A beautiful and delicate flower flourishes under soft light.
“In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” —Isaiah 27: 1
Job Chapter 41.
Toms River, NJ
Two days ago, I found out my father was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He was always a heavy smoker, but stage four lung cancer is a shock to our whole family. My father and I, haven’t spoken to each other for the last five years; I had to hear the news through the voice of my crying mother. He told my two sisters and my brother the news sometime last week, but they didn’t tell me shit. Even though he told them to keep it from me, my mother couldn’t hold it in any longer. I’m saddened by the news, but I’m not going to cry about it. My father is an abusive piece of shit. I’m the first born, and my siblings had it easy in comparison to what he did to my mother and I. Still, there is some strange resentment from them towards me. What the hell did I do? Is it because I never came back home for their bullshit Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners? I don’t know why my mother decided to stay with him after all the beatings and emotional abuse. When I became older, I figured it was because of the money he made — and the fact that my mother never finished college and didn’t have a trade, or anyway to sustain a family of four children on her own. My father was an aviation mechanic for thirty years and always made good money, along with doing gunsmithing on the side. He did take care of a family of five, and we never went to bed hungry — and always had good Christmases. Anything would set my father off, and the nights he came home intoxicated, my mother and I knew he would become abusive. She would tell me to hide in the closet in my room, and I would hear her wailing from being beaten. I hated him then, and I hate him now. Fuck him. When he dies, I might not even show up at the funeral, though it may break my mother’s heart. I love her, but I don’t know if I can do it. I’m seven years older than the second oldest sibling Laura. Her version of my childhood is revisionist bullshit. After my father suffered a heart attack, he slowed down significantly with the drinking and the abuse, so my brother and sisters didn’t go through what my mother and I went through. They don’t know a goddamn thing. I have this underlying anger in me; I tend to take things too far. If someone hurts me, I want them to hurt one hundred times more; then I want them gone.
Since my high school days, I’ve liked fighting, and really inflicting pain on any perceived enemies. Once, I broke this kid’s jaw in two places; he had been teasing me, and trying to bully me for weeks — I’d had enough. When I came home that day ,I thought I was in for a beating, but my father was proud of me, and even allowed me to drink half of his six pack of cold beer. My mother, just stared at me with tears and went back into her bedroom. I think I was sixteen years old at the time. One day, I was walking home from school, and the kid’s father approached me, screaming and swearing at the top of his lungs. I told my father about what happened, and the next day he went looking for him. when he found him, he told the guy he would kill him if he ever came near me again. Years later, I found out that my father stuck the barrel of his .45 Colt, into the guy’s mouth. From what I hear, the guy urinated on himself. Though he was protective of his family from other people, he was the monster who constantly beat my mother and severely damaged my mental health.
After I graduated high school, I left home and never looked back. My mother sent me to live with her sister, in Toms River, New Jersey; one state away from my hometown of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. In Toms River, I learned a trade — and ironically became an aviation mechanic like my father. All my other siblings finished college, and my sister Laura received her Master’s in Finance. She met some guy in college, and they got married. I rarely speak to my siblings, but I accept it as part of my reality. I have one niece and two nephews that I’ve only seen a few times; that fucking bothers me. I’ve never married, because I don’t think I’m the marrying type, but my girlfriend Melissa has been with me for five years now, and I love her. Lately, I’ve been going to therapy and working everyday to purge the anger out of my system. Melissa’s been supporting me, and she’s such an encouragement; the tears are falling right now. I love her so much. Signing off for now — I have grocery shopping to do. Melissa is eight months pregnant, and it was so unexpected; but a beautiful surprise. I don’t think my daughter will get to meet my father; I don’t know how I feel about that right now. The oncologist told him he has roughly six months left. Damn.
9:36 PM, New York City.
Coldness has gripped my heart. I have become exceedingly numb to the bodies that lie before me, even the young. I have grown accustomed to the taste of metal that lingers on my tongue. In the beginning I contemplated my own mortality, but now I only contemplate an increase in my salary. I must say, the long hours have taken a toll on me; REM sleep is difficult to attain lately. The last poor soul I examined was burned badly and didn’t have any surviving family. I used to be highly religious, but recently, I have been exploring the concepts of agnosticism and atheism more and more. Life hasn’t been the same, since Sarah walked out of the door; divorce lawyers are expensive. Maybe, it was for the best that we had two failed pregnancies, as I assume this divorce process could have gotten much more ugly. I’ve come to the realization that marriage is not for me; strangely, with everything we’ve been through in court, I still love her and genuinely want her to be happy. I hope she meets a great guy and can finally start a family. We were both in medical school when we met; I thought we would be together forever, but I guess that didn’t work out, whatever. The district attorney has been on my ass about the promptness of my reports, but fuck her. She, and her office are on my fucking time; the bodies keep coming in, and are stacked high. I’m not going to perform half-assed autopsies for the sake of time; these are still human beings and deserve respect and dignity, but more importantly, accuracy. On most days, Bach’s genius gets me through the long hours. Most of my colleagues are good people, but this particular guy, Kevin, is an asshole; most of the guys named Kevin I’ve come across are pricks. I am an absolute professional in this office, and my work can stand against any independent examination. Can’t say the same for “Kev.” I guess that’s why I’m the Chief Medical Examiner — and he is not. I’m proud of myself for being disciplined enough to cut back on cigarettes. Recently, I’ve tried menthols, but they’re absolutely disgusting; vaping is completely out of the question. I haven’t had sex since Sarah left, but it is companionship that I miss the most — or maybe not. The coffee here is bullshit, so I bring in the good stuff for myself and a few others. I’ve been receiving constant calls from my mother, regarding my divorce; she wants me to work things out with Sarah. There’s nothing left to work out, so I think not. As much as I love my mother, she needs to learn to stay out of my personal affairs. I saw how she emotionally clobbered my father to a pulp. He died as the result of a massive heart attack. I’m considering signing up on one those so called “dating” sites; the word “dating” is used loosely these days. I was walking in the city and had some random woman approach me with the offer of “services.” I replied with, What services are you specifically referring to? After she answered, I politely declined. I’ll give myself sixty days to find someone on whatever dating site I decide to go with. I’m not in the business of wasting my money. I’d like to find someone at least somewhat sane; no unreasonable expectations either. Eleven years of, honey do this and honey do that, was enough for a lifetime. After a while, the constant demands became a fucking nightmare, as if I already didn’t have enough on my plate dealing with my profession. I was responsible, faithful, maintained a roof over our heads in a nice neighborhood, maintained excellent credit, engaged in intimacy with her regularly (not just a five minute pounding, but actual intimacy with foreplay), and tried to show sincere interest in the things she enjoyed. I think that’s a pretty good goddamn track record; I told myself that’s it, I’m not doing anything else. Working here can be a drain on your mental health, so I guess the insensibility serves some purpose. One week of time off coming up next week. Looking forward to it.
2 AM eyes look up and down the block; only the fire from a glass pipe can be seen. After the last inhale, the blue flame disappears like magic. Like vampires they retreat into pitch darkness. High rise buildings tower over women of the night with torn stockings. The bitter cold outside combined with strong cigarette smoke, causes redness of the eyes. An old man drinks a bottle of beer, and in-between his raspy lament he cries. The 2 train stops and continues on its way to 149th street. The homeless seek warmth in building hallways so they can sleep. Children of the night in crowded bedrooms from tiny eyes peep. Snow starts to fall and covers all like a white shawl. Heroin addicts inject black tar that would make the devil crawl. Empty buses roll down White Plains road with lights off in ghostlike form. A hole–in–the–wall bar offers a strange silence with unfriendly faces that are listless. The darkness stalks from under the subway overpass; the sound of old train tracks are haunting. Snow keeps falling.
Large rats move in the shadows undeterred and stake their claim. A woman talks to herself loudly, because she is in pain. The wind that blows on the train platforms chills the bones; it is cold. Tired eyes cast off the thousand yard star. Eyes gaze at the lights of an approaching train and are caught in the glare. The gritty winters are harsh, and even the poor find a way to have at least one decent coat to wear. The snow that falls over the Bronx River with bordering trees, makes it look like a winter wonderland. A white pigeon sits atop of an old Lower Manhattan street light. Lady Liberty stands still over New York Harbor with a torch in her hand.
3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for us to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.
8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
Matthew 27: 3 – 8 KJV
18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Acts 1: 18 – 19 KJV
In their struggle for power they have lost their souls.
They have become husks of flesh
With no eyes in darkened sockets—
Flailing their arms in eternal darkness;
They climb one over the other, tirelessly,
Pursuing ascendancy doggedly.
With clenched fists, one by one,
They scream blindly,
Falling into the abyss.
A beautiful moon.
The fall air is cool.
Music is therapy.
A picture of my mother
under lamp light.
There is a peculiar stillness in darkness.
Creatures of the night move
mysteriously in the starlight.
A bookmark protrudes in between
Pages 100 – 101
Frederick Douglas: Prophet of Freedom
by David W. Blight.
Two windows half way opened;
The branches and leaves of fall trees
move gracefully in light breeze.
The beauty of a clear sky
and twinkling stars overhead.
Several books stacked up at the edge of a large table.
Fine point and ball point pens mixed in
with a few pencils and markers in a container.
A stack of notebooks and writing pads.
Scented candles I’ve never used.
The humming of an air purifier.
A large cup of coffee with sweet condensed milk.
The comfort of a warm quilt.
A beautiful note written to me from someone
over twenty years ago on the back of a card
with a white dove and backdrop of floral colors,
that was recently rediscovered.
I miss you. We had good times together. I remember when we took the 2 to Grand Concourse, and you noticed I was down and gave me words of encouragement
when I didn’t have any else to talk to. I remember when we rode our bikes to Yankee Stadium, but we didn’t have enough money to get in to watch the game, so we just hung out outside and listened to the announcer and the roars of the crowd. Remember the time we rode push scooters to Pelham Parkway and ended up at Pelham Bay Park? The week after, they stole the bike you had recently gotten for your birthday; I’m still angry about that. Ralph told me to let it go, but I looked up and down for it for weeks and never found it. I recall your favorite snack, two slices and a pineapple soda or a meat and cheese calzone if you felt like switching it up on any particular day. The pizza shop on Burke Ave, was a block favorite. You unknowingly gave me strength. So many memories; and now you rest with the angels. You are loved. You are remembered, always.
Sade – Maureen
Starlight bathes you Moonlight covers you Sunlight embraces you Polaris guides you My aura is drawn to you My heart belongs to you My soul loves you Silk drapes on you Diamonds adorn you Love radiates from you The universe cradles you