Tragicomedy

Birth

There was once a small close-knit community of friends and family living in the part of the world we’ve come to call the Middle East.  They lived in the highlands, where the air was clean and pure, every kind of fruit and vegetable one could imagine grew, and the water that trickled down from the tops of the mountains which surrounded them was fresh and invigorating.  They wanted of nothing.  They had it all. 

    These people stumbled upon the brilliant idea that they could grow their food themselves, harvest it whenever it was ripe, and enjoy whatever they wanted whenever they wanted.  The fertile soil that stretched as far as the eye could see ensured their idea would be a total and complete success.  And it was good.  

    One of the mountains, however, was only pretending to sleep.  One day, about 5,700 years ago, the volcano woke up with a giant tummy ache.  It rolled put of bed and the Earth shook.  There was nothing to hold on to.  There was nothing to protect these people from the sickly fury of the volcano right at their doorstep.  When the ground wasn’t shaking and moaning, flames and fire shot from the top of the mountain hundreds of meters high.  Snakes of fire slithered their way down the mountain and scalded everything in their path.  The Earth split in places, and poisonous gases spewed from the apertures.  

    The loss was great.  Many of these people perished, and many more of the animals they had learned to cultivate died as well.  They could not explain how their gods let something like this happen.  They were desolate.

    But the volcano wasn’t done.

    While the ground continued to shake and moan, and the mouth of the volcano continued to shoot fiery arrow into the sky, a different kind of snake rose upward instead of crawling downhill.  We call this phenomenon a “lava spine” nowadays, an unusual but regular occurrence on volcanoes like Mt. St. Helens (2005) and Martinique (1902).  Those primitive peoples, however, had never seen anything like it, and as the lava spine grew to an immense height in a very short time, two things happened to a portion of the survivors:  1), They realized they were forsaken.  If they weren’t dead, they might as well have been.  It wasn’t so bad that their homes, their families, their animals, and many of their own family members were destroyed, but their gods had deserted them.  They were lost.

     And 2), one small portion of the community, perhaps it was only one person, looked at the lava spine rising from the volcano, felt how utterly alone he was now that he was without gods, felt the power of the Earth’s core surging all around him, grew his first widdle hard-on he had had in a long time, and began having the first inklings of a very special, new story in his mind.

    The volcano roared for a while afterwards.  The lava flow from the crater ran down to the West, where the streams cascading down the mountains of that one-time Paradise met the sources of two mighty rivers.  A lava dam was built, and the mountain streams began to back up.  

    The community had up until the eruption lived in a bowl between high mountaintops, and now that the stream outlets were bottled up, the bowl began to fill.  All of the houses, all of the livestock, and all of the injured or aging people still in the scorched valley drowned.

    The survivors straggled down from the highlands with lifeless eyes.  Most of them.  With a clear and piercing 1000-yard stare, one did not waste his time to look back.  One had already forgotten what had been.  One had just invented the word “destiny”.  They entered the area known as Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  As the land fell away, and these people could see for the first time hundreds of kilometers in every direction, one in their number thought, “it’s all mine.”

    It’s kind of a funny story, what happened between that first glimpse of the Mesopotamian plains and today.  However, after millions of years of providing a home and food for all of its creatures who all did their best to live in harmony with Nature, the Earth now discovered one small group of humans amongst its many guests who had decided they had their own story to tell, a better one.  

    And whatever kinds of story you might like to read, this one will not have a happy ending.

Two Days, Two Worlds

When Turner woke up he felt strange, but quickly attributed it to the strange Oriental meal he had eaten the night before. He felt light headed, but strangely focussed. He felt weak, but energized. He decided a shower was a good idea, and moved off to the bathroom, trying not to wake his girlfriend.

After the shower he brushed his teeth, mind empty, until he happened to raise his eyes and look in the mirror. His toothbrush-laden hand stopped brushing. He saw himself.

Turner could not remember feeling like that. Sure, he had seen himself in the morror lots of times, but never really seen himself. He looked past his eyes and his fine-looking features, and the hair he wouldn’t brag about but was definitely proud of, past the well-built shoulders and muscular torso and into the person he really was underneath all the layers. For the very first time in his life, he understood who he was inside, and it was good.

He started brushing his teeth again, looking down, and couldn’t help smiling. He had the feeling it was going to be a great day.

Outside the world was spinning, encumbered by its own morning routine. As Turner walked through it, he felt no longer a part of the disorder, frustration, and anger that draped the city as the night had only a few hours prior. He almost did not want to admit it to himself-it was kind of cheesy-but Turner was a being of light and love, there was no getting around it, and, really, what was wrong with that?

So as the horns sounded, brakes squealed, and voices from people afraid to be shortchanged screeched, Turner passed it all, aloof, and headed towards his office. It was a short walk, but it was long enough to see that others, also, were noticing the change.

“Good morning,” he said warmly, smiling at people. Heads started to turn.

“How’s it going, man?” a young man stopped him. “Nice day, isn’t it?”

“It sure is,” Turner agreed, for once in no rush. He stopped and scanned the sky. “It sure is. Anything can happen. What do you have planned for today?”

“Weeeell,” the young man began, apparently satisfied he had stopped the stranger. “I have to work now, but later I’m going to take my girlfriend down towards the water.”

“That sounds magnificent!” Turner couldn’t help saying. “You make sure that girl gets the best of you while you’re with her. She deserves it, doesn’t she? But I guess I don’t have to tell you that, do I?” Turner smiled, intensely happy for the young man.

“No, sir, you do not!” the young man answered, moving off. “You have a good one.”

Turner watched him bounce off, admiring his youthful vigor.

At work people all but stared at Turner. He passed the time listening to his colleagues, being generous with his time and smiles, offering a good word whenever he could. The meeting he had-they had all seemed so important-no longer had an aggressive, urgent edge. There was something about his presence in the room that made it easier for everyone else to listen, to appreciate, and even to let their guards down. No one seemed to need to prove anything. Upon leaving, someone mentioned that the meeting was the best one they had had in a long time, and everyone agreed. Turner smiled.

When he got home later that day he took his girlfriend in his arms and squeezed her tight. Leaning back, he said: “You are easily the most magnificent thing that has happened to me today, which says a lot. You are the best thing that has happened to me in my life, and I can’t thank you enough for it. There is nothing else I could want from this day, or this life, than to be with you here and now.” He shushed her before she could answer, and pressed a passionate, warm kiss to her lips.

The next morning the alarm went off and Turner hammered at it, bleary-eyed. He stumbled groggily to the bathroom and began brushing his teeth in a daze. He found himself looking in the mirror but could not say how long he had been doing it. Maybe he was done brushing his teeth?

Leaving the bathroom, he stubbed his toe on the door frame, and it took all of his energy not to scream. It was going to be a long day…

Farse

I looked across the valley

where a long row of camel-backed hills stood 

blanketed in living stubble, 

               painted in vibrant spring greens

its beard pine, and maple, cedar, elm and birch  

clustered in irregular blemishes 

that did nothing to the disturb 

the beauty of the whole face

and I stared at each of those monoliths

at each leaf on each tree of the forest

and I understood that each was a masterpiece

created by an artist at the top of his or her game

a masterpiece seemingly penned with a yawn

and I looked down at my hands

and I thought of all of my works 

so at odds with the world that created me

and understood that the best of them

cast in the best light

and polished to the nines

presented in frames of solid gold

would only warrant one scoffing titter

in comparison to the drafts

cast into Nature’s trash bin

I try never to compare

If I did, I would have to ask myself

what am I doing here?

First Blood

I am older than most, old enough to reach that age where many of my memories blend together, become less defined, and loose the intensities they once had.  Faces lose names, names lose places, and the meanings of certain memories meander their way out some back door of my consciousness.  

It is easy, now, to lump the people I have known and know now into the soup of my consciousness; mere ingredients that lose their ability to impress as my taste buds go as well.  Words of wisdom or of levity, experiences that once might have made some sort of difference in my life have also lost their weight.  All has become bland, colorless, without joy and life.  But I have an excuse.

All of these people, and all of the words that make up their lives are but lesser creatures, things that exist far below the realms I inhabit.  I have neither the energy nor the desire to waste my time with things inconsequential-for all of these things are of little use to me now.  One does not inquire, parading down the street, how well the ants being trampled underfoot are getting along.

Somehow, the people and memories in my soup have left a void deep within, as they out of necessity disappeared, loaded with all of the meanings and importance of their lives.  They have taken, as well, the meaning and importance of my life.  I wander these streets, alone, forgotten, with only this emptiness inside as vast as the space between stars.  The emptiness has a weight mortal men will never understand, one that sucks all other concerns, all other thoughts inwards into its nothingness.  At last I’ve become the most brittle shell of someone long gone, unrecognizable to all but myself.  There are moments when the emptiness can be held at bay, but they are few and far between.  In reality, I’ve long since become a slave to my omnipotent hunger.  

    There are moments when I’m sure it will swallow all that I am and all I was as well, as it has done with everything else in my realm.  These moments are impossible to bear, especially since I know there is a cure.

    I remember the first time I tasted blood that was not my own.  It was the blood of a young woman, lithe and full of energy, bursting at the seams with the dreams of life.  I succeeded in convincing her to lower her defenses, working on primal instinct alone, and she succumbed to my will, exposing her most sensitive regions.

    Like a tiger I leapt to the attack and tore her apart.  The sensation of having animal strength and prowess overcame me for a moment, until I tasted the first drop of her vital fluid.  There was nothing more to think or say, really.  It’s warmth was that of the sun, it was pregnant with all I lacked, and filled me more completely-that one first drop-that I could ever remember being filled.

    What should one do with arguments of morality, of right and wrong, when one has felt life’s total abundance, and all its mysteries, in but the smallest of drops of a young girl’s blood?  What is there left to say or think, really, when one has felt…that?  What other uplifting memories could one rationally expect to hold onto besides this one?

    It is the ultimate irony and the most despicable of curses that whatever positive, rejuvenating effects youthful blood might have on me is but short lived.  For my lifeless life outlasts all-everything, that is, except my hunger.

Stable Genius

MAGA!

Name: Pumpkin Ed

Appearance: see above

Personality:  Because of being kicked in the head by a mule when he was four, the only words P.E. can hear are “You’re so great, Ed!”  Also, he spends lots of time in front of mirrors, placid lakes, toilet bowls (without peeing), etc.  

History: Ed was raised by an absentee father and was always given raw meat instead of love or encouragement.  Athletically, Ed was always good at cheating and telling amazing stories about himself that were almost too good to be true and definitely were.  He got his first job as a professional backstabber on the school playground in fourth grade, which he was very successful at.  His father quickly pounced on his son’s potential and invested in the boy’s future with anything but love and encouragement.  Because of this, Ed was able to lie and cheat and steal his way through every aspect of his life-like high school, college, and marriage.  He went on to become a successful businessman in the sense that he told everyone he was an immensely successful businessman-no one checked his facts because he was loud and looked rich.  He spawned several children that are like growths in his life but are thankfully not attached to his person.

Likes and Dislikes:  Ed loves cheating and lying more than he loves breathing: just by listening to him breathe you can tell that this is no great accomplishment, though. He also enjoyes being very intelligent, a fact he convinces himself of on a daily basis, and reading, as long as he doesn’t have to do it himself, or listen to someone else’s description of a book, or have anything to do with books at all.  He loves fast food and all of it’s healthy benefits, which have led him to proclaim, in the words of his doctor: “He is the healthiest person who has ever lived and doesn’t weigh a gram over 240 or strike me down where I stand plus also he is the greatest lover who ever lived and definitely not a homosexual.” He hates smart people and people who pretend that his lies are untrue.  He loves boobs and grabbing boobs, but hates listening to the things that have them.  He is considerate, generous, kind, loving, and gentle to everyone in this whole universe as long as they are named Pumkin Ed are standing in his mirror.

Pumkin Ed says just what is on his mind, which lesser humans consider to be a virtue, but this has led him into trouble with “smart guys” which is why he hates them.  Like when he asked “Why can’t we just nuke the hurricanes?”, or “You can just grab ’em by their p_ssy”.

Pumpkin Ed is an adventurous spirit, as long as the adventures don’t mean he has to get up and do anything. His true passion lay in his desire to drive the world to its everlasting ruin, but with a dumb-ass smile on his face.

#Trump2020

A Life Unfit To Live

Classroom

Boring is a lifeless, dull, complete absence of surprises. Boring is monotony stretched like a piano wire through time. Boring is all smoothed corners and no jags. Boring is unscarred knees, music without passion, art without love. Boring is a face at sale. Boring seeks what boring is. Boring is a seethed sigh that somehow goes on for minutes…hours…days. Boring is words with Latin roots. Boring is taxes, the government, and death. Boring is the repitition of a repitition that wasn’t interesting to begin with. Boring is imagination tied up, beaten, drugged, gagged, and stuffed in a trunk.

Boring is a drowned boy, face down, lulled in the waves.

Boring is brainwashed minions.

Boring is the diarrhea on the tube, on social media, on the radio, in the movie theaters.

Boring is a mouth with nothing to say.

Who among us has the capacity to surprise,

to love without compromise,

and to revel in the pulse of life,

in the redness of blood, in the supernova of youth?

Boredom is truth, boredom is innate, boredom is the spin of the universe out of your reach.

Open your ears, open your eyes and windows-boring is the tide, and the water has risen.

Badwater

Donald is a Dunce that has become the substitute teacher whose presence feels like a charley horse your brother gave you with a protruding knuckle.

We are the parents and school board awaiting the end of the period, the term, the school year, like parents awaiting the birth of their first child, but the labors go on and on, and mother feels like an ultra runner at Badwater-the 135 mile race where temps can reach 130F.

The real teacher of the class stands in the hall with a WTF look on her face, like a shopper during the Corona pandemic looking at the empty shelves where toilet paper used to be, while soothing music comes from the speakers and the store manager tells her or him that it’s only temporary, and that the shelves will be fuller than Santa’s Christmas sack before she can say “Jack Robinson” (in Sanskrit. Backwards. Through a straw…etc…).

The lessons these days are like exercises in substitute teacher-worship. Even when teacher is eating the chalk, or trying to spell his own name, or trying to drink from a bottle of water with his tiny, tiny hands, or telling the class how great the substitute teacher is for making rain fall down, it’s best to humor him, since by not doing so you run the risk of lengthening Badwater, and no one wants that.

The situation is not unlike the one England faced during the reign of George the Three, who ruled during the Revolutionary War but then had…mental issues. He would write sentences of 400 words or more, spoke for hours without pause while foaming at the mouth, and once shook hands with a tree, believing it was the King of Prussia. [On a side note, the King, even when healthy, also did not want to abolish slavery.]

England went on, after George the Three’s death, to become the greatest empire the world had ever seen, so perhaps there is hope for us yet.

The Dunce impresses us with, like…words that are similar to intelligent thought the way the Titanic is similar to a swordfish-they are both found in the ocean. His skin is just like regular skin but just by saying that I’ve shown the opposite is true. Our substitute teacher also impresses us with great peudo-feats of athletic skill like cheating at golf and wearing white while trying to cheat at tennis, looking like an etiolated eggplant, swaddled in white diaperish garments Indian yogi style-an image somehow nowhere near as ridiculous as the original. In truth his greatest skill is to set the bar, at the Olympics of Humanity, so ridiculously low that even ants would rather go over than under it, which allows him to capture first prize. He competes against no one and considers his success to be unparalleled, and as proof offers his sworn statements that everything he does is true and perfect and should be celebrated in the most bigliest fashion.

Our substitute teacher is so desperate for acknowledgement and love he will turn his mouth into a Machine of Perpetual Motion, the first of its kind to ever work. As long as there is fuel for the machine-specifically: the lack of love and acknowledgement he never got and never will from his long dead father-the class is chained to their desks, like Odysseus, forced to listen to his humility as long as their teacher doesn’t get hungry (also a possibility). In a cruel twist of fate, these Odysseuses can’t stuff their ears with wax, and are forced to sail with O! Captain! My captain! to the brink of ruin, AKA Mar-a-Lago.

There will come a time when we can all look back at this and laugh, but to get there it is possible that we may have to burn down the school, an eventuality that will surely leave us scarred, the way our ears and brains have been scarred after our substitute teacher told us he was a very stable genius.

Valiant Cowards

I’ve broken so many hearts

and misused so many words

and burned so many tarts

and clipped so many birds

As a boy I tore off crab claws

and hurt and killed with zeal and zest

and broke promises as well as laws

but stood there proudly with puffed out chest

I’ve used up all my chances

and sowed both woe and pain

and made ill-advised advances

and watched my life swirl down the drain

I’ve broken so many hearts

drank too much whiskey and wine

I’m a wizard of truly wicked arts

that distract from all the problems mine

To learn from my mistakes

would be addressing me and mine

the prospect makes my kneecaps quake

and my mouth to wheeze and whine

I would rather forego change

and pay whatever it may cost

to never have to rearrange

the fact that I am all but lost

What To Weave

I am made of heartbeats, lungsful of air

and tissues I take care to train and repair

I am made of muscles and bones

and guilt no apology ever atones

I am made of possibilities

and what the dying planet’s will decrees

I am all things good and bad

and all the memories I have had

I am made of thoughts stampeding

and many mistakes ever-repeating

I am made of my own free will

but find ways to be imprisoned still

I am made to laugh at gloom

and flash the moon upon my doom

I weave electrons upon my loom

for I was made to spite my doom

I Wish I Weren’t So OCD

I wish this title title wouldn’t be so off,

like when my daughter wore purple penguin leggings

with a rainbow striped Frotté sweater

and red patent leather shoes with giant sunflowers on them

that day to school

(it’s no wonder my eyes are failing seventeen years later)

I wish the kitchen cabinets would be properly mounted,

and all the tile grout would be parallel and evenly spaced,

and all of the handles on those cabinets would be the same size,

and that last comment had come before the tile grout one

(because it fits way better)

and I would never see anyone mix up ‘there’ or ‘their’ again

or ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, or ‘delusion’ with ‘dillusion’

(that one hurt)

and I would see no more hairs that have fallen from heads

and stuck themselves to people’s clothing

and are just hanging there, like a dangling modifier, as in the sentence:

“sleeping in the orchard, a serpent stung me”,

which causes my insides to shrivel

(the dangling modifier, not the serpent sting)

much like when I hear the words “the serpent’s sting”

for when does a serpent sting and not bite,

unless their’s a type of scorpion snake out their

which can definitely fly

if it has a ticket

and, not least but definitely not last,

I wish no one would use run on sentences

that never seem to end

they just go on forever

and ever

and ever

until the futile act of its reading, is surceased

I wish this poem would end

so I don’t have to notice that I messed up ‘theirs’

and forgot the last period.

I wish I weren’t so OCD