The beginning and end of the human species…I think we’re currently 3rd or 4th from the bottom and working our way down.
as far as we know
she just flies
is what she does
it’s as natural to her
we can’t know for sure
but I doubt she thinks about
not being able to fly
about having to walk
or crawl everywhere
it doesn’t seem as if she would
compare herself to other beings
and wonder why they were always
on the ground
and not in the air
I think our species is the only one
that thinks about what others
can and cannot do
the only one
that thinks of never ending destruction
and deadly weapons
that could end all life on the planet
I think we’re the only broken ones here
I think every other species
and does’t worship death
I don’t think a goose hates
or wants more than she needs
I think a goose is balanced
and in harmony with nature
she isn’t other
but part of
we are the ones who are
out of place
we don’t belong here
we are the enemy
when the journey’s over
and it all comes to an end
don’t look back
look straight ahead
and just begin again
Photo: Johannes Pienio
She knew she was dead. She’d watched herself bleed out, laying on the street, face down in the rain. She always loved the way the rain made the streets look. It reminded her of Paris.
So, dead. Now what? She looked around, wondering if any of her long gone relatives were coming to greet her, but she didn’t see anyone. She always hoped her dog would be on the other side, happy to see her, but he wasn’t there either, so she started walking.
No one seemed to notice her, as she made her way along the sidewalk. She turned around and saw a small crowd gathering around her body. People had their cel-phones out, taking pictures and probably calling the police. She didn’t care about her body. Didn’t feel any attachment to it at all. Strange. She’d been living in it for twenty-two years, and just realized that it was like any other piece of clothing. Something she could easily shed.
She crossed the street and looked into shop windows that she had passed a thousand times, when she was alive. But now there were signs in the windows that were not there before. Signs that said, IF YOU CAN READ THIS…YOU’RE DEAD. She though it must be a kind of death humor, since it seemed very funny.
The she noticed a bright neon sign that read, I LOVE PEOPLE, except the word love had been replaced by a heart. She backed up. The sign in the fabric shop next door, read GOD…THAT WAY, with a arrow pointing to the neon sign.
She didn’t believe in god, but she wondered if those who did, knew he advertised. I mean wasn’t that creepy? A young woman came out of the door. She was smiling and twirling.
“Oh, do join us,” she said, holding out her arms. “Heaven is everything people said it was and more.”
“Uh, heaven’s in a store front?” she asked.
The woman stopped moving and looked at the building. “Oh. I didn’t think about that,” she said. “I guess it is,” she laughed, putting her smile back in place and once again spinning.
“Sorry, that’s definitely not for me,” she said, skirting her way around the twirling woman.
“Smart move,” said the wisp of a man appearing at her side. “You can’t trust those people.”
“Who are you?”
“Just another dead guy. Think…Vegas Strip. You can pretty much decide where you want to go from here. Death is as much of a gamble as life ever was.”
“What if I believe in predestination?”
“Are you a guide?” she asked, suspiciously.
“I can be,” he said.
“Or what? You’ll kill me?” he said, chuckling.
“No. I’ll do this,” she said, clapping her hands inside the mist that was his body. He disappeared instantly, leaving behind nothing but the word, “Ow,”echoing through the night.
She heard claws on the cement behind her and turned to see her white German shepherd running toward her. She braced herself as the dog smashed into her, tail wagging, body wiggling and twisting, tongue hanging out. She fell to the ground giggling, as her dog kissed and jumped on her.
She finally grabbed him around the neck and held him until he calmed down. She ran her hands down his body and hugged him tight. “I’ve never stopped missing you,” she whispered. “Not for one single second.”
He started wiggling again.
“Can you get me out of here?”
He barked and stood up.
“Lead the way,” she said.
“Where do you want to go?” he asked.
“You can talk?” she asked, surprised.
“I could always talk. Didn’t you understand me before?”
She shook her head.
“Well,” sighed the dog. “That’s explains a lot of things.”
“I’m sure it does,” she agreed. “Where’s the rest of the family?”
“Here and there. Some are back living new lives, some are on other planets, some are on earth, but in different time periods. It won’t be long before you understand that your most recent family were just a group of actors. You’ve had lots of families and, while you may have favorites, you’ll come to see that the earth is just one big Broadway show.”
“If that’s true, it’s a flop and needs a good rewrite.”
“Oh, it’s always being rewritten. New songs added, new players, edited and reedited.”
“I don’t want to go back there.”
“Okay,” said the dog, sitting on her foot.
“Do I have to go back?”
“No, but you’ll end up getting bored, and you won’t remember what a hateful place earth was. Then you’ll think, oh why not, how bad could it be? So, you’ll go back and hate yourself until you’re around five, when you forget what it’s like to be on this side. And if you go back, then I’ll probably go back to be with you again and believe me, I don’t want to go back there either, so please think carefully about your choices.”
“I promise,” she said. kissing him.
“That’s what you said last time,” he groaned.
“Is my grandmother here?”
“No. She’s in Canada, running her own bakery.”
“That’s great,” she laughed.
“She can finally speak French,” he said, as they started walking.
“I’m happy for her.”
“She works constantly. No kids, no love interests.”
“As long as she’s happy,” she said.
“Oh, she is,” he said. “You should probably get debriefed now and get it over with.”
“Yes. You have to tell someone what you liked and didn’t like about the life you just lived on Earth. They keep records, you know.”
“No. I didn’t know. And who is keeping records”
“I don’t know.”
“Were you debriefed.”
“I don’t want to cooperate.”
“I want to know who’s behind the curtain.”
“You think there’s someone who sets up the stuff that happens on earth?”
“What if you find him?”
“I’ll kill him.”
“What if he’s already dead?”
“I’ll kill him again.”
“Fine,” sighed the dog. “I’ll help, but sometimes this loyalty thing is really confusing.”
Photo: Nathan Dumladunsalgh
how so many people
think wearing a mask
takes away their freedom
when they don’t have any problem
freedom from women
gays & lesbians
they don’t seem to care
that their freedom
to go mask-less
can kill other people
taking away THEIR
represents DEATH to me
death of morals
and of goodness
I no longer see this country
as anything but a
run by a crazy person
who has followers
our country was founded on
of church and state
but that is no longer the case
the hypocritical religious
right wing conservatives
want to run all of our lives
the above picture
America to me
it represents the
of a country
by one man
and a pathetic
too afraid to stand up
and protect the citizens
they were elected to protect
Photo: Mat Reding
in a country
we have lost
we have lost
at a time
when we need
wherever she is
Photo: Gayatri Malhotra
She said she would try and live until the election was over, so the next president could replace her.
She was a wonderful role model and a true worker for equality and the rights of everyone. She stood up for what she believed and she believed in women.
She will be missed so very, very, much.
She stood on the balcony, looking out over the ocean. Time takes everything, she thought. People, the sound of their voices, places, memories, everything.
She closed her eyes and felt the sun on her face. She’d had a good run, with the best of everything. Life was one big party, a never ending gala ball. What was it that they said? LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE, yes that was it. And they lived well, no one could ever say they didn’t.
She pulled a cigarette from the sterling silver case and put it between her lips. Those had been the days, she smiled, flicking on the lighter and inhaling deeply. And what else is life for, if not to live well, if not to squeeze every single bit of excitement and wonder out of it and leave it drained and exhausted, by the time you make your exit? She laughed and brushed the hair out of her eyes.
But then how cruel life can be, to take all of that away. There are those who would say that she should be happy to have lived it at all. How silly those people are, she thought. They don’t miss what they never had. How can they possibly understand what it’s like to have had everything and then, just because the years continue to pass, little by little, your life is ripped away.
“Well. No matter,” she said to herself. “That time is over, never to come again.”
Her cat looked at her, as if he might be expected to answer.
“That’s the thing,” she said. “Things can never happen twice, my darling. There will never be another Scott and Zelda, another Sara and Gerald, another…”
“Rooowrrr,” said BeBe.
“You’re right, of course. I’m being silly.”
“Yes, yes, darling, I know. But the memories are so fresh. I can still hear the music, the laughter, the clinking of glasses, the dancing. I can feel the days on the beach. The creativity was touchable then, but I won’t talk about Ernest. He was a beast and a bully. No, my sweet BeBe, will shall talk about sun-kissed children and delicious picnics. Love and breakups, war and warm beds.”
The cat stretched out in a sunbeam and began to doze.
“Those were the days. And it’s not as if I want to live in the past, my love, I want the past never to have gone. I want the past to be the present. Is that too much to ask?” she said, lighting another cigarette. “I suppose it is,” she sighed. “The Riviera, darling. Paris, sparkling like diamonds, rain or shine. Yes, BeBe, nothing can compare. But Lee Miller, now there was a woman who was gorgeous and brave. She was with Man Ray for too long, but then, what is too long? She was brilliant on her own and didn’t need anyone. Not really. And did I tell you about Sylvia Beach? I know I did, BeBe. A lovely woman. She was very sweet and generous to a fault. I never saw her angry. Not once. I’m telling you, darling, it was magical. Every moment of it and I’m not exaggerating in the least. Magical.”
“But someone also said that, all good things must come to an end, although for the life of me, I don’t know why,” she sighed. “Everyone is gone and while books are written about that magical time, no one gets it exactly right. How can they? They weren’t there. It’s also because each of us experienced it in a different way, so we were all having different moments, during the same moments. Isn’t that the strangest things, BeBe? We were all together, doing the same the things while having different experiences.”
The cat rolled over.
“And times change. The wars are different, the feelings, the clothing, the attitudes. Nothing stays the same. All we can do is be in love with the things that happen during the moments we are alive. But it seems such a waste to let that special time pass. Let it go, so that no one can ever feel it again. The poetry and theater, the art. It was all so amazing and that’s the thing, BeBe, we all knew it was amazing. We knew it then. We knew we were living magical lives, when we were living them. Oh, yes, yes, you’re right. Not everything went smoothly. There were fights and hurt feelings, jealousy and even envy, now and then, even poverty, but for the most part, we all got along.”
An alarm went off, the cat woke up.
“Did you hear that BeBe?” she asked looking around.
The she heard the honking of a car horn and ran to the balcony once again. Zelda was waving and telling to come and join them. She waved back and told them she’d be right down. And with that, the dying woman left her worn and battered body, and went to once again join the party.