For a Sweet Friend

A brush of a hand

On a cheek,

A swollen lip

On a mouth.

 

Starved to fall

Into the next heart

Waiting for you

To devour them gently.

 

In the tender

Care only you

Can wholly provide,

I see you there.

 

With the big empty

Of piercing neglect

And I only hope

You chance to fall

 

Into me, and we’ll

Talk about Forever.

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Fortunate One

Cookie
Taken from ICanWriteFunny – Blogspot

 

So, here’s the thing. Every once in a while, I like Chinese food. Last night, I indulged in some chicken General Tso’s style. One of the many excitements of said indulgence is the Fortune Cookie. These fabulous fortunes are for the sheer entertainment of the spin some Chinese cookie maker might put on your fortune, not necessarily to be taken seriously.

However, this morning when I finished the last of my Gen Tso’s leftovers, I realized I had not opened my fortune yet. I was at first disconcerted of what I saw in the cookie. Then I started thinking this to be a cosmic sign. There on the inside of this cookie where that positive, uplifting, often cryptic fortune would lie, there was nothing. No little fortune paper whatsoever!

I thought of all the information we as a society, heck, as the world, now, with the internet, how we are bombarded with stimuli from all sides. Literally everywhere. Everywhere we look there is information. Street signs, car bumper stickers, and don’t get me started on all the crap we see here on the net, wanted and unwanted.

At first, I thought I got cheated. Then I took this having no fortune as a very positive sign. Do what you want with your future, Robert. Do what pleases you. Do what excites you. Do what you never thought you would do with your God-given years left.

So, I am. I’m not going to wait around for that publishing contract that may screw me over for all the rights to my novel anyway. I am going to (with some paid professional help) self-publish my novel. It’s time my novel was seen. It’s time it’s read by people whether I receive any kudos or not. Whether, sink or swim, it’s accepted by the literary world or not, I’m publishing.

So, look for my novel – Down, But Never Out – around the first of 2020. It should be out by then.

Here’s to your future. And all its fortune!

Take care, and until my next post . . .

Search Me? Like I Have a Choice!

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Lonny Garris on Shutterstock

I don’t understand. People get all up in arms about the second amendment when gun law reform is mentioned yet they totally ignore what’s been done to their freedoms already.

Well, Congress has already gutted the fourth amendment against illegal search and seizure to beyond a laughable point. If you’re convicted of drug charges you can have your property taken from you – cars, houses, etc. That property will be sold at auction and the money put back into the system to “get more drugs off the streets” and put more people in prison. In turn, more property will be taken which will be sold to the public and the cycle continues.

Now, this all may sound all well and good, but what the authorities don’t tell you is that they don’t have to serve warrants on the correct person. They don’t have fail safes like social security numbers on warrants. Hell, they don’t even need a middle name!

An excerpt from my memoir I’ve been writing tells how the Blount County and Maryville Police, on my first and last names alone, put me in jail. A case of mistaken identity. Here goes:

 

One night, my brother was driving my car and we’d been drinking heavily. A cop pulled us over for a blown headlight. This was the first time I’d ever seen the inside of the drunk tank. Jail didn’t look good on me at all. I was pissed and belligerent. They let me out four hours later after I’d sobered.The next day, I went to get my car from the impound where they’d taken such good care of it. The guard told me I needed to get a paper signed at Maryville City Police Department before I could get my car back.

So, at the police department office, I iterated to the officer what the guard had told me. About this time, an officer came out of an office and had me to sign a paper. This unknowingly was a warrant for my arrest for possession, sale, and delivery of marijuana. They had a warrant for little ole me? Yes. And apparently, an entire investigation case against Robert S. Gregory of Maryville as a pot dealer.

 My mom always told me if I got locked up for drugs, don’t call her. I took this to heart the day I was taken to jail. They didn’t tell me at first what I was being arrested for. My ex-step-mother Sue, my younger brother Keith’s mom, worked there at the jail. She came to my cell and told me that I’d sold weed to an undercover cop. I told her that wasn’t possible. I didn’t sell weed that I bought because I was too busy smoking it.

I was bailed out by my friends – Jamie, his girlfriend Deanna, and my friend Sam. I couldn’t thank them enough for the two-hundred fifty dollars they raised between them to get me out of jail. The next morning Sue called. She told my mom something about their charges and the whole thing was wrong and that I needed a lawyer.

A lawyer used by my brother Clutch before was who I retained. Well, weeks expired, and, with one motion of discovery, their evidence was somewhat clear. They gave me an audio tape of their meeting with someone who was supposedly me. The guy on the tape sounded nothing like me. The informant who bought the weed from the dealer on the tape read the dealer’s tag number off. My mom, who should’ve been an investigator and probably was in another life, went to the registration office and obtained a copy of the dealer’s tag registration. The guy’s name, ironically – Robert Steven Gregory of Little Dug Gap Road. My middle name is Shannon. And with this little piece of exonerating evidence, we didn’t understand how the cops couldn’t have put the pieces together themselves.

Before the discovery of the audio tape, my hapless lawyer questioned me and my answer about whether I’d ever been to the Shamrock motel – where the buying and selling of the drugs went down. I assured him I never had. Ten times or so I assured him I never had.

When my mother, the investigator, found the evidence that blew the case wide open, the district attorney agreed to dismiss the charges without prejudice and my hapless lawyer advised me to get a Knoxville attorney for a possible lawsuit. He recommended a certain lawyer. Yes, I still remember that shyster’s name but for reasons of forgiveness I will not name her. Keep in mind I was twenty-four years old at the time and a naïve, scatterbrained, extremely gullible pothead who was not only stoned all the time, but also assumed this lawyer would have my best interests at heart. And she might have if she’d had a heart. Also keep in mind that every time I visited this shyster, I was stoned. The best advice I can give anyone from the lesson that came from this is never trust a shyster, especially when money’s involved.

Now, the deal with this lawyer was that she would get thirty percent of the damages – none up front. After a few meetings, she came back with an offer from the City of Maryville. She told me that they didn’t believe I was innocent. That, in fact, if their informant – a guy nicknamed Possum, at least I hope it was a nickname – was currently missing. If Possum wound up dead, they would charge me with murder. This made to me absolutely no sense, but I was stoned most of the time, so I didn’t connect the dots. Or even try to. They offered me five thousand dollars, of which Ms. Shyster would get thirty percent, but she said since she’d done most of the work for my case, she deserved three thousand, if I could take two. Well, of course she did the work! That’s what I was paying her thirty percent for. So, if I was guilty and they didn’t believe my innocence, why were they even offering anything? Basically, I realized after I took the deal that this lawyer must have been lying to me about a missing Possum.

The moral of that little story – when someone’s playing possum, get a better lawyer. Or at least one that’s honest.

 

 

That’s the story. Now, it wouldn’t be so bad if this were an isolated or bound-to-never-happen type case, but it’s not. Mistaken identity happens much more than we’re willing to acknowledge as a society. People are constantly being exonerated from prison, sometimes from death row, for crimes they never committed.

Do you have a similar story? Or maybe an opinion on anti-gun lobby and laws? Share it!

Walk Circumspectly Too

You know, in a perfect world, a family of goats would casually eat the grass and mow my lawn instead of the gasoline-driven lawn mower with its unburned hydrocarbons polluting the air. Meat eaters would rejoice at being given soy burgers that, in a perfect world, would taste better than sirloin. No cow would suffer in factory farms for our unabated appetite. In a perfect world, solar power automobiles would’ve zoomed by us and our gas-powered thoroughbreds on the highway of life, being cheap and easy to fabricate and maintain. And in a perfect world, a congress of baboons wouldn’t be running . . . well, congress!

So much for a perfect world. But can you really define a “perfect world”? My guess – your definition, although probably close, wouldn’t match my definition. As they say, “there is no utopia.”

When you think about the end – of your life, of time, of the Earth – what is your first and foremost thought? Is it happiness? To be constantly, overwhelmingly happy?

I used to be a drug addict until recently (about a year ago). The irony of drugs – you spend your time and life chasing the high and satisfaction of the drug world to be happy, yet, you are utterly miserable. It wasn’t until my accident a year ago that I woke up to what my life had become – unmanageable, unfulfilled, unhappy. Maybe in a perfect world, I wouldn’t have tried drugs.

But I figured out, I didn’t need drugs to be happy. It is as one person quoted, “My worst day sober is better than my best day using.” This quote hits home and couldn’t be more correct. I’m currently writing my memoir and remembering days and events that at the time I thought were happy times, but that now just seem sad, lost, and desperate.

Happiness is attainable. No matter what information the world and society tries to fill your head with. Happiness is not that nice car, that lovely home, or that bank account stacked with hundreds. I mean, yeah, sure, a full bank account can make your misery much more comfortable, but you’re still miserable!

When I found that my happiness is there for me to recognize, I figured out it was up to me and me alone to obtain it.

I’m not really sure I have a point here, other than when you walk through life on your journey, your life is determined a lot by your attitude. If you approach an opportunity with an attitude of failure, you will fail. Same with an attitude of positive emotions. When you approach anything in life, your attitude shapes your destiny. You’ve heard “Fake it till you make it”? You may be deathly scared inside when you approach any opportunity. Don’t show it! Eventually you will basically will yourself into bravery.

I think I’ve derailed my perfect world idea into a shambling ramble now. In a perfect world, this would’ve had some deviation back to the original idea. But as you may gather by now, this is not a perfect world. But I’m still happy.

Until next time . . .

Walk Circumspectly

Cultural differences. They are as infinite as the amount of nations on the earth. When it comes to culture, some things one might not even think of in one culture may be strictly taboo in another.

For instance, in India it is uncouth to show the soles of your feet. The feet are considered dirty and are to be kept hidden and on the ground. This is according to a few different websites on culture so I may have that off the mark a bit. But that’s the idea.

Also, apparently, in some cultures (this may just be in any culture and a part of female human nature), it is a slippery slope to compliment a woman. Especially when the compliment an obvious given. I recently was conversing with someone a world away culturally from my own. I complimented her from a picture of her I’d seen. This obviously didn’t go over well because she has not responded since. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was how I complimented her, or to the degree of my compliment.

At any rate, cultural difference is an oddity to me. May be because of the supposed melting pot of America that I live in. Heck, some cultures start wars over differences. “You show me your foot? I’ll show you my shovel with which I’ll dig your grave, you nerf herder!” Now, with the Star Wars herding reference, you can see how my sarcasm is a bit over the top.

All I’m saying, the next time you’re talking with someone from another land, take a small modicum of time maybe to find beforehand what makes them tick. And what ticks them off! You may get further without a resulting international incident.

Take care. And until my next installment . . .

New Contest Entry Site

In my quest to enter as many writing contests as possible, I found a site to do just this – Fan Story. For $9.99 you can join the site and enter as many of there contests you want, at two entries per day!

I wrote a story for one of the contests this morning and would like to share the story with you. It’s titled The Caterpillar. Here goes:

The caterpillar. This little fellow, for all purposes, pushes the boundaries of nature. They are larval forms of moths and butterflies, for those of you that don’t know. They are by far the most destructive bad asses of the natural world. They can consume so much — leaves of various plants — that were one caterpillar to hit on a tea leaf farm, it would consume so much caffeine, by default, that it would not only go clinically insane but could hike Appalachia in a week. Okay, now, that may be an imaginative stretch, but you get the idea. These wooly buggers can take down a thatch of bushes as a team and cap off some honeysuckles for dessert with no problems.

Now, I’ve never been a caterpillar, though a couple times tripping on LSD, I may have thought I was. But as an oddity of nature (in my mind anyway), maybe it is that the caterpillar has a choice — cocoon up and become a beautiful butterfly or stay on the ground feeding like a gluttonous hog. I wrote a poem about such an event many years ago called Harvest. It goes like this:

In a life’s harvest,
A caterpillar becomes
A butterfly maybe
Of its own accord.
Dispelling tangible fear
And apathetic complacency,
It wins its freedom.

Maybe this is its legacy, or one it would want to leave behind for the next generation. Maybe the caterpillar, like many forms of life, not only has a plan imprinted in its brain by God, but also maybe the caterpillar intuits life through each chewing step by some simplistic brand of emotion. Maybe it knows it will fly one day. Maybe it has its own doubts and that keeps the caterpillar grounded. Maybe flight isn’t a given.

Could be that such a decision to be totally vulnerable is the risk the caterpillar takes to jump into his momentous flying self. One quote from an author calling herself simply The Hippie, a thought on caterpillars, shows this risk. The quote from her memoir titled Snowflake Obsidian: Memoir of a Cutter, “The caterpillar turns to liquid before turning into a butterfly. Liquid. Thus, washing away any speck of his caterpillar self as he lies completely vulnerable to his environment in his chrysalis shell. One good solid gust of wind and the caterpillar’s boned.”

I like this quote because it calls on a biblical idea relating to “unforeseen occurrence”, which is touched on in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon wrote “I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor. Because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.” The idea that unforeseen occurrence happens lends to the fact that maybe not all are bound for greatness. Not all are meant to fly. I don’t think this means that some things are out of God’s hands, however. Another verse in the same book of Ecclesiastes says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.

I can only conclude this writing by saying this statement: whether you choose to always remain a caterpillar or choose to fly on butterfly wings, do what you want to do. Not out of fear or complacency, but out of love. The love to be, to journey, to live a full life! If your journey ever leaves the ground, make certain it’s because you wanted to fly.

****

 

That’s the story. Thanks for letting me share and for taking time out of your hectic Saturday schedule to read this!

As always, take care and walk in the loving light.

Vagrants and Vagabonds

What?! What do you mean, “the homeless and illegals coming to our country are people too”. What are you trying to say, you pinko hippy?!

I’m saying consider the fact that this country’s legacy and our very symbol of freedom – the Statue of Liberty – is an invitation of open arms to welcome the oppressed!

Now, let me get this straight, just so I know what to tell me children and boss, you want me to let the Mexicanos, who are probably, according to the president, immoral, drug-dealing, bad bad people, you want me to freely let them in and coddle to them? Like they’re human beings?! What are you, a socialist commie! I can’t do that! By God as my witness, I will not. I will not take this perfectly good soil of a land that we rightfully stole from the in’juns and give it to somebody else, like some red commie bastard would do. Are you a commie?

“Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .” Sound familiar? It’s on a plaque on the statue itself that lights the way for immigrants with promises of a better way, a better life. And what about the rich factory farm owners that lobby congress in order to get illegals in this country so they can have cheap labor under minimum wage? Oh no, that doesn’t happen, right? (Eye roll) No, money doesn’t talk in our society. It’s not the driving force behind every person’s usual actions. Our free market economy and it’s owners, aka the one percent, have nothing to do with tax loopholes and an economy and culture slanted toward catering to the rich! (More eye rolls!)

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“Give me your tired . . .”

And what about the homeless? Well, these homeless people need to take inventory. They need to figure out their priorities. They need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps! What is your solution? You just going to hand them money?! What are you an effin’ commie pinko socialist? My church talks about it every Sunday! If they had God in their lives, they wouldn’t be homeless. They’re probably drugged-out and shiftless anyway.

Aren’t we suppose to be like Jesus Christ and not use Jesus Christ as an excuse and reason for NOT  helping other people? WWJD?! Probably toss your ass in hellfire for such an attitude! “Come to Me and I will give you comfort.” And what about, “Love thy neighbor”?

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“Come to Me.”

*Sigh* I’m not sure what the answer is, honestly. But I am sure the answer’s not, “Let’s turn our backs on our fellow man.” We need to focus as a society on what’s important, and it’s not our own wallets.

 

Bang, Boom, Buddy!

Happy Fireworks Day!

In case you missed it or weren’t aware, a few years ago (circa 1776) a great land was birthed from the muskets of a taxing rebellion, emphasis on the word “taxing”! Independence and freedom were this land’s highest ideals, liberty and justice her watchwords.

I’m really not sure, even though this land remains one of the most upstanding and finest nations on Earth, where or why we went wrong. I think it may have to do with greed and corporations and the few subjugating the many for their own personal agendas and private gain.

However, these truths hold self-evident, even today, that every man is created equal by God – every man. Not just the ruling white class.

So, as you sip that Mint Julep while Fred and Bubba and Ernest fire off that flurry of blustering bombs, remember that it took a revolution once to obtain what the masses wanted.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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New Paintings – Sale Is On!

Some new works I just finished are now for sale. $60 for any one painting and I can ship anywhere in the US for free. International charges may apply on shipping.

Check ’em out and drop me a line if interested!

 

From left to right – “Red Candle”, “Dancer”, and “Breakfast”. All are 9 x 12 inches. Email me and we can work out the details. Possibly Pay Pal.

Take care and until next time . . .