Tree of Penance

Forsaken, my flesh soaked in sin, I took a worn path that led me away from the world. I felt poisonous, no good to anyone. I deserted the world, as I felt it’d done to me. Reassuring myself that this was all a dream, I climbed over brush and pulled both thorn and weed from my being. The pain felt all too real, but I maintained the illusion. This had to be a dream. This could not be my life. This had to be a painful nightmare, something to shock me back to a lush reality full of happiness and bliss. The trees and brush cleared and I saw only grass for miles. I walked along the earth, with the wind to guide me, whispering over the empty field. Black clouds warned of impending doom.

Lo, I saw a tree standing alone in the distance. I came to it and saw ‘Tree of penance’ carved crooked through the bark. I rub my hand against the carving, rough lines etched into the wood; they illuminated crimson with my touch. The tree came apart before my eyes, suspended before me, extending its being to encompass my pain. The tree wrapped itself around me, covering my massive form to squeeze me inside. This is my penance. I look out unto the world, belonging to this tree, my only sanctuary. The world would be protected from me.

From this point, I became master of the universe. I saw everything and was within everything; for what I saw, the world knew that I was watching over them. They felt my touch within their lives. We were one, for this moment in time. I felt at peace with the cosmos and the world that made me this evil creature.

All that could ruin it was the divine fates. They ruin everything. A girl came creeping into this world, with a little red hood and a picnic basket, on her way to grandma’s house, no doubt. I had the memory, a thought that this could only be a dream. She came and knock on the tree and I refuse to answer. She entered anyway. I ran as fast as I could within the tree. Its bounds were unfathomable. Its dark recesses expanded beyond sight, beyond reason. She came, whispering her mantra that echoed within the dark world. “What big eyes… what big teeth?” I cried out for her to leave. I demanded it. The world let it be shown. This was my sin.

Splayed innards. Flesh and form sawed off from self. This is my sin. Another bloody demonstration of my purpose. Tree of penance could no longer protect me. It was time to move on.


A Pocky Lips

Sorry, I get inspired by weird things and have to write. It’s not exactly about my town, but just… feels right.

Today, I would like to take the time I have and consider how the end of this city would look. We can speculate all we want, because this is a gift for those that survive. We can say everything ends, because we don’t know what comes next. It can’t be a constant progression into time, because we’re not the ones who progress. Time goes on and on… we don’t. It has to end. There’s something and then there’s nothing. I’d love a philosophical debate, but in order for that to happen you have to have a belief. People act like you have to be smart to consider a philosophical discussion. That’s bullshit. Just open your mind. I accept that I don’t know a damn thing. I don’t know what happens after you die. What I know is that this is ‘something‘, which we call life. It could go on forever, but things have a way of ending, even as those around them continue. Everything passes. It’s a confusing thought to think that the world will move on without us. It seems to defy some basic law of physics, but there it is. History is proof that we are wrong. It’s passed on from great men like Albert Einstein and George Washington… why not a simple blogger?

I predict, for this city to end with a great and unremitting flood. It will have to be flood, because the river is a convenient tool I have for this prediction. The flood will have to be so rampant as to deter workers from making sense of any effort in cleaning up. The damage will have to be so severe as to wipe us off the map. We’ll become like Atlantis, submerged beyond salvation. They’ll see our monuments and shops buried under water, rotting steadily into the sea. Our bodies will float to the top and be pushed out into the oceans for lesser scavengers and carnivores to poke at for a while. Imagine if that wave recedes and pulls us out into the ocean. Imagine what force it would take to suck us out, to pull everything with it, to make our fair city disappear. Such a wave would have to be devastating. We’d have to get the equivalent of a years worth or rain from the Amazon to wipe us off so easily!

I imagine the Rensselear Rail Station nearly entirely submerged, with just the oval clock-tower at the top sticking out. Imagine the world we’ll leave behind. Imagine the force of the ocean to drag us out, scraping the land away, like a child’s fingers digging through sand. What purpose? Why would it hunger so much to see us dead? Who knows… maybe the ocean will reach such a volatile point of desalinization to no longer be able to control its urges. It’s all part of a natural cycle. The world does whatever it takes to destabilize itself. Better to lose one city that nobody knows instead of the world. In that respect, I think we can accept the sacrifice. It’s bitter, certainly, but I can’t think of being selfish and letting the world die, just for us.

That’s my prediction… I have no time table. I’d like to see it in my time, but who has a say in such a thing? We’d be like a modern day Pompeii, with the world wondering how things could go so wrong? Maybe they’d take a look at the cataclysm and realize they have to make a change. They’d preserve our fair city as a sanctuary to nature. It would become overgrown, like the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Animals, besides humans, would thrive, as well as beautiful vegetation, moss, trees, insects, wild beasts of myth and legend. In our darkest hour, life reasserts itself. It doesn’t take the form you want, but the form you need. We can only hope that it reveals itself and for us, we come to accept the expression on its face.

Pompeii – 2016 A.D.


Hudson River, Albany, NY.

I’m only sharing this, because I’m fascinated.


If anyone knows more about things like this happening in our time or closer, please don’t be afraid to share. It talks about a cloud of CO2 that comes up from a lake and kills 1,746 people. There were myths about the lake that spoke of a great evil that claimed many lives. I like that. I’m warped, but I like that. I’ve imagined the same type of scenario for my city. I’m not a prophet, don’t think I have those allusions of grandeur. I see the possibility of us being erased from the planet. I mean… with the world always seeming to balance itself on the precipice of order and chaos, who wouldn’t try to predict our end?

I see our city ending in flood. There are cricks that extend around us, through us, which all matters because of the river. One day, it’ll come through flood. Depressing, but these things happen. This has been fun… not depressing at all. I just enjoy sharing with you all!

Wild Ogre Nether Regions


An ogre drawing from WOW… not actual footage of ‘Wild Bill’.

“…and then, one day you find ten years have got behind you

no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…”

-Pink Floyd (Time)

Many a man makes himself into an ogre. Many a man is made into an ogre. Wild Bill followed the whims of every want and desire. He was a massive creature. He couldn’t be denied even if a person wanted. He couldn’t be put in his place. He could steal, bully and pillage all he wanted. He could eat and seemingly never be filled. His body was a landmine of desires, a vast pit that never became full. Wild Bill took all he could from life, until life finally stole some things from him. It chipped away at his youth. With that, his health followed. It always seems like a freak occurrence, when time stops you, when you have so much momentum you feel like you can go on forever. Wild Bill, set in his ogre ways, after many years, finally had to slow down.

I first met Wild Bill while walking through my city as a boy many years ago. He wore a pair of blue jean shorts and nothing else. He walked out of his front door with an angry, defensive look on his face, as I and a friend walked by. We’d done nothing to offend, but the Wild Ogres are so easily startled and often eager to fight. He’d look for any reason. it was important for my friend and I to maintain a safe distance, while keeping our eyes down. Wild Bill continued to stare. We could feel his hungry gaze. We waited for the words, ‘Fee, fie, foe, fum,’ to erupt from the ogre’s mighty belly, but that never happened. He just kept staring. He had a round stomach that hung out several inches from the rest of his lengthy body, which made it awkward to categorize, since he didn’t technically seem fat. Even after we were half a block away, the mighty ogre prepared as if to defend his hovel. My friend finally broke and had to look back. The ogre roared and we ran for our lives. That was many years ago.

The other time I came across the powerful ogre was when he was drunk at a local watering hole. I was much older by this point and he saw me not as a threat, but close enough to be… not a friend, but more a friendly acquaintance. He pulled me in for a rough hug. He had at least a foot on me and probably around a hundred pounds. I could feel his rounded gut, hard, pressing against me. He downed a mug of something, as if it were water, before slamming his palm against the counter for more. The table rattled under his weight, such a powerful creature. In no time at all, the ogre’s anger got the best of him. He ended up fighting someone out in the parking lot, being pulled away by three men, no less, before walking home alone. His anger, as it goes with most ogres, is the dominant emotion and always got the better of him.

Rage defined him. It could’ve been joy, although that emotion took many more years to set inside his heart. It started with a simple ‘hello’ and a wave from his porch. It ended with him running out in the middle of the street for me. It took everything for me to fight the urge to flee. He stopped me and put his hand on my shoulder. He knew me or remembered me somehow. We talked a little about things I knew nothing about. He wanted to talk some about himself and I didn’t mind. He was manifesting a friendlier nature and, although I found it surprising, I was in awe and had to respect it. When we both got older, me and Wild Bill, it was like we were both learning more about him. He was seeing himself in a different light, one never exposed in his volatile childhood days. He talked most of the time. I never got a word in anyway, but never wanted to interrupt him His stream of consciousness I found fascinating. He was digging for something and uprooting wisdoms inside himself that he thought ancestral, sacred, ineluctable. He couldn’t touch them, until now. I was uncovering buried treasures in his memory.

For years, his personality worked in a limited sense, which made him an outsider. He could be friendly around other ogres, but to others he made remarks that offended and bruised. He always said such things as jokes, although they were often personal. He could be boorish and rude. He was crass, vulgar. He was a slob. Women were his one true passion, but far from respecting them, he tried to use them as much as he could. He used them up like tissues and discarded them the same. He didn’t know how to maintain such a trivial, intricate relationship. Sex was easier for him, because it was a simple answer to a simple desire. Love and affection were far too complicated.

The last time I saw Wild Bill, proud Ogre of the Nether Regions, he wasn’t the same. Life caught up to him in its brutal fashion. It put him through hell. He’d been dealing with several rounds of chemo after an emergency visit to the hospital. He could’ve died right then, but his body was still strong in ways that most of us can’t imagine. He fought tumors and kidney failure, all to return to this life. Something changed in him. We talked for a while outside of one of the fine local establishments. A friend of his was being told to leave, because he came to the store without wearing a shirt. Wild Bill pulled the shirt right off his back and tossed it to him. The friend laughed and told him not to worry about it. Wild Bill had this grin, somber, silent… humble. It’s something of an evolutionary masterpiece. Amidst the anger of his youth, fighting to validate himself in this awful, wretched existence, his spirit found a way to manifest humility and kindness.

He’s an old man now. Humility’s what you have to look forward to after just a few decades on this earth. Humility is ugly and necessary. It’s the ability to beg, “Dear God, give me this one moment to go back and fix everything” and then knowing that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean your prayers weren’t answered. You’ll never go back in time. You’re stuck here with us mortals in the present. It’s a beautiful thing. I like to think Wild Bill learned that, even if it came to him as the harshest lesson possible. Humility: he wouldn’t take anything for granted.

Fallujah of Upstate NY

In a small town it’s easy to feel like a king. You feel like you can take on the world. It’s when you leave it behind that you feel weak. You feel like a rat in a maze. You wait for the world to come crashing down on you. You feel the need to retreat and wish to hide in the place you’ve known all your life. When you return, maybe you feel like you hate this place, but you’re the king. You can’t leave this behind. This place blesses you with a god-like power. Who could ignore such a gift?

If you’re born in a small-town, you’re untouchable. Rest assured, it’s not unbreakable. It’s ‘untouchable’. No one can mess with you, except for the people you’ve known all your life. It’s this ‘us against the world’ mentality that makes people in a small town so close. Despite the torment we might subject on one another, no one enters this place and messes with one of our own.

Along the same thought, no one tells us how to live. We’re left alone, because outsiders have no right to tell us how to handle our issues. Even so, it’s not really worth it for them to get involved. It would just create a greater mess. Imagine you see a busted bee hive laying on the ground, with its insides torn out for the world to see. Your first thought is never to fix it. You think in preservation: stay away! No matter what, you keep your distance. Those bees are learning how to function in a broken world. This is all they know. They’ve grown accustomed to the new ins and outs of their hive and no one in the world can tell them something different.

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say you drop your keys in the middle of that mess. Do you dare take back your keys? If you do, run like hell.

You don’t stick your hand into a bee hive, because we have something so special that we fight for… everything we’ve ever known. We know nothing beyond this ancestral wisdom, so to us, it means that much more. If the world comes crashing down on us, it would be easy enough to erase our existence, but none of that matters. The point is, we have no other alternative but to fight. I call it ‘Fallujah of Upstate New York’, although I’ve never been to Fallujah. It just makes me think of an ancient, patriarchal society. I think of one old man kept in charge by culture and tradition, who the others gather around, sworn to protect. They protect him, because that’s all they know. They gather by the fire at night, circling around him, as he tells stories of times past, legends of their people, solidifying their faith and bondage. They’re bound to each other. It’s something so pure it has to be diluted. It takes us back to the time when men were wolves and we hunted in packs. The more things change the more they stay the same.

One of the unmeasured consequences of the fundamentalism that’s spread throughout the Middle East is the desecration and imminent destruction of ancient cultures. The patriarchy is under attack. ISIS wiped out Palmyra. The old ways are gone. There’s no more reflecting on the days of old. The families have been destroyed; the women, wives and daughters have been sold into sexual servitude, while the men are killed. Humanity is more atavistic than our ‘high-culture’ and philosophies make us appear. Hernando Cortes erased the Aztecs with such precision historians didn’t find a trace of their culture for centuries.

It’s like if a new male lion walks onto the Sahara. If he wins, he has to kill the fathers, uncles, sons. He has to impregnate the women. He has to piss everywhere and leave his deplorable stink.

I can’t compare my city to a beehive, although it is fitting. I also can’t justifiably compare it to Fallujah, since I’ve never been. By simple juxtaposition, I picture some ancestral patriarchy, with the ‘pack-leader’ or eldest male at the head of the tribe. He governs and teaches and everyone obeys. Everyone has a role in this system, although beneath him; they function and belong and nothing changes. Nothing ever changes. It’s a god-like power. Maybe there’s not a man in the world that deserves it. We’re  confined to an area the equivalent of a sardine can. We keep it to ourselves, because it’s all we have. No doubt, one of the neighboring cities will invade, not unlike ISIS in Palmyra, and then crush us like bugs. We haven’t the numbers to defeat them. It’s only a matter of time before this great protective bubble around us pops. ISIS is coming from Upstate New York and they want to erase our culture.

Del Cid

Solar corona above statue of El Cid SF CA.jpgThere was a story I remember reading in school about El Cid, who challenged the  Muslims who invaded Spain. He held a minor territory for a while, but still, he was a great leader. You hear these stories all the time if you look through the history books, but not many people apply them to their everyday lives. I’ve always wondered how many of these great warriors exist in our time that have gone undocumented and thus, die without their proper glory. It’s tough, when the world around us seems settled, no longer wild and without form. Ancient cultures seemed to fluctuate between rulers, with eager warlords rushing to rape and pillage, slaughter and sunder, to lay claim, plant their seed and have their name spread across the world. I think of the fall of the Byzantine Empire. One of the great structures, the Hagia Sophia epitomized that time, but then, when the Vikings invaded… someone wrote his name on it and it’s remained their to this day. Now, it’s history and no one cares; it’s as significant of the time as the structure itself. A great warrior left his mark; the world passes his name, posing with it for pictures. That’s the dream of every warrior, every madman and zealot. Every person struggles to be significant.

Del Cid didn’t think to be remembered, although a lot that he did was quite memorable. I once saw him fight through a broken nose. He just didn’t stop. There must’ve been a trigger in his mind, an impulse, an instinct, if you will, that pushed him through it. It told him to fight and that was what he did; it was all he knew. Stopping and tending to his bloody, crooked nose never occurred to him. It was disgusting to the rest of us, seeing his busted nose slanting against his bloodied face, but he didn’t seem to even notice the pain. I swear I caught his nose moving left and right, as he scrambled through the influx of pain and adrenaline. He fought so hard, if only to ensure that the other guy looked the same, felt his pain, understood the suffering that he’d endured. It was all about proving your toughness, proving who you are and what made you a force to be reckoned.

He wasn’t exactly a drug dealer. Del Cid was the guy the drug dealer calls to collect. He didn’t like to fight most of those guys or so he said, although he did enjoy his ‘tough guy’ persona. He liked a challenge. He told me that he didn’t like having a gun on him, because it took the fun out of it. One time, a guy tried to fight his way out of the apartment and Del Cid was forced to pummel him. He had two of his friends with him. Del Cid took care of them all, but he forgot to bring the money. The man came by a few hours later with the money. It just didn’t occur to Del Cid that this was about the money. He didn’t care. This wasn’t his job; it was his way of life and he loved it.

Del Cid didn’t last long in high school. I had nothing in common with Del Cid, excluding belonging to this fair city. I respected him, because I held an illusion for what he could be. Great men don’t come so often, especially in this city. I wanted to believe that things could get better. Del Cid ended up in jail. A funny thing happened when he went away. Everyone in his inner circle did the same. They disappeared. The glue that held them together dissolved in no time. Most found their place with other, lesser Del Cids.

In understanding a man like Del Cid, it’s important to examine more than his actions, but those that surrounded him. His father, an alcoholic, impregnated his mother five times, Del Cid being second oldest, before leaving and doing the same thing with another woman. He came back every so often, but it always ended in a fight with either Del Cid or someone else. The brothers fought all the time, if not out of anger, then just as a means to maintain the delicate hierarchy alongside their mother. Del Cid learned to fight in his own home, how to assert dominance and claim his place. It’s not exactly Spain or Hagia Sophia or even Sparta, but it still seems significant.

The Pigeon Man

Crossing the river, I say a prayer to Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed. He is our protector, blessed be his name. The sun is nearing its highest point; not a cloud in the sky to impede its progress. We’ll measure its zenith, as well as its decline. Not many are blessed with such an opportunity, to know the rise and fall. Many experience one or the other.Crossing the river, your soul drifts, as the dark spirits that inhabit the underworld find the bridge to be a vulnerable point in reality, to prod and poke and pull unwary souls to their doom. Praying to Kama, in the least, provides us with solace. Blessed is his name.

There’s something you give up once you’ve become this person. There’s something you give up when you’re no longer considered a human being. Whether you have a say in it, I’ve not the wisdom to share. I’ve never reached that pivotal point of desperation. I’ve never been pushed over the edge by whatever unremitting force it is that can make a man into… not a monster, just something society would want to hide.

Society wants to hide from him, but I can’t… for whatever reason, I see him. I wonder if it’s a ploy of some schizophrenic tendency in my mind; the onset of dementia, but as I make my way up State Street, a long slanting hill, I notice a man, obviously homeless, with his back resting against a glass bus stop, roughly six feet wide. I notice at least six people on the other side of the structure, each either looking at their cell phones or wearing headphones. They sway to the sounds that echo in their minds. I see one man wearing a red sweater, bobbing his head. He peeks back to see ‘the Pigeon Man’, if only out of curiosity, but he seems less than interested. People pass us by. Some don’t even bother to look.

We talk about joining together in unity, about life being this ‘utmost significant’… thing, but these are just rhymes to keep us sane. We recite them, like cold mantras to ward off evil spirits. Dare we stop and take a look around us? To what end? It’s a cold world we live in, even with the temperature rising every day. Global warming’s another myth, just like Sasquatch and the female orgasm. Have you heard the one about the Pigeon Man? He turned out to be a black hole! Same myth as any other: insert implausible, undeniable truth that the mind can’t wrap itself around and keep the world busy for a while. People are black holes. If I put my hand out to this man I’ll be lost forever. Stephen Hawking says that’s a myth now too. Lying cunt. If I put my hand out I’ll never escape.

I watch the man feed several pigeons from a lunch bag sitting among the ruins and wreckage of whatever consists of his life. I wasn’t thinking it at the time, but why in the hell did he have the food for the pigeons… enough to feed them and not bother with himself? It isn’t laziness that makes a man homeless, but madness. Dementia, fringe searing thought forms that chew away at the mind. They can start in the back of the mind; call it anxiety, PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, but eventually they destroy even the greatest of us. Muhammad Ali. Ernest Hemingway. Me, probably.

I make my way up the hill, venturing towards Madison Ave, towards what’s supposed to be the ‘Tulip Fest’. I’ve never been, though I have no interest in seeing a bunch of flowers. It’s fun to see people, so I make the journey. I walk along the cracked pavement running between the roads and the sidewalks, until I reach the ‘State Plaza’. It’s a long grey stretch of land crafted by people who think that grey is the color of the world. Black and white, perhaps it’s a statement. Albany is the ‘greyest little city in the world’, with a number of state offices outlying, in-lying, lying every which way. There’s a call for startups, in hopes to bring fresh enterprise and perhaps a change to the malaise of grey fog, but who can tell what the future holds. There’s always talk of change, of making things better, but maybe we’re just doomed to remain within the fog. I walk through the grey, thinking of Tartarus in Greek lore. I think of things malformed, undigested bits of reality, not quite hell, but a world absent of the will to make this into heaven. I look passed ‘The Egg’, a big, grey, oval shaped structure for great artists to perform. If you look passed you’re blessed with quite the view of my home. The land stretches out from this point and Tartarus doesn’t so much ‘frame’ the view, but pull it in. This is the nexus of the universe and everything around us is being pulled in, consumed, like a black hole. All that I behold is my kingdom.

I have yet to claim it. I never will.

I walk along the fountain, which stretches most of the way from Washington St, to Madison Ave. It’s a reflecting pool, for our people to take time out of their days and stare at their most intimate self. See yourself, just to remember that you’re real and what you’re enduring is not a dream, as in any other rendition of Tartarus. Physicists claim that this world might be a reflection. Lying cunts. I see reflections all around me… lying cunts. I see myself as a boy running as fast as I can around the reflecting pool. I have no idea why I ran. I just did, because I was a kid and had so much energy. I see myself years down the road… too old for running… too old for walking. I sit and think of all that I’ve seen in my life. I think of myself, as the Pigeon Man. There’s nothing left to run for, so I sit and feed the pigeons. Rot of the brain is getting the best of me. I forget where I am. I’m at the reflecting pool. I go towards Madison Ave.

I’m not too far from my destination, but I already hear music. The music is a group of college-age ‘kids’ sitting on a stoop listening to a rapper I’ve never heard. My first thought is that I didn’t know people still sat out on their stoops and used their radios. Then, I feel the first sting of old age, not that I’m THAT old, just beyond that point where age no longer matters. I’m lost, taken, again, by the grip of that black hole. I pass them without a glance, as they shout every word of the song, cheering, as if they’d hoped to share this moment forever. Duality hits again and I remember acting the same way at their age. Something about that one song that brings everyone together. I can’t even remember the song. It’s beyond that black hole, yet its significance to my story remains.

I continue, noticing a crowd of people herding together at the corner, walking in packs into the park. Washington Park is flooded with people and vendors and booths for assorted goods. Artists have assembled, hoping to pedal their wares, enjoying the sunny day in the park. I hate the herding. We walk along the path. So many black holes grouped together is always cause for a cataclysmic, time-altering event and I want no part of it. There’s so much room along the grass, but we can’t go there. Vendors set up wires and tents and things to keep us trapped. We’re trapped like rats. I make a turn and walk through the maze of wires, hearing someone saying something, but I’m too far gone. I have to escape the herd. Crossing the jungle of wires, I see people laying out on blankets in the grass. I feel more relaxed. I see the tulips decorated for the occasion. I see bright purples and blues. Nothing grey about this place. Even the fountain in the middle, no grey, just faded after years of erosion. I see a beautiful girl in a sundress that passes me by. For a moment, we can stare, sharing in some moment that will go untold, unseen, in the back of our minds for as long as eternity holds itself together. SO insignificant, as it drags itself out; the will they, won’t they, as it stretches beyond the point of no return. We share that glance into each other’s eyes, the most intimate point we can reach, seeing something beautiful and sinister in our souls, before it’s gone.

I leave the park. I pass the ‘stoop kids’ and go back through the grey world of Tartarus. I walk passed the Pigeon Man. He’s asleep behind the bus stop. People sit on the other side, different people, still on their phones. I stop, seeing him, but even the pigeons have left him. What is the world? Black holes all around me. I can’t wait here too long. Down the hill I go. There’s a homeless woman sitting at the crossing, where the highway becomes the city. She sits on the corner. The cars wait at a red light, seeing her with her sign. It’s a clever marketing ploy. I see her around five o’clock every day. She waits for the traffic to pick up, when everyone’s leaving work. It’s like Pavlov’s dog… that sort of thing. She sits on a bucket next to her rusted metal cart, full of blankets and loose bottles. She doesn’t look at me, as I walk passed, but I notice a marble composition notebook sitting on top of the pile in her cart. It throws me off for a moment, but I continue along. Why the hell does she have a notebook? Is she keeping tabs on how many people stop, per car? Is she writing a manifesto about her life? Is she thinking up stocks to invest in, per dollar made today, minus overhead costs for the cart, rags, dementia and various dangers of the city?

I guess I’ll never know.

I cross over, saying a prayer to Kama, as I make my way along the bridge. I look down on the Hudson River, seeing its horizon far along and out of sight. I make my way home. I’m left with so many questions, but nobody ever said they need to be answered. What significance answering so many questions could bring to my life? If you never try you never know. Then, again, sometimes it’s just having that question that seems to keep you together. I find a soft patch of grass and rest. All I see is cloud.

Cyrrhus the Great

When I first met Cyrrhus the Great, we were both in high school. We were around the same grade, although he’d been held back. He was around six foot five inches tall and had the body of a college athlete. He was naturally inclined to dominate in every sport and he did so without difficulty. I say ‘without difficulty’, but the only issue for him was with maturity. He could dunk without a problem; he could run faster than anyone on the field and snatch the ball out of the sky before the defender knew what was happening, but he just couldn’t keep from getting into trouble.

He performed tremendous feats of strength that if we hadn’t seen no one would believe. He infected several girls with STDs. He performed crude acts of attrition to impress his peers. He got several girls pregnant before escaping his twenties. Smoked a lot of weed… not that it’s an indicator of character, it’s just nobody talks about the effects it has on a person who’s looking to escape. It provides it sometimes with such efficiency that they get lost in their own hangups.

I don’t know where he is now… time can do a lot to a person. It can change you, but nobody discusses what happens when people stay the same. They never change, clinging to dreams from which they never wake up. I hope, for his sake it did something better. Sometimes, even if a person appears to be blessed, it ends up a curse. Cursed with so much potential, we think Cyrrhus the Great was predisposed to squander it all. I think he never knew what to do.

I wasn’t able to see it in then, but looking back I can count the sorrow on his face. I notice his youthful, dull, unresponsive eyes. We were all immature, but his was willful. There was a bright person under that guise of insignificance. He has not the wherewithal to deny the pressure created by his friends; he has many, because he’s athletic and funny and says everything they want to hear. Like the sun, they gravitate to him. Like the sun, those around him keep him in place. He remains grounded, when he should be lifted, pushed out into the cosmos to drift beyond eternity. Instead, here he stays. Because he seemed ‘Great’, we assume he’s immune to this infection. We made ourselves believe that he was something more. Looking back, it becomes hard to tell which of us was the bigger fool.

Life of Theodore Grubb

Theodore Grubb or “Theo”, wasn’t a particularly significant person. He wasn’t handsome. He wasn’t smart, kind or endearing in any way. He wasn’t a man that others sought out. He hovered in crowds, lurking and gawking, uncomfortable in his skin. He sought out others who were as insignificant as him. They wouldn’t notice his uselessness to the group, because they all hid the same secret.They postured and flexed, swore to sound cool, smoked anything, did any drug, fought those deemed weaker, ignored every rule. In my time, I thought their disrespect for all things to be their greatest asset, but this is all wrong. It’s their insignificance. I couldn’t see it at such a young age and perhaps neither could they, but their lack of importance to the world around them came to define their nature. They had to act as if they belonged, even if it meant not belonging. They acted like ‘bad-guys’, because a hero needs a villain. They weren’t villains. Theodore Grubb was an insignificant punk.


He stood for something else. He stood for nothing, but in the most vapid sense. His emptiness and the emptiness of those around him held them together, like a circle of black hole pulling each other together. They would destroy each other all the same, wrapping one another in their bullshit. Even a comparison to a black hole is too grandiose for Theodore Grubb. Theo was more like a flushed toilet dragging others down the drain. His pants sagged, drooping to show his unkempt boxers, although his shirts were always two sizes too big. He hunched over when he walked, bobbing back and forth, never to fall. Never, in his useless life, did he perform a good deed. He never did anything good for himself or anyone else. He just was. Theo Grubb floated through life, as if upon a breeze. He never left this city. He drifts from bar to bar, begging for change, asking for a certain kindness from strangers, a kindness for which he never offered anyone else.

Others didn’t think much about him, because they understood him so well. His every thought became transparent after a time. You knew he was going to act like a fool. There was no thought behind any of his actions. He was a slave to his identity. He had to act out for attention. It only got worse when he got older. One day, he challenged a kid to a fight outside the bar. He just said it, as if it were nothing. The child ignored him and drove off on his bicycle without a second glance. So it goes with such an identity. You’re forced to hold on to it for the entirety of this journey.

No one else offered any attention his way, because they’d become immune. Looking closer, I see that he wanted us to believe, even if he didn’t know, his actions were just rambling chaos inside his mind. It was something I’ve never heard of, although I’ve seen it more than once in my life. His strength presented itself within his irrevocable insignificance. Some survival instincts formed over centuries, but this is something new. Creatures under the guise of humans becoming insignificant and hollow to survive. The world can be a terrifying place, especially when you come from a small town. Branching out, moving on, growing up can be a fearful endeavor. Who among us can say they haven’t felt that fear? He accepted insignificance, instead of his destiny. Maybe, again, insignificance was meant for Theodore Grubb, if only as a cautionary tale. Theodore Grubb never escaped the vortex. He died in the womb, like an unborn child. Collapsing into his own insignificance… Theodore Grubb never returned.

Epidemic Infrastructure

Not about my town, but more about every town in this country. There’s a widespread epidemic of abandoned buildings that have no use and in this new age is the opportunity to change the purpose behind them. It’s time to get creative.

The epidemic in this country is the infrastructure and it’s about time we found a cure.


Ghost Boxes: Reusing Abandoned Big-Box Superstores Across America