MY SPIDER TALE

 

I look up, movement catching my eyeballs. There. Scurrying across the wall. A gigantic nightmare of a spider. Big. Big spider! It’s minding its own bee’s wax. It’s just boppin’ along, doing spider shit, in other words. Not trying to scare the bejesus out of me. Not that I am all that scared of spiders but still. The spider I watch has the dimensions of a horror movie arachnid. That is, to use modern parlance, a big-ass bug. Yes, I know a spider isn’t a bug, thanks. But we’re stupid now in America and proud of it for some reason, so…ahem. Let’s return to the precious retelling of my Spider Tale, shall we?

 

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Spider was, yes, that big. 

It makes its way to the shelves. The colors of this beastie are brown and gray; I wonder if the name is Charlotte. If you don’t get that reference, just a big hearty gol DARN it.

I cannot bring myself to load the rifle and take that spider out. I cannot turn into a good gal with gun; Wyetta Earp sleeps yet far in the corners of my Wild Or-ee-gone soul, curled up and waitin’ for action, a’course. That spider freezes when it notices me noticing it. We contemplate each other. No, Sirius-ly! I stared, the spider stared, we both stared. I also talked to that arachnid that probably wished my actual death.

Read the following in the same voice you talk to your pets or stuffed animals or pet rocks when you think no one is around: Hey, look at you. What are you doing, spider? No, go back up toward the ceiling. There you are! How would you solve the Middle East thing? Who gets a worse rap, spiders or clowns? Would you get behind a gritty reboot of the Twilight movies? Do you hang out with a pig named Wilbur? [Gol-DARN-it if you don’t get that. I just can’t. Shut my head. LOL.]

Some sort of lesson happens. I learn something. The spider learns something. Nature versus inertia. I get my camera and try to get pictures. Because I’m batshit crazy at this point in my life. I find real delight in a spider that obviously bathed in some nuclear waste. I had happy moments watching this small life trying to get from whatever point A was to Point B. There’s a clear trajectory for that spider, an arc. There’s a story there, surely!

And here’s the kicker.

I did not see where that spider went.

That spider could be anywhere.

That spider could be watching me, right now.

Wondering why I bothered it and pointed a little square at it. Perhaps sharing tales of the weird human with the other giant house spiders. Or the outside spiders that live in the rocks and trees and discarded bits of machinery.

My brain tells me to stop. It’s just a fucking spider!!! Arrrr!!! Are you going to turn some stupid spider into a billion-selling YA novel centering around a typical male character saving the day except you named him Marsha because it’s fashionable right now to have a female ‘heroine’? It’s cute! Oh look, a ‘strong’ female! That’s like hot ice and wonder snow and– SPIDER!

[Random cursing, bitter diatribe, more cursing.]

My my. Must read some positive memes and just cure myself of any modern malaises. Whee. Wahoo. Whoop a do.

I had a week. It was. Um. That spider delighted me. I ‘worked’ on my ‘zombie’ novel, experienced nature without leaving my seat, much, and tried to ignore the outside world.

Oh, hey, my book/s are on sale RIGHT NOW. Buy one or several. Thanks. Look at me, being all  Willy Loman!

There’s also a new poetry challenge to tackle! I see the words ‘Jesus’ and ‘ass-licking war dogs’ in my future!

Spider!!

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CROW PIE

 

 

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by Jude Collins

 

Welp. Yours truly got picked for that monthly poetry contest…not days after writing a bad unicorn poem. No, seer-eeee-us-lee! [Say that with a Valley Girl accent, m’kay?] The universe, man, it never gets tired of being the universe. My Mint in Pots piece, written for the August rush, got tapped. That little poetic ass got tapped hard. That’s for the prurient-minded.

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I feel like September handed me some gifts and I is not properly grateful. Which affects my grammar and balance! So. THANKS SEPTEMBER. I will sing and dance and shake  my moneymaker for your enjoyment later today.  Slurpy kisses and too-long, slightly moist hugs sent your way, dear September. 

The crust, for my CROW PIE, will be flaky yet dense. The crow is yet complaining it’s stuffed in a pie and the oven is broken. But damn, that pie will be consumed, hallelujah. 

 

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——–> Oh!! GO GET MY BOOKS. I have books now, for sale.  THE HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD. OREGON GOTHIC. <—————–

Go and mock me in a review, you know you want to. Or do an actual review.

Write– it’s got a nice beat and you can dance to it, four stars.

I dare someone to do that. If they do, I’ll…yeah, I’ll do something funky and mildly public.

Oh and some more crow pie to consume, while I’m being brutally honest…I fell and watched AHS last night. But!!! It was all the crazy Milo-wannabe [Koi Fish] slouching around like some third-rate Bond villain with bad hair and almost none of Sorethroaty! I really don’t think an American voter would cut their arm off to cast a vote for a president. We’d cut our arm off to vote for dancing or singing, sure! But a president or some other politician? It’s so cute when the writers on AHS get so idealistic! Cute, I tell ya. Cute!

Trigger Warning: Depictions of harmless pumpkins as country-destroying fuckballs of malice.

I also love, complete and total subject swing here, so hold on…how people are suddenly so PATRIOTIC. Especially when NFL players take a knee or link arms to protest police violence and racism and a host of other societal ills that are Making America Sick as Usual. MASU! And Pumpkincunt jumped into this fight with both feet in his dick-shaped mouth. If yer a red-blooded ‘murican, you’re ballz deep in this here fight already and knows allz abouts it. If you’re, say, Euro-other-country-not-Europe…well, you have your own worries with Sharia Law being enacted there and immigrants taking your good women and your bad jobs and making you all speak Spanish or something.

Oh and the latest attempts at making sure poor people just die as horribly as possible did not get a vote in the Senate or something. But like Freddy, Jason and those Alien critters, it will probably come back for many, many, many sequels…cause some rich people sure do hate poor people buying insulin and birth control or somethin’.

But did you see the Voice last night?? Jennifer Hudson is gonna be a HOOT. Adam and Blake are the cutest! Miley is a goddess! If you don’t vote, those singers might have to go back to waitressing and being poor and not having health insurance. God damn it!! Do you want that on your head???

Oh, also, Puerto Rico, pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Being ignored in favor of tweeting insults at…sigh. 

To sum up: right after I wrote a snarky poem, a somewhat okay poem of mine got selected. Crow pie for moi.

I fell and watched AHS, sigh!

I took two careless seconds to address both rampant racism and the truly ghastly health care system in my country.

I also included a PLUG FOR MY BOOKS, House on Clark Boulevard and Oregon Gothic. I begged, shamelessly so, for reviews and purchases of said books. I’ve tried cutesy, I’ve tried serious, so now I’m just tryin’.

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Oregon Gothic country. The Owyhees

 

The budding, grinning, drooling poet wannabe

 

 

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I know I’m posting too much this week. I know this. Whatever, lol, #MyBlogGetYourOwn

So!! As one or two of you might remember, there’s this monthly poetry contest where ‘they’ post an art-esque photo and you, the budding, grinning, drooling poet wannabe, write something in response to said photo.

This month’s proved a head-scratchin’ puzzler of an enigma wrapped in an elitist riddle. Trust me on this. It’s some random graffiti seen through a busted car window. Beige graffiti, at that. Such as an alt-right [I can be coy, too] troublemaker might do to make those fighting fascism look icky. There were no pretty roads under a summer sky to spark creativity and joy juices, nope! Or oddly drawn people looking vaguely sad, nope! Or soul-crushing stick figures performing happy dances over the bones of their ancestors, nope!

I’m supposed to make ‘art’ from that photo op.

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Not the artsy pic of the month. I repeat, not the artsy pic of the month.

 

Yeah, so, I did.

I wrote a poem about unicorns.

I sent off the first draft. I didn’t correct a word. I let it be. I let it plop from my inner art anus and flushed it into the toilet of submissions.

At times, I must burn like a rebellious little Dollar Store candle against the dying of my own light.

I also, in the cover letter/bio portion of my submission…wrote that the poem came by way of a mating between Charles Bukowski and Rod McKuen. Which was funny to me. Which is code for: even if you don’t laugh at how acutely funny I am, I’ve covered my tracks and covered my ass here. I also ended Mr. Blue’s Blues with a meme of a muscled, bearded guy in rainbow pants, who wears a unicorn hood. Because that picture CHEERS ME UP. I feel actual cheer. Someone went out in public in a getup normally reserved for furry meets clown meets private Republican golden showers play. [Which is funny to me. CYA, fellow babies]

 

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Bukowski! McKuen! It’s brilliant! I’m getting ‘poet’ tattooed on my dog now. So I can blame the dog when my brilliant, subversive, woke poem does not set the world on fire so much as get rejected in a polite, stiff form letter next month. It just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter…to quote from Meatballs.

 

 

Now. Hurricanes, wildfires, Pumpkincunt and its collection of servile minions…are the subtext of that poem below. CYA, babies, CYA. Because writing directly about such things coalesces into something rather like a giant block of FUCKING FUCKETY FUCK stuck on repeat into the four thousand word arena and ends with a picture of a daisy. So. 

With that build-up…HERE’S THE POEM!

MY UNICORN FANTASY

September brings us to rainbows and storms
and rain in the faces of impatient lovers
screaming as they smash worms
with their toes.

Dead worms and the juice of lovers,
no differences found.

A unicorn smashes a car window
with that phallic twisty horn
after writing coded graffiti
on the skins of hookers
called wives and girlfriends.

Julia called, she wants her boots back,
said Pam, before retweeting
a picture of a pretty horse
standing in a field.
Oh we’re broken up lol,
continues Pam.
I love horses, says Pam.
I love horses more than your
unicorn ass.

September brings
graffiti and rainbows.
Life is only for the positive
and happy-minded
could be the other take.
Julia wants her boots back
could have been
a wrong message.
Sadness floats by
like a drowning puppy
in a hurricane
they all said was faked
by the liberal Hollywood agenda.

Another broken window
and the happy unicorn
writes pornographic insults
because laughter
is better than modern medicine.

 

 

JUST TO HAVE A BIT OF CLOSURE– MY UNICORN POEM DID NOT SET THE POETICAL CHOOSERS ON FIRE, I’M AFRAID. It fizzled out like a wet fart in the winds of somewhere. I must live to drool another day. 

 

 

 

my broken blog poem

 

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my broken blog spoken poem

I think this one is broken/Or I should/ give in to my dark side and go write romance novels that/ end with everyone getting a chainsaw up/

their cooters.

Should we vote on this? vote vote/vote for nothing that matters that’s/ amazing and amazeballs

The next time I get some cold, hard cash/ I’m going to/ buy some vodka. Some cheap/ vodka/ And some cheap mixer. And some smokes. And then cut off /all my hair and glue it to the wall/ Because art, baby.

You are not welcome to join me/go get your own strychnine

and we’ll die in different rooms

totally

happy/that we’re drunk

and poisoned/watching cat videos

where the cat

dies.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

And Now For Something Poetical

 

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I’ve written some truly scathing and unquestionably bitter screams about politics and religion. This week alone saw me writing several wannabe blog posts and then, sensibly, putting them aside. Or perhaps not so sensibly, as sometimes a vent is just what I and others need, or else our inner volcanoes go all Krakatoa.

Sometimes just writing down those poisonous notions, then not sharing them with anyone, can be counted as actual productive writing time if I lie a lot. I might blend a few wannabe blog posts into some sort of truly razor-blade studded super-post, and not post that, either.

I find I need to rip some band aids off and let the bridges burn as they wish.

I’ve been a Cautious Cathy. Caution is fine, in Los Angeles, on the 405 South heading into Friday rush hour traffic, pretty shitty when you’re an ‘artist’ who allegedly is a truth-telling dynamo. As I’ve actually had to drive in Los Angeles rush hour traffic–OH MY FREAKING GOD YES IT REALLY IS THAT BAD THERE– it would behoove me to grit my teeth and creep forward with words as well.

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Ah, so. It’s July. I once again sent off a little trembling, dew-drenched set of words for a poetry challenge, as I do, just to keep beating myself up and to make sure those rejections pile up. So I, like Sylvia Plath, can admire my rejections as proof that I’ve done something. I wrote quite a few little blips, then decided on the following, because I…I just liked it.

DROPS OF THE SKY

I eat drops of the sky like candy
made in the ovens of
the gods.
That road before me
leads me to saviors
made of stones and
tangled grasses…
saviors who will offer me
a star-scarred night;
a careless gift
to enjoy
like a broken porcelain cup
full of dandelion wine.

 

 

Now!! Go outside and then come back in again. Go be indifferent to someone you don’t know. Eat something familiar. Cheers!

 

Mad Men and Madder Women

 

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from Soapblox.

INTRO:

I am sitting here listening to Metallica sing Turn the Page and wondering if I can write at all. Yep. One of those days.

PART ONE: SHITBILL MOANINGS

Oh and the contents of the Mitch McConnel Shitbill AKA Some Health Care Bill We Wrote To Make Obama Look Bad and Give Us Lots of Gold went out over the airwaves.

It seems to be, in a nutshell, take from the poorest, the sickest, those who were born with vaginas, the elderly, children, the mentally and physically disabled…and give all to the rich old white guys at the very tippy top.

I’ve heard ‘cruel’, ‘mean’, ‘sadistic’, etc applied to this fuckery. American health care has become a case of lords versus peasants. Where those set to lose the most argue in favor of losing everything so they can stick it to ‘libtards’. Where liberals stand around and wring their hands. Where standing up for things like justice and civil rights and land, air and water that’s not lethally polluted will ‘hurt your cause’…No, that’s not from Orwell’s 1984. That’s ‘advice’ for how liberals should proceed from now on…silent about all they see and playing nice to not get votes because of all the gerrymandering and…oh fuck. Oh. Oh, I understand now.

PART TWO: FASCISM 101

I understand now about Vichy. About why Germany under Hitler did what it did. Franco. Mussolini. Stalin. All the Big Daddies of Absolute Power.

That gradual weaning away of decency. That falling away of looking at each other as humans. That gradual demonization of the other. The shifting of those awful sands so that fighting against those taking up the reins for absolute power becomes an act of treason. So that willful blindness to corruption and greed and savagery becomes a merit badge. That Make America Great Again is code for Go Along with Everything We Do No Matter What.

A sneer that those whining elitists, they need to get jobs, lol. Marches? They don’t do anything, what are you marching for? LOL! Snowflakes! Find a safe space, snowflakes! SNOWFLAKES!  Vulgar nasty women! Our women are nice and pleasant! Just shut your goddamn mouths and sit your asses down, this is America! Support your president! Support your president, maybe we need to 2A your commie asses! Just get over it, just get over it, JUST GET OVER IT.

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PART THREE: BRIGHT SPOTS

There are bright spots, of course. Voices that ring like big glad bells through the muck and the mire. People laughing at this shit and then bringing a shovel to combat the mountains of bullshit. Journalists, senators, ordinary sorts. Comedians, oh, where would we be without satire and sharp-eyed noticers noticing publicly what’s going on.  Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers…

Artists and farmers. Hollywood elites and granny dragging her oxygen tank to protest the loss of her rights…the resistance. They are antidotes to the poison. They give me hope. They allow me to realize, this, too, shall pass. Except…Canada and Mexico might need to team up, invade us and restore a democratic government and teach us how democracy works in a few years. Though, all those nuclear warheads. Just waiting for Velveeta Jezus to aim them at something. Like Chicago. Or Los Angeles. Or Portland. Maybe a small group of soldiers will take down the clowns and Cana-Mexi troops won’t have to bother. We Americans…always waiting for heroes.

Which is our biggest problem.

We’re that Bonnie Tyler song about holding out for a hero until the morning light. We want our politicians to magically turn into saints. We want Bernie Sanders to become a grumpy St. Peter, we wanted Obama to become better than Jesus, we wanted…yeah, there’s a list. And when someone who’s the same color as a rotting cantaloupe makes the very promises you long to hear…of course you’d vote for it. You’d have voted for a rabid hyena on meth as long as it wasn’t Hilary.

PART FOUR: I FINALLY GET AROUND TO MAD MEN

Oh…girls, be careful. Act like ladies and keep those voices dulcet-toned and sweet. Never get old and never be too pretty yet don’t be too fat and ugly, either. Say just the right thing so no men get upset and yet let you run for office, how cute. Oh yeah, we don’t need feminism in the West. Of course not.

Remember, girls, be like those pleasing, do anything to please secretaries and wives in Mad Men, and keep your real selves for private. That’s what we learned from Hilary’s not getting elected despite winning the popular vote. From any other liberal gal running for office or already elected.

Don’t be nakedly ambitious, it’s not attractive! No pant suits! Don’t be grandma-aged! Yet act like a grandma, one of those nice Hallmark grandmas! Don’t be a threat, yet be strong yet bake cookies. And you must, now more than ever, gals…be attractive or no one will want to play with you.  But don’t be a slut or wear too much makeup or show a bra strap. Tee hee.

 

I’m sort of joking about that…sort of not joking at all. Nancy Pelosi is getting blamed and villified…instead of those who rig the elections and smear the crap and…ugh. Come on, gals!! Get those faces filled with Botox and say just the right words so no one notices much what you say. Oh fudge!! Did I get off-topic or what???

Me bad. LOL. Tee hee.

PART FIVE: THE BEGINNING OF THE END

I went from wanting to whimper about rejections, wondering if I could write at all, to, tee hee, discussing gender politics, ‘murican health care and Mad Men. Which I’ve been watching so it colors everything a bit. Yes, will have a smoke and some scotch with my egg salad sandwich at lunch today…I hate scotch, so no, I’ll be throwing back homemade dandelion wine. Which I also use to cure my cancer, which I think I have, because going to a doctor is kind of like planning a trip to the moon. A fantastical, far too expensive endeavor at this point in time.

Thank goodness I have a gun. Which I actually do. If my cancer–which I think I have, oh my quinoa and kale stuffed gluten free zita baked casserole!  I looked up some symptoms on this blog written by this woman who’s totally legit, she worked for a construction company, so she knows how evil and awful Big Pharma and all that is–my symptoms were almost listed there. I do have toes. I have toes!

So if my cancer gets out of hand, I can shoot those who don’t like ‘murica and get away with it, because I’m too mentally ill to stand trial. Yay!!! Being patriotic cures cancer!! You were right, Paul Ryan! Real patriots don’t get sick! They also die off before they burden others with their care!

PART SIX: CHICKENS DESERVE TO BE EATEN

Thank you, I’ll be here all year, try the chicken! [As eating baby calves, AKA veal, is unethical and cruel. But chickens deserve to be eaten, because they are evil socialist commie birds who oppose the wall that will save ‘murica.]

You can now return to browsing cat videos, porn and the latest conspiracy theories. My favorite one is that Obama is set to take over America from a secret mansion. Any. Day. Now. Yep! No, I didn’t make that up. I didn’t. I wish I had. I’d be a lot more famous. Sigh.

I really did start this off to be about writing. The nuts and bolts of trying to hold up under constant, relentless, unmerciful rejection while trying to stay positive and cheerful, at least in public. Can someone gently steer me back on track next time? I seem incapable of self-direction, have no steely resolve and go off the path more than poor Little Red Riding Hood. Maybe that’s a novel. Or a poem! Or an essay about a stream! Squirrel! Wasn’t that movie funny and who cried at that first part? Hands? Okay, now I’m just babbling, like a stream. A stream full of wet, bloated dreams. Oh. Oh!

ENDING: LEAVE EM HANGIN’

Yeah, I’m done. Oh, read where you’re supposed to end your blog posts with questions to engage readers. Let’s see…mmm. When you hatewatch Twilight, do you drink scotch or Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill? Asking for a friend. Thanks!

 

 

LITTLE FROG

 

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PART ONE: IN WHICH I FIND A SMALL FROG

Today, in the dog’s outside pool, a small, bewildered frog swam to and fro. I noticed it coming to the surface for a breath, then diving back down. What? An actual frog in a black tank of water? How did it get in there? Was it dropped there by some bird? Did it come off Jake, the big Lab, who uses that hard rubber cow tank full of rather scummy water, to cool off on hot days? I try to keep the water fresh. The water insists on evolving into an interesting little world despite my indifferent maintenance of that rubber pool.

That small frog. Floating about on the surface, clearly wondering how to get past that giant black wall.

So I made an executive decision. I scooped that little life up and popped it into a jar. Where that little life would travel a bit, safe and protected, to either the Warm Springs ditch just below the house or even to the Malheur River. Where it would slip beneath the brown waters and go where it wished. Clearly, the frog expected the worst. Why had it been moved from a relatively open and aquatic world to a tiny glass cylinder that perhaps still smelled of dandelion wine? The frog clung to the glass and then clung to the plastic as I transferred it, yet again, to a small lidded leftovers and small treasures container. What the hell, lady??

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PART TWO: A WALK WITH A VIEW

Molly went with me to the irrigation ditch below the house. We two walked down to the ditch bank, she sniffed every ground squirrel hole and waited for me to help her hunt. A storm brewed, the sky going from that pale blue to that bumpy bruised glory that is the cosmic visage in the western high desert skies during storms. That Big Sky Country that extends from Montana all the way into the mythic reaches of the Manly Mythical West. That spectacular display of raw, elemental power and a blend of blues, from robin’s egg aqua to Baba Yaga fierce navy eye color. I always imagined that famous witch with eyes so dark blue they seemed black until you got close for their tornado blue to skewer you.

Mr. Frog sloshed about.

The water ran very high. Flooding has been common since the ghastly amounts of snow transformed into actual lakes of water that overflowed banks, went over damn and wreaked an unmerry havoc even yet as I type this. A lone egg floated in the debris that had gathered around the flotsam around the opening that allowed the water to flow uninterrupted beneath the road. A white egg bobbing in the faint current. Perhaps a duck egg. I opened the container’s lid and gently poured Monsieur Froggy onto mud right above the surface. He tumbled, then leaped. Those long ridiculous amphibian legs, the small webbed feet. He sank beneath the water, I saw him for a moment and then, not even a ripple to mark a frog had been there.

PART THREE: STRAY THOUGHTS ON A SMALL FROG

Liberty. Liberty is a muddy farm ditch and water weeds throwing out long green locks to waver just beneath the surface like the locks of some shy mermaid.

Yes, I went out of my way to save a small, unimportant frog. I find I still fiercely care about the teeny lives that cross my path and need a bit of help or even a lift from a closed in dog pool to an open ditch where that life will take its chances with the local predators and accidents and fate itself alike. I find I am not yet numb. That as I write this and think of Manchester and Kabul and Portland, Oregon and Syria and…That I care. That something in my heart bleeds and stings. What can I do?

Love does not combat this hatred. The hatred of homegrown beasts, the hatred of not-homegrown beasts…their hatred is one and the same. Kill the other, kill the other, kill the other.  I’m afraid. That vast savage tide seems about to break over us again. When we forget those other vast savage tides that were only held back by…I don’t even know right now if they were held back at all. If those rancid tides just kept coming in to shores that secretly or not so secretly welcomed them with a promise that soon, soon…Soon, your time will come around again and some rough beast will slouch its way to Bethlehem already born and past ready to use its claws. Use them in a way we can’t recover from until the next bout of vast savage tide begins to gather postulants and the grinning faithful who have God and Truth on their side. I want to mouth the pretty bromides that love conquers hate, that love conquers hate but…it doesn’t. Hate waits and is patient and makes plans…love thinks it can win. Hate never gets tired but love grows old. And here we are again, on the brink of something truly ghastly, with only a few more little pushes to allow that tide to roll on in with a filthy happy sigh. We expect people to be decent. We expect them to care. We expect them to find charity toward those they’ve been told are subhuman garbage…we expect them to change and learn a lesson and magically stop being who they are. We expect them to stop hating. We expect. I’m afraid actual hatred doesn’t work that way at all; it’s not a movie where some life lesson is learned after…What rough beast slouches its way toward America to be born. What rough beast is already here. What rough beast.

PART FOUR: REGROUPING

I had started off this post to merely tell about a tiny slice of time taking a trapped frog to a ditch. Some bright, shallow, slightly amusing take on country life, small amphibians and a happy dog. I am not a sharer of my deep, tender, raw anything…I have been badly and at times, publicly, burned alive for it. With everyone laughing as I burned and writhed and tried to pretend I wasn’t melting in agony. I retreated to words. I retreated behind walls of words. The world bewilders and tires me. Sometimes the words flow, sometimes they remain limp and DOA on that poor page. I started off this post and thoughts got in my way.

I am perhaps at the lowest point in my life right now. I admit that. My thoughts fill with horrible things that feel so comforting. Shhh, just go away now. Shh, just slip away now. Shhh, it’s all right, just slip away now. That nearly endless refrain that never goes silent, that gentle chorus of the damned. But today, I helped a small, bewildered frog. I watched it sink beneath brown waters, into the wavering hair of the bright green water weeds. The dog, Molly, nearly stood on a small snake. I lifted an old board and there it was, the tongue flicking nervously in and out as it lay there curled up in a perfect circle, a tan snake, perhaps even a young rattler…or a young bull snake or a snake I’ve yet to name, hoping it would not have to escape from its comfortable little spot beneath that old, rotting board. I carefully put that board back down and Molly never saw the snake. I saw it. I crossed paths with a small frog today and a small, young snake. I did what I could and I tried to harm no one. That I still wish to help and harm no little life…

I don’t know if that means anything anymore.

PART FIVE: CONFESSIONAL 

Oh I didn’t mean for this to become confessional. To offer a glimpse of my cringing, naked, nearly dead soul. How far must I fall yet to climb back up…or am I not climbing back up this time around. And will I, like that small frog, sink beneath waters and pass from the story. I will not know his ending. He was trapped in that dog pool. I scooped him up and took him to the irrigation ditch. I let him go. He went. Is there a better small story than that? A story that ends with a bit of hope and mystery and a cool descent into unknown depths? Is it not a version of the Birth/Life/Death/Birth trope? I am nearly dreamless these days and breathing in the faint, still-lingering fumes of Hope and Ambition and Purpose. Hope is the worst. It kills by slow, awful, decades-long degrees…Hope is the thing with tiny razor blades, that perches in the soul.

PART SIX: THAT ROUGH BEAST HOPE

Hope is the thing that even that rough beast cannot devour. Hope is the thing even that vast savage tide can’t drown. Hope is that small, bewildered frog seeming to sigh with real happiness as it sank, sank, sank until I couldn’t see it anymore.

Maybe it’s not love that’s needed right now. Maybe it’s something far more ancient and resilient and malleable. Maybe it’s hope. Faith, love and hope, the greatest of these…is hope. Faith fades, love dies…but hope is idiotically, mindlessly eternal. Maybe it’s hope that conquers that tide starting to roll in. The notion that things cannot remain so dark and relentlessly grim and stark as shadows on a wall.

Hope is the thing with tiny razor blades, that perches in the soul.