The Screen Door

lonelyThe weathered gray door hung askew; the many holes in its screen told of uselessness; the middle hinge was still at work with what the top hinge had accomplished—separation from the old house frame, though the screws in the top hinge still met some wood. It had hung there for a long time, a long time serving a need, letting in what needed to, and keeping out what best be kept outside. Now it squeaked from the small gusts of wind that sent in twisting on its hinges, perhaps asking if anyone was home, a silly thing to aspire to a lifeless door which no longer had purpose.

It had been some time since anyone had yanked that door wide open. Even as it shut now and again, resting from its battle with the breeze, it scarce stayed closed long enough to keep any mosquitoes out; its only effective job now to hang there and be the mocking cry to all of silence.

The bits of early autumn leaves, curled with the sun’s heat, and the tumbleweeds of disregarded things, in the dry dusty garden, moved like the misty smoke on the surface of a warm pond in the chill of early morning; no sound; and, as if in irritation, the breeze would stop and sit them down again. Such things a man would do when all that needed attention also needed repose.

The windswept barn, its doors wide open, splayed, incapable of any protection to what might live there, the worn wooden latch and the frayed piece of rope that held the slider in place, now hung loosely, most likely beyond fixing, a puzzle to anyone less familiar with old things; best forgotten. The stalls sat empty, the scent of who might live here was now a distant glow of sanctuary having been abandoned; the water buckets rested on their sides, empty; the swarms of flies settled on what remained of discard, nothing new to attract their attention. Two stall doors were beaten down as if something had wanted desperately to get out. There was blood mixed with the splinters of wood, not the blood of the prey to the predator, rather the blood of desperation. What had been here was now gone.

Not all though, some had still a ways to go. A couple of horses grazed in the lower pasture, their backs to the farmhouse; a few sheep kept their heads down, far from the old barn, to the right of where the two-track dirt road curved off into the distance, next to the river which gave what water they needed. There was no sign of hens or ducks. The tops of corn stalks in the upper field moved slightly; not likely the wind would move them in such a manner, perhaps the cows had made their way there.

This old farm was different that most; a sparsity of machinery here, save the old John Deere with more rust than green. It still ran, by the looks of it, and parts that never again would be attached for sewing or reaping lay sprawled about, the tall grass doing all it could to hide they even existed.

An old wagon wheel hung on one side of the barn, maybe a link to some other time; and down along where the rains would tumble from the roof during the summer rainstorms, links of old chains lay curled, for a purpose only who had put them there would understand.

It wasn’t time for harvest, nor was it time for planting. It was sometime south of where all the work was done, and the work yet to come was still a few paces north—an interlude of sorts. Not that anyone would come this far to look for anyone who entertained such notions.

Those he loved had long departed. The separation had not been done with any intention of ill will. Nor was it done with any particular grand exodus in mind; first one, and then another, and then, only he was there as the old screen door began pulling itself to be free of the house.

It was fair to say that hugs and laughter, waves and smiles, came with each exit, each small step to being alone. That part was lost to memory devouring memory. There came a time when he had no need to even recall their names. Still, he held on to a desperately needed recollection of love, and he watched the road each evening when his work was done, the seasons doing their best to end his vigil.

He was not an angry man, nor was he lost in some world where humanity was not needed. He was not too kind, too selfish, too brave, too lost, too anything, other than being what he was. He understood deeply that his ways were just that, his. He understood that all things must come to an end. A way of life is merely adopted. His mother and father, their parents before them, had passed that way of life onto him. His intention was nothing more than to pass it on, father to son, mother to daughter. That was not to be; and even in that he understood and accepted the reality of all things; there must be a last.

The old screen door slammed itself once more. This time the top screw fell out and landed on the porch, bounced once, and slid down a crack and out of sight.

Just a week or so ago when he had come inside to retire, he had marked his intend to fix that door, bring it back to as it once had been. Even from where he slept, the distraction was loud enough to wake him.

But that was before he let the door close behind him one last time.

Choose Darkness

me_as_a_raven_nightThe twilight, which brings in the evening, offers immutable intention, so different from its left-handed twin on the other side of day or night as one deems best to look. With the evening’s push against the day the crickets rub their wings together in anticipation of the trepidation that might follow them into night; for now as the sun blinks out, all the heat, so immensely stored all about the earth, must leave the land. Such departure has little to do with how cold or warm it might be; the vastness above pulls it like a blanket for its own warmth. And there is a chill left behind, which sits waiting for the uninitiated.

Nor does the heat simply rise into the air. For the twilight of evening also frees the druids from the tall black oaks. The druids ride the rising heat of the earth to do what nature demands of them in the darkness to come. It is the druids who make the leaves rustle even though there is no wind; the bending of the tuffs of grass bears witness to their passing; and should there be a moon upon the water, faint ripples can be seen where none should be, that too, the sacred priests of nature well about their work. They join the young wolf on the cliffs overlooking the forest and teach him to howl his presence that all might know he has moved to find his pack and a new territory. They lead the deer away from stream and open field to lay quietly tucked behind a screen of brush; their ears ready for any sound, and the place ordained that it provide ease of escape, should that be necessary. A druid sails with the Screech-Owl, and brings her to a perch, where they sit together, so she might learn silence and the way of the night.

All creatures understand this is time to be the hunter or the hunted, and it is the druids who guide all who dwell here. Evening twilight is the toll of life’s bell to meet the druids, to rehash what the day did bring, to plan what must be accomplished tomorrow, to survive the night.

The twilight of morning does not care to grip the day in any dark embrace; its concern is all about unfolding. It comes as a whisper in a lover’s ear, or a soft caress against a breast to stir the flames of a new passion. There is a misty shroud of softness all about; the trees, the grass, the water, stretching throughout the land; the entirety appears joined as one; each blending into the other, impossible to tell where one begins and the other ends. It is a time of awakening and ephemeral wonder: First, it is the sky that breaks away and offers a sleepy eye; ill-lit, it scarce can make out the small stream of clouds to the eastern sky. Then somehow, stretching, as does a great woods animal when it first rises from sleep, and then with great majesty moves to the bank where it takes its first drink, the light, in its fashion, sets pinks and greys against the far horizon, a vivid and glorious display of the light to come; and just as quickly as the tall antlered buck leaps from the bank at the sound of a branch breaking; the colors dissipate, and the day has arrived.

Morning is what we crave most. It offers a new start, and that is indeed a glorious purpose. But, dare you not forget the “dark night of the soul,” for learning is all about darkness, not light. The best of insight comes from the dreams that stir to us in the depth of night. Few ponder such dreams, and so they are bid to repeat them. Those who do ponder, do so with their eyes shut against the light; that they might touch the reason and the why of a matter. In the best of deeds and accomplishments, there are crucial times of darkness which test the resolve to continue. That darkness should not be feared or ignored; it is merely the time to know how well you might want the outcome.

A myriad of great teachers have long ago slipped into the dark shroud of our past. Yet they reach out to teach us in books, poetry, paintings, music, and the crafts they explored; and so we may move forward with their knowledge. The best of the teachers who even now dwell among us have already lived a life of discovery and learning; and their light too might bend towards the twilight of evening as they impart their knowledge to us. It seems a trade of sorts; we move into the light as they move into the darkness.

Yes, the light is the best of what is yet to be; know well however, it is the darkness which will give you the power to best explore the light.



I was pondering some time ago, the loss of innocence. No, no, not that innocence—I mean check out a picture of me at twenty or so – I was far from innocent long before I was able to lose it.

I am referring to “wonder.” Perhaps that’s not the correct word, so let me explain. I recall watching the Walt Disney channel on Sunday nights at seven; the cartoons were best; I got lost in them, I mean totally immersed, to the point of being a real part of the adventure unfolding. I was similarly able to let the real world slip away when I turned the cover of a new Superman comic.

Then I turned thirty. Okay, maybe a bit younger, and it all slipped away. I did not intend it to. It happened without any real awareness, certainly not a conscious effort on my part. I found myself down the road somewhere, a place where cartoons and comics were for children. I remember trying to climb back into one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons; and of course you know the outcome, it’s like trying to believe in Santa Claus again.

If childhood should teach us anything—yes, I’ve noted with some distain that we tend to view childhood as a time to learn and grow up and turn into good adults; we tend to give no measure to what childhood might teach us, the adult—if it should teach us anything, I repeat; it would be that such ventures into fantasy are spiritual in nature, precious, and euphoric to a healthy well-being.

Perchance we make a mistake when we label such episodes escaping from reality. Story telling is very much a part of human kind, and might even be hard-wired to some degree. The Myths, the lore, the gods so invoked by our ancestors point to rich imagination and a grand connection with a spiritual existence. Some folks lament the loss of the hardcover book to the digital. I for one offer no such affirmation. It was never the physical book; it has always been the story; and now with digital we can have a world of discovery, learning, and adventure waiting in an inside pocket to be pulled out any time when the part that calls itself the Real World needs to have its light dimmed for a short time.

The Joining

DoveI must separate from the matter and rejoin again; return to the essence. It is more awareness than any knowledge I might have of what I must do; Somehow I know it to be true. All I have now is a muddy connection to people and places; the muddy of murky and cloudy, in no way grimy—though of the earth I believe. Ideas and worn out dreams; I can’t seem to grasp they are any longer mine—maybe they never where. There are those who belong to me, or me to them, whichever—I must leave now.

Some of this has to be me—other than a dream—or else I am nothing. No, the truth lies somewhere else; I am slipping away, something new, well different. No pain now. There was pain once. Yes, there is connection to pain, or rather the memory of pain.

I feel a strong urge to go back, as if I am floating far above some plane, and the string is broken, such that I can never return. Return to what I wonder? Those memories again; before when there was attachment it was real; now, they stretch into the distance. Yes, memories best describe them.

There is weeping and laughter, perhaps in another place, for I cannot make out who the emotions belong to; that too has slipped. Is it because of having separated? I am but a watcher and a seeker, both adrift in some place of impossible rest and peace. No need to search, still an urge pushes me on; on to where I cannot even imagine. I need to be more than the watcher and the seeker. I must have all of what I was supposed to be.

A new string, no, a series of strings stretch before me and I grasp each one. They all pull me the same way. A flood of happenings wash over me.

First there is the Druid. He protects the children from the barbarians. They sit in a circle now and listen as he imparts the ways of nature and how they best survive. He keeps them hidden in this woodland, lush with plants and berries for eating, plentiful in herbs for medicinal purposes, and teeming with creatures of all sorts. The air is fresh and the gentle breeze that brushes the grass by the waterfall is warm and intoxicating with the many fragrances of flowers, a most wonderful place to be if not for the terrible danger.

Next a vast ocean, a deck-hand perhaps. No, someone with much more freedom to roam the massive ship as her sails rattle in the wind and her bow crashes into the waves that come rolling in from one side. She is making for a new world where hope and opportunity blossom. It was by chance I found my way on-board. One of the Wild Geese, it was not my choice to be here. My comrades insisted my time there was long past the hangman’s patience.

Two red moons dress the night in light. Endless stars fill the sky. I am sitting on a floating disc, no sound from it. It hovers just feet above the fast moving stream as the water gurgles and cascades over the shiny moon lit boulders on either side. I am playing an instrument and singing the song of the magic swan, a bird with the power to change between an animal and a marshland creature—of which I am one. My lover is sitting on the bank of the river, his feet in the water. He bids me come down where he might teach me things about the moons. I tell him he must wait until the song is over.

“Oh my. There you are. It’s been so long.”
“Oh, that was not what I meant to say.” Some connection still to what I was so soon before.
“Yes, thank you. Merlin, you were the best of Danes.” Merlin sits upon my lap as he was prone to do. All enjoy the reunion. Here there is no master. We are two venturers.

It is all in focus; I am no longer adrift.

“You are welcome. I could not have hoped for better.” Some here were part of my particular last garden and now reach out. Others are joining as I am once again, and opening up their experiences that we all might touch, even as we hold onto our own.

This group was formed as the Gardens of Matter-born, not dark matter; instead earthy, carbon, things of stars in some universes. Our group is never complete, as many are away, visiting one such garden or another, while the many of us return here to add and grow.

So much to share and learn. Old friends, family, extended family, lower forms rising, higher forms pulling us along. It is good that time has no meaning; there is so much to be accomplished. All that we have even been can be accessed. Still it is very much like a new unfolding as all that has happened in my last garden has been added to what I was; and all that has been experienced by the others who are part of the Gardens of Matter-born has been added for each to weave with their own.

Such wonderful things to do and share with all to who I am joined. And so much, much more to come. “Yes Pal, I love you too.” His memory licks my face—the reality precious.

An Ending


An Ending

A touch of wind upon my brow
No sounds, perhaps a cricket early to the evening choir
Funny stains upon my hands, little spots
And skin that stretched less like skin I used to know
Oh you could say it is the melancholy of evening
The sun withers against the darkness to come
It has always amused me when the soothsayers sing
That morning is best for everyone
I linger now captivated by what I had to say
Knowing well the stager of age and reason
Will leave me somewhere soon along the way
A stony shell of having to be pushed forward
And pried backwards to nothing I would have
Should I until the end be master of myself
A tear that needs no wiping
A smile that needs no eyes to judge its mirth
A touch that lets no print upon its finder
A breath that well must be the last





Russell Loyola Sullivan

It’s been some time when last I admired mounds of snow,
Limbs bending; hollows all around the trees where snow refuses to go.
I wonder about those holes.
As a child on crusty snow we would steer clear of such obstacles,
Sailing over the icy surface left by a cold rain upon the blessed blankets of snow.
Still, a bad turn, a slip of the runner on the slick surface now and again, gave us up;
And we would have to be pulled out from the jolt.

Long icicles droop down from the eves, evil things that point to heat loss.
They look like tons of weigh that might drag the whole house down.
I wonder why they changed.
Even with a mittened hand we would pull one from anywhere we could reach,
And savor the coolness and the refreshing wetness against our thirsty acceleration.
They were pure and as welcome as candy, one to be had whenever we wanted.
Water and ice came freely then.

Perhaps I compare too much; then again I might remember too little.
I feel the stillness and the great cover it gives to all that rests beneath it.
But there is an urgency pulsing inside of me that I must get back to life and living.
I should but understand there is nothing to get back to. I am the interruption.
When I am gone, and all who follow my way have gone,
The snow will still give up its beauty and its special gifts.
Perhaps then the snow will find who best to share its nature with.

One Last Time


One Last Time

One last time to the Ocean side
One last time to see
One last time let the wind and tide
Bring memories to me

We walked the shores
I was yours
And you were meant for me
But the work of life
Is a two edged knife
That cuts with sad decree
One edge seeks to carve a path
To where the love might be
Gives the other edge a desperate need
To slice each lover free

Big sailing ships
Must sail
And sailors must roam free
When lovers part
Tides pull their thoughts
To much that cannot be
Seasons turn to memory
And lonely is the soul
Who waits each day by a dreary sea
A loving heart grows cold

Ocean storms
That howl the nights
Lay restless on her mind
Too many times
Down to the shore
Some piece of him to find
One cold grey dawn
Only wanting to be free
She let the waves that crashed the shore
Tell her love for me.

One last time to the Ocean side
One last time to see
One last time let the wind and tide
Bring memories to me

The Prison (Emotional warning)

pigPerhaps they don’t know I’m here. She looked down at her feet; the matted pieces of straw mixed in with the dirt on the floor. Bars on all sides, inches from her body. It was a cage of some sort, she could not remember being put here, or why she had been captured. All of her sisters were gone, and her mother; not a glimmer of what had happened to them.

She conjured a glimpse of having being placed here; well, not placed, she was thrown in, slammed against the bars and then had passed out from the ordeal.

There was little light; maybe it was night.

The time rolled excruciatingly by. The dim light offered her a total inability to recognize as any one day rolled into the next. It took only a few weeks before she lost track of time all together. The food she received came intermittent at best, and was always the same. No room to move, her food soon mixed with the feces and vomit, her young body reacting to the vile circumstances. She was never taken from her prison; a jolt of water spray would wash away the evidence of the inhumanity each time it piled up.

As the months registered the steady cruel monotonous repetition of filth and deprivation, her mind mercifully blacked out any trace of who she was. She would chew on the bars until blood rolled down her chin-never enough to end her misery. Even the aches and pains of not being able to stretch or move merely turned into a dull acclamation and acceptance that life was far from being precious; that life was nothing more than a mad dance with sublime loss of reason and spirit, a grueling multiple of continuing torturing days on a poor soul lost to existence, forgotten, alone, yet made to endure against all of hope.

By the time she was taken from her cage, it matters not. She no longer recognized the sun or the ground she stood on for the first time since being caged. Movement was a strange and difficult ordeal. The sores on her side  long since ignored in their festering now healed from something they had given her. She noted briefly in the next few cycles of feeding she got only some water and a pricking sensation in her side from what they stabbed her with. The slop she was usually served was no longer being given to her – not really missed, just a last notion of a life never lived.

She arrived at the pig slaughter house and gave one last cry; and she left behind her misery.


Book A Novel IdeaI want nothing more than to escape.

I don’t mean I’m going for good. I just want to escape for a short time. It’s a little like Friday night, or maybe Saturday morning. There has been five days of work and routine, playing by the rules; and now it’s okay to let things slide. A few hours out with friends on a Friday Night allows escape; a slow Saturday morning with family does that; a good movie does that; a fixed set of favorite tunes does that.

It’s also why I write. Okay, I know the little pieces that I post to my web site won’t take you far from reality. I do hope it suspends your serious matters in life for a few minutes. In those few minutes I pray to present a different thought, a different view of some matter that you might  allow to brush across your mind—maybe ponder and smile. If you do that then I have stirred your imagination, your view of the world. I know that will not change the world, but hey, it says we now have a common experience, even if your view might be different than mine.

I hope an entire novel allows an even greater possibility to escape and explore settings and people who might make different decisions than we ourselves might make; and give us a moment to set aside our life’s struggles, maybe even envision other possibilities. I say ‘hope’ as I cannot speak for everyone. I only know that when I write I want my reader to let go for a few precious hours and find a different place to be; find characters who they might love or hate; find a place to sit and rest a bit from the tribulations of life; get immersed in possibilities for change and understanding, struggle and growth. Yes, these are the things of our very lives; although I believe reading about it gives us assurance that we are not, after all, alone; that we are all connected and share many of the same experiences; hopefully on a lesser scale that what is required from the characters we read about.

Two Faces

opposites_attractThere is a raw unsettling awareness which rips the very fabric of defense away and leaves a body open to the dread of utter annihilation. It is so much more than a foreboding of calamity and disaster; for it gives not its moniker – it just is. It sweeps in quickly as if a polar wind had been plucked from the cold Arctic tundra and somehow sent swirling angrily into a sunny afternoon where at once the calmness of a summer’s day becomes a mad frigid dance with death.

What’s more it cannot be explained away. Indeed, it cannot be explained at all. Hope is immediately abandoned. Purpose has no purpose. All that sits with relevance and importance now pales against the absurdity of living, the useless maniacal struggle to move one leg in front of the other, one thought to follow the next, one day to follow another, a mundane repeatable procession of forgettable events and situations, soon lost to antiquity. Only despair remains. It is preordained as the sun might shine, the stars might twinkle in the evening sky, the air itself might allow breath.

There is a euphoric bewilderment to all of creation. Love itself seems plucked from the bosom of humanity and now wrapped around your soul. You are joined to the oneness of it all, the grand design, the sparkling threads of humanity, the eternal bliss of being. The connection is willful and real, such absolute knowledge of being together could not be conjured by mere desire

It cannot be fabricated by a wish. Nor need it be; for it comes when it is least looked for; it sits there and pounces on those open for its arrival. There is no end to how magnanimous its sharing, and no matter how much is taken there is always more. All it asks in return is the jubilation, the perfect feeling of serendipity, the mad embrace of a returned lover, the gushing fullness of a life with purpose and design. It is preordained as the sun might shine, the stars might twinkle in the evening sky, the air itself might allow breath.