Category Archives: shards

examine your thoughts


The committee formed a tribunal and then stepped out of the lime light. The tribunal whipped out an advisory that boils down to a warning: Examine Your Thoughts. They sent it registered mail.

“Roll on proud Mary!” I wrote back on a napkin. “The cow jumped over the moon. The mouse ran up the clock. The levy broke and pork barrel went into action. The rich get rich, period, full stop, a coma cram-packed with commas, a grammarian’s nightmare.”

I’ve about had it sending light waves from the belly of the Beast. I’m going to unlock this ball and chain and set loose the furies. Fast-lane retribution. Heads up, proud Mary. What thoughts?



The tribunal starts thinking Ninjas. Do they have any on the payroll? A fine kettle of fish. They think Richard Nixon and Langoliers, musketeers and deer hunters, Osama bin Laden and Karl Rove, and then they break down in tears. They’ve gone and burrowed to the tap root of sorrow.

Higher up the chain-of-command, red lights are flashing like the scene of a freeway collision. The Masked Man who overrides everything calls off all bets, and the tribunal and the committee are left in the throes of a bad career choice. The Masked Man gets on the hot line to Sam.


“Of course we have Ninjas,” says Sam, stark naked in the lotus position on the peak of Mt. Baker–talk about hills. “I myself am a Ninja,” says Sam.

“Do what needs doing,” says the Masked Man, as close to straight talk as he’s ever come.

Sam disconnects, closes his eyes, inhales deeply and holds it, exhales slowly, opens his eyes again. Prepares for a long day’s journey into night where thinking can get you killed.


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a man crossing the street



He’s middle-aged and standing on the corner at 6 a.m., Bermuda shorts and a yacht shirt with a pseudo coat-of-arms stitched over the chest pocket, deck shoes and a 400-page paperback clutched with both hands.

He’s got that anxious, unmoored look in his eyes that comes from reading too many books. The streets are empty and his light is green, but he seems to need more assurance before he’ll venture off the curb.

I’m at right angles to him in my car, and my light is red. We’re both waiting for a signal to start the day.

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a new year’s revolution



Inside my head it’s just like Einstein’s universe. Having said that it’s hard to say more. It feels like a split second after the Big Bang. Quasars erupting, giant stars imploding, black holes sucking the twinkle out of everyone’s eye. A new year, a light year, a can of worms, a soggy memory that you can’t trust to be accurate.

If you go fast enough the universe shrinks and you stay young forever. Swinging back where you started, your unfaithful wife’s 10,000 years old. You longed to get even, but is this going too far?

Space warps and time melts and light tattoos the vast darkness. None of this holds a candle to the aftershock of the generational chaos in the form of two grandchildren your son left behind in his unloving departure.

The frail things in nature have a way of looking like something they’re not.

Little by little your camouflage melts away and dwindles your options.

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an artist makes his breakthru



Your pallet of reason gets smashed into mud by a rampaging elephant whose rage is inexplicable to even his fellow elephants; something snapped in his memory-drenched brain, something hooked up with something it never had before and gave him a new slant on things that made life as an elephant insufferable. Insufferable and inescapable, and that’s the stuff rage is made of, be it in elephants, chipmunks, bumble bees or people.

So there you are, pinned against a rain-forest tree as big around as a car as the elephant goes thundering by, a large snake sliding by at your feet and an exploding canopy of fist-sized monkeys in the branches overhead, still clutching the brush drenched in reason’s pigments, and where do you go from here? Do you pack it up and catch the next boat out of Africa, or do you cross the line into a world of jabbering monkeys,pythons and raging bull elephants? Do you rip off your clothes and snap your brush in two, smear your body in mud, dance in tight nimble circles, cackling like a demented witch so that the jungle comes to a slow standstill and then begins revolving around the masterpiece that you’ve become?

As if at this point you still had a choice.

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a day in the life

A Day in the Life


Here’s a message from god. A glimpse behind the curtain. A guided tour through the seven veils. An eye opener, a spine tingler.

This can’t go on forever. The ink runs dry, the paper turns brittle and bursts into flame.




This morning three laughing girls at a coffee-house drive-thru set my heart dancing and launched me into the day.

Twenty minutes ago and thirteen hours later there was only one girl left at the window, and she’d been there all day, while I’d just woken up from a nap full of bad dreams.

The dance was gone from our eyes.

I put the van in gear and drove off.

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Too many operations, betrayals, rejections, major disappointments, and anger uncoils like a cobra. The dark monster’s back, the mad Hun who never sleeps.

You make the mistake of telling people about the voices leaving and get hit with a burst of “good riddance” and “what a shame” and a few mild suggestions on what to do now.

Anger consumes it all.

The only thing that might work is a small child reaching up and gently grabbing anger’s gnarled and throbbing finger, bringing tears to its cyclopian eye.

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