jehovah’s witnesses at my door

jehovah witnesses knocked on my front door the other day.

two old ladies, sweet and pleasant,
with beautiful southern hats
were standing on my porch as
I opened the door.

hair disheveled, shirtless,
my tattooed body staring
at them.

they greeted me with nervous eyes
as they talked to me about their god.

they smiled, made small talk and
read their cherished scriptures
written by unknown authors.

soliciting their view of salvation.

it took all I had not to expose some of the
fallacies in their belief system.

it took all I had not to remind them that
being devoutly passionate in their beliefs
is not a measure of their accuracy.

but I was quiet. I let them read
and I politely took their pamphlet.
I gave them a thank you smile,
figuring nice people are better off
left alone in their fantasies.

as long as it gives them hope and meaning
in this circus of life, you know?

as they left, I shut my door,
tossed the paper into the trash
and headed out back to my patio.

I sat beside the dead ferns and the stale leaves
that had fallen from my backyard oak.

I subtly sipped my whiskey
and sucked in my version of salvation
through a cigar
and slowly exhaled it out to the gods.

and as I sat back,
trying to find my place in the book I was reading,
my mind wandered and
I caught myself recklessly
bleeding nonsensical thoughts on
fate, eternity and immortality.

damn those sweet old ladies,

they got me.

untrodden

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there are no paths
that lead to truth.
that’s the splendor
and beauty of it. truth has
no set path. no absolute.
truth is alive, living,
breathing, meandering
through our cells, penetrating
our dreams. it doesn’t rest under
the roofs of mosques,
or temples
or churches.
it doesn’t die
in bitter hearts
or suffocate
in closed minds.
the truth is alive,
chaotically so,
and will continue to
thrive, whether we
want it to or not.
let it fill you with
vigor and passion
let it lead you
to say yes to it all.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

henri-de-toulouse-lautrec

Moonlit nights in Paris,
the artist, tiny, staggering through
streets, dragging along
an easel
he was to set up
in the Parisian brothels
to bring a light of humanity
to these gals of the night
that was rarely seen.

The wind, tainted
with the vices of the gutter,
splashed his face as he made his way.

And the thieves, pimps and
street-walkers lurked at all hours
of the seedy night.

The artist strolled on through.

Saturated with drink, 4 day
binge, no sleep
living out the fate that he’d excepted
long ago.

His paintings captured
the bohemian nights in Paris,
the afterhours
of the most essential era for art
and artists.

The glory of 19th century Paris,
he captured beautifully.

But the whores, alcohol
and madness
finally got the best of
this postimpressionist
genius.

As it usually does.

Dying in the arms of his mother
at only 36 years old
under the blazing sun.

The sun,
which he’d spent most
of his
short days
days cursing.

glory, gone

i sniffed at the smell of glory today
it found me by surprise.
once I acknowledged it
it faded into the sky
forever away
from where i was.
i find that nothing has changed
i’m still sitting in my garage
at midnight, smoking cigars
and sipping whiskey
trying to figure out something
to write. the agony still lurks
just like desire
just like the owl
in the backyard oak
just like the chaos
i seem to adore
just like the moonlight
over the graveyard
just like tomorrow’s hangover
that’ll surely greet me
i accept it all

old man, rage

he’s 86 years old.
frail and weak in a hospital gown
depleted of long-term hope,
settles for the paradise of tomorrow.

tomorrow, oh tomorrow, what a beautiful idea.
tomorrow, now scarce, has never been more
beloved by the old man. never really thought about.

it’s when things become limited
that they’re truly appreciated.

tap tap tap

the doctor, young, oh so young, and vibrant
walks in his room, puts the charts up
on the wall and begins.

he tells the old man that he has a leaky heart valve.
it needs to be fixed.
or he only has months to live.
the doctor tells him,
make no mistake, this surgery is high risk
due to its invasiveness and your age,
but I think it’s a risk that is worth taking.

it is up to you.

the old man, tired, tired of hospital visits, doctors, bad news,
just so tired, sits back and looks out the window.
it is a pleasant fall day. he watches the commotion
of life out there,
and it was beautiful. he pictured himself,
sitting under an oak in the shade of a sunlit day,
as he often loved to do, sipping his coffee
and smoking his cigar.

just one more day.

Oh, just to see those crazy squirrels
run all around and to hear those annoying birds.

just one more time.

just to watch one more ballgame or to
hear the beautiful voice of george jones.
that’s all he wanted. he was man with
nothing left but memories. and he lived in them,
fully, and only occasionally did he come back.
circumstances like this forced him back,
and he loathed it.

his sad, bloodshot eyes had seen the death of siblings,
two wives and a daughter. they’ve seen war and all its agony.
they’ve seen love and love lost.

he was an eyewitness during the
most tragically beautiful century in history,
in all its glory
and in all its depravity.

oh, how he had guts in youth.
in the hills of West Virginia,
the women, the drinking, life, the future.
he lives in these memories.
he was happy once.

and now he’s reduced to a choice. a hard one too.
risk dying now for a little longer life,
or take no risk now,
and take death on.

what a choice.

he’s a man who hadn’t taken many
risks in life. he was content with
the average, the routine.

and now,
after the risks were weighed and pondered.
the ultimate choice was finally decided.

the old man, sitting upright in the
hospital bed, sipping his coffee,
peeking out the window of eternity
chose not to go gently into
that good night. he chose to rage,
rage against the dying of the light.

there’s still a little more
coffee in that mug,
a little more smoke
left on that cigar.

rage. rage.

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the plague of obedience

The biggest tragedy of the 20th century
wasn’t the World Wars, or Hitlerism, Nazism,
Stalinism or Leninism. Those were just symptoms.
The biggest tragedy was obedience.
Totalitarian regimes can’t exist
if people refuse to seek political solutions
for their problems. Millions wouldn’t
have been slaughtered if soldiers
and police would’ve rejected orders
from their political masters. Obedience,
if you think about it,
is not a virtue at all.
It’s a plague
that has been the root of everything evil
in the last 100 years. What folks didn’t
understand back then, as we don’t today,
is that despotism and power can easily
be crushed if only people refuse
to offer their consent to be governed
by anyone except themselves.
Radical idea, right?