Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Garden

The garden always mocks me for the fool that I ready know that I am. I go there…the same time, give or take an impudent minute or so, everyday. I sit on the stone bench, letting the breeze tickle what’s left of my thinning hair, letting the sun play solitary games of hide-and-seek through the gnarled branches of the liquid amber.

I sit and read…pulp fiction and comic books, biographies of serial killers, pop culture nonsense, English translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez…read so I don’t have to think.

But think I do just the same.

I think about crying the night I ran away from home and shivered through a long night on a windswept beach….I think about the ones I “loved” without ever having the guts to find out what if heart had purchase with theirs…I think about never kissing my father…I think about never apologizing to my mother for being a barrier between her and new love long after my father had flitted away to what he foolishly imagined were greener pastures…I think about hating and loving my brother for living as he chose to and I think about hating him for dying the incredibly stupid and heartbreaking way he did…I think about the last time I really cried…I think about the last time I really smiled…I think about thinking.

And I think about whores and scoundrels.

I smile ruefully as I read…pulp fiction, serial killers, Marquez…and think about the scoundrels I’ve known…the scoundrels I’ve been…think about the whores I’ve known…the whores I’ve been…the whores I’ve slept with. No, that’s a lie…I never slept with any of them…I had hollow, humid sex with them and then I went home and slept alone. I always slept alone. I think about the sterile sanctity of my bed…of my heart…and I tell myself that it’s all right…I tell myself that it’s just so.

The garden always mocks me…the breeze carrying its perfumes of rose petals and maple leaves and casual hubris through me and on out into the world…as I read…comic books, soap opera given gravitas by time and acclaim, Senor Marquez…and think.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Batwoman and Supergirl

Batwoman and Supergirl showed up at my doorstep in the cool gray of the late July afternoon. I hadn’t seen Batwoman in years and I had never met Supergirl at all. The Yankee lesbians from Frisco…as I insisted on calling them (they only took umbrage at the “Frisco” part…some people from San Francisco are apparently very touchy about that)…had come south to be as one with their people at the annual Comic-Con only to find that their lodgings were not in place.

Southern (California) hospitality being what it is I did not hesitate to invite them in and soothe their parched throats with generous glasses of sweet tea.

Yes, I said before Batwoman (who had actually called ahead) could ask, the intrepid heroines could stay in my sanctum sanctorum for the night (their lodgings in the gay enclave of Hillcrest…much closer to the downtown Convention Center than my house… would be available to them the next day.)

I was rewarded with grateful hugs and kisses on each cheek…one scented with mint (menthol cigarette smoke and breath spray) and the other with chocolate (the new M&M’s with pretzels.)

The cats had disappeared to wherever they disappear to when strange voices are about…save for Bart, of course, who casually sauntered out to see who the newcomers were and if they had anything for him. Batwoman retrieved two bags from their well-traveled SUV while Supergirl went into the bathroom to shower off the long hours they had spent on the road.

I fed them leftover chicken and new potatoes and then Batwoman and I talked about old times while Supergirl happily perused by CD and comic book collections and occasionally asked me about the people in the many framed photos on the walls of the family room and the front room.

Being a gallant Southern gentleman, I gave the Yankee lesbians from Frisco my bed (the only comfortable bed in the house) and I slept on the couch (much to the curiosity and delight of the cats who found “charming” ways to keep me company during the night.)

In the morning I made coffee (I don’t drink it but I keep some in the freezer for company) and Supergirl made French toast. They put on their faces, threw on their costumes, and…with more hugs and more kisses…the caped crusaders were off to join the Comic-Con throng.

Excelsior.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That Day That We Forgot We Knew was Coming

The sky shattered into a million azure pieces,

glittering soft in the soft summer sun

it rained down on the world

and threatened to drown the people looking up.


It was that day that we forgot we knew was coming.


The sky sang potent backstreet blues

moaning languidly as innocence laughed

and the rain turned into floods

that threatened to drown the people swimming.


It was that day that we forgot we knew was coming.


The sky fell to the weary unsurprised earth,

destroying and creating in the same moment,

new flowers pushing out as rains moved on

taking the people who once were masters.


It was that day that we forgot we knew was coming.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Painted from Memory

The softness of a warm, pliant breast…the haughty, demanding allure of a taut nipple…the sleek line of a gentle muscle…the anxious nectar of a playfully stolen kiss…the strength of graceful, ardent arms across shoulders…the wounding vulnerability of a guilelessly earnest lovers’ glance…they tumble together, they tumble together in a heady admixture of memory and fancy…they tumble together and come out in ways that suits today’s needs.

The lips that smell of jasmine and cherry wine, the smutty endearments that bring smiles and stolen breath, the soft tangle of hair on my probing fingers, the taste of strawberries and honey in unexpected crevices and tender corners…they tumble together in giddy remembrances of passion and love and dreams…they tumble together, rainbow and sepia strokes writing and rewriting the stories in ways that brings humid smiles and affectionate erections.

They tumble together…these paintings and pictures, these movies and tone poems…coming together…painted from memory…painted for posterity….they tumble together…they tumble together...


Thursday, July 15, 2010

150 Words: Humid

Imagine that, she thought with some languid amusement, it’s too hot to screw. Even for us. That’s gotta be some kind of something.

The air in the dark bedroom was thick, cloying, making their naked bodies glisten in the timid tendrils of moonlight sneaking through the open window. They were huddled against opposite edges of the bed, backs to each other, pretending to be asleep.

Sometimes summer can be an evil bitch, she thought as she contemplated the vague ache in her loins; she was randy but not so much that she wanted someone pressing close to her, slipping deep into her, making her sweat anymore than she already was…goddamn…goddamn…goddamn…

Imagine that, closing her eyes and taking in the liquid air in slow sips; closing her eyes and resisting the urge to touch herself…resisting the urge to defy the heat and cross the chasm, make the shy moon blush…too hot…damn…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waiting

What am I doing?
I'm waiting.

I'm waiting for the new sun to shine.
I'm waiting for the old moon to smile down.
I'm waiting for the wind to caress.
I'm waiting for eyes to light up just for me.
I'm waiting for a brand new song for a brand new dance.
I'm waiting for that tomorrow I was promised a long time ago.

I'm waiting.

I'm waiting to have more strength.
I'm waiting to not have to be so strong.
I'm waiting for more bright laughter.
I'm waiting for less bitter tears.
I'm waiting for the end of the mundane world.
I'm waiting for a new beginning to keep me safe and warm.

I'm waiting.

I'm waiting for magic to flow.
I'm waiting for the universe to make better sense.
I'm waiting to be first in line.
I'm waiting for a spark for the cooling ember of my heart.
I'm waiting for a new wisdom.
I'm waiting for my foolish soul to at last stop waiting.

I'm waiting.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Sergeant

The sergeant didn’t smile…he just didn’t have it in him…he just sat, folding his long, sturdy frame into my favorite chair barely able to contain him. He wanted his eyes to be steely…he was a Marine after all and that’s the way they were "supposed" to be…but they were liquid and wounded despite his best efforts to the contrary.

I sat quietly on the sofa. He would talk when he could. I would not invade his emotional space until when…or if…he was ready.

“I’m not a pussy,” he said, apropos of nothing. He was fit and square-jawed, his hair was cut high and tight, he was all masculine presence and military bearing…nobody would mistake him for a pussy.

I sat quietly. I knew he had come because a mutual friend…a woman, a Marine, we were both friends with...had told him that I was a good listener, a trustworthy confidant. I had no idea what he wanted to talk about…and we were not really friends… but I would listen if he wanted to talk.

The sergeant bolted his feet. “This was a mistake. Look, man, I’m sorry to have wasted your time.” He looked at me but made no move to leave.

“It’s cool.” I stood up and closed the space between us. “If you need to go, then go.” I paused and, tentatively, I reached over and patted his arm. “But if you need to stay, then…please…stay, I’ve got plenty of time…”

The sergeant stared at me…I wasn’t sure if he wanted to run…to laugh…to hit me…to burst into tears…and then, very subtly, he nodded. It was as close to “thank you” as he could muster in the moment.

I stepped back across the room…shooing the curious cat out of the room as I did so…and sat back on the couch.

The sergeant still didn’t smile…there was no laughter in his eyes…but he sat down in my favorite chair…and, hesitantly, he began to talk...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

150 Words: Joy

I remember joy.

Joy used to breathe light into my laughter as I walked in the sun…as I held deep conversations with inquisitive people not too long out of the womb.

Joy used to whisper in my heart whenever I looked into the eyes of someone who shined a little brighter when we were together.

Joy used to take my breath away when I kissed someone who kissed me back, lips tingling with energy and anticipation and longing…kissed someone with the rough gentleness that only real lovers know and appreciate.

I remember joy…joy danced with me, flirted with me, comforted me, joy let passion and love and lust explode through me in the humid shelters of the night and warm, welcoming lips and limbs.

I remember joy…joy was a boon companion of mine…I wonder where joy has gotten to…I wonder when joy will come home again…

Yeah, I remember joy.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Everybody's Got the Right to Love

Playing the Supremes on a cool July morning…trying to break through the suddenly stubborn grayness within and without…reminded of summer days of my youth putting a stack of 45’s on the record player and turning the volume up and dancing along…air guitar in hand, invisible microphone at the ready…and losing myself in the music.

It makes me a little happy.

It makes me a little sad.

It makes wistful for times gone and hopeful for times to come.

A step gone…but a decent enough step still present just the same…I catch the beat, smile at the bass line, and sing along with the mighty Ms. Jean Terrell…”everybody’s got the right to love”…yeah, I’d like to believe that’s still true…and sometimes I honestly do (positive madness is the best madness :-)

(I couldn't find a video for the song but clicking on the title above will take you to a place hosting the song in question.)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Crazy

He sat in the oppressive, welcoming solitude of his room staring at the wall and holding back acid tears. Maybe I’m going crazy, he thought, finding some solace in the contentment he imagined that being mad might bring; maybe I’m already crazy and just am the last one to know.

He woke with light flowing through his being…full of energy and purpose…but, seemingly out of the blue, the light faded and the grayness consumed him before the morning was done. He was tired. He was achy. And he was sad…profoundly, unfathomably sad…and he couldn’t put his finger on why. Or, more likely, he didn’t want to put his finger on the many reasons why. Didn’t matter, it was what it was…and it had no outlet.

There was no one to talk to…no one who would really listen…only those who would hear just a little and then turn the conversation back to their own concerns. That was okay most of the time…his life was filled with attentive listening, it was the one thing people both loved and resented him for…but in that moment he just couldn’t bear it.

So he sat…in the oppressive, welcoming, bitter solitude of his room staring at the ceiling and holding back self-pitying tears. Maybe it would be more peaceful being mad…being freed from the shackles of his life, blissfully unaware of nothing more portentous than the passing of days and the songs of windborne birds…maybe crazy people had no communion with sadness…with isolation…with self-doubt and self-pity.

Maybe.

But I’m not crazy, he thought ruefully, and I guess I don’t really wish I were. But sometimes…sometimes…

He sat in the oppressive, welcoming, bitter, safe solitude of his room staring out the window and holding back un-manful tears…maybe he needed to hit something…maybe he needed to kiss someone with passionate abandon…maybe he needed to let slip the tears and let the sadness wash out of him…maybe he needed to go a little bit crazy so he could return to being a little bit sane.

Maybe…

He shrugged and chuckled at his hubris. With a sigh he closed his eyes and sat back. This too, he knew from experience, would pass. This too would pass.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

America

America doesn’t always live up to its promise. But its promise is still something worth striving for…worth dreaming of…worth fighting and dying for if need be. I am a cynical patriot but I am indeed a patriot and no one can gainsay that fact.

Blind, unthinking loyalty to anything or anyone is a fool’s path; knee-jerk disavowal of everything this country thinks it is...everything this country wants to be…is also a fool’s path. As with most things in this world, the truth lies somewhere in between strident, inflexible extremes…this is certainly true here in America…our generous, arrogant, na├»ve, myopic, our hard-hearted and inflexible, open-minded and open-hearted America… our complex , often marvelously and infuriatingly so, America.

Here in the 21st Century, America is looking for its way…we’re fighting wars on distant soils and building walls on our borders…we’re reeling still from the knowledge that our shores are not immune from terror and chaos and sudden brutal deaths by the score; we are a nation united by history, hubris, and hope…we are a nation fractured along ever-fluid lines of politics, race, religion, pride, and culture.

We are America…for better and for worse…in times of peace and in times of war…in times of joy and pride and in times of sorrow and shame…in times when the rest of the world (rightly or wrongly) celebrates us and in times when the rest of the world (rightly or wrongly) reviles us.

We are America…the sons and daughters of many distant lands…the sons and daughters of adventurers and outcasts…the sons and daughters of slaves and freedmen…the sons and daughters of visionaries and madmen, of pirates and craftsmen, of warriors and peacemakers, of saints and scoundrels, of builders and destroyers, of emancipators and bigots, of heroes and villains…the sons and daughters of uncommon wizards and countless everyday folk…

We are America…we don’t always live up to our promise…maybe we never will completely…but it’s our birthday and attention must be paid just the same.




Thursday, July 01, 2010

150 Words: Hungry Heart

The old man listened intently. The boy was babbling but the old man knew he needed to babble so he listened intently and patiently.

The boy…the younger man really…went on about his anger, his disappointments, his heartaches, his fruitless search to find someone who will love him the way he wants and needs to be loved. The boy admitted some hubris and even some foolishness; he admitted some fantasy and some darkness of which he was reluctant to speak of in greater detail.

The old man nodded, puffed thoughtfully on his pipe, and listened intently, patiently.

And when the boy ran out of words he looked into the old man’s face. “So what do you think?”

The old man let slip a fragrant cloud of smoke and looked into the boy’s eyes. “Everybody’s got a hungry heart.” The old man stood up, patted the boy’s shoulder and walked away humming.



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