Two Gods who sit down to Coffee

When I watch things walk

uncorrupted

with legs without restraints

it’s like two gods

who sit down to coffee

and confess

what they are planning to do

without halting words

or doubtful gestures

unapologetic

opposing forces

who know no limits

sacrificing themselves

for what they can’t live without

this is how it should be

men

with terrible power

who do

in such a way

that can never be redone

there is unavoidable respect

across the table

even though cafe society

dictates…

“pass the sugar

like a gentleman”

“but no, we take it black”

the gods smile

ignoring

petty interventions

from waiters who wait

while they plot their plans

with bold taste.

The Thieves of Time

The thieves of time

love to hear themselves talk

a meeting that won’t end

trying to meet foolish expectations

no energy

waiting for a schedule

that never arrives

busying tasks of the day

get sluffed off

onto you

as the boa constrictor tightens

and your life is squeezed

the blood leaving your brain

until you can’t breathe

they eat your most important qualities

like delectable deserts

polite and fawning

while they taste your time

you are supposed to be okay with this

like it is only right

not to put up a fight

squeezed

you are the difficult one

trying to escape their grasp

in solitude

you might eat cherries,

drink coffee,

read literature,

enjoy nature

and they want more

complaining

everything they hate

they can’t see in themselves

lingering

like a hand in someone else’s pocket

50 percent of winning

is recognizing what matters

the other 50

is saying “No.”

When I become old

I’ll see them in the nursing homes

they’ll want to talk

and I won’t say anything

“Who are you to stay silent?” They might ask.

And I’ll walk away

They protest

about the stupidest things

but when it comes down to wasting their lives

they laugh

and they waste mine

Now I’m angrier

every day

and whoever said that patience was a virtue

believed in eternity.

Samantha

I was walking down a summer path in the late afternoon when the wind blew through the trees. The leaves were barely hanging on as the woods became full of movement. Then I noticed a bright orange patch of hair that didn’t belong; it was moving too, up the trail and away from me. It stopped and then it started again.

I followed, intrigued by its bright colors, drawn to it with unquestioning will. We walked into a clearing together and that’s when I realized what it was; a cat, but unlike any cat I had ever seen. It looked at me with penetrating eyes, and I stared back, startled.

“What are you looking at?” I asked.

It smiled, turning its head, walking on, and I sat down on a nearby log and watched, as it pranced, seductive, with uncommon style.

My lonely apartment was waiting for me and I must’ve been absent in my thoughts, because I didn’t see her, until she was sitting next to me. Purring.

“Hey, give me space,” I said.

She looked up with desire or some kind of love; perhaps I was missing that, and projecting my fantasies onto her.

“I wish you’d go home with me,” I said. And she rubbed her head against mine. I sat there for at least an hour, while she waited. My apartment didn’t allow cats, but I wasn’t big on following the rules.

I got up and she followed. I thought, if she gets into my truck, I’ll take her home, and that’s what she did. She was annoyed at my radio and kept looking at me. When I switched it to classical, she relaxed. Cats do as they please; they’re independent, so I had no notion of locking her up and I think she understood that.

She followed me up the steps to the third floor of my apartment and entered. I was expecting a date in a couple of hours and needed to prepare dinner. She was amused at my fumbling and bumbling. I could cook only a couple of things really well, and I had lost weight as a bachelor. When my date arrived in a black dress, she began talking about her girlfriend.

“She’s seeing a guy, but she doesn’t love him.”

“Why does she date him?” I asked.

“He has a house.”

“Oh. I don’t know if that’s a good reason to date someone.”

“Well… she’s a single mother and she needs someone to take care of her.”

“Oh, well aren’t there programs for that?”

Our conversation took a turn for the worst, until she yelled at me, “You’re a misogynist and I know you don’t have permission to have a cat in your apartment. I’m telling your manager!”

I didn’t believe it, until I heard a knock at my door. It was the skinny assistant, sniveling, and not one who wanted conflict; everything was passive with him.

“Do you have a cat?” He asked.

“Not really.”

“Well, she’ll have to go.” He entered abruptly and walked into my bedroom.

“Oh, I’m so so sorry! I didn’t know!” And he left, very embarrassed. I walked into my bedroom, noticing the cat there.

“Strange, I wonder what that was about.” I got ready to go to sleep and told her to get off my bed. She slunk away, dejected, like I had hurt her feelings, and she curled up in the corner.

“I need to name you. Samantha. That’s your name.” And she was pleased, falling to sleep, purring deeply.

When I went to bed, I dreamed I lying next to a beautiful woman, sensual, and desperately in love with me. When I woke, I smelled something delicious. It was a mushroom omelet with French toast. The only thing I could think of was that my mother let herself in, and left to run a few errands. She was always putting her nose where it didn’t belong, especially when she tried to investigate my love life. She was disappointed that I hadn’t found a good woman, and she reminded me of my friends who had succeeded.

“Joel is doing very well for himself,” she said. “He found a good girl. You know, you’re not getting any younger.”

“Yes mom.” I ate the eggs and watched Samantha purring on the stool next to me. She didn’t look hungry and I noticed dirty dishes stacked in the sink.

“My mother fed her; that’s what she did.” Samantha could let herself out of my apartment through the cat door. I went to work and called my mother.

“Thanks for breakfast, mom.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You didn’t make me breakfast and feed my cat?”

“No. Are you alright, Andy?”

“I don’t think so mom.”

“Well, your father and I are coming over this evening at 7 PM. Don’t you remember?”

“Oh, I forgot. We’ll be bringing plenty of food, so you don’t have to cook.”

Okay, sounds good. I love you.”

“You too, bye.”

When I got back to my apartment, Samantha looked irritated, like I had left her too long.

“Hey, somebody has to work,” I said. She smiled, purring. And then I thought I heard something, like distant words in a different language.

To Be Continued…

Nature, Time, and the River

The woods near my river are filled with fishermen paths and small alcoves where the homeless make their homes during the warm evenings. There’s freedom under the stars, enjoyment of earthy scents, the possibility of a fire, listening to male frogs calling for mates, and gentle rushing of mountain snow, melting, and migrating towards the saltwater ocean.

Time doesn’t exist like a clock counting seconds in the woods. Some days I enter my office in the dark and leave the same way. Even when that happens, I walk the forest at night, discovering something different.

We fill our lives with responsibilities and get caught up doing the same things, while leaves are falling, very slowly, caught in a peculiar wind. Moments before the storm, I feel the rain, before it rains; I smell the lightning, before it hits the ground. The air is cool and the wind is warm. I sense nature’s power on my face, realizing the seasons are a stabilizing force, even though they change.

Smiling at all the Smiles Under the Sun

Pretty girls smile at me

their tanned skin

glowing

under the sun

as I put on my shades

and hide

riding down forest trails

for fun

Missing out

is not real

nature’s trick

to make us slaves

I cannot cope

beyond the day

as life gives and gives

and then

takes away

I could have been

many things

and now

there is wisdom

in not doing anything

Time is eternal

as emptiness

rest before me

I have many days

to sleep

before I wake

So, what others think

is just their thinking

and if decisions never come

under my sunglasses

I’ll just keep riding

smiling

at all the smiles

under the sun.

The Hidden Valley of My Heart

I’m running in a horror film

totally at peace

sensing the people

passing

through the mist

like frosty ships

cut off from time

with no reference point

in the night

light and darkness

with shades of reflected orange

in the last days

of October

where swamps

are full of fog

and feint music

floats

into my ears

echoing

the past

as I become a creature

of that unique atmosphere

where city conversations

don’t know

this hidden valley of my heart

and I long to visit

even though

my time

between visits

is long.

Musings on a Warm Evening

1.

The lonely men are not lonely

and the lost men are not lost

and the bum is not a bum

and the child is not a child

and time has been wiped out

disowned

and disrespected

like a painting

nobody understands.

2.

If we dance beyond

the sea

and we smell the changing seasons

and we listen to the wind

blowing through the trees

silent trumpets

will sound

announcing

our destiny.

3.

Picking raspberries

in the summer heat

next to the garden

I grew up in

gives me pleasant pleasure

Each summer

I walk through

seems like eternity

where I never get older

and now

the things that never change

remind me

that I’m changing.

Delightful Disobedience

There is a natural bubbling up

as we are forced into tight places

I had this feeling just about everywhere I went

It was like people wanted to know

where I fit

Usually, within minutes of meeting them

they would know

Sometimes, it was a compliment

like, “You remind me of Matt Damon.”

and at other times

I became everything they hated

a bad employee

or a conglomeration of crappy experiences

When that happened

they could never talk to me

a tension lingered

they wanted my total submission

and I could never give them that.

Day after Day

Year after Year

their opinions of me

repeated, like a record

in their narrow domain of reality

and there was no escape from it

People believed them

and my life in their proximity

became even worse

It was like I had two lives

one where I felt really good

and the other one

It was worse

when they paid me compliments

during formal ceremonies of politeness

and they pretended to like things about me

but afterwards

there was nothing

It was like they had the facts

but they didn’t want to see them

this building up has always been an eruption of natural action

and the first time I felt this release

a feeling of total peace

washed over me

I left their reality

for good

and it had no hold over me

things they said

were only words

and I laughed at their rules

Who did they think they were?

I didn’t want to challenge their authority

I didn’t even want to recognize it

Most rules are unnecessary

constricting

how we think

and what we do

It seems

we can’t escape them

but that’s just not true.

The Calmly Calculated Whip of the Lion Tamer

Defeat one desire with another

like a flickering torch

in the caverns of your mind

illuminating a fog that lingers there

among the hidden hills that bow

to a lonely mountain

Castles in the depths of despair

must be defeated

with swords of truth and sacrifice

name them

blood oozing, like a raging river

upon the ruins of your ego’s altar

Mercedes Benz competitors

make you feel like a thief

in your Rolls Royce league of your own

traveling to islands in the sea

where pirates sailed

in ships of romance

You have gone your own way

like a letter to a loved one

and few will forgive you for it

their storms rage with irrational anger

against the stronghold lighthouse of your mind

bearing their emotional waves

with the calmly calculated whip

of the lion tamer.

Just as Wild

These train tracks

don’t lead to the station anymore

they aren’t traveled

except by me

they follow a river

looping high into the mountains

Above

ordinary destinations

rusted trestles

bridge

great divides

as I step between the ties

avoiding empty air

where white water rages

beneath me

blocking out nature’s sound

I move through geologic time

reconnecting

to what my grandfather knew

overgrown paths

make this once known land

a mystery

Cut through the wilderness

and wild again

Now

only the animals know it

as I

walk into their midst

just as wild.