A Room Down The Hall

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I would concede that my descriptions over simplify reality exactly to the extent that they are misinterpreted.

I had wanted the room with the windows but it didn’t work out that way.  Instead, my plants and I have taken refuge in the walk-in closet where we sit around a bare light bulb trading ghost stories.  While I have finally succeeded in wrecking my marriage, there remains only one way out of this mess and that is to go through it.

When I was younger, I used to keep snakes, an endeavor that may or may not have required weekly trips to the pet store to bring home mouse happy meals.  Snakes tend toward the strong, silent type and can be difficult to get along with because, lacking the gift of facial expression or the ability to learn sign language, communication is not their strong point.

“Are you hungry?”, I would ask my serpentine friend and then wait patiently for a vision or a smoke signal.  Once I thought I heard it’s forked tongue say, “Stick your hand in here and find out”, but in reality no response was forthcoming.

Unlike their devilish human counterparts, snakes do not kill for sport which meant that on many occasions the mice were left to their own devices to kill themselves.  An unmotivated reptile will watch unblinkingly as one panicked creature after the next would drown in the water bowl, die of dysentery or break it’s neck falling from the rafters, all in an attempt to escape a predator that didn’t want it in the first place.

Naturally, the plants were horrified on the evening I chose to share that little gem with them.

Some ghosts are living and some ghosts are dead.
Some books stay open,
after the final page has been read.
On a hot summer night, too hot for my bed,
I met a pigeon in a parking lot with an upside down head.

Unable to fly,
and with down-turned eyes,
it said:
These crumbs on the sidewalk are the stars in my sky.

When you talk to plants their leaves shimmer and quiver, curl and wither, depending on what you tell them.  Their bodies, like ours, consist mainly of water. Water that rises with the tide, sits like glass in the moonlight and rages in the wind. Water giveth, and water taketh away.  Water becomes the shape of it’s vessel.

Crowded in a tight circle, their sweet faces pale with incandescent light, the plants listen patiently to my stories but one by one they have to agree that this dim imitation is not the sun.  “We can’t live this way”, they tell me.

“I know”, I say, “but please hang on a little longer.  I will find us a new room with lots of windows very soon.”

They nod and say, “We hope we’re still here when you do.”

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Parables About Nothing

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He said I was savage.
He doesn’t know what that means.

***

A hermit was walking in the woods and came across a coral snake.

The snake had been bitten by a cat and was badly injured.

The hermit felt bad for snake and took it home to nurse it back to health.

Months passed and the snake healed but the hermit had become very attached to the snake in the meantime.

One day, while having some special time together, the snake bit the hermit in the face.

The hermit picked up a rock to crush the snake’s head and cried, “how could you?!?!”

The snake never blinked. “Why are you crying?,” it asked, “Everyone knows that snakes make bad pets.”

With rock still in hand, the hermit pondered this while the snake crawled back to it’s home in the woods.

***

I don’t know who is who in this story.

Actually, I do.

I am both of them.

Stargazing

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East Coast Ira sits on the world, the star of a constellation he cannot see.

A blue dot in the eye of the serpent or an apple from the tree of knowledge.

He waits for the sign of the cross, searching for life in his lifetime.

Peace happens for eternity out there beyond the clouds.

The lay of the land is changed by the weather while the sun burns bright, even when he’s not looking.

 


Midnight In The Ocean

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I played a song as long as the highway. Which lover are you, Jack Of Diamonds?

“It’s very sunny in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should put on a hat.” And he grinned at my bright idea.

Hundreds of miles passed me by, until pink jet trails scratched the sky, and minor chords welled up that would not be subdued.

“Your messenger is here”, he said, “watching me from the window.” East Coast Ira was brought up to believe that reptiles were not meant to roam free in the house but on this special occasion he let it slide. Red touches yellow… he thought, hmmm. “Don’t think that because you just now saw it means it wasn’t there the whole time”, I told him, “because after all, no one invented electricity.” He reached out to click off the lamp so we could be alone.

I pressed on until the the black highway met the black sky and Ira sat in a black chair like midnight in the ocean. “It’s dark in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should take off your hat.” And again he grinned at my bright idea.

“How fast are you moving?”, he wanted to know. “That all depends on your point of reference”, I said, but he had stopped listening.

I sat very still while the stars turned a circle and East Coast Ira began to shudder. Alone in the dark, but still observed, he found it very pleasing.

Just keep driving, I said to no one. Suspended in space and without concern, I considered the puzzles to which I was the missing piece and the various front doors that waited for me to come home.

Fervor and Pitch: An Unfolding

She emits a signal. A lone voice in a sea of millions, an anomaly in the chaos. He heard it only faintly at first and didn’t pay it much mind. Something about it though, it stuck in his head and he could not un-hear it.

She glimmers and cascades across the sky, seemingly out of control. She draws him in but he can’t see her clearly. He looks closer.

At first glance she appears to be in distress. She is not herself, but she is not weak. She is hard to see but he hears her calling, distant and relentless. He can’t focus his eyes but he can’t look away.

She stirs up his instincts. He wants to help, he wants to teach her to swim. He desperately wants to ease her distress because he shares in it. He looks for a starting place but there is no beginning. She is plain but oddly alluring. She causes him tension. He lays in bed at night and tries to make sense of her.

“I am changing”, she tells him, “and you are here for a reason”. “You are here for a reason”, he says back, “and I am changing.”

He wants to help but he wants more. Behind her distress is a doorway to somewhere else. He hears her in the darkness of his room. He wants to be inside her, oh god, he wants to be inside her. He wants to know where she goes in the corridors of her mind.

“What are you doing to me?”, he asks. “What do you mean?”, she replied. She acted only in accordance with her nature.

While he speaks to her, she screams for him and without a thought he leaves his body. She is slender and naked. She is unmasked and even though his gaze never falters, she is still so hard to see. He is in a strange land but she welcomes him.

“You are like me”, he says. “You are like me“, she says back and it meant something he never considered.

He tries to sleep but she overwhelms his senses. He is in his world but cannot clear her from his mind. She visits him like a haunting and he rolls over to face the wall. Something is coiled on the window sill, he can barely make out it’s unblinking eyes in the moonlight. It means me no harm, he thought, before finally drifting off.

The Secret Life Of East Coast Ira

“The many contains the unity of the one without losing the possibilities of the many. Personalities don’t exist, only personifications.” – Carl Jung

Nobody knows East Coast Ira but that’s the beauty of it, nobody knows. 

Ira jingles his keys and drives his kids to school.  He eats sushi and plays board games with his game face.  He calls me from the East River Bridge to tell me about the secrets he keeps in his pocket.  Easily accessible but safely out of sight, or right in plain sight, depending on how you look at it; pockets are cool like that. “Where do you put them at night?”, I asked.

He gazes at the Statue Of Liberty and says that society is governed by rules designed to protect us from our freedom.  It’s a double entendre meaning that he is concerned for the future of business and also that he is transforming. Growing some extra eyes and maybe a wing, must be something in the air.  He is not disloyal, he is dissatisfied. He is not dissatisfied, he is someone else entirely.  He sees something sparkly and interesting and leans in for a better look.

East Coast Ira walks along the bridge overlooking America’s front yard, still trying to bring into focus the voice on the phone and the intricate pattern he sees in his head.  He gets closer but the lines don’t get clearer, they only multiply, and multiply.  The harder he looks, the the less he can see, even with all those eyes.

A cosmic cocktail of dust and magic, he walks a path hundreds of feet above the water, a vantage point from which many possibilities can be seen at once.  People see him walking, talking into his phone like half the world, but they’re not in his world.  He tells me his secrets before he realizes that I am his secret.

From his perch in the sky, Ira weighs his options. Multiplicity is truly a blessing, or it might be a curse.  One foot in front of the other on the straight and narrow. But this is not life. This is not his life.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you”, he said.

“No, I don’t imagine that you have.”

East Coast Ira stands on a monument to mankind and wonders what’s next.