A Border Collie and a Peanut Butter Sandwich

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I cannot even find my picture of you,

Sitting in your favorite chair,

The place you would go

To eat your peanut butter sandwich after your walk.

 

Damn you for getting old,

For stinking, for dying,

Slopped about the house, black and white,

Tail curled,

Licking peanut butter off the roof of your mouth.

 

You loved to walk, scratching the wall,

The leash hanging above,

Still like death but standing in heartbreaking anticipation.

The restraint that so often muted your collie instincts marks your grave,

hanging on a green stake above.

A small but stunted tree struggles right next to it, above you.

Was it the noose that held you back, or have you finally broken free of stinking, aging,

And dying?

 

You were a sweet animal among the cruel human

And the psychopathic nature of Nature.

The sound of your nails tapping the floor,

The sound of you scratching,

And, yes, licking peanut butter off the roof of your mouth.

You, it, had a rhythm that gave predictability to the unpredictability of life.

 

Your eyes, that of a Border Collie,

Big and brown, full of feeling,

Teared up once, when I

Yelled at you.

 

You died alone;

I remember patting you on the head,

your labored but soft puffing.

You tried to hang on to the beauty of life,

an oft-stealth flicker in this vast and timeless universe.

 

I remember the day I got you.

You cried for mom,

and my fleeting-child parenting skills went

A wash when you peed in

My bed.

My mom put you next to hers,

In a box we got from the dollar store,

And you became her

Fourth son and my third brother.

 

And I let you die alone;

I couldn’t handle death,

The death of my friend, brother, and of my childhood.

I turned up the radio to block out the sound of the approaching

Reckoning for you and for all of us.

Being denied leave for a dying son,

My mother went to work while I went numb

And blocked out life.

 

As silence engulfed my room.

I no longer heard breathing from you.

There you lay,

A fragment of the brother you were,

But I summed up courage and mummified you

With the discount plastic garbage bags from the dollar store.

One over your bottom, and a plastic bag over your head—

A head I often kissed and pet;

I taped the middle shut and carried you,

Like a sixty-pound baby into the freezer we call Buffalo.

I moved on the autopilot that abuse and harshness perfects.

We would put you in the ground, when life was awakening.

They will have you calming or panicking: Dropout Essays, 2018

As with my poems, here is a link to my essays from 2018:

THE ESSAYS THAT WILL CALM YOU OR MAKE YOU PANIC

Hopefully some will make you laugh.

Thanks so much for a positive year. I am looking forward to reading and wriitng more!

-from Dropout because does it really matter who I am?

I’d kiss you all, but that would be wierd: Dropout Poems, 2018

Disgusting Horny Guy with Christmas Mistletoe
It’s not me, I swear. 

Hello and thanks to all of you for making my 40 years of writing, finally, a happy and fun endeavor. I have found wonderful people here on WordPress and some fine artists. Though I have a tiny footprint and a heart as big as my ass, my appreication for all of you and your own works of art has really inspired me.

I added a 2018 poetry link to my main page, but …

Here is a link to my poem list from December 2018.

I will do the same with my essays. I hope you rediscover some you missed.

Thanks again. I would kiss you all but that would be weird for me and for you.

-Dropout

When Garbage Men Became Sanitation Workers

Garbage trucks on a city dump of dust

Even back then, I thought it ironic that I was hired to guard a landfill, but as I pulled many back-to-back isolated, twelve-hour shifts, I began to see much more of my nation than I cared to in what really was the rectum of the country. They say we can tell a good deal about our health looking at our crap and sniffing our own gas. This is only true if we know what to look for and what to smell for.

First, I found it humorous and sad that the way we get rid of things we don’t want is to bury them. I watched that Hill grow like a tumor, and I watched the liquid liner they would lay down, the barrier that would keep millions of tons of seeping sludge out of the ground water. The canal was maybe one-hundred feet from the Hill. When the landfill was open, I would log-in every truck from seven to seven bringing in tons and tons of “non-hazardous” waste, but waste is only as non-hazardous as the one who resides over it. Will the ones on the Hill protect you and the lifeline that runs right next to death?

Yes, it was enhanced interrogation at the Hill to work there as the first line of defense, but what was I defending? I envisioned myself at the bottom of the Hill where I noticed a tiny rupture, a tiny leak, and with a total disregard—more out of the thoughtlessness of the moment than the selflessness of heroes—I stuck my bare hand in it. But I soon realized that my hand was holding back a country’s worth of shit, and not just shit, but shit of the worst kind. Before long, I would be consumed and drowned in it.

As it reached my knees, I remembered the poor landfill worker that got off the garbage truck as it dumped its many lost Bills, Earmarks, Policies, true history, and those damn shredded documents and emails that keep disappearing, and he was run over by a bulldozer. Now these are not big like the bulldozers you see on the road or at the side of them. They are even more consuming than big State politics. They are earth movers. The tires alone can swallow a monster truck. They never found him. I imagine the first responders, the police and rescue teams digging through tons of State Capital with Seagull crap falling like torrents of rain looking for something human, when all they could find was a heap full of lost history.

It was not only history, for history is always written by those that won, but true history is found among those that lost and are tossed away along with the documents that bite. No they were not just trucks carrying trash, but they became trucks carrying humans. Whatever the reason, the type of “garbage” was always written on the outside so that it was disposed of properly. As I took in the fresh air of springtime flowers at the beginning of one breath and then got the stench of a rotten corpse near its end, I understood the Forefather’s need for balance. For what was written on the truck may have started as good intent or political correctness only to end as genocide and tyranny.

So I reflected, since that’s all I could do waiting for death: I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was smelling shit. It smells like crap so it is, right? No, not all shit smells, so I need to have reasonable suspicion that I am smelling something, and before we know it, what we think is a dead body turns out to be a flower. We execute the florist and the murder all the same and bury them in the Hill.

It was none other than a garbage man or the politically correct term sanitation worker (or sanitation engineer) that noticed me and pulled me to safety. Not only was I grateful for a new chance at life, but I had a new appreciation for the people that take on this country’s shit every day and buy it for us. We may not be getting the truth, but at least we have a sanitary nation. To all those men and women that handle the shit democracy brings, I thank you. Besides, you have really cool trucks; just be careful what you write on them.

The Catholic Church’s Catastrophic Failure

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The following contains disturbing language and events involving abuse and children. Discretion is advised.

It was early in my adolescence, I recall in the seventh grade, where the boys were ushered into the church, almost as if it were a secret, and something told me it was not going to be mass. At twelve, I was an experienced alter boy and would shortly have 8 funerals and 1 wedding under my belt. I, along with my brother, was a lead alter boy for Sunday service. I recall this moment to be different. A senior priest appeared with hopes of initiating us into adulthood.

He said that whenever we pleasure ourselves we are not only committing murder but each sperm lost is a loss of a human being. He said, “You are no better than Hitler.” The point was not in celebrating the creation of life through a responsible act of sex; rather, it was to discourage pubescent boys in learning about their bodies and drown them with shame and humiliation. All sex became deviant sex.

Yes, every boy there was abused. We were abused because even if the Church did not believe in science or evolution, a basic understanding of reproduction and health would have informed the priest that the vast majority of sperm die in the testes. It would seem that these young boys were damned if they did it and damned if they did not. I lived decades of humiliation and shame.

Then early in high school, Father took us 15-year-old boys to a classroom, opened a closet, and began to pass around fetuses in a jar. The one that found itself on my desk was of a 6-month old. I was born at 6 months. The point of this exercise was to discourage us from having sex and to reinforce that abortion was wrong. I was more petrified that I would drop the glass jar and shatter what, if any dignity, a dead baby or human fetus had left.

That is abuse.

I was told by a Sister Hope that I would grow up to be hopeless, and I was told by another caring nun that “You just don’t care” because I could not do my math work properly. I was abused for 17 years, molested by a boy on a school bus for 20 minutes, grouped by a female nurse when being prepped for surgery, and dealt weekly with IED style rages from my late father, one that confessed to molesting young girls. My mom told me all the details when I was around 9-years old.

Sister, that is why “I don’t care.”

I quit school at 17, in part, because Father said, “I bet that you cannot do the math.” I took that bet, and I quit school. I wrote him later and said, “Father you should have said, ‘I bet you CAN do it.” I was labeled as “special” in school, a code word for retarded all my life. In truth, I strongly believe I had selective mutism.

I almost went into the priesthood because in my twenties, I never kissed a girl, never dated, never was hugged by a girlfriend, and had the sexual maturity of a troubled twelve-year-old. The Church seems a safe haven for one that did not want be asked, “Why don’t you have a girlfriend?” “Are you gay?” “Are you a pedophile?” Instead people would see me as a man of God. All questions would stop. Just like my dreams stopped. I would, for the first time in my life, be treated with respect. I would seem an asexual, holy being.

When I was twenty-three, I almost took out a 15-year-old girl on a date with the encouragement of my own mother and the girl’s aunt. The night before the date, the aunt called me and said, “It’s not you, it is her. I have to call this off.” She may have saved two people that night.

We were going to go to Church for our first date.

I decided not to become a priest.

There is more abuse, but my story is nothing compared to what so many kids went through at the hands of yet another institution that ignored or maybe even encouraged sex abuse. Similar to sexual assault in the military, the breaking of trust between those one would lay down their life for, one that represents that hand of God for many Catholics, comes with severe and life-long consequences for the survivors.

At its most ugly, it can sever one’s relationship with God or spirituality. When someone says “Father” to me, I think of a sexual predator. Yet, using such words as monster, predator, and pedophile (often misused), distracts us all from the institutions in sports, in faith, and in film among many others that perpetuate abuse, often putting fire with gasoline. We call out the few, the worst acts, but fail to see so many.

Few can take away one’s sexual desire or attraction, and the Catholic Church must understand that it has severely failed in its complete misunderstanding and misdirection when it comes to human sexuality. I, for one, could never relate to Jesus because Jesus did not seem to have a sexuality. Most guys I know do, and it complicates their lives. If one buries it, it manifests, just like my nightmares, nightmares that are all too real for so many survivors.

The Catholic Church has become a fallen institution because it allowed sins worse than original sin to be committed on its most vulnerable parishioners, and when such an institution is supposed to uphold the teachings of Christ, the intensity of that broken trust can manifest itself ten fold.

For me, I could no longer believe a Church because it’s made of people that morally justify. I found freedom in being free of dogma and of a power structure the favors powerful men that, too often, brush off their own sins in favor of dominating others. Now, I prefer to see God through nature, where life simply exists without need of judgment.

A Conversation with God: From an Agnostic that Sometimes Prays

Dramatic nature background

[The following is a hologram of my imagination of what I believe to be brought on by migraines, creativity, or madness. My conversation with God is not to be misconstrued as anything close to faith, for I rarely believe in what is not there or deny in what is.]

The creator is often seen as being male and infinite, and to avoid confusion in such a gendered language as English, I will refer to God as God. God’s resume is very long, but one of God’s many accomplishments was the formation of this universe among the countless others. I cannot begin to tell you how honored I am that God agreed to do the following interview. To be so flawed and accepted by one so great, when clearly God has so many better and more faithful choices, leaves me so humbled that I must inscribe myself as “unworthy one.”

unworthy one: What is the meaning and purpose of life?

God: To open your eyes and to close them with a smile

unworthy one: Why is there such hate in this world?

God: Because there is much pain in this world

unworthy one: Why then is there pain like this?

God: misdirection

unworthy one: Do people have a chosen destiny?

God: yours?

unworthy: I want to write and write like hell but no one reads it. No one controls destiny?

God: write

unworthy one: Are we all misdirected?

God: “All” can be such a sin

unworthy one: what is the right faith?

God: That gives true hope

unworthy one: But many speak of the “Word of God” for example?

God: Not mine?

unworthy: Are men and women equal?

God: L-I-F-E is equal

unworthy: Why genocide, why World War II, why millions dead in Rwanda, why mass shootings, these crazy elections?

God: you become what you think

unworthy: why do people die?

God: Because people kill them

unworthy: They get disease and …

God: it’s a cycle … hate is not

unworthy: But why?

God: truth lies in those you trust … a week is 3 billion years … all in a time warp …

unworthy: Many will read this and say why did you speak with H-I-M and not those of faith?

God: because you spoke to me without a mask

unworthy: Any advice to the others?

God:  mercy is always worthy …

unworthy: Many people need you …

God: So do I.

unworthy: where are you?

God: In seeing the world, in seeing life differently, in seeing a setback as an opportunity, a disability as a gift, and riches as a curse; to see life, to smell it, taste it, to embrace what lives and mourn what has not, to see that when love conquers evil it may become so; evil follows goodness so. Twins at birth. Sometimes God can be the Devil, you know.  Evil is not Black or White; white is a color of life here and one of death over there. Black shows evil here and peace and new beginnings somewhere not yet here.

embrace life

love what you question

fear not what you know not

______

Here is the podcast of the interview.