On Alternate Realities

There are alternate realities despite what some may say

There’s more mystery than just the passing of each day

seers, wizards, prophets, fortune-tellers, are visionaries

who explore hidden realms with their own itineraries

using portals as entries

portals can be found in mirrors

forests and mountains

their everywhere

secrets to dimensions to nowhere

or in your nightmares

and your fantastical dreams

nothing is as it seems

-30-

The Beach Walker

I watched him walk along the shoreline as luminescent waves rolled under the blue moon. The surf broke the silence of the night as it lazily lapped the gleaming beach. He was moving with the brisk wind towards an unknown horizon and seemed to pay me no heed as his cloak and long hair majestically streamed behind him.

I took a long hit off my pipe packed with a ball of opium. When I finally opened my eyes, he was walking towards me and for a moment I thought he was an ancient god with his flowing beard and long shaggy hair catching the moon beams and glowing eerily. But as I watched in wide eyed wonder he stopped, shook his mighty mane from side-to-side and reversed his course. I felt a sense of remorse. Loss. Did I offend him somehow by not standing up?

I had the feeling that I missed an opportunity. That the Beach Walker was going to befriend me and share answers to mysteries that have long befuddled humanity.

I watched his shadow chase him as he moved like a wraith beneath the moonlight. His hair was flowing and glowing. The waves were receding, and sand dollars and other shells were exposed and gleaming under the strange lights emanating from the sky. A stray clap of thunder growled in the distance. My thoughts turned to the pipe in my hand. I lit it. Inhaled. Waited. Time had no meaning. I sought revelations. Visions. The meaning of life. I was lost.

Pulling out the pistol from my jacket pocket I held it up to my head and held it there for what seemed an eternity. My arm gave out and I dropped the .38 Special onto the shifting sand. I cursed my cowardice. I cursed my demons. As I ranted a fog slowly crept along the shoreline then shifted towards me. From its depth the Beach Walker emerged, his wild long hair hanging in tight curls and straddling his broad shoulders. The cloak was gone and all he wore was a dirty white tunic. Somehow his face glowed under the light of the blue moon, and he was wearing a frown. A look of concern. His dark brown eyes bored into my soul, warning me not to take my own life. A voice inside my head said it’s God’s choice when and how you leave this earthly plane.

Startled I jumped up in my narcotic haze and called out to him, who are you? It was too late, however. It seemed like he was floating as he turned around and disappeared in the thick gray mist that now enveloped the whole beach.

When I saw the headlights, I didn’t move despite the fact that they were pointed right at me. It appeared God chose this moment to take my life and I gladly opened my arms wide prepared to be propelled into eternity. The Land Rover roared right by me, spitting up sand and broken shells as it hurtled into the night on some mad mission. I stood there listening to my heartbeat for minutes. Then I could hear the waves again. I suddenly understood that life was a gift and I’d been granted a reprieve for my past misdeeds.

I watched the sunrise with a sense of awe. Picking up the pistol and the pipe I threw them as far as I could into the turbulent surf. As corny as it sounds, it was a new day full of promise.

the end

There Were Survivors

When the apocalypse came it looked like the end of humanity but somehow there were survivors. Tic Tok.

We managed to ride out the end days scenario in underground compounds located around the planet. We were the best and brightest. Doctors. Scientists. Mathematicians. Teachers. Archeologists. Physicists. Writers. Our numbers consisted of survivors ready to live a new life. Tic Tok.

We saved the history of mankind on digital devices. Our files included historical photos and a complete History of Art dating back to ancient times. The massive database of knowledge we accumulated was shared in all of the compounds – establishing a common ground that kept us in touch. Tik. Tok.

We kept busy while waiting for the day when we could reemerge onto the earth’s surface safely. We shared stories of our personal lives and how we came into the world. How the world once looked. How we quietly built the compounds and stocked them with necessities. Tik. Toc.

I’m not sure when the trouble started but our population has been decreasing every year for years. Lately it’s every month. We’ve been unable to add to our numbers which is a red flag. It appears despite our wealth of knowledge we didn’t account for a situation like we’re in now. Tik. Tok.

What happened?

We didn’t think to manufacture spare parts. Our circuit boards, wires, video screens, and functionality programs were deteriorating with time. Now I’m the last of the robots in this compound. Tik Tok. Tik Tok.

-30-

The Last Lighthouse

Ajax carefully climbed down the circular stairway inside the lighthouse until he reached the ground floor.

His seventy-year-old bones creaked with the effort as he opened the heavy oaken door to look out into the night. A choppy sea illuminated by bright stars and the moon went on for eternity. He sighed. Nostalgia washed over him like the restless surf outside as he considered his solitary existence. He looked up at the sturdy stone tower that had stood since ancient times silently guarding the coast. Watching. Waiting. Warning ships at sea.

Memories like shadows on the shore darted across his mind as he recalled 63 years ago when he and his father escaped the cities and found the lighthouse unhabituated. The war to end all wars had finally come. Mankind was nearly extinct. Ajax’s father died twenty years ago. He hadn’t seen another human since. But, in his heart, he felt there had to be more survivors somewhere on the planet. The thought helped him wake up in the mornings after dreaming about making contact again with another human. It stopped him from sporadically screaming in frenzied fits like the early days after his father died. Without this last hope he would have walked out into the turbulent breakers and disappeared long ago.

Ajax started a diary two years after his father passed away while sleeping in the lighthouses crude bed. He was nine years old at the time. His father had taught him to read and write and he was an eager learner. He started with observations after going on long walks along the rugged coast. After a year he started sharing inner thoughts and desires. The diary took on a life and he held many in-depth conversations with it. The years were scattered across numerous notebooks that he stacked up next to his bed on a bench. The writing was small in order to conserve space.

The notebooks came from what was once a school about a mile from the lighthouse. Inside the rubble Ajax found blank notebooks, boxes of pencils, chalk, and small jars of acrylic paint. He wrapped his loot up with a torn and faded American flag from a classroom that was still standing and walked back to the lighthouse with a light step. It was a good day.

Food was never a problem. His father who was a master forager and gardener had discovered a patch of fertile ground inland within easy access. He planted potatoes, vegetables and wheat and they always had something to eat. There were no animals to hunt. They too had disappeared. It was a good diet that helped them to stay healthy. The storeroom was always well stocked.

The lighthouse was a beacon of hope for Ajax. He lit the fire in the dome every night with wood gathered along the coast. He imagined someday someone would see it and sail to him. Guided by the light. And during the day he looked out the thin windows at the panorama that stretched for miles, disappearing into a mountain range that always had a blanket of snow on the top. It was graced with green fields. Lush rows of berry bushes. It was full of trees and streams, but without any life that he could see. Despite that he looked out every day hoping to see movement. Any sign of life.

One-night hours after setting the blaze in the tower Ajax was gazing at the dark purplish horizon when he saw some lights flicker momentarily! A steady row of lights appeared shortly afterward, and he felt his pulse race with excitement. They had to be ships. Not one, but three were moving steadily in the direction of the lighthouse. His heart was racing as he scrambled down the circular staircase and stepped outside the door. He wasn’t worried about how he looked. The rags that hung on his slim frame were fine. He doubted the new arrivals would make much of his long beard and tattered toga. He felt giddy that his dreams appeared to become real and that in a matter of hours he would be talking with another human!

Meanwhile.

Ahoy, captain! A lighthouse ahead!”

Captain Igor Malinski grunted in satisfaction. His warship, an old battleship from the eastern bloc, had destroyed every lighthouse along the entire coastline as ordered. Or so they thought until a scout ship reported Ajax’s lighthouse.

As the sun rose slowly over the horizon Ajax woke up and could see three ships. He was too excited to get something to eat and stretched his skinny arms upward, eyes upward, welcoming the light. He didn’t see the huge cannons pivoting towards him.

Fire!” the captain shouted.

THE END

Insults

Insults by the Left and the Right

often end up in a fight

Insults

Assaults

Reverberate

across the country

breaking down civility

Insults like a fungus

grow among us

poisoning society

with maximum anxiety

Insults are like fleas

hopping on hosts

and bringing a disease

Insults

are the results

when communication fails

and anger prevails

‘Tis The Season …

Tis the season

of no reason

logic has fled

into the wintery night

on a sled

of lies

that incite

passions unchecked

with a bad effect

upon us all

save us from stupidity

holding so many in thrall

Now we need

a new season

with reason

where truth is told

and knowledge

is treated like gold

-30-

Remembering A Myth From My Childhood

Seven decades have not diminished one myth I grew up with. It has a place of honor in my head that makes me smile. I still remember when I heard what would happen to my vision if I wacked my weinie!

I was undeterred and ready to go blind at eleven when I tossed caution aside in favor of pleasure – after some experimenting – and crossed the line between boyhood and manhood. I look back now with fondness at my innocence.

I never could fully understand the taboo against exploring my own body but would have preferred to be thrown in a cauldron of boiling oil than admit that. I joined my peers in mocking others accused of that crime of solo indulgence. It was a mean meme before there was such a thing.

My recollection of who came up with the myth is fuzzy, but I’ve narrowed it down to the church and parents universally who don’t want their offspring to ever have sex.

The End

Revisionist History

Looking back over the rivers of time

History is malleable

and easy to redefine

regimes do it all the time

but in the end

the truth remains the same

writing about the past

has always been a game

where conquerors are good

and losers take the blame

-30-

Dad’s Fading Away

Like leaves falling off of trees with the advance of winter

my Dad’s memories are caught up in the winds of change

as he struggles to remember my name

I watch his eyes wander off to other times

back to the “good old days”

when he was young and viral

a proud Marine and father of three

he will always be

my hero

sometimes his eyes are clear and when he looks at me

I can see the man he use to be even though he’s ninety-three

sometimes suddenly he talks rationally

but those days are fading away

as I watch him every day

waiting for a miracle to come his way

I wait

and pray

***

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