Once Upon A Lane – Coming Soon

There was a hollow in the center of the bushes that lined most of the back fence that connected from bush to bush, and here was the favorite hideout of the youngest Murphy boy and Bobby. It was here that they planned their adventures, it was here that they hid their treasures, and it was here, in the hidden hollow, that they sought refuge from the adults who did not care for their childish escapades. The birds and squirrels had long ago ceded the whole hedge to the two boys. This was their refuge and their fortress. The bushes had served duty as a pirate ship, a castle, an underground cavern, a courtroom, a spaceship, and at all times a tunnel into another world that only they could see and visit.

Once secure in their hide-away, the youngest Murphy boy and Bobby chattered away in whispers, lest they be heard by their imagined pursuer, whispers far too loud to be stealthy, but quiet enough that none listening could possibly discern anything meaningful. Not that they discussed anything meaningful to anyone else, as they excitedly retold the events they had just experienced, misremembering and embellishing every detail, until their latest amusement was of the greatest magnitude with the highest of stakes and the fraughtest of perils. The erstwhile neighbor they had forayed against became a terrible dragon whom they had vanquished with a mighty spell, which happened to take the form of a water balloon, atop a high mountain in the forests of suburbia. Even woeful Leo Tuttle was transformed in their retelling into a mighty guardian troll they had deftly flanked as they crossed a rickety bridge spanning a yawning chasm without bottom that still somehow held a fearsome river filled with piranha and lava at the same time.

The boys stopped their narrative dialogue suddenly when they heard a creak and scrape of wood from the fence next to the hedge. There was only silence, as much as there ever is silence in a world filled with birds and insects and squirrels and other varieties of life. The two boys held their breath and listened intently, suddenly wholly convinced that they had been found out and their secret lair was about to be exposed to the world at last. Long moments of tension and worry held them captive, but the sound did not repeat. Finally, when they could hold neither their breath nor their tongues any longer, they burst into a frenetic whispered debate as to what had caused the sound or if they had heard any sound at all. They came to the mutual conclusion that they had imagined it, then subsequently decided that they had hidden long enough and the world outside was safe once more, so they peaked out of their hole in the bush before creeping out into Liola’s back yard.

Laughing and chattering once more, the pair dashed around the house, not hearing the boards behind their hideaway creak and scrape once more….

 

Excerpt from my upcoming novel, Once Upon A Lane, available soon in your favorite online marketplace.

Perchance to Taste

Two steps to the left, another to the right,
Twist and turn, spin and dance,
Jerk and shake, twirl and slide,
You are trapped in the trance.

A little of this, a little of that,
Too much to do, too many to meet,
Smile and shake, laugh and chat,
They stand in line to greet.

You want to do it all, every bit,
Experience the world all at once
In a second yet still enjoy each part.

Perchance to taste, perhaps to take,
A chance to create, to contribute,
To mark your mark, to live a dream.
Nothing can stop you today.

Define Today

I want to see you naked in the first light of a newborn star.
I want to see you fully clothed in the fading light of day.
Dreams born, dreams worn, dreams shorn and forlorn.
I want, I need, I wish, my greed, my lust must feed.
Nothing matters, except everything that matters.
Nothing matters, except everything love shatters.

What is must be, what is has been, what was will be.
Scream into the heavens, they will not hear.
Cry into the abyss, there is nothing there.
I grasp, you cry, you persevere, we die.
Memories. Memories over mementos.
Memories made, memories matched, memories memorialized with life, memories lost.
Memories over moments.

A madness of words and emotions, never enough, never ever enough.
A madness of reason and reaction. Motions of melancholy and memory.
Fear, trepidation, a new life, an old life, a short life, a new life.

There is nothing certain, there are no tomorrows.
Today is a day like any other day, it is.
What is done in this day is yet to be defined.
Let’s define it a good day.

Untitled Poem

There was a home once. It was filled with people, and life, and joy. Once. The people left. Now it is a house.
There was a house once. It kept the world at bay. It was safe, it was secure, it was sound. The windows were broken. Now it is a cave.
There was a cave once. Its walls were made of wood. The wind and rain and bugs and birds wore it down to dust. Now it is no more.

The Family Curse

When I was a young man, my uncle summoned me, much as I have summoned you today. I went to my uncle, for I was his favorite, indeed I was the only member of the family he spoke with at the time. I found him in the care of nurses, for his health was failing him rapidly. I was conducted into his presence and sat beside him that I might comfort him as he faced the inevitable. He had a crazed look about him, as if he were a man hunted, haunted, hounded by some rapacious and ravenous specter of the past. It was a look I was all too familiar with. Yet, I sat, silently, as he stared frightfully about, looking every which way for some menacing mirage that was all too real to his addled mind. He muttered every now and then, words of nonsense and words of curse, both as meaningless to me as they were purposeful to him. Perhaps they were some form of ward against the coming darkness, some manner of staving off that which all men must meet. However, I knew this was not the truth of it. No, his demons were not of his destiny, but of his antiquity, his madness a malicious and avaricious malady that had grown throughout his life until the man before me had been reduced to grasping at the folds of his robe and the arms of the chair in which he sat, seeking refuge in ephemeral reality from the ethereal nightmare that had been his beleaguered life.

 

While I watched, entranced, his face contorted through fears and emotions as he wrestled with his fading consciousness in order to bring forth some manner of words as to why he had summoned me. At long last, he was able to triumph over his diminishing faculties and while staring deep into my eyes he spoke in a voice both weary and frenzied, “Beware, your father! He is plotting against you even now!”

 

My shock at this pronouncement must not have been evident, or he was no longer capable of discerning such, as a smile of contentment struggled onto his lips as the rest of his visage was a war of other conflicting emotions. However, I could not let it rest at that. I loved my uncle dearly, I was the only one who had loved him in his later years as he descended into his madness. It was not in my nature to hate, but more than that, I pitied the man, for I knew what ailed him, and I feared it. I had to try, one final time, to reason with him, to try to unravel the perplexing animosity he held for our family, and my dear father in particular. Reaching out, I took up his feeble sweaty hand, stealing myself against the chill of his skin, and held it firmly as he instinctively jerked back. The contact had crystallized his face momentarily into a terrible countenance of horror, but that passed as his fond memories of me regained control of his dwindling sensibilities. I spoke, and his gaze snapped from my hand on his to my face. “Dear uncle, why do you say these things about my father, who has ever treated me, and you, with the utmost compassion? What makes you pronounce these heinous charges against your own blood?”

 

Anger now gripped him, and he snarled at me, not in hostility or contempt, but in frustration, as he always did when I rejected his guidance, and he launched fervently into an impassioned diatribe of all the past sins and wrongdoings of his loving sibling, many of them imagined, and most of the rest hyperbolic confoundments of minor slights long forgotten by all but him. He detailed, as he always did, in ever more elaborate invectives, how every possible misfortune was ultimately the consequence of some intricate machination of my father, or occasionally my brothers or some other more distant member of the family. He delved bitterly into long bygone family history of relations long since departed, many before my own time, and how most or all of them had long been plotting against him. I had heard it all before, far too often in fact, which is why I was able to recognize his usual harangue, his tiresome denunciations and accusations against kith and kin, from the babbling sounds that dribbled from his slackening mouth, his words rapidly degrading into a series of zealous noises that few could hope to comprehend. As his capacity for speech deserted him, his animosity swelled, and in the end, as the light faded from his eyes, the malice never left them, and his lifeless husk held fast the hatred which had so defined his sorrowful existence. In the end his demons had consumed him, his animus giving life to naught but antagonism and petty jealousies that had plagued our family incessantly for the majority of his life.

 

You may ask, as well you should, why did I hold such fondness for a man such as this, a man so animated with antipathy toward all others I held dear? I could not help but consider him with sympathy and compassion, for he held the family curse. In the depths of his delusions, he had long ago given leave to reason, he had long since surrendered to paranoia. You see, my father, whom I loved, had died decades before my uncle, yet still the surviving brother blamed the other for every ill that befell him. Indeed, eventually my uncle stopped believing my father was dead, and suspected his hand in every action against him, saw him around every corner, bedeviling his every enterprise. It mattered not what was real, it mattered little how many times I tried to convince him of the truth, all that mattered was his deep seated animosity toward his sibling, and his twisted logic that set all of his ills at the feet of his supposed adversary, and by extension all of the rest of his family, save me.

 

Yes, this was a family curse. My ancestors have struggled time and again with a particular family member, always male, who turns to this poisonous madness as his life progresses, a madness that turns that man into the bitterest of enemies toward almost all of his family, but always in particular against his brother, always his brother most of all. Again and again, throughout the ages, the madness seizes upon the hapless fellow, and he descends into obsession and specious judgment. The family is helpless to prevent it, try as they might, and some diligently attempted to forestall their beloved sons from spiraling into neurosis. Yet, without fail, it recurs again and again, every second generation. My uncle was the last. The next would be of your generation.

 

You see now, why I called you here, why I am telling you of our family curse. No, it is not what you think. It is not your brother who is falling prey to the madness. No, I’m afraid it is you. I know, you think it is your brother, and in the coming years, you will think everything is because of your brother, but it is not, and it never will be. It pains me beyond what mere words can convey to have to tell you, my dear nephew, that you are doomed to fall into an inescapable insanity, one in which you will fear and hate all those you love so dearly. I have seen the signs already, and they are unmistakable. Even now, I can see the apprehension in your eyes, the doubt and the paranoia starting to take hold. You are questioning, now, every word I tell you, as your mind tries to excuse all of the symptoms you yourself have noticed recently, as you try to explain to yourself how none of these are your fault, and all your suspicions about yourself are unfounded while all your fears about us are true.

 

There is no escape, I am sad to say, and even now my warning is too late. I should have told you long ago. But even then, would it have helped? Could this have been abated if you had known before the malady had manifested? I do not know, nor can we ever know. No, I’m afraid it is far too late, my warning far too little, and your future far too predictable. Farewell, dear nephew. Please try to remember me fondly, even as the mania sets in. Please try to recall that I tried to stave off your fate, as vain as my attempt was. Farewell, and may you know happiness in the next life, if not in this.

The Garden of My Mind

Within the garden of my mind,
There are many trees you’ll find.
Some bear fruit, and some do not.
Those that don’t die and rot,
And are replaced by those that do,
So those that don’t are far and few.

And even those that do not bear,
Even these trees do their share,
For in their mighty boughs up high,
There are myriad lives you’ll spy.

Darting about, fast and fleet,
Tiny hands and tiny feet,
Dancing just out of sight,
Stealing dreams for spite,
Little lives, little thieves,
Slipping fruit up their sleeves.

In the garden of my mind,
Fruits of fancy flourish,
ripen, and fall, baskets fill,
Until I discard my very will.

But the little men of the trees,
Laugh and dance amongst the leaves,
Tipping baskets, Picking fruits,
Shaking trees, uncovering roots.
So much fruit is lost this way,
But the little men continue play.

Again fancy frolics forth,
Freeing fortified finites,
Breezily blowing baser ideals,
Into the garden’s heights.

There, clouds of dreams foment and foam,
Pouring torrents of terror into the trees,
Giving fright to the little men,
Frightened fancy turns and flees.

In the nightmare of the storm,
Fear and doubt now take form,
Fruit is smashed and trees are torn,
Baskets and little men alike forlorn.
All about is laid to ill,
Until the storm spends its will.

And the little flowers of imagination,
Broken at the stem,
Laced in a garland,
And thrown away on a whim.

Storms arise and storms dispel,
Some trees stand and others fell,
And in their place new trees arise,
A dozen sprout for each that dies.

Within the garden of my mind,
There are many trees you’ll find.
Some are old and some are new,
Some are dead and some are true.
But old dead trees come to ground,
And rot away till naught is found.

The Words in the Wind

The man pulled himself up to the top, looked around, and did not care for what he saw.

He saw a world trying to hurry and rush, who knows where other than its own eventual end. He saw what others all saw, but refused to acknowledge the inevitability of it all. Misery was there, hand in hand with apathy and ego. No life seemed to matter, life itself seemed not to matter. There was a lot of energy here, but little purpose to it all.

Sighing, he settled down to meditate on what he saw, hoping to find a solution to the mystery of life. What was the point of it all, what was the plan, was their a plan? The man pondered these questions and all of the myriad questions that sprang forth wherever his ponderings led him. Age crept up upon him like the evening shadows, caressing first his skin, then settling in deep to chill his bones, and yet still he pondered the questions of life. As the sun set on his life, the shadows of age became more rapacious, springing up suddenly and seizing him in a cold dark grip, squeezing the very last drops of his youth out of him. Ravenous, age drank all the life that spilled out, lapping up every drop like sweet honey.

Finally, the last drops fell out of him. Age had consumed his very flesh, which now fell fully lifeless, hollow, sallow, and wrinkled to the ground, there to shatter into dust and blow away on the strong winds of time. At last, there was no longer any trace of the man, and the very memory of him was forgotten by those still rushing around in the world below.

And yet, as his lifeless husk fell to meet the ground, there could be seen on the face of the man, a serene smile. He had thought of a solution before he passed. He had solved the mystery of life. Every so often, if you close your eyes and listen right, you can hear his ashes whisper it in the winds of time, laughing softly.