Category Archives: Wolf Tales

My Whorish Spirit

I wrote this poem in the summer of 1986, just as things were getting better for me, and I began to have more confidence in myself and my abilities.  By then, I had asserted my desire to become a professional fiction writer – much to the chagrin of my parents who still saw me as a computer geek.  But that’s when I first began to affirm that goals for my life must be made and pursued by me.  And I conceded I would also stand alone in accepting any unfortunate repercussions from those decisions.

I no longer feared life and he people who occupied it.  My desire for learning more about the world around me exploded, as did my passions for reading and writing.  I’d always loved the latter two, but they took on new levels of importance by 1986.  Some of my closest family members and equally close friends may have a different understanding when they hear me speak of my “whorish” nature.  And they are more than welcome to keep their mouths shut.

 

Pardon me,

If I may sound critical of I.

But I realized once a short time ago,

That I’m a whore.

A whore of the spirits.

My mind and body and everything in between are open to everyone and everything.

It’s not that I have no moral turpitude.

I’m a glutton for emotion.

I’m a fool for curiosity.

I’m in need of knowledge.

And the people who possess it.

People like you.

I’m a whore of the spirits.

Your spirit and mine.

The spirit of anyone who’s lived in this world,

And wants to share their ideals.

I’ve let myself be used for good and bad.

For all others to enjoy.

Now I demand to enjoy myself.

And be a whore for my brain.

I have no more qualms of life.

I don’t fear mysteries of the human creature.

I frolic with my pod of friends,

In orgied lusts of the good.

Beneath a midnight sky or a crystal sun,

Call me as you please.

I gleefully admit,

I’m a whore.

Because I understand my true soul.

I’m in need of company,

But only to learn.

Always and forever.

I feed from that.

I must nourish from a bountiful mass of gray matter.

It’s my blood.

It’s my breath.

Shout at me, “You whore!”

And I laugh.

“Thank you, my friend!”

Because I know who I am.

One of the spirits.

Hungrier and thirstier,

For a tapestry of brilliant introspection.

 

Image: Harvard Gazette

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While Fatigued

This is something I scribbled down on night in the spring of 1985, shortly before college spring break.  That year would turn out to be the single worst in my entire life to date.  Just about everything went wrong.  It was already starting to go wrong when I wrote this.  I was failing academically; trouble with a stupid fraternity; problems with my parents; and a dog in faltering health.  For me, the only good thing about 1985 was that it ended.

 

 

Almost midnight as the clock digitals glimmer,

And my arm has ceased to quiver.

Stopped for this moment to scribe this passage.

I want to relay a beleaguered message.

This day has run the gamut of my emotions.

They’ve slipped from private moments of joy,

To contained anger like silk lotion.

I feel a perverse love of this mixed décor.

It’s a delighted passion of my own soulful heart.

A concert of charms and spirits.

I grope in the dark amidst wrongs and rights.

Wondering if I serve purpose on this Earth.

Thinking my impact may be a single laugh.

Tired.

Hungry.

Eyes pleading for justice.

I overreact?

Underestimate?

This is the kill holding my fate.

 

Image: Christine Deschamps

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Lady Rock n’ Roll

Continuing with my poetry streak, here’s a piece I composed in December 1984.  Like “Coal Black” hints at my obsession for women with long black hair, this speaks more loudly of my love for women who play guitar – either professionally or as a hobby.  Part of the inspiration springs from my admiration for one of my favorite rock bands, “Heart,” founded by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson more than four decades ago.  Together the duo carved their own unique path through the male-dominated world of rock music; shattering the bodice-tight image of female-as-ornament, and proving – along with a handful of similar contemporaries – that women can be both assertive and feminine.

But it also describes how emotions are often stretched in a relationship – a common theme in any genre of music – and the reality that true love, albeit subtle, is eternal.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I know so many secrets that you hold.

By chance, you remember me?

I’m the man who cut you free.

I loved every ounce of your soul until you stood on your own.

Then you dropped me like a crinkled bone.

Now I’ve returned to set myself back into your mind.

And I can see that small light of love still shines.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I recall a time when you weren’t so bold.

Wordless memories that were no mere charity.

Now that love has warped into a sense of disparity.

A split between your mind and your voice,

A painful note of distrust and noise.

I cried when I saw your spangled skin.

I felt you’d charred yourself with sordid sin.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I pray your emotions are not forever cold.

Why you’ve slipped into a neon aura is beyond my thoughts.

I remain silent, my heart bound by locks.

Please look at my face.

I can tell if you have anymore grace.

Music and emotion bring out such joy.

My eyes should tell you I’m no toy.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I know you can’t be sold.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

My senses have yet to fold.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I still wish to be part of your soul.

Images: Fotolia

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Lightning Angel

This was a poem I wrote in July of 1986, when I was on a poetry kick.  My inspiration was – would you believe? – lightning in the night sky.  My father induced respect and admiration for lightning in me when I was little.  Like most small children, I was terrified of lightning and thunder.  But my father picked me up one night and carried me to a window.  He pulled open the drapes and yanked up the blinds – and told me not to be scared.  Lightning and thunder were just part of nature and nothing to be feared.  Respected, yes, but not feared.  They were born from the hands of the Great Creator.  From then on, I was never afraid of lightning or thunder again.

My father had acquired veneration for all of Earth’s natural forces from his own father who would open the drapes as a lightning storm rampaged overheard.  By contrast my grandmother was terrified and ran around the house clutching a rosary, lighting candles and ordering everyone to pray; that this is how the world will end: lightning, thunder, wind, rain – all at once and merciless.  Of course, that may be true.  But who are we to tell the Earth what to do with its tools?

My grandfather apparently displayed a sadistic streak, as his frazzled wife scampered from room to room.  “Yes,” he’d tell her.  “I just heard a report on the radio that a tornado is headed this way and sweeping up all women over age 40.”

 

Oh lightning angel.

Please smile at me.

Crackle in the caverns of that purple-black sky.

Glisten your rods of orange fire,

Whisper to me amidst vicious winds.

Please smile once more at me.

I hear your softened sensations,

And cower against your powerful heart.

Sweep my soul and steel my lungs.

Lightning angel.

Favorite of all our elements.

Looking at you from this shrinking Earth.

To your crystalline patterns.

Designs of your own creation.

Yes, lightning angel.

Gentle and sweet.

Yet you display your might.

Flashing over the silhouettes of quiet plants.

Cover my meager form on this deserted road.

Breathe your whiteness through the swollen clouds.

I reach out to you.

And wish you could take me,

Retreating back into this clouds.

But you’re alone,

In your own dimension,

In your own universe.

So I beg you please,

Just bless me with one last flare,

Before you melt,

Into that sky,

Oh lightning angel.

 

Image: Colt Forney Photography

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Closest Confidant – Or 30+ Years of a Schizophrenic Friendship

Ever have one of those curious friendships with someone where primary interaction – besides making dinner or bar-hopping plans – is ladled with trite insults and creative name-calling?  I have just such a relationship with one of my closest friends, Pierce*, whom I’ve known for some 30 years.  People who don’t know us very well often say Pierce and I sound like an old married couple and / or wonder how we could possibly be friends.  The reactions of the unfamiliars is funny in and of itself.

For one thing, Pierce and I are devout movie buffs, each having studied filmmaking in college.  He actually earned a B.A. in film and produced an extraordinary short film for his final thesis.  Sadly, despite many years of hard work and “paying his dues” – whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean! – his dreams of building a career in the personally brutal and emotionally unstable film industry disintegrated faster than foreskin-laced pizza rolls at a bar mitzvah.  Feeling somewhat dejected, Pierce returned to Dallas in 1996 and tried getting into the local film and TV business without any luck.  He worked in the marketing field for a bit and now labors over a hot p.c. for a company that’s as equally brutal and emotionally unstable as any cinematic enterprise.  But he also concentrates on his own personal screenplays.  So, like me with my writing, he hasn’t abandoned his dreams altogether!  Dreams, after all, keep you moving forward – especially if you’re trapped in an ergonomically-designed office chair alongside people whose ambitions usually mean just getting from one weekend to another without hurting a constituent or ending up homeless.

We’re both fans of one of the campiest films ever made, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”  Starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, the 1962 black and white classic was intended to be a psychological drama, but turned out to be a desperate attempt by two aging Hollywood film divas to remain relative in a rapidly-changing American culture.  I place it in the same realm as “Barbarella” (1968) and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) – it’s so deliciously crass and gut-wrenchingly entertaining.  All three of those movies are hysterically bad and wrong on so many artistic levels that present-day viewers have to wonder how the cast and crew of each production managed to stay focused enough to get through the madness every day.  I’m certain surviving cast members are reluctant to admit their involvement, while remaining perplexed how such crap could metamorphose into cult classic status.  Jane Fonda usually dismisses her title role in “Barbarella” as if she was kidnaped and drugged by communist sympathizers, before being hustled off to Europe; much the same way Linda Marchiano explained her oral escapades in “Deep Throat.”

But they’re just too good to pass up!  I’ve watched them again and again for the same reason I used to watch the “Jerry Springer Show”: they’re brainlessly funny, and you just know that shit’s not real!

When I worked for a bank in downtown Dallas in the 1990s, there were two receptionists in the department whom no one really liked.  One was perpetually constipated, while the other (I’m sure) waited anxiously for the day the “Mother Ship” returned.  The cranky one elicited the most vile reactions from people, especially the women.  I jokingly referred to them as “Blanche” and “Baby Jane”, after the main characters in the aforementioned movie.  Soon, most everyone else in the department began doing the same.  I never thought sweet little me would start such a trend!

But Pierce and I often jokingly refer to each other as “Blanche” and “Baby Jane.”

“I’m like Blanche,” he tells people, “the desperate, victimized and more intelligent sibling.  He’s the tired, washed-up, alcoholic skank!”

“She may be a tired alcoholic,” I say, “but that bitch could belt out a tune like no one’s business!”

And so it goes.  He’s always mocking my appearance, and I’m always making fun of his weight.

“Mexicans who come across the border in the middle of the night, hot, hungry, thirsty and covered with burrs don’t look as half as bad as you do by 5:00 on Fridays!” he once told me.

While standing on a second-story veranda at a bar outside of down Dallas during a Friday happy hour, Pierce asked me to take a photo of him for a dating web site.  “Make me look thin,” he said.

“Oh, well then, let me drive over to Fort Worth (some 50 miles west),” I replied.

After a Friday dinner, we stepped into a curio shop where a display table overrun with stuffed animals sat in the back.  Pierce found a critter that, when wound up, would bounce around to a musical piece.  “Look!” he loudly announced to me.  “This one’s like you!  It does tricks!”  Whereupon he burst into a maniacal bwah-ha-ha type laugh.

I picked up a dachshund replica perched on its hind legs.  “And this one’s like you – it sits up and begs for it!”

Pierce and I attended the same parochial elementary school in Dallas and were altar boys at the accompanying church.  We didn’t know each other back then, but he often would tell people that we were sent there together by our frustrated parents, calling it “Bad Boys Reform School”; where he barely passed with a D-, while I ended up in a sanitarium because of my pornographic writings that involved lesbian nuns and the Mexican mafia.

Over the years I’ve cobbled together a number of the barbs Pierce and I have slung at one another.  On the surface, they may come off as a ‘Jokes for Beginning Comics’ cache.  But I it all makes for the type of goofy friendship that’s often hard to explain to outsiders.

A classic scene from a classic camp fest.

 

Pierce:  You’re so ugly, if you get lost in the woods, they just have to look for the vultures circling overhead.

The Chief: You’re so fat, if you get lost in the woods, they just have to follow the sounds of flatulence.

Pierce:  You’re so ugly grocery stores ban you from the dairy aisle.

The Chief: You’re so fat all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets turn off the ‘Open’ sign when they see you drive up.

Pierce:  You’re so ugly you scared Bigfoot.

The Chief: The last time you stepped on a scale, it said ‘Oh Jesus Christ!’

Pierce:  You’re so ugly a group of kids saw you sunbathing on the beach and said, “Look!  A dead octopus washed up!”

The Chief: You’re so fat, when you were last on the beach, Green Peace tried to drag you into the water.

Pierce:  You’re so ugly your own hands won’t masturbate you.

The Chief: You’re so fat you need two office chairs – one for your mouth, the other for your ass.

Pierce:  Your own mother denies she was there when you were born.

The Chief: How many times have you walked down the street and people ask, “Have you named the quintuplets yet?”

Pierce:  You walked into a doctor’s office and they said, “The vet’s next door!”

The Chief: People look at you and say, “Global warming is worse than I thought!  There goes Rhode Island!”

Pierce:  People see you and say, “He must have gone through hell surviving that chemical plant fire.”

The Chief: When you visited the zoo, someone announced over the loud speaker: “We found the lost elephant seal!”

Pierce:  When you took your dog to the vet, they tried to neuter YOU.

The Chief: When you ask for a seat belt extension on an airplane, they hand you a 20-foot rope.

Pierce: When you visited a plastic surgeon, they gave you a chain saw and some Super Glue®.

The Chief: Last time the Houston Ship Channel flooded, they paid you to do a cannonball into the west side of the floodwaters and force it all into the Gulf.

Pierce: You wanted to be an organ donor, and they said, “We don’t accept zombies.”

The Chief: Last time you asked someone to have sex, they said, “Great!  An orgy!”

Pierce: When you made funeral plans to be cremated, the funeral home offered you a fruit jar and a box of matches.

The Chief: Instead of a coffin, the funeral home offered you a piano case.

Pierce: You’re so fair-skinned you can’t go shirtless in the gym because people will think they’ve gone blind.

The Chief: Skin from your fat reduction surgery helped 1,000 burn victims.

Pierce: You accidentally fell into the recycle bin, and the city didn’t realize it until after they’d dragged your ass all the way to the dump.

The Chief: When you told some contractors your house had foundation problems, they said, “Move into a concrete bunker.”

Pierce: Every time you walk into a new gym, trainers say, “I don’t deal with abortion refuse.”

The Chief: Jenny Craig took one look at you and said, “Well, you win some; you lose some.”

 

One of my favorite scenes in “Barbarella” – the title character meets the “Black Queen” (Anita Pallenberg):

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Stolen Moments

A friend of mine, Preston*, has recently taken to poetry writing, or more specifically to haiku writing.  Haiku (or hokku) is a Japanese verse form of poetry that follows a very strict composition of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables.  Not popular in Western cultures until about the early 1900s, haiku are often accompanied by an image, or a pair of images, meant to depict the essence of a particular moment in time.  Their brevity is occasionally an introduction to a longer poem or a story, but its central purpose is to focus the reader’s attention on that one single moment that struck the poet’s mind as critical or somehow significant; a moment where everything came into focus; where the complexities of life were abruptly reduced to what is – and what is not – essential.

I trust and admire Preston greatly.  I wrote about him nearly 6 years ago in “One Good Friend.”  He’s truly one of those rare individuals who is focused and level-headed.  For us writers, focus is always a challenge, while level-headedness is sometimes elusive.

Time is a bandit

Reducing our hopes and dreams

To mere memories

 

– Preston

 

*Name changed.

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Coal Black

This is a version of a poem I first composed in February 1983, when I was 19.  It reveals my long-held passion for the color black, oceans, wind and the moon.  It also highlights my obsession for women with long hair, especially long black hair.

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Coal black,

Solid black,

Deepest darkest as the night.

I have no fear.

I feel no fright.

I see your face,

With the crescent moon’s light.

And I see your hair,

In this coal black night.

I wince through the shadows,

Your tresses glisten with streaks of blue.

A river of indigo,

It makes me coo.

I must concede,

I still lust for you.

Standing on this cliff of immense height,

I remain awed with your porcelain beauty,

And owls take flight.

Your eyes gaze wickedly delicious,

From a face so blessed and kind.

My heart thunders.

What dreams do you have in mind?

The moon we both love lingers above the sea.

I feel a surge of blood within my soul.

Are you wanting to set me free?

I still want to touch that waterfall of hair,

Hold you tight,

And assure you I really do care.

Your sapphire follicles caressed by the winds.

The onyx sky bears no cloud,

A theater of stars dancing above,

Happy and proud.

They accentuate your face,

And tumble through that mass of hair.

I reach to touch you.

But I shall not dare.

You kiss the breeze and start for the sea.

Please look back.

Do you have any love for me?

But you wince and you taunt.

Deep in my heart,

You forever haunt.

“Perhaps,” you whisper,

Coy and bright.

And I remain enamored,

On this coal black night.

© 2018 Alejandro De La Garza

 

Bottom image by Alex Cherry.

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