Category Archives: Short Stories

The Boxer

A warning. For those used to my typical prose, this story will be dark and harsh, raw and blackened. It’s a catharsis for me, a truthful metaphor reliving a past life. If this type of writing bothers you, please go no further, and accept my thanks for being a faithful reader.

He sat alone, as he had so many times before, looking across the canvas at the demon. He was born to look helplessly at the distance between them, but lived for utter devastation when the gap had gotten much too close to bear.

He could hear the Minions behind him, shouting their meaningless encouragements. If he won, they’d be his best friends, if he lost he’d be where he always was. Alone.

He could feel the sting of the cut carved just above his left eye. He would not publicly flinch in the sight of such pain, nor would he bleed. They would not see him hurt. He had been cut so many times before that the pain was like a familiar friend, one he sought to avoid yet embraced when they met. Pain was his ally, for at least he was alive in its embrace.

The cut was not some masterful stroke by his opponent. The Boxer has seen the hook coming, but rather than duck he leaned into it. As it landed, he smiled, and as he felt his flesh tear and the pain come, he finally felt at home. This was what he was used to, this is what he had come for.

He trained to torture himself, purposely inflicting pain worse than any other could inflict. Soon, his hands become like stone, his body taut with the remnants of a religious insistence on being hurt, his mind impervious to the games they would play. They may have taught him such displeasure, but soon it became his own.  It was the single thing he could count on.

His body tensed, naturally anticipating the bell ringing. He marveled at the rhythm of this game. Most of it, three minutes to be exact, would be a fight where little bits of him would die. Then would come one minute of glorious respite, where he almost believed that life could be different. At the end of each round the Boxer would almost find truth in the cheers of those Minions and the accolades of those in his corner.

He could almost trust the judges, believing they would see what he saw. He had survived the round, given better than he had taken, and shown what he was capable of doing. Surely they would have to give him the points. Surely he had won. Surely he could count on them…

Invariably, he knew better. He could trust none of it save his own solitude, and his own sense of direction. In the familiar rhythm of his life, aloneness became his companion. Before the respite was over, he would look once again at the Minions with disdain, his opponent with disgust, and the arena with little feeling at all.

Such vicious training you couldn’t afford to buy, but they gave it to him for free. When he would look at her, he only wished it could be different. Yet, he knew better. He always knew better. There would never be a shining star in the crowd, and he must be free from her in order to give her freedom from him.

Normally, when the Boxer grew tired of the game he would spring from his stool and end the dance. It didn’t take much, for his training had strengthened his body and turned his hands to stone. He would rush out with a smile, and the obstacle in front of him would fall. Then would come the hollow cheers, the fictitious pats on the back. Soon, when the party was over, he would return to the aloneness he neither craved nor wanted.

Tonight, it would be different. He had grown tired of the fight, of the bullshit. He had grown tired of the one way street, of the road work , of the endless repetition. As the bell rang, he knew what he would have to do.

When his body hit the canvas, it was over. He cried real tears, alone as usual, finding relief in the end. He could see tiny drops of his blood in the fabric, and already see the backs of his once admirers as they turned and walked away. He had done his best, but he was done with this game, this time. The end had finally come.

 

photo by: Isaí Moreno

The Things She Does Not Know

Originally written on August 8, 2016.

There is a woman. A strong, beautiful woman who knows so many things.

She knows the passion of her heart. She offers it in her words and shares it in her eyes. She stands tall against the tide of time, softly protesting the sincerity of her truth while gently holding onto the sanctity of her innocence. What a marvel she is, a candle held against the new-moon sky, a note written on a sheet of paper that completes a maestro’s symphony.

She knows the strength of her weathered mind. No force of nature bends her knee, no ill-intentioned heart corrupts her sweet intentions.  She’s ridden the mighty waves of the past, and has yet to surrender to the shore. A humbled man cannot know such things as she, he can only try fathom this wonder that stands before him.

Yet, for all the things she knows, there are many things she doesn’t.

She doesn’t know I sit in wondrous silence, basking in her light. She doesn’t know I see her nestled perfectly on a distant horizon, rising gently with the songbirds, reminding so many a new day has dawned. She doesn’t know that I exist, for I am but a star on the other side of her own rising sun, unseen in the light, anonymous in the blue-and-orange hued morning sky.

She’ll doesn’t know how the wonders of the world are lost to me when she stands before them. She doesn’t know how all else is forgotten when she smiles, and how I’ll never be able to explain the reasons why.

She doesn’t know how hard it is for me to catch a breath when she shares herself, or how I force myself to forget her in the placeholders that I find. She doesn’t know so many things, but I know one. She exists. That hope, that wonderful feeling discovered in what seems like an insane notion of my mind, may be the only gift she ever gives me.

A gift she has no idea she’s given. A light she has no idea she’s shared. These things she may never know, but she doesn’t have to. Sometimes that is just the way things are meant to be.

 

A Goodnight Wish

I want to say goodnight to you in the way my heart prescribes. The way I always should. The way I always will.

Look at me, my love. Hold my hand. Kiss me in the way you want, demand from me all that you may need. Do not hesitate to issue such commands, and never forget the moments I could only pray for this kiss, and all those times I stared at my empty hand, wishing yours was there.

Let me love you back, in the way my heart demands of me. Let me hold you tightly in the flickering flame of our candle, following the music of our souls while reminding you that once you needed me and did not know it, and once you called for me and did not know my name.

Put your head on my shoulder, the shoulder that would carry you through hell if need be. Fall into my arms, the arms that were made strong to hold you steady when your knees buckle in the night. Taste my lips, the once uncertain lips which have now met their destiny.

Hear my words, words seldom issued in this man’s life, oaths uttered to you as a vehicle of truth, and nothing more. Hear my silence, the subtle gaps left between the gasps of our ecstasy. Lend your ear to my chest, place your hand over my heart, to feel the strength of all I am, and all I am willing to give to you.

Each night I close my eyes knowing their opening is not guaranteed. Each night my final words will be those promises once made to you in my solitary darkness, and they will be whispered in your ear before we sleep. Should these be my final words, I will have lived my life to the summit, and will have departed knowing I have fulfilled my greatest dream.

Now, I will find my night’s cocoon, climb into it…and say you name one last time today. It will be my goodnight wish that I have a chance to say it again tomorrow.

Goodnight, sweet love…

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When There Is Nothing I Can Do

We all know the feeling. We see her, our knees crumble. We hear her voice, our hearts begin to race. She fills our minds with her thoughts, her fears, and her dreams. She occupies our thoughts, inspires our intentions, and raises our frequency to levels we rarely see.

We all know her. She is beautiful, and her eyes make us swoon even as we try to keep our composure. Her mouth makes just the right curves when she smiles, and her image sends us flying into the outer edges of our Universe. She sets the bar, and we will always seek to meet it.

I know her well. I’ve talked to her countless times about many things, some meaningful and some benign. She’s inspired words I’ve etched words into the fabric of my day, and give life to inspiration that have brought many to tears of joy. My god, there is so much life to knowing her, and so much a truth to the utter sense of all she is.

Yet, there is nothing I can do.

Sure, I could be the bad ass in the room and feign indignation. I could act like I don’t care, that the moments we share have only the slightest meeting. I could tune down my intensity, resist my own desire, and pretend that her wine has a bitter taste, and her words a shallow impression.

That’s silly. There’s nothing I can do.

I could be “the man”, and act like she doesn’t matter the way she does. I could hold back on the strings of truth I send in her direction, the pearls of wisdom I give her as a gift when we converse. I could do so many things…

…and then I realize, there is nothing I can do.

I can’t make her run to my open arms no matter what my version of truth may be. I can’t make her call me in the middle of the night just tell me all her pains. I can’t force her to do a fucking thing, and for that I am grateful.

You see, there is nothing I can do.

That is the way it should be. I should adore her where she is, regardless of the tears that well up within me at our distance. I should honor the spaces where she struggles, despite my want to carry her through the smoke. I should smile as I always have when she finds her loves, be there when she has her pains, and let her know that there will always be someone there when all else fails.

Wait, perhaps there is something I can do after all.

Despite my story wishing things were different, that for once a heart was in tune with mine, and that the timing was perfect for a resurrection of my hope, there is always something I can do. I can accept the pangs of hurt, of remembrance, that whittle their way through my flesh and change my point of view. My truth is not a universal one, and there is no one who need ever hold my hand.

In the meadow where I go, in the brook that bubbles by my ears as my eyes shut to see the Universe, I realize a certain truth. I am a lover. A hard-scrabbled, complex, rough around the edges lover. All that I can do has already been done, and now all I can do is, well, nothing. Except that something.

Peace.

photo by: Lel4nd

Another Letter to Her

I’ve written to you a million times. Some words have made it onto stone, while others have been left in the ether, I hope blowing in the winds heading in your direction. I do not control the currents, yet the bottles I have cast into this Sea are meant for you, for the hopeful union of our time, our space, and our journeys.

Through the moments I have cared for you, my heart has been its purest. Though my secrets live and die with you, my intentions once hidden now exposed, the purity remains. Though my own insecurities echo in the chambers of my mind, my heart remains steadfast in a certainty of its own. My soul knows, and I feel no compulsion to disagree.

I can see the crumbled mountainsides of my past, the debris of time strewn all about the roads I once traveled. I can see the smoldering ruins of bridges I have burned, and of the remnants of the places I once played destroyed by the sacred winds. What I once saw as destruction I now know as rebirth. What I once thought was disastrous I now know feels beautiful. What was once death is now alive, and life itself has taken on a meaning all its own.

I tell you things I used to whisper, and I whisper things I used to keep deep within my soul. I’ve watched you through the peephole and stared at you in the sky. I’m not sure where I am going, yet I know every step along the way has led me here. I’m not sure where you are heading, but if I but have a moment’s breath to smell your fragrance, I will have lived my life for real. I will sit in that space with you, inhale your scent, and live with the memory forever.

There is a depth between us, and a depth that surrounds us. I can feel its eternal bottom, and I know the truth of this reality. What seems crazy to the mind rings true to the heart, and the chills felt  and the sighs heaved speak a language of their own. I’ve heard them, I trust them, and though my mind sounds bells of insanity, my heart beats remarkable oaths to the promise of this moment.

What am I to do but share with you this truth? Who am I to turn to when the pulsing of my heart calls your name? To which voice am I to obey, the one within my mind or the one within my heart? I want to carry you through the smoke, drive a hundred miles to change your tire, hold the space and time you need while never letting you forget the depths to which I’ve risen just to see you smile.

One day, as my hopes and dreams are played where I sit, words will be used but be unnecessary. You will feel my fingertips raise bumps upon your back, and you will know. You will feel the power of your hand in mine, and you will find the truth. You will falter and I will carry you. You will call for me and I will come. All that you have sought, that’s been seeking you, will be found in me, and I will be found within your arms.

Hopes. Dreams. The sanctuary of fools, the monument of the insane. Let me be a fool. I have nothing worth being sane for. I would rather wake to you, get your coffee, hold your face in my hands, and kiss you with the rising Sun. Sanity seems a darkness in which I’ve lived too long. I wish to walk in the light of craziness!

Yet, the reality. I sit and breath in the realm of the conscious. Yes, I will wait as I have. Yes, I will be here when your cracks are whole. You are not alone as you face those beasts, and if my blood is spilled upon the soil where we stand, a beautiful garden will be born. If the wind is taken from my sails, I will build my home upon the sea.

Goodnight, my dear. I will write to you again. I promise.

 

 

 

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The Truths That Remain Unsaid

Sometimes rain falls from a cloudless sky. Sometimes you can hear the rustle of leaves on a barren plain. Sometimes, you can find water in a stone.

I’ve sat alone on many nights, thinking about you. I’ve imagined your fears spilling out upon my skin, your dreams echoing in our chamber. Unexplained waves of something have poured over me in sight of you, uncertain power has wrapped around me as if your arms have been born from the darkness, embracing even the most fragile parts of me.

So many nights I’ve bathed in the truths that have remain unsaid. So many days I’ve smiled in your joy, silently basking in your glow. So many hours have flown by in the dreams of hearing your voice, of feeling your hand, of kissing you in ways that demand you surrender to your heart.  So many minutes have escaped me hoping for that moment when I could love you in the way you have always wanted. So many seconds. So many…

A sigh from my own parted lips. I profess my truth in dribbles and drabs, hoping to comfort your insecurity. I offer you a small piece of the truth, yet there is no doubt within me. In every second since our meeting, in every minute since our words first spread across the Universe, I have known this truth within me. I have felt you there since the dawning of that day.

My heart does not demand your reply, or seek your surrender. My heart has held you dear, beat with your name in a rhythm all its own, without uttering a single word. I have known you in my being, held you in my soul, and I have never asked a thing from you. Now, the wine flows and the heart sings in those little dribbles and drabs, speaking honestly, while leaving some truths to remain unsaid.

Such beauty you are, a wonderful mix of things I’ve asked for and things I’ve only dreamt about. Such beauty you are, a loving mix of iron and the softest stone around. Such beauty you are, how dare I utter a single word lest the dream dissolve and the mist be blown away. The idea of you excites me, the thought of scaring you sends me into chaotic disarray.

For now on know, I do not scare so easily. If you call, I will come. If you speak my name, I will answer in loving repose. If you need, I will reply. If you want, I will give. If you have a question, I will answer you with unbridled truth.

Those truths that remain unsaid are but a poison, slowly killing the things that ought to be. Mysteries will confound us, but we will survive. Waves of doubt with assail us, but stand strongly in the sand we shall. Winds of change will blow our minds into the sea, but dance in the mist we shall. You will never doubt your space with me, for I will never let you down.

I cannot hope but test the future, and sleep sullenly in the past. I will utter your name in prayers of tomorrow without expecting a reply. Just know these things are true, even if you never hear of them. Just feel these things surround you, even in the most open of spaces. They will be with you, even when you think you are alone.

Therein lies the truth that will never be unsaid.

Happy Birthday, Dear One

There was a time when you were but a hope, a dream. Some think that marriage is a sacred union, but in truth the most holy of unions is at the moment of conception, that moment when a man truly becomes one with a woman, when the hopes and dreams of two humans unite in one form all to her own.

Like some tiny pebble, you were created. There you were, a bundle of humanity exploding within the womb. Like a dim light soon to be a rising sun, you sat in active stillness waiting for your moment. Like some wonderful promise made to the Universe, you became something from nothing, a universe all your own.

Like some enormous stone splashing into a finite sea, you were born. A tiny spark became a big bang, and the world was given a glimpse into what was to be. A dream was born into a babe, a babe into a woman, a woman into something poorly defined by words.

The words “happy birthday” are, to some, offered in passing to note the day you were born. I wish to offer them intently in honor to the dream, the promise, and the reality of you. You are heart that bleeds into the ether, onto paper, and into my heart. You are a kindred spirit in the creativity of beautiful things, a passionate soul given life in a beautiful form, and a wonderful human being set forth on a beautiful journey.

So, “Happy Birthday”, and thank you for being born. Thank you for living, for your experience, and your future. Thank you for the gifts you give the world, for the little one who graces your own life in a way you share, and for the happiness you bring so many. Thank you for your service to others, and for bathing us in that splash that was your arrival.

With much love, I offer you this piece of me, to that piece of you that knows.

Peace.

To Whom Do I Owe My Love?

To whom do I owe, my love?

I want to know. I need to know. When I sit silently in my loneliness, playing with my fears, lost in the shadows that move within my mind, I ask. When I lay alone reaching for that empty space where you should be, playing with the wrinkled sheets, the sigh I offer begs an answer.

To whom do I owe my truth?

I love you so. I love the way I feel when I think about you. I love the vision of the way you stand. I love your voice as it echoes in my mind. I love the beauty of your smile, and the way everything about me flutters in the memory of you. Yet I lay here, alone, unsure of which hour the clock has struck, missing the very light that greets my morning eyes.

I stretch my body, stiffened by the demanding night, and let out a moan of continuing renewal. Naked as I lay, enshrouded by comfortable discomfort, I ask for the warmth of your body. A shiver is the only reply.

They say that people our age have found their independence, and made an irreconcilable agreement to give our time to very few, and devote our lives to even fewer of those who would seek more of our attention.

That thought saddens me, as such a demand should be sweet to parched lips. Perhaps, to many, the fruit of love has become sour to the taste, the price of companionship too great a price to pay. Perhaps we’ve found liberation in our moments alone, a certain freedom in the empty spaces that another once filled.

Maybe I am slow to the realization, or maybe I don’t share in the agreement. Maybe time will tell to which I owe these lonely moments, but the darkness demands I ask.

To whom do I owe my time?

“No one,” of course, is my answer, yet in my humanness I wish it different. I want to owe my time to you, discover a commitment made to not only cherish our moments together but make them abundant. I’ve found a path to share that we can walk, a rising sun we can watch together, an altar on which we can make love for hours.

I want to bask in the inconvenience of such an agreement. I want to sigh in pure delight walking when I wish to sit, in leaving when I want to stay, in staying silent when I wish to speak. I want to give something up for you, not in demand of sacrifice, but in the wonderful gift of seeing what was empty full, in what was dark well-lit, in what was cold now heated by our rhythm.   I want to be soaked in love with you, fatigued in our sweet passion, and I want to lie next to a woman I know better than anyone else in the world.

Perhaps this desire is the follow of a simple, yet complicated, man. Maybe this end is not destined for me, perhaps my time alone dreaming of you is as close as I am meant to get. I just know that I am bored beyond belief in the life of a single man. I find no joy in the simple compliments of women, in the lurid sex that our bodies demand. I find no satisfaction in the lack of real connection, absent of the possibility of forever in a touch. I find no real words in the shallow books I now read, and I find no real truth in any oath I hear.

While I find joy everywhere, I find in the emptiness a promise of its own. I hear the sweet song of love in every stitch of sound, and see the light of this truth in every moment I am awake. I have loved, and lost, and been lost in love. I have been fulfilled in hollow dreams, and trusted in empty promises. I’ve uttered words I had no hope of understanding, and sought solace in the ways my mind thought would save me. In the end I crashed and burned, reborn in the hopeful ways that have awakened me.

The awakened me feels everything I trust and trusts everything I feel. There are no middle grounds here, just the truth of intuition and of instinct with a voice all of their own. I know that voice, it doesn’t speak like all the others. I hear that voice, it doesn’t sound like all the others. It exists within me, and the more I dive into that place the more I know how much I feel…EVERYTHING.

It leads me to places where I bend to smell a flower bloomed, and lay in the grass to bathe in the morning dew. I love the flower and the grass, the birds above and the leaves that crinkle under my bare feet. I love the clouds, and the earth, everything between and everything beyond. I know it, because I can feel it, and I’ve learned to listen to what I feel.

Alas, a question rises.

To whom do I owe this love?

I feel it’s you, and watch you from this distance. I’m alone and naked in the rain as I watch you twirling in a mist of your own.  I’ll watch from here, my toes flexing in the mud, my heart beating quickly in the storm. You are beautiful in every way, so I’ll hold this space as necessary for my own survival, as necessary for the process of living to unfold.

For I owe you nothing, and yet I owe you everything. I owe you for waking up the dreamer, for holding steady the power of intention. I see no path to you from here, yet I know our winding ways will intersect somewhere. All I can do is walk, forward, keeping the vision of you in my mind as I focus, intently, on the twisting path ahead.

That vision of you…the one that strengthened me before it had taken form…sustains me now. I know there will be those moments when I reach through empty air, when I open my eyes and find nothing but empty space. I know I will lose myself in the misery of wanting you now. Yet, I also know that I will survive, as I have done each and every time I’ve thought of you, until you are finally, clearly, here.

I will be, too.

photo by: ( (( marS )) )

Ready

I try to sleep, but sleep escapes me. There is a restlessness in my nights, and movements in my dreams.

Like a dreamer awakened as the Sun rises, I wish to touch the face of glory. I sit in awe as the light graces my eyes, as the warmth caresses my skin. I’ve wanted to touch you for a long time, and at last you are here, as you were the moment we met.

There is a wicked challenge ahead I feel, but I’ve risen to many before. A man once tortured by himself, wounded by choice and blinded by time, I am now ready. A Warrior once weakened by his uncertainty, I am ready. A gift once hampered by the pattern of his bow, I am ready. I am ready for you, and hope that you are ready for me.

I want to love you. I want to stand by you in the downpour. I want to hold you steady in the wind. I want to carry you when you can’t go on. I want to be all the things you need, and need all those things you want.

To be…your love. What a dream to be that hand you search for in the nightmare, those lips you seek in the moonlit shadows of your restless desire. What a life I’d live just sitting there, your head on my chest, listening to you breathe. What a man I’d be to wait for you in my lust, to call for you in my own moments of need. What a wonderful sight when you come for no other reason than just to be there.

I’ve risen from my blindness so that I may see you. I’ve awakened from the numbness just to feel you. Now, I sit patiently with thoughts of you dancing through my heart, knowing that in all I’ve faced and all I’ve done I am ready, for you.

So, goodnight. Goodnight to the hopes and fears, to the dreams and not-so-subtle doses of reality. Goodnight to the winds and the snows, to the stops and the starts, to the single place where you and I shall stand, forever.

 

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A Mother’s Son

“Sleep my son. Rest, my boy, it’s all over now.”

And with that she kissed him one final time, and though she bathed his little cheeks in a mother’s tears, others said a prayer about a man who had lived and who had died in the only way he knew how.

The world saw a man adorned in an ornate, flag-draped box. She saw her sleeping boy. The world threw around words like “hero” and “brave”, she could only muster the words “my baby”. There were those who hated him for the color of his skin and the nature of his birth, but she could only love him. He had given her the greatest pain of her life in his birth, and they had stolen him without knowing him, without even giving him the courtesy of knowing his name.

They had beaten him for his innocence, and stolen everything from him for the vile fear that festered in their own mind. They detested how different they thought he was, so much so that they could not see just how much he was like them. He bravely walked as he was, and bent his knee to no one. He simply wanted to be free, to do his part, to be equals in the eyes of all people.

For that, they killed him. For that, they stole his liberty. For that, they became the killers of man’s great hope, the murderers of unlimited possibility.

Perhaps he had crossed some invisible line they had created. Perhaps he had climbed some magical fence they had built from sand. Perhaps he had assailed that wall they had built against themselves. Whatever it was, it scared them so that they became beasts of prey and the thoughtless, heartless, fearful murders of the wonderful endowment of their own Creator.

They saw something beneath their caste. She saw her greatest joy. They saw something to be thrown aside. She saw a boy to be held through his nightmares in the dark. They saw some scourge of their holy book. She saw the word of God as he grew into a masterpiece of his own.

They killed him. She gave him life. The laughed as they left him to die. She will cry her tears forever. They are animals. She is her son’s mother.

Soon, they will lower him into the Earth, an Earth that doesn’t see the color of his skin, or the place of his birth, or his creed, or his faith. The Earth will embrace him, turn him into a seed of life watered by the sweet tears of his mother’s broken heart. The Earth does not know to which flag it should honor, or to what god it should worship, and it will love this man’s flesh as the ether will love that man’s soul. Each day, a mother will bide her time, hoping and wanting to join him.

Life will go on for the rest of us. We’ll create our silly separations, and succumb to our silly fears. We’ll laugh, and we’ll play, and we’ll sing our songs of peace and love and hate and fear. We’ll create our dark rooms of worship and belief, and we’ll point our fingers at small rays of light and hope that enter as if there is something wrong with them.

We are all a mother’s son, or a mother’s daughter. We are all so much alike, beings bequeathed a great potential at the moment of our conception. One day we can hope the mother’s tears end, replaced by the laughs of love and the smiles of true liberty. One day may we love our similarities while allowing our differences to blossom.

Until then, a mother cries herself to sleep, and a son prepares to die. No walls we build will save us, no laws we pass will end our horrid suffering.

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