Category Archives: writer

Terry

I had a friend, let’s call him Terry, who was in love with, let’s call her Sally, who was in love with…well, not Terry. She wasn’t in love with anybody but the point here is that she wasn’t in love with Terry.

This made Terry quite, quite sad which led him to think of ending it all. But Terry was a Catholic and a good one at that which led him to the conclusion that he could not commit suicide.  Now Terry was very industrious and came up with a plan, if he couldn’t kill himself maybe he could just be killed by accident.

He took to driving through red lights at top speed at night but unluckily for him, no one was coming in from a perpendicular direction when he was scofflawing. He decided to up his game. He filled a sock with quarters and went walking around Harlem at two in the morning with money hanging out of his pockets.  He got into some rough scrapes but always managed to get home alive.

During this time, New York had a serial killer on the loose who used to shoot young lovers while they were parked in secluded places. Vigilante groups were organized to whack the Son of Sam.  But they needed some bait.  Terry volunteered to take a girl, unbeknownst to her, of course to the out-of-the-way spots where the vigilantes were lying in wait.  Luckily or unluckily (because I am very confused by all this), for Terry and the girl, Mr. Berkowitz was always in another part of the apple and Terry never got to show his civic duty to the general public.

The point of all this is that Terry, as misguided as he was, was just trying to make Sally love him. But actual self-sacrifice couldn’t make Sally love him.  Nothing that he could have possibly done could ever change that.  Even Sally couldn’t make herself love a guy she just didn’t love. Love is not a switch you can turn on and off. Although if someone would invent one, I am sure he would make a fortune.

We love who we love as improbable and ridiculous as that sounds. That is why in literature, when parents object to their children’s love affairs it usually ends in tragedy. Parents would be best off keeping out of their kids business.  To be truthful, after the kids let their hormones run amuck, they are usually on to another person quite quickly.  I mean was Romeo such a catch?  Every week he was drooling over someone else. And Juliet was a headstrong little brat.  If she couldn’t see what a loser Romeo was, then maybe they deserved each other. Good riddance!

It took Terry twenty years to realize that Sally was never going to love him in the way he wanted. Twenty years he imprisoned himself in a purgatory that he created. We all are in prisons of our own design formed when our dreams are contrary to our reality. We don’t accept the truths that are obvious and we rationalize reasons why it can’t be the way it is. Each brick we lovingly place until the walls are too high to escape from. And then we sit alone, wondering why the world is such a terrible place.

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Complicated

Life is not complicated.

It is either yes or no,

Stay or go.

 

Do you love him?

Do you want him?

Can you live without him?

 

All three can be answered

With yes or no.

No explanation required.

No validation needed.

 

Feelings will be hurt.

And hearts will be broken.

As ashes fill the air

From burning bridges.

 

But simple questions

Call for simple answers

Spoken honestly

To the ones you leave behind.

 


For W.B. 061019

Thank you, Maude.

Without the despair

That your coldness

Has given me,

I would not have written

The words I’ve written.

 

I would have remained

A happy unknown

Bathing in the warmth

Of your crooked smile

Your beautiful, beautiful crooked smile.

 

Without your detachment

Our hands would have never parted

An embrace forever locked

Like lovers clasped in a tender tangle

Looking to eternity.

 

You have given me many words

But I would exchange

Them all

For the happiness

You would have given me

With your company.

 


I Could

When I think of all the time

I spent alone

Because of you,

I can kick myself.

 

Time I spent thinking

You would come back to me.

You would see the error of your ways.

You would trust me

And forgive yourself.

 

But you didn’t.

And never will.

You have moved on

Not dealing with the pain

Of the past

But moving on to

A different metaphorical future

In a different literal location.

 

When I think of all the time

I have wasted in vain hope,

Thinking that something about me

Was worth the effort,

I could scream.

 

This one is all on me.

I couldn’t let go of

Your head resting on my shoulder,

A whisper telling me to go but begging me to stay,

The forever question in a darkened room.

 

I couldn’t let go

Long after it was gone

Couldn’t, can’t, won’t

Long after we were done

When I think of all the time

I have wasted,

I could laugh

If only, I could laugh.

 


The Soldier Memorial Day 2016

As he lay dying,

He didn’t think of his country.

He thought of his mother

And the tears she would shed

As she buried her only son.

She always told him

Take care of yourself, Albert.

Come home

To people that love you.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the rhetoric of politicians.

He did not think that God wanted this war.

 

He thought of his girlfriend

The girl he loved since sixth grade

But only got up the nerve

To ask her out a year ago.

 

He thought of her smile

That was often followed by giddy laughter

In response to something silly he did.

He thought of her deep brown eyes

That would make the rest of the world melt away

And made his heart both weak and strong.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the minimum wage.

He did not think of bathrooms or wedding cakes.

 

He thought of his kid brother

Barely in his teens and

Already getting into trouble.

Who will teach him life’s lessons,

While playing basketball

On the court set up in their driveway?

Who will keep him in line,

While giving him space to grow?

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the racism or the crime in the streets.

He did not think of the hatred of the stranger in the land of liberty.

 

He thought of many things.

He thought of the people he loved,

Their words, their smiles, their laughter.

And then he thought no more.

 

And we, whom he died for,

Think of bathrooms and wedding cakes.

And listen to the venomous rhetoric of our politicians.

And moan that the weather did not cooperate for our barbecue.

And haggle at car dealerships with salesmen

As they look for their next customer.

 

We, whom he died for, hardly ever

Think of the soldiers

Whose last moments

Were alone

But filled with memories

Of meaning.

 

 

 


Recovering 052119

Love is an old addiction

And I am in recovery.

Every day I wake up craving it.

It is the first thing.

It is the last thing

I think about.

I think about.

I think about.

 

And you were my drug of choice.

My drug.

My choice.

 

Maybe one day,

I will be a servant

To another mistress,

Slave to another’s touch.

 

But today it is you.

And today

And today

It is you.

 

Old cravings fade so slowly.

Old desires don’t let go

And I go on

With the hunger,

The yearning,

The pain.

 


The red wheelbarrow

With apologies to W.C.W.

Sitting in a corner,

Long neglected

And rarely visited.

The metal wheel

Rusted red

The color of the cold hard clay

It rests upon.

Fire truck red slats

Now faded and peeling

In the summer’s sun.

Weeds grow tall around it

And embrace the barrow

Like the mother and child.

 

Once the gardener had hope

For this place,

And this wheelbarrow

Was her instrument of change.

Dreaming of moving

Her flower creations

To match her whimsy

Painting masterworks

With sprouting petals.

 

What happened to your dreams?

Your pretty plans?

They belong to another time

When hope sprang in this wild place

Like dew covered blossoms

Rejoicing in the morning’s sun.

Now she sits inside,

And drinks her wine,

Dreaming of another time.