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Saturday, December 21, 2013

I Forgive Them All

Sometimes I wake up and I have this apprehensive feeling.
A worried knot in my stomach that only exists now
in that place between asleep and awake where dreams and reality mix.
It's a fear that's been part of me for a really long time.
Real and tangible.
As I wake up, and realize I'm okay and it can't hurt me anymore
I begin to hate the people and situations that put it there and
Harmed me in these lasting ways.
Then I look around my home and I think of my amazing Partner and I pity those people and feel compassion for them. I accept the situations as life experience.
Because everyone...even those that hurt me...should be as happy as I am in my life.
I forgive them all.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fear (concept draft)

And so it was that I came to a clearing in my favorite woods.
The sun shone in the middle just across a stream in front of me
I walked to the edge and knelt at the bank.
The Waterkeeper looked up at me
Denying me entry to the light.
His knowing gaze does nothing
To hide an equally knowing fear
He won't be reasoned with
He won't give up
He is impassable
Were it not for one thing
He is merely a reflection
Scattered to ripples
At the slightest touch
To be left behind
As I head to the light.

Friday, November 1, 2013

What I Am

I tried so hard
Not to be you
Not to lose myself in your legacy
Yet here I sit
Branded "Monster" by some
Flawed to others

So it seems
No matter how hard I try
The sins of the father
Shall be visited
Upon the Son

With no concept of words like
"Fair" or "Deserving" or "Deliverance"
I'm continually bombarded with reminders
That I came to beBecause of you

All the reasons I can't be you
And more importantly
All the reasons I am
I've run so far to escape you
 I've denied the fundamental aspects of myself

Denying the truth of who I am,
What I want and how to love
Simply because
I never wanted to live like you
To be like you

Like a poor marksman,
I missed the target
And I see you
Everytime I look in the mirror
Its your eyes I see

When my heart aches
With the loss I live with
Consequential to my own choices
I think,this is what you must have felt
Deep Down and never Said

Until I remember
That such a thought
Such compassion
Such empathy
Its beyond you

And suddenly I can breathe
I am not you
I am flawed
I am imperfect
Maybe even a monster

But I'm alive
In the knowledge of who I am
How I came to be here
And I can say it
Definitively and finally

I am not you.
I am not the sum of your wrongs
Or even my own
I can say goodbye
and live.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

From the Ashes

From the debris and
From the ashes
The Phoenix will rise
Though not the same as before
Tarnished feathers
Burned at the tips
Create a permanent reminder of
Horrors that can't be unseen
But now looked upon with the
Proverbial bird's eye view
A change of perspective
To offer peace
In a milieu of emotion.

Through newly acquired wisdom
The mundane will fall away
In the sunrise of a new world
Burnished eyes
Grim with determination
Take flight to the unknown
Soaring away into joy
Leaving behind all concept of "down"
It cannot be known from where this admiration springs
For the Phoenix flies beyond its reach
With knowledge of the universe
A gift imparted to those left behind
The greatest lesson ever learned

Wings are not needed to soar into joy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Two Princes (Glass and Steel) [Draft #1]

Drafted into battle by a wicked Queen
Two intrepid Knights gaze into the night
Each clutching a heart to their breast.
Both begin their quest
Riding into the sunrise
Toward a future unknown.

The Queen, in her hatred of those pure of heart
Visited a curse upon the Knights on the eve of their birth
Through dark magic she removed their hearts
Stealing their purity
Turning one to glass, The other steel
Before switching one for the other
It was in this way
The heroes lived through countless quests
Puppets of a Queen who sought only
To use them for her own ends.

The Knights could know nothing
Of joy, or confidence, or love
So emptied were they by the Queen's curse
Yet raised as Champions of the Kingdom
Each knew their worth
Fighting valiantly in the name of duty and honor
Reveling in the adoration and tributes that were offered
They faced many trials alone
Fighting for the same Kingdom
Never side by side.
Until the Queen, blinded by avarice
Dispatched her two champions
The quest doomed to fail.


Before a lake of fire
The first to arrive dismounts his steed
A steel heart dropping from his breastplate
His face betrays no emotion as
He draws sword from scabbard
Determinedly entering the lake of flame.
Unseen, the second arrival dismounts,
Sword in hand, charging the flames
No concern for safety in his countenance.

What should he see,
But another valiant Knight
Tangled in the flames
Armor red from the heat
Face dripping blood
As the licking flames flay his skin
Crackling like a whip
Halting in admiration of his compatriot to the fight
He grasps a glass heart worn around his chest.
"I'll not see you die today." says he, charging the flames

Beating back flames with his own armor and sword
The two Knights now stand
Backs together amidst tumultuous flames
Holding back immolation
Each has the help of the other until,
Moving as one, they leap to safety
Leaving the lake of fire to separate them from their home
"Are you hurt?" says the first
No response comes.

Crawling to his comrade in arms
Strong hands force apart armor
Only to cry out in agony at
An empty hole in his chest
Through tears of anger
He tears away his own, useless armor
Revealing a matching hole in his own, empty chest.

Gently, almost tenderly,
He removes the heart of glass from his neck
These many years, saying only
"Take back that which was taken from you."
With a start, the Knight gasps
Sitting upright, Eyes immediately fixed
Upon his saviors chest.
He clutches the heart around his neck,
The steel ever cold in his hands.

"You saved me." says he.
Only a nod in response.
"You've returned something I'd lost."
Another nod.
Holding up the heart of steel, he says
"Then I shall return this to you."
Placing the heart where it once belonged
And belonged again
The curse is lifted
And each now sees in the other
What had been missing before

"I don't recognize this feeling." says Glass
"Nor do I," answers Steel
"Though I've oft heard of a feeling that creates the elation this must be."
"What?" asks Glass
"Love." comes the answer.
The two Knights set out hand in hand
Moving forward
Into a world of infinite possibility
Leaving behind evil Queens, curses and battles
One a Poet
The other a Prince

What's in a Look

What's in a look?
Because I'd really like to understand
Why your eyes stab me in the heart
With a longing that can only be described as poetic

And your half-smile . . .
Thinning your (oh so kissable) lips
Conveying desire that my lips might touch your own
With a silent acquiesence why this cannot be

Your beautiful eyes
Touch me with sorrow
Deep and timeless as a black hole
Reaching across space and time
Allowing you to touch me in spite of physical limitations

In that look I know love
But no ordinary love can be seen so completely
In only a look
This must be the love of kings

A love that cannot be kept
No  matter how deeply shared
Its needs must with and surely die
Should it not remain free to grow

What's in a look?
All this and more
As I watch you walk away.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Poles Apart

All I see is beauty
Within me and without
In your warm embrace and
Passionate kiss
In your hardness so unyielding and
Softness so inviting
In your taking of what is given and
Giving freely of yourself

All I am is love
Laid out for you, my lover
Please come inside
On display for you, my lover
Please take what is yours
Joining with you, my lover
Inside or out
Becoming more than existed before

Joy is beauty; Beauty is love
Balanced on the biggest wave
We make ourselves
Loving in our own image
Taking it in and
Breathing it out
One cannot exist without the other, and
I am so filled with joy that I should have both

Monday, August 19, 2013

Saturday

I don't know where I am
Lost in a sea of tiny death
The waves crash over me
Pulling me under
And dragging me down
I can't move
I can't breathe
I can't stop
His lips found mine
Grounding me, drawing me back to life
Resuscitating my awareness
As we breathe the same breath
Eyes that are as crystal blue as the waters I drown in
Toss a lifeline I grab hungrily
Following the anchor back to land
I gasp for air
Choking on what I've seen
Until, feeling as small as a child
He drags me to my feet
I'm a doll in his strong arms
A plaything; broken toy
Validated by his intoxicating, perfect smile

I don't know where I am
My body  clenching in a sick parody of rigor mortis
Every muscle locked, on fire
Burning exquisitely from the inside
I can't move
I can't breathe
I can't stop
He moves me
From the darkness to the light
A pressure holding me in place
Comforting me through the things we do at night
He drinks me in
Taking the chaos into himself
Burning from the inside
A twin flame
Burning strong
Until we're the same fire
Flickering in the moonlight
Lighting up the sky as we burn
I'm flying
Launched into the night
When his heated touch
Explodes behind my eyes
And we both know
How close to burning I've been
And how he saved me

I don't know where I am
Lost in a sea of tiny death
A sick parody of rigor mortis
Suddenly consumed with fear
Everything this good comes with a price
I can't move
I can't breathe
I can't stop
Crying out in the dark
your arms wrap me tightly
A sweet ethereal voice reaching out
"I'm right here"
I drink in your security
Coming back to life
Until one by one
My senses return
My first vision one of beauty
As I can finally see your smile
My first breath full of your air
When I can finally breathe you in
The first sound, that of joy
As your laughter fills my ears
My skin tingles in tiny explosions under your fingertips
My face is wet
With exertion and tears
As I sink into you
Laughing with joy when I hear
"I've got you"
Can you tell me that you're real
So that everything I feel I can finally show
The waves Bring me gently down
Into your waiting arms
The same only different
Alive from the inside
Awake for the first time
Cleansed and unbroken
Complete and perfect

I know where I am
And how you saved me



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Date

The first time I saw you
Was on a computer
When you lept off the screen
I knew you were for me.
So of course we never met
See, I guess I wasn't ready for you to jump off the screen
And I wish I had known then
Just how much I would benefit from that jump
But at the time
I was bound in the barbed wire of honor and duty
and gagged by the sentiments of unrequieted love
Barely surviving an abuse I didn't know was happening

The second time I saw you
Was still on a computer screen
Through the invention of social networking
Your eyes beckoned and somehow promised the future
Obviously, we still didn't meet.
Our lives were in completely different places
You were half a world away
While I was just waking up to read the writing on the wall
But those eyes . . .
For the first time I knew what the phrase
"Necessity is the mother of invention" was all about.
So I invented a reason to reach across the miles and talk to you
And hello became a promise of a drink and conversation
That I knever thought could happen with the thousands of miles between us
Until the day that it did happen
When the magic of social networking told me you were moving
To my city.
Nearly a year had passed
But I remembered those eyes
And in that remembering I became thirsty
Thirstier than I've ever been
My throat became as dry as the desert you were escaping
I gave thanks for the invention of the keyboard that let me type:
"How about that drink when you get in town?"
Because the power of speech was simply not an option
As I had somehow forgotten how to produce sound from my throat and form it into words

The third time I saw you
Was in a bar I'd never been to before
I'd spent the hour and a half before getting there
Pretending to be a teenager in front of my bathroom mirror
And when we met for the first time
I was finally ready.
My sense of duty was to myself as I ordered the first round
My honor stood proud on my face when your eyes locked on mine and I didn't look away
My scars stood prominently and on display
Because I wanted to celebrate my survival in reaching this moment
Having a conversation with you that ended with our lives in the same place
Finally.
The same place.
Ready for those eyes
We walked down the street
With me trying to resist holding your hand
The angel on one shoulder saying
"It's too soon!"
With the devil on the other screaming
"Fuck that! Grab it!"
And this sort of battle continued as you showed me around my own city
And I followed willingly, seeing it all for the first time
Until it all had to end
And in the late, late night
     (or the early, early morning)
I drove you to your car
And our eyes met when you said you had to go
But not before . . . .

When I was a kid
I took my dad's car keys and stuck them inside a power outlet
So I could start the building
And when your lips found mine, there in the dark,
That's the memory that went through my head
As the electricity moved between us
Only this time
I knew I would do it again
The next time I saw you.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Champion, The Prince and The Adonis

The lowly poet.
Locked in contest with a Dark God, A Shadow Prince and the Potential of What's to Come. Each vying for the heart of a muse; a God of fiery conviction who's eyes pierce the soul.
"The heart is infinite," says he, "With waters warm and calm. Come inside my loves, be safe and feel loved."
His promise, a bold commitment, befitting his bold gladiators. Locked in combat with one another and themselves, he addresses one and all.
"My Shadowy Prince, come inside." he says, with arms open.
The Shadow Prince vanishes; enveloped, merged with another darkness until his unique beauty is diluted and he can hear the God no more.
"My Dark Adonis, come to me and rule with love, by my side always."
The Adonis turns away, unable to see through his own dark visions to the light of the love he's being offered.
His Conviction still fiery, yet his eyes now masked with the sadness of loss, he turns next to the poet.
"What of you, my lowly poet?" he asks, "I can see your heart and it is empty and broken. Will you come to me and accept this gift I have offered?"
"My God, I am humbled by your offer. Such is your beauty that I could write a million verses speaking its value and not yet be worthy of it. What place have I, amongst Dark Adonises and Shadow Princes?" says he, eyes cast to the dirt.
"Come to me then, my love," he beckons him, "Come and be my champion of the Broken Hearted. A Champion must surely deserve the same as Dark Adonises and Shadow Princes."
"My God, I bow before your generosity, but I fear that I am but a plaything to one as beautiful as you. A contrived distraction to be enjoyed until you grow weary of my artist's heart." came the soft reply.
"My Champion," she says, "Your words hurt me. The heart is infinite. As you can create a million verses, so can I find a million ways to love you, a dark God and a Shadow Prince; all equally, each never replacing the other."
"God, I am humbled to be at your side and I feel safe and complete with my artist's heart inside yours."
Joining with the God, as Champion, this Lowly Poet looks down on a Dark Adonis blinded by the night and a Shadow Prince lost to the dark. In the milieau of pain and loss, what can be seen now, is the potential of What's to Come for the Champion and the God.
"What of that?" the Champion says, pointing toward new Potential.
The God only smiles.
"Come to me," he beckons it, "The heart is infinite"

Pictures

He sent me his picture today
All virile and beautiful
Sultry, sensual sexuality
A familiar tightening below the belt
Tells me I want him.
Laid before me,
Him.
Breath in short gasps
As I memorize every line, every muscle
And as I have in my dreams 1,000 times
I unwrap him like a present
And beneath the surface
Before I take him inside
There is something
Under the skin
There is a light
In his eyes there is desire
Coexisting with a scar that will never heal
As my fingertips trace his lips
I can feel the memory of a life left behind
All for this moment in time
Here.
With me.
I massage his strong legs
Feeling the tension of climbing and re-climbing a ladder
Growing beyond pain and fear
Looking in his eyes
I am ashamed and afraid
Awed and oh so in love
And I'm trembling
While my hands continue to map his masculinity with purpose
Changed through self-awareness
Can we make love?
He sent me his picture today
All his love, made with a camera lens
Mine with a pen

Strike and Bruise (Not All Scars are Seen)

You hit me again today
A one two punch of degradation and insults
A right cross of
"I don't care how you feel"
That brings forth tears
Followed by a left hook of
Real men don't cry
Real. Men.
Don't. Cry.
After that come the jabs
reminding me of every wrong
Every sin ever committed against you
And how each one is my fault
You skillfully dodge my responses
Continuing to make me responsible for your pain
As I say
Baby please, just stop, just listen
You respond that communication is useless
And uppercut me with accusations of abuse and manipulation
I lower my defenses to show you
I mean no harm
That all I want is to talk
That all I feel is love
That all I want is you
You hit me again today
Only I am made of glass
And I have shattered under your knockout blow
Ground to sand under the weight
of what you see
And as I begin to blow away in the breeze
I hear again
Real men don't cry.
Real. Men.
Don't. Cry.
They Shatter

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tragedy and Comedy

As I walk
Through dreams left abandoned
I remember so much
So many days and nights
Lying wide awake
Through the sound of
Rain pouring from my soul
I ache to live
I yearn to die
I need to share
Words that paint the picture
Every cut
Every scar
Every drop of blood
I need to be seen
And I can't explain why
The story exists in the telling
The art lives in the poetry
Sometimes it hurts
Yet the stories still come
Told and retold
Walking through dreams left abandoned
A ghost town
Full of myriad images
That might have been
Scattered to the winds
Along with the ashes of the future
Once so vibrant
Now putrid and unlivable
Tattooed on my heart
Until finally ... Life
Cuts away, clearing the scars
Bleeding out the person left behind
I break the ties that bind
And I'm finally happy
Through so many day and nights
Lying wide awake
Through the sound of
Rain pouring from my soul
I'm alive in dreams newly born
And I die in the fear of pain's return
I need to share
Every hope
Every whispered nothing
Every kiss
The art lives in the poetry
Sometimes its beautiful
And the stories come
Told to be retold
Full of promises and what might yet be
Scattered to the winds
As I close my eyes
And I make a wish
To walk through my dreams
To tell the stories
Good and bad
I need to share
The tragedy and comedy

Friday, July 5, 2013

I Wonder if You Know

There's an ache in my arms
And it only goes away when you touch me, and
There's a moment where I catch my breath and I hold it
Until you kiss me
Because I've never flet as special as I do in those moments when your lips press against mine.
And I wonder if you know
I've sat before the page
Spinning tales and penning soliloquy after soliloquy
Carefully ensuring that a love I didn't understand would always win out
Because I never knew love as a true and viable reality until
I heard the words in your voice
Feeding me what once was sin
Touching the edge of my soul
And I wonder if you know
I've laid awake at night
Wondering how to return the sentiment
Contemplating the feeling, like a dream
I don't want to wake up from for fear of forgetting what it meant
Love ... seems a paltry word applied to the gift you've given
Shall I instead create a planet
With ten suns shining brightly in the sky for you to understand your own brightness?
Shall I label you "Dark God" so you may see the sway you hold on my heart?
Maybe, to call you My Sun and Stars in order to offer dominion over the Universe as I understand it?
I wonder if you know
You are all of them ad more
That no pedestal could lift you so high
Because you fit best
Here
By my side.
Prince, Dark God
My sun and stars
I wonder if you know
How long I wandered
Only to finally have found home
In your eyes.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

This was my first father's day as an "out" Gay man. And my first with a boyfriend. As with most things that have happened since I came all the way out, it was refreshing beyond belief to celebrate with my son in the skin I'm comfortable in. It's also amazing that this Father's Day I can say that I'm close to seeing my daughter again. More than that though, it was amazing to celebrate it with this amazing man, and find in him as he hopefully found in me a man who exemplifies what it is to be a father. Every decision you torture yourself about, every sleepless night spent worrying about the best way to help with this situation or that, the best way to provide, best way to love...In short the best way to be perfect, because that's what Dad's are. We're perfect. We have the answers to life's questions (or we make them up when our kids ask) we protect our children from bullies, girlfriends, boyfriends and everyfriends. And we do it just because we want to see a smile, or hear that wonderful voice saying "I love you, daddy." No matter what age child it's coming from. This year, my boyfriend's daughter and I conspired to get her dad an acoustic guitar simply because she wanted to get him something he really wanted. And her smile when his face lit up at the gesture was pure father's day gold. My son took me to see Man of Steel, and he made me some lovely butterflies to hang up at work because a six year old's homemade gift is unbelievable no matter what. We made it a point to spend a good chunk of our time in one on one father/kid time and everyone involved had an amazing time.

As someone who is estranged from his father...who wonders on day's like today whether or not I should call him before it's too late. A son who is a good enough person that he feels bad about cutting his dad off even though that was the nicest, kindest option for us both (he deserved less) The meaning of Father's day is clear to me as if it were the message in a Peanuts special with Linus at the microphone explaining the importance of fathers to the world. Being a father to my son and working hard to have my daughter in my life reveals to me the amazing highs as well as the life crushing lows of parenthood; something that my own father doesn't have when it comes to me. As a father I appreciate my kids on Father's Day...but I also appreciate the other dad's out there who are in it for the long haul with their kids because I know what that takes and I know what its like when that's absent from life. As a son, I feel guilty, even after all these years; maybe because I know how bad a father waits to hear the "I love you" or see the smile. I accepted a long time ago that my father isn't like that. I guess I could never accept returning that coldness within myself.

So father's day will always be bittersweet for me. But at least from here on out I can spend them being who I am. And I can spend them in the company of another man who knows what it takes, I mean what it *really* takes to be a father. And for me that's just another reason why men are right for me. Being a father in love with another father validates who I am and it makes me a better dad...and isn't that what my kids really deserve? The best father?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Weep Not for Roads Untravelled

-1-

"Officer? ... O-officer?"

"Yes? How can I help you?"

The voices couldn't have been more opposite. The first, asking for the officer's help was frantic, and gave an almost nasal whine to the words; the second, a deeper voice with a gravelly quality, oozed confidence. 

"My name's Jonny. Jonny Kalamata ... like the Olives. I, uh ... I need some help I think." 

"What sort of help?" the officer asked, his tag gleamed the name Ford and he held his hands close to the buckle of his belt as Jonny approached him. 

"Well, that's just it. I can't really explain, it's more like I have to show you." and he stepped into the light. Officer Ford could see clearly that he wore a black t-shirt that was sticking to his wiry, muscular frame; the boy was clearly soaked.

"That's close enough," Ford said, easing one hand to the flashlight in his belt. 
"What's that all over your shirt?"

"It's part of the reason I need help. See I was with my ex and-"

"Is that blood on your shirt?" Ford asked, shining the light on the young man. 

"Yes sir, it is." Jonny said.

"I think you'd better just stand right there and start at the beginning, son." Ford said, gently moving his other hand to his firearm.

"Yes sir." Jonny said, almost dutifully, and began talking almost immediately.

I broke up with my girlfriend about six months ago. It wasn't anything bad, just time to move on, ya know? Well, we tried to be friends and still hang out but that wasn't going to well. I went over to her house on a Monday night, right after the break up and had dinner. That's when it really started. Dinner was pretty normal, I guess. Spaghetti, but I didn't eat much because I had this weird paranoia that she was going to poison me. Anyway, we ate dinner and then sat down to watch the news; just like we did when we were together. The news was filled with all these stories about zombies in North Carolina. I thought it was just the bath salts thing happening again, but she was always scared of zombies and watching the tv that night she was white as a sheet.

"Didn't you live in North Carlina?" I asked her.

"Yeah for just under a year." she said, still ashen.

"I wonder what caused it," I said, kind of absently.
"Mind if I get a drink?" 

"No. Not at all." she said.

I walked into the kitchen and made myself a mojito. 

"Would you like a drink?" I asked, and because I wasn't paying attention I cut my hand open on the lime I was putting in the drink.
"Ow! Shit!" I wasn't really hurt, mind you, I was just more like, pissed off because I'd been stupid. And because blood was dripping on my ex's floor. 
 "You have any paper towels?" I yelled. No answer though. I didn't care, really, I was used to her not talking to me. I found the paper towels, made my drink and got back to the news. She was still white as a sheet when I sat down.

"You okay?" I asked. I was feeling awkward so I was ready to use this as an excuse to leave. She didn't answer me though. She actually didn't move besides her eyes blinking every so often while she watched the news. 

"I bet this is all a hoax." I said. It just seemed too surreal, ya know? Zombies? In North Carolina of all places? What the fuck? Anyway, it was around then that I noticed a sort of growling. I looked over at my ex, and she had turned and was looking at my hand where the cut was, and the growling was coming from her.

Before I knew it she lunged at me and she was on top of me. I was surprised because we were broken up and I didn't expect her to come on to me. Then she got really close to my face and that's when I noticed something was wrong. Her eyes weren't right, they were all sort of white and glazed over, and her mouth, she almost seemed feral. I looked at he TV and saw dozens of other people, dragging themselves all over the street. Some were crawling and some were growling like my ex, but all of them looked scarier than shit! I didn't know what to do so I shoved my knee into her chest, like right between her tits and pushed her back hard. She flew backwards into the television and the screen went dark and the room got quiet.  I still didn't know what to do, but I didn't really get time to make a plan. I didn't even have time to ask her if she was okay. She pulled herself up and looked at me. Still growling and still angrier than hell. I walked backwards into the ktchen. Not taking my eyes off her. She followed me, her face a grimace, and I really couldn't tell you she was the same person I'd dated for the last few years. 

When I got to the kitchen I grabbed her cast iron skillet off the stove and waited. I let her get close and then I hit her. As hard as I could across the face with the skillet. Her head flew back far as she was knocked into the wall. But she didn't stop. She kept coming at me and I stood there letting her get close and hitting her every time. Her face was covered in blood and I now for a fact her nose and cheeks were broken. Her face was sinking in a little bit and I just kept hitting her. Over and over. But she just kept coming. I didn't know what to do. So I just kept hitting her. 

That's not the really messed up part, though. 

The really messed up part happened about an hour later when she was still coming at me and I was still hitting her. By that point I had gotten the point that it wasn't going to end and that I would have to try something else in order to stop her. I looked around the kitchen and found what I was looking for, the knife block. I reached over and grabbed a carving knife. The next time she got close to me, I grabbed at her hair with my free hand and yanked her back. She was growling at me and snapping her jaws, but before she could do anything I pulled the knife across her throat and watched the blood spill out. I remember a sort of laughing sound. I laughed out loud, I think, when there were bubbles in the blood because she was still growling at me. She never really stopped trying to get at me, but when I threw her on the floor a few moments later she had stopped moving and the blood was just pooling on the floor under her.

-2-

"Now wait just a minute son," Officer Ford interjected.
"Are you trying to tell me that you killed someone? That this happened six months ago and that for some reason tonight you're covered in blood and you need police assistance."

Jonny scratched his head and looked at Officer Ford sheepishly.
"That's about the size of it, I suppose." he said. 
"She wasn't really dead though. I mean, she kept coming at me."

Officer Ford scratched his chin.
"It's true, things have been kind of up in the air since these Zombies showed up. Let's stick with tonight. How did you get covered in blood tonight?"

"Officer Ford, you'd better come with me for that one."

"I don't think so son, I think you'd better just tell me right now."

"I don't really know where to begin." Jonny said, and launched into more of his tale.

I felt bad leaving her there, but I couldn't just take her with me either. I watched her twitch for about an hour before she stopped moving. The creepy part, though, is that she didn't die. She should have. I mean, I sliced her throat and everything. But she didn't. The creepier part was that I felt so detached from it. She came at me like a zombie and I dropped her. The woman I'd loved for years and I dropped her like that, like it was nothing. I watched her bleed out, twitch until all the blood was gone and I just stood there like it was nothing. I couldn't tell you then and I can't tell you now if that was because of the adrenaline of having no choice, or if it was because I had genuinely come to hate that woman for what she'd done to me in our "relationship." It didn't really matter though, she was dead and that's really all I cared about. She was dead and I was standing.

I stepped around the blood, being careful not to get my shoes in it and noticed that when I moved her eyes moved with me. I got a bit closer to her and waited. She moved incredibly fast but incredibly clumsy. Her arm snaked out and her hand wrapped around my ankle. I didn't think, I brought the knife down hard and sliced into it. The knife wasn't sharp like you see in the movies, so I brought it down again. And again. Over and over, hacking and hacking until her arm came off. Then I backed away again, she followed me with those dead eyes and I watched her. 

I left her there. I didn't really know what else to do. I went back to the couch where the news was on and I finished my drink. The news was full of stories about these zombies. The whole thing was surreal. I looked at my clothes and realized I was covered in blood. I walked to the bathroom to clean myself off and catch my breath. What else was I going to do? I wasn't gone for more than five minutes but it was that five minutes that really counted.

When I went back downstairs, still covered in blood but none of it on my skin anymore I heard a sort of sickening crunching sound. After what had already happened I couldn't imagine things getting worse, that is until I went downstairs. The sounds were all I had to guide me as I walked into the kitchen, as slowly as I could. The crunching was louder and more defined and there was also a crying sound, but what was most disturbing, was the absence of other sounds. The growling had stopped, there were no sounds of movement and when I rounded the corner into the kitchen I understood why.

While I had been upstairs, the kids . . . my ex's two kids had gotten up and made their way down the stairs. More than anything else that happened that night or since then, I wish I could save them. They are 8 and 5 and I loved them like they were my own. I mean, I stayed as long as I did mostly because of them, but that . . . that's another story. The important thing is the sight that greeted me because it will stay with me until I die. The youngest was laying on the ground in the pool of blood, curled up next to what used to be his mother in a sickening parody of cuddling. She silently ate his face, tearing the flesh from his skull with her teeth and using her tongue to lap up the blood. Her eyes were empty and her silence betrayed that there was nothing left inside her of this boy's mother. She silently and ravenously ate him. The whimpering came from the corner where the other boy cowered. I called to him but he didn't respond, whether in shock or frightened beyond belief.

-3-

"Are you trying to get arrested son?" Officer Ford once again interjected.

"No sir. I told you I need help. You asked for the details."

"Son, you're telling me a story that happened six months ago. A story that, by rights, I should arrest you for. The thing is, though, the story, if you're telling the truth, seems like just wrong place wrong time. No matter what, though, I'm going to have to take you in." he approached Jonny with his handcuffs out.

"Wait!" Jonny exclaimed,
"Don't you want to know what happened tonight? How I got covered in blood?"

"Son, I've asked you twice to tell me that and you gave me this cock and bull nonsense about zombies from six months ago. Now, I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure that it doesn't take blood longer than six months to dry."

"You're right, sir, it doesn't. I tried to tell you that I need to show you but you wouldn't let me. That's why I told you the story. I figured that you'd either see that I needed police help or that you'd think I was crazy and want to follow me to the bodies."

"Bodies? What bodies?"

"I told you. My ex. And the baby she killed. They're just around the corner and I need help."

Officer Ford considered the other man for a moment before deciding. He drew his firearm and pointed it at Jonny's chest. Jonny reflexively put his hands in the air.

"Lead on, boy. But you keep those eyes in front and no funny business."

"No sir, officer." Jonny said, dutifully.

He began walking and, true to his word, after rounding the corner and walking less than two blocks a gray/blue house clearly became their destination. Jonny walked up to the front door and pulled a key from his pocket. He deftly opened the door, as if he'd lived there for years. Officer Ford brought up the rear, pausing slightly before entering behind Jonny.

The first thing that happened was the wretching. He hadn't been prepared for the stench that made its way through the house and into his nostrils. Doubling over, he vomited on a large area rug that was in the living room. To his right he noticed the television, broken as Jonny had described. Glancing to the kitchen, he thought he smelled the faint metallic odor of blood. Forcing himself up and toward the kitchen he realized that Jonny was no longer in his line of sight. He trained his gun toward the room in front of him, and as he approached, he identified the source of the smell.

Sprawled on the floor, covered in dried blood and quite obviously decomposing, was the body of a woman. Jonny's ex, Officer Ford assumed. Remarkably, she moved as he entered the room, her head straining to get closer to him. He swallowed back a wretch along with bile and more vomit and without thinking fired one shot into the creature's head. 

"Whoa!" Jonny said, appearing in a nearby doorway.
"Was that really necessary?"

"I don't know what's going on here, son, but you need to come out of there nice and easy and we'll get this sorted out."

"There's nothing to sort out." Jonny said, taking a step out of the doorway.

"No?" 

"No sir. See, that night, the end of the story was that I realized they wouldn't eat me. I don't even think they knew why because they kept getting close, but even when I gave up and decided to let them, all they did was get close enough to sniff me, run their teeth against my skin but they never bit, not once."

"They?" Officer Ford asked.

It was then that Jonny came out of the door fully. Behind him came a small form, a shock of red hair on his head. The boy had deadened, empty eyes and from his throat came a guttural growl.

"She only got to eat one of them. I wouldn't let her get the other. The problem was, he was already gone. I'm not really sure what caused all this. I just knew that with his mother gone I would have to look after him."

"What did you do?" Officer Ford breathed. 

"I've been feeding him. I didn't really know what else to do." 

"Son, you need to get down on your knees and put your head on your hands." 

Jonny complied, getting on his knees.

"Don't you want to see the bodies?" Jonny asked.
"Could get you a promotion I bet, taking out a scumbag like me."

"You stay right there." 

Jonny moved so swiftly that Officer Ford couldn't have seen it coming if he'd been fully prepared. Jonny threw one hand out from behind his head and from his jacket sleeve a small piece of metal glinted in the overhead light. The knife caught Officer Ford in the belly and stuck there. He immediately dropped the gun and fell forward, within reaching distance of the animated corpse on the floor. 

"Just a one inch blade. I just had to stop you shooting me. The rest will come in time. See, I couldn't leave him here. Not with her. I couldn't seem to kill her so I did the next best thing. I brought him food and let him eat."

Jonny moved the boy close enough to Officer Ford, then backed away as the boy and his undead mother devoured the man. Jonny winced slightly at the screams but he'd long since been desensitized to the sounds of death. He watched with pride until there was nothing left of Officer Ford but bone, then the cold panic hit him again. The feeling that accompanied the realization that he didn't know what to do. He ushered the boy back into the doorway where he'd been hidden and said softly,

"I'll be right back." before shutting the door on him. 

Then retrieving his knife and tucking it once more into his sleeve he walked back out into the night.

"I wonder who can help me now?" he said to himself. 

In the distance he saw headlights heading toward him. With a smile he moved into the middle of the road and waited.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Lament of the Innocent

Bright eyes sing softly
A lullabye for my weary soul
Inexperienced wisdom that
Doesn't know enough to know a
Peace of mind buried beneath a
Piece of heart
To dream the impossible is
The madness of the optimist

Climb over the mountain
Arrive at the destination
Tet a Tet with tenacity
Vehemence, verve, vigor and valor
Alliterate the journey
To carve your way on paths already trodden
No matter who came before
No matter how long we stay

All that stands is now
All that falls is to come
The riddles of verses
Not yet written
Hold the meaning of
The life not yet lived
Today is to come
Through all the love of long ago

Death of innocents to
Provide the mettle
We've no time for regrets
Sorry won't bring daddy home
It's time to grow up
Sooner than anyone expected

The lament of the innocent is
The stuff that makes a man.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Once Upon a Time

You looked into the mirror of my soul
A reflection I no longer recognized
Once upon a time to
Happily ever after
Now your face that of a stranger
The deed is done
And you well know
No good deed goes unpunished
Time slips away into
Dreams that can't come true
Pennies dropped in a well
The potential wishes made
On the backs of prayers to Gods unnamed
I don't know you.
Maybe I never did
But, through prestidigitorial skill
The wool came down
Covering the eyes that no longer saw
Clearly the spell being woven
Take this
Take me
Take it all
It's all the same
Gifts of words and verse
The remainder of  the best
Offered from the blind
Until the sky splits open
With a roar of thunder to send you running
A cleansing rain, to
Wash it all away
I watch you gaze into a puddle
Imperfect, filled with mud and dirty
And I see your reflection
Clearly, for the first time
There you are!
Once upon a time
All that ever mattered
So sing the minstrels
Players only love you
When they're playing
An Analogy for a fool
And none exist more foolish than me
When looking into the mirror of my soul.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Writer's Block

The words play softly in front of my eyes.
Like the notes of a piano, low and melodic, yet percussive and insistent.
They weave their web in my brain until I'm wrapped in their seductive glow.
They keep me safe; they keep me warm.
My one true love, they dance with me in the shadows.
Moving gracefully, we dance this waltz breaking every barrier. 
They tease me as a coy lover.
I can see their letters, naked, laid out before me
But they refuse to show me their words
They tickle my consciousness, begging to be used.
I grab each one, only to feel it slip between my fingers
The ink dripping from my fingertips like so much blood.
The thrill is the chase and they have captured me to play this game
For the play is the thing, so says the Bard.
And if fools we mortals be
Then I am the most foolish and my words tell me so with exacting grace as only they can
absurd, asinine, brainless, crazy, daft, doltish, fatuous, half-baked, half-witted, imbecilic, imprudent, indiscreet, insane, irrational, lunatic, short-sighted, simple, stupid, unwise, witless
The words play softly in front of my eyes
Insistent in their need to be commanded. 
Desperate in their intent to command.
Their lesson is ongoing, never ending and it is this
Only with a pen mightier than the sword
Will the disease bleed away.
Only when the words are razor sharp in their wit
Will it cut to the quick and then bleed away
Only when lost in the moment 
Will the courage come, to cut the shit
And then bleed away.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Emotional Deja Vu

The waves crash over me
Like an emotional deja vu
The memories rise to the surface
Just to pull me under
Holding me down until I stop kicking

All I wanted out of life
Every failure
Every dream
Every triumph
Like a kick to my gut

While a new Empire rises
From the ashes that remain
After I burnt it all down
A God to none
And king to even fewer

The waters closing over my head
Like an emotional Deja Vu
I'm going under ...
The waves crashing over me
Beaten against the rocks

Open the Door

There's no wind left in my sails.
This reflection of a sad clown tells the same story
Over and over.
Perfect imperfection
I strive to be everything
Never acieving anything
Disfigured, deformed
I need so much
I give so much
Never enough to slake my thirst
What has gone before
Must pass away
Unlearn the learned
This denial of self must end
Give way; yield
To a spiritual awakening
the time has come
To walk alone
As the past floats away
A leaf on the wind
This is better?
This is enlightened?
Why do I feel broken?
So defective.
So isolated.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Meaning of Life (NaPoWriMo #4)

It seems so simple
Putting one foot in front of the other
To move forward
The truth is far more complex
It is dangerous business
Going out one's front door
If you don't keep your feet
There's no telling where you might be swept off to.

Keep it simple then
Put one foot in front of the other
Move forward
To move is to grow
To grow is to live
Adventures abound
Beauty's bountiful
Lessons learned

Put one foot in front of the other
Move forward
Live
Darkness and pain
Fear and anguish
Suffering and regret
The seedy underbelly of the human psyche
Will draw you in and bat you around
Like the mouse to the proverbial cat
No one wants to be here
And those that are here never want to stay
Mired in negativity and
Enmeshed with insecurity
The bedfellows of doubt
Caught together in an orgy of reactionary emotion

The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss


-1-

"The fate of your world depends on this kiss."

Arthur started at the voice, mentally demanding that the fog of his consciousness lift so that he might see it's source. The fog persisted, however, and the most he could manage was a dry croak.

"What? Who's there?"

No response came, though, and Arthur fought against the urge to drift into unconsciousness. Instead he focused on his surroundings. A spartan hospital room, with a television mounted to the wall; it played a rerun of The Andy Griffith Show and Arthur inwardly scoffed at young Opie's heartbreak at killing a bird with his slingshot. The curtains were drawn across the window and this was another source of annoyance for Arthur. He had lost track of his time there, not knowing if it was night or day or even how many days had passed while he wasted away in bed.

"No one wants to kiss me anyway. Daft old man." he laughed to himself.

He fought the shaking in his hand and eventually succeeded in controlling it enough to change the channel on the remote control to the television. He'd found that there was nothing to do between the myriad of visitors that feigned concern over him, besides find mind numbing droll in the flickering lights of the screen. It had offered him solace at times, but also a sort of manic depression. It was the only thing to look at, the only thing to talk to and his only companion.

"I'm going loopy with this idiot lantern as my only friend. I'd better look out before I start talking to myself." he mumbled. Then, as if realizing the absurdity of his statement he choked out a sob, screamed and threw the remote with all the strength he could muster. It turned out that was only far enough to hit his foot.

After a moment of his screaming, a nurse entered the room, young, handsome and muscular. Arthur did not stop his howling, but he did notice the young man's handsome features and continued looking at the man, enjoying the beauty he brought into the room.

"Arthur!" he said sternly,

"Arthur! Stop screaming this instant! I have other patients and I can't have you waking everyone up."

"Wake them up! I don't care! I've had enough of this prison." Arthur barked.

"Arthur! That's no way for a man of your years to speak. You know we all love you here. We're here to help."

"Help? You want to help then get me out of this bed and off this floor. I have to get home. It's late. My missus will have my ass for this!"

"Your missus? Arthur . . . you're missus, she left. Remember?" the nurse said softly.

"Left? What do you mean 'left'?"

"She left you here with us. Remember?"

"Hell no I don't remember gettin' left nowhere. I don't even remember what's wrong with me or how many days I been here."

"Oh dear." the nurse sighed.

"Arthur, how about we make a deal. Why don't you calm down and we'll have a bit of a chat. You and me. Now, I'll answer any questions you have, but you've got to promise me you'll stay calm and talk to me man to man. Is that a deal?" 

Arthur considered this and stroked the stubble on his chin thoughtfully.

"I used to have a beard." he said flatly.

"Arthur, is that a deal?" the nurse pressed. His name tag came into focus and Arthur saw that it read 'Jim'.

"I guess you got yourself a deal, Jimmy. Seems to me I had a best friend named Jimmy once. Followed me everywhere that fella. Still, I'd have been lost without him." Arthur positioned himself in his bed, managing to scramble into a sitting position.

"Now then, why don't you start by telling me what the fuck is wrong with me?"

Jim looked at the old man and sighed, his eyes watering slightly.

"You've uh," he choked.

"You've got mid-stage Alzheimer's." he managed.

Arthur considered the other man for a moment, his eyes going glassy.

"Ain't that about a bitch." he said finally, laughing.

"You think this is funny?" Jim asked.

"Course it's funny. Goddamn hysterical. So is that why I can't remember how long I've been in here?"

"It could be. It could also be that the days and nights have begun to run together and you're perfectly normal in that respect."

"What have I forgotten?" Arthur said, then began laughing again.

"What a dumb question to ask. How would you know what I've forgotten?"

"I can't tell you specific memories. But, well, you don't remember getting here. At least you didn't a moment ago."

"I do now. Damn bitch locked me up in here to die. I always suspected she never gave a damn. Still, I did and I guess now I know what giving a damn gets you. What about visitors? Do I get any visitors?"

"Here and there. More than some patients and less than others."

"My son? Does my son visit me?"

"Everyday." Jim said.

"I wish he wouldn't. I don't want him to see me like this." Arthur said. His eyes had gone from glassy to glazed and now tears dripped out of them.

"Do I still wipe my own ass?" Arthur barked, staring at the television just beyond Jim's head.

"Yeah. You still wipe your own ass." Jim chuckled.

"How are you feeling now Arthur? Do you need anything?"

"I'm tired. Worn out. It's not everyday you get told you're losing your mind. Wait, is that even true? How many times have we had this discussion Jimmy boy?" Arthur asked.

"More than once. Not everyday though." Jim answered, simply.

Arthur considered the man and then looked away.

"I guess I'm tired. I'm an old man I'm allowed to be tired."

"Yes, you are."

"How old am I anyway?"

"87 next month. Would you like something to help you sleep?"

"Yes, I believe that would help." Arthur said thoughtfully.

Jim stood and walked out of the room, leaving Arthur alone with his thoughts, which were scattered. In truth he wasn't tired, he just couldn't think of a better way to shut off his own mind than to yield to unconsciousness. He awaited Jim's return with agitation, but did not have to wait long. The young man returned with a small cup that held two pills, and a small glass of water. Arthur swallowed them dutifully and laid down, closing his eyes right away.

"That's better, isn't it?" Jim said.

"Of course it is."

Jim smiled pulling the blanket up around the old man.

"There now," he said.

"The fate of your world depends on this kiss."

Arthur was feeling the effects of the medication already but his eyes darted open at the younger man's words.

"What did you say?" he demanded.

Jim continued tucking him in without reply and soon, the younger man was gone.

Arthur's mind whirled. Quite a coincidence to hear such a strange turn of phrase twice in the same hour. Had he heard it right? He must have been mistaken.  He wasn't kissing anyone. In fact he couldn't remember the last time he did kiss anyone. As he drifted off to sleep, wondering about this kiss that the fate of his world hinged on, he did recall a kiss. Just for a moment  . . . then it was gone and the darkness took him.

-2-

Arthur opened his eyes as a cool night breeze brushed across his face. It felt good, renewing his spirit and he drew strength from it while giving thanks. Looking up at the night sky he saw nothing but stars, then a shooting star. He made a wish and stood up smiling. He vaguely recalled the dream he'd been having. An old man in a hospital bed and something about a kiss. It was fading fast and he sped it along; his blood running cold at the image of himself in a hospital bed. He quickened his pace and fairly jaunted down the street. He felt as if he hadn't been here in years, though he knew it had only been a matter of days. Deciding the dream must have really affected him more than he'd realized, he walked into the nearest building, a bar, content to get a drink and calm his nerves. 

Sitting at the bar, he waited patiently until the bartender, a muscular man, bearded with crystal blue eyes, walked up to him. 

"What'll it be?" he asked, jovially.

"Whiskey, neat." Arthur said.  

A moment later, a short glass that was two thirds filled with amber liquid appeared in front of him. 

"That'll be $3.50 unless you want to run a tab." the bartender said.

"I'll run a tab . . . " Arthur trailed off waiting for the other man's name.

"Aaron." he smiled. 

"Aaron. I'll run a tab if you don't mind." 

"Sure. You meeting anyone here?" 

"Not that I know of. But I'll keep it in mind." Arthur said, taking a long drink of his whiskey. He took his drink and moved to the back of the bar, observing. There was a pool game in the corner and various men at the bar drinking a variety of drinks. Arthur breathed deeply and reveled in the smell of hops, barley and liquor. 

"How long since you've been in a bar?" came a voice.

"It's been a while." Arthur admitted.

"You falling off the wagon?" 

"What?" Arthur asked, puzzled.

"Sorry, I'm Jim. I was being funny. Like, are you here instead of an AA meeting or something."

Arthur took Jim's proffered hand and looked the man up and down.

"Nothing like that. It's just been a while since I've gone to a bar."

"How long since you've been in a gay bar?" Jim pressed.

Arthur went pale. He hadn't realized, but he supposed he should have.

"Um. Never." he admitted.

"Ooh! A straight boy. Well, that's okay. We're cool with you if you're cool with us."

"Yes. Of course I am. I just . . . I, uh, didn't know." Arthur stammered.

"So you're straight then?" Jim asked.

"I guess."  

"You guess? What does that mean? Wait, let me. You're bi curious and you worked up the nerve to come in and get a drink and get laid by a guy for the first time."

"Not at all." Arthur replied, recovering his composure. 
"I just never thought too much about it to be honest."

"Interesting. So you sleep with women because, what, it's convenient?" 

"Well, I'm not sleeping with anyone at the moment." Arthur pointed out.
"I'm drinking whiskey with a gay guy I just met, who I admit, I believe is flirting with me."

"What if I am?" Jim asked, smiling.

"Mind if I sit down?" Arthur said, raising his glass and pointing at it so that the bartender could see he wanted another.

"Not at all." Jim said, still smiling.

Arthur sat down as a fresh glass of whiskey appeared at the table.

"I am, you know." Jim said, taking a drink of the beer he'd been nursing.

"You're what?" Arthur asked, oblivious.

"Flirting with you. Just thought I should get that out there in case you're uncomfortable. with it."

"I don't guess I'd be too uncomfortable with it, being that I decided to grab a drink at a gay bar."

"I don't guess you would be." Jim said, mockingly.

"So what's your story? Really. Bi curious?"

"Not really, no." Arthur said,
"I really haven't given much thought to it. It's always seemed to me that people will be attracted to what they're attracted to."

"So what are you attracted to?" Jim asked.

"Are you asking if I'm attracted to you?" Arthur asked, deflecting.

"What if I am?" Jim was openly coy in his response.

"I don't know. I've never really been the flirtee. I've always been the flirter. I gotta admit. I sorta like it."

The two sat in silence for a moment, finishing their drinks. Arthur looked at Jim and began to feel the stirrings of something at the edge of his consciousness. He couldn't pin it down, and his thoughts had begun to swim in the whiskey. He silently willed himself to focus and was disappointed to learn that he couldn't.

"I think I'd better go." Arthur said.

"I was just thinking the same thing." Jim said.
"Let's get out of here."

Arthur didn't remember much about leaving or even consenting to go to Jim's house. He was focused on the nebulous feeling at the edge of his consciousness, trying to pinpoint its source. He wasn't surprised when they entered Jim's apartment and he found himself kissing, soft but intimately, feeling the tickle of Jim's beard against his face. Things progressed intensely, passionately. Arthur maneuvered on top of Jim, pulling his shirt off in a smooth motion before returning his lips to the waiting mouth of his lover. Gone was any thought of the nebulous feeling he'd been preoccupied with as the two of them danced their dance, casting shadows on the wall that gave the illusion one man existed where two could be seen.When Jim forcefully threw Arthur to the bed, facedown and breathless, Arthur knew something real was growing between him and this man. When Jim entered him with a soft grunt he thought,

"Can you read my mind?”

The two of them passed away what seemed like hours in this fashion. Only the moans, grunts and low growls of men making love filled the room. Arthur, in utter ecstacy felt a pang of disappointment at the knowledge that their coupling would soon end. He allowed himself to sink into the pleasure and lose himself beneath the power, sweat and sheer command that his lover held over him. At last, it did end and their urgent movements slowed, their bodies moving in time with one another as if connected like the gears of a machine. Jim lay next to Arthur, who was out of breath but still softly kissing Arthur's chest.


They lay there for a while, each of them aglow with the embers of their passion. Their fingers played light imaginary songs on each other's bodies; each seeming to intuitively know what the next note would be. It was Jim that broke the silence.

"Thank you." he said, breathlessly.

"This is what happy feels like." Arthur offered in reply, nuzzling closer to Jim's chest.

His mind wandered through the plethora of memories that had led him here, to this night, with this man in his bed. The images danced before him like the fast moving still images of an old-style Nickolodeon. He watched them float by until he saw Jim's smile in a memory of the dinner they'd shared earlier that evening. Lazily, he opened his eyes to be greeted by that same smile in reality.

"I think there's long term potential here." Jim said.

Arthur struggled for only a moment to mask the excitement on his face before he decided it was a futile struggle and he let his crooked grin take over his face. Jim pulled him in for another kiss. 

"The fate of your world depends on this kiss." he said, and they kissed again, tenderly and lingered in each other's breath.

The feeling that Arthur had been preoccupied with exploded behind his eyes and he looked at Jim in shock.

"Wh-why did you say that just now?" he asked.

He never received his answer. Sinking back to the pillows he was once again overtaken by darkness. He could feel everything around him becoming fuzzy. The warmth of the body next to him faded and the bed melted away. He couldn't remember where he was or the name of the man that had been laying next to him.

-3-

Arthur opened his eyes slowly. He sighed as the semi-familiar surroundings of the hospital room. He wondered how reliable his memory was, given his condition. The dream he'd had felt like a memory, but he knew that he'd also been in a drug induced sleep. 

"Awake again?" a voice called.

"How long was I asleep?" Arthur asked, his voice raspy; the result of a dry throat.

"About an hour." Jim said. Arthur could now recall that Jim was the name of the man from his dream, though a different Jim than the one who spoke to him now. Still, there was something familiar in the nurse's voice, and in his gait. It was as if he could be the son of the man Arthur had dreamt about.

Struggling into a sitting position, Arthur looked the man up and down.

"Jim?" he said, as if uncertain of the younger man's name.

"Yes. I'm Jim. That's good Arthur." the younger man's tone was gentle.

"Oh don't patronize me. I have alzheimer's I'm not stupid." Arthur said, with a dismissive wave of his hand.

"Okay then. Tell me how you got here." Jim's reply had a hint of playful challenge. Arthur did not back down.

"My wife put me in here. Married for 37 years and at the first sign of trouble he carts me off to this godforsaken hellhole-"

"We prefer 'assisted living facility.'" Jim interrupted.

"Godforsaken hellole," Arthur repeated,
"And left me to rot. She hasn't been to see me in . . . in . . . ." he struggled with the memory.
"She hasn't been to see me. Stupid cunt. I gave her everything. Beautiful children. A home. Worked my fingers to the bone. Just so she could abandon in this place." Arthur's eyes became glassy and the tears began to spill.

"Arthur. It's okay." Jim soothed,
"It doesn't have to be that way." 

"Course it does. You can't change the past."

"Every choice, Arthur. Everything we do changes things. The fate of the whole world can depend on a kiss. Kiss the girl and," Jim motioned around the room.
"But kiss the boy . . . ." he trailed off. 

"Who are you?" Arthur whispered.

"Who do you think I am?" Jim smiled.

"How the hell should I know? I'm a crazy old man, remember?" Arthur said.

"Are you?" 

"Why are you doing this? Why all these goddamned questions? I want to go home."

"Where is home, Arthur? Do you remember?"

Arthur closed his eyes and struggled to remember. He was dismayed to realize that he couldn't remember his home. He couldn't picture the place he'd spent 37 years of his life with a wife and family. He couldn't remember if he'd had a dog, cat or any other pets. He couldn't remember his children's first steps or what schools they'd graduated from. He couldn't remember their names or if they'd come to visit him. He choked back a sob at the indignity of it all. He refused to accept that he didn't remember his life. He refused to let Jim see him this way. In defiance he described the only place he could remember as feeling anything like home. The apartment he'd spent the night in from his dream.

"Are you sure that's home Arthur?" 

"Course I'm sure. I know my own house. Now you take me there. This whole thing has been some misunderstanding."

"What if it was Arthur?" Jim put his hand on the other man's face and stroked his unshaven chin gently.
"What if it was all a misunderstanding?"

"What do you mean?"

"What if your life had been different? What if you could go there?" 

"Can you take me there?" 

"Maybe. Want to find out?" Jim asked. Arthur only nodded as tears flowed from his cheeks.

"The fate of the world depends on this kiss." Jim said. Then, slowly, tenderly, he leaned in and kissed Arthur with all the hunger of a starving man. Arthur yielded to the kiss, breathing deeply.

It was one night. It was decades ago. In a bar on my own I found you. A lifetime later, you saved me.

The thought passed between them, as if conducted by the kiss. Arthur didn't know if he'd thought it or if he'd somehow read the other man's mind. He felt darkness close in on him once again and this time he welcomed it. The fabrication of dementia, a dream, or an altered state of reality; it didn't matter. He knew that his fate was irrevocably altered by one simple kiss; from decades ago to the current moment in time. Everything changed around him, everything changed inside him and he knew that no matter what his mental condition was, he was finally whole. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Same

Your hands play me
Like a musician plays a song
Drawing out each note;
The sweet shake that is
My shattered breathing
Stolen by your kiss
Your eyes mesmerize me
Like a hypnotist at a vaudeville show
Your wish is my command
On display for an applauding audience
A magician never reveals his secrets
Break me
Get under the skin
Hollow me out
Take away the necrotic past
Bringing forth pieces
Long buried; beautiful in your light
Pin me down and shove my face in the pillow.
Bite me, claw me, scratch me,
Mark me like I'm your territory.
Make yourself fit inside me
until we're the same.
You bring order
To chaos
The end to a beginning
Born so long ago
Until we're the same.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Eye of the Beholder


I don't usually share my visual art simply because I don't think I'm very good at it. This piece is a rare exception. The accompanying poem is below:


What's behind your eyes?
So young with an aged gaze
Can your love be real?
Through the eye of the beholder
There is only true beauty

Your eyes, so deep and knowing
What have they seen?
Has it been too much of this life?
Through the eye of the beholder
There is only true happiness

What's behind your eyes?
So full of hope for a future
That brightens the darkness of the past
What must your survival have cost?

Through the eye of the beholder
There is only true beauty
Only true happiness
Only true love

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Dance of Men

your arms
Is the place I want to be
your smile
Is the place that reflects happiness
your kiss
Is the place that love grows

My eyes
Have seen this before
Never like this,
Beauty and love
With a soft strength
And a knowing truth in your embrace

My heart
Has felt this before
Swelling with hope at each beat
Breaking in pain at each pump of blood
For beginnings and endings
Crest and crash in time with the rise and fall of your chest

My lips
Have tasted this before
The ripened fruit of desire
Waiting to be pulled from your tongue
A unique sweetness
Full of passion and promise

My body
Has ached for this before
Out of breath as a fire on my skin
Ignites under your fingertips
Sharing the most private parts of myself
Beneath your skin

In your arms
My eyes see
In your smile
My heart beats
In your kiss
My body aches

Such is the dance of men.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Falling

Have you ever heard a soul cry out in the night?
Falling through the dark into the unknown
Did I fall?
Did I jump, or
Was I pushed?
Always remember
The best laid plans of mice and men
Pave the path to hell
Where saints and sinners wear the same robes
And the rosebushes have thorns
While the thornbushes have roses
The urge to jump in
Where angels fear to tread
Shall surely be the death of man
Exploring the unknown with
Fight or flight's knowing guidance
We run into the night, embracing forever's possibility
With just a nudge
As light as a breeze
The course of entire lives change
For better or worse
Through thick and thin
It always comes there and back again
Time is the thief of memory
Did I fall?
Did I jump, or
Was I pushed?
Falling through the dark, into the unknown