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

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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

 

 

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.

 

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keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos

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I went out between rain showers to stock up for the next few days

and my guy was in there, doing his thing, selling the booze, chatting up the customers

I got my stuff, he showed me a stash of a rare minibottle that I covet

He said he saved it just for me, and you know, just for a minute, I thought that we are more than just customer and clerk. He thought of me when I wasn’t there.  In my pathetic isolation, I believed that.

But it was ok in the end.  I told him I needed to write today, and he said, today is a good day to make some great poetry, what with the rain, the grey skies, and a couple of pops of liquor to lubricate the wheels, I mean, that’s what I do when I want to create.

And in that moment, we connected. He said, your eyes are twinkling today.  I said, you look about sixteen with your new glasses. He said, write about it!  It’s a good day to write!

In the half dark, I write.  The rain falls soft, then hard. The tv murmurs in a back room. And I write.  I write. The booze sits untouched, waiting for a celebration or maybe a wake, but the words come

strong and sharp and cut me to the quick.

 

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You wanna know what’s sad?  I’ll tell you what’s sad.

It’s sad knowing that your cosmic twin, thirty years younger and fifty pounds lighter, is

sitting in an apartment in a giant, never sleeping city

feeling just as alone and isolated as you are, but she

still has hope.  She thinks she’s jaded, but she’s not.  She thinks she’s weary, but

she doesn’t know yet of the soul-crushing exhaustion of chronic empty bank accounts and crummy lovers and shitty food

She has no idea what despair is, and that’s a good thing because her still pure soul would disappear with the realization that nobody cares. Not really.

Imma tell that girl, my cosmic twin, to make friends with her isolation because it’s gonna be there for good.  Imma tell her that despair isn’t so bad when it’s a catalyst.  Broken dreams pave the way to reality. Imma tell her to drink the good booze when she’s flush and the shitty stuff when she’s broke.

I know she won’t listen, because she holds out hope that it gets better.  She has to believe it gets better, otherwise, she will shatter into a million pieces, maybe end up pushing a grocery cart and feeding pigeons with the crumbs in her homemade dreads, drinking buzzballs, collapsing into a heap in the park.

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keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos

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Wondering where the dream went.

If she’s lucky, she will claw her way out to the other side and sit under a bare bulb over the kitchen table, thinking about her younger cosmic twin just starting out, sipping a fine microbrew and sending not good vibes but survival vibes.

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keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos

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There are certain foods that can cause vivid, lucid dreams and nightmares.  I have a wild time with tomatoes.

The acid rewires my brain and causes some of the strangest dreams I’ve ever had.  Tonight was no exception.

After four homemade tacos, my body wanted to lie down for just a bit.  As my body is getting older and thus deserves all the respect, I acceded to its wishes.

In that ninety minute nap, I dreamed of electrodes fastened to my body while I entertained that weightless feeling one gets when the plane descends for a landing.  I was dredging up memories for a therapist, which I obliged, recounting happy times, sad times, all flashing like a newsreel with missing frames.  I was narrating, of course.  The therapist gave me a hug, and I felt warm and safe, sharing all these secrets with her.  I have no idea what these memories actually were, but they didn’t feel nearly as devastating as waking memories do.  Small thing to be grateful for, nevertheless.

At some point, I started talking.  Out loud.  For several minutes.  I woke myself up.

I got up, rubbed my face, noticed both cats staring at me, and the little one had her patented wide-eyed “you gonna eat me?” look.

Jane called from her room.  “You OK?”

“Yeah, why?”

“You were talking away in there.”

“What was I saying?”

“I don’t know.  It was gibberish.  Lots of it.”

“I guess the cats understood.  They are right here.”

“Maybe so.”

At that, I landed with a thump, gathered my mythical baggage and trudged off to reclaim life.

 

The aching blue mountain sky rips out my heart and wraps me in a cold cocoon of despair that cleanses the palate of platitudes and uncomfortably warm enclosed spaces because I loved you and I left you.

I left you in the orange sunset of a fall Sunday when your pain hard as plaque in my veins moved me to remove the source of your pain.

You surprised me.  You moved in circles, you searched for yourself.  You found yourself.

I am distantly happy that you found your place.  As for me, I will move along like a lone pinball, ringing some bells and causing upheaval. I gave away my compass, my true north. I rejected the notion that love conquers all to find a misplaced noble sacrifice.  Perhaps it was a coward that set you free.  Perhaps it was not a martyr.

The veneer of adulthood wears thin after a few decades. There’s a pause that sounds like a hiccup in the middle of a weather forecast.  It resets thoughts.  It rearranges beliefs.

Maybe it’s overwhelming, contemplating the vastness of life and realizing that my significance has no more weight than the dot at the end of this sentence.  Maybe I shrink at some visceral level to keep claim to “me”.

I am a stranger who may or may not exist without the largesse of other strangers who believe that I, in fact, am here, in all my crazy, continually failing glory.

A terrible sadness overwhelms me at times when reverence and serene solitude are the expected emotional states.  That muddy and dark grief is a lonely blacktop that unrolls as far as my eye comprehends. It always appears like a faithful mourner that shows up to every funeral because it’s supposed to show up.

Where it comes from–who knows?  I have determined that I must make friends with it, hold it close to my heart and no longer treat it as an adversary to be conquered but a worthy opponent deserving of vigilant respect.

 

 

Where is the middle ground between my loving altogether in the whole sense

and walking an ascetic life?

It’s no accident gurus and crones are long in the tooth

It takes decades to learn anything in this life

Anything that is worth a damn, anyway

Those of us who claim to be forever youthful and therefore excused from

learning lessons and little grievings of maturity, mortality

whistle through the day with a jaunty tip of the cap and a nod in toasting

We, the orphaned children of Pan, we winking curmudgeons,

for us, there is no middle ground for anything

and I’m fucking grateful for that

This depression spreads more like a slough or a valley of barren dusty bowls of tinny wind chimes and

wind that whistles through a crevice or two in trusting minds that all will be fine if one just keeps on

through just one more day and one more night

Really?  Another day of this muddy cloud?  Another hour of active, yearning boredom for comfortable satisfaction?

The arid sunset promises another day of static from mortality

that whispers in that bare murmur of voices that grow louder

with every death of a past lover, a beloved relative

The tongue of grief is sharp, lashing out wildly while

soft righteous regret smells like burning natural gas from

an iron stove that used to bake biscuits and boil stock pots

of beans flavored with tasty bacon grease

Hang on just one more day, I say

slog through one more hour

chew just one more kernel of popcorn

that tastes of tears and stereotypes