Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mirror (GBE 2-45)

On the wall it sits
All who look in.

Vanity and curiosity
The view

What do I see?
Youth that has fled

But on the edge
Wanting to escape.

The shackles of Care
Built over time

Only when the shell
Will it rise towards eternity. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Palm Tree

“Man, am I sore.  I have never in all my days seen anything like that.  What in the world got into those people?  One minute, I’m just standing here catching rays. The next I’m as naked as Eve in the garden.   Look at all the holes up here in my top.  That's where those crazies got the fronds. And if you don’t think that doesn’t hurt, you’ve got another thing coming.”

“Anyway, earlier today I’m just standing here.  Well, I AM a tree, after all. When I hear this incredible noise coming from down in the valley.  I’m thinking that the village people got into the wine again.  And I ain’t wrong.  Here comes this huge mob up the sheep path yelling and dancing. I heard something about a big festival happening.  Most of the time, I don't care what they do.  Frankly, people are only good for dropping dates on, you know?  But the party was coming my way"

“Boy, was it.  Someone yelled; ‘There he is!  Clear a passageway for him!”  Then the men started climbing me and started ripping my fronds off, throwing them down to the crowd below.   Man, did that hurt.  Then they started lining up along the path and holding up the fronds, waving them like fans. Others were rubbing them on the path, maybe to get rid of the sheep smell, I don’t know.  There was music and swaying and everyone seemed happy.  

"A few of them were tramping the path smooth, but there really wasn’t time.  Somebody called for everyone to move aside.  Then this group of men came from the other direction. One of them was riding a small donkey like he was something, there were several others walking alongside.  The crowd acted like he was a long lost leader or something, yelling some word I’d never heard before. Hosanna?   After a while, The procession went on past me and on down the village, leaving me like the remains of a storm.  At least it's quiet.”

“ Gee. I wonder how the party turned out.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sun Rises (Blogophilia 5.5)

Sun rises
High in the sky
Gorgeous day

A new day,
Modern Modonna
Takes her lover.

SheTakes it to the
Limit, pauses

Twists around
Encompassing view
Breath taken away.

Like the blossoms
around them.
Already in seed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kari Summers (GBE 44 and Writercize 168)

On Alana's Writercize blog she suggests taking a name from either a random name generator or a short story you are working on and list a number of characteristics for them.  I choose Kari Summers, who is in the Streetlights series that I've published on this blog and a longer story that I am editing.

Kari is:
  1. An aging hippie
  2. Prefers long skirts
  3. Doesn't mind the grey streaks in her raven hair
  4. Drives an old VW camper
  5. Works as a bartender on occasion.
  6. Buys, sells and makes silver jewelry
  7. Has never married
  8. Has never had children
  9. Has no living relatives
  10. Took care of her mother through her final illness
  11. Has a reputation for being a "Death Angel"
  12. Questions authority
  13. Questions humanity
  14. Doesn't get along with other women, even though she has one night stands with them.
  15. Is something of a loner
  16. Smokes a lot of pot
  17. Drinks fairly heavily
  18. Lives in the house she was born in.
  19. Though she has traveled quite a bit, always returns to her Eastside Atlanta home.
  20. Never wears hose.

Over the last several years, she has acted as my muse.   I can look into a mirror and see her image dimly over my left shoulder, kind of like a guardian angel.  I hope she will remain with me forever.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Car Thief. (Blogophlia 4.5)

Something you need to know about me to understand where my writing comes from, I am the child of alcoholics.  My Mother died at age 62, enjoying her ill health and large quantities of vodka.   My father lasted much longer. He was always a good breadwinner, but struggled nightly against the bottle.  I am the youngest of five kids and as such, became the target for many of my Mother's tirades.  I  was an "oops" child.  That is, the result of both of them angrily resolving whatever argument by having sex.  So, here I am.

I had lunch with one of my sister's on Saturday and we started swapping war stories.  As we were going through the various binge sessions, I recounted the time I had the police called on me because I had "stolen" the family car. 

I was a Senior in high school and we were living in an apartment on the North side of Atlanta.  I was the only child left at home by this time.  My Dad spent most of his time on business trips, so it usually was just me and Mother.  Most of my time was spent in my room, trying to avoid the small, drunken mess that spent her days on the couch chain smoking Chesterfields.  I spent my days wishing for graduation, so I could move out.

There were escapes.  I was in the band in high school and I belonged to a church youth group that both understood and tolerated me.  The Youth Minister had a somewhat similar background and frequently ran interference for me.  And the group of kids were a bunch of misfits anyway.  So, Sunday afternoons were something I looked forward to.  I would pack my sax and guitar in the car and head over there pretty much without fail.

This one spring Sunday found my mother in her usual stupor and I decided I would leave early. There was this quiet field across the river in the next county.  I'd spend a few minutes there and chill before I went to church.  Quietly, I grab the keys, locked the door behind me and headed north.  I was about 1/2 mile from my spot when I came on a red light.  I brought the car to a stop. And, then.....BAM!!


I came out of the car tripping over my two left feet and then ran to the back of the car.  The trunk hinges had been popped and both rear fenders were crumpled a bit.  Sitting in the driver's seat of the other car was an hysterical teenage girl.  I went over to make sure she was alright and calm her down.  It turned out I knew her.  She had been at my high school up until the previous year, when her parents moved across the river.  I got her out of her car and then pondered what to do next.  There was a pay phone on the corner.  I walked over and phoned the police. 

The officer who came was pretty nice.  It helped the girl was still crying.  He did ask if either one of us had been drinking or had any alcohol in the car (we didn't).  We exchanged insurance information and she got a ticket.  I got to church on time and Father Joe asked me what happened to the car.  I told him and he asked if I'd called home.  No, but I guess I'd better.  And I did, just saying I had been in a minor car wreck.

Big mistake.

When I got home, there was a cop with my mother in the living room.  He asked me to step outside.  He said my mother had said I had stolen and wrecked her car and she wanted to press charges.  But he did say she was too intoxicated for him to appropriately make a report.  Could I tell him my side of the story? 

Story?  I could feel my temples throbbing hard, but I knew I needed to keep my voice level or I was going to spend my night in jail.  With all the control I could muster, I told the cop what had happened, from leaving early, to the wreck, to dealing with the other cop.  I showed him the accident report and insurance info and he put his hand on my shoulder.  He said I had done really well for a 17 year old.  In the meantime, my mom was yelling out the door for the cop to arrest me, already.  Finally, the cop had enough.  He said if she said one more word SHE was going to jail, not me.  He wished me good luck and left.

I learned a couple of things that night: Keeping calm in the midst of chaos will get you to the other side reasonably intact. and Yes, Sir, No, Sir, Please and Thank you go a long way in smoothing relations with the police.

And that is how it really happened.

Friday, March 16, 2012


The Attorney is in the room
Blue and silver suit

The couple stares at him.
They don't know where this is

Anger and betrayal
Marked their lives to this

Tempers flare and desperation
Builds In the room.
The Attorney

His skill is not the written solution,
But the finality,
As one picks him up and

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

4th of July (GBE 2- Shennanigans)

Another hot Friday night at on the patio at Good Ol’ Days and we were at our normal spot on the patio.  The evening was warm and the beer was cold.  We had hung together since elementary school and now that we were in college, little had changed.  Friday and Saturday nights were spent at a table in a bar somewhere.  The fact it was the Fourth of July weekend just made it more of an excuse to down pitchers of beer and eat Flower Pot sandwiches.  

The tab was on its second trip around the table, when the discussion turned to what everyone was going to do the next day.  There was going to be a pool party, but that didn’t start until later on.  Someone said  we should float on the Chattahoochee River.  And in the drunken fog, that sounded like a damn fine idea.  We had access to a couple of six man rafts, so equipment wasn’t going to be problem.  Transportation back would be.  But we would call someone when we got there.   Everybody agreed to meet at the boat landing at noon the next day.  And bring beer, damn it.  

Saturday broke bright and dry as the hung over, the bedraggled group gathered at the boat ramp.  Somebody had enough brain to bring an air pump to inflate the raft, but nobody had brought any life preservers.  There some talk of scrubbing the trip and getting some sleep.  But in the bravado of the drunk, we went on.

Drifting drunkenly from bank to bank, we were about a mile into the trip when the raft was became a lot softer.  We pull ashore and have another beer to figure out the situation.  A leak.  Duct tape appeared and I did a quick patch.   We were all pretty toasted at this point, but we sallied on.  

Being 4th of July, there were a lot of rafts doing the trip.  And since this stretch of the river is a Federally Protected waterway, the Park Rangers checking the various rafts for safety equipment. As the Ranger’s raft floated a few feet away, one of them called out: “You boys have preservers on that craft?”
To which the drunkest of us called out “%&*(, ^&*(%()))!” 

The rest of us wanted to throw him out of the raft.  We knew what was going to happen next.

The boat made a beeline for us.  Two uniforms peered down at us.  One of officers asked our drunken friend:  “What did you say, Boy?!”   The drunken fellow was silent, sullen, and defiant.  He proceeds to give us the safety lecture, and then took our names for the No Floatation Device citations he was going to write.  When it came time for our drunken friend to give his information, he just said “%&*(.”  That was the last straw.  We all helped load him into the Ranger’s boat and they told us where we could pick up him up when we got finished.  

About 100 yards up river, our drunken friend decided he wasn’t going to go to the tank and took a leap out of the boat.  As he did, his foot caught the other officer up the side of his face, causing a nice sized fat lip.  The ranger jumped on his back and shoved him down into the rocks.   He was pretty beat up when we bonded him out the next day.   The rest of us went on to the rich girl’s pool party and we never did get the citation for not having the floatation devices.

The moral of this story is “Friends don’t let friends drift drunk.”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Winter Holiday (Blogophilia 3.5)

In snooping around for what to write on, my eyes landed on Ice Water Castles.  I wasn't sure why this was speaking to me more than the others, but it was.  Then I remembered a little piece I saw on the Hotel De Glace (Ice Hotel).  A concept borrowed from Sweden, this Quebec landmark is open from January to March.  It has as much natural air conditioning as you can stand and one of the wilder bars in the western hemisphere.  

You can be like Lady Godiva and prance naked in the snow out to the bubbling spa.  This would be without her horse, Aethenoth, who would surely stumble on the ice.  I'm sure those who actually try this have to contort like a circus acrobat to make it from the changing room. 

 You are cordially invited to stay there.  But I won't be joining you.  I live 2000 miles south of there and I  don't like cold THAT much. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Wedding Toast

You join your hands in the spring of your lives.

And as you walk through the summer and fall,

Through planting and harvests,

Through rain and storms,

 Remembering they are needed to grow,

May it be that in the deep winter of your lives,

When you must part,

You are still holding hands.

Copyright Christopher Mitchell 1999, 2007, 2012.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bar (Blogophilia 2.50)

Old wood waiting
For the next Customer
On the rocks

Crystalline cubes
Beckon to soothe
A hurting soul

Liquid spills down
Chilling the hammer
Chasing memories

Love lost like
Eighty percent. 
All alone

Takes pity
And makes him
Among her twenty.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Centaur Joe

Centaur Joe is getting old
His forelimbs ache from the cold.
She shuffles through the woods.
He still doesn't care.

Many suns and many moons.
Have passed over his meadow.
His centaur mate still grazes there.
He doesn't know why.

He stay close to his trees.
Whil his mind travels far.
He never fails to speak.
He feels younger then.

Centaur Joe is in reverie.
The lioness approaches.
He doesn't fear her.
He knows it is his time.

Centaur Joe is gone now.
His mate weeps at the loss.
The trees shed their leaves
In honor of his passing

Friday, March 2, 2012

Choices (GBE 2, week 41)

Have Consequences
Leading to more choices
Making you have more consequences
This is part of being an adult
Teenagers can't

Make life complicated
And we spend the
Rest of our lives
Wishing for 

So, Who Am I? (Blogophilia 1.5)

It’s a new Blogophilia season, and it is time for the meet and greet.  My name is Christopher Mitchell.  For years I used the nickname “Another Government Employee” (6th house on right, off 9-27, PDK-Atlanta).    As the name suggests, I work for a Government agency.  Specifically, I work for our State’s Employee Pension Program.  It is my mission to assist my fellow worker bees over the life transition that is retirement.  

These people worked for years to prepare for this.   How hard can it be?  The end of a career is as stressful as any other job change.  Think about the times you were laid off or fired from a position.  Did you have dreams of being on an airplane?  That you were going somewhere that you didn’t want to go?  And when you arrive at the new job.  Will they like me?  Can I handle the work?  Where is the coffee?

The end of a career has the same problems.   The client is facing a set of parameters that they have never seen before.  My client list ranges from school janitors to doctors.  Each person has a different story to tell and different dreams of the future.  

 My normal interview with a client normally runs about 30 minutes.  I cover the basics of the plan, what they can expect to receive based on their service, and the terms and conditions of the application process.  There is a lot of detail involving some personal financial matters.  The end of the interview is dedicated to post the client’s post retirement life.  

I always start this section with the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?” This startles a lot of people.  Here they are in their 50’s or 60’s and they are almost like teenagers in thinking there really is a life after work.  If their health is good, they might have another 20 good years left.  They are thinking “Just when I figured out the meaning of life, they changed it.” By all accounts, it is a complicated, confusing time in someone’s life.  So, how to handle it?  The questions are geared to get the client to think proactively.  Some people already have some of this thought out.  

At the end, I will get a lot of compliments about “going the extra mile”.  But it is a way of paying forward.  In a few years, it will be my turn on the other side of the desk.  I hope who ever handles my account treats me the same way. 

Oh, and I want to thank Dave Coon (Nissmech) for providing the format for me to steal.  I really did need to be lazy this week.  J