scenic view of mountains during dawn
Photo by Stephan Seeber on Pexels.com

 

This morning, I arrived at the intersection of mortality and denial.  The past, present, and future sat at a cafe table, sipped lattes, and watched as my steps became hesitant.

The past delicately placed a five on the table.  “My money’s on knowledge.  She’s seen this one before and chose–well, if not wisely, then correctly.”

Present added a fiver. “I don’t know. Lately, she’s been just waiting and not doing. I’m going with what I see now.”

Future smirked and placed a ten under the cold candle. “You all know I have to cover both positions.”

I looked both ways and sighed. There must be a third choice I cannot yet see.  Frost may have gotten it wrong. I took out my notebook and started writing down the possibilities.

Wings sprouted from my shoulders and lifted me up, over the intersection, over the obstacles, away from the cafe. From above, I could see both roads.  I clutched my notebook to my chest and smiled. So, the writer’s way, then.

A passing waiter collected the money off the table and smiled at the trio staring openmouthed as I disappeared.

“It’s a push. Better luck next time.”

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marsh

 

 

 

He tucked a cigarette behind his ear and stared at the blinding sand and the sad, blinding, dead-end strip of sand stared back

It knew it would win in the end

I watched his boot trace a silly amoeba, then dot a couple of eyes with the toe

and the sand stared back

There’s a silence in the country that pierces deep and dark and fills unsuspecting hearts with historical grief from hundreds of years of spilled blood and screams and ripped out hope

‘Stay here and suffer’ the silence begged. ‘Let it eat you alive, this soul stabbing pain’

He let the old rage come in and fill his body with pulsing red  He felt a high pitch of keening sorrow as it pushed aside the rage

it stabbed his lungs

He fell to the sand, the eternal sand

the wondrous grounding of soul came to quiet

He dipped a finger into the sand and tasted grit  tasted salt  tasted what was

what is  what will be

the beating of his heart remains connected to the sand

He felt dizzy and heard a drumbeat of the elders passing him a mantle

in the passing of a low rider

I dragged these boots through the mud for months

Through the beating sun

Through biting flies

Through circles of swamp and lonely cold beans in the can

Through dusty nameless plains of cactus and snakes

I fell to my knees

I stared at cool stars until the fever broke and rest came

I am, I go on, I am empty, I go crazy and try to touch the sky

I chew on solitude

It tastes like old leather

And aches of a sky so blue it snatches my breath away

There is no turning back from these atrocities. There is no “I was just joking” minimizing.

This is the pivot point. We either reclaim our humanity or we continue down hell’s path.

I spoke to a woman who was nonchalant. She said, I’m legal. I stared at her. She was engulfed in “I got mine.”

I shopped today, minding my place. White supremacy. It hangs on me like a spiderweb.

I don’t know how to shed it. But I can do something. I can be one among many.

I can be non-centered. This isn’t my world. I just live in it. I can speak out as a human.

I make it an awareness and a yoke.

It is. It is a sunset in the finite understanding of tarot card readers and icy cold beers drawn from a

tap.

What is inside curls like smoke to the air.

It bends in the darkness that has settled over this big, brawling country.

My tiny flame, other tiny flames will form the fateful lightning of a terrible, swift sword. And truth will march on…

I sling words with feeling without skimming on the surface like a cockroach across a puddle.

I get drunk and cry with my pen instead of writing about my tears.  Anyone can do that.

I drag myself through a slimy alley of darkness and live to keep it a secret.

I don’t have time to spout pretty words and platitudes and cocktail party phrases.

My life, my existence is this: every word counts.

Every stinking drop of sweat on this table is a poem. Every lamentation for lost vices pushes a limit. Every painful sunrise is a testament to being laid bare every night.

Every click of the compressor motor on the refrigerator counts down to the end, closer than the beginning, and I am alive to feel every second of it, taste every bitter dreg of it, lose myself in all the places where I don’t matter.

The afternoon breeze whipped a fly-spotted curtain into that peculiar fabric dance of letting go

I sweated and smoked, blew rings that vanished honorably like poets from decades ago flicked the same ashes as they thought drowsy thoughts and contemplated what words,

what words, what words

There aren’t any words.  There’s just the bottle that drips time down to the table.

Time.

And soon, as the sun sets with orange and purple twilight chomping at the bit to bring its brief blaze of glory, a glorious interlude between sweating and swearing and yearning

to cool streetlights, nature night sounds, rustlings of words that sneak by in the dark

little thieves of time and comfortable existence

I took a walk in the woods one day on a well-worn path dappled with shade and sun

beside the path, a quiet creek made its run

to the ocean, you say, but maybe to a thirsty belly or a still

 

The earth felt alive and laughing at my puny existence as I ground out the miles without a real sense of distance,

but miles went by.

I heard a hum, like the twang of a lonely banjo that slides in and out of the mountains after a midnight rain when the fog settles low

The hum of the earth, the world, the sentience of startling rocks that pace my path, not as stumbling blocks, but

guides to the secrets of the ground

If I only listen and dissolve my barriers of skin, mortal skin

 

 

When I walk out to the mailbox in my ratty shorts and the wrinkled shirt that I slept in

three days in a row

And my hair looks like I combed it with a leaf blower from the back

 

That’s when the neighborhood cop comes by and wants to chat about

just anything at all, because I look sketchy I guess

 

I don’t want to be rude, because there are times when I AM sketchy

 

I might need the goodwill, or even since I looked sketchy last week and

wasn’t, I’m not likely to be sketchy this week

 

Mental gymnastics are the most exercise this ole girl is gonna get any more

donation

keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos

$1.00

They say denial is not a river in Egypt.

Nope, it’s not.  It’s a cracked door that I hide behind, listening.

 

The easiest thing to do is nothing if you need to do something.

The hardest thing to do is nothing if you need to do nothing.

 

Yesterday is about as useful to me as tits on a boar hog.

A decade ago? Now, that’s a goldmine.

 

The two greatest smells are brewed coffee and fried anything.

Even liver smells like steak before it gets to the plate.

 

A cat can be a porcupine and a throw rug. At the same time.

 

donation

keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos

$1.00

 

I lost a day somewhere in the ether where beer, getting old, and christian holidays mix together in a stew of oh, I don’t know, maybe a lot of bullshit?

I was thinking today about how I want to be liked by strangers. Not loved, not desired. Liked.  As if my wellbeing depends on what some random piece of shit says to me. I feel guilty when slights occur, as if I have some kind of power over someone else to feel a certain way.  I thought about this when a friend of mine got dragged very harshly by some people and I wanted to defend her, but short of saying that they were scum sucking sociopaths, I was stumped.  Years ago, someone browbeat me in an online conversation that I was blindsided by and had no answer for, so I shut down. What I really wanted to do was go after the person with both fists and as many insults as I could hurl, but I didn’t.

It came to me that I was raised to be nice. Be nice. Be nice, put others first. Be nice, your wants don’t matter.  Be nice, don’t hurt others’ feelings. Be nice, excuse others’ behavior.

Be nice.

Be nice.

I turned into a doormat.  I turned into a pile of mush. I was weak-willed because of the constant admonition to be nice.  I sincerely regret that I took that to heart.  It caused me no end of trouble my whole life.  I became someone I am not. Be nice.

Be nice.

I admired in a limited way, people who spoke for themselves, ever mindful when they would fall off the “nice” track.  They were then bad, and therefore unworthy of my time or attention.

I see all this with a keen hindsight and no small amount of anger, but-no, I’m done being nice.  I’m done excusing my shitty upbringing. I’m done dealing with other people’s arrogance because for sure, I’m not storing jewels for my crown in heaven.  There is no passing grade.  This is it.

This thing called life is it.