The Border

I am (due, I suppose, to my fetish for emotional masochism) about to enter yet another NYC Midnight Challenge . History will record that I am yet, despite numerous valiant attempts, to progress beyond the first round. Any thought that 2019 will produce a different result would be, clearly, delusional. And the fact is that I am feeling, right at the moment, even less inspired than usual. There is some comfort to be taken, however, in the knowledge that I cannot do any worse.

I will keep you informed.

Anyway, I was looking through previous entries trying to see where I might have gone wrong (the bit residing between the title and the words ‘The End’ seems to be my stumbling block) and I came across an entry to another competition that I suspect was so poor that I didn’t even bother entering it. All I can tell you is that it was a maximum of 500 words and was about ‘a border’.

I post it here, therefore, just to give it a brief moment in the shade and to at least post something, which is more than I have managed for a while.

*************

THE BORDER.

I stopped the car, as had become habit, on a turnout which lies almost exactly halfway between Las Vegas and Flagstaff. The highway has gradually risen to a minor summit at this point and, on a clear night, the distant glow of civilisation can be seen in either direction. It is a place, good as any, to consider one’s meaningless relationship with the cosmos.

The first hints of a new day were painting a faint line on the horizon but above me our galaxy still shone brightly. I lit a cigarette and looked up at the stars as I exhaled the first of the smoke. It can be deceptive to observe the universe as it races away from you and imagine that you are staring into the future when, in fact, you are waving goodbye to the past. I wondered, on this occasion , if the past may be pointing accusingly back.

Over the last two years I had broken each journey here. Just to breath the air. And to contemplate great truths whilst simultaneously concocting minor falsehoods. This was the border. Where I had drawn a line between one life and another.

***

The miles that separated her and I had meant nothing in the beginning, for during those early days of passion we would, if need be, have conducted the affair from the opposite poles of the planet. But the nature of time is to push everything apart and eventually the long highway came to represent more than just an obstacle of geography. Eventually the truth found its way across the border and the two sides of reality conspired against us.

We told lies. Both of us. To hold us together. That is how love works. Because nobody wants to hear the truth – not all of it. My lies had been more grandiose than hers, I suppose. I was relieved now, at least, that I need lie to her no more.

In the end there were just too many questions. Questions that became increasingly difficult to evade, more carefully phrased – more deliberately designed. The meticulously manufactured barriers I had erected here at the border began to topple. The truth found its path along the highway. And the truth was in no mood to set us free.

But we could not both live with the lie, she said.

And I knew that she was right.

***

I have been down this road before, so to speak, and, as unpleasant in the short term as it may be, nothing lasts forever. Time does not come to a standstill. The universe continues its journey from nothingness to nowhere. I choose to stay aboard for the ride.

So, as I stood there before another melancholy sunrise I knew that it was time to move on.

I had only a few hours to return to Las Vegas before my absence would be noticed. And I had yet to dispose of her body which lay cold and emotionless in the trunk.

Sharing

OK. I admit it. I don’t really know what the 7 reasons are. Although I would have to say, instinctively, that the idea has merit. I just put the photo there to get your attention.

Pathetic, really.

Because this is an attempt to post on a more than semi-regular basis. And is an attempt, I suppose, to share. But it is not a very good one because, once again I have lifted a passing comment that I made to someone else’s post and have dressed it up as an actual post of my own.

I was touched by Stoner’s description of sharing her bed with a sibling and it seemed to me that there is something very intimate and trusting about the idea. We are, as I suggested to her, never more open and vulnerable than when we are asleep.

That my own thoughts drift into a slightly more carnal direction is certainly not intended to detract from the sweet innocence of her own.

Though lonely nights

I’ve known a few

I shared last night

with someone new

We shared the pillow

shared our breath

We shared the moment.

Little death.

We lay together

side by side

We share what we

no longer hide

Just ticking the box…

I don’t post a lot of stuff.

You may have noticed (or not noticed – it’s the same thing really).

I am a voyeur. I look at other people’s posts – normally with a mixture of admiration and envy. Every now and again I will add a comment … something trite … with origins in the low moral ground that I inhabit. These comments are not well thought out – they are instant reactions. They often, I suspect, miss the mark.

I probably send people to sleep.

Every now and then, though, something pops out that, I think, sort of works.

I read an haiku from Cyranny this morning and I replied with two that lived together. I thought it sort of worked.

And so I repeat it here. Just so I can say that I posted something. Just to tick the box.

May your dreams escape
The captivity of sleep
To dance in the light

May your memories
Return at dusk to follow
You into the night

Sleep well, everybody.

Even one dollar can help a child in need.

The Onion

LONDON—Noting that making a difference would cost less than a single cup of coffee, the Against Malaria Foundation released an advertising campaign Friday stressing that even one dollar could help a needy child, but you’d have to be a complete fucking dick to give that little. “For just one dollar out of your paycheck, you could help make sure no child has to experience this horrible disease, although what kind of a callous prick would you be to send us one measly buck?” said the commercial’s voiceover, explaining that any contribution was appreciated in this season of giving, but, that you would need to be a real heartless fuck of a Scrooge to look at how fortunate you are this Christmas and how little these children have and decide one-hundred pennies was the most you could possibly spare. “Every cent counts, of course. Then again—Seriously, a dollar? A single fucking dollar? You’re a despicable son of a bitch. What kind of goddamn monster would think that was sufficient?” The advertisement also stressed that for just $3,742 you could help these disadvantaged children and still look yourself in the mirror the next day.

Bar Humbug.

My very good friends,

I confess to you all that I tend to get a bit of the bar humbugs about me around this time of year.

I don’t really understand why that is. As a child I loved Christmas. I still treasure memories of Christmas past that I shared with cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and brothers and sisters and a few other people who seemed to have some sort of biological connection to me that I never rally got to the bottom of.

I have vivid memories of marvellous presents. Most of them had little monetary value but carried with them instead the message that somebody cared, that somebody knew what fascinated me – that someone understood me.

And I have certainly had, during my time on this planet, far more evidence to support the existence of Santa Claus than I have had supporting the existence of Jesus Christ. The idea of either is preposterous, of course, but, in terms of delivery of promise (and this may be a very personal experience) I have found Santa the more reliable of the two.

But I digress.

The one ‘Christmas Message’ that really appeals to me has something to to with ‘goodwill to all men’. It is a rather old sentiment and I don’t think we should take it too literally. The original author did not want, I am sure, to exclude women as beneficiaries. It was just the way they said things back then. It doesn’t really mean ‘all men’ – it means ‘all people’.

The most important word in that old phrase, anyway, as far as I am concerned, is ‘all’. The word ‘all’, for those of you without easy access to a dictionary, means ‘all’. And so ‘All people’ means ‘all’ people.

It doesn’t mean people you are related to, it doesn’t mean people who are nice to you, or people you might want to sleep with, it doesn’t mean people who like the same God as you, it doesn’t mean people who’s skin colour matches yours or people who support your football team.

It means ‘all’ people.

You might not really like some of these people. Because some of them are, let’s face it, absolute fuckwits. You wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.

And I am not suggesting that you should invite, in for a drink this Christmas Eve, the weird guy who stands by the telephone box on the park directly across from your apartment every night wearing a soiled grey overcoat and running shoes and stares at you. That would be silly.

But might it not be nice, just for a couple of days this time of year, to have only good thoughts of others? Just for 48 hours be totally non-judgemental? It’s not as easy as it sounds, I grant you. Especially when no-one else seems to be doing it. And even the person sitting directly across from you at Christmas lunch (your sister, probably) insists on loudly describing some drunken social indiscretion that you might have committed twenty years ago.

But I urge you to try anyway.

I won’t be. I’ve given up.

Bar Humbug.

December 17. I almost missed it.

Seriously …. I almost did. If not for a reminder from Michael I would have forgotten about it all together. Such is the nature of life.

And that, I suppose, is exactly my point. Today is important. There is only one today. Don’t just forget about it. Make the most of it.

I invite you all, therefore, to provide your thoughts on this special day. Don’t try too hard – don’t waste too much of the day doing spell checks. Life is too short, sometimes, for correct grammar.

Here are a few thoughts of my own.

Tomorrow will be

In its way

Just the same as

Yesterday

What will be

Already been

All you see

Already seen

Embrace the truth

Don’t look away

Grab this moment

Come what may

Let the instant

Reign supreme

Today December

Seventeen.

AND …..

Far horizon

Distant dawn

Watch today

As now is born

I see no reason

Hear no rhyme

That brought about

This place in time

Just hold it close

Don’t let it go

There is no other truth

To know

It’s happening

It’s now. It’s here

It’s just begun

It’s end is near

It’s that time of year. News of Jesus.

This is not mine. I lifted it from elsewhere. But it appealed to today’s mood ….

CHRIST SUPER EMBARRASSED ABOUT ALL THAT STUPID SHIT HE SAID 2,000 YEARS AGO

THE HEAVENS—Admitting that He almost couldn’t bear to look at those old speeches from his Nazareth days, the Lord Jesus Christ told reporters Monday that He was super embarrassed about all that stupid shit He said 2,000 years ago. “Man, I was into some really weird religious mumbo-jumbo back then; all those long-winded, preachy parables I told my apostles are just so not me,” said Christ of the multiple sermons He gave, many of which He now views as pretentious and overwrought, adding that He was only 30 years old and still learning how to be the messiah. “Honestly, if I had known that people were going to write down everything I said and turn it into the New Testament, I probably would have been more careful with my words. I deeply regret uttering any of that ‘love thy neighbor’ shit. I hated the inconsiderate assholes who lived next door. Man, just thinking about me blathering on during the Sermon on the Mount, I totally get why Pontius Pilate wanted to crucify me.” Christ, who described his many miracles as “cringeworthy,” also conceded that He was still pretty proud of that time when He multiplied those fish and the loaves of bread