Essay: Tell the Story (of two hearts)

J-Dubs challenged me and two others to write the story for this photo prompt. I have. I am then to post a new picture and challenge three other bloggers to write to it (there are apparently no rules for length or type. Some are poetry. Some are long, others short).

***

I was awakened by a loud noise but found nothing. Unable to sleep, I sat at my desk. As I started to type, a message appeared on screen that said, please don’t be afraid. We need to talk. If you say it is okay, I will be right with you. If you say nothing or no, I will leave you alone. Will you talk with me?

I thought about calling my wife, but I just sat there – heart racing. I pushed my chair back and thought, Now? The words now or never appeared on the screen. I think I said fuck.

I spurted out a muffled verbal okay then. A man immediately walked into the room. He looked like me, but this was no simple doppelganger. He was not someone else who looked exactly like me. He was me, but not me. He held two glasses of wine and placed one on the desk in front of me and he sat on the couch and sipped the other.

He spoke first.

You were wishing you had a drink. I had the same wish. All you need do is think your questions and I will think them too. Then I will answer you. I will talk, but only you can hear me. If you talk, you risk waking your wife. If that happens, I must leave. So do not speak. Just think. As you can see, I am physically here, but in a way I’m not. I’ll explain that later.

I cannot read your mind exactly as you do because I don’t share your background, reasons, motivations, or physical experiences, but my thoughts parallel yours. That’s how it works for us. It is our relationship while you live. We are not precisely the same person, there are two of us, yet we are the same persons in two parallel universes. It’s hard to comprehend. I need you for me to exist as I am.

We go back a long way. Do you recall the monsters under your bed as a child? That was me. I knew you would talk about it. As a monster, it would seem normal to others. If you had told your parents you found yourself under your bed, they might have been alarmed.

He went on for a long time. As we drank the amount of wine in the glasses never changed. When I thought of a question, he would answer it immediately. He never stopped talking. When I understood, he knew it and would move on.

While time passed, what seemed like hours took only minutes. He explained that as a form of mental telepathy wherein thoughts happen faster than spoken words. What seemed like talking was a form of thought transfer, which explained why no one heard us. I had not verbally said a word.

He said – You have heard of a parallel universe, right? I am not only from what you call another universe, I am you in that universe. Our universes are real, but separate and parallel. One is superimposed on the other – dimensionally separated, but not physically. Mine is older and less physical.

I can explain it but you’re not capable of understanding or believing it. We discovered the possibility of a different universe and sort of willed yours into existence. But for us to have access to yours, we needed to transform physically. What you call evolution is us trying to figure out how to make it work. Eventually we did, but not perfectly. We had to learn about the impermanence of a physical universe.

He explained that while he was a permanent entity, he did not always exist as he did now. He was not a life form until I was born. His incubation was parallel to mine and he came into existence as a person equivalent to me, but in his universe.

He explained that others like him have attempted showing themselves but often regretted it because of human reactions due to superstition and fear. He asked – How do you explain a parallel universe to people who don’t even know what a universe is? For communication there must be some common ground.

Then his expression looked more serious. He said – You need to know how this will end. When you die, I will cease to exist as I am now. I’ll revert to my prior form since at your death there will be no human entity to parallel. We don’t know what happens to you. Humans just seem to die.

Our being depends upon yours for quality and purpose, but not for raw existence. Eventually, I will be paired with another human. There are more of you than us, so many humans are not paralleled. Your existence is no longer dependent on us. You’re on your own in many ways.

You may find that unfair, but there is more for us to figure out. The two parallel existences still depend on each other. I want to propose that we try something new. If you like my idea, you and I will be the beta test.

Just as he started to explain his idea my wife called out to me. Instantly he was gone. I walked to the bedroom and she asked, “Do you feel ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

I told her that I had heard noises from under the bed that were very similar to when I was a child and had seen monsters.

She groaned and mumbled, “Why the fuck did I want to marry a writer? Go to bed!”

© Bill Reynolds 2/21/2019

***

Tell the story if you so choose. The three writers I challenge are:

  1. Kathrine
  2. Jim
  3. Tara

And the photo is (credit to Sherry):

Look both ways and watch your footing. Do not fall into the gaps.

Poetry: Poetry

Some say it is trickery that poets secretly do,
to pretend to understand the incomprehensible
words of each other. Some poets say poetry
should not be easily comprehended, that even
other poets should not see, or the art is not
of the true deep, hidden source of secrecy.

I read poems that lift my spirits, and some
darkens my soul, even with true life and death,
but I feel my eyes squint and my brow push
down to a wrinkled quandary as I try to see,
to find meaning and purpose and message, to
apply the plated words to my taste and be
aware of comprehending and understanding.

Do those of us who love poems love all?
Is every poem ever penned done with message
and purpose that all others, or just some,
might perceive and claim joy found
in the artfulness and clever voice
of the poet who sat and wrote words to read?

© Bill Reynolds 2/14/2019

Look both ways and Happy Valentine’s Day.
Mind the gap, but don’t gape.
O Captain! My Captain!

Poetry: Peace Be With You

 

Dark Night Warrior

I love the common, the warm blanket of peace,
the soft whispers of a perfect and quiet day,
the calm of nature, birds, and other people
smiling and loving and happy.

But the Dark Night of thunder and storm,
of lightning and wind and rain excites me.
I feel more alive in a storm than safe
in the banal aspects of a sheltered existence.

My every dream is a warlike challenge
of attacks and kills and fights to a death.
Even mine.
What warrior is content to watch the battle?
Half of me belongs to the night, the dark.

I believe in war, combat, risk, and battle.
Bore me not with stories of contentment.
Challenge me with fear and excitement
before I die from fucking fattened monotony.

© Bill Reynolds, 2/11/2019

Look both ways and ask what kind of existence you want.
The gaps?
Oh yes, there are always the gaps to mind.

Personal Poetry: Status Report

I wrote more than 31 poems this month – at least one per day. I hope to write one each day for the rest of the year. Some days I must force them out, other days they flow with my emotions; often several. It seems I do my best work when emotionally unstable and I just spew my voice and my words onto the paper. Technically, they are not quite tidy, but the color splashes feel so good.

My January list follows as either titles or topics.

  1. The Dark Random Universe
  2. Scout (my daughter’s dog is named Thor, but I like Scout better)
  3. A poem about a tractor
  4. Brainless True Believers (I was/am pissed)
  5. Old man goes for a swim (not me, but his name is Bill)
  6. The feel of the pool (me in the water)
  7. A poem about writing
  8. Not belonging (how it feels)
  9. The goodness in badness
  10. The F Word (I know some of you love it as much as I do)
  11. A Tough Momma’s Boy
  12. The Greatest Sin (published on blog)
  13. Benched (also published)
  14. Companionship reality
  15. Free People
  16. Turkey and Turks
  17. As it was (published)
  18. Golf Carts (they are everywhere here)
  19. Cats (I like dogs, too. But cats intrigue me.)
  20. Walking (I do it virtually every day)
  21. Undisclosed (political bitching)
  22. Born into a smoking world
  23. Stormy (weather or person?)
  24. Suicide
  25. Meaning in Life
  26. The Contemplative Atheist
  27. No Dog in the Fight
  28. The Cancer Closet
  29. Time and Life
  30. Climate Collapse
  31. Today (in a Carpe Diem sense)

Look both ways, back at January (Winter), forward to March (Spring).
Mind the gaps, and happy Imbolc, St. Brigid’s, or ground hog day.
It’s all February to me.

Poetry: Unbelief

The greatest sin of unbelief

They tried my soul –
and found it guilty
of the greatest sin,
its unbelief.

There it is
for all to see, the bad is there
all about me, can’t you see?
not rape nor torture or the harm
of murder
none of that is my sin.

I killed no gods or goats
all souls still running free
to come and go,
but my only sin – no god
shall I ever know.

How do I dare
to declare
my mind be free,
and so bare. is it not right there?
show me any god,
then might shall I to care.

Condemn my soul,
if you must. but look at me
and you will I trust
see all I can be,
is humanly free.

The day I die and somewhere lie,
you’ll accuse me as others cry,
not of being bad nor good,
but unlike you,
I just did not believe to be true,
my unbelief in god now flows
through as all my being goes.

©Bill Reynolds   1/28/2019

Look both ways. Mind the gaps.

View from the blogger batter’s box

In the past few weeks people have asked me what I do to keep busy. Some of them are also retired but have chosen different channels for their lives (social, travel, too much of nothing). Some of the younger people continue to work at paying jobs. Others don’t seem to have an answer. I usually respond that I write a lot. But here is the best answer, for now.

I usually spend my first few hours of my day on this computer. Today I’m writing this, but I have checked emails and have some WordPress items to check on later, which means blogs to read and comments to follow-up. On most days, I walk for an hour or two. I write every day, but the amount varies. I spend some time with social media or trying to figure things out (tech junk) or I do some form of research. I spend about 45 minutes a day in a swimming pool. Thirty minutes swimming laps and more time with running, stretching, or vigorously kicking. The round-trip pool events take more than an hour. With prep and recovery time, I devote at least four hours a day (most days) to physical activity and listening to music, which I do while walking.

Occasionally, I nap. I watch some television to have a reason to feel guilty about wasting my time. But even then, my writer’s mind is working (plot, character, conflict, acting). Football season is winding down, baseball on TV is boring, and if a new season of The Voice begins, I will watch that. I am active in two local writing groups (3 to 6 hours per week). I recently backed away from a third group for a short list of reasons.

I have three major goals to work toward this year. One is to write a poem each day. That is going well so far, and I still write essays, short fiction, and random things like this post.

Second, I hope to do two blog challenges in April (A to Z and NaPoWriMo) and I am preparing for them as best I can.

My third goal is to self-publish a book of some of my work by mid-summer, or at least be reviewing proofs by that time. I also have a memoir to clean up and finish. Sue recently published a book of her poetry, (click to link to Amazon) so I am motivated to follow.

I will continue my reading of other blogs and commenting. I want to make changes to my blog that require me to do some figuring out. I may change the theme (what it looks like) again soon. While I like the simplicity and ease of my blog page now, I feel the need to work it. I want something I can organize better by genre/type (poetry, essays, fiction, philosophy or whatever). I hope to solve that dilemma by March.

My point is that while I have been posting on Monday and Thursday, I will not keep that up. I’ll continue to read and comment on other blogs every day, and I will post to my blog occasionally. But, I will not be tied to anything that looks like a plan or schedule. I expect to overdose with two posts per day beginning April 1st. In May, I will downshift to a more normal pace after I determine my new normal. Until then, fewer posts and maybe a theme change.

Looking both ways, learn from the past (yours and that of others)
and plan your future.
Either mind gaps with awareness or fill them with purpose.

You decide.

Poetry: How it was

 

we were wine drunk in a sad state
rain fell softly, our feet bare in tall grass
we discovered and devoured everything
it was a time, I wish we could go back to

a place that no longer exists
nothing is the same
we are not the same
like rain runs off an old tin roof

we did our best
we were all winging it
without a book of instructions
we loved and tried and cried

sickness taught us about mortality
and of time
of right and of wrong
of a balance of life based on mystery

life gave us as much as we took
we were brittle, we were broken
we looked deep to encompass pain
to draw a circle around it and around us

the circle around us, that was grace,
I, just a boy, you, a girl, we
to each other, every boy and girl
we had ever had and lost

we wanted to leave, to not exist,
to go leaving no tracks or marks
to be forgotten and not followed,
we yearned only for us to be

we wondered how to live
for ourselves and for life and
because we believed
in each other as one spirit

we wanted to see the sky,
to go home, but how ?
we did not think past us
over our shipwrecked lives

everything was falling and not falling
the next toehold in life was
sore tired hearts and bodies
of the children we were, we are

we lost, unsure of what was real
we didn’t know what to do or to write
or to say or to ask, to only feel a sad
liberating acceptance of a deeper sadness

we were stripped of a dignity in life
of all things tried and failed
all the love we’re ever given
can be invoked long after it’s gone

I’m here
we are here
in this moment, this place, a time
when once there was this: us.

©Bill Reynolds 1/21/2019

Look both ways, but love the past we’ve lost to the cosmos.
Those gaps are gone, sadly.