Love Bomb

“Sorry to unload on you like that,” he said

“I’m glad you did,” I said,

“So many times we go through life,

carrying burdens, situations

not knowing who we can share it with

but not quite able to bear the burdens ourselves.

We lose sleep, become stressed

because we feel all alone.

Yes, we talk to God and that is a great place to start,

but we still fear the judgement of others.

It’s not until we tell another human being

and they meet us with open hearts and minds

that we can begin to lay our burden down-

or, rather, finally have someone

to carry that burden along

til the carrying is done.”

 

The Truth Behind the Eyes

He marched into the cave, full of muscle and sweat. The last tendrils of light glinted off his biceps and chest. He tightened his grip on his broadswords and walked farther in.

The cave was hot and damp, heated by the fetid breath of the beast. The lichen-slickened ground made for a hard journey. The sides of the cave were jagged and warped from the beast’s thick hide and claws.

The first thing he heard was silence. He strengthened his resolve. The silence was always the worst, but he had come this far. He would have his trophies. For the villagers. For himself. To prove that he was a man. His member surged beneath the loincloth as he thought of it.

Deeper, ever deeper. Sensing nothing until finally he heard it: the beast’s strained-raspy and hissing breath. He strengthened his back and stood erect. He waved his sword into the void.

“I am Bukanin son of Orinshield. I command you to come out beast,” he said.

Nothing. Breath.

“I command you to come out.”

The breathing stopped. A growl replaced. Bukanin gripped his sword.

The beast roared. Stomp-stomp-stomp-stump. Rrrrrrrrrrumble. The Beast charged. Bukanin charged.

He met the beast, with all its talons and fury. Roaring. Ranging.

Its hideous eyes. Thousands of them. Its hunched back. Its tiled and armor-like hide. It teeth and talons. Its rage and fury and hate. Bukanin challenged them all.

They fought there in the dark. The creature was used it, feeding off the energy supplied by bioluminescent mushrooms growing on its skin and in the cave around. But the warrior held his own. This would be his first beast, but it would not be his last. The village was full of dead animal trophies. He would not let them down.

They stabbed and slashed at one another. The blood! The blood! Green, animal blood blending with red human blood. Spraying against the walls. Drenching each other’s forms. They were both mad, crazed. Their draining fluids only made them halluncinate victory.

They sparred for ours until finally Bukanin gained the upper hand, hamstringing the foul creature, bringing it down to its side. He stood over it. Weak due to lack of blood. Weak from the dying adrenaline rush. All he had to do was finish it and it could all be over.

He towered over the creature.

“Finally beast you are slain!” he said, waving his broadswoard high.

He climbed atop it and flipped his weapon about, pointing fearsome blade at his opponent to end it.

He stared into its many eyes. A long time. It was so near death, it had scarcely the energy to keep them open. He could relate, having scarcely the energy to stand, let alone kill the thing.

He stood there, in the death position, breathing; then, he flung the sword aside.

He collapsed atop the beast and slept.

***

He did not return to his village for a long time. Rumor spread that he had been eaten. Rumor spread that he had been overcome. Never did they fancy the truth: that he and the beast spent many of their days hobbling the hills together. Many years later, a young man, out to prove himself found them, offering to end the beast’s life.

When Bukanin decline, the young man branded him a traitor. Bukanin accepted this word.

He was who he was, and if that was who he was, then so be it.

Later down the road, the villagers came and hunted them down. They slew them, for a hunter to befriend his prey was too much for them. They laughed and cheered and drank over the bodies of the dead. They had righted the Universe.

But the last thing Bukanin ever saw was the beast looking back at him with all those many eyes. That was enough for him. That had always been enough. So he peacefully surrendered himself to his fate.

Hummingbird

Wow! The moment you walked in the room
I was blown away.
Your aura, your glow
is like something out of a painting.

You glide through the room.
Everyone you touch, hug,
talk to, interact with…
it’s like they were grey and now they’re
in technicolor.

A Dolly Levi,
we’re so glad you’re back home.
Don’t ever go away again.

You see me. You smile.
We hug.
You are so intimately huggable.
You tell me of your adventures.

Rock climbing, sword fighting
Fancy dinners with heads of state.
I struggle to keep my jaw from dropping.
You are like something out of a fairy tale.

You ask me how my day was.
Suddenly, I’m without words.
I’m sure I did something,
but I’m unclear as to what.

I am entranced by you.

I want to turn the tables around again.

I suddenly don’t care about what I had for breakfast
or where I went or what I did.
I just want to hear more about you.
But you care.
You look at me directly.
Your eyes never waver.
You are connecting.
Thank you God.
In this world of disconnect, I am thankful for you,
you who seemed born outside of this time and age.

I tell you about my day, my silly little interests
and endeavors.
You smile and you listen
until my story is done.

Then you talk to me about your dress,
how you made it.
How you bought those earrings
in that bazaar in Morrocco
And the shoes were made
by a lovely old woman
whose husband took you on a tour
of the Chow Phry river
in Thailand,
and how you studied Muay Thai there
and how you drank tea in China
and boba in Japan.

I tell you I am jealous
and you laugh.
“Just be you,” you say.
We hug again and you head off
to talk to others.
You are the eternal giver.

Later we will meet for wine
and fireside chats,
you will tell other stories
and struggles
worries and concerns,
of your ailing mother
and your brother who has gone away.

I will see the side of you
I rarely get to see,
the honest side behind the superstar.

You will tell of your search for hope and meaning
and how you travel around the world,
always looking for it.

In some ways, that is my favorite part of you.
Not because it hurts, but because it is true.
You will apologize for rambling on,
but my friend you are never rambling.

These are the important things,
the hidden gems.

You tear up for an instant.
Only a moment.
You are strong.
You brush the tear away.

The words run away.
We sit there in the quiet.
I squeeze your knee.
We rise.
We take a walk by the pier.
We find a bench.
We sit.
You rest your head on my shoulder.
We watch the river pass by.

Later on, we’re over at your place.
So you can slip into your favorite
flannel pajamas.
We watch old Marx brothers movies,
followed by a documentary
on the best places to drink coffee.

Finally, you fall asleep.
I kiss your forehead,
make sure the blanket is tight,
will keep you warm through the night.

Then I step out,
into the street lights.
The stars are up ahead.
I smile.
I click my heels.
It’s moments like that
and people like you,
that make life worth living.

Even if tomorrow were to never come
I am thankful for today,
for you, for everything
You are a hummingbird,
always extracting the sweet nectar of life
from the world.

From a Distance

I went to an art exhibit with my friend, Brian.

The artist took pictures of large groups of people

from a helicopter.

Inevitably, patterns emerge,

just in the movement of people.

From afar, just as up close, we are works of art,

from concept to design to finished product,

heart, mind, and soul.

Do we have the eyes to see, the ears to hear

the will to believe so?

We’re Complicated

I’ve been on the inside. I’ve been on the out.

Let me tell you this:

That golden veneer, it’s only that.

Inside, it’s we’re all cracked,

we have all the same wear and tear.

And that ugly mask? the hideous shadow?

it hides a heart of gold.

We are all complex beings,

having both the divine and the grotesque inside us.

Will we dare to get to know each other enough,

to see both and still love?

Drinking Dobrá with Jeremy

We sit in the tea shop. Jeremy reflects on his mission trip and the vacation that followed.

“It’s funny,” he said, “when I went to Kentucky, I wondered what I would do there, and they told me ‘just be.’ When I went to Hawaii, I was searching for a feeling, and missed all the wonderful things I did.”

Life isn’t one thing or the other. Every situation calls for a different response. The trick is to listen, to be present, and let God instruct us on the specific way we should go.