Monthly Archives: October 2013

Dryden – Absalom and Achitophel

“Great wits are sure to madness near allied,

And thin partitions do their bounds divide.”

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somewhere in brooklyn…(work in progress)

he sat at the bar waiting for his friend. restless fingers tapped the tall beer glass in front of him. he studied the bud lite logo intently for some seconds before taking a sip of his beer. Narragansett. he wasn’t much of a beer drinker but decided to take it easy that night. too much booze too many nights in a row was beginning to take its toll on him. if he wasn’t careful he’d plunge headlong into rampant alcoholism, as if he didn’t have enough problems.

he scanned the bar. it was sunday, not too many cared to patronize the place those nights. none but the unemployed or serious alcoholics. or ones with unusual work hours. there was the usual couple in a dark corner talking intensely to each other, oblivious to the world. the low candlelight illuminated the girl’s extremely animated face as she talked rapidly to her partner. she reminded him of a typewriter. click click click…click click click. that’s what she sounded like.

a few older men occupied several different spots at the bar, gazing intently at the football game on the tv right above the bar. he wasn’t too interested in sports himself. he was more of a reader. he pondered the allure of football. he had never felt the urge to either play it or watch it, it seemed rather a lot of unnecessary physical exertion. he wasn’t too fond of exerting himself in that way. mental exertion was more than enough.

he watched as the bartender filled another beer glass. the chocolate colored liquid emitted sticky sweet smell that dispersed and hung heavily in the air around him. he liked this bartender, charlie. he seemed as dark and brooding as the bar itself. he didn’t obtrude too often. charlie was more like an extension of the bar, his existence was bound to its fate. it had an air of welcome to the lonely and depressed. there were charcoal drawings of owls everywhere. apt given the name of the place, owl farm. it was black and brown, dimly lit and warm. he looked at the time. he expected his friend soon.

the bartender asked him if he wanted another. sure, why not? he had nothing to do but wait. the music blended with the general chatter and wrapped itself cozily about him. he felt outside of real life. here was a haven for the world weary. for the introverts and the restless. but here particularly was safe harbor for the heart-broken. he felt the familiar heaviness weigh him down. it was concentrated in his chest and like a parasite sucked him dry of the what little pleasure he had left in his life. he thought about her again. he pictured her slim arms that used to wrap themselves around his waist. she used to cling tightly to him as if she were afraid he’d float away. he pictured the warm smiling face gazing up at him from a faraway place. she seemed lost in her head sometimes and he could never figure out where it is she went.

sunday. he wondered what she was doing today. probably clinging to her new boyfriend. he sighed. memories of the past haunted him daily. he smiled in response as he pictured her talking to him about her writing. she could be a chatterbox sometimes but he liked that about her. she filled the silences that he couldn’t. he wondered where his friend was. he didn’t want to think about her anymore. all of a sudden he heard exclamations from some of the men. someone scored in the game. he looked up and noticed a dark haired girl walking in. alone. she was pretty. he might try to talk to her later. there was no hurry. he’ll probably be there for a while. he didn’t like sitting there alone but hated the awkwardness of talking to a stranger. he’ll be bolder with a few more drinks.

he’ll be fine once his friend gets there. he thought of reading a book while he was waiting but that might look odd. besides it would be hard to see in the dimly lit bar. maybe he could write something. he sat there pondering as he waved to the bartender for another drink. he wasn’t going to be very articulate. his thoughts strayed to the bartender who was currently focused on the game making casual remarks to a couple of the other patrons. brevity seemed his strong point. he probably wasn’t much for prolonged conversations. too bad.

the air got colder as the evening progressed. he stared at the candle and eyed the melted wax. and waited for his friend. he’ll probably be there soon.

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“Why Should We Weep For Those Who Die?” Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 WHY should we weep for those who die?
   They fall--their dust returns to dust;
 Their souls shall live eternally
   Within the mansions of the just.

 They die to live--they sink to rise,
   They leave this wretched mortal shore;
 But brighter suns and bluer skies
   Shall smile on them for evermore.

 Why should we sorrow for the dead?
   Our life on earth is but a span;                           
 They tread the path that all must tread,
   They die the common death of man.

 The noblest songster of the gale
   Must cease, when Winter's frowns appear;
 The reddest rose is wan and pale,
   When Autumn tints the changing year.

 The fairest flower on earth must fade,
   The brightest hopes on earth must die:
 Why should we mourn that man was made
   To droop on earth, but dwell on high?                      

 The soul, th' eternal soul, must reign
   In worlds devoid of pain or strife;
 Then why should mortal man complain
   Of death, which leads to happier life?

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I met the goddesses of hair once

And a woman who lost her son

She searched while they sang their dirge

He was lost in the recesses of their song

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October 7, 2013 · 2:07 pm

the man at the coffee shop

I watched him as I sipped my coffee from the stained white mug. I sat at a table placed on the sidewalk in front of the opening to the coffee shop. The sun glinted off the glass of water in front of me. The smoke from my cigarette lazily drifted away as I pondered this man. His short black hair was interspersed with gray and his back was slightly stooped, from the weight of his burdens maybe. He walked in silent stupefaction, as if the world didn’t exist for him. He wiped the counter clean, swept the floor, and refilled the sugar containers. The manager came over and yelled at him to work faster. He rushed to gather the garbage bins and disappeared through a door somewhere. His eyes had the lost look of a child without its mother. He would stop sometimes and wipe his brow and breathed a heavy sigh that gathered in my soul. I felt the oppressive weight of his tired existence. He wore a green apron stained with the dirt of injustice and ketchup. I wondered where he came from. Did he have a family to support and live for? Or was it just himself? A burden not worth the effort of carrying maybe. What were the burdens that we shared? I felt his hardship as if it were my own. I pictured a tiny apartment filled with objects of illusion. A television to wile away the lonesome hours spent in between care and worry. I saw him for many days measuring his life with each bin he emptied, with each vessel he filled. Was it just sugar that he poured into the jars? Was it his hopes that no longer sufficed or his dreams that were unfulfilled? He meekly obeyed the orders he was given as if the fight was no longer worth it. Maybe some days he wondered what the point of it all was. Or maybe he was a sleepwalker waiting for the day he would finally be awakened.

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Burns: O were my love yon Lilac fair

O were my love yon Lilac fair,
Wi’ purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,
When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d.

O gin my love were yon red rose,
That grows upon the castle wa’;
And I myself a drap o’ dew,
Into her bonie breast to fa’!
O there, beyond expression blest,
I’d feast on beauty a’ the night;
Seal’d on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fley’d awa by Phoebus’ light!

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directions to heaven

Are you going to god’s end of the year party? Didn’t he send you the link? You thought it was spam? Yeah he might be mad if you ask him to send it again. He’s not the most patient of men. Alright I’ll read it to you. You’ve got to go down a long winding road in the beginning. It’s kind of rough here and there but not so bad if you distract yourself with music or something. But be sure not to miss the signs. They’re kind of small and hard to spot. Some are pretty weathered and mighty hard to decipher. Some are big and bright but can be misleading and vague. Follow the ones I read to you and ignore the rest.You’ll see some other lost souls looking for directions on your way I’m sure. But they won’t trust that you know the way so they probably won’t ask. You’ll see them hovering along the side of the road staring intently at the maps searching for the route but getting all mixed up because the new map doesn’t make sense. The old ones are too old, since some new roads were paved to make the way there easier. If you lose the way just try to remember what I told you. Yeah, I went there once briefly. I was flattered by the invite so thought I’d check it out. He has a pretty neat garden but gets upset if you try to eat the fruits. He kicked someone out last time. Maybe he wanted to save them for someone special. Or maybe he doesn’t like it when you don’t follow directions. It was a pretty big house and all the serving men and women wore white, so did the guests. I guess it was a white party but no one had mentioned anything and I ended up being the only one in black. He must have been okay with it since he let me stay. He didn’t talk much, in fact he looked kinda irritated at first. But then he had some wine and a smile sprouted. I stayed for what seemed an eternity. Nothing much happened, just a lot of blank stares. People were kind of just standing around stiffly and listening to music that reminded me of elevator music. Maybe they were afraid to spill stuff on their clean white outfits, maybe they weren’t too sure what the party was about or how they should act there. I decided to slip out, unnoticed so I wouldn’t have to lie, and I found my way back here. The road was dark but I found my way back faster somehow. I’m not sure I’ll go to this party. I’m actually surprised about the invite. But I know I’ll probably get bored again. I think I’ll find another party to go to, maybe one where the host is a little more colorful. Remember, you have to go through the little town of Good Deeds right before you get there. And don’t forget to take a gift. You have to sacrifice a little to get into that party and stay there. Shows you care you know, after all, he’s throwing the party for you guys really.

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