Monthly Archives: April 2012

Ode to Summer

I want to write, but what is there to say that hasn’t been spoken?  Wouldn’t I just be crafting a work of art that would be considered Mimetic?

Often times, while sitting in my white pillared, warm and worn home, I stare out the front window.  Through this looking glass I’m presented with big green leaves that are kissed by the sun, the gossip of robins and caws of unseen crows.  The old tree, with his bark stained chocolate brown with age, bends to and fro in the breeze of the summer afternoon.  The chitchat of the neighborhood provides a low hum as the afternoon sun burns, slowly sinking to the west.

In these moments of normality I often question what more is there to write about? What is more beautiful then an afternoon summer?

It couldn’t be the stark boney fingers of the Maple tree protruding into the grey skies.  It couldn’t be the harrowing cries of wind pushing the brown crunchy leaves across the road.  And with great confidence I declare, it couldn’t possibly be the screech of metal shovels pushing aside the slushy tears of Mother Nature.

Summer allows us to embrace nature, to sit with her, caress her golden braids of light and dive into the warmth of her waters.  Summer allows for naked feet to massage her back and for hands to grip her as they aspire to climb to new perspective.  Summer is living.

Perhaps there would be those that disagree, and who am I to say their opinions are wrong?  However, I’d say that those people would rather argue these points on a friendly porch, with slices of lemon wedges adorning their drinks.  Sitting on Adirondack chairs of youth and flipped flopped feet, we’d lock horns on it’s worth.  Quarrelling in the cumbersome costumes of winter would dampen the mood.  We can agree that most would rather sip on foamy beer, in tank tops, and debate over a sizzling BBQ than sip on unreliable ciders and wait for the electric glow of appliances.

Summer, my heart grows wane and murky while you vacation.  You know I will wait as patient as possible, and upon your return, I will shower you with laughter and late night visits.  I will stoke your heart with stories over fire pits and warm your mind with gooey marshmallows.  Most of all, I’ll show my kids how to treat you with care so that you will continue to return and teach them how too love as deeply as a Shepherd’s Tree.

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Filed under Family Time, Making a home, My kids, My thoughts, Thinking of Friends

Freeway Philosophy: 2974

Freeway Philosophy; 2974

The blanket of gridlocked cars belched out CO2 and congested my brain.  The sullied fumes of gas and oil battered my nose.  My cuff dragged across my sweaty brow.  My watch hammered away at hope and no one cared.

“Welcome to a beautiful morning in New York City!  WNYC weather forecast for the day is sunny and beautiful …”

The dead woman, sitting in her sleek, shiny, morally correct BMW, twirled her long blonde tresses in her nimble fingers.  The sway of her little neck confirmed that she listened to something agreeable.  She kept rhythm with her palm on the steering wheel.  Eyes, perfectly centered on her face, were murky with self-absorption.  Hot vomit threatened to land in my lap if I continued to stare at her.

I spot the man, piss stained and shoeless, flat on his back in the tiled doorway of the boarded up business. Wild Turkey and Mad Dog 2020, landlords of misery, ensure he pays his nightly rent.  I’m no voyeur; I can’t watch him get fucked.

Sun drenched windshields winked at me, taunted me, and made unwanted passes at me.  No movie, no wine.  Forced to linger in the harassment of traffic.

I close my eyes and breath deeply and tap my fingers on the doorframe.  I could feel impatience, like ivy, creeping over my nerves, slow and strangling.

Flipped the radio station to more ads, with cutesy hip-hop beats, that ordered me to buy, shoved me into being just like every other neighbor, friend and politician … keep up with culture.  High art now equated with hip-hop beats and consumerism.

The tailored suit felt like a straight jacket, tethered my thoughts and limbs to my body.    My suits reassured my clients, as if my taste in clothes reflected my skills.  But the weekend sweats fit me like a glove, kept my mind cocooned from the sharp pangs of a life wasted on other peoples wants.

Cotton equals the fabric of our lives.

I tug at my starched collar (choke chain?) and I’m reminded of the poor dog at the apartment.  Like my dog, I’m Pavlov’d to believe that the door open means something wonderful is about to happen and that the piece of cheese is one more hallway and corner away.

The horn grates on my already frayed nerves.  Where the fuck could we go?  We were all stuck.  Stuck in a gridlock of dollars, deadlines and deeds.  Dysfunction disguised as business deals.  Deals disguised as success.  Dollars disguised as security.   Security had all of us drowning in the quicksand of society.

The canary colored cab inched closer to the bumper of the morally dead blonde.  She didn’t care; she still swayed to the mindless rhythm of the masses.  The cab driver flopped his tan furry arm out the window.   His other hand strangled the steering wheel.
“Move god damn it …”

God didn’t care.  He was busy winning football games and saving convicts from damnation.  God was busy condemning soldiers and fags.  God didn’t give a shit about rush hour traffic or the woman in the cab trying to make it to the airport on time.  He wouldn’t help her shove her luggage into overhead compartments or hail the next cab for the ride home.  He sure as hell wouldn’t be able to explain the broken out back door and the $20,000 worth of technology that now graced the underground.

She would still pray later that night.

I want coffee.  Good coffee.  Guatemala handpicked coffee.  My mouth is tired of cardboard masquerading as java.  Snappy green logos don’t ensure good coffee.  It only signifies that you are a mindless twit who keeps up with “the Jones”.  Wake up.  Everyone around me, sitting in their foreign made cars, wake up!

Hit snooze one more time.

The monster that kept shop in my stomach fired up the twist and turn machine and howled.  I hungered for something real.  A true caress of caring, a quick squeeze of reassurance, and a handshake that really sealed a deal … something authentic.  I moved my hands to my lap, that way I could deny all of the lies they had spread throughout my life.

My legs ached to run to nowhere (or maybe everywhere.)  They ached to stretch out of a shallow life.  Run from village to village, to find out if industry had ruined each port.  Run into women, into friends, into assaults.  Maybe blood would prove I was still alive.

Run to catch the rabbit.

The dust swirled in the gutter and was a nice change from the comatose drivers that surrounded me.  The dust had no arrogance and didn’t want to plead to a misdemeanor.  It had no set pattern.  Some clusters of dust were left behind, but it kept swirling in and out of the polluted gutters.  The breeze lifted up the discarded newspapers, read the headlines and tossed them aside.  Natural ways to create chaos.  Aren’t we all just dust in the wind?  How cliché.  Am I just a speck of insignificants?  Did I drink the Kool-Aid each time I took this harrowing drive to the city?  My life swirled around a vortex of bullshit, day in and day out.  Cashed paychecks signaled the racers to ready their positions and start it all over again.

The dead blonde lumbers from her cave; her long legs pushed open her car door.  She points to a cloud of smoke in the sky.  Her slack mouth, dangling limbs and rigid spine are enough to get the other cavemen to emerge into the light.  I let herd mentality have its way with me and I shoved open my door. The shimmer of glass, black billowing smoke and bright blue morning sky stabs my eyes.  I lean in my car window and listen to the radio.  It always has the answers.

Well that and TV, right?

“This is WNYC AM 820, and online at WNYC.org.  The time is 9:03, good morning and I’m Mark Highland and we are back now with uh, not really to many additional details of what is ah really happening downtown.  You can more than likely see it if you are anywhere in the vicinity.  EXCUSE ME!  Uh.. I’m getting …. Ummm …  a report here … our host Steve Sullivan, on um … Morning Music FM, although our FM station is off the air … actually Jude, I’m sorry, Jude is is is sitting in front of the microphone right now to tell us what he has seen.  Jude”

“Ok.  Umm …..” 

Silence.

The AM station just as dead as the FM station.

The world had just shut down.  The hum of existence had stopped and a city held its breath.  The dance of deals interrupted by the screeching of records.  Even the dust, once twirling in the gutters, understood and died out, at a loss of how to continue to move.

Thousands of shiny windows and the beautiful glow of fire. Like a train wreck you couldn’t stop watching.  These buildings swayed above a city of people.  I picked up my phone but had no one to call.  What would I say?  What could be said?

The wind, as it brushed past my face, increased with each stride.

Run and catch the rabbit.

The soft blue and red lights bounce off the buildings like balloons on a Macy’s Day Parade.  With each step on the concrete and asphalt of my ancestors, a new enchantment unveiled her face to me.  Slivers of sunlight began to rain from the building and the metal begins to wrap around each other, holding on one last time.  Plaster, cob-webbed with instability, slowly descends down the halls of money and greed and down the face of democracy.  Deals, deeds and security, engulfed in flames, flippantly fall on the city streets.

Suit jackets, hung on the back of office doors, sway to the symphony of destruction.  One floor eats the other and the ravenous beast can hold back no longer, devouring all in its path.  Chairs swiveled towards the massive black hole, taking the secretaries and fax machines along.  The body of leaves floats to the streets below, no park grass to cradle their falls.  One huge ticker tape parade for the people, by the people, of the people.

Firemen, vigilant and energetic, run from their candy red trucks.  Quietly curled hoses, wrestled from slumber, are a futile hope.

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Filed under Short Story, Story Time

True story …

“I can’t believe you don’t have a tattoo!” Shelly said

“I’m only 18.”  I retorted.

“Seriously, I had one by the time I was 16.”

I think part of the problem was I didn’t know which one to get, let alone where to put it on my virgin skin.  Tattoos were forever and that far away.

I was sea sick from the sway of her Suzuki racing through rush hour traffic as we made our way to the tattoo parlor.  Sitting in the passenger seat, listening to Eminem prophesize his hate for women, I couldn’t help but think I was doing something illegal.  Though my parents were open-minded people, we’d never really talked about tattoos.  What would they think of my new addition of rebel?

“Are you scared?”  Shelly asked.

“No!  Why would I be scared?”

“Because getting tattoos fucking hurts.”

“It can’t be that bad.”  I said.

“Have you ever been to a tattoo parlor?”

“No.”

“You should be scared then.”  Shelly laughed.

I just stared out the window, not really noticing that the car had stopped and was now parked in the lot of the tattoo shop.

Shelly bounced out of her car; she was high on the thought of the pain of some new artwork.  I lumbered out of the car, not really sure what to expect.

Once inside, the low hums of tattoo guns were filling my ear with fear.  The needles were furiously working there way through epidermis after epidermis, as if it were warding off crime.  Being petrified of needles was making me rethink my decision.

“So what you gonna get today?”  The burly tattoo artist asked.

“I’m going to get a lion on my back,” Shelly answered.

“How about you?”

“I’m not really sure.”  I said.

“She new?”  He asked Shelly

“Yep!  You’re going to de-virginize her!”

“Awesome.”

Oh good!  The man who will “deflower” my body is speaking to my friend as if I wasn’t in the room.

“Well, you have some time to figure it out while I start on your friend,” he told me.

Sitting down, picking up the tattoo design books, I noticed immediately all the pictures of skeletons, dragons and other death type tattoos.  Why so gloomy?  Why did having a tattoo have to be so badass?  I just wanted a simple dog.  I knew immediately I’d be the laughing stock of the tattoo shop if I wanted my dog tattooed on my flank.  I quickly scanned the book for animals.  If a dragon engulfed in flames is considered an “animal” I was screwed.  Flipping furiously to get inspiration, other than death, I found a wolf.  Ok, this might work.  It was decided; a wolf would prowl upon this virginal land.

“Marcy,” the receptionist called.

I stood up.

“Follow me,” she said.

She took me to a room with a chair, and a silver table (similar to one you’d find in an operating room) that had instruments, wrapped in celephane, on it.

“Go ahead and take a seat.”

I wanted to run.  That needle was staring me down.  It was telling me we were going to fight and he’d win.  But my ego superseded my logic.  The artist had drawn the wolf and was placing the outline on my back.  His belly kept hitting my back, as it seemed to jut out further than his arms.  His long black hair seemed to stick to everything, as if he’d rubbed it with a balloon before making his entrance.  He smelled like a mixture of Tabasco sauce and spilt beer.  But, many patrons had assured me Sergio was the best.

“You ready?”

I didn’t say anything.  Sergio laughed and started the engine to the tattoo gun.

“How bad does it hurt?”  I asked as the needle approached my skin.

“I’ll tell you a secret.”  Sergio leaned in closer to my face.  “Tattoo’s hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.  One of the worse pains you’ll have is this tattoo, but Marcy, you’ll get addicted to it.  So instead you should be asking yourself, am I ready of a life of ink and pain.”

I sat silent.

“So how about it, you ready for this addiction?”  Sergio asked.

“Fuck it!  Let’s do it!”

PS – I now am a proud owner of 12 tattoos, Sergio wasn’t lying.

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Filed under Bein a kid, My past, My thoughts