CLOSE-KNIT FAMILY(part 2)

The close-knit family was not showing up for work. I tried to find out where they lived but I had no success until I arrived home three weeks later. Rebekkah did not look well. Her eyes were swollen, her hair tangled, and her clothes wrinkled.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she replied.
I kept asking and finally Jacob called me aside.  “This is something we cannot talk about. It’s painful and terrible.  We haven’t found the end of the problem yet. Just so you know, two weeks ago Joe was with friends at our house and they took too many drugs.  Joe and his friends raped Rebekkah.  Some of our family are looking for Joe. It’s about family honor and revenge.  We are trying to get back to normal but Joe will never be safe.”
“Where is he staying?” I asked.
“We heard he was heading for California but we lost his trail. We’ll find him.”
That night I was awakened from a sound sleep by a man’s voice.  “Help me,” he pleaded. “I didn’t know what I was doing. My cousins want to kill me. I need money to fix my car so I can get away.  Do you have more trees I can cut down?”
I looked down the hallway. A man sat hunched over on the floor, his arms around his knees. “I didn’t mean to hurt her.”
I walked towards him but he disappeared before I got there.  After a few minutes of searching I gave up. Twice more I heard him and twice more he was not really there.  “Hide me,” he whispered.
The house was built against a cliff and there was a small space with a door left between concrete and rock. I didn’t intend to ever open that door because many copperhead snakes thrived there. I never saw Joe again nor did I hear his voice.  I wanted no part of their close-knit family.
june 24, 2017

VOICES

VOICES

 

Relieved to know the night is over,

I open my eyes and wait.

The voices will be back,

They come at times I can’t anticipate.

They begin their attack,

As morning’s first surprise,

A beautiful time to wake and rise,

A time when I am not afraid.

The voices are familiar,

Voices of people I know,

People trying to stay out of sight,

Usually dressed in white.

There are walls on every side,

Places to hide and yet remain inside.

The voices are back,

This time with music that is too loud.

I am relieved to know it is cartoon time,

But they think I’m out of my mind,

And they don’t watch me blink,

And realize I still think.

If I could cry I would shed a tear,

But I am controlled by hate and fear.

Someone is screaming my name

But I’m not to blame.

It’s always the same.

Why do I need pills?

I’m tired of sleeping

When I know the world is keeping

Vigil, watching armies build and grow,

While I am locked within my head,

Alive for now, but almost dead,

The final war, the war to end all wars,

Is marching, marching, closing in,

Is this the beginning or the end?

June 19, 2017

BOTTLES

BOTTLES

I have a bottle filled with liquid dreams,

Dreams of love, mystery, and power.

When I am lonely, weak, or afraid,

I take a drink, sometimes often in my darkest hours.

This bottle is always half full,

Because dreams should never run dry.

I dream of being king,

With beautiful damsels dancing,

As far as I can see,

Eagerly offering to please me endlessly,

Armies kneeling at the mention of my name.

But it is not destined to be.

I am a twin, born twenty minutes too late,

And I have no kingdom unless changed by fate.

Perhaps if I put a different bottle in its place,

I could be somewhere else to show my face.

And if he chooses the other bottle,…..

There’s been a change of plans.

I don’t know what to say,

He wants to honor me today.

I don’t know which liquid I should partake.

It’s not an easy decision to make.

The king is waiting with outstretched arms,

I’ve pledged often to keep him from harm.

From each bottle I am expected to take one drink.

There’s no time to run, no time to think.

June 19, 2017

 

 

PUNCTURE

PUNCTURE

 

When I was twelve I had no time for capers,

I had a job delivering newspapers

 by bicycle,

Going to the newspaper office at four a.m.,

Folding one hundred sixty papers,

packing them into a bag,

putting the bag on the back

where it would not sag or drag

and riding across town to my route

where I carefully tossed

or placed the papers

on the porches of their owners.

One mornings I was half asleep

And I forgot about the punctures.

There were two kinds,

One kind of puncture was dog bites,

The other kind was the thorns

Of a plant we called “goat heads”

Because they resembled goats with horns.

Both kinds of punctures hurt

And usually stayed alert

 As I carefully navigated the locations

Where the mean dogs hid.

This morning one dog jumped too quick,

I missed him with my stick and

I tumbled head first into a patch of goat heads.

The dog tried to bite, but he lost all the fight

He had inside,

When he stepped on the goat heads.

He whimpered and cried,

Until I removed the stickers in his paws.

I was distracted and did not see the car,

(it was still too far),

Weaving back and forth.

As it approached I wanted to flee,

It didn’t really want me, did it?

The car hit a pole a few yards away,

This was not going to be a good day.

The car hit the back of my bike,

I flew up in the air, no time to say “yikes!”

And the car stopped at a gas station,

After it knocked over a pump.

All the excitement was not over.

An electric line came dancing across the street.

I wanted to run but I couldn’t move my feet.

Somehow the fire department turned off the gas,

Turned off the power.

I’m thankful I’m still here even at this hour.

Demons were angry and stomped their feet,                                        .

They knew they had me in defeat.

But angels were watching once again,

Final score was demons zero, angels ten.

June 17, 2017

 

DETONATE: (2 out of three)

DETONATE

If he was careful he would still be alive in the morning. Just one small slip, one careless move, and he would be history. No one would care if he was the best at disarming explosives. If he became a statistic his name would be listed with the worst and not the best.
The explosive devices had two components but he only knew where one was located. He disarmed the first explosive quickly after the dogs stopped and pointed. Their noses and tails lined up and he left them frozen in place. This was not a time for them to be friendly and wag their tails. He motioned for their trainers to take the dogs away. If he did this alone he could concentrate.
The first explosive was one of the first generation with wires, homemade and predictable. He clipped a few wires and took a deep breath. The second explosive was more modern but well within his expertise. He had recently worked with an explosives expert and taken workshops. He felt competent but without being too smug. He practiced over and over until he could take them apart in his sleep. At the workshop he discovered that he was chosen especially for this task. As long as he was alive this was his job.
Somewhere close, there was a third explosive that no one else had noticed. He couldn’t explain why he knew it was there. He only knew he couldn’t see, hear, smell, or feel it.
Sweat was running down his face into his eyes. His knew his vision could not be impeded without disastrous effects. His hands also had to be dry. He looked around for a volunteer, someone to mop the moisture from his face and his hands.
His partners were standing behind buildings, protecting themselves from flying debris. They had no intention of being in harm’s way. The administrators had retreated to cozy rooms away from immediate danger. They excused themselves by saying they had tons of paperwork that had to be filled out. An obvious lie, they were afraid the explosives could kill and maim, even if they weren’t close to the scene. Besides, he was required to fill out his own paperwork. In the office that was one of the standard jokes. If you don’t have time to do the paperwork, blow it up.
Daylight was approaching. The street lights were coming on and the sun was setting. He hated working under pressure but he had no choice. Cursing under his breath, he began searching again.
Two hours later, when he opened the door to his house he could tell something was amiss. His computer ‘s lights were blinking rapidly, talking to another computer or android. His computer became very quiet and all lights went off. Someone was in the room with him. He drew his gun but it was too dark to see. He shoved it back into his holster.
“Hello,” he said calmly. “I know someone is hiding here. Please show yourself.”
In spite of endangering himself, he turned the lights on. At first there was no movement, then a man stepped from behind a door. Another movement, and a woman stepped from the closet. “Don’t you think you are being foolish?” she asked. “Where is your gun?”
Her partner said, “How shall we kill him?”

(to be continued)

ADRIFT

One of ours ships was adrift, my captain,
No one was at the helm,
But somehow she sailed on.
But she was out of our reach and going at a steady pace,,
Captain, I’m saying this to your face,
I wouldn’t lie to you.
There was no one in charge of this ship,
Except for a ghostly crew.
Mick and me tried to slip up to the ship,
Deep in the quiet of night,
But the ship picked up the pace
And soon was out of sight.
Yet we did see some eerie faces,
That grinned as we got near,
They were a pale green much like you,
And like your motley crew.
They wasn’t caring much about me,
Or about others, I think we agree.
Being adrift in a dark sea,
Was scary even to an old tar like me,
Captain, my captain, they had fangs long and sharp,
And eyes that stared cold as ice.
Where are we going, I asked once or twice.
They never told me, their silence would suffice.
The ship was adrift, though it never veered off course.
It sailed west into the setting sun,
Where the sails burned one by one.
Sharks circled, birds swooped for a closer view,
And other ships stayed far away, afraid of the ghostly crew.
My captain, I didn’t want to let you drown,
But the sharks were in a feeding frenzy,
And I didn’t know your hands were bound.
Everything you owned you left for me,
I’m ashamed you were never found.
But no longer will we drift at sea,
I’m glad you left me in charge,
Now we can seek revenge and get what we want,
As we travel the world at large.
Listen up, crew,
We’ve got work to do.
Ships will go under,
As we plunder.
Pour me another ale,
And off we’ll sail,
Across the ocean blue.

May 22, 2017

PRECIPICE

Beat the drums! Let the trumpets blast!
Actors ramble across the world’s stage,
What an ensemble! What a cast!
We are standing on the precipice of a new age,
History in the making as we turn another page.
I stepped up and paid my fee,
Hoping the play would seem real.
I got more than I bargained for,
And yet I’m getting a raw deal!
In so many languages our secrets were globally shared.
Step right up and get the latest news,
The drama, the lies, the action…
As if anyone really cared.
I think I’ll turn the TV back on,
The world news is ready to begin.
But no, I hesitate, it seems like the same news again.
As for the truth, he’s doing what? To who? Why? And when?
While others stand and shake their heads,
Don’t they know lying is a sin?
I’ll be sad when the play is over,
The fireworks will light up the sky.
But if those aren’t real fireworks,
There will be no time to sit and cry.

May 17, 2017