Sister Mary Holstrom takes a ministry break out back by the freethinking rejects. Sister Holstrom sucks a cigerrette, smooth flavored moments of reflection. Servants lose their energy. “Holy Spirit come to me.” Mary doesn’t inhale or exhale, but lets the embered stick dangle from her parted lips. She stokes her habit in her habit. Passer-bys feel compelled to watch the smoking nun. She looks right through them to their empty streets. "Father, teaching monsters to love is exhausting," she prays as she takes a drag. "Comforting dragons fatigues me." She doesn’t move her face for several minutes. A chunk of ash flutters off her chest and flutters down to her empty street.
It only took 10 steps to surpass the destination. It only took 10. Some people are in robust 12 step programs where they are required to take it 1 day at a time. This competitive disadvantage cripples them in life, but at least they are no longer sucking on their addiction object. And, they have a sponsor and others to which they can share their experiences of failure. As for me, I take it 1 year at a time. I sleep daily, but I think in epochs. I spread my risk to foster the velocity. My checkbook is still trying to catch up. Most people pray to God like a friend. I pray to him like a Lord. We are not friends. Not yet. Maybe someday. But we got plenty of time, because God does not take it 1 year at a time. He takes it 1 eternity at a time. And in just 7 steps he surpasses his destination. Beyond that everything is hazy. God is on the other side of 1 sheet of foggy glass, and I only have 2 eyes.
Crash into your opportunity storm. Board the doors, crank the oars. Lean into your effort-row. Watch for weeping nihilists. Your mother wasn’t perfect, but she should have taught you to row! Watch the sky for falling optimists. Glee. Flee. If memories are slowing you down, yawn deep and row faster. Crash into your future form. Smash the door. There will be irritants and woeful disappointments. Watch for rising oil prices and struggling entrepreneurs. Strike a match when the smell is bad. Strike a conversation when your passengers are tedious.
I almost died going to International Falls. It was about a decade ago and I was driving a convertible. This slow semi affronted me and I tried to pass. As I was coming up to his cab, the semi approaching in the oncoming lane was going too fast. Before my eyes my life flashed. My eyes laughed before my fish. My mind bent. I swallowed my mint. I was driving fast while being yanked into the anti-realms of northern Minnesota. Pulled into the portals of slow-motion horror. The trip was tedious at first, but shit got all abstract in a flash. Things got really bent out of shape and deadly. It was me and heat and speed. It was the “incubator years” of my next great self. I was shrugging off useless features and wincing for a faint direction. I stepped on the gas and dashed passed the cab, in front of his grill, fractions from death. My eyes wouldn't blink through the rippling chill. I went to the border whole and secure; In pieces from International Falls I returned.
There was a time when I would flex my muscles for fun. There was a time when I would be late for a meeting and I'd run. Now I shrug and relax. Things matter less when you've touched the magic behind the scenes. Things become shrug-worthy when you've been pulled by the puppeteer's strings. Now all I want to do is reconcile my broken relationships. All I really want to do is embrace shifted drifters and graft them back into our prayer circle. When I wake up I feel rested. When I fall asleep I fall deep. Hell is sleepless wandering in a land of canyons and broken bridges. Hell is a shopping mall filled with cheese stores and lingerie displays. There was a time when I feared hell. Now all I do is long for reconciliation between myself and anyone I've touched. Now all I do is long for peace.
There are victors and there are victims and there are fancy-pants celebrities hovering in cloud-cities waiting to exploit us all with their calculated flash and provocative affectations. We are running through the rubble. We are dashing through the destruction carcasses. We are assessing all the evidence of the less pleasing laws of nature. With a jolt of the earth and the congregation of the masses the tragedy is set. Queue the heartbreak. Queue the awareness-raising celebrities. Queue the non-profit forces and their cameras, and all of their other "horror-capture" technologies. We are running from death and stench. We are running for safety and security. We are dreaming of profit and peace. But the earth jolts every time the people congregate, and every survivor sees the scenes with shock and perspective. Each survivor has incentive. And it is so hard to trust the help of others. It is so hard to believe the intentions of safe and powerful people.
My attention was being prostituted to several creditors who were snooping around my house-bush searching for a check. There’s no check here. My adrenaline was elevated, my complexion was worse than ever. Now it is the holidays and people are looking at me for a gift. I shrug my shoulders. I board the plane. “I’ve taken all that I can take.” A lovely woman baffles me with her persistence. I save a seat for her on the plane. Some randy traveler tells me to maintain focus; keep the plow oiled. He tells me I am spread too thin; the cloth tears. I am hiding my checkbook in the kitchen, under the sink somewhere. I am washing my face and increasing my water intake. The months are blowing off of the calendar page. Creditors are sneaking in through my window sills, and now they're giving me prudent advice. Risk-less mentors share their safety strategies. Fearful advisors tell me 7 great ways to hide. So now I’m boarding a plane, with Barbara by my side.
It was the beginning and I was coming to an end. I was praying in the street light heat. I was kneeling on the bustop graffiti. When will peace come? When will violence end? I was a farm boy who picked rocks out of the dirt before the plows passed through. I was a farm boy, bored and true. After the beginning I gave up on prayer and started painting graffiti. I was restless and needing meat. A band of gypsies trampled me with mean screams. It was a mean scene. Zombie imitators approached me with exaggerated affects. I just stood there like a tree until they passed. Then I was alone again under the streetlight heat, kneeling, and praying for peace.
At about that time he began to slowly regain a sense of himself. A woman with a dog said “you’re centering yourself and that is good.” But he shrugged that off as silliness. He liked how things were going and he was in good form. True, swindlers and chaos advocates were damaging his assets, but he had faith in his depth of character. Second-hand associates were reading lame books about “Attitude Adjustments for Success,” and silliness like that. But he shrugged it off and continued moving how he thought best. Spiritual guides stroked his mystery lobes, but he retaliated with articulation and explanation. Pessimists accused him of being optimistic, but he shrugged it off as silliness and retaliated with a cold splash of cold reality. He was in good form and he was well positioned for growth. His assets were character based and growing.
I was drowning in mediocre beverages and writing substandard prose. The world rotated around a dollar sign. Gravity was controlled by trickle-down cosmology tied intimately to certain cost-effectiveness ratios. The music was good, though. It connected with us and exacerbated our surliness. Wisdom was deconstructed into short statements. The cost of truth was so high, all we could afford were aphorisms. And when I swallowed the last drop of my mediocre beverage, I walked out into the smog-filtered sunlight. Each step was a flitter as my euphoric ambling brought me to my next destination. The world rotates when the dollar sign tells it to. But nothing controls my thoughts but me. I am the thought keeper of the highest degree. The key is inside me.
Ancient mothers reconnect with me in the midst of my growth project and they are proud. A beautiful woman walks with me and I can see her insecurity, like a lame advertisement on a freeway billboard. The people in my life comfort me and rock me to sleep. A beautiful woman thinks highly of me and gives me compliments. I love my independence, but I never thought I could be so appreciated by such a beautiful woman. She is ice-cream on a rainy day. I’m swimming in hot lava and she is melting down to caress me. I am a slave to greedy power brokers, and she is massaging my shackle-sores. Young rebellion-bubbles destroy the landlord’s passive income generator. Russian youth fulfill Vodka stereotypes. And two insecure servants sift through the abandoned objects for treasures they can resurrect.
Some pencil pusher dashing thru the door. Some misery addict dangling the cigerette. Some wisdom patent guarding the master’s wealth. Here I am with my observation hobby. Here I am with my dream straightener. I am by myself. I lean into my project. Here I am ignoring the dog. Bad Dog! “You stay right over there.” I am the canine’s judge. I hand down the sentence. But I am a merciful judge. He’ll be out soon on cute behavior, I can promise you that. I type words, but I’m no forlorn loner hero. I’m no angst pusher. I try my best to just tell it like it is. This wall is gray. That wall is orange. My eyes are tender from too many late nights and unconquered projects. Some pencil pusher is intruding my solitude. Some misery addict is blowing smoke in my general direction. “You stay right over there!”
I got switchblade visions shimmering my pictures. Folded blankets bury wicked sisters. I’m no haunted hero-figure. I’m just one enchanted teacher with chalk-dust clouding out my abstract lectures. Rolling desk chairs move the thinker. I got wicked sisters asking questions. “I’m no perfect hero figure.” I'm all broken, dreaming, plotless, boring. The cards I hold predict great failures. Limping women approach my counter. Broken dreaming, abstract lectures. I got switchblades poking out my pictures. “I’m no fearless fighter figure.” Incantations resurrect the wicked. I got folded blankets heating up my switchblade visions.
I am negotiating altered scales while every unstable thing is disconnecting from the ground and floating upside down. I am scraping bottom while the ancient dragon blasts his fiery breath behind me. I do the only thing I’ve ever mastered: I run. Omnipotent dictators are planted in strategic places to pervert the holy. The merchants of self-pity are slashing their prices and I am gathering my coins for a purchase. "Pull yourself together!" Everything I do is done in honor of several certain people who exist now in unreachable dimensions. My laughter is strategic. Laughter is good for the heart. Laughter is good for the heart. Laughter is good for the heart. “Pull yourself together yourself!” I am a pseudo-ghost. I am a reconstructed specter. A redemption spectator. I keep shattering against the floor and reconstructing myself. Trying to resurrect my favorite pieces. Trying to discard the tainted chunks. Trying to become.
He is domineering.