Natural Rhythms

the fireplace is warm in the cold mountains

there are natural rhythms here, like snow that shifts directions in the storm

or powder that speaks of isolation, like a man walking on the moon

crisp, and silent

near the cabin, too high, to be bothered with

too dangerous, to get to, even on skis

the plane is tucked in the barn, grounded, like a dream waiting to be unleashed

How did the piano get here? It’s from a bygone age, when music came from the soul, and not a perfect recording

There’s a difference—nobody’s soul is perfect

all the flaws and strange emotions

that don’t follow the creator’s original score

spill into the room

where nobody hears, but the man playing the piano

He feeds his fire, with his failed manuscript

writing has kept him warm, too

and whiskey

the dog doesn’t worry about anything

he is content to lie on the rug

time passes slowly, here

like the man and his best friend were living in a different time, altogether

Now, the storm is clearing up

the white sky becomes black

the stars have always offered guidance

the man picks up his rifle and puts on his hat

He walks to the lake and sees the moon in the water

an idea is worth a million words

and he has all he needs in that timeless wonderland

unforgiving

and yet, accepting

of the man who doesn’t need forgiveness

He walks back into solitude

to invite the natural rhythms

inside

to do

what matters…

Writing, isn’t about anything but that.

Resurrection Philosophy

Why would anybody bring a crazy cat-lady back to life? She was drinking herself to death and torturing her cat with love, until it died. Better the cat, than a man. But, there was something sentimental in me or mental in me. Often, those two are confused.

In this case, curiosity brought the cat back to life. I was fooling with eternity on both sides of the aisle, but I couldn’t help myself.

Could I resurrect the cat-lady? Would she get a second chance at life?

I closed the door.

And the screams coming from inside would’ve caused the dead to die a second time. I wrenched the door open, hoping it would stop, only to find the most beautiful woman I had ever laid my eyes upon. Her clothes were ugly, but her body was perfect. She had a wild look in her eyes, like a feral cat.

“You are the young man who lives below me,” she said. “Is this your apartment?”

“It is.”

“It stinks. Maybe you should open a window, and hire a cleaning service, or I could clean it?”

I watched her. I had never seen a woman clean house while singing with feminine joy, like a 1950s movie.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Julia. What’s yours?”

“Andy.”

“I was dead, wasn’t I?”

“Yes, you were.”

“And you brought me back to life?”

“I did.”

“Are you God?”

“No.”

“Then how did you do it?”

“My Uncle’s Refrigerator. It keeps beer cool and it brings things back to life.”

She looked at me, like a blank page. I could tell her anything, and she would do it. The refrigerator took dying things, and brought them to life. I was struggling to get published. Some of my writing was good, but it needed the refrigerator. I put my never-ending manuscript into its cold confines, and it gave me a hot novel.

Julia wanted me to tell her what to do all of the time, and the responsibility was too much. I longed for an independent woman. Success, was too much. Struggle, was no longer something I wrestled with. In time, I learned how to treat Julia right and she gained some independence. Now, I make my living as a writer. I could put coal into that refrigerator and pull-out gold, but when you have everything, metal is only metal—it’s the miracle you’re looking for, and when you have a machine that makes miracles, you must use it wisely.

The End

My High-Flying-Opinion

They don’t want me to have a high opinion of myself

because it doesn’t feel right to them

I should only feel in accordance with my place

on the ground

and if they feel bad about themselves

which they often do

I must adopt a lower position

where depression is the standard forecast in their weather

and they are the only ones allowed to have an umbrella.

Suicide starts to look like freedom

from my assignment in the rain

like bright sunshine, cutting through their dark clouds

but my life is worth more

than their assignments and pain.

I fly my kite in their storm

relishing my rebellion

that can only be felt when their wind blows

and I go higher and higher

they don’t know how to pull me back down

My colors depend on sunshine

Red and White

diamonds

dancing with death

I wouldn’t have it any other way

they don’t know what to say

they scream, defame, and try to humiliate my heart

but my kite flies higher

like a beacon of hope

for those stranded, on the ground.

The Resurrection Machine

I don’t know that Uncle Bill intentionally gave me something to be responsible for—he abhorred responsibility—but fate has a sense of humor. His refrigerator started vibrating and cooling at night, so that I couldn’t sleep. Being a bachelor—I didn’t have much food to keep cool, so Bill’s refrigerator went unused for a couple of days. I decided to stop eating pizza and Thai food, and went on a health kick to lose weight. I bought two dead chickens and some salad in the bag. I put them in the refrigerator and didn’t think much of it. Then I started watching a movie about a laid-back guy who married a Type A woman who turned out to be a psychopath. She framed him for her murder, vanished, and ate a bunch of burgers to get fat so that nobody would recognize her. I wondered if all women had a crazy string of cards in their well-ordered deck.

I was getting used to the noise coming from my kitchen in my studio apartment, but then I heard something else—scratching. Something was alive in my refrigerator. The thought of refrigerated mice, made my blood run cold. I gingerly opened the door, and two chickens flew out. They started pooping on my apartment floor—I stepped in it. I let them out, and they roamed downtown Maple Valley, until one got hit by a car, and the other got eaten by a dog.

I had to think about what just happened, but no amount of thinking made it make sense. The crazy chick in the movie was killing the beta male who worshiped her with a chain-saw. What was I going to do about my refrigerator?

I started cleaning my apartment. I do my best thinking when I’m cleaning. Then I carried my big trash-bags out to the dumpster. They were full of pizza boxes and Thai food containers. The upstairs neighbor-lady was moaning next to the recycle bin.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Romeo died, and I don’t have any place to bury him. I asked our apartment manager if I could use the flowerbed, but she only suggested I throw him in the trash. I just can’t bear to give him up like garbage. He was the prince who loved me for 10 years. I adopted him— you know. I saved him. Now, nothing will save him.”

I looked at her alcoholic eyes. Did it come to this—expediency and no love?

“I’ll see what I can do. My parents have a garden. I can bury him for you.”

“Would you?” Her face lit-up.

“Sure.”

“Here.” She handed me a shoebox that looked like a coffin. Romeo had become so skinny, he looked like a squirrel. I guess she really needed him. A sane person would’ve put him down a year ago, but love is insane.

I wasn’t thinking—I was only feeling her pain. Then I realized my refrigerator might bring her cat back to life. It would be the reversal of Shakespearian tragedy. So, I popped the shoebox in, and waited…

I started to hear meowing, and claws scratching the cardboard coffin to get out. When I opened the refrigerator and lifted the lid, I got attacked. It went for my eyes, but only sliced-open my arms in front of my face. I ran for the door and let it out, and it went upstairs, meowing, but nobody opened the door. I knew she was up there—so why wasn’t she letting her cat in? I climbed the steps and knocked on her door. No answer. I tried her doorknob. It opened. I immediately smelled alcohol and cigarettes. There was Juliet lying on her bed with crusted vomit on her lips, and a bottle of sleeping pills scattered on the floor.

“Lady, are you okay? Hey!”

I called 911, while the cat licked the vomit off her face. When the police got there, they questioned me. I left-off the part of bringing her cat back to life.

“We’ll call the coroner. Will you sign for the body? She doesn’t have any next of kin, or at least none that we know of in our computer. We’ll have to exterminate her cat.”

I agreed to wait, until the coroner got there, and the longer I waited, the more I started to think…

I could bring my neighbor-lady back to life. She wasn’t that heavy, compared to the modern American woman. So, I lifted her body and walked it down the stairs, praying that I wouldn’t bump-into any of my neighbors. I put her on my bed, and pulled the drawers out of the refrigerator. Her brown dress had inched up around her thighs, revealing kitty undergarments. If you grow old and alone, there is no limit to trying to be young and in good company. I squeezed her into my refrigerator and shut the door. I felt like Jeffrey Dahmer. I had to constantly remind myself that I didn’t kill her, and I was actually trying to bring her back to life, but that’s probably what Jeffrey Dahmer said.

To be continued…

Uncle Bill’s Bachelor Refrigerator

My uncle was what every woman was frightened of—and what she secretly wanted. He didn’t live by rules, with the exception of two—always pay your debts and never go into debt. I’ll explain later. He had women over, constantly. They were of all backgrounds and all types: virgins, whores, old women, young women, women with cats, divorced female teachers, lawyers, hygienists, and lots of nurses. There were few men that he spent time with. Most men think they want to be with women, but two is more than they can handle. Women’s problems are overwhelming, and my Uncle Bill provided a kind of therapy—that couldn’t be found around town. He met them at coffee shops and bars and shopping malls. And all these women did things for him. The nurses recommended various treatments—hot tube, with them— rest in bed, with them—massage, with them. My Uncle Bill had it figured-out and he never tired of what many married men called “a selfish lifestyle, a depraved existence—his luck will run out like his virility,” they said—”he’s nearly 70.”

My uncle taught women things they only dreamed of in romance novels. He flew them to his private island. It was there, that he dug-up his manuscript for the next best-selling season, and wrote his next master-work on the beach while drinking champagne and smoking Cubans. His existence was deep—there were secrets that he knew, that men shouldn’t know, and the women wanted him to talk, but he wouldn’t.

My uncle liked me. I was getting ready to finish college, and to figure-out who I wanted to be, but that was easy. I wanted to be him.

“Never go into debt, Andy, and if you do, always pay your debts. A man is a slave, if he has debt. He might be a slave to what he owns. He might be a slave to money. He might be a slave to someone he doesn’t know. The worst master is the one he can’t live without.” Bill said this, like he knew about it—like he had personal experience he didn’t want to share. I trusted him, and in the following weeks, he made-out his will—then he died—like he had planned it.

All relations, even the most distant, travelled to his island, to hear the will. And then the lawyer began reading…

“Jake, you get the toaster. Melody, you get the three-piece suit. Marilyn, you get three golf clubs.” And on and on it went…

It was worth a big laugh, but only for the family not receiving…

When it was my turn, I thought for sure, I might get something of substance, but I inherited Uncle Bill’s refrigerator, and there were several conditions…

This must replace any existing refrigerator. Don’t trade it or trash it. Never give it away. It will bring you blessings as long as you remain a bachelor. It will keep pizza fresh and your beer cold. Your loving Uncle, Bill.

It had to be shipped, and six weeks later it arrived. It took three men to move it into my third-floor apartment, where I unplugged my new refrigerator, and replaced it with Uncle Bill’s. My power bill went-up 200 dollars.

I couldn’t say no to my uncle or violate his last wish, especially when he had gone to bachelor heaven, where men play golf, and the weight of responsibility is left on earth. I had to deal with his wishes, like a debt.

To be continued…

Would you like to go to a party?

What do we do with madness, or the slow dissolution of dreams? It turns out, reality is only what it appears to be, and the people on the outside, see it differently. -Intellectual Shaman

My friend invited me to a party.

The guys on skateboards stared at us through marijuana haze. Their tattoos were violent depictions of death. They looked like a combination of Bob Marley and the Z-Boys. A girl with purple hair and a purple dress and a purple hat that said Witch on it, grabbed my friend, and started talking to him. In five minutes, he was giving her a massage. He had fallen under her spell. Then the games began—skateboarders jumping across the pavement. All the girls lining up—watching, for the stupidest man with the biggest balls who might make them pregnant one day. It was like antelope in mating season. I ate roasted duck with the head on it. Then I ate some Filipino rice. I figured, if my mouth was full, I wouldn’t have to talk to anybody. It was getting dark, so I asked my friend if he wanted to go.

“I want to stay!” He said. “If you learn to speak their lingo, and you try-out their skateboards, they might accept you.”

“Sure.” He really thought he could fit-in. “I’m going to go. It’s not worth trying to be liked.”

“Okay Brah!”

I had to get home to the comfort of tea and a good book. So, I plugged in my GPS, and drove away. It took me down a road to a dead end, where a homeless man was warming himself by a fire. He was drinking something out of a cup.

“Want some whiskey?” He asked.

“I’m driving,” I said.

“You can stay here for the night. Are you sure you don’t want a drink?” He asked. “It will chase your worries away…”

“Really?”

“Really,” he said. There was conviction in his voice—like he knew better than me. “Here—I’ll pour boiling water into this cup. That way, none of my homeless bugs will jump onto you. Coffee?” He asked.

“Sure.”

“That cup I gave you—I rescued out of a dump.”

“Oh.” I looked at it. There was a bunny painted on the lip.

“You drink from that, and your wishes will come true,” he said.

I drank some more coffee. It tasted like tar, but I started to see things differently. There was a glow—like brightly colored stars. Then, a bunny jumped over the campfire and into the brush.

“If you catch ‘im, he’ll give you a wish.”

“There aren’t mushrooms in this coffee, are there?”

He ignored me.

I was already lost, so what did it matter? I walked into the woods, and my senses heightened—like the tall trees, growing, slowly, with so much wisdom. I could hear its footsteps.

 I walked silently. Then I reached-down into the bushes and grabbed it.

It bit me, and I let go.

When I got back to the homeless man, he was smiling.

“He bit you.”

“Yeah, I’ll probably get rabies or scabies or…”

“No, you won’t. What you’re going to get is good luck. You caught the rabbit, and the rabbit carries what you want.”

“Then, why are you homeless?” I asked.

“I haven’t been able to catch ‘im for many years. If you only depend on luck, it might run away from you.”

Well, thanks for the coffee.”

“Keep the cup,” he said. “It’s not doing me any good.”

The End

The Sunset is Waiting…

I have often thought, that there is justice in this world

and it must be understood, and practiced, like a religion

that nobody knows, but yourself…

In a society of unbelief, we harm ourselves

and don’t realize we are doing it. The evil man, thinks, he is good,

and deserves all that he wants, and the good man doesn’t need anything—

not because he is content with nothing

but because he knows, he can get it.

There are laws that bring us together

and there are laws that separate us

Few, know the law

and even fewer practice it

Many stumble across it for a time, and can’t explain what happened

All worlds can be understood, when thinking ceases

Once you dissect a butterfly or snap a picture of the sunset

it’s gone, and you’re never going to get it back

Once you get a woman, and other women are interested in you

the temptation is to think, you understand all women

and all previous attitudes are sluffed-off.

Success does the same

You become a spokesperson for what you did to make money

and the world only remembers your name

seeing you, and your work, through a distorted lens

you start to correct your friends

you trade up

you clothe yourself in falsity

acting, like you care

There are wins and losses in your mind

and you lose every day, even if, you win every week

and the losses accumulate

like an accountant, trying to keep his business in the black

minimizing expenses, until, only barebones are left

The sunset is waiting

for anyone willing to reach for it, with flowers of orange, and wisps of black, promising other worlds

the mountain is waiting

for anyone willing to climb it, cold and silent

the woman is waiting

for the man

and the man doesn’t keep a ledger

or weigh the pros and cons

There are things to be done

and he is preparing to pay any price to do them

These tasks are his redemption

because they fulfill him

as he fulfills his destiny.

Robot Society

We are a mixing society

and the mixing, is a batter, that becomes us

We are so mixed up

We don’t know our neighbor

the pleasant contract

is in place

so that we can have a place in society

until it becomes unpleasant.

What is our programming?

And what becomes of those who don’t want to be mixed up?

The dentist has a smile, and a perfect demeanor

his recommendation

is framed, written in an article, in the lobby

regarding his fame, and perfect treatment of patients

there’s a reason, dentists are the number 1 suicide risk

out of all professions

I would wager, there was less tooth-decay

back in the day

when everyone knew, the dentist wasn’t patient.

Would they lose their teeth or keep them?

and the painful process, would cause the laziest slug to brush

Now, they laugh and relax, under gas

under the sweet feeling

of no experience.

“Give me a little pleasure, and no pain,” they say.

their lives decay

like patients who were too patient

like robots obsessed with routines

they want to get enough sleep to function well

they want more money to have a bigger life, but they will never own it

they are robots

programed, to say, “It’s a beautiful day.”

You know what’s beautiful?

A robot that breaks

Only in that moment does it realize it’s broken

and can’t be fixed

by self-help seminars and positive thinking.

These are all the ways, the robot maintains itself

a self-belief

that it is a sentient being—

special.

Most of what the robots do, they do to themselves

to function

just a little better

but they end up doing, the same things, in the same way

marching to their grave

without any original feeling

about their existence, and what it means to be alive.

Maybe, the only way to see yourself

is to have an out-of-body experience

where you can’t believe you are doing what you are doing

to most, this doesn’t make sense, because it doesn’t exist in society—

all of the mixing, only produces more confusion

more rules

more rule-breakers

more morality—that is impossible to understand, even though, it may seem, easy to believe in

because, someone is harmed, and someone is doing the harming.

A robot society can’t love

because, it doesn’t know how to love itself

In fact, it doesn’t know it’s a robot

and it will make decisions about human life

like it was taking out the trash.

So, unplug, if you can

trust, that you don’t need a robot society

and look for something larger

that you can plug-in to,

that understands you

It might be God.

The Pleasure of Walking Late at Night

All I ask

is a little peace

but the world wants

the whole thing.

I can hear their voices

inside my head

I can see their faces

cold, angry, disappointed

stares.

The world insists

I play

a game

I know

I’m going to lose.

A sucker

at the poker table

of life.

Now, all I want is time to myself

a chance to be alone

it’s my last chance

Few people can understand that

The world promises

all of these possibilities

within reach

Work hard

Play by the rules

Say the right thing

and you can retire with security

but it’s a false sense of security

a contract

where someone defines my usefulness

for their use.

I go on these long walks at night

and think about what I want

it’s a selfish delight

a profound experience

the stars are bright

my mind is made-up

the less I need, the more freedom I feel

all the free things, belong to me

I just want to live

without promises.

On the Luxury of Thinking…

I have more empathy for the homeless man

who can’t stand rules

and doesn’t want charity.

I have more kindness for the three-legged dog

who is unloved

and unwanted.

I don’t like people who trade their lives for jobs

who develop a workplace humor

that makes them feel like they are important, and enjoying themselves.

I don’t like people who memorize arbitrary rules

and enforce them

and think themselves to be “clever” because of their knowledge.

I would rather talk to a man who is totally honest

rather than a charming charlatan.

If you study people, you start to see their unhappy lives

that they haven’t sorted out

they keep shuffling their deck

and it’s never an honest hand.

They aren’t getting away with anything

When they play by the rules of their job

all they get is fake money, and lost time

Maybe, they were the Director of Park Place, but now, someone else owns it.

I laugh at what they think they own

They are slaves, and they don’t know it

They are terrified to know the futility of their existence

They are so arrogant, they don’t know, what they don’t know

In the end,

most of them won’t admit, they were wrong

they will cling to their status

as past professionals.

I have noticed something…

On the streets, the very crazy, are left alone, unbothered—people keep their distance

And in the professional world, at the very top, I have noticed the same

Some may cling to religion, without any sincere beliefs

and some may hold to a philosophy

to justify how they live

They’re all lost—not one genuine emotion—not one genuine thought

Of course, this is only my perspective

my bias

but I believe I’m right

and that is the luxury of thinking…

You can make-up your own mind

and then, nothing else matters.