Saturday, August 26, 2006

Where Have They Gone?

Fading voices, smiles, and faces that have haunted over the years. The voices that echoed throughout the apartment during birthday parties and potluck dinners have disappeared, a casualty of time immortal.

Where have they gone?

The smiles that greeted at work or play have vanished as if by magic.

The mind plays tricks while walking down a busy Manhattan street or squeezing into a crowded subway car. Once familiar faces blend into a jigsaw puzzle of commuters.

The lines between coworkers and friendship were blurred, and soon thereafter socializing and sharing dreams felt natural.

E-mail and voicemail replaced personal contact, and eventually those placeholders ceased.

Where have they gone? Where are those who said they understood and shared my beliefs? I'm left to wonder if I said or did something offensive. I wonder if I didn't return her call soon enough, after she and her boyfriend fought. Or if I should've made an exception and trekked out to edge of Brooklyn more often to attend his dinner parties.

People come and go through the revolving doors of my life. Some people I'd hope would stay, while others won't go away.

How I wish life wasn't like a country song. Everyone has a tale to tell, and a warning to spread. Today is oftentimes better than yesterday and tomorrow.

Broken promises resonate as I flip through old photographs or try to find humor in a sitcom as laugh tracks pour through the stereo speakers. The photos can cut quicker and deeper than a Japanese sword if I stare too long. Poking fun at bad actors and actresses isn't the same without a trusted friend nearby.

Where have they gone? Perhaps those once thought of as friends have taken their leave of me and are now hanging out with Godot.

Perhaps southern hospitality and or naiveté are no longer appealing to the strays and orphans who once populated my life.

Searching in the darkness for the remote control to stop those sad country songs on the carousel CD player.

Time to shave the beard, wash my face, and remove the chains that jingle and jangle behind me as I haunt my past imperfect life.

There's no definitive answer to where they've gone. They've scattered to the four winds off Montauk Point, They've gotten married, had children, divorced, and returned to school.

Regardless of where they've gone, it's time to etch out a new path and reinvent myself, again.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

High Road or Axe To Grind?

To err is human, to forgive, divine.

I grew up in the South, and attended church regularly until I was sixteen years old, at which time I challenged the reason for going to a church where the first four or five pews on either side in the front were filled with hypocrites. These people sat near the pulpit and lectern, Bibles and colored highlighters in tow, waving their hands and praising Jesus and God, Amen and Preach On, rising in the sanctuary.

No sooner had the morning service ended, these upstanding Christians would stand just outside the church, smoking, flirting, and gossiping about church members and visitors.

I didn't like hypocrites back then, nor do I like or appreciate them as an adult.

I don't know if religious or secular hypocrites are more reviling. In a church or religious setting, we were taught to take the high road, turn the other cheek, love our enemies, even going so far as taking the shirt off our backs to clothe them.Oftentimes that's not realistic and requires patience, practices, and forgiveness.

In the heat of the moment, most people react and want to strike out, strike back at the person or people who has caused the pain. However, religious leaders, scholars, and parents advise us to walk away from the offending situation, take a deep breath, and regroup.

In recent weeks I have had to deal with an immature and unprofessional situation. Yes, I wanted to strike out, call upon God and my dead ancestors to rain down fire and brimstone, and even thought about consulting a santero or santera to do their best to rid me of the people who upset my apple cart.

Alas, I didn't consult the spiritual healer as much as I might have wanted. I didn't want to mess with mojo that involved colored candles, incense, and animal blood or bones. It was a temporary childish vengeful moment.

I am comforted knowing that God will take care of me and my enemies. I've turned over the situation to a Higher Power to deal with when and where He wants.