Communion in the Park

Men in the park

grip brown paper bags

certain as Catholic nuns

grasp their faith,

both counting one

by one, until neither

makes any difference

in the course of eternity.

Two paths, one park bench—

Angelic in their own rite.

Insomnia: A Short Story

The television’s on.

It’s freezing in here.

I should probably be asleep, but I’m not.

It’s 4:53. It’s always 4:53, when, click, the heat turns on.

Now the draft from the window’s competing with the dull heat, which smells like last years dust, pouring through the vent, above the door, which leads to the living room where the TV’s still on.

In about an hour the sun will be up and it will be another morning.

I can’t tell yet whether or not I’ll be excited or scared, but either way, I have to write my grandmother—thanking her for the letter she sent a couple days prior—she used to fill the cards with glitter but doesn’t anymore…

Perhaps there’s a glitter shortage, I don’t know.

I’ve been pulling my beard out again, which I don’t like, but still do. Why? A doctor would probably claim it’s nerves but by this point in life I know better than that.

It’s funny really, thoughts, how they come and go as easily as a hair can be plucked from your chin.

If I had eggs in the fridge I’d probably boil some for breakfast but I don’t have any because yesterday while shopping I’d debated prices in my head for what seemed like too long to be debating prices of eggs, causing an uncomfortable feeling I just couldn’t shake, making me anxious and aware that I’d been standing in the isle for what seemed like eons though was probably only a couple minutes, still, too long to be debating whether or not I wanted to pay 2.39 or 2.99 for a dozen of eggs.

The heat feels good now, while the right side of my face warms up, the left side is still dealing with the draft from the window.

Common sense tells me to close the window though my better judgement says to just let it be. What’s the point, really?

It’s 5:06 now. It’s always 5:06.

The repetitive nature of this statement keeps recurring in my mind as if the idea isn’t fully mine, though I use it anyway.

Perhaps it’s my conscious mind coming back to me? Perhaps it’s programming I just don’t have the strength to deny, either way…whatever.

It’s 8:08 on the East Coast. My mother’s probably pouring coffee, reading the morning news. My brother’s probably already dragged himself from bed and into work. My nephew’s to school. My sister-in-law to her studio where she makes jewelry from metal and her imagination.

Their routine gives me comfort because right now I don’t have one.

This pandemic has us all in a pretty weird state of affairs, though, my affairs have always been pretty weird now that I think about it.

At least I’m writing again. That’s good.

Everything is pretty all right right now—knock on wood.

And what if this is as good as it gets? Hog wash.

At least it’s warm in here, closing the window, watching the sun rise.

My nail beds are long. I’ve always been told that. “You’ve got piano hands,” they said once, go figure, I don’t play—if I did this would probably make for a better story though, well, you know.

Turning off the TV seems irrational as it’ll just get turned on again tonight, unless, unplugging the TV—Ah! That’s better.

Insomnia, it’s the breakfast of champions.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the letter.

Alone, together

Where are we

but forever

Alone, together

in the cosmos

of our love.

Austin’s Iced, 2020

Footnote: to Regardless of the election.

For the majority of my adult life I have lived in impoverished communities, mainly because it’s what I am able to afford. I have seen, felt, and heard the cries of both men and women, alone in gutters, pulling the arms of children onward to a life not many of us will ever lead. Some of course have made choices leading them down this path, others are facing hard times, but I see the majority of them, just as I see myself, as I see my loved ones, as common people. So regardless of the outcome of an election, regardless of the winning or losing side, I still see many men, women, and innocent children who will continue to suffer either way. I do my best to spare what little I have to offer, be it a dollar or two, a bottle of water, or even a smile which seems to go even further than the former because at least they know that they are seen, and like so many of us often feel, we like those less fortunate are not forgotten. So just be a decent person, treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of their current standings in life. Do what you can to leave the world a better place than it was yesterday. And be well, my friends. Be humble and aware. And give more than you receive, when possible. With love, gratitude, and thanks to all who’ve graced my path, and who I continue to think of daily.

Regardless of the election.

There’s a sewer pipe

in the dark, by the L.A. river

like a grave in the ground

where people sleep

by the highway, by the neighborhood

where pumpkins soon

will be replaced by

feasts of Turkey, stuffing, corn

and carefully locked doors,

then to be replaced by balsams and fern

white lights and tender eyes

of Christmas morning,

regardless of the hole by the L.A. river

where people sleep

live, and love—and pray, regardless

of the election, regardless

of the president

I still weep.

Do you?

LA River. Nov 7, 2020

Isolation

It is as cold

as a steel locket,

isolation

loosely hangs

two chains from a collar,

white as bone, worn

from the hours, of nuance

carefully placed by the bedside,

waiting to be opened

polished and willing

as obligatory as peace

before, the inevitable dawn

which beckons us to

repeat, our autumnal fall

from the burdens we carry.

You just have to live.

Being sober’s

as overrated

as being drunk—

nobody wins.

You just have to live.

Poetry

What is poetry, but

a language of the dead.

It’s an informal dance,

a shared cigarette.

Poetry is

but a one night stand.

It’s a wine ring left,

sheets, stained

between strangers.

Ryan and Jessica, 2011

A walk in the park

What looked like yesterday

out a kitchen window I saw

tomorrow and everyday

moving forward

as carefree as

a walk in the park.

Key West Florida, 2020

I allow the teachings of the past to help guide my future.

After a good, long day of self reliance, sleep, and in depth personal analysis, I am left with this thought.

What you do from here on out is your own cross to bear.

Though like a broken record I’ve continued to circle in place.

But why?

Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Well, though I agree I’m no Einstein, I’m not insane, I’m just a bit of a slow learner.

See, the hardest pattern to break isn’t necessarily the pattern but the mission so to speak.

We’re all on our own personal mission, aren’t we?

And whether or not we choose to accept it, it exists.

It’s taken many years through trial and error, deliberation, and self reliance to understand.

Carole King said, “you’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart…”

Carole also had two children by the time of her divorce and continued to create with love and compassion.

So what’s my personal mission? And what’s yours?

Will we rise tomorrow with faith and gratitude in our hearts or repeat the same patterns that no longer serve us?

Olmec said, “the choices are yours and yours alone.”

But of course we all need a few humorous anecdotes to help us get through.

And I will, as will you.

Tomorrow, reach a little further than you did today. Try something new and show the world the love in your heart. The choices are yours.

And I’ve built my cross, one which I’m willing to bear.

It’s a heavy son of a gun, but I assure you I’ll be walking, hand over foot—that which does not kill us, makes us stronger— like Nietzsche once said.