My Visit with the Wise One

bobOr,

When Your Dreams Tell You You Everything

Before I met the Wise One, I joined a group of anglers in the night at an old pier, the concrete docks withered by the elements. That night, though winter, felt like any ocean side night: damp, thick, and invigorating. The four of us cast our reels into the sea with the synchrony of familiar co-workers, in fact, that’s what we all were, why we were joined that night—to work on our fishing skills. I was the least competent of all, and I knew this going in, but my form wasn’t too shabby; my wrist flinging back and out with the right timing, sent my hook far into the unsettled dark water.

fishing-village

We began to pull in our lines, and though I thought I hadn’t caught anything, mine stopped, a hard tug fighting back. As I wound the reel toward me, a large glob, somewhat purple and iridescent, emerged from the low tide. It resembled a gelatinous pile of nothing at first, then upon examination by me and my fellow fishermen and fisherwomen, we recognized by its dangling tentacles that it was a jellyfish.

No one dared to touch it, though I thought it couldn’t still be venomous now out of the water. It appeared to be dead, then suddenly it came to life, squirming closer to me, until part of it, a yellowish section of its rounded head, suctioned itself to my back. My blue hooded sweatshirt lessened what I thought would the sting. Only a mild discomfort overtook me, like that of a toy dart sticking to your forehead. My fellow anglers offered no help, said little to appease my fear, or try to remove it. They said vague things like, “It’s part of you now.”

And so it was time for me to leave to see the Wise One. I left the fishing dock in a hurry, and ran toward the streets of the village. All the roadways were covered in a fresh layer of ice, solid and clean as a newly Zambonied ice rink. My flat, smooth-bottomed shoes took to the ice with ease, and soon I was skating away into the night, quick and effortless. I thought to myself how much easier this seemed than fishing, how much more suited I was to this new activity versus the last.

jellyfish

I later arrived at the Commune—it seemed as though several hours had past, or least the night had turned to morning. The sensation in my back had vanished, though I knew the jellyfish was indeed part of me, that we were one creature now. The icy streets of the fishing village slipped from my memory, and were replaced with the steamy interior of the Commune. It was a large space with the air of an upscale health food store. Pungent and sweet smells wafted about, mixing with the body heat of tens, possibly hundreds of people. They were all arranged in groups, camped on the floor or on low, soft furniture. They dressed either in long flowing colorful clothes, or very little clothes. Their hair was long and unkempt, matted and thick, or either very clean cut. They were also much younger than me.

The age difference did not bother me, though the quantity and availability of mind-altering drugs did. Had I arrived at the Commune, twenty, or maybe fifteen years prior, I would be all over this scene. Two young men showed me a jar in which they kept an animal embryo, perhaps that of a pig or a chick, that was infused with an opiate. One drink and it was lights out. Theirs was the more extreme. Everyone else appeared to be taking or about to take your average house party pain killers, marijuana, mushrooms, and the like. The celebratory mood lessened my mild disdain for the extra-curricular substances, and admittedly, I felt like a square not wanting to partake, yet, the main reason I was there was to see the Wise One.

He appeared out of thin air, and came right to me, as though we had made an appointment. No one else moved when he arrived, as though they too had appointments and would simply wait their turn with him. He was just as I had imagined: thin, narrow-waist and hips, bony almost, though sinewy and rugged. Only the top of his fuzzy hairline showed, the rest of his ropy hair was tucked up into his striped tam, which rose off the crown of his head like an elongated skull. He wore a green soccer jersey. Here he was, Bob, en carne viva.

 rasta-commune

I told him everything. About the fishing and the jellyfish. He listened with care, and didn’t say much. When I finished pouring myself out to him, he said with dignified equanimity, that, yes, it is part of me, that that’s what jobs do. They stay with you and you cannot separate yourself from them. They are you, the way the jellyfish is now stuck on your back for good.

And then he stared at me, straight into me. I sensed he was about to speak again, and though I thought he was about to smile, he puckered his lips a bit, tilted his head, and blinked once.

“Maybe fishing isn’t your thing,” he said.

bob

With that, the Wise One moved on into the crowd, circulating amongst the rest of his disciples at the Commune. They embraced him and he them, and it all felt so natural that we would be with him in this way, that he had transcended death and was so alive as he once was. Someone off in the distance had offered me something to take, but I refused. I had seen who I came to see.

Top 10 Baby Girl Names for 2017: Presidential Edition

movie_96490

10. McKinley

9. Madison

8. Taylor

7. Tyler

6. Kennedy

5. Carter

4. Grant

3. Reagan

2. Nixon

1.  Mar-A-Lago

 

For Years I Tried To Read Don Quixote

donq

For years, I tried to read Don Quixote,

Revering the Spaniard writer in me,

Skimming a thin abridged edition,

Sophomoric in World History.

 

Later, greater windmills.

Exotic becomes quixotic.

The bookmark stops.

Again.

 

Dare you go on,

Wannabe pícaro?

 

No. Gracias.

We underdogs

Know the ending anyway,

Some will never get their day.

Trump Campaign Pre-Approved Alternatives to “Locker Room Banter”

humidorTee box talk

Spa convo

Limo gossip

Humidor chat

C-suite speak

Green Room gab

Yacht joshing

Casino jabber

Helicopter prattle

People Familiar With The Matter

Gossip
Informants
Spokespersons
Consultants
Insiders
Pundits
Chairpersons
Investors
Experts
Chiefs of Staff
Middle and/or Senior management
Presumptive press secretaries
Whistle blowers
Assistants
Heads of security
Deputies
Aides
Lieutenants
Handlers
Stylists
Gadflies
Roommates
Estheticians
Mavens
Escorts
Drivers
Ghosts
Writers
Ghost writers
Surrogates (sex or otherwise)
Professional cuddlers
Aunt Kathi

For Years I Tried To Become A Buddhist

shinto-buddhism

For years I tried to become a Buddhist
Fascinated with its harsh simplicity,
How it all points back to one.

Such is the way,
The path to enlightenment
That the young rich boy embarked upon,
Shunning his worldly possessions for want of nothing.

Even the river,
The water,
The rocks,
All metaphor,
Not real.
Really.

Nirvana is not a place.
It’s more a band,
Defiling their instrument,
In angst.

Their song wails the ultimate irony:
That one cannot have and want at the same time.
That one cannot wear flannel and smell of teen spirit.

It’s one or the other,
And if you want the middle, buddy,
You’re going to have to abandon
Your love of hate,
Your hate of anger,
Your anger of fear.

You’ve known it all along,
And yet,
You haven’t let go,
Of it.

For Years I Tried To Start Smoking

pall mall

For years I tried to start smoking, scurrying out before theme parties:
Bad Taste Ball, Red Light, Pajammy Jam—to pick up Pall Malls,
Only to find the shreds of tobacco slipping past my lips.

Tonight, some fifteen years later, I rushed out for a walk, alone,
Minus wife, kids, mother-in-law,
Left a flat cauldron of beef stew to roast in the oven for an hour.
I cook now. I follow recipes. I make up my own.

“Be back,” I said.  Like those fathers you hear about that say,
“Be back. Just going out to pick up some smokes,” and then never return.

What if I kept on walking and left for good?
When you’re wired for guilt and depression, this is what you think of.

You’re surrounded by light, yet spend your whole life,
Looking for shade, just a slice.

At last,
at my thinking place,

Where Mark Twain sits in bronze,
Forever reading Huck Finn to anyone who will sit next to him,
A few drunk hopeless fans smoke their consolation cigarettes.
We lost again tonight.

I want them gone, off my bench,
So I can sit next to Sam,
Breathe in some fresh air,
Clear the muck upstairs.

But, yet,

I sniff their second-hand,
Let them have our moment,
Of pain.
If we don’t win, it’s a shame.

Right, Sam?
Your life ended up going to shit,
And what did you do?

You kept floating down the river,
Smiling at it,
Your dial set to happiness,
If only for a bit,

Now you sit,
In front of the IHOP,
As you did then,
at your birthday party,
At the end.

For, who else,
Were you going to celebrate?