Shameful Things

A dim, foggy morning laid waste to the solitude of predawn darkness. When I forced myself back to sleep in the early hours—despite wanting to get out of bed—I took an unnecessary risk. During the subsequent sleep, the currency of that risk purchased the pain of an incoherent nightmare. My late brother was in prison, awaiting execution for a crime about which I knew nothing. I was with two people…friends? relatives?…on the way to visit him. A car belonging to one of the two, a woman, would not start. The woman hotwired a nearby car, its front right tire in shreds, and drove us slowly—while the damaged tire delivered a loud, bumpy ride—to the entrance to the prison, which appeared to be inside a mall. And then I woke.

I thought I succeeded in sneaking out of the bedroom without waking Phaedra. But in the kitchen she interrupted my morning blood glucose bloodletting with a loud yowl, protesting what she apparently believed was my attempt to starve her. It took two abnormally large helpings of what looked and smelled like post-digested-chicken-puree-from-a-can to silence her. Finally, though, Phaedra decided to cease flooding my eardrums with her relentless sound-based tools of torture, allowing me a modicum of peace with which I could scan the morning’s so-called news. I did very little scanning; “news” is an unpleasant experience when one is attempting to slide into the day without encountering rusted razor blades judiciously positioned to slice into one’s tender parts.


I hope to get some advice today, from a title company lawyer, related to replacing a quit claim deed with a general warranty deed. If that advice is not forthcoming, I will have to pursue other sources of expertise, possible waiting as long as next week. Property ownership is an unnatural imposition of undeserved control over a component of the natural environment. Indigenous people seem to have understood that reality, but modern humankind fails to grasp the ludicrous nature of “ownership.” We attempt to make our temporary stewardship of the natural environment into a permanent state of control; we have found that the transition into perpetuity comes with a high cost of labyrinthine complexity designed to “trick” the natural order into accepting slavery as a byproduct of humanity. I fight with myself over these matters and, invariably, I lose the fight.


My creativity has, once again, remained beneath the comforter on the bed. I must retrieve it before tomorrow morning; I am to submit a poem by then for inclusion in an upcoming church insight service. I fear my poem, if it has been written by tomorrow morning, will be flat, dull, and emotionless. That’s all right, though, because one’s writing should reflect one’s true self. Ach.


The fog remains thick and dreary, as the time approaches 8:30. The “work-week” is beginning the way so many of them began in years past. That is a shame. A real shame.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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