Saturday, January 7, 2017

Awake
I woke up early. Across the way a carpenter was hammering nails into boards that made up a small house frame. Just as I was to speak to him-- tell him to respect my sleep, a robin landed on my window sill. The bird walked nimbly and then quickly took to the morning sky. I knew then that I had to rise before it was past my time. So I dressed in worker's clothes and held a hammer and took a couple of imaginary swings. I walked across the way and told the carpenter: "Here I am." He handed me a bag of nails and together we built a home where the robins would stay.
The Realist
With a wooden spoon I stirred burnt oatmeal.  Most of the large flakes had turned black and stuck against the bent aluminum pot. I cursed myself because it was the last of my food. Breakfast was the large meal that would keep me going until the afternoon.  By then I hoped to beg or steal for something to eat.

I was a realist. I knew that my near future was bleak. I knew that in two days it would be the end of the month and I would be tossed out from my apartment because it was the third month in a row I couldn’t come up with the rent. I knew that the last scoops of the unburned parts of the oatmeal could be my final unholy breakfast. I knew that I was banned from the food bank as I could be an out-of-control madman who caused a ruckus with staff and clients-- and I shouldn’t have taken a swing at the director because I thought he was calling me names when all he was doing was trying to calm me down. But there were those Christmas carols singing in my head; cursing me, threatening me, making me hear the voices of devils. The cops never should of beat me like they did, their night sticks cracking open my skull and their boots kicking me along my legs. They shouldn’t have let me bleed in the cell and make me clean up my own wet blood before they sent me out alone into the cold morning.

The weatherman said it was going to be below freezing and I had no place to sleep. No family, no friends, no homeless shelter worker to take me in. Once I had all of them, but I caused a ruckus in their lives too. I knew I was unemployable, because I had bad posture, bad clothes, bad teeth and I carried myself like some sort of distorted, twisted lunatic.

I hated everything. I hated my life. I was mad, like in crazy angry. So I hit myself with my wooden spoon. The hot oatmeal burned my face and the top of my head. But I wanted to hurt myself some more and more. So I hit myself again and again. And I poured the pot of scalding steaming oatmeal over me and I felt the stinging bubbling welts on my blistering skin. I placed my right hand over the red burning ring of the stove till I couldn’t bear the pain anymore.

Let the hospital take care of me. They bandage you up. They feed you there. If you don’t cause a ruckus they might find you a place to live where they can feed you. Maybe they can even stop the devil Christmas Carols singing in your head. Otherwise I’ll starve and freeze to death during the first days of winter, my last meal the remains of burnt oatmeal

Monday, January 2, 2017

Critical Thought
I left the left side of my brain in the middle of a quarrelsome night. We argued for hours on how it's logic was pressing me at the pressure points of my wanting life. So in an act of wildness I left that part of me behind. I heard it cry and wail. I heard its rendered accusations of betrayal and how it's synapses had fired the best thoughts of its life for me, the ingrate. I looked back with a smile to show I was not pained by its words, even though I feared greatly beneath my insouciant mask. For I had given that grey matter much as well, like my passiveness, my yearnings, dreams, and fantasies compressed into a fine point of logical oneness. Now I moved with trepidation in my heart. For being unshackled can be imprisoning as well: when the newness of choice can be like carbon steel bars of indecision. But I will take my chances with the right side of my brain. Let its music guide me, even if it is atonal. Let the abstraction of its twisted, broken lines colour me with joy. To the left side of my brain, I say: we will be better off apart. Give it time, critical thought will rein in your hurt, you will move on.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Follow
I stepped out from lightness and spoke into a poring rain. My head dropped back, my mouth agape, I asked why, but water filled my throat--and I felt as if I was dying--before a drowning voice silenced me.

Oh, why, why did you do this to me, I wondered of the falling sky. Why did You sink me before I could wade along the river's edge.

My clothes dripping, I went inside and called a friend and told him of what I had done. He said he had done the same. I knew then the downpour had answered us in all its driving mystery, and that I was saved somehow, but the question still remained: why the flood follows the drought and what reason is there to divine the falling rain?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pawns
My pocket was filled with change as I stood before a cold vending machine. Nickels and dimes and some quarters left my fingers to purchase can after can of the same brand of soda. By the time my money had run out I placed six cans of soft drinks on top of the machine and aligned them in an even row. They made me think of a shiny army or silver pawns on a chess board.

I don't know what came over me, why my behavior was so odd but felt so good. When I returned the next day, all the soda was gone. The oddest part was, I believed they would still be there. My doctor said maybe these were symptoms of a hidden malaise. But upon reflection I thought he was the crazy one for living a life never enlivened or one he would not set free. So I left a handful of dimes on his desk and said adios. There was a pay phone that called my name.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Milky Way
On a pitch black November night, I drove alone in an old Chevy car. With the window rolled down, a cold air against my skin, I escaped as far as an anxious man can to a next street light. When the red light disappeared I pulled over to the side and bathed under the spirit calm of a soft green hue.

A rear view mirror looked at me, and I looked into the window of my soul. Then came the unexpected peace under a changing street light; like autumn leaves...the colours falling from red to green and yellow in between.  I waited under the milky way until it poured into morning. Then my steady hands turned the bleary car easily around.

I knew in my surrendered soul I was too old to run...the open road now closed to this restless heart. This thought filled me with joy as I drove home. My warm bed would await me...I would close my eyes and sleep till a second sunrise and awaken to a newness...stretch and yawn to a happier me.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Thirteen
It was quiet at home last night. Pedro didn't hear the moneyed creaks of his mother's bed, each breath with a new man. He didn't hide from a drunkard father who beat him with his fists till the boy's eyes bled. Pedro was thirteen now. He had a rendezvous with a wanting girl. He walked down the apartment steps and waited for an imagined first love. His life a sidewalk opera lit under a streetlight.

In the distance he thought he saw her--but his eyes were bad. He wanted to run, but his legs were bruised too much. So Pedro went home last night and prayed his father would lay drunk in some other stairwell. That his mother would sleep sound in a quiet bed.