BITS & PIECES
Following is a collection of short stories, poems, a few longer stories, and some chapters from some upcoming (hopefully) novels.
I'm honored to be coeditor a recently published collection of writing about parenthood and childhood titled “An Infinite Mirror - Reflections on our Parents and Ourselves“ to be published this coming spring. Much of
I've included a few chapters of my upcoming (hopefully) novel "Arowana" a kaleidoscopic view of the Vietnam conflict.
The story of Frank and Barley is a very special project that I am working on with my children Grace and Zachary ages eight and ten! Stay tuned!
To start out, here’s some poetry and “lighter” writing.
Winter’s grey death is forever conquered,
by crocus blossoms and robin eggs;
Precious and blue as a cloudless sky.
To face the day,
inhabit the night.
Embrace the dark,
to find the light.
My dad shook his head in amazement when I handed him his birthday card on his 50th, 60th birthday, or maybe both.
He could not believe how fast the years had passed.
"Time flies when you're having fun," I said.
"Time flies even whe you're not having fun," he replied.
That was the funniest, saddest, and truest thing that my father ever said to me.
My mother taught me the power of words. She taught me that "hate" is a very strong word. A person is lucky if they never have to use it.
My mother taught me that "love" is a stronger word than "hate", but it can hurt just as much.
Last night, I ran out my door, I ran down the street, and I ran to the park.
I ran to the deepest, darkest, and most wooded part of the park. I needed to speak LOUD, I needed to be heard, but I didn't want to be overheard.
I climbed up into a tree, to get closer to the sky.
I yelled "HEY GOD!"
There was no answer.
I yelled again "HEY GOD!"
This time there was a response!
Someone yelled out "Shut the hell up, before I call the cops!"
I decided that I did not need to yell. God hears all! Right?
So, I just spoke calmly to the sky, and waited for a sign.
Nothing! Nothing! Just stars!
Thousands and thousands of stars; light years and light years away.
Embarrassed, I climbed down from the tree.
I went home and talked to my plants.
They are much closer to God than I.
I hear you scratching in the wall,
I hear you scamper down the hall.
Gnawing, gnawing on the wood.
Whatcha up to? Nothing good.
I told you, showed you: "Go, go, go!"
You insisted: "No, no, no!"
What was I supposed to do?
I found you sleeping in my shoe!
"Go now, go now lowly critter"!
You scared away the baby sitter!
"You can even live out on the lawn!"
"No thanks" you said, with lazy yawn.
I gave you chances: one, two, three;
To go away and let us be.
You feast and frolic while we rest;
I wake to find you on my chest!
Rest now rodent, enjoy your nap.
I'll soon have you in my trap.
"Peanut butter: yum, yum, yum!"
"Come on out and get you some."
This holiday season I would like to cheerfully proclaim the following:
We are all dying. Every day (depending on our situation) we take another tiny little baby step, or giant leap toward death.
We’re all going to die.
But we’re not dead now.
Billions upon Billions of people are dead though.
Aren’t we lucky?
Lucky to be alive I mean.
If I’m writing this, I must be alive. I must be breathing.
If you’re reading this, you must be alive. You must be breathing.
We are lucky!
Are we truly living?
What’s it like to live?
Are we truly breathing?
What’s it like to breathe?
There are many ways to live.
Do we live life to its fullest?
In the moment?
9 to 5?
In the past?
There are many ways to breathe.
Have you tried meditation?
There are many ways to die:
We might die peacefully in our sleep.
Or, in the spirit of the season, we might:
Choke on one of those peppermint candies, so perfectly crafted at just the perfect diameter to lodge in the human throat.
DECK THE HALLS!
Or, we could get run over by a Zamboni driven by a jolly rink manager dressed as Santa Claus.
We could get impaled by a giant icicle dislodged by our neighbor as he istalls 35,688 glimmering, festive lights along the eaves of his house.
We could even see in the new year by dying of alcohol poisoning at the best New Years party ever.
SHOULD OLD AQUAINTENCE........
If you’re going to parties, you might die from Covid this year. That’s not too festive. Stay Home.
Clearly, dying sucks.
But, being dead is super easy.
Billions of people are dead.
’Tis the season to be jolly!
Let’s do that!
Let’s BREATHE and LIVE joyfully in the present!
IS THAT TOO UPLIFTING?
Sooner, or later we will all be on our death beds. I can guarantee little in life, but I know this to be a certainty: When I’m on my deathbed, I’ll wish that I wasn’t. Will you?
Live with the living, or die with the dead?
It’s our choice.
Or, we can try to choose.
The way to live is to love.
Love and be loved by the living.
The dead are not coming back.
There’s no room for them here anyway.
Imagine all of our dead relatives showing up for Christmas dinner.
Should have bought a bigger roast. Or, a whole cow!
They are not sitting on a cloud.
I’ve been on airplanes. I know.
They are not watching us.
This gives me great comfort whenever I do anything naked.
They are not judging us.
We are forgiven. Or not. It’s our choice. They’re not talking.
Have you ever talked to a corpse?
Very one sided.
Let’s be positive. Forgiven.
We can still love them.
We should love them.
They can not love us now.
They did love us.
They’ve moved on to whatever’s next.
It’s selfish, and self-defeating of us to expect them to give us more love.
Let’s move on.
Let’s live with the living!
Let’s love the living.
We’ll be dead soon enough.
Have a cookie!
You look a bit pale.
Are you okay?
#happyholidays #joy #holidays #celebrate #christmas #death #dying #live #life
In my quest for the perfect rose:
Thorns cut my arms,
bees stung my nose,
and I trampled every daisy.
In the night I write;
In the day I dream.
Not so shallow as I seem.
On a stream of words my soul will ride:
Beyond the walls,
the yard outside.
Time, and time, and time again;
They try to teach me: foe and friend.
I don’t listen, or I can’t see;
The path that’s clearly best for me.
For the good of all, to them it seems:
You align yourself with generic dreams.
They will gently lead me to their rut:
Eyes wide open;
mind tight shut.
Cars to wash, lawns to mow;
Rush through life!
Do nothing slow!
Can’t you see?
That’s not the way it has to be!
It is our right, our life,
We can transcend:
And rules of men.
My plea is lost, every word;
To thunderous progress of the herd.
We fall in line, or else we lose.
Just dirt beneath the trampling shoes.
On the surface, clearly, I am a fool.
I shake, I stare, and sometimes drool.
But, Come! Come! Read! You’ll see.
Take my words and set them free.
Sure. I am a fool, a fool I’ll be.
But, will you be a fool with me?