Saturday, June 30, 2012

Perhaps The Cut

Perhaps the cut is the poetry, and the rest
perhaps it's the moment of curiosity caused by
(read more...)
the decision to make
the call to act, or ignore

the silent..."Thank God"
less clutter to sort through
no deciphering necessary
no judgment to make
less time consumed in senseless, always annoying scrolling
names in a phone book
some friends, peers, compatriots
others, telemarketers, selling hogwash by the ethereal ream
the cut is the greatest gift of all
allowing preconceptions saves hours of mental dentist drill

Or maybe (read more...) is a well tied bow
a bright ribbon to pull
opening a package with your name tagged onto it,
written in invisible ink.
a gift of one mind reaching toward another
could be diamonds
could be underwear
could be the family joke tie that looks like a lamprey eel
but either way it's the holding one's breath at the moment of unveiling
and the rush that follows; whether joy, indifference or
It's the understanding that you are among only a handful of people
out of near 6 billion
that have been offered a chance to see these works of art
and possibly last

Perhaps the cut is the poetry, and the rest

Yea. Perhaps.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

"Drivers Wanted" the sign had said. Nothing about job experience or having to pee in a cup to prove I'm narcotic free, nothing about "must work weekends" or "part time only". I needed a job, driving's a skate; I said I was interested, I was in...BOOM! Easiest job I've ever gotten.

So I'm sitting here at this decaying shell of a former gas station in the middle of the desert, just me and a few buzzards and a huge mesa that juts out of the ground nearby as if it was a cup in a giant's cup and ball shell game.

It took me a moment to recognize what was nailed to the wall, but I see I'm looking at the map of the route I'm to take; and if I'm not mistaken it's a series of tunnels and ramps that lead downward through the mesa, seeming like the destination might be China. It looks a little hairy but having raced motorcycles, I'm accustomed to tight turns and rapid acceleration; I should be fine.

Then this guy in a black suit appears out of nowhere, hands me an envelope stuffed with cash and keys to a vehicle, and then waves me to follow him inside the dilapidated garage. A Lamborghini awaits, facing the mini mountain, lemon yellow and polished so highly that even in the shade it near blinds me. I slipped into the leather seat before I'd even thought about how bizarre the situation is.

I rifle through the cash packet, something seems way out of line.

"Man! It looks like there's 10,000 dollars in here mister" I say to the suit.

"20 thousand to be exact" he replies in this weird, phase shifted voice. "And there's plenty more once you prove yourself an able driver."

"Hey listen" I say, my mind racing down dark and Columbian Cartel paved streets, "I'm not into illegal transportation. I don't do the drug thing."

Then the guy digs out a few boxes from what looks like an old freezer and slides them in the passenger seat with a smile.

"Nothing illegal son, just some ice cream for my boss is all. It's just that, well, drive fast is all I can say; he really hates it when his Heavenly Hash is melted and it gets a little warm where you're off to."

"Where am I off to exactly" I called out as the car started itself and slid into gear without my help.

"Oh you'll recognize it when you get there" he laughed as the vehicle spun out and started for the sandstone hump. "Just ask for His Everpresent Darkness, the gatekeepers'll take care of you!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

When Last

When last did we speak kindly, was it really all that long ago
weren't we just walking hand in hand along our private beach?
Was it too easy for us then, is it together we can't grow
have we allowed our fears to move us from each other's reach?

When last did we give quarter to each other's eccentricities
has time replaced forgiveness with the ease of blind contempt?
Has what we once thought fetching now been branded mere toxicities
as too long our relationship lay fallow and unkempt

When last did we go softly, lay a kiss upon each other's cheek
Oh, has the air become so cold our lips are frozen shut
Or is this just the downward slide of love that long had known it's peak
alas I fear this truth be known, the harsh unkindest cut

When last did we speak plainly, words that had no hidden meaning saved
or were we always cryptic and our trust would break the code
could now you speak your mind at last and set aside the well behaved
indifference seems a penalty, some secret penance owed

When last did we approach the truth and look into each other's souls
Have I the strength to climb your walls I wonder, yet again
what was the slight that startled you, and changed our fire to snapping coals
what were the words that frightened you, and set aside your pen

When last did we express our love, have we no comfort left to share?
What caused our failure to commence, how could we let it go
I'll not forget your eager smile, your rush to soothe, your need to care
and I'll but hope you'll not lay waste, those things of me you know.

Never Again II

It has been my bent to flounder, just my nose above the waves
while I'm swamped by upward bounders, on their way to early graves
Now I wonder if I'm just a fool, or wise beyond my years
that I've left the merchant navy to become a privateer

It's a lonely haul some mornings, navigating through these shoals

one must heed the heaven's warnings, that one's hull might be kept whole
For the seas would surely swallow me, were I to drift off course
So my hand holds steady on the wheel, while traveling to my source.

There are days when I can’t hold her and we’re flotsam to the sea

being tossed unto the water’s whim, and pounded cruelly
but those times we sail on downwind swells surrounded by clear skies
I recall the cost of hardship pales, once seen by freedom’s eyes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet Sensuality

It’s sweltering; perhaps the sun moved a few parsecs closer overnight. From my step I can see the reflected heat shimmer upward, the distortion appearing as if a slab of cobras dancing above a bed of concrete. Water seeps from my forehead; it is a colander through which my body is draining its excess H2O.

I must be quick, I must focus; the object of my attentions hasn’t long to live in this atmosphere. It glistens. Maroon slurry slithers down its length and onto my curled fist, each drop creating a deep purple river; living things that forge their way across the back of my hand and down my lightly haired arm to finally drip to the sidewalk below.

I am practiced, skillful, yet the stellar furnace has me at a disadvantage. It has infinite power, I am only human; my tongue will only move so fast. Lightly I sink my teeth into its tip, listening to the gentle crush of crystallized ice as I slowly gnaw my way to its center.

And then it breaks free, and I must chew, risking great pain from those sensitive teeth I’ve too long ignored. I swallow only to bite again, and again, until I strike the wooden stick; then I have shortened my prize to the perfect length at last. I slowly close my eyes and prepare for the inevitable, the last bit of sugary refreshment. My lips slide across its chilling surface until they come in contact with the handle; then grip tightly… and as my head rears back I slip free the last bite of Grape Popsicle.

Occam's Mighty Razor

There’s an axiom that clings to the underside of the general population, one meant to give hope to the hopeless, yet one whose hope is false and laden with complexity. It goes “God made a big man, and God made a little man, but Smith and Wesson made an equalizer.” While many would quibble with the existence of a supreme being, none can argue the fact that a bullet is not hindered by the size of its target. Still, as with many an adage , context is everything.

David Occam was neither big or small. He was about average in stature, but had spent much of his childhood tuning his body, making it far more adept than it would seem by appearance alone. He was no body builder, nor was he a sportsman. He was by no means a dummy either. David was smart enough alright, smart enough to ace a few tests regardless of their subject matter; enough that he was able to pass his classes and advance his grade in spite of the fact that he’d spent most of his adolescence in the pursuit of a criminal resume.

What David Occam was, in the main, was a bully. He was plenty tough enough to succeed at his craft, forcing those he wished to commit illegal acts toward his financial benefit. He’d beaten down more than one of the nastiest hoodlums roaming the halls of Roosevelt High, which had given him the type of reputation only a fool would ignore. But it wasn’t even his pugilistic prowess that made anyone who’d known his name to fear him, but the fact that he’d always carried with him a straight razor, and would often pull it from his pocket to leave his mark of those that might question their fealty to his wishes.

In fact over time few paid attention to David at all. “Here comes Occam’s Razor” people would say while retreating from his stride and warning those still in his path. It was the razor they’d learned to fear mostly, the whip of its opening, the shimmer of its blade, the whiz in it’s movement and the tiny sliver of pain it caused when it set upon its victim the tiny, almost imperceptible illustration that announced “Occam’s been here.”

For a year I’d avoided him and his brooding rage. I’d no reputation and had given no impression one way or another as to my abilities on the battle field. I was a transfer student, large, described by peers as “scary lookin” and obviously wholly disinterested in the workings of the soap opera called inner city education. I imagine he didn’t fear me particularly, but not even a black bear will screw with a hornet’s nest if he thinks it might be alive and ticking. In that, I was grateful; I didn’t want to get involved.

But then he made an error. I could easily have turned my head through my entire tenure had he only chosen those that might defend themselves as his marks. It’s not that I excuse behavior like his, but only that I was not the school’s policeman, it was not my job, I had more than enough drama to deal with, within my own three cubic feet of space.

We’d only called him Larry, the next canvas for the razor’s stroke. I doubt even he knew his last name. He was what we called in the day, mentally retarded; a six year old in a twenty year old body. I didn’t then nor do I now know the name or names of his true maladies, and truth be told, I don’t care. All I do know is that he was harmless, helpless, and happy as a freshwater clam in a mudpuddle.

If there was ever a person I related to in high School, it was Larry. He was alone, and just fine with that. He made his own excitement. Larry saw circus animals in the sky, and knew all the six languages of the squirrels. He could climb a tree branch and hang there, marveling in the way the world looked upside down, and in fact then question as to whether what he was seeing was actually right side up. Larry spent many an hour pushing kids on a concrete playground merry go round, not to garner thanks, or even to share in their fun, but because it seemed the right thing to do and it always made him laugh; and laughing was Larry’s favorite pastime.

Larry had to pee one day, and he knew he should run home, or so I learned from his mother at a later date, but he had to pee real bad and he knew he couldn’t make it all the way home without going in his pants and he remembered that it was bad to wet one’s pants because then it would require a bath, and baths were most unpleasant. So he found a great big ash near the manual carousel where he’d been working up a sweat making a dozen children dizzy for laughs, and he ducked behind it, pulled down his pants and peed.

It wasn’t long before Larry wasn’t allowed to come to the park anymore. Some child had been horrified and their parents were outraged and the local authorities were burdened and the community tittered. But in the interim some mean things were said about Larry, that were not only unnecessary, but untrue; and some people thought it their business to set things right.

Why I’d been notified of the impending confrontation is still a mystery to me. Perhaps someone had once seen me speaking to the man child. I did fairly regularly have words with the kid, though they were as many made up words as real ones as Larry understood that language as well as any other. But for whatever reason I was called and told of a certain bully making his way to Linden Hills park; one who’d intended to “make a mark on a stupid perv.”

I didn’t confront him really. By his demeanor I have to think he assumed I’d come to watch and take pleasure in his attack, as he ignored me for the most part, to his folly in the end. I wish I hadn’t had to wait until the razor had shown its twinkle before I stepped in, but I’m a believer in the justice system, even if it is vigilante justice, so I needed proof even though he deserved payment for so many victims.

One can buy pretty much anything one wants given enough cash and connections. Guns are the perfect example, but I’d never wanted a gun in my teen years. They were far too sexy, far too easily mistaken for a solvent, when truly they were a glue unto themselves. Yet, I was enamored by one weapon, one that would match my eccentricity, a defensive yin to my protective yang. And truly there was no better weapon that I might have used than my taser against he and his razor, as even then I was fond of Frost and Poe, and thought the truly poetic justice of the encounter too fun to pass up.

I hit him square in the chest with both probes, and the 50,000 volts brought him off his feet and onto his back within a split second. I yelled at Larry to run as I pulled the pins from their acquired skin mattress, screaming at him in a howl I doubt he’d ever heard before, and would never want to hear again. He took off for home like a rabbit on the mating trail, and once I thought he was safely out of range I turned back to the object of my reluctant attentions.

Once I’d seen Occam had recaptured his senses, I dropped one knee into his solar plexus. I wanted to extend his knowledge of helplessness while making myself a less likely target of instant revenge. And then as he finally began to sputter his disapproval as to his treatment, I slipped my fingers around his Adam’s apple and applied a light pressure.

I’d always seen my hands as a cruel celestial prank. A really large man with short skinny fingers looks odd indeed. More than one joke had been told concerning the size of my digits as a marker for the size and shape of my jewelry. Yet here I found them perfectly suitable and almost an inadvertent blessing. They slipped right into the cavity on either side of Occam’s windpipe, without crushing it before I was able to make my speech.

I kept it short. My purpose was not to force David to reconsider his entire lifestyle, nor to set up a future confrontation between us. I had no desire to face off with the king of the hill in order to steal his throne. Honestly, I wanted to vanish at that moment, pretend that previous two minutes had never happened, disavow myself of Larry, the park, the neighborhood, the city and even my life if that would stop the pounding in my head. But I didn’t take those options seriously; I did what I had to do, and explained to razor boy that if he were to ever come near my now invisible friend again within either of our lifetimes, I would tear out what I held in my skinny fingers and feed it to the crows.

Only a few people had witnessed the event, and I made it clear by my snarl I wasn’t looking to make friends or develop hangers on. For the rest of my time at the school, Occam was not to be seen. Perhaps he lay low until I was no longer a threat, maybe he spent the time plying his trade at another location. I did overhear once a group of people muttering about my having picked up a nickname; the “bully buster”. Though I have to admit to a grin upon first hearing, I didn’t encourage its use. It had a certain implication; that I would do it again. I wouldn’t, unless the nearly exact same circumstances slapped me in the face, and the odds against that were astronomical.

I do believe in “an eye for an eye”, but not for revenge, or pleasure or anything of the sort. But only to make clear to an eyeball collector that there may be a price to pay for the pounds of flesh they choose to steal, and that they may want to reconsider their choice of hobby. Still, I’ve spent plenty of hours between now and then looking over my shoulder, wasting what little time I have left to wonder when the razor, or another for all it matters, will dart from the darkness and demand its due.

Even the angels pay a price.