Archive by Author | peterdbarrows

From Rock

rock

Geology is a discourse, the study of the Earth, a rare definition worthy of an etching in stone.

A name, a foundation upon which to build.

Growing, shifting, changing, by man’s hand or the Earth’s, in a matter of minutes or across the span of eons.

Traversing the globe or taking up permanent residence, melted and molded together, eroded and disintegrated into miniaturized pieces of grander parts.

Many rocks of the same stone.

Serving the world’s purposes as a brick or watching patiently with no final purpose or destination in mind, defying time.

Doing unto the Earth as the Earth does unto it.

The forms are as many as their functions – paper weight, expressions of life, markers of death. Equal in value banded to a finger or as a freshly unearthed beach stone shored by the tide and perfectly formed for skipping. Buried treasure sans the x.

Meticulous in nature, rocks always appealed to Dad who said that if rocks could talk, every pebble would tell a story. It was his pride that he was able to read them.

The weight of history in his hand, the quilted fissures marking connections to be traced expertly like constellations of rocks in the sky, recovering their journeys, exploits, lineage, legacy as he passed along their bed time stories, imparting wisdom before gently placing them back along the trail and on their way.

Dad gazed through rocks to see the world more clearly, a polish applied to milky quartz and detested to see them hidden beneath paint.

A rock hound to his core who reveled in the discovery of even the most ordinary fossil, it was safe to say Dad always had an appreciation for rocks. Fitting I suppose, since he was always mine.

Rock from Earth, one and the same.

Fathers to sons, and back again.

Monuments left shaped in their image.

Saturn

Sonder n.

The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own – populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness – an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

To come to understand

To know and comprehend the nature and meaning of

To build castles in the air

The grill cooks in summer scents and salivating flames char angus grizzle that melts together into forms. The sun can’t be distinguished in shape, but its omnipresent orange glow signature against a red hued horizon is unmistakable as the world shifts to accommodate the impending dusk.

A subtle summer breeze sweeps up fresh grass clippings before closing up shop for the night, blades swirling like a fleet of helicopters, illuminating the patterned mazes channeled by the wind, otherwise invisible to the naked eye.

With a head propped towards the heavens, I search for shapes, signs, signals in the panning clouds above as I lay bedded upon crop circle symmetry styled by a Deere.

Nephelococcygia (ne-fê-lê-kak-‘si-jee-yê) n.

The act of seeking and finding shapes in clouds.

Nothing is quite so delicious as a cheeseburger in June, but there’s a distinct satisfaction that comes from catching a rabbit form in a cumulus or tracing a constellation older than time in the palm of your hand.

Rolled in from the patio like a mummy in wrapping, blood drained from vampiric mosquitoes, I stroll along berber as a zombie, carefully avoiding pooling light flooding from a full moon.

A corpse displayed on a couch, I’m drawn to the adjacent screen like a moth to flame as Netflix delivers a nightcap cocktail of sitcom comedies, cartoons and old westerns, a cathartic lullaby as I rot away into the fabric, sinking into the depths of a puddle of myself.

A cross breeze carries through the screen as a combination of oppressive lilac and a light murmur from the neighboring plot breaks the unsettling silent trance of the night.

There’s a unique paradox that can be savored listening to preferences in pr0n discussed during a midnight round of croquet across crabgrass.

I catch ‘Pringles can’ over the spring peepers and my ears perk just in time to hear a shot redirect off a wicket. Redheads, brunettes or blondes?

Blinds bend to the breeze teasing the sky and I’m not sure my grimy window view has ever framed the stars more elegantly as I lay there on my back floating.

If I had access to a vacant Pringles can, I’d harvest the stars one-by-one from the canvas backdrop in hopes of sealing in the crisp.

Antsy, longing to build, march and in equal parts paranoid that Slender Man might be lurking, I collect my hat for a walk.

I’ve traveled the route over a hundred times, but I haven’t once been able to slip past the ghosts unnoticed. I don’t believe in curses, but it’s easy to feel haunted – at least I have company.

Bolting the door, fellow ants, neighbors out for a smoke, take notice signalling that tonight’s company will be comprised of peers. As the clouds ran interference, we hunted Saturn through the woods while Roots played over cricket bass and tales were exchanged.

Returned home invigorated with a slurpee in hand to a giant pair of pink sunglasses and a pen to tell the tale propped against the door. I suspect aliens to be the culprits, although I don’t always understand the signs. Just have to trust that they’re there.

I arrange my ring down upon the coffee table. Still no sign of Saturn

The neighbor’s, spaced sporadically amongst the a strewn croquet mallet lawn ornaments, are back out for smoke. We sit on the stoop sharing trail mix and stories.

Unbeknownst to me for the better part of the year, I live next door to a Mozart master pianist, a Tribe aficionado and a transgender porn star. We all get stuck in our own worlds, far too easy to become enveloped.

Discussed the war and high school reunions. Received an invite from an old classmate to join a military coup. Politely declined – for now.

Discussed gambling philosophies. He won 12K in black jack and bought strippers for the table, asking only that they pay it forward.The world would be a better place if we all paid it forward and bought strippers for each other.

Discussed Harlem/Spanish Harlem, big city lights/fights, life above corpses. Death is part of life, but best to walk away from some fights.

Discussed nothing and everything at the same time in a single moment as hours passed. In a week the door will close, new neighbors arrive.

As I lay back on the couch, The Graduate keeps me company as I fade to a spot comfortable and known under a felt blanket that I never wish to leave. A distant muffler clank as the bus pulls in along the drive for it’s first stop of the morning reminds me that sitting on the back of the bus bound for destinations unknown beats sitting in a room staring into a fishbowl.

I wish they still made road maps; my thumbs are crooked and carpooling can be frightful.

As the sun begins to rise and the birds break the silent dawn, I can’t help but wonder as I listen in on their morning conversations. If all the birds get up at the crack of dawn, who gets the worm? Would it be best just to be patient?

I never go to sleep just to be safe, but when you fail to sleep, dreams become difficult to distinguish. If it is all a dream, I couldn’t rightfully say, but I find peace in every sign that I identify.

Never did spot Saturn. It didn’t matter. You never know what you’ll find when you sonder out your door – the shapes appear as you look.

I still don’t know where it is that I’m going, but wherever that might be, I’m on my way.

Proverbs

Every idea originates through equating the unequal. All things equal, I’ve learned to always keep a book of proverbs handy.

People in glass houses sink ships, of course that’s a given, but what about ships in glass bottles?

Look both ways before you cross the street, but never attempt to a cross a road if you can’t first get out of the kitchen, especially when cooking chicken.

It’s not easy to get ahead and a penny saved isn’t much anymore. On the other hand, a nickel saved is worth two in the bush, which is a start. Besides, two cents free can often be the last thing you want to hear.

I lost my punctuality with my virginity somewhere between Butch Cassidy and The Sting, but hey, always better late than pregnant.

Two’s company, three’s the musketeers, four’s the A-team – and I look great in a Mohawk. Some things in life get better as they grow and the more gold chains, the merrier.

Don’t change horses until they stop running, but what then? They say you can lead a horse to water, but how, I don’t know.

You can’t teach an old dog new math and young dogs can’t see rainbows no matter where they stand. If you lie down with dogs though, I can promise you’ll stink in the morning.

No one recites old limericks anymore so if at first you don’t succeed, get new batteries. After all, you only ever get out of something what you see in the picture on the box and batteries never seem to be included in the plastic sheathing.

There are none so blind as Stevie Wonder and when the blind lead the blind, veer out of the way as if everyone else on the highway’s driving in the wrong direction.

It’s always darkest before daylight savings time, but sometimes you can really use an extra hour of sleep. Even so, don’t put off tomorrow until you go to bed.

The pen is mightier than the pigs, but give them a spider stenographer and they might just surprise you. There are plenty of stories to see if you catch the light just right.

When running through a forest, never run more than half way in and make like a tree and get out of there when one falls. That is, only if  it doesn’t make a sound.

An idle mind is the best way to relax, but it’s an idle car that will save you gas, proving that sitting on a couch can kill two birds with one absent thought.

It’s handy in life, comforting even, to be a privy to a code of rules-of-thumb, but what’s the point if no two finger prints are ever the same?

Run

Image

We aren’t always successful in outrunning our problems, but occasionally we are compelled with enough strength to outrun them.

Running along the left dirt shoulder of a dusty road, I am the deer in the headlights.  Swimming upstream like a salmon, the world hanging in the balance.

Salt saturated sweat mixes with condensation of the night like a cocktail and blurs my vision, but I see more clearly.  Heart races at 180 BPM, my feet try to keep pace.

I’m tired; but most of all, I’m tired of being tired.  So tired, I can’t sleep.  Running energizes, but I run to avoid, to escape.  I run from life.

I crane my neck as I pass by a scene from a Robert Frost poem.  Freshly harvested grain combed neatly to provide the appearance of waves, rolling in across the plain on a calm fall evening.  Forest trees stand guard over the art along the perimeter.  The scene beckons to me.  I wish to live in that picture, but I dare not wander off the road – I might never return.

My legs are heavy, my breath labored.  Headlights from my back push me along – I harvest the light like a sail on a vessel.  A course uncharted, a destination unknown.  Blindly exploring the night in search of something that may not even exist.

Why do we wait?  What do we wait for?

I pick up the pace.  I run pass homes, friends, footsteps and memories.  I’ve forgotten home and I’m not sure I can ever get back.  I’m not ready to let go.

I sprint towards the finish, just as I was taught.  I’ve slowed considerably over the years, but it still feels like flying.  I wish I could.  I just keep running in hopes that perhaps one day, I will.

Homeless, no longer safe standing – I run.

To Bee

Plastic to glass, a frantic stirring.

I awake to a wasp stuck in the blinds that can’t fly out of the window.  It was so easy to get in, an exciting new adventure, but the wasp refused to turn around and fly for the door.  Aware, but it doesn’t understand – like color to a dog.

A thin pane of glass separates the creature from the outside world; a pane that refuses to yield. Stubborn and blind, the wasp’s attempts at escape are valiant and in vain.  In a just world, his efforts might have been rewarded.

But the world is not just and his life span is short, dripping away like the dew accumulated on the gutter above.  The pain of desperation exhausts life.

He’ll never fly free again.

We are blind, we struggle, buzz busily and flap our wings, only to fly into a sheet of glass.  It’s comical at first, but we do it again and again until there’s no more life to spare.  Struggling to comprehend, to advance, to be anywhere else, to break through the glass.  Unwilling to step back, incapable of locating the back door.

The lifeless corpse falls to the sill and I sweep it gently away in my palm.  Rarely empty, another wasp replaces the last almost everyday.

Basketball Jones

Anytime of season, anytime of day.

I don’t need anyone else.

It doesn’t matter,

Good days or bad,

I just need my fix.

One bounce, a lungful of air through the nose.

A sweet sound-full swish, crisper than an autumn leaf.

My sanctuary, for short hours or long minutes, my mind drifts.

Just the ball, the hoop, and my thoughts.

I always make it with the clock running down.

S’mores

I swallow smoke through my eyes rendering them temporarily blind.

Wet logs unfurl into coals, releasing vapor upwards.

The sky is blank, bare of anything of recognition. 

No clouds, stars, celestial bodies – simply light blue setting into dark.  Impossible to read.

It grows darker by the minute in that junction of the day where bird song still lingers to mix with incoming insects and their nightly chorus.

Heavenly harp strings layer the accompaniment, pulled at the wind’s whim as it passes gently through the oak branches and brass chimes. 

The pond water is dead, full of murk and natural decay. A mosquito nesting ground, the water sits perfectly still like a well-behaved child.

A nesting ground for some, a mausoleum for others, there’s one less member of the summer night chorus tonight.  A cremation for a lost Blue Jay unfortunate enough to drown while bathing. Hadn’t yet learned to fly – suppose it couldn’t swim either. 

There is a peace that can only be found and experienced through nature, but nature is struggle.  Life is struggle.  Hatfield and McCoy, a feud with nature. Our nature. 

Deep orange against bright white as the flames continue to slowly consume their meal. 

The fire is fed modestly on modest provisions.  A humble fire, but it suffices for its purpose.

I can see myself in the embers, but I can’t make out what time we’re in. 

A house from the fifties, a backyard patio fit for the thirties, a fire on the frontier with the day rustled in.  A house on the fringe of suburbia and time. 

It’s a lovely moment, but only a moment.  We always need something to burn.