A Brief Look at Redemption

He rocks back-and-forth on the rickety wicker porch chair. He’s everyman, late in life with wrinkles distorting a once smooth face, and body. His life wasn’t spent seeking redemption in real time. His subconsciousness never gave a hint of being interested in the subject.

Memories did sometimes rudely intrude upon his daily routine and reality. As a combat veteran he was intimately acquainted with death. The sight. The smell. The moment he fired at a human being. The horror.

But he just keeps on rocking in his wicker chair every day, a modern response to Old Man River who just kept rolling on.

He isn’t plagued with regrets on not being “saved” by any religion, or by being led to redemption like a sheep on the way to being sheared.

Freedom is his redemption for being alive and having survived many perilous times in his long life. His arthritis a badge of honor. His physical scars medals earned during a long life of adventures. His silver hair a crown of achievement.

He makes no claims of having redeemed others from sins and stupid moves in their lives. He never wanted to lead others to the top of any proverbial mountain. He’s unaware of ever being anyone’s leading light in life.

He just keeps on rocking in his wicker chair every day, a modern response to Old Man River who just kept rolling on.

the end

Long Pig

A thick sea fog crawled up onto the shore and billowed out along the ragged coast like a creature from native folklore. Confused seagulls called out to one another as the rain increased in intensity. A lone figure blindly staggered through the slushy sand on the coast.

He was the only survivor from the “Wild Countess” a pirate ship that was shattered asunder by a terrible storm at sea two days prior. His clothes hung in rags off of his frail body as he limbed along the beach trying to find his way inland and possible shelter. The gods were angry at Sir William Treacher, who was once a respected member of the English Court before turning to piracy as a profession. If it wasn’t for the damn storm he’s still be sailing the high seas in search of easy prey.

Sir William was not a religious man, despite feigning to be one for most of his life. So he had no supreme being to pray to. He cursed his fate and kept walking through the driving rain.

The island that Sir William walked on was New Guinea but he didn’t know that. All he knew was that he hoped the inhabitants -if there were any – were friendly.

The village chief, Loo Kaupa, patiently listened to the eager young messenger Vihaan Tali, tell his tale. The excited young man was reporting that he saw a stranger on the beach and he was a white man. This was big news. It had been a long time since white men visited their island. Chief Loo Kaupa had to strain his memory to recall when the last time it happened. His chief advisor, and oldest man in the tribe, Ewanga-Goiba Ani, said it was a special event – just like the last time many moons ago when five sailors had washed up upon their bountiful shores.

Other elders in the thatched hut buzzed like bees remembering encounters with the white men and their wisdom. Some talked about the white man’s ability to navigate by the stars and to read the heavens for their position. Some pointed out other amazing technologies they shared, like the mangled telescope which stood in a place of honor in the chief’s hut. Alongside of it were two pairs of spectacles whose power of magnification awed the simple natives. A map of the world was proudly displayed upside down on another wall. No doubt about it, the tribe had benefited from the visitors and treated them like valued guests.

Sir William cursed when he stumbled again. His legs felt like leaden weights and he was hopelessly disorientated. He was hungry and thirsty. Finally he sat down on a boulder. The rain stopped as suddenly as it started. Steam rose from the ground as he looked around in disgust.

“Damn me eyes if this isn’t a poor turn of events,” he grumbled out loud as he emptied sand from his shoe. Nearby at the tree line that Sir William hadn’t discovered yet, two natives watched him with wide-eyed curiosity as the fog slowly dissipated under the sun’s warm embrace. They were instructed to observe him and not reveal themselves.

After an hour Sir William worked up the energy to walk to the tree line that was revealed between wisps of stringy fog that doggedly clung to the ground. When he found a running stream he collapsed beside it and greedily drank the fresh cool water until he involuntarily vomited. As he lay recovering on the river’s bank he saw a wild pig dash through the underbrush. The sight heartened him. There was at least one meat source on the island. He suspected that he’d find eatable tubers and berries to supplement his diet. His spirits raised as he relaxed by the stream and listened to the calls of exotic birds overhead.

Sir William’s first instinct was to run when he saw the heavily tattooed chief Loo Kaupa emerge from the dense undergrowth to greet him. The chief’s face was painted in a fierce grimace but he was smiling and holding up one hand as he approached. Even more reassuring, the chief was speaking in broken English.

Ahoy, Englishman!” he called out merrily.

With a sigh of immense relief Sir William hailed the chief and smiled broadly. His luck had finally returned.

On the way to the village other natives joined them. Some had dead wild pigs on wooden slings, while others had baskets of red and black berries. It was a festive group that hummed native tunes as they traveled further inland. Sir William’s thoughts turned to how he could exploit the naïve natives as he followed them into an enclosed compound.

Chief Loo Kaupa proudly ushered Sir William into his spacious hut and called for drink and food to be laid out on a long wooden table in the center. Naked and nubile young women brought in baskets bearing various eatables, from reptiles to mystery mushes whose smell made ones eyes water.

When two brawny naked young warriors brought in a whole roasted pig everyone enthusiastically clapped. Especially Sir William whose mouth was watering at the sight. It was a memorable night where everyone got drunk on the villagers favorite fermented coconut concoction.

A week later chief Loo Kaupa announced that Sir William would have the honor of taking messages to the villagers loved ones. It seemed a bit odd that the villagers themselves couldn’t visit their loved ones but Sir Will’s mind was fogged with the excesses he was indulging in.

Beautiful young women were selected to sexually please Sir Will for six straight days. On the seventh day chief Loo Kaupa informed him that he was a “long pig.”

“What’s a long pig?” Sir William hesitantly asked.

“They’re special offerings to please the gods,” the chief beamed happily.

Sir William’s heart quickened and he dropped the wooden gourd he was drinking from as several strong warriors edged closer to him while the chief was speaking.

The Great Spirit Father is honoring you tonight above all others. As a long pig, your sacred flesh will be consumed by everyone in the village this night, allowing you to carry messages to their beloved ancestors.”

Sir Will’s scream of horror rose to the heavens as the warriors closed in around him with long knives.

The end.

Tidbits of Truth

there is only one truth

in reality

there’s no guarantee

on what you hear or read

is not a partisan screed

facts are often muddied

with lies

that galvanize

people’s bias

until

tidbits of truth

break through

people must make do

with the tried and true

**

The Escort

He landed lightly on the mountain top

and looked down into the valley below

bathed in the sunset’s pink glow

with people retiring for the night

he had a job to do in the moonlight

a soul to escort away

by the end of the day

**

Be Still

Focus inward if you will

to that inner voice

that whispers be still

listen

breath

inhale

exhale

be open

to what’s

spoken

from the

heart

murmers

in the mind

listen

breath

inhale

exhale

be still

and learn

to be kind

and expand

your mind

Whispers in the Wind

She stood silent and still

listening to the spirits on the hill

a beautiful young wiccan she

standing straight next to a tree

listening to lost souls from eternity

whispers that soon became a plea

begging her to be set free

she listened compassionately

but it wasn’t meant to be

her magic wasn’t strong enough

to set the tortured souls free

so she returned every night

listening to their stories sadly

standing beside an old oak tree

dreaming of the day

when she could set them all free

The Meteorite

(132 words- flash fiction/poetry)

In the chronicles of Narmer the first King to unite the Upper and Lower Nile, a strange thing happened one night when a brilliant light streaked across the desert sky…

the light, which was actually a meteorite, hit a site near a Hittite temple hundreds of miles away, glowing where it lay, night and day, with a mysterious inner fire that attracted followers by the day…

who listened to the priests gathered there to pray to the meteorite, creating rites and calling it a god for lost souls seeking their way to eternity, a powerful entity that soon inspired a new prosperous Hittite city…

The inevitable clash of nations happened within a century, as the dark gods of both civilizations clashed, like opposing meteorites created by ideologies that couldn’t survive future centuries.

*****

The Last Train

(158 words- flash fiction/poetry)

He waited impatiently on the wooden bench in front of the one-room train depot that sat in the middle of nowhere sweating in the high desert air, when he heard a faint whistle…

Dust devils danced gleefully in the distance, forerunners for a giant sandstorm gathering in the West, but the man was unimpressed, as he stared like he was possessed…

… into the direction of the whistle which grew louder with each heartbeat, and soon he could see a train through the shimmering heat, as he got to his feet, ready to board and take the back seat…

as the train idled and plumes of steam shrilly screamed with the whistle’s urgent blast, the man moved fast to get aboard and ignored the other passengers who looked bored…

There was no need to look back as they went down the track with their memories already fading with the light, something new was just ahead in the gathering night.

****

Affairs of the Imagination

it’s always been there…

my flirtation

with a runaway imagination

a cozy affair unhindered by reality

everything I wanted it to be

worlds opened like oysters

in the fertile fields of my mind

mysteries solved uninhibited

access to a fantasy land

that does not sleep or confine

the affairs in my imagination

which are open for all to see

my ideas wander on the verge of reality

I know the end will come for me

soon enough my body will be free

to fly where my imagination

can’t currently see

Lighten Your Load

are you carrying a rucksack

of worries?

a load of emotional rocks?

a stack of negative stories?

stuck in a mental box?

then it’s time

to lighten your load

and shine

cast away

your worries

enjoy your day

there’s no guarantee

another will come your way