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In the Kingdom of the Blind

In the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is supreme, and a one-eyed Jack could become a one-eyed King.

In the Kingdom of the Blind, the eyeglass salesmen go broke while the monocle salesman grows fat with affluence due to his exclusive arrangement with one-eyed King Jack. The royal eye deserves the best after all. A different monocle for every occasion!

What It Means To Live One Foot In The Grave

skeleton-clip-art-15 (1)The idea of living one foot in the grave comes from the Zen masters, some of whom would carry a tiny coffin with them when they traveled, a reminder of their mortality, a token of the temporary nature of existence.

The idea has become misused and distorted in the West, which tends culturally to make an enemy of death and view it as something to be avoided rather than embraced.

Death comes to all people. Whether you embrace death or not, death will embrace you.

Thinking of Georgia O’Keefe


Gateway to a Parallel World


This is the last place anyone saw Elias. He was drinking a tropical milkshake and staring out at the ocean.

After he disappeared, we looked for him everywhere. On the beach, around the neighborhood. We went back to the park by the beach every day for two weeks.

The Coast Guard kept watch for his body but it never washed ashore. Nobody knows if he went near the water at all. Elias didn’t know how to swim, and he didn’t really like the ocean. He just came here for the view.

His sister thinks that aliens got him. His mother thinks it may be the start of the Rapture. I think both of them could be right.

Last night insomnia kept me roaming the hallways long after midnight. I sat at the back bay window that looked down onto the alley and watched various people going through our garbage.

Sometime before morning the world fell as calm and still as if it were sleeping. Even the city lights seemed to dim before morning approached.

I looked west and for some reason thought I could see the sunrise but realized it was only the reflection of dawn in the windows.

Happy Anniversary, Katrina X/O

“So that’s over,” he said. “I reckon we can go back to forgetting about it.”

“Sometimes you just gotta move on,” she told him.

That much was a simple truth. Lots of other people had moved on. Other would. But for some reason it was not for him.

“I can’t forget.”

“You won’t forget,” she argued. “That’s just your way. It always has been.”

“I’m a student of history.”

“You always say that. But the truth is you’re just damn stubborn.”

Tetsuo’s Last Stand

The door was locked, the key tossed over the wall and into the night. His brother and the rescued hostages were safe on the other side, headed for the waiting boats and their escape.

Tetsuo turned and faced the dozen warriors amassed before him. Some of them stood with their jaws slack, amazed at the sacrifice of this lone samurai. Two of the swordsmen nearest Tetsuo paused, holding their attacks. Sanjuro, the bandit leader, stood with them, his own eyes wide with surprise.

Happy New Year

After the New Year we sailed our sandships along down the gulf where we hung around the landfill plinking rats with pellet rifles. The rats are the size of kittens so they make good targets.

We found this place at the end of the world where old surfers end up after one wave too many and every scruffy sailor with a boat claims to be a smuggler. It is amazing what ends up in a place where no one would be if they had another choice.

Only Watubi Can Save You Now


Skipper Jonas Grumby finds this old tiki idol and believes he’s under the “curse of Kona.” Only the powerful witch-doctor Watubi can save him. Skipper is rendered nearly mad by his fear of the curse, his senses so distorted that he does not recognize Gilligan dressed up as Watubi. Nor does he realize the exorcism Gillian performs is sheer nonsense. But then caucasian sea captains do not tend to be scholars of Polynesian religious ceremony.

Recently I had occasion to dine with several scholars of Polynesian lore. We met over breakfast at a diner in Reseda. All of us shared a mutual acquaintance who was not present that day. His absence, in fact, was the reason for our meeting. None of us knew what had become of him. He had been returning from a lecture in Hawaii and never made it to the airport. The airline insisted he had boarded in Honolulu but he did not deplane in Los Angeles. Nobody knew he was missing for three days, and even then they assumed he was on a bender. His disappearance finally became evident when he failed to attend a faculty conference.

The News from Traumaville

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of John Cassavetes movies and staying up late with gypsy minstrels composing musical space opera set on the Jovian moons of Io and Europa. Fire and ice are prominent themes.

When the musicians get hungry we make soup from empty cans and then mourn the death of irony. A drummer named Ivan dances on the table while a fiddle player who name consists entirely of consonants plays a ragged tune. We all clap our hands and shout in various languages.

Hairy Solstice

“What are you doing for Christmas?” Shorty asked me.

“Same thing I do every year. Nothing.”

“Do you celebrate the solstice?”

I do celebrate the solstice, but I lied and told him I didn’t.

“My wife used to celebrate the solstice,” Shorty told me.

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