At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tides and Currents

Tides and currents swept me from familiar shores. A celestial body beckoned (an attraction greater than mere mortal will) and bore me to the depths, the secrets and the truths, of the cold ocean blue.

I thought I stood on firmament, but found it was only sand. I swore I’d charted a bold course...until tides and currents carried me to foreign seas...and all the mysteries of the deep.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Random Observations

I gotta say, blogging opens one’s eyes to matters that tug on human heartstrings. I’m fascinated by those who pay me a visit via Internet searches for certain words or phrases. For the most part, I am heartened by what I’ve observed.

It’s a rainy day today, and I’m pheeling philosophical. Bear with me.
I thought I’d share a few thoughts born from visits and page views over the past year or so.

By far, my Heart of the Matter entry has been the most frequently visited of all, by people searching for either the music or lyrics.
I draw great comfort from that. It does my soul good to note that
so many people are drawn to the hearts at the heart of things.

I am genuinely surprised by the numbers of people who visit in search of T.R. Hummer’s poem: Where You Go When She Sleeps. They arrive at my post “A Paean to Poetry” on the basis of the poet’s name, a line or two, or a concatenation of words such as silo, golden, ‘boy who fell’ and related queries. I am genuinely surprised by this.
I own (literally) hundreds of poetry anthologies. This poem rarely appears. I thought I was introducing you, the Dear Reader, to an obscure work. I was delusional. It appears that Mr. Hummer has touched more hearts than I ever dreamt possible. I am most pleased. Most pleased.

Those of you who come to visit day after day, month after month, year after year, know that I offer very little sexual content. The mystery is part of the magic, no? Even so, I did post an entry entitled “The Taste of a Woman.” Well, wouldn’t you know, visitors come daily to view that particular atypical post. Searchers flock from the world over...but mostly from the Middle East and Africa...from Muslim states. I find that curiously sad. Sad that so many search for words to learn of matters so basic to the human soul.

I’ve been rather surprised by the sheer number of individuals who come to read about “That Watershed Moment.” Many are students sitting at university computers (no doubt trying to glean/plagiarize an answer to a question posed in a Philosophy class or some such).
Of far greater interest and import is the fact that a few individuals visit this specific entry time and time and time again. My heart reaches out to them.

Mary Oliver gets more than her fair share of attention. I thought I was a discriminating (dare I say ‘sophisticated’?) “peddler of poetry.” Turns out that a great many yearn for her words. I blush in the face of my own arrogance (trust wouldn’t be the first time).

What caught me by surprise were the queries about Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem: Where Children Live. Again, I thought I had cited a relatively unknown poet/poem when I pondered life while lying on the floor. Silly me.

Then there are those of scientific bent who come in search of terms such as ontogeny and phylogeny (mostly from Korea and Southeast Asia). They come to read my musings. They never return.

And...finally...there are those who stumble into my tiny corner of the blogosphere (by sheer accident, I presume). Some come and visit for an hour or two...never to return. A few devote an entire night to read from beginning to end...never to return. Ships passing in the night,
I guess.

Ships passing in the night...

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

"I Love You"

I daresay, even as I type the letters that form the words that constitute the phrase that means so much...and so very little...the words themselves are being whispered in the ears of countless lovers across the hemispheres and continents, uttered in so many tongues and with such a myriad of inflections that it all seems a cacophany.

I love you

Has any three-word combination been as used/misused as this?

I doubt it.

I love you” she whispers, but she simply hopes to be loved, without knowing what “love” is...other than feeling that something must, somehow...some way, fill the voids within.

I love you” he whispers, but what he wants are creature comforts...
a maid, a plaything, a trophy, a scapegoat or nanny.

I love you” she attests, but it’s the Adjusted Gross Income calculated on line 37 of IRS Form 1040 that she craves.

I love you” he attests, but what he loves are her tits, mouth and cunt, her gasps and moans, her body, her sex...(and bodies abound).

I love you” she swears, but she loves just the emotion...not the man, not the challenge nor the reality. Not the dirt, sweat and blood.

I love you” he swears, forgetting to mention it’s just a transitory “thing,” a conquest, or pleasant diversion. Another notch in the belt.

I love you” she weeps, fearing the challenge of a life lived alone.

I love you” he weeps, never having lived without his mother.

I love you” she intones...“I love you” he responds...

And neither knows what either means or meant.

Three little words and lives are destroyed. Three little words and tears flow long after. Three little words and worlds implode, explode, disintegrate.

Three little words that meaning nothing...or everything.

Just three little words, that we’ve each uttered, muttered, vowed, cooed, whispered, screamed, cried or seemingly forgot.

I love you” she says. “I love you” he answers. Two souls meet and merge and blaze a trail through turmoil and toil and suffering and sickness and failures and frailties, through broken dreams and...
unimagined delights. “I love you” they whisper in the dead of night, through storms and terrors, at sunrise and sunset. “I love you” they remember, when all else is forgotten, when nothing else matters.

I love you” means whatever charlatans wish the phrase to mean.

I love you” only matters when we mean it.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Jeebus, You're a Bad Shot!

Mind you, I’m not being critical. I’m not. I’m just sayin’. I’ve tried my hand at trap and skeet and...well...I suck. Clay pigeons (nor birds a wing) have little to fear from me. And, all in all (speaking only for myself), I suppose that’s a good thing.

But, YOU!?! The omnipotent Almighty! You had your shot on Wednesday. You tried again just yesterday. And then, again, today. Oh, dear Lord, I fell into a mighty funk when power failed for days on end. You made me sweat, indeed, you did; but...I yearned for more!
I lay exhausted in the wet grass. I was yours for the taking. I waited as the thunder growled and the clouds swirled round. I stood in plain view, arms stretched skyward. I stood there waiting...simply the Furies danced and wreaked their havoc. And here I stand, unscathed (bereft of creature comforts, to be sure), but, still,
I stand...even though all has been laid to waste around me.

Jeebus, you’re a bad shot!

I’ve heard you thunder. I’ve seen your lightning flash. I’ve stood mesmerized as the clouds rolled and spun 'round your gun sight. You laid waste to the communities to the south of me. You pounded your fist into the homes just to the north. You felled my trees, you scared my doves...yet...I’m still standing. It is I who should have suffered, not my neighbors, nor my doves.

Jeebus, you’re a bad shot!

* * *

Feel free to try again, tomorrow.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008


Pagliacci is an opera about clowns such as I. It consists of a clever prologue, two acts, written and composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Ruggero composed his haunting music and penned his insightful libretto more than a century ago. I have seen his opus performed on two continents. Once, as a young man…and once as a wizened, embittered clown. Pagliacci will forever be one of my favorite operas. Vesti la Giubba ("Put on the costume") is that famous tenor aria sung at the conclusion of the first act, when Canio, despite his broken heart, must prepare for his performance as Pagliaccio, the clown, because (as we all know) the “show must go on.”

Laugh, Pagliaccio, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
your pain and sobbing into a funny face - Ah!
Laugh, Pagliaccio, at your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!

Oh, Paggliaccio! Mere mortal soul who loved too dearly and far too passionately! You are my blood brother, dear Paggliaccio. You turn your frown upside down. You laugh at your own grief. You mock your own misfortune; yet...all the while...we die...dear Paggliaccio...
we die, my friend...we and I.

* * *

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tornado Warning!

I had supped my supper. A bowl of Campbell’s finest “Italian Wedding Feast” soup...a rather pleasant concoction of barley and beef laced with sprigs of spinach. I had splurged on a bottle of wine...
a modest (make that cheap) cabernet. I was sated, satisfied, as I eased into my comfy chair to watch the evening news.

The screen went dark. I heard the raucous, staticky “beep...beep...
” presaging an urgent pronouncement from the National Weather Service. A tornado had been spotted in Kankakee County (just a few short miles from my domicile)! Seek shelter immediately, the pixels exclaimed!

I rose and went to the open window. The sky to the southwest was dark and ominous. My little community, however, was bathed in a saffron glow. Birds were atwitter, but the trees waited...simply silence. The air was scented of blossoms.

I went to my balcony. Lit a cigarette. The smoke curled lazily about my fingers and lips. All was quiet, hushed and reverent. I thought about my little home, this matchstick, ticky-tacky box protruding from the prairie. Where shall I go? I have no cellar, no shelter.

And so I stood and enjoyed what I had hoped would be my last cigarette. I imagined the thrill of the cyclone, the rush of the wind. Oh, how I wished that I would be swept from my feet and hurtled high into space, tumbling heels over head, the way I had tumbled in love for sake of a sunflower...(with similar consequences). I prayed to be transported, as lightning flashed and thunder rumbled...(in the distance). I yearned to fill my lungs with dust and fury, to soar to the heavens, traversing the fields, the forests and marshes, and far over the dark cold waters of the Great Lake we call Michigan. If I am to breathe my last (and I most certainly, eventually, must), let me breathe the passion of a tornado. Let me swoop and soar and twirl above this beautiful earth. I yearn to fly...if only for a minute, if only by the grace of disaster. Then let me fall, farther than I have ever fallen, deeper than I’ve ever dived into unforgiving waters. Let my last breath be the sweet loam, the sound and fury, and the watery deep. Let me revel...for just a the mystery and the I fade from awareness...

I stood on my balcony, cigarette smoke curling lazily about my fingers and lips. The dark clouds to the south ambled their way east to destinations, devastations unknown.

I stood there and felt...profound disappointment.

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