Monthly Archives: September 2012

Trifecta Challenge: To become a man

I am man without order, knitted together by a perfect being without blame, without blot. A man with heart trying to remember whence he came, a courageous man without the one he loves.


Trifextra week: Thirty four: Describe something that is three different things at the same time.  Oh, and do it in 33 words!


Beyond the Golden City: A romantic fantasy

               Once upon a time in a dream an angel of exquisite beauty led me up to a mountain top in the middle of a vast glistening ocean. She smelled of roses after a gentle rain and her skin was soft as the clouds guarding the entrance to heaven. Her voice reminded me of a harp echoing in the wind, her lips spoke secrets to my heart in a language I’ve never heard before, but which my soul understood at once. I took her hand and when we touched, the sky rolled back like a scroll and revealed an ancient palace.

This angel looked at me with a love I’ve never known and when she turned her head, black strands of dark hair wisped across her face, covering hazel eyes and olive skin. Her mouth turned upwards and she nodded her head towards the metropolis. I hesitated, but obeyed this angelic creature from another world, another time. I dared not look down for fear of falling into the rolling waves below.

“Where shall we go and what are we doing here?” I asked not knowing what was happening.

“We go to the High Place, beyond the Golden City. Are you ready to accept this challenge or shall I leave you? ” The beautiful creature echoed.

“You would lead me no more?”

But she spoke not. Sadness entered my soul as she pulled her hand away and began to move backwards.

“Please, please, leave me not precious one. How will I descend from this place if you go away from me?”

The wind took the dark hair away from her face, and the smile faded as she put her porcelain hands across her brow. The angel bent low and mourned with melancholy and shook until a set of wings emerged from the back of her long, flowing dress made of silk and everything immortal. One was white as snow and brilliant to my eyes, yet the other appeared to be damaged and hung tenderly by her side.

“Why are you crying sweet one? Have I made you distressed?” I asked in a loving tone as I watched the wind carry stars to and fro across the galaxy. When I turned, the apparition of a woman was sitting on a large rock with her arms across her knees.

“My home is in the city beyond, but I cannot go there. I was caught in battle many years ago and left with one good wing and am unable to fly into it, so I wander the outskirts. You cannot enter my city by foot. You must ascend upwards and have the inner strength to do so.” She cried.

I put my hands in my pockets and looked down at my feet.

“Well, what good am I to you if I cannot help you return to the place of your birth? What can I do? A mere mortal in the presence of an angel such as you, because alas, I have only one viable wing myself. How am I able to take you where you were called to be?”

I stood amid the drifting sand on that mountain top and watched her with tender compassion, wishing with all of my might to help this lost being.

“Young lady, I myself wander around the earth, I am a man unfit for this beautiful place. A man incapable of entering such a city without the company of one who’s been there, I am afraid I may be banished if I dare enter it alone. What is this city you speak of? What is beyond the City of Gold?”

She stood silently and when her hazel eyes looked into the clouds, I knew she had seen something which was lost to me. I looked upon her with silence, not knowing if I would be struck dead if I were to ask anything further. We sat in silence for a time before she spoke again. When she did so, it was prophetic.

“Beyond the sight of man there is another place, one of hope and peace, it is a great city. Greater than the one you see now. This Golden City is a mirage, set for destruction and consumed with its own lust, eaten by its own pride. Don’t be deceived by its walls of gold and gleaming towers because it is a terrible place full of horrible beings and many go into it not knowing what’s in store for them.

“But my city, the one I will take you to, is lined with trees and every imaginable creature resides there. Rubies glitter in the sunrays, sapphire and onyx and emeralds lie before your feet as you walk its streets. It is peaceful and kind and only the bravest find it. Look upon this doomed city before your eyes.”

The angel leaned forward with lightening speed and pointed north. A terrible war had come upon the Golden City.

“How did this happen? It was peaceful not five minutes ago!”

“What you have seen here today are many years in one short time. In the blink of an eye, I show you what is to become of this place. But beyond, that is where you and I will go, once I exact my revenge on the wicked creatures who robbed me of flight.”

“Again, how shall I help you?” I asked in bewilderment.

“I have watched and studied you. I know your faults and your weaknesses, yet I have seen the inner most parts of your heart and know the strength which resides in you. You have been kicked and beaten by your own doubts and have let your world get the best of you. But lo, I have seen the beauty of your wings and where you will go and how far you will fly. I can no longer fly by myself. We will help each other. Because where I am, this is where you are meant to be.”

After she spoke these words, she lifted her hand and in one quick stroke ripped the shirt off my back, revealing the nakedness of my body and the brokenness of my wings.

“Take hold of me now.” She ordered.

When she grabbed my hand in hers, electricity shot through every fiber in my being and all the hairs on my body stood. The useless wings on my back began to feel alive. Her eyes radiated a deep, unearthly green and the smile returned to her face.

“You see, in order to go where you must, you have to go through many obstacles. I fear we may not make it through the Golden City alive. But if we help each other, you may just see the High Place for yourself.”

“I am willing to go and fight for you. I will stand tall and help you return, even if my own life is lost while we travel.” I replied.

As fighting raged overhead and the cosmos vibrated in chaos, I grabbed hold of her waist and drew her closely in and looked deep into her eyes.

“You dare take hold of me?”  The angel questioned without a trace of anger.

“If I were to die before tasting your lips, I would die less than a man.”

Wherever courage originates and however someone obtains it, I found the wellspring and kissed this angel in my dream. The air crackled as her tongue met mine and life returned to her shattered wing.

After pushing me back with one finger she looked into the sky and held her breath.

“It is time.”

Road Trip: Beyond the sight of man

Rocky Mountains
Golden, Co
Photography by Gabriel

When I wake up in the early morning hours I find myself lost between different lands. Upon opening your eyes, the first thing to hit the center of your pupils are the Rocky Mountains. All you see is darkness at its base, but when you gaze at the multicolored sunrise above the hilly terrain you are hit with a sense of shock at the contrast between earth and sky.

It reminds me of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island. If you get to the beach at sunrise, you will see pitch black waves rocking back and forth with no sense of direction. If you look deep into the horizon and past the breaking point of the waves, reds and oranges welcome another day into existence. The dark water is alive with life and as the sun rises, it makes the liquid seem less ominous. Sometimes you forget the world is circular because at that moment, you are certain the earth stretches east to west for billions of miles, as if running alongside the heavens. A cosmic battle of the ages with no winners, their job is to keep us filled with questions and wonder and mesmerize us by creating natural phenomenons.

Then I moved to the middle of American, where flat land stops abruptly and bows down to majestic mountains. In the morning, dark, rolling hills cut the purple sky in half in these strange, zigzag, up and down patterns which seem to go on forever. Stars still shine and the moon hangs high above the earth in victory and awash in the suns reflection. Every color of the rainbow mixes in with white clouds and all is quiet underneath its banner.

Once I am fully awake I remember where I am and what I’m doing here. Although I don’t understand the why and the when, I feel all these questions will be fulfilled in due time. The place I came from seems to fade away with every sunset, the future, like every sunrise, remains a mystery to my mind and my soul and yet I wait in expectation, hopeful and captivated by the strangeness of it all.

Speaking of strange, two nights ago I checked into a local motel out here in Colorado and found myself caught in a creepy, personal version of Ghost Hunters. Unbeknownst to me, the place had a reputation for being shady and a hangout for various sorts of arch criminals and vagabonds. Not that I have a problem with consorting with different people, I’d rather not stay in a building where shootouts occurred and people died.

Anyway, I rented a room and made my way down the dark corridor with an uneasy feeling in my stomach, this was strike one. Upon entering the pad, I put my stuff down and prepared myself for a shower in a bathroom with a puddle of water sitting in the middle of the floor. Strike two. I spoke comforting words into the mirror, you know, kind of like a pep talk to keep me going. As I stood in the middle of the lavatory in my birthday suit the madness began.

Oh Shit!

An unearthly whisper shot past my ears and the hairs on my neck stood up sending my nerves into a panic overload. At this point I am extremely vulnerable because I had to put on my clothes before running through the walls like some cartoon on steroids. As this was all transpiring, my heart beat a hundred miles an hour and my mind was screaming for me to leave this place of the damned. The evil twin girls from The Shinning flashed in my mind and all I wanted to do was scream. After I managed to throw on my clothes and pick up whatever crap was lying around I made it into the hallway safely without anyone or anything grabbing my shoulder. I would have screamed, my lord I would have screamed!

Point of the story is I managed to get out of there alive and in one piece with a full refund. There is another world beyond the sight of man. Whether you choose to believe is your prerogative, but at that point, in that room, I was not alone. My skin crawled, my lungs filled with fear and my mind played tricks on me. I’ve never had a problem staying in motels before and I have stayed in plenty. I knew I wasn’t losing my mind, when I checked into my beloved Motel 6 an hour later I spoke with the cute lady behind the counter about the haunted motel. My story was confirmed when she explained to me how many people have left that motel in fear.

I’m usually one for exploring the unknown and the eerie, but not then. I want to know what I’m walking into first before signing up to be a Ghostbuster. I think it’s only fair to warn your patrons there are spirits roaming about the halls. If the creepy lady at the front desk would have explainedthis to me I would have been in the mood to deal with the unseen. But, like many of the adventures I’ve had on this trip so far, it makes for good conversation.

Get em’ Ray.

Today is opening day for the NFL and I am sitting here in Starbucks drinking the cheapest coffee a guy can find in this particular establishment. This will be the first time in many, many years I will miss my beloved Jets open up the season and it’s amazing how little I actually care. Priorities can change when you are broke and homeless and on the verge of mental collapse. You see the world differently, you grow up faster, you pray for help and you try to remain strong while you rebuild and regroup and start from absolutely nothing. Like the ghost which haunted me a few nights ago, the unknown is a scary, otherworldly existence I have come to despise.

I don’t have anything else to add except this: Don’t be afraid, the morning light will shine eventually and the darkness cannot stand it. Take it easy.

Trifecta Challenge: Leading the blind

           Trifextra: Week thirty-two challenge is to finish the quoted paragraph in 33 words: 

The last strains of sunlight lingered in the corners, grasping every available point of refraction.  She slid her fingertips along the glass wondering if this was all there ever was. Or could be.”

Her lifeless black eyes could see none of the beauty outside of the window. Yet she felt the warmth of summer cascading down from heaven upon her beautiful olive skin. She wept openly.


Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani?

 My Lord, where hast thou gone? Why hast thou hidden thy face from your broken servant? Hast thou called the heavens to block thy view from my tears? Have thou sent the winds to shield thy ears from the crying of this broken man before thee? My empty shell wanders to and fro among the earth, looking for respite from thy mighty hand. Oh Lord, my friend, where hast thou gone where I may find thee? Shall you never to answer my prayers again? Shall I be counted amongst the hopeless and lie among the dead? Where hast thou gone my beloved keeper?

The ravens fly over my head awaiting my demise; vultures wait to pick whatever remains from my soul. Will thou always be turned from my groaning? Shall my begging go unnoticed from my fellow man? Where art thou oh Lord of Hosts? Remove my sins from thy sight and restore life to my bones, have I been forgotten and stricken from thy book? Will I find refuge in cracked wineskins, or love in the arms of women?

Even the tips of my fingers ache and my feet are swollen because of my wandering. Where hast thou gone oh King of Kings? Thunder cracks and lightning shoots forth from your temple, will you not cover me in thy wings? Have I gone out from the protection of thy mercy? Are my sins to great for even you oh Lord? My spirit is crushed because of the iniquity before thee. How could thee forget thy servant? This hollow, wretched creature thy hands have made sits in stupor, and bewitched with questions too great for my own understanding. Have thou left me here in the wilderness to rot like a carcass? Heavens no!

Come to me, oh my Rock, leave me not in gloom among the dead. If thou would only grace me with thou holy finger and restore my life who would not praise you ever more? In need I come to thee, in despair I lift my eyes towards Your holy hill. My mouth has whispered wicked things; Your servant has hardened his heart in front of thy face and forgotten thee.

Like kings before me, I have forgotten the graciousness of thy arms, my head is filled with the ramblings of anarchy, my heart, full of deceit! Where hast thou gone Lord of Lords? Will thou hands stay forever over thy ears, to block out the pleadings of Your poor servant? Have I nothing left to offer thee? Cast me not into the gutters, bring me close to thy heart, and leave me not to be the scorn of my neighbors!

Who am I to approach thee with such requests? Your servant has traveled far and wide and is in need of thy merciful touch. Fill me with thy Spirit, when You look down upon the children of men, remember me, help thy pitiful creature to stand tall among giants, fill me with courage, hold me close to thee once again so I may remember what it is like to be filled with joy.

Where art thou oh Savior and who is like You? When rain crashes my dwelling place and robbers come against me, how shall I stand if thou would forget me? My tongue is burnt from the hell I spread, my mind is scorched with grief and my throat is raw from crying out to thee in the dark of night.

When I walk in the daylight, my neighbors point and stare, they hiss and laugh and forget the goodness thou hast bestowed upon them. I curse myself and hide in the hills, far from the sight of man. This place in which thou delivered me, shall I be left here like an orphan and remain alone? Where art thou Creator and where am I to go for help in my time of need? Who could deliver me from wretched poverty and agonizing loneliness except thee? Oh wretched man that I am! Who can save me from this body of death? Forget me not, oh Redeemer, come to my aid swiftly and bring thy torch to light my path once again. Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani?