Old Joe and a Heavy Crown of Thorns

Just a few more days. If I can hold out for just a few more days then the minutes carrying me up to that moment will be forgotten.
I keep telling myself that. I don’t believe it. I can’t believe it.
I’ve been here before, sat in this very same chair. I’ve watched and witnessed an eternity of failed attempt’s pass by.
Nothing ever changes. Not even the name.

The Traveller sat dumbfounded. How was it he had managed to become lost in such a familiar world. The directions and landmarks had been worn like an old cow trail into his brain. Yet for some reason he had managed to make a misstep. The Traveller had become lost.
Standing in one place and waiting for a rescue was not an option. Panic wasn’t an option either but it was going to be.

“What the fuck…”

Pat sat disinterested in the menu before him. The choices were many but the flavors they offered bland. The same old thing with the the same old spices.
Pat was sick of the choices. Pat was ready to go somewhere new even if new was some greasy meal wagon in the slum side of town.

“Change would be worth a case of the shit’s’.

The Sage sat tensely in his seat. His body rigid, head bowed, forehead covered in sweat. On occasion the old scholar would let out a low groan, then catching himself making the noise, he would shift uneasily in his seat and clench his hands in pain.
Before him sat a book opened to a grotesque drawing of the large intestine. A bookmark dutifully protecting his place.

From one of the dark and disembodied corners of the room a familiar voice was muttering.

“You get what you pay for. Change sucks dick.”

An Anchor in the Deep, The Book of Pat

I have been here always. Knelt before the same wooden altar. Bathed my mind beneath the ever shifting light of stained glass. I have read and pondered the stories that remain framed within those panels of glass.

They are glittering jewels that dazzle the eyes. Drawing the mind into the inner light that radiates out filling the void of the room beyond.
Marble floor with the patterned grain of darkened stone tracing out it’s ancient markings from time long lost beneath the sea.
Here in quiet remembrance the candles burn, and none but I know why.

The Watcher sat just beyond the doors of the great hall.
The large metal rings which had been fastened as the doorhandles and knocker lay flaccid against the ancient wood.
Their immense diameter and thickness making anyone’s hand look childishly small.
No one as far as the Watcher knew had ever tried the rings to gain entrance to the rooms beyond.
He had though witnessed the rare occasions when those within had swung open one of the doors to come out.
Usually they emerged suddenly and in silence. The great doors hinges effortlessly giving way, and then with little effort reversing back to the closed position. It was during those random moments the Watcher was able to see the doors construction. Thick as a man’s forearm, and framed with metal bracing within. Definitely stout enough to slow any intrusion of people or sound.
As for the room beyond it was shrouded in an eternal darkness, but at the distant end one could just make out a sparkling of jewels upon the floor and a dazzling wall of colored light.
The Watcher imagined that between the brilliant glitter of jewels and blinding light a dark figure knelt silently. Any certainty on exactly what lay at the far end was to never be known by the Watcher. Some places he knew well enough to stay clear of. It’s just the way it is.

Valley of Fire

My mind wanders back to the day I sat watching the slow drifting mirages dance across the hot valley floor. Almost as a dream a desert goat appears munching on dry twigs and leaves. I silently watch as she moves on. Just like the petroglyph that lies close beside me of a goat and the blazing sun. Time immortal, I understand what life is about.

Rainy day Returns

It has been a very long time since I sat staring out the coffee shop window.
The last time it had been a rainy day just like today. A full blown gully washer that causes the culverts to back up.
On a day like today everything definitely floats down there…

The sky is just one solid sheet of Paynes grey. No white clouds to mark a boundary between the blue above.

Just me and the rain going about or days unchanged.

“I’ve been here before. Sitting in this same room, staring at these same four walls, relaxing into this same old chair.”

The Watcher smiled. It had been a very long time indeed.

Temporary


I am …
The rustling of the autumn leaves
which hang tight for now amongst the maple and oak
The borderland at the far edge
A small stack of stone piled up along the imaginary lines of a map
Even the rill filled trickling down between root and rock
Sparking gentle reflection beneath half shadows of this wilderness before seeping down
Disappearing into the land
No one cosmopolitan will understand this simple satisfaction of a season
And the acceptance of the passage of life
Before we go our way

Am

Good Christian

My beard is scruffy
Growing it longer on the chin while cutting back the rest to stubble
Thread worn clothes
Constant use has kept shirts permanently stained
Unwashed jeans carry damage from friction, time, and thorns
Like some art nouveau palette
Many vibrant colors of oil, acrylic, and grass, harshly dye the denim
Weathered canvas and leather finish the form
Twisted shoelaces holding together boot
The hard rubber tread walked down to slick smoothness
Odd cuts through the edges giving a unique pattern in the mud and grime of the city

It could be the sleepless nights or just constant sickness reddening the eyes
The slightest breeze bringing out a tear
Blurred vision of advancing age
The fingernails are clean
Every opportunity taken to maintain that air of godliness
One other thing shows through the layers of unkept rubble
An even, straight smile
Without gap, bend, or chip
White tea stained teeth
Another glimmer of some other existence

Who would ever know or care to guess
The judgemental quick to label
Uncaring for their own commandments
Incompetent in a lackluster religion
They would unknowingly look down upon Jesus, John, and a host of martyrs
Confused as to those burdened beneath the cross

On this Winter day

The snow that falls
Lays down its beauty at my feet
Hiding imperfections beneath a frozen cloak
Giving silence to any city scene
Innocence to the tormenting storm
And still the rain do I notice more
With the chilling damp that wets the soul
Leaving colors blurred to gray
Like troubled thoughts on a furrowed brow
Errant drops go rolling down
Pooling into panes of glass
Reflecting back the world above

Empty Glasses

Before my days grew cold
Naked and unafraid
I walked the wilderness
bare
The coarse earth bore my presence
Silent footfalls beneath the endless sky of blue
Golden light filtered through green seas of leaf
Undulating waves back and forth moved with the soft breath of God
Floating feathered squadrons in an endless circle
Farther each moment
High above

The sharpest blade tarnish and dull without the touch of decay
The strongest bull and fastest horse stumble upon the rock
Youthful vigor drains away evaporated with disuse
In old age wisdom flounders where truth has lost its worth

I am forgotten upon those places where once I traced my name
No sacred tree carries remembrance of me
All time worn stone and fire scarred wood have long dissolved with bone
And yet I hunger for tomorrow
Though I never see the day

The Echoing Footsteps

Words had become unwelcome aliens to him. During the long, lonesome days of summer verbal expression was of little importance. Even the occasional jotting of notes and poetry had all but disappeared from the watcher’s daily habit.

The absence of human company had begun to void all progress socially made in the early spring months. The warming heat and longer days allowed the once tight knit group of vagabonds to expand out into newer territories. Though beneficial for the group it only drew Pat deeper into isolation mentally and physically. Soon the weak feelings of trust, compassion, and fellowship would all be forgotten. Replaced by an insane anger and hate for the world as a whole.

Change was what the watcher hated most. Wether it was the sun, the season, a simple object out of place, any altering to the system was to be avoided. Only hunger and the need of shelter could drive him back into society, and force a change to the routine.

If only they knew or understood the danger. The thing they felt most at ease with had died a very long time ago. That person had laid buried in some shallow grave for more than two decades, a victim of some forgotten war. The only protection he could give to them and himself was a wall of apathy. Any attempt to break through would almost certainly unleashing the daemons within.

Enoch knew first hand what now walked the earth. The thin cloak of flesh and bone did little to conceal the seething hate and rage boiling within. It is to Enoch that the watcher often thought of. Not since the desecration of Babel, the rise of the Sumer and Olmec ziggurat, and the cataclysmic drift of landmasses had the host of legions been at peace with what he was.

Ah the good old days. Before Moses and his big ten, and the writing of the lesser others, “Pat” had beta tested every one of them with a few still in need of repeating.

How had the worm turned. Robbed of the freedom of the √¶ther. Imprisoned to never touch the quintessence. Left to lay dormant beneath the ever increasing weight of invisible chains. The punishment was fair enough. The watcher knew he was given a very lenient sentence. After all eternity and infinity were going to be a very long wait anywhere he could be placed. This bit of community service on Ki wasn’t without it’s pleasures. The irony was because of those pleasures he was being chastised…

Pat sat waiting.

The clock on the wall had long since died, and now forever marked it’s death at one twenty-three.

It was post meridiem. The watcher knew because he had watched that last hesitant movement on August 5th as he had witnessed the first energetic second back on June 3rd one and two-thirds year ago. The time then was five seventeen post meridiem.

The uselessness of keeping “time” was as pointless as having two heads attached to one heart. When the “time” came both would get there at the same moment.

(Somewhere a small chuckle could be heard. Though the sage only wrote the story as it unfolded a turn of a phrase by his own hand could make him still giggle.)

(Old men often laugh at their own jokes while the rest of the world looks puzzled. – editor note by the author)

Left undisturbed the clock on the wall would never grow old, never change. Though the dust of ages piles up upon it face, and the corrosion of the batteries spreads to eat away within. The clock would never know or feel the changing hour

Pat was very much the same. Forever stuck at one twenty-three p.m. Physically corrupted, mentally deranged, but for the spirit always the same. Time had stopped. The movie that he saw was forever set on a loop. The actors in it always moving along, developing their character, then when the plot line needed a twist a new star would appear as the older one faded from scene.

It mattered little. The movie was set upon a continuous loop. The stage would reset, the actors would take their marks, and somewhere stage right a voice would be heard saying “Action”.

Improve.

As many loops and layers of film and tape were to be used, a good actor could always improve his skill. In that one hope both the author and watcher had learned to count upon. They both had witnessed enough footage left behind in the cutting room floor.

Even now Pat knew it was time to splice, exit stage left, and in the following drop of the curtains listen to the sounds from behind the props.

Echoing footsteps upon a wooden stage.

Bit’s and Pieces from The Book of Pat

The mountain folk were a completely different nation unto themselves. They were proof that a drawn line wasn’t what made a mixed group of people into a country. They were proof that it would make them enemies…

The forest underbrush had nearly completely obscured the trail. If not for the occasional bent reed or bare patch amongst the bracken a traveller could easily become lost in the half light of the bottom canopy.

Other than the man made tracks he was leaving behind there appeared no other sign that any other human had passed this way in generations. That was something very disheartening and troubling. The traveller had more than a lifetime of training in tracking and survival. He had even more memories of the countries landscape. Images of before and after floated across his vision, each step made on the internal magnet that could guide a homing pigeon or smart bomb to their final destination without error.

The only problem came with the now. The now could throw a wrench into any plan. The now could be raining or blazing dry, a flooded landscape or a burning forest fire. Only the Author knew for sure what the now would be. It was in that way He made sure the traveller would stay true to the story. At least that’s how everything usually went.

Alice nether knew where she was or when she had been there. The whole tumble from the one next into the other had left her a bit addled and confused. If it wasn’t for the sugary scent of strawberry glaze frosting that was currently drifting about the place Alice probably would have stayed in that kaleidoscope frame of mind for quite some time.

Hunger… Alice was very hungry. The first sounds to reach her ears was the growling of her own stomach. Soon after that conscious thought came the pain of the tight cramping knot of her guts slowly churning. The need to separate reality from delusion was to take second seat for now.

With a quick scan of the room Alice saw that presently no one was there. The rows of shelving and stacks of literature were present. The large ancient writing desk stocked with and ink well and piles of parchment paper was located just how she had seen it. The only thing absent was the box of pastry, the old man, and the ever increasing mess of sprinkles and jam about the floor.

“Damn”, Alice thought. “Missed out and stuck here, where ever here is.”

A almost unheard voice spoke from the dimness of the library. Alice almost mistook it as one of her own thoughts spoken out loud, then as the return of the insanity from the night before. “From where does the strawberry grow? From what does the hunger know?”

“Through what path have you vaulted? For what reasoning has time yet not come?”

Alice felt as if a door had opened and with the fresh in flux of air slammed yet another doorway closed. The sudden shift of pressure bringing a bit of nausea and the threatening kaleidoscope of confusion she had already overcome.

When the room returned to normal Alice noticed a few more lit candles burning, the box of pastry opened and set within arms reach from where she stood. The strange old man was busying himself with an even stranger white container with blue labeling. Without a single gaze back over his shoulder the sage asked,”Glass of lactaid free milk, Honey? I mean Alice… I fear we haven’t any honey at this moment.”

Pat sat once again in his garden. The summer heat had came earlier than expected but not so early that it would ruin the plantings. He’d have to run the drip hose more than usual until everything had set down good root.

The sky was filled with white cotton candy clouds; Each set drifting on a sea of pastel blue.

Many years ago Pat had hung many small wind chimes about the wood that surrounded his home. He had set so many so long ago that the watcher couldn’t remember where they were exactly. All Pat knew was on beautiful days like today the effort had been worth it. The native songbirds with a musical accompaniment by the wind softly off set the rustle of the trees in the cool summer breeze. “I know that reads as a horrible sentence, each word exactly accurate and the moment perfect.”

Pat was for the moment at peace with the world.