Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beach Tendencies (Haiku)

Tide catcher of junk
Frivolous with sea salt spray –
Hoarder of driftwood

Oceanic Warning (Tanka)

You may float along
The rhythmic pull of my tides,
And fish my rich depth;
But tread lightly with your greed –
Or I will swallow you whole.

Earthy Veins (Tanka)

Tributary vein,
Travels along earth and rock,
Skirting obstacles,
And connecting life forces –
Occluded by human waste.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Illusion of Fear

It rustles in the dark when you're alone,
The floorboards scream out in the dead of night.
Sensation ripples down to gnaw at bone,
Blood surges forth to signal flight or fight.

Sane thought becomes a tornado vortex,
That sucks common sense into a black hole.
Rash notions spook your cerebral cortex,
And your guts reverse their intended goal.

But before you pull the covers overhead,
Or with trembling hand crack the cellar door,
Know that unwise decisions grow from dread,
And breathe in until your heart pounds no more.

Once the storm of your mind has come to ease,
You'll find the beast was but an evening breeze.

Bloody Anger (Sonnet)

A cauldron of blood simmers on the hearth,
A stew that boils over generations.
It's an old recipe carried from birth,
And cooks with erratic expectations.

Blood is a salty thickening agent,
Good for seasoning bland rage that will stick.
Its sugar makes anger rash and urgent,
And red steam blows from a soup gone toxic.

Soon the pot blackens as hot coals catch fire,
And blood begins to burn in this madness.
And the congealed substance scorched of ire,
Is reduced to a sauce of sadness.

Maybe a better method for such a brew,
Would be to cool the heat before it sears clean through.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Hammer and The Bark

It is easy to needlessly scare yourself with thoughts of possible intruders and thieves if you spend too much time worrying about it. As someone who tends to fret about hypothetical situations and unrealistic or perhaps delusional expectations, I am no stranger to these kinds of bogeyman worries or simply “the bogeyman”.

I do make efforts to thwart the bogeyman’s progress before he gets so deeply embedded in my brain that sleep becomes impossible, but sometimes he cannot be stopped. In that case, I find if I voice my paranoia to someone, it helps me get out of my head and away from the fear, which is exactly what I did yesterday while talking to Rosie.

Not at all worried herself, confident in her own sense of security as she was, she merely laughed in response to my, what she apparently thought were frivolous worries, and said, “Don’t sweat it, I have a hammer you can borrow if need be”.

Not helpful. None of it. Not the hammer and definitely NOT the levity.

“A hammer is going to do me no good. I’d rather be the one attacked than have to use a hammer on another human being! I can’t bear violence of any kind! What’s wrong with this world that I should even HAVE to worry about such things?! Stay out of the house that doesn’t belong to you!!”

Good God, someone help me.

I was unravelling and working up a sweat in the process – probably because she told me not to sweat. I do not like being told what to do.


Again, Rosie laughed – scoffed really – not disturbed in ANY WAY by my passionate outburst and told me I worry too much.

“It could happen,” I sulked. She snickered.

Then last night it did happen.

It was just after midnight when Lucky started barking – an annoying Chihuahua trait that I normally take about as seriously as Rosie takes my intruder concerns. But as I was about to admonish Lucky to simmer down, I heard a vague creaking coming from the carport.

I opened the front door and there to my great alarm were two strangers riffling through my truck.

I yelled, “Hey! Get out of there!” and as they fumbled to back out of the truck and make a run for it, I glanced down at my feet where seemingly inexplicitly there on the step was a hammer of all things.

In the heat of the moment, though, I didn’t stop to ponder where this hammer magically materialized from, or the coincidence of its appearance considering my earlier conversation with Rosie, or even what I thought I was going to do with the hammer, considering my frequent claim that I abhor violence of any kind.

No, I didn’t consider ANY of those things and instead, without any thought whatsoever, as if in a trance, I picked up the hammer and hurled it like I was channeling a powerful Algonquian warrior princess throwing a tomahawk.

The hammer hit one of thieves on his right cheek and he immediately crumpled to the ground. The second thief was soon to follow as if he was being tackled to the ground by some invisible force, only later to discover he had tripped over an extension cord that had been left out by the guy who was working on my roof during the day – the very same messy roofer who had left his hammer and other tools lying around in addition to miscellaneous debris he couldn’t be bothered to pick up. Blessed slob.

Thankfully, as I began to come to my senses, my neighbor to the right came racing to my aid and managed to detain the criminals while another neighbor across the street called the police. The police were there in minutes and escorted the two would-be burglars to jail.

It came to light the next day that for the past week these jackasses had been committing acts of robbery all over town and the cops were happy to finally have them in their custody. As for the idiot I hit with the hammer, he would survive with some minor bruising and I was exonerated for having thrown a tool at, well, another tool.

When I later relayed my harrowing tale to both Rosie and Jenna, they were beside themselves with tears…not tears of relief that I| had survived one of my greatest fears unscathed, but tears of hysterical jubilation. Extremely insulting.

Jenna said picturing me, her mother, hurling that hammer was the funniest thing she’d ever envisioned in all her life and between fits of hysterics struggled to come up with a superhero name for me, while Rosie, also choking on laughter, struggled to understand how hurling a projectile at someone was not in fact violent, since, you know, I was a pacifist and all. A couple of wiseguys, those two.

“Yes, you can call me Wonder Woman,” I suggested in a dry tone, nowhere near as amused as they clearly were at my expense.

I could have been fatally injured during my ordeal OR I could have inadvertently killed the dude and be in jail as we speak for manslaughter or some such weirdness. But they didn’t even care. No one did. They all thought it was a BIG joke.

“No, no,” Jenna squealed, “you’re not Wonder Woman. I’m going to call you…The Hammer!” Bwahahahaha!!!


She could barely spit out the words with all the bwa-ha-ha-ing she was doing.

“Fine. Spread the word then. No one else better fuck with me…OR for that matter, Lucky! I have a hammer and I'm not afraid to use it! And he has a bark and he DEFINITELY ISN'T AFRAID TO USE IT!!”

And then, because Jenna hates it when I use profanity and also because I suddenly felt giddy with corny revelry over my newly realized fearlessness and strength, it was my turn to laugh…which I did. Maniacally.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Vindictive Gods

Believers are always faithful
To their vindictive gods,
Which at times seems ridiculous
And confusingly at odds.

Maybe they're just empty vessels
Filled by whatever decree,
They're born to, marry, fancy,
Hear or think they see.

And how peculiar when God
Has so many names,
With contradictory rules
In His puppet master games.

Curious, too, that the Creator
Is usually a He –
Evidently there's low tolerance
For women in Divinity.

Strange because without a womb,
As Blessed Mary would well know,
The Holy seed of God and Man
Would have nowhere to grow.

They'd die out in the ether
Before they ever hatched,
But in this nothingness the always faithful
Would at least be better matched.

The prayer is that someday Faith
Will have real, breathing eyes,
And see it's fear of the unknown
That wears this vindictive disguise.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sweet Denial

Honesty in the face of denial is a precarious situation and nowhere is this truer than within the confines of an ailing marriage. Take Meadow’s husband, Walter, an asthmatic smoker. It is not uncommon for Walter to have an asthma attack while having a cigarette or shortly after taking the last carcinogenic inhalation of a particularly refreshing smoke.

To anyone else, it is clear the cigarettes are exacerbating his respiratory condition. Walter, however, vehemently denies any correlation between his worsening asthma and his smoking.

Oh, sweet denial.

Sometimes denial is used as a coping mechanism so people can live under otherwise unbearable or deplorable conditions. Other times denial enables people to trick themselves into thinking it is perfectly fine to engage in harmful behaviors and addictions. Meadow understands this and does employ denail as a coping tool herself from time to time. In fact, under certain circumstances, she endorses denial for the sake of sanity. It can be depressing and incapacitating to constantly have to face your faults, especially if there is nothing you can do about those faults or at least that’s your religious-like belief.

Meadow can therefore respect the use of denial once in a while - everything in moderation. Your denial is safe with her. Meadow’s view is that by letting those around her live peacefully in their denial, her own denials are fairly secure. As soon as you start poking at someone else's denial, it suddenly becomes an open invitation for them to poke back at yours and frankly there are some things Meadow is simply not prepared to analyze.

Despite this, there are times when she cannot stop herself from prodding at Walter’s smoking denial. For instance, the other morning when he was having a particularly hard time with his breathing, without considering the repercussions, Meadow blurted out, “Maybe you should quit smoking.”

Oh great.

She mentally braced herself for a character assassination, a dig or a slur. Walter, though, was too preoccupied with gulping oxygen into his lungs to bother with petty insults.

"Don't start! Can't you see this isn't a good time for a fight?" He choked on his words as he continued to gasp for air.

They were in their bedroom and Walter was sitting slumped over on the edge of the bed. His inhaler wasn't working as fast as it once had, and it was quite disturbing watching him struggle to breathe. Because of this, and also because Meadow feared there was something more sinister going on with Walter than just asthma, she felt she had a moral obligation to proceed with her assault on his denial.

"You're killing yourself! Do you want your kids to grow up without a father?"

Good grief.

"Why do you always want to fight?" he angrily panted.

Meadow stared at this agitated little smoking man she married, hunched over as he was, wheezing out his nasty retorts as if she was the enemy – as if she was singlehandedly popping the tiny air sacs in his lungs with a pin on the end of a wire and then sitting back to watch him suffocate, laughing the whole time like a sadistic lunatic. The entire scenario struck Meadow as completely absurd and then she literally did laugh which only infuriated Walter more.

She imagined him, then, standing in front of her in the middle of a highway. She can see a huge semi-truck speeding up behind him and warns, "MOVE! A big truck is coming!"

Walter gets annoyed with her and in his usual pattern deflects the focus back on her, "Why do you always try and tell me what to do? You always want to..."

But before he can utter another word, he is hit by the truck.

Meadow walks over to his flattened body and says, “Look, now you're as flat as a pancake. If you had just listened to me you'd still be multidimensional."

He peels himself off the pavement and as he tries to stomp off – in no way, incidentally, changed by the experience – he is picked up by a slight breeze and blown into a nearby puddle. There, he disintegrates into nothingness like an old piece of tobacco rolling paper.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Schizophrenic Attack

The voices command Malachi to the phone
A dozen times a day he listens for a dial tone
Before punching in a number he knows by rote
To speak to Helen and from the Bible quote

Retired from Mental Health, she is the oddball
Her arthritic hands still pick up when consumers call
She's the only one who will listen to Malachi ramble
As he tries to free himself from internal bramble

Schizophrenia is attracted to Helen's Christianity
And Malachi tells her of angels and demonic insanity
Anointed by Jesus, Malachi fights against Lucifer's reign
And the evil minions who gorge on the tissues of his brain

They claw and tear and screech inside his head
And torment him with visions of the walking dead
Until angels move in as cerebral boarders
And whisper the righteous details of God's Holy Orders

They say he must throw away all his food and regroup
He is to fill his cupboards with 200 cans of tomato soup
In Blessed Sacrament he will take two cans a day
And with this ordinance the wicked voices will go away

Helen observes the pitch and pull of Malachi 's thoughts
As he bounces from fatuous laughter to conspiracy plots
She rocks in her recliner sipping tea until Malachi is done
And then says, "Thank you for calling; goodbye now my son."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Do not pity me

There is a woman around town I see,
Who turned and said, "Don't pity me."
With that she retreated in gait and in mind,
Pushing a baby carriage with garbage to find.

Her hunchback tells of a relentless quest,
Beginning near her daughter who lay in eternal rest.
Burned alive 30 years ago at the age of ten,
The woman blames herself now as she did back then.

The need to keep the gravesite clean,
Began to spread as a cancer unseen.
Fed by guilt and neglected remorse,
Compulsion driven by malignant force.

Soon keeping the grave free of debris was not enough,
Garbage tormented her from the city center to the eastern bluff.
The woman spent her days picking trash up all over the place,
Before withdrawing to her cats and decrepit home base.

Vicious rumors spread throughout the town,
People pointed, threw stones and pushed her down.
With pity I watched as teenagers approached her en masse,
And a stone hit her head as she continued to dig through the grass.

She didn’t seem to notice and no one else gave the scene much heed,
Except for me as I cried out can’t you see you’ve made this poor woman bleed!?
They only laughed and turned on me then, too;
That's when the woman looked at me with pity and asked now what are you going to do?

The Compassionate Nurse

Mary was a nurse
A long time ago.
Compassion was always
Her bittersweet foe.

Her conscience worked overtime
On Extended Care,
When she came upon an
Old woman in a wheelchair.

Someone had placed
The elder facing a wall,
As if she was not even in
The wheelchair at all.

The room was filled
With a sorrowful sound,
Like a whimpering dog
Kicked to the ground.

Mary went to see
What she could do,
And leaned in close,
To ask, "Can I help you?"

The old lady mumbled
Her terrible plea,
Noticing Mary she said,
"Please just kill me.”

Mary replied, "I can’t do that,
But I can do this,”
And hugged the woman long and tight,
Before giving both cheeks a kiss.

The old lady’s eyes,
Brimmed over with tears;
No one had touched her,
So gently in all her aging years.

Creative Abuse

My creativity inspires,
And then bullies with doubt.
It pushes my brush stroke,
And forces images out.

It schemes with charcoal,
Graphite and oil paint.
It purges scenes,
Both surreal and quaint.

It spews typed font,
Moves the flow of ink.
It expounds fabrications,
Before I can pause and think.

But when the canvas has dried,
And the draft has been saved,
My creativity scoffs –
Its responsibility waived.

Why that color?
Why that word?
What were you thinking?
You're trite and absurd.

The abuse becomes too much,
Until from creativity I retreat.
But eventually it beckons me once again,
With its encouraging deceit.