In the Here and Now, or the Now and Then

Whether you’re in the here and now, or the now and then, suffering the awkwardness of adolescence, or in the deep meditation of old age; whether you’re anguished by the disunity of a missed opportunity, or pondering the possibilities of being able to have your cake and eat it; whether you were raised by wolves, or abandoned by luck, born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or a plastic spork in your ear; whether you’re on your deathbed, or in a newborn cradle, hounded by yowling cats or cat-called by dirty dogs; whether you’re caught up in a Kansas tornado or a California earthquake— make sure you’ve tamed the tigers of night before going to sleep.

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When Digging in Dark Gardens

The bullet or bottle offer no reprieve from pain. Pain is a stone offering nothing to slake one’s thirst or to lighten their load. Return, then, to the dream garden and clear away the rocks and weeds, all the dead efflorescence and nightmares that inhibit joy from flowing freely to its source. Dig down deep—beyond the stones, beyond the broken bottles and bullet casings—to discover what it is you cherish so deeply that its essence has compelled you to tend such dark gardens.

In the Kingdom of Roses and Crosses

To those who’ve served in wars, to those swept up in death’s parade while fighting at the battlefront of victory or loss, rest easy in your kingdom of roses and crosses. Rest easy in the knowledge that your selfless service is celebrated. Even the once voiceless tombstones—tongues in the mute mouths of extinction—sing your names. The blood you spilled is a blood pact with loyalty and integrity. Your bodies nurture the soil, give rise to more honorable and courageous flowers.

fatherly advice #17

it’s not wise to nuzzle the muzzle of a gun. it’s best not to practice electric guitar while standing in the bath. sometimes silence is golden, other times a ruckus makes for big bucks. wherever the compass of compassion tells you to go, follow. if you cook up a heaping helping of hogwash, you’ll have a mumbo jumbo jambalaya. don’t mistake the colors of the homeland security advisory system for skies after a rain, otherwise you’ll consider every rainbow to be a terrorist threat. if you eat your dinner with a tuning fork you’ll have a pitch perfect meal. if you speak only money, you’ll miss all the good things in life that are free.

Children Playing Chicken With Destiny

These daily White House insanities singing love songs to oblivion. All their cryptic sound-bites that are really dog whistles to racists. Bullets smuggled under their tongues when talking about how to make America great again. Hear the night wind howl. It’s the ghosts of our forefathers moaning how the Constitution has become a doormat at the front of Trump Tower. Truth & justice should trump that corrupt power. Compassion & promise should trump that disruptive power. I don’t want a world where our children, or our children’s children, are playing chicken with their lives, speeding towards some tragic destiny, wondering which one is gonna swerve first.

Optimism’s Abattoir

When fire becomes too hungry; when the dreamer’s eyes roll snake eyes; when evil cogs and faulty wiring transform Mother Teresa blessings into Torquemada stressings; when nouns no longer nurture and every person, place, thing, and idea we’ve ever cherished is stripped of its significance—this is when we revolt. This is when we refuse to become beasts of extinction. Things wither and die too soon when they never had a chance to be young at heart. Our optimism’s abattoir slaughters all savageries and sorrows, saves their bones for better wishes.

What the Three-Legged Dog Will Tell You if You Care to Ask It

Find the bullet-mauled mailbox, the books pulled from a bonfire, the heartstrong hero circling the drain of the last hoorah, the woman with a supernova smile, the uncrying man living in a spilled-milk mansion. Find the heads-up penny, the fulcrum between dishonor and dignity, the record playing backward, the three-legged dog running forward, the politician with the alphabet tattooed on her tongue who knows how to use it. Find them all, and they’ll say: “I don’t know what kinda sex some people are having these days, but it sure seems like a helluva lotta folks are suffering from sexually transmitted ignorance.”

In Consideration of Those Last Burdens Placed at Death’s Doorstep

Listen as another track plays shackleless on the funk-toothed jukebox. Witness joyful days move supple as laundry on a spring day clothesline. Better to join those days now than to lay any heavy regrets at death’s doorstep. Not to worry if your voice sounds more like broken glass and wilted flowers. Intoning oblivion’s interval on the musical scale doesn’t mean you cannot sing your way back into the light. Just like being quiet doesn’t mean you’re not alive. Just like being in mourning doesn’t mean you cannot shine your way back into morning.

By malice and man’s hand

the bullet finds its way to the gun. The bullet sleeps soundly in sulfur-stenched steel, dreaming of shattered bones and bullseyes, until it is awoken into the world of bloodsport. If only this could be a story told in reverse. Victims shedding lifelessness to, once again, step into the unbruised breath of the alive. The dark moons that are their eyes, brightening. The staticky radio waves that are their final words, grace singing. Death’s eternal gravity overpowered by love’s labor, rising.

Forget About It

Not on your life. Not even in another life. Not in a million years. Over my dead body. Nope. No can do. No siree. Not for all the tea in China. Thumbs down. Fat chance. N’uh-uh. Negative. Under no circumstances. Absolutely out of the question. Not possible. Nah. No. N to the O. Veto. Nix. Nixie. Not for Joe. Not on your Nelly. Not on your tintype. Nay. No way. No way, José. OK, wait. What was the question again?