Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Will That Be A Trick Or A Treat?

Will That Be A Trick Or A Treat?

In only a matter of days, Hallowe'en will be upon us, and all things real will become unreal, all things substantial will become insubstantial, all things natural will become unnatural, and all things of this earth will become grotesquely unearthly.

The name of the Hallowe'en game is fantasy, and fantasy is your ticket to getting out of who you are and becoming someone or something you are not.

Want to be a princess? Hey, be that princess for a day. Want to be a superhero? Strap on that cape and off you go. Want to roam the realms of the undead? Well, so be it ... for a day and a night, you too can be a zombie.

As a boy, my favourite Hallowe'en costume was that of a tramp. I have no idea what the allure of being a tramp had for me, but every October 31st, I would disguise myself as a homeless wanderer of the world, riding the rails of my imagination from city to city in search of my next can of beans.

Dressed in the most slovenly attire that my mother could muster up from the pits of my father's closet, out I'd go into the night, with the prospect of collecting a year's worth of handouts, not beans exactly, unless beans can somehow become M&M's, Tootsie Rolls, and all those other candy concoctions that I collected in my bindle along the streets of Gruesome and Grimace in the town of Eerie.

I've often wondered if those early costumes that kids wore were some kind of weird prediction of what each of us would become. I mean, in many ways, I have lived my life as a kind of tramp — not homeless or broke — but more as a wanderer in search of some kind of meaning to my existence. If I have found that meaning, I certainly can't articulate it. I suppose the best that I can come up with is that you carry on, town to town, city to city, relationship to relationship, and you hope that in the end you will look back and say, "I did all right, I guess. Yes, for the most part, I did OK."

But what about those kids that dressed up as doctors or ghouls, knights in shining armour or serial killers. Did they become what they thought they were just playing at being?


Maybe, those early costumes that kids wore out on Hallowe'en were somehow symbolic of what fate might have had in mind for their futures.

So, if young Marsha dressed up as Barbie, was she tipping off the world that her long-term plan was to become a blonde trophy wife?

If pre-adolescent Alex dressed up as a vampire, was he secretly revealing to the world that, one day, he would become rich by sucking the funds out of the bank accounts of wealthy, lonely women?

If cute little Amelia donned a nurse's costume, would she someday develop an urgency to refuse care for dying patients in the geriatrics ward?

If suave Roberto strutted out of the house in a baseball uniform, would he someday crank himself full of steroids and maybe even pitch a no-hitter in the World Series?

If the somewhat boyish Alice from down the block dressed up as Tarzan every year, was she unintentionally demonstrating her desire to swing back and forth on a vine of some sort?

And what about little Luigi, swaggering down the street in a nun's habit? Was he truly destined to become some kind of transsexual bride of Christ, or just the "bride" of some ill-mannered priest?

So before you decide what to wear this Hallowe'en, remember that a costume is only effective if it truly hides who you really are. Be wary of dressing up in your secret desires, because people will make connections. People always make connections.

Not to worry though. Your secret-self will always be safe with me, because if there is one thing I learned in my boyhood Hallowe'en travels, it was that ... bum's the word ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Buds For Suds

Anybody up for a bath ... I've got bubbles ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

My New Girl Friend ...

Sure, you'll say that I fall in love far too easily. Sure, you'll say I'm a sucker for a pretty face, a passionate personality, and an unrelenting spirit.

You're right.

I've never turned away from the violin of a woman's music, whether it be drifting in invisible notes close by or calling to me from somewhere down the hall.

I confess that not every experience has endured. I confess that I may be no judge of what is cosmetically beautiful, but I have never been uncertain about the true, everlasting beauty of life and living.

By the grace of the miracle of birth, we are given the opportunity to discover beauty time and again. We are given the opportunity to share in something extraordinary, something overwhelming, something that affirms what we always knew, but may have never been truly able to articulate.

Babies are born. Babies are born every minute of every day, all around the world. They slip into the lives of other families, into worlds so distant and remote from our own that we rarely take notice of their importance to the world.

Once, maybe twice, maybe three times or even more, we are the fathers or mothers of these babies. Sometimes, we are their grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers or sisters. It is then that we realise how this miracle of birth unfolds like a summer's day and envelopes us in its warm sunshine. We wake from the sleep of our dreamy hopefulness and uncertain anticipation of the future to discover the breath of life's continuity, the cry of victory that heralds the very consummation of a faith that life, no matter how cruelly tenuous, carries on.

Some will say, "It takes a village to raise a child."

I say, "It takes a child to raise a village."

For it is the child, venturing into the chaos of our lives, who teaches us to celebrate all that brought us to this moment. It is the child, who paints the masterpiece of renewal over the cracked plaster of every tragedy we have endured. It is the child who knows that, when one story ends, another waits to be told.

Today, tomorrow, and every day following, how can I help but celebrate the arrival of my fourth grandchild, Charlotte? She has opened the door that lets the light in.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

blue station wagon ...

blue station wagon ...

i'm driving around in the blue station wagon ...
driving around and around and around
i been here and i been there
seems like i been
just about everywhere
and still i ends up here
here in the same old place
out down the 88
past the motel flops
past the pee-by-the-willow-tree
tip-toe hops
past the scenic view points
and the sloppy-joe
pick-up joints
past the weigh-stations of the cross
where long-haul truckers
sleep between profit and loss
past the roadside coffeeshops
and the fat cowboy cops
looking for pussy to munch
or gays to punch
far past the endless fields
of frozen crops
and burnt out Christmas tree tops
until like a full-blown heart attack
everything stops
you know the place i'm sure
most people simply call it
nowhere ...

i'm driving around in the blue station wagon ...
driving around and around and around
listening to the worst of K-LITE music
seeping like Amish honey
from the radio
and here i am
humming mindlessly along
trying to remember the words
to some faraway song
words that once
were like a storyline
underscoring a photo album
of a true love found
and a passion bound to last
until the sudden crackle
of highway static
shreds the moment
into cross-cut fragments
of melancholy thoughts
scattering like confetti
out the back window
and all i can think of
is that something in me
has stalled
or faltered
or clogged
all i can think of
is that something must be wrong
so very very wrong
but i can't put my finger on it
can't say exactly what
that something something is ...

i'm driving around in the blue station wagon ...
driving around and around and around
all alone once again
except for the memories
i got packed in a steamer trunk
clattering around
like a corpse
trying to thrash
through the quagmire of denial
and find some way
back to life
only to discover that
ending is not mending
and torn denim beliefs
get so full of holes
there ain't no one can stitch
them together again
but hey
no sense crying
no sense trying
to blow the morning fog away
and so i roll on knowing
i been alone before
been alone
most of the time
been too much of a dreamer
too much a drifter
living in restless boots
by one escape
after another ...

i'm driving around in the blue station wagon ...
driving around and around and around
i was sure someone called "Shotgun"
but never showed up
or at least not in time
before i started out
'cause when you gotta go
you gotta go
or they'll find you just sitting
and idling away your time
inhaling the carbon monoxide fumes
creeping like invisible fingers
from the rotted out floorboards
and some will surely wonder
which is better
before or after
life or death
but what they don't get
is that sometimes you can't tell
which from which
you know
sometimes you don't know
left from right
or up from down
only thing for sure is that
sometimes things last
a little too long ...

i'm driving around in the blue station wagon ...
driving around and around and around
i needs me a woman with a hard-luck story
and courage in her soul
a woman who can fly me
over that valley in the 23rd psalm
a woman who is better at using her head
than she is at giving it
a woman with strong hands
stained with ink and calloused with colour
hands that can lift
the furniture of sorrow
and redecorate even the darkest mood
a woman who will lay her fingertips
over these tired old eyes
and lull me to sleep
with gentle caresses
lull me into the dreams
of a younger man
with nothing but hope in his pocket
and a clear mind
that guesses there's a future
beyond the next turn in the road
and time to fill
beyond the next five minutes
a woman who carries me on
before the night crumbles
into dusty regrets
and the morning comes
to find me
forever gone ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



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