Archive for November, 2007

Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure Part 4, Let Me Put It To You That Way

November 28, 2007

 *Author’s note:  This is part 4 of 13 parts.  To better understand the content of the story, it is suggested that you scroll back to the Prelude.

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It was an awkward time, early in the afternoon.  I had spent as much time as I could in the common area of the hotel after I had dropped my satchel off in my room.  I cursed my lack of imagination for not bringing my laptop or a notebook to write on.  Not even a Michael Crighton novel or some useless poetry had accompanied me this time.  I inquired about a good place to eat and was told an open air restaurant called My Blue Heaven was just down the street and a favorite of the hotel owners.  I grabbed a copy of USA Today from the check-out counter and stepped back outside, avoiding any possible eye contact with the Hemingway Estate.  I feared my shear boredom would compel me to disregard my agreement with the curator and tempt me to cross over for a visit.  And I also knew that with my luck he would be lurking just inside the entrance and blow the whistle, causing KWPD patrol cars to go careening out of control in their harried attempt to apprehend me.  So I opted to stay on the opposite side of the street until I reached the corner and THEN briskly walked over to the opposite side, ever alert for the cops.

My Blue Heaven is a fenced in two story structure with the entrance around the side.  The outdoorsy setting is beneath several shade trees and other bits of tropical foliage.  It has a patio stone collage floor with wrought iron tables and chairs.  A lectern for the maitre de and a wine list on display greets the customer and free range chickens peck crumbs at will.  A cheerful, middle aged woman that winked at me as I approached asked sweetly if it would be a table for one.  I wondered if I should wink back, offer a smile and a handshake, or have a go with her right then and there.  But instead I meekly acknowledged my oneness and followed her to a table.

For being mid-afternoon the place was fairly busy.  I was placed at a four chair table, but one of the chairs had been relocated to another group of people, making my singleness seem even more apparent.  Time couldn’t circumference the dial fast enough in my mind and I wondered if I was even hungry.  But the menu bragged about their omelets so I ordered one with hot tea, pleased that they did indeed have honey.

I thumbed through the USA Today with little interest, I was vaguely aware of the people around me but really just wanted to blend in and not be bothered.  I spotted an elderly couple with what looked like grandchildren and their mother sitting to my right.  (they had taken the chair)  To my left was a table of several young men who looked like they had just stepped off the cover of Esquire magazine.  Partially blocking my view to the maitre de’s lectern was a single couple that were speaking German mixed with some broken English that appeared to be tourists.

Sports don’t thrill me all that much once football season is over, but I feigned interest in what was going on in baseball then turned to the opinion section.  Rattling my pages like I was terribly engrossed, I read with amusement the op-ed pages.  I had aways felt that opinions were like belly buttons because everybody has one, but today’s subjects were exceptionally droll.  I didn’t notice the men that entered and were greeted by the hostess with the twitch in her eye until she swayed up to my table.  Interrupting my blissful segregation with an excuse me?  I looked up.  She was asking me if I would mind moving to a different table, a smaller one, in order to accommodate the group of men that had just come in.

Normally I am fairly receptive to change, but for some reason I was irritated.  I felt betrayed, unworthy, like I was a second class citizen.  Wasn’t this where you sat me in the first place? I was thinking, and I just about blurted it out when I noticed one of the men looking at me and I froze.  I thought I recognized him, and for what seemed like a replay in slow motion I looked round.  It was like all eyes were watching, waiting, seeing what I would do.  The hostess had this placid smile fixed firmly and I could feel my own face flushing.  I wanted to become indignant.  I wanted to cry foul.  I thought of jumping up and running from the restaurant out of sheer embarrassment, but my server arriving with my food snapped me back to reality.  The men waiting to be seated had stopped talking to each other and were watching me, too.

Silently, reluctantly and with much shame I rose and took a smaller, two seat table in the corner that wobbled on the irregular patio stone floor.  It was dirty, like it hadn’t been used for a while with a thin film of grime discoloring it’s glass top.  I had no choice but to sit with my back to the exterior fence, facing the men who triumphantly sat down at my table.  A server briskly produced a fourth chair for the man I recognized to use. He had fallen behind the other men and one of them called to him over his shoulder, Manolo.  He sat in full view of me, blocking out the German tourists.  Another man sat off to his left.  He allowed his sport jacket to drop back to his side as he slid down slightly, casually.  I noticed a shoulder holster peering out just below his armpit.  I saw a golden badge clipped to his trouser’s belt.  I figured he was in law enforcement, more than likely a detective.  The other men, including Manolo, appeared to be workers; wearing jeans, tennis shoes and vaious t-shirts, none of which were bought at the local vendors outlets.  The three of them looked Hispanic, maybe Cuban.  The detective was a large, white man and, if not for the gun and badge, looked middle class. 

Suddenly I had lost my appetite but I didn’t want to draw more attention to myself by leaving.  I teased at my plate, feebly chewed bits of egg and green pepper, trying to look inconspicuous.  But the badge wearing man was close, I could smell his after shave wafting through the breezy outdoor eatery.  And when he turned to give me a nod in acknowledgment for my making way for them, I knew where I had seen Manolo before.

He was the man I had called “the gazer” at the Green Parrot Bar, an establishment I had visited during my previous stay in Key West…

Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure Part 3, Arrival of the Fittest

November 25, 2007

*Authors note:  This is part 3 of 13, to better understand the content of the story it is suggested that you scroll back to the Prelude.

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But there was no sensual rendezvous on the Key West Express.

My arrival was not greeted with fanfare or confetti. As we approached the Key West Bight I stood out on the bow of the fast moving ferry and watched as our destination grew larger. I recalled the excitement I felt the first time we came, how everything appeared fresh and new. Now buildings looked worn and tired. People moved about their dismal chores and looked at us like another load of dirty, unwashed immigrants had come to over run them. Even the sun hid behind a hazy frost of willowy sky ribbons.

I could hear music coming from Fisherman’s Wharf and see small craft tied to the docks. But I was in no mood for island theatrics and the mock celebratory atmosphere that greets you here 24 hours a day. I felt trapped in the Twilight Zone. I was the reluctant tourist. The community I would share my life with for the next few hours was inhabited by zombies who did not know that the party was over. All I wanted to do was make it to my room and count down the minutes before I plopped on the teeter totter that was the criminal justice system.

I disembarked and crossed the pavement aiming straight for Duval St. I walked down the boardwalks where the locals work at replenishing the prior nights stock, carrying my satchel casually across my shoulder. It was mid morning but already there were patrons scattered through the remains of the liquor establishments that clung to the water line like land barnacles. They sat there sharing their woes, conquests or dreams with anyone who would listen as if it were the first time.

Walking along I tried to remember why I was so excited to be here the time before. Everything looked dingy, solemn and hollow. Even though there were toursts milling around trying to blend into their surroundings, I was in a void, not wanting to be caught up in this trinket and souvenir Mecca.

Finally making it to Duval St. I turned up towards the territory I was most involved with. I briefly stopped in front of the Hogs Breath Saloon and thought about crossing the street but then moved on. My memories were of a happier time and I knew I could not recapture them there.

Then I approached Green St. and my mood lightened a bit. Sloppy Joe’s sat on the corner of Duval and Green and it was almost the feeling of a homecoming.

Captain Tony’s Saloon came up on my left. It is heralded as the Original Hemingway’s Sloppy Joe’s because it was the site that Joe Russell had started from back in the early 30’s, before he made his famous midnight move out across the street. It is the oldest licensed liquor establishment in the State of Florida.

428 Green St. has had quite the history. It had been an ice house in the 1880’s and doubled as the city morgue. It is even said that the City Mortician buried his daughter under what is now the floor that used to be part of the Silver Slipper dance hall. In fact, a tree grows through the roof there that was once the hanging tree for criminals and pirates. Some 75 people are thought to have hanged there and some of their corpses are buried along with the mortician’s daughter. There is even a grave marker imbedded in the floor. During the Spanish/American War, the building was used as a relay station to send news to the rest of the United States, containing messages like the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine. Many celebrities have frequented Captain Tony’s, including favorite son, Jimmy Buffett. Some of the mementoes include the bar stool Papa Hemingway is reputed to have sat on while sipping Teachers and trading lies with the locals. With it’s own clothing line and ghost tours during Fantasy Fest, Captain Tony’s is a world renown favorite. But my money says the spirits remain in Sloppy Joe’s Bar.

I didn’t have to walk all the way to Fleming St. I could have turned to reach Whitehead anywhere along Duval. But I recognized much of what I had earlier seen, including the head shop in which Keith had placed some of the copies of his book, Happy Crickets. That familiarity eased my forebodings even further and I began to feel a bit more fit in my surroundings. I realized I could not blame Key West for my miseries.

A Starbucks marked the turning point and as I rounded the corner I recalled that Hemingway had friends that lived somewhere on Fleming. I imagined Papa strolling down that very street after a satisfactory morning of writing in his studio above the carriage house. Perhaps he was on his way to pay a visit to those very friends, or maybe he was on his way to throw down some shots at “Josie’s” place. But there was always the distinct possibility that he was just basking in his celebrity and enjoying the popularity of his existence.

I reached Whitehead, crossed the street and continued a leisurely pace towards my “hotel.” As I reached the point of turning off the sidewalk and checking in, I paused and looked across the street at the Hemingway Estate. There were people lined up to gain entry, oblivious to my casual gaze. I wondered if I would get away with another visit without being detected. Six weeks ago I had been released from jail with the stipulation that I would never return to the property that had belonged to Key West’s most famous resident. But as I stood there I had a change of heart and faced the entry to my lodgings again. One reason was because of the agreement I had made with the management, the other was because I figured there were no more surprises left for me behind the wall that surrounded it.

But I had underestimated the influence of the shades of Hemingway. Walls could not contain it, nor protect me from it.

Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure Part 2, Departure

November 21, 2007

*Author’s note: This is part 2 of 13 parts, to better understand the content of the story it is suggested you scroll back to the Prelude.

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Of course, then I woke up.

I hadn’t been visited by Hem in nearly six weeks, almost time enough to forget the whole trip to Key West. I had minimized my blunder into infamy with the local police department. I chalked up the subsequent court appearance I was preparing to attend as a casualty of Middle Aged, Out of Practice Party Person Gone Wild. I had just about enough time to think that I had imagined meeting the trio of Hemingways and finally had my circadian rhythms under control.

That is… almost.

Now I laid in bed looking at my alarm clock, having awakened just minutes before it was scheduled to go off. Today I would be catching the Key West Express back down to the “scene of the crime” to make my day in court the following morning. I’d spend the day in Key West and then ferry back tomorrow night… only this time I’d be going alone. Keith and Laura were already settled back into their normal routines, my return was to be strictly business. I would throw myself at the mercy of the court, pay my debt to society (my legal representative suggested I would get a fine and probation) then bid ta ta to the sleepy little hamlet that had caused me so much discomfort.

My only concern was what would I do to wile away the hours prior to facing the judge and afterwards waiting for the Express. The only people I had any inkling of a relationship with outside our group were the ones in charge of our bed and breakfast. Unfortunately staying at Marrero’s wasn’t an option. They book months in advance and besides, I had gained a little notoriety. I will always be remembered as the guest that fled the ghost of Enriquetta in the middle of the night.

Instead I would be staying at a rooming house directly across from the Hemingway Estate, which I deemed a tad bit ironic. For $150 a night my 8X9 walk in closet (which shared a bath with 3 other “rooms” and didn’t even have a set of dresser drawers) would be my sanctuary. I would have ample time to meditate on the consequences of my actions on the other side of the street just a few weeks prior.

I had tossed and turned for hours wondering what had become of the Hemingway trinity (as I struggled with my continued belief that there was no such thing as ghosts.) Were they limited to the realm of old town Key West? Which of the three would hold dominance over the other two? And why were they frequenting my dreams as they had been? Keith suggested it was because I was limited to time and space in the world of the walking awake. He theorized that in dreams the spirits can meet or take us anywhere, that time bends and events can last hours, days or longer. He then surmised that during our dreams we aren’t limited to the laws of physics, our age can fluctuate and even our wishes can be granted if we learn to manipulate them right. (I told you Keith was a thinker) I wished he was going with me on this trip. Something that would re-occur in my thinking several times before it was through.

I hadn’t packed much, just a change of clothes and some toiletries, nothing long term. I couldn’t believe the contrast of emotions I was feeling for only my second sojourn to the Keys. While I was visiting I toyed with the idea of perhaps one day living there but this day I dreaded my arrival at the southernmost point of the United States. I had never been in trouble with the law, not so much as a parking ticket. My little fling with my friends now left me feeling like I had strayed beyond the realm of acceptable behavior. I had turned into the John Dillinger of the Conch Republic. I walked about carrying a sandwich board of emotions declaring that I had committed an unforgivable sin. I was public indemnity #1.

The fact that Annette and I had separated didn’t help. Ironically the trip that should have put us closer together had somehow been the beginning of the end for us, which I didn’t see coming. Now not only was I going back to face the music alone, I was emotionally drained and feeling a little bit lost. Such is the way with relationships, when one wants a change and the other is content with the way things are. I wasn’t blind sided but I was not farsighted either. I was tired and wanting the whole ordeal behind me. For the first time in years I wanted to leave Florida, tuck tail and move back to Iowa.

I found myself running an old Roy Orbison song over and over again in my mind, finding comfort in the fact that someone else had felt at least as bad as I was feeling in order to compose it.

Your baby doesn’t love you anymore…

But responsibilities must come first. I had a life outside of my love interests. I have a business and comittments I couldn’t duck out of no matter how appealing the idea was… of just chucking it all. This matter of returning to Key West was a compounded problem on two fronts. First, my brush with the law and the settling of accounts with those I “injured” and second, facing the conflicting reminders of my prior visit there with Annette when life wasn’t so complicated and cruel.

Golden days before they end

whisper secrets to the wind

your baby won’t be near you anymore…

I imagined I would meet someone else on this trip. We would be traveling on the same ferry boat, bound for some exotic place. Her requirements of me would be purely physical, no strings attached. All she would care about was hot, kinky, unbridled, anonymous sex.

Tender nights before they fly

send falling stardust seem to cry,

your baby doesn’t want you anymore…

It’s over…

I would no longer be carrying this torch. There would be no more questions or feelings of guilt, no blame game. It was time I took this opportunity and ran with it, never looking back. There were so many things I could do with my new found freedom and I was determined not to be caught up in the past. This was my chance for a new beginning and I would seize it with both hands. No more feeling lonely, no more feeling used, no more feeling that my life wasn’t worth a plug nickel. (what ever that was)

It breaks your heart in two

to know she’s been untrue,

but oh! What will you do?

When she says to you

there’s someone new,

we’re through ooo… We’re through.

So this would be the time. I had made up my mind. I would go to Key West, face the consequences of my little mistake and look it squarely in the eye. I would balance the scales of justice and come off victorious.

It’s over… It’s over…

Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure Part 1, revisited by Hem

November 18, 2007

“Did you really think I was going to let you end it that way?”

I looked at Hem sitting on the barstool; his legs crossed, kicking one foot up and down, looking impatient.

“Leave what end what way?”

Hem smiled but did not look at me.  He blew a smoke ring with his cigar then threaded it midair with a slight poke of the tip.

“C’mon, Sport!  You know damn well what I’m talkin’ about!  Your little claim to fame, the story you wrote about Key West and runnin’ into yours truly!”  He pointed a thumb back at himself and shook his head, blew more smoke down towards the floor then turned to face me.

“Oh that!” I laughed, “I thought you would appreciate the way it ended.  I told it just like it happened,  … left nothing out.”

The phantom bartender is wiping out a glass with a towel, his face hidden in shadow.  Over in a corner the 3 ladies of the evening are watching us and giggling.  Hem’s face is solemn.

“You left out the best part, the whole reason we came together in the first place.”

“Reason?  We met by accident!  I was in your study… you caught me taking your shoehorn.  Not much else happening there.”

Hem leaned closer, his face looming large in front of me.

“And you think that is all there is to it?”

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot!  I’m the Devil… I disregarded your resurgence on the literary scene.  I wouldn’t compromise Papa’s integrity for the sake of making a buck!  No reality T.V. series… no ghostwriting and, Gee! no Hemingway renaissance!” 

Hem sat back and blankly looked at me for a moment.  Then he slowly smiled which turned into a sly, mischievous grin that quickly morphed into a facial eruption of whooping, coughing and unbridled laughter.

“Oh THAT!”  Mimicking my words he wheezed trying to contain himself and stifle another barrage of guffaws.  “That was merely a test, my boy… an inquiry, a bit of character referencing and refinement… nothing more.”

“A test?  Character referencing and refinement?  I don’t understand.”

“Well then, we don’t know everything, do we?”

Hem relit his cigar, puffing is cheeks like a billows, making the fire dance at the stogie’s blunt end.  He casually fans the flame in the air and then tosses the smouldering match into a nearby ashtray.

“Let me put it to ya this way.  You see, Sport… there’s a bit of a risk involved when a guy like me makes contact with the living.  Gotta make sure of one’s motives… are they pure of heart?  Will they seek their own selfish ambitions? …and so forth.  You passed with flying colors, though the others had their doubts.”

“Others?”

Hem continued gathering his composure, brushing a cigar ash off of his chest.

“Yes… others, my alter egos… the other parts that add up to the total sum of me.”

“You mean Ring, Jr. and Papa?”

“Those very ones… and perhaps, one other.”

“Who else is there?”

“Why, your friend… Officer Jordan.  He had to check you out for himself, didn’t he?”

“I don’t understand what this is leading up to.  I turned you down, remember?  You approached me with this scheme to become rich and famous but I wouldn’t buy into it. This Robert Jordan character has nothing to do with me or my meeting you or my story or… anything!”

As if on cue the 3 derelict divas approach us, but they clamor for Hem’s affections, shunning me.  Hem welcomes them with open arms and soothing words of encouragment, ignoring my statement for the moment.  I look around Sloppy Joe’s bar but it is dark and deserted, like after the final curtain of an off Broadway play.  I stood and stepped back, gazing up at the giant portrait of a black man in boxing gloves that is proudly displayed above the bar.  Hem playfully slaps one of the whore’s hands and I react to the sound, then begin watching them coo and cuddle. 

“Let me get this straight.  You say all that talk about me writing for you and making the world remember you and refreshing the name of Hemingway was just a ruse?”

Hem is now more interested in the women, he doesn’t bother to address me directly but is smiling and encouraging them.  “In a manner of speaking, yes.  Jordan needs you now, more than we do.”

“I know nothing about Officer Jordan other than he was killed in the line of duty.”

“And that is precisely the point.  Jordan needs to have his killer brought to justice.”

Now it begins to sink in.

“Wait a minute, you want me to find who ever is responsible for Jordan’s death?  I’m no detective!”  

Hem abruptly dimisses the women who in turn look at me with dejected contempt.  He reaches for his shot glass, downs it’s contents with a single gulp then returns it in favor of a tall beer chaser, which he thirstily swigs until it is half empty.  The phantom bartender instantly appears to refill the shot glass and replenish the beer.  Hem pauses for a moment, fingers the little condensation ring formed by the beer glass then again faces me. 

“You don’t understand, Sport.  We don’t want you to  find Jordan’s killer, we want you to expose Jordan’s killer.” 

prelude to Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure

November 16, 2007

Last Spring I posted a short story I had written entitled, Shades of Hemingway.  The 13 parts took approximately 6 weeks to produce, usually falling on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The story was loosely based on a trip I had made to Key West with some friends the year before and was inspired by an e-mail conversation I had with a fellow blogger who asked me, ” What was the most memorable part of the trip?”  to which I erroneously replied, “Sitting in Sloppy Joe’s bar trading shots with Ernest Hemingway’s ghost!”  

“I’d like to hear that story sometime.” came the reply and the rest came some months later to a lukewarm response by the frequenters of AMRFP.  In fact, those two months garnished the slowest traffic of the entire year for this site which was  a slight disappointment.  But we writers must be resilient and confident in the knowing that one good lambasting does not deter the quill of righteousness or profundity.

Well, with my tail tucked between my legs I decided that my story was a flop and that the best thing for me to do was to stick to what I did best… which was anything other than writing a short story about meeting the ghost of Ernest Hemingway.

Of course, all went well.  This blog has prospered since I hung up my Thesaurus and went back to random acts of mindless… ness.  That is until my friend, Keith, a character in real life and a character in the story asked me about writing a sequel.

“It’s a shame you ended that story like you did, you could have continued it on into another adventure!”

“Well, it didn’t really end.  It stopped with us leaving Key West but it never addressed me having to return.”

“Why would you have to return?”

“Well, if you’ll recall… I had to make a court appearance.”

“Yeah! that’s right!  cool! there is another aspect to be considered!”

So… as before when that one off handed remark inspired the Shades of Hemingway, my conversation with Keith put me back to work on what happens when I returned six weeks later…

So with fair warning to you and much trepidation on my part, Shades of Hemingway / MediumExposure will begin being posted from Sunday the 18th through to the end of the year.  I don’t think you’ll have to read the original story to enjoy the sequel, but there again… maybe. 

If you have anything better to do between now and New Years, let me know… perhaps I’ll join you.

I have my own shot glass… you bring the tequila.

 peace.

a holiday wish…

November 12, 2007

I didn’t really know her all that well, but I liked her alot.  She was an attractive woman in her early 30’s who smiled the friendliest smile and took a complement with a blushing shyness that egged me to pour it on just because I could…

I go to this one restaurant for breakfast alot,  I pass dozens on the week-end because I consider the servers and management here my friends… and they seem to like me, too.  Though I am repeatedly told it is not because of my generous tipping. (20%, right?  I DO that!)  Occasionally the GM will join me, or my business partner and me if it is a weekday, and we’ll talk about all kinds of incriminating stuff… like online romances, politics and my view of the world.  Usually I am the fodder for their little digs, (even the servers chime in their two cents) but I am usually in good humor and just let it roll off.  I figure if they are picking on me they are leaving someone else alone and since  I have the shoulders to carry it, I do so with pride… I know my heart and it is content within itself.

This week -end, Saturday, was a beautiful day in S.W. Florida.  In fact, the weather this month has been  gorgeous, perfect for the ol’ convertible and a tank full of gas.  The only thing that could possibly make it better is a green eyed girl with a smile that lights up like a canvas… the portrait of an astonishing soul rush.

Sometimes I ask who is working the floor and if I haven’t seen one person for a while I’ll request their section.  A regular has to be careful to spread the love around, otherwise hurt feelings could be the result, or so I tell myself.  It is quite possible that they could give two hoots whether I sit in their section or not, but since I am a celebrity in my own mind I prima donna where I choose.  They stick me in the corner, out of sight and out of mind but my server knows my requirements and is at my side in a flash with hot water, tea and honey (there are advantages to being a regular.)  I had purchased the daily newspaper and was all set for a leisurely read, steamin’ hot tea and undisturbed bliss.  But within minutes one of my girls came up to me and had obviously been crying.

“Have you heard about…?”

“No, what’s up?”

“She died last night!”

“What?  How?”

“She had a heart attack!  She was receiving a blood transfusion, had a heart attack and died!”

“A heart attack!  she was so young! why a blood transfusion?”

“She lacked iron, she’s had them before… I can’t believe she’s gone!”

I couldn’t believe it, either.  This warm, friendly woman with 3 kids was gone, six weeks before Christmas.  No husband, a single mother who struggled to make ends meet by waiting on me and smiling her smile regardless of my whimsy was not coming back to work… and something inside of me hurt real bad.

I know the holidays are over played, over commercialized, over spent, over sung, over emphasized, and ever downplayed by the likes of me… but this approaching holiday season caught me wondering about those little kids who as of that Saturday morning still didn’t know their mother had died the night before, pending notification of the next of kin. 

Even in my generosity I have been selfish in my spirit.  Even in my kindness I have been with holding joy to the world.  Even with all the love I hold in my heart right now, and sometimes  feel I may burst because of it… I do not love enough.

Last year something happened the day before Christmas eve to make me stop and take accounting for my bah humbugness, I guess this year will be no exception… and it happened early enough that I won’t be forgetting it too soon with the ringing in of the new year.

I tell myself that I don’t need a holiday to buy a gift for someone I love.  I don’t need a holiday to think of Jesus and his sacrifice for all mankind and especially thankless sinners such as myself.  I don’t need a holiday to think “peace on Earth, goodwill to men.”  But I do need reminders…

I need to be reminded that life is fragile and unrehearsed;  a gentle whisper to a loved one far away… the fog of the mirror when you are shaving, the song that you play when you think of her, the morning sun that you squint at while cursing traffic, the breeze that you imagine will carry her name each time you breathe it…  each time you utter the words…

do I say it enough?  I love you.

This life we lead;  all that we hold dear… all that we can hope from it… all that we put in and take out… all that we aspire to… all that we leave behind… this life, is fleeting and can be gone before we are ready to give it up.

So… this is my holiday wish:  take stock, my friends.  That person that you may be sending to and fro to gather your napkins, fetch your tea, take back burnt toast and will pleasantly ask if there will be anything else?  is counting on you to remember what this life and this holiday season is all about…

Giving. 

please… receive it graciously.

peace. 

ode to daily readers… (and the categories contained herein)

November 9, 2007

You have been here before and so have I,

we share a common thread…

so nice to see you again, my friend. 

Even with the day to day,

it has been too long in between…

how is the world treating us? 

I am only my words here now, I know…

but here I remain for you to revisit

and claim me as your own.

Is it presumptuous of me to assume you are there? 

To read and re-read what my thoughts lay bare? 

Still… be kind to my prose, my gentle one.

Do not judge my lines too harshly,  

My heart only knows the simpliest of beats

which inspires my words. 

Tis the conveyance of emotion only.  

Oh, the coldness… even here in this tropical clime,

the world can be so unkind. 

Let me be that blanket in your garden,

kneeling beside you…

swoon in my arms, my fair one. 

Feel my caress, these syllables…

Fall into the embrace of my words…

This is my ode to daily readers.  

I dedicate my verse to you,

and as for the love songs we have known

and those that have not favored us.

Songs yet to be written

and those too soon forgotten…

hear them again as if for the first time. 

They still express the sentiment

they inspire those near and far…

other lovers garnish what we have reaped.

You are my reward…

enrich me again,

line by line.

…underwhelming

November 5, 2007

I cannot write the way I feel right now to my loved one… she is sad this day and will not listen to my reassurance that things will work out fine.

So instead… I will tell you, and imagine that she hears me.

It is not always easy to be the eternal optimist that I am, there are powers beyond my control that weigh heavily on my mind at times… social injustices and oppression worldwide not withstanding.

I beat myself up, think about things I can’t change… worry about stuff that happened long ago, fret along the lines of what might have been. And if my past decisions have affected the ones I love to their detriment, part of my spirit cries out for my blood. I must expel any thoughts of self condemnation, otherwise I could not come up with some sort of restitution, find a way to balance the scales and validate my decision as being the best I could do at the time, given the circumstances.

I guess we all do that… it is human nature to stop and self evaluate once in awhile. If we aren’t doing it, we have no conscience and that is a sign of arrogance.

Humility is a fragile thing… not enough and we appear haughty, too much and we come off as timid. To find balance… that is the key. We are the only ones that truly know ourselves; our motivations… our secret fears… our private concerns… our self satisfying triumphs… even our morbid thoughts.

I feel we must actually like who we are in order to survive this mortal coil, otherwise we are play acting to an insensitive audience that doesn’t care if we are happy or sad, rich or poor, black or white… there is how you project yourself, how others perceive you and the person that you actually are on the inside. Our happiness comes from who we are known only unto ourselves, those other perceptions do not amount to a hill of beans if our id is not satisfied.

How do we do that? change our personal outlook? overcome the self incrimination that plagues our emotions when we should be counting our blessings? there are a variety of ways, volunteer time… donate funds… share ourselves with loved ones, these obviously come to mind.

A barometer is an instrument that measures atmospheric pressure. We can predict the weather by using such an apparatus and realize the potential of another day. I think our minds serve as a barometer at times, responding to pressure… the pressure we put on ourselves. What will our outlook be? what of that potential the future holds?

I’m not a weatherman, I can’t predict our future… but I do know this. No matter what the condition of your thoughts  in reflecting on your past decisions, if your mind is in a fog and you find yourself stumbling… reaching out… lost in despair, take heart!

There are fair winds blowing and the sun still shines. There are rainbows in those clouds… and they are made to bridge the gaps between you and me.

Tomorrow… all the potential for happiness lies in the promise of another day… and it will be glorious.

I guarantee it.

much peace, my fair one.

SPACE… the final front tear

November 1, 2007

Captain’s log… supplemental:

To think that we are the only species aware of our own conscious thought may be the height of arrogance for mankind, and to surmise that we walk alone in our fears is the ultimate mistake. These are unalienable truths… the space between us is as vast as a passing celestial event, or as close as a teardrop running down your cheek.

The space between your ears, the space between your eyes… the space between the breaths you take and your sighs, the spaces of my beating heart… sounding like a distant tom tom, beckoning to you… come home, this is the way… follow me there.

We take up space, we all need space… if we don’t have it, we can’t grow… without room to grow, we would choke and die. Even Love must realize this, because with the best of intentions… we can smother those that we hold most dear.

Space gives us pause, we can set priorities… we can focus, do a little recap of what has transpired over a given course of time.

To boldly go… or to take caution and care, this voyage through space is a wondrous thing… I’m your Captain, I will not abandon ship.

I am reminded of the movie, “Contact” with Jodie Foster.  Her character was a scientist named Ellie Arroway.  Dr. Arroway was a realist and required evidence to guide her. There is one scene while Ellie is in space where she sees the glory of creation unfolding before her. She is awestruck, Ellie thought she understood space because of her background and education… but little did she actually know about all that surrounds us  …the mysteries of life.

“They should have sent a poet.” she cries, because of the complexity and harmony of the Almighty’s creation she beheld. “It’s all too beautiful.”

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She learned faith that day… in that space. There are not always pat answers, sometimes… instead of baby steps, we need to take that leap.

May we all find faith, in ourselves and each other… and trust in our hearts.

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Enjoy your space…

Kirk out.