Nor Woman or man in Child alone
She whistles while she works. The sound of which. Accompanied by the smell of fresh baked banana nut bread or berry pie. Slaps a smile on a fat face as quick as good head.
Two and a quarter chubby developing clones are out carousing upon a manicured lawn. The twins bickering over the swing. The remaining 1/4 child is in the weeds. Chewing on paint chips flavored with sweet lead. To make matters worse a dog and cat shit and piss in that very same flower bed.
But before I could do anything about that. My attentions pulled back to the pie cooling on on the windowsill. And I think to myself. I’d like to have my fill of the fairy dust that went into that. Or would I?
A white picket fence life? Guess I’d have to pick myself up a wife. And two kids. Just to double down on daring life’s almighty? Strife.
In retrospect. At least I’ll never have to look to far to find a knife. But back to the thorn at my side. Borrowed a knife from my back to dig it out. But it brought a gun so we’re still together. (Not factoring in my doubts) Figuring it out.
All I wanted was something sweet. So I reached in the cookie jar. And before I knew it that sugar rot my teeth. Tried to slip my hand out. But it keeps getting stuck. No doing.
Guess I’ll have to resort to buttering er up? Or (with the Rockwellian up inside) an outpouring of tears. How many years has it been? Thank god for them. So far my life’s been a ten outta ten.
Should Batman kill the Joker?
If Batman kills the Joker, he becomes a killer. A symbol for that which is good and just becomes tarnished with the blood of his victim. Is it worth it? Will he not be changed irrevocably? Crowds and cameras gone, Batman aka Bruce Wayne sits, elbows on knees, head in hands, assaulted by profound anguish, and whispers, what have I done? I have taken a life. Regardless of the evil that is perceived in said man, what right has anyone to take another’s life? Will not his own soul, if such wisps of hope exist, be sullied, poisoned, debased?
Whether one subscribes to them or not, six out of ten of the Ten Commandments seem pretty good advice for community living. One is Thou Shalt not Kill. There are no addenda or clauses - Well, killing is okay in the following instances…. You shall not kill. Period. No exceptions. Alas, though most, if not all, societies have secular laws to punish killing…killing is justified by those same societies over and over again, century after century – when a government declares war against a nation or group recognized as an enemy of the state or church or God…or even as punishment for crimes (not just for killing someone, but also for seemingly minor offenses like stealing grapes). We endow the state and therefore ourselves, with the right to judge, convict and kill. I do not think the latter is ours to bestow.
No, I don’t think Batman should kill the Joker. Dying at the hands of his arch nemesis would not be punishment for the Joker. He would laugh knowing he had twisted another, if only just a tiny bit, into his own image. And then he would be dead.
And Batman would have to live with the blood on his hands.
Perhaps that is why he wears a mask? Not to hide from the world but rather from himself?
“There are already eighteen children in this room, you must find somewhere else,” the matron said.
“But there is nowhere else. The judge ruled I should come here, this is the prefecture’s letter of admittance,” Narayan brandished his papers.
“Admittance pittance. Go away,” the matron spat, closing the door, “there’s no space for you.”
Narayan stared at the large metal door. His stomach sunk. While government housing had never been perfect, it had got a lot worse since the international charities had all gone kaput, and the remaining saviours had fled. The leftover rectangular buildings were turned into orphanages, or, rather, each office inside of these buildings were turned into privately owned orphanages. Belarus’ revolution was ongoing, the war with Russia had become quotidian thunder and children kept becoming unwanted.
Narayan had known thirty-eight homes. Born in a refugee camp just off of Beirut, a mixed breed thanks to his half-Hindu half-Russian mother and a Palestinian father, his earliest memories were of seawater on the burden boards of the boat. The man running the boat had promised them Italy, which none of them believed but had been willing to pay for. How can you put a price on dreams, on safety? When the boat started to crack, he could remember children wailing, and an old lady fuming in Arabic. Then a safety boat had arrived, and he and his mother were taken to a wide empty beach.
Narayan would have happily stayed in Greece. He had friends to play with and there was a sense of hope which hung in the air like the first mists of summer. There were many people in the camp, some who had lived there for twenty years or more, but Narayan had only ever lived in crowded places. At four years old, he had never known anything but rationed food and stuffy sticky bed-shares. Why, on the day he’d been born, his mother had been asked to vacate her bed early for the next mother-in-waiting.
His mother dreamt of something greater. She knew it might be possible, bravery and hard work and truckloads of luck combined, to have a room of one’s own. Fate smiled on her, it seemed. Taking their survival into her own hands, she got them both Russian passports, and they began their slow travel northwards. Narayan did not know the sacrifices she had made, but moaned constantly of the cold. Their trek to safety, which relied not so much on strangers’ kindness as on the inexhaustibility of debt, led them to Bielorussia.
His mother had cried for joy, and told him to always count his blessings, when they were granted work permits. Narayan was glad that before she died, she had got what she wished for. A room of her own. When the protests had accentuated, and crowds were being shot at, Narayan’s mother had joined the revolution. She died in prison, three years before. Fighting for the freedom of a country she did not belong to.
War had progressed since then. Fear and violence made people ruthless. The worst had happened, the city was on fire, and souls left living bodies to lie flat between cobbles and mud. The revolution and Belarussians hated the Russian army, which held the city under siege. It was well known that they took young children and made them work as errand boys and girls before indoctrinating them into the army.
Narayan was now fourteen years old. Being orphaned was tricky, but it was trickier still when you weren’t disabled or very young. Owners and runners and matrons of orphanages took one look at his quiet face and fired up, dissatisfied eyes -- and turned him away. In some he stayed for a week, but only when honest men or women treated him as free labour.
Narayan wiped the sweat from his brow and considered what his mother would have done. He tucked his papers into his back pocket and walked across town towards the Russian army. Soldiers were strewn across the border and watched him approach warily. Mud caked their tanks, hiding the uncomfortable reminders of communism. There was a smell of burning flesh in the air.
“What do you want?”
Narayan handed them his Russian passport.
“To join you.”
The Amazing Wannabe
My name is Harry, and I was born with a gift. A magical gift. It was nothing for me, even as a babe, to pull bunnies out of my bonnet, or to make fools disappear, much to my older sister’s dismay.
But my story truly begins when I am eleven years old. A strange boy, if handsome, I was teased at school, and bullied. It was a somewhat difficult time. My teacher, Ms. Eddy-Cate, called in my parents for a conference. She told them that the other children might quit picking at me if I would stop wearing the top hat and cape to school, even though she found the outfit rather cute and irresistible.
But that was impossible. Ms. Eddy-Cate could not have understood what she was asking. Would the leopard be asked to leave his spots at home, or the plumber his crack? No! It was too ludicrous to even imagine! The top hat and cape were part of me. How could I ever leave them behind, and me still be me. After all, I was Harry Houdini Wannabe, Jr., and I had a destiny to fulfill!
It was that very day of the parent-teacher conference that the world took note of my powers. While walking home from school that afternoon Little Susie McDoogood fell from the Lynhurst Road Bridge while showing-out by “walking the wall.” While the other children screamed with fright, I cooly pulled out my hankie... and I pulled, and I pulled, and I pulled out my hankie, until that endless hankie was over forty feet long. I fashioned the end of my hankie-rope into a lasso and tossed it to Little Susie, saving the day. It so happened that the biggest playground bully of them all, Dodger Ball, had videoed the rescue on his cellphone. Dodger took the video home to his mother, who also happened to be the weatherwoman on the local TV station. When the video played on “Krystal Ball’s 5′ O’Clock Forecast” that evening the people watching from home were astonished, not only that a ten year old boy had a forty foot chain of hankies up his sleeve, but that he was able to pull off the rescue with such panache, right up to him giving Little Susie a kiss after pulling her from the water only to have her swoon in his arms. You can’t make this stuff up, folks!
The next day at school I began to see firsthand the downside of fame. Kids showed up to class wearing capes of their own, and began following me through the hallways with decks of cards, begging me to “give them a trick,” any trick. Ms. Eddy-Cate wore a short, sparkly dress that day. I had never noticed before just how pretty she was, or how long her legs. She brought me to the front of the room for “Show and Tell,” so that I could saw her in half in front of the class while Dodger videotaped it all for his mother to show on her weather spot. Things were quickly getting out of hand, but I did the trick. What else could I do? She was the teacher, and a lowly student is bound to do whatever the teacher says, isn’t he?
The spot did air on TV that night. There was Ms. Eddy-Cate at precisely 5:10 pm, in her sparkly dress, climbing into the box. And there was I, gleaming teeth prominent, sawing, and sawing, and finally pulling the box apart. And there was a smiling, ever so happy Ms. Eddy-Cate with her fingers wiggling in this section of the box, while her toes wiggled in the other section. When I then helped a re-joined Ms. Eddy-Cate from the box our classroom audience was wild with excitement. As it was part of my act, I took Ms. Eddy-Cate in my arms and kissed her, so that she swooned just as Little Susie had. I discovered that the television audience loved my overly dramatic kisses... as did a dishevelled Ms. Eddy-Cate!
Things happen quickly in show business. The next day we were in Vegas, booked for six months at The Mirage Hotel and Casino. Upon arrival the Vegas billboards and taxi’s already advertised “Harry Wannabe and his Lovely Assistant” in their bright lights. My foolish parents stayed home, wary of the hazards of “Sin City,” giving Ms. Eddy-Cate guardianship for the entire run. The two of us lived high on the hog... penthouse suites, room-order ice cream sundaes, and pay-per-view movies... some of them quite edgy... but it was all too good to last.
It came crashing to an end when Little Susie McDoogood and her father, Reverend McDoogood flew out to see the show. It seems that the McDoogood’s watched more than the magic show. It seems that they spied on the unwary, happy magicians as the couple rode sky-rise roller coasters together, helicoptered over the Grand Canyon, and had no end of fun in a city with no end of fun for those fortunate enough to have found their fame and their fortunes... especially their fortunes.
But soon the McDogoods grew jealous, of course, Little Susie of her white knight, and her father “The Father” of a beautiful young teacher traipsing around in a short, sparkly dress, hand in hand with her dashing young magician. It seems that father and daughter saw the illusion of impropriety. It was not long until the police were called in to investigate the happy two-some. In the penthouse the cops found the single ice cream sundae dish with the two spoons, and the souvenier picture of the laughing couple on the roller coaster’s big drop. It all looked way too fun to be innocent, and it is the job of the authorities to end anything that appears to be more fun than they have ever been allowed to have.
As the police will do, they put two and two together, and came up with three. Ms. Eddy-Cate was sent to a maximum security prison (which in Vegas for someone with money was actually rather nice) and I was sent home to my parents, which wasn’t entirely bad either.
But, as is always the case with any good magician, I continued my tricks to the delight of all I encountered. As fame is fleeting, so too is the memory of the just, so I practiced with my magic wand on Little Suzy, and on any other young girl with the desire to be amazed, while I awaited the inevitable release of my favorite assistant, Ms. Eddy-Cate... so that together she and I might then continue my real, and magical, education.
Wherever you walk this land,
I am never far away.
When you know not where to turn,
listen for me, I will guide you.
If you are blinded
by what is before you,
I will be your eyes,
to see in the darkest of days.
I will be your voice
to speak when you are unsure,
and avoid confusion
in a confusing land.
I will be your ears
to listen for the unknown,
where distant sounds
ring free from fear.
I will provide you lodging,
when night chills your flesh,
and with your flesh I give my own,
to stave off the night when lonely.
When you grow hungry,
I will pillage the land,
provide you nourishment,
give you contentment.
I will be there to listen,
for you will never be alone,
and I will give you calm
to quell your unknown fears.
I am your protector
to give you strength
in times of troubled strife,
where no harm will befall you, ever.
I am a power within you,
burning with true desire.
I am all you will ever be,
that, and so much more.
So say I,
There are certain things you don’t want to see and certain things you can’t unsee. What I saw on that cold November the 1st afternoon was both. Perhaps it all happened because of mother nature, no fault of her own, as she rightfully toyed with the idea of sending us yet another Nor’easter. It was my job, you see, to grind the feed out back for the hogs and the chickens, no easy task for a 19 year old young Maiden also in charge of the kitchen, but I was never one to complain or shy away from my obligations, believing idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Bad weather or not, chores had to be done.
Right after I buttoned up the coop and the pigsty, I felt somewhat dizzy, like I could faint, and I tried to push through the discomfort rationalizing that the weather elements were undoubtedly stifling; or could it have been the first wet flakes making their way down from the heavens freezing out my sensibility? As I stood not ten feet in front of the barn the northerly wind pulled my attention out towards the gray pasture as if it was calling my name. What I saw was all hazy at first, blurry, like my eyes were looking through a frosted picture window pane, but the blood red color and the shape of a human form was unmistakable and my curiosity, I supposed, held me from running. Every time I wiped my eyes I would see another and another, and if I was asked to guess what I was struggling to see, the hazy figures beyond me were of men, women and children; all of them varied in stature. It was then, to my horror, I began to hear a thunderous cacophony of moaning and the jarring thwack of multiple whips, blow after blow when I clearly heard a voice say, “No Master. I swear I didn’t do it.” But there were no slaves round these parts for miles and miles. Certainly not on our farm. What exactly was I witnessing? Had I gone mad?
The macabre scene sparked a fury inside of me, rising up into my throat. With all my being I wanted to run towards them, crying out to God for help. I wanted to save them. I wanted to set them all free but I was as weak and disabled as a slave in chains. I could not move even a pinky finger or an eyelid and then poof, they were all gone, as if the storm had blown them away and what happened before my eyes had just been a day nightmare. And I prayed like the dickens that it was.
The storm increased in intensity and it might have been a squall that enveloped me next; I am not sure since I was still faint and dazed by repugnance as I began to spin and spin like a top until I was spit out right near the back porch. Crawling away from the weather up the steps, something about my person felt quite different, like I had four hands instead of two and I was quite grateful to experience strength after my state of paralysis.
Drenched and shivering, I knew it was necessary to undress; to remove my leggings, my skirt, my corset and my pantalets; all of my garments felt soaked through. Making my way towards my dressing room, it seemed strange that my feet felt so heavy, as if I had instantly gained weight, but perhaps it was just the weight of wet clothing. Alas what I saw next when I looked down was not as repulsive as what I saw outside but as every bit perplexing, since as I moved to remove my skirt, there was no skirt, but trousers, to be removed, and as I did so, horror of horrors, between my legs was a member unknown to me, a snake that I had never seen before and would not know how to handle.
There was only one mirror in the house in the parlor, as we were not vain, but we did believe in checking it once on Sunday mornings before leaving the house for service. Unsure of how to cloak myself, I grabbed the blanket off my bed and wrapped it around my naked body tightly for cover, making my way over to the parlor.
How all of this had happened I cannot say, but as a person of faith, I knew not what to do other than to surrender. As I looked in the mirror, the face looking back at me was no longer mine, no longer that of a young woman but that of a man with a full beard, a handsome young man that looked much like my only surviving immediate relative, my older brother, who was out helping settle things for our recently widowed Aunt.
My predicament may have had everything to do with the nightmare I was stuck in; a continuation of what had happened outside, so it was then I thought to reach for the family bible on the desk where I was sure the proof would be marked that my name is Alexandra B. Johnson and the next time I would look in the mirror, my smooth face and genitalia would be repossessed and I would wake up to the day as it had started.
But no. How could it be? Documents do not lie. After opening up the front cover, there I was written in my deceased mother’s hand, right under the name of my brother Cyrus, Alexander Bartholomew Johnson, born September 3, 1841. Me. Not female. Male.
And right beside the family bible was something that caught my eye next. A newspaper clipping cut out and left by my brother catching all my attention as a clue, suddenly making the whole day not only conceivable but desirable.
November 6th, 1860:
Abraham Lincoln, Hannibal Hamlin, Republican
John C. Breckenridge, Joseph Lane, Southern Democrat
Was it not in my reflection or out by the barn in my surrender that God had answered my prayer?
It was Alexandra that would sit home on election day as a female unable to vote.
Alexander, me, by the grace of God was ready, willing and able to cast a ballot with the utmost pride to help end the abhorrence of slavery.
There are moments in time when we should not question, we should just accept our fate as ordained. This was my moment. I relinquished the memory of my womanhood without apprehension thinking,
“By the power vested in me, dear fine Sir Abraham Lincoln, I, Alexander B. Johnson will see you next Tuesday, November 6th at the ballot box.”
For All The Writer’s Who Are Music Lovers
With this now filled with ten segments of music,
just click on the cover, to discover, the music of your choice.
Somewhere throughout the music that surrounded you when growing up, there will be that certain song that stays with you and never leaves your side and has become your continous flow.
From 1960 to 2020 … a little something for everyone. And it’s rather obvious what concerts there were sixty years ago, is far different from today. In the early years, concerts
were actually live TV specials broadcast live. And most of the below are concerts.
Concerts perhaps you had wanted to go to but couldn’t for various reasons, but now, I have brought the concerts to you.
What is listed is roughly 150 hours of pure entertainment. Some of these entertainers have gone by the wayside, but their music lives on.
This encompasses the rock era.
Listen to such artists as: Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osborne, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Sheryl Crow, Aerosmith, Queen, Rod Stewart, Earth Wind and Fire, Jimi Hendrix, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ray Charles, Deep Purple, and many more.
Meantime, enjoy the music and dance like it’s the first, not the last day of your life.
1961: https://youtu.be/WFnJ1APJREk - Special
1962: https://youtu.be/bk0_X44GNNs - Part 1
https://youtu.be/iNy-itf_q8w - Part 2
https://youtu.be/oPMdZPWH1S4 - intro is Norwegian – stops at 5:10
https://youtu.be/H_gSGfqabrM - video is rough – might be due to age
1988: https://youtu.be/9shByOh8fVE - this comes with commercial breaks
https://youtu.be/eePDXSsDF-k - part two
https://youtu.be/qgTckiJhEC4 - part three
1993: https://youtu.be/wSmWT8U-7qg ... You may have to turn your sound up
https://youtu.be/kv0fqsFm9ew - special concert
https://youtu.be/o3hf7JNkkR8 - this band is from Amsterdam … good music
2009: https://youtu.be/3PBhOVCtFL8 - classic stuff
https://youtu.be/g60l4MSh4n8 - think this out of Brazil
https://youtu.be/Sk5zxA9UP2Q - Special
https://youtu.be/B3XEOqs0b1o - sound is bad for about a minute
https://youtu.be/pSN3MO0e4cY - Special
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fire
Air Quality Index: Unhealthy
The air is gray, the streets deserted. Only the wind continues. Is that noise merely construction, or a flock of helicopters? For it looks like there was a war here, though you can't fight the smoke. You breath through your nose because otherwise you taste it. Can't cough, only gagging. Afraid to be out of breath because it will worsen the throat burn. Knowing you are lucky, but your eyes are still watering.