It was unthinkable, back when
my without-resumé or bona fide
job was Dad: our father,
leader, wizard, fixer of all
things and people broken,
savior of my tribe; shaman,
vet, and driver out of all demons.
Despite my foibles,
hidden as many were—
we managed to cope.
Burdened with adversity and misguided history
we owned our piece of the world,
we held the keys that controlled the universe,
wherein I was (am?) suddenly
no longer the center to which they would turn.
Call it what is, that’s life, dismissing
whenever shit happens, when I’m forced
to admit I don’t know why. To say
I was wrong about so much.
I think and think again about it all,
the ultimatum. It wasn’t you. It’s me.
Look both ways when seeking the mysterious purpose of life,
or finding of the true self, or taking on the vocation mantle of service.
Mind the gaps for the distractions of relief are dear.
To begin the second week of the NaPoWriMo challenge, I was to give a name to my alter ego. Then I was to provide you with a detailed description of him or her (in my case, his). Finally, I was s’pposed to write in my alter ego’s voice, presumably a poetic piece of some kind. I looked up alter ego because I wasn’t certain what that was. I’m still not sure.
I’ve provided you with two video clips. One to clarify my alter ego’s behavior and attitude (Gus McCrae from the Lonesome Dove miniseries, played by Robert Duvall). It’s close, but not exactly right. So, I added another clip from a Bloomberg interview with Sam Elliot to help with the look, facial hair, and voice. I also added a photo for the uniform and a bushier mustache.
Meet Scratch McGillicuddy, my alter ego. Scratch got his first name playing pool (poorly). His last name was bestowed by his father, but it’s not his real family name. He never uses that. Scratch’s motto is do no harm but take no shit. He has a soft heart that he wants no one to see, and a hard head that everyone sees. Like Gus McCrae, Scratch has an appreciation for the arts, the intelligence of others, all kinds of learning, and he talks and drinks too much.
While McGillicuddy has seen better days and his best is in the past, he is seriously in denial about that and thinks he can do it all as well as always. Scratch is older than he looks, is more physically fit than many think, and admits to selling himself for a bit more than his worth. In many ways, except for his cowboy image, Scratch is an average sized man who hits hard and shoots straight, metaphorically and literally.
He sees things others miss. While his hearing is waning, he loves music. Secretly, he is proud of his physical and emotional scars. Yet, he doesn’t show them off or talk much about what price he paid for them.
We’re all gone now, but we ain’t
And we ain’t them Louis L’Amour pokes,
but we are too, in many a memory.
Now, we’re the Larry McMurtry truth.
We’re not the western movie,
but we’re the western hero
and the Liberty Valance, sorry to say.
We don’t drive pickup trucks,
but we ride, smack dab in the middle with you.
We love horses, snakes, and cows,
but we ain’t no farmers nor them
drugstore cowboy goat ropers.
We drink rank coffee and cheap rye whiskey,
and we cause tons a trouble on the double.
We’re on your saddles, in yer picture shows,
and we be a permanent part of yer art.
In Oklahoma we’re gussied up in a dad burn museum.
We’re who y’all pine to be, but you can’t be no more
b’cuz they done bob-warred the dang prairie.
We all been throwed, and some of us been rode.
Don’t be messin’ with our women folk,
now, ya been nicely told.
Hang on to the myth, the cowboy stories,
because it’ll be nowhere on earth, ever again.
Never like it was way back then. Like I said,
We just ain’t here abouts no more. But you are.
Look both ways for the stories of history: the truth, myths, and mysteries.
Mind the gaps, the hats, the spurs, and the boots.
It isn’t what it was, but it was what it is. Make the best of it.
Each Wednesday, the wonderful and majestic Rochelle sends a photo to inspire us to write one-hundred or fewer words that tell a story. Friday Fictioneers is fun. Click on the prompt photo for the access to her special page.
Here is the prompting picture and my fib.
Title: It Is What Was
Word Count: 100
“This SUV is a time machine that transports mentally, not physically. You can only go back during your lifetime, not forward.
“That mirror shows exact time and place holographically. You go from now to then for about five minutes, then you are back here. You may change any past decision of yours, but rules disallow affecting life or death—kind of a prime directive. Your life will change based on the new decision. Any questions?”
What if I change my mind afterwards?
“We allow one free return trip to reset things. So far, everyone has done that. Ready?”
Look both ways, regret little, love much, and be yourself.
Mind the gaps and SUV, time machine sales staff.
“Finish each day and be done with it.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
They thought it was indestructible.
A once mighty oak.
Then one day, there it lay—
one fragile, entropic stick, atrophied
by the dominance of green fire,
enraged temperament morphed
from past passions into
mislaid trust, then to castaway love,
and finally, to the pain of the end.
Did he willingly dance away from the fire?
Did the stepping turn of his heel find and
finally crush that last unwilling, wilting twig?
Was it he or she who stood in the dark,
alone, searching for some deeper truth
without understanding? Only able
to struggle against the monster’s eye,
leaning in against injury
from false charges and
intolerable miscreant treatment.
Had they become allergic to love?
Did they both just get lazy?
Whatever cannot be, simply isn’t.
needn’t be defended against
blows from the unbridled ax of envy.
Then—it was just the inevitable end,
when even love was not enough.
First, look both ways. Then, look all around.
Finally, mind the gaps and cut your losses.
Having descended recently
from progenitors, through
many millennia, I am tethered
to an inseverable past, a chain
of evolutionary becoming me;
this “I” is very much of that,
of then, literally of them.
Subject to the will of nature,
this intense soulful belonging,
universal humanity, who taught me
to walk, run, eat; to pee,
and to talk. Into the wonderous wild,
not benign, to risk danger, to
create art, to live as human
now, to feel art in my nature.
Look both ways and live for today.
But we are products of a past not our own.
Mind the gaps for more questions than there are answers.
Submitting this poem as part of dVerse Open Link Night (OLN). Click here to link up with today’s post, or here to find other poems.
The prompt for this poem was called “in the window.” I was to imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. I was to write what I saw and what was going on.
Through distant darkness
neither walking nor running, I was
moving as if a floating camera
toward some spot of light
in a black universe, like one
dot of star, then to a portal,
which I determined to be a window.
A woman was there
on the other side,
in her world of light
from which she looked out.
Her almond eyes stared
and seemed to see into a past,
perhaps mine. Could she see
through me, as if not seeing me,
toward a distant, common hill
in the dark? One she knew well?
She seemed to look but not to see,
her blank blue eyes were calm
Her hair was streaked with gray
atop her oval head, and softly it dropped
on both sides to a mild but wildly
smooth, unyoung neck. Neither naked
nor covered, her body was as a
faint veil with arms that
I could not see,
with hands she never looked to.
Her skin was pale but smooth,
with pleasant facial wisdom lines.
Her eyes seemed neither pleased
nor sad as she stared, deadpan
into the darkness,
as if I was not there, or perhaps,
she didn’t care; with
eyes that seemed to say something
of a storied past looking into
a dark, peaceful future.
Her nose was powder plain
above a mouth that neither
smiled nor frowned, as if she
thought I could not see her
from my darkness through
the window of her light.
I sensed a beautiful love that was
pure and honest, like a mother
for a child; but also, I thought
I could see a longing or an expecting
in her now-graying, moist eyes.
Eyes without tears or regret.
Then I saw that the window was
a mirror of reality. The woman was
my reflection, able to see
only into my past,
the image of the real me.
Or was it she that I needed to see?
A lighter, brighter, more loving
reflection of myself. The side I’ve never met.
See both ways when looking through windows or into mirrors,
especially as metaphors of life. Mind the gaps, the cracks, the wrinkles, and the patina of age.
Everything means something.