Archive for the ‘ Philosophy ’ Category

Sentinel at the Off Ramp


Driving to live with my sister in Arizona after getting hooked on a glass pipe with all the belongings I had left, I spotted his dark figure in the fading light of a May dusk.  The motor of the Red Dodge Intrepid seemed to skip some cylinders, or  perhaps it was my heart that had misfired for one moment.

He had pissed in more roadside rest stop bathrooms than Kerouac, I suspect.

I turned around along the I-40 in Oklahoma to pick him up on the previous exit where he had posted himself, wisely, at the top of the off ramp so he wouldn’t be harassed by the State Patrol. He asked if he could take his boots off and then spent the first three hours of our tour west apologizing for the smell of his feet. Eddy said he was going to Vegas.

In Albuquerque, we had to get off the I-40 and run through part of town. I bought him a six-pack of something cheap but tasty and some snacks for the two of us.  We ended up having to follow Route 66 through New Mex a good part of the way toward Flagstaff.

In northern Arizona, outside Flagstaff, he asked if we could pull over at a scenic overlook, I half expected him to say he would be heading to Vegas from there. We stood and looked over a breathtaking view of the forested mountains, he was sipping one of his beers.

Maybe it was the herds of elk on both sides of the Interstate south of Flagstaff, mating calls coming in waves and echoes through the car as we drove on that kept him from asking for the Vegas shortcut, or maybe he just wanted to make sure I made it safely to the gas station in Central Phoenix where he dropped himself off the path I still had to follow back then.

Two weeks later, I got a money order for $25 in the mail from him with an address in North Las Vegas and like the fool I am, I cashed it.  A regret I’ll likely carry to my grave, if I live long enough.

I still remember his name, still remember his name.  Stiner was a fishy way to spell that last name.

Boot Stomp from the Savoy


Pieced together out of the shredder:

Went in search of the nearest coffee shop location for the Megabus landing and trekked 4 1/2 blocks in the 90 degree heat with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a camera bag and snack bag. 4.4 stars on Google+. Sit down at a table with all my junk. No place to plug in a Droid. Begin eavesdropping on the couple at the table next to me. The guy is talking up the woman about some hardcover book which I assume he wrote and his “celebrity” friend that works behind the counter. Hear her say, “Well, usually, if I don’t like a book by the first chapter, I just set it aside.” Kamikaze planes nosedive into his turret guns and I drag all my stuff outside, coming to the full realization that the city I spent 10 years living in may now be a boast town.

My hippie stank did not sit well with the yuppie smug and I dragged cigarette after cigarette trying to calm my nerves after the bus ride back to hell again and again and again. (That will likely be another story in itself). My Droid is rapidly expiring, while I am texting Little Sis Rescue and Uh Oh Rod (off topic, he and I used to patrol the Savoy Complex nigh 20 years ago, he has a 9 year old son and makes a decent buck shining rich people’s shoes).

Droid battery in the red zone, furious texting action only the likes of a 12 year old has seen between myself and Rod and self and Sis. Who will arrive first, Rod said 3, Sis is in traffic pattern holding and my tanks are empty. I take another sip of Nagasaki Cold Turkey Coffee (4.4 stars, may I remind you and a bargain at 1/3 the price).

I text Rod that I am exhaustipated and that if Sis Rescue arrives first, I’m hitting the Medevac and leaving behind an artifact for my Savoy sidekick, as per our custom back in the day. An OTE CCG “Incredible Opportunist” card with a Peace Dove pinned to it. 20 fucking years since that Character from Brain Dead was distributing his newsie “Transdimensional Times” at the old Luna in the Short North. At least 13 since I’ve seen Rod.

The kamikazed writer type dude with the celebrity coffee server comes out with the ADD one chapter book tossing chick and they briefly hug and they part ways, writer clutching his over-priced hardback. Where the fuck is Rod? Where is Sis-evac? I survey the scene at the NE corner of Gay and High. Oh my, oh my, Goodbye Columbus.

Droid is almost but not quite thoroughly dead and my com-lines are down. I’m staring into every car, hoping to catch sight of Rod before Sis-evac arrives. That dude almost looks like Rod, no, what the fuck did Rod look like anyway and does he still have teeth. I still have some teeth, although the dentist may repossess at any time if I’m late on even one payment and I think he fucked one of my sisters.

Eye gaze left, Shoe Shine Tycoon Rod is sauntering up the sidewalk from his day job, looking like a million bucks, approaches me and says: “Mr. O.T.” (Another story altogether, trust me, I’ve windbagged enough of it to you already).

I stand up and say: “Verify your credentials!”

Has Rod forgotten the secret handshake we used to practice? I begin demonstrating it and the fog of responsibility lifts slightly from the veil of intervening years. We recount tales, lost friends, not forgotten, maybe just temporarily out of order. I bring up the summer of the Purple Jesus Shred and time stands still. The universe becomes a shade less incomprehensible.

(more later, maybe, maybe not, not sure how I can even tap the keys in my current state of maximum fuck-it-all…)

Warmer ‘neath the Bridge


Warmer neath the Bridge

saint crackhead
stood outside the store
he never asked for much
he helped old ladies with the door
and had cold bread for lunch

he lived in sartorial squalor
underneath my bridge, my view
of privileged chains held tight in place
among us lost
us Few

(sorry, I’ve had to order my 2nd keyboard
for this laptop, i am a sight typer, and even
that ain’t so hot, and half my key faces are gone.)

He warmed His Place with but a Candle
his needs were only Few
He held his Station of the Cross
a Cross that few could handle

and YOU

walk by Him

Every Day

Did you Ever?

turn your Eyes his Way
or stop to consider
The Weightiness of his Stay

a dollar tossed into His Cup
With a look of high Disdain

Your Saint and Savior
saved your Soul

’tis you Who Bear The Shame

I knew such a man, name of TC, in Columbus
Ohio in the 1990s.  My friend Rod says he
stands outside the same grocery, although
the name of the grocery chain has been
changed.

The Precipice


Precipice

Precipice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I
A T (G) P XVII

Being of

Sound
Mind
Body

do bequeef my wordy goods to:

The Ethers
This lonely keyboard
This maddening planet I call Home

and when I finish

word will Stand

OR

Fall

on its own Dead

deed Ed to All
who have passed through my:

Thoughts
Experiences
Fancies

and those left Behind
in the recesses of my memory

for it is

ONE

stream and

Eddies may (or may not)
recall a certain (thing)

POSSESSION

you

Desired
Loved
Required

and so it goes
a Precipice of
Hope or Failure

and Often
a Mix of Both

12.21.20..13

Jesus and Friend, Down on Front Street


I picked up Jesus on the corner
of Xrosswood Drive and Main
he had no dime to take of His own Sacrament
to rejoin the Flocking
spent on broken glass and and stockings
stuffed with yestern pain

coasting to the Depot
He showed me His wounds once again
pictures of his Children in another State
with Nothing on their P(i)lates

wheels and wheels of fortune mists
and portends, omens, twists and opportunities missed
a Mystery to be wearing Flesh
the Way of Gentle Fists

“Mother is worried about me.”
He confided as I parallel parked on Front Street
“I’ll only be a Minute, you can’t come in.”

with Great difficulty, hobbled by the Weight of Worlds’ Forgotten
Hero hobbling to a side door Sacrament
on Front Street

I think of leaving
Him, fleeing at the site
a fleeting Glimpse of where I’ve been
and seem to Moth around

days of yours and mine,
“Here… take this…”
“Are you sure you want two?”

wheels and wheels of wasted twists
Realities cast aside for Aethers’ Fists, the Gentle Fists,
the numbing wrists and opportunities’ mists

and Jesus wept
as we broke an Orange Pill in half in Sacrament
of helpless Bliss

Fulminate of Mercury (in retrograde)


Mercury And Spot

Mercury And Spot (Photo credit: makelessnoise)

Mercury in Retrograde just before I go on a Surprise Honeymoon.  Voter apathy
among sheeple with an appetite for clicking reward buttons.  Wach auf, Leute, wach auf!

Le Monde ne cesset pas, le monde de mon, n’est-ce pas?

A mighty big “IF” you are awake:

Forecastle:

Fulminate of Mercury

a flourish
a rise
a pause

celebratory gum fire on a cold, cold November Day
the sheeple ever sleepeth

the Steeple too steep to climb
Alms budsmen sprinkle lawns with seeds of Hope

a yawn
a whimper
a few lonely howls left

by the waking dread

That homeless guy you see hanging around your grocery store has a name. Do you know it?


Candles

Candles (Photo credit: magnuscanis)

 

My friend, Rod Lehman, who shines shoes for a living told me that
T.C. is still hanging around the same grocery store south of the OSU
campus . We would see him hanging around the Big Bear near the
apartment complex we lived in during the early 90’s and if we had
any extra money, we’d give him a few dollars.

One time, T.C. asked me to come visit his home under the overpass
across from our apartment complex. He had constructed a nice cozy
spot there and heated the whole thing with a candle. Soon after that
I attended a baptism or christening, I don’t remember which. It was
at the Macedonian Orthodox Church in East Columbus. I spotted all
those half-burnt blessing candles sitting in the sand tray by the
altar. Seemed such a waste to leave them there when T.C. could heat
his home with them. I asked the Priest if I could gather a few
blessing candles from the altar for T.C. and he told me I could.

That may have been in the year 1995. Dates are fuzzy in my brain
these days. The Big Bear is now a Giant Eagle grocery store.

 

Spare Some Change


Drunk PIrate

Drunk PIrate (Photo credit: OpenThreads)

 

 

 

This is a poem I wrote at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.

 

To listen to my first reading on SoundCloud—->  <click here>

 

 

 

spare some change

wish i had a drink right now…

seems like a good spot,
30,000 people crowded into a small square,
they got tents and heaters and oh God! all that food.

i get my plastic cup and sign out of my shopping cart
(i di’n’t steal it, a friend gave it to me, yeah)

it’s cold out here and i wish i had a drink right now…

“can you spare some change?” i say to the empty suit
trying so hard not to look my way,
you never know, once one of these empty suits
dropped a twenty in my cup.

i remember back before i lived under the overpass,
a long time ago, or so it seems,
on some goddamned desert, tanks burning in the sun,
we took a grenade and i shit my pants.

i’d shit my pants right now for a drink…

lots of signs being carried round this place,
will anybody see mine?
a bottle of wine is only $3.68 with tax
and i have a $1.42
but the Lord will provide.

that long-haired man has a five in his hand,
don’t look him in the eye,
don’t look him in the eye.

he doesn’t see me and walks past.

a couple quarters from some sweet young thing!
i didn’t even see her,
don’t look her in the eye,
don’t look her in the eye.

“thank you!” i mumble.

i’ll just push my cart to where the food is,
maybe somebody will see my sign,

God, i need a drink…

some young dude leaves a sandwich at my feet,
i knew it, the Lord does provide.

in high school, i was voted class optimist,
it serves me well right now, just about right now.

some odd change and a couple ones from a kind soul.

“buy yourself something to eat” they say.

don’t look them in the eye,
don’t look them in the eye.

“thanks!” (“don’t tell me how to spend my money!” i think to myself)

there’s a liquor store near the overpass,
i can go back home to my warm spot with my bottle
(if the cops haven’t taken down my boxes)
things don’t change much under the overpass.

i push my little world on up the street.
the Lord will provide, it’s a good day to be alive.

Agnew T. Pickens
URR 11.15.20..11

 

Black Gloves from Gumbytron


English: Raith Reservoir Looking along the dam...

English: Raith Reservoir Looking along the dam at Raith Reservoir. This popular fishing spot is managed by the Prestwick Angling Club. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Came home before 7 PM from visiting Pops in #Huckabuck today.  As I was turning in the driveway, I noticed two black gloves scattered on the road/highway in front of my mom’s house.  I parked in my spot in the driveway with the  #Hexacunt and went through the garage to check on my mom.

Mom said, “You know, I wanted to take a walk by the reservoir again today.”
I replied, “We still have daylight left if you wanna go, let me eat some of the green beans and potatoes you cooked for us and we can go.”

My mom went back to her computer solitaire and I went into the kitchen to get the #Lesho she had prepared the day before.  Parboiled green beans and potatoes drizzled in olive oil with a little salt and pepper that my mom had put in a plastic container in the fridge.  I ate it cold with two slices of #Kraft American Cheese, the individually wrapped slices have been one of my favorites ever since I can remember.

Today I am grateful for pasteurized cheese food product.

I ate in the office chair next to Mom’s play area, a TV and computer on a $100(worth?) pressed plastic wood desk.  As I ate, we chatted as she played her computer solitaire.  My mom is a great cook, always has been, I guess she learned from the best, her mother, Tereza, was the head cook for the nearby hospital in Post-WWII Zagreb.

As I write this, I hear Mom snoring on the couch in front of the TV that lulls her to sleep.

After finishing my repast, I went to put my plate in the sink.  I decided instead just to try to wash it.  The stitches in my left hand come out tomorrow but I still have trouble gripping stuff with my left hand.  I washed it anyway and put it in the dish rack to dry.  When I walked back in my mom’s office/playroom she was already looking for her jacket.  It was a beautiful late September evening and my mom wanted to walk by our town’s little upground reservoir again with her son.

I put the cigarette I was gonna smoke after my meal behind my ear and prepared for my walk.  Even though my car temp gauge said it was 27C, I knew sometimes that cold wind would sometimes blow across the reservoir so I put on my jacket.  As we were getting ready to head to the reservoir, my mom noticed her plastic green water pitcher, about half full and picked it up as we headed out the garage for our walk.

She watered a few of the plants in her little flower garden she has in the front yard of her white house that nobody ever seems to notice.  Hell, I’ve driven by it a couple times coming home myself.  She tells me about the deal she got on some Department Store hosta plants.  Mom loves hostas (sp.?), she has been growing them in her flower beds for years.

She mentions the two black gloves in the road in front of the house.  My mom walks pretty slow and the sun is setting quickly.  I say, “I’ll pick them up from the road when we get back from our walk, Mom.”

We get in her 2005 Caddy that she bought used from a local dealer.  She hates riding in the #Hexacunt because I hardly ever clean out the trash that seems to accumulate in my vehicle.  It’s a short drive to the reservoir.

She parked her blue Caddy in the gravel parking lot next to the boat ramp.  No gas motors.  As I got out of the #Cadillac, I looked over at the walking area and noticed two riders on horseback approaching the spot Mom decided to turn around the first time we walked the reservoir together.  Excited by the sight, I walked ahead, stepping easily over the low chain barrier on both sides of the boat ramp.  I turned back to look at Mom and she had lost one of her shoes trying to get over the chain that hangs about 10 inches.  (Note to self, Mom needs help getting over the barrier)

I put her shoe back on her left ankle, and we began to walk up the little gravel path.  I pointed out the two horseriders in the distance.  She said that some people nearby had horses and we started our walk.  “Mom, mind the landmines, remember people walk their dogs here.”

As we walked along, she commented, “Mike, I told you to remind me to wear an undershirt the next time we walk, you know I sweat last time we went for a walk.”  She pulled her shirt up to show me her pastel green undershirt.”

“Mom, I’m sorry, I forgot.”  We walked along the gravel path at Mom’s snail pace.  She has two titanium hips that make it difficult for her to walk.  The sun had already dipped below the horizon on the clear fall night.  I already had my #Pyramid cigarette lit and was smoking it as we walked and chatted.

Noticing a piece of plastic in the path, I stooped to pick it up to put in the plastic produce bag I had remembered to bring for pieces of litter that I would notice as we Mom and I would walk.  Mom chuckled.  About 20 feet down the path, she noticed a cigarette but that my eye had missed and I put it in my bag.  I noticed another about three feet away and put it in the bag as well.

I said, “You know, Mom, if I stopped to pick up every cigarette butt I notice when I walk this town, I’d go completely bonkers again and never get to where I need to go.”
Another chuckle.

As we continue our walk in the dimming light, my mom notes the lack of wind across the upground.  The first time we walked, a chilly wind blew from the North(?), cooling us as we walked.  Not tonight, I guess, not tonight.

We walked up the gravel path as I reminded her how I often noticed Chamomile growing in gravel paths like the one we were walking.  I remember Mom making me chamomile tea when I wasn’t feeling well as a child on Andover Road.  (Next year, #Gumbytron willing, I will look for the chamomile to grow along this same path)

Walking, talking, reminiscing in the dimming light my mom says, “Mike, what is that in the lake?  Is that a snake?”  I hadn’t looked at the water and I tried to see if I could spot what Mom had spotted.  There were two tiny objects bobbing in the water about 20 feet from the rip-rap shore.  Mom and I looked at them for a while and they were stationary, although one of the objects would dip below the still windless surface.

“Mom, they could be turtles.”  We walked on.

“Mike, where did the horses go?”  I looked up the path, but couldn’t spot them anywhere.

“Mom, I don’t know, I don’t see them anywhere.”  We looked around to see if there was anywhere they could have gotten out through the adjacent cornfield.  Neither of us could spot an opening in the fenceline as we walked.  We were nearing the area my mom had decided to turn around last time we had been at the lake and she said she wanted to walk a little further to look at the fishing spot the local had used the first time we had walked.

It was only about 20 yards ahead at the turn of the lake and I rushed to take a look myself, having completely forgotten about the fisherman that had passed us.  There was a small opening in the brush surrounding the upground.  A short descent to the rocky, rip-rap edge.

As Mom caught up to me, I turned and remarked, “There’s an opening but you know they have boulders around this lake.  It might be a little treacherous for you to get down to.  There’s probably a tree or something in the water at this spot, you know fish like structure.  That’s probably why the guy was fishing here.”

Satisfied, Mom and I turned back to head back to the Caddy.  Walking along we turned to look at the wetland to see if we could find where the horseriders had gone.  I pointed out what appeared to be a trail though the cat tails big enough for two horses.

Dusk had arrived so I told Mom to hurry up before it got too dark.  She pulled out her LED flashlight she had on her keychain and laughed, “How do you signal SOS?”
I laughed too.

“I forget, Mom, dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot or dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash.”  She laughed.

About halfway back to the car, I spotted Venus, the Evening Star and pointed it out to Mom.  As we looked at it, the two riders on horseback passed us along the edge of the lake.  We exchanged greetings and salutations with them and they crossed our path, heading up the grassy area where I suppose takes them back to their stable.

Reaching the chain barrier by the boat ramp, I rush ahead in the dim light to find the low spot so Mom can cross.  Mom steps slowly across the cobbles and I help her over the chain.  We get in her blue Deville and head back home.  As she drives the short ride home, she reminds me about the black gloves in the road.

“Mom, I didn’t forget.”

Mom pulls into the driveway and pops the garage door.  I tell her that I’ll go pick up the gloves from the road, one lying near the center line, one near the road’s edge.  The black Docker gloves I pick up both look brand new, not a mark on them.  Brand new.  I take them to Mom to show them to her and she says, “Try them on.”

“I’ll try one on with my good hand.”  Perfect fit.

I had been thinking about buying some gloves for the winter, I guess #Gumbytron delivers these days.  #Festivus approaches.

 

Angels walk among you.


English: Cloak of Conscience from the front

English: Cloak of Conscience from the front (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Angels, people, they walk the streets among you
and you don’t even know
That beggar on the street you gave a dollar to
made you feel so good, so right
you did your good deed
he cleared your conscience
and you walk away

you never see his face again
was he even really there?
do you remember his face?
did you even ask him his name?
did he thank you for letting him save your soul?

 

most likely so, most likely so

Listen to the SoundCloud here:  <click lick>

 

 

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