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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Mosaic Beings

When we come into this world we are broken and shattered.  That is why so many of us cry at birth…

Sure the Doctor smacking our asses at birth stings, but knowing where we came from and that we can’t go back until this life is over stings more.  In these moments we are aware of what we have given up to be here, to breathe what we cannot touch and revere what we cannot see, such as love, joy and compassion.  So we scream, bawl and mourn.

Many believe that these sojourns have been planned and trials meticulously chosen for the benefits of their lessons.  So that upon completion we may pick up another shard of our mosaic that is our soul; moving one step closer to becoming whole and complete, becoming in tune and in balance with our souls light and healing.  They believe that all of this is for healing; healing individually and as a society moving towards the “age of awareness”.  That it might move us closer to a society that is conscious of intent sent into the world and one that is fully aware of those intentions.  Is this what we are moving towards?  A society who thinks of consequences of actions before acting?  Who thinks of said repercussions?  Who of us, if they are honest with themselves, do this now? 

Personally I think we are closer now then we were… but we still have a long way to go, some of us more then others. 

Some would say we are perfect just the way we are, “perfect in our imperfection.”, because our imperfection is only an illusion.  We have no faults; we are merely incomplete in our understanding, in our healing, in our mosaics.  We have all of our pieces within reach; we just can’t see where they best fit the puzzle.  Experiences in the “University of Life” will show us the way.  Some will learn quicker then others, some souls are “older”—some mere infants—but all are looking for the same conclusion, to end the cyclic healing process.

A woman once said to me:  “Life is about give and take, we could not live without this concept.  We take air and give carbon dioxide, wild animals take the lives of others in order to survive, and mothers devote their lives to their young.  These are just examples of the necessary balance in the world, and of give and take.  The key word being balanced, there are always times when someone is taking more then another wants to give, and there are always times when one is giving more then they should.  These examples are not apt to last long because the imbalance of the circumstances will often bring collapse to such relationships.”

Another woman in the conversation asked if it was not better to give then to receive.  The first woman answered: “Both are of equal value because you can not have one without the other, you can’t take something from someone that isn’t providing it.  Whether they want to or not.  Essentially each supports the other like the brain supports the body and the body supports the brain.  You can have one without the other, but they cease to function.  More importantly, by taking something from someone who is giving it freely, you are empowering them and thus receiving positive energy yourself.

The person gives something to you and by receiving the said item you benefit in someway.  Even if it is something small, you feel great because someone thought enough about you to give you something.  So in turn, because you are happy, all those you come into contact with will benefit also from the item given, because of the way you interact in the world when you are happy.  No matter how big or small the event, the ripples in the pond are born and the energy keeps moving outwards.”

What if there was no edge to the pond?  What if more people understood the power in give and take with balance intended?  What would our world look like?  What would it be like to live in such harmony?

My New Years hope and wish is that more people in the world work towards balance in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones.  Most of all though, I wish that in the pond of 2011 there are more ripples of “happy, joy awareness” that reach each and every one of you.  There is no one who deserves it more then each and every one of us.  After all, we are all in this together.

Namaste

Monday, November 15, 2010

Viva La France

I admire France.  Or should I say I admire the people of France; I like the way they deal with their intolerance of their politician’s actions. 
When they were upset that their government wanted to raise the retirement age.  What was their response?   They shouted out their reluctance to such an increase.  When their government didn’t want to listen and cited all sorts of reasons why the rise in retirement age would be beneficial, what did they do?  They stood together and they gathered converging into the streets; they forged together and rallied against the government stopping shipments of fuel into the country with an energy strike.
France is a country that knows how to get its voice heard.  It knows how to get the snake to pay attention by strangling it a bit, and then threatening decapitation.  It brought the big oil companies to its knees just by coming together and doing something about it.  Is it surprising?  This is the same country that boasted the word revolution the loudest during the years 1789-1799, and devised the Guillotine.  This latest protest only proves that time and time again, over the centuries, you can not take the fight out of France.  I suppose once you take down an absolute monarchy, a regular government is more like a bothersome mosquito.
So what is our excuse?  Why do we, as a country, sit idly by while our government says one thing and then does another?  More importantly, why do we let our government get away with turning a deaf ear?  It seems we stand by while they outsource jobs, sell premium government lands to foreign countries; or deplete our precious resources.  Sometimes we are outraged enough to voice our opinions to the person waiting next to us in the coffee house line up.  If we are really peeved we send around a paper petition, and pat each other on the back congratulating ourselves on being a peaceful nation.  I wonder what other countries think of us when they see such actions.  Are they looking through telescopes of their own?  Would they care or only shrug shoulders and smirk, expecting no more from us?   
Canadians just seem to look through Margret Atwood’s one way mirror into the United States, our noses pressed upon the pane and our breath condensing.  For the most part it seems we are just content to act and respond accordingly to whatever our neighbor is doing.  We seem to be lulled to sleep by the lumbering giant next door and its entertaining escapades.  Until we are hypnotized lazy-boy tater tots, assimilating more of its culture into our own, becoming carbon copies of its broken shadows.  It seems the mirror between us does not protect us from N1H1, or the economy viruses, that threaten to drown. 
Nor does the window protect us from Hollywood actors who seek asylum from the dreaded ‘Star Whackers’ and the promise of free healthcare.  Not that I can blame any man, woman, or child who wants free healthcare.  Up here we think it is the bee’s knees, there are the long waits for MRI’s mind you, but when you consider the alternative I will gladly sit in the waiting chair with my volume of literature. 
Three cheers for revolution, mirrors, and Viva la France.

(References made to Margret Atwood’s essay “Through the One-Way Mirror”)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chocolate Fixation

My mouth starts to water as
The waitress saunters
In my direction

My gaze fixated
On the plate
That looks like
An extension of her hand

I can see a little piece of
Chocolate heaven
Peeking over
As she draws closer

Finally
After what seems like an eternity
The culinary masterpiece is before me
I drink in its beauty.

The cut
Shows the brilliant confidence
Of the server
Knife in hand
Searching perfect dimensions

Chocolate
Gives bursts of scent
Pleasuring my senses 
Awakening longing in my taste buds 

I lift my fork
Knowing that with this instrument
I will wreak havoc 

I plunge into the soft layers
Drawing down chocolaty cheese layers,
Until I hit Oreo crust
Then with a flick of my wrist
This too
Is on my fork

I lift it
My tongue glistening
To my mouth
An explosion of taste occurs
Leaving my face with a smile

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Brave, The Blind and a Childs Smile

I write by candle light
Drawing depths of soul upon paper
Awakening excitement
Considering possibilities

Intelligence attracts my wandering eye 

Darkness creeps outside this ring of light
And peers into tomorrow
A world I create 

Raindrops scatter over that which we can’t change
Only hope to alter
Shallow waters do not impress upon
Those who fail to recognize 

Beauty creates and destroys
All who seek;  
Changes all who avoid

Perception is the work of fiction
Fantasy tarnishes in the face of sanity
Each is individual
As heat is to flame 

The brave ride upon wings of circumstance
As blind seek guidance through
Softer realms of wisdoms shelter

Honesty lies within a child’s smile
Societies unraveling
Those inside look upon prisoners
Of their own creation

Truth hides behind those who claim to see it
A struggling vibrancy that leads the weak 
Doubt envelops those who seek solitude
Who listen regardless of fear



Human Nature

I glanced up to see Stephanie open the door to the shop and look around.  After knowing her for over ten years, I could tell by the way she was scanning the room that something was up.  Her red hair falling about her face and shoulders like a river of fire, and her cheeks flamed with the deep redness of roses flecked with tan freckles.  Her nose flared as she seemed to almost scent out her prey.  She caught my gaze and dismissed me quickly.  Her hazel eyes only afforded a flare of quick recognition and then continued their search over the 14 women in the room, all in the various stages of painting still life.  I was startled by the murderous rage those eyes beheld.
I got to my feet, just as Stephanie, finding who she had been looking for, made her way across the room; the home of her unborn child leading the way. 
“How can you even show your face?”  Stephanie asked the back of Laura’s head.  She then took a handful of Laura’s blond locks and spun her around in her chair to face her. 
“What the hell?”  Laura asked in shock of the sudden pain and confusion.  Then as Laura recognized who was speaking to her, shame began to blossom over her features, which was overcome by righteous jubilation.  “So he told you then?”
“Yes he told me!  He thinks you two are running off together.   I wonder who put a fool idea like that into his head.”  Stephanie was shrieking her anger into the air and it could be felt physically around her.   The other women in the room stood and watched the confrontation, unable to turn away.  “How could you do this to me when you know it is his child I harbor?”
Laura looked down at Stephanie’s protruding belly.  “I had to prove to you that he is just a man.  Like any man.  That he would not turn from the opportunity of free love and the open arms of another woman.  You thought you were high and lofty and your relationship was above such things.  You were a fool in the first place to get involved with him, all the more so by letting his seed take root in your belly, forever tying you to the imbecile.”  Laura turned back to the painting before her as though the matter and her dealings with it were over. 
“Don’t you turn your back on me you witch.  That is all you are going to say?  That we had this coming and that if it had not been you to turn his head that it would have been some other woman and I would have had the same pain down the road?  You have the audacity to sit before me and my unborn child and tell me that you lay with the man that I love in order to protect me?!” 
I came forward and grabbed Stephanie just before she grabbed Laura’s hair again with both hands.  The sound that emanated from her was wild and carnal.  It came from a place down deep within the very core of her being and threatened to swallow Laura whole.  I had no doubt that Stephanie would have torn the woman in two, before us all, with her own two hands had I not come forward.  Her strength was formidable; with the extra weight she was carrying I almost lost the fight to rein her in.  Somehow I got her out of the room and out the door onto the sidewalk.  Whilst all the time Laura just looked at us with her liquid blue eyes through impossibly long eyelashes, and a light smirk upon her lips.  I could have throttled her myself. 
“I’ll deal with you later.”  I promised her.  Joy leaped in me when my words wiped the egocentric look of confidence off of her face, and she turned back to the painting, unable to meet my stare.
On the sidewalk, amongst the glass windows and compassionate glances from strangers, I dealt with Stephanie’s onslaught of tears.  Fueled by despair, anger, adrenaline and pregnancy, wave after wave of tears were accompanied by words that were lost and incomprehensible.  It didn’t matter, they were redundant and their meanings were for the winds ears alone.  I held her as we walked off some of her energy, heading home to quilts, tea, and warm wet facecloths, perhaps I could even find some chocolate ice cream in the ice box.   Anything and everything to starve off the sharp pain of the thrust blade, how could a woman do such a thing to another?  How could anyone inflict such suffering?  I shook my head unable to comprehend such an act. 
“Come on Stephanie, up the stairs, we are almost there.”  I guided her to the first step because her eyes were so puffy and swollen; they had all but closed on their own accord.  My heart went out to her.  She was in a fine mess.  With no end in sight that I could see, either 18 years with a child on her hip, raising him alone, or with a man who had betrayed her.  Which was no choice at all; or giving up the child when it was born to a family who would never let her see it. 
I lay her down on the sofa, tears of my own forming at the corners of my eyes, and went to the kitchen to light the stove for some hot water for tea. 
This was not over.  I would have to deal with the repercussions of Laura’s actions.  As the Den Mother of the twelve girls in my Dorm there would be no other way of things.  I could almost hear the Dean and the disappointment in his voice again at the thought of my losing control of the situation.  I was lucky that I had not been fired when Stephanie’s pregnancy had been revealed.  An unwed pregnancy at that, and with another student from the university no less!  What utter nonsense, that is what I think.  You get young men and women together in the same environment, in close proximity of each other and such things are bound to happen. 
I came back to the living room and Stephanie’s soft snores with a steaming hot cup of tea.  Smiling I shrugged, guess the two lumps were for me then.  I looked out the window over the campus.  Over the green of the grass and in between the reaching arms of the bare wooden bones of the trees, fat snowflakes began to fall.  How befitting I thought, a brand new shroud for a fallen princess.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Mansion

It was a dark and stormy night when I came upon the monstrosity before me.  To say that the mansion that held my eyes captive was huge, would not be honest or give you a true rendition of what I saw.  It was a surreal, grandiose and grotesque creature.  It rose up out of the ground and almost seemed to laugh with its own audacity. 

I could not be choosey, my body, wracked with spine snapping shivers from the bitter cold wind and horizontal rain, made the decision for me. 

I approached her with caution; it was almost as though she could smell me and the feral fear I carried for her.  Her visage completely dark, save for one window lit in the middle of her core, resembled an un-slumbering Cyclops.  I climbed her marble white steps that led to the entrance of her mouth.  There was no lamp, no bell.  Nor was there a knocker on the tall solid oak doors, only a silver chain with a large ring on the end.  I raised my hand to pull the ring and thought better of it, like a fresh wave of common sense rushing over me with no warmth.  In the end it was the thought of my jaw shattering, or biting off my own tongue because I couldn’t control the effect that the cold was having on my body, that forced my hand.  I yanked down hard on the ring, hoping I would be heard over the din of the storm.

I should not have worried.  The bell that rang out overhead vibrated with a low tone that was powerful and sounded like a moan.  If anyone had been asleep before my arrival, they surely weren't any more.  I waited on the porch in front of the doors for moments, and was about to pull the chain again when the door opened of its own accord and I was granted access.  I couldn’t help but think that the house itself had been thinking on whether to let me in or not.  I scanned the room looking for who had unbarred the door, but no one was in the entrance way with me, save the spiders and their cobwebs. 

A gust of wind pushed at me through the opened door.  I went over and shut it, happy to leave the storm and the sound of the banshee winds outside for a while.  Somewhere in the distance I could hear a banging.  It was muffled and had rhythm, almost sounding mechanical with its regular beat, but then it would seem to stumble and the beat would be broken.  I tried with all my being to search for what in my experience would have made such a sound but nothing sprang to mind.

I walked deeper into the house hoping for some dry clothes upon the way, or perhaps a fireplace with a lit fire to sit by.  I wondered why there had been no one to greet me.  Suddenly a scent came to my nose.  Food.  It smelled like spaghetti sauce or chili.  Strange I thought.  It was past the witching hour, who could be cooking at this time of night?  My stomach didn’t seem to care about the time of night, or what was being concocted; it just wanted something to sustain it.  The promise of food propelled me forward. 

On my way down the long corridors, past the windows and their blinding flashes of lightening I got glimpses of huge paintings on the walls and in rooms.  The furniture looked mostly Victorian, smelled musty, and didn’t hold my interest.  I kept going into the deeper parts of the house. 

I came across a room that was modern, or had recently gone through some renovations.  It was strange because it resembled a kitchen; there were cupboards and drawers, countertops, but no sink.  Everything was done in a pistachio green with black lacquered knobs and pulls.  The doors of the kitchen cabinets were insane with hot pink post-it notes; blue ball-point neat writing was all over the place in lists, creative word combinations, things to remember.  Everything was so neat and organized, but when I pulled open some of the cabinets to see what secrets they held, I found them empty, the drawers too.  So many of the things that were on the counters, such as office supplies and such could have been placed in these and hidden, but whomever worked here had chosen to keep them out in the open.

I continued down through the hallways, turning a corner I found that I had come across what had to be the room that had lit the front core of the house; the one room that had given the house its Cyclops façade.  I could hear music coming from that direction.  It sounded like Mozart.  I peeked my head around the doorway to see into the room without being seen and I almost choked with fright.  It was Mozart, not someone playing Mozart, but actually Mozart.  He was pale, gauzy, and filmy, like the audience that he was playing for.  I could not believe what I was seeing nor could I take my eyes off of what I was seeing; and the music!  It held me captive in another way, as though if I left I would leave a layer of mysefl behind.  I felt a cold draft on my shoulder.

“Are you lost?”

I turned to look at who had spoken and saw that one of the filmy patrons had come over to see why I was intruding.  He had a long pale face and was wearing a powdered wig.  His clothes boasted frills and sported buckles.  He even wore the knee high socks and had buckles on his shoes.  Such fashion would have placed him in high stature in the era he was from.

“I’m sorry.  I just came in from the storm.  I was looking for some warm dry clothes or perhaps a fire to sit by to warm up.”  I said.

“It has been a while since I have felt the horrors of the living.”  He said.  “You can’t interrupt the concert, or he will become a raving loon.  Continue your search down the hallway and I am sure you will find what you seek.”

I nodded my head and left the room before I disturbed anyone.  The last thing I wanted was a roomful of ghosts mad at me for ruining their concert.  Who knows what kind of punishment they would have in store.

The smell of the food was getting stronger, and strangely so was the sound of the banging I had noted earlier.  I was determined to find out the source of both.  I didn’t have long to wait.  I made a left and a right and ran into the kitchen alcove.  A man stood at the stove, his back to me, and he was stirring something in a large pot.  His black hair shone in the light.  He wore a pair of well fitting black jeans and a black cotton button up shirt.   Upon the countertops of the kitchen were all sorts of vegetables and ingredients.  The scent of onions made my eyes burn and my stomach growl.

“Well it is about time you got here.”  He said without turning around. 

“Excuse me?”

“You arrive in the dead of the night ringing the life bell, enter the house and you think we wouldn’t notice?”  He asked.

“Well no, of course not…” I stammered.

“Come here and tell me if this tastes good.”  He beckoned to me with one hand.  I could see the glint of copper on his right hand; a wrist bracelet and ring.

I went closer to him, peeking over the side of the pot to see what was inside.  For some reason I was bracing myself for the worst.  This was a haunted house after all.  Perhaps there was a head in the pot or eyes of newt or maybe even fingers and toes.  What does one serve up to ghosts?  I was equally shocked when all that was revealed was a pot of vegetables simmering.  Carrots, onions, celery, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes, it smelled heavenly. 

“It smells good.”  I said, my rumbling stomach agreed.  I looked into his face and was greeted with amazing blue eyes and a dark goatee.  His chiseled features smiled at me. 

“It will taste even better when I add the final ingredient.”  He said with a smile.

A chill ran up my back.  “What would that be?”

He bent over and opened one of the cupboards close to the floor.  There was a big red can that he lifted to the counter.  When he went to the drawer for the can opener I read the label.  100% “Grade A Cow’s” Blood.   He came back and looked at me then looked at the can.  “I am a recovering Human Blood Addict.” He confessed, then grinned widely and I could see his extended fangs. “You could say I am now a Vegetarian or is it Vegan?  I always get ‘em confused.  Anyhow I am proud to say that I have been clean and sober for three years now.” 

“I think you mean Vegetarian, although they might have something to say about the cow’s blood, I don’t think you can eat anything that comes from an animal, not just the meat.  Not that I am complaining, if cow’s blood keeps you sober, I am all for it!”  I said holding up my hands and smiling.  “But could I trouble you for a bowl of the veggies before you put the blood in the stew?  I am not one who favors my meat, or vegetables rare.”

He nodded to me and set the table: two plates, candles, a bottle of red wine and the sound of Mozart’s concert wafting down the hallway.  We got our names out of the way and the informal introductions; all in all it was a perfect beginning to a date with a Vampire.

“Looks like you were prepared for a houseguest.”  I mused.

“Sometimes we get lucky.”  He dished up our plates and poured the wine.  “It is so nice to have someone to eat with.”

I nodded and complimented him on his sautéing skills.  Then I said, “On a bit of a change of subject, there is something that is bothering me.”

“Oh?  What would that be?”  He asked.

“It is that thumping noise I can hear; it was really muffled and faded when I first came into the house, but now it’s getting louder and louder as I get further into the house.  What is it?” 

Vale smiled and poured me another glass of wine.  “You will need nerves of steel to find out what is the source of that sound.  When I first heard it I thought it was the heartbeat of the house itself.  Then I found out the truth, it is something you must experience.  If I told you, you would not believe it.  I will point you in the direction to follow when our dinner is over.”

True to his word, when I had a bellyful of vegetables and had tasted the great wine, he explained the route to follow that would lead to the source of the banging. 

Would this be the last mystery the house held?  One left, past the roman baths, two rights, and down the spiral staircase, then through the dank wine cellar with its earthy floors.  It was as though I had come down into the dark recesses of a living and breathing thing.  It was so warm here compared to the rest of the house.  The banging, getting closer with every step I took, began to vibrate within my chest.  Its irregular knocking sounded like dull thuds sometimes, then almost metallic the next.  I could also hear the intermittent sound of doors opening and closing as I drew nearer. 

Then I came to the final door in the hallway.  I touched the door and felt the curious vibrations coming through the wood.  I could no longer contain my curiosity.  I turned the cold knob in my hand and entered the chamber.  Vale had been right.  Had I not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it.  The room was a large laundry room, with high vaulted ceilings and lined with half a dozen washing machines and half a dozen dryers.  The hot humid air was tangible and smelled of laundry soap, and something else I could not identify.  What was unbelievable were the beings going about their work as I watched from the doorway.  Men wrapped from head to toe, in what looked to be gauze bandages were pulling wet white clumps out of the washing machines and throwing them into the drying machines.  They made such a racket when they threw the items in the dryers.  Like the wet white clumps were heavy and dense materials.  Then they put the dryers on and the rhythmic stumbling sound was almost deafening. 

I watched another of these bandaged men take the now dry items from another machine.  What had come out of the washing machines looking like wet globs of papier-mâché, now were hard balls of chalk.  I could now detect, under the scent of the laundry soap, the smell of drywall.  Sure enough when I walked further over to the left, there was a sledge hammer lying upon the floor amongst battered and uneven chunks of the building material. 

“You mustn’t disturb them.”  Vale said from behind me.

I looked at him with knit brows.  “What would happen if I did?”

“It would not be good for you or them.  He would see to it.”  Vale pointed to a barely discernable translucent waif in a velveteen red chair.

“He would be who?” I asked.

“The great, late Alberto Giacometti.”  Vale said and smiled. 

I watched the beings as they clumsily tacked together large quantities of the round chalk balls to an 18 foot wire structure.  It appeared to be a human form but grotesquely represented; a thin head and strange elongated limbs. 

“No! No! You are getting it all wrong, she is too plump.  Can’t you see the beauty is within her slender?  You oafs have nothing of note within your bulbous mockeries of brain sacks!  I would do it myself but alas my punishment is the lack of substantial hands with which to work.”  Alberto flew into a ghost rage; every one in five things went crashing about him, or spilling into a wall, until finally his energy was spent and he looked again about the room.  It was then that he saw Vale and I watching the performance from one side of the room.

“You!”  The artist shouted in our direction.  “Come closer; let me have a look at you.”

The closer he came to me the more I could smell the undercurrent stench of rotten pomegranate, sweet and sickly.  Somehow the smell oozed with redness that his veins no longer enjoyed.  I watched his face inspect mine from three inches away; a most unpleasant and unexpected experience.

“Superb bone structure, the cheek bones are to die for.  Brows are a bit prominent, but are still within workable range.  Lush pouting lips, I can see why you like this one Vale.”

Vale’s whole body tensed beside me and he blushed a deeper shade of grey.  “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Ha you have no idea what I am talking about, and I am no longer a tortured artist working with these buffoons!”  He indicated the laundry workroom and his Mummy assistants with a great dramatic swoop of his hands.  “Never mind, she has more substantial things to do then be your arm candy.”  Then he looked me directly in the eye.  “You must sit for me, or stand for me as the case may be.” 

“Me?”  I asked shocked.

“Yes you, over there, and now.”  He demanded.

“You must go and do what he demands; we will all be lost to his rage if you do not.”  Vale looked genuinely fearful of the defunct artist.

I went to the spot pointed out by Alberto and stood while he yelled directions to the bundled forms of dust.  Hours went by, and the passage of time was marked with cramps and the shrill barks of his impassioned insanity.  More here, less there!   Over and over again until I felt myself literally being whittled away down, down, down into a 6 inch impression of his vision of me.  My head was reduced to the thickness of a blade, all the bone structure that had impressed him before, gone without a trace.  My body thin and stick like, I would never escape this house or these men again.  I had become just another victim of a house who was a man eater, falling victim to those past tasty morsels themselves.  I had become part of the freak show, a stick walking shadow.









Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fury of Coco

A writing challenge entry...
The Fury of Coco

It was supposed to be an ad for Channel the newest perfume Coco had concocted.  A photo shoot to capture the essence of the woman behind the scent, and show off her newest line of “White Innocent” designs.  Although I don’t know what she was thinking with a line like that.  Nothing about Coco was innocent.  She was a taker and a shaker; she could make the world move about her, raising her fists of fury to the sky if it failed to amuse her for long.  The more complex you were; the more intriguing she found you.

It was supposed to be my time to get noticed, to rise within the ranks of the silent movie starlets.  Another pipe dream I bought into sold to me by the lips of a slick and oiled agent.  “Keep your head down, do as you’re told and you will have no problems.  You have to be seen without being seen and Coco will tolerate you.”  So I went, despite my misgivings. 

I was supposed to be standing there with the handsome male lead.  Perhaps if he hadn’t upset Coco so much with his masculinity she wouldn’t have changed into her black rage.  You must treat a woman wearing black with kid gloves.  Didn’t any of these prepubescent men know this?  How unpredictable we can be?   You don’t challenge an Ego like Coco’s without repercussions.  I had never heard a woman scream like a Puma before, and I never want to hear that again.  It will stay with me for the rest of my days.  I was told that the shoot would be postponed for two days, and to come back, that I would be compensated for my troubles.

When I came back there was a skull on the floor, it reeked of Channel.  The very scent the male lead had complained of in the days before.  Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.  A woman like Coco who made sure, as you can see in the photo, that the young lead was shown the light.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why do I write?

I write because frankly if I didn't I would be in trouble. Deep trouble. I would be subject to nights full of tossing and turning as I searched for my slumber. I would be a sleepless zombie woken at all hours of the night. You see when I get an idea, it is like a child having a tantrum until I pacify it with a bottle of pulp, or give it a ream of paper to chew. The idea will be there, bouncing about in my head until I give it the words it deems appropriate. Only then will it stop screaming in my ear, the text, and words of meaning seem to lull the ideas to sleep. Then and only then, can I get some shut-eye of my own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hiccups

Here. Now.
Presence of mind
hiccup between breaths
where realms of possibility
entwine,
and co-exist

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Divine Whispers...

Recently I was asked how I thought the divine talk to us; if they even speak to us at all.  I immediately thought this a perplexing and intriguing question, worthy of meditation.  While I am not sure that this is how the divine speaks to everyone, if they speak to us at all, this is how I interpret my own experiences.

I find it is in those moments of quiet, but not necessarily when I am in a quiet room, when I hear those vibrations that so closely resemble the words of the divine.  When I am going about the chores, or the work of the day, and there is quiet in the back of my thoughts, those moments of stewing, simmering, and un-noticed pondering.  When I am on auto pilot and unconsciousness is at the helm; those moments in which my mind can hear the sound of its silence.  It is then that something will come across my vision, or a thought will come from no where.  Announcing itself, and there it is.  Yanking me from the grasp of ego and attachment and almost punching me, without effort, in its rightness. 

Those moments of ah-ha, when all resonates with pieces of the puzzle fitting together and forming more and more of the picture.  Urging me on, encouraging, that if I keep going, one foot in front of the other I am bound to connect the dots and step out of the big picture for long enough to see form in the formless.  Perhaps then it will all make sense. 

There are those dreams.  The dreams where it all seems so real, the colors so vivid that you are sure you are experiencing reality.  It doesn’t matter that you are experiencing impossibilities such as swimming underwater with the whales, or flying over the earth into the solar system, whilst it is happening it is your reality.  I wonder if this is what it would be like to be godlike; to control your own existence and that of others. 

There are times when I sit down before the keyboard and open my mind to the possibilities that abound.  Not sure of what will come, if anything.  After some time I am sitting in front of text on a page and I am not one hundred percent sure of how it got there.  I read it and I am floored by what has been created, and I cannot claim ownership to all of it. 

Others times when I sit down to meditate and my being expands to that of a neighborhood or shrinks down to the size of a molecule, again I am compelled to contemplate the world; the layers we are capable of seeing and more often what the layers we aren’t, look like.  Questioning my part in it, what my role is in this vast play of existence, and wondering if I am taking advantage of all the lessons that are presented to me.  Or if someone on the other side, is constantly putting their hands up in frustration when they see another of my blunders.  Is that just my twisted perception?  Are they even peering at us at all? 







Friday, October 15, 2010

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

I went to the SPCA, with the intention of looking for a Beagle.  After research I thought the breed would be a good fit for my lifestyle.  I am a long distance runner and wanted some company on long night runs.  I wanted a dog that would protect me, but didn’t bark and act aggressive to those passing by. 

Originally I wanted to get a Great Dane, but thought better of it.  It wasn’t the fact that I could see myself literally getting dragged along the pavement every time a cat or another dog would go by, or the thought that with my 5’2’’ frame a Great Dane would come up to my waist and I would feel like a dwarf next to it.  No, it was the thought of having to pick up the sub sized steaming deposits left by such an animal.  No way, that was definitely not for me.  I had also found out those large dogs live shorter lives then their smaller cousins.  That meant heartbreak.  Something I wanted to put off as long as possible. 

I am not what you would call a “dog” person, at least not one you would call in the “traditional” sense.  By that I mean one of those people who have an aversion to cats.  The truth is, I like both cats and dogs and I think that there can be harmony with both if they are brought up together, or introduced gradually.  Why not?  Men and women live together, are we not in a sense different in everyway?  Men are from mars and Women are from Venus so I have been told. 

I went into the shelter and talked to the staff.  I requested a Beagle, or something similar to the breed.  They told me it was not hopeful.  Beagles are not one of the breeds that have a hard time assimilating into families.  I asked if I could have a look at the cages for any of the other dogs that might fit what I was looking for. 

They let me into a long corridor of cages, and it was one of the most heart-wrenching moments of my life.  To see all these wonderful animals looking up at me with hope in their eyes, hoping that I would take them to a home full of love.  Tears sprung in my eyes, but I continued on, trying to be judgmental about the task at hand. 

I got to the last cage and was surprised to see a cat in the corner.  The cats were usually kept in another area of the shelter all together.  I imagine it was because the sight of a cat would upset most dogs.  This was not the case here.  I had just walked down this corridor of dogs and none of them seemed to mind what was behind cage number 7.  Perplexed I crept closer.  She was a grey short haired tabby with black striped markings; her eyes, pools of green surrounded by yellow.  She also had little tufts at the ends of her ears, like a bobcat, only not as pronounced.  When I approached the cage she came up to me mewing.  Again I noticed that the dogs took no notice of the sound.  She rubbed her head on the metal of the cage, and looked up to me.  I smiled and tickled the top of her head.  I looked past her into the back of the cage and found she was not alone.  Her cell mate was a border collie.  I immediately fell in love.  He was the traditional black and white collie but one eye was brown and the other was ice blue.  It was striking; the difference, making the brown one seem black and the ice blue one seem white.  He would be perfect I thought to myself, these dogs love to run, and are very intelligent.  I frowned.  Why was he not coming up to the door of the cage like the others had?  Like his cell mate had?  Did he have problems with human contact?  Or did he have issues with women?  I went back down the corridor to get the story of the cell mates of cage number 7.

When I asked the girls about the two I was interested in, they just looked at each other and hesitated.  Keesha was first to tell me that if I was interested in either of the two in cage 7 it was a package deal.  There was no separating the two.  If I wanted the cat the dog had to go too, and vice versa. 

Apparently the two of them had been on the road together for some time, and had formed a strong bond.  Collies are taught to care for the livestock they herd, making sure none stray, so perhaps he saw the cat as some kind of herd.   It turned out they were picked up in a grocery store.  Early one morning both walked through the doors, (the collie had figured out how to get the electrical eye to open them) up to the meat counter, and started in on some pork chops.  The dog had taken some of the meat and tossed it to the cat.  This is what the butcher reported, so he coaxed them into the back of the store with some more meat and called the SPCA.  He said it was like the dog was taking care of the cat, like they were some sort of family. 

I asked the girls what happened when you separated them.  Keesha told me that when they tried to separate the two of them on that first night, the collie went crazy; he couldn’t take the separation anxiety and began to run head long into the cage door over and over again.  They gave him a sedative, but as soon as he woke, he was again running full bore into the door again.  They were afraid that he was going to break his neck.  So they tried bringing him out for walks to calm him down, but he would not leave the shelter and only sat at the door to the cat section and pawed at the door.  Finally they brought the cat into the cage with him and everything settled down. 

Keesha told me that if I did decide to adopt the two of them then it was both of them all the time.  I couldn’t take one for a car ride without the other.  I had to take the both of them to the vet together and to the park together.  Apparently people take cats to the park and outside all the time.  They even have leashes for them.  I had no idea.  Most of all, Keesha said I had to invest in some applesauce; apparently the cat had developed a taste for Maya’s.  She would eat it right from Maya’s spoon. 

I knew I wanted the pair of them but what was I going to do with the cat when I went for my long night runs?  I didn’t think a cat would be able to go for a 10km to 18km run, and I didn’t think the collie would leave her behind. 

That night I went home and poured a hot bubble bath, grabbed a glass of red wine and thought about the problem.  Perhaps some kind of specialized backpack to carry the cat would work, but would a cat really want to be in that kind of contraption bouncing up and down for the amount of time the run would take? 

Then after my bath while watching television, the solution hit me.  It was during a commercial when I saw a guy carrying 3 girls in a rickshaw.  I thought that a lightweight basket carrier would allow the collie or me to carry the cat behind us.  I called Tony, a contractor I knew who was good with his hands, to see if it was possible. 

The next day I stopped at the pet store after work and bought two pet caddies, leashes for when we went to the park or for walks, food and a litter box for the cat.  After the paperwork was done at the SPCA I was a proud parent of the fury variety.  I found out at that time that the girls had named the collie Pork chop, due to the meat shopping fiasco, and the cats name was Apple sauce. 

A week later Tony had the rickshaw ready to go for its first tryout, he had even made a great harness for Pork chop.  The carriage was a metal frame covered with canvas and plastic so it wouldn’t get wet when it rained or snowed.  It had nice big wheels on it so it would have no problems on gravel or asphalt and I had no doubt it would be great for the snow as well.  It was very lightweight so I had no concerns with Pork chop being able to pull it, let alone my own ability to run with it.  And Tony had even put some extra space for water bottles or different things we might need on a run. 

I was wondering if Apple sauce would get in it and if she did get in, if she would stay in it.  I put a nice comfy blanket in the bottom of the rickshaw to try to entice her into it.  I shouldn’t have worried though, as soon as I had Pork chop harnessed into the rigging she was in the back like a shot.  She seemed to know this was her chariot. 

Tony came on the first run in case anything went wrong.  He is not a runner so he took his mountain bike.  It was only going to be a 6km trip to try it out and see how Pork chop did on his first run.  He surprised me, we got to the 6km mark and he was still raring to go.  So we checked the rickshaw at the 6km mark and once we saw that everything was great we headed out for the full 10 km.  I was ecstatic.  I now had the running partners I needed and no longer felt alone or at risk during the night runs.  We look a little like a live Christmas tree going down the road with all the reflective gear and flashing lights to keep us seen by the night drivers. 

When a reporter for the local newspaper heard about us he did a cover story, complete with pictures.  I have even entered us in some of the fun runs around the city, and I was happy my fury companions were well received by the other runners.  Some of the runners have even ordered rickshaws of their own from Tony.  I keep trying to get him to set up a website to sell them online.  Perhaps he will someday. 

To those of you out there who think they are dog people, I say try a cat; and for those of you who are cat people I say try a dog.  You never know when you will get two characters like Pork chop and Apple sauce that will make you view the world in a different light.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Liquid Ladders

Dorothy climbs up her liquid ladders
Ascending to her secret heaven
She beats on her chest, her soul
Clamoring for attention

Night comes and under the stars
Dorothy visits with the planets position
Seeing rainbows within Saturn’s rings
While Grandfather Moon tends the harvest

Peering out of cracks
Of her silken aloneness
She tends to the webs of her
Woven fantasy

The burgundy overtones
Have scorched their names
Within the echoes
Of her memories

Shrill and bray words
Erupt from her
In bouts of
Ceaseless movement

And I fear time drawing closer
Closing in
I feel small
Because it is not my fight

Dorothy and I, so similar;
At different times
We tread in the same shoes,
See through the same mirror

Yet we are not the same,
And although I have the sensation
That I am forever on a see-saw
With Dorothy on the other end

I have to let the dervish spin,
The tides draw out,
And the sun set,
So she can learn to live again




Sunsets and Love

Sunsets are magical,
Hearts beating
Against an impermanent drum,
Enjoyed only by those
Who are aware of them

The sun does not care
If I am here, sitting on the beach
Watching her brilliant dance,
She is unaware of my eyes
Reaching out to her
Struggling to grasp onto the moment,
I try desperately to prolong
These fleeting moments
Of pure flame’s beauty

It is no use,
She is a woman after all
And when the fires are lit
There is no stopping love,
She looks over her shoulder
Her final goodbye
And then continues her long trek
Intent on kissing the Moon.


Homeward Bound

My run three quarters finished
I veer to the left and
Down the hill to the beach

I traverse over virgin sand
Breathing the gusty
Briney air
Guilty of my footsteps
Marring the beauty
Of the landscape

I look for evidence on
Beached logs
Carvings of lovers past
But they too are smooth
And without mark

The rollers
White and frothy
Contrast dark grey
Clouds
And the mainland
On the horizon
They reach for my toes
With mirrored reflections
I smile my greeting

The heaven’s showers
Open
And the downpour soaks
Me within seconds
I am overwhelmed
With joy of being alive

I turn and run back
And see I am no
Longer alone
A small old lady
Has decided
To brave the weather
With her two small dogs

She walks slowly
Picking things up
From the sand
Now and again

She has a kind face,
And when I raise my hand
And smile my hello
Her smile makes me wonder
If she is a Bodhisattva
In disguise

I continue on my way
Up the steep hill
Homeward bound