Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trying on the Teardrops

I tried the tears on yesterday
They fell as if no time had passed away
They gathered, then rolled down my quivering face
Leaving a trail of sadness that time can’t erase

I tried the tears on one more time
To see if the years had lessened the crime
The drops were first rounded then gravity came
Elongating the pearls as if melted by flame

I tried the tears on just to see
If life had somehow hardened or softened me
They fell on their own, first one and then ten
Ending in waves that were sent to drown men

I tried the tears on one final night
To force out the darkness and usher in light
They burned as they fell, as a parting goodbye
Promising to return, should things go awry

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Experiment

The truth is this, as evident as the butt of a baboon: 

It’s All An Experiment

Ever get the feeling that no one understands you?  That you don’t understand anyone?  That the whole world seems to operate on some sort of plane, different than yours?  That’s not a feeling, you dimwit, that’s the first coherent and intelligent thought you have ever had.

Probably the only one, too.

It’s All An Experiment

“Earth”, as you call it, is a petri dish.  A lab experiment.  A reaction of chemicals made up by beings that wanted to see what would happen if – to put it in terms you can understand – you put a human into a microwave and hit ‘Start’.  What would happen if you put a human being into an environment that they are not suited for, and kept exposing them and exposing them to outside influences?  What would happen if you put a human being into an environment and told them they had “free will”?  What would happen if they believed it?

It’s a simple premise, really. 

Mind you, our intentions were honorable.  Purely scientific in nature.  We were rooting for you.  To show our faith in the experiment, we provided you with the mantra of our home planet.  Translated roughly, it sounds like this:

Be Kind.  Do No Harm.

Without translation, it sounds like this:


This was the only imbedded message we gave you.  Scouts honor.

You guys screwed up.  Big time.


Where to begin?  Where to begin?  Let’s start with War.  This is probably the biggest screw-up in human history.


The lot of you.  You’re blowing each other up, destroying everything that you built and that was given to you, for what?  Money and Power?  You never realized that those things mean nothing.   These things are made-up tinker toys that you created.  These things aren’t tangible.  These things are meaningless.  War after war, over the same thing – and you never learned your lesson.  Not once.  Not one single time.  Money made you hungry and power made you blind.  We watched, astonished. 

We have no word for what it is you do to one another, other than:


Without translation, it sounds like:



With that thought in mind, let’s move on to the hatred of differences in your world.  The history of enslaving your fellow human based on flesh tone, the history of hating your fellow human due to geographical location, the history of hating your fellow human based on practices that made you uncomfortable.

Seriously?  Have you seen where you live? Have you seen your human form lately?  In our world, you are all the same.  You live on “Earth”.  This is the dumping ground for all different sorts of bacteria and living organisms.  This is not a compliment, if you haven’t yet caught my drift. 

“Earth” is the end of the road, Jack.  “Earth” is Skid Row, Downtown, Wrong- Side of the Tracks, Down- and-out ain’t-comin-’ back, Jackville.

You all live on Earth.  You are all the same.  You haven’t ever realized this.  You’re all in this together, yet you tear each other apart.

You know what we call people like you, where we come from?  “People like you ,” being a colloquialism from “Earth”:



One thing leads to another, and we end up with the monetarily disadvantaged, the under-wealthy, those without coin.

All contraptions and devices you made up in order to form some sense of superiority from one another.

How utterly human to create a system that provides a way to track the sale and worthiness of goods (goods that you didn’t create and you don’t own, mind you) - and then revere or revile those who own or don’t own the lot of them.

From our perspective, one is doomed to both succeed and fail, respectively. Those with the most, those who are revered, are more than often NOT the ones who obtained such goods to begin with.  Those with the most just know how to keep the most. 

Those with the least, those who are reviled, are the ones who are locked out of obtaining more.  Well, at least more than those who are revered want them to have.

We have a saying for those on your planet that are deemed the “haves” and “have nots”.  Unfortunately, it can’t be translated without the use of words that are deemed “inappropriate”.


We’ll end our review with the highlight of all subjects.  The most hot-button subject of all.  The subject that has torn the Earth apart since the beginning of time:


On Earth, some are believers in a religion, some don’t believe in anything at all.  Some are intense believers, and some are not.  There are many different religions on “Earth” - most of which carry a standard theme of love, faith, and tolerance.

We are not here to determine what religion comes from the Creator.  We are not here to determine if there is a Creator.  We are not here to determine if any religion is right.  We are not here to determine if any religion is wrong.

We are here to tell you that, as members of “Earth”, you are universally wrong when it comes to the execution of religion.

Religion is the set of ideals that you follow to do right.  These ideals can be structured in to a formal religion.  These ideals can be personal to your own organism.  These ideals might not be a religion at all.  The root of all of this is to follow what is right

Humans fight in the name of religion.  Kill in the name of religion.  Die in the name of religion.

As a whole, humans have yet to understand what true religion actually is.


We watch our experiment, as it went from infancy to adulthood.  We have had proud moments.  We can’t say that we haven’t.

Like any Ant Farm, we have seen numerous leaders emerge, some just and some unjust.  We have seen the little ant rise, we have seen the mighty ant fall.

What is universally true.  What occurs without a doubt in every generation of our experiment, is this:

No one remains a ruler forever.
Wars are very rarely fought with altruistic intentions.
There is nothing more rewarding than human kindness.
No one learns from their past mistakes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Bus Ride

A peculiar thing, people are. 

This thought repeated through her mind as she sat on the bus, headed West.  She liked to say “headed West.”  It sounded mysterious and full of dark adventures.  In reality, she was headed to Ohio or Indiana or Illinois.  Which was West, so it wasn’t a lie.  It just didn’t have the same allure as saying, “headed West.”

The bus hummed along the interstate, its passengers nodding off to the steady rhythm of the wheels surfing the highway.  Or they were just pretending to nod off so they didn’t feel obligated to talk to each other.  The thought repeated itself and she agreed.

A peculiar thing, people are.

What was bringing her out West, you ask?  An excellent question.    She had business there, let’s leave it at that.  Let’s leave it sounding mysterious and full of dark adventures. 

She pretended to yawn and stretch, in order to get a better view of her travel companions. What she saw was neither shocking nor ordinary.

A peculiar thing, people are.

The seat next to her was empty.  Although the bus was almost filled to capacity, no one had decided to sit next to her.  She wondered if she should feel lucky or insulted.  A quick sniff test proved that her armpits were not offensive.  She had showered that day and her hair was clean.  She decided she would feel lucky.  Simple as that.

The closest person to her sat across the aisle.  This was the closest person in proximity, not in affection.  Just so we get that straight.  Squashed next to a rather large man who had started snoring before they left Port Authority in New Jersey, sat an older gentleman.  He was the only person on the bus she was sure wasn’t pretending to nod off – the large man, not the older gentleman that is. No person could keep that level of snoring up for so long.  Then again, you never know.

A peculiar thing, people are.

The older gentleman sat stiffly in his seat and looked straight ahead.  As if a rod was keeping him upright.  As if he was given a command to look nowhere else!  Only straight ahead!  Regardless of what you see or what you hear, never deviate from that directive, soldier!  That’s what he looked like to her, anyway.  She wondered if had seen battle.  Other than everyday life, that is.

Next to him, the rather large man snored on.

In front of the large man, along the window, sat a tall woman with an incredible amount of hair.  On her head, that is.  From this vantage point, she couldn’t tell if the woman was all-over hairy, or saved all of her hair for her rather large cranium.  This tall, hairy woman, had the over-head light on and was reading a magazine.

From the rather glossy pictures of blindingly white smiles, it was a pretty good guess that this was not a literary magazine. 

Every third page or so, the woman would dog-ear a corner of the magazine.  Her guess was that this woman was picking out styles for her over-abundance of hair.  But who knows.

A peculiar thing, people are.

Next to hair-lady, sat a man in a black fedora.  With a black band and red feather.  The hat, not the man.  It was impossible to tell his age since it was very clear he had more plastic in his face than Barbie and Ken.  Combined.  He was an interesting sort.

Neatly dressed, pressed, and ready to light your filtered cigarette, this man seemed at odds with the rest of his surroundings.  She wondered why he was taking a bus.  He looked to be the sort who drove in a white stretch limo and would rap on the divider between chauffeur and passenger with the end of a heavily embossed brass cane.  Not the sort who ride on a bus in to the night, headed West.

A peculiar thing, people are.

Directly in front of her sat a mother and child.  The child was on the aisle, and the mother took the window seat.  She was curious as to how that arrangement came about.  Kids usually wanted the window seat, even if it was pitch-black out.  Mother’s usually wanted their kids to have a window seat  too, that way no glassy-eyed, staggering maniac would snatch her baby.

Glassy-eyed, staggering maniacs are quite common on bus trips from New Jersey to out West.  She had read about this in the “General Safety Tips” brochure that was at the bus depot before they departed.  The section wasn’t titled “Glassy-eyed, staggering maniacs”, but that was for legal reasons.

She was still flummoxed as to how the seating arrangement came to be.  The mother obviously wanted her child to snatched by a glassy-eyed, staggering maniac, she decided.

A peculiar thing, people are.

She had only caught a glimpse of the people sitting in the rows behind her.  Even an artful yawn and stretch couldn’t yield a decent view.

This much she had seen: 

A woman two rows back sat with a soft carrier on her lap.  It was probably a very small puppy or a cat.  She couldn’t rule out the possibility of a research monkey, however.  She was doing her best to keep her eye on that crate.

A peculiar thing, people are.

A man three rows back and one over brought a guitar case on to the bus.  The driver had argued with him when boarding that the “bus was full-up, and there’s no room for musical instruments to be transported within the cabin.”  The passenger flatly refused to surrender his guitar case and the driver gave up.  She was convinced he was transporting contraband across the border.  His life depended on the safe delivery of said guitar case.  Only after this delivery was made, could he rescue his beloved from the hands of her kidnappers.

A peculiar thing, people are.

Next to our guitar case carrying hero, sat a plain looking woman in her 30’s.  Not unattractive, or attractive.  Almost see-through, really.  She would make longing sideways glances at the guitar case carrying hero, not minding that at every turn of the bus, the neck of the case would stab her in the shoulder.  She just knew he was the One.

A peculiar thing, people are.

The rest of the bus faded out in to blackness.  A few reading lamps remained on, a few coughs and grumbles were heard, but those were just sounds from the darkness. 

In front of her, she could see the glow of the dashboard, and the headlights of the oncoming traffic. 

She let out a sigh and placed her head against the cool window.  She was headed west.  For business.

A peculiar thing, people are.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No Stone

Can you die from sadness, can you die from being alone?
Is it so easy that the world just drops out beneath  you
You have no realization
You’re gone.

Can you die from sadness, can you die from being alone?
Is it just a matter of time that you sink beneath the rubble
You’re dust.
You’re bone.

Can you die from sadness, can you die from being alone?
Is it losing touch with the earth and world around you
You have no family
You have no home.

Can you die from sadness, can you die from being alone?
Is it a just a matter of dealing with all of the pain
You have no absolution
You have no stone.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Remains

Emily was vaguely aware that something was poking her in the arm.  As she slowly awoke from her uncomfortable slumber, the poking became more intense.  She turned her head to the left to see the grin of a dinosaur head protruding from a long stick.  Being as she wasn’t quite yet awake, Emily sprang up and shrieked.  Only then did she realize that one of her nephews was sitting on the floor, stifling a fit of the giggles.

Great, Emily thought.  Another joyous family gathering with the Spawns of Satan.


“Hey, Joe.  You might want to go talk to your demon child.  He poked me with his T-Rex and I told him how Dinosaurs became extinct.  As far as he’s concerned, ‘Aunt Emily’ made it happen ‘then’, and she can make it happen ‘now’,” Emily said as she poured herself a cup of coffee.

“That’s just great, Em.  The kids see you…what?  Maybe twice a year?  You can’t even pretend to be a little happy to see them too?”

“I am happy to see them, Joe.  I’m just not overflowing with delight when a 6 year old wakes me up with a head on a stick.  Call me crazy.”

“I’ll call you something, alright…,” Joe muttered as he went off to find Kyle.

Emily’s mother Beverly was watching the conversation with pursed lips.  She loved having Emily and Joe visit for the Holiday, but the differences in the two always made things a bit uneasy.

“You know sweetheart, you are their Aunt.  You really should try and become a part of their lives a little more.  These days go by so quickly, and before you know it POOF, they’re gone.  You don’t want to look back and have regrets.”

“Mom, I’m just not a kid person, OK?  How many times do I have to say this?  It’s nothing personal.  But 6 kids?  Joe and Cindy really should find another pastime.  And don’t try and scare me with the 'POOF, they’re gone bit’ either.”

Emily poured herself another cup of coffee and took a seat at the table.  6 kids. Joe and Cindy. Mom and Dad. Emily.  That made 11 people sleeping in one house.  Not to mention the 25 or more people who were expected over later that day to celebrate the Holiday. 

Emily had driven 2 ½ hours to get to her parent’s house, only to be stuck on a cot in the den.  She couldn’t even have her old room, because that was claimed by 3 of 6 the kids.  She sulked in silence and wished she could have just stayed at home and ordered take-out.  Like any normal, single 30 something.


The day was hectic.  The doorbell rang constantly and coats were passed off to waiting arms and then dropped off in the master bedroom.  Food was everywhere, the fire was crackling, and half of the entourage was gathered around the piano, singing a pitiful version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

“It’s like a freakin’ Holiday movie in there,” Emily thought as she rinsed the dessert plates and loaded the dishwasher.

“Come on out to the party, Em,” Joe’s wife, Cindy, beckoned.  “There’s always time to do the dishes.  We’re so rarely together as a family.”

“I’ll be out in a bit,” Emily said with a false grin without turning around. “Just want to finish up these last few dishes.”

“Ok.  But you don’t want to miss the next sing-a-long.  It’s going to be one for the record books!”  Cindy left Emily alone in the kitchen, as she returned to the chaos in the family room.

It’s not that Emily didn’t like Cindy.  Cindy was sweet and gentle.  Kind and motherly; warm and welcoming.  The traits that Emily just couldn’t understand and, frankly, felt were beneath her.  Emily was a woman with the world at her feet.  Cindy, only 8 years older, already had tied herself down with 6 kids, a husband, a dog and a canary.  “Ugh.”  Cindy said out loud to herself.  “Just. UGH.”


As the night wrapped up and the last of the revelers said their goodbyes, Emily stayed in the kitchen – finding something to do. 

“I wish I could just go home already,” she said out loud, not meaning too.

“I think that would probably be for the best, dear,” her Mother responded.

Emily turned around, not aware that anyone else was in the room.  She felt her blood rush to face and her cheeks flush.

“Mom.  I’m…I… I didn’t know you were in here.”

“No, I suppose you didn’t.  Doesn’t really matter though, does it, dear?  You make it perfectly clear that you have no desire to see your family – be it you nieces and nephews, your brother and Cindy, or your father and I.  We don’t make you happy, I think you should go and do what does make you happy.  Whatever that may be.”


“I’ll finish up in here.  You go pack your things.  It’s a long ride.”


Emily woke with a start.  Her heart was racing and sweat was dripping down her back.

“Always the same damn dream,” she moaned to herself.

Emily looked at the clock next to her bed.  It showed 12:44am.  She wanted to call someone.  She needed to talk to someone.  But there was nobody left.

Ever since Joe and Cindy’s car accident 10 years ago, the rest of the family had shattered and scattered.  It was just too much.  An entire family…gone.  POOF.  With no hope of second chances. 

The only things that remained were regrets, and an empty house.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Kiss in the Rain

“It’s just so syrupy sweet!  Life isn’t like that, and the more they try to tell us that “this is what romance looks like”, the more we will always feel like we’re falling short of providing OR receiving the real thing.  It’s a farce.  One way to sucker women in to believing that men like that actually exist, and another way for men to feel that woman are just sappy little vapid creatures who really only want to be taken under a strong man’s arm and swept away.  Frankly, it does more harm than Slasher films.  At least everyone watching those gore-fests know that it’s made-up Hollywood crap.  No one expects to go camping and have a hockey-masked-wearing, revenge-seeking-zombie chasing you with a machete.  These schlocky romance films become something people aspire to be.  Give me Jason or Freddy anytime.”

“Is that the end of your tirade Anna, or do you have any more lessons in romance you’d like to offer?”

“Don’t be patronizing, James.  We’re being spoon-fed this false ideal of love, and everyone seems to be swallowing it down…willingly!  Not only THAT, but people are actually waiting in line and paying  an absurd amount of money  on movie tickets in order to be shown what “romance” really is.  Where has that gotten us?  The divorce rate in the US is over 50 % alone.  And that’s being generous.  Maybe we should spend a little less time dreaming of passionate kisses in the rain, and a little more time living in reality.”

“You’re such a bleeding heart.  I don’t know, Anna.  I like romance movies.  I don’t believe that what happens on screen translates to how my life should be led.  I’m not a puppet.  I just like to see a happy ending.  Shoot me. And if you didn’t want to go to the movie, you should have just said so.”

Anna rolled her eyes and shook her head, making her earrings twirl in the darkness.


They continued their walk in silence, each deep in their own thoughts.  Anna and James had known each other a long time.  It was going on close to 30 years since they first met at the municipal park of their hometown.  They had both grabbed for the same swing, and an instant friendship was formed.  Since that day, they had always been in each other’s lives – either face-to-face, or through phone calls and letter writing, now sending emails.

They’ve never been intimate.  They’ve always just been friends.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  James had tried to put the moves on Anna once, when they were both tipsy on plum wine, but it was awkward and clumsy and embarrassing.  They never talked about the experience again.  They both never touched plum wine again, either.

James was married and going through a divorce.  Anna had never married.  Neither of them had children. Both of them successful, almost mid-aged adults who seemed to be an odd friend match.  Anna was direct and abrasive.  James was easy-going and liked to please.  Anna made a To-Do list for everything, James just winged it.   Had they met as adults, neither would have given a second thought to the other.  As it was, however, they both couldn’t imagine their lives without the other.


James coughed a little to break the silence.

“Speaking of romance, Anna Banana, when are you going to settle down with that heart-throb Richard?”

“Don’t call me Anna Banana, and why should I “settle” for anything?  Much less settle “down”?”

“Good Lord, you are in a mood tonight.  What happened?  Did a flying farm house drop on your sister? Jeezus.”

“Very funny,” Anna softened.  “Sorry, J – I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  That movie just put me over the edge.”

“Wanna talk about it?  Our café is 2 blocks up.”

“Let’s just walk a little while. If you don’t mind.”

James shrugged.  He knew Anna well enough to let her be.  She meant no harm, and was the kindest person he’d ever met, once you got over her scaly exterior and venomed tongue.

They trudged down the avenue, peering into storefronts and making meaningless small talk until Anna felt ready to begin.

“The thing is, J...I don’t know what I want anymore.  My whole life I worked towards a career, focusing on climbing the corporate ladder, achieving more, earning respect.  Now, I’m not sure why.  I don’t even particularly like what I do. It’s just what I’ve always done.  It’s what I expected of myself.  It’s what others expected of me.

“Watching that sob-fest tonight just opened my eyes to that fact.  I’m no different, no better, no stronger than any of those women running in to the arms of their knight in shining armor.  It’s what was expected of them."

James listened and nodded, understanding that Anna was finally coming to a realization that he had come to years before.  She was fighting a battle, but only with herself. 

“I’m not sure what to do with myself.  Let’s face it.  Richard’s a nice guy, but do you actually see us together?  What’s that lyric, “we’re just two lost souls, swimming in a fishbowl, year after year”.  That’s how I feel about us.  Never connecting, floating through this world, confined to our habitat.  Is this love?  Is this…it?”

The rain had started to fall and was picking up in intensity.  Anna didn’t seem to notice, and James didn’t mind.  He stood there, watching her look more lost than he could ever remember her looking, and more real.

She caught sight of him staring at her and tilted her head to one side, questioning without saying a word.

“I’m glad you’ve finally realized what I’ve known all of these years, Anna.  Your climb to the top was your way of avoiding anyone, anything that might hurt you.  You achieved success, but are still lacking that one thing that will make you complete.”

James inched towards Anna and gently lifted her chin with his hand.

They kissed.  The type of kiss that can only be described as passionate; in the rain and underneath the flickering lamp-post.  They kissed.  And all of their troubles melted away.


“What in the hell was that?!  We finally have a strong woman to look up to. One who says it like it is. Breaks down the fairy tale romance machine that has been building since before I saw Disney’s “Cinderella”, and with one rainy night and one clichéd epiphany, she’s gone?!  Poof?!  Another damsel rescued by the clear-headed gentleman?  Why did I pay to see this movie?  I could watch countless commercials on TV for more entertainment value and less money!”

Michael sighed.  “Calm down, Susan.  It’s only a movie.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Crime

Just hold me tight and tell me lies
I won’t question or resist
Promises, truths and alibis
Escape like sand through my fist

Caress me softly, as if I was your love
Your words will not tie you here
For you are like heaven, the sky above
And I am mere mortal, full of fear

I’ll rest my cheek upon your chest
Our hearts together, as if one beat
And as the icy waters crest
I’ll swim to shore, in my defeat

Pay no attention to my cries
When you start to speak of time
I’m sentimental and unwise
The punishment fits my crime

I ask that you leave me, through the night
Under the cover of gray
When the sky is dark and the moon is bright
So you can’t see me fade away

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Night is somber. The inky black.
Your soul entombed. Your body slack.
Inside your mind, your thoughts they race
Lost in murkiness you try to face.

The shadows form.  Then disappear.
Always close. But never near.
You try to grab them, don’t know how
You’re cursed to chase the phantoms now.

Snap like a rubber band.  Inside your brain.
Snap, crackle, pop.  You’re going insane.
The circuits fire, but don’t connect
Your body is helpless. Your mind can’t object.

Running down alleys.  Hunted by foe.
Your only exit is an exit below.
The dark is the hunter, and you are its prey
Your only escape is the lightness of day.

Icy claws touch you.  They smother your cries.
You watch as the others, pass you on by.
Perhaps they don’t see you.  Perhaps they don’t care
Perhaps they are dealing with their own hellish scare.

Every person you cling to.  Every person you need.
Seems to retreat, each time that you plead.
You’re stuck in your body.  You’re stuck in your mind
You’re stuck in a place nobody can find.

Snap like a rubber band.  Inside your brain.
Snap, crackle, pop.  You’re going insane.
The circuits fire, but don’t connect
Your body is helpless. Your mind can’t object.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


People don’t know you
Do you expect any more?
You aren’t sure who you are
Can’t say what you’re for 

People don’t know you
Can you presume that they should?
You wear different faces
Then say you’re misunderstood 

Masks. Arranged inside of your head
            Chosen at random.  Hanging by a thread
Smiling and grinning, frowning or blue
Each day you decide which mask will be You

People don’t know you
Do you bother or care?
You feign passing interest
While holed up in your lair

People don’t know you
Should there be any doubt?
You change with the weather
On and off like a spout 

Masks. Arranged inside of your head
            Chosen at random.  Hanging by a thread
Smiling and grinning, frowning or blue
Each day you decide which mask will be You

People don’t know you
And soon they won’t try
You put up your fence
And then wonder why 

People don’t know you
It will continue this way
You can’t shut out the world
Then beg it to stay

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Journey of Sarah Sunshine

“She’s 41, and her Daddy still called her Baby…”

Please don’t, Sarah begged. I can’t. I can’t have another day like this. This song. These lyrics. This isn’t my life. This won’t be my life.

“All the folks around Brownsville, say she’s crazy…”

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. I’m not crazy. And I’ve never been to Brownsville. I just forgot to take my medicine and when I forget to take my medicine I start to see things, and when I start to see things, life gets cloudy…


Sarah knew that she could take her medicine now, and she did. She also knew that it wouldn’t help. She had passed that window where her thoughts would be cleared up by taking anything. She was going to have to ride this “crazy train” – as she called it – until the last bell whistled. The crazy train came with a soundtrack.

“In her younger days they called her ‘Delta Dawn’…”

In my younger days I was called Sarah Sunshine. ‘Sarah Sunshine’ had a smile that would light up a room. That’s what Mom always said, anyway. My smile was written about on report cards in elementary school and discussed at length between class mothers. “That Sarah,” they would say, “She must be the happiest child I’ve ever seen in my life.” “Sarah is always ready with a smile,” the teachers’ comments would read.

Sarah Sunshine.

My Mom stopped asking years ago whatever happened to Sarah Sunshine. It’s easier not to talk about these things.

“Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on…”

Sarah Sunshine grew up to be Sarah Venable.

Back then, I certainly didn’t consider myself pretty. When I look at those pictures though, I see why I had a lot of boys sniffing around my door. I see now how a simple glance thrown over my shoulder, might have made a man think it was an invitation to discuss the finer points of…well, whatever he wanted to discuss. I see through the eyes of Sarah Venable, looking at ‘Sarah Sunshine’. That girl still lit up the room, even when she tried to kill her light.

“Then a man of low degree stood by her side…”

Why does the damn song always have to go dark? Can’t it just stay positive?

Sarah was lying down now, and still riding the crazy train. She hated this particular stop. This stop always turned sour and dark; giving off the stench of a windowless room that hadn’t been opened for decades, and was leaking ancient water. Next stop: Goodbye Sunshine Town.

I didn’t fall for a low-down scoundrel. I fell for a man with a smile. I fell for a man who could light up a room just by the thought that he might be there. I fell for a man who was everything Sarah Sunshine wanted, and everything Sarah Venable received.

Matthew was a man that pleased everyone. This, of course, is an extremely polite way of saying that he wore many faces. There was always a difference between Sarah Sunshine, who seemed to exude light, and Matthew, who directed his light directly through you. Sarah Sunshine fell for the light, like a moth to a flame. It was too late before Sarah Venable realized the mistake.

“And promised her he'd take her for his bride…”

Sarah Sunshine didn’t realize her wings had been singed until it was much too late. A ring on her finger and a faraway look in her eye, she carried on. Captivated by Matthew’s light and hypnotized by his sheer force, she was entranced.

Good things happened, and bad things happened. I can’t say I’m unique. I can say that the blinding spotlight of Matthew killed Sarah Sunshine. More like evaporated her entire existence. Sarah Sunshine ceased to exist. In a world owned by Magnificent Matthew, Sarah Sunshine became obsolete.

“Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on…”

I’m not wearing any damn flower. Any my name is Sarah. Sarah Venable. I’m an adult woman who is just having a rough day. There’s no flower. There’s no need for a flower. I’m Sarah Venable. Sarah Sunshine wore the flowers.

“Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?...”

My flowers from days gone by are dead and buried, don’t you hear? Don't you listenI don’t wear any flowers, I don’t own any flowers, and there are certainly no faded flowers around me.

Sarah was itching in bed, knowing the crazy train was taking her for its ride, but unable to control her emotion. Was she the flower that was pined for? Was Sarah Sunshine her flower? Had she let herself fade and die?

“And did I hear you say he was meeting you here today…”

I’m not meeting anyone at any time, ever! I’m gone. Sarah Sunshine is gone. He’s gone. The train station is full of people waiting for other people. If they’re riding the same train I’m on, they’re in for one hell of a ride.

Sarah beat on the windows to warn the passengers not to board the train, but no one listened. They never do. They boarded one by one, but never appeared.

“To take you to his mansion in the sky?...”

The train rolled itself forward from the platform, and began its climb upwards into the mountains ; a steep climb that seemed to go on to the clouds. Sarah was happy the journey was nearing its end.

I know that this is nothing but a dream. A dream in which I have no control, but one I must ride. I know that much is true. I know that life is what you chose, and so I make my choice.

Sarah Sunshine rode the train to the mansion in the sky until the tracks were no longer visible

Delta Dawn lyrics by Larry Collins and Alex Harvey, 1972.

Friday, November 8, 2013



The people nod and walk on by
As if nothing’s wrong or is awry
You just stand there, mouth closed tight
Certain you might burst on sight.

Shaking hands and trembling lips
You hope your façade doesn’t slip
The world seems cold. Cold as hell
Inside you scream a rebel yell.

                Shut the windows, close the doors
                Latch the lock and hit the floors
                Close your eyes and say goodnight
                It’s time to give up this fight

You think back on those yesterdays
The time you wished that One would stay
There’s no more tears as you reminisce
There’s nothing  left when you think of this.

Crashing waves and storming clouds
That’s all that remains right here, right now
You’ve tried to stand and you’ve tried to swim
Your chances are looking pretty slim.

                Shut the windows, close the doors
                Latch the lock and hit the floors
                Close your eyes and say goodnight
                It’s time to give up this fight

Your heart is pumping, black and blue
It’s seems there’s nothing you can do
The pain inside grows ever wide
You or It must step aside.

It’s time enough to take a stance
Learn to live or dance the dance
Too much life has passed you by
You gotta learn to crawl before you can fly.

                Shut the windows, close the doors
                Latch the lock and hit the floors
                Close your eyes and say goodnight
                It’s time to give up this fight

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Arborist

The Arborist

The tree it stood, strong and true
Its branches bent like elbows do
Flowered in colors, green in hue
It’s beauty not yet seen by you 

I thought by now I’d be
Somewhere new
I thought by now I’d be
Someone new 

The roots have died, poisoned the tree
Its limbs hang about helplessly
The leaves are dried, for all to see
All the beauty gone from thee 

The thoughts preoccupy my mind
(I never knew)
The thoughts preoccupy my mind
(but They knew) 

The axe is held, my hand it grips
The beaded sweat upon the lips
The action swung, the skin it rips
The markings left, as it whips 

Stuck in a cage of my own design
Alone with you
Stuck in a cage of my own design
Alone without you 

The tree once stood, strong and true
Its branches bent like elbows do
Flowered in colors, green in hue
It’s beauty no longer seen by you

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Loan

Emily found herself in a most difficult spot.  One she knew she couldn’t get out of.  She had tried her best to repay her debts and to make amends, but everything had gone wrong.  She took small gasps of air, trying to conserve the little she had left.
She was in way over head.  Literally.
She sat at a dingy corner bar, one she had never noticed before. She ordered a drink with the last of the money she had on her, along with the last of her dignity.  She had lost everything at the casino, and owed everyone she knew money.  She had been down this road before, but never this far down.  She supposed she could just take off and leave all of her debts unpaid. Her family and friends really should have known better than to lend her anything anyway.  She knew she couldn’t do that.  She might be a degenerate gambler, but she still had some semblance of humanity to her.  She was just about to leave, when the first of them walked over.
“Looks like you’ve had a rough night, missy,” the stranger said.  “Would you mind if I bought you another of whatever you’re having there?”
“Thanks, but no.  I was just on my way out,” Emily said.
“Nonsense.  Lemme buy you a drink. I promise, I don’t bite,” he said with a smile and a wink. 
Emily smiled.  He looked like a nice enough man, and old enough to be her father.  He was just trying to cheer her up, and she could use some cheering up.
“Ok, thanks a lot.  It’s been a hell of a night and I could use another.  It’s a vodka tonic with lime.  Or something that looks vaguely similar to a lime.”
“Terry, get – err, what’s you name anyway, Miss?”
“Emily.  My name is Emily”
“Terry, get Emily a vodka tonic and try to find a lime that isn’t moving this time,” the stranger said.
After the drink arrived, she sat and talked to James.  He told her that his family owned the bar.  “Murphy’s” it was called, apparently.  She hadn’t noticed the sign when she came in.  He explained that Terry was the usual bartender, but he filled in on occasion.  He introduced her to almost everyone else in the bar, all of whom were Murphy’s.  Her mind reeled as she tried to match each face with each name:  Patrick, Dennis, Kevin, John, Mark, Michael.  There were Juniors and Seniors in there as well.  She could keep only three straight in her mind:  James, who had approached her, Terry the bartender, and Kelly, the only other girl in the establishment.
“Is there some sort of a rule that you have to be a Murphy to come in here,” Emily joked, downing her 3rd vodka.   
“No, no,” one of them laughed.  “But we don’t let just anyone in.  You have to earn your way in.  You have to be worthy.”
As the night went on, Emily felt herself beginning to loosen up and share her troubles with the clan.  They seemed understanding, and best of all, willing to help.  She felt like she had known them all of her life.
“It must be nice to have a family that’s so close,” she said to the group.  “You all seem to really have each other’s backs. “
Emily swore she caught sideways glances between each of the family members, but she knew she couldn’t trust her senses.  She was how many vodka tonics deep and couldn’t be certain of what she saw.  She shrugged it off to paranoia and spending too much time with the underbelly of humanity, rather than with decent people.  Like the Murphy’s.
She woke up the next morning in her apartment, unsure of how she had even gotten home.  She stumbled out to the kitchen to get some water, and saw the cash stuffed envelope on her countertop.
“What the hell,” she muttered out loud.
She picked it up and counted the contents.  $10,000, all in hundred dollar bills.  She looked around her to see if this was some sort of a joke.  She looked out the window, and all she saw was her beat up Toyota sitting in its parking spot.  There was a note on the counter that read:

“Lovely to meet you last night, Emily.  So glad we can help you out of your jam.  Here’s the cash to pay your family and friends back. 
We’ll be in touch. “
-The Murphy’s

She replayed the events of last night in her mind, but could only get sketchy fragments:  Drinks, laughing, crying, hugs, drinks.  She couldn’t remember asking for money.  But she didn’t remember getting home, so she could hardly trust her senses.
She took a quick shower and divided the money into separate envelopes, one for each person she owed. 
She was paid off in full.  She had never felt so free.
She drove to the corner where she was certain the bar was, but there was nothing there except a vacant lot with twisted fencing keeping people out.  Signs reading:   “No Trespassing” and “Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.
Emily stared at the concrete slab and fenced in lot; long enough for an elderly gentleman to ask if she needed directions.  The passerby looked very familiar, but Emily could not place him.
“I must be on the wrong block,” Emily said nervously.  “I’m looking for ‘Murphy’s’, it’s a bar I went to last night.  I thought it was on this corner, but I must be mistaken.”
“Murphy’s,” the stranger said.  “You’re a day late and a dollar short, my dear.  Murphy’s was here.  And Murphy’s burned down 20 years ago.”
He started to walk away, but she stopped him. 
“I can’t help but think we’ve met somewhere before,” Emily said.  “Do I know you?”
The passerby’s eyes twinkled and he smiled.  “Oh, it’s possible, missy.  My mind isn’t what it used to be.”  Emily felt uneasy, but couldn’t place her finger on it.
“Sorry, but can I ask you one more question,” Emily inquired.  “D-do you know how it burned down?  Were people injured?”
“They never could say.  The whole family went up in smoke with it, or so the myth goes – they never found any bodies, though.  If you ask me though, it’s better off.  They were a nasty lot.”
The man walked away and left Emily standing in front of a vacant lot that had just given her $10,000.
Weeks passed.  Months passed.  Emily hadn’t gone back to the casino’s and was trying to put the “Murphy’s” situation out of her mind.  She got through each day by telling herself that it wasn’t “Murphy’s Bar” she had bellied up to.  It must have been some other hole in the wall dive bar.  As for the money, she couldn’t explain that one away.  She did pay everyone back, though, and even had a little left over for herself.
After the 3rd month, Emily received a knock on her door.
It was late and she looked through her peephole to see who was calling on her.  No one was there.  She walked away and the knock came again, louder this time.  She opened the door, annoyed at neighborhood kids playing a prank. 
Standing before her was the entire Murphy clan. 
“How?  Wha-,” she stammered, as they entered her apartment.
“Don’t tell me you forgot about us, Emily,” one of them said with a smile.  “We had a deal. Remember?”
“You should sit down, honey,” another said.  “You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”
Emily stepped backwards into her chair and sat down with a thump.  Her eyes, darting from one face to another.
“How have you been, Emily?  Things going well?  I hope you’re staying away from those casino’s.” The voice was familiar.  She remembered James.  He was the older gentleman who had a wink in his smile, the one who was old enough to be her father. He had aged considerably from what she could remember.
“I’m..I’m doing well, thank you,” Emily said, with a forced smile. 
“Good.  Good.  We’re glad to see that we could help. Unfortunately, we have come here to discuss the arrangement that was made 3 months ago today.  Such unpleasantness, I know.  But business is business.”
“Arrangement, what arrangement?  I tried to find your bar…it’s nothing but a vacant lot.”  She squirmed in her seat.  “I asked around and they said the bar had burned down 20 years ago.”  She then remembered the old man she met on the street that day, the one who looked so familiar.  It was James.
“Tsk, tsk,” one of them answered.  “The first rule of ‘Murphy’s Bar’ is that you don’t talk about ‘Murphy’s Bar – did I get that right?”
“No.  You’re quoting ‘Fight Club’, I heard one of the kids talk about it as they passed over us.  The point is the same though.”  That was Terry, she remembered him as the bartender.
“Regardless. A deal is a deal.  It’s time to pay up.”
A piece of paper was handed to her, the bottom of which contained her signature – sloppy and slanted – but her signature nonetheless.
“I don’t understand,” said Emily.  “What deal?”
“Read the contract, you stupid girl.”
Emily looked back down at the paper, trying to read the tiny writing.  She could only make out one paragraph in full.  But that was enough:

“…herein states that the below signee has agreed to accept the sum of ten thousand US Dollars.  In exchange for this sum, the below signee agrees to the terms of the contract herein, which designates that the signee must forfeit their human body to Murphy, Inc., 90 days from the date on this contract…”
Emily shook her head and looked up at the congregation in front of her.  “What does this mean?” she asked?
“Well, my pet, it means – in a nutshell – we own your ass.”
“Here’s the Cliffs Notes version. You came in to ‘Murphy’s’, talked to all of us fine folk and, after some negotiation, agreed to the contract.  You see, we can’t be free until we find someone to take our spot.  You agreed to our most generous offer.  Pretty simple, really.”
“But, but, but I wasn’t in my right mind. I was drunk and I was depressed.  Surely this couldn’t stand up in any court…,” Emily broke off, realizing just how stupid she sounded trying to reason legalities with immoral ghosts.
She found herself in over her head, literally.  Buried in a box under the vacant lot of ‘Murphy’s Bar’.  She wasn’t sure who was going to take her body over, but she knew her air was quickly running out.  Screams would mean nothing, and she had played her last hand.