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Moving Forward, Loving Back

Fractured and broken souls
Finding comfort, finding reprieve
In the jagged cracks and holes
Of the broken souls of others.

Together we come, and together grow
We become one, as though we are now
Together, broken… but together whole.
Our broken pieces rest in the light.

We grow close, we become one.
And then, as it does, life moves on.
We now come to a fork in our road.
Your ways not mine, our way is gone.

Though time has come for our ways to part
souls once connected will always find love.
A distance between and a world away,
Our bond is solid, tethered heart to heart.

The time has come for each to ask
Our paths diverge… where to now?
We find comfort in the broken souls,
Of each, our broken past.


green means go. | pt. 1

April 17, 1968. The kitchen light laid its square beam on the hallway carpet, exposing a mess of pebbles, cheerios, and dog hair. I was supposed to vacuum yesterday. I guess I forgot. I stand in the dark next to the doorway, my hair plastered to my forehead and cheeks from a nightmare-induced sweat. The wallpaper absorbs the heat. My mother is sitting at the dining room table sorting through the newspaper. She always skips the police reports and obituaries. “Too much problems in the world as it is. Don’t need to read about it.” I can smell the bacon crackling on the stove. The boiling water for the eggs sends the pot into a seizure. She gets up and turns down the heat. Her shadow floats across the wall across from me and stops halfway. I hold my breath and close my eyes, still half-believing the childish idea that if I can’t see me, neither can she.

green means go.
| pt. 2

I am sitting in the driveway with a bucket of chalk and jeans streaked with it, yellow and blue to match my hands as I attempt to outline my skinny legs and naked feet. I have been abandoned by my best friend who is now racing her bike up and down the street, making regal noises, “da da-da da, da la!”, and waving at the mailboxes as though she is the queen. She thinks she’s hot stuff since she got a purple Schwinn for her birthday: glittered frame and a banana seat. Who wants a dumb bike anyway? We’re not even allowed to leave the block. I’m trying to keep my right arm flat against the concrete long enough to outline my fingers. It’s hard, and my pinky turns out too long and too fat. The summer sun is pressing the sweat out of my hands while I twist on my back to pull the chalk up the length of my arm. I relax my head back and start at my neck, the cool piece skimming my skin. I hear the car first. End of the block. Screeching tires, quick horn. Metal on metal. Crunching. Stand up quick. Chalk falls. Shatters. End of the driveway. Black car. Purple Schwinn. Blood. People running to the intersection. Police. Ambulance. I cannot leave my place in the driveway until my mother has rushed past me and returned, picking me up by the armpits and holding me tight against her chest. My heavy legs swing against her thighs. My head lays on her shoulder and she carries me inside. My best friend is dead. Red means stop. Green means go.

        We gathered in the garden where the morning glories popped their blameless faces into the early sun – blanched white, streaked with tears of blue.
        When the people stopped looking at their shoes and digging trenches in the grass with their toes, I picked up my guitar and began to sing.

              We’ll dress in black and hail the rain,
              and when it falls, we’ll mourn and pray.
              Time shows no mercy to those who wait.
              A funeral for yesterday.

        The people here are sheep, a congregation of uncomfortable nervousness. Their big eyes are watching for something they do not know. Each one’s instinct suggests that all is lost. They bleat, unaware of what exactly for.
I cry for them. Then I hold tight to my guitar and sing.

              Here is the spot we will surround
              as daylight fades into the ground.
              Our candles light the solemn shroud.
              A funeral for yesterday.

        Four years ago I stood in this very place. It was different then. I knew nothing of the dulling ache when seconds, minutes made things change. The manmade pond held its breath when it slept. I might have mistaken it for a fresh plot of fertile earth. The stars were loyal companions for a time.
        My cell phone interrupted the scene, a single beep. The soft glow of the screen attracted a solitary moth that tapped, tapped, tapped into the firm surface. It would never learn. I swatted it away and read the text that told me of her end. After that night, I picked up the guitar and sang.

              What’s gone is gone and we’ll survive.
              This gathering’s for those alive.
              We leave it there and go inside.
              A funeral for yesterday.

        We gathered in the garden where the flowers did not grieve. Here the people missed the past and dwelled, determined to pull a lesson from the forgotten and futile incidents of their grade school years. In vain. They all looked up when I paused the melody. I slowly sipped the water from my cup and thought on what had still remained.
        I cannot play guitar at all. My fingers fear the nylon string; but without it I’d feel too alone. So I just hold it here and sing.

              The dawn’s a shaky lullaby
              that no strong will can yet defy.
              We’ll make amends to the infant sky.
              A funeral for yesterday.

Nida, Neringa - Lithuania

Hearing every raspy intake of breath

Feeling every hot, sandy element of oxygen

filling each air sac in the lungs.

Unable to swallow, saliva stops producing.

Cracked and sore lips unable to heal, still baking in the desert sun.

Each heavy footstep in the sand makes it that much

more difficult to life another foot toward the next step

Face tight and unmoving as leather with no relief,

no hope of returning to the soft, delicate skin

now buried layers beneath.

Fear to move the tongue because it is so stuck that

doing so would rip taste buds from the surface.

This is thirst.

27 January 2009
Thoughts of ROB (or

Today, at work, I intended to lessen my carbon footprint while hopefully also improving oxygen production and saving the amount of sun protecting shade in our world. I’m not an environmentalist, but I wanted to do my part, you know? I needed to print a 52-page document that required proof-reading. Doing my part, I decided to print it double-sided. Since my office lacked a duplex printer, I had to print the odd pages first, then the even pages. But, when I flipped the first 26 sheets and put them back in the paper drawer, Mister Hewlett Packard decided to print a co-worker’s print job that had been waiting in the queue. This meant one side of my document was the procedural guide I was trying to proofread, and the other was someone else’s equally important spreadsheet. I ended up having to reprint everything, but out of my impatience and frustration I hit print without selecting “odd pages only”. So this time I printed all 52 sheets single-sided. And as I witnessed this travesty unfold; I became vehemently angry with thoughts of rage and destruction. And this raised my heart rate another 52 beats per minute and temperature several degrees centigrade at least. So, not only did I use 78 sheets of precious white Northwestern 8.5 x 11 inch paper to print a 52-page document, which probably called for the felling of 13 trees, thus reducing the shade for a certain square segment of forest, subsequently resulting in a higher average temperature and environmental disaster for the squirrels living in said forest, but I also offset my normally cool composition and relatively unmoody carbon footprint. As I pondered the aftermath of my fateful decision, I also noticed I have two heat generating, power sucking LCD flat-panel monitors on my desk that allow me to do more work on my digital desktop without having to print a lot of documents. I am the cause of Global Warming.

There is one, and only one, socially-acceptable emotion, and that is happiness. Everything else is permissible, but only under controlled, careful moderation (See Figure 1). All emotions can be classified under the following groups and should be handled accordingly: anger, grief, sadness, silliness, and happiness (default). A detailed list of sub-groups will be included at the conclusion of this report.

ANGER If your co-worker is a jerk[1], you may be angry for 72.5 hours or until you have attained a reasonable level of revenge[2], whichever comes first.

GRIEF The grieving period upon the loss of an immediate family member is exactly six months maximum, or up to ten months if the cause of death is any of the following: murder, suicide, accidental food poisoning, injury by an animal, or terrorist attack.

SADNESS A two-week time is allotted for emotions related to sadness, regardless of the cause: depression, disappointment, discouragement. Anyone expressing these emotions longer than 14 days are strongly encouraged to maintain the default (detailed below) and/or take necessary steps to achieving the default (also detailed below).

SILLINESS Concerning varying degrees of silliness, whether by immaturity or romance, persons under the age of twenty years and four months are permitted 24 hours of excessive, unrestrained nonsense per 1,128 hours (47 days) of the default. Persons above the age of 20.33 years may be silly for six minutes at a time, and only on special occasions: birthdays, government-recognized holidays not associated with a religion, and upon the announcement of upcoming engagements or grandchildren. During these times, silliness may only be expressed in the presence of members of the same sex. Silliness induced by romance is permitted for a female only among her closest friends, and only during the first ten days of the causal relationship. If she violates this rule, her friends are authorized to express verbally and in writing both their jealousy and/or annoyance. All persons who wear light-up sneakers or who are unable to dress themselves are excused from all codes regarding silliness.

HAPPINESS (DEFAULT) Now, the rules for the socially-acceptable emotion of happiness must be followed precisely if one desires (and one should) to avoid possible (and almost certain) consequences including but not limited to chastisement, judgment, shunning, ridicule, flogging, and (on the occasion of multiple offenses) the appropriate loss of appendages. Happiness shall be regarded as the default emotion. When not expressing (appropriately) any other emotion, all persons shall default not to indifference, but to happiness.

Happiness is generally characterized by an optimistic attitude, a smile, and a gentle tone of voice. Laughter is often a display of happiness; however, laughter is not neglected from this code of conduct. Persons must not allow laughter to be too loud or lengthy, at which time it shall be considered silliness (see above). If a person finds a situation or conversation to be humorous, he is permitted to laugh at a volume just slightly louder than the level of the surrounding environment. Any laughter slightly or very accurately resembling a donkey – or any other farm animal for that matter – is too boisterous a display of enjoyment and should be strongly discouraged. Circumstances deemed slightly funny by the observers shall be responded to with a quiet chuckle or silent smile.

The default emotion of happiness is actually quite simple; after all, it should come naturally. The monotony of everyday life is a source of abundant joy and contentment. The very state of living is a blessing, not a burden. Regardless of one’s situation, even if he believes he is experiencing great suffering, one must find happiness in the simple truth that there is always someone who has it worse.

NATURAL DISASTERS In the event of circumstances beyond the control of ordinary citizens (namely, natural disasters), it is to be expected that persons may experience a plethora of unanticipated emotions such as grief, sadness, and anger, upon which all rules may be disregarded for a period of two days, after which all persons must return to default.

FAILURE TO DEFAULT Any and all persons unable to successfully and consistently maintain a default state of happiness will be subject to any or all of the following possible strategies: individual therapy, group therapy, horticulture therapy, mood-stabilizing drugs (commonly for depression/ADHD), shock therapy, solitary confinement, or spiritual guidance counseling. Also, and most preferably, a person may choose to deny or stuff his emotions down and carefully portray a sense of the default (in such a manner that another person would not be able to distinguish this false default and a true default). All persons failing to maintain default and resorting to a suggested solution must be careful to never discuss emotions varying from default, as doing so is undoubtedly a sign of personal weakness and/or abnormality.

[1] An insensitive, selfish, ignorant, cocky person who is inconsiderate and does stupid things

[2] See Universal Guide to Revenge, New York: Puffy Penguin Publishers, 2005.

(Download fully formatted version here)

a north wind shoves and
darkness descends from the east.
the leaves shudder and surrender,
losing color before plunging off the branch.
seasonal suicide.
i stop and stare.
you can’t help but watch tragedy.
it sucks you in and shakes you
from the inside out
until it releases you, breathless.
pull your coat up tightly;
say nothing of the scene.
here come the stars.

waiting for the sky to fall
as i evade the reality of dreams.
Fictional friends intertwine with
Pucka personalities during the
indisputable invasion of Domain.
fighting that which is desired to
Perform the amaranthine rituals
of the world itself.
smiles exchanged as love and
hate are caught entwined in
creating Utter Meaningless.
passions driven mad breaking
the barrier of confidants
Contradicting the love that augments within.

What is a tear that it carries such power?
Much more than a mere saline snivel,
a tear can sooth, and a tear can comfort.
A tear can destroy, and a tear can tear apart.

A tear can mark a beginning,
a tear can force an end.

A single tear can say more
than can a thousand pages.

Looking through a tear,
one can see into one’s own soul.
Looking into a tear,
one can see through the defenses of the mind.

A tear can bare witness to the crushing depths of the heart.
A tear can uncover the soul.
What is a tear that it carries such power?

A single tear can force mighty men to the ground.
A single tear can bring forth emotion
from the most hardened heart.

With a single tear,
one can summon many in others.
One tear can render a myriad
of emotions and emancipate the heart
amidst a mire of intransigent indifference.

With one tear, the soul is liberated.
With one tear, an emotion is captured.
What is a tear that it carries such power?

A tear is an historian,
speaking of things past.
A tear is a prophet,
revealing that which is to come.

A tear is a traitor,
revealing secrets we would do well to keep.

A tear is small,
A tear is weak,
A tear is timid


What is a tear that it carries such power?

mixed emotions
pierce my soul

excuses reign.
i cautiously step
towards you.

warm, wet, soft
–descriptions best
power envelops
in the simple act

playful hands
soft caress
jovial memories
songs inspire
thoughts provoked

sharp pain
quickly bandaged
dutily return
entanglement ensues

moments freedom
desire fulfilled
sorrowfully finished

satisfaction, indeed

(this is about dishwashing) (in case you were wondering)