Just Listen . . .

 

Ron is a big brother, one of several siblings whom he has helped to raise. Ron is now waiting for some paperwork to be completed so that he can collect Social Security and some other benefits.

At 67, Ron didn’t expect to find himself out on the streets. He’s worked all his life. I can believe it: his eyes and his speech this morning were absolutely clear.

Ron told me that few people ever stop to talk with him. And fewer, still, understand just how hard street life is right now, in this brutal cold. Last week, the tip of his left ring finger had to be amputated because of severe frostbite (I saw the evidence). And so many, he observed, are just one paycheck away from living this life (his words).

After five bucks passed between us, Ron assured me that if he can ever do anything for me to just let him know. And that I can find him back here, tomorrow, at the 34th Street entrance at Penn Station if I do need him.

We shook on it.

An “I love you” was directed my way as I climbed the steps to grab a taxi to my office downtown.

And it all happened in about a New York minute.

Just listen . . .

Peace

Copyright 2019

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The Distilled Soul

 

Even the distilled soul requires meaning and context and light – else it is truly no better than death.

But self slander is not the only usurper of our ultimate licitness. Sometimes, we condemn ourselves through misappropriated outrage and manufactured grief.

But truth demands nothing except recognition.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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Torment

 

The mind.

An accommodating hostage to chemical warfare in a winner take all battle for control over outcomes – ones never predictable, rarely desired.

Collateral damage today seems more unacknowledged objective than bearable side effect. And even intervention somewhere along the way became a cancerous common enemy with impressively bad timing.

Don’t believe the lies.

I’ll ask nothing more of you right now.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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The Winds Have Shifted

 

The winds have shifted, the night is closing in.

I am reminded of my boyhood. Days alternating between urgent release and listless defeat. It was easier, back then, to sift through the rubble of failure in search of whatever presumed lesson was waiting for me. And even when none existed, my imagination had no trouble fashioning one out of whole cloth.

The years since have learned quiet submission. Yet they still secretly mock the very contours of reality. And evenness and restraint have grown furious with the cost of it all. Who am I to stand in the way?

The winds have indeed shifted. But I will rage through the night.

Silence is no longer enough.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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Desperation’s Sharpest Edges

 

The first moments returning from the depths of desperation are the scariest of all.

Like the one who can no longer feel the weight of the cool, balanced handle and so sheaths the knife’s pristine edges within his naked and steady hand, he wants believe that the worst has passed. Yet now he openly questions the loyalty of his own depraved heart.

So where is our next approach, where is the next breach, in a world where deception and grace equally abound?

Desperation, it is said, is built upon the lies of our past.

But if our history doesn’t speak to us of absolute freedom, neither does it hold us in eternal bondage. We are free to ditch the lies and free to expose life’s grandest deceptions.

And we are freer, still, to blunt desperation’s sharpest and deadliest edges.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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Forbearance

 

Patience is such a lonely art.

The tangled imbalance of anxiety is a friendlier sort, pushing us back towards the people and the things that first carried us there. Where mindful disquiet will breach the deadly silence in our brains, true forbearance yet demands a forced stillness, an overpowering integrity of the soul. But neither is achievable through sheer flesh.

And mastery over our own transgressions is lonelier still, as vanity and shame tend to alternatively prevail. Leaving us little choice but to take refuge in the same false voices and imagined safe harbors that camouflage our distress.

Patience is indeed a lonely art. But one that still shapes and defines the very contours of our own humanity.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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Game Plans

 

Sorting through the garbage, he found one that fit.

Sure, the coat was badly ripped and frayed and soiled, but it fit. And it seemed to retain, on some level, a touch of elegance that he hadn’t been exposed to in quite some time.

Besides, it was cold and he would gladly have stolen it even if it were only just crappy.

His mind traced back several steps and his imagination settled on the face of its previous owner. An executive, perhaps? No, a sales rep. Maybe a doctor or a lawyer. Was he still alive? And was today’s good fortune part of some family member’s attempt to move on – a wife throwing out memories that had left her exhausted? A son unconsciously trying to settle some generational score?

He decided that none of it mattered. Not really.

Whatever ambitious game plans that it may have played a part in, even in its final moments, have long since passed.

Now, only a single purpose remained for it.

Just like its new owner.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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Name Something

 

The poets tell us that once you name something, you no longer truly possess it. As if the sun, soil, ego, even death, are things worthy enough to hold.

There is nothing coiled around our consciousness, nothing hard-wired within our brain, that can spare a moment’s relief from our own desperation and psychosis.

Yet love, unnamed and undeserved, is relentless in pursuit and unforgiving in its timing.

It unsettles everything.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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(I Am Not A Rock)

 

Because I can still touch, I am not alone

(I am not a rock)

Because I can still love, I am not split

(I am not a rock)

Because I can still move, I have not grown putrid

(I am not a rock)

Because I can still think, I am always afraid

(I am not a rock)

 

Peace

Copyright 2019

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What Remains

 

Lately, I find myself running out of fear.

What once paralyzed me from the inside out now more often evokes emotions both sublime and ridiculous. Not that I’ve resolved every last irritating question or found some perfect way to ignore them.

But the impassioned inquisition of youth has softened into a spectator’s curiosity, as if the reckoning at game’s end measured only winners and losers and not the breach into oblivion.

I recognize now that as the body surrenders, so too must the questions. Practicality compels it, exhaustion demands it.

Mostly, though, I’ve grown satisfied that the years have been more friend than foe. And what remains is sufficient to throttle any lingering fears.

No matter its measure.

Peace

Copyright 2018

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