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Sometimes things don’t work out.

No, sometimes they don’t work out at all.

And, sometimes, it seems heartbreaking.

Things were not as I thought I wanted them to be.

As it turns out, I thought wrong…

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Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
Arizona burned bright with flames a mile high.

And it waited.

It waited while a boy stood at the crossroads, asking for a sign.
Caught in a fluorescent bath of indecision, he looked at his watch, he looked back at his car, he looked at the suitcase by his feet.
It should be so easy, just get on the plane.
“I prefer to be in the plane”, he thought to himself, but his feet still didn’t move.
He thought of his dream, turbulence in crossing the Mississippi River.
A blaze of glory with a sudden stop.
Going down in flames to die a proverbial death.
Something’s gotta give.

He stood in the parking garage and considered his other dreams…

Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
with thorny arms and hot breath,
Arizona changed his mind.

“You don’t have to take your life at face value”, he would breath in the words from her mouth as she said it to him later, though he heard it then.
He tried to reach out and grasp the glow of her heat but it was on him already.
In him already.
Compelled his thoughts.
Already.

He didn’t know what he knew while he stood at the corner of uncertainty, not exactly, but a spider moved in it’s web and the wind stirred the surface of the water.

“What if I told you that if you get on this plane nothing will ever be the same?”
He heard the question though it too was yet to be asked.
“What if I told you that you can’t go home again?”
“What if I told you that you never left?”

Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
a silent creature in Arizona waited with unblinking eyes.
Warm sand against it’s belly, in the shadow of a tree.
Without worry.
Patiently.

Xavier locked his car and picked up his suitcase, this is what fate feels like.
It was time to go.
Home.

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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.”

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.

Free

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And maybe I just don’t see the reason

But in the corner of my heart

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ignorance is treason

The Racontours

Shelly once told me, “Never underestimate the value of a man who will take you home and fuck you.” See there now, that’s why we’re friends. I’ll one-up her, though. Never underestimate the value of a man who will take you home and fuck you, and not make you feel stupid and used afterwards. Yeah, you know, it’s the 2nd part that trips them up. Silly, dull-witted creatures anyway.

I may be the devil; a lying, cheating, scheming, s’um bitch but I’m not indestructible. Actually, I take that back. My instinct for self-preservation will blow the skin off your face. Adrenaline pulses through my veins and dilates my pupils when the wind smells of bullshit. I’ll put a boot in the ass of anyone who dares to make me feel stupid for caring about them.

There’s a stream that flows past my house and on the bank there’s a sign that reads:

“No swimming. No fishing. For fuck’s sake, don’t drink the water.”

On the other bank is another sign that reads:

“Told you so.”

Coiled happily in the warm sand of the beach is a sleeping coral snake. It doesn’t care because snakes don’t. It doesn’t blink either. It sleeps with it’s eyes open.

The Universe has got my back. Shows me the future like a crystal ball. Shows me the content of your heart. Tells me what your mouth doesn’t say. Turns out the lights when the music’s over.

My love isn’t free.