The Time In Between

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East Coast Ira walks in the leaves of autumn.
They smell like fall.
They smell like frost.
They smell like change.

He travels from one ocean to the other,
but water is water and land is land.
Time is time,
but the time in between has slipped away.

He arrives in the last colors to fade with the sun.

It’s his face in the mirror, but not the way he remembers.
Better, maybe.
Sharper.
These days, it seems, are accelerated.

What’s out there pales in comparison to what’s in here
and seems to stretch into eternity, but just when he thought it would go on forever..
He hears her voice in a shell.
The time, the time is now.
She loves him, the Devil loves him and he remembers walking in the sand with her.
Here, to this spot where water is water and land is land
and the time in between has slipped away.

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Books About God

“It grieves me that you wake up frightened”, sayeth the book about god.

Does god grieve for my fear?

I don’t know.
How would I know?

But I do, wake up frightened that is.
Everyday.
Frightened that the hummingbirds will not come back.
Frightened that while the flowers bloomed and rejoiced in the sun, I looked away.
Hopeful petaled faces waited for me until they could wait no longer.
Frightened that I’ll never find the downbeat to live in real time.
Frightened that I won’t get what I want,
and frightened that I will.
Frightened that I would wake up in an empty space.

The book about god says there is no empty space.
This god novelist sure has got my number.

She knows what I know.

She wakes up in a pool of her own regret and terror.
Everyday she thinks something about this familiar dirty window is comforting.
Something about the dark recess of the house, where the air is still and the little dog sleeps, something about the smell of coffee in the morning seems like home.

But is it?

Is it the one and only,
or only one of many?

She knows what I know
and she still writes books about god.


Parables About Nothing

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He said I was savage.
He doesn’t know what that means.

***

A hermit was walking in the woods and came across a coral snake.

The snake had been bitten by a cat and was badly injured.

The hermit felt bad for snake and took it home to nurse it back to health.

Months passed and the snake healed but the hermit had become very attached to the snake in the meantime.

One day, while having some special time together, the snake bit the hermit in the face.

The hermit picked up a rock to crush the snake’s head and cried, “how could you?!?!”

The snake never blinked. “Why are you crying?,” it asked, “Everyone knows that snakes make bad pets.”

With rock still in hand, the hermit pondered this while the snake crawled back to it’s home in the woods.

***

I don’t know who is who in this story.

Actually, I do.

I am both of them.


The Dark Continent: On A Friday Morning

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In the morning I sit on my bed.

Sunlight blinds my left eye while the shadow of hummingbirds flicker like a silent movie in the window.

I read a book with my right eye and drink coffee from my cup.

Carl is next to me having his own experience of the morning. This is the quiet denial before the loud reality of daytime sets in.

Morning is the time of coffee and books and of writing stories in pencil.

“The things you like about me now,” I told him once, in the days before he was broken hearted, “will probably be the things you hate about me later.” By “later”, I meant now.

I don’t know if he was listening then but he seems disappointed in the way things turned out.

I know my time here is running short.

Life is waiting but it will not take me for its lover until I’ve had a shower.

I should get off the bed and go face the day but something I read this morning takes me back to The Dark Continent, where the cradle of life rocks back and forth to quiet its bitter children.

With star shine like sadness in the sky,
a lone beast runs with the thundering ghosts.

This is Africa now:
trophies and tusks.

On The Dark Continent a patient spider sits in the dwindling shade of a one leaf tree.

With eyes that see in all directions it sees itself; once a great predator, now a vacant exoskeleton.

A lifetime of bones and teeth fade into the dirt but from the mountain tops everything looks the same.


Stargazing

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East Coast Ira sits on the world, the star of a constellation he cannot see.

A blue dot in the eye of the serpent or an apple from the tree of knowledge.

He waits for the sign of the cross, searching for life in his lifetime.

Peace happens for eternity out there beyond the clouds.

The lay of the land is changed by the weather while the sun burns bright, even when he’s not looking.


The Edge

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I walked with Ira to the sea.

At the edge of the water,

or the edge of the sand,

“Out there”, he said, “is what we came here for.”


Midnight In The Ocean

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I played a song as long as the highway. Which lover are you, Jack Of Diamonds?

“It’s very sunny in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should put on a hat.” And he grinned at my bright idea.

Hundreds of miles passed me by, until pink jet trails scratched the sky, and minor chords welled up that would not be subdued.

“Your messenger is here”, he said, “watching me from the window.” East Coast Ira was brought up to believe that reptiles were not meant to roam free in the house but on this special occasion he let it slide. Red touches yellow… he thought, hmmm. “Don’t think that because you just now saw it means it wasn’t there the whole time”, I told him, “because after all, no one invented electricity.” He reached out to click off the lamp so we could be alone.

I pressed on until the the black highway met the black sky and Ira sat in a black chair like midnight in the ocean. “It’s dark in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should take off your hat.” And again he grinned at my bright idea.

“How fast are you moving?”, he wanted to know. “That all depends on your point of reference”, I said, but he had stopped listening.

I sat very still while the stars turned a circle and East Coast Ira began to shudder. Alone in the dark, but still observed, he found it very pleasing.

Just keep driving, I said to no one. Suspended in space and without concern, I considered the puzzles to which I was the missing piece and the various front doors that waited for me to come home.


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