Poetry, Reflections

Delusions of the Dual…

Backtracking, rehashing, hashtagging

calling our attention to lessons of the past

we thought we’d learned already

but that aren’t done teaching, apparently.

Is Time the antagonist?

Or a protagonist in disguise?

Friend or foe?

Or both?

These are the words that punish our souls

the questions that haunt us still

Either/or or both/and

Delusions of the duel…

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#BlogBattles, Stories...

“Selective Perception” by My Perception Selector… #blogbattle: intercept

I was wandering through this decrepit old house of mine, exploring the dusty and shadowy places I haven’t visited in a while. Amazed at how sprawling this place has become, reaching out in so many different directions at once! I came across a forgotten wing, and paused… remembering.

It was here I used to play a lot, seeking answers, and dreaming of all I wanted. I studied and read, meditated and prayed, pursuing change for change’s sake. “Yeah. And where did that get you?,” I laughed at myself, knowing full well the practiced response, “Here and now, of course!”

“Of course!,…” So arrogant that sounds! But it isn’t intended to read that way. A statement of fact. Indisputable. Absolute. For what else is there? Ever? Real-ly?

As I strolled past a darkened room, shades drawn tight against the approaching gloom, slight movement caught my eye. It was enough to draw me in, curiosity alight. “Hello?,” I called out as I entered the room. “Anyone in here?”

“Other than you?”

Laughing, I turned toward the voice that had spoken. “Is that even possible? Since this is my space?”

“Hmmm,” she responded, careful, deliberate. “Is this the beginning of one of your infamous debates?”

“Hardly,” I chuckled, as my sight zeroed in on the shadowy figure lounging in a comfortable chair. “I’m not feeling a need to explore things too deeply. Just a tad bit nostalgic as I pass through this wing.”

“Whew…,” came the sigh, a sound of relief. “Then feel free to join me, thanks and please.”

“Interesting order,” I murmured to myself, but being the only One present made that distinction utterly pointless. “Do you live here?,” I thought to ask, politely inquiring.

A full-bellied giggle was her initial response, with an eventual verbal follow-up. “But, of course!,” she answered, delight still evident, her smile beaming from every syllable. “Are you saying that you don’t recognize me?… Or are you choosing to deny what has become too familiar?”

“And what, pray tell, is your role in this house? That you sit in the dark and amuse yourself?”

“I am Protector and Guardian of all that you see. A Keeper of Secrets. A Caretaker with Keys…”

“A perfect analogy, if I say so myself. You certainly have a gift for expressing yourself!”

“I’ve learned from the best,” was her reasoned response. “Words are a tool to be used with respect.”

Laughing, I followed her lead, knowing there was no coincidence in our meeting. “So… now that you’ve captured my attention and captivated my wit, what did you want me to discover here?”

She waved vaguely at the window, but spoke bluntly and clear, “the shades may be drawn, the light may be gone, but Life still goes on… beyond this wall.”

“Yes,” I whispered, barely a sound. “I’m well aware of that, my friend.”

And tears silently began to fall…

Rising, exhausted, I prepared to take leave, but she had one more point to make, it seemed.

“You know who I am, then?,” she asked quite directly.

“But, of course,” I responded with a touch of old arrogance. “You select my perceptions, as Perception Selector, protecting me from what I choose not to see.”

“Also your Interpreter, your Lens and your Focus,” she added for clarity’s sake. “Why not just call me your personal Interceptor?”

I turned for the door, ignoring her laughter, eager to leave this place and find some distraction.

“And denial is more than just a river in Egypt!,” she called after me. “That never really gets old, does it?,” I heard her chuckling.

(602 words)

Check out #blogbattles for the August prompt and our writers’ responses…

https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/blogbattle-stories-intercept/

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Reflections

I Think I’ve Been Trolled…

… but not necessarily in a good way. Lol! I mean, I’m almost always up for an enlightened discussion, but this felt like a stroll through the Twilight Zone.

I was contacted on Facebook messenger by a friend I haven’t really spoken to in years, who dropped the name of our only mutual friend to get my attention. It worked enough to get me to respond though I was quite surprised by the contact. And then it immediately went off the deep end. From links and questions about conspiracy theories to overt attempts to get me to declare my allegiances, my suspicions were aroused. I immediately asked if he was joking, though he assured me he was not. Still… so many links and stories supporting Trump and his evil cohorts, so many lies and misdirections, so many side trips down hate filled alleys… and all from a gay anti-religious male I once knew…

I had to laugh out loud. Literally…

Was I supposed to believe that I was really talking to my friend? When he refused to commit to any path or answer any question? Or am I to believe he’s still my “friend” if he is trying to entrap me as he is? From hinting at revolution to implying Trump is our savior? From promising relief from debt to threatening me about the coming changes? And when I told him I believed that we are more likely to reenact the fascist regimes of the past, with many joining in while others quietly sacrificed themselves in pursuit of something moral, the conversation stalled a bit. Until finally I asked if he was a man with moral standards and integrity or a supporter of the evil rulers? And the conversation petered out…

He would not answer that. Nor would he even respond to thoughts of an imaginary world free of predatory practices…

So, yeah… there’s that. And I think that I’ve been trolled. Question is, did I pass the test and pay my toll, so I may safely cross into another world? Or did I lose my way and play the game, and so ensure my captivity here?

Is it true that only time will tell?

Hmm…

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Reflections

Movie Dreams…

Rough night last night with movie dreams. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

With sound tracks playing in the background. Snippets of songs on endless repeat…

A happy scene living with my daughter, sitting on the couch with a couple of cats and the dog asleep at my feet. The kids are spiraling out of control, and with a quiet voice, I speak their names. “Can you feel those waves of irritation coming from your mom?,” I ask. They both nod. “That means she’s had enough. For real. Settle down now…” And little one comes to sit beside me.

…our house. It’s a very, very fine house…”

Suddenly my daughter explodes! Ranting about how I stole her animals, and now I’m stealing her kids away from her! And after all she does to take care of and protect them…

I don’t know what to say, knowing no words can heal that self-inflicted pain…

***

I’m at work, encouraging my replacement to look at boxes and paperwork to try and get a sense of what’s ahead of us. “You’re going to have to learn how to prioritize,” I tell her. But she is dawdling and slow to pick things up…

“We have to step this up!,” I snap. “I’m not going to be here to hold your hand much longer, you know!”

“…turning the inside out…”

***

And here, in the waking world, things are stranger still…

Standing outside in a misty rain, watching the streams of water fall in the light from the deck spotlight. All around me the world is wet. Except me and my cat. Holding my hand out in the stream, I feel no water, though I can still see it falling. But I am not even damp, nor is my cigarette…

***

Later, and all is quiet outside. Too quiet. It’s eerie. No traffic, no factory sounds, no slamming doors. Nothing. Not even the bats are flying tonight. What is going on?

And I realize that every time I come downstairs, nausea nearly overwhelms me. Along with that sense of everything being… just totally wrong

***

Co-workers are reporting strange dreams to me. Significant images they feel compelled to share. White horses rearing in the clouds… A tiny car with removable covers on the windows. And my friend who is driving must keep shifting perspective from inside to outside the car, changing window covers, seeking the best combination that will allow her to see properly…

…talk to me. I can’t seem to speak now… talk to me… the words won’t come out right… what are you thinking?… sometimes I wonder… what are you feeling?… where do we go from here?”

And another reporting anxiety. “You know, the kind that precedes a full on panic attack.” And I can feel it all around him like a dark cloud, but none of it infects me…

***

And every time I touch my phone, my remote, or any electronic device, I can feel the electricity coursing through me. Tingling. Numbing. Uncomfortable. I must put it down…

***

Rough energy going on with movie dreams and reality. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

“the ringing of the division bell had begun…”

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Reflections, Visions

Off the Rails…

I close my eyes and chaos reigns. Objects, like thoughts, flying in all directions at once. Little spirals of change and corruption, like dust devils, spinning out of control, starting with me and sliding away.

And I am also moving, aboard my little animated train. Not afraid, not anxious at all. “Just hold on, Lisa,” I tell myself. “This, too, shall pass.”

So I focus in more deeply on the swirling thoughts and objects, seeking to identify as many as possible before they are gone. But they are fast as pixies and just as sly, layering over one another before any become clear.

Just glimpses of faces. And places. Of movement and stillness. Of joy and sorrow, anger and forgiveness. My train has become a roller coaster ride… But the images are relentless, flying around, now with the weight of cars behind them. Each significant enough to warrant recognition, but moving away more quickly than my conscious mind can grasp.

I withdraw my focus, pulling back, to better see the chaos from a distance. And there goes my train car, chugging along, but oddly having no track to follow. And all about, strewn in my wake, a litter of vehicles tossed and tumbled, as though a great wind just juggled them all…

I smile. No track means no one is directing this trip, controlling where it goes. I am free of normal time and space, at least for a little while. And the tumbled tokens in my wake are proof that all of it is real, even if I haven’t figured that part out yet…

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Conversations

A Conversation With THE Other About… Failure

Her eyebrows lifted in genuine surprise. “Failure?!… Hmm, not what I expected to hear at all! Whose failure?,” she thought to ask. “Who failed at doing what?”

I laughed out loud, grateful to be alone in my room for this conversation. “Why my failure, of course!,” I told her. “My failure at living my life, practicing what I’ve been taught… My decision to just give up!”

Lea sat forward on her couch, focus intensifying without any other obvious sign. “Explain,” she demanded.

I hesitated, gathering my thoughts close to me, trying to impose some sense of order on the chaos within my mind. Taking a deep, fortifying breath, I attempted to comply…

“All my life I’ve been taught to walk between worlds, to choose my own reality. Through focus, perception, imagination and will, I can be anywhere. Any time…. Anyone…

“I know this!,” I added, frustration creeping in. “Yet, in spite of what I know, I remain here! In this dying world, this pointless race. I cannot escape, no matter how I try! I cannot change anything of consequence for myself!…”

Sitting back, a wry grin upon her face, Lea nodded. “So, we’re back to this again, are we?”

“No!!,” I snapped, involuntarily. “Do not mock me, or belittle what I say! Because this is a whole new level of enough!”

Lifting one eyebrow in silence, she encouraged me to continue…

“Even my dreams are mocking me lately. Tests and challenges, administered and passed. Pathways revealed between dimensions that are subsequently travelled. Progress made, with or without significant struggle. And then I wake. Quite suddenly. To find myself here again! Nothing has changed!! And if it has, it’s only gotten worse!…

“Then the messages start to arrive in my waking world, repetitive and encouraging. Telling me that all is well, that all that I’ve been working toward, and for, is just about to break in my favor. Finally!…

“Only, it doesn’t happen. At least not noticeably. At least not for me…”

“So… Either everything I’ve been taught, everything I believe, is a lie,” I conclude. “Or I am just incompetent in the extreme.”

Nodding, Lea responds quite seriously. “So, you’ve chosen to believe the first – that it’s all a lie. I guess that makes sense. Certainly is easier to accept, isn’t it?”

“Still, I’m curious,” she continued. “Why, exactly, would that be? Why is it easier to accept that your lifelong curriculum has been faulty rather than you have failed to apply it properly?”

“Less disappointing,” I answered quickly. “To think I’ve been misled puts less pressure on me.”

“But it also prevents any remedy,” she pointed out, quite ruthlessly. “If it were you at fault, you might still learn differently. But if your basic premises are false, there is no chance to succeed.”

“True,” I admit quietly. “But that’s the point, isn’t it?… I’m tired of trying and failing consistently. I just want to be done with all of it!”

“Cop out, Lisa,” she snapped. “And not worthy of you! Just when I was starting to respect who you were becoming…” Contempt dripped from every word.

“It won’t work this time, Lea,” I pointed out quite placidly. “I don’t really care anymore what you might think of me…”

“Fine!,” she noted unemotionally. “Then tell me, just for argument’s sake, why you think you failed so miserably?”

“Easy,” I answered. “It’s my body.”

She laughed outright, taken by surprise. “Oh please do explain this theory to me…”

“It’s not theory, Lea; it’s fact.” I remained calm and focused as I explained. “All the traveling I have done, per your and others’ teachings, has involved projecting my mind, my spirit, my perspective into another space or time. Not exactly hard to do. And while my experiences in those other places have contributed to creating who I am, influencing my thoughts, moods, interactions and expectations, they are always limited by my body…

“Because any disturbance to my body will snap me back into my own time and space, whether I wish to return or not. It’s like an anchor, dragging me down, time and time again. There is no escaping it! Ever! Until, or unless, I can find a way to cross those dimensional barriers with my body as well as my mind, I will never be free.”

“And frankly,” I smirked, “I have no reason to want to take it with me. This body is broken. It may be my fault, having treated it thoughtlessly and recklessly, but it does not serve me well now. So, even if I could figure out how to travel with it, I wouldn’t bother to try. What would be the point? I can’t trust it to perform the most basic of actions anymore, nor can I escape the constant pain of being in it…

“Therefore,” I concluded smugly, “my work here is done. I’m playing the waiting game until I can be gone…”

Lea sat back to contemplate what I’d said, while I left to get something to eat… When I returned, she jumped in, as though the conversation had never stalled…

“But you’re forgetting something important,” she stated with her characteristic certainty. “Reality, after all, is just an illusion.”

“Not true,” I answered immediately, “as my body proves. Because no matter what reality I’m in, it can drag me back here again. Therefore, my body exists in some real time or space, giving its needs total primacy.”

Lea shook her head, denying me. But she did not speak.

“Prove to me otherwise, Lea,” I implored her. “Show up in my life for real. Bring your body if you can. Walk up and talk to me, face to face…

“Until you can do that, or unless I should say, we have nothing more to discuss. For you and I will both remain trapped exactly where and when we are. And all this talk about traveling between worlds will take on the aura of pure fantasy, as it properly should. Because so long as our bodies anchor us, neither one will ever be truly free…

“That’s the facts, Lea,” I concluded, sadly. “Accept, as I have, and move on, or prove me wrong definitively. If you do that, I will gladly adopt the mantle of student once more. If you can’t, I prefer to surrender gracefully…”

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Conversations

A Conversation With THE Other About… Whatever

“Pssst… Lisa!” I heard it whispered directly in my ear, startling me. I chose to ignore it.

“Pssssst, Lisa!” A little louder and more demanding. Again, I ignored her, having no desire to speak.

“Pssst, Lisa! I know you can hear me…”

“Of course I can!,” I snapped. “But I’m choosing not to interact. Please respect that.”

“Pssst…”

“Stop it already!,” I spoke out loud. “Just go away!”

And so it went for days. And then more days. Until I couldn’t ignore her anymore.

“What is your issue, Lea?!,” I finally acknowledged. “Why can’t you take no for an answer?! I don’t want to talk to you! Can I be any clearer?!”

Sitting back to lounge more comfortably on her beige, unremarkable couch, she smiled. A gloating, mocking, childish expression of getting her own way…

“What is your issue?,” she responded calmly, not at all moved by my exasperation. “Since when do you ignore me when I come to visit?”

“Since I grew up and realized you’re not nearly as wise or powerful as I once thought. Since I stopped worshipping the ground you walked on. Since I stopped believing you could teach me what I wanted to know… I’m not a child anymore, Lea! It’s time you accepted that.”

She sat there silently, staring at the ceiling, saying nothing. Finally she turned to face me. “Well, you’re acting kind of childish now,” she pointed out.

Letting my anger and frustration go in a deep, shuddering sigh, my whole demeanor sank and settled. “You’re absolutely right,” I admitted.

“Why?,” she asked me, curious as always about what motivates me.

Shaking my head slowly, I sat back more comfortably in my bed, preparing to face this conversation whether I wanted to or not. Taking comfort from the cat who is never far from my side when we’re both in the house, I took time to think about my answer.

“I’m not sure, really,” I began. “Maybe because I suspect what this visit is about, and, like any child, I’ve learned that a strong offense may save me from having to play defense.”

“Hmmm…,” she nodded. Then shaking her head in vigorous denial, she sat up from her lounging position and turned her whole body to face me. Placing her feet deliberately and leaning forward, she prepared to confront me. “No… No, I don’t think that’s it at all. Want to try again?”

“Not really,” I responded honestly. “I don’t want to have this conversation at all… You came to me this time. Why don’t you just speak your piece and be done with it? Then we can both go back to our respective lives.”

“Wow, girl! I don’t remember you having such sharp edges all around!” She grinned her best “bestie” grin, allowing just a touch of mockery to seep in. “Is this a new look for you? ‘Cause really, I’m not likin’ it much!” She winked, attempting to take control of the conversation.

“And I’m not falling for the fake charm and sweetness, Lea,” I warned her. “Nor will I respond to threats or mockery anymore. I’m not afraid of you or what you think you can do to me. I’ve learned a thing or two over the years, and I’m not nearly as gullible as I once was…”

“Gullible, still,” I added, cautiously. “Just not as gullible, I guess.”

“Well, well, well…,” she spoke harshly, rising to pace restlessly before her couch. “The kitten’s all grown up now, is she? Testing out her claws on me?” She stopped to glare directly at me. “Am I supposed to be impressed?,” she scoffed.

“Hardly,” I responded, blandly. “There is nothing impressive about finally being honest.” I paused a moment, claiming my space in the conversation. “Is there?,” I finally asked.

She smiled. Sincerely, for once. Then sat comfortably once more. “You have changed, haven’t you? You used to be so easy to manipulate!,” she laughed. “I am curious though. When did you grow up?”

It was my turn to laugh. “Apparently when you weren’t paying attention, I guess.”

“No,” she answered, seriously. “I don’t miss things like that. You know that.”

She drifted off, silently, thinking deeply. I let her go. Hope that I may have averted the bulk of this conversation warred with grudging respect that her words, while confident, were not born of arrogance; Lea truly was/is the best “reader” of people I have ever met. So much of what I know, I learned from her, directly (by lesson or intent) or indirectly (by following her example). I waited patiently to see if she’d return…

Eventually, she did…

“Clever, Lisa,” she admonished me. “Very clever. Distracting me that way.” She paused to study me intently. “That was intentional, wasn’t it?”

I shrugged. “It was worth a shot, anyway.” That was as close to an admission as she would get from me.

Nodding, a hint of grudging respect creeping in, she continued. “Just what is it you think I’ve come to discuss today?”

“Failure,” I responded, without hesitation.

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