Sunday, July 24, 2011

Girl Outside (part three)

(Part two of this short story can be found here: Girl Outside Part 2)


Edgar and Mandy walked along the bicycle path that hugged the side of Wallace Road, the street lamps illuminating their way through the silence of the evening. Every now and then a car would pass by and interrupt their speechless journey, but for the most part the crickets and occasional dog bark were the only things they heard. The distant sounds of the church extravaganza were a faint song being played far off in the distance, one that Mandy would remember for awhile.

     "So," Edgar said, finally breaking the silence, "when you were smashing the dragon wagon with that bat, you yelled 'Desperta Ferro'. Will you tell me what it means?" He continued looking forward as he spoke, inspecting the shrub line along the sidewalk for indications of a pathway.

Mandy replied, "Well, it's kinda corny, but at the same time it's my favorite quote from history. You see, back during the Middle Ages there was a group of Catalan soldiers who were feared and recognized for their efficiency in battle. And before each fight they would hit their iron swords against the rocks creating showers of sparks and they would yell, 'Desperta ferro!' at their enemy, which means, 'Wake up iron!'. I remember reading that story in Mr. Rickson's class and it just stuck with me all this time. Like I said, it's kinda corny. Can I ask you something?"

     "Actually it's quite beautiful and such a perfect quote for you to be carrying around in your back pocket. And by all means, ask me anything, Mandy" he said as he looked up at the next street lamp and marveled at the huge cloud of insects hypnotized by its light.
      "Why did you destroy your car?" she asked.
     "Well it's like this. That was the car I bought for my ex-girlfriend 5 years ago, and since our break-up I have been driving that metallic monster all over this simple town. I tried to disguise its history with an artful dragon across the hood, but to no avail. No matter what, every time I drove that car I was reminded of the heartache that had happened, and finally I simply couldn't take it anymore. I hope you don't mind the walking, but we just happened to have met on the exact same night that I planned on letting go of that machine."
     Mandy continued walking in silence for awhile before answering, "I'm glad I was part of that, Edgar. Letting go of the past is is a painful process, something I struggle with everyday. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it, and I can honestly say that yours is the most unique method I have ever witnessed. So, thank you."

Edgar smiled and nodded at her as they kept walking. They passed by several side streets that lead into sleepy neighborhoods full of families turning in for the night. The sound of a bell alerted them from behind as a bicyclist pedaled past them in a hurry. After a few more minutes of walking, Edgar stopped and turned his attention to a small field to their right. They were standing at a narrow pathway that broke through the grass and disappeared down a slope towards the darkness below.  He made his way over to the concrete base of a street lamp, sat down and pulled out the brown paper bag that was stuffed into his jacket pocket. Mandy joined him, quietly waiting his next move.

Edgar upended the crinkled bag and dozens of clumped dollar bills fell to the pavement between them. One-by-one he slowly unfolded them and placed them in a neat pile near his crossed legs. "Are you familiar with origami?" he asked her.
     "I'm familiar, yes, but I don't know how to make things," she replied.
     "No worries, I will teach you right now," Edgar said as he handed her a dollar bill.

And so they sat, side-by-side, Edgar showing Mandy how to fold her dollar bills into intricate little creations beneath the street light. A swan with workable wings, a turtle with a moveable neck, a wearable ring, a green house, a butterfly, a miniature person, etc. They laughed and talked as they folded each dollar bill into new delightful shapes, while the minutes passed by like water. At one point Edgar looked over and asked, "So what happened, Mandy? Why are you homeless? You said you were on TV, what did you mean by that?"

Without looking up from her current origami project she replied, "You'll recall I said I never did drugs before. Well, it was my senior year of high school and my best friend, Laura, well her boyfriend introduced us to a drug called Salvia. It's a psychedelic plant from Mexico which gives you a particularly strong head trip for about five to ten minutes. It was the newest craze that a lot of kids my age were getting into, smoking this stuff and videotaping the experience and what not. Well after doing research and reading that it was completely legal and didn't have any harmful side effects, I decided to try it. We went to a park and I smoked it while sitting just like we are now, but out in the middle of a huge lawn. Laura recorded it on her iPhone so I'd be able to see everything that happened after it was over. Little did I know she uploaded the video to Youtube, and to make a long story short, the media decided to run a segment on this drug and used my footage, along with several others, as evidence to accompany their news story. It was seen by everyone here in town, and all across America. I lost my college scholarship almost immediately and my father, who is the pastor of a mega church here in town, disowned me out of fear of a blemished reputation. So just like that, in a mere blink of an eye, I found my entire world turning its back on me. I had shamed my parents and this community, and have been paying the price ever since."

Edgar finished folding the last dollar bill into a heart shape, collected all the others and put them back into the paper bag. He stood up, brushed the dirt off his pants, and motioned for her to follow. They entered the pathway and walked down through the field, eventually reaching a small park with benches and picnic tables lining the perimeter of an open play area. All told, there were five tables and four benches, each occupied by horizontal silhouettes of sleeping homeless men. Quietly, Edgar approached them one-by-one, reached into the bag and removed an origami dollar. He placed them all around each dormant body until there were no more left in the bag. He turned and looked at Mandy and whispered, "Okay, we can get going now."

Once they were top-side and walking along the street again, she finally spoke, "I've heard about you, Edgar. You are talked about amongst the homeless here in town, and even further out in the surrounding areas. You are known fondly as, The Dollar Dude, and even though I've never awoken to one of your folded creations, I dreamed about you every night. Each time I'd fall asleep on a park bench or behind a garbage bin, I hoped that you had find me there in the night, and that I would awake to one of your gorgeous green swans tucked inside my blanket. You give them hope, Edgar. You give them something to look forward to. You mean more to these destitute souls than you could possibly imagine."

Mandy began crying as Edgar stopped and pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly. They stood there, wrapped in a warm embrace for what seemed like an eternity, until he finally said, "Sometimes people don't get a fair shake in life. Sometimes humans are too quick to shit on other humans. Sometimes family can act like the enemy. And sometimes people are just born into unfortunate circumstance, but even so, it's still no excuse for those of us who can help, to turn our backs on those who can't. Despite all the disdain that I have for our species, I still love them all the same. You included, Mandy. Now, let's go meet your new friends." And at that, Mandy and Edgar started walking again, up the street and headed towards the House Of Muse.

The End.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Life Update

I know my blog posts have dwindled lately, even after I said I would pick up the pace and start writing more short stories. You see the thing is, I've been hammering out poems, one after another, over at my poetry website, and while I'm in that groove I don't dare disrupt it. I've posted only a few of them here, but trust me, there are many. My inspiration has been a mixture of beautiful friendship, relationship woes, alcohol, and a few of my favorite poets (Bukowski, Plath, and Neruda). Together, these ingredients have elevated my mind to a point that it has never been, and I'd like to keep it there for as long as I can.

That being said, I thought I'd stop in and offer a quick hello and briefly describe a few new things in my life. I suppose the first change to be discussed is the fact that I am single again, go figure. I made a half-hearted promise that I wouldn't talk about this too much out of respect for her, so I won't go into detail. But let's just say I've never been more confused about a relationship failing than I am with this one. It lasted only less than a year, but still, it was many months of great moments surrounded by a cloud of uncertainty. I pride myself on having a remarkable record of being an honest and caring boyfriend, but this time around I've been told I didn't live up to the mark. I don't get it. So many things went wrong that I can't even put a finger on, and I know in my heart that I don't shoulder all of the blame. And after analyzing everything from all perspectives, I've decided to chalk it up to "divergent personalities". I really don't know what else to say about it, but then again I said I wouldn't, so let's just leave it at that.

Since the break-up, I've decided to attack my body fiercely. I have spent many years doing jobs that place me in seated positions behind steering wheels of large vehicles. This is so unhealthy, and coupled with the fact that I don't eat right or exercise and am getting older, it has been catching up to me. Well, enough with the bullshit. Step one: I started taking lots of pills (a mixture of multi-vitamins, antioxidants, brain enhancers, and mood/appetite stabilizers) in order to get my insides more in order. I'm up to six pills a day, but that's nothing compared to Ray Kurzweil (that crazy bastard takes like 250 pills a day!). Step two: I'm changing my eating habits. No longer do I over-eat, and now I snack throughout the day and for dinner I try to stick to a paleo diet of meat and veggies. I'm not exact on this yet, but I'm getting there. Step three: P90X. Yep that's right, when I get home I pop in the P90X dvd and give my body a punishing workout that makes my muscles hurt so good it's hard to shampoo my hair in the shower. Ugh, right now my body hates me for it, but after a month or so of this, it's going to be great. I can feel it. Something else I've done is removed all nasty liquids from the fridge and replaced them with coconut water. These boxes are expensive ($5.00 a pop) but totally worth it, I love me some coconut water! I still drink alcohol though, that's something I'm always going to do. My body just has to deal with it.

Okay, so that covers it I think. Oh wait, no no no. I recently moved into an apartment in West Salem and now I ride my bicycle to work everyday, which is really awesome. My car just sits in its parking spot all week long, I seldom have to take it anywhere. Everything I need is within walking distance, and that is very cool. And even though I was a little skeptical about moving where I did, it turned out to be a good choice. It's quiet at night, rarely is my sleep disturbed. All of my neighbors are really nice and easy to talk to. The apartment itself is in great shape and quite comfortable. There are so many shade trees that even on our hottest days (which have been few and far between) it never reaches an unbearable temperature inside. So, all is well with the new living arrangement.

And that about does it, I think. Oh, and one last thing: many, many thanks to my special friend who lives so far away. You know who you are, and by now you know what your friendship means to me. I want to thank you for being there, for making me laugh when I felt like crying, for making me smile when a frown seemed inevitable, for bringing out the writer in me in such a way this world has never seen. You inspire me to be bigger, to be better, to keep going forward when I could easily regress. I'm not very strong when it comes to these things, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I'm so glad we are friends, life would be stupid without you. And on that note, talk to ya later, fellow bloggers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Under The Serpent Sun

passing by Deaf Man's Drift,
bowled delights of heaven shine down
illuminating soft treasures
and links within the shoreline.

the cloud empties without reason,
dumping raindrops the size of yesterday
on everything it meets. the earth swallows,
water rushes up to greet me.

now, today is just like yesterday,
a drenched insomniac's dream
that I am walking through, like a devil
trying to escape a reputation.

night climbs up to the edge of town
puts its elbows down, watching.
I remember this now, from a nightmare
I had when I was sixteen feet tall-

the hidden springs inside the machine,
squeak squeak squeaking..
the rooftop caving in, again & again..
a cavalry of Cavemen on horseback

dragging the bodies of Europeans
behind them in a slow death trot..
mother calling me away from the cliff edge
as I dangle one foot, then the other.

the sweetness of this is the hunger
that follows the serpent sun,
a journey through the gut that explodes
on the other side like laughter.

these walls are dangerously thin,
they do not keep the strong from pushing
through, nor the weak from listening in
on the laughter that mocks them

from the other side. too many
nights of misery and sudden-death
experiments shaped like fairy wings-
the trickery is in their eyes

and the way their spirit flies, you see.
together, the strong and the weak
meet in this awkward place of reason
and they both say to me, "We suffer."

"Love, love, love is the answer
on the islands of paradise that float
out in the sea," I tell them.
because we know it, we've felt it all along.

we've listened to the sea song,
placed our hearts down near the water
and twisted weeds.. the tease of a dream
awakened by a shrill alarm of arrows

that penetrate our mountains
and our mole hills, our sheltered streams
of purity, the frightening frontier
of love, happiness and broken windows.

wait for it, my friends. there is a tide
that will bring it back to you,
a tide that resembles a wind storm
full of flowers and seeds of change.

nothing is lost, nothing is gained.
do not fear the names of the unknown,
nor the falling branches, nor the dark
earth inside our eyes, for it belongs to us

and we belong to it.



poem by Mick Tomlinson

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

End





these fingers
that hold this drink,
curved with appetite and misdirection,
feel lonely tonight.
In each man
temper
trumps tempo,
stars adjust in heaven and
mistrust their master.

when love escapes
the roots of springtime,
when hell is passed down
like water
to a drowning child,
all becomes forgiven.

I'm betting on the singing fools,
memorizing their music-
la da da dee da, la daa dee da

these notes
extend past the blueness
of the horizon,
fold back in on themselves,
muffled by the beauty
of the song.
I am puzzled by the nature
of everything,
especially the cool wisps
and the long cup goodbyes.

I think there's a chance
that I love you,
whom
who
whoever.
you started up this hill
and carried me to the top,
and the view is absent
without you
in the
end.



poem by Mick Tomlinson

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yay For The Local Guys!

I don't typically do this, actually I've never done this, but I'm about to use my blog page as a platform to applaud a local business here in Salem. Before I moved to West Salem I lived in a two story house in NE Salem where I was the upper-half tenant. This house was ancient, abused, even derelict at one point, and the entryway to my area was a steep, narrow set of disenfranchised stairs. The reason I make mention of these stairs is this: at one point my refrigerator quit working and it had to be replaced (and the poor guy who had to lug that fridge in and out of that house did so with gusto, don't ask me how). Now, if you follow my blog then you already know the (gin & tonic) back story that explains why my refrigerator quit working. I'll not re-explain it, for the sake of those of you who are super cool and follow me all the way into the depths of hellish despair. But if you really want to know, click this: BLOG ENTRY.

So when the fridge went down I shopped around, called all the local appliance centers here in town, and ended up making my purchase at Capital City Appliance on Portland Road. Very friendly, helpful, reasonably priced, and the owner got a kick out of my destruction story. The replacement fridge was delivered the next day and everything was great. Until two months later when that fridge decided to quit on me. Grrrr.... but this time it wasn't my fault! It was simply "one of those things", a strange coincidence, have you. So I called Capital City and told them the situation and since the fridge was still under warranty, they said they'd be out to take a look. Turns out the fridge needed to go back to their shop for a maintenance procedure (I bought a used fridge, btw) which they took care of in a timely fashion. They came and got it, fixed it, and brought it right back. No fee, no hassle, no problem whatsoever. They really did take care of me in a way I haven't seen in awhile. In this day & age, it's a sad state of affairs for consumers once the sale has been made. Post-sale customer service tends to drop off remarkably, am I wrong? Well, these guys were the exception to the norm, and I thank them for that.

Why am I telling you this? I guess because I feel it's the responsibility of a good citizen (who has a blog that is displayed across town) to inform other citizens of all things good (and bad). And in this case, I had a terrific experience with a local business and thought you should know. And think about it, I just sacrificed valuable writing time that I could have invested into creating a new short story or something as equally entertaining, but instead I wrote about an appliance company here in town. That should say something all on it's own! Haha, alright friends, until next blog.