The Life That I Needed.

 

To those who can say that they know me, the old-lady-ness that defines much of my character isn’t at all a surprise. The fact that I am home 7 nights a week reading a book by myself doesn’t come as a shock either. My absolute dismay of large crowds and unacquainted strangers hardly gets a rise out of anyone who knows me at all. I am admittedly the youngest “old lady” statewide, and likely rank with the nations top young “old lady” contenders. I am boring and domesticated to a fault, yes. I have the most bland existence of anyone I know, to be honest. In the life and times of Yours Truly, the sands through the hourglass fall transparently and in full view of everyone, because my boringness leaves nothing to hide or avoid.

Recently, I took a full-time position as a live-in caretaker for an old friend who I have been somewhat looking after anyway as he ages. He is a 96 year old widower who owns the building where I worked in the tax firm for almost a decade during my late twenties and early thirties. Despite our huge age difference, Rodger and I have a lot in common. He is a kind and gentle soul with a lot of knowledge and wisdom he doesn’t mind sharing regularly (an aspect that I absolutely love about him). Rod and I are longtime lunch/dinner buddies, as we have been eating together on a regular basis for going on 20 years now. He doesn’t mind when I fall asleep sitting up watching one of his non-exciting television shows about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. He takes it in stride that I go to bed earlier than he does every night. He has always been very non-judgemental of me and the things that I have gone through in my life. He always has surprisingly fresh insights on the things going on in the world. Most people look at him as being “gruff”, “stubborn”, and “stuck in his old fashioned ways”; but between he and I, there has always been a sympathetic bond that remains solid.

Rodger has 2 grown children, a son and a daughter; who, for whatever reasons of their own rarely come around for any reason besides to borrow huge sums of money from him. I have all of these feelings over this that I won’t share here now; but suffice to say that he is neglected by those he loves most in the world. Originally, I was supposed to come for the first 30 days following his release from the rehabilitation, after breaking his back in March. At the end of that time frame, he asked me to consider staying longer with him, as he didn’t feel quite ready to be on his own again. One day, he became quite serious over sandwiches and root beer floats, and solemnly said:

“Truth is, that you have me somewhat spoiled already, and the thought of you being gone is a sad one to me…I hope you know that you’ll always have a place here, if you should ever need one after you leave.”

This was a very touching and heartfelt statement; and coming from “Old Gruff” made it that much more meaningful. Since I got here 3 months ago, I have been experiencing the sense of family that I haven’t had in some time. I have been slowly going through the grief processes attached to my mom’s death in the peace and quiet and safety of Rodger’s home. The only bad thing about being here is the fact that our dogs do not get along; which makes for some serious Chinese Fire Drilling; but otherwise, my existence at present is fairly easy and without much outside influence.

 

I needed this. 

A Jewel Dealer.

The bellboy silently closed the heavy hotel door behind him as he left the cushy room. S swallowed hard and calmly shut her eyes. She let her head roll back against the wall and began to quietly count to herself in the dark closet. She heard J’s voice float to her in the darkness, boisterously speaking to the man who’s name was signed on the hotel paperwork scattered across the glass coffee table about 10 feet in front of the closet.

J was carrying on about pointless things, trifling topics that filled the empty space between herself and the jewel collector she was captivating with nonsense.

“75…76…77…”
S stealthily sat up on her haunches, readying herself to spring to her feet.
“85…86…87…”

“I hear it’s lovely there in the spring.”

She heard the sarcasm oozing from J’s low murmuring voice through the darkness.

“95…96…97…”

The footsteps were growing louder, getting nearer, the floor beneath S shook lightly as they approached the closet she was hidden it, lying in wait.

As the closet door opened, S registered the surprise in the face of the jewel dealer; he knew he had been gotten. The jacket he had intended to hang up in the closet was already wrapped tightly around his torso from behind, and J’s maniacal grin peeked at S through the darkness from over his left shoulder.

“Don’t make a sound.”

S was deftly binding his legs already and, rather gracefully, switching her position in the closet with the jewel dealer’s next to J. THUD. The man fell full on his weight like a sack of potatoes into a heap on the closet floor. Two wide eyes staring up at the calmly poised women from the floor of the closet.

“Give us the keys.” J thrust out her hand towards the panicked face in the inky darkness.

“I…I…”

The jewel dealers words stuttered pathetically through gasps and quiet sobs.

“You will be a ghost full of regrets if you don’t stop talking and hand me those keys.”

S was wearing her serious face as she said this. Nervous pocket shuffling in the closet; keys jingling, coins rattling, until finally a small ring with two tiny nondescript keys on it was tossed through the space between them. A groan of miserable defeat followed from the closet.

Downshift.

We had drawn up this road map so grand,

the highlighted route to the ending we planned,

the flutter of cards as they dropped out of hand,

the calling of Gods in dreams we understand;

poor odds follow close, wherever I am,

fleeting as granules of time-whitened sand

fickle and pickled in the spices at hand,

between promise and oneness,

that same ol’ ominous numbness,

parlor tricks performed in a deserted land;

peopled with embodied nothingness,

void of all the sugary fluffiness,

where you are is ever where I am,

when I’m asleep that’s how it stands,

I dig in the deep with my polished hands,

driven mad by a fiendish hologram;

dropped from the attached strings,

to your heart’s working guillotine,

you never came back for me,

left me miserably, deservedly

just as I am.

African Tools of Death.

For Sam:

You are an enigma.

Enigmatic to my drab eye,

you spark against my darkened sky,

with you, comes the mental hum,

you loan me peace of mind,

no love letters or epic songs,

might ever rightfully define,

or accurately emphasize,

how you’re a stationary prize,

that hangs higher than all else,

higher than you likely realize,

I just can’t help myself,

from warming in your light,

resigning my heart, outright,

to the magic and the might,

you’ll never fully perceive,

the grip you maintain on me,

You are a beam of light.

Lightning bolts that strike,

cutting sharp as knives,

through life’s dark scenery,

You are full of surprises.

From the depths of such rebellion,

and what’s left of the little Hellion,

your character  arises,

to shine so singularly,

so winningly, impressively, eternally,

you’ve yet to fail the friend in me,

and so…respectfully and true,

thoughts especially of you,

that words might do

some kind of justice to.

Pinky Fingers in a Champagne Tub.

They took my finger,
it was the right-hand runt;
they chopped it clean off
and cauterized the stump;
I couldn’t believe it,
even as I sweat and bled;
while they closed my wound
I  brooded on my pinky, instead;
And when the shock wore off,
and they dumped me down the block;
I came with my remaining four,
pounding on your secret door;
Where did they take your finger?”
you demanded to find out;
hell-bent on reconnoitering,
racked your rounds and bombed out;
You returned with twenty seven;
pinky fingers in a champagne tub,
you held it out in front of you;
an offering of my murderous Coconut;
I crushed through pink ice cubes and fingers,
but not one of them was mine;
I stared at my heavily bandaged hand,
and you said, “We’ll get it next time…

Min Ven.

night horse

A Toast
from one dead soldier,
to another –
cheers
from one dawning sun,
to the moonlight –
let’s get fucked up tonight;
this life’s been hard,
hard as fuck to survive,
skål
let the tears fall,
my friend –
we’ve been
through it all;
fighting back to back,
through the fires
of living Hell…
seën
to all of our times alive,
to our many defeated
victories stacked up high;
velsigne dig
a key that we found
in the enemy’s pocket,
a while back –
we both knew what it unlocked,
and so it was tossed
into a well as we passed;
min ven:
Moenie bang wees nie,
this too, shall pass us by –
like the many storms weathered
between you and I,
you will keep walking,
right here at my side,
and I shall abide.

day horse

A Bear(Trainer’s) Birthday.

“ALLIANCE, n.
In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other’s pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.

HAPPINESS, n.
An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of others.”
– Ambrose Bierce

kick it

Today is a special day; it is the day that celebrates the birth of my best friend.
There is no way to gain through the words of any language known to humankind, the ultimate and profound finality that represents the birth of this individual into the world. On the birthday of such a human being, I find myself in deep recollection about the birth of all things before and after her own – of all things cosmic and worldly; minute and massive; near and far.
In a selfish way, today is kind of a birthday of my own to celebrate – it marks the birth of an individual whose influences over the years between my own birth and death are inarguably strong and incomparable. It marks the day that, despite having been a while ago, was the day that a God smiled upon me for whatever reason, and sent me Sam. Today is the anniversary that some of the most lasting and meaningful words ever written coming to life in the tiny brain of an angry infant somewhere in South Africa; one who would grow wiser and stronger than the Gods could have foreseen; one who defies the odds.
Sam is the Meri to my Pippin; the Drax to my Rocket, she is the Florizel to my Geraldine. I have truly come to refuse any real thought of life without her; she is the John Keats to my Joseph Servern – and I would follow her to the most gruesome of deaths, if she asked such of me.
Most importantly about Sam’s birthday though, in my opinion, is the fact that whether she likes to wear the jacket or not – SHE IS A SURVIVOR – who has made it to see another year; she is yet, another year older than certain weasels from her past might have liked to see her become. She continues to defy, spitting in faces as she passes by. I wouldn’t trade her for anything.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAM – THE BEAR TRAINER.