Monthly Archives: July 2015

One More Placeholder

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider’d all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair linèd slippers for the cold, 15
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.

And then he smiled, smacked his heart and said to no one in particular “I do as I do and act as I act because I am true to my nature” and then he grabbed his shoes and went to play ball knowing full well that some would take his words seriously and others would have no clue.

Such is the life of a storm walker who refuses to be serious all of the time.

*****

Or maybe I won’t use any of it. The point and purpose of a placeholder is to serve as an electronic bookmark, nothing more.

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Placeholders

Think I might use some or all of these.

And I might work in something from this, not sure. Got to catch some shuteye, editing and ideas have to wait a bit.

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Should I Be Angry

“I hope you are not angry with me. It is not a personal thing, it is just what we have to do.”

I didn’t tell her that is a perfect example of the double standard women pretend doesn’t exist. If I had said it wasn’t a personal thing she would have skewered me but I didn’t reply to it.

Didn’t respond because I wasn’t sure if what would come out of my mouth. Would the anger explode or would I nod my head and say I understood.

Characters in books and movies have no problem being noble. There is nothing particularly difficult for the writer to produce a character who is the ideal that others are supposed to live up to, but that is rarely something that touches upon reality.

Reality is messy. Reality deals with feelings that can’t be turned on or off like a faucet.

So I stayed silent and reserved.

Later on in the dark of the night I wondered if my silence was noticed or not. Most people don’t like silence, it is uncomfortable for them so they fill in the quiet space with commentary.

If this was business I wouldn’t think twice about it. I’d look at my experience negotiating and think about how many times I saw people start to squirm because they didn’t know how to just sit and be.

It is kind of funny to me to see how some people respond to silence, I don’t mean funny as in laughter but more as an observation. Some have called me ‘motormouth’ or used other terms to describe me as someone who can’t shut up but the opposite is often true.

Business requires so much small talk I often go the other direction and enjoy the quiet of my own mind. I’ll turn on some music, read a book and say nothing for hours. I have seen those who don’t know me very well start to get crazy with that.

Can’t tell you how many times they have asked me if I was angry and how many times I have said I have nothing to say.

In this particular situation I had plenty to say and I would be lying if I didn’t wonder if someone was lying to herself and or hoping I would choose to pursue but there is a time and place for everything and I wasn’t about to say anything here.

You can call me a chauvinist, but I don’t think women are as good as men at compartmentalizing things. I figured if the anger got the best of me and I spoke with the unbridled restraint of the past there would be nothing but scorched earth.

So even though I had gotten blasted in the same way in the past I didn’t respond that way because I figured there was nothing to gain from it. We had talked about it once and I had laid it out, said I wasn’t interested in saying something that might pinball around her head.

She had told me she could take it and maybe she could, but we hadn’t been in a position where I figured it was necessary or needed to make things better.

And I knew damn well that if you have asked her if she was a thinker she would say she thought too much.

Kind of funny and surreal to be in this place, because there was a time I could tell her to shut up and be quiet, maybe not quite as crudely as that sounds there but close enough.

She was used to being a sharp-tongued woman and hadn’t always had a man push back. Sometimes I did that by calling her on her shit and sometimes by being silent.

Once I had told her to get it all out because later on she’d have to put out to make up for it all.

It had caught her off guard and she had told me as long as it was love making I could have as much as I wanted.

But that was then and this was now. Didn’t matter if I thought she was lying to herself and to me. I didn’t need her to agree and say I was right because if I was it wouldn’t matter.

And if I was wrong, well I didn’t have any interest in listening to her tell me I was wrong but I wasn’t wrong.

*****

“Why aren’t you answering my questions?”

“If you aren’t sleeping with me you don’t get the benefit of my full attention. I don’t owe you any answers.”

“You don’t have to be a rude asshole.”

“If it makes you feel good to call me that, be my guest. The good news is one day you are going to end up on your back looking up at me and I’ll answer anything you want then.”

She glared at me.

“Wait, don’t tell me, ‘you are never going to sleep with me again.'”

That last part was said in a high pitched voice and it got the response I expected.

“I don’t want you be angry. I am not trying to hurt you. This is just how it has to be now.”

“You go ahead and think what you want. Convince yourself of whatever it is you need to make it right in your head.”

“Why are you acting like this?”

“Because it is always easier to say goodbye when you are angry with someone.”

“So you are trying to make me angry so it is easier for you?”

“No, so it is easier for me. But the truth is we don’t stay angry with each other. See you in twenty years.”

I didn’t turn around when she called my name or answer her telephone calls. I’d say I never opened her letters but that would be a lie because I did.

It wasn’t twenty years in between either, it was closer to twenty-five but I was right about everything else.

*****

“I am the one who should be angry with you.”

“Woman, you are nuts. After the crap you pulled I am the one who owns the anger.”

“If it makes you healthy then I am ok with it.”

“I don’t think that is how it works, but I am open to unconventional therapies.”

“You are not funny. How could you be so stupid. I can’t believe you are sick. You don’t look like it.”

“I always told you that if Cancer came to visit I’d kick its ass.”

“We’ll do together, I am going to help you get well.”

“I don’t know if that is in the cards. Doc says this could go very quickly”

******

I stood under a desert moon and wondered if there was a way to recapture the magic of youth, that feeling of invincibility and endless amounts of time.

I hadn’t lied about how much time I had because the docs weren’t sure. This wasn’t common and only a small group of people had it so the hard data was quite limited.

It could be months or it might be five years, five years being the longest anyone had lived with it.I

Figured that I would be lucky enough to get this shit, I had a life long habit of doing things the hard way.

The one good thing about being sick is it forces you to figure out what is important and what isn’t. I had boiled everything down to important or unnecessary.

Or at least I had tried to, as much as I had tried to focus my thoughts into concentrate only on what was significant I had moments where stupid stuff got my attention.

But every time it did I asked myself, “should I be angry?”

g

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My Stairway To Heaven

There is a reason why you shouldn’t try to send email while walking down a flight of stairs. It is the same reason why your mother told you not to run with the scissors in your hand or a lollipop in your mouth.

But sometimes safety and circumstances coincide as the oddest of bedfellows and you don’t do as your mother taught you. Sometimes you find yourself wandering through a house wondering if the owner paid a designer for the monstrosities you are looking at or if it is their own bad taste.

You can’t help but wonder if the real reason that dead Italian masters are dead is because their concept of cool was so awful they were hung by an angry mob or if they were graced with the kiss of death as a result of old age.

Had it not been so awful you would have been watching your step. Instead your smartphone made you fumble and you walked right into her. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that you almost knocked her down a flight of stairs. You can’t forget how wide her eyes got when she almost fell or how thankful you were that she didn’t.

The people down below told her that you threw your phone so that you could catch her. They said that you wrapped her up in your right arm and that it almost looked like something you would see in a ballet.

That made you laugh. You aren’t suave, debonair or graceful. Later on she told you that the first thing she noticed was that your arms were really solid, but you never would have guessed she had noticed. Not after that look or the way she yelled at you for being careless.

When you let her go she walked the stairs past you and never looked back. You know because you stared at her the entire time. At first it was because you felt foolish and tongue tied. A mumbled apology was ignored, but her legs weren’t…at least not by you.

You remembered thinking that you would have to be blind, dead or gay not to imagine what it would be like to have them wrapped around you. She walked away while your mind raced for the kind of snappy line that would get her attention.

You needed something that wouldn’t make you seem like a stalker, sound like a fool or make her feel threatened in any way.

"Come, Sit, Tell Me About America..."   (#1 of 2 - a set)

Later on you sat on the bench outside and wondered if this was real life or a dream. It was all too easy to picture a flash mob materializing out of the thin air and dancing around that bench you were sitting on. Upon second thought you had this image of being the bad guy in a Aretha Franklin video. It was all too easy to see her and her backup singers pointing their fingers at you.

Reality sets in and you remember that you aren’t a hero nor are you a villain. You are just a regular guy and maybe that is enough. Maybe you are over thinking it all, spending too much time trying to be someone else when what you really need to do is just be you.

So you wander back over to the house that wants to be a museum and rejoin the fundraiser. She is standing in the hallway talking to another woman but when you make eye contact she doesn’t look away.

“My name is Jack and I am really sorry about what happened. I would really like to buy you a cup of coffee and I promise not to spill it on you or trip you.”
This story was based upon the following prompt: What did the images mean to you?

Past submissions are listed below

Part of the he knows things collection which is only understood by those who read things twice and even then often misunderstood. 😉

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I Want To Die

I Want To Die
It was more than a little shocking to hear those words spoken aloud.

“I want to die.”

The pregnant pause afterwards confirmed that they were completely flabbergasted. No one had expected to hear that and the lack of protestation confirmed that they didn’t believe in the speaker’s sincerity.

Because you know that if they had taken it seriously there would have been an immediate response, they would have followed up on it, tried to ascertain what the problem was and how they could help.

At least that seems to be the obvious expectation, friends don’t sit there while you declare your readiness to end your corporeal existence. And if they do, well either you are a drama queen or you need to get new friends.

A cry for help is a cry for help. Silence is not the answer, but then again maybe it is. After all they say that people who are truly intent on committing suicide don’t really spell it out, they do it. They act upon their desires.

And the desire to kill one self can be far more powerful than anyone cares to admit or believe. When you don’t have a concrete reason to believe that there is anything after this it makes it much easier to see death as being a respite from the pain, a well-earned vacation.

“I want to die.”

It is one thing to think it, but once you verbalize it, actually speak the words it takes on new meaning. It becomes more real and you find yourself considering the various methods you can use to commit the deed.

Having a morbid sense of humor it is easy to see what the police would call it:

Homicide against yourself

C’mon now, you know that it is worth a chuckle. Ok, maybe not, but life is lacking, you’re not exactly burning up the fun meter. Sadness, depression, frustration and anger are different, you own those feelings, and you just know that somewhere there is a dictionary with your picture in it.

For a time there are the thoughts about what your loss would do to the family and the world. Suicide may not be as painless as advertised. You think about how the wife and kids will fare and wonder if your parents will feel responsible. It is almost enough to keep you from trying to pull the trigger. It is almost enough to prevent you from making that first cut, but the blistering pain and the empty, hollow feeling push those thoughts out of your head.

Now all you really want to do is find an escape from the madness. It doesn’t matter whether you are truly mentally ill or something else. The pain and misery make you spend much of the day doubled over, wishing you were comatose.

The light of the sun isn’t a pleasure, it is torture. Laughter and smiles from others torture your soul further. Your anger is fueled by seeing how others are happy and knowing that you can’t share in their happiness.

So the moment comes when you start to entertain the idea of letting go. You play around with ways and means, consider what your note will say, if anything. You can’t really explain it, so you don’t bother to do much.

A simple note that says “Elvis has left the building” will suffice. Or maybe it should read “will the last person to leave remember to turn out the lights.”

End of story; fade to black and utter silence.

+++++

Suicide is supposed to be painless and maybe if I believed it to be true I might consider it more seriously, but I don’t.

I don’t really want to die but I don’t have too many options. The man on the other end of that call isn’t going to let me stick around. I don’t care what promises he makes or whose life he swears upon.

He is lying and I know better.

I know it because I used to be him. The guys he works for are the same men I used to report to and they won’t ever forget what happened or let anyone else think I got over on them.

This can only go one of two ways and no matter how it goes death wins. That old bag of bones is going to get his quart of blood and then some.

It is just a matter of time before they force me out in the open or before I decide to take action.

All I can do is weigh the pros and cons and try to decide what gives me the best chance of making it out.

This isn’t like the movies. I won’t be able to go in guns blazing and kill all the bad guys. I can’t call my old army buddy, the one who managed to stay out of trouble and just so happens to a colonel who can call in an air strike.

All I can do is make them bleed and hope it is enough to make them go away. I suggested as much on the telephone and the new guy laughed.

Can’t say I was surprised because I would have laughed too. It is part posturing and part reality. One against a 100 isn’t ever something that works in real life, especially when they are willing to use your family against you.

I have seen hard men go soft. Unless they are a true sociopath they always give in.

The guys I used to work for learned from the Taliban. Make a man cook his kid and eat them and they will do what you want.

Sick and gruesome doesn’t describe it.

+++++

Sometimes death is preferable to facing this sort of decision, but I am too stubborn and maybe too stupid.

I called him back and told him I was coming to visit and then the doorbell rang.

They were here.

+++++

The scariest monsters aren’t the kind that look like Godzilla or the demons you find in the paintings of the old masters. They are frightening, but they aren’t terrifying.

Terrifying is a label you apply to the people who look like you and me but are willing to do the most unspeakable things.

Terrifying is what you call a child who has been taught to use a spoon to scoop out an eyeball from a live person and eat it in front of them without a care in the world.

But these words don’t express that in a sense that you can truly appreciate.

You may think you can imagine it but until you see it and experience it you haven’t any real idea what it is like.

So you go about your day thinking about how pleasant the sun feels on your back and how blue the sky is never realizing the monsters of the dark you always feared were never as bad as those that wander during daylight.

It took a long time for me to wrap my brain around it and when I did the horror of it what I had become and what I had been a part of swallowed me whole.

The worst part, assuming it was possible to dissect horror into pieces was the feeling that I was drowning in a three inch puddle of water.

All I had to do was raise or turn my head and I would be saved.

It was the easiest thing to do and the most impossible task ever.

Maybe that is why death seemed preferable and the lesser of two evils. Is redemption truly available for everyone?

I wasn’t so sure but I also wasn’t a theologian so I couldn’t and wouldn’t try to answer it.

The bigger problem was I never did know how to just give up either, so when they arrived I didn’t just roll over.

Editor’s Note: This story ran here first and was modified today.

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I’m Breaking Up With You

“I am breaking up with you. We are done. You need to move on.”

He shook his head and laughed.

“You can’t break up with me, we weren’t together.”

“Yes, we were. You know it. Stop being a jerk.”

“I am not being a jerk, I am saying you can’t break up with me because there is nothing to break up.”

She rolled her eyes.

“The romance is over. You need to move on.”

He rolled his eyes back at her.

“Does that mean it is wrong for me to ask for a blowjob now. Or wait, do I get sex and a blowjob. I am not 18 any more but I promise I can get it back up pretty quickly. Hey, you know that is true from experience.”

He watched her eyes narrow and waited for the explosion he was sure that was coming.

“Whenever you don’t like what I say you ignore it. I am telling you to stop ignoring it.”

“I am not ignoring it. I am paying close attention to the fact that you didn’t say no. Let’s make this fight really memorable and then have some great make up sex.”

“GO FUCK YOURSELF!”

He laughed.

“Baby, I just told you that iti s you I want to fuck. You are much more fun to do than me. I bore myself. I always know exactly where I am going to put my hands and how. There is no excitement there.”

She didn’t take kindly to his response but he didn’t care. Maybe he should have paid more attention to the flames shooting from her nostrils, but he just didn’t.

Two hours later they had gone their separate ways but she hadn’t let go of the fight. He received multiple messages via text and email telling him where he could go and what he could do.

“YOU BETTER STOP IGNORING ME!”

“You don’t get to tell me what to do, unless you choose to cash in your ‘suck my dick now’ card.”

“I WAS BEING NICE! I WILL NEVER SPEAK WITH YOU AGAIN!”

“It is hard to talk with your mouth full.”

He wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get a response to his last comment. Ok, that is not true, he was a little because that was the point of the last remark to get a reply.

It was like pulling a girl’s pigtails and probably just as mature.

“Well buddy you are in the thick of it now. If she didn’t mean it you gave her a reason to. Probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do.”

He rolled his eyes at his own internal monologue and replied out loud.

Nope, not smart at all but if she did mean it there is nothing lost and if she didn’t, well fuck what was I supposed to do just shut up and listen.”

This time the internal monologue chose silence but it didn’t stop him from speaking again.

“And for his next trick of derring-do, our hero will pour Tabasco sauce across open sores and stick needles in his eyes. All smart moves made by a smart man. Or maybe he’ll figure out how to hibernate like a bear for six or ten years.

You may not be a smart man, but you do know how to live an interesting life, stupid, but interesting.”

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