Art and the philosophy of life

Archive for the ‘Neon’ Category

Neon…Love is…what?

a neon sign that says boozie on it

the word love
has a definition
in the dictionary
but everyone knows
that love
means something different
to each of us
a lot of us
can’t even agree
on whether love
is good
or bad
it all depends
on who you ask
and whether or not
the person
is still bleeding
and heartbroken
because love
can be a
some never find it
while others find it
over and over again
some don’t want it
others spend their lives
looking for it
it can ruin lives
or make them better
it’s the kind of word
that depends upon the users
mental condition
their expectations
and what they have been
to believe
if it’s not fun
it’s not love


Photo:  Jon Tyson



Free Neon Sign In Art Museum Stock Photo

Photo:  Nici Gottstein

Magic, Neon…a short story.

“Where are you going?” he asked, stepping from behind the counter.

“I’m going in here, where the magic happens,” she said, reaching for the doorknob.  “Where does it look like I’m going?”

“You can’t go in there, it’s for employees only.”

“No it’s not.  There’s no sign that says it for employees only.”

“Well, it is.”

“You just made that up.”

“Did not,” he said.

“Did too.”

“You won’t like it in there.”

“How do you know.  If there’s magic in there I want to see it, or be part of it.”

“No you don’t.”

“Stop telling me what I want to do, or what I will like.  I bought a ticket and…”

“You bought a ticket into the bar, not into that room.”

“I want to speak to the manager.”

“I’m the manager,” he said, standing straighter.

“No you’re not.  You’re too young to be the manager.”

“That’s not true,” he said. “I’m…preconscious.”

“Oh, give me a break,” she sighed. “I’m going in.”

She turned the handle, jiggled it, leaned into it, but the door wouldn’t open.

“It’s locked.  Open it!” she demanded.


“What kind of magic is in there?”

“You wouldn’t recognize it.”

“How do you know what I would recognize?” she asked, her hands on her hips.

“It’s new.  Anyway, the magic happens in the bar.”

“No it doesn’t, there’s just a bunch of people in there getting drunk and looking for anyone who will make them feel better about themselves.”

That’s the magic,” he said softly.


“The magic happens when people meet other people who make them feel okay.  The okay part is the magic.”

“That’s not magic, that’s alcohol, dark lightening and music.”

“All of those things are magic,” he said.

“That’s not new magic, then, it’s old magic,” she said.  “People have been using those things since forever.”

“I know, but they still work.”

She leaned against the door.  “What’s really behind this door?”

“It’s a store room.  We keep the extra napkins, glasses and things in there.”


“Sorry to disappoint you.”

She nodded.  “Me too.”

“Did you really think there was magic in there?” he asked.

“I guess I was hoping there was.”

“So you believe in magic?”

“I do,” she said, making a frog appear on her palm.  “Don’t you?”

“How’d you do that?” he asked.

“Well, it was nice meeting you,” she said.  “Even if you use false advertising.”

“It’s not false, it’s true.  Just not the way you expected it to be.”

“You can keep the frog,” she said, walking away.  “He used to be my old boyfriend.  His name is Gregory, but you can call him anything you like.”

He watched her leave, then turned to the frog.


“What,” said the frog.





Free White and Green Happy Birthday Signage Stock Photo

imagine the stories
walls could tell
from being put up
to having their first encounters
with others
think of the things
they’ve heard
and seen
good and bad
funny and horrible
how do they feel
about being
or tiled
does it hurt
dull the sound
how afraid are they
of being torn down
maybe someday
we’ll be able to
find out
what they have to say
but right now
mums the word

Photo:  Kelly

GAME OVER…a short story.

Free Yellow and Green Led Light Stock Photo

“Wait.  What do you mean, the game’s over?

“Wow…I thought that would be clear to clear to everyone. Game over means theres’s no more game to play.  I mean, what else could it mean?  Kaput, over, finished, done, turn out the lights and walk away, king of over.”

“But I’m not finished,” He whined.

“See, that’s the thing.  I hear that all the time.  I wanted to do this, or that, go here, or there, marry him or her, read the classics, write a book.  It never really ends.  You’d be surprised how many things people wanted to do but never die.”


“You’re dead.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  The game you were playing has been unplugged, completely disconnected,” snickered, the tall thin man in the toga.

“I’m dead?”

“As a doornail,” he said.  “But I’m not sure what that means, exactly, since I don’t know if doornails were ever alive, or if that even matters.  Anyway, whatever you left unfinished will stay that way forever, or longer.”

“How can something be longer than forever?”

“It’s just a saying.  Nothing can be longer than forever, because forever…is forever.”

“Are you new at this job?”

“Yes.  How can you tell,” asked toga man.

“Not important.  What is important is that I want to go back.”

“Not possible.”

“I thought anything was possible.”

“Seriously?  How could you think that, even for a second?  It’s ridiculous.”

The guy sighed.  “Yeah, I suppose you’re right…but can’t you make an exception?”

“Why would I do that?”

“I need to tie up loose ends.”

“Shudda thought about that while you were alive,” said toga man, knowingly.  “Most people think they have all the time in the world, so they let things go and then, BAM, they’re here and have a million things to finish in the life they just left.”

“I want to go back.”




“Is it possible?” asked the guy.

“Is what possible?”

“You know what I’m talking about.  IS IT POSSIBLE TO GO BACK?”

“You…are very LOUD!”

“Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand how important it is that I go back.”

“Need to apologize?  Tell someone you love her, or him?  Oh, oh, do you want to tell a person where a treasure is hidden?”

“Yes, yes and no.  I need to go back and make things right.  Is there a way?”

The toga man, crossed his arms and began to pace.  “There is a way.”

“Do it!” said the guy, excitedly.  “Do it.”

“It won’t be easy and you might feel some pain.”

“Fine, I don’t care.  The pain will be worth it.”

“You sure?” asked toga man.

“I’m sure.  Just tell me what I have to do.”

“Well, if you’re sure.”

“Tell me what I have to do.”

“Close your eyes and think of a happy place.”

“Done.  Now what?” asked the guy.

“In ten seconds, you’ll be back.  Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two…and…”

“IT’S A GIRL,” said the midwife to the new mother.  “You have a beautiful baby girl.”

When the baby started screaming, everyone thought she was adorable.  Little did they know she was screaming in horror.

Photo:  Cottonbro Studio





purple and white happy birthday neon light signage

Photo:  Jon Tyson

Neon…a short story.


She walked into the shop and said, “I have new ideas for other times.  Where should I put them?”

“Over there,” said, the guy behind the counter.  “With the others.”

She looked to where he pointing and saw a computer next to a big cardboard box.

“You mean you want me to type my new ideas into that old computer?”

“Or you can drop them into the box.  Either way, that’s the place the ideas go.”

“But who will see them?”

“No one,” he said.  “No one cares anymore, haven’t you noticed?”

“But I thought this place was different.”

“No place is different,” he said, without looking up.  “Places are made to look different, or seem different, but they’re all the same.”

“How will that change anything?” she asked, frowning at him.

“Nothing’s gong to change.”

“That’s a terrible attitude,” she said.  “We are the only ones who can change anything.”

He stared at her.  “How?”

“With new ideas, with cooperation, with determination, with…”

“Just put your new ideas where the box is,” he sighed, picking up a pencil and checking things off on a sheet of paper.

“Why does this shop exist, if not to bring about change and ideas for the betterment of everyone?  Why do you stand there just to point to a box and an old computer, if no one cares?”

“Look,” he said, tiredly.  “This is a government facility.  It’s a place that’s supposed to give people unrealistic hope that things will get better.  Places like this exist to give people false hope, that way they feel as if they’re doing something, when they aren’t.  It keeps the masses quiet.  This place exists to stop people from waking up.  Stop them from making demands, stop them from acting out.  What part of that don’t you get?”

“How can you do this to people?”

“The pay and benefits are good.  I even get dental.  There’s nothing I can do to save us, so I’m just biding my time until it’s over.”

“So, you’re just one more government stooge?”

“Call me whatever you like,” he said, putting the pencil down.  “You’re just a cog, or slave of the system.  We’re all something.  Something that keeps the people in power going.”

“What if we all stopped doing everything?”

“China and Russia would attack us while we’re fighting among ourselves.”

“Do you really believe that?” she asked.

“I think they’re going to attack us anyway, but that would open the door for them.”

“What can we do to turn things around?”

“I’m going to go on my break.  That’s what I’m going to do.”

“So you’re giving up?”

“Giving up what?”

“Everything?” she said.  “Freedom, the right to…”

“Freedom?” he laughed.  “They know everything you do and say.  Look.  I’m going to go out back and smoke.  Then I’m going to have a slice of pizza from the place across the street.  Then, I’m going to work four more hours, after which I will go home, watch tv, go to bed and do the same thing tomorrow.  We are rats in a maze, or rats running on a wheel, if you will.  Your choices are limited and the thing is, if you want to fight back, you have to run on the wheel to get a bit of cash to even print a sign that states your purpose.  You can’t fight back.  You can’t win.  You are powerless against the machine.  We all are.”

“I don’t believe you,” she said, turning to leave.  “Enjoy your pizza.”

When the door closed, another man walked out from the back room.  “You got a dreamer?”

“Yes.  That’s the third one today,” he said.

“Some people never learn,” said the second man.

“Is that a bad thing?” asked the guy.

“I honestly don’t know.  I feel bad for them.  Once they realize the truth, what do they have left?”

“What if we took their new ideas seriously?”

The man put his hand on the guy’s shoulder.  “Go have your smoke,” he said, gently. “I think the job is finally getting to you.”


Photo:  Adrian Balasoiu


Free No Sleep Club Stock Photo

I am going to run for president of this club
having a broken arm
robs you of sleep
two hours a night
is a lot
catch the zzzz’s
when I can
there’s no sleep
at all
four weeks
no sleep

Photo:  Lorenz Josef Torres


Free Neon Lights Signage Illuminated on Wall Stock Photo

all beliefs are limiting
that’s why we need to review them
all the time
and make sure that what we think we believe
still makes sense

A short story about change and hope…and neon.

nothing is impossible signage

“You need to take down the sign,” she said, plopping her bag onto the counter.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because it’s false advertising.  It’s an outright lie.   The sign should read, HARDLY ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  Unless, of course you know the right people, are rich, have an in someplace, or don’t really want anything that’s impossible.  And let me see you fly, and not in a plane, or turn into a unicorn.”

“Uh, I think I see where you’re going with this.”

“I’m sick of false advertisements and stupid sayings that are not true.”

“Do you want  tofu dog?”


“This is a vegetarian deli.  I think the sign just means that we can make pretty much any kind of sandwich, as long as it’s on the big board over there,” he said pointing next to him.

“That’s still a lie because if you only get to pick what’s available, then nothing is impossible but who cares, if you only have ten items to choose from?”

“No idea.  I just work here,” he said, picking up a hot dog bun.  “They’re really good.”

“Don’t you think you should question things like that sign?”

“Not really.  I already know that hardly anything is possible, like paying off student loans, actually being able to afford a one room crumby apartment and having enough money for food.  That’s why I work here.  I get to eat.”

“So you know the sign is a lie and that it leads people to have false hope.”

“I don’t know if anyone thinks about it that way.  Or, if they even care.  Most people who eat here killed their dreams a long time ago.”

“That’s so horrible,” she said, closing her eyes.

“I don’t know, people seem to be calmer once they have given up and decided things will never get better.  They don’t have to hope any longer. They don’t struggle, or strive for what they wanted.”

“That’s the worst thing I’ve heard in my entire life.”

“It’s still true.”

“How much do you make, working here?”

“Enough to pay rent and buy clothes at Goodwill,” he said looking at his t-shirt.

“Don’t you want more than this?”

“I think most people want more than what they have.  They want more for themselves and more for their families.  But life doesn’t care what people want.”

“You mean the men in charge don’t care what people want.”

He shrugged.  “Same thing, I guess.”

“You realize that this is what the bad guys want.  They want people to give up.”

“Well, then someone is getting what they want, aren’t they,” he said, smiling weakly.  “What about the tofu dog?”

“Steam the bun and add a bit of regular yellow mustard.”

“You got it,” he said, starting to fill her order.

“There are a lot of ways to be dead, you know.  Giving up is one of them.”

“Hard to keep fighting when you know you can’t win.”

“That’s what they want.”

“Doesn’t change what is though, does it,” he said, defeat in his voice.  “What do you want to drink?”

“Water, please.”

He handed her the tofu dog and placed a bottle of water next to her bag.  That’s seven dollars.

She gave him ten and told him to keep the change.  He nodded, thanked her, and rang up the sale.

“This really is good,” she said, her mouth full of food.

“I know,” he snickered.  “So, are you going to change the world?”

“That’s the plan,” she said, taking another bite.

“Let me know how it goes.  If you need help, I’m in.”

“Thanks.  Write down your name and number, in case you change jobs.  That way I’ll know how to find you.”

He handed her a slip of paper.

“Nice talking with you,” she said.  “Dinner was delicious.”

“We aim to please,” he laughed.

“I’ll be in touch.”

“Looking forward to it,” he said, watching her walk away.




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