Ch 1:       Truth is sometimes meant to be forgotten

CH 2:      “How are you feeling? Do you remember anything?”

CH 3:      This room is sterile

CH 4:      “Why is the door locked? I am not a prisoner.”

CH 5:      Jack slumps onto the single mattress as Ruby locks the door

CH 6:      “Wake up, sir. I need to change you.”

CH 7:      No one looked when the outside world became a train wreck

CH 8:      Mary shoves her phone into her purse; disgusted and frustrated

CH 9:      Jack jerks up from the living room floor

CH 10:    A candle flame flickers on a pool of molten wax

CH 11:    Mold creeps slowly, silently, and unnoticed by most

CH 12:    The Dark Mother’s unrelenting jealousy drives hatred in all things

CH 13:    An orange chiffon pillow is soaked in sweat and saliva

CH 14:    Jack is pacing in circles

CH 15:    “I don’t want to go. What are you doing?”

CH 16:    A desert rave is hidden out beyond the lights of town where the travelers are

CH 17:    Diane sees the shadow of Landor change as she had seen in her dreams

CH 18:    There is comfort in a life lived free from expectations

CH 19:    A pink Caddie floats down an old back road where quaking aspens flicker in the last rays of the setting sun

CH 20:    “Where did Jack go?”

CH 21:    He emerges from a deep sleep like coming up from a dark cave

CH 22:    The others gather those that are hopelessly left behind

Vote Beyond Greed

Vote. It matters. Don’t let the words: “Let your voices be heard” become a cliché, an empty meaningless idea suited for another age. We might all be heading down the same well, but let us at least go down with some dignity. Let us have empathy that we are all in this together, that we are not a mere plutocracy, but an American people that value our history and each other in the present. I know this is ‘Idealism’, but I have heard it said, too often, that one side or the other will destroy us. In my view, while we might be tempted to reason the idea of unity, as if , therefore, the vote doesn’t matter, we still have a choice on how we want to take it. If anything, we will destroy ourselves when we put money above our humanity.

What we have seen for the past several years and longer in our country is a complex web of deceit. Maybe both parties are in on it? Maybe Putin really is (among others) the puppet masters that have let the American experiment run its course and they can claim rights on an ego bet? Either way, a divided country results only in chaos and no hope of breaking the invisible bonds of slavery. In our country, the United States of America, our imperfect system allowed for a criminal to take the reigns of power and dupe our closest friends and family members causing deeper division in our homes, work place, and society. This only leads to the power of a dictator who sways enough support to prop up against – not a majority. Whether part of a grand plan or not, it only works when we are divided.

Religion has become the whore of Babylon. False prophets with guilt and shame have manipulated the consciousness of the American people. It has been used as the go to tool to move humans in profound ways – including war and the killing of neighbors – essentially contradicting everything it is supposed to represent. But make no mistake, religion is NOT the same as spirituality. The religious pawns of our current administration whisper in the ears of vanity and prey on the stupid. A good sign of it is seen in the pulpit of the prolific lie. Our current President doesn’t even bother anymore and lies profusely on just about every topic – even trivial matters. Meanwhile, religion follows waving a banner of hypocrisy for its followers. What we have seen is a joint of messaging, whether spoken or condoned, where deep conspiracies are become normal and lies are pushed until they become truth.

Swept up with it all is Race, which has been transformed – nudged by greed to modernize with the times. Alongside race is poverty and economic inequality – each byproducts of a corrupt system where endless questions of what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right have given way to the blatant corruption that have gained power. The rhetoric ‘drain the swamp’ is a ploy. The idea of smaller government is only a convenient idea to cause division. Race is important not because we talk about it – but because it is one of the important consequences of our system which has relied on slavery. This was probably a natural migration of thought from a Feudal system and serfdom as a necessary requirement for an economic model of a new free country. Over time, we all became slaves as Capitalism evolved and civil rights and other social justice issues emerged and came into conversation. Unfortunately, it did not go away – just changed to enslave all people under the maturation of a system that cares more for monetary status than the common rights of a humanitarian system. Race gets lost in the mix as another contributing factor, which is why just enough has been done since the Civil Rights Movement to make it socially more palatable. Unfortunately, if you are a person of color, you know it is a deeply systemic issue and is embedded. This is where the powerful white man has taken us.

These issues are complex and deep seeded and I believe are to a great extent why why our politics have become so visceral, so polarizing. It is where the elite control and manipulate and is by design. However, within this field of disparity and party politics remains hope for decency. We are a pinnacle need for a cultural shift in terms of what we value. Money and wealth capital should not dictate decisions nor should it limit people from pursuing the best of themselves that contribute to society. I believe this is where some fundamental doses of socialism have value in that it raises the bar from the bottom which in turn strengthens our consumers if one were looking at it purely through the optics of capitalism. As one professor of Economics I know have described it, “A top down system doesn’t work because eventually wealth is consolidated and the consumer base is eroded and so, therefore, is not sustainable. A bottom up model is important for because it inherently protects and feeds the consumer that puts back into the system. It is reciprocal.”

As long as we must choose sides, as an Independent, I prefer a smarter fresh way of looking at our culture and the economic options that feed a different set of principles. Based on this paradigm, it does come back to our vote and the image we hold for our country and the ideals of our humanity.

Slow Change

Slowly, there is change, morphing from the crusted earth that had grown into the body, fusing with every nerve like roots seeking water. The agony of this transformation lasts for one thousand seasons with images of another life haunting, dashing hopes with faint desire. I have been swallowed whole and left only with regret for a forgotten oath. I can feel the mourning of gnarled hands on foreign soil, stretched out across the landscape, as voices scream for justice. The screams, full of terror, have left something foul to rot and it is now seeping into my space. An ancient blood surges through my veins, forming flesh, forcing me into something I had not known before.

When Harsh Winds Blow, Strong Roots Do Grow

The bright afternoon turned suddenly dark as ominous clouds appeared out of no where. It was about 4 o’clock on a Thursday. Luckily, I had just finished laying the final brick for the day. I walked into the alley that extended deep into the neighborhood facing north where darkness fell. 

Spits of hot breath like an exhale from god ripped up the road toward me casting dirt and stone ahead of the storm. Shadows were running in glimpses along the edge like chaos surfing a dark wave

Closer. I watched it pass old man Johnston’s place where Martha was probably watching from behind those heavy red drapes. Her neighbor, George, had just come out to get his trash cans secured. My own bucket of tools were still in the yard. It didn’t matter – they were tools and the winds would be here any moment.. seconds, so I prepared. 

My eyes were shuttering against debris and I could feel the pressure build against me. George’s place was obscured already and barely a slit remained as the garage door finally came to a close. 

This was my chance. I leaned in as far as I could, past the tipping point where gravity pulled me by the belly and my equilibrium teetered. That’s where I felt it – in my gut like butterflies with a shot of adrenaline that surged just as I was about to fall. It must have been gusting near 80 with a hot wind that tried to melt my face but I wanted to fly.

It didn’t last long enough but I felt a sliver of fear – an urge to bail out. Maybe I had? I recall hearing about a man who walked around the world and along the way ran into many obstacles. Without a home, how would he shelter against this? His reality was different and maybe there is a middle place for him and I to meet? Of course, we would never meet. 

Tree limbs were dropping but no widow makers, yet. Fortunately, the last big winds cleaned quite a bit from the large elms that towered above the cottage. A woman had lived there when times were harder but she was resilient and tough as nails when it came right down to it. She’d sit out there on the porch and complain about the president while puffing on her long stemmed pipe and quoting scripture. 

As I thought about her, trying to remember her name, which was in itself a marvel since she had lived there for over a year prior, I wondered how she was. I’m not sure what that meant for me, but she would volunteer at the Humane Society since she couldn’t have her own rescue due to some previous charges related to dog fighting and her boyfriend, at the time. Her probation officer had contacted me without her knowing to talk to me one day, that is how I knew. 

The wind blew me away and the girl too. No tellin where she was now. Turning back, I could see George poking his head out of his side door checking to see what the wind had done and if it was over. “Hey George!” I hollered over to him, waving halfheartedly. 

George looked around and quickly ducked back inside. He rarely talked to people and so I didn’t take it personally. I stood there at a cross-road in the dirt, exposed and vulnerable due to my uncertainty for the best emotional posture when it came to interacting with others. The woman in the cottage seemed to know this about me and used to talk about tricks she knew whenever life was dealing crappy cards. 

“Make like a tree.” her voice wafted on the breeze, dancing on the remains of those hurricane winds. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on the faint reminder. A slight rush of warm air ran up the back of my neck. Hot sun burst through the dark sky to beat down on my bare scalp washing white light over my mind as I continued to focus. Tingling in my arms buzzed and felt heavy, burning slightly. I took a deep breath and guided that light deeper into every fiber of my body, just how she explained it. My exhale made more space as I continued to empty myself of all the burdens of the day. As I became pure energy, I imagined my limbs reaching into the earth and spreading out like roots pulling me down into the ground. I felt the light burning through every nerve ending following the path of my roots that reached out, digging deeper into the ground. I felt the heart beat of the earth and my body had become pure energy in the oneness of everything and was whole. 

After several long minutes of counting in increments of ten and feeling the temperature change as dark clouds and the sun sparred for time, I slowly opened my eyes. I felt heavy, grounded but unfazed by the phenomena of the wind and the pollen dust and all aches and pains were gone, foreign to this experience. I was a tree that stood fast and dug roots that pulled me deeper into a state of quiet. Clear minded, I took a step and could feel the sensation of my foot pulling up from the ground. I stopped and noticed I had left no foot print. I was light as a feather which seemed counter-intuitive to being bound like a deeply rooted tree and feeling so heavy. But then I noticed there was no burden. There was no anxiety of feeling overwhelmed from things outside of my control. Love overcame me and I wept with gratitude. 

Before another step was made, another strong gust came upon me and I stopped to feel it. It was not letting up and so I turned toward it and leaned in. This time I reconnected with the tree and dug my roots in. They were strong and I knew as the wind blew with force I was OK. I leaned in further keeping myself positioned against the gale force winds that rushed toward me. I continued to lean and closed my eyes, focusing on the white light of the sun bursting through me while I planted myself firmly and continued to lean in. I felt an unusual sensation and opened one eye just a sliver to see that I was facing the ground. It meant nothing I told myself and that was all that I allowed to enter my mind. 

Slowly, as the wind died I returned to an upright position. I felt like I was landing in Hong Kong after a long flight over the pond when the stewardess mics in to return to our seats… There were no words at that point – no thoughts as I was completely empty consumed only with the exhilaration of flying. Just then I was startled when a drop of rain hit me and looked up in time to see Martha waving at me.