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The Din by R Bennett Okerstrom 42 strong words. [42 words]
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Weeping Willows
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Weeping Willows
A man's brother talks about his suicide...and different views of life.
[881 words]
Randy Guess

I'm a slowly but surely aging hippie, about 44 years in the race, living in NW Houston and near Lake Conroe, and missing the Mountains; writing a novel and poetry and short stories and searching for a cure for writer's block which I think may be a genetic problem for which a pill cure will soon be found. In the meantime I intend to try Viagra since it seems to help everything else. Sometimes I wish I'd lived in the rougher days of the Wild West, maybe been a mountain man living off the land.

I never seemed to be completely at home with the values of greatness our Great Society developed, bought and sold by Madison Avenue and Wall Street, that more is better and bigger is better still and the trick is to make stuff and instill a need and sell stuff to fill the needs instilled, you know how it goes, and community is a club in more ways than one and we huddle together and by laws beat the intransigent, who may stray onto paths less travelled damn them, into their proper place in the scheme of things; and you know I love Big Brother, the way he watches over me and keeps people from praying in my school and knows just when and where to spend the money I earn and, best of all, when and where to rain bombs and other such agents of destruction upon all those other intransigents damn them all. How can we ever have order if people don't obey the Common Vision?

And I love the way Mankind collectively views progress as a tool for improvement that can be controlled, as if progress is not an angel and a demon, a whirling dervish to raise the dust from whence we came and to which we undeniably will return and you can't take it with you when you go, and that should give us a hint where true value lies....

[November 2000]
[email protected]
Harbor Light Mission (Short Stories) Account of a night and morning spent at Salvation Army's Harbor Light Mission for men in Houston, Texas. [3,374 words] [Humor]
Shaman (Short Stories) A young warrior comes to a wise old shaman, on his deathbed, seeking the path to Sister Wisdom and all she contains. [653 words] [Motivational]
Weeping Willows
Randy Guess

    We laid him to rest on a Sunday afternoon.
    He had left a note with some final requests
    In his mind, of course, they were demands
    But dead men don't make demands

      except through lawyers
      and he'd as soon spit in his hand
      as entrust a lawyer with anything

    Funerals, mom had said, are for the living
    So she gave up as much as she could
    For what he had wanted
    And took as much as she had to have

    He was forty-three at the time of his demise
    And going on sixty
    He liked to say that lifting weights was fine
    But when you're the rod and life's the weights
    Well, it does bear down upon you

    His final statement was simple enough
    Burn me to ashes and don't spend anymore on my going
    Than you have to
    'Cause I won't be there

    Just exactly where I'll be I don't know anymore than you
    Though you think you do
    Perhaps I'll be the wind weeping in the willows
    For god's sake, no chanting
    Or saying of things over me that aren't really true

    He said he would've asked mom
    To take that Carribean cruise
    She'd always talked about taking
    And to scatter his ashes over the ocean

      But, knowing her, she'd never be able to eat fish again
      Afraid that some big tuna, caught off the coast of Australia
      Had, in its journeying, inhaled a part and particle of her very own

    He couldn't take that from her, she being partial to tuna salad and all
    I'm too tired to decide what you should do with me
    He had said
    I was trouble enough while I was breathing

    He wasn't right about much in his life, I'll have to say
    But he was right about all the trouble he put Mom through
    Strange, too, since he showed so much promise in the early days
    Smart as a whip, he sure was--worked his way through two years of college
    And by god got paid to go the last two on a scholastic scholarship

    He was my brother and we loved each other and we hated each other
    But what I like to remember are the nights we chilled out with some beers
    And talked philosophy
    Just regular what's-this-life-all-about bullshit

    Thing is, he was always a little too quiet
    You never could put your finger on it
    But it just seemed like he was strung too tight
    He liked things to be black and white in this world
    But the world kept showing up shades of grey upon more shades of grey

      Until all he saw
      Was blackness
      And no white to lighten it anywhere

    I think that's why he did it
    He did himself, you know, with a bottle of sleeping pills
    Got all cleaned up, trimmed his hair and beard
    That had gone shaggy during the dark days
    As he called them

    To blow his head off or cut his wrists and make a bloody mess
    Just didn't seem right
    Someone, after all, would have to clean up after him
    After the mess that was his life

    And that someone would be our mom
    An angel of mercy
    Who had welcomed him home after years abroad
    When the darkness began to settle around him
    Though he still struggled to see the purpose for it all

    To me it's easy
    Pick your foot up, put it back down,one step at a time
    But I know he saw me as a plodder
    Content to work for the weekend like the rest of the herd

      He had layer upon layer of meaning and submeaning
      Thesis/antithesis crap scrambling his brain
      Something inside him just wouldn't let him relax and go with the flow

    Life is one hell of a conundrum, I do believe
    Simple enough to start from the most basic of building materials
    And yet strangely complex in the building
    Then comes man with mind and imagination, a shield and a weapon

    Is it bad genes when man turns his own weapons on himself
    Or, who knows, good luck 'cause the place or state of being
    Being traversed to is something wonderful
    I sure wish I knew

    Even if I knew it was something good, though
    I'd have to stay and play out my hand until I went broke
    Whatever this life lacks in certainty
    I still feel comfortable with it
    Like fishin' on a Sunday afternoon and wonderin' where all the fish are hidin'

    And if life gets vicious sometimes, so what
    Fight back when you can
    Run and duck for cover mostly
    And you'll make it

    Cuts and bruises heal, and hell
    Everyone takes a lickin' sometime or other
    Old man Time keeps on tickin'
    And gives everyone a lickin'

      But he had to go
      And at least he got to pick the time and the place and the way
      And I wish him to be a hearty gust of wind on those willows weeping



"hmm well it was sad but a liitle odd. I did'nt really get the feeling that his brother was all that upset." -- niki.
"Yes, sad ... odd, maybe ... not all suicides are filled with anguish ... some are just weary, and not really meant for this world." -- judi, US.


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© 1999 Randy Guess
November 2000

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