Monday, June 29, 2009


Why does the little magpie squawk
and chatter all the time?
Why does he wake you in the morn
to hear his crooked rhyme?

Why does he dress in blacks and whites
instead of browns and tans?
Why, if you ask, I'm sure he'd say,
it's just because he can.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

4:39 am

"This isn't productive," she said, "I should have stayed in bed." She sat down, her right hand across her forehead as if shading her eyes. The cat jumped on her lap to ask what's wrong and say whatever it is it's ok because I'm here.
"Silly cat," she said. She wanted to be cheered up. She also wanted to throw something. Instead, she scratched the cat under his collar.
She felt like a fly smashing her face against a window over and over again with a growing suspicion that whatever was blocking her way was very simple but she was too stupid to comprehend it.
The cat protested as she leaned over and picked up the book. The words became blurred and the symbols laughed at her. Her brain was jell-o. She set the book down again, instead of chucking it through a window, and collapsed back into the chair. She had already taken, and passed the class once, but apparently that wasn't good enough to be certified. She was doing better than the last time, but she still only got so far before it all ceased to make sense. It was as if there was a secret someone forgot to tell her, a key to make sense of everything.
She wanted to cry. The cat purred louder, with purpose, because she stopped petting him. She wanted to laugh. The clock said something way past two in the morning. She wanted to scream, but scratched the cat behind the ear instead.
So this was freedom. This was the land of opportunity. She could do, she could be anything she wanted. Oh, but wait, that is, as long as she got at least a B on her chemistry final. Didn't you read the fine print? Sure, a basic knowledge of it, and how it worked would be useful, and sure it would make her well rounded, as if she needed that. This stress would more than take care of her roundedness. Sure there was some logic behind it she couldn't deny, making it all the more aggravating, but all this, when would she use any of this? She could always look stuff up if she ever needed it. That's what they did in the real world anyway. She knew she was more than capable of doing everything she wanted if she could only get the knowledge, which she could, and the permission, which was the problem. Was this all a joke played by sadistic professors and administrators exercising their power over everyone's hopes and dreams? Exorcising the hopes and dreams from those that actually had any? Was it job security? Or was it simply a way to find out who really wanted it? To weed out the flakes?
Oh, was she a flake? Was she destined to fail? Would she have to face the facts and let go of her dream? She wanted to cry, so she did.
The cat didn't like this, so he closed his eyes and purred harder, as if to say, "see, this is how you do it. You close your eyes and purr and everything is better."
Maybe, but she didn't know how to purr. Just one more thing she couldn't do. But if she could, maybe it would be better. She began to try, but started to laugh instead. This was no laughing matter so she stopped. Laughing was the one thing cats couldn't do. She couldn't remember ever seeing a cat laugh.
"Ok," she said to the cat, feeling a bit better, "here's the plan. The test isn't until late this afternoon, so I'll get some sleep now and get up earlier than I'd planned and take another look at this then. Maybe everything will be fresh. Maybe it'll make some sense." The cat thought this was a perfectly good plan, until he realized she would have to stand up. He wasn't too crazy about that little bit, but everything else sounded just fine.
Everything was ready to go. All she had to do was survive one last final, grab the cat, skip town, and hope it didn't snow. There would be a whole month to not think about it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


There was a vision of a room, that perfect shade of green, white trim, and sun pouring through windows and spilling over a hardwood floor. There were tulips and daffodils. The ground remained wet from the recently melted snow, and shined in the light. The breeze lost its teeth, playing with her hair. The sun drenched her head, her shoulders, and dripped down her back. This was the sun, not that pale white thing that shied from the slightest cold breeze and hid from the full onslaught of winter. This was the sun, reaching out a hand to spring, who lay broken and beaten on the ground, healing her wounds and pointing her towards the freedom of a Saturday afternoon.
But her eyes opened to the same ugly scarred ceiling, tape-marked walls, and gray light trickling though a small slit of a window. She knew the snow was still there, wet and dirty. It refused to leave, even as the temperature crept toward forty. Rivers of brown slush and ice water waited to penetrate her socks.
The wind howled outside, ripped through the trees, and through its fury against every window and door. Its voice was like a cold hand on her back. She rolled over and pulled the blankets in tight around her.
The wind had been blowing for days, obliterating everything in its path. She listened. Behind it's howl and scream was a whisper, something quiet speaking to something deep inside. This wasn't the wind of November, blowing away the leaved and sun and warmth. This was a new wind, scrubbing the earth clean of its dross, making way for something new. It still had a ways to go, but soon, any day now, it would show itself and whisper its promise.
She sat up. Already she could feel the ice, the weight, the guilt, the regret, and that nagging feeling she wasn't what she should be loosen it's grip on her heart. Soon now, very soon, she would wake to sunlight pulling her outside and pointing her face to the sky, telling her to leave all that behind. Soon there would be a new day, a new life, a new youth. Soon the sun would greet her new and weightless life and say: it's ok, go and start again.
And still the wind blew, whispering: soon, very soon, you just wait.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The engines rip air as they tear you from the ground and away from me. No taillights to watch slowly fade away. All too soon you're gone, only existing to me in my mind. I struggle to think of you there, your seatbelt fastened, hoping you don't get sick as you make your first turn, eyeing your rout and the legs you must step over when the time comes to use the restroom, preparing yourself for the hours ahead, and maybe, I dare to hope, maybe thinking of me. I struggle to think of you there, alive, independent of me, as the taste of you on my lips, and the feel of your fingers slipping from mine slowly fades. I stand, not knowing who I am, struggling to think of myself independent of you.

Monday, June 15, 2009


He always had the feeling he should be doing something. Just what he was supposed to be doing, was never clear. At the moment he was waiting to cross the street. He thought the sky wanted to snow, he could feel it in the air. Three blocks from home, tired, and hungry, he hoped a shower and a cup of coffee would give him some energy. Their were things he needed to do.
The light changed, and he crossed. The kitchen was a mess. If he could get it clean, and keep it that way, maybe he could get back to cooking real food every once in awhile. He would need to do laundry at some point, but he wasn't sure he had enough quarters. And the list could go on, the bedroom, the bathroom, the trash, and so on. But all that was just subsiding, getting by from day to day, like getting up every morning and going to work. That wasn't it. There was something there he lost a long time ago, and he needed to find it, but what was it.
It was early December and there was something in the air, an excitement he found beautiful. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a moment more than a blink, and looked around. The lines and angles of the building and the streets changed as he passed through them. Some sparrows hopped around the bare branches of a tree and flew away as he walked beneath. Some passed by him on the sidewalk, more on the other side, some in every car that drove by, and more, as he walked by the coffee shop, staring at computer screens and newspapers. All had that something incomprehensible behind their eyes. He tried to comprehend it, but failed. For almost a block he was in the middle of it all. Then he wasn't.
Where he was exactly wasn't clear, until he heard himself remind himself he needed to pay rent. He tried to calculate how much money he had in the bank. A half block ahead, he saw the light turn green. Great, he thought, he would get there just in time for it to turn yellow. He hated that light. It was slow and the traffic was too much to jaywalk. He just wanted to be home.
Block later, he was almost home, out of breath from climbing the hill and worried that maybe he was out of shape. The mail was mostly junk, but he separated one bill and tried to figure when payday was.
The cat was there to greet him but he couldn't pet her because his hands were full. She rubbed against his leg and he tried to find a place to stick the mail. The answering machine was full of junk so he deleted it all. He turned on the computer and felt bad because he'd all but ignored the cat. He gave a few pets and put some food in her bowl, heated up some coffee from that morning and went to the bathroom, which also needed to be cleaned.
The face in the mirror was tired and looked older than he was comfortable with, so he didn't look at it.
The computer booted up, and he sat down in front of it. Something was wrong with the internet connection so he fumbled with that until it fixed itself somehow. He needed to check his e-mail. He needed to check his bank balance. He needed to check something else. What was it? He needed something. He needed coffee. The coffee was still in the microwave. It was still hot and tasted bearable, so he took it and sat down again. He checked to see if his girlfriend was online, but she wasn't. She would be online soon, he thought, she usually was. So he played a round of solitaire while he waited. He lost. He tried again. Eventually he won, but he managed to waste an hour in the process. His girlfriend still wasn't online so he took a shower.
An hour or so later, he lost another game of solitaire. Nothing got done and the cat was looking at him. Once again his brain went through the list of things that needed to be done, but never settled on anything. Why was this so hard? It wasn't as if his life was complicated. All he really needed to do was take care of himself, to get by from day to day. But he couldn't seem to do that very well. What was he missing? Was there something somebody forgot to tell him? Then there was this thing inside telling him there was something he needed to be doing, that his life was slipping by, wasted on petty everyday concerns and chores he never took care of anyway. But what was it? He told himself if he could just get organized, get caught up, maybe he'd have the time to figure it out. But it all seemed like such a waste of time.
His stomach growled, but all there was to eat was peanut butter and bread. That didn't sound good. If the kitchen was cleaner, maybe he could cook something, if he had something to cook. He could buy something, but he new better. He would wait until he got some work done in the kitchen, or else the food would just go bad in the fridge.
Feeling a little sick and light-headed, he went back to the computer. No one was online. All he wanted was for everything to just go away. There was a time when he could sit and listen to music for hours and let his mind go where it would. He missed that. But there always seemed like there was something more important to do. Maybe this time there wasn't. Maybe this was just what he needed, but what to listen to.
It took him too long to decide on something. Nothing seemed to match the mood he was in. He would think of something, but then again maybe not. Soon his eyes were scanning the CDs, back and forth, but not actually seeing them. If he could just focus. That'll do. The music had barely started when he had a better idea. He grabbed another CD and put that on. He sat down on the couch and tried to get comfortable. It took a few tries. The music kicked in. It would work. It was something he hadn't listened to in a long time. He wondered why he hadn't listened to it in a long time. Soon his mind was gone, but not liked he hoped it would. It was wound so tight, had been for so long. It was spinning, and spinning, and wouldn't stop. It was all what he needed to do, what he wanted to do, and all the things he knew would never happen. He wasn't listening anymore. When he realized he'd missed all but the end of one of his favorite songs, he felt sad. He played it again. He sat back, took a deep breath, like taking an arm and shoving everything off a desk, he closed his eyes and listened. But an empty desk doesn't take long to collect clutter. His mind went in and out. Sometimes it was good; other times he had to clear it and start over.
Soon he remembered he was hungry, not that he cared much, but he would have to go to bed soon and an empty stomach often kept him awake. It seemed forever since he got enough sleep, which was nothing but painful when he tried to get up for work. All he ever wanted to do anymore was sleep, but he never seemed to get around to it.
He fixed himself some peanut butter sandwiches and sat in front of the computer again. She wasn't online, so ate and played solitaire.
The next thing he knew, it was too late. He swore at himself because he wouldn't get the extra sleep he wanted. If he went to bed now, he could get enough. He brushed his teeth, then went to make sure the door was locked, it was, then he remembered there was something else he needed to do in the bathroom. He tried not to look at himself in the mirror. What had he come in there for? Oh yeah. He washed his hands and took his contacts out. He checked the door; it was locked. What else needed to be done? No one was online, so he shut the computer down. What else? There had to be something. He shut the light out and went to bed, pulled up the covers. He should go to the bathroom. He did, washed his hands, and went back to bed. Was the door locked? He almost got up to check it, but was sure it was, and forced himself to believe it. Coffee. He needed to set the up the coffee maker so it would start automatically. There was nothing worse than getting up and having to wait for coffee.
Soon he was back in bed. If there was anything left to do, it could wait. He almost fell asleep, but didn't. An hour later he was still awake and getting angry. He wanted to cry. He wanted to scream. Neither was very productive, so he got up.
In the darkened living room, the light was filtering through the mini blinds pinkish orange. Then he remembered. It was snowing. He pulled up the blinds. Two or three inches had accumulated already, and it was still going steady, nice big flakes falling silently, landing silently. The snow muffled the few sounds there were to be muffled at that time of night. He turned his chair to the window and sat watching it. It was quiet. So quiet. He decided not to think about it too much, and, for once, he didn't.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Curse this wall that keeps our lips apart.
Curse the space between our beating hearts.
Curse this lion that prowls the dark outside.
Curse this fear that keeps us pinned inside.
Curse these dreams that hypnotized my eyes.
All this cold reality ignores your bitter cries.
But let us still be grateful for the sun that dries our tears,
For the crack that lets your whispers reach my burning ears,
For the time we have together,
For the warmth that we can share,
For the healing balm of knowing
That someone out there cares.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I found it

this is the post i was trying to i was talking about in my last post. you know, the post i posted about the post i read that reminded me to post something i wrote awhile back that i thought would be good to post. post post and post and so on.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I came across a blog the other day that stated some good questions. I wish I could remember which blog it was so I could link to it, but it reminded me of something I wrote awhile back.

What is on your mind at this moment? What are your concerns, worries, hopes, dreams, sorrows, joys, and struggles at this moment? What about yesterday? How about last week? Can you even remember? Think about this day, last year; chances are you can't even remember.

What does that say about the things that are on your mind right now? Do you think they will matter tomorrow, next week, a year from now, or even ten years from now?

The estimated population of this planet is over 6.5 billion people. I think it's safe to assume all 6.5 billion people have something on their mind at this moment. They all have their worries, concerns, troubles, and such.

Our life expectancy is somewhere around seventy-five years. How long is seventy-five years compared to a thousand? or several thousand years that make up recorded history? How long have people lived on this planet? How many lives have come and gone in that time? I doubt anyone really knows.

It's clear all those people lived their lives one day at a time, with their own daily joys and struggles, such as we. It is impossible to comprehend, but sobering to try.

Often our worries seem so big they overshadow everything else, but in the whole scheme of our life, are they really a big deal? In the whole big scheme of things, do they even matter at all? Why is it then we expect the whole world to bend over backwards to submit to our will? and why is it we feel persecuted when we don't get our own way?

I don't know, but it's something to think about.

Friday, June 5, 2009

sick day

I am not good at anything. I have a little talent in a lot of things but not a lot of talent in any one thing. I guess my problem is indecision; if I could have picked one thing from the beginning and focused on it, maybe I would be somewhere by now. But how does one pick and choose among his children, or abandon something that has defined him since his youth? Instead of defining me, they rendered me neither one thing or the other. I had become nothing.
These thoughts tormented me as I sat at the kitchen table watching the rain, and the blue gray morning. I couldn't bring myself to go to work, to mop another floor, to scrub another toilet, so I called in sick. And maybe I was sick. I played with the notion of going insane. Something about wearing pajamas, being sedated, and staring out a window all day appealed to me. I wondered if maybe there was something wrong with me, but I couldn't put my finger on anything. None of the diseases I knew anything about seemed to fit me. Again, I had a little of each, but not a lot of any. To be completely sane or completely insane was all I wanted, but that gray middle ground was driving me crazy.
To justify taking the day off, I told myself I would use the day to relax a bit, clear my head, and maybe even do something productive. Sitting there, drinking coffee, it was becoming clear none of that would happen. As my brain woke up, it spun faster and faster, off to who knows were. Then something would say, hey you're supposed to do something productive today, then it would start listing of things I need to do. Then something else would say, no, you need to relax, clear your mind, remember who you are, and where you're going. I could go for a drive. I could take a walk in the rain. I could, but there were so many things I'd been meaning to do; wouldn't it feel better to get some of it done? Wouldn't the best way to get those nagging worries off my mind be to take care of them once and for all? But it wouldn't be once and for all, I knew that. There would always be something else to replace them.
So it went on like that. Just when I was about to tell myself to shut up, the phone rang.
We all have out worst nightmares. Lately I had become good at inventing them. Someone would be late or the phone would ring when I least expected it and the scenarios play across my mind. Mostly they were simple like car accidents or sudden unforeseen heart attacks. Sometimes they were a bit more inventive such as freak home accidents. Others were just disturbing such as attacks by serial killers or rapists. These stirred up a black sludge of anger, hatred, and fear. I didn't like the feel of it at all, so I chased it away, if I could.
Sometimes I would be the subject of the fantasy. Walking to work I might slip on a patch of ice, or get hit by a car and break my leg; preferably my left leg, so it would have minimal impact on my ability to drive. I had never broken anything, and I didn't like the thought of it, but it sure would be hard to work with a broken leg. I had enough sick time I could easily afford at least three weeks off. If I felt a bit strange one day it could be some strange disease, preferably one that didn't kill me and wasn't too painful. I didn't like this one too much. I had an acquaintance who died that way. I didn't see her for some time, and of course the worse case scenarios played themselves out until someone finally told me what happened. One of those worse case scenarios was correct. It was a brain tumor. That bothered me for a long time. Sometimes it still bothers me. But then, it never was about me, I had no say in the matter, and no one asked what I thought. So what if I liked her; she had a brain tumor and died. Everything that could be done, was done, and still she died. I couldn't come up with a rhyme or a reason for it; it just was, and that was what made it hard to digest.
For the most part, these were all academic, just mental exercises. Sure, every now and then I scared myself. There were even times I got emotional, but this was rare. Though all of these fantasies were entirely plausible, and I knew they happened all the time, I never believed them. It was just interesting to think through how I would feel and what I would do.
After a bit I'd stop and ask myself, do I really want this to happen? Do I want this person to die? Do I want to get hit by a truck? Was I really that bored? I never wished harm on anyone, and though it had it's benefits, breaking my left leg was not my idea of a good time. But I had to admit drama, even trauma, can make one feel alive, more so than just getting up every day and going to work. Maybe I needed a pinch to wake me from that long gray dream I found myself trudging through. Maybe I was sick after all. If that was the case, I'd at least have an excuse.
So the phone ran. There was nothing special about this. Telemarketers and whatnot called all the time. Though I lost track, and didn't know the time, it seemed like an odd time to call. It seemed like a good time for something big to happen, something that would change everything.
I let the answering machine do its job. I waited. It played through my less than cheerful greeting. The red light blinked; it was recording. I leaned over it to listen. Nothing. Dead air. I guess it wasn't anything important.
I sat back down and lifted my cup to my lips. I was out of coffee. I got up and went to the bathroom.