Building God

There’s a god in a building, just down from where I used to live.  He is going to get worshiped about twenty minutes from now.  I’m pretty sure he’s in there, because I see his people come and go, but they never let him out, at least not when I’m around.  Those people are a little different from me, so I figure that god  has a specific “type.”  Then there’s those folks at that other place; they did their building thing yesterday.  They like to take their god everywhere, so I’ve met that one.  He’s pretty old – the cranky kind – and he likes to talk about things we shouldn’t do all the time.  I don’t think he REALLY gets out much, because if he met other kinds of people in this world, he might like to discuss some other topics and, y’know – sort of mix it up a bit.

I met God in a bar once.  He told me a funny joke – clean and hilarious.  Later he told me I should really take better care of myself, and do more things that would make me the good kind of proud.  That was after we’d talked about life in general for a while.  I had to agree with him at that point.  Next morning I had such a hangover.  But instead of cursing myself for being an idiot, I rolled over and hugged my Bible.  I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.

He’s not always in the bars though, in case you go looking.  I’m sure he can be found in other buildings with the various names for God.  Just don’t pin him to a time or people.  He likes to spread out and get real close.  I enjoy our talks much more when I’m clear headed and healthy.  He likes to smile though good-hearted people, and (for real) He likes long walks, and just sitting and being quiet together.  I especially like it when he writes to me in all kind of ways.  Just the other day I read something that make me smile at another aspect of His kind of love.  Better than rocket-fuel that stuff.

I think people get afraid of different ideas about God and that’s why they stay in their buildings at specific times on specific days.  “IT IS WRITTEN, PERIOD EXCLAMATION POINT.”  I get that in a variety of ways from the building people.  Reminds me of those teachers who didn’t like us to interpret poetry differently from the most commonly held traditions.  I mean, I understand that red is red, like apples.  Except there are some that are green, y’know?  I don’t claim those “grapples” where some people developed a way to infuse apples with grape taste.  What – did they mess with the fruit DNA or something?  I’m not in favor of that with God’s character.  Shouldn’t try and mix too many human traits and opinions with a Creator like mixing fruit DNA or something.  Grapes and apples don’t even grow on the same kind of thing.  I wonder if there’s a lab in some of those buildings.

I should backtrack a little here and explain that I don’t tell this stuff to many people either.  Plus there’s the fact that we humans have a hard time describing living, sentient beings without using human terms.  We do it with our pets.  I even did it with God in this same essay.  So I’m really not much different from those building folks.  In fact, some of my favorite pals are building people – and sometimes, when the timing is right, I can see we share a little piece of His character in something we say or more usually – something we do.  That’s like finding a twenty in the pages of a book for my attitude and demeanor when it happens.  God is such a poet.


Estate Sale

The house smelled like cat urine and mildew.  The estate sale had been picked through pretty thoroughly.  She could tell they might have found something of a treasure … a steal … if only they’d come to this one first.  But it wasn’t a video game, she reminded herself, and there was no level up or missed easter egg.
She found an old pencil sharpener like what she remembered from grade school – the kind that had a rubber bottom and a lever so you could “seal” it to the flat surface.  One dollar – it was marked.  And the wall map of the continental united states rolled up next to it was only a quarter.  “What are the odds of that?” she thought.  She found Grady and rambled around behind her, keeping her finds well in sight of whomever might be in charge of sales.  She didn’t know why, but she always felt worried about that – like someone was going to run after her and firmly say, “Excuse me – but you have to pay for that.”  She’d had people crowd around her half naked body with flashlights before, but somehow this scenario seemed even more mortifying than that.  Ironic.”Look at this.  I love this…” Grady said.  She motioned to a appalling rendition of an upturned hand.  The sculpture was done in white mortar or plaster and was grossly disproportionate.  She didn’t respond, didn’t make a face.  “Only I think it would be nice if it were your hand.”  Grady smiled sweetly and reached to stroke her arm.  A wave of emotion rolled from Malone’s gut and prickled the hair on her head.  Damn, she loved this woman.


Flickr - moses namkung - Dan Deacon 2
He sings into the microphone and tries to look out over the crowd equally.  But she has a lasso on his eyes and he wants to wail the words only to her.  His guitar feels heavier in his hands looking at her.  He imagines her body in his arms, her arms – the strap around his neck.  His fingers hold the fret and feel her pulse.  His fingers strum the seam line on the side of her hips.

He closes his eyes and remembers the last time they made love.  It was the same morning she left him, blood on his hands and tears tattooed on his soul.  The bridge arrives and he opens his eyes.  The crowd expands and contracts like a breathing animal and has swallowed her entirely in the time he took to reminisce.    His guitar becomes a rifle and he wants to aim into the mindless mass of fans and avenge her.  But he just keeps scratching the magazine and gripping the barrel.  A sea of eyes openly adores him while he preaches love into their ears, wishes them all gone, wills the reappearance of just one.  Hate fills him and he can’t understand its origin.  But the intensity – he understands the intensity.


Love Liebe 1You – who take me into the wilds of life and show me sunlight on a tree-hidden lake.  You – who reads me tiny of your conflicted soul and shares me tears from your tender love.  You – with your pillow swept hair and hard-earned freckles.  I love you.

I drifted in near wakefulness while still nestled in your lingering warmth.  And you came to me, curled up to me, and asked me.  Such tingles traveled from my ear to my neck, where you kissed me and planted your wet eyes.  It traveled to my muscles and rolled round my heart, electrified my back and legs and I had to stretch that morning stretch.

You – who bandage my fiscals and cover my scars, you water my passions and snip my anger, and you cook me sustenance and talk to me of spiritual things – the question was answered before it was asked.

Yes, Lavie.  I will marry you.


Photo by böhringer friedrich (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Stale Mate Pleading

You iron neck-clasper. 
You heart-thumping tasker.
Indifferent to yearning,
your constant page turning
gives no pause for rest - 
just unending test.

Tick off, Time! You bat out of hell;
You thoughtless vulgarity
trolling the bell!

Be gone, Time! And leave us to dwell
in transparent void fabric,
fondling the quell.

Cease fire, Time! The war to a close,
a permanent armistice, 
"little while" froze.

Yet now we are stalling
our possibles lulling.
This present now lasting
our longing now fasting.
This moment relates 
no past/future fates.

Noble Time, be our friend.
Slow your tock, physics bend.
Give us hum, Beating Drum.
Let us dance to your strum.
Change your race to a walk;
feel the sun; have a talk.

Whisper sweet nothings into our ears -
find adoration stroking your years.

I wanted to capture how we have such a love-hate relationship with time.  We stress over deadlines and regret how much it takes from us in the form of moments we wish we could spend cherishing a little longer.  Yet we need it to appreciate moments, to strive for better moments; and we wouldn’t seek to improve the quality of our time if we were trapped in a vacuum … even if that bubble was a “time-loop” that let us enjoy the best memory or most enjoyable time we’ve ever had.  Then there’s the traditional fear of “what am I missing, being caught up in this cycle of sleep, work, home, sleep, work, home.

Get this!  I went looking for a picture or a video that could symbolize this stream of thought and I found better!  Jazz is the perfect music to capture this thread.  And the artists that put Maurice Brown’s video together present this point perfectly!  Enjoy!


Maurice Brown “Time Tick Tock” from RESONANT PICTURES on Vimeo.

Eight Seconds

The incessant engine humming, no – more of a roaring moan, will probably echo in my head for hours after I land.  That guy looks as nervous as I feel.  “We can do this, Joe!”  Yeah, that smile looks totally forced, but thumbs up buddy.

I can’t imagine this would be very comfortable without these packs on our backs.  Makes a good spot for resting my head while we wait to reach altitude over the jump zone.  Oh, wow.  Stomach isn’t having that right now.  Better sit up and think happy thoughts.  This helmet feels tighter all of a sudden.  Let’s do an equipment check again to get my mind right.  Yep … check, check.  This harness itches right here.  Heck, I’d wear a suit of armor if they guaranteed me nothing bad would happen.

Oh, Lord.  They’re moving around up there.  Okay.  Okay.  It’s happening.  Stand up.  Shuffle forward.  Here we go.  Please, God, I know the doc said six to eight months.  But I really think I want all of it I can get.  Let me make this jump okay, please?

“What? … Oh, yes.  Yes, have it right here.  Okay.  Yes, I count the seconds and then pull this.  Right.  This one for back up.  Got it.  Yep.  … Where? … Oh God … yep … okay.”

That wind is not at strong as it was last time.  I could practically fall out here.  My finger tips are probably going to be bruised as tight as I’m gripping this door.  Not looking down yet.  Not looking down.  I wish he’d just push me out.  Oh man, he’s saying it.  Here I go.

“YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!”  Be a starfish and count you dumbass!  Shit.  I’m falling.  This is great!  I’m probably at ten seconds.  Okay.  11-one thousand … 12-one thousand … 13-one thousand … 14-one thousand … I can’t wait to tell everyone I’ve been doing this.  17-one thousand … 18-one thousand … 19-one thousand … I wonder how many people are out of the plane so far.   24-one thousand … 25-one thousand … feels so freeing, not like the first few jumps.  28-one thousand … 29-one thousand … 30-one thousand … all I could think about was whether my chute would open, how tight the harness felt, and how much my eyes were watering (even with the goggles on).  All that in just three seconds.

Wow … 35-one thousand …36-one thousand … it’s like google earth in person.  Zooming in people!  Zooming in!  40-one thousand … 41-one thousand … screw cancer … 42-one thousand … 43-one thousand … I’ll buy Katherine a huge diamond ring before I tell her so she doesn’t argue about saving the money for the medical bills … 46-one thousand … 47-one thousand … I’ll write that book I’ve been messing around about for all these years, and … 50-one thousand … I’ll tell my brother I’m sorry … 52-one thousand … and as it turns out she’ll be available again in 6 – 8 months, dude … 54-one thousand … ouch, that chuckle hurt with all this air flow slapping into me under this pack.  57-one thousand … almost … 58-one thousand … reaching …59-one thousand … here goes, brace for whiplash.

No.  What is this?  Some kind of test?  No, no, no!  Steps!  Follow the steps!  There’s time.  There’s time.  Look – you’re still above 1000.  Do the steps.  What the … I don’t think it’s supposed to look like that.  The line is too messed up.  Stop panicking; I can’t believe this is happening.  Not fixable … right … okay.  Next.

Reach to the right – there it is.  Got it.  Now find the left – got it.  Arching back, pulling … damn this thing is hard … pull that thing.  Okay there it went.  Main chute cut.  There it goes.  Damn.  Pull left!  Pull!  C’mon dammit.  This is NOT happening!  God please!  Is anyone coming to help me.  Do they see me?  Wait – where is everyone?  Flatten … stretch … fall slower.  What was I thinking?  What was this supposed to do for me when I had this idea?  Confidence.  I was supposed to get some strength to face the cancer.


By Degrer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m gonna’ die.  No one can help me.  The reserve won’t open.  I’m almost at 1000 feet.  What was it they said then?  About 7 or 8 seconds.  Far cry from 6 – 8 months.  Maybe I should have told Katherine.  Will Doc Peters tell her now?  Oh no – will the insurance cover this?  Glad we have the supplemental and the savings.  She can always sell the other house too.   God, thanks for giving me Katherine before this.

Dave will figure it out.  Maybe he’ll read my papers and get the apology he’s been needing.  Katherine’s strong, she and the kids will be okay.  Oh, please Lord, don’t let this hurt.   Let it be quick when I hit.  Maybe even finish me before I hit?  Please don’t let it hurt.

Maybe that’s the best thing.  No weeks or months wasting away in front of everyone.  No long term pain deadened by the drugs.  Guess I’ll never know what smoking pot feels like now.  Focus – 1000 feet.  Close your eyes.

The smell of grandma’s house.  Mom’s lasagna.  The look Jesse gave me, smiling eyes and tongue hanging out with joy, whenever I’d play ball with her.  The waves crashing in rhythm on the beach.  Sun shining.  Our first kiss.  She knows me.  Katherine holding Jamal.  Lunch together in the tree-house, spying on Ayesha and Tim next door until they spotted us.  All of us giggling so hard it made tree-house shake.  Katherine’s face when I pulled up on Tom’s motorcycle.  Jamal scraping his knee the first time, I was his hero.  I love you guys.  That time whe


I needed to post content hurriedly this morning and didn’t have time to edit this.  I will touch up any grammar/spelling issues in the coming days.  This started as a response to a writing exercise called “Epiphany” in Brian Kiteley’s The 3 A.M. Epiphany.  I cheated a little and then went rogue.  I also got the idea for the ending from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars where the main character talks about how her favorite book ends.  I recommend both books.

China Jenny

History is almost always better than fiction.  And historic fiction, when done with respect for the actual history, is one of my favorite genres.  Actually, it’s very difficult for me to pick a favorite genre, but for your sake, dear reader, I’ll keep it on point here.

I recently discovered this precious little book – And Five Were Hanged.  It appears to have been compiled from oral histories as well as typical historical research via dissertations, and publications.  Fragmented tidbits of historical reminiscences are scattered throughout.  On Page seven I read:

When they weren’t busy mining, the Chinese men loved to gamble.  Not all of their stakes involved money.  The story is told of a Chinaman who owned a gambling place where his Chinese wife, China Jenny, dealt the cards.  She had the reputation of dealing them quicker than an eye could see.  One day as the Chinaman gambled with a white man named Joe, bad luck seemed to follow the oriental and he soon lost all his money.  With nothing left for stakes, he became quite desperate and, seeing his wife sitting cross-legged on a table, decided to put her up as stakes.  He couldn’t bear to part with her so bet only half interest in his wife.  But alas, luck was not with him and he again lost.  Old-timers remember that China Jenny lived one week with her husband and the next week with Joe. (p. 7-8)

As I read that, several things struck me.  The book was written in 1968, right at the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement, and much of the labeling reflects that.  The author refers to people as “Chinaman,” “Mullato,” “Indians,” and “Orientals.”  Interestingly, these labels are even used when the subject is revered, or a prominent member of society.  And, of course, among other things, the most glaring is the fact that women were treated as property, even talented and well-thought-of women.  This story stayed with me for weeks.  China Jenny was named, as was the presumably Caucasian Joe.  Jenny’s husband was not.  This was the only justice to this story for me.  Here follows my attempt at historic fiction.  Please let me know what you think.

China Jenny Wins the Pot

“Maybe I deal cawds in yo fava,” said China Jenny as Joe kicked off his boots.  “You no be so shu-wah.”

“Ahm sure o’ one thang – yer half with mey an it works good. Nah I dunna hevta steal you away when I need it.”

“You big haawt – so kine,” and anger dripped from her words as she pulled her skirt back on and turned her back on him.  Joe grabbed her arm, his thumb digging into her bicep as he spun her around to face his wrath. But this time Jenny used the force of his motion to bring her other arm around full force and planted her palm squarely on the side of his head.  As the contact sent a sharp cracking sound resounding in the one room shack he lived in, his face responded accordingly, twisting sideways with spittle flying in an arch through the air as he released her arm and tried and catch his balance.

Time slowed from the shock at this turn of events.  And suddenly Jenny turned her back on him again, grabbed her furs, and stormed outside.  She somehow wasn’t afraid of his brutality this time.  This time she was confused at her anger over this cruel man not loving her like she loved him.  She didn’t understand how she could love such a man, but she could see that her violence toward him was a new thing – spawning not from self-defense or latent fury at his past treatment of her.  She realized that striking him had come from a place inside her heart, a strange and harmful place that wanted him to possess her fully without forcing her to be taken.  She wanted him to wish he’d won her for all time, and not have to share her with another man. And it was this realization that frightened her and made her begin to loathe him less and herself more.  Her heart sank when he didn’t demand that her husband bet her all-in against the pot.  She lived in a time and place where no one questioned betting the use of her body every other week and she didn’t think to resent that fact.  Instead, she resented that this man, with whom she had been with many times before willingly and sometimes unwillingly, didn’t want her fully.

In the seconds it took for her to leave, Joe realized that he could have forced her to stay.  He could have taken her as he’d done several times before, with her arms and legs flailing and her face turning puffy from his blows before she finally was subdued to his power over her. As he turned to follow her out, her words sank into his skull, and he understood her.  It was the first time he had actually heard her, and he felt like he had lost something.  If he had ever truly reigned in some small way in this relentless hellhole of a town on the edge of a biting wilderness, the tables had turned.  She now ruled him.

He didn’t understand and wasn’t the type to analyze it further.  But Joe had not actually meant to overpower her those times.  He’d wanted someone to love him like he’d never been loved before.  He’d been raised by two farmers who cared only for how strong he grew and whether he’d done his chores and the crop was coming along.  Their treatment of him had been civil when the weather was good, but it wasn’t only the crops that suffered from the occasional drought. With her words and the force of her hand to drive the point home, his position toward her had changed.

He threw some wood into the stove and put some water on for coffee.  The emptiness inside him was all too familiar.  It wasn’t the all-too-common hunger pains they all suffered in that region.  It was something else.  The new immigration law and townsfolk’s predisposition made it clear that he could never keep her past the every other week wager he’d won.  Still, he found himself longing for her to come back, to touch the redness on his face, and kiss it.


she looks into me
        and speaks herself

she dreams me full

she blushes me timid

she smiles me happy

she resets me patient

she scares me furious
            … but sweet

inside somewhere i'm white
                as a sheet

but …

she holds me static

her skin tingles me
her heart pounds me
her push pulls me
my want reaches
                    for she.

Church-Lady Perfume

A stench that was once a curiosity – old fashioned “church lady” perfume.  Of course that’s a fragment, but so is the memory.  I recall a tiny, smooth bottle with a glass stopper, filled with what would become two dissonant memories. Continue reading

Tea Time with Idaho Indians

This past week I had tea over at the independently owned grocery store.  Not the “heat your water and throw your tea bag in there” kind of tea.  I had the “British Empire leaves India but the tradition still remains” kind of tea.  My new friends Ekaraj and Mishti, the husband and wife that own the place, had extended an open invitation to the store at 4pm, just about any day, when they host tea time. Continue reading

that thing

i sit here thinking, trying to write
and worry what i’m scrawling won’t sound right.
flowers and tingles and rhymes and such
never end up amounting to much.

i could tell you i love you but i always do.
i could use cliche and sunshine describing you.
i could write about heartbeats, breathing, and flight,
or miracles, blessings, devotion, and fright … Continue reading