Monday, March 29, 2010

Something Holy

We ate in an Italian restaurant last night, and I was waiting for my 4 year old outside the restroom door. There were a few coats hanging along the wall in the dimly lit passageway. A young girl of maybe 8 emerged from the ladies' room. As she passed through the hall, she kissed her hand and administered a kiss to each individual coat. The quickness of her delivery made me think that this behavior was routine for her. She became aware of me as she touched the last coat in the row, and I pretended not to have seen.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring's Awakening Is Both Gentle And Rude

Sunday was sunny and in the 60s, a perfect day to take the kids to the playground. My 11 year old daughter became frightened while crawling across the top of the monkey bars - couldn't see a possible dismount - and when I saw her eyes, I flashed upon a time when she was just two and apprehensive about crossing the hanging footbridge with it's uncertain footing and singing chains. I threw a baseball with my 9 year old who, in his enthusiasm for this rare opportunity, ran right into the fence bruising his forehead and cheek, losing his shoe, refusing to cry. As I tried to split my attention between the other two, my 4 year old wanted me to see everything he did - climbing higher, sliding faster - "Push Me ! ...Watch Me!...Help ME!"

On a branch not far away stood a crow with a white tufted throat talking to us - not the usual "caw, caw, caw" announcement to his people, but a gentle rolling soliloquy. "Crows are my friends", my roughed up 9 year old said just as I was silently thanking the spirit-bird for his reminder.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I saw my wee 6 sentences on page 60 of the Six Sentences Review, Volume 2 yesterday. The editor sent me a complimentary PDF. It's an edited version of something I already posted on here, but here it is anyway:

Among The Lions

Shuttling between jobs tonight through this darkened neighborhood where something more is always going on, I passed a man standing still and quiet on the sidewalk with his head bowed low. A Puerto Rican churchwoman stood in front of him in her long skirt and modest braid one hand raised in the air and the other firmly holding his shoulder. She was praying for him, and he was receiving it - needing it. Half a block further I turned left into darkness, and the dealers were there pacing back and forth trying to flag me down. I knew the humble man would soon have to walk this way. I imagined that somehow she had given him some protection, some resolve, some kind of spiritual armour that would shield him from these men and this darkness above, below and beyond.

So, I'm a flash fiction writer now. Now get going!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Diamanda Galas - Birds of Death

"Your soul is now my destination, until the black birds come".

Posted by a man pursued by birds which are the true form of angels.

Monday, March 8, 2010

We catabolites, burning bright, lost to light

I think every culture's sage elders speak of the fundamental need for balance in life as the people daydream and fail to sit still. Where is the line between satisfying one's appetites and being consumed by them, and why can't we ever see it when we cross? It's hard to sit still. Remember your friend with the Norman Rockwell face - red hair, freckles, virginal at 21 - eaten to the bone by crystal meth before he made 23. Your friendship has proven weak and insignificant when matched against that vampire's seductive stare, every time - heroin, alcohol, risk, madness, sex, suicide. It's so hard to sit still.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

100 post # 6

So I've been writing a little bit for a few days and already this thing shows itself. Something in me pointing a finger at me, has a look of disgust on its face, makes me feel false, unworthy, inept - you get the idea. This is what happened when I had a little piece of myself published about 17 years ago, but it was far worse then. It's like if you let someone see it, it's tarnished or cheapened. Something in me expects that I should carve my letters into the walls and floors with my fingernails. Writing.


I'm sitting here in front of a computer at work, my second job, early in a twelve hour shift hoping there won't be any madness requiring my intervention tonight. I am alone, and for now it's quiet. A few minutes ago I checked my e-mail and, from the spam, was encouraged to charge my pork cord. For many people it's Saturday night out there, and I'm guessing a positively charged pork cord lends one competitive advantage in the social arena. That positive charge, however, pretty frequently goes awry. During my last overnight shift, I saw this acted out repeatedly before my eyes through young men brought in by ambulances from the Insane Clown Posse show in cervical collars, alcohol poisoned, or awaiting surgery for severed tendons after something about his girlfriend made him punch through a windshield.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thank you, Lester. This will not depress.

"Almost Blue" - Chet Baker

100 post # 5

After a night of little sleep on a hard office floor, I'm back at work at my primary job. This guy is back again after threatening to kill one of us less than a week ago. He's talking shit now, says he wants to go back to prison where he reportedly spent 20 years. He makes it hard to feel anything but disgust for him - he threatened the female ambulance crew last week and when he got in the ambulance, he whipped it out and pissed all over the inside of it. The staff are wearing their panic buttons.

Mule - "Nowhere's Back"


The sun was up now, and it had the appearance of an ordinary day with its dog walkers, joggers and Sunday morning strollers, but I was in a separate place after running and walking all night.

He came up beside me at a purposeful pace asking, "what is this, some kind of marriage therapy?", and I could not help but notice the thick scar on his neck which seemed to cover some missing piece.

He told me he had recently undergone life saving surgery for throat cancer at the hospital that sponsored the race I was running and that he understood very well what I was doing out here.

He was enjoying the sunlight despite the fact that his wife was cheating on him with his neighbor - a man he hated - through most of his time of mortal fear, not far from death.

This fact was only recently confirmed, although he suspected it for months, along with the news that he was now cancer free.

She had since sealed him out of the house he worked for and off from the children that he loved, but in that sunlit separate place, he held himself open for a moment and showed me a transparent organ barely containing this churning grief and violence which threatened, almost audibly, to metastasize into something far worse.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

100 post # 4

Have some fun with the Descendents!

Why so heavy? Seems like whenever I sit down to write, I end up with something dark and heavy. People have always said that I'm funny, that I'm a good story teller. They have also always said that I "think too much", that I'm too serious, too heavy. I need to try my hand at writing lighter, having fun, sharing something that makes people laugh. Somehow when I write what naturally comes out - usually heavy and dark - I feel like I'm telling the truth, bearing witness, but I'm also creating a reality. What you say matters. Be aware.

Vic Chesnutt - "Everything I Say"

Steven Jesse Bernstein

Worth a Listen

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Lion Hunts At Night

Shuttling between jobs tonight through this darkened neighborhood where something more is always going on, I came upon a man standing still and quiet, his head bowed low. A Puerto Rican church woman was standing in front of him in her long skirt and modest braid with one hand raised in the air and the other firmly on his shoulder. She was praying for him. He was receiving it. He seemed to need it. Half a block further I turned the corner into darkness, and the dealers were there on their corner trying to flag me down. I knew the humble man would have to walk this way. I imagined that somehow she had given him some protection, some resolve, some spiritual armour that would shield him from these men and this corner and this darkness above, below and beyond.

It's frightening to know that as you walk through this dark place, a lion matches your steps. When she wants you, she will take you. When she doesn't, I try to think of it as grace.

100 Words post # 3.

Consider the role of anxiety in one's life: the cautionary leash that prevents, the set of oft repeated rules that prohibit, the antidote to sleep, rest and recovery, the fuel that fires compulsive behavior and self destruction, the edge necessary to do your best.

It's a squirrel's indecison in the middle of the road, "run left, no right, no left, no." THUMP.

It's not wise to let anxiety make your choices or drive your car. But how much will it cost you to abate? Each time a little more, you, more and more at risk.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

100 post #2

Shuttling between jobs tonight, the streets were dark in this neighborhood where something is always going on. A man stood on the sidewalk, straight and still with head bowed. A Puerto Rican woman - a church woman - wearing a long skirt, hair tied in a modest braid, laid a hand on him and was praying. He seemed to be receiving it. Needing it. Just a half a block away I turned the corner into darkness, and the dealers were right there trying to flag me down. The man would have to walk this way. I wished him strength and protection

Monday, March 1, 2010

100 post # 1

March. Enter the lion. My daughter turns 12 this month. I seem to remember being 12 very well. I was full of sex and murder. I was just out of my own control - always rage, always anxiety, sometimes dreaming. I liked Black Sabbath. I bought that t-shirt at the beach with the skulls, lightning bolts and "666" across the front. I think that was the year I saw "Taxi Driver" for the first time and thought it was my future. So much darkness, really?

I look at her, still a little girl. So much happens in a year.

Blog Archive

Visitor Map