Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A soft Landing

It seemed the right time to share a dream, and it seemed the right time to chase the dreams of the living, rather than the ghosts of the dead.

For a long time I felt responsible for both their deaths. Nothing allowed me to sleep at night. My own nightmares had almost become friends.

One of the first things I did once I returned to the USA was visit my Army buddy Bill and Miss Amarillo 1969. They were both at Memorial Gardens. I had not been able to return home with my friend in arms. I said I was sorry, and like always he seemed to understand.

My other great love, Miss Amarillo 1969, was a high school sweetheart. She said she would wait for me. She didn't and had kissed a windshield on Highway 287 South. I placed a single rose in the vase and a card under the vase. The card said how much I missed her.

She had been beautiful. But with so much charm and beauty she became the object of admiration and worship. She had no time to wait on someone who might never return home, she was only guilty of affecting my life, nothing more.

I looked out across the Texas prairie and saw us dancing. In my head Nat King Cole played, and the younger gentler versions of ourselves held each other and laughed even though long ago we had left innocence behind. She touched my cheek with her fingers and I smelled the flowers in her hair.

She stood on her toes and kissed me softly, but as I pulled her closer she vanished into nothing.

A soft landing back to reality, to replace the things that had once been familiar and safe.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Texas Sky

Walk out my front door. Turn right and walk out to that apple tree stump. Now look up into the clear Texas night. See that star there, the third one from the right. Yea, thats it...Miss Amarillo 1969. Those stars around her: My Dad, my Mother, Bill, my brother, my grandparents, all in the salt shaker stars in the Texas sky.

While in a narcotic state in a hospital this past fall, I heard a voice. Seeking, comforting encouraging. I momentarily stripped away the background sounds and communed with that voice I had known so well. One that I had taken for granted that it would always be with me.

At that moment I felt a great inner peace, as if I had died and gone to Baby Jesus, or Buddha or L. Ron Hubbard, but I suddenly realized they were all in attendance at the same AA meeting in the sky. It was a mystical experience for me-almost as if I'd been working out for an hour on my Thigh-Master.

It was four-thirty in the morning and only paranoia was keeping me awake.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

working man's blues

Most people come to Texas for the same reason Humphrey Bogart went to Casablanca- they start out looking for a good BBQ sandwich and then they get sidetracked trying to find happiness. They wind up happy just to find a parking place. Of course if you don't drive a car the situation can get more problematic. Be that as it may, by the time most of us realize we are never going to grow up, we also begin to realize happiness is a highly transitory state. It's kind of like hearing from someone you love, who only seem to call from airports.

Sunday morning when I woke up I took the shortest route from my bed to the coffee pot. I damn near broke my neck when I tripped over a pile of female clothing lying on my floor. At first I could not remember what they were doing in my room. At that hour of the morning I had a slight problem recalling what I was doing in my room.

An angelic voice singing in the shower brought back memories of the night before. I thought I recognized the tune, an operatic version of Merle Haggard's Workin Man's Blues.

A smile formed on my lips. It had not been an unhappy night I recalled. The two of us knew that happiness is a highly transitory state. Much like when someone you love, calls from an airport.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Just as things began to look the worst in my life, it got worse. In my case, I was out of coffee. I searched cabinets and drawers, some of which had not been opened in years. All I found was a small jar of decaf instant, left there long ago, no doubt by some forgotten lover. I always have believed that if you drink enough instant decaf you will cease to exist.

I walked down to Old Route 66 to clear my head, and when that didn't work, I stopped at the bar to mess it up again. When I got home at around ten o'clock, I didn't know where my children were. I wasn't even sure what happened to all of my childhood imaginary friends.

I felt sad, as sad as I had at anytime in my life. I couldn't click my heels three times and go home.

It was just enough to break your heart.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I looked bleakly upon the desolate patches of dirt and weeds. It was a desolate stretch of rural Texas road where my dads pickup had rolled several times. Everybody's got to die sometime. Either you die suddenly on a lonely rural Texas road, or you die of ennui sitting around wondering when you are going to die. Waiting for something to happen.

I tell you it's no way to live.

Exactly 22 years to the day after my dads death I wondered if I was within site of my own pot of gold. Like so many before me when was I going to step on my rainbow?

I drove home and watched the city lights paint the dark velvet of night. I dialed my mothers' number. It was disconnected. I dialed my dads, number. It was disconnected.

My phone rang and the voice on the other end sounded very young.

I looked out my window and saw people walking by. The people seemed to cling to the shadows and the shadows seemed to cling to the people like heathens or whores or other biblical types. They huddled together beneath burned-out streetlights waiting for the sun to take them away.

The young voice brought me back to the present.

Tonight I felt rather disconnected myself.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

For Every Season

For every season

There is a time to live, and a time to die, and a time to stop listening to old albums by the Byrds.
My attitude about life is you should always take the good with the bad. The game, of course, is to see if you can tell which one is which.

You never know what is going to happen in life. You might pick up the newspaper and read where Laura Bush was caught swimming naked in the pool at the Holiday Inn. That's what keeps us all in the Game.

Life is sometimes like borrowing a cup of sugar from a yesterday that never was.
My problem with life is that I am a fictional person that isn't writing about fictional characters. When you write about flesh and blood, as God probably found out on the 8th day, things tend to break down a bit.

In real life Cinderella tires of the Prince and has an affair with the guy that comes to clean the swimming pool. In real life Sleeping Beauty has insomnia. Of couse life can become weird, because in certain areas of Amarillo, the Montrose area of Houston, the Oak Cliff section of Dallas and certain dense forests in Ireland, little fairies can often be seen. But even they can't really grant you a wish.

That's just how it is sometimes. Someone shows up with a blanket, you send out for beer and KFC and spread the blanket out and have a picnic. Which is better than the other choice, covering your dead body.

I spent several days looking for a life. I didn't find anything but an old love letter I never sent to some forgotten lover, that I never got to know. Nothing lost.

A Lot of things in life fall behind the dresser and get lost in the cobwebs, and we really don't know the difference.

I guess the only loyality in life is a gynocologist daydreaming of his wife.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Phone Calls From Airports

My vision focused on the solitary memory burned into my brain. It was a memory of a phone call I never got from someone I loved from an airport. Looking back at things I've never missed a flight. God nor Amelia Earhardt never told me why. Anytime I go to an airport I arrive early so I can kill lots of time, drinking coffee and watching people walking around and dream like so many highway reflectors.

Maybe I like airports because they never sleep. The people in them now are the children of the people you used to see at bus stations and train platforms before they flew off to the stars. You see lovers saying goodbye like in a story book.

You can't get a phone call while you are in an airport, unless you have a cell phone. But you can call your answering machine, or your voice mail from an airport. If you hear your own voice it may remind you that you are the most important person in the world to ever get a phone call from a person you love from an airport.

Actually who shives a git? It's just a voice from an airport. Cathedrals to the absence of the earthbound soul. Sanctuaries surrounded by wings trying vainly to comfort the terminal among us, and who among us is not terminal?

The voice I had wanted to call me, couldn't call me because I was in a jungle somewhere. She did call her mother, not from an airport, or a train platform or a bus depot, but from a pay phone in Clarendon, Texas. She told her mother she was fine and would be home in about an hour. As she pulled onto Highjway 287 South a semi truck driver ran a signal ight and flattened the young girl and her cherry red Mustang convertible.

We live together in my dreams and I have clung to my dreams like June bugs clinging to a summer screen, or like messages missed on an answering machine.

Before I had left for that Jungle she had wanted me to protect her from bad animals that attacked her in her childhood nightmares.

"What kind of animals? I asked.

"Bad animals." she replied.

I have lived forty years longer than she ever did and I never have figured out what the bad animals were. Maybe they were not animals after all, I couldn't even protect her from the semi on Highway 287.

I have figured out in those forty years, that if all goes according to plan, that someday it would all be alright.

Afterall, we are fortunate enough that all airports are connected to the same sky.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bear Trap

I wasn't feeling to bright one August 2007 morning. Like a character in a long-ago childrens story half remembered, I was leaving the hospital an older but not a particularly wiser bear. The smart thing to do, I thought, would be to hibernate until spring. Bears slept for months at a time in their caves, why couldn't I? Of course bears didn't have to get up to urinate, and they probably didn't have nightmares unless they were scared of mice. No, that was elephants. Bears probably had nightmares about men. Between mice and men, we could no doubt scare the crap out of anybody. I didn't plan to have any nightmares, however. As Warren Zevon once recommended: "I'll sleep when I'm dead." If I wasn't careful explained my doctor' that could be sooner than later.

The cab driver smiled and shut the door, reassuringly. It was a bit like driving off with the extraterrestrial crew of a UFO, and it wasn't courage that enabled me to go home that day. It was rather a rather heady mix of stubborness and maybe something else, I thought: a little thing called emptiness. The plexiglass partition was not only up between me and the driver, it was up between myself and the rest of the world

From the direction of the sun we were headed East toward my house that was located not far off Old Route 66. Amarillo has many old great neighborhoods and they were passing by through the windows of the taxi like so many stops along the railroad tracks of my life.