He held the regrets of his life close to his heart for the most part. The question was never asked, “If you were tried, would you have been convicted?” It was one of those questions that really made the water clear or kept it that cream filled coffee murky. His answer would have been a definite, “No” said through his thick dry, cracked lips followed by a brush of his tongue for the sake of a contemplative ending. “Would you have been convicted”, not for any crime really, but more for the person he either was, or the person he professed to be. A clear difference from the shiny silver rainbow trout scales to the white subtle underbelly of vulnerability.  A firm, “No”, clearly a, “No, not ever”, and why was that? What made the idea of a conviction to a cause or better a conviction to the making of self so difficult to own. 

And here it was some years later and things had begun the wind down to a inevitable end. What really had mattered ten years ago was now incidental, pretty unimportant. Now it was the five blood pressure meds, and the other sixteen pills a day that took the stage. Yet he still carried the book, still said the words, still rolled his eyes when any statement wasn’t in line with the book, still couldn’t explain the teaching, yet made certain I knew it was important stuff; that it was the “TRUTH”….

I used to be all fucked up on drugs, now I’m all fucked up on Jesus

I once watched a raccoon drowned a dog. It was very systematic and calculated. The raccoon swam into the lake trying to avoid the dog who was driven entirely by nature, (This dog truly would have been convicted of the crime). Once a safe distance away, the raccoon floated, rested, hoping the distance and water made him safe. The dog, a tan sort of retriever, hound cross ran back  and forth on a ten foot swatch of beach, eyes fixated on this grayish lump floating some 35 yards away. Instinct prevailed and the dog went into the water, swimming the direction of the raccoon. The people who owned the dog seemed to favor this and appeared to think this was just another day in the life of a dog. As the dog got within about sixteen inches of the raccoon, the raccoon sprang onto the dog’s head, fixed himself in place and pushed the dog’s head just beneath the surface enough so where dogs head was now a small island for the raccoon to stand on. where the dog went the raccoon went as well. A couple of small splashes of water on the surface, nothing more, the entire struggle lasted but a couple of minutes. The owners were shouting, throwing stones and sticks, the husband entered the water but the drop off was quick and deep,  his physique defined he would never have been convicted of being a swimmer. 

The struggle over, the raccoon dismounted, swam towards the opposite shore, the dog floated lifeless on the surface, a canvas colored bag with no place to go . The husband was now swearing, saying he was gong to kill that fucking raccoon, his wife, her hands covering her mouth and sobbing quietly.

 A Sunday at the lake turned into an event they’d wear like skin for a time. Each a convict of sorts…

We have coffee every now and again, and I never ask what he regrets, he’’ll often tell me between conversations on Existentialism, writing, women, and planning lunch for the next Saturday. 

There’s no harm in being convicted for just living…. 


Their Lives Now

A day old Bakery offers, a day old price for a day old loaf of bread; and he wondered how he found himself on the steps of, “Day Old”, when it was so far away once, so far away. And he’d never planned for his day, nor did he ever think or know a day like today existed. Yet here he was, sixty something, his ability to navigate was good but no longer keen, his sense of what could be still remain but lacked the edge it once had, the sharpness needed to cut through the cardboard life he had created. 

And she, well she was no different. She could be mistaken for a once upon a time, movie star or celebrity when she wore those big gold sunglasses with the mirrored lenses. Her walk sort of said she’d done something, but each step was really a close association to the one who really did the somethings, and it was always her story that mattered. The story that would shatter the mold for the volume of material within. 

There was an interesting disease that sat at either side of the magnet, one that pushed and pulled, rejected and accepted that which wanted the exact opposite of what it was initiating. Sort of a bad idea with some small redeeming results that with enough lights and enough decoration could be called spectacular, for a time. Then it would be the feel of cold linoleum floors, a tighter space that with shorter ceilings and a views of gray skies and withered morning glory vines, for the winter. 

And they’d recall their close calls, their stories that were the almost’s, the many times they stood at the different steps of other things and places that filled the tiny pores of their souls enough to convince them they’d at least tried; they’d had ok lives, no regrets.

like a loaf of bread, wrapped in a moist towel, nestled in the bread box, waiting. 


His bottom lip always reached for the coffee cup with slight anticipatory slurping sound. Surely it was getting enough moisture on his lip to create a buffer between the scalding feel of the cup and the soft pink of the inside of the lip. It rarely worked as He’d liked. They were not whole hearted truths, yet drops of something in the bucket of imagination that slowly filled to form a life perceived, yeah, that was it, a life perceived; that when poured slowly from into the bottle, looked like a life of where ever the conversation happen to be spending more time along the words. Small little bits of contribution that continued yea ole snowball, rolling down hill. It was a skill, well honed, well oiled and very well cloaked, after all, he’d lived this life, dipping from the other life bucket, his entire life. Perhaps there were needs that had never been met, were not currently getting met or maybe it was just plain insecurity, but what ever it was, he wore it like a well fitting suit. Of course there were studies, using words like, “Habitual” and “Compulsive”, sometimes even “Pathological”, he himself used those words often in conversation, those same conversations where the words had a spicy, razor sharp presence as each glistened like dew on a web. To him, there was a real comfort in, “fitting in”, having an answer for any question that might be asked or at least a contributory experience to show some degree of camaraderie bordering on the empathetic. Now that was a new twist, “Empathy”, the simple task of understanding and sharing the feelings of others, even if it meant neither one, yet appeared to encompass both like a mother huddles frightened children close. 

Most of us are made not born. The question then becomes why’d they make him this way and not another? Intention, don’t think so, more a skeletal, unconscious plan to move from day to day with the least amount of drag at any given moment. So in some way, this is an explanation, a statement of reason for a simple conversation that could remain simple or with the “Made” elements attached begins developing a bird’s nest of fishing line one that may spend a life time unraveling.


Rose to Hip

It is a shame some times when the bloom has and replaced by a flower. A once beautiful strand of orchids, one begins its wrinkle, turn inward and the vibrancy all but vacant. The indicators of that death become so apparent that unless removed, the beauty of the other flowers is lost on the focus of the most prominent, the demise, losing life’s struggle

She was one of those, those women who had fallen in love with the style, rather than the lifestyle. The style is nothing more than the trappings that give an impression of the landscape, the people, the colors of the high desert. Some sense of association by design rather than by soul or a scratch of the soul.

Santa Fe, the city different, she either is, she is not, or she is faking it to appear to be in the, “Is” bracket. When in that bracket, she finds the peasantry of life at a price far exceeding the ability of the living peasant. It cost a great deal of money to look bohemian when bohemian is not in her zip code or close. But, with the right look, she can float somewhere near the painters, the artists, those living a bit more on the edge than she can tolerate for any length of time more than a couple of hours at an art show in some back street warehouse with no heat in December.  A coyote jacket, a vintage Carrico lake turquoise bracelet, Tommy Singer squash blossom, that she calls, ‘ That old piece”, and a Loloma ring, from the cover of AZ highways 1970 something issue. Her handmade boots and Navajo style velvet shirt studded with silver conchos, she is. 

And those dreams of the gallery, in that town, that she just loves to visit on the weekends with her kids. That place that she fears walking down the street in the dark, because, “Ive seen some pretty sketchy people here before.”, and yes, those, “sketchy people”, occupy the daylight hours as well, That place where her spirit caves, where her struggle for her new age attitude is dissolved before her eyes because it requires truth. Truth,  she has failed miserably at perusing, because she’s just a little to afraid, uncertain of her art. Her family says its good, she sold a piece to one of her friends who has a friend on Canyon Road who owns an art gallery who liked it. But still…

She is the of model of the Santa Fe, I never have cared for, nor ever will. So next Christmas Eve, when you do the traditional, “Farrolita Walk” on Canyon Road, you can’t miss her. She’s the one that looks like she belongs there the least yet is trying the most to just be a part of something that is easy….



The alarm never rang…he was a hundred 50 miles down the road by the time she woke..she had convinced herself…he’d be back by noon…then 3…then surely by six for supper…maybe he’d stopped by to see Dale…sure that was it…she’d find him on the couch tomorrow morning…she combed her hair out…washed her face…smiled at her reflection and knew….it was just another day in Pair O Dice…


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There was a large sliver of a broken cup on the yellow checkered linoleum floor…his front tooth was lying there next to a few drops of his blood…she’d been singing”C’mon boots…start walking”…that was Nancy Sinatra he said out loud…she didn’t answer


We called it a lake…but only because when the one summer torrential rain that would last 8 minutes…would fill the large uneven dip in the grass …did the water stay for an afternoon….and they would lie in the cool grass…beach towels and loud music…glasses that clinked with ice…and white bikinis…it seemed like stale bread to me…to young to know what I needed to know…and too old to play dumb…she insisted on being called Katherine…and spoke with a British accent…I always stared at her white bikini crouch…wondering more than listening…thinking more than answering….I guess it was a circus down there…or at least that’s what the older boys Kenny named the ‘Dreamers’ would call it…they smelled of rose oil and pomade…had the patchy Clearasil skin…with the few whiskers my father called frost on piles of horse shit…and they drank that white hearse vodka…behind the truck stop there at the interstate….and them hookers would wink on their way to business…say things like…”When you’re not a cherry”…I’d blush…I still called them ma’ma…looked down there…towards my feet a good bit…thinking maybe the right words would somehow show up there in the red dirt parking lot…but I guess it didn’t matter…but everything seemed to then…

I was there…in the back of the Rambler with one of three old men driving across the bridge at Zaragosa…for a weekly haircut…really it was a quick look at the fat woman’s tits that shaved their faces…and trimmed their bald heads….he’d always grab me by the shoulder…press his fingers hard to my bone….”Not a word goddammit…no a single fucking word…got it”….I nodded…smirked in a round about safe…way and tugged…from his grip…looking at my newly shined wingtips…pearl pink white skin of my freshly shaved head…we’d eat some tacos down the street…from a lady who cooked outside under a torn striped canopy with big black pans on the stove…she wore a cowboy hat…was missing two fingers on her spooning hand…wore the same checkered apron every time I saw her…young Mexican boys would. “bark”… “meow” everytime gringos would order…food

clouds always gathered in the part of the desert that time of year…it was a symphony…in a quiet…sort of slower way…maybe more like a drip on the cement…one right after another…make it smooth like glass and one day…I’d come back…thinking of Jim Livingston…that long smooth fat scare from belly button to neck…a road map of what things were going to be…sometime later on…he wasn’t a quiet boy…nor was he a good boy…his mother was a “stripper”…she only dated soldiers from the base…with their same haircut…checkered PX shirts and few twenties with nothing much to do…and maybe they were from West Virginia this week…or Conroe Texas the next month…but none were ever gonna be…Jimmy’s daddy…they were going off to Vietnam…not a whole lot mattered…especially not a red headed boy with a wheelbarrow full of things…brewing…He was 16…we were young…not real talkers….

I missed her…walking from a cool room to 105 degree day….engulfed…encompassed…completely…the barb far past my fleshy lip…dug bone deep…tasting brass…there was here…here was right now…this second…better live it large…he said… “Them Cajuns…well they wear they hats like that tipped down in front and tipped in back…so when they drink too much they fall on they hat not they head”……I was wondering about falling…”Discard an Axiom”… “Discard an Axiom” was the flashing message….better late than never I guess is what the bait was saying…while I was waiting…I imagine…to bite…and as far as I knew it was 7:30 pm or am…the time was the standstill…it was all of the stuff that happened in that dead zone…that had me hearing those faint echo sounds…music that was far away over the wavy lined sand dunes…they said he’d killed the whole family…then hung himself up there on that beam…I followed his finger end straight to the point in the wood that was worn..smooth like and old baseball glove…heard some of the clicks….felt the small grip high between my legs…and prayed…everything I knew was a lie…except for maybe Jesus….and I suppose…if he were real and not a lie…then satan had to be too…so I was right back where I started…sour milk or buttermilk…sick is sick…

He stuttered trying hard to say… “It’s a new day”…he put “C’s” in the word New….so daddy said he couldn’t be trusted…I mean what the fuck  kinda dimwit retard puts the letter C in New…when that dog lying there…hell he knows there’s no Goddamn C in that word…from then on it was fish fries…and lightening bugs…and sitting on the roof some days when the ozone was high…as the storms crossed the desert a hundred or so miles away…and the armpits of his undershirts were stained yellow in a big moon pie center colored oval shape….he put the kitten in a bag in the trash can…looked over his shoulder… “Stop crying…she’ll have more

it was just air up here…whitey tipped…tijuana smalls…and a good fuck book…a dug out mesquite…some pagan pink…couple huffs from the bag…and we was…gold lipped truebadors…the inhalers….the puto pinche motherfuckers with the power…he’d stopped  pounding his fists against the concrete wall…spit puddled on the shoulderof his gray jacket…his head rested slightly tilted to the left against the wall…he reminded me of the puppets hanging from the tops of the rough wooden carts at the market in downtown Wazoo City…they had wooden feet and hands made from dough…they made a klacking noise like an open screen door…in a breeze…it was a just bone…pearly white almost see through like dried glue….