Friday’s Theme Music

Today’s was a direct and simple connection between walking, thinking, and my theme music.

Thinking about time, I was walking through some low humidity, ninety degree sunshine. Across the valley was clear from my vantage. It was its typical summer brown, the green baked away, a striking but depressing tableau under a crystal blue sky. With that vision of heat and dryness dancing with memories of wildfires from the last five years, I hoped for rain.

The opening words that Sting sings from “Desert Rose”, a duet with Cheb Mami (2000), rose in voice in my mind.

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand



Something Fundamental

His head was down against the silvery sunshine heat. Walking along, he looked up to orient his course and spotted Doctor Frank further up the white cement sidewalk.

He literally froze where he was. His heart beat – he felt it – but a shocked stupor held him stiff. Doctor Frank had died two months before. This had to be a doppelganger. He’d heard or read that everyone has an exact replica of themselves elsewhere on the world. This was the most perfect one he’d ever seen. The man was just like Doctor Frank, the biologist, in every aspect from his impish, good-natured expression, gray and white beard, and slender-as-a-broom frame to the outdoor pants, boots, and vest that were Doctor Frank’s regular attire, including the forest green bush hat.

He snapped out of it. The result put him up the sidewalk past where he’d spotted Doctor Frank, as if he’d never stopped. His head swooned. Pausing to regain control of his senses, he saw Q across the street, waiting to cross.

Now that was fucking impossible. Q’d died four years ago. Like Doctor Frank, doppelganger Q was an eerie ghost of his deceased friend. As he wondered what the what, he saw his mother-in-law, Jean, dead for the last two years, off to the left, with her husband, Carl, who’d been dead since 1992. 

“Holy shit,” reverberated through his mind and came out his mouth. “What’s going on?”

In a blink, he realized all the color had deserted the world, as though he was watching a movie on an old black-and-white television. Closing his eyes to recover, he gasped; with his eyes closed, he could see everything taking place in color, except the dead folk that he saw weren’t there.

Slowly, he cracked his eyes open and took in the monochrome world. The sound differed from before. Swiveling his head, he saw more dead friends and relatives. It wasn’t his beloved hometown any longer, until he closed his eyes. With eyes closed, color was restored, and he was in the town where he’d been living and walking.

Keeping them closed, he resumed his walk. That seemed to work, but it was a temporary solution. Something fundamental had changed in his world.

He was going to have to open his eyes again sometime. And then…

He shook his head. He was going to keep his eyes closed until he was home. And then —

Well, he’d see.

I’m Gonna

What I’m gonna do and who I’m gonna be 

keeps slipping away from me like sand between my


Love is a stunted realty, sex is a wistful fantasy

Train wrecks in prolonged slow-


Days whiz by like pee in the night

Time sits by at one side, mocking and laughing at me and my plight

I have no idea how anything


Birds still sing, the sun rises and sets

I could tell you more

but you know the

story changes, rearranges every day and


I think I know what I’m gonna do

like everyday before,

got my coffee, I’m in my seat,

I think I’m gonna



The Perverse Inverse Law of Hurrying

Have you ever noticed..?

You’re trying to hurry. You’re eager to get started or — shudder — you’re running late. Perhaps you overslept or ignored the alarm clock, or kept playing with your pet (and that’s not a euphemism). Maybe you can blame it on your computer – “Did you see today’s headlines?” – “I was this close to a new high score.” 

Whatever the reason, cause, or excuse, do you see how it seems to cause everything to automatically go against your efforts to be quick? Lines form, traffic jams, the computer takes it time applying a gajillion updates, and the people ahead of you can’t find their credit card — debit card — cash — checkbook.

Your mind gets in on it. Suddenly you remember, Damn it, I forgot my list,” and you need to retrace your steps, or you can’t find your keys/glasses/shoes —

Or the toilet stops up, and the water rises —

Or a car’s blocking your vehicle in.

It’s enough to make one scream.

The Thief

The thief isn’t death – we’re all going to die —

the thief is the decline that robs us of time.

The thief burgles memories

and steals our wit,

the thief is the disease that rots our bodies

and makes us sick.

The thief embezzles our energies and usurps our pride,

darkens our vision and makes hope a lie.

It takes our hearing and corrupts our senses,

builds up walls and creates new fences.

We look out from within and they look in from without,

both of us wondering,

does anyone know what life is about?



“Escape”, said big, gold letters on the window. 

Don had never seen the place. The turnover in this town… Yes, he needed an escape. The heat was over a hundred. How far over a hundred? Did it matter? It felt like his shoes on melted onto his feet. Sweat dropped from his face and dizziness spun his head. He needed immediate escape from this heat, He could get some by browsing through this place.

Blissful cool air gushed over him as soon as he stepped inside. The business was laundry room small and almost empty. One round, white table was to the left. On it was a display of brochures.

He wandered to them. “Hi, Don,” a woman said.

Don nearly jumped out of his skin. Finding her sitting in the corner across the room, he shook his head. “Were you there when I came in?”


“Okay. I didn’t see you. Sorry.”

“That’s okay.”

“And…how did you know my name?”

She smiled. “That’s not important.”

“It is to me.”

“What’s important is that you realized that you need to escape and came in here.”

“Yeah.” Don flicked his gaze from the left to the right. “Right. Actually, I came in here because I needed to escape the heat.”

“Would you like water?” Unfolding from her chair, she gestured to her right where a round white table was home to a crystal pitcher of water and several glasses. Cucumber slices floated among ice cubes.

“I would, thank you.” While saying that, Don took the two steps to reach the table. She was there first.

A glass was being offered as he arrived. “Thanks. You’re quick. You never answered my question.” Drinking, Don watched her reaction. A dark green satin-looking top hung to mid-thigh, giving him the impression of a praying mantis. Young with skin like smoky honey, long black hair and a narrow face, she was an inch taller than him. She probably weighed ninety pounds. After a second glance, he changed that to eighty pounds. He could probably enclose her waist with his two hands.

“You didn’t ask, but I’ll answer. We’re an escape from anything and anywhere.”

Don lowered his glass. “I’m not certain what that means.”

“Yes, you do. Accept it. You know.”

Enough, Don decided. “Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time.” He put the glass down on the table. “Thanks for the water. I’ll be on my way.”

She nodded. “This way.” She slipped past him toward an archway that he hadn’t noticed. Strands of green beads hung over the doorway. She parted the beads with a long hand with glossy white fingernails. “Your train awaits.”

“My train. You’re saying that there’s a train in there?” Don stepped forward to see as she answered, “Yes.”

Don poked his head through the beaded divide. There was a train. It wasn’t a toy, but a full-sized train. “Holy smokes. There is a train in here.” Entranced, he approached the train. Modern looking, it was silver with blue and red stripes. “I love trains. I’ve never been on one, though. I mean, a real one, like this.”

He stepped closer to it. He was on a platform. The train went for hundreds of yards in either distance. Beyond it, a pristine countryside greeted his tired vision.

“So, what’s going on?” He looked back for the woman. Didn’t see her, nor the green beads.

A uniformed conductor approached. “Hi, Don. I’m Geoffrey.” He put a hand out. “You okay? You look confused.”

Don shook Geoffrey’s hand. “I guess I am. I don’t know how I got here. I mean, I know what I did, but what I did doesn’t fit the context of what I see.”

“I see.” Geoffrey laughed. “Sorry. That was unintentional.”

Don tilted his head to one side. “So. Let me be straightforward. Have I died?”

“No. You wanted an escape. We’re offering it to you.”

“This is real.”


“What’ll happen if I get on that train?”

“You’ll escape, which is what you want. You’ll escape this life and this world.”

“Where will I go?”

“That’s completely up to you.”

Don smiled. “That’s not really an answer. Yes, those are words, but they’re not an answer to what I’m asking.”

“It is. You know it is. Let yourself think about it.”

Don shook his head. “I don’t like airy-fairy new age stuff. I fight wildfires. I like solid information.”

Geoffrey shrugged. “You need to get onboard now, if you’re going.”

“What if I don’t? Can I just go back?”

“Of course.”

“Is this a one-way ticket? Can I ever come back if I get on that train?”

“Of course. That’s completely up to you.”

Don had more questions but decided, take the train ride. See where it goes and what happens. He’d never been on a train. He giggled. “Okay, what the hell. Sold.”

Following Geoffrey’s gesture, he approached an open door and climbed aboard the train. Empty, comfy looking tan leather seats awaited him. A whistle blew as he settled into a seat. Looking down, he realized that he was a young man again.

“Well, what the hell.” The train pulled forward. Body sighing as he settled back, he watched the passing countryside through the window and wondered where he’d go, and what would happen to the people and places that he’d left behind.

Then he closed his eyes and let the train lull him to sleep.



The Excuse

Two people were in the cross walk. The red Volkswagen Jetta had plenty of time to stop, but the young woman drove through the crosswalk, missing a pedestrian on either side by two to three feet.

Enraged, they gestured and shouted at her. She had a good excuse for not seeing them and stopping, because she was on her cellphone.

Days Like This

We all have them. For some, it’s a wretched slice of existence that never seems to end.

I feel for them, the people in war zones, and the disaster zones, or the immigrants hunting for safety and better lives, places where they can live without days like this.

For me, a day like this was planning to attend a friend’s memorial, reading the details via emails, then scooting off to another friend’s memorial service, and then returning to read another email that another friend passed away, ending her private war on cancer.

Too many days like this for me, but at least the people I’ve lost had long, productive, and successful lives. Not like they’re living in some terrible situation, starving for death, hunting for food and water, dodging explosions and shootings, or hanging on for life on some listing ship.

Just for the pleasure of it, here’s a video for the woman of today, Nancy, a music teacher since the late 1940s, playing her saw. She died late last year, well, on Thanksgiving. She would have been ninety-three today.


The Story

Called Mom today to wish her happy birthday. I was born sixty-three years ago, today, if the records and Mom’s memory are accepted. I accept both, especially Mom’s memory. I wished her a happy birthday because she did all the work. I’m not lyin’, I don’t remember any of it. It was barely like I was there.

“Wasn’t I overdue?”

“Yes, eight days,” she answered.

“Oh, eight days. That’s nothing.”

“After nine months, it feel likes eight years.”


I woke up with pain. I knew it was time and woke your father up. “The baby’s coming. We need to go to the hospital now.”

I was already dressing. He got up slowly. While he dressed, I went down to the car. Our apartment was on the third floor. There wasn’t an elevator. I knew it would take me time to get down those three flights of stairs.

I was down in the car, and hard labor had begun. I wasn’t surprised. You sister took just three hours. I was in enormous pain because it was all happening so fast. I was wondering, what’s taking your father so long and kept blowing the horn, shouting, “Come on.”

He finally came down. I said, “What were you doing?”

He said, “I was combing my hair.” I could’ve killed him. No jury would have convicted me, if there was a woman on it.

He started driving, came up to a stop sign and started to stop. I said, “Do not stop.”

A motorcycle cop pulled us over right after that. Your father told him that I was in hard labor. The cop said, “Follow me.” He turned on his sirens. We blew through every red light and stop sign.

When we arrived at the Fort Belvoir hospital, the nurse came out to meet us. She said, “Oh my God, you’re in labor. You should have come in as soon as it started.”

I said, “I did. I got here as soon as I could.”

She said, “Let me get a wheel chair.”

I started labor right at six in the morning. You were born at seven twenty-four.

After giving birth, I was taken to the maternity ward. There were seventeen beds, all with women who’d just given birth. A major came in. She said, “All you ladies who gave birth yesterday need to do your exercises.” This was a military hospital, remember. They didn’t coddle you. They were military, and they treated you like you were in the military. Visitors and flowers, candy, all that wasn’t allowed, because they worried about germs and infections, and they began exercising you right away.

Well, I’d just given birth, so I didn’t exercise. The major said to me, “You. Why aren’t you exercising?”

I said, “I just gave birth four hours ago.”

“Do your exercises. Now.” So I did.

The next day, we dragged our iron beds down the hall to another ward, where we were discharged. You were thirty-two hours old when I took you home.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: