Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One More Book to Read

There will always be one more book to be read.  Always be one more song to be sung and one more dance to be shared in the strong, sheltering arms of somebody who cares.  There’s nothing remarkable about that…and yet it’s one of the most remarkable things about this sweet old world of ours. 

Time and history and memory flow on taking scant heed of our brief turns yet, at the same time, holding our being…our fleeting, eternal being…forever safe even after the energy that was us had found new purchase and the shell that was us has returned to Gaea’s tender embrace.

There will always be one smile to feel.  And there will always be one more tear to be shed and one more passionate whisper to be breathed into the heart and the sheltering soul of somebody who cares, somebody you care about.  There will always be one more kiss…carnal and chaste…one more healing sigh born of passion, sweat, and orgasm.

There will always be one more baby smiling, one more hand to hold, one more mountain to climb, one more nightmare to be overcome, one more dream…however improbable…to reach out for with all of the might in our fragile, indomitable bodies and souls.

The universe flows…as it ever has, as it ever will…and dust goes back to dust, light goes back to light.  And there will always…always…be one more book to read.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Believe (Easter Refrain)

I believe in the light everlasting…in the universe unbounded and ever-changing.  I believe in the glory of music and magic, the power of dreams and imagination, the necessity of tears and heartache, and the redemption of passion and compassion.

I believe in the truth of the moment and the fluidity of the past and the certainty of the sprawling future.  I believe moments are precious…minutes are eternal…days are short…years are quicksilver…I believe that time is the healer, the destroyer, the cradle of human existence. 

I believe in love when my heart seems filled beyond capacity…I believe in love when my heart seems empty beyond despair.  I believe in love…and in hate.  I believe in joy…and in anger.  I believe in justice…and in forgiveness. 

I believe in faith…and wondering.  I believe in the existence of foolish war…and the certainly of reborn peace.  I believe in the divinity of mortality and the humanity of the divine.

I believe that I am God…and you are God…and we are God…and God is all of us living, all of us who have died, all of us who are yet to be born.  I believe that God, however simply or complexly you conceive of that universal balance, is.

I believe that we are fleeting in the ken of the universe.  I believe that we are eternal in the tapestry of the universe.

I believe…in the light everlasting.

I believe…in love and being.

I believe…


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Beautiful Woman Next Door

The beautiful woman next door didn’t seem to know that she was beautiful.  He found that sad…and endearing.  Sad because every beautiful woman…beautiful in all the wondrous, myriad ways that beauty touches in and radiates from women…should never have a doubt about that fact.  And endearing…gloriously, achingly endearing…because there was nothing quite as lovely as a beautiful woman lacking the vanity that would make her fret about being a beautiful woman.

Even in his numb shadows he saw her…she made his dark heart skip beats he thought he would never feel again; the shy enigma of her Mona Lisa smile made him see light that he would never see again; the tender mystery in her soft dark eyes made him dream dreams he thought he’d given up once and for all.

He wondered what it would be like to be her confidant…someone she felt comfortable enough to share secrets and hidden smiles and shy tears with…to be her strong shoulder…when her own strength waned and she needed someone  take up the slack;  he wondered what it would be like to be her friend…someone to stroke her hair, someone to give safe harbor, someone who could trust her with his secrets; he wondered what it would be like to be her lover…someone allowed to kiss her tender lips, someone blessed enough to hold her tight and feel her heart beating in time with his own.

He wondered…and then he smiled at his foolish hubris…she was so close and yet so far away, safe in a cocoon of reticence and mystery and, yes, beauty…gentle, endearing, seemingly untouchable beauty. 

The beautiful woman next door didn’t seem to know that she was beautiful.  But he did.  And he gloried in that.  And he cherished that.  And sometimes…just sometimes…he coveted that.  Because there’s nothing quite as wondrous as an angel shimmering in mortal form….because there was nothing quite as lovely as a beautiful woman lacking the vanity to fret even truly realize...that she was indeed a very beautiful woman.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Pretender

Nobody seemed to see how sad the Pretender was.  He presumed that nobody really cared…though part of him remained hopefully enough…arrogant enough…to presume that it really wasn’t completely so.

The Pretender, resplendent in blue and black, thought of himself as a hero…a super-hero, in fact….and sometimes…just sometimes…he was just that.

And sometimes…too often for comfort…he was not.  Sometimes he was a charlatan…a deluded charlatan in a silly costume.  And he knew it…though he didn’t always consciously acknowledge that fact.

It was often hard to know when the one…the self-sacrificing hero…left off and the other…the sad, vainglorious charlatan…began.  Most times the Pretender, living a life that wasn’t half as real as he liked to believe it was, didn’t want to know.

The Pretender, wearing a mask that seemingly worked better than he really wanted it to, stayed invisible in plain sight…swooping down to save the day and then disappearing into the shadows lingering long enough to try to hear some of the impassioned cheers he thought his heroism was supposed to give birth to. 

Nobody seemed to know how sad…how lonely and how angry and how defeated…the Pretender was.  But that was okay, most days the Pretender didn’t really know either.  He got up each day, put on his mask and his cape, and, disguised in blue and black, pretended to be part of the world. 

He was who he was.  A hero…even if only in his own mind; a charlatan…even if he only occasionally accepted that fact; he was, in his costume and his too-effective mask, the Pretender.  

150 Words: Proverbs

“Slow down…take a deep breath.  If you rush through life, life rushes through you.”

His friend frowned.  “What the hell is that?”

He smiled mischievously.  “It’s an ancient Chinese proverb…that I just made up…”

His friend sighed, shaking his head.  “Aren’t you clever?  If I don’t get this project done, my boss is gonna rush me right out the door.”

“But you’re running around like a chicken with his head cut off, what exactly are you getting done?”

His friend glared.  “I hate you.”

He chuckled warmly.  “I have that effect on people sometimes.  But you know that I’m right.”

His friend grinned wryly.  “Please enlighten me further, Master.”

He brushed off the sarcasm.  “A stitch in time saves nine.”

“Go to hell.”

“A watched pot never boils.”

“I’m not listening to you…”

“May you live in interesting times…”

“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”

“The early bird catches…”


Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I am a slave…a slave to memory…real and imagined.  

I am a thrall to bittersweet realities that I lived, subtly and overtly rewritten the way memories always are over the course of time, and a fool for the more golden remembrances of things which I know never happened but plaintively wished had.

I am a freeman and a slave just the same…a slave to my passions, as fickle and unfocused as they are so often…a slave to wanting the world…no, that’s not true…a slave to wanting MY world to make better sense…to cast me as the sage…the seeker…the lover…the blissful dreamer…the contented soul that I like to imagine myself to be when the moon is low and my scrupulously erected barriers have begun to crumble a little.

I am a slave to dreams…a slave to sorrow and bitterness…a slave to hope and laughter…a slave to the notion that all lost love was the healing love recognized just a heartbeat after it had vanished into the mist of the ever present past…a slave to recrimination, fair and too often unfair, that lingers long after it should have faded into the ether.

I am a child of fleeting light…a child of abiding shadows that I long ago stopped expecting anyone else to truly understand. 

I am a child…I am a man…a freeman of color living in a cool, sometimes cold gray world…dreaming in a warm, always welcoming world of soft, flowing color…blue and gold, red and green, burnt orange and royal violet…black and white…

I am a freeman.  I am a fool.  I am a dreamer.  I am an illusionist.  I am a master of all I imagine. 

I am a thinker.  I am an idiot.  I am a hero.  I am a coward.  I am special.  I am not special at all.

I am a slave.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Every Morning

Every morning, a little bird…hidden in the pre-dawn shadows of the big tree across the Circle…sings the first song of morning, calling…hopefully, plaintively, unabashedly…until, eventually, a distant, sleepy reply comes.  Until, eventually, more distant, sleepy responses sing out in the cool morning air and the conversation, musical and gossipy, begins in earnest.

Every morning, an old man, bundled against the chill before sunrise, comes down New Salem Street walking his happy little dog.  The old man’s pace is brisk and sure; the little dog, his tail wagging, his head held high, effortless keeps pace.  The old man cuts through the darkness with a tiny white light shining from his cap.

Every morning, the trees sway in the lazy breeze…every morning, the stars seem to fade away as the sun’s first tentative fingers of light turn the indigo horizon to a softer shade of darker blue.  Every morning, one neighbor…holding her robe securely…comes out to see where the newspaper guy has casually tossed her copy of the Union-Tribune that day.

Every morning…every weekday morning…my next door neighbor, walking briskly, gets into her car for the journey to her job.  She smiles shyly (I can’t see her face in the shadows but she always smiles shyly) and offers a soft greeting…”Good morning, Michael”…before she backs out of the driveway and, with a little wave, drives off into her day.

Every morning…every weekday morning…my neighbor directly across the Circle yawns as he clambers into his big white truck, waves and nods in the way men do, and roars off towards his own day; the neighbor next to him does likewise with a black truck that growls even deeper than the first one.

Every morning, life slowly rouses itself on Whitehall Circle…slowly rouses itself all around the city…singing and yawning, waving and smiling shyly…while the softly rising sun, slowly but surely, turns the sky from black towards blue.  Every morning…

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Sailor and the Butterfly (a fable)

The butterfly danced with the sailor for a brief, eternal season.   He cherished her…the strong, delicate, luminously beautiful butterfly…but not nearly as much as he should have (ever and always the fool he.) 

The sailor tried to keep her close while, fear and foolishness ever his dour companions, also keeping her at arm’s length…he watched her shimmering soft and blue, a sailor on celestial wing, in the bright sun of sweet summer and the sparkling stars of quiet autumn.

The butterfly danced, leaving kisses and perfume on his cheeks, and waited as patiently as she could.  And then, of course, she couldn’t wait any longer…time passed by, seas led to other, more golden shores…and she flew away…leaving music in her wake and sad sweet light in his heart.

He was sad and happy when she found a place that truly cherished her…sad and happy when the butterfly nestled into the garden she always deserved…sad and happy that she was with many even though none of them were him. 

And the sailor whispered…on the wandering wind…”I loved you more than I ever said.”

And the sailor whispered…on the wayward wind…”I’m so happy that you’re safe and happy.”

And the sailor whispered…on the wondrous, wondering wind…”Please forgive my coward’s heart.  Please forgive me for not cherishing you as much I should have.”

And the sailor whispered…on the wafting, whispering wind…and prayed that the butterfly, dancing contentedly in her garden, heard…and knew…and sometimes, just sometimes, saved a fond prayer for him.