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Archive for the tag “faith”

These People

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I watch a TV show

or a movie,

and I see friends. 

Human beings

who have friends,

friends who have

human beings

who are their friends. 

And I ask myself,

“How did these people

find each other?”

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Starting and Starting Over

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Starting, and starting over, is not the same thing.  They are as different as walking forward, and walking forward, backwards.  Not as clearly different as starting and stopping.  If it was, then you would have no trouble telling them apart.  But make no mistake; people do have trouble telling them apart.

Starting is that thing we do at the beginning of some something we have not done.  Starting over is that thing we do when some something stops us, but just long enough for us to think that maybe we have not really stopped at all.

It is understandable when those who have never really started a something, and seen it to its end, don’t know.  Most books don’t teach it, and most folks have never lived it.  It’s a mystery, on the lines of accepted but incomprehensible things like the laws of gravity, and thermodynamics.  But whether or not someone knows what those names are names for, ask them if a satellite or even a shooting star could fall to earth, and they nod and say, of course those things are true.

And this is where I say that, because those laws say that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest tends to stay at rest, the very same thing can be equally true about the path of a human life, lived in this human world, often at the mercy of the most human of circumstances.

Speed bumps are formed.  Detours are made.  Shit happens.  And sometimes, those obstacles stop the beautiful movement of a body in motion, until it becomes a body at unintended rest.

Have you ever tried to give a falling star a shove to get it back on its course through the heavens?  It’s not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it’s damn fucking impossible.  Yet when a very human body, with all its complexities of motion and emotion, loses its path through the glory of this world, it is no more easily shoved back on course than the star that fell from the sky.

But we still ask of those who lost all their momentum, sometimes well-intentioned, sometimes with a critical intent, why can’t you just start over?

Maybe it’s in the way they’re walking.  And maybe you’ve been fooled, because you haven’t noticed that they’re walking forward, backwards.  And maybe in walking backwards, they are slowed by looking at the past that was; their past, lost to the speed bumps, the detours, and the shit of something that no longer is, and not the new that waits behind their back, right over their shoulder.  Not in starting over, but in turning around and starting brand new.

So in the same way you would look into the night sky and at the stars within it, look closely at the shining stars before you, and understand.  Because starting over is never easy, and they are doing the best that they can.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

If a Tree Falls

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I have never been a successful writer.  I’ve never won a single award for writing.  I’ve never been a best-seller on any list, anywhere.  I have fewer than a thousand followers of my blog.  I don’t drive dollars, pageviews, or likes.  My words have never been found on a shelf in any library.  As writers go, I have not been quoted in another book; I’ve not spoken at a conference, or given a talk that was recorded for play on anyone’s YouTube channel.

If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone know I’m a writer?

I once asked someone who knows me well, “What if I just stopped writing?”  They answered, “Better chance of you becoming a woman.”  Okay, if that’s true, what prompted me to ask that question?  Then I remembered I also once asked this person, “Can’t I just be a posthumous success?” 

And no, I didn’t like their answer to that question, either.

Pausing as I write this, I remind myself that only 20 to 30 people will ever read these words.  But I’m still writing them.  I just don’t know why.  I’m hoping that one day, before I stop for good, I will.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Like a Grocery Store Trout

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Sometimes, we are handed a life.  Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, knowing nothing of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the fire beneath.

This is how I think most of us exist.  Unaware of our surroundings, except what directly affects us, and that, only if we ever are in actual contact, and hopefully with the right combination of tastes and smells that allow all to forget that we, in the big picture, are really nothing more than the stink of low tide and death.

Pick a metaphor.  Sardines in a can.  Lemmings on a cliff.  The people of Soylent Green.  Fast forwarding our way to an inglorious end, unaware, for the most part, what we are speeding toward.  That end always in sight if we only think to look.

This was me, until it wasn’t anymore.

I work a job that, in the couple hundred times I’ve tried explaining it to folks over nearly a decade, defies description.  And it’s not even the job description that defies it.  It’s not the job of Freight Runner, Certified Forklift Operator, Warehouse Night Manager, Inventory Control Specialist, Bookkeeper, and Small Parcel Courier that confuses people, it’s how the job gets paid.

The bottom of bottom lines is, I am not an employee.  I am a contractor.  This means there is no salary, no hourly wage, no insurance and paid time off.  There is only the job, or NO job.  Pay, or NO pay.  Don’t come in?  Don’t come back.  Every day for the last 8 years, 8 months, 13 days, 23 hours, and a handful of minutes and seconds, I haven’t taken a day off that didn’t cost me in docked pay.  That includes two major surgeries, bookended weekdays around weekend getaways, sick days, dentist appointments, family birthdays, national holidays, you name it. 

If I took it, I ate that day’s pay.

This also includes regularly adding duties to the job description at no additional compensation, four double-shifts per week at one flat rate, hours worked for free one night a week, as well as… now THIS is where it gets interesting… back pay stolen by the third party job broker who held my contract with the warehouse, and finally, intermittent pay cuts, just to be allowed to keep my job.  All that, and however many hours I find between the cracks to write and publish two books, and maybe mix in a nap.  Then today, one more demand for me to spend another $500 for additional licensing and commercial insuring, just to keep my job.  As I write this, I have less than three weeks until I pay, or get out.

Sometimes, we are handed a life.  Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, living in the false comfort of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the terror of the fire beneath.

On this day, I see the frying pan for what it is, and no longer fear the fire.

Today, I decided to get out.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

End of Shift

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Counting down the minutes till

the end of shift

is a lot like counting down the

minutes till

the end of life. 

Except you know where you’re going

when your shift ends,

and how to get there. 

You’ve planned for it. 

You even have things

waiting for you for

when you arrive,

like macaroni and cheese

and a cold beer. 

Unlike the end of your life,

when you hope there’s

a nice place for you to settle into,

that the fridge is stocked with

all your favorite things,

and that the

building management isn’t blasting

‘70s pop songs from

the speakers in the elevator

headed for the basement,

where you know the air conditioning is

sketchy at best.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

The Accidental Prophet

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“A wish is not a goal, and hope is not a plan.”

I have a friend, a very close friend, who says that whenever I speak of the future, I already know what’s going to happen.  One year.  Five years.  Ten.  Every step and every stage, all mapped out, in my head and then, into words.  Thoughtful.  Methodical.  Concise.

Except I swear that, every time it happens, I have no conscious idea that what I’ve just said is, in fact, a plan.

So unbelieving am I that, after my friend who hears recites my future future back to me, I am left scrunch-faced, my head shaking, saying, “What are you talking about?  That wasn’t a plan, that was just wishful thinking.”  And yet, in the two years of our friendship, apparently, I’ve never been wrong. 

And it pisses me off every time.

It would seem that I hate being right.

If I were to put it in terms that I could understand, I would call myself, “The Accidental Prophet”. 

Over the last year alone, I called my shot about creating a job out of two other jobs so that I would have all the time in the world to sit undisturbed and, on company time, with the boss’ blessing, write another book.  That happened.  Before that, I called my shot about taking ten years of chicken-scratched poems, and publishing a first book.  That happened, too.  Somewhere in between the first book and the job, I said something about creating a publishing company and, yeah… yeah… whatever.

Now, says my friend, I’ve been saying things again.  Future kind of things.  The kind that, if you were to ask me, I wouldn’t call anything more than a few nice ideas.  A wish here, a hope there.  Just spitballing into the wind.  And if I didn’t have the big-eared friend with the over-developed sense interpreting irony in all its forms, I might dismiss these, too. 

Except now, I can’t.  Because I know better than to argue with a plan, even when I don’t know it’s a plan until comes true.

And all I can say right now is, if it’s true, 2017 is going to be a hell of a year.  And if none of it comes true, well like I said, I hate being right, so I’ll be the first to tell you I was wrong. But if by accident I was right, I’ll be writing another one of these next year. 

Complete with the “I told you so” from my friend who hears.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Netherworld

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Days of the week,

or weekend,

the same. 

Shadows in the place of light,

morning and night. 

No noon.

 

Late I wake,

in the waning sun,

not set. 

With afternoon’s first cup,

must wake up. 

Too soon.

 

Adapting to this life,

upside-down. 

Into halogen and pixel,

I shrink,

lacking melanin,

blink. 

Cold moon.

 

Upon words,

a ladder to climb. 

Voices above cry out, 

join our Netherworld escape,

prison break. 

Lifeless womb.

 

Through endless dreams,

or not,

unsure. 

A solitary life of doubt,

must get out. 

In hope assume.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

This Is An Actual Blog Post

nablopomo, nanopoblano

Nano Poblano 2015

 

This Is An Actual Blog Post.

(you’ve been warned)

I became a poet towards the end of the two-thousand-oughts.  It wasn’t by design, but rather, desperation.  I was writing for an online Citizen Journal, enjoying some popularity there, and learning what it meant to contribute regularly with my words to a community of writers.

Some people actually thought I was kinda good at it.

My intention all along was NOT to blog, but rather, to write.  As in real writing, not the self-congratulatory bullshit that passes itself off as writing in the blog world.  Writing, as in script-to-screen or, if I was lucky and could fool the right people, a long-form short story or novel.  Blogging, to my snot-nosed thinking, was what people who could neither do, nor teach, did with their caffeine-addled latte musings.  Writing was what genuinely talented people did to convey their misunderstood genius and get PAID for it.

Like Aaron Sorkin, but without all the rehab.

But like a great lost number of self-described writers, my words became fewer as my problems became greater.  Employment, intended to pay the freight and pave the way for enough income to support my future career, became more and more time-all-consuming, and insensitive to the needs of the future I imagined.  Marriage, once the backbone of my beliefs about existence and God, crumbled, leaving me to spend more hours re-evaluating what I believed and stood for than I had ever spent in the crafting of beautiful strings of my meaningless vocabulary.  Life, for all its infinite beauty, wore a widow’s veil, obscuring my vision while I waited for the exile of mourning in the guise self-pity to pass.

It never did.

Until the day I posted,

“If you don’t love your life… change your life.”

Because employment was not my life.  Marriage was not my life.  And life (for all its infinite beauty) was not my life.  As I looked around at what was passing (and passing away) as my life, I realized that none of those things could any longer define me.  None of those things any longer made me who I was.  A job was just a job.  Expectations and commitments pass away.  And words don’t come neatly packaged for the gifting of them.  Existence is sloppy, but life is beautiful, if you live it beyond the details.  So, in just one moment of time, I wrote, “If you don’t love your life… change your life.”

Which brings us to November 1st, 2015.

Nothing says change quite like swallowing your pride and letting go of your preconceptions, or in my case, BLOGGING.  November 1st is the official first day of Blogging Season.  Having once mocked all the Nano-this, and Poemo-that, today, I give in to change.  This is my first entry in the 30 day rollercoaster of word terror called Nano Poblano, a tiny, less neurotic subdivision of NaBloPoMo.  The month when writer’s lives are ruined for the better.  If you’ve made it all the way down this page, you have just read post number one.  For 30 days, I will be opening myself up to all manner of writer crazies, shared with you in the form of posts, poems, photos, and… lots of other stuff, written on the fly and on deadline.  I’ve been told it’ll be fun.  For you, AND me.  Not sure if I believe that yet, but you’re here and I’m here.  Let’s find out.

Next up, for tomorrow…

Rhyming words that don’t.

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