Saturday, December 13, 2008

Loyalty's Conviction

That love was a tempest. So deeply chemical. Molecular. Some pages i just can't turn. Or at least it sure seems so. Its like that giant stone in the garden that has to go. I can't seem to slide my fingers underneath to get a grip. Tendered fingers clawing through muddied sharp gravel. Where is the bottom of it all? How deep, wide and heavy. Once there, i'm sure i can pry it up. Longing for that satisfying dramatic slurp as mud's glue gives way to shear will. Perhaps this garden should flow around it? I again grab the hose as if it was a new idea. "Let water's way loosen up this madness." The cat perches nearby wondering who i am talking to. Thumb to spout, I focus this stream to see if it helps. Through the gushing, I remind myself of the whole story. How she drove sixteen hours to surprise me. Boy that sure worked. I sent her off with some chardonney and a funny story about Pluto. If there was a song "The situation was different" it would have played in the background. Years have passed, but never that night. Today, it kicks me still. I found her single in the Fall. She tells me there is nothing left to say. Her phone rings empty. No funny stories. I stand a man convicted of loyalty. How cold it is, out here with Pluto. At one time, we were both considered something. We both chuckle at the happenstance. Perhaps it is better this way. I feel daisy's push as i return to digging. I wave a magic finger as moon draws closer. She whispers, "The thing about pages is you only have so many." I retort jesting, "Shut-up and hand me that shovel!"

Friday, November 28, 2008

When grass giggled

Simplicity came tumbling down the hill yesterday. It plodded happily back to the top through thick mint carpet. In the grass, each footstep's impression was magically erased. At the summit, he sat a moment and noticed how perfect land's green met sky's blue. Simple was ready for another ride. He tucked his arms deep into his chest, and let the weight of his head call timber as his trunk tilted over. His feet stuck out straight as momentum started spinning. His eyes blended the colors into a delicious smoothie. His nose tickled at every turn. Eyelashes sword fought with blades of grass. Even so young, simple had an idea about how special this was. Him and gravity playing on this perfect hill, on this perfect day. As this log of a boy rolled to a stop, he laughed so hard the grass giggled.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Smokey the Bear

My last cigarette was September 1, 2008. Since that night, I have noticed a steady rise in my dream intensity. I thought I would share this dream as an example. My house sits almost at the top of a windy, cold mountain. It is nested perfectly inside an amphitheater of natural ridges. Giant chunky boulders crest the dirt like stadium seating. Groundhogs and chipmunks sell hotdogs and chuck peanuts at each other all day long. My two dogs are clinically manic from all the constant chasing and digging. We face the east directly and when the sun rises the entire house catches fire in a brilliant orange splendor.

I found myself standing in my living room. My surroundings were similar except a fresh large evergreen had grown outside my double-picture window. The tree was magnificent and stood twenty feet high. The branches seemed sculpted and jutted out from the trunk like regal soldiers. After we acquainted, a small wild cat with long gray fur came barreling down the ridge. It launched itself into the air and landed a few feet up the trunk. The cat was scrambling higher as fast as it could go. In the middle of wondering, my question was answered by a huge booming sound. Black and brown muscles covered in fur came tearing down the hillside. A giant bear, two stories tall, had grabbed hold of the tree and bent it completely over. Like a green slinky, the tree was resilient and kept a grip on the feline.

The bear was menacing. His teeth were stained, his fur was matted and dried drops of sweat sparkled. His fists were giant catchers mitts of rusted steel. He swatted them through the air like hot wet cannons. The bear kept falling against the house as he vied for position on the steep hillside. My home’s foundation was shaking from the menace. Glass shattered and shelves were toppled. Suddenly, the smell from my fearful breath seemed to catch its attention. It turned its giant cobra neck towards me. I was completely terrified. Its eyes were black as tar and just as sticky. If death had an expression, the bear was using it. It barreled up my front steps, collapsing wood snapped and splintered like thunder underneath its feet. The next thing I saw were the giant brown fists tearing and punching through my paper-thin walls.

I yanked myself out of the dream and landed on my bed with a huge thud. My dog was perched like a sphinx watching over me. His tail wagged concernedly. His head cocked sideways and panting. He seemed to know exactly what I was thinking. Boy, did I want a cigarette.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


If practice makes perfect, how do you get better at the art of practice? Is the art really like some magic glue from tv. Open the tube and the countdown begins. does pliancy run home sobbing when entropy kicks open the shutters. I still believe some things can be stirred forever. Still I digress, but don't we all? And isn't that the point of this morsel? Digression is rampant. In fact, we digress from the second we are born. But here's a surprise, I never thought love would digress. Oh boy, here he goes again.

Let's get something straight, i do have that memo. It is hanging on my cork board and nothing sits on top of it. It's quite clear and it sits at eye level. Yellow legal paper with the carbon blue horizontal lines and the typical three hole-punch. One tall canary stick pin keeps it from moving. In a long-ago dried blue sharpie it says, "You can't go back". Sometimes i have to fax it to my office as a reminder. This story is not some desperate attempt to sneak past the guards of time. Those Shultzes of yesterday. I fully embrace this sad little fact, the wheel of Samsara is not a wheel but instead a spiraling ripple. Never the same.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Snow's trumpet

Can you hear the snow’s quiet trumpet?
Her vow of silence venerates eternally.
Heaven's princely escort opens sky’s ballroom.
Gravity’s sonnet tickles loose her gentle curtsy.
Witness white’s chastity turned pure in the season.
A feathery waltz guides her to soil’s massive ache.
Crystal blossoms captivate the timeless crisp perfection.
How wickedly jealous the fire must be.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Memory's Tower

Oh memory's tower, how long overdue is this inspection? Today, I behold thee, my monument to passing. You are my stronghold, my bastion of definition. Without your comfort I fade to oblivion. So tall you reach higher with each day lived fully. Overlooking a forgetful sea, you stab through night's curtain, my beacon of meaning. Every stone a story, each crack a tear. Today, I find your foundation lacking, empty spaces once filled with something. Who takes your stones away? Where are these cursed vandals hiding? So busy is my stacking, day-upon-day. I never imagined you would grow so tall, nor crumble so freely.

From memory’s tower, I survey my intentions. Is my seasoned life too salty? Do I corrode forever’s cement? How long can you stand proudly against this churning? How far will you guide me through these winds? You are my rock, my anchor, my tall, proud captain. Memory’s tower, I salute thee. How blessed I am to know you. How thankful to not forget.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Time's big mouth

Time has a big gaping mouth. You can see it's molars. Those dirty metallic fillings lingering in the shadows. That tongue, always flapping, bumps as big as boulders in a farmer's field. It will spill the beans. It is not to be trusted. I once whispered I was young. It gave me away without warning. I once told it i feared the reaper. It waved a flag marking my position.

You can be nice to time but it won't return the favor. I give it rides on my wrist asking nothing in return. We glance at it daily checking to see if its okay. My mom keeps it in a beautiful bottle on her desk at home. She turns it every so often to watch it pour sand. I go home to visit and we play with it in front of the fire. Finding words in a box as time watches warmly. We cook with it, we drive it places. We find solace in it's achieving.

What does time do for us in return? It doesn't move at our request. It won't take a pause when something is caught in our eye. If we need a moment, it becomes impatient. Obliging us only briefly. Time, I ask you, "Where's the fire? Why will you not stop for more than just a moment? Let us sit here together in the stillness, you and me."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Defy the Wizard

I climbed the mountain on a cloudy day. At the top, an old theme park waited. It was the Land of Oz. The wind tried to stop me from reaching the summit, but once at the top I would see forever. Despite the cloud's curtain, the wizard would be waiting. Trees curled in grayness with ancient branches clinging by a whisper. I have seen the shape of the wind. It looks like a titan, and blows "this is no place for you". Still I mount that summit daily looking for his wisdom.

I am a creatrix, never reaching greatness. My medium slips through my fingers always wet and muddled. I change my focus like that very same wind. My back grows heavier from time's regret. My deepest critics: the silence of a friend, the loneliness of confidence. I have screamed songs, i have played tunes, I have drawn laughs, I have loved, I have written. The wizard still shakes his head no. Everywhere my feet rest someone else is stepping.

Tell me I am arrogant, so I can show pictures. My hands clenching my ego by the neck and drowning it in the still water. Tell me it’s a lack of confidence, for I have resurrected my body from the seas of despair. Reborn, time-and-again: a scholar, a soldier, a minstrel, a lover, a painter, and a poet. Position filled, take a number. One shade remains: the color of hope, this nod from a wizard.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Gathering

Deep in the forest of southern Missouri, our entourage dismounted. Rangers in tall hats were loitering. They sniffed us through thick dark glasses. Like hungry wolves they watched as we geared up for our journey. It was a show of strength but we were not fearful. The canopy was calling and we passed in peace. Car doors shut. Keys were skillfully buried. Water bottles capped full and hung from bandanas. Like wet peaches, the forest swallowed us effortlessly.

Miles of branches acted as turnstiles leading us to the edge of the makeshift camp. The first child I spotted was a tall thin man in his twenties. He wore a stud collar and sagged tighty whiteys. Emerged, he circled his tent with a commitment. He was a child of the rainbow. Speechless, I passed him by. Our group was dissolving without notice, each of us alone in our buffet of vision. Crossing a stream, I could hear her humming. She was knee-deep in mud and cleaner than rain. Ahead lounged her sister, pregnant and stunning, daisies pooling in her fingers. A fat man draped in a congregation was preaching. “Be Here Now!”, over-and-over again. Walking sticks, intricate with experience, held hands with their makers and sunk holes in the ground forever. Everywhere I looked there were children of the rainbow.

That night a fire was burning as big as a mountain. A circle of drums came booming like thunder. My soul rattled myself loose from its grip. I saw love’s rhythm soar so high the moon was reaching. We were one as I became nothing. All my wishes cooked true. For in a sudden crescendo, my chest erupted like a raging volcano, and I was reborn. I ran through that bright night a naked hyena, laughing and playing. Born again, me, this new child of the rainbow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life for a box of pizza

Life-changing events rarely blink, “check engine.” I was 17. My mission, propel pies through space and time in less than 30 minutes. Music exploded from tiny speakers. Hills bounced up-and-down as I screamed through the wind in my metallic blue wagon. Distance was the enemy and I was the destroyer.

He was maybe 12 as life walked him home. His sticky feet clung to the brief, narrow shoulder. No homework, his backpack swung gleefully. In his mind beamed a lighthouse of Fruit Loops and Scooby. His little tugboat was almost home. One more hilly bounce and I came barreling behind him. My fender screamed bloody murder. I squeezed that wheel like a death-filled cobra. Stiff and straight my only direction, spine to foot I forged a girder.

Two inches missed him, but only in theory. For my heart and soul smacked him down that day. My chassis sent his flesh-filled body sailing. I can see his baby sister screaming behind a window. Her mother rendered wretched, a liquid pile of sadness. His dad a propped scarecrow guarding a hollow heavy casket.

Life for a box of pizza. Forever I remember those tiny two inches. When life swiped its sizzling claws and I saw those fangs, drooling with brevity.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thus spake hibiscus

KCMO 1996ish

The October sun burst through my window like a proud laser. In my den, my hibiscus waited eagerly, its hand stretched up high and waving. I noticed it missing the sunshine by a measly three inches. After some math, I had determined that it had been going through this for months. There it was, inches from the morning, stuck in a pot, immovable. From this shadowy jail, it watched the floor planks basking. And there I stood, its guilty warden. Redemption led me over and I sat down beside him. Pulling my knees close to my chest, the floor spoke of the chill in the morning. Down here, the hibiscus was my elder. I sat underneath my new buddy soaking in the view. We would wait for the sun together.

At first, it was like church with your parents. A ritual with attentions traded elsewhere. There was a lot of staring and daydreams spread wide like grazing buffalo. My hibiscus held this front row ticket daily. Sitting next to him, I noticed something unexpected. There was a deep calmness that came from immobility. All the decisions of where to go and how to get there faded. Glued to the floor, the world became a slow ebbing canvas. Passive miracles happened in this room. Like this sunbeam preparing for a solo. As the day spread before us, I could imagine how life tasted stuck right here in a pot. How conversations in my kitchen were a land far away. The coffee pot sputtered. The sound a mere pigeon cooing in the distance. After all, there was no kitchen.

A short fuzzy dogma

What in tarnation is reincarnation? I always thought it silly, a life preserver some may cling to when the waves are pounding. I never hated the idea mind you; I like things that make people feel good. But my problem with reincarnation is ego. The ego is so … well … egotistical. The real world seems more like a giant hot cauldron, a bubbling brew of being. Our lives are nothing more than tiny drops of soul spurting out of the big pot. We live only for a moment, before falling back in again. Outside the bowl we have this sense of a self. But our ego is really nothing more than surface tension. It keeps us together as we spin in the air. Once back in the bowl, there is no drop. We are complete again.

Then there was the dream. I think it was a dream, i can't remember. It's actually kind of stupid but most things i find profound seem to come from a pocket of absurdity. You know that tunnel of light we apparently see at death? They say we are drawn to it, pulled towards the light. Sometimes we return from the tunnel to report on it, all that stuff. What if that tunnel is in fact the birth canal? Can death be the realization that we have only returned to the very same place from where we started? If true, then death is not our killer. Birth stands guilty. For the heat of this truth melts us like butter.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Annie Is


Her name was Annie and I told her I was hungry. She knew exactly what I meant, for she was a feast of being. I lived above her, downtown, in a building of six. It was the only time she could ever look up at me. She was a triple water sign, but i only flooded her apartment twice. The first time was my shower; the second, my kitchen sink. I won an Oscar playing her fool. Years later I sent her a poem but all I could muster was “Annie is”. Enclosed was a garlic stem I deemed pretty. Her gaze sent ripples through your soul. Her presence a gift brought down by a Sherpa. When she departed, that poor building missed her.

Paint would dry as i snailed cross her landing. Sometimes, I knocked but it was always a whisper. A brushing of fingertips, like a dare between children. Her door was thick as solid as ancient. It told me it could open, but it needed a reason.

One bright day, a stone lion basked outside a tall building. I would occasionally sit on the lion’s back. We would watch the driver’s speeding past and urge them to wake up! Suddenly a driver yanked his car out of traffic, bewildered, he beckoned me over asking, “Who are you?” My answer meant nothing. I was already running home to tell Annie my will had stopped traffic. Knock, knock, and knock. The door opened as promised. Tea was served my lips can still taste. She listened to me brag patiently. For my amazing was Annie’s everyday. Even her dog was my elder. He stared at me through eyes of pity that made me feel welcome.

To say I loved her would be shallow and dopey. This was more of a deep respect like that you pay a giant bear in a forest. Where eye contact is out of the question. But in the periphery growled raw, naked wisdom. Annie told me to write and listen to candles. I still sit up straight at the thought of her.

One day, barefoot, I kicked a raised slab of concrete. Deep thumps of pain began their steady pounding. I hobbled home peering through a moist vision. Almost waiting for me, she sat me on the steps and rubbed her hands together blowing. My foot kept pounding; I swear she could hear it. She cupped her hands around my big toe and so began a conversation. I couldn't hear every word. My toe relayed its story. Her hands seemed to listen. There was no argument. The pain simply agreed it was mistaken. Heartbeats of heat hummed in from long slender fingers. I tried to tell her how amazing it was but you could tell she had heard it all before. Maybe that’s why I stopped my pen at “Annie Is”.