Second-hand Invisibility Cloak

Aunt Jeanie goes garage-sailing. She lets the wind blow her to one driveway dump after another and she buys useless things: eight track players, fishing creels, cowboy hats, and skinny jeans.

Yesterday, I was talking to my mother…

“Do you remember when I was in 4th grade?”

“Of course.”

“We went camping at the lake and I made a mud monster. My pants got soaked.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“All I had was my aunt’s present, a pair of skinny jeans, three sizes too small. It got cold under the stars and those pants squeezed my nuts.”

“Oh yes, that was an awful trip. Your father stepped on me in the dark.”

“Anyway, Aunt Jeanie gave me a sweatshirt two days later. I put it on and it looked like a dress. It went down to my knees.”

“You mustn’t be too hard on her, Andy. She’s all alone in the world.”

“All my clothes from elementary school are gone now, accept her sweatshirt.

“Really?”

“Yeah. And yesterday, I wore it to the library and nobody saw me. I think it makes me invisible.”

“You have a big imagination.”

“Maybe, but life’s been killing me slowly the last few years and what I have left is my own. I need to protect it.”

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Zombie Soldier

I’m this zombie soldier marching off to the job

coffee

shit

breakfast

shower

change

drive

punch in

Enduring countless hours of boredom and souless people

drive

to the library

read

write…if I’m lucky

walk

bed

YouTube

Repeat.

Cafe Philosophy

My old mistress talks back to me; it’s a typewriter I punch in bed. We have a love, hate, violent relationship and I’m left crying half the time. The words we exchange are never good enough and sometimes we become silent. With every sunrise, our relationship improves and any lovemaking the night before is consummated in the morning.

My walk was a ritual. The leaves were turning in the cold light and the cobblestone road led me to the corner cafe where I was the only customer.

“Triple espresso with cream,” I said.

I thought about work. Philosophy was intellectual masturbation and rarely spawned original ideas. I was the exception, of course, but my routines were looking more like the rule. I pulled a cigarette from my pocket and tried to light it, but my matches were damp.

“Maybe I’ll live a few more days,” I said

“Smoking’s good for you, didn’t you know?” An ivory hand lit my cigarette.

I looked into those brown eyes from last night. She was more beautiful in the morning.

“Indulgence is better than abstinence,” I said.

“Are you a Satanist?”

“No, but I dabble in all holy and unholy ideas.”

“Don’t you care about your health?”

“Perfect health sickens me.”

She sat down.

“I’m struggling to understand The Stranger. A young man kills a foreigner in a random act of violence and his life is forever changed.”

“That’s right.”

“But this shouldn’t be a mystery. Life is random.”

“That’s true, unless you believe in free will and our ability to choose our destiny.”

“But you’re talking to me and I can tell you avoid women.”

“What can I say, the will to life hijacks a man’s reason. Beauty can only be ignored from a distance.” She smiled a cruel smile that had cut holes in the hearts of men and I wanted to possess her cruelty. Good people think they can absorb a little poison, but it always kills them in the end.

My Friend and My Song

I was in Rome when I heard the song that inspired me to play the piano.

“This is beautiful music,” I said.

My friend looked at me in bewilderment.

“It’s sad!”

“I know, but its inspiring.”

He glared at me.

I was not saying anything to anybody; I just appreciated the song.

It deserved a comment, like all great things.

We got back to his apartment and decided to make dinner.

“What kind of music would you like to listen to?” he asked. “Maybe that song?”

He knew he’d been a jerk and he was trying to make up for it.

“I like Chopin,” I said.

“Do you mind if we listen to Haydn?”

“No, I don’t mind.”

He started to make dinner with an angry face and I thought about what was happening.

I didn’t want to play his games.

I just wanted to rest and listen to music.

Of Women, Seduction, and the Randomness of Life

My lecture was going well. Half the students were asleep and this meant they wouldn’t ask any questions. Getting paid to talk out loud is gold to a bullshiter and the room was mostly silent while I continued. Some students were trying to distract their brains with their phones. They were the sort who got government jobs and waited for the work day to end. Five years from now, they would be saying, “Cheer up; it’s Friday.”

I had a bottle of Scotch waiting for me at home and I was going to drink every drop until I passed out. Maybe I’d enjoy a fine cigar and stare at the smoke rings floating to the ceiling from my couch. But for now, I needed to finish the last hour of lecture and assign homework. I continued talking about Camus when a girl walked in. Half of the sleeping class woke up. They were mostly men.

She was too young for me and I had sworn off women completely. Still, her silky legs swam into her jean shorts and her brown eyes stared into mine, like she was trying to find a place there. I didn’t want any of it. My mind was my own mind.

“We mustn’t forget how our lives are ruled by randomness. Humans don’t want to acknowledge they have limited control. We constantly find meaning in things that are meaningless. For your assignment, read The Stranger and write an essay explaining how one random event can shatter reality.”

The girl was taking notes. She copied the homework assignment down and left. It was like watching a magnet erasing reason from the minds of men, pulling on their heart strings until they couldn’t feel anything but longing. Nature is a cruel teacher.

I walked home that night, not thinking. No ideas entered my mind and it was beautiful.

Awareness

When we dream, we don’t know we are dreaming and when we wake, we are not woken. -Intellectual Shaman

We don’t use our eyes to dream.

Can we say that our eyes show us reality?

What do our dreams tell us?

They unlock visions that have never before been seen.

Dreams are casually dismissed or carelessly forgotten.

Our mind remembers them when we wake.

But can we trust our memories to recall reality?

We have thoughts in the now.

They go ignored because a thousand demanding duties occupy our consciousness.

We don’t trust in our mind.

We are taught to follow other ideas.

Diving deep is prohibited.

The deep end is cornered off because too many have drowned in their unexamined imaginations.

And “too many” is only a few.

Pass By the Past

Sometimes I think about the people I leave behind who remain trapped in time. I remember them the way they were. I’ll pass by them; I refuse to visit, but I’ll pass by and look. They still seem the same. They’re doing the same things. And I remember when they spoke to me, like I was one of them. This happens wherever I go. I am one of them, or, more often than not, there is someone there who recognizes I am not one of them. He’s watching. “You haven’t decorated your office. You’d better be careful or someone may think it reflects your personality.” And there is another guy who notices. “Look at this place; it appears like you won’t be staying here past tomorrow.” I never say what I’m thinking; I don’t want to be known; and they’re both right. One day, I’ll leave quietly and pass by the past.

When a fool meets a wise man…

When a fool meets a wise man, the fool thinks the wise man is a fool. He may offer the wise man advice, but the wise man will not argue against ignorance, against arrogance, he will allow natural consequences to happen. People only see what their beliefs and perceptions tell them to see. They can look at a successful man as a failure because they need to see him that way. Does it make sense for a successful man to argue with them? The wise man will smile inside when he knows he is right; not because he has the privilege of silently proving them wrong, but for the realization that his wisdom saved him once again. The notion of saving one’s self is extremely important. It can be done in many ways. It happens most often when we say “no” to things. Our resolve will be tested by insecure people who question our security. “Don’t you need that?” They will ask. But if a man knows, these voices become minor annoyances that don’t echo past the moment. “Regret lasts a lifetime,” they will say. But the wise man knows there is a cost in every decision that is made. This doesn’t make decisions bad; it just makes them decisions. If you are conscious when you make them and you have the courage to do it, I don’t think they can be called regrets; I think a man who makes decisions is alive.

Prisoners

Beep. It agitated me. It wouldn’t stop. It didn’t even happen at regular intervals. It happened when I thought it had stopped. Beep. I walked out of my office and noticed my neighbors with their doors closed and their lights on. I walked around the secretary’s desk. She took care of llamas. If I didn’t say “hi” she would lecture me about being more social. But why was it important to be social? Nobody wanted to be friends. They wanted to maintain an air of pleasantness when petty problems made them stressed.

“Can I give you some advice?” The llama lady asked.

“Okay.”

“If you talk to people, it will help your career.”

She found out I was ambitious last week.

I walked by the counselor’s office. “Henry, we learn about health benefits after school today.”

“Benefits?” I asked.

“Haven’t you been reading your email?”

“I try not to trouble myself with email if I can help it,” I said.

“Well, we have a meeting at 2:30.”

“I need to make myself feel better.”

She laughed.

Then I went for coffee.

Dan was hanging around the pot. “Did you have a good summer?”

It was the same question he asked me last year and the year before. “Did you have a good summer?” I asked.

“Oh, I mostly stayed home. Played a round of golf and shot my lowest score in 3 years.”

“That makes a guy want to get out there and play again,” I said.

“No, not me. I don’t have any money after house payments.”

My coffee was done. I drank it and felt better. “I’m going to leave this place.”

“You say that every year, but you’re still here. You can have a good life doing your job.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” I said.

Dan looked confused.

And I walked back to my office.

Doing

We get ambitious

until we can’t give things up

even though we realize

they aren’t for us.

We have a brain that cries

“I need this…I want that”

But if we stay

in the emptiness

and wait…

Wonderful things will happen

We must think…

What to do?

and do it

At the end

We will know

if we did it

and doing it

is better

than

everything

else

we

could

have

done.