5.08.2009

Weak & Weary

weak and weary on the street below
tired old people slide by like in a greasy dream
talking to themselves and answering
pushing their carts and carrying their bags
thinking thoughts of the delirious
wishing the dreams of a child.

Watching

Watching my eyesight slowly dimming
Dragging me into the darkness
Throwing me to the ground
Taking my soul.
Watching my hairline slowly thinning
Dragging me into the last years of life
Throwing me to the ground
Taking my soul.

Without a sound
My life has turned gray
Without a whisper
I die.
Without a sound
My life has drained away
Without a whisper
Or a sigh.

Torn

dark, cold, iron
rough, scratched, pale
scarred through the layers
crushed to the core.
broken strings of pleasure
whipped, gripped, torn
screaming, burning
shattered bone
cut the liquid flesh.
squeezing hatred
tears, slippery, hot
dust, dirt and hair
pinch, rip, black
rust and chains.

warm, bright, satin
grass, smile, happy
cotton, exposed skin
bathed in angel kisses.
clear, blue, toast
laughter, breezes
joy, sweet, orange and yellow
embraces and love...

To Stay...

There are times when my mind is warm
I think happy thoughts
I travel to happy places.
There are times when I'm so very cold
I start to lose control
Sinking deeper into some where I don't want to go.
To get where I want to be
I need you here with me
I need your hands to guide my step
I need your eyes to light my way--
To get where I want to be
To stay where I want to stay.
There are times when my whole body aches
I just want to crawl in a hole
I just want to let go.
There are time when the last thing I need
Is the first thing I see
But I can't stop my grasp
Even though it's my last...
Don't bring me back from the edge
I don't want to live if living is without you
I want to fade away with the night
I want to fall into black and blue.

Time Goes By

time goes by as i'm walking down the road
the dirt beneath my feet, and the grass between my toes
i could look down at the ground
as i walked my solemn stroll
but i'd rather look up high in to the clear blue sky...

thinking back
about the yesterdays
that seemed so endless then
but are far too distant now.
i don't know
how far i would have come
if you weren't in my life
if we'd never met somehow.

time goes by as I'm walking down the road
the birds are flying high and the clouds are white above
i could always want
something i'd never have
but i'd rather dream a dream that might come true...

ten thousand years could pass away and i would never smile
if i had to live my life without you
ten thousand ships could sail to distant lands
and never understand the things i do
for you...

time's gone by and i'm lying in my grave
my life is over and there's only yesterday
i can think back on the days
when you filled my life with joy
that's my heaven and now i'm bound for glory...
for glory
for glory.

The Red Rabbit

the red, rabbit, jumped in the lane
he sang, loudly, at the top of his lungs
"I'm, a camel, and I love to fly"
and he laughed, as, he tickled his tongue.
cooley he sat down
down on the furry brown ground
sweetly he looked around
putting on the new smile he had found.
"I have to find another one
so I can show someone what I've done
I know it will be fun
I can fly as well as I run!"

The Lake...

When the sun faded to a burlap shade of green and slid behind the clouds, the birds came out to fly, and perch, and talk their bird talk in the trees surrounding the nearby lake. It was a beautiful, reflective lake, without encircling soggy marshes and dank, black, boot-sucking bogs. The water was silent and inviting, cool and wet, clean and fresh. Grass grew tall in hues of green and yellows now, around the lake shores, and the animals drank freely, and grazed, and ran.

On the breeze was a hint of autumn; somewhere a wood fire burned, the smokey oak smell swam over the hills into the valley, carrying the incense of the mellowing fields beyond.

Tears

i can see you there even though you arent
i can see your eyes in the dark
i can see your tears
on the ground.
i cant see me there even though i am
i can see even though its dark
i can feel the fear
all around.

dont run from me i didn't mean it
im not really that bad
the world as i see it doesn't understand
no one understands where ive been
or who i am.
please dont run i will make you smile
everything will be ok
you'll see things wont be the same.

i can see you there even when you hide
i can see your beating heart
i can hear you breathe
when you cry.
i can see myself as im standing here
i can hear my breaking heart
i can hardly breathe
when i cry.

dont run away i didnt mean it
im really not that bad
give me another chance and i'll prove it
i can be the one you need
i promise.

The Beginning

Created before the birth of Isaac, the list of Minori was long and solemn, but yet it was as complete as a list that old could be. The names of all the Sitorlings were on it. That was a fact. Undisputed, even by the elder ones. Written in blood, it was said, although that was disputed.

"Will it have my name on it?" Sandruel though out loud. Loud enough that a gray and orange shedstool overheard, and flew over to perch on a lower limb. "Fly away little one," Sandruel said to the small birdlike creature. "You're much too small to be this close to me. I will eat you like a dry finger of tajnel in the bright afternoon's heat." He laughed as the creature fled at the thrust of his voice.

Sadly he turned back to his wonderment, and touched his forehead, mocking a sign of reverence. "I will run before they can make that final judgment," he said flatly. "They will have to search the entire planet to find me."

The sun was high and scorching his fur with it's intense heat, so he decided to seek shade under a tall paraya plant. "I'm far enough away already, and I will make my break for the wallfront after the day has ended," he though.

Rememories

remember
those days a long time ago
seems like another lifetime
happy as you recall
but not all happy when you were in them.
almost brought to tears
the memories are sad
but only because they are gone
and live in the past.
people that starred and made you who you are
gone and live only in your thoughts
places you remember
gone and exist only in your thoughts
time passes and things change
the world changes
it should it's good
if things stayed the same
nothing would get better.
intriguing to sit and talk
reliving through words
laughing about hard times
smiling about the happy ones
relieved that they are gone
but happy to remember them anyway.
it's true that as you get older
you are more nostalgic
i don't think it shows your age
it just shows that time has passed
and there is new life to live.

Many Years Ago...

Buttons and pale fabric lay on the floor where they had been dropped many years ago. A yellow drinking glass and a broken ceramic pitcher stood covered with a layer of dust on the bedside table.

The floor was so dirty. No one was there to clean the mouse droppings along the walls and where the floor-boards were uneven. No one was there with a broom and pan to gather the pile of dusty feathers in the corners from the pigeons that took to roost in the eaves overhead.

The hot afternoon wind danced around the room, breathing life into tiny dust-devils which would live and die in the blink of an eye. The white wooden door to the porch stood partially open, the tattered screen door rapped out a staccato slapping as each volley of hot air swept by. The tinkling of a windchime sparkled in the silence, and a lone, dead oak creaked back and forth; barren branches reaching to the white-blue sky, a low howl lifting from it's hollow trunk.

Look Past The Walls

Sometimes life can feel more like death
Slowly sucking away every dying breath,
Heartless whispers sting your ears-
Squeezing your eyes tight
Against the burning tears.

Look,
Look past the walls he's built up around your life
It keeps him happy
But it makes you cry.

Look,
Look past the walls he's built up around you so high
To deny you the freedom
From out or inside.

A tightness wells within your chest
The anger and fights,
He knows he's failed the test.

All of the years that you've lost
The things that might have been...
You gave him your best
But your best just wasn't good enough for him.

-------------------------------

Sadness washes over you like a warm wave
You search for a place to make it all go away
You've got the strength to escape
Hold onto your spirit
Don't let it break...

Little metal boxes

Little metal boxes
Shiny and almost incandescent
Inside the eye of the storm.

An invisible man
The invincible hero
The solitary figure in a systematic jail.
As long as the human
Stays inside his brain
He will succeed and triumphantly prevail.

But it's no fun to run when you've got nowhere to go
The distance gets greater the more distance you go
No finish line in sight
The world ends tonight...
Save your soul.

Kindling

sitting in this chair
wooden arms and back is torn
broken down like my mind
broken down
snapping like kindling
for the fire
burn it up
burn it until it's gone...

sitting on this porch
peeling paint and splintered floor
creaks beneath my feet
cracking like kindling
in the fire
burn it up
burn it until it's gone...

will the vine bind my hands
will the shadow blind my eyes
will the water fill my ears
will the snake tie my feet
will the sand fill my mouth?

sometimes I wonder, I just wonder
why I can't just accept the world as it is
I have to change what I can,
but I won't stop
until I've changed everything
or I won't be a happy man.

Killing me

transform my mind into something i can bend around reality
transform my body into something i can bend around you.
take my hands and break them
i don't need them anymore
take my legs and break them
i don't need them anymore.

take me and leave something you love
leave me and take yourself away
don't look back i won't look at you
it's all about my time
and that's something i won't give to you.

tattoo you across my brain
like standing naked
in a cold driving rain
rake the nails across my back
like handing you
the controls of a devil train.

you'd like to try me and convict me
even though it's you
who commited the crime
you who took my time
and then took your time
killing me.
you'd like to try me and imprison me
even though it's you
who committed the sin
making me the criminal
what you did was criminal
killing me.

transform my mind into something i can bend around reality
transform my body into something i can bend around you.
take my eyes and shut them
i don't need them anymore
take my heart and break it
i don't feel it anymore.

Intellectuality

Lacking intellectuality
but certainly self images
reflect a certain arrogance
in their own important eyes.
Pseudo-artificiality
layered over ageless sins
burns like acid on their skins
as the soul inside them dies.

Faithless consulation
Fateless consultation
One eye on the swirling water
and the other on the fire.

Senseless degradation
Defenseless limitations--
Breaking down around
falling down inside
crashing to the ground.

Lacking basic fundamental fear
prevents the hand of common sense
from guiding the weak and strong alike
to a safe and happy home.

Trials and tribulations
Denials and indignations
One foot on the boarding dock
and the other on the ship.

Senseless degradation
Defenseless limitations--
Breaking down around
falling down inside
crashing to the ground.

If Ever

If there ever was a day
that I didn't think about you
That day would be gray.
If there ever was a night
that I didn't dream about you
That night would be dark.

I think that I would die
If I didn't have you to occupy
my thoughts, my dreams
my every sleeping and waking moment.
I know that I would die
If I didn't have you to remember
and smile for a while
even though you're not mine.

I know I need to move on past
these thoughts that only hold me down
they take me by the heart and lead me
far away
to a place
that doesn't exist...

Hurricane

Hurricane crazy is something insane.

Stinging my eyes like a dusty tornado
Prying them open to see where I'm going
Am I alive or just asleep is this something I should keep
In my pocket in my sweater vest pocket in my trousers
In my wallet a picture of you or is that someone I don't know.

I can see now I opened my eyes and now I can see
It doesn't hurt to hurt sometimes
But pain is painful and it isn't something to smile about
Unless you think pain is something to smile about.

Crazy insane a crazy insane kinda game
Hurricane crazy insane is a game
A game I don't want to play.

My head is made of clay I don't wanna play
Crazy insane a crazy insane kinda game
Hurricane crazy is something insane.

Stop my ears from hearing
Stop my mouth from the words
Stop my legs from walking
Stop me from leaving this place
I'm not staying I wanna go
I wanna take off I wanna fly
Don't bother pointing me in the right direction
I don't wanna know.

Faith

open your eyes and walk towards me
the dark will fade to white
blinding you for a moment
but take a step just trust your faith.

the walls will fall around you
the path will rise to your feet
as the mountains echo your footsteps
the seas will cool your face.

take a step
take a breath
take a long look to the future
take your eyes off of the past.
take a leap
take a leap of faith and you'll see,
I'll be there to catch you
if you'll just have faith in me.

look up to the sky above you
the clouds might hide the sun
shadows for just one moment
but warmth will come to those who wait.

feel the arms around you
holding you up but not holding you back
lifting you up or helping you down
guiding you all the way.

take a step
take a breath
take a long look to the future
take your eyes off of the past (but still remember).
take a leap
take a leap of faith and you'll see,
I'll be there to catch you
if you'll just have faith in me.

seasons come and seasons go
I will always be at your side
if you want me to lead or follow
I'll be happy just to be here for the ride,
I will never leave here
No matter where you are, you just-

take a step!
take a breath
take a long look to the future
take your eyes off of the past.
take a leap!
take a leap of faith and you'll see,
I'll be there to catch you
if you'll just have faith in me.

take a step
take a breath
take a long look to the future
take your eyes off of the past.
take a leap
take a leap of faith and you'll see...
I'll be there to catch you,
I'll always be there to catch you,
if you'll just have faith in me.

Does it?

Does it hurt too much
to say
go away-
Does it sting your eyes
to feel
the tears-
Does it bother you
to laugh
when I cry-
Does it drag you down
to feel pain
when I smile.

Depth

meandering along the concrete bastion
and the cinder block wall that ground harshly against my toes
i found a crack that was just big enough to slip through.

inside the dimly-lit cavern was a single phosphate-grey cylinder
with fourteen and seven watery glistening eyes
as if it had been crying...
crying over a long lost continent...
or perhaps just crying to hear it's anxious tears
tap out a rapping against the worn tin floor.

i held out one inquisitive hand
but it silently shrank back
a victim of cautious apprehension...
"allowing this being to exist was to question the eagerness of the Supreme Creators
to inundate their time with such trivial aberrations,"
i thought to myself.

as if that wasn't enough--
terrific forces must have ripped apart the very structure of momentary reason
giving birth to a pungent mass of flowering organics
at the edge of the over-laden garden cistern!

suddenly, i looked up and around to see storms of azure fire
encircling my head, my God!
enveloping my senses, my Lord!
tasting metallic yet somewhat like stale oily sodium crackers.

i bent down to ponder my quick escape
but an exit was not apparent...
nor did it seem to be apropo under the all-consuming circumstances at hand.

"only an idiot with a kid knot for a brainstem would sit this one out,"
i chuckled with a smirk that only i could see
reaching into my pocket i felt denim and then the shiny blade of my sterling Cancuso dagger...
suddenly the scales tipped in my favor!

Cut

Crack their smiles
Break their will
Smash the very core of their souls,
Grind their flesh
Shatter their bones
Cut the nerves and cut the controls.

Crush their toes
Burn their feet
Chop them off at the knees,
Grind their flesh
Shatter their bones
Stop the blood and cut the controls.

Crazy as it sounds

Crazy as it sounds
time has no space
today is tomorrow
and tomorrow is yesterday.

Crazy as it sounds
away from the city
as the crow flies
where the clouds die
lie spirits of another existence.

Ghosts encircle my head
shielding my eyes
from the light
from the blinding lightning
but the noose is tightening
dimming my sight.

Ghosts pick up my spirits
showing me the path unfamiliar
waters part
open hearts
revealing the rainbow's end.

Crazy as it sounds
soaring above terra firma
is as close to heaven
as heaven can be.

Crazy as it sounds
down below the crust
underneath the desert dust
is as close to hell
as hell can be.

Pick me up dust me off shove me forward
I can take it I have seen the future and the past
I can lead stand next to you or follow
Be the guide-on or be the last.

Ghosts encircle my head
shielding my eyes
from the light
from the blinding lightning
but the noose is tightening
dimming my sight.

Ghosts pick up my spirits
showing me the path unfamiliar
waters part
open hearts
revealing the rainbow's end.

Craving

testimony to a full glass of golden tea
ice breakers sail the ocean full steam at me
clamshell dividends launch their browsers wide
opening and closing before the tide washes inside

portly ponies prance upon the beach
watching the fluttering leaves on the limbs that they can't reach
table settings for uninvited fundamentalists
opposing corporate identities rivaling the guests.

out of grip out of timeshares
playing upon their civil liberties
salvaging anything among the rubble
the hulking remains of the industrial communities

craving their habits salivating over desire
they slip into domains beyond the sky
falling and soaring yellow clouds moon is full
still desperately grasping at broken fences

ride the sweepstakes over my feet
but don't write me off--i won't go
smile at the president under the sheets
and rip off the window coverings

Cleveland's the man

Tim Cleveland wasn't a very tall man. He stood 5' 10" with his favorite shoes on, and he had no noticeable stoop. It must've been his buzz cut that made him look taller. He wasn't very old either, unless one considers fourty-seven too far into middle age, and his waist size was still the same as it was when he was twenty-something–33".

He patiently waited in front of Clarice's Boutique under the overhang on that cold, November morning in his hometown of Oakwalla, Wisconsin, for the 8:15am downtown bus. He had to bend down a little to stand under the red and white canvas sagging under the weight of the water which had gathered from the overnight rain. The wind was cold but there was no snow, which was strange for that time of year. Just gray clouds that scooted across the sky creating quick cracks of cold blue which would peek through. It scoured through the crop on his head and made his cheeks feel like stiff cardboard. He pulled the collar on his jacket up tight around his neck and wished he had worn a scarf.

The cold made it feel like hours until the bus finally arrived. It pulled up with a squeal of brakes and a cloud of exhaust, plowing through the gutter water. The doors opened and Tim climbed up the steps, his rubber soles squeaking and the leather uppers creaking, slid his plastic pass through the reader, and made his way down the middle aisle, past the lady with her sniffly brown and white poodle, to an empty pair of seats near the back.

Carve

carved out of the space
that used to be my heart
is my little angelic devil.

darkness follows you
but light surrounds you
you glow and envelope
all that is around you.

do you feel the love or do you sleep
would you rather love or should i keep
my love to myself.
do you see my eyes or are yours closed
do you want to feel my embrace or should i stop
and turn away.

from you i take a new life
from me you take everything
my breath my heart the words on my lips...

Ewie: Chapter 4

Ewie trudged through the neighborhood of minivans and one or two old rusting tan station wagons, thinking about the explosion, wondering about the Charlitan trivets that were once in abundance there. They were all over the floor, in mirrored glass cases, and on shelving built for trinkets, but not trivets. Oh what a place to pass a couple of blasè hours on a Tuesday afternoon. He smiled to himself remembering the old times.

Crossing the parking lot and the lawn, he picked up the evening newspaper which was soaked by the maintenance man's hose, and tossed it in the trash as he walked by the side of the building. Stucco pink walls - a great combination for the grass geckos at night. They would hang on the walls with their long toenails by the area lights, hoping to catch insects. You could see them from a mile away but they thought they were invisible so they were happy. Ignorance is bliss in a reptile's world.

He climbed up the black iron stairs to the third floor and walked down the passageway to his apartment. He knew as soon as he opened the door that something was wrong. Amiss. Home was home, but it didn't feel like it. There was a tinny, hot smell in the day-long stale air, not unlike an overheated pair of cheap oily denims, but not like a burning pile of cat hair either.

He turned around and saw one of the many framed pictures on the wall of the entryway was slightly turned.

He though, "That's odd."

Wiping the dust off the top edge he corrected the angle, and then dropped low, digging the hunting knife out of his left sock sheath. Sliding on the rug across the reflective pinewood floor he rolled back to his feet, catching his balance as he jumped into the kitchen. The tile stopped his slide and he stopped next to the pantry.

"Hah!" he shouted, and with one finger he flipped on the light.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a mouse, an elderly rabbi, or even a milky red-breasted eggwarbler was to be found (he had once seen an eggwarbler on a sojourn to the south of Greece, in a tree by the white sand beach near his holiday bungalow).

"Where's that smell coming from," he asked himself with a furrowed brow.

"Maybe the fridge is on the fritz again. Yah that's gotta be it. Call the office, that's all I ever do. They must have a hundred work orders from me so far."

Walking into the living room he fell into his recliner. Grabbed the remote he clicked towards the tv.

"Two unidentified individuals died today in a late afternoon explosion off 11th and Hornwall," the six o'clock news reporter said, as the screen faded into a blurry image. "The explosion is still under investigation and we will bring you more as we get more information."

"Wow," Ewie said. "I wonder if it was anyone I know."

A muffled shrill version of "Bolero" made him jump, and he had to dig the phone out of the chair cushions to answer it.

"Yah, hello?" he yelled into the receiver.

"Ewie Dowel, it's Sharon Tweed. I'm taking your account from Cassandra. I need you to update your information for when we need to contact you for clown jobs. Do you have time now?" said the voice on the phone.

"Uh, no, uh, this ain't a great time. I mean, I can do it tomorrow or something. That's better. Is that ok with you?" Ewie said.

"Ok, but you have to understand that until you do I can't book you for international conferences and diplomatic events. Those have to be cleared through the government and it takes weeks to get approval from the Feds. You know. Red tape. All that."

"Tomorrow I'll call you. First thing. After I brush my teeth. I will call. What's the number there?" Ewie asked, grabbing an old receipt and an ink pen.

"555-2019, extension 456. Call before 10:00am or we won't be able to get your information into the system before the end of the business day," the voice said.

"Ok I will. First thing. I will have my paperwork with me so I can get it all squared away."

"Thank you Ewie. Goodbye." The voice hung up.

"One more thing to hassle with tomorrow. God," he said as he closed his eyes and put his hands over them. His stomach started to grumble and he started thinking about a rye maple turkey sandwich with mustard and pickles.

"Maybe some horseradish on the side too," he though with a smile.

"Cho won't want anything to do with me after that sandwich!" he laughed.

"Gothic breath totally. Medieval even!"

That made him smile even more broadly, but then thinking back about the explosion erased his smile and dug sweaty wrinkles into his forehead. He remembered who he had known from those trivet days years ago.

"Oh freakin' no! I hope she wasn't one of the ones killed!" he thought.

He wanted to bust into tears, but he fought them back forcing himself to think that they were probably some vagrants or other wastes of humanity camped out in the buildings.

"Shit I hope so," he said shaking his head.

Ewie: Chapter 3

He shrugged his shoulders and turned away from Mama Cho, hard soles scraping on the linoleum, and started towards the door.

"I've got a couple of errands to run and I'll be back about nine when you're closin' up," he said, waving at her as he made his way past the egg rolls and day-old rye muffins on display by the register. A wave of the potato casserole he ate earlier came up with a warm belch and it made his pants feel a little looser.

"Hmm," he mumbled.

She blew him a kiss and it hit the glass door as he walked outside into the asphalt heat. He adjusted his Foster Grants and squinted towards the busy boulevard.

Ninety-one degrees, the bank across the street displayed in big orange numbers, digitally laughing a silent laugh at the humans toiling below. Laughing especially heartily at the painted lady in a business suit attempting to change a flat tire while gripping her cellphone between her shoulder and ear.

"What the hell could possibly be that important for her to yap about," Ewie thought, shaking his head. He could hear her cuss as she wrestled with the tire iron. "Serves her right," he said to himself as he scratched his forearm.

Suddenly, a jagged-loud explosion from around the corner knocked him off his feet. He slowly got up and he could see fire and smoke billowing out of a small building next to a vacant lot that used to be Torgie's Fine Trivets before it was raized to built a supermall back in the 1980's. That never materialized so the lot stood empty, growing nothing but older as the years slipped by. Oh a few weeds poked up here and there, and kids with their knee-less wrinkled jeans would play army and Bye-Bye Susie in the big dirt piles, but other than that it was just another vacant lot.

Ewie ran over to see if he could help but the heat was too intense. Remembering that he had too much time and money invested in his hair implants (especially the ones on his lower forehead) to risk another fire rescue, he backed off and watched from a safe distance.

A small thin man stood next to him and gestured towards the fire. "Whaddya think was in that place that would make such an explosion?"

"No idea," Ewie replied. "I didn't even know there was anything in there. It always amazed me though, you know, the stone masonry, the ironwork."

"Yes, yes, yes, an exceptionally beautiful building it was," sighed the little man. "The architecture, the ambiance...well I suppose it's history now. Well, everything is history, with the passage of time considered omnipresent and constant..."

He pushed the soiled ballcap way back on his head and wiped off the beads of sweat with the back of his hand. All in all, he didn't really seem the biker type to Ewie. Maybe it was the deep scar on his cheek and the bridge of freckles across his brow. Or it could've been the black plastic hair pick sticking out of the back pocket of his corderory overalls. The Guns & Roses tattoo on his neck was a dead give-away though.

"Hmm," Ewie mumbled.

He felt a little bit nostalgic, and decided to take the long way home to his apartment, around the park and over the stone bridge. He said goodbye to the little thin guy and started towards home.

Ewie: Chapter 2

Ewie moved his car seat back so he could see out the rear side window and around the power pole beside the car. He could see Mama Cho's peculiarly small dog running around on the grass in front of the deck. The color of old weather wood, gray, water-spotted, described the deck and the dog as well, although the dog also had an annoying whiney bark that sounded like tin being pulled through a fence.

Mama Cho noticed him and called over, "Ewie, you come over here and talk to me ok?"

He opened the door and wrenched himself out of the seat, slowly making his way through the tall switch grass and abundantly thorny weeds over to the deck.

"Hi," he said. "How's your day been?"

"Aww it's been slow today. No one wants to eat healthy food anymore so they go pack their pie-holes with greaseburgers and fat fries across at the mall," she said with a scowl that turned her pretty face into an Asian mess.

"I just don't get it. My prices are good, my food is good. So I don't have a friggin' drive-thru. Is that the problem?"

"Well maybe that's part of it. Maybe I could move my insole business in and sell from here too," Ewie said with a slight grin. "That would most definitely boost sales for me and I think for you too."

"You would have a better time selling clown paraphernalia here. Or run your contracts through my agent. Yours only wants to see how many times he can bend you over," Mama Cho shot back at him.

"Yeah I know," Ewie said. "Business just doesn't favor the part time clown in the industry of happiness, joy and balloon fish much anymore."

"Don't worry, we'll work it out. How about giving me a quick hand with these meatballs?" she said, smiliing at him.

They laughed furiously, and then carried the heavy metal pans of poor man's meatballs into the small deli freezer area behind a stack of folded boxes, and stacked them on the barren frosty shelves. The dwindling stockroom inventory showed that her supplies were low as a result of slow business, and she would either have to take out another loan, make a deal with the devil (agent), or sell the deli. It was something she didn't want to even think about. It hurt to think about it. It stung like a hive of barn wasps taped to her head.

The last few months had also been tough on her physically. Her feet and lower back were in constant pain. Gout, ganglions, bone spurs, bulging disks, you name it, she had it somewhere. And not in places that were good places, although not many places were actually better places to have those particular afflictions.

Her brain stem had swollen last year after a nasty fall from the neighbors Blue Cow onion bin, and she had to stay in the hospital for three weeks while the meningitis subsided. It had left her partially blind in one eye, and her left ear had turned a strange shade of reddish-purple. The doctors said it was a minor complication from the medication, and that she wouldn't be able to wear large earrings in that ear anymore. It would not go away. Not her ear--the swelling.

"Ding dang damn it all to heck in a bin barrel," she swore as she looked at herself in the mirror. "Today is a day I could use a good heavy pair of earrings!" That thought took her away to the good old days of careless earring-wearing and she almost broke into tears.

Ewie could sense her desparity, and he held her close to him for a long minute. He made a mental note to take back the large pair of ivory earrings he had bought at CongoMart last Thursday on the way home from work. "It wouldn't be a smart move to give them to her now," he though to himself.

Ewie: Chapter 1

Old man Ewie was a part time clown. He just wasn't funny enough to support himself as a full time clown. He supplemented his clown income by selling men's shoe insoles from a stand on the shoulder of where highway 44 and route 6 intersect. You know, over by the Jameson's old farmstead.

The horse flies were bad that hot summer day, and Ewie had to wear a shady, floppy hat to cover his bald head and weathered brown face. He groaned and tried to get comfortable on the cracked vinyl of the barstool. His skin was sticky and wet, and the sweat ran off the end of his nose.

"Easier said than done," Ewie said, swatting furiously at the circling pests. He tried to stay busy with a tv guide crossword puzzle.

"Ouch," he exclaimed as he slapped at a fly on his neck. "Buggers."

A orange-red pick-up slowed down with a scraping of brakes and pulled off the road onto the dusty shoulder across from his stand. A pudgy woman climbed out of the passenger side, grimacing against the heat and brightness. Slamming the truck door, she pulled a blue and orange scarf around her head. After tying a sloppy knot below her chin, she yelled over to Ewie.

"Hey, you over there, I need some insoles for my tenny runners," she said in a raspy chainsaw-like tenor. "I've got five bucks that ain't doin' nothin'. Whatcha got for a hottie like me?"

Ewie looked over and shaded his eyes with both hands. He had forgotten to bring his clip-ons so his eyes were watering and he could barely see through the blur.

"Sorry," he said. "I only carry men's insoles. Maybe you could try the CVS in town off Marble avenue and 10th."

"Good Lord you are a moron," the portly woman chortled back at Ewie. "If I wanted damn CVS insoles I would've just gone there right? Jeemeny Christmas." A sudden gust of wind tugged at her scarf, and gray wisps of hair framed her face as she rolled her eyes in disgust.

Ewie stuck his thumbs in the waistline of his trousers and shrugged his narrow shoulders. He wished he would have taken that serpentine belt job at the Tankton assembly plant last month.

"Anything has to be better than this," he sighed under his breath.

He was right.

The lady climbed back into the truck and it ground into gear and sped off in a cloud of gravel and dirt.

"A dish of pineapple sherbet would hit the spot right now,'" Ewie thought, rubbing his belly. "And a big fat cigar to smoke and forget all those damn kid party contracts."

The kid party contracts. It was a secret that he would take to his grave. See the things was, even though he was a part time clown, he had worked some kid parties that were earmarked for full timers only. It was a racket, and a shrewd one, but he had danced with the Devil. He loved to dance that dance, and who doesn't? Carnal gratuity had him on the fast track to the land down under. Not Australia no, no, not Oz. H, e, double toothpicks. He felt the knot in his stomach.

"Damn agent. Wish I'd never met him. He dragged me into this mess and now I have no life," he said.

Not a good mental condition for a clown. He knew it. The kids knew it. Even the fish knew it. But for now he was stuck. Like a pork chop in a mud puddle.

It was time to pack it in for the day. He closed up his little silver-gray lockbox and with his satchel under one arm and the lockbox under the other, he started walking home. The wind was getting stronger, pushing his hat back on his head, and billowing his shirt as he made his way along the barren interstate.

His legs were tired and his lower back was aching like a sad winter ptarmigan when he finally passed the gas station and crossed the parking lot of Mama Cho's delicatessen. He had been dreaming about sherbet and that firecracker-hot Mama Cho all day long. What a sight for sore eyes!

Mama Cho had been selected from over 1,000 Chinese refugees to relocate to Hartleyville over two years ago, with a federal loan, and a new lease on life as well as a delicatessen. That was the day Ewie fell for her like a shaken cake.

Mama Cho was a natural sandwich queen, the way she moved, the way she sliced, and the way she spread the condiments. Nothing escaped her sandwich-maker's eye as she flew around the kitchen north, south, east, and west.

Ewie would sit for hours with his nose pressed against the window glass of his 1982 Chrysler Le Baron, watching her as she molded balls of poor man's meat for foot longs on the back deck of the deli. She knew he was infatuated, and she would play with it, daring it, tempting it to develop into a situation that neither could handle.

What type of future could a part time clown and a sandwich queen possibly have? Oh it burned in the back of their minds, but neither would make a move. Neither would take a step towards the light.

He saw his old car sitting out back so he decided to sit in it and watch her for a while without her knowing. Even though that made him feel like a peeping-tom pervert he did it anyway. After all they were kind of dating.

Respite...

Flying, sailing, flying...

White sands, emerald waters, cool sea breezes, cloudless sunny skies, and swaying palms.
The escape will be welcome to lift the heaviness off heart and shoulder.
Rebuild the spirit, recreate the soul.

Drink of the tropical elixir
In a fresh new place
Rejuvenate
Regenerate
Revitalize
Reorganize...

Maybe just a fleeting time
To forget all that is strife
And remember all
That's good about life.

Steampunk Gearshift

steampunk gearshift
lifting me up
dirty sweaty and hot
oil grease and dust
and gasoline
on a windy august
yellow bright afternoon.

nothing to stop me nothing to brake for
nothing but time on my hands-
tires scream on the hairpin turns
inside my soul the power drive burns.

climbing towards the top
at the peak my acceleration won't stop
and the asphalt melts away...

the gray black concrete
beneath my feet
bends and breaks
as it warps in the heat.

my fingers grip tight prepared for a herculean fight
as I dance with the demons they pray for the night
I can sweep them away with a laugh of delight
sever their lifelines with a slash of my knife
leave them for dead
with a price on my head and my life.

but i wouldn't trade the ride on this machine
for any other ride that's in between
the heavens and earth
no matter the value no matter the worth.

it's the steampunk gearshift
that keeps me coming back for more.

Stabs of Tin

There's a point when your legs feel too damn weak
To stand up without falling
When your arms feel too weak to lift the baggage you're hauling...
There's a point where the world is just too damn loud
To hear the words you're calling
The more you try the more you cry until you feel like crawling.

I've been there I've faced the test
Love your enemies and hate the rest
The white noise static in your head
Won't leave your brain until you're dead...
Like the crushing pressure in your chest.

Nerves short-circuiting
Current interruptus within
With sharp stabs of jagged tin
A cold silent grin, the blue clammy skin
Grips you like an icy winter wind.

Taking you away a little bit at a time
Like robbing a bank dime by dime
No one notices until they're empty
Heart, soul, and mind.

Maybe it's a price that has to be paid before you leave
A toll--I hope I have enough to pay...
On the way,
Away from here.

Rain

a boy
watching the day
with my elbows on the sill
clear water drips from the leaves
in the yard outside
a small waterfall
splashes down the stone wall
and over the edge of the eaves,
making quick little pools
and even quicker streams.

the rain
the quiet cool rain
on the southern wind
it drifts in
it cools my skin
into the open window
and then out again.

I feel the hard wooden floor
under my bare feet
as I look through the glass
I can hear the creaks from the roof
and the branches outside.

outside I smell the freshness
feel the clean scent
of the summer afternoon,
the blades of grass
tall at the edge of the yard
are cold and wet on my legs--
and the wobbly drops of water
fall and tickle as they run
down my face.

gray and white clouds
glide fast above the trees
hurrying like they have somewhere
more important to be--
then all at once
stripes of sunlight
burst through,
slicing the moist shade
into shiny white slivers
and shimmering glass gems.

The Absolvency of Entitlement (On the Mind’s Ocean)

I ride the waves on my own Luna Sea
In a little moon boat
Built especially for me.

With no oars for a rowin'
The wind's now a blowin'
And where I am goin'
Where could I be?

All that I hear
Is wind of static in my ear
The dull howl of my fear
But no one can steer
Just me.

The Angel

strapping on the same metal wrappings he wore the night before
he jumped up turned around and slammed the outer door
swiping his glance across the dark passageway to the east
he fled to the ocean's northern shore.

simpletons and riff-raff alike line the streets
chanting their hatred kicking the earth with their feet
but today the insiders will flee
from the villages and idolatry
lamenting their impending defeat.

today the marshals of the sky will seek their destinies
far above the sun-faded canopies
above the land where light-blind beasts dwell
just this side of hell.

and the humanoids will return
with their androgynous machines
scorching the land with oil and burning steam
laying waste to all before them
removing the breath of life
from every living being.

where will we live
where will we go
what will we do
when the darkness turns cold?
what will we eat
what will we wear
what can we claim as ours
when everything is gone?

his was the mission of the angels
bring a spark to where no light exists
lift the oppressed above the drowning tide
let them breathe on their own
a ladder to climb.