Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I'm glad we had this talk #shortstory

I have been parking in this spot for two years since moving into the neighborhood, without any problem. The spot is at the top of the street near my building, close to where the meter spots are but this one has had no meter of its own all this time.

So I parked here again last night. This morning, while getting myself ready for the day, I could hear some noise outside on the street. I looked down and saw some construction workers but couldn't make out what they were doing. I went back to my routine, finished my coffee, got dressed, made the bed, fixed up the pillows on the couch, styled my hair and brushed my teeth. Put my coat on, gathered my things, checked around twice to make sure I hadn't left anything behind. Then I went leisurely out the door.

Down on the street, my head was lowered as I checked for new emails on my phone. But a few paces later, I noticed a lady standing beside my car. A meter lady. She hadn't started a ticket yet, but was getting ready to.

I stepped right up to her and said,

"Excuse me, this is my car, what are you doing?"

She looked up and casually said "I'm about to write you a ticket."

I was instantly looking around for what it was she could be citing me for, while the question was coming out of my mouth "For what exactly?"

"Your meter is expired."

My head jolted back---"What meter?"

She stepped aside, previously eclipsing it from my view, to reveal a brand new fucking parking meter right in front of my car.

While walking around her to get a better look at it, I said, "That wasn't here last night when I parked."

She scoffed and said, "This meter has been here for years."

Fuse lit. I looked from the meter to her and said "Don't give me that shit lady. I've been parking here for years, this is the first time you've come along. This meter went up this
morning probably less than an hour ago. Look, the goddamn cement is still drying on this thing! Exactly how many years does it take for this city's cement to dry? They just installed it, didn't they."

She looked down at the still wet drying cement. Shifted in her stance, lowered her ticket machine and said "Oh."

I smiled at her and said "Yeah, Oh." Then started walking around the car to the driver's side and casually added, "I'm glad we had this talk."

It's been here for years. People talk out of their ass all the time. Most of the time you have to put up with it and be thanklessly polite in the absence of a smoking gun. 

But every so often, you catch them, right in front of them. And when you do, you go to town on them, for all those other times. Because this time you get to luxuriate in the business of rubbing their filthy ass talking faces in the eye opener of truth. After that, the rest of the day, maybe even the rest of the month, is gravy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

#poetry - Ode for the Coming of the Storm

“I turned to speak to God
About the world's despair
But to make bad matters worse
I found God wasn't there.”

― Robert Frost

I turned and read that God was not there
and was quiet before a thought so wild
as my instinct was to disagree.

No doubt the writer felt himself stripped bare
and who knows by how many things from his style
nor whether would I say the same if they were upon me.

Of what has come upon me I could say were many
and some were torture or cruel or unfair
that I too have asked where is He like a child.

I asked and thought and prayed quietly
til I lost my mind by torment of despair
a sound and form torrent of no time trial.

Yet every storm creates a calm for a while
that lasts enough to learn what it is to be
for it is this and it is true--with God both we share.

Not alone in dark nor cold neither laugh nor smile
of sorrow and joy what we feel so does He
and so we look with heart to the storm to breathe its air!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

#poetry - Survey

The trademark search continues with a shower and scrub
A song escapes but does not carry
Life becomes a dada playground
Rusted bolts on a thin frame
Thank you at the door a stranger holds
Time between events draws its own line
Authority is at best the retail price

Saturday, October 24, 2015

#poetry - I reach past the limits

I reach past the limits of consciousness and become hyper aware
Of all that constitutes who and what I am
I think to myself what was that I was just thinking
As I explore the entryway into mindlessness
Sometimes this can be a full length death spell
And then there has been nothing worse
Sometimes this can be a voyage through the furnace of life
Where each moment burns with the truth of being real
A stationary living moment in time conceived space
All encompassed by the rest of the universe
A capsule like a spaceship containing all that is me
And every so often being able to leave the capsule
And drift off into the universe which includes the other side of life
And I think I can be alive no other way

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#poetry - all the hours, all the days

so make a stand one time each day
before exhausting fade comes
before doubt can explain itself
before No is worded from without or within

rise in the stillness that possesses you
and take back all self-possession
rise in the wake of all your greatest moments
and relive them all again right now

save yourself the toll of long low moments
for you must be the one who is savior
if you must, take a knee, if you must, take a breath
if you must, take a long while to recompose

but then stand and say I am standing
and beat your chest and say I am beating
and let loose the care for worry
and admit that this is a very fine hour

one time each day say Yes thank you Yes
one time each day save the hour and the day
for all the hours are so few and precious
and all the days have grace and plenty

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

#poetry - spaceship spaceship

Spaceship spaceship universe
Tell me what we're doing in the universe
Sell me what you're selling let me rise beneath you

Spaceship spaceship aero plane
Tell me what we're doing without stereo playing
We're thinking thinking thinking and we're nowhere clever

Or not we know
What you are and what you are not

I'm the only other spaceship here
Nothing else yet has been able to prove itself

The waxing and waning of faith contributes
The most probable outcome is forever
The most expansive nature is irrelevant
Circles and dots and nothing more over and over again

Friday, May 8, 2015

# poetry - Thirsty

So pour it out that lasts a minute
Ketchup rain
Going in circles being a train
Almost behind just catching on
To many believers all smiles
We need somebody to rule themself
I mister twist the jackal feet like a crow
Stitch marks all over otherwise smooth sand
And now I'm thirsty for coke

Thursday, April 30, 2015

#poetry - here i am

i'm gonna do some writing, yeah
i need to have something to write about

one two three four

it's slow going right now
holding down the overflow awhile

i've spent the past few days facing a bluff
a marathon poker tourney
over one particular item
not the item at hand
but what it means to be its peddler

meanwhile i've got a brother and mother getting ill
and another brother who won't speak his mind
and an uncle with stage four cancer
and a slight cash flow problem

good to know i'm good with therapy
able and so forth
coping the return of my normalcy

reading back these lines i'm sure of it
there's something good going on now
inspite of everything
there's something to be proud of

i'm scrolling through tasks
i'm getting it done and growing
here i am settled and well
here i am hopeful as well as aspiring

here i am right now
and that is all

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#poetry - where to begin and end

a man contemplates where to begin
his venture is thought compression
he releases to begin again
repeats for sake of perfection
to hone process and shave time

fiddler crabs die like champions

i drive all the neighborhoods gawking
at all the ugly houses
and i write down their addresses
like my name is chris cringle
there's money in this i have license

i drew a colorful broken mirror
gold and black triangles outside
it's a mind that has been tested
it's a mind that has refused limitation
it's a mind that has killed fiddler crabs

my friend likes my other friend's seed collection
a pleasant and soothing observation
respect given is a self honor
i have similar fondness for that friend's beer collection
after only three glasses of tastings

i killed so many fiddler crabs
long before i knew how awful it was to be desolation
i wasted whole villages of them
and i called them retreaters
children are barbarians

a child called out to me today with a deep voice
hey buddy, hey buddy
from his first floor window
i said hey buddy back
his voice was way too deep for a child

i remember the day i strolled silently by
as one fat ugly child beat another skinny child
down to the ground without mercy
both the fat kid and me ignored the crying
and i didn't even have somewhere i really had to be

the last real walk in the clouds i took
included hearing somebody spray painting the hallway
no one was there but i heard it and then
i became overwhelmed by the fumes and ran out of the building
and fainted on the sidewalk

nobody would help me even though i asked for help
i figured i had journeyed back in time and lost the language
when i could stand i looked down at the asphalt
the ground became a swell of maggots
the maggots were people they were souls waiting to be reborn

i saw the heat waves rising off my body again
this time instead of roses i smelled brimstone and sulfur
yet i declared to the light of day
i am a rose child
come journeying to this hell only to bear witness

when i returned to the building
i had to re-teach myself the alphabet
it took five minutes to write 26 letters
and because i thought it i had given myself lead poisoning
at least that's what it felt like

i soon after drove my car with a passenger
who touted the merits of a nothing-believing taoist creed
i could feel him drain my spirit
and right when i felt wholly drained and taken
i saw letters on my car stereo spell out 'here and now'

i was reborn that night after a dream i had departed
and had been judged and deemed worthy of returning
i then saw myself from a height walking from the judgment place on toward my body
and when i awoke i fixed myself a bowl of oatmeal
but the water tasted like arsenic

two nights earlier
i saw a face in the night sky clouds
while i sat indian style on the sidewalk outside my apartment building
after thinking it would be nice if i could kill death
i felt a sharp pain in the center of my crown

when i came back inside i walked into the bathroom
i stood before the mirror pressing my hands to it
i could feel a surge of energy passing through me
and i could see the skin on my chin and cheeks bubbling
as though i was racing through a voluntary and severe stroke

i went into my study and opened the window and lit some candles
and then i read Revelations outloud until I got extremely bored
Revelations has a time and place
but after a self-induced stroke it's a bit tiresome and unsatisfying
so I closed the bible and walked away

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#poetry - and so we dream

ah my silly papers
they don't love me anymore
i got them filed in a box
its in the corner of the room

the morning comes to be a wait
she's standing in a dressy gown
the singer has to contemplate
the lyrics and the words perfume

i should have come to hear you sing
you could have taken off the weight
there was music in the atmosphere
we'd be children all over again

wouldn't we if we could
wouldn't we if we had the means
wouldn't we if there was a way
wouldn't we and so we dream

#poetry - The Magic Gets Lost

Tune in, the magic gets lost
Tune in, the magic gets lost

Someone to hold
Someone to love
Someone to hold
Someone to love

I can't explain complaint of the day
But I can feel every word you say
So I go round, and round, and round
So I get taken by all the sights and sound

The unifying
The bond that ties and holds
The exam that sets you free
The one that all fevers respond to
The one that makes you out of me

Tune in, the magic gets lost
Tune in, the magic gets lost

Someone to hold
Someone to love
Someone to hold
Someone to love

It's here and there, it's everywhere
The moon bare, then Saturn ring dust
The room share, the barter and cost
Consume, digest, no worse is the fare

Dynamic is out, and dynamic is in
No more of the doubt, no more of the sin
Just tune in, the magic gets lost
So tune in, the magic gets lost

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#poetry - gods drinking

acquiescent eyes
look from the bottle to pourer

the arms of jupiter
aim to please
the mouth of saturn

there's no other stir
in the cosmos

till neptune's witness
of lips and liquid meeting

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#nonfiction - The Perfect Tenants #lesbians #muslims #fairhousinglaw #discrimination

Today, I was fortunate to find the perfect tenants for a friend of mine. This was the first time I had been asked by my friend to rent an apartment for him. I had been a regular customer of his for over a year. He owns a convenience store and a pizza shop. Every day I make sure to buy my pack of cigarettes from him. When I walk in, he has them ready for me. Sometimes he helps me remember to get a pack of cigarettes for my girlfriend too. At least once a week, I order a pizza from his shop. My girlfriend likes it "well done"---you know, so that the pizza doesn't slide all over the fucking place while you are trying to eat it.

They made very slippery pizza at first. It pissed Gabi off something fierce. I convinced her that with time they would get it right. And it happened, little by little, the pizza got to be just how she liked it. I had to admit this just the other day. The last two pizzas we ate were damned near perfect, the way we like it. The way she likes it, which is what I've grown to like too.

Sometimes I buy milk there too and cream and soda, occasionally coffee. That's pretty much the extent of it. I think maybe once or twice we bought some scratch tickets. Won five bucks one of those times, so only in the hole five bucks on the tickets. The milk, you got to be careful with, because they sometimes sell stuff past the expiration date. That really pissed me off the first time I found that out the hard way. God awful drinking spoiled milk. Hard to forgive the bastard who sells spoiled milk. Damned hard.

But, you know, forgiveness is Divine. And so, I've gone on to buy more stuff from my friend's shop. Of course, I check the dates on the perishable stuff now though.

About two weeks ago, my friend told me about an apartment in his house that he needed to rent out by April 1st. He owns the house with his brother, it's a two family. He lives upstairs, his brother just moved out of the downstairs place. He bought another house. Hence the vacancy.

So my friend puts me in touch with his brother. Asks me to meet with him and give my opinion on the value of the apartment and lean into the process and help him secure a tenant. My friend doesn't know it like this, but I've closed $250,000,000 in real estate transactions, mostly rentals, since 2005. I'm pretty much THE eagle in the area. He just picks up my vibe, maybe. He also likes my customer loyalty. He also started to like me in general because we've slowly started to talk about things and be real with one another over the past year. He did something nice for Gabi back during the first huge ass blizzard we got this winter---he lent her his shovel so she could get out of the driveway.

I meet with his brother a couple days later, when our schedules lined up. At the house. He shows me the first floor unit, which he has mostly moved out of. It's a homey abode, modest. The kitchen had it's heyday about 10-12 years ago, but it has a built-in microwave, a dishwasher, a disposal unit. Nice tile floors, it's actually a big eat-in-kitchen. The bedrooms are both very large. The hardwood floors are in exceptional condition. The living room too is a decent size and it has an alcove off the side where someone could make a nice office if they wanted to. Lots of extra closet space to boot. It's only street parking, but on this street that's not a big issue. There's no laundry, but there are hook-ups and my friend said as long as the tenant was willing to pay half of the water bill, then they could bring in their own machines. Rather steep sounding terms, but no problem. Nothing a little tweaking on the base rent can't make right.

So. For this amount of square footage being offered in this area, at peak condition, the place would be worth $2200. But the kitchen and bathroom were dated, so loses points. Gains points for the fresh paint. Loses points for the window in the bedroom that is not sealed properly, so bad that when I got there to previewed it was taped up with plastic. So, after all the adjustments, I said the place was worth $1700-1800, but we'd try $1800 and give it a good push for April 1st.

And I went right to work with marketing. The first few days didn't bear much fruit, mostly appointments that all canceled in the last minute. At the start of last week, I did something very big for my company. I hired Gabi to be our office manager. This was the best hiring decision I've ever made. She is so talented and organized, that with my experience and mission statement in hand, she was able to, in only one way, significantly transform and revitalize my company operations. It was truly amazing. One of the things she did was boost our marketing. I had been spread too thin trying to do it all by myself. This new setup just rocked in every way.

So I started to get a lot of calls for my friend's apartment. By Thursday, I had a fully loaded showing day for Friday that I was excited about. I had three sets of clients who were all qualified and were all motivated to rent the apartment for April 1st. I told my friend and he was excited to. The showings were scheduled to happen at 12:15, 1:30 and 4:30.

I had gotten it in my head that the 12:15 showing was a 12:30 showing and I didn't figure out I made a mistake until 12:10. So by the time I got to the apartment, the clients were already in the apartment, and both brothers were there and had showed them the place. When I walked in, I walked in with a smile on my face to greet my clients, and was met with a blank rather scared look on my friend's face. This look, I couldn't make sense of at first.

The clients are two women, about 36 years old each. One is a librarian making about $56,000 a year. The other is a mental health counselor and only makes about $10,500 per year, but both of them receive an adoption subsidy for the two children they adopted of about $16,000 per year, which means they more than financially qualify for the apartment.

The standard qualifying formula for an apartment is that your combined income must meet or exceed the value of three times the term rent. Term rent is the length of the lease times the monthly rent. You take that number and multiply times three and if the income is higher, then you qualify. They qualified.

So I'm stepping in and trying to find out where in the process they are and how much selling I have to do. But really, most of the selling happened in the marketing. The price was right, the date was right, the pictures all looked good, the information was accurate. They had a cat and this was a cat friendly apartment. It was, for all intents and purposes, the ideal apartment for them and their two kids.

Plus, my friend who lives upstairs has two kids about the same age. So that makes for an even better potential for the children, having an opportunity to have neighbors the same age.

So I'm asking them within earshot of the brothers if they would take the space for April 1st. They respond April 1st or April 15th. The younger brother immediately pipes up about there being other showings that day and that they would have to see what the other clients thought of the space. I immediately think he's worried about losing half a month's rent if they only offered for April 15th, so I smile at the younger brother and wave him off. Both brothers leave.

When we were alone, I asked the client's why they needed to wait. They explained that their current landlord were taking back the apartment they live in because his parents are ill and elderly and he needs them to be close to him so he can look after them. And they wanted to move soon to help them out but didn't think they could move fast enough. I said, well, to be fair to these landlords at the subject property, it would be best to put in for April 1st and ask your outgoing landlords for a moving credit to help subsidize the moving expenses. This way all parties win.

They agreed and applied right on the spot for full asking rent. I got their pay stubs and deposit check. I even gave them a break on the finder's fee because they were such good sports.

I called my friend immediately afterward to give him the good news. He said, well I don't know if I can rent to them. I said why not? He said I don't think my wife will like them. I said why? He said because they are lesbians. He said because he didn't want his children to know about them.

I said, Jesus man, if that was going to be your reason you should have just kept it to yourself said flat out no without giving a reason and left me to wonder about it. But that said, the reason you have given me is completely illegal. He asked me why, I said because that's discrimination based on sexual orientation and that's a protected class. He said, well I don't want children. I said that's illegal too, age discrimination is also illegal. He said it's against my religion. I said well, I'm not sure one way or the other that it is, but that doesn't really matter here because the Law is the Law, it's called Fair Housing Law. I said, I suppose you could make your case to someone but the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts would certainly throw it out. And I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court wouldn't even hear the argument. I also said, but I'm not an attorney, you'd have to check with them.

Then started saying over and over again. I have to pray, I have to pray. He also said, maybe the other showings will be better. I said, better than what? These are perfect tenants. I told him I still needed to check their landlord references and credit reports, but if there's nothing wrong there then these really have to be your tenants since they were first to apply and its fair housing law that matters now.

I have to pray, I have to pray.

I was thinking, yeah---get down on your hands and knees and ask God to send you yet another miracle, yet another answer to your prayers because the first one he sent you wasn't good enough.

Well, this is what happened. The 1:30 pm didn't show up. They rented something earlier and didn't call to tell me until much later. The 4:30 did show up, looked the place over and left to think about it but two hours later to say he didn't want the place.

In the meanwhile, I ran the credit checks and found that both tenants had excellent flawless credit histories. They also received a flawless landlord reference stating that they were excellent tenants, caused no disturbances, paid the rent on time or early every month and that he was sorry he had to ask them to leave.

The younger brother showed up during the 4:30 showing. Afterwards, he explained to me that they like to see many many tenants before making a decision. I joked with him referencing a joke I told during the first listing appointment. During the first meeting, I asked him if he believed in the Magi. He said, No. I said, well, you have to now. He said Why. I said because I am one of the three magi. So I joked again with him about the magi, when he was saying he wanted to see more and more tenants. I said, you like to waste magic don't you? How many times do you think you get to ask me to grant you your wish. I got you the perfect tenants on the very first showing. One wish, one granting.

So I had other appointments to get to. Afterwards, I went back to to my office, packaged up the applications into an envelope and dropped them off at the convenience store so that my friend would have them in the morning. On the way, I called the clients to tell them the landlord has some thinking to do and we'll just need to be patient while he reviews the documents, but that they  have received my whole-hearted endorsement.

I just hope my friend lives up to our friendship and stops being a dumb fuck hypocrite.

This town is full of dumb fuck hypocrites. One time a landlord put his hand to the side of his face and out of the corner of his mouth said, "No blacks." I just walked away from that guy immediately.

Another time, we got all the way to lease signing, leases were signed, checks were delivered and cashed and only then did the landlord realize the tenants were Chinese and tried to keep the keys from them. I had to step in and say Look, you have two choices, either you give me the keys right now to give to them or sooner than later a sheriff will be by to demand the same thing. She coughed up the keys. I don't do business with her anymore.

And neither will I be doing business with my friend either, if he doesn't take this deal.

I really don't care what religion you have. The Law is the Law. It's what the Commonwealth says. And its what the United States of America says. And that's it. You want to go on making a buck in this town selling spoiled milk and slowly learning how to make pizza after extremely patient patronage, be my guest. But DO NOT fuck with fair housing.

Or----can someone please suggest a penalty for my friend? More prayers? 8 month's vacancy? Extremely crippling open and shut lawsuit?

Oh boy. This story had to be written.

#poetry - Soul Mate Lessons

If I both need and want you
It may be best to try both less,
Diamonds are made by pressure, yes,
But organic matter needs space to grow,
And growth has more worth than diamonds
For diamonds are the sum of extreme anti-growth,
A possession by a mountainous bully,
An excavation by a greed monger,
A testament to nothing except just one element of wonder,
That pressure creates something harder than a rock.

But have you ever seen a diamond without the craft
Of a hand that is organic?
The growth behind the hand, the growth of that hand's art
The growth of that hand's patience
The growth of that hand's understanding
All come to focus on the surface of the diamond
To polish and shape and create something new and valuable.

It is not the diamond that matters
It is the hand that made it worth wearing
And the hand that gives it to someone worth giving
And the hand that receives it and wears it true.

But to earn all this there must first be growth.
Growth of love and trust and patience and dedication.
Growth of spirit and mind and body
Growth of awareness of Soul.

I have seen two trees planted four feet apart.
They grew to a height of ten feet,
And then something dictated that they must grow apart,
Perhaps a drought
or perhaps their palms were overstimulated and they took each other's light.

So they bowed outward from one another, so both could florish,
Not flourish, so both could merely survive,
And they did this for another three feet,
And then,
Perhaps because in their growth they became more aware of the Soul,
More aware that they were each other's mates,
More aware that for no reason should they ever be parted,
More aware of the difference between survival and flourishing,
These two trees grew back to within four feet of one another,
And continued to grow for another ten feet,
Flourishing all the way.

I have never seen a diamond grow that way.
Perhaps if I could live long enough, I might see a mountain grow that way,
But I don't think so.
I know a river grows that way in somewhat of a way, winding back and forth,
And I know hands are always growing that way,
Coming in close to hold
Leaving for a short time
And yearning to be close again holding

I wish there were a better way than to want and need less
But we're all only a mortal entity
And we all only have so much time to transpire
And so we are prone to boughts of survival fits
We are prone to focus on shortages from time to time
We are prone to lose sight of our Soul and our Mate,
And sadly, we are prone to suffer for the loss of these two sights,
Sadly, it is only when the sight of our mate reaches the zenith of the horizon
And becomes silohuette, becomes only memory, becomes the well of regret,
Becomes the spring of remorse, becomes the tears of shame,
Becomes utter and undying loss
Becomes the worst that could ever happen or be conceived to happen,
Sadly, only then, and with all the pain such a then can muster,
Sadly, only then are we shaken to awake
Shaken to reverse
Shaken to recall and cling on and hold on and fight to regain
Shaken to give up everything for just one more moment
And so hopeful that it is not too late.

Why? Because that is the way it works.

The lesson that Soul Mates teach to one another.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#poetry - Odysseus and Penelope

Driving out to the middle of no where
I keep my back to the road---
My mind is on the field and the sky
My heart is tuned to the horizon
My spirit pervades the earth
My soul is this universe
My life is only a demonstration of pure being
My love is patient for me and waits till I return home

             And now I have arrived

We have many stories to tell
Though laughter and tears are many, silence is one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#Poetry - Glass House Rule

I live in a clear glass house,
Most would call this beautiful.

I am free as I come and go,
I am honest as the day is long.

Anyone may stroll by and peer in and see me,
Anyone may know most of what I do.

There is only one room in my house with opaque walls--
My neighbors go insane wondering what I do in there.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

#Poetry - Love

For Gabriella

Love in a vacuum is easy to conceive,
The moment that you start to
Is the moment you believe---
Its the wonder that you hold onto,
When you think it wants to leave,
And that's when you should let it go,
to grow and breathe.

Love is a value
That patience lets you know,
It comes into your life
When you start to let this show---
With balance and a sense of good,
Comes a trust that fuels it more and so
To relax and enjoy this time, just let it
breathe and grow.

Love is me and love is you,
We found it here, we'll find it there,
Whether we be near or far apart
We have it now and everywhere,
And as we keep our head in this cloud,
Others will stop in their tracks and stare,
And they might learn too the secret of love,

and breathe, grow and share.
More God Bolts