On the Cross, Again

All day, today

I did something that didn’t matter

so that I would matter

these paperwork chains

cut me

and hold me

like a helpless

soul.

All the time must be wasted

so that I can go on living

and not worry

about the hard life

just waiting

for a really bad day.

I’m stuck to my work chair

dotting I’s and crossing T’s.

I’m on the cross

watching myself die

inside.

Getting off this cross

will mean

I’m Jesus Christ

and the only way to do that

is to save myself.

Although,

I know I’m not God

because I don’t want to save the world.

At 5 PM, it’s the darkest hour

it is finished

a sunshiny day

buried in the dark

recesses of my office

stuck to my work chair

dotting I’s and crossing T’s

that weren’t crossed

appropriately

and the stone

is never rolled away.

I’m guilty of wanting to trap beautiful things…

I breathe life into her

and she breathes life

into me

I am her body

every part of me

love, chooses us

like a Boquete of dancing flowers

like a morning

that has not yet come

or called our name.

there are things

of the mediocre

Averages

that average men

like spreadsheets.

Reaching for her

when she, is just out of reach.

I am surrounded by dead things

grasping for fantasies, I can place in a dingy cupboard.

Live things

don’t collect dust

they collect

light, sunset light

on waves of eternal play

they giggle

like whirlpool waters

laughing

on the way down.

Rich things

can be cold and damp

or warm, as the summer sun

Canary-yellow Ferrari

on blue Caribbean day

cobblestone streets

and Gelato.

I’m guilty of wanting to trap beautiful things

sweet things

tasty and smooth

black and yellow butterflies

dusty swallowtails

that swallow-up my soul

let me know what it tastes like

sensual delight

beautiful butterfly

I want to try on your wings

to fly with you

to make me feel alive

but I know

alive things fly with alive things

the sandy ocean

is for sandy ocean women.

I watch the alive things

it hurts to look at them

but I can’t look away

beauty is just out of reach

if we could only grab it

and hold onto it

without choking her

like a yellow rose

cut

and dying

in lukewarm water

breathing

in a dusty house.

I prefer to watch beautiful things

staying alive.

I’ll capture them in photographs

in my mind.

I won’t mount them

on satin or velvet

like a sexual conquest

with the needle piercing through.

I’ll let them be alive

free, and dancing

Alive, so different from me

I wish I could live with them

I wish I could be with her

Alive things grow in my soil

underground

she is every part of me

we might breathe the same air

if I was breathing

Give me the breath of life

so that I can breathe into you.

Right before you take the stage…

there is subtle pleasure

in what one

can live

without,

do

without.

well-ordered lives

are like personal bookshelves

filled with

important books.

Who are you

right before you take the stage

in front of dazzling lights?

the moments leading up to the big moment

matter

you can stuff yourself with so many things

and fill your schedule with so many dates

it’s a chronic problem

of the bored

and uninitiated

best, to fast

and rest

stop reading

stop thinking

stop eating

stop drinking

stop talking

stop trying

to solve

things.

you will be dead soon

lay in bed

and practice

what it feels like

to die

it might be more pleasant

than your busy

day.

I wish I could take advice…

I wish I could take advice

but I prefer to wish…

and the wishes I make

take me far away.

I’m discovering why I do things—

the real reasons

only I know.

It’s a mystery

that unravels.

Few people care

Fewer,

have adequate theories.

We gain meaning

when we decide

the secrets that matter.

You can tell someone why you do things

and they will say…

“No, you’re wrong. This is why…”

Being figured out

by a contradiction

is worse

than your own self-opinion.

I could never trust my parent’s advice

but now I know

they’re

more or less

right.

It’s impossible to accept

understanding

when you aren’t ready for it

So, let a fool

find out

from his foolishness

the man

who loves to eat

grows fatter

I look into the mirror

it doesn’t lie

unlike

my own

self-opinion.

A wise man does not try to be superior

because there is no middle

bottom

or top

His chess skills

don’t qualify him to lead an army

even if

it’s tempting

to believe.

The Shift

I find myself in the waiting state of mind

where boredom creeps in

like a thief.

I spend most of my time

here

in the Boring State

where it’s crowded

where most people

don’t recognize their neighbors.

I watch them

walking and talking

in their own little worlds

where death happens

while we’re living.

My neighbors say everything

indirectly

they speak in code

even though

I understand.

I wonder if they know

what they’re saying

while not saying it.

I’m glad I figured out

what living is

I did it

on my own.

It’s being able to take it

or leave it

Unaffected

and soon I’ll shift into the Doing State

where the empty road

reaches for the sunset

where the sun rises

and the sun

sets

whether or not we chase it.

Neighbors come

and neighbors go

Life happens

with your will

or without it

Best to let it be

let your mind clear,

like a clear blue sky

undisturbed

attached, to nothing

like birds, unattached to air

like white puffy clouds

morphing into

gods and dragons.

The Marriage Proposal

I married her. She was cute, athletic, confident, and feminine, but around other men, she took no prisoners. Liz was the type of woman who seduces you and makes fun of you at the same time. I couldn’t get enough. I had to constantly dominate her, to get any kind of respect, and I was not the domineering kind. I was a poet, sensitive, and I easily got my feelings hurt, so what was I doing with this nasty bitch? I loved her. Maybe it was the pain she caused, and the pleasure. Who knows the inner workings of a man’s mind? I tried the Freud thing, but that didn’t work—she was nothing like my mother. They say a man has a type, but my type was Mormon, El Salvadorian, Feminist, Bitch, and Airline Stewardess. The Mormon was closest to my mother. I was starting to think I wasn’t marriage material, and then I met Liz.

It was at my friend’s birthday party. I was playing pool with the girls, and Liz was watching me like a cat. She kept quiet, with her big eyes and skinny body. I knew she was watching me, but I pretended not to notice. Then, she decided to get up and leave, but before she left, she turned around and smiled.

“You suck at pool,” she said.

I was enraptured. She had spoken to me, but my friend got angry.

“Why don’t you play pool, and see who sucks!” He said.

Liz just smirked and walked out.

The next time I saw her, I was leading a men’s bible study. I was trying to recruit female-only congregants. I had this BIG idea that I could be a cult leader, with dozens of loyal women. It didn’t work. While advertising myself to the congregation, I noticed Liz in the audience, laughing.

Then, as fate would have it, we met at a church function. I was becoming more Christian, and she was way ahead of me. I didn’t know it at the time, but religious women were a big turn-on. The last three women I dated, needed to travel around the world to get over their ex-boyfriends. I think it’s the Eat, Pray, Love Phenomenon. I haven’t read the book.

Anyway, Liz was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and I wanted to be. We would be like two spirits that would merge into one. I finally cornered her outside the church, while she was trying to walk away from me.

“What would you think about getting married?” I asked.

We hadn’t been on a single date.

“To you?”

“Sure.”

“Okay, but I’ll need to ask my father first.”

To be continued…

Chapter 5 Miss Monster, or Mister?

“Father! Are you there?”

A bald man, in a black suit, walked out. “Gregson! My you’ve grown.”

“Father, I’ve been the same height for years…”

“No, I mean… you’ve gotten wider.”

“Oh—come quick. Someone’s been attacked. Their leg is bitten off.”

“I’m not a doctor.”

“I thought you went to medical school.”

“No; I got a doctorate in philosophy. I bore people to death. I never save them, unless you count their souls.”

“I’ve got a belt. We can stop the bleeding. Do you have a car?”

“No car; I believe they speed-up access to sin. No internet, either; I don’t even wear a zipper. All were inventions of the devil, to gratify the flesh.”

They pinched off the artery, but the man was dead, lying in a puddle of blood.

“I never made Eagle Scout,” Gregson lamented.

“He may’ve been dead for some time.”

“How do you figure?”

“Look at the congealed blood.”

Gregson noticed it, and gave the Father a look.

“Oh, I’ve seen a lot of dead bodies in my day— lots of last rights and funerals; plus, I watch CSI Miami.”

A girl ran towards them in spandex shorts and a red halter-top.

“Miss, you can’t run through here. This is a crime scene. We’ve got to tape-off the whole area.”

She pouted, and ran the other way. Gregson admired her form—her tropical legs, soaked in the summer sun, with red tattoos on her ankle.

“Be careful miss!” Gregson called after her. “There’s a monster on the loose!”

The Calling…

I know when people aren’t right

places aren’t right

and what I’m doing

isn’t right

it’s a sense that my time is being murdered

I am just letting the genocide happen

like a complicit citizen.

this feeling is strongest

when I’ve filled the hours of my day with work

and I neglected to do

the most important thing

or I’ve spent too much time

in a conversation that takes from me

at a place

that would be better

empty

rather than filled with

talking heads.

a calling keeps whispering to me

it’s an image of who I would like to be

a vision

for my future.

My hero, is me

and he’s never boring to spend time with

it’s easy to get caught up

with people’s rules

of how to be—

and where I can understand

some of them

I wouldn’t want to be

any of them.

it’s easy to get confused by all the paths

all the ways…

likely,

the heroes we worship

will be boring

after two or three meetings.

a calling is

an old man

Not the man

who plays the same round of golf

on the same golf course

for 20 years

after retirement

but the man

who walks in the wide-open world

where it’s dangerous

where he has to be dangerous

to get old

and he tells stories

about who he is

who people are

and he understands

the unseen forces

are on his side

Even, at the end

if there’s an empty

hole

and nobody gathered around

the forces are there

they called him

back home.

Playmate 1965 and the Sexual Serum

Brandon hated his job. He hated people. He hated life. Perhaps, hate is too strong of a word. Indifferent, is better, but the problem with being indifferent is that life happens to you. It is a slow death, reserved for those without courage. It takes courage to take your own life and it takes courage to live it. Brandon wondered if he would feel different, if his life was different, but change seemed like a distant possibility. His life would change, but not the way he wanted it; and perhaps, that is the worst feeling of all, being powerless. He had lots of experience with that, not personal experience, but with what he did for a living. Working in a nursing home is horrible. It is filled with people who are powerless. It is the beginning of life, all over again, without hope.

His manager reminded him of a grocery-store clerk, checking off who had died and who still needed baby food. He had a pot belly, and a shiny bald head. His face was vacant, and his eyes were black and small. He wore pink polo shirts and slacks that were too tight.

“Brandon, I’m assigning you to a real dish. She was playmate of the month, in 1965.”

Brandon wondered if there would be any lingering sex appeal, after more than half a century.

He wasn’t getting any sex. It might’ve been his late-evening hours, early morning nursing classes, and the homework he did in-between that interfered. He was a monk, or perhaps… a eunuch. The thought, was horrifying. Lately, Brandon was trying not to think. Thinking caused a person to reach conclusions about reality. If it wasn’t for the need to survive, Brandon would not get out of bed. Perhaps, he was the same as the nursing home patients, only, he was taking care of himself—that makes a big difference.

Mary Sue was hooked up to oxygen, so that her breath fogged up the mask, when she breathed. Her eyes were a dull red, and her skin, wrinkled putty. Her head bobbed up when she saw him. She wore a blue nightgown that was see-through, and Brandon made a point not to look too carefully. Her arthritic hands were bundled into fists, useless, with a backdrop of paintings, she had obviously done herself. They were of exotic landscapes, one-legged prostitutes, religious men who looked evil, and symbols of material wealth—cars, clothes, and society.

There were several Playboy centerfolds of her in seductive positions, hanging on the walls. There was the cheerleader pose, the tennis star doing the splits, and Mary Sue bent over a red Camaro in a green bikini. Brandon couldn’t believe the woman sitting in the wheelchair in front of him was his dream girl. If only he could go back to 1965 and give her a sponge bath…

“What’s your name?” Mary Sue asked.

It was strange to Brandon how easily a woman like that asked his name. There was an invisible separation between men like him and women like her.

“My name’s Brandon.”

“Are you the young orderly who will be giving me sponge baths?”

“I suppose so.”

“You don’t say it with much enthusiasm. Young men used to pay, just to get a look.”

“Are you feeling all right?”

“As well as I can; just look at my face.”

Her face was worse than a wrinkled centerfold. Brandon wondered when it happened to women. There was hope for him yet, but as he got older, he had gotten wiser. Somehow, hormones, a lack of wisdom, and women, have to meet in the middle, before any great changes happen.

Old people are good at remembering the past, or perhaps, they keep remembering the fine details and repeat them over and over again. Brandon learned about Mary Sue’s sexual conquests and career. She was one of the first feminists who embraced her body and did things her way.

“Gerald dumped me for a younger woman, but I got that bastard’s money. I convinced the fool not to sign a prenup!”

Brandon had a misconception of older women. He thought they gave candy to little boys and were sweeter than his mother. It’s interesting how one can have blind spots, even when one becomes wise in the ways of the world.

“Well, tell me about your sex life,” Mary Sue said. “A boy like you must know a lot about the human body—being a nurse and all, and you go to school with almost only women.”

“I can’t really say I have a sex life.”

“What? What’s wrong with you? The sex drive can go underground like a river and it can drive men crazy. You got to do something about that!”

“Well… I’m concentrating on my studies.”

“I might be able to help you.”

Brandon cringed.

Mary Sue pulled an herb out of her pocket. “Smell it!”

“Smells like mint,” Brandon said. “Yes, but more powerful. Yes indeed, way, way, more powerful,” she said to herself. “Boil the water and take a drink. You’ll never be the same.”

Brandon thought it dangerous to take advice from a worldly woman, but she seemed to have his interests at heart. He did as he was told, and she was smiling at him.

“Now, go to class and see what happens.”

Brandon finished his shift and went to class the next morning.

“We will be learning about the male reproductive system today,” said the instructor. “Brandon, would you like to volunteer?” She was serious. Later, when they were dissecting cadavers, the female nurses kept bumping into him.

When he left class, he found a girl’s pink panties inside his pocket, with her phone number written into the label. It said, “Call me, Brandon.” He couldn’t sleep all day. When he got back to Mary Sue, she was waiting for him with her expectant smile.

“Well…?”

“That tea is powerful stuff. How long does it last?”

“Until you do the deed, young man.”

“You mean to say, I’m going to be a piece of raw fish with the sea gals circling overhead, until I let one of them have me?”

“Sure. That’s how it works.”

“Well, forget it!”

“Oh, you won’t be able to. And none of those women will be able to satisfy you.”

“What will happen to me?”

“M-A-D-N-E-S-S!” She said slowly. “Unless you do the deed with me.” It was horrific to contemplate, but like a tractor beam, he was pulled toward her. There was truth in her words and his bones started cracking. His back snapped, and the life was sucked out of his skin, until he fell face-forward into her.

Brandon noticed, she was not the old woman, anymore. She was playmate 1965.

“Get off of me, you disgusting old man.”

Brandon had to wear the oxygen mask, just to catch his breath, as he stared after her tanned legs and luscious red lips, laughing at him.

The End

Discover Your Life, While You Have It

People are always trying to tell me what’s meaningful…

an education

marriage

children

house

but none of these are on my list

survival is.

I got an education

because I couldn’t figure out

how to avoid working.

I needed to escape

the job.

When I left

for no job

my boss said, “Why are you leaving, when you could be making bucks?”

I had money

saved

and my plan

was to save

myself.

There was nothing I could buy,

that was worth three more months

there was nothing I could add to my life

to become completely whole

the most difficult hurdle to overcome

is not to jump

not to argue

not to be right

not to win.

By default

this makes you a loser

in a game

you don’t want to play

but there are alternatives

to losing…

you can play your own game.

You will know when you have discovered it

You will be able to appreciate your life

You won’t sacrifice it

for anything

in a world that demands

human sacrifice

for war

for politics

for religion

for work.

It’s easy to trade something

that you never had.

Discover your life

while you have it.

There is no better feeling

than that.