A Most Misfortunate Soul

piano1(that you will ever meet)

There is no matter, rope or forged chain that held the old piano, swaying high in air, to and fro. Of concern only, is the singular concern that whatever suspect held the weight aloft, did not hold for long.

That a great weight landed upon Mr. Lockwoods head, ending his life, as the rest of his life, is a lie. It was not the weight that ended his most misfortunate life. Rather, as the old wood piece of junk succumbed to gravity, it splintered. Upon smashing into a a hundred large splinters, one small shiver of a large splinter went splaying, cutting through the hot, warm and humid summer air to find a home somewhere in the back of Mr. Lockwood’s rather large, cumbersome brain.

Doing so in such a fashion, that Mr. Lockwood believed a small insect of the flying kind had drawn his blood. Before he could raise his palm to swat the aforementioned flying small irritation away, Mr Lockwood was  dead, splayed himself across the walk, the shattered remains of life and piano evident to all.

It was not what was evident in this tragic scene that bears the slightest importance, not at all. Not one witness would guess, could guess, given hints as well, that the man who lay, dead and cold across the walk this fine hot summer night, was the most misfortunate soul one would ever, could ever, or in this tale, hope to meet.

Ninety Seven long, tedious yeas ago plus some small, small change, Mr. Lockwood was born to a fair and wealthy maiden who in turn had found a fair and wealthy prince. Unknown to both, a drunkard by nature, an orderly by secured profession switched without care or caution a bassinet, and Mr. Lockwood went from a life of princely principal to an existence of professional poverty in the space allocated for less than a thousand and three breaths.

Truly, a most misfortunate thing. As a young lad, living under the decrepit concrete and stone bridge, Mr Lockwood often on a clear, cool unclouded night would gaze off to the distant, and wonder who the fine and pretty people were that lived in that grand, magnificent house far away, on the only hill on any distant horizon.

Mr. Lockwood would never know.bridge1

Life under that old bridge was cold and harsh in the coldest months, and hot and miserable in the sun drenched days of summer. The old cardboard house had to be rebuilt after every rainfall, and when the river encroached, Mr. Lockwood and his poor mother sought safety in the hill of the high ground, just above the bluffs, thickened and threatened by forest and large, dark unknown animals, all hidden and protected by the oak, poplar and pines.

All Mr. Lockwood possessed in his youth was a tattered blanket, a singular eternally filthy blanket full of holes which from time to time, Mr. Lockwood attempted to rinse in the rapids under the bridge. Mr. Lockwood never understood the origins of the blanket, nor the meaning of the name sewn on a now frayed corner edge, barely readable. One day, while rinsing, a current caught what was left of the filthy material and it disappeared from sight in a single, exasperated and sorrowful sigh of misfortunate loss.

Things being as what they were in Mr. Lockwoods youth, he was not an unintelligent young man. After all, his genes were of the most superb available, and after considering the irony that the jeans he wore, were so less significant than those he possessed, one can only wonder to the matters and consequences of the universe. That matter and consequence came to be important when at the age of thirteen he was hired, not for his intelligence, and in spite of his unkept and unthreaded appearance, to work deep in the dark coal mines as a digger, apprenticed to one old, curmudgeon Mr. Paxton, who non the less, taught the boy how to dig rock with the utmost sincerity and respect due all rock and coal.

Years passed in the darkness of rock and tunnels and one day, Mr Lockwood was told that Mr. Paxton’s heart had given out at the end of a especially long and misbegotten day and that from that day forward, Mr. Lockwood would be expected to labour long and hard without companionship.

Unknown to Mr. Lockwood, is that Mr. Paxton after a life of hardship had managed to save a small pittance of astounding proportions. Barely known to Mr. Lockwood was that Mr. Paxton had a wife, three sons and a daughter. Mrs. Paxton, along with her sons, in an action unknown by her fair and honest daughter, cheated Mr. Lockwood out of the small amount of gold that his long standing co-worker had bequeathed him. Of course, it was a most misfortunate thing.

One day, pick ax slung over broad shoulders, Mr. Lockwood was refreshing in the cool waters under the bridge, naked and nude as most men tend to be in their youthful days, when a young, delightful fish of a woman swam his way, naked as most fish are, and inquired as to his name and nature.

cardboardhousesThe young woman had been married some years past, and in an unfortunate, unforeseeable accident, her husband had been trampled to death by a horse carrying a funeral carriage. A funeral carriage carrying the tender remains of a young man that had once lived in a great and magnificent house, far away on a distant hill. It is a most unfortunate thing that Mr. Lockwood never learned that the woman who came to him in the river was none other than Mr. Paxton’s true, honest and beautiful Laura, for he once thought to ask, to which she replied, there was no need to know, for she cared not for her past, her mother or her evil brothers.

Time flies as a crow flies, herethere and everywhere but never in form or desire of ones heart. Mr. Lockwoods marriage to his true and tender produced a heritage that most men would be proud, and most women in constant and glorious agony, but it is a most misfortunate thing that a poor man, a man of rock, can not feed, can not cloth, much less tend, to an enormous flock. In the unseemly tick of times eyes, children were born, children were raised with scraps from the table, tatters for clothes, all in cardboard houses along the wandering river under a bridge, with a hill far in the distant. One a baker, two a ditch digger, three sweeps streets, four works late till the sun comes round, five pours coffee, six acts upon a worlds stage and seven, still a child, lives at home.

Love is as time is, a tender thing, tragic this day, joyous the next. For each of us, it is either or, never seen the two tween the sun and moon the same day. One can not say the same for Mr. Lockwood and it is a most misfortuante thing for when eight arrived, his true and only, departed. Departed in a way, only love can, with child in arm, husbands hand in hers, a smile, then her whisper, a belief so strong echoed in  gentle words.

Surely, a most misunfortunate thing, especially so for an old and bothered Mr. Lockwood who raised his young number eight to be, not a musician, but a musician, a muse of word and rhythm, fashioning string from dinner sinew, horns from large, undiscovered, old and ancient bones, ivories from forgotten circus elephants and forming small and distinct wooden instruments. One day, as the young girl sat upon the rocks of the gentle flowing river that gracefully swept under the bridge, a carriage came to a quick and fortunate stop above, high above, over head, and an old, a very old young lady helped herself out of the horse drawn carriage.

For no other purpose than to listen to the child sing and play far down below, upon the rocks.

‘It is a most misfortunate thing’ the woman claimed, with finger pointing to Mr. Lockwoods nose ‘that such a gifted little child be born to one such as you’ and therefore asked, and asked again, and therefore so many more times that Mr. Lockwood finally packed all her simple and cherished belongings and walked with her to the far and distant house on the hill where she lived a splendid life of love and goodwill.

Bones become brittle, bend in shape, muscles ache, some even wither and tither away while thoughts turn to memories, or those that remain. Age of old, and older still, is a most misfortunate thing is what Mr. Lockwood was thinking as he paid for his daughters birthday gift, an old, but beautiful girl with soft pelt hammers and tongue tied ivories waiting to be set free. Mr. Lockwood stayed just long enough, to watch it hoisted out the third floor door, to be dropped to the cart below, before he turned, to walk away, his heart happy.

It was a most misfortunate thing, for an unfortunate soul.

As the sun rose, in cardboard houses under bridges all across the land that the days sun would wash, people prepared a bridgejourney. Fathers, sons, daughters, their children and their children’s children prepared. Some in rich and fine clothes, some in rags and ragitty tatters. Some men good, some perhaps not, women with their men, some alone. Bakers, ditch diggers, street sweepers, night workers, actors, writers and musicians all prepared, all came. And their friends, and their friends friends came.

From high on the hill, from far and away, Mrs Lockwood held her husbands hand, and smiled at the most fortunate thing.

 

The Divisiveness of being Independent

download (2)There’s a special, creepy kind of shit going on here in America. The kind of crap we all know is happening but just can’t quite put our finger on the stink, can’t quite describe the shit that’s happening, but we all know it’s on, and on big time!

I call it out as Independent Divisiveness!

This here is a macho thing, an American thing, and we’re all guilty of it, men and women alike! Independent Divisiveness, or ID is rooted, and rooted strong and deep, in the belief that we Americans are tough and independent old cusses. A belief that goes back to the pioneering and cowboy days of our mommas and papas.

It’s a belief that says, out here on the prairie, ‘I gotta do it myself’.download4

Not only a belief, ID is attitude, a good honest attitude, and it made for surviving harsh times, failed crops and Indian raids. The rawness of the land forced that unforgiving attitude of self reliance simply because the alternative was failure, and failure often meant death, by arrow, by starvation, by weather, take your pick.

Our forefathers and mothers needed to be tough shits to survive! It’s just that simple. Thing is, back in the day, out alone on the grasslands or trapping along the Colorado river, you didn’t have to listen to anyone else’s point of view. There was only one that mattered.

So, for any American family that’s been in this nation for more than a hundred years, it’s culturally embedded in you that you’re an independent old sort, a wily old cuss hell bent on your independence.

And there is nothing wrong with being independent, and valuing your history. I cherish mine.

This here is where it gets creepy. Has that independent thing made you a divisive, intolerant individual? So much so that you don’t need facts, hell, won’t even listen to ’em, cuz you just know better. Or worse…,

are you even all that independent?

Is your mind made up based on information, facts and figures, given to you by others? Would you even consider that those facts and figures might be in the wrong, that you might be wrong?

images2See where I’m going? How our independent streak might lead to some damn ignorance and divisive behavior?

Thing is, most of you have never known hunger, cold and even when a natural disaster comes along, your suffering is limited. That’s the nation our forbearer’s suffered for, toughened up for. That’s why they were unbending, strong as that Oak in your front yard, with your grandpas and grandmas initials carved out in the bark. A testament to their lives. Lives you should cherish.

You don’t live on that windswept prairie and you’re not  trapping the river to insure your survivability, you can afford to bend, to listen. That’s what our ancestors gave us, that’s what they fought for. They proved it in our civil war,download (1) saying it loudly, with conviction.

All I’m asking, is think just how independent you really are when it comes to weighing in on what’s happening here in America? And maybe asking yourself if that independence might be better labeled as intolerance. Intolerance not because you’re ignorant, but because you’re too damned stubborn to stop and really think. That’s the crap that stinks and it is creepy given our history of self reliance.

 

 

Fractured, and in Disrepair

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As a Nation, as a people, and as a society we have been lulled into a false belief that we are impervious to ruination and civil strife to such a  degree that our Government can fall. There is common ground in the thought that no matter how great our differences, our Nation will survive, our Government, our Constitution, will endure.

We are both poor students of history and even poorer judges of the environment in which we live. No single political entity survives when a society is fractured and goes untended. No Government survives when Government ceases to benefit those they are tasked to Govern. No Democracy thrives when it’s citizens no longer care to participate, and pass fract2decisions to those who are unfit to piss in a pasture populated by cows.

Fifty long and tedious years after our Civil Rights movement, racism has reared it’s ugly influence to an appalling extent. Those valued men and women who risk their lives to protect us in the sands of far flung apocalyptic countries are disrespected under an illusion of patriotic puffed chests and guileless verbiage. Our police, those tasked to serve and protect here on the home front, have become our enemies, their motives questioned at every tick of the second hand. Our politicians are corrupt and their loyalty is a fealty not to our constitution or history, but to their political party,  to their political ideology, second only to their bank accounts. Our Gods, once bastions of good will, comfort, and common sense, have become gods of division, contempt and prejudice.

And yet we continue to trust those who have proven they are not worthy of our trust. Perhaps because we have no other options available. Perhaps because we have become lost, ourselves.

Our belief in a vision of who we are is vastly different than an unarticulated vision of who frac4we should be, need to be. We no longer even trust our collective good will to bargain as a whole for our financial and personal welfare. As lambs, we wear the false skin of a wolf because we submit to being led blindly down a destructive path while believing it is an exceptional journey to great rewards and eternal riches. We lay our heads upon our pillows, dreaming, even sincerely believing that tomorrow will bring a glorious chorus of welcomes into the 1% club when in truth, the one percent take, and take. Our esteemed news media no longer is involved in the art of news, they now are in the business of entertainment, entertainment and propaganda. The selling of that false vision to insure your remain a lamb steeped in the beliefs of a wolf.

We call that democracy, we call that equality, and we are fine with it. Those who are not, are socialists, communists and the dredge of society. Those who speak out are questioned as unpatriotic, as undemocratic, as socialists. There is a
pretense on our part that we know the difference between the three when a larger, supported truth supports the knowledge that most Americans do not know the difference between a Republic fract3and a Democracy, much less Socialism.

One man is not to blame. One President is not to blame. In fact, those who are to blame hide in plain site, comprised of a insidious agenda to destroy our great Nation through deceit, conflict and manipulation. Their belief is in an America whose strength lies in its Military, it’s influence in it’s financial power, and that the path to reach those goals is through war, conquest and domination, establishing a global American Financial empire, even at the cost of our Constitution.

They are winning! We are a divided nation, without direction, without vision. That fracture is growing, not by decades, not by years or even weeks. The abyss grows darker by the day, ridiculously so. We refuse to see it, to accept it, to seek solution.

God, the Human(s)

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Originally published January 10, 2015

I have never enjoyed writing, or talking about religion. Mostly, because I believe there is something more to our existence that what we wake up to every morning. I attribute our existence much as Ellie does when she claims, ‘if there ain’t nothing more, than what a waste of space’. While the context is a bit different, the thought is the same. By saying this, I simply believe that if there’s nothing greater than the human sepcies in all existence, what a waste! I also need you to understand, that I believe religion is personal, that I don’t have the right to judge another’s personal beliefs. At least so far in my misbegotten life.

That is changing, and I’m thinking I should have started judging long ago.

I have always given all religions the benefit of the doubt. I have always considered the good religion does in any given community; in bringing a community together, the charitable work, the support, the comfort offered in trying times. I still, and will forever respect that, but I can no longer keep quiet about the hate and pain that religion brings, intentional or not, to  us who do not belong to organized religion.

Understand that I believe religion seeks to control, always looking to expand it’s power base. Like rape, which is more about power and control, religion seeks just that, power and control over my life. Not to enhance my life, but to justify my existence, and to condemn by way of guilt and accusation. Your god tells me to have faith in your god, not in myself. My imagesbelief tells me to have faith in myself, and in others.

You see, I believe in God, just not your God! For you, that’s not good enough, You need me to believe in your god, and that’s why I can no longer stay silent. Your religion is destroying humanity, ruining our world, stealing our chance to be more than what we are at this point in time. That is shameful.

Be you an Evangelical snake biter, a Mormon, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist, know that I am not like you! I do not claim any right in the name of God, Allah or Buddha. If my God wants to claim that right, my God does not need me to claim that right. God can go it alone, God is more than capable. You probably don’t get that though, because if you did, you would understand what I’m writing about, but instead you’ll go on a rant defending how it’s your right to protect your faith.

The irony? The Bible, the Veda, Torah, Quran and most religious texts are not bad texts. Familial with the Bible, I can faithfully say that if everyone lived by the basic tenets of the Bible, the world would be a much better place. That isn’t the case, why is that?

starBecause we don’t think for ourselves, we don’t have faith in ourselves. We need to ask others for guidance and there are those among us who have figured that out, and they have led their lambs to slaughter others, and to be slaughtered themselves. Religion demands that you follow, that you not ask questions.

You are taught wrong.

The murders in Paris didn’t have to happen! They didn’t happen because someone was offended over a cartoon of their Prophet. They happened because the religious leaders of their religion didn’t speak out loud enough, in a unified voice, against violence, against hate, aganst terrorism. It’s not a lot different here in America when religious zealots say stupid things and our religious leaders stay silent. C’mon, Pat Robertson has said some pretty stupid things and so have others, without consquence.

If justice is blind, than religion is ignorant. So much so that those who commit their lives to their god become blind and uncaring to the words of their god but not so much as to their spirtual leaders. In fact, they entrust the words spouting out of their religious leaders as the repeated word of their god, never bothering to ask or question.

Why?

Enlightment begins with the first question!

An American Myth

ronnieOriginally published January 18th 2015

Ronald Reagan wasn’t qualified to be governor, let alone president. I was a vice president of the Screen Actors Guild when he was its president. My duties consisted of attending meetings and voting. The only thing I remember is that Ronnie never had an original thought and that we had to tell him what to say. That’s no way to run a union, let along a state or a country.”

James Garner

With in two weeks of being elected, Ronald Reagan removed Robert E. White from his service as Ambassador to El Salvador due to the urging of Secretary of State, Alexander Haig. White was an outspoken critic of El Salvador’s long list of horrible abuses and human right violations. Assassinations and massacres by American trained murder squads, including the rape and murder of four American churchwomen. Why? The Reagan administration, influenced by Haig and CIA Director Bill Casey had decided on a policy of Militarization in Central America.

Five years later, Reagan appeared in a National News conference to the American Nation, telling us that Arms had been sold, but never traded, for hostages in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair. Reagan claimed he had no knowledge of what top officials in his administration were doing.bonzo

Even Teflon wears thin given time. Ronald Reagan, given his somewhat bombastic and telling way with words came across as a great American hero, a great American President. My truth, he was neither. I see Reagan as a weak man, devoid of serious thought and open to outside influences. His ability was his style of communication, one of being down to earth, honest, and somewhat simple. Yes, he could be eloquent, he could be convincing and I find that surprising given that his best movie was ‘Bedtime for Bonzo

While our media, and especially our conservative media hold Reagan as the gold standard to compare all Presidents against, working class Americans are starting to understand the damage done by the man. Most people I know don’t understand the idolization. Reagan was, if anything, lucky. Lucky that his time in office was accompanied by Russian General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev who understood the political reality in which he lived. It was Gorbachev who dissolved the USSR, not Reagan. Lucky that his term covered a time when the American people had turned to greed, excess, ambition and glamor, sat against a backdrop of a technological revolution. It was the ‘me’ decade, and many were not paying attention.

The true measure of Reagan the man can be seen in his handling of the Beirut bombings of ’83. When confronted with a situation he couldn’t deal with, he ran like a coward with his tail between his legs, than turned and lied to the American population. Reagan turned us from peace keepers in the region, to active participants in the middle east unrest and war, a participant who had chosen a side. We were no longer mere referees in the Middle East, we were now engaged,

In his memoir, General Colin Powell (at the time an assistant to Caspar Weinberger) noted, as Colonel Geraghty had already projected, that “When the shells started falling on the Shiites, they assumed the American ‘referee’ had taken sides.”[45] Some analysts subsequently criticized the decision to have U.S. warships shell Druze and Syrian forces. They claim that this action forced a shift in the previously neutral U.S. forces by convincing local Lebanese Muslims that the U.S. had sided with the Lebanese Christians

Wikipedia

download6Reagan, calling the acts despicable and vowing to stay in Lebanon, turned tail and withdrew our troops four months later. The perpetrators of the attack were never identified. As a good-bye gesture to the people of Lebanon, the USS New Jersey shelled Syrian positions for six hours. Reagan’s fact finding commission blamed the military for lapses in security. Many will argue that Reagan’s actions, or inaction, emboldened the terrorists.

While Reagan’s foreign policy was militarism and projected threats through strength, his domestic policy contributed to, and laid the foundation for the political and economic divide we see today. Reagan’s trickle down economics were bullshit; rising tides don’t float all boats equally! His handling of the Air Traffic Controllers strike, while applauded by many, forced over 11,300 people onto the welfare roles overnight and demonized unions. There was no attempt to listen to their demands of better working conditions, a shorter work week or their complaint of being in the civil service. It was Reagan’s way, or the highway, and Reagan’s way was the corporate way.

While there are valid commendations to be made for Reagan’s economic recovery early in his term and the consistent dropping of the unemployment rate throughout his Presidency, they came at a cost, a very high cost. The mentally ill were forced to the streets, attempts were made to purge the disabled from the Social Security Disability Rolls and Reagan raised the National Debt from 997 billion to just under three trillion dollars. The National Debt, in Reagan’s own view, was his ‘greatest disappointment’.

Reagan’s ‘Tax Reform Act of ’86, created to simplify our Tax code ,helped in creating an environment that led to the Savings and Loan scandal. Additionally, the top tax rates were reduced and the bottom rates increased, the only time in our history where the trend was reversed. The end effect, is the economic inequality we see today!

In keeping with his militant style, Reagan reinvigorated Nixon’s war on drugs. His Drug Enforcement Bill set minimum penalties for drug offenses, and Reagan must not have understood what Max Lerner was saying when he wrote,

As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply

Max Lerner, America as a Civilization

The reality is the law did little toward combating illegal drug use, promoted significant racial sentencing disparities, and helped create a vast and unaccountable federal agency, our DEA.

If given two lists, of the five best and the five worst presidents, I could not place Reagan in the first. I could not say that he belongs in the latter, but given the choice, Ronald Reagan is not the myth that has been built up around him. His views on immigration are substantially worthy of conversation in regards to the American dream, but the download (1)1law has no enforceable funding, or a political will to enforce the law. I see in Reagan a flawed President, one who had a sincere vision for America, unfortunately, that vision was culled from a black and white John Wayne WWII movie. Reagan had no social vision, wasn’t concerned with social justice, and actually introduced the phrase, ‘welfare queen’ into the public lexicon while also referring to young Black Americans as ‘Strapping young bucks’.

When one looks at the enormity of the scandals during his eight years in office, and considering that over 138 top ranking officials were investigated, indicted or convicted, including convictions of his Secretary Of Defense, Secretary of the Interior, two National Security Advisors, Treasurer of the US, and his Chief of Staff were all convicted of criminal behavior. This doesn’t happen under one of the five best Presidents and is indicative of his leadership, or lack of.

Indeed, James Garner had it right!

Cafe Conversations at the End of the World

godOriginally published January 25th, 2015

‘Is that what you’ll do, start over?’ I asked, mug nestled just under my nostrils so I could take in the sharp, stark aroma of my Colombian blend.

I watched the grey one tug at his ear ‘Do you think I should start over, Rob? I’m not inclined to, I’m actually thinking about moving on to something different, complety different.’

‘How so?’ as I sat my white mug with it’s thin blue line circumferencing  the rim, on the formica.

‘Not so sure, son’. I watched as he turned to momentary stare at the setting sun, a sun he had given birth to in a time before there was such a concept, of sun, or time.

‘This time it’s going to be different, it has to be different!’ turning his old tired eyes back to me. I watched him raise his personal mug to motion to the bulk of a woman that he needed more. I wondered why he just didn’t fill his own mug, ‘Because sometimes, I’m really not the best cook in the house’ he offered.’

I smirked. He continued, stroking his long gray white streaked beard, ‘Diversity is a wonderful thing, diversity is also quite eluding, even for me.’ he stared straight, looking into my eyes as if I should know, should realize what the hell he was talking about. I did not. That fact was evident as he continued, and long after he averted his sight, I felt his being entwined with mine. ‘Take the Universe for instance. How can the universe truely be diverse when every planet is round?’

A strange quizzical sense started to overwhelm my gut, and it must have been reflected somewhere in my soul.

‘Let me help you understand, Rob’ as the tank poured his cup to the brim. ‘Humans aren’t as diverse as they like to think they are. You all look basically the same, one head, two eyes, ears and a mouth. You only have two different genders compared to some creations that have had several. Now, besides gender, your skin color might be a bit different, hair and eye color a shade different but all those things are part of the evolutionary cycle that was needed to make you grow, or supposed to make you grow into an intelligent species by allowing for cognitive thought.’

I grimaced showing my ignorance.

‘Really? Robert, I would have thought you of all people would have figured it out. Your  harsh and changing environment through the ages was intended to make you think.’

‘…and instead, it made us different?’ I quietly said, mulling.

‘More, it separated you, classified you. An unintended diversity.’

I got it. ‘Our diversity is man made, in your eyes, we’re’

… all the same dammit! You all screwed up my perfect species’.sunset

I looked out the large cafe glass from our booth, silently trying to come to grips with what the old one was saying. The golden glow from the sun lingered and I knew the first star would be out in minutes. I wondered if he was giving me my privacy and I suspect he was as there was no intrusion.

‘Diversity is a man made concept than?’

‘No, diversity among a species is expected, but what you’re labeling as diversity is cultural diversity and it was unexpected, as diversity’s go, more…, or less’

I again snuggled my cup under nose, letting the aroma wrap around my soul. ‘Is that a bad thing?’

‘No, just unexpected and…, I learned something new.’

The Curious Life of Rabbit Pig

Originally published Februarabbit pigry 1st, 2015

Raw and suffocating, fucking suffocating! The humidity works its way into you, drags you down and when you fall tired flat on your furry back, you can’t even see the orange sky cuz the world you’ve fallen into is totally green. A hundred variations of green with splashes of brown tossed here and over there. Lime green, yellow green, blue green with a touch of brown shit, get the idea?

I hate Jungles!

It ain’t never nice, never sunny, always wet or dry, sometimes on rare occasions it’s both, but never nice. You can’t walk ten steps without coming coming cross some kind of danger, be it snakedog or some damn twisted vine lying in wait to drag your sorry soul down to the rocky depths of Verbakken, the forbidden place where death and destruction dwell.

Like I said, I hate this jungle! That’s why most times I try to stick to my hearth, high above behind a clear flowing waterfell. It’s cool calm and mostly safe. There’s a ledge I can walk out on, half a mile past the waterfell, high in the sky,  and watch the world go by. Watch the sun rise on my left till it’s midday than trace it’s route back again, to where it began, and start over, a new time. Below, a thick river trudges in a journey to some unknown place, a civilized place that some day I’ll have to see. For the moment, I’ll settle for the fucking jungle, my ledge, the river, and all the dangers and all the heartbreaks.

This isn’t just my world, it’s where mom and dad were murdered, their carcasses left to the vicious. This ain’t my home, this is my destiny and I’m of the damned opinion to do it well. This god forsaken, misbegotten jungle a friggin’ billion miles from everywhere is where the answers are. Some two or three piece bitch bastard knows the way, has the answer and I’ll find that piece o shit and when I do, I’ll settle the score, make things right, then I’ll think about civilization. Maybe not!”waterfell

“I’m Rabbit Pig, welcome to my fucking jungle, you asshole.” I politely mentioned to the squirm as I squeezed the 2 piece bastards gord. “Wanna die, fine with me. I can let go.”

I dangled the ol’  Fox Cat out over my ledge,  looking him in his dying eyes, and sarcastically said. “It’s a mile down, you’ll make a mess, and I ain’t cleaning it up.”

Some denizens of this jungle don’t have a sense of life, much less fear. That’s the same as saying they don’t care if they live or die because they ain’t intelligent ’nuff to know what comes after life. Makes it hard to ask ’em a question, makes it harder to threaten them.

I watched the whiskers. A male Fox Cat will always betray it’s intentions in the movements of it’s whiskers and when I saw those whickers lay back, I knew what was coming. An unending unequaled assault from some dumb twofer that didn’t have the good sense to articulate a complete sentence much less know it’s life was over.

I let go, not bothering to watch the splat but not escaping the loud whizzing whine the little beast made on it’s journey to Verbakken. I was more interested in how the dumb animal made it’s way out on my ledge, holstering a gnarly looking finger gun. A deadly finger gun that had been pointed at my snout!

I knew who to ask.

The crooked wooden sign welcomed everyone to Crud City. Thing is ‘Crud’ wasn’t a city, not even a village. Well maybe a village if you considered a bunch of shambles and lopsided  hearths that came and went on a daily basis. Crud sprung up in a somewhat clearing along the banks of slow waters. Most came and went, daily, weekly, one or two even longer. That Image6being, there are a couple upstanding, permanent cruds. Soon after the first half dozen shambles sprouted up in the trees in and around the clearing, an earth hearth was dug squat in the center of the Crud universe with a new, big ass black and white sign hung over head, calling everyone to Max’s damn fine Booze and Food. Truth is, the food and booze was alright, but the whomans were obnoxious. Ya couldn’t swallow a piece of meat with out a mouthful of them suckers along with it, kind of like fly bees and shit, they go together. Not long after a night of orgies, booze, and some wild naturals a strange leaven and wood hut rose up down on the dirt banks. Larger than any population creation I had ever seen, the damn thing had a larger leaven woven circle outside it’s open door, and on the other side was a larger sign, larger than Max’s calling all of Cruds sinners to gather.

First question ever asked of Daddy Owl Horse was, “What the fuck was a sinner”? to which he replied in his whiny voice, ‘ We’re all sinners, my friend’. Can’t say that Daddy Owl has any success getting us sinners come listen to him talk about sinners, but when he started talking about his skill with naturals, and when he started backing that talk, population started coming.

T’ween the two, Max and Daddy, they were Crud. Soon after, population came and went in larger numbers and not much of anything happened less either Max or Daddy had their ear to the matter, and in some cases, their ear in the thick of the matter. That’s how I found Daddy the next sun come, thick in some three piece bitchs matter. I walked around back to the dirt banks and watched with no certain arousal of the rabbit being as Daddy finished his ride on some squirm. As a rabbit atrib, I was just a bit jealous of his horse hanging atrib as I laughed at him about his size.

“Come’s with the ears Pig.” he yelled from the banks tossing his loose garb on over his large head where it draped from his broad shoulders over his large, sturdy frame. As he reached a hand in his robe, “What d’ya need, Brother Pig”? he pulled out a tethered circle which fell across his broad chest, hanging from his neck.

“Need an answer Brother Daddy. An answer to why some squirm was up on my ledge with a finger gun, pointed at my damn snout”?

“No shit Rabbit? This just happen”?

“Just the other sun come.”

Daddy squinted one oval eye, and raised a thick, rainbowed brow over the other, “Wasn’t a Fox Cat, was it”?

I tilted my head just so slightly, and smiled, knowing I was asking someone who knew, something. “Fact, it was.”

“Was?

“Yep, was, now’s it’s a splat.”

Daddy Owl Horse  smiled, revealing large white teeth sat in a wide mouth, than started walking toward his leaven hut, “Don’t surprise me none. The twofer was here some sun comes ago, askin’ ’bout you. Wasn’t at all quiet about it either. Limelight before last, did a bit too many naturals, started treading on my territory, talking about bigger things, meanings to existence and all that. All kinda strange talk about things in the air…

And it was at that point, everything changed. I paid attention.

“big whomans and old ancient ruins. Kinda funny when the bitch slapped him silly and laid the squirm out flat, telling him him he was talking tImage9oo much.”

“Bitch? What kind”?

“You know Pig, that’s the thing, a funny thing, but a thing still the same. I’m not quite sure what she was, not even sure if she was a two or threefer.”

My mind turned the corner to a thousand questions, and I reeled in them, but how could one not be called out. “Daddy, how could you not know the bitch”?

“Lots you don’t know Pig. Crud, your water and cave, that’s your world but the worlds bigger than that, lots bigger with lots of different things, lots of different populations you can’t even dream about.”

I listened, knowing the world was bigger than mine. I had heard stories from those who come, those who go and from those like Max and Daddy, those who stay. I knew because I remember as a young one flying through the air in some strange mechanization with my olders. I remembered when the damn thing dropped from the orange sky and broke into pieces. I remember my olders dying words, telling me to run, to run fast, run far and never look back, cuz they’ll get me, just like they got my mom, my pop. Yea, I remembered! And I knew where the pieces were, where the vicious came and claimed their prey. I knew why she was looking for me.

“What’d she look like Daddy’?

In the Dark of the Mind


Image1Originally Published Febuary 8th, 2015

I don’t even remember how long it’s been since the call came. Five years, maybe longer. Between my wife and I, it’s ‘the call’, the one that changed our lives, impacting our relationship with each other, with others, and changed how we view life.

In the middle of a long ago, dark night, our world changed.

Tired, groggy, foggy and irritated I answered the incessant ringing and tried to bear with the excited, trembling voice on the other end trying to tell me my son was in police custody for his own safety, that he had been found wandering, playing in interstate traffic.

That Sunday afternoon, I, and my youngest son had driven the hour to visit my 19 year old son in a treatment center. A treatment center he had decided on, on his own, to deal with his growing marijuana problem. While I didn’t see or share the concern my son had with his smoking weed, I appreciated his self concern, and respected the fact he was willing to get help on his own.

What started as a road trip with my 10 year old son to vist his older brother ended in a feeling that something was horribly wrong. I no sooner pulled up in the treatment centers parking lot and was disgusted by the run down, broken and tattered howdoyouappearance of the place. Setting right off the curb of a busy street, there wasn’t a lot of room to park and I worried how the hell I was going to back out in all that traffic. I also started wondering if I was in the right place because I couldn’t find anyone and in fact, the building was deserted.  After wandering around and not finding a soul, we decided to leave, and with a little luck navigated our way back into traffic, where my youngest spotted his brother lazily walking along the sidewalk, rambling toward his treatment center. Caleb yelled out and Sean returned his shout with a grin and a wave

Threading traffic to the narrow lot, we found my son standing alone, waiting and as typical, asked if I had a cigarette. He also insisted in setting in the jump seat of my Ranger to smoke his cigarette.

Something was wrong, I thought he was as high as a kite, and I was more than a bit pissed. His speech was broken, he wasn’t making a lot of clear sense and he wandered from topic to topic. I asked him where I could find staff and we looked. Looked for an hour, toured the ramshackle, dirty place and found no one. I asked another young man where the staff were and his reply was that staff didn’t work weekends, that he and others were on the merit system over weekends. Sean volunteered that almost everyone was down the street at the bar.

I left that afternoon, anguished, scared, worried and not sure what to do. Sean wasn’t himself, and he wasn’t in a safe environment. I resolved to making some phone calls the following day, Monday.

And then that damn phone rang in the middle of the night, telling me that my son was incoherent, had been found playing dodge the cars on the interstate, and the Emergency Medical Technician was suddenly asking if my son had a drug problem, if this was typical behavior, and some other unremembered health questions.

We had to wait a full 48 hours before we were allowed to visit my son who was now in a secure mental health center. We had been updated, and we were assured that no drugs were involved. We were also warned to be prepared.

How do you prepare yourself to see someone else living in your 19 year old sons body. And not just someone else, but a wild, crazy, incoherent paranoid who believes he’s super chicken, blanket for cape, in tune with the cosmic universe. Yea, I prepared myself for that.

4outta100The next four years were a nightmare; courts, social workers, police, institutions, group homes, meetings, doctors, psychiatrists, hours traveled north, and south for visits. Sean finally settled down in a group home just down the road a year and a half back. He has a great sense of humor, a cool personality, echoes Arnold to a ‘T’ and has a love of music. He’s also on a lot of meds, with a lot of possible side effects. Because of those possible side effects, they change up his meds every once in a while. Sometimes there’s no noticeable change in my son, sometime there is.  His meds were changed just before Christmas and it was noticeable, so much so that we intervened and made our concerns valued.

On a cold lonely Wednesday evening in January, my son wandered off. Left his tobacco bag in his room with his MPG player, and disappeared.

He was found two days later by an officer, 28 miles away, barefoot, wearing 2 pairs of pants and a ragged shirt. Incoherent and frostbitten, and he was transported to Hennepins burn unit thinking his feet might have to be amputated.

He was lucky, we were lucky, this time.

You have to know that I have tears as I write this. Yes, tears of joy in that he’s back home, all is well, but know this, they are tears of sorrow as well, because I know there very well might be a time, when we are not so lucky.

There is no fault in his recent disappearance, no one did anything wrong, not staff at the group home, not the psychiatrist who changed his meds, and certainly my son had no intention to do anything other than what he thought was normal, for him. Indeed, I have nothing but complements for people who helped, staff members who spent their own time looking for my son. People did what they could, because they cared.

And this is the thing. You probably know someone who has some mental health issues. You might not be aware that anihfriends son is a schizophrenic or that a co worker is horrible depressed. You probably don’t want to know that there are tens of thousands of people all over our Nation that need all kinds of help with their mental and emotional challenges.  We would rather not talk about it, and I think it’s because it’s a topic that is pretty close to home, and one for which we don’t have a lot of answers.

There Comes with Spring

spring1There comes with Spring a sense of renewal, rebirth. A refreshed, energized spirit to walk the green grass and wash in the golden rays seems to beckon just a day or two past March. We know it’s not far off, we anticipate the ‘Oh so goodness’ of it’s arrival because it’s been a brutal, cold winter. They all are. That fine re-energized, and refreshed spirit is for the young of heart, lovers and wanderers because we who have experience, life experience, have been marked with the pessimistic knowledge that summer and sun last but for a brief four months. ‘Specially here in Minnesota

Yea, I’m already dreading next Winter.

Not because I’m an old wrinkled man that hates fun and sun. Rather because I’m tired of repetitive cycles. I touched on those my very first written word of the year. I’ve been trying really hard to break certain cycles, the ones I have control over, and they do exist. I’ve been trying to redefine who I am as a person, what I want in life.

What? You ask. Those are not cycles.

But they are, my one eared friend. Turn your head a bit this way, listen.

If I ask you a question today, what are the chances you’ll answer the question in the same form and manner tomorrow? What have you learned today? What have you done different today that will change tomorrow for you? What have you done for someone else?

My bet with the all seeing is ya’ll answers will be the same, today, tomorrow and forever and a day. A change in inflection, tone or volume doesn’t take repetitiveness away.

Whaaaa the f******* are you talking about. Rob?

I don’t want to be here, where I am today, a year from today! I want to grow as a person, I want to sprout like a weed, travel unknown lands, argue politics, call out wrong doing, see change take place, make the world a better world and all that good and kindly crap.Crap because I’ll probably be setting here this time next year writing basically the same thing.spring2

Even in the shame of such a thought, I’ll keep chasing that dragon. I’ll keep trying to accomplish the impossible, I’ll keep trying to change the world, in my small way, my personal way, the only way I know how to.

There’s a growing, inherent belief on my part that I should not wake up each morning the complete, same person I was the day before. I do not want to approach a problem, old or new, in the same manner that I did the day before. I would like to consider any given belief with a new and invigorating light and insight. I would like to ponder a question for possibilities that I have not considered.

I might fail, I probably will be setting here next year, but it won’t be because I gave up.

Of course, there’s always the chance of winning the lottery. That’d change shit up, or would it?

Isis

ankh Originally published Feb. 22 15

Isis, worshiped as the ideal mother and wife, protector and patroness of nature and magic, was the Egyptian Goddess married to Osiris. It was Isis who restored Osiris to life with her magical powers after he had been murdered. I find it a bit ironic, actually, a bit…weird that our worlds first and apparently formidable terrorist organization has taken her name. Certainly, there’s no clear identification between an ancient Egyptian Goddess and a 21st Century terroristic army. Except location.

Yea, the middle east. That place of shifting sands, despair, conflict, war, poverty, mystery, Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell, regional tribalism, nomads, and oil. A vast empire of wealth and desolation that the west has tried to own, to control, to organize in some form and in some fashion for over a thousand years.nomad

Religion, wealth, culture, power, and worldview in the west are vastly different than what they are in the East and it would be easy to ascribe those differences for the problems, and potential future problems the West will find in dealing with Middle East. They would be wrong. In a very real way, the modern horrors of Middle Eastern Terrorism has it’s roots in a simple word, or lack of it.

Respect.

That perspective is also vastly different here in the U.S. than it is in Europe. Europe has neverlawrencetruly respected the people of the Middle East, inserting their dominance over the ages, carving out their own colonial territories and nation states by drawing lines on any given map for territorial and strategic reasons. After all it was just sand. It was their right.  Modern Israel was born of just such ignorance. When we Americans got into the game, we pretty much followed suit, but our motivations were a bit different. We saw dollar signs everywhere, and we were smart enough to know, what England knew, that oil was to be the currency of tomorrow. Our total lack of respect was evident in installing the Shah of Iran. We here in the West, have screwed the Middle East over, and over, and over again, as recently as Bushs war in Iraq.

With all the interference in the Middle East, they are few, if any success stories to be proud of. There are horrible abuses of power, uneven economic disparities, religious intolerance, political divide, sexism, tribal and regional warfare. Things, we here in the west rail against on a daily basis. Is it so hard to understand the hate Isis has for the west? Is it an excuse for their barbarism? No!

Those are the two questions the West must face in countering the growing threat, and those two questions must be framed in the context of respect.

To counter Isis and to frame that respect has nothing to do with acknowledging Isis and everything to do with our allies in the west, and our allies in the Middle East. Respect has nothing to do with power, money, weapons and installing regimes and petty dictators who serve our desires while working against us in the back, dusty streets of Casablanca. The respect I’m writing about is transformative, transformative in the sense that it’s a game changer, a global game changer.

I believe that most people who live in the Middle East are not all that different than you or I. That said, I believe that many in the Middle East look upon us in the West with the same lack of moral and ethical respect as the political  and human lack of respecme3t we give them. We are viewed as outsiders, and we are. We are viewed as untrustworthy, and we have been. We are viewed as greedy, and we have been. We are viewed as being unfair, and we have been. We have been viewed as thieves, and we have been. The west has stolen their history, their land, their wealth and their political independence.

We can send an army ten million strong and crush Isis, nothing will change.

Start changing some of their views of the West, stop treating their land as ours, their wealth as ours.

Our President is correct in refusing to tie the barbarism of Isis to religion. Their behavior is so far removed from any religious precept, that to even call them Islamic extremists is dangerous and condescending, in that we give them value, and acknowledgment for that which they are not. No more than the snake biting evangelists who are self perceived Christians.

The problems in the Middle East are larger than the problems of Isis, and we can not fix them through the use of force. Isis is a symptom, and while in the short term, we’ll address that symptom, the root cause will remain.

I believe a coalition of Middle Eastern Nations with limited western support is the only answer, and after the threat has been diminished, there needs to be a vast reduction in military aid across the board to all nations in the region. There then needs to be a Middle Eastern summit, including Israel and Palestinian Representatives to address and solve the long standing issues. The West should stand back and watch, facilitate, but not participate. And we should leave our agendas at the door.

expWe might not like the outcome, we might lose some friends, we might lose some corporate profits but with Islam mainstreaming through out Europe and beginning to here in America, we don’t have a choice. And it’s the respectful thing to do.

The alternative is global warfare, that no one will win.