Reflections

Evil has won…? (Celebrating Independence Day!)

An interesting discussion occurred in my life on the 4th of July which is still haunting me. Without rehashing the endless details, I began to accept (?) that perhaps “evil” has already won, and that whatever acts of “good” still occur in the world today only serve to delay and disguise the truth…

Certainly evil has shown itself to be more powerful and far reaching than good, if only in the way that good has to be actively and consciously propped up in our thoughts and lives, while evil endures and thrives there. Need some examples? I think I can come up with a few…

I believe that few people besides Trump really wanted Trump’s parade, but no one could stop it from happening. I believe that most Americans disagree with the policies and criminal activities of the right wing extremists in this country, yet they continue to shove their disastrous ideas down our throats in spite of being a minority. Mega wealthy people are stepping forward to say, “yes, we agree we should pay more taxes,” but tax cuts for those few continue at the expense of the many. Members of the auto industry who lobbied for deregulation are now asking Trump’s cronies to back off, and are being ignored as completely as the rest of us. Hate crimes are being celebrated as political statements, and lawmakers are supporting the haters rather than the victims; an approach so overt, cruel and disgusting that even formerly biased and out of control law enforcement people are beginning to object…

But you know all this, so let’s look at something more personal…

I get together with my daughter and grandchildren every weekend. Since her work schedule changed we can only do dinner and a movie (rather than a whole day of family time), but we do it consistently, every week. Including last week when I was suffering from a mild concussion. I made my daughter drive, but I was there, and happy to be there. And once a month my daughter brings them to my work for Coloring Club, a bonus couple of hours we all look forward to.

But yesterday, Coloring Club day, my daughter cancelled because the other grandmother had tickets for the whole family to go to an amusement park. No problem, right? Except that after driving for an hour to get there, and paying the $20 parking fee, the other grandmother did not show up. Nor would she answer her phone when they tried to contact her; actually, she would answer, then immediately hang up. After waiting almost two hours, trapped in their car by a massive thunderstorm, the family left with angry parents and heartbroken children.

Now… Which memory do you suppose will take precedence in those children’s minds: that grandma Lisa showed up with a concussion last week for dinner and a movie, or that the other grandma left them sitting in a miserably hot car on a rainy day for hours with parents fighting, and never showed up? And you can spare me “the long run” scenarios, please. Because evil doesn’t require special conditions, attitudes, or allowances to be memorable; it simply takes over one’s entire consciousness.

And which parent do you suppose will have the greatest impact on these young ones? The mother who sacrifices time, energy, principles and common sense to try and keep the promises she makes, or the father who repeatedly lets them down, by not being home when promised, or playing with them as promised, etc…? Be honest with yourself, here. What memories compel your adult behavior – the good ones or the traumatic ones? Even if the good ones were more common and routine than the evil ones?

We can, as adults, choose to focus on the positive, but the fact that we must actively do so is answer enough for me…

I learned something else of value on the 4th of July: that I am incapable of harming another with my thoughts, no matter how much I might wish to do so. I am not proud of the experiment I conducted that night, but being rigorously honest with myself is necessary to my journey, so I freely admit to doing it. And I admit it was a conscious choice to try it.

Having spent all day contemplating this question of whether evil has already won, and whether evil is naturally more powerful than good, I willingly engaged it. I have always been at least a little afraid of the “beast” which lurks within me. I am aware of its existence. I consciously seek to control its influence in my life and my actions, “fighting the good fight” almost every day of my misguided adulthood. So I have never truly tested its power to influence to world around me.

It’s true that there are times in my life when I tried to place myself first, often at the expense of others. That guilt and shame at my actions would eventually win out reversing my course. That I’ve had to accept that, at my core, I am basically “good,” and therefore destined to lose. But this night was different…

This night I fully embraced evil. Claimed it. Made it mine! This time I opened the floodgates and let the fiery acid of hatred flow freely through my veins. Had I been physically armed and mobile, I would have eagerly gone on a killing spree. But I was neither, so I sat, and rocked, and let the hatred consume my being, wishing with all I am for violent retribution against all who were near me! For hours I sat and sent my vicious thoughts out into the world, eagerly awaiting the bloodcurdling screams announcing my success…

Nothing happened.

And lest you assume my desire to harm others was not real, please understand that I had spent hours (from 10am until 3:30am the following morning) trying to rescue a traumatized animal, while these humans around me placed their own wants above this animal’s genuine needs. My motivation to harm them was both real and deeply sincere! I would gladly have destroyed all of humanity, including myself, if it could bring one moment of peace to this poor, suffering, innocent creature!

But I could not…

In attempting to process the results of that experiment over these last couple of days, I’ve had to own up to some other hard truths as well. If my thoughts are incapable of harming others, even when deeply motivated to do so, then it’s even likelier that my thoughts are unable to heal others, knowing now that evil is truly stronger than good. Perhaps better to say evil is more powerful, thriving as it does when given the least of expression, while good struggles to impact events even when full focus is brought to that intent. Any battle between good and evil is inherently imbalanced. And pointless…

Depressing? Oh yes, most definitely. Yet ultimately freeing as well. For if it’s true that evil has already won, and that it will naturally (and eventually) consume all that is good, then why continue to fight the inevitable? Why not simply accept, and surrender, and welcome in the newest dark age with a smile of understanding. Let us hasten to the finish line, where all good ceases to exist, so that suffering ends. For it is the struggle against the inevitable that causes “suffering,” rather than the inevitability itself…

Happy Independence Day my fellow Americans! A country founded upon evil can only end in corruption. There truly is no other way…

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#BlogBattles, Stories...

“Keep it Stable, Son…” (#BlogBattles: Stable)

“Keep it stable, son, you got this,” a voice yelled over the sound of the loader.

“Steady as she goes, Orin,” the tugboat captain growled to his first mate. “Straight as an arrow into the slip.”

“One foot in front of the other,” one friend said to another, watching the activity at the docks below. “We’ll get through this somehow, together.”

“Don’t rock the boat, baby. (Rock the boat) Don’t rock the boat, baby…,” played softly on the car radio where the two friends sat.

“We got this,” the friend continued. “The trick is to move slowly, stay balanced, and plan our moves carefully.”

“Yeah, yeah, Derek, I get it,” the other man responded. “No sudden moves, no drawing attention to ourselves, no standing out…”

“Exactly!,” Derek agreed. “Look, Mark, I know it’s tough, but it’s better for everyone in the end.”

“But is it, Derek?,” Mark had to ask. “Do you really believe this swill you’re selling?!”

Mark’s tone took on a mocking quality. “One day at a time, Bro. Keep it simple, stupid. Slow and steady wins the race… every time!” Exasperated, Mark snapped. “Doesn’t seem like much of a race to me, man!”

“Due diligence, Mark,” Derek answered calmly. “It’s about integrity. We do our duty. We maintain the status quo. We stay safe, and protect our own… That’s how we survive.”

“But then nothing ever changes, Derek! Can’t you see that?! Day in and day out, always the same! Monotony in a nutshell, dude!… Or a vice grip,” he added under his breath.

“Order over chaos, Mark. That is the goal here. We only achieve that through stable, steady progress. Radical changes serve no one well…”

“But change is exactly what we need!,” Mark vented. “How long are we supposed to play this game? When do we get our chance to be free?!”

“Who knows?,” Derek whispered. “But freedom comes at a cost, and its price is simply too high today… Maybe tomorrow will be better.”

*** *** ***

Mark sat up suddenly, shaking, gulping in the hot summer air. A hand reached for him…

“You okay,?” Derek asked, his voice a welcome comfort in the darkness.

Shaking his head to clear the last of the sleep induced cobwebs from his brain, Mark lay back down to snuggle with his partner. “Yeah, I’m good. Just another nightmare is all.”

“Don’t let it get to you, baby,” Derek said calmly, pulling him close. “We’ll get through this somehow. Together.”

Mark steadied his breathing as he settled in more comfortably next to Derek. “Yeah, I know. We got this.”

Outside the sounds of the harbor played on, a common refrain in the predawn hours…

“Keep it stable, son… You got this…”

(450 words)

https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/07/02/blogbattle-stable/

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Uncategorized

Second person challenge…

Anyone else feel up to the challenge of writing a short story/poem from the second person point of view? That would be narrating the story to “you,” as my blessed grammar teachers are helping me understand… I’m including the link to rawgod’s example story because I couldn’t reblog it for some reason.

TRIGGER WARNING: the subject matter involves rape, so if this triggers you, please do not follow this link…

https://wordartbyrawgod.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/you/

Please post links to your stories in the comments section, so we can all appreciate your efforts! 😁

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Poetry

Limits…

Ever wonder where your limits are, just how much you can take?

Standing on the precipice, prepared to take the leap?

How many obstacles can you overcome?

How many sorrows can you shoulder?

How many more tears are left in you to cry?

How much more pain can you, yourself, endure?

Are there limits to what we do?

Or must we carry on, as we always have

making something out of nothing

because we simply can’t surrender?

*** *** ***

Standing on the brink myself

wishing I could jump.

But something keeps my feet planted

after the rest of me has given up.

It isn’t noble, selfless, vain or brave;

just ignorant, habitual and desperate.

If only I knew how…

to leave it all behind…

to go and test my limits

on another training ground…

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Poetry

”Caught Up in My Own Drama…”

Caught up in my own drama

a single person play

a solo performance

on a tiny little stage…

Writing, and rewriting, the dialogue

rearranging the scenes

so very little to work with

so very much to change…

Missing out on what’s around me

as I toil at my craft

convinced if I can get it “write”

the rest will fall in place…

Delusion, like fantasy, the dreamer’s media

presumptuous assumptions

those foundational mis-sumptions

guaranteed to lead one astray…

Yet here I am, complaining again

how nothing turns out “right”

when caught up in my own drama

directing the soul actor of my play…

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#BlogBattles, Stories...

The Wisdom of Alcohol… (#BlogBattles: Corona)

It was a dark place full of shadows and regret. Dim lights created enough illumination to navigate the space, but not to illuminate life. The brightest spotlights reflected off the bottles and mirrors behind the polished bar, creating an oasis of beauty, an illusion of hope. Just one more drink should do it…

Two men, nondescript in the dimness, sat at that oasis, each seeking comfort of their own. The bartender approached the one on his left, whose glass was nearly empty. “Ready for another, Mac?”

“Mac” picked up his glass and studied it for a moment. “Hmm…,” he thought aloud. “No. No, barkeep, I think I’ll switch it up. Bring me a Corona instead!”

“A Corona?,” asked the bartender. “Since when do you drink that crap?”

“Since right now,” the unnamed regular “Mac” responded. “I’ve been seeing these ads on tv. Every time something ‘good’ happens, ‘a Corona gets its lime.’ I need something good to happen to me. Maybe this will help.”

“Suit yourself, Mac,” the bartender smiled. “I’m all for supporting positive change!”

“Hey, I’ve seen those ads, too,” the other unnamed regular added, not so completely isolated as he had at first appeared. “Kind of like the idea that every time a bell rings…”

“… an angel gets their wings!,” all three chorused together.

The other regular rose from his bar stool and stumbled down to sit next to “Mac.” “I think I want to try one of them Coronas, too,” he said to the bartender. “I could sure use some ‘good’ in my life.”

“First round is on the house,” the bartender announced. “We can’t usually give this stuff away, and if it helps you gentlemen out, that would be a good thing in itself!”

The second man smiled crookedly. “Looks like my luck is changing already,” he slurred happily. Turning toward his new drinking buddy, he tried to start a conversation with Mac.

“So… what brings you here on this sunny afternoon?,” he asked sloppily.

Chuckling softly, Mac responded with questions of his own. “Oh, is it sunny outside today? Is it afternoon already?”

“Ummm,” the other drunk replied. “According to my phone it is, indeed, both. Weather app says the sun is shining, and the clock says 3:15,” he explained, quite seriously. “And they must call it a ‘smart’ phone for some reason…,” he added.

Mac laughed. “LOL!!,” he said, enjoying his own humor. “At least one of us knows what’s what!”

His demeanor darkened a bit… “My wife left this morning. Says she isn’t coming back.”

“Ohhh, dude, sorry!,” his companion commiserated. “I remember that day myself. Said she’d had enough of my drinking, and just walked right out…”. He was quiet for a moment, lost in that memory. “Y’know, I don’t think she ever looked back,” he added sadly.

Mac studied his drinking buddy for a long breath. “Yeah… don’t think mine will either. How do you get used to being alone?”

“Ahhh, that!,” the other drunk answered with a sad chuckle. “Not so hard to do when you focus on the positive: completely guilt free drinking!,” he explained, raising his bottle in a drunken salute.

“Completely?,” Mac asked. “You don’t seem completely free at all…,” he added wisely, being just a tad less drunk than his companion.

“Yeah… well close enough for me,” the other man snapped testily.

Silence ensued as each man sipped his beer and settled in his misery… After a while, Mac took up the conversation again.

“Have you ever been to AA?,” he asked the other drunk.

“You mean the auto club?,” his buddy responded, confusion clouding his expression. “Is that even a real place? I kinda thought that was just a phone number to call when you got stranded in your car…”

“No, no, no,” laughed Mac. “I’m talking about the meetings you go to when you want to stop drinking. They meet all over town, mostly in churches. A bunch of ex-drunks helping current drunks to get sober.”

The unnamed one looked at Mac astonished. “Why would any self-respecting drunk do that?!,” he asked sincerely.

“Umm… maybe because most drunks aren’t self-respecting at all,” he answered honestly. “I went,” he added. “A few times. It was kinda cool, actually…”

Shaking his head in disbelief, Mac’s new friend disagreed. “Nope. Can’t even imagine how a bunch of Bible totin’ ex-drunks trying to change me could be cool. Not in this Universe or any other!”

Laughing outright, Mac responded. “Nah, man, they’re not like that at all! Once you get past the ‘program’ crap, they’re all really kinda like us. They tell great stories. Relatable, you know?”

“Hey, I think there might be one tonight, just down the street. We could go check it out, and you’ll see what I mean.”

His companion turned a bewildered gaze his way. “But we’re drunk, Dude! Isn’t that kinda against the rules?”

“Not really, man,” Mac responded seriously. “So long as we’re not disr… distrupt… disrup… As long as we just sit and listen, they won’t throw us out.”

The other drunk tipped his bottle to stare into its light amber depths. “This stuff looks like piss,” he commented. “Kinda tastes like it, too!” Turning to face Mac he added. “Why not? I could use a good story, and maybe a laugh or two.”

Mac slapped him on the shoulders like an old friend. “Let’s go then! We should leave now, though, since I’m just drunk enough to make finding this meeting difficult!”

Stepping out into the late afternoon sunlight, both men covered their eyes against the sudden brightness. Leaning into one another for support, they stumbled blindly down the sidewalk. The other drunk turned toward Mac and spoke sincerely. “Hey, Dude, I don’t even know your real name!”

Laughing, Mac responded, “just call me Corona today.”

His companion smiled. “Cool! Then I can be Lime! ‘Cause, you know, every time sumthin’ good happens…”

“… a Corona gets its Lime!,” they chorused together as they stumbled into the street.

They never even saw the bus that hit them, or felt the pain of bones breaking…

And across the street at a little gift shop, two chimes began ringing in the chaos that ensued. Two distinctively different tones, unheard behind the shouting and the sobbing and the sirens…

(1051 words)

My contribution for this month’s #BlogBattles. 😁

https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/blogbattle-corona/

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