown heartaches drive us to
these states; scolded too harshly,
judged too dismissively, ignored,
pushed too hard, not pushed…

It’s a damn mystery in the realm
as much as it is out.  I don’t always
know why this will bother me or why
that won’t.  I just know it does at times
and it makes it hard to be.

It is not about pity or a desire to be
coddled or sheltered. It’s not about
laziness, cowardice, fear or bravery,
it’s not always known why a spiral will
start, there’s only knowing that it has.

The world doesn’t help, with the constant
agitations of politics, communities in peril,
crime, aggression, love, hate, inhumanity;
it can be a terrible burden for no reason other
than being there; even though it’s not in our control.

It’s a headache in the guts,
that stifles, stills and stops any movement.
We persist because we must. We weather it.
We push through. We make it, and it is harder
than you know, so bear with me; it’s a tough realm. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ironing the Wrinkles

The ironies of time are not
lost on me. In fact, I seem
to be confronted with them
more often than seems…

Universal time is not without
its deranged pleasures with
respect to karma, dharma,
and good old fashioned

It is not justice however,
there is no justice in the ironies
of fate. It is, as they say so wisely
at times, merely, “It is what it is,”
which only provides cold comfort.

At first I was angry when I heard,
then I was annoyed, then I saw the
stone hearted practical joke meted out
through the veil of the universes’ sense
of order through chaos and felt amused.

Chaos that at one time was avoidable.
A practical joke that would have failed.
A better place than just, it is what it is, simply because
it is was there.  The cosmic alignment could have
changed course and landed ironically on someone
else’s heartbreak.

Yet I don’t wish for it to change,
I don’t want the universe to correct anything,
I don’t want any vengeance or feel the pangs of
vendetta tugging at me. It’s only a curious admiration
for the murky irony dealt someone that thought better.

A strange sadness fills me when I think about their
unfortunate spate of luck. There is no vindication.
There’s no enjoyment, merely a muddled sense of
missing something. Without knowing what that
missing piece is, but knowing you’re not better than me.

The universe and its ironies will catch up
to me too one day. I’m sure I’ll be slapped,
kicked and tickled by the hands of fate as it makes
my chaos orderly through whatever means it
deems necessary. Who’ll be laughing then?