Growing into it

So, I saw you many days when I was but a child.
You were in fine leaf then.
We lassoed you twice and made a swing.
When days were happy, we swung
among your slanted sunbeams and jumped off, sailing,
into your baby’s breath cushions,
just in time for the dinner bell.
When days were unhappy,
we knew, and stuffed our pockets with stolen sandwiches,
in hopes that they wouldn’t come for us
until the fights were over.
We had our bug jars,
and caught fireflies to light our way home.

In time, I got a little sorry.
Father gone, mother so sick, brother needing a wing to enfold him.
I tried to do what was expected, to be called a man.
Odd jobs, gone all day.
Having to talk to the grown ups about plans.
Sporadic were the times we saw you then.
Your weathered tethers had snapped.
The cracked wooden seat hung crazily in the warm breeze,
drawing childish patterns in the sandy track we had worn.
I took a picture, and left you for a man’s age.

I write this now with a bowed head, for I am old.
There’s a happy young family now, on this lane.
They’ve shyly let me wander their back path.
You’re not the worse for wear, you know.
The grooves we once cut into your arterial limb
are now sporting new stout ropes, with a big black tire.
The sand pictures gone, with time’s etch-a-sketch.
You’ve seen all the weathers of the world,
and I wonder how many children you have made happy.
You seem to stand and study,
and, I wager, you have many long names
for this vector in space and time.

And so, I have grown into it.
Whatever it is.
But I think you will still dream your long names
until the world encroaches at last
and you must go
the way that I am going.


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Under the skin, something poisonous.
Like an acid flowing,
as if from the Alien monster.
Watch out for the dribbling!

Often now, there are thoughts that reflect
that menacing countenance.
A wrestling match
(With an Angel, or Devil?)

Tenderness, not likened with love,
Pain’s manifest in the body glove.
Sore to the touch, no matter where.
Could be from cooking to medium rare.

The chef is the spirit
that wallows in sorrow,
and all need to fear it,
’cause it swallows Tomorrow.

Pieces of you* (graphic)

Do you ever look back on your reasons and motives
for regrettable things that you’ve done?
For thinking that you’re such a generous soul
When you toss a few coins to a bum?

Have you flinched when you passed by that face you thought ugly
Or that person you judged as “retarded”?
And moved away quickly, secure in the knowing
They safely could be disregarded.

And you say that your friends, some are black, some are Jewish
And you think yourself prejudice free
But you still fail to value, on Twitter and Facebook
Any similar pictures you see

The slow, the deformed, and the people with Down’s
They’re such an insult to your vanity
You’re scared half to death, and you shamefully think
That they’re all on the verge of insanity

The faggot, the fairy, the butch and the queer
Your phobia’s surely not lacking
You’re “straight”, and you’re “normal”, you’re better than them
And so you are prone to attacking.

After this, you may think that I preach from a pulpit
Self-righteously pointing at thee
And all of these things could be pieces of you,
But I know they are pieces of me.

*Content and title inspired by “Pieces of you”, a song by the artist Jewel

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From Thralldom to Salvation

“Are you an anxious person?”, the therapist said.

Our man then recalled the thoughts and emotions that preceded his blackout at the wheel on that wintry night not so long ago.  He had awakened, after what seemed only a few seconds, with his car in the ditch, a fat lip, and a bloody nose.  Otherwise, physically undamaged.  It had been the scare of his life, and he was still jittery and shaking.  Presently, he called for a tow truck, and was glad of the delay that allowed him to collect his thoughts.

“I wouldn’t say so.  At least, not until a few months ago”, he responded.

He then had to relate the unnatural attraction he had developed for a girl he had not even met, and how it had mushroomed to bring him to this state.

“Your tests, scans, etcetera, have all come back normal, and now here you are with me.  Are you aware of what stress, even the emotional type, can do to a person?  I believe your blackout was a “shutdown” reaction to the conflicts within your mind.  You have been close to losing control.  There is something called Situational Depression, and your symptoms are very close to this.  I will prescribe you some medication which should help, but you need to see if you can get some closure on this.  If you’re willing to risk seeing this girl just to tell her your feelings, then talk to family and friends, discreetly, if they are involved, and find out what to do.”

After some hard thought, and hearing that his nephew’s band had an upcoming date at another tavern, he contrived to be there that night, while his wife was otherwise occupied.  Knowing his guilt, but acting as casually as possible, he asked if they had any memory of “that odd looking dancer” from where they had played before.  His nephew grinned, and said “Oh, that’s just Sydney.  She’s there almost every Saturday night.  Just a fun loving kid, and doesn’t hang out with anyone in particular, I think.  Dances by herself most of the time.”

In the end, when he learns that the band will be back at their old bar for an encore, he makes it a night out, knowing that family and friends will once again be there.  It’s the same loud crowd, the band competing with them, and, after an hour or two, Sydney is there.  His wife says “Isn’t that the same girl that was here last winter?  I remember her dancing all alone.  You kept watching her.”  “I enjoyed her dance”, he says.  “I must go and give her my compliments.”

When the song is over, he walks up to the girl.  It’s the first time he has seen her eyes.  He holds back the rush of emotion, says nothing about the months he has gone through.  Only touches her hand, smiles, and says “how lovely you dance”.  She brings her eyes to his for just a second, tilting her head strangely to the side, gives a radiant smile, and a small squeeze to his hand in return.

The next morning, he wakes up with the cure.

Previous posts on this story are:


From Captivated, to Captivity

The Captive, in thrall

The Captive, in thrall

Almost a year from the day he saw his “tiny dancer”, he still struggles to bury the image, and sees this as a strange and fascinating illness of the soul.

Am I weak? Evil? Insane, to let this affect me thus?
Has my life been so devoid of joy that I see, every day, the afterimage of this flicker of brightness?

He thinks he has been a fool, and would be justly held to ridicule if another soul ever knew of this.

And so…I need help from someone.  NO.  I will conclude this myself.  There will be a way to find her.  Ask some embarrassing questions, perhaps expose my desperation, if only it will come to the point of seeing her once more, just to tell her…..what?  That I’ve been in thrall to her image for a year?  It matters not.  I must do it.

His resolve hardens.  He gets into his car and heads out the wintry road, not knowing what he will do at his destination.  Thoughts are running, running, running, as on a treadmill.  This is dangerous.

Halfway now, halfway, when the thing happens to him, an electrical feeling up the back of his neck, vision going grey, then black unconsciousness.

for background on this, see
and for final story see

From Thralldom to Salvation


In a small, crowded, noisy bar, on a winter’s night, he’s surrounded by family and friends.  There’s a dislike for the setting:  Having to shout to be heard at your own table, the inevitable loud or belligerent drunks, the tiny bathroom always occupied.  He stays anyway, because the band is partly family too.

Gradually, unknowingly, he starts to tune out of the forced conversations, and even the band’s attempts to be heard.  They are good players, he knows, and he likes the music.  He identifies with them, and sees them trying to balance the desire to be heard, and yet be savvy enough not to overpower.  They have spent many hours on practice for this night.

The occasional tug from his wife brings him back to the table chatter, and, apologetically, he rejoins the shouting.  After a time, he slips back into reverie, and notices that no one is up dancing, save for a solitary figure in a dimly lit corner by the window.  It is a girl, probably just of drinking age.  Not beautiful or showy, dressed in a sweater and jeans.  She is holding her glass of beer, has her eyes closed, and is smiling.   It’s a slow quiet number that’s playing, and she sways in one spot, her face upraised to the light.  Seemingly, she is ignored by everyone but himself.  He is drawn to the simplicity and soulfulness of this dancer, and wonders if she came here by herself, or, if not, why there is scant reaction from those around her.  She stays for song after song, nursing that single glass of beer.

Once again, he’s brought out of trance by his tablemates. Gets a couple of annoyed glances and some queries as to why he is watching “that drunk girl”.  He does not think of her that way, and realizes with a start that he has been absent from the table talk for nigh onto half an hour.  In a while, he begs off for the evening, and he and his wife make their way home.

In their hour long trip, he thinks of nothing, other than what he has seen tonight.  Even months later, the image still visits him.



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In the bad place, he
Turns to the mirror.
Sees his own falseness,
A stab to the heart.

Under the microscope
Of the mind’s eye
His trembling finger is guided, and points
To spiritual wrongs committed,
As of yet unrepented.

Thievery, betrayal, cowardice, hypocrisy, false witness.
All bared to the unforgiving light.
A drowning feeling pervades.
His struggling grows more weak,
As he cries out to the one he thinks he can never touch nor find.

In the lateness of his life, he pleads that he has learned.
Yes, he has learned,
And meekly asks for guidance out of these depths,
Now that he’s seen his own mortality.

Such is the lot that falls to so many:
Regret and repentance are pushed ever further away,
As if willed to be on a slingshot of time,
Whose tension is suddenly snapped,
Releasing the shot, in all of its impossible density.
A dark star into our conscience.

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