How We Choose Our Friends

For me, it seems like there isn’t much choice

I meet people at church, at the golf course, at work, and socially

they all have different ways about them

I prefer the grizzly men on the golf course who remind me of sailors

I know who they are, immediately

because they don’t hide, or pretend to be someone they’re not

This is because they’re loaded with beer

They dress in T-shirts tucked into their Levi’s

They have wives, they need to get away from

I have played with military guys, drivers, factory workers, and plumbers.

They all shoot the shit, like an artform.

The people at work are friendly, until they get stressed

We all have to act professionally, so it is very difficult to get to know our rough edges.

The professional world uses polish, but it doesn’t clear things up

it makes everything distorted, and uncertain

Only when someone takes a risk, and acts unprofessional, can you get a sense of who they are

but they quickly snap out of it, for fear of not fitting in to the professional hoard of propriety and career advancement.

Yesterday, we made a BELONGING collage, and my co-worker anonymously wrote penis into his cell phone

and it appeared on the board, and nobody noticed.

It was too small.

The science teacher talked about my motivation for working-out at the gym

He suggested that I do it for the women in spandex

“No,” I said. I do it in the morning. Only weird people work-out in the morning. One guy had-on a yellow halter top with PISS written on the front.

The other looked like he wanted to kill somebody. After work, it’s only professional women.”

A professional woman walked in, and I had to stop talking. These sorts of conversations are dangerous, especially when desperate men want to make something happen, and desperate women can’t wait for desperate men to say something stupid.

My other social place is church.

There are the recently converted who are the most honest, and those raised in the church who seem to be the least honest. Neither one appeals to me.

The people I meet randomly, are the people I am most likely to be friends with.

If we share the same passions, and there is something I don’t quite understand about them, we will meet again. I think it’s a law of the Universe, or my own Universal law. It doesn’t take any great effort to make these friends, and in my opinion, they are the only ones worth having.

The few other friends I have are found in books. I read a lot. I’ve narrowed it down to two friends, Bukowski and Thoreau.

Bukowski, because he is unholy, and wisdom spews out of him like vomit, and Thoreau, because he is spiritual, and can describe vomit, like it’s the elixir of the gods.

Who knows why we are attracted to certain people and certain things. Maybe, this mystery, is why friends are so valuable.

Picking up the pieces of your life…

Picking up the pieces of your life

after several head-on collisions

where paint, is scraped and cut

by other people’s rust

where you bend and hammer

your battered, insides

so your body looks new

even though, it was twisted and warped

by accidents.

If you finesse, your damaged self, no one will know, you are damaged

metal, beaten into place, and painted over

is a Classic car

that can rip through

modern machines

like tinfoil

And the heart of your car, must be studied

by your mechanical self

to decide, whether or not, it can be salvaged.

A Classic car, is a Classic

not because of the age it lived in

but the history

it experienced, like character

in the eyes of an old man.

You can’t make an old car new

You don’t want to

Buying a new car that looks like an old one, is not the same, as one loved and neglected, and then loved again.

There are so many people, who look at a Classic, and only see 1955

Not the years lived, up until the present moment

like a beautiful woman, under all her wrinkles.

Being born

does not define us

People admire beauty

they cringe at scars

they cringe at the truth

they don’t want to be reminded of life, and the death that will shortly follow

Why do people admire innocence?

Everyone is acting innocent, and wanting to be young again

they hide from who they have become

they want to forget their past

they want to become perfect

When we disappear, into nothing

we become, Something.

We have broken down

on the side of the road

overgrown by weeds.

Where we were headed, doesn’t matter

Your Classic

isn’t going anywhere

Your plans, a distant impossibility

the graveyard

will help you

to understand

your perfect lawn.

When the days become dark

you will fall asleep

and rest—

content,

not to do anything.

The Forgotten Few

I have spent too much time alone

and this realization

may mean

I’m not a philosopher.

I think the world feels comfortable around “perfect people”

and so, I am putting in the work

to become “perfect”

Now, I work out twice a day

and I am fastidious about my appearance

I have made superficial conversations

my artform.

People are beginning to like me

because I am attractive

I laugh at their jokes, that aren’t funny

like a courtier, with a white wig, entertaining Kings

With white gloves, make-up, and shiny shoes

There is no “me”

Only brand names and money

I’ve never wanted to be popular

until I realized,

I need people.

My fantasy

of being totally self-sufficient

is just that—a fantasy.

Maybe, this boils down to reproduction.

I need to stop embracing my strangeness

and clip my toenails

use anti-hair-loss shampoo

comb my hair

get a regular cell phone

and put a down-payment on a house,

so a woman will come near me.

If I’m lucky,

I will be in the same job for 30 years

Security

and the mortgage will get paid-off

and I will chuckle about the “good old days”

when I was strange

when I had ideas in my head

when I wanted to be “nothing”

so that I could become, Something.

If you walk

where everyone has walked

the journey is so easy.

Nobody climbs mountains anymore

or gets lost, in the wilderness of want

If they do get lost

we never hear about them—

the forgotten few

who are strong enough

to be alone.

Know Your Life While You Have It

I don’t want to bury myself

alive

in a graveyard

before I’m dead.

My work is a crypt, with four white walls

the people

decompose

the master composition of life

It is frightening to think, we all get paid the same

get treated the same

surrender, to the same rules and routines.

I have been feeling a change

for some years

but the changes all look the same.

Why must we celebrate death in life?

Perhaps, my greatest aim

is to be alive

but the spirit of the multitude

is like a thousand captive spirits

who chant, what someone tells them to say

Needless to say, I’m back to work

and the higher man, might be impossible to reach—

a god of illusion, even though, he is supposed to be

rooted in reality, like a tree of life

offering joy, from his branches, out of reach.

As you pull away from the pack

As you separate from the crowd

As you put yourself

through pain, and discover

the limits of your strength and loneliness

the doubters will try to cause you to doubt

“Why endure hardship,

when the outcome is uncertain?”

I’m searching…

to feel

what’s real

Different from the comfort of the crowd

that wants to feel

good

as long as you make them feel

good.

Every man gets to decide what is a waste of time

like the man who spends 4 hours preparing a 24-minute speech that will be forgotten in 24 hours

It wins him points with the boss

and people think he’s a good speaker

but what did he say?

His words were forgotten, before he finished his speech.

What can you say that will last a lifetime?

How much time do we waste, just to get through the day?

It’s like prison

“You can do the time, or the time will do you?”

But really, we all have time, until we don’t.

Why would I choose to take a job, just to stay busy, so my time will go faster?

Why not, ask for the death penalty,

rather than drawing it out?

Staying in my cell, is lonelier, but the time is mine.

All the comforts of companionship

disintegrate

when you have no companions.

I met a lady, at the coffee bar, before work

and she works, where I work

“Oh god, I guess I’ll have to wake up,” she complained.

This happened, when I started to talk to her

she was asleep, when she was awake, and then she realized she needed to talk to me

How many people willingly stay asleep?

They prefer slumber

because they have nothing to wake-up for.

Salvation never comes from someone else’s time

or giving your time to someone else.

Salvation is more than eternal life

it’s knowing your life while you have it

it’s knowing what to do with your life

it’s holding your life, in your hands

and trusting that your value does not come from what you give

Don’t rehearse mindless words

for mindless praise

Don’t sweat for approval

Don’t feel good to feel good

Know your life while you have it.

Dark Autumn

Through isolation, stillness, and pain

I watch the leaves blow

watching my dog open and close her eyes

while we exchange love,

without saying anything.

The grass and trees are darker

the wind carries the storm

I don’t know why

the fog, and mountains, are beautiful

lack of clarity, penetrated by, the unmovable

a man

standing

before

a tidal wave

of darkness

with his hands holding heaven

looking through a door, into another world.

This uncertainty, before the fall

where monsters, don’t mean to be monsters

where confusion, turns our brightest light, into shadows

where we become, what we don’t want to be

Help me, to be, the mountain

the sky cracking in half

a sound

hidden, in silence.

We struggle

challenged by

what we don’t want to be challenged by

We have to climb

and be kind

listen, to what we don’t want to hear

choked, by our tears, in the mist.

This year

I’m going to be

more than a bug

flying towards the light

I’ll let the darkness envelope me

speak comfort

to lost souls

My lighthouse will shine from a mountain

where wisdom waits

beckoning

the lost

home.

Chapter 7 Murder, Pressure, and Steam

Gregson felt the winter chill in the summer heat. Murder, is the most dangerous game. People are friendly, until they’re cornered. Put a person under pressure, and their nature will expand like a storm, striking at random.

Riding to the gun range with Nancy Drew, made Gregson feel like a comic book superhero. All of that tightness, next to his curves, went to his head, like a bolt of lightning.

“What kind of music do you like?” Nancy asked.

“I’m a connoisseur of the centuries. Classical,” Gregson said.

She clicked on the radio.

More breaking news in Maple Valley…

“A teacher has been shot! This makes two teachers in the last week—a pattern. Police say they are looking for a young man who may harbor a grudge, probably insane, and lives with his mother.”

“What was the caliber?” Gregson asked the radio.

“Police speculate, the lone gunman is using a Bushman.”

“Maybe, we’ll see our perp at the gun range,” Nancy suggested.

“Maybe.”

When they arrived at the non-descript building, it sounded like the 4th of July. There were posters and pamphlets tacked to the walls and pasted to the windows that read:

Don’t tread on me. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. Guns don’t kill people, I kill people.

Gregson opened the door for Nancy.

“You’re such as sexist,” she said.

Gregson smiled.

The man behind the counter was only 5 feet tall. He was at least 80 years old, with white hair, a collared shirt, and purplish-blue tattoos that looked like veins, but were shaped like skulls.

“So, you’ve come to protect yourself against a home invasion?” He asked. “Maybe, the Mexican gangs?”

Gregson didn’t nod his head.

“Or the blacks?”

“Gregson didn’t confirm.”

“Skin-heads?” Gregson was self-conscious—his hair was falling out.

“In-laws?” Gregson smiled.

“The government?” Gregson smiled wider.

“What do you have that’s worth shooting?” Gregson asked.

“I’ve got everything from a .22 Hummingbird to a .44 Magnum. Who do you fancy yourself to be, Dirty Hairy or Dirty Sally?”

“I’m not a pimp, if that’s what you’re getting at?” Gregson asked.

“Oh.” The man looked Nancy up and down. “You can never be sure these days.”

“We’ll try a Glock,” Gregson said.

“They’ll shoot every time. They’ll shoot underwater. It’s a great choice.”

Gregson carried the gun to the targets, and loaded. The Taiwanese was at the far end. Then the end of her gun barrel lit-up and her mouth expanded. The recoil made her back bend like a rubber band, and the noise was like a violent orgasm.

“I guess restaurant workers have to let-off steam too, and I don’t mean, for fried rice,” Gregson said.

What are we looking at?

How few of us

know the answers, to the few questions

we ask, in this life.

It can take a life-time

to get the answer to one important question

like, “Who am I?”

and then, you can never be sure

you didn’t invent the question, or invent the answer.

I met a sad, disappointed, man

with parted hair, a t-shirt tucked in

to polo shorts, held-up, by a shiny belt.

His children do not believe the way he believes

His library is full of his beliefs, confirmed by others, who believe him

they all agree, the other beliefs, are wrong.

I am not at war, but there are those who would say I am in rebellion

If you can ask, anyone, one Original question

you are a threat

whether, in politics, religion, culture, or any domain where the human needs to be right

and is convinced, he is right.

The human is dangerous, because he feels his way, into everything

like a naked man, lost in the dark, looking for the light-switch

after the power goes out.

A man trusts his feelings, in so far, as he has been told it’s okay

I am surprised, by the surprising lack of insight

in the men I know

they are so convinced, they are right

and when they look into a woman, they are terrified, by what they find

tortured by inconsistencies and incongruities

“I love you, for you,” she says.

“What does it mean when my girlfriend says that I don’t need to get a better job?” My friend asks.

“I think it means, she loves you, for you.”

“No. No. It’s controlling behavior,” my friend says. “Now, I have to put her in line and make sure that she follows my lead.”

We look into others, and see ourselves, without knowing it

and we are terrified by what we find

There are many women I thought I loved, in the moment

and I believed I could love them, for a lifetime

but they did not love me

and now they are only a distant memory

and my feelings don’t long for them

the way they felt, a long time ago.

I know this man, 70 pounds overweight

70 years old

and convinced he will die, any day

but he hasn’t, and he has been convinced

since I’ve known him

and he visits the grave of a woman he loved 30 years ago

His crush,

and she didn’t love him back

and he hasn’t gotten better with age

white whiskers clinging to his many chins

but he still feels, for the woman he loved

this world refuses to love itself

people think they love

but it’s something else

If you ever get a chance to look inside yourself

you will probably need God

the answers to the questions we think we know

are not any more foolish

than the faith we possess

the changes in ourselves, allow us, to see the changes in others

and to genuinely see another person

that is the big mystery

If we see others, without seeing them

and they see us, without seeing us

What are we looking at?

Chapter 6 A Dick that Won’t Quit

“So, if you are retired, what do you want me to do about it?” Nancy asked.

“I’m a dick that won’t quit,” Gregson said.

Breaking local news in Maple Valley…

“Detective Talbert says he has solved the Wilderness Golf Course Murder based on the DNA samples he shaved from the right leg of a horrible golfer.”

Nancy looked down at Gregson’s right leg. It was shaved.

“It’s you?” She asked.

“I have to prove my innocence,” Gregson said.

“You need to shave your legs. Your right leg looks like the Amazon River, in an impenetrable jungle.”

“It’s penetrable. Heck, it’s hard for me to reach down there,” Gregson said.

“I’ll do it.”

“Does this mean you’ll take the job?”

“I need to question you first.”

Nancy walked him to the tanning room, while Gregson rested on the warm neon lights, and she shaved his legs. It was so wrong, it felt right.

The TV kept going…

“We found a Stetson, belonging to the perpetrator.”

“Wait. That’s my hat!” Gregson said. “I’m being framed. If I don’t solve this murder, I’m finished.”

“I’m finished,” Nancy said.

Gregson looked down at his shiny legs and felt like a woman. He looked at the woman. He wasn’t gay. Thank God.

“So, what did you want to ask me?”

“What are your expectations?” Nancy asked.

“Strictly professional. I need a girl who can type and take dictation.”

“I think you need more than that, judging by your style, or whatever you call it. Where do you shop, anyway? Or perhaps I should ask, when did you shop?”

“I don’t know that my style is the pressing problem,” Gregson said.

“It is—trust me. I’m taking you shopping.”

“Nooooo. Can we go to the gun range first?” Gregson asked.

“Okay, but make sure you don’t use-up all your rounds.”

Nancy’s BMW Z8 was sex on wheels. It was red, with shiny black tires. Nancy was sex on two legs. They fit like a glove.

“Let’s take my car,” Gregson said.

It was a pickup truck he borrowed from Andrew. There were chips sprinkled across the seats, and a melted protein bar on the dash. It was like driving inside a man’s locker. There was a smell, or a combination of smells… But Gregson had long ago learned one thing. It’s better to hold your breath and be a man in charge. As soon as a man gives up his keys or credit cards or balls to a woman, he can expect a crash, a break, or a severing of the worst parts known to man. Gregson said nothing. Women want to believe, men believe, what they believe. But men just want to get laid, and they will agree to anything, say anything, and do anything, to get laid, even if the world collapses.

It is the history of the bible. Women leading men astray. Even the wisest, strongest, and most moral men, had one exception, women.

Gregson took the lead, and Nancy followed. It’s better not to speak. There’s nothing worse than a guy who can’t keep his mouth shut, with one exception—a writer.

a bottle of moonshine, lost in the woods

You got to hold onto yourself

and never let go

not for what you think you’re owed

not for pretty girls

or a wife, who wants to change your mind

not for pressure, or for sudden, experiences

that you think will shake you up

even if the world sees a loser image, especially if

you have to trust, the attitude you have been building up

and not get caught up

by the attitudes, so willing,

to infect you.

Trust, your sense of self

that sees the world a certain way

Prioritize,

your instinct,

especially when, your instinct, fails you.

Promises and Praise and Promotions will Pull you

in directions, that teach you, the ways of all men.

If you know you are doing well, when you have the approval of a million

you are at the whim, of the crowd

So easily swayed

If you trust, who you are, when no one else is attracted

when nobody wants, what you want

when it does not exist in their minds

when you don’t exist

because

you are unknown

Your values are your own

The crowd’s values, belong to the crowd.

Half the country, calls the leader of the country, a fool

I would rather be a bottle of moonshine, lost in the woods, at night

than a champagne bottle buried under the hot heap of humanity

Do not believe those who need an audience

Trust those, who try to put the truth in every line

You can’t appreciate what you have, if you reach for what doesn’t matter

And your need to belong, is the worst possible excuse.

Chapter 5 Nancy Drew Saves Gregson’s Life

“Well, I have a lease to rent, and you have a story to write,” Gregson said.

Andrew looked bored. “If the words don’t come, what do I do?”

“I’m not a writer, but I would say, ‘Do something else.'”

“You know what, Gregson? You could be a writer.”

“I’m still trying to write my memoirs, but it seems like my detective game, is only in the third inning. If I need any help, I’ll give you a call.” Gregson paid the tip, and smiled at the Taiwanese.

In the meantime, he was looking for a secretary who was young and impressionable. Not a woman who had been to law school or handed out parking tickets. Gregson stopped off at the gym, to lift weights, for some reason. Maybe, it was Thai Food guilt, or the belief that he could be young at 50. There was an old lady in the gym who talked incessantly about her cats. She had gold hair, tied in a pony-tail, and a drinking-face. She was alone.

“They’re my babies,” she said. “Romeo is going into surgery today, and I’m just so anxious. I work out, so I don’t have to think about him.”

Gregson listened. Perhaps, we all need pussy, he thought.

His dirty mind inspired him to lift more weight. His testosterone levels were rising like a nuclear reactor melting down. Think, Chernobyl. Beads of sweat were dripping from his semi-bald head. His face was red, like a radiation burn. He was just shapely enough, so that his fat could be mistaken for muscles. Gregson was trying to lift his body weight, which meant death. The bar pressed against his chest, crushing his ribs.

“A little help…a little help.”

The lady who owned 15 cats, screamed. She was useless. The old man with a cane, appeared to be thinking about walking over there. There was nobody else in the gym, but retired folks.

So, this is how I die, Gregson thought.

But right then, a woman, 24 years of age, walked into the gym, with neon butt-tight shorts. Her shoes matched. You could wash clothes on her abs, and the girl had a golden-brown tan, like a trophy, waiting for her husband to ask.

“You old fool!” She said. When she grabbed the bar, her muscles flexed like a man’s.

“I like a woman who can pull her weight,” Gregson said.

“That’s right. You aren’t from my generation. Your comment is sexist.”

“Would you like a job?” Gregson asked.

“To do what?”

“I need a secretary who can look sexy and type.”

“You must be joking.”

“I never joke about my work,” Gregson said. “What’s your name?”

“Nancy… Nancy Drew. And don’t say another word. I’ve heard all the jokes.”

“My name’s Gregson. I’m a Private Investigator, and I would like you to help me solve a murder.”

Nancy almost let the bar crush him. He was a smart fool—the worst kind, but then she changed her mind.

“Do you have credentials?” She asked.

“In my pocket. Go ahead and reach for it.”

“I think it’s safer, if I let you take it out. I don’t want to get bitten by that thing.”

“Don’t worry. I keep it on a chain.”

Gregson shuffled through his pockets. Spare change, crumpled movie theater tickets to Titanic (A Reshowing), an enormous Trojan that could bring down the NSA, and his PI Retired Card, attached to his keys, he kept to impress beautiful women.

“My key chain.” He flashed it to the disbelieving girl.

“It says you’re retired.”

“Don’t be fooled—it never went out of action.”