Friday, June 30, 2006

The Gnawing

I suppose from the outside I am very much a stereotypical "abode challenged" individual. I can certainly be seen talking to myself, my eyes are distrustful and fearful and I have a frown for everyone I meet. Most of the time the homeless are portrayed as pretty scary people and I could fit into that category too with my hair trigger temper and frayed nerves. But I also realize most people put into my situation would fare far worse than I.

It's the "missing" that eats on me the most. Missing Debby and missing me. I saw part of a concert on TV from a few years ago combining Earth, Wind and Fire with Chicago. I wish I could have seen more but the few songs I did catch were magic. These were songs I'd heard all my life but had never seen performed. I was insanely jealous. There was no phoniness or acting, just performers completely comfortable in their own skin enjoying themselves. Man, it was great.

I love healing. A doctor heals one at a time but a song heals forever. Even if it cost me my life, I would gladly swap it to have contributed just one of those great songs. That is my one wish. Perhaps there are others out there like me, lacking the moral courage to follow their dreams, walking around with the talent of those I saw onstage. If so, I can guarantee you it's gnawing at them.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Seven Mysteries of Your Life

When I was a kid there was a bit we'd use if someone asked us a question we didn't want to answer. "I don't know," we'd reply, "make it one of the seven mysteries of your life." Where this came from, I have no idea. But there seemed to be some implied understanding each person had seven mysteries in their life to bear as a matter of consequence. I always liked that concept and I never forgot it. Plus it works great as a smart ass answer.

Here are a couple of my mysteries. I'll post more if I live that long.

The Boxer.Some things resonate with us even if we don't know why. A story I once read in a magazine haunts me to this day. It was a profile of an up and coming boxer, perhaps the best in the world in his class. As he worked his way up through the ranks, it was evident he was simply on a different level than his opponents. Even as he neared the top, he kept winning and finally he got his shot at the champ. It was to be his moment of vindication at long last, he believed. But he lost.

The bubble had been popped. Without his all-conquering belief, he was no longer the same person. The story told of the plane ride back with his "specialness" gone. He had to have that ego boost he was the best in order to perform. That ego trip was over, thus so was his career. A fatal character flaw or was he meant to be something else all along? Regardless, I have never forgotten him.

The Magic Spot.This is a true mystery. It's hard to even hazard a guess what happened here. It's not something I've talked about because what's the point? Sort of like seeing a UFO, to talk of it only brings grief. But this was real and it happened.

I was on a boy scout trip and we went to some land owned by a scout master or someone. It was great. We were out in the boonies and left to explore on our own. Eventually I found myself alone in a place of very sandy soil and some very thick trees. At the bottom of the trees was debris wrapped around from what had to of been large amounts of rain water gushing through. For some reason, this fascinated me. "Is this real?" I remember thinking. And then I began to realize I was in a special place.

Never in my life have I found a place for me in this world. I'm not complaining, it's just a fact. But there in those trees I was home. It was a sense of euphoria I had not felt before or since. I had been in the woods and whatnot before but never did I experience this. It was like returning to the Garden of Eden. There was something so right about being there. I was rejoicing and filled with wonder. Truly, I was sitting in paradise and no longer of this earth.

When I heard the call to leave I was crushed. Heartbroken, I reluctantly trudged my way back into the sorrow of the real world. I had been embraced by that mystical spot and it was like leaving family. As I think back now, that short time may have been the happiest moments of my childhood.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Every Day is the Fourth of July

The quotes a person picks to, um, quote are oftentimes an insightful peek into a person's thought process. There seems to be two types of people in this country: those who love it and those who love raping it. Some love both but sooner or later you gotta pick one. Both claim to "love" their land.

Anyway, here are a few select quotes from the ages of true patriots:

"As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."
- George Washington

"The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

- George Washington

"In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty."

- Thomas Jefferson

"Money, not morality, is the principle of commerce and commercial nations."

- Thomas Jefferson

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

- Thomas Jefferson

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

- Benjaman Franklin

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."

- George Bernard Shaw

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

- George Orwell

"The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty."

- Abraham Lincoln

"So you want this fucking job?"

- John Kennedy to Barry Goldwater after being informed of the Bay of Pigs disaster

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Unspeakable Things

"...Germany, considered the height of human intellect, bred a Nazi culture that used its "wisdom" to carry out the most unspeakable atrocities..."

Each soul is driven beyond all constraint to express itself. For it is our soul that concerns each of us the most. No soul can stay unknown.

She had "returned to the fold". The 'lost weekend' was over. She had been granted guarded forgiveness and was now expected to return the favor with proper behavior and a pound of flesh. Her parents, she thought, never fully trusted her again. She had once been the golden child - cheerleader, homecoming queen, wife - all as it should have been. Then a snake whispered in her ear.

Janitor Man. Everyone knew him as that. He was the devil that led her astray, she said. He'd even had the gall to contact her again, sending her notes over the years and a book supposedly written in her honor. She had properly disregarded them all. "Sick and pathetic," she spoke of him. But her other feelings for him she could never mention - those were unspeakable.

It was time to tow the line. She would dutifully speak of the greatness of God, her parents and the world. Most of all, she vehemently proclaimed her happiness. Having allegedly seen the error of her ways, she would build her house now, the one she had torn apart before. But truth was that hope was long gone. Her home would only be on the outside - that too was an unspeakable fact.

"You can't do too much for your children." Two children, a girl and a boy, became her life. Thank God she could take the focus off herself! She was determined to be the perfect mother. Showing a devotion to be admired by all, she found a role where she could hide. The feelings of unmutable sorrow, of dreams dying and crying out for help, of a suffocating prison of lies - those feelings must be pushed aside! She had a family depending on her now, such inconvenient truths are unspeakable.

Then the Unspeakable happened.

The news ushered in her darkest hour. The wailing was uncontrollable, terrifying to see. In the depths of Hell she stood, all her buried lies revealed by howling flames. God's retribution at last. To nought could she appeal her fate. Her son was dead: suicide. He too had lived in a prison of lies and saw no way out. He was not the perfectly Godly person he was expected to be. But he must let no one know, such revelations were unspeakable...

She drowned in the nights, no solace found. She would accept any crumb God had to offer; her surrender unconditional. But God cannot hear what is not spoken. Forced by fear, she wandered back to a time long ago yet always near. Once more she re-lived the parting words of the Janitor Man, words branded upon her soul:

He had wanted her know how meeting her had touched him. "...Anyone can say the words, but when it comes from somebody you respect-" That's when she looked up at him - shocked. Crushed, he then realized how much of his admiration he had held back. Scrambling, he continued, "You are greatness, Debby. Don't let anyone tell you differently. You are a unique and special person. You may think I don't know you-" She remembered his easy smile, as a child who found a friend. "-but I've always known you. I can't get enough of you. But the way you treat yourself - when you say you have problems selling yourself short - that's an understatement! What you do is criminal. It's a crime against God, against nature, against yourself. Until you stop cheating yourself, you will always be a criminal. So, yeah, all your family and anyone else you got hoodwinked will say what a good girl you are, but we'll know differently. We know, don't we, Debby?"


So I just got to tell you, Goodbye

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Traveling Hobo

Sociology is always a hot topic in the homeless community. Hardship makes you think. So when I met a Romanian fellow with plenty of hot sports opinions, we hit it off well. He was a Traveler and his current destination was Connecticut. I would hate to have to be a Traveler, it doesn't suit my mentality. But Travelers hate to stay put.

I told my passing friend of my novel, I tried to explain it as thus: "It's about a guy who is extremely successful in his banking job and is becoming even more successful. But it is killing him inside. So he has to decide if he's to risk everything he has - his money, his marriage, his place in the world - to set things right or to continue on the path that's killing him."

The Hobo's response was direct: "So, why do you feel that way?"

He knew instantly I was talking about myself (all books are about the author) even though obviously I am not a successful banker. But he asked an honest question so I gave an honest answer: "Because I feel that way."

"Good answer. Good answer."

His political views were a curious mixture: he was a Republican Communist. He clearly loved America and reminded me of the lines in the Godfather spoken to the immigrant Bonasera:

VITO CORLEONE: We've known each other many years, but this is the first time you came to me for counsel, for help. I can't remember the last time that you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let's be frank here: you never wanted my friendship. And uh, you were afraid to be in my debt.

BONASERA: I didn't want to get into trouble.

VITO CORLEONE: I understand. You found paradise in America, had a good trade, made a good living.

Like many who've found "paradise in America", he ended up subscribing to the ways of greed (like any good Republican). Concern number one was keeping his goodies. He talked of the need to secure our borders from people who would do us harm. I told him that was no solution because those who wish to get in will one way or the other (he agreed).

"It's like fire-proofing your house without ever trying to stop the cause of the fires."

"But how do you convince 1.6 billion people who want to destroy you?"

"You don't. They have to be responsible for themselves."

"So what do we do? Nothing?"

"It's like ancient Isreal. When they were with God they were safe. When they turned their backs they were screwed regardless. I just think it's silly to try and make an entire country a fortress."

He then went on to confess he was a Communist, but he agreed with more of the idea of it than any alleged practice of it he had seen. His view of America was one only an outsider could have (thus matching mine): "People talk about the great freedom in America and it's true but the financial tyranny here is worse than any other country in the world."

Well, he was preaching to the choir there. "Exactly!" I concurred. "There's a reason we are the most violent nation."

We also saw eye to eye on religion. "The thing about religion, you see, is that it comes from men-"

"Yes! One of the strongest human desires is to have God's approval. We make up rules for that approval and then pretend we have it."

We were at odds on the war, though. He was for the war - pretty much any war - thinking like most Americans it's the best way to keep the good life going. He even went so far as to say the Vietnam war accomplished a lot of good. "In my country we were rooting for America to stop communism." I saw the "Killing Fields" , we stopped nothing. He thought we pulled out too early.

In discussing the Vietnem war, he got the most keyed up. Edgy to begin with, I really sensed a streak of violence, like something was eating on him. In arguing we pulled out too early, he tried to ask me how many people died each year on our highways (it's about the same as Vietnam deaths). You really have to feel backed into a corner to make that sort of desperate comparison. I don't know how big it is, but there is a bomb waiting to go off in that guy.

He really enjoyed the conversation. He said religion and politics are things you cannot discuss civilly in America (no kidding!). My only outlet is here and the occasional conversation like this one. My friend was even more pent up. As a traveller, he was always dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sitting On a Toilet

Sitting on a toilet
I have no time.
Taking up space
That is not mine.

Always hunting
A place to be;
Your expectations
Are never me.

I've dreamed of life
Upon the moon.
I've dreamed of living
The silver spoon.

I think of life
In mountain caves,
And envy the safety
Of being brave.

If I live on
Ten thousand years,
Look in this spot
I'll still be here.

The longing ache;
A woman's breast.
To lay down my head
For eternal rest.

Seeking refuge;
There's none outside me.
But will I find it
With none inside me?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I Shot Bin Laden (But I Did Not Shoot the Taliban)

"Time will tell on their power minds,
Making war just for fun.
Treating people just like pawns in chess,
Wait till their judgement day comes."

--Black Sabbath, War Pigs

There was much gloating over a recent death in Iraq. It's even been said our traitor President is taking a "victory lap" over this in Iraq. Here are some direct quotes from some real live War Pigs:

"This is a message to all those who use violence, killing and devastation to disrupt life in Iraq to rethink within themselves before it is too late." (Talk about ironic!)

"The reported great news for the people of Iraq..." (Ding, dong! The witch is dead!)

"Sooner or later evil people meet their just desserts. The entire world of people who believe in freedom and peace can take solace in what happened." (Whew, hate to be one them there bad guys!)

There's been much talk of renewed optimism for our war. Unfortunately, it's not optimism the war will end but a hope for approval by those who started it. Such a noble goal. And the cause of all this celebration? It's over this:

"...the bodies of two women, a man and a young girl killed in the bombing were turned over to Iraqi authorities. None were identified."

Oh sure, you probably thought those quotes were about the terrorist guy who was killed. Nah, it's the innocent civilians we gloat over, those we conciously decided to kill. Saying civilians getting killed in war is no big deal is the same as saying 9/11 was no big deal. But if you want to rant and rave about serving the greater good, that's all fine and dandy. But first you gotta prove it: tell me you would trade your daughter's life for the life of a terrorist.

(But it's OK to trade their kids)

Bring Me the Head of Harry Homeless

I have never believed I was meant to be happy. Oh, I know philosophically speaking God wants everyone to be happy and blah, blah, blah. It just doesn't mean anything in practical terms. Jesus wasn't meant to live happily ever after but I am?? Come on. We kill happy people in this world. It's our job. Unhappy people can't stand the sight of happiness. "Find me Harry Homeless. And if he's happy, kill him!" I am a witch in a world full of witch hunters.

I had a dream with John Lennon last night. It was 1971 and he was walking through the streets of New York singing a protest song. He couldn't see or hear me because it was as if I were a time traveler who could only observe. He was carrying Uzis in each hand as props and dressed in military gear. There was a time when politics almost ruined Lennon's career. I wanted to talk to him, reason with him on what he was doing, but I knew it was something he had to work out for himself. Clearly he was miserable - but that made him safe in this world. It was when he turned happy his life was in danger.

Debby wants me dead. I feel it every day. The smoldering resentment of my existence, the loathing, the contempt. She is not one who ever sees a reason to get off her high horse. She will die having never been alone. That kind of gift can be a curse though. Like most women, she was a predator, using men's needs as a tool to get things she wanted. But that can be a trap. Being one who had always lived having many things, the idea of risking them became more unthinkable over time. Right and wrong cease to exist, replaced by "What keeps my things and what does not?" I'm in the latter group.

"Dying is a good thing?" I vainly hope every day. But is life an option? I see the sad souls who desperately defend this world, clinging to the hope they can somehow be happy here by placating. My words are disregarded as "the miserable rumblings of a sodden misfit." Ah, mon ami, what an education is in store for you! Praising the world doesn't mean you will get to keep your goodies. These are the people who yell loudest when things go wrong. Yet they worship a false god - and they know false gods always betray you. Only love lasts forever.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Today's Tom Sawyer

"Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong;
let him who is vile continue to be vile;
let him who does right continue to do right;
and let him who is holy continue to be holy."
-Revelations 22:11

I have to be fair. I have seen the other path. And down that road all my excuses and protests fall by the wayside. If I were on that path then the world could take any it road it chooses and it all would be fine by me. It's easy not to worry when you know you're going to live forever. Unfortunately, I have only seen that road, not taken it.

If all the barriers were removed between me and Debby, and all lies removed from our lives, we'd be sharing the gifts God intended for us. That's why Jesus' good news is so hard - hearing on what all we are missing out on. An irrational and inconsolable voice screams inside, "Shut up!" But I saw in that life with Debby a dream that could not be destroyed. No longer would my happiness hinge on the decisions of others. My soul would already be where it needed to be. And each day I would say, "Thank You!".

"Got to be a joker he just do what he please."
-John Lennon, "Come Together"

Instead - like most people - I lead an absurd life. It takes moral strength to do what you want. Nothing separates me from Debby more than that axiom. Hiding your feelings is weak. Getting what you want is hard - for then you face what you truly are and can lie to yourself no more.

"Today's Tom Sawyer,
"He gets high on you,
"And the space he invades
"He gets by on you."

So I salute today's Tom Sawyers. I bitch because I'm not one of you.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Jackass

"Nope, not gonna do it." His arms were crossed, as was his mind. "I refuse to give in to injustice."

"You have no choice. Do it or die!" attested a voice from the surrounding crowd.

"See?" jumped the Jackass, "That's exactly what I'm talking about: blackmail. You say I don't deserve to live? Who are you to say that?"

"It's not me saying it. It's just life. It's just the way things are, right or wrong. You have to live with it."

"If God wants me dead then why live anyway? You think this a joke? Lives are on the line. Someone's got to put an end to this."

A newcomer inquired as to the subject of debate. "What's the deal? He doesn't want to work or somethin'?"

A bystander replied: "He doesn't want to eat."

"You can't change the world. Nobody can. You want to stop eating? Go ahead!"

But the Jackass' arguments gained momentum. Why should anyone die from a lack of food? Articles were printed with "What was their crime?" under the photos of children who starved to death. Did their maker want them dead? If not, then why force on them the need for food? Editorials outraged, "IS GOD A JACKASS?"

The ever present crowd around the Jackass parted for the 60 Minutes crew. They listened in to the voice over. "He's a man with a shocking and some say scandalous view on God. It's his contention God does not want us to live, that we are meant to suffer and even the innocent must die. It is this "reality" he protests by a refusal to eat food, saying if his Maker truly wants him to live then that is what will happen. We caught up with him, sitting on a broken dumpster and looking rather haggard."

The Jackass surveyed the surrounding sea of humanity. A nervous hush quieted them as the first question was asked.

"Surely you don't believe God wants you dead?"

"No one who wants me to live would make me live at the mercy of other people."

"But mankind has lived for thousands of years."

"And lived like dogs. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Don't get all cocky because you live the good life."

"It's not just me but millions of others. Are you saying we are all wrong?"

"I don't have to say anything. The evidence speaks for itself. Food has been used as a weapon since the beginning. People are assholes. Each person should be allowed to stand on his own merits. We killed Jesus and we know he did nothing wrong. Why the hell should I hold out hope from you fuckers?"

"Well, why do you think God wants you dead if that's your point of view?"

"Because God doesn't want us to be assholes. He wants us to learn to live together and share the world. Each of us has a stake in making this work. Right now, if one person stumbles, we beat him up and chastise him. Instead, we should help him up and ask why he fell. I say to you: The world has the capicity and resources to feed itself, so why don't we?"

Many pundits actually tried to reply as to reasons not to feed ourselves. But shame had now replaced anger. The anger that had drawn in the crowd as a moth to a fire. They dispersed in silence, leaving the Jackass in solitary confinement. For that, he had only one reply:

"Fuck it. Call in to Popeyes."

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Zatoichi Principle Addendum

"There ain't no Jesus gonna come from the sky."
-John Lennon "I Found Out"

Boy, you can lead a horse to water...

I saw a commercial the other day for a new(?) TV series where people are taken to another planet, given "special powers" and then come back to "save the Earth". Sigh. There are so many things wrong with that secenario. First off, who the fuck would come back to this sorry shit hole if they had the chance to get out? And secondly - more importantly - this is a CLEAR VIOLATION of the
Zatoichi Principle . No one is going to save us! We have to do it ourselves. Don't get sucked into thinking otherwise.

To reiterate, NONE of the following will save us:

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Search for Meaning

I see the predators roaming around, trying to sniff out prospects. They bring with them all sorts of carrots to entice you, calling you out. I've heard many a war veteran speak of the incredible bonding and sense of purpose derived from battle. It's a feeling most are not able to recreate ever again. An ordinary life transported to the rarified air of Meaningful Existence. And the predators know all this with their false solutions.

No need to bring a stick as an alternate to the carrot. The beating is leading a worthless existence. The snake oil salesmen know the ache. The idea of that ache going away is highly seductive. And many are taken in. Maybe they think things are better. My life has meaning now, I no longer have to feel. But that pain serves a purpose. If your finger were on a hot stove, would you not want to know even if it hurt?

"Sometimes I think it's a shame
When I get feelin' better when I'm feelin' no pain.
Sometimes I think it's a sin
When I feel like I'm winnin' when I'm losin' again."

-Gordon Lighfoot, "Sundown"

I saw the Tommy Lee Jones movie, "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" (two thumbs up) and I loved its unvarnished look at small town Texas life. The film features a Texas border guard leading a meaningless life. His idea of sex is masturbating in his wife. Bored at his post, he brings a sex mag to jack off to while on duty. It's in the middle of this when he hears shots fired, pulls up his pants and fires back, killing the shooter. Except the shooter was firing on a wolf nowhere near the border agent. When all this comes to light his wife decides to leave. "He's beyond redemption."

Those words echoed in my ears. It is true, I only feel good when things are falling apart . Anything built not founded on something real is only a burden. And who doesn't crave their burdens destroyed? I don't know where freedom lies. I do know where prison is. So no matter how well I "succeed" in doing something I don't believe in, I want it destroyed.