August 25, 2016: Obvious
It was all clear from the heights of the Ivory Tower. From above, people were slowly moving dots while cars frantically drove around a labyrinth of streets like pac-man. The King could see it all from his vantage point. He watched his henchmen enforce his rules and his citizens enjoy their lives. It was so obvious: Follow the rules, and the nation will thrive. The King knows what’s best. He can see what works and what doesn’t from the birds eye view atop his tower. The only problem was that he never knew what it smelled like on the ground. He had eyes and ears all over the land, but he could never smell the scent of the still, musky air.
August 24, 2016: Miniature
Jay knew what he needed to do. He spent his whole life overlooked, an afterthought to many. His bony arms couldn’t fill the smallest shirt sleeve and no pair of pants were cool enough to disguise his awkwardly skinny legs. Girls would stare at him, wondering what kind of lotions and face creams could handle such a pimply face. Jay didn’t believe in himself, and neither did MTV. He wasn’t the only overlooked teenager, but there was a difference between him and his peers: they were fine the way they were. Jay, on the other hand, was not. To be happy with himself, he set out to make a change. He began running before school every morning, lifting weights at every lunch time, then doing sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups after every school day. His muscles began to grow and his pimples began to fade. Within six months, all the girls took notice, and the guys too. He styled his hair, wore new clothes, and went to the hippest concerts. He received all the validation he thought he needed, but he still wasn’t satisfied. There was a nagging discomfort in his gut that left him wondering how valid his newly earned confidence really was. He noticed the other skinny, awkward kids who used to join him for lunch laughing with each other. Inside his big strong body remained a miniature Jay, looking out onto others, still wondering what it is that really matters.
August 23, 2016: Learning
Nothing is perfect is a blessing. It allows every person in every generation at every point in time at any age to improve. At age 87, Michelango, deemed by some as the greatest, admitted “I am still learning”.
August 22, 2016: Fifty
I faced a 50-50 chance that I’d catch the pendulum on one side if its swing. I’d found out my starting point once I opened my eyes. One, two, three, open! There it was, retreating from its zenith on the dark side of its trajectory, accelerating towards its zenith in the light. I watched it swing back and forth, observing the natural laws of physics. Dark to light, light to dark. Night to day, day to night. Mystery to truth, truth to mystery. 50-50.
August 20, 2016: Youth
It all happens for the first time. Seti was in awe when he first visited the bears and lions at the downtown zoo. He never felt awe before. The first playground Seti would frequent became a fantasy world. He made his first friend and played his first make-believe game at The Commons. The experiences of Seti’s youth were his first ever, and they were literally his entire world. Seti had a big heart, and he held his world dear. As he got older, his experiences became more common – they were no longer firsts. He realized quickly that he was getting older. In fact, it was his first time getting older. This made him sad. He vowed to never forget his world before getting older. One time, waiting for his mom to pick him up from The Commons, he grazed his hand over a concrete ledge and told himself “I will never forget this touch.” His mom picked him up, they went home to finish packing. And the next day they took off to the airport to begin a new life in a different town.
Years later, Seti returned. He was a young adult by then. Tall, long slim legs and broad shoulders. He returned to visit some old friends for a reunion in the nearest big city, and for old times sake made a trip to the town that was responsible for his first memories. It was a lot smaller than he remembered. He felt nostalgic, happy and fascinated. He stopped at The Commons and approached the concrete ledge whose touch he swore he would never forget. He touched the ledge and a tear escaped his eye. It was a tear of happiness and a tear of sadness. Sadness for the sadness he felt that day. Happiness for the life that he lived since that day, made fulfilling by the warmth in his young heart that carried him through to adulthood and back to where he made his first memories.
August 19, 2016: Eyes
Luol strolled up 14th street one Saturday night on his way home. He spent the whole day engulfed in a book that he could not put down until the the coffee shop owner kindly said to him, “Luol, honey, we can’t stay open all night. It’s Saturday and I am sure many fine young ladies would rather you turn your eyes to them than on that big ol’ book!” Luol smiled, inserted his bookmark and gently made his way out of the coffee shop and onto 14th street. On his way home, he had to pass through a rowdy block with youngsters in party clothes, stumbling and fumbling trying to impress each other. He walked his regular controlled pace, head up and shoulders relaxed. He passed the crowd and was now only two blocks from his city apartment when he caught the attention of three girls wearing miniskirts and laughing hysterically at who-knows-what. One of them stepped towards Luol and with a slight giggle asked him, “Excuse me, is it true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” Luol paused and looked into the distance before he looked back at the girl. With his low, deep voice, he confidently replied: “No, it is through his eyes.” He then continued his slow walk home, eager to get back to his book.
August 18, 2016: Moon
The darkness of the night lets the moon shine bright.
The new moon, though, blends in the absence of light.
It begins anew then reveals itself from a crest to full view,
The full moon draws romance to swoon, yet while werewolves howl in tune.
The good and the bad of the darkness rise, then fade back as the moon closes its eyes
Before it too rests anew.
August 17, 2016: Ghost
If I were a ghost, what would I do? I suppose I could haunt someone. Or visit them. Or watch them. Or tell them something that would serve them well. I could come from the past or from the future. I could visit my old self or my future self. I could visit someone who is now passed, or someone who has yet to be. Or, I could remain in solitude and go back to sit at that one place I love. Whatever it is, it will be fleeting.
August 16, 2016: Carry
The young man carried a thoughtfulness as he walked down the busy street. He was dressed in a light grey suit, white shirt with the top two buttons unbuttoned, a black leather strap watch, black belt, black dress shoes and dark grey socks. He carried a leather bag over his left shoulder and a hardcover book in his right hand. The young man walked upright, carrying a weight of responsibility in a humble gait. He approached his home on the corner of Draeger Boulevard and Road 204 and reached for his keys. A little girl then opened the door and opened her arms. The young man bent down, picked up the child, and carried her in his arms back inside. He then shut the front door, and the traffic of the city carried on.
August 15, 2016: Confused
With her pen in hand, she focused intently on today’s lecture. Usually by this point of the hour, her notepad would be full of key points, comments, arrows, hyphens and maybe a doodle or two. In today’s hour, her notepad was blank. The instructor was telling a story about Abraham, one that raised questions on three other stories she knew about Abraham. Those three stories she had heard before had left her confused about what really came of this man’s life. Each of the three versions told the same basic story but somehow led to different conclusions. The instructors story, however, presented Abraham in a different manner. It presented him as a subject of history, at a moment in time in the evolution of man. Suddenly, she began to link the evolution of each story. She wondered what Abraham himself would have done. Alas, she could only wonder.