Excerpts from “Lost Souls”

The front of narrow 2-storey house with grey-green siding with dried dark algae stains. The photo is taken at a bit of an angle, so the left side of the house is visible as well as the front. The house has many slim close-curtained windows on both the first and second storey. There is a white door underneath a porch roof in the front of the house. The door has a Christmas wreath on it that is obscured by a black pole from the porch. There is a flight of bricked stairs that go up to the porch. There are two dark green outdoor chairs that have tan cushions of them; both are occupied by sleeping cats (one orange and one black). The porch has black wrought-iron railing. A black cat sits on the edge of the brick stairway. It is a grey day, and with some bare trees in the photo suggesting that it is winter; although, there are two window a/c units installed, one on each storey.

So many creeps, she slowly crept, her father wept, she was indifferent or maybe even eager to be kept. All day she slept. I called her, she said she didn’t hear the phone. Her voice was mellow, cynical in tone. Most likely stoned. Not once during our talks did she atone. She just accepted fate and wore herself right down to her bones. Escaping life, she chose to be a junkie’s wife. She had been swept astray by forces too powerful to ever go away, complacently accepting constant disarray, virtues or destruction conflicting with the world, unhealthy wicked love attraction, exposing mental fray. There isn’t much to do or say. Most would have simply walked away. I chose to stay, walked the path with her accepting nature’s ray to shine through me and onto her. I’d drive out and sit there on the stoop by her front door. Bright light of day caused her dismay, her soul was bleaker than coldest winter day. Her hopes and dreams have been blown away likes leaves of trees caught up in a stormy breeze. Her mother’s wasted efforts to keep her pleased were wearing thin. Her skin was all that was left of her and almost nothing there within. Although she was approaching forty, she campaigned hard to still act naughty. And for a grown woman destitute these obscene gestures were hardly cute. Trapped in her adolescent years, she couldn’t overcome her fears. Wayward soul forever trapped, she couldn’t see a reason out. What was so unclear to me was why she couldn’t clearly see a reason for herself to be. Something in her ways always offered a simile for me. At first glance evident to see a broken girl that wasn’t whole, a junkie lost beyond control. But there was something deeper there, lessons of suffering and love we all must bear. And so it pulled me there. Back to a past that’s called Nowhere.

A photo of a small swamp in the winter. The sky is grey and the tall trees in the background are bare. The swamp has very shallow water mottled with clusters of dead brush. There is a large dead tree in the foreground on a bed of fallen brown leaves. These swamps of sadness, humanity’s current madness. Drugs take their ugly toll, and leave your spirit trapped behind a wall. A wall that marks life and death, on the ledge where creation draws its breath. Illicit pull, exposed talents, art extolled. Beyond the wall are graves. Certain death to which I can attest. Childhood friendship test. Compete against yourself to find your very best. Compete against each other. We quarreled and made amends, school fights, clubbing, late nights, trespassers and transgressions, fueled by our adolescent aggression. Climbed fences, fended for ourselves, defenders of these streets. Life told to hip hop beats. Coming up as minors. Queens diners. Grave danger on the gravel path — would Heaven come to rescue us or come down with a heavy wrath? Wreaths laid out for our friends imparted warnings of these dangerous paths. In search of love that lasts.