Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Time To Weep

I've been holding it together. Sometimes I'm walking backwards in the snow, leaving my tracks to fool people to think I'm moving forward and other times I'm just sitting here breathing.

There were a lot of things I did when Will died that I will not repeat because they were destructive. I'm trying not to be destructive this time. The problem is that there is a "this time." No one should have to do this again. I never thought I could, but here I am forced to. I'm tired of the struggle to balance. I spent a lot of time hiding from the people that I loved the most. I walked into the night and let it take me without my family knowing I was not ok.

I won't do it again. I've learned from my mistakes. Living in grief is wrong. A person may dwell there for a time, but at some time they have to leave. I chose to live there. I'm not gonna live there again.

Here is my battle as raw and awful as it is to type...

I feel alone. I know God is there and can do anything, but I no longer believe He will do anything. He may leave some things to the curse of mankind. I'm really trying to be ok with that.

When Will died, I had all of these dreams and these strange occurrences that made me feel like he is ok. This hasn't happened with Joe. With Joe, I wake up feeling dread. It doesn't mean anything, but it sucks still. I feel a lack of hope.

We were supposed to be old together. Now I am alone in that. We were the Dead End Kids, now I am the Dead End Kid and I don't know what to do with that without them. We were just kids playing in the snow and now I lay here alone. There isn't a snow angel pretty enough to erase what isn't here.

I fear that my loss is still not enough and He will take more from me.

I fear I have said things I didn't mean and forgot to say that I'm sorry. Maybe that apology would have been enough for one more day.

Tomorrow we will put you in your final resting place...right next to Will. It's what you would have wanted. But this isn't what any of us wanted.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, January 19, 2015

What We Are Made Of. (A Short Story)

I watched my grandmother work. Her hands would turn over the brush creating these awkward splotches that would become beautiful in five minutes time. When she was finished, she would sit me on her lap and sing this song she had learned form her life. "Come where you are from the depths of the sea, build another life where the demons can't see." She would sing me to sleep with that wretched song. It brought me comfort until high school, when I realized it wasn't an innocent song.


I was born moments from an orphanage. Someone took me from the womb to a towel, then to a grey plaster room with only one window. I would live there for seven years before Sarah came for me. My grandmother. She wasn't a suitable candidate for adoption. She was single, but eventually because of the large brown spot on my face, they allowed her. My blood.

I grew and she shrunk. She took me everywhere. My earliest memory is in her arms and watching a man in a brown suit coat yell at us? The guy in the brown suit walked away like they always did, but she was always right in front of me offering me something I didn't want but needed. She knew that what I needed couldn't be recreated.

I wasn't the only one. She rescued seventeen children from a dog pound of kids no one wanted. She watched them grow. She sat at their trials. She was present when their kids were born. She was weeping at their funerals. Not even for a moment did she lose hope.

They didn't find her remains for three weeks after she had died in her chair. All of this amazing person was reduced to photographs and memories. She was gone.

None of the other kids made it to her funeral. There are always reasons and many of them valid. I wouldn't miss it. Not for anything.

She closed her eyes and I covered her up. I stood alone in front of her when they closed her casket. I remembered enough of her to know her spectators had always underestimated her.

I write this 40 years later as I lie in a hospital bed and dying of cancer. The thought of someone that beautiful being forgotten reminds me of the curse of time. My brothers and sisters are all gone, but she was always my mother. This women who had saved so many people died alone in the night with no one to see hold her hand.

This is the tragedy of a wonderful life. That some of us may forget who we were actually made to be.


 Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I have learned to write when things are the most awful...which would be at 1:55 in the morning when everyone is asleep. I would usually type sad things into the enormous data sky. I feel it, but I won't do it this night. This night, you learn about the day I became a kin to Joseph Doederlein.

We had met many times, both at youth group and at school. This day, we were both volunteering at the church's haunted house outreach (I can explain later I guess). We had been building the place for weeks. Joe had been taunting me about stealing a girlfriend I had at the time. I have no idea why he chose me to piss off.

We were both working in the two conjoined trailers to make the scariest scenario of hell possible. We bickered and flexed. We shared so many interests though. We used to listen to Blind Melon and the Gin Blossoms while hammering nails and spray painting nasty images on plywood walls. At night, we would build a fire and drop used spray paint cans into the barrels and watch them blow up. This became a very memorable experience in our lives.

One day after school, hours before the youth group people would show, we both went into the dark trailers. We went inside and spoke about things. The trailers went dark and we felt trapped and shouted for help. People showed up to save us. At that moment, Joe was scared and pulled out a pipe from his backpack and started beating the wall. He shouted in anger and anguish. The light shined through the trailers as people were looking at us, with broken boards at their feet. His anger had turned and we both were changed.

After it was over, he gave me the pipe. He told me it was meant for his brother (Will). He had always been so competitive with him...his older brother. We threw it into the woods and Joe never had hatred for Will again.

This was a very strange occurrence that I could never figure out, but the moral I get. There was something different going on. We had met for a reason. We were connected in some way.

I knew it then. I have felt dread this entire time.

I felt despair sometimes. I knew God would be taking something from me. I had always felt it in my bones. I could not keep what I had received.

At the time I felt alone. Most of you know what happened years later when all I had was them.

Joe in particular found his way to those tracks to save me. We all stuck together through everything.

Joe was so goofy with his Gumby looking hair and braces pronounced with that huge smile. He wore a huge Triple Fat Goose coat and a rhinestone Raiders cap. After that day, we did everything together. We became brothers.


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Silence (A short story)

Jake rubs his eyes as the light shines in sharp beams through the cracks in the blinds. The room is white, made whiter by the light. It is morning and Jake comes alive to the weeping of his alarm clock. It is Saturday, but Jake has resigned to getting up early and going somewhere he can't remember right now. Sarah walks in from the bathroom in a towel. She has always been a morning person. Down the hall, he hears kids shouting and giggling, much like the sounds he would hear from his desk chair in his classroom during his student's recess.

For no describable reason, Jake feels different today, better than before. He gets up and takes a shower, spending a little less time under the water than usual so he can grab his kids. He dries off and dresses, then heads to the kitchen where Sarah is cooking eggs. Amy jumps from the counter as he passes on to his shoulders and he almost loses her as he tries to regain his balance. She is giggling. He tells her, "Amy, don't do that, you could have fallen." Jake grabs her and squeezes her as hard as he can remember doing so. Johnny comes running from the living room and says, "I'll be your Huckleberry" and slams his fists into Jakes testicles and sends him and Amy both to the ground.

"Johnny! Why?"

Jake writhes on the ground, half laughing and half crying. He remembers why. It was Jake that watched "Tombstone" with the kids. They knew it was his favorite part of the movie. "I'll be your Huckleberry." Perfect. The kids piled on top of him as Sarah watched from the stove smiling. She didn't approve of him letting them watch that movie in the first place. "They are 4 and 3", she told him.

Jake regains himself and hugs on the kids on the floor for a while, then gets up to reach for his wife. She smells like flowers today. Her face is pale but glowing. Her eyes are blue and reflect their color onto the counter. She is beautiful. He wraps his arms around her and she turns inside of his squeeze to face him. She places her hands on his face that needs a shave and stares at him. She looks right inside of him as if he were something other than human. She sags her eyes a bit as if there were a sudden tragedy. She continues to stare. He doesn't have any words to say. He keeps trying to speak, but he is finding no words coming out as hard as he tries to force them...only air. She opens her mouth and says...

Wake up sweetheart. Wake up.

She walks from him and he feels his grasp release without him knowing. She walks down the hallway toward the bedroom and disappears from his eyes. Jake tries to follow her, but can't seem to move his legs at all. She moves with such grace, yet he is working so hard to move 12 inches.

Amy runs over to him and grabs on to his legs and squeezes. "I love you daddy," she says. "Take me to the carnival?" She reaches her arms upward to his face. Jake reaches down and lifts her to his shoulders. He has never said no to her. She hugs him and whispers something into his ear.

"Wake up daddy."

Johnny watches all of this from the corner of the room. What he is seeing isn't pleasant for him. He gets angry when they tell his dad to wake up. His dad should sleep. When Amy speaks to Jake, Johnny darts off into the hallway in a fury shouting "Stay asleep!"

The room goes dark and Amy tears herself from his arms and disappears. Someone is screaming in the background faintly. The noise comes to the forefront once Jake loses sight of Amy. The screaming gets louder and louder until the darkness is broken for a split second by blinding light. Darkness then light. Darkness then light. Then light.

The shades are swaying in the wind next to the open window. Next to him is another pillow and cold mattress. Down the hall is silence and he remembers again. The silence always reminds him of emptiness and emptiness reminds him that he is alone. Jake sits up for a while and showers. He dries off and goes into the kitchen and cooks some eggs. He puts on his shoes and drives to the event he set his alarm clock for.

She looked paler than usual, but beautiful as always. She looked calm and hopeful. He looks to Amy in the box next to her. She looked like she was smiling a little. Then he looked to Johnny, who didn't look to be at peace. He never did. He was always angry for no reason. Jake used to sit with him in the corner when being chastised and just look at him in the eyes. After a while of staring, Johnny would smile and so then would Jake.

People kept hugging Jake to try to console him, but his face was blank. He didn't need consoling; he didn't need a hug. He needed them to leave him. The day was long and exhausting. Jake felt really bad for Sarah''s mom and dad and her family. He felt bad for his mom and dad.

When the funeral was over, he spent the night with his brother, who was his very best friend. They drank until they couldn't speak. Jake left the next morning and went home.

The problem with home is that a house doesn't equal home. He knew the dreams wouldn't stop. He knew he couldn't keep trying to sleep here. He worked at breathing for the next two weeks, then hopped on a plane and flew out to California to see his brother for a while.

While he was there, they spent the days doing wonderful things. Jake had ideas of what to do and his brother followed the lead. Jake's brother saw him as happy as he had ever seen him. They gambled and laughed and drank and cried. They spoke about old times when they were mischievous kids. Jake gave his brother his wedding ring one night when drunk on the beach. His brother refused it.

Two weeks later, Jake hugged his little brother at the airline terminal as tight as he could remember hugging anyone. Both looked at each other as if something weren't right, but they both knew that nothing was really right. Jake marched off into the tunnel and his brother to his car with tears in his eyes.

After a few minutes, Jake reversed his steps and headed back to the lobby area. He headed down the halls to the car rental company and rented a small sedan. He put his bags in the trunk and drove off.

He made it a road trip. He stopped at road side stands and bought chocolate raisins and cherries. He stopped at cavernous areas to shout into the air. He stopped at the Mining and Mineral Museum just before heading to the Grand Canyon. Jake played a disc of his favorite songs on his MP3 player and sat on his hood in front of the most vast and beautiful expanse of nothingness he had ever witnessed so close. Jake took out his keys and dropped them onto the front seat next to a letter addressed to his brother.

Jake looked in every direction as if he were taking a photograph. He smiled and breathed in the biggest breath he had ever taken and pushed off of the lip of the canyon shouting into the sky for the last time. He shouted until sound could no longer be heard.

His brother wakes at that very moment in the night as if someone had shouted his name. He looks around breathing intensely and his eyes reach the answer. On the nightstand was Jake's wedding ring.

(Don't read anything into this story. It was a dream I had last night and it stuck with me. Sometimes dreams leave you exhausted as if you didn't sleep at all.)


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Phone Rings Again.

Snow past and snow past without a single word. I was wearing a black tie and a suit I had bought for celebration.

It seemed like hours and hours past that I had avoided that box that presented my best friend and brother like an advertisement in a storefront presentation of Christmas. I had been avoiding the thought of it for days. I didn't want to speak about him, but I couldn't not say something. He was my very best friend. When I had nowhere to go, he was willing to sleep in a tent with me to keep me from being alone.

This Christmas day will be 5 years since he left. One of the most haunting memories was the day we went to his funeral. I chose not to go in the garage on Christmas. I knew it would be the death of me. The last time I saw him, We laughed, we slept, then he was gone from my house. A week later, he was gone from everywhere on earth.

It snowed so much that day. The drive to his funeral was about 45 minutes. I wanted to get there early to have some time alone before everyone started showing up to pay respects. I laid my head against the passenger window and watched the snow pass faster than light beside me. I remember feeling worse than I had ever felt before. I took an inventory of what was inside me and couldn't find anything worse.

People came all day and hugged everyone. His kids cried and people cried for them. Will's mom and dad stood at the front the whole time saying thank you to people who came to respect their son. I could not imagine a harder job than theirs.

As I spoke with all of his friends, my eyes kept glancing to him laying there. I didn't want to see him, but it was as if spotlights were on him all day.

I gave in again while speaking to someone. I walked away as they were speaking and lost my legs 10 feet from him and almost found the floor. I regained my legs and kneeled on the pad at his coffin. He looked real to me. As if real were something that was actually real. I won't forget this. Will's dad came and kneeled next to me and put his arm around me and we just watched our hearts break together.


This above blog was the blog I was writing the night my telephone rang about Joe. I had placed a period and was ready to move to the next thought. Then I saw who was calling me in the middle of the night and I knew.

Christmas is hard for me. It brings back all of these feelings and memories, both great and terrible. I had been trying not to write about Will very much. I know it hurts some of his family to read, and they have been through enough. This night, I chose to tell you about a very important funeral. So I wrote until my phone rang and ended up on the floor. I couldn't fathom repeating the last five years again. I couldn't bear his mother losing another son.

Stressful days and terrible nights passed. I got through the funeral, which consisted of his parents staying at his side again showing their strength of heart,  and went back to work hoping to take myself somewhere different. Just like with Will, the mornings are the hardest. It takes greater effort to get out of bed and the nights are sparse with sleep. Just like with Will, I can't remember things and am somewhere other than here often. But unlike with Will, I don't feel guilt. We all tried everything we could. Unlike with Will, I am drawn to God instead of away from Him. Unlike with Will, I am allowing myself to let go of the little things that don't matter.

Just like with Will, my wife carries me.

I could say a lot of things about the people in my life that love me; and in fact I will be saying them. But the thing about them that holds us all together is their selflessness. I've made so many mistakes in my life, but the people I chose to make my family and the couple of people I was born to weren't a folly. I can't help but notice what remains. I have this habit of looking negatively at life and what has been lost from it. Right now, as sad as it is to have lost these two brothers, it is more wonderful to have what remains. I am not full, but I am so blessed. God allows sorrow, but doesn't cause it. Remaining in the dirt has gotten me nothing but a mouth full of mud.

It's hard to say what happens when the noise and excitement of Christmas go away and silence reigns. Last time, the month of February nearly brought me to the brink. The newness fades and people go about their daily lives and most move on as they should. That was the month when I really started feeling alone in this. I took destructive paths and didn't heed the wisdom of my wife. I am resigned to not repeat those mistakes. I will not lay my head in the dirt. I will mourn like a man with purpose and fire. I have endured much, but have been given riches. I'll weep, but only for a time, then I'll march.

God is still good as He has always been. I am His son, whom He loves, just as He loved my brothers. I'll move forward, leaving behind the destructive memories that have crossed my eyes. I will be reborn again, even if I walk limping severely.


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Grief and God

God is teaching me things, even when I have a hard time looking at him at all. I would love to spew venom about my Creator on here. I would love to be able to blame Him for all of this affliction on so many people. But I can't do that. I told my brother Andy (Vernon) on this blog that God had stricken me. He was quick and fierce in reminding me that God had not. God didn't do anything harmful to me, it only feels that way. When Will died, I spent the last five years in a crisis of faith, struggling to get past my own arrogance and short sightedness. I could not divorce my feelings from my knowledge. If I asked myself what I would tell someone else who were going through this, I had different answers entirely. This appeared to be personal.

I'm not going to do it anymore I hope. Maybe the world is just so profoundly destroyed that people with seemingly every possibility in the world would say goodbye without saying goodbye.

I can't relay to you what is going on inside me. I can't give insight right now to what the world is like underground. But I can't blame God. I was really trying to, until Will and Joe's mom flooded me with words about God's will and the love of His Son. She is so much like her mom, who would only talk of God so fiercely. How could I turn my face from God when the mother of two lost children hadn't? So I won't either. I'll figure out a different way to grieve. I don't know what that means, but it won't be me angry at the person who gave me all of these beautiful people in the first place.

These past several days have reminded me that I have still so much. I have lost so much yes, but what remains is worth the tears. In my grief, I have had my brothers Andy and Jeff at my side grieving with me. I have had my beautiful wife most of all, trying to deal with her own grief and fear, and afraid to leave me alone. I put her at ease. I will put you at ease. I'm not going anywhere. I am profoundly sad and angry, but I will remain and seek happiness. I will seek my God until I find Him. I will seek to mend some of the broken things left behind.

None of this will come without anguish.

I have read all of your well-wishings and cherish them. When Will died, I found myself going back to them for literally years to this day for comfort. Thank you.

The Dead End Kids are gone. I am the Dead End Kid. I'll revisit both of their lives. I'll share my struggles and probably bleed everywhere. I won't forsake my God.

I'll be writing about them often, but will try to focus on times when they were happy.


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What I Forgot to Say

I'm not gonna bleed all over for everyone tonight. I just want to say a few things I meant to say, but couldn't get them across my lips. I couldn't speak very eloquently and my mind was jumping all around and I lost my thoughts.

  • Thank you so much for every kind word of condolence or encouragement. Thank you for showing up, even if you didn't know Joe very well. Showing up to love and support your friend means so much to them. Sometimes those that hurt so bad just need a familiar voice and someone to grab their hand for a moment.
  • There was never a single moment that the room wasn't full of people and for 8 and a half hours straight, people flooded in. I don't think Joe would have expected that, he always underestimated himself.
  • If any of us forgot your name or didn't remember things correctly, we are sorry. It's been hard to keep our thoughts in the right place. So many people from so many different places and circles makes it hard to place. 

To Joe. 

My little brother. I would have really liked to talk all night about what you mean to me. There is so much I wanted to say. More than that, there is so much I would have liked to say to you. I told you I loved you so many times, but I didn't always show it. I am honored to have been so close to you. I loved the things you would say. This one time when I was in distress, you told me "Hey man, life is a bowl of shit, play with it." You have no idea the perspective that gave me. It gave me the ability to let go.

Joe, as much as you wanted to be your brother, you weren't. You were no more or less. You were an entirely different person. You liked to live in his shadow and try to snuff out your own. You had a beauty that both of us admired and wanted so badly. That smile of yours and that laugh. That heart that made ours break. Your heart was all over your face. 

I wanted to tell you about the time my son, who is very sensitive was struggling with fear. His mother and I had been working so hard to help him calm down. You took him aside from us and spoke to him. He returned and said, "I feel better now." He continued to tell us for the next week how much you had helped him not be afraid. I have no idea what you said, but I have a pretty good idea that it came from your heart because you have made me less afraid too. Thank you. 

Thank you for every crazy moment I had with you. Thank you for teaching me that sometimes life is to be lived spontaneously and without planning. Thank you for always being yourself with me. You told me both the bad and the good, but I believe you told me everything that you were feeling. You would have stepped in front of a train for me and this one time, you did. 

I said I wouldn't bleed here and here is all this blood. I'm not deleting it. I needed to say it because I struggled to find words to say about you to these people that love you so much. In anger, I couldn't think. In distress, I couldn't put the words together to make proper sentences. In my sorrow, I forgot to say what you mean to me. 


Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, December 12, 2014

What if...

Words don't mean what they used to. In many ways they have lost their meaning. Why imagine, when you can perceive? It is a sad day when a point is better made in lights and media than in language.

We say so much. We speak so many words that they all drown together. There are liars and manipulators and those with flattering lips. The people who speak the truth are shouting into an abyss.

We are a people bent on entertainment, which is why we are susceptible to scare tactics and lies that persuade us to move in a particular direction. "There is a new plague and it has killed 6 people!!! We must take cover!" Meanwhile, the everyday murder happens as usual, killing an entire generation. When did words begin to mean so little?

We are sleeping.

We are easily lied to.

We are ready to believe anything but the scary truth.

The truth is...

We are the real problem with the world. We are intelligent enough to know the truth, yet weak enough to ignore it.

What if we were to wake up?

What if we were to turn off the lies and speak only when we have educated ourselves? What if for a moment you blocked out everything you were raised to believe and thought for a moment on your own? What would happen then?

What if we stopped hating for no reason?

We will likely never know the answers to these questions, because we will likely never take the time to think.

There is an easy way to live. One that hurts absolutely no one and leaves only goodness behind.

We can love every breathing human on this earth and mourn every person lost. We can forgive and forget. We can leave all of that hatred behind and grow into something better.

The problem with religion is that humans hate and religion allows it. The problem with the secular world is that humans hate and we allow it. People are people. Hate hasn't been cornered by any specific people or culture. We all have something to learn about love.

I am a Christian. I follow the teachings of Jesus because He condemned hate and handed sinners real forgiveness. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness. It's easy to grasp that. It's easy to accept forgiveness, but so hard to accept forgiving. We are a harsh and angry species. I don't believe God is too pleased with our behavior.

What the world needs now is love, not division. We want to divide based on race, religion, color, creed, and behavior. How about we divide no one by anything. Maybe we can accept that people are people all over the world and love them. We don't have to agree, but we do have to love. Maybe our anger would fade and we would be a happier society.

Photo credit to intao @


Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Data (A Short Story)

I was a veteran of Iraq 1 and 2. I had been given a medal of honor for saving my platoon from an ambush in the mountains. I had lost 2 men in my command, but could have lost all 15. I reacted quickly and threw myself onto a land mine that my subordinate lifted his foot off of as I shouted for him to freeze. I jumped on the mine and lost both of my legs, sending small pieces of me onto the faces of my men. They carried me crying for my mother to the old Jeep and took me to what would be my own little shrine of glory.

A year later I participated in my last interview. The BBC journalist asked me the only important question that none of the others had thought to ask. She asked, "Would you do it all over again?" I was taken off guard, but quick to react. I said, "Yes." Something in my stomach rejected my own words and I froze after speaking. I sat and thought of running again. I thought of all of the people who now stare at me first in the face, then at my missing legs. I thought of the moment that my wife left me behind for another officer in another time.

I should have said no.

Five years later I am alone. Many people in history have written those words on paper and through binary. During the war, one of my closest friends marooned behind a rock in the mountains and surrounded wrote this in Morse code, squawking it with his handset. He died alone and so will I. Throughout history, people have only spoken of being alone. I am the second to actually be alone. The first...Adam.

The second war ended and things got calm. The economy flourished and America smiled like two twin children that hated the guts out of each other. Nothing happened, then nothing happened. Then came the Great War. The war that came out of nowhere. A meteor struck us and killed a million people. The sand kicked up and killed 3 million more. The waves crashed and killed another 2 million. Then China attacked every border of every western country and killed 10 million more.

We all shot rockets and warheads. We all hid in bunkers and waited for the first to fire the nuke. This time it wasn't America. This time it was Russia, and it was pointed at the Statue of Liberty. Everything blew up and we threw some nukes at them and vice versa and vice versa. In the end, I was the only one left standing...alone in a bunker in the capitol of the United States.

Everyone from the bunker was evacuated once the first nuke struck, except me. I was commissioned to report bomb activity in the former capitol. I was given a death sentence. The president actually got teary eyed when he shook my hand and left the bunker for a larger one in Missouri. Nukes fell and blood was bled, but nothing dropped on top of Washington that had radiation in it.

A year later I ran out of food. I made my first step, well crawl out into the air and expected to feel my lungs burn. I felt a cool and wonderful air. An air that made me remember my childhood and how it smelled and felt to step outside on the first warm day of spring. I looked around and there were ruins. I couldn't figure out what was what. I explored and found supermarkets to be untouched and convenience stores fully stocked. No one had a struggle to survive. Everyone had either left or died instantly.


Fifty years later and nothing has happened. I found this electric journal in the basement under a Christmas tree that I used to put up every year until I finally lost hope. I would string the tree with lights and tack the strands onto my roof to celebrate the day that the Son of God was born. I would celebrate the most wonderful holiday to have ever been forgotten. This particular day, I picked up the Christmas tree and found the computer. I plugged it in and here I am, an old man.

A lot has happened in this time. Nothing has happened in this time.

I am still alone. I haven't seen another breathing thing since I saw the president. I guess that makes me the president. I stopped replacing batteries in my walkie 10 years ago. The thing would fuzz, then make a strange noise, then fuzz. Every-time it got my hopes up. No one ever answered when I beckoned them too.

I am a vegan now. Not by desire. I have a garden that I am very meticulous with. I grow enough to keep my body healthy. I have found nothing to keep my soul. Sometimes I catch myself inside one of my DVD movies, pretending to be a real character that changes the outcome of the film. I wake up in ditches and on random neighborhood floors and realize that I can't change anything. I watch the same film to make sure, hoping I would have changed the ending of "The Abyss," or "The Last Man on Earth." The ending always stays the same. Even in my dreams, it ends with me being alone.

So here I write my last note of this forgotten machine, forgotten by only me. No one will read this. No one will care at all or wonder what my childhood was like. No one will listen to my stories or drink this last glass of whiskey with me. I write as I have lived...with no companion and no one watching. Goodnight. Goodbye oblivion.


I twisted the handle of the door that gives way and opens into a little room. Inside is a skeleton slouched in front of a dusty, silver machine. The head lays beside the keyboard of what looks to be a primitive keyboard. I charged the device and here I am. I am no one looking into the eyes of the past. This is the only evidence we have found of anything living and intelligent on this world. I am ecstatic.

I have been pulled from this duty. We have all been pulled. This has been deemed a dead world, but I am so fascinated with history. I have to leave and I am not permitted to take anything from this place, so I'll leave this note on this old journal.

The Earth is a cold and lonely place. I don't believe it had to be.

Goodbye, I say to dead data.


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I drive from one ancient house to another. Each home presented it's own ghosts. One of the homes, now inhabited by someone that rides a tricycle, used to be the place that I listened to Def Leppard on tape, and would rewind "Love Bites" over an over until the bite fell into my dreams. Another is always dark and quiet. It is as if no one calls it home. This was the place I lived when I met and dated my wife. She would sit on this mustard velvet couch I had bought at a garage sale and watch me dance to my favorite songs.

Another is a home for pot heads. I know this because on a date night with my wife, we drove past it. As we slowly past, I noticed the blue elephant slide I played with as a kid in the back yard. It had been more than 22 years since I had seen it. I stopped the car and my wife insisted I ask about it. We went to the door together and were greeted by a few very high teenagers who had no idea about the slide. It was removed the next time I drove by it.

One ghost after another. I moved every couple years growing up and left many homes behind. I met and left so many people. You would be hard pressed to find a person that has met this many people with so few close friends. But the memories made in ancient spaces are priceless.

This is nostalgia. We drive by the places that houses our childhood ghosts. When we stop to stare at them, we can see ourselves playing in the backyard or swinging on the swing-set. We remember the very feeling we had in the moment that we see. We feel it as though it had never left. Maybe it didn't. Maybe we drove here to revisit a time that we were happy or a time that we were so profoundly sad. Humans revisit extreme emotions. It's our way. We embrace intense feelings.

People are born with the natural desire to be happy and experience beauty. Tragedy ruins this and we find ourselves still yearning for beauty, but often find it in tragedy. Maybe not the tragedy itself, but the human response to tragedy. There is beauty in a person watching his ghost throw a football in the air as a child and running under it in time to catch it and get all of the glory that comes with being beautiful and stupid. There is beauty in being a person that you never got to experience as a child.

There is beauty in looking backwards and seeing how you had no idea that you seemed to have been set up to lose. You just kept plugging away clueless until you got the idea.

People sometimes ask me what I believe in. My answer is mostly based on reflection of my own ghosts. I remember lying on a drier in the laundry room as a teenager and was just finding out that I was the punchline of the joke. I didn't know it at the time, but I wasn't alone. I felt like I was on an island, but I was simply on a drier with a great God sitting with me.

I believe because God has always been there when I felt like no one else was. No, you cannot prove God. I don't care. You cannot prove any emotion we experience. You cannot prove the "origin of species." We are left to our own devices. We are left to our own ghosts.

But we are not alone.


Thanks for reading...Z