“The Invitation” by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me what

you do for a living

I want to know what you

ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s

longing.

It doesn’t interest me how

old you are

I want to know if you will

risk looking like a fool

for love

for your dreams

for the adventure of being

alive.

It doesn’t interest me what

planets are squaring your

moon…

I want to know if you have

touched the center of your

own sorrow.

If you have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shriveled

and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can

be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with

wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you

to the tips of your

fingers and toes

without cautioning us to

be careful

be realistic

to remember the

limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the

story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the

accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own

soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can

see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your

own life

from its presence.

I want to know if you can

live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand on the edge

of the lake

and shout to the silver of

the full moon,

“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live or

how much money you

have.

I want to know if you can

get up

after a night of grief and

despair

weary and bruised to the

bone

and do what needs to be

done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who

you know

or how you came to be

here.

I want to know if you will

stand

in the center of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with

whom

you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can

be alone

with yourself

and if you truly like the

company you keep

in the empty moments.

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A Water Cycle

A new bead of water, clear and wanting, rolls down to the edge of my water bottle. On the precipice, it holds; the bead is only one small drip of water.

The wind, from the fan, makes it: grow, shake, swivel, dance. But, the drop still holds on. It doesn’t want to fall. It clings for all of it’s transparent hydrogen and oxygen molecules. A simple life.

On the bottle, in the closing space, another bead rolls down. Does it join, or not? Alone, the liquid atoms collect inside the hanging water bead – holding on: heavier, lower and thick. The wind jiggles the weight inside of the drop, rapidly.

Does it not want to fall? Can it hold on, or be pushed to fall?

Hot air surrounds my bottle and makes more baby water beads, which begin to draw near. The older water drop waits. Up and down it struggles. How much more? Pain: a lasting thought…

The water drop drops to oblivion.

Death

Heaven

Life

Another bead of water rolls down…

Rain is coming down

And, the rain…drops fall and hit softly on cement. Nothing notices, except for windshield wipers and panes of glass. Despite the new wetness falling, I keep the windows open to smell the freshness. Below, plants dance in the wind and rejoice! The hard-tack houses and buildings are locked in place– the rains run off them like foreign shapes. I can taste the rising-of-life in my mouth. I feel the Thunder-drum approaching and hear it echo through me. I’m not alone. I welcome being alive.

“God Bless You”

I hit the skids today with the blues…maybe it was the passing storm; maybe it was the big zero-sales day; maybe it was the frustration of my bills creeping-up to my door like a pack of hungry wolves. “The Brooklyn Boys,” or blue devils, had me in their grip.

I left work early and needed to breathe. I changed and went to my second job. Then, turning off the exit, I was humbled. A lonely, older man was holding a yellow sign, with red-marker etched: “Homeless Veteran. Please help. Extra change Please. God Bless You.” I saw an angel asking for a hand-out.

I drove past, pulled over and walked to him offering all of my change. He shook my hand “Commander David (something), at your service.” As he spoke, I realized how grateful I was to give him something. Dave told me his life story and cried on the side of the road. (A man, almost in his sixties, holding back his tears, trying not to expose his brave humility, in the rain.) Before I parted, he asked, “Do you believe in God?”

“That’s why I’m here,” I said.

“Ya know, I now believe people are put in my path for a reason,” Commander David said. I
agreed.

“Flamenco Sketches”

New London SunsetIt’s 7pm. The Easter sun is glowing, above the roof tops, and slowing falling like the Miles Davis’ trumpet, from ‘Kind of Blue’.  Seagulls fly over. I can hear their lasting cries, as my bedroom window, to my left, where I write, is cracked up about an inch. The western breeze, off the Thames River, cools my arms and face, as I sit in my white t-shirt listening to the cacophony outside and the jazz inside.  This ‘Edventure’ is an Awakening. As symbolic as Easter is to most, this holiday has ‘resurrected’ my need to write, again.

Since my last post, in Maine, I’ve moved to Groton, CT: to a three-story tenement building, living on the third floor, in a three bedroom apartment (3-3-3). Even with moving all of my stuff, going up and down three flights of stairs, there are some benefits. Living in a “hideout,” within the tree-tops, offers a sliver of the river and the sunsets, for starters; and, a false sense of security thinking no one can spy on you. The other is…to be determined (TBD)—(sigh).

I wouldn’t have picked this place, but it picked me. I was living in a three bedroom ranch in South Portland before I moved to Connecticut. It had the suburban luxury of a yard and privacy. Now, the neighbors, in the building, and some of the tenants next door, have made this urban place “neighborly,” living on Thames Street. We all share the same cracked driveway, which T-splits to each others parking area; and, there are two basketball nets for us older “kids” to hang-out, and younger kids to play — day and night.

But the most “breathtaking” view is directly across the street: “GENERAL DYNAMICS”, as it’s painted, in bold black letters, on their five-story tall, lime-green, windowless building. And, to top it off, as I look down to their barbed-wire fence, guarding this “green monster,” is their neighborly sign: “DEFENSE PLANT – NO TRESSPASSING – NO PHOTOGRAPHING –Violations May Be Subject To Criminal Prosecution Under The Espionage Laws Title 18 U.S. Code.” And, to make everyone living here feel right-at-home and secure, patrolling this man-made beastly structure, are the unmarked SUVs and camouflage military police, riding back and forth, protecting us from them?

So, we live in harmony, in our half-court backyard: playing basketball, chewing-the-fat, drawing our sidewalk chalk-lines and making a lot of ruckus ‘til midnight. We call this place “home”, for now. All three of us, living in the same building, with our families and kids. Somehow, we watch-each-other’s-backs without fences and signs; however, we do defend our existence with orange-bullet nerf-guns, squirt-guns and a dog-bomb mine-field. However, the only ostentatious “high-life”, we do have in common, is our nice slum-lord. At times, I feel he tries to compete with GD and see how much he can charge for rent without having to take responsibility. When I think about it, sometimes these two are neck-and-neck.

So, New London, one of the oldest cities in Connecticut, is directly across the river. As an outlaw, I chose this side of the border to be closer to my kids living in Rhode Island; and, to be within an ear-shot of Eugene O’Neill’s home town. Surprisingly enough, being Scotch/Irish, I noticed there’s only one true Irish pub — Hanafins on State Street — versus the many years ago. (Why?)

This city has shrunk from its high-traffic seaport days. The history lives like rust. Not many remember what made New London, and the changes that brought America to new heights. From the beginning, New London had the best positioning of ports for merchants and military. Those were the booming days of: privateers, pirates, whaling and merchant ships searching for the American Dream: gold, war, adventure, new countries, treasure, women and luxury.

Now, the museums are…museums, or mausoleums, and…the military, too. (Can you tell the difference?) Where’s the innocent rush for adventure, again, in New London? What vacuum sucked-out the kernel of adventure and manifest in this town? Today, the town is a fading shadow: the denizens are mostly low-budget shopkeepers and invisible locals, going in and out of shops like mice; and, the thin business community tries to get a grip of politics, in one hand, and the dry tourist dollars, in the other. The town, on rainy days, looks sad, and, at times, is. But, this forgotten emptiness turns-on my contrarian intrigue because the stories are not dead, but ALIVE!

I’ve walked these streets and alleyways, and can envision the ghosts of yesteryear. My interest lies, in the turn-of-the-century, when the O’Neill’s had a major influence in the social fabric. Then, New London wasn’t “urbanized” from the wrecking-ball of the1950’s to the 1970’s; it still had the existence of the living wharves. The train brought in people from Boston to New York, and back. The steamship-ferries also gave the pleasure of a water-ride to town. And, the highway was just becoming a burgeoning commodity, as cars began to dominate the roads. This influx and exodus, in generations of souls, made New London rich in history and created its own romantic culture. But, where’s it now?

Tonight, as I begin to see colored pin-hole lights twinkle on the New London shore, the sun slips into twilight, and I desire to explore this “bright” land. “There’s gold in them thar hills”, as they used to say. I believe, by understanding the footprints of Eugene and his significances within his works, I can learn more about how to dig in “my own back yard”, and find those diamonds, as Diamond Jim used to proclaim. This gives me an ‘Edventure’ in my own right. Living here, I can write some “Sketches” and make new stories from the old. There is treasure lying within the old skeletal brick-and-mortar city. I just gotta find it. What a quest!

Now the inky night has arrived, and I unfurl my blue, twin, bed sheet over my window.  In my cheap-penthouse of dreams, or “hideout”, I turn-away from the cold outside. In my warm space, with my reading light and computer, I can write the words to take me away to another time; and, Miles helps, slowly blowing his horn, like the New London train in a fog, taking me away to escape and discover these stories.

 

Have you ever seen a ‘bald’ eagle?

I got back and I had to do it: cutting my hair all the way down to pure baldness. As much as I had never grown my hair, as long as I had, on my head and on my face, it was time to cut back and expose my scalp to the sun. Of course, it was a bit daring to take the clippers and shave each layer down. But, the drinks helped to laugh it off, and the fun began to create expressions, which I had to capture before it was all gone.

This ‘edventure’ is more personal than any geographical experience. There are lots of changes occurring that have made the cutting of my hair a little more symbolic than just a notion to go to SuperCuts and get a trim. As I count them…my thoughts fill my mind like stars in the opulent night. For a start, my kids draw a major constellation; then, my family, friends, work associates, and neighbors. All of these people surround me, shining their light, as we travel together making a difference for a change.

Ya know, to ‘make the cut’ is not just one deciding-factor. I believe there is a turning-point in moving to the New London, CT area from South Portland, Maine. As I mentioned, my kids are the big factor, but the promising relevance having Eugene O’Neill’s spirit, like a fog, in the area, is a foghorn calling in the distant gray. A new chapter has turned. After the writing-workshop “On Golden Pond”, with Ernest Thompson, crewing for his new movie, Heavenly Angle, and acting in the movie, I felt it complete with my “work” this summer. Now, I can fall back to the basics of Americana and feel the bare necessities of writing, acting and directing within O’Neill’s backyard, while playing alongside my two dogs and my kids, Taylor & Masen.

I was at the bank today and I was asked, while making a withdrawal, “What did you do to your hair?” Immediately, I am at a loss; my hair is obviously cut off. (Duh.) I did found myself thrown, for a moment, behind my eyes of consciousness, to ancient stories, like Sampson. Or,.. instead was I some profile-thug? Then, I realized, it’s just… hair, right?

My baldness shines before me. What’s this new image? There’s power with no hair. How it fits on my head, like a, hapless, hatless feeling, is unconditional. There’s nothing (as my hands runs through, front to back, on my head) to declare. All I know is newness surrounds me: my head is numb, my head scratches my pillow like velcro, and I’m reminded of Telly Salvalas or (bald) Bruce Willis.

But the fun was when I cut my hair. The pictures tell the rest of the story: my face still stands.

Full hair

Still got it - phase 2

"Skin-head"

My new do (before...)

The New 'Ed'

Half gone

Half gone

"Whoo...whooop...whop" (Curly - The Three Stooges)

Cool & Dangerous

Handle bars and my "p----patch"

Handle bars and my "p----patch"

Intruder - Repo man

"The (bald) eagle has landed" - front

right profile

Left profile