Tag Archives: random

My Privilege

A friend of mine recently accused me of being privileged for my being white. Here is a list of things I am privileged for:

  • I am privileged for being forgiven in the eyes of Christ, because I do not deserve to be.
  • I am privileged for being born in the greatest country in history, because some are not.
  • I am privileged for being able to look beyond the color of skin, because some cannot.
  • I am privileged to have been raised in a family that loves, because some are raised hating.
  • I am privileged to have been an alcoholic, so I may appreciate sobriety.
  • I am privileged to have been homeless, so I may appreciate shelter.
  • I am privileged to have gone bankrupt, so I may appreciate money.
  • I am privileged to have known loneliness, so I may appreciate friendship.
  • I am privileged to have known heartache, so I may appreciate healing.
  • I am privileged to have been incarcerated, so I may appreciate freedom.
  • I am privileged to be single, so I may appreciate relationships.
  • I am privileged to know failure, so I may appreciate success.
  • I am privileged to have traveled the country, so I may appreciate liberty.
  • I am privileged to have been a dishwasher, so I may appreciate good jobs.
  • I am privileged to have been kicked out of school, so I may appreciate learning.
  • I am privileged to know how to read, so I may appreciate history.
  • I am privileged to know how to write, so I may appreciate the written word.
  • I am privileged to have health, so I may appreciate my body.
  • I am privileged to ride my bicycle, so I may appreciate my driver’s license.
  • I am privileged to know hard work, so I may appreciate a paycheck.
  • I am privileged to have gone hungry, so I may appreciate food.
  • I am privileged to have gone thirsty, so I may appreciate cold water.
  • I am privileged to have slept in subways, so I may appreciate warm beds.
  • I am privileged to have known mercy, so I may appreciate compassion.
  • I am privileged to have prayed with the hurting, so I may appreciate peace.
  • I am privileged to have known destitution, so I may appreciate my blessings.
  • I am privileged to have understood death, so I may appreciate life.
  • I am privileged to ride the public bus, so I may appreciate cars.
  • I am privileged for my meager possessions, so I may appreciate the less fortunate.
  • I am privileged for my talents, so I may appreciate my weaknesses.
  • I am privileged for being born, so I may appreciate the world around me.
  • I am privileged for understanding hard times, so I may appreciate victory.
  • I am privileged to have known brokenness, so I may appreciate wholeness.
  • I am privileged to be able to read my bible, so I may appreciate religious freedom.
  • I am privileged to be able to speak my mind, so I may appreciate free speech.
  • I am privileged to be mental, so I may appreciate sanity.
  • I am privileged to stop writing this post, so I may appreciate free will.
  • I am privileged after all.

Trifecta Challenge: Haiku for Water

Trifecta week eighty-three: Write a Haiku.

Ocean waves thrust lazily onward

Among sandy shores water recedes without grace

Palms sway against time eternal


Trifecta Challenge: Because of Abel

Week eighty-eight: Use the word band as your prompt to write a 33-333 word story, poem, etc. I decided to capitalize on one of my favorite songs. Enjoy.

He brought them together because no one else wanted to deal with outcasts. The man sitting next to Abel gnawed his fingers until they bled. Desperation ravaged his tear-streaked face, his voice was hollow, his soul teetered on emptiness, he sucked on his hand because the drugs were gone and it drove him mad.

A young woman of twenty-eight stood erect in the corner. She spoke to herself in small whispers and played with the dirty locks in her scalp. She had been a mother once but the city took her child. Abel found her curled in a ball behind an abandoned warehouse. “Gone, gone, all gone away, never to return, like the Great Oz, gone from my arms” she had mumbled to no one in particular as he picked her up from the ground. A small shoe was entwined in her thin fingers and she held it close to her chest.

Darrell was rocking back and forth near a dirty window. He was watching traffic slither to a standstill on the street below. Saliva dribbled down his chin and stained the sweater Abel knitted for him.

He loved them desperately and without condition. They were his people. They were his band of merry misfits and nothing would ever hurt them again. Abel stood with a gentle grace and opened a small book.

“OK everyone, let’s begin.”

Like wounded sheep in need of healing they approached their shepherd and listened to the words he spoke.


Life as a fictional character.


I don’t know which is harder to endure, sitting still and watching life fly by in a haphazard whirlwind of confusion or getting on your blistered, war ravaged feet day after day and traversing towards that mysterious goal you set out to accomplish. I don’t know which is more heartbreaking, remaining stagnant where you stand, hoping for something to come your way to lift your spirits or leaving what is familiar, what is safe and what you know will be there when you open your eyes the next morning. I cannot bear to stand these quandaries.

Sometimes I wonder if every human is confronted with perpetual crossroads, if the decisions we have to make are merely a cosmic joke told by the Grand Jokester to keep things interesting, or they actually mean something important and are not to be taken lightly. I always felt that my life is akin to a never-ending maze of sharp corners and wicked speed bumps followed by tumultuous alleyways and finally rounded off by a series of burning rings that I must jump through. I don’t mean to be dramatic. I don’t mean to sound as if my life is harder than anyone here in the audience and to be honest I am not even voicing a trivial complaint. I think it’s alright to question the cosmos once or twice. Hell, the only bad question is the one that’s never asked.

I guess it would be nice to saunter down that smooth, cobble-stoned walkway once every few months or so, just to be reminded that life doesn’t always have to be a sharp kick in the ass. The first twenty-nine years of my life I convinced myself that hard times make you tough, make you strong and that it will put hair on your chest. I usually welcome those moments when I go face-to-face with the gods and clash my sword against their shields and listen to the metallic ring of victory. But there are times I don’t wish to do battle because I do not want to put up a fight.

I am thirty now and I am tough. On a good day I am strong, and there is too much hair on my chest, I shave it once and awhile but it grows back thicker and will itch like something else so I let it grow ginzo style because I know women love hairy men.

Please do not misunderstand where I am trying to come from. I don’t want an easy life. I never wanted the path of least resistance because without some of the trials and tribulations I would not be the man I am today. Personally I don’t envy those boys and girls who never know what it’s like to have hardships. It certainly gives you a much better perspective on adulthood and you’re more apt to appreciate the things you do have in this world.

They say it’s about choices. It’s all about choices and nothing else. What about circumstances? What about luck? What about all that bullshit I hear about parents abandoning their children? What about poverty? Disease? Handicaps? Addictions? Are not all these factors somewhat involved with the so-called choices we make? I can’t sit here and write to you people and tell you I have stood my ground and avoided stupidity like one avoiding an avalanche. Because it would be untruthful and it would contradict the mission that has been ingrained in my heart to help those suffering.

I make dumb decisio’s every day.

My point is I want to be at peace with myself. Even for one week. For one week I want to roll out of bed with gusto and smell the flowers and all that malarkey. I want to throw open the bedroom door and inhale deeply and whistle my ass into the shower. I want to have breakfast with a beautiful woman who thinks I am the greatest creature in the universe. I need the life that Lyle Lovett was singing about when he croaked over cream in his coffee and flour tortillas and Sunday mornings and how his chick knew him better than anyone else. That’s the life I secretly wish for.

But I am a fictional character. There is a curse to those of us who sit down and scribe our thoughts and musings and tell tales of grandeur. When you spend most of your time inventing worlds of make-believe and the entire goings on involved with said world, you can accept your talent and bask in the god-like glory of being the mastermind behind every masterpiece your nimble fingers create…or you can become depressed because the lives you invent are not reality. They are figments of another place and another time, and if you dwell on them too long, you may wind up sitting in a padded room while brutish nurses feed you horse tranquilizers and your hair grows old and grey. By that time no self-respecting American women will have you.

Yet there is a certain glory to it all. There is a sense of accomplishment and peacefulness. There is a part of me that loves to create and to fantasize and to make pretend. I guess this is what helps me stay young and sane and in-tune with my Zen-like nature. As someone who fabricates stories I have many characters running around the confines of my skull and they are all pushing and shoving and vying for position. Each one serves a purpose, each one was created at a certain low point in my life, and sometimes they cannot be found when I am in dire straits to help assuage those hard choices I mentioned earlier.

I think this is where most of us writers go awry and become unfulfilled. We spend hours upon hours pretending to live in the stories we write. We daydream about living out the lives we give our protagonists and all the while neglect our own realities. I won’t speak for all of you, but I know that when I come to a proverbial fork in the road, I will shut my eyes and seek advice from someone I created, yes I am fully aware of how it sounds, but I don’t care, because I know some of you will understand where I am coming from. I think most people do this type of meditation but are too afraid to admit it.

I travel often. I am what they call a drifter, a hopeless wanderer, a man who searches when his heart cries out for something new. I drove across America last year and spent three months on the road. I loved it dearly and managed to come up with several wonderful ideas for novels. Adventure makes me feel whole. When I feel my feet sinking into the sands of monotony I pack my meager belongings into boxes and move on. I will be leaving my residence shortly to regain something I had lost over the past several months. I will take those characters with me and they shall comfort me when darkness creeps over the vastness of earth and eclipses the sun.

Forks and crossroads.

They can be friend and they could be foe. But it’s just a matter of perspective. Isn’t it?    


Trifecta Challenge: Santa doesn’t do salads

                Trifextra: Week forty-six: This weekend we’re asking you to write 33 words that will make us laugh or smile.  Even a chuckle will do.

                  Santa Claus stuffed his large, dumpy ass down the magical chimney and groaned loudly. He couldn’t believe after years of negotiating with the elves, they still refused to build him an expensive gym.

                 


One doomsday in December.

Authors note: According to some, the world will end next week. I don’t think so, but I can’t stop my imagination from running wild and writing a what-if short story of something crazy taking place. This account of the End of the world need not happen, I hope it doesn’t. But if it does, at least I gave you fair warning. Music to read by: “Seasons in the abyss” by Slayer.

I was eating wonton soup the day the earth moved for the first time. My kitchen resembled a normal size closet, there was a tiny fridge shoved in one corner and I ate my meals on a small plastic table situated along a wall near a cracked window. It overlooked a crowded street with an overgrown park on the opposite side. I had some money but interior decorating was lost on me, I was single and barely home. I couldn’t have cared less. There was always noise outside, but not now. A quiet had come over the city and was followed by screams of terror when the globe shook again. The world was being called to account for its selfishness and I had a nightmarish view.

It’s funny how time slows when a catastrophe is taking place. When monotony is broken and everyday life is in jeopardy, people become animals and no one can stop the carnage that’s left in their path. I witnessed the anarchy, I watched the elderly get crushed in stampedes and the young abandoned by their parents. Material possessions meant nothing now, important schedules weren’t kept, and trivial arguments were forgotten. My own success as a writer was flushed down the toilet. When fire began to rain down from the heavens I was just another terrified man looking for shelter.

I didn’t sleep the night before. I had stayed up intentionally and after midnight, I figured we were safe. There weren’t any bells or whistles, no gongs ushered in the end of the world. I hadn’t seen any angels or demons, no intergalactic battle between aliens and humans, no warning. The end came like a lion stalking its prey, it waited in the brush for a time and then pounced on humanity, tearing it to shreds until it bled out.

I watched a documentary that week on the Mayan civilization and their take on the apocalypse. A reporter interviewed several “professionals” about the subject. All but one laughed at the absurdity. They mocked the signs and disregarded the ancient people. The doctor who voiced his agreement had beady eyes and a pointed nose. He rubbed his hands together nervously and with mock seriousness, told the camera to prepare for destruction beyond the scope of the human imagination.

I had always walked past the lunatics with signs proclaiming the end of the world and wrote them of off as fanatical drunks. But they had been right. The world as we knew it had collapsed and the government could do nothing to save the people. Oh, I am sure they had reserved a nice spot for the president and his staff deep underground somewhere. The rich and famous were sleeping in disaster shelters. But guys like me, well, I never thought much about it. For all intent and purposes, I had made a “disaster” backpack and kept it in my Jeep. It was mostly protein bars, flares, beer and rope.  I figured if the world ended on December 21, I would relax in the park across the street with a beer in one hand, a protein bar in the other, and I would watch asteroids streak across the sky and hurtle into earth.

I am not a violent man but when gunfire could be heard throughout the city, I reached into my closet and pulled out my own shotgun and began loading it with ammunition. The thought of going to a park and getting wasted never crossed my mind and I forgot about my useless survival kit. I was able to run down the emergency stairwell to safety. I wanted to be on ground level and away from tall buildings. I was going to call Audrey but hesitated. We hadn’t spoken since she rejected my offer for marriage three days earlier. I think she was sleeping with her boss and besides, she hadn’t phoned me to see if I was alive.  I let him worry about her.

A group had congregated near the emergency exit behind my building. I knew these people, we had been friends. But like I said earlier, darkness takes over a person’s heart when their own lives are at stake. They talked quickly and interrupted each other, they threatened and cursed. I walked away when I had the first opportunity.

“Could this be it? You said nothing was going to happen!”

“I never thought this shit was true. Hey, Hey! Get away from my car!”

“Has anyone seen Ralph? Poor little thing must be frightened all by himself…”

“I told you to grab more water! What are we going to do with two bottles! Tommy! Yo Tommy! You have to go back for more! ”

“I have some ammo too. I’m not taking any chances. We should take stock of our supplies and lock up tight. Who knows if the earthquakes are over? We need to worry about our own. ”

“Worry about yourselves, that’s what everyone else is doing!”

The crowd hushed when sirens began filling the air with mechanical, bloodcurdling screams. To make matters worse, a foot of snow covered the sidewalks; massive drifts dominated alleyways and intersections. The temperature had dropped below freezing during the night and remained bitter through the better part of the following morning. People prayed and begged for help but nothing could be done.

My friends were sliding on frozen pavement and plunging into the belly of the earth, cries for help could be heard all over, but many were snuffed out quickly. It was a ghastly sight. The news stand attendant met an untimely demise too. He was taking a bite out of a sesame seed bagel when the earth decided to open up and let off steam. The poor bastard tilted backwards with wide eyes and outstretched hands and went to his grave with cream cheese on his face.

The city I loved was completely flattened. Bloody heaps of human remains littered the streets. Billowing clouds of smoke and fire poured from the crust of the earth. Looters wielded bats and took what they could. I watched a man put a bullet in his own head. A young child screamed. The National Guard stood by helplessly while the evil emerged from their holes and took the city hostage.

And then something happened I could not explain.  The hairs on my neck stood up and every sense in my body was heightened. I told myself there was no such thing as ghosts.  But hell taught me a different lesson that day. Before I died, I remembered hearing very loud chanting. I heard ancient whispers echo into my ears. I could hear drums and wooden flutes and when I closed my eyes, I could see Indians dancing around fires.

It was then that I saw spirits exiting the massive cracks in the ground.

At first they were very beautiful, greens and yellows and reds mixed into one trailing wisp of air. The people in the streets could not fathom this phenomenon. They stood and watched and some defecated themselves. Others approached the ghosts in childlike wonder and laughed. The blood in my veins froze as dead warriors started marching forward, their faces melted into horrible masks. They opened their mouths and revealed rotted tongues. I saw the weapons they brandished, I heard them chant one more time, and then everything went black.


Rose of Sharon

Authors note: Music to read by “There’s no place like home” Michael Giacchino

Wicked dreams invaded her sleep. The nightmares had been going on for some time, and there was nothing she could do to stop them.  Every night, when the moon would creep over the horizon and extinguish the comfort of the sun, great waves of fear would wash over her soul. Sweat would soak the nape of her beautiful neck as she ascended the staircase one step at a time. Shadows would play tricks on her mind, causing her to see things that weren’t there, hear things that could never exist. Her house was very quiet after dusk and making noise would only summon ghosts, she tread lightly in pink, cotton slippers.

Rose of Sharon was an exceptionally gorgeous young woman filled with brains, courage and up until recently, a sound mind. When the clocks in her home struck the coming of bedtime, she prayed silently for one night’s sleep without waking up screaming. The vodka had helped but was wreaking havoc on her body, the hypnotist was a waste of money and the dream catchers she had purchased from the Indian reservation were malfunctioning.

Her mother had loved John Steinbeck’s novel Grapes of Wrath, so she named her daughter Rosasharn and spelled it exactly the way he had. She figured a child with three first names was more likely to be bullied than anything else.

The troubled girl put a kettle of hot water on the stove and waited for it to boil. She was drinking herbal teas to help relax her body before attempting to fall sleep. She took a seat at the kitchen table and looked at the black and white photo of her mother sitting on the counter. She loved her mom desperately, and could almost hear her whispering quietly in her ear like she had when she was a child. “Rosasharn, my sweet Rosasharn, sleep well precious one…you are special don’t ever forget that.”  

She slipped her cheek into her hand and tried not to cry as memories of her mother flooded her vision. Her dark hair was hanging loosely so she took a strand and twirled it in her fingers. When steam erupted from the teapot, she poured herself a cup and dipped and dangled the small teabag until brown liquid floated around in delicate circles. The hour was approaching and a tiny knot began to form in her rock solid stomach. If her mother had been alive, she would have asked her to sleep beside her to stay away the demons. She wasn’t embarrassed by this terrible fear of hers. She had confided in her boyfriend once, but he had laughed and told her to take some sleeping pills. She never broached the subject again. She was alone in this battle for sanity and dread overtook Rose of Sharon’s heart.

After finishing her tea and making it safely to her bedroom, she flipped off the light and climbed underneath the Egyptian cotton sheets. Once her eyes adjusted to the hellish darkness, she gazed around to make sure the boogeyman was not lurking in a corner, or worse, underneath her bed. She checked her cell phone to see if he had wished her goodnight. He had not.

Pulling the blankets up to her chin for warmth, she looked out into the night’s sky and noticed the full moon staring down at her, burning into her retinas. Her mother used to tell her that the moon was Gods bellybutton. She giggled at the stupid, but sweet memory. She felt good tonight and maybe sleep would come without any repercussions. The tea was working its’ magic and numbness spread up her toes and towards her neckline. It was only an hour before she began to dream.

Lightning bolted across the clear desert sky and was not followed by thunder. There were no clouds, no rain, all was still. Streams of electricity dominated the atmosphere, not even a god could survive the onslaught of sheer power. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was being played on a piano somewhere and the music reverberated into the thunder-less world.

 Rose of Sharon walked down the valley of death in a white dress and matching white sneakers, oblivious to the raging war above her head, she hummed along to the depressing music. The trail she followed was endless in length, but she marched on in order to find the pianist and demand to know the reason for playing such a sad song, a terribly haunting song. One she had heard in all of her dreams.

 Rattle snakes watched her carefully from coiled positions along the side of the path. Their tongues never left their deceitful little mouths, and their eyes were fiery red with hatred. Hundreds of them sat frozen as the woman in white trudged onward. Their eyes never left her. She was terrified of snakes and took note on how they remained human like.

 As she progressed up the dusty trail, she encountered a house that reminded her of her own home back on planet earth. There was a small lawn, white picket fence, and the ominous piano sat on the front yard. Only it was not her home, it was his home. He was sitting with his back towards her playing the song over and over again on his Baby Grand. She had walked hundreds of miles in mere seconds and hadn’t seen any buildings or people. But now she had found him.

As she drew closer to the compound, the man stopped for a moment and straightened his back. This caused her to halt for a moment.

“So young lady, you’ve managed to find me. You have been searching for a long time, haven’t you Rosasharn?” He said in a very deep voice.

“How do you know my name?” She said while walking slowly towards him.

“Oh, you’ll find that I know a lot of things. I know where you were born, where you went to school, how your mother died. Little things like that. But don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone her dirty little secret.” The mysterious being told her. He had yet to face her.

“She had no secrets, she was a saint. What are you talking about? Is that why I have so many nightmares?”     

The creature said nothing but went back to his melody. She began cautiously towards the large instrument.

“Go no further. I have been sick and I don’t want to infect you.”

 Noiseless lightning flashed and flickered. The snakes had begun to slither closer.

 “I want you to tell me why I have these dreams, what does this have to do with my mother? And why do you keep playing that song?” She said and was immediately overtaken with unquenchable fear.

 “…Many people think this song was written because he was extremely sad. I think Beethoven experienced some sort of inexplicable joy and this was the masterpiece that was created in his heart. As to your other questions, your mother is the one haunting you. She knows you have a special gift and is trying to deter you from utilizing it.” He said matter-of-factly.

The young woman stood dumbfounded and quite alone. Things began to move and come alive in the distance. She wanted to wake up but could not find the strength.

“Why are you fearful child?”

“Why won’t you face me?” She said to the back of his head. Her voice began to quiver and her right arm began to feel tight as if some unseen force was squeezing it.

 “I’m very sick, dying actually. Won’t you come in for some tea?”

 She looked up at the house and began to back away. Something was not right, her chest heaved and her knees shook. Rattling grew louder and things began to move in the windowsills.

 “No, I want to go home.” She cried. Her arm began to hurt more and more.

  The creature turned around and she screamed.

 “But darling… you are home.”

 

He let himself into her house, she had given him a key for their anniversary. When he opened the door to her bedroom, she was kicking underneath the covers and moaning softly. He tiptoed into the room and sat on the bed and gently touched her arm in order to wake her up. He knew she was having another nightmare. The doctor told him to do it in a non-aggressive way so she wouldn’t react badly. When she told him about the dreams it broke his heart.  All he could do was sit and wait for her to awake from it. He touched her forehead with a cold rag and rubbed her shivering body. He wished he could take them away so she would be at peace.

“Rosasharn, it’s me love. Wake up baby.” The man bowed his head and prayed for her.