Monthly Archives: June 2015
Certainly somebody should’ve reported the guy. He was out of control—running around nude in the woods. Viet Nam, I thought, you know, flashbacks. But no, he’s too young. Apparently it was some kind of regression to primitive camping. He says to the police, I’m getting in touch with me roots in time. He was killing squirrels with a slingshot, cooking on an open, non-permit fire. He agreed to wear a loin cloth of squirrel fur. But, the fire had to stop. You ask me he was eating them squirrels…raw. Gag me. Lord, what got into this guy. Turns out he’s got a wife and two kids in a condo up the hill and he is some kind of dot com guru who’s big rocket IPO fizzled on the pad. Faux millionaire. Probably burning stock certificates on his camp fires. That’s what worried the locals the most…fire…fair enough. Although it was fall…mist and chill in the air. I’m not trying to justify the primitive camper but I guess my neighbor whose backyard borders the woods…he’s got three young daughters who liked to play back there…but no more! He said he and his wife were terrified he’s a child molester…maybe blossoming serial killer. I demurred, respectfully; it’s an adaptation to loss. the loss of the contemporary. He thought he was a great hunter but he failed to bring home the kill. He’s trying to recover his manhood by retraining in our primitive past. I must say when I finished uttering my amateur diagnosis…the roomful of concerned neighbors stared at me like I’d just bitten off the head of a local squirrel and said it tastes like chicken. I smiled. Was I a candidate recruit for primitive camping, their eyes seemed to ask? Please!
Zoo. Ahead. Park here. Ticket. 3.50 each. Leaves. Trees. Kids. Adults. Parrots. Wallabies. Wildebeests. Gerbils. Cotton candy. Gorillas. Macaws. Porcupines. Snow leopards. Giraffes. Peacocks. Zookeepers. Bucket. Hose. Shovel. Bathrooms. Lions. Zebras. Camels. Wart hogs. Ostriches. Coyotes. Snakes. Prairie dogs. Monkeys. Baboons. Salamanders. Toucans. Eagle. Seagull. Peanuts. Butterfly. Donkey. Duck. Snack bar. Bench. Cigar. Trash. Garbage can. Thank you. Antelope. Tortoise. Pheasant. Owl. Bat. Ant. Toad. Frog. Newt. Cell phone. Clouds. Plane. Cars. Golf cart.
That’s enough of the zoo, he said. Can we go now? Pigeon. Squirrel. Raccoon. Mothers. Babies. Police. Open up now. Mr. Gate…time to go. Animals’ eyes in his back, “Don’t forget us!” Crying. Come back soon. Zoo. Fence. Park. Car. Depart.
Look, there’s a peacock in full feather. Quite a display. Like in the movies. Real life. Plankton. Bacteria. Wash your hands. Push. Open. Close. No exit. Zoo personnel only. Danger. Nursery. Sign here. Wear a mask. It’s just a standard precaution. Pull up your hood. Windy. We’ll come again. Soon. Sticky food. Snotty nose. Rams. Ibex. Wolverine. Wolf. Beetle. Worm. Tarantula. Hippo. Crocodile babies…Zoo.
Dr. Sock Monkey
Dr. Sock Monkey was a good listener. He said practically nothing during therapy. I didn’t mind of course. I had plenty to say. I liked the sound of my own gritty voice. I just refuse to have a name to tie me down; that way I can roam around the universe and be free.
Hey, I pay good money, and Dr. Sock Monkey listens, he’s the best in the business. He’s not really a sock monkey, but some kid he worked on years ago got his name a little confused…so he came to therapy and gave him his actual sock monkey. It’s not important if you don’t care about this cute story. Today, sock monkeys of many variations fill the doctor’s office and waiting room. Every patient, so very grateful for the relief of their psychic pain, eventually donates a sock monkey to the good doctor’s collection.
Once I asked Dr. Sock Monkey what will we all do when he dies?
He laughed and said perhaps most patients might gain as much value from talking to a doll—a stuffed sock!
I laughed too but later realized he was trying to divert my anxiety over death and loss, my intensely compressed nervousness, about the personal way Death stalks you…me…us…in the midst of life.
I wonder why I even look at the news. I can barely breathe, after the images of wretched death (here I will not disgust you with the power of morbid detail).
Dr. Sock Monkey is very patient with me. He laughs when I tell my stories of horrible diseases and bizarre fatal accidents…natural disasters as “acts of god”…
That’s what I really get to talk about…the nature of the Good, Bad and Ugly…God as Life and Death (the long arm agency of God…like a gunslinger)…and the vital questions of destiny and free will.
Dr. Sock Monkey welcomes me to each session every Friday with a friendly “how you feelin,” and I just rear back and spill my quivering guts to a room full of grinning monkeys.
Takes one to know one, I say, and the good Doctor chuckles.
If I Was Still Alive
Don’t even think about life much anymore. But if I was still alive, I’d have a damned fine day despite the rain, despite the depression, think of something you like doing and do it! Oh yes, you think you should sit around and mope, huh? No. Look, don’t wait for the peak moments. Create them. Now that I’m dead I can see all this. Folks wait too long, they go sour on themselves. I sang the blues too long, wasting sadness on myself.
Just for example, I used to hate bad weather. Say it’s a cold, damp day. You can build a fire and read your favorite book…or hey, start the day with a cold beer! Oh that’s a shocker in Peoria. Maybe there’s music or maybe you wanna lie in bed late on a Sunday, covers up to your nose. Maybe a long hot shower. Getting the picture. Make a list of things you wanna do, and then start doing them. Maybe there’s time for meditating, sitting around rocking on the porch, or driving your car, eating out, taking a walk in the park, calling a friend, girl, guy…or maybe sex…maybe work that in bright and early. More fun if you’re in timely tandem. Your choice. Make that happy list and do something for yourself. Uh huh.
As for me, if I was still alive, I’d have a great cup of coffee, a nice breakfast, then I’d take a drive, walk around, smoke a cigar, eye the pretty ladies…hmmm, nice lunch, yes sir! Read a good book and listen to music, maybe hang out with friends, watch some baseball on TV, love good conversation…and maybe end the night with a little romance. You know what I mean? Live, live everyday, every night, then when you get over here on the ghosty side, you’ll say like me, hey, I did pretty damned good. I hardly moped around at all. I enjoyed my precious human life to the full! Yes sir, I sucked the marrow outta them ribs!
Dappled gray light, spilling across the street where Tobias Farmer lived in comfortable seclusion. The time had come, the day was approaching, the letter was in the mail, all the signs were in place. The cistern out back had run dry, the weeds of summer were swept down, twisted in whirlpools of agony, flailing until now…yes, the clouds voted an opinion sympathetic with the general drift of things sui generis. The furnace ticked, the old dog rolled over and yawned and then, farted audibly in tuba register. My, my…retirement had its quaint moments, the energy of youth, the pulse of creativity, to jump to your feet and in a blind fury to spin round to the blasting music. Oh, that had been the case once…he himself a real flash point for all the quick-stepping firm young single women of his village, Lakeside, NY. Ontario’s blue waves lapping at the canoe as he asked Ginger or Edie to dance one more round. He had seen the old clubhouse bulldozed, replaced with a biotech lab years later, heard the crunch and splinter of old dance floor boards. He could still catch the rustle of their skirts; the laughter as they swept like flower corsages in bunches to the restroom. Tobias lit his pipe and his dog opened his eyes and watched the blue wreath of smoke circle his head, he gave a nose wiggle and sneezed gently in protest. An old widower at his leisure watching the gray afternoon December light fill the slow moving sky…and standing to his full height, Tobias Farmer motioned to his partner and swept slowly round the room.
[book available on amazon.com in kindle and paperback]