Moments: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry

Moments is out now in paperback form, available through Amazon and Create Space.

Below is a link to Amazon. It’s only $9.99 + shipping and combines poetry with short stories.

https://www.amazon.com/Moments-Collection-Short-Stories-Poetry/dp/154256123X

 

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Rhyme Cycle IV

Replace regression with digression from primal political positions
I reserve rights like Reservations deserve the slight and punishment from establishments numb to hushed conditions
But not in the slightest does the brightest of my counterparts see darkness cloud these misconceived faces and warmth of breaths
Whose interest is it to storm the cleft of people and place barbed wire fences around the breadth of the scorn that’s left ?

Their drastic and bombastic appeals to nations
from round tables with clear drinking glasses
between the breaks for tear gasses ready to cloud our startled visions
A Navajo from Sarajevo will tell you of bombs and the beauty of wild horses
from below trampled hooves, releasing doves from atop the bombed holes of their scenic roofs incisions

With precision they must miss their targets and falsely communicate with the masses
But somewhere between a rock and a hard place, we walk away through the cliffs and mountain passes, as green as the grass is, and sure as seeing tomorrow slip away from our grasp is

Smear into eyes the dampened disguise of safety to blot the terror of silent cries
Violent lies do little to discard the beauty of our waking truths
and one man can do more than a flock of a million sheep
as long as he stands defiant while the others choose to sleep away like youth

Nature

Nature has grown on me, into my skin, and into my lifestyle over the past few years. The benefits of a lush and serene greenery can prove to have a calming effect for the mind and body. A city boy from birth, I had long considered living in urban settings the best option for my life but over the years living in the clean spaces of Nordic terrain, I have grown quietly fond of such tranquil scenery.

The focus within remote settings and rural landscape is getting away from noise and distraction that so often overwhelm the most resilient and conditioned of human minds. The once eerie isolation of the countryside and woodlands is now second nature. The substance is often with the escape itself, and silence recharges and ignites energy. Entertainment surfaces in different forms. The fresh air carries an alternative to the city air and life slows to a manageable pace, just enough to engage the senses with qualities essential and compelling to human nature.

I am still a city boy, drawn to interesting city streets, shops and bookstores, and museums, and malls, but time spent on walks in forests, away from society at large is a refreshing change. Nature can calm the restless soul and the crowded mind, just enough to offer a temporary release of tension and provide a restful break from whatever the demands of life may have to throw my way.

For friends and enemies

Is there a war of races
Of colors, of faces
From different backgrounds
And different people
From many places?

The menu of life had much to offer me
An Indian in Catholic school
A couple of other choices for religion if i pleased
Multilingual since I could speak
And friends from every background and creed I could conjure up in my dreams

I pointed at places on maps and used to say “what’s it like there?” ( I still do)
I stared at unknown and unfamiliar faces
And wondered how they got that color hair

I did not understand the need for unity
Just as I did not understand what it was to be a fool
I wasn’t protected from poison
But I always thought I knew what was and wasn’t “cool”

I never knew of real hate
Until I heard words and actions so fatal
Like an eternal curse
Kneading and convincing itself into the everyday thoughts and routines of people

There are many poisons but not so many antidotes
Just as there are many historic figures
With many symbolic and meaningful everyday quotes

I know life is a roller coaster
And there are others on this ride
I also know there isn’t a heaven on earth
But I still try to be nice to the ones seated by my side

Epilogue: Travels

An orange strip of sunshine sits in the horizon within the clouds like the layer of a cake. There is no one seated next to me as I peer out into the distance. This is how I wished my vacation to end, and the spectacular view from my airplane seat is the icing on my summer treat. Through Madrid and California, the days have passed too fast and now, as I return home, I prepare for work and the routine of daily life.

The walks, the meals, the museums, and other events have proved to be as fulfilling as they have been refreshing for the body and mind. I look forward to vacations with great anticipation. The moments of booking tickets for the upcoming voyages or hotels, whether internationally or within a couple of hundred kilometers, sparks the charge in the lifeblood of my internal battery. The drives and different scenes, settling into engaging books, and enjoying delicious foods and beverages are all part of relishing the process of relaxing vacations. This trip has been longer than usual and one to remember. From the wide and crowded streets of Madrid and San Francisco to the beach strips and warm summer atmosphere of coastal California, I think of the remarkable adventures and experiences. Reuniting with family, indulging in culinary feasts, and sleeping deep and sound despite initial jet lag and fatigue have turned this vacation into a success. I look forward to many more such travels.

On the plane, I pull my book from the seat compartment and read through as much as possible before locking in on the screen embedded in front of me. A movie based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh keeps me entertained for a couple of hours. I think back to the paintings I saw at the Thyssen and at the SF MoMa, and the exquisite rooms and galleries holding countless pieces of artwork. Yet, there is still more to see, more to explore, and there are many places to visit. Whether I head back to San Francisco, travel within Europe, or go somewhere entirely different for my next trip, the thrill of vacation and the pleasure of repose will once again bring back the spark to my eyes and the beat in my adventurous heart.

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk

We arrive early and are greeted by screams and shouts of joy, the roller coaster whizzing past above the main entrance taking passengers on a joyride across the Santa Cruz boardwalk. The walkway sits upon the beachfront, a wooden construction designed as an amusement park. On one side are shops, game stations, rides and roller coasters, and at the other end is the beach, lined with tents, swimmers, and other beach goers relaxing in the ocean water and sunshine.

The food stalls are alive and thriving as queues back up onto the wooden path for visitors. Churros, jumbo burgers and boardwalk fries, giant Texas doughnuts, ice cream, and other varieties of sweet and savory snacks are on offer. The options are vast and overwhelming, especially to the children who point and tug at the arms of their parents. Inside one of the small tent stalls sit two caricature artists, asking us to come over for a portrait. I reluctantly walk away, wondering what I would look like as a cartoon caricature. Their work shines and pops from their canvas, and they have no shortage of suitors within a few minutes. As we continue further, one of the main attractions are the carnival stations designed for visitors to win prizes. Baseball throws, soccer shots, and simple point and aim games invite visitors to try their luck in winning stuffed animals, toys, and other fun amenities to take home. The boardwalk is filled with bags and strollers holding oversized stuffed toys and colorful prizes.

We finally decide on food options, enjoying lunch before strolling once again through to the opposite end of the walkway. There are hundreds of families making their way across the crowds, carrying their carnival winnings, shopped items, and their small children. The young people are thrilled to be surrounded by the treats and amusement park rides. The east end is covered from the sun, designated as a space for souvenir and surf shops. We purchase a few gifts before heading back out for a final taste of ice cream. Seated on a bench near the entrance, we bask in the early afternoon heat for before bidding the Santa Cruz Boardwalk goodbye for the summer.

Route One

The scenic drive along route one in California, sandwiched between a coastal view of sea and waves is of special significance. The voyage of around fifty miles to Santa Cruz is a winding road leading between rocky cliffs and grassy hillsides. To one side, the lush green hills and jagged rock cliffs, a mixture touching upon the rural Icelandic landscape and Scottish hill sides, invites travelers into an exploration of fresh nature. On the other side, the sandy beaches leading out to the cool currents of water, is an invitation to beach lovers. The mixture of low-hanging clouds sets the scene for a warm morning and early afternoon.

We drive along the coast with the destination in mind, cruising to capture the views and beach side air. Between the thick knolls and steep descents to the ocean, we pass walkers, parked cars, and narrow lanes of isolated patches of roads. Every couple of miles, we see vendors selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, a delight for lovers of greens. On offer are avocados, strawberries, and a variety of other healthy organic treats. We stop to appreciate the vegetables and fruits on offer before continuing on our route.

Within a couple of more miles, we spot the morning surfers by the dozens. They paddle their way out into the water attempting to catch waves to surf into the shore. They glide, carve, and ride the waves, falling often but also spinning and twisting, showcasing their skills and experience. We find a bench to sit on and watch the surfers breeze through the waves. The beige sandy beaches are dotted with large shrubs of seaweed and old decaying logs.

There are many beaches with rest areas, and we stop sporadically, eventually finding our way to Santa Cruz. The waves of cars and traffic form a densely populated patch and we sit through the traffic before reaching the parking lot. This is a sharp contrast to the isolated beach strips on Route 1. Finally, we arrive at the Santa Cruz boardwalk and begin another adventure.

Successes

I saw a man today
immersed in his work
I bought my coffee and took a seat
I watched him scribbling hard
but his words I could not see

His colored pencils were strewn across the table
the blues, reds, yellows and greens
He was hunched over and serious
writing at a fast pace

“Another artist”, I thought, “and maybe one with purpose”
His hands worked with energetic intent
I turned my back and faced the street
my eyes locking in on his reflection in the window glass

He wrote and read, read and wrote
while other joked, laughed, and spoke

I heard of the building of a wall, of economies, of celebrity and their falls
I listened to the background music
and could have sworn
that I heard it all

I lost track of time but when I turned to leave
the artist had escaped
had left the building in haste
seemingly without a trace

I gulped down the last droplets of coffee
and walked over to dispose my cup
and inside the large trash containers
was the compilation of his work

A rainbow of penciled paper upon paper

Somewhere in the early hours of the morning
when the day had just begun
when the sun had emerged to shine
when fresh coffees were brewed and breakfasts stewed
he had given up and walked away
leaving in tatters what he carved in such fury and passion
his words and work
never to see the light of another day

Downtown San Francisco

I have known the colorful city of San Francisco for a long time. When I stepped into the train heading to the city to visit my favorite locations, I took a seat and peered out through the stained-glass window into the suburban landscape. The train swayed from side to side, grinding to halts at the different stations as it made its way downtown. The train wasn’t crowed, the few people that were along for the ride immersed in their own world of phones, family, and newspapers. Turning on my headphones, my music guided me into the city, letting me settle into my seat and relax for the minutes as we dived into and surfaced through the tunnels on our way to Powell Street.

Leaving the BART train service, I purchased a quick cup of coffee. The sight of the hundreds of different tourists speaking different languages, the locals marching on familiar ground, and various daily workers assured me that I was near the heart of the city. I stepped onto the escalators and glided up to the street level. The familiar sight of the cable cars and grand shops made it the city that I had witnessed many months ago, and one that I fondly remember as close to home. The street vendors, preachers, and hustlers worked alongside each other on the sidewalk, reaching out to the tourists in exchange for cash. The shops at the Westfield Mall were glamorous, the building boasting a vast collection of luxurious amenities.

Despite the traffic and construction work from road to road, children ran and played on The Contemporary Jewish Museum courtyard. The ground sparkled a yellowish white, a gentle mixture of splashed sun and stone. Looking across the road to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a few people lay napping below the trees, pausing for their daily siesta.

Slowing my walk to take in the sights, I was lost between the buildings, alleyways, and city blocks but reemerged outside the familiar location of the SF Museum of Modern Art. The museum, as usual, took me into its safe and familiar hands and I spent a couple of hours in the galleries before my return to the suburbs. The beauty of San Francisco, sometime harsh and sometimes sublime, with its nooks and nuances, doesn’t daunt or overwhelm and neither does it disappoint in its stature. The recognized establishments for art, the striking street graffiti, the libraries and book shops, the gourmet food, and the dive bars, and all the small and large pieces of the city hold loosely together to form the beautiful city by the Bay.

How birds learn to fly

One day I saw a bird

I watched her flap her wings and walk on her little legs
she pecked and foraged, she pointed her beak at scraps of food
The cars drove by but she didn’t flinch much or move
eating what she could find
finding out quickly what she could and couldn’t do

She soon found a mate
and then had ducklings
Waddling along so gently
their flock of plenty

I counted nine but there were more
they walked in line
and lived and swam together by the shore

When I went down to the bay
I watched them float
one by one the row of ducks
hovering over water, swayed by the currents
the boats raced past
and they clung close by the dozen

When I saw them last
they looked happy as could be
quacking and flapping, the two ducks and their babies

But when I counted the ducklings, I could not see
I saw one, I saw two, and finally, I only saw three

How nice and fine it would be
to be a bird of the sea
How nice and easy it must be
to flutter my wings and think I was free

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

A trip to the SF Museum of Modern Art was an experience I anticipated for months. The gallery was especially crowded on this Sunday afternoon, most queuing for the special exhibition of the iconic pop artist Andy Warhol. The entire museum, as usual, was a spark of vibrant modern art, with photography, installations, sculptures, and painted artworks arranged throughout the many floors of the museum. An avid museum goer for many years, I shifted between the different floors exploring and soaking in what I could within the space of a few hours.

The allure of the many temporary exhibitions was a new adventure. The top floor hosted a range of pieces about change in communities, especially within certain areas of Great Britain. It was as enlightening as it was sad to hear the different perspectives of locals who had experienced societal changes in the evolving, and often times regressing economic landscapes of England. There was a harmony and understanding despite the uprooting of the norms and constant uncertainty that made such communities not only bond in their own unique ways, but eventually stronger in their evolution from industrial towns into the unknown. The perspectives on display were skeptical and reserved, just as they were hopeful for the power of change to touch their communities.

An exhibition on the errors of photography was particularly interesting as it uncovered accidental and “erroneous” works of visual art. Opening the question of whether there are rights and wrongs in elements of good photography, the “art of mistakes” showcased many works that held onto their own enigmatic success despite being creations of unintended consequence. The blurred, lined, and distorted photos, especially when brought together and curated for exhibition at SF MoMa, created their own story formed through the many individual pieces on display.

Before bidding farewell to this beloved museum, I quickly glanced over the many permanent works playing part of the gallery on the first floor, ranging from the classic French impressionists to the much-coveted Mark Rothko and finally to one of my favorites, Edward Hopper, to satiate my appetite for exceptional artwork. An exit through the museum gift shop highlighted the many wonderful works of literature and artwork in book form, as well as souvenirs and replica paintings. Departing any museum is usually a walk of sweet sorrow, but one that always begs and expects a return.