Sea of Pain

Sea of pain, the jellyfish are stinging.

Penetrating my skin with their poison.

Excruciating pain, convulse and writhe.

Slow acceptance of death soon to arrive.

I am surrounded. There is no escape.

Gasping for air, my lungs fill with water.

As they drag me deeper to depths they’ve found.

An 1856 illustration depicting Lophius america...

I am sinking. I can no longer swim.

Drowning in a sea of pain, I’m denied.

There is no tide to return me to shore.

There is no time, nothing I can give more.

The surface disappears into darkness.

Murky waters chill my bones as we dive.

Deeper and deeper, away from all help.

Personal hell, made by the Sea of Pain.

Hidden deeper, other men lost to waves.

Tossed overboard to the unforgiving.

Treacherously defiled, torn to shreds.

Smacked by the spray, unconscious removes fear.

Creatures with no honor. Survive or die.

Brains drive the feeding without their conscience.

No thoughts needed to envelop you whole.

Vicious landscape, breeding for life and death.

Taste of salt water has a scent of self.

Stinging your wounds, sea of pain destroys health.

The Alienated Laborer

End of the trail? Here's your sign.

I used to be good. Talented, wanted.

Gave everything and still had more to give.

I reached the plateau, and found another trail.

Went by the wayside to be more valued.

It didn’t work. Now I’m not important.

Climb the mountain again to reach the base.

So much progress lost in a decision.

And where to go from here? I can’t turn back.

I’ve come too far to turn and go back down.

I have to keep climbing. They laugh at me.

Mocking elders who are no more than peers.

Down a different path. One experience.

I stop my march and take a break for rest.

Sit down on the side of the dusty trail.

Often traveled, but for me the first time.

I start to wonder, and it makes me cry.

So many have come before and not failed.

Have I reached my limit of worth in life?

A mid-life crisis, not at the center.

It is soon, and shouldn’t happen often.

Another broken soul. Emptiness leaked.

I smear my face with dirt and stand up.

Keep walking down the trail until the end.

Nobody can see what my face can hide.

Another victim of life. Should have died.

Happenchance

My hometown was not a place for changes

Nor does it have museums in my name

I couldn’t go to the academy

A quarter of my life that I wasted

I saw no puppets replaced in my time

Though I thought I witnessed the real world war

But the revolution would not come here

And the nation stays as it was founded

Though other aggressions made it despised

There were no movements and the wars were theirs

As I grew smarter, the traitor grew mad

I reached the pinnacle of the moment

Though the powers so despised still remained

Time to study and be a better man

But the others had already been there

They were angrier and making changes

They had peer support, were not ostracized

Now the future comes, and what does it hold?

Will I be gone and on a happy path?

A bandit on the run with no fear left

Or will I awaken and become new?

New happenchance would see me at the helm

I guess there’s time to simmer and be wise

Would the path be chosen by a bridge burned

Pain and glory as one when all is done

El avion de Torrijos

The Quiet Professional

Ranger Hall of Honor 01, Ranger Tab

I wish that I could be someone like you.

Instead of being someone I became.

‘Cause nobody cheers when I finish first.

When they do I don’t, or I finish last.

I can’t move boulders like I’m really strong.

With my puny arms and my smaller heart.

I can’t take punches and just keep going.

Not like you. They hurt; gasp and wince from pain.

I can’t tell jokes and make everyone smile.

My jokes aren’t funny, and they think I’m mean.

You are so much better than I can be.

So you’ll propagate life while I die out.

As it should be, since you’ve proven your worth.

I used to dream, before I fell behind.

So when you wake tomorrow, enjoy it.

Because I probably won’t make it that far.

Life has been hard, and I am unfulfilled.

I’ve come up short when you could just push through.

So many grueling tests, God’s mockery.

I’ve grown stronger, but my burden is great.

Have you ever grown weary from the world?

I think inside me is a good person.

But he has hidden from the world’s cruel ways.

My skin is thin, and I’m a coward man.

Lost and Found

Chinese ZodiacI love my pets. I’ve had so many over the years. My first pet was a rat. I asked my parents for a hamster or a gerbil when we went to the pet store, but the rats from the laboratory down the street were being given away for free. Many that squirmed around the box on display outside the lab seemed to have peculiar behavior characteristics and personalities. I reached into the box of squirming mass and pulled out the first one. We walked back down the street to the pet store, where we bought a hamster cage, some wood chips and a hamster wheel. My pet rat would run on that wheel every day, non-stop. Eventually, it figured out that it wasn’t going anywhere. So it snuck out of its cage late one night, and I never saw it again. And when my family moved to the farm, I befriended some of those animals as well. One of my first was a cow I tried to milk. Once I got down and discovered I wouldn’t be able to, the bull got angry. So I got up, grabbed it by the horns, and pulled its face to mine to set the situation straight. Every time I went back to visit it in the pasture, we had to go through the same dance, horns locked, until one day it rushed me while my back was turned, spurned by my red t-shirt. The thrill of running with a bull stayed with me for a long time, and my next pet would be a Siberian tiger. I spent years training it to jump through hoops and put up with all of my ridiculous outfits better than the bull had. We performed stupid tricks to entertain others who must’ve not understood the impact of effective teaching techniques. But no matter how hard you train a tiger, you cannot betray its instincts and feral knowledge. It reverted back for one wrong moment and ate my sister. Since I wasn’t allowed to have another tiger as a pet, I decided to go with something slightly less ferocious. A bunny. Not the egg-laying, idol worshipping kind that brought cavities to children and dental bills to parents. But the timid, fluffy kind that wanted nothing more than the occasional carrot. So cute, its little nose twitched as it nibbled on the carrots. Rabbits surely must have great eyesight. And strong hind legs as well. That’s how it got away. I was holding it, petting it in my arms when it pushed away and hopped out of my life. That was when I decided I needed a more fun and adventuresome pet in my life. So I went to the cave up the street from my house, prepared collar in hand. I solved the requisite puzzles to make my way deeper through the caverns, and finally arrived to the aptly named ‘Central Lair’, where it was that I tamed my first dragon. It flew us back home on its back, and slept in the pasture where the bull used to graze. It was ‘hidden’ from my parents until they discovered the scorch marks in the pasture. Apparently my pet dragon had come down with a cold. My parents warned me about the dangers of keeping a domesticated dragon, not for the danger but that the temptation to cause mischief would be too great to resist. And they were right, so I had to get rid of it. Sticking with the reptilian variety (of which I’m sure dragons must belong), I decided to go with its wingless, flameless brethren, the anaconda. My pet anaconda loved apples more than my rabbit enjoyed carrots. It was cute in its own way, too. Flicking its forked tongue it sought the apples I gave to it. The anaconda also loved to hide in the corners, crevices and betweens, and what made this inconvenient was the fact that my pet anaconda had inherited chameleonistic traits in its evolution, enabling it to pattern itself like the fabrics of my furniture, or the hard wood floors that it slithered around on. Eventually, it was so well hid from me that I lost my pet anaconda and had to move back to greener pastures. Being the loyal shepherd I was, I began tending flocks of sheep, and one of them became my favorite pet. Sheep were so less temperamental than my other pets. They were content to do as guided, and only needed to be sheared once a year. The problem with such herdable creatures, through, is that they will heed anyone who decides to lead them astray. And when some stranger led my flock away from me, I had to find a new pet. My next pet was another creature that enjoyed wide pastures as well, but had the ability to think for itself. My parents started by giving me riding lessons, and once I learned to ride in the saddle, they bought me a wild horse for a pet. Fast, strong and independent, my horse rode like the wind, galloping itself to constrained freedom with not a care in the world, but me on its back. But I think horses value their freedom even more than we do, and it finally galloped away without me. So I needed a pet I could communicate with, one that could understand me and I it a little as well. So I bought a pet chimpanzee. Extraordinarily intelligent, my pet monkey was like having a small child, smart as can be, but still needing love, nurturing and affection. And my monkey loved to play, too. Games that were fun, that made me laugh, and created memories I cherish to this day. I think my monkey got caught by a circus or a zoo, though, abruptly ending our time together. Every time I visit one of those places now, it makes me reminisce. I needed company now and someone to talk to again, so I got a pet bird instead. Not only could it talk (by repeating only phrases I taught it) it also sang the most beautiful songs. But the conversations became redundant, unless someone else was in the room, and the songs woke me when all I wanted to do was sleep. And birds, being the fluttering, fleeting creatures they are, fly away when they are afraid to nest. And it became so. What I really needed now was loyalty, something to be my best friend. So I bought a dog. Famed for being hardworking, loyal and playful, they are known as some of the most loving and thus ideal pets. They’ll eat anything, are easily entertained by anything you throw (or pretend to), and they’ll wait for you faithfully whenever you may go, breath more bated than stale. And their furball pups are so cute, too! But despite all of their acclaim, dogs aren’t the most intelligent creatures in the domestic kingdom. Not dumb, just domesticated into a pathetic shadow of their wolf ancestors. My dog chased a ball across the street without any concern for traffic, and was struck by a car. I took it in to the vet, but I couldn’t sustain the millions of dollars to keep it alive, not while maintaining the electric and water bills of its dog house. Such a loyal pet, but I could not do the same and had to let it go. Down on my luck, I didn’t know what else I should get for a pet. I kept searching, but couldn’t find anything that suited me anymore. What’s worse, it seemed many of the potential pets didn’t even want me. Such disdain; a saddened state of affairs to be undesirable to those who indiscriminately crave to be loved by anyone. If I really wanted a pet, another in my life, and if I didn’t have the patience to wait for one to come along, I had to settle for something less than a wiser man could pursue, because I felt that I deserved at least something. There is a large chasm between waiting for what you want or just taking whatever you can. I couldn’t achieve the balance to straddle the chasm, so I broke in, I settled, and I got a pet pig. Not cute (piglets deceive to boot), dirty, sloppy creatures that roll around in the mud all day, covering themselves with all sorts of shared filth and slime. I’m sure they’re not so bad beneath the stench and the dirt, between mouthfuls of slop we do them no perceptive justice by feeding. In fact, maybe the truth is that it’s what’s inside that truly counts. I don’t think I really need any pets. Now I just feel like I want some bacon.

The Age of Reason

Veronica was on her way home to her family when she first met Vincent. She had a ring on her finger and a husband at home. He was now a businessman, having snatched up his young wife a number of years ago. He was now well off and able to provide stable financial support for his wife and their two daughters. The first to ravage his beautiful young wife, he was a number of years older than his teenage bride at the time. Had her husband been a man who insisted, he could’ve produced sons, but as a man who acquiesced, he filled his teenage bride with two daughters instead. Such is the case when beauty causes men to falter.

Veronica

But now is later, and their lovely daughters are now lovely young women with daughters of their own. His once astonishing young wife is now merely amazing for her age. Her face is still beautiful, but proximity reveals wrinkles around the corners of her eyes and mouth. Her smile still lights her face. Her skin is soft, and her shape is smooth. When she takes off her clothes, in lingerie she could warm any man’s loins. But maybe her breasts sag a little, or may they don’t but her skin shows the colored patterns of age. Maybe her buttocks aren’t as firm as they once were, but remember that she’s had two children. Age wears on all of God’s creatures, no matter how blessed they once were. Of course, a man could still enjoy her body, even though a moist crotch would still give way to her now eternally dry passageway. Those gates are closed forever from youth.

But this story is not about Veronica. Our protagonist is Vincent, the one she met not long ago. Fate makes those things happen. Vincent was a war veteran, but not of the retired variety. Vincent was a child soldier during the War, and his enlistment records show he had been stationed on both fronts. War taught Vincent emotions. Some of these most men never experience, and some others experienced to depths unknown. He learned loss, of course, when his best friend didn’t make it through, and then nights of crying, wondering why, just why? The emptiness, the numbness, not being able to feel anything despite the knowledge that there are things to be felt, good or bad, they just wouldn’t register. And joy, much more the same than many think, the adrenaline rushes, accomplishment, survival of the most fit. Then the anger, the rage, “Hulk SMASH!” in not so many words. And the love, the feeling of euphoric orgasm of the soul. And he felt whatever residuals remained, the bitterness, the loneliness of experiences no longer shared, changed excitements, and everything that War does to man, without actually changing who he is.

Vincent wearing the ...

But remember, Vincent is a war veteran. He’s been normalized for what he can, and is a child soldier no more. At the age of fourteen, the War is now behind him, at least chronologically speaking. For all effects, Vincent leads a normal 14-year-old life, with friends and joys and cares. He even met a beautiful girl just recently, named Ashley. She must be 13 or 14 as well, a friend through acquaintances. Ashley caught Vincent the first time they met with eyes like Venus fly traps. Such kind, welcoming eyes, poisoning their prey with a smile. Ashley had a beautifully structured face, with each part carefully calculated to entice. But something else was wrong with Ashley. Something Vincent couldn’t ever hope to overcome. Ashley was mute. It was on learning this that he left. “That’s life,” he said, and walked away, perhaps forever.

Now is when Vincent and Veronica resurface together, but don’t go thinking that was all a setup to create a love story for them. Because remember, Veronica is married. Had someone like Vincent arrived before, then maybe it could have set up another love story. But it is not to be. Fate was not so kind, at least not to ours. So let’s just forget it was even mentioned. What’s passed is past, and what’s past is passed. In fact, just to show it’s not their love story, when Veronica and Vincent met, there were no ‘sparks’ to describe, or ‘connections’ made. He simply looked at her, and she looked at him. Maybe one of them lowered their eyes, but surely nothing more. They were going to the same place, but alas to different destinations. Oh how fate punishes those who don’t deserve it. But this is how their relationship began.

Childhood Home

Time passed, as it often does, and Veronica and Vincent started hanging out. He would go to her house, or less often she to his apartment. There they would sit and just talk about life, each nervous at first, hearts pounding to escape their chests and reveal themselves, at least until they adjusted into being friends. Two people sharing with each other, laughing at the same things, or feeling the same angers and frustrations. They began to hate each others’ enemies, and admire their friends. Moments of silence would allow for the return of heart-pounding nervousness, assuaged by broken silence and a return to laughter, sharing, hoping and dreaming. Until one day when it all stopped.

We all know that conversations with close companions can segue into shared interests, hobbies, and the like. So of course it was only natural for Vincent to progress their relationship to the next stage. And Veronica felt the sane. But this is where the rift began. It started small, with Vincent wanting to watch cartoons at her house. He was excited to share the characters and the stories that resonated with his own life and experiences. But Veronica didn’t understand. So she attempted to bridge the gap, sharing with Vincent all the gossip of the neighborhood, the husbands, wives and families nearby. But Vincent didn’t understand. Now here they had come all this way developing a comforting relationship, and they were already losing commonalities. Soon after, Veronica stopped calling. And Vincent lost his desire to do the same. Time had created irresolvable differences, and therein lies the parable.