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I took this photo on a trip to Austria years ago and it’s always been one of my favorites. Just a loyal dog waiting patiently for his owner.

What a great dog!

This would never be my dog. My dog would have run away or followed me into the store or taken off into the store without me. Anything but what a good dog would do, such as this very good dog is demonstrating.

I don’t have a dog, but if I did, he would be an asshole. That’s just the kind of dog parent I am.

I love the very last line!

Eunoia Review

What do we do with them now,
these new dead? Where do we put them?
How can we keep them company
in the remaining earth,
too full already with our living—
Christ, with our dead?

How do we launch their ashy bodies, newly furnaced,
into the fiery ocean or the stream
chugging along in useless concrete basins,
scooping whatever’s left between the seams
of the old junker driving back to truth,
an empty house, and an open server?

There is so little left for us to do.
Each day is mildly different—
death stays the same, remaindered
from the very first to fall
among the unmourning vegetation
or drift in silent waters towards a soul.

And like a closing sale, all things must go.
More importantly, must go somewhere.
Hence the teeth-white matrices
of soldiers’ graves fanning the freeways,
the McDonald’s arches flecked
with a thousand crucifixions,

the homeless in…

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Advise from a crazy lady

When I was growing up, I remember adults telling me that farting wasn’t ladylike. This statement was lost on me. What the hell does that mean? Ladylike? Isn’t farting frowned upon by everyone? Is there someone you know that can fart in public, and it’s completely acceptable? I want to meet this person. Better yet, I want to be this person.

You wonder how I ended up on this subject. Let me tell you! First, I need to tell you some stories from my past that will help to build some understanding. Each story is like a building block to the end of this squirrel-like thinking of mine.

When my stepdaughter Kyra was about three years old, we went camping. This was the first time that we took the kids camping, so it was an new experience for all of us.  We were in a parking lot of the campsite…

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I absolutely agree with this writer. I am a former Christian and could never understand the focus on locations and buildings. Economically, it works best that way, but that does not benefit faith at all.

My favorite lines:
“- there is no one waiting for you there.”
“Because at that point, he is simply not answerable to you anymore.”

Great read. Made me smile.

Kaahsh

Ved, Quran parh parh thakey
Sajdey kardiyaan ghis gaye mathey
Na Rab Tirath, na Rab Makkeh
Jis paya tisa noor anwaar

Tired of reading the Vedas and Quran
Kneeling and prostrating my forehead shorn
At Mathura or Makka He does not dwell
He who has found Him, only he can tell

Bulleh Shah said;

Ved Quran Padh Padh Thakkey
Sajde Kardeyan Ghis Gaye Matthe
Na Rabb Tirath, Na Rabb Makkeh

Now, I know there are some of you who don’t want to accept the actuality of things. Truth hurts. I know. But this is not just something I believe in.

Rather, this is something so true and eternal that it doesn’t even matter if you or I believe it or not. It will continue to be true.

It, very specifically suggests, going to all the temples, churches, mosques, and other so-called ‘Places of God’, is completely a waste of time.

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via The Giant Exhale

The winter exposes the bones of the landscape,
the skeleton of the world.
I have cried at the table because the meal
brought me back to who I used to be.
It was easier to put a dog down when I was younger;
now, my proximity to death scares me.
I took pictures at her funeral to prove
to HR that these were actually bereavement days.
My mind blurred as I read his poems.
I wanted the words to bend one way
and they didn’t. I wished he was drunk.
Listening to Tupac’s “Brenda Had a Baby”
and I cried at the lines, “She didn’t know
what to throw away and what to keep.”
How the fuck did he know that?
That’s fucking sad and brilliant.
And while I was meditating,
I forgot to breathe in.
I exhaled my life out through my nose.
I will be so happy when the currency
of the flesh is no longer at war
with my internal life,
but that might be the GIANT exhale.
The loss of that tension might
equal the loss of drive.
Letting it all go.
Letting it all out.
Forgetting to breathe
in.

Jason Fisk lives and writes in the suburbs of Chicago. He has worked in a psychiatric unit, labored in a cabinet factory, and mixed cement for a bricklayer. He was born in Ohio, raised in Minnesota, and has spent the last 25 years in the Chicago area.

I have kept quiet up to this point on the Black Lives Matter protests. I fully support the protests and have not been quiet about that at all. My social media shows that clearly. But I have hesitated to add my voice to the cacophony of voices available on the topic. I am an educated white male and didn’t feel that it was my place to say or do anything other than provide silent support. This movement does not need a white savior but should be lead by those who have needed the voice for so long. They should get the attention and the platform and the focus. My experience is so removed from the pain and crushing scrutiny our neighbors endure every day of their lives, that I was not sure I had anything at all to add to the conversation.

However, as a writer, I have a talent and an audience that many of the voiceless of this movement have no access to. A friend of mine pointed that out. She said that writers have an obligation to be the voices of the voiceless and to speak to our audiences in a language that the movement may not be able to speak to.

So, from the view of a white man on the privileged side of the tracks: Protest!!! Grind it all to halt. The system we have is not working and must be rebuilt. But you can’t do that while you’re still clinging to the old. I know this will alienate or freak out many of my relatives and readers, but I’m okay with that. I would rather be alone on the right side of history than hang out with the losers on the wrong side.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that All Lives Matter. But you can’t really say that the system works that way and until it does, the system is broken. When a white criminal and a black criminal receive vastly different police interactions and prison sentences. You cannot say that All Lives Matter. When the police routinely choke and beat black youths. You cannot say that All Lives Matter. A police officer pulling their gun should be the very last resort in any situation, not the first.

If you actually believe that All Lives Matter, then you should be in the streets protesting too. Because our justice system does not believe that All Lives Matter has demonstrated that time and time again and again and again.

It will only stop when we as a nation demand that All Lives really do Matter, every one of them. That is not what we have today. And that is why I support all of the protests.

My wife, Sheri, and I went hiking this weekend. We hit two different trails around St Louis. One we had used before and explored a new one. We enjoy hiking because it’s a mix of exercise and nature. I’m not a fan of staring at a wall or an idiot box while exercising. In fact, I would usually prefer the blank wall if given a choice. However, since it was a beautiful summer day we chose to go hiking. We even saw a very young fawn still with its spots and was able to get rather close. The mom was nowhere to be seen and at one point the little one was calling her, so we scrammed.

Anyway, we shared the trails with a number of people, both on foot and mountain-bike. But everyone was so completely lovely and polite, stepping off the path to let others by and greeting each other. It was a nice change from the usual city-people grump we experience.

Sheri commented on how polite people were and I said that assholes don’t hike. Upon reflection, I think that is generally true. Her is my proof: Hikers are usually nature lovers. Nature lovers are usually very empathetic people. And empathetic people are generally very polite due to their empathy. Therefore, nature lovers are generally very polite and caring people, i.e., assholes don’t hike.

See… No Assholes!!!

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I took my personal space for a walk today. It was a beautiful day. So, when I got home from my day job, I rescued my wife’s personal space and took it to the park. She has been working from home and was desperate for some air. Tower Grove in St Louis is a beautiful park not far from us. Not within walking distance but close enough that it is our goto for park walking.

The sunny weather had driven a lot of personal spaces out of the house, many with dogs. The park was scattered with them, but by watching you could still tell that they were keeping their distance more than usual. I tend to do that anyway. I’m am not a touchy friendly person and have a personal space that is much larger than most. There was a clear sphere of space around everyone.

It got me thinking about the ‘after’ of this crisis. Even if we are all suddenly immunized for this bug, the experience of knowing that we could get deathly ill merely by being near someone must leave an impression. Yes, this has always been true, sicknesses and plagues are nothing new. But we’ve never had that fact drilled home nearly as sharply as we now have.  Not many personal spaces will come out of this unchanged.

I can imagine a future where we no longer shake hands with any old willy-nilly stranger. We save that most professional of greetings for closer acquaintances or business contacts. Hugs and kisses will become fewer and more precious. Bars and clubs would not be nearly as crowded. Body-pressing will become frowned on. Etc…

Except I doubt any of those visions will happen. Humans are icky, ill-mannered, and hard to housetrain. However, I do feel us becoming less in-your-face than before. Being standoffish is okay. I respect your personal space and expect the same of mine. All personal spaces should expand a bit, be more free-range. Instead of man-spreading, we’re personal-spreading. This ain’t grand-dads personal space, know-what-I’m-sayin.

The future is cloudy and swarming with diseases and icky humans. We don’t know what, if anything, we will retain from this experience. But, yet, I am very sure my own personal space will remain large and hard to get into. I don’t invite people, even friends, into it very often. My spread will remain intact.

Space, people… Give Me Space!!

With St Louis on a mild lock-down and the rest of the world falling apart around me, I’ve been taking advantage of the time to work diligently on my book. However, there is only so much time I can spend focused on any one thing.

So, here’s some cat-porn to help you through your day.

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This is Turkey. He’s a cat and he’s pretty good at it.