21 November 2006

encounter

the tired old eyes of the American Indian
hint of a story that I would love to know
but he pushes my change across the counter
with his sun-beaten leathery hands
I grab my Red Bull and turn to go
"Happy Thanksgiving," he mumbles deeply-
his voice rough yet booming with heartfelt strength
I turn back to search for irony in his old soulful eyes
but all I find is sincerity
and a semi-toothless smile
breaking through the ancient face's sunmade lines.

11 November 2006

the barstool and me

     It's as if I'm standing at the entrance to a large circular room. There are no walls in this room. There are only doors. Side by side- a continuous ring of doors. Every door is closed. Every door has a knob, with a keyhole. But I know, without trying to open a single one, that all of the doors are unlocked. At the center of the room there is a solitary circular barstool, a tall barstool- about four and a half feet off the ground. It is one of those barstools with a swiveling seat so you can sit on it, dangle your feet, and spin around and around and around. It is the only object in the room. Just the barstool, and me.

     Seemingly with no effort of my own, my right foot steps forward and out of the doorway from which I came. The swift motion of the closing door sends a quick breeze at my back, and a few strands of hair land softly on my face, tickling my nose and cheeks. But I don't brush them away. I like the way the room looks through the symbolic strands- alternating fields of vision- from clarity to softly blurred distortion then back to clarity again. My legs lead me to the stool and I climb atop it with my feet dangling free. I feel like a kid again.

     The door I am facing looks the same as all the others- ancient brown wood, with an intricate design carved into the top half of the beautiful oak panel. Each door has exactly the same design. It's a design I have seen before, but only in my most amazing and lifelike dreams. I think that it must be the linear manifestation of my soul. Or so I imagine, as I sit here- feet dangling, thinking.

     After a short while I notice that the longer I sit here, the larger the room grows, with new doors appearing seemingly by the minute. More doors. More choices. I'm sure if I sit on this stool for another week or another month or an eternity- the room will just keep growing. More and more and more doors. Until, at a certain point, the room will be so large that I will not be able to see the doors anymore. And then, eventually, I will forget that the doors exist at all. It will just be me, sitting in the center of a massive wall-less room- feet dangling, thinking. Just the barstool, and me. I am determined to not let that happen. I am determined to choose a door- the right door.

     But for now I am tired of thinking. So I begin to spin on my cool little circular stool in my big round room. I spin and spin. I stretch my legs out to slow down, then pull them in to speed up again. I hop off to try to walk, fall down, giggle, get up, then hop back on and spin. I spin and spin. I feel like a kid again- playing within my ring of closed-yet-unlocked doors..

     A completely empty room.

     Just the barstool, and me.

08 November 2006

strength, a manifesto

     Reptiles face the harsh desert sun and live for days without water,
in blinding hot summers and freezing cold winters.

     There are creatures in the deep sea who thrive in complete darkness,
in water hundreds of degrees, feeding on toxic chemicals that seep out of hydrothermal vents.

     They adapt.
     They survive.

     There is always a way.

     It is our struggles that build character. It is pain that produces strength.
And all the worthwhile things are never easy. Take the hard road and don't look back.

     Never settle.
     Never compromise.
     Never give up.

     There is always a way.*