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Archive for June, 2009

Cardinal birds mate several times over the course of a summer. Like their winged relative, the chicken, cardinal hens will lay eggs often, raise the chicks, toss them from the nest, and repeat the cycle several times before the sun’s warmth weakens and the weather turns towards the coolness of autumn.

Only two baby birds were conceived in the first laying of eggs which occurred this spring in a back lot of Kosciuszko Street in Brooklyn. I regret to report that one of the little birds did not survive this damp summer in the Northeast. I listened to their songs and cries for more food every day – so sad after all of that fuss one didn’t make it into the heavens. I kept a close eye on them to ensure the cats did not devour the birds—but it was the rain that killed one of the feathered creatures.

I knew better than to try and revive that little bird that fell out of the nest and nearly drowned in a mud puddle near my patch of zucchini. I should have just left it there to die and decompose—it would have been good for the soil.

It was a horrendous thunderstorm that killed that little bird and obviously the cause for the two birds to leave the nest before being grown enough to fly. Laying on his back, gasping for air through its miniscule beak, that little bird was covered in water—I had to do something. It was my tabby cat that discovered the baby bird in the mud—the hatchling wasn’t stirring enough to entice the cat for a chase—the cat just stared—feeling almost sorry for it as I was.

Fuck it. I picked it up and wrapped in an old dish cloth from the kitchen, brought it inside and kept it under a lamp. The little bird seemed to come back to life as I stroked the soft plumage.

At 3 a.m. that baby bird started to sing from its box in the living room. There he was with his little mouth open—crying for food again. Quickly, I took it outside and put it in the garden where the hen and father bird were still attempting to teach the other bird how to fly.

They abandoned the little thing—not offering as much as a little crumb of a sunflower seed for its gaping mouth.

In less than an hour, it died under the warm glow of June sunshine next to the yellow blossoms of my zucchini plants.

I turned stone cold myself as I buried the baby bird right under that nest, wishing I had not gotten involved in playing god to the descendants of the dinosaurs.

But they are back—the adult birds—fluttering around again in that nest up there—laying another round of eggs—but this time there are two male birds fussing over that one hen up there in the cherry tree—I would have assumed cardinal birds were monogamous considering they are the color of love, but not the ones in Brooklyn—they seem only concerned with the survival of the species– either that or cardinals are gay too.

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Michael Jackson was a prophet misjudged by the Jewish media.

As with the son of David, the moonwalker turned the other cheek and died a martyr for the sake of Islam.

History struggles to re-write the mood of the world shifting in a more positive note towards the King of Pop.

News anchors like Anderson Cooper who once labeled Jackson as “Wacko-Jacko” now sing his praise as the world mourns today, but most journalist cannot resist the urge to baptize viewers in rivers of Jesus juice, despite the fact that Jackson died a honest man and never once was proven to have sexually molested the children who came to Neverland to sleep in his bed.

Like sightings of Elvis that went on when Jackson was on the rise with disco in the 1970’s, perhaps we’ll spot the King in Vegas this summer living life as it should be lived—out of the spotlight and into the light.

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Clean Cut

The weather was perfect for a morning run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park today. The low pressure system that dampened the summer spirits of those in the Northeast over the weekend has headed into the North Atlantic Sea and remnants of this humungous, hurricane-like storm offer an overcast sky with just a splash of high-humidity today.

For the first time in years I did not shave my face. For two days, I permitted my beard to come in. Ever since joining the Army, I have shaved my face every day. I cannot stand hair on my face. The hairs come in thick now—almost in an Italian fashion and no longer when I start a beard are there bald patches along my cheekbones and chin.

It felt good running with a beard. The horrors of what must have been pungent body odors made me feel butch and since I was outside, I was not in the least bit concerned about anyone smelling me.

I was stinky from a night of heavy dreaming of scenes from the HBO series “True Blood”. Already breathless, I found myself tangled in a wad of sheets wrapped like a noose around my left leg when I woke at 6 a.m. I had a erection that rivaled that of my teenage years. I had to go for a run!

I didn’t even brush my teeth before heading out to Prospect Park. Running and the perspiration that comes with rapid leg movement cleanses the body—sweat glands unclog pores far better than the most expensive of soaps.

The four mile runs gets easier every day—I’m quite sure I set a new time record for my run around the park although I do not have the desire to monitor my speed with so much greenery to enjoy while I jog.

I decided to walk through the gay cruise section on my way out of the park. I felt ugly as hell, wondering why I even would bother cruising early in the morning. I found myself constantly rubbing my beard as I made my way through the thick, green foliage that covers the park this year. The heavy rains that have fallen over the past several weeks offers a tropical flair to the park this year.

I shall keep this beard—they like it!

A Puerto Rican, likely half my age—a savage of sorts with a closely shaven head and a collie dog on a leash lured me off the beaten path. I felt safe among all the greenery and found myself ass naked, bent over a log, watching his dog dig in the dirt as he felt my smooth, hairless, stinky ass.

I ran home and jumped in the shower immediately. The shave felt good. I don’t feel like a tramp when I shave my face.

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Baby Cardinal Bird

One of the baby cardinal birds from the nest in the cherry tree has jumped from the haven of woven twigs before growing large enough to fly.

Watching two feathered parents raise offspring in a nest above my wind chime has kept me sedate during these worry filled days of unemployment, but two days ago, one of the tiny, not yet red cardinals plummeted to the soft soil of my vegetable garden.

Every morning for several months now, my two cats fought for territory at my feet—dashing away briefly to run after father cardinal—the dark red creature with beady eyes and a black feather mask that enhances the glow of his golden beak. The birds seemed to torment the cats purposely—attempting perhaps to lure them from the shade beneath the cherry tree.

Pages of great books were turned to the rhythm of kneeling city buses while the birds hatched. The buses seemed to come along as I ended my chapters, stopping at an unseen street corner on the other side of a large brick building that hides this oasis from the rest of the city.

Gentle breezes caressed my bent neck as I looked down to consume another worm written by Carlos Castaneda—“The Active Side of Infinity.” The birds sang sweetly from above as the pages sheltered my boredom–my neck sunburned in the identical shade of mother cardinal.

Zucchini that I planted when Michelle Obama planted the White House vegetable garden have transformed the barren soil plot into a carpet of green—it seemed from the corner of my eye that I could see the zucchini grow although the birds remained hidden in that nest just above arm’s reach.

As the parents of the hatchlings flew to the nest, a chorus in high-octaves erupted, drowning the trumpeting engines from jet planes flying into JFK.

My bird feeder was topped off with fresh sunflower seeds just a few days ago—my way of assisting the cardinals in rearing their young. The parents simply jump to the feeder when the cats are not sitting under it—fearless of me and my books. Quickly they shelled the seeds with powerful beaks, chewing the tender cores on their way to the nest and once again, the chorus sings.

Lazy mid-day set in with a tender lullaby of bees singing to the buzz of harp- like wings. The cats head inside for shade—so do I—for an omelet.

The tabby rests on a green sofa, the calico sneaks away to the t-shirt drawer which is always left open like a nest for her.

As I sit at the window eating my eggs, I notice what appears to be a little mouse where the cats had just been balled up outside. Mother and father bird are frantic.

The baby is attempting to fly. It fell from the nest!

Quickly I close the windows—the cats fast to their naps fail to notice the show outside. Funny I thought how that bird came out of the nest the moment the cats went inside.

All day the little bird attempted flight but not enough feathers covered her half- bald body. The tiny birds made its way to a rock just below my window and just sat there all day.

“I’m sorry little bird; I cannot touch you, for if I do, your parents will abandon you. Besides, I don’t have a cage and already there are two to a litter box in here.”

The tiny bird looks at me with such innocence—seemingly thrilled to be out of that nest. Quickly the father comes along, filling her gaping mouth with more nourishment, not concerned with me at the window with my eggs.

All day I worried over that little creature—not thinking of my own eviction—most certainly on the way if I soon don’t find work. The poor cats are banned from the back yard, furious at me for not letting them outside.

Night rolled in with heavy rain. All night I tossed and turned with thought of that little, flightless bird. I pull the curtain back slowly in the morning, my feelings drenched again at the sight of the lake that has formed around my zucchini due to yet another drenching rainstorm in Brooklyn.

Almost afraid to investigate what became of the baby cardinal, I simply stand like a stork at my window. There’s dad. There’s mom—yes the baby is still alive—she’s at the back of the yard hiding in a pile of weeds that I left for decomposition before bagging.

And I read on—

“The sorcerers of my linage call it infinity, the spirit, the dark sea of awareness, and say that it is something that exists out here and rules our lives…”

—Carlos Castaneda—

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Books are like nets that fishers of men use to harvest the seas of eternity.

Like the image of a crucifix hook with bait secured neatly upon covers, writings outside the bindings of the Holy Bible also lead sinners to repentance. The mystery of the written word extends beyond immediate comprehension, definitions of words, sentence structure and the medium they are written upon. The book in which I stumbled upon a kingdom within was written by James Marion, a former Catholic monk who is gay. His masterpiece– “Putting on the Mind of Christ”– Hampton Roads Publishing Company (July 1, 2000)—changed my life.

Mourning my lover’s death in such a way that my own soul sought death for itself and being led by what in hindsight seems like the Holy Ghost, I stumbled upon a lesbian and gay bookstore in Chelsea and found a shelf of books dedicated to religious writings that offer inspiration to homosexuals despite what has been preached against them.

It was a hot spring day in 2002—the book still relatively new and my soul not yet discovered. I stepped inside to absorb refreshing air conditioning. The scent of expensive candles first led me to a shelf of gay friendly greeting cards where pretty, nude male bodies wished happy birthday in ways Hallmark would never dare venture.

To my left, near the storefront window was where Marion’s book, the bait was. A few sentences on the inside struck me as profound so I purchased the hardcover. I took it home and stayed awake all night reading it all.

It was from this book that my life changed. In the flowing weeks my clinical psychosis emerged—a horrific religious experience to include ‘command hallucinations’ and false senses of smell—according to medical experts in the field of psychiatry who treated me for several weeks. For I don’t remember much from my initial awakening to the flame within—just my prayers spoken in those weeks of social withdrawal and isolation – for I was certain that I had died.

Marion’s book was about the life of two gifted writers/ mystics—St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila who had inspired him during his personal identity struggle and losses of faith. It is my belief that I was led to this book not to have my psyche unravel but to prepare me for the aftermath of recovery in what to the outside world may appear as schizophrenia, but to one sitting in my inner silence is absolute bliss and a peace that passes understanding.

Teresa Availa’s maps of ‘interior castles’ have reaffirmed my faith not only in God but of my desire to live and write on—for if only I could leave such treasures to this Earth. Teresa writes candidly of ‘levitations’ which occurred to her during painful moments of prayer. I couldn’t help but doubt that Teresa was simply suffering from ‘command hallucinations’ such as myself, but read on to discover a deep secret in regards to the path of illumination and how anyone seeking Christ in true form must pick up his cross and follow.

According to Marion and his interpretation of the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, “The Beloved” consumes the soul in rare moments of absolute inner-silence. I am certain that I have somehow ignited the mystical flame of love, seven years later, for as I sit here in my garden in June as the first yellow rays of sun turn my inner-contemplative prayer blood red, I somehow understand and believe beyond the shadow of death and doubt that I will live forever.

Amen.

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Bed Stuy Blues

After hearing a familiar dripping sound down where the roaches roam, Bradley put a plastic bucket under the kitchen sink last night. Despite a repair by an unlicensed crack- head plumber that our landlord Lenox hired last Fall, the pipes under my sink have once again failed and all my large pots and pans are coated with a slimy substance and millions of tiny black specks which I have concluded are coffee, for I wash my espresso basket in the sink and never dump used Starbucks in the trash.

 
The family that lives on the second floor is the cause of the flooding under my sink. They have a washing machine which is illegal in this building. The force of the water pouring down rusty old pipes backs up and comes up these pipes on the first floor—the gurgling sound is intriguing to my cats—tons of bubbles made from Tide dazzle the whiskers of my calico.

After many washes from above, the curved pipe under my sink detaches, causing water not to flow down the pipes under my sink, but through the kitchen floor which now, after five years of this nonsense, is rotted.
Having already given up on life and wishing I would simply die in my sleep rather than having to do dishes again or send another resume or go on an interview for a job that does not pay enough to survive on in New York, I simply permitted the bucket under the sink to overflow this morning.

 
Too  tired to care.
Let this place rot.
Oh for God’s sake, my feet are getting wet. There goes my fuzzy slippers.

Where is that monkey wrench?

That was easy.

Oh how I just hate dead roaches…close the cupboard…there you go…no big deal…at least there are no mosquitoes under there.

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A wooden table on the second floor of the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is dedicated to new releases in literature relating to sacred scripture and new age themes.

Having a literary longing for writings formed in the minds of Christian mystics and too much time on my hands here in the age of recession, I find myself scanning the display table inside the massive marble carved complex at the top of the escalators on a daily basis. Libraries in New York make Barnes and Noble seem like a flea market. My library card feels like a Visa!

Fortunately for most readers, many library card holding residents of Kings County check out DVD’s or log onto one of many inner-net based personal computers here, leaving a wealth of books for the borrowing by those with a seemingly endless thirst for good prose.

Rarely do the rags on the well-worn table at the top of the stairs interest me when there are so many old books in row ten to digest or such classics as Homer’s Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles to be read over and over. (The Odyssey can be found on the first floor in the Literature wing of the library.)

A religious fanatic has taken it upon himself to check-out a lot of the relics on the third bookcase from the left on aisle ten on the second floor. This discussion forum-like predator has ridden the pages of these sacred, publically owned texts with personal thoughts and notes—having used a pen to jot down random scribbles as he made his way through my favorite books like a mad caveperson scribbling graffiti thoughts all over the walls of these most sacred institutions.

Having grown weary of these markings, I checked out one of the new books collecting dust upon the overlooked display table of the Upper Room at the library.

“Mystics and Miracles—True Stories of Lives Touched by God” by Bert Ghezzi.

REVIEW:

‘A festinating stroll through the lives of twenty-two saints—A stunning study on God’s children. By combining eloquent vignettes of the lives of masters touched by fasting and enflamed by the spirit, Ghezzi offers fresh insight into the authenticity of the mysteries surrounding saints and the miracles which they performed. This book is a roadmap for those who still believe the kingdom is found within on a little table at the top of the stairs next to shelves of prayer, fasting and charitable works, inside the heart of what is the table of the written word!”

EXERPT:

“The people of Assisi thought Francis of Assisi was crazy. Francis gave them plenty of evidence for their view. He swapped his fine clothes for a beggar’s rags, gleefully renounced his inheritance, and stripped naked in a bishop’s court. He kissed lepers, preached to birds, and claimed that Jesus spoke to him from a crucifix.”

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