Friday, May 1, 2015

WHY I SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE



I hope the Supreme Court declares gay marriage a constitutional right.   

Here is my reason why:

I learned a while ago that a former girlfriend is gay and has finally come out, mainly spurred, I suspect, through society's increasing acceptance and support of gay rights.

And I am so happy for her. I was deeply in love with her - in fact, she is the only person I can say I know I loved.

But I felt that during our relationship she was always angry. More often than not this was passive aggressive anger, an art in itself, such as giving me the silent treatment or vicious looks when I tried to express emotions and feelings or playing mind games such as 
 telling her friends in front of me while we were living together that she wanted them to set her up with someone "smart, cute and rich!" and then refusing to discuss that with me.

During the time we dated Leslie would spend every Saturday with her  "girlfriend" Alice Riener.  
When I asked "Can't we just spend one Saturday together?" Leslie would respond: "What difference does it make?  You get me Saturday evenings.  Besides, Alice says she needs me."

She kept at the end of her bed a large framed photo of Alice so that Alice's face would be the last thing she'd see at night and the first face she'd see in the morning.


After Leslie moved in with me I asked her if I was her best friend (considering among other things that I had bought an apartment and put part of it in her name). She said "No," but when I asked who was, she refused to answer.  I knew then the truth was that it was Alice, who appeared to be her first and last priority in life. 


At that moment it dawned on me that Leslie Geddes was in love with Alice Riener.

They slept together when they visited each other (before we moved in together) but despite the obvious signs and my intuition, I continued to believe Leslie when she told me that Alice isn't gay.  And, 
I felt I couldn't follow up with asking Leslie if she was gay, because she withdrew whenever I tried to discuss anything involving emotional intimacy.

When I saw the movie about the gay cowboys, the scene that really resonated with me was Anne Hathaway's confusion about being lied to while sensing the truth.  I related because my relationship with Leslie was terribly confusing.  
The audience was supposed to feel sympathy for the gay cowboys who felt they had to live in shame, but I identified with the wives who were being lied to but who loved their husbands, and I knew then that the cowboys in my life were Leslie and Alice.

Ultimately, after almost two years of this, I felt that I was constantly walking on eggshells around Leslie, unsure of expressing my feelings and emotions so as not 
to say the "wrong" thing to her.  

I unfortunately had a low sense of self worth due to childhood issues I hadn't yet come to terms with and living with Leslie's need for control brought me to my lowest level ever.  

I kept seeking kindness from Leslie, but the more I tried the more disdainful she became.  I felt like I was trapped in a rushing waterfall painted by Leonardo Da Vinci: beautiful but devastating.


I remember a time at Princeton when Leslie told me of a classmate who was in deep emotional pain.  Leslie laughed and mocked her, and I knew then that if I ever showed any sign of emotional weakness, Leslie would take it as an opportunity to hurt me.  I was right. 

And that's how our relationship ended.  My last memory is of Leslie giving me a look in Trenton, NJ of such searing hatred after I had poured out my heart to her that I felt the sting of bullets from a Tommy Gun and bites from the Daschunds of Hell. 

After two years of telling me she loved me, Leslie kicked me when I was at my lowest point in life and asked for her help.  At the time I thought she was a person incapable of empathy.  

Upon reflection, my opinion has shifted.  I think that if Leslie communicated feelings of emotional intimacy or allowed herself to feel empathy it would mean that she'd have to let go of the control she needed to hide her sexual identity.   

Leslie and Alice are high achievers and despite their active involvement in liberal causes, both feel the burden of parental expectations and grew up with emotionally detached parents.

Alice was never friendly to me and I understand now that she  encouraged her to end our relationship.  
To avoid confronting the emotions and identity Leslie was alienated from, I theorize that she directed anger at me, objectified men in general and lived in the closet for years beyond when the truth was obvious to her - and to me.  Her anger was simply her coping mechanism, a means of avoiding looking at herself.


I wish I could have been there for her to help her work out her emotional pain, but I guess she had to ultimately work it out through her own path.  

I'm glad that Leslie and Alice have achieved a degree of self-awareness by acknowledging their sexual identities.

And, if I did talk to Leslie again, I'd tell her:

"I'm your ally and I always have been; my love for you was real. I support you completely. I believe in you and wish you happiness. I care about you more than you will ever know.  I want you to be happy."


The sooner gay marriage is mainstream, the healthier society will be because even more gay people will feel supported and normal and free to come out and be who they are. To me, this seems a win-win for the mental health of individuals and thus society as a whole.

Living a lie hurts everybody.

And, now that Leslie has come out, I can sleep in peace, knowing that she likely has found peace too.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA - A POWERFUL PORTRAIT


This is the best and most powerful portrait ever done of the fabulous Michelle Obama, mesmerizing, captivating, profound.

I'm glad I made it.

AISHA, CHILD BRIDE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD AND SEX ABUSE SURVIVOR


Aisha, Child Bride of Prophet Muhammad 
and 
Sex Abuse Survivor

"Aisha stayed in her parents' home for several years until she joined Muhammad and the marriage was consummated. Most of the sources indicate that she was nine years old at the time, with the single exception of al-Tabari, who records that she was ten. The sources do not offer much more information about Aisha's childhood years, but mention that after the wedding, she continued to play with her toys, and that Muhammad entered into the spirit of these games."

Quoted from Source:




--

عائشة العروس الطفل من النبي محمد والجنس الناجي اساءه

"بقيت عائشة في منزل والديها لعدة سنوات حتى التحقت محمد وإتمام الزواج، ومعظم المصادر تشير إلى أنها كانت في التاسعة من عمرها في ذلك الوقت ، مع استثناء واحد من الطبري، الذي السجلات التي كانت عشرة. المصادر لا توفر المزيد من المعلومات حول عائشة سنوات الطفولة، ولكن أذكر أنه بعد الزفاف، وقالت انها واصلت للعب مع لعب لها ، والتي دخلت حيز محمد روح هذه الألعاب ".

ونقلت عن المصدر :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisha



"JE SUIS CHARLIE"

THE TRANSMISSION OF THE 144 MEDITATIONS TO SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES

THE TRANSMISSION OF THE 144 MEDITATIONS TO SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES



Leslie Geddes (aka Leslie of Geddes) left her 
castle and subjects in 
Geddes, Scotland 
after murdering 
Thomas Wentworth 

and drinking his blood,
in or about 1460 AD. 


An inner voice then called to her 

to spend 
40 days and 40 nights 

in the wilderness.  

There, she was transmitted 

the 144 meditations 
and encountered 

her true self:
her reincarnation as 
The Pink Lama.

She is now also known as 
the twelfth shadow saint 
of the Vatican.





































In or about 1460, Leslie Geddes, head of a clan in Geddes, Scotland, murdered Thomas Wentworth.  

After she drank his blood from his skull she felt compelled by an inner voice to retreat for 40 days and 40 nights into the wilderness.  

There, she was transmitted the 144 meditations.  

She became known as the twelfth shadow saint of the Vatican and is considered the key to understanding the works of 
Leonardo da Vinci and The Book of Revelation.

Listed below are 
the 144 meditations 
of 
Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes:


1. MEDITATION ON BODY AWARENESS:


2. MEDITATION ON BREATH:


3. MEDITATION ON WALKING:


4. MEDITATION ON HEARING:


5. MEDITATION ON FORM:


6. MEDITATION ON SMELL:


7. MEDITATION ON TASTE:


8. MEDITATION ON TOUCH:


9. MEDITATION ON THINGS:


10. MEDITATION ON INTELLECT:


11. MEDITATION ON BONES:



12. MEDITATION ON MUSCLES:



13. MEDITATION ON INTERNAL ORGANS:



14.  MEDITATION ON ENERGY POINTS:


15. MEDITATION ON THE BRAIN:



16. MEDITATION ON THE HEART:


17. MEDITATION ON SKIN:


18. MEDITATION ON WATER:


19. MEDITATION ON EARTH:


20. MEDITATION ON WIND:


21. MEDITATION ON FIRE:


22. MEDITATION ON SPACE:


23. MEDITATION ON PERCEPTION:


24.  MEDITATION ON CONSCIOUSNESS:


25. MEDITATION ON CLEAR MIND:


26. MEDITATION ON PURPOSE:


27. MEDITATION ON A FLOWER:


28. MEDITATION ON FALSE THINKING:


29. MEDITATION ON THE STARS:


30. MEDITATION ON AN AWAKENED MIND:


31. MEDITATION ON THE NAME 'AMITABHA':


32. MEDITATION ON THE DESIGN OF NATURE:


33. MEDITATION ON BIRTH & DEATH:


34. MEDITATION ON YOUR EARLIEST EMOTION:


35. MEDITATION ON HABITS:


36. MEDITATION ON RELEASING DESIRE:


37. MEDITATION ON FORGETFULNESS:


38. MEDITATION ON YOUR THIRD-EYE:


39. MEDITATION ON YOUR FUTURE INCARNATION:


40. MEDITATION ON AN INJUSTICE YOU CAUSED:


41. MEDITATION ON THE EXISTENCE OF PURE EVIL:


42. MEDITATION ON THE EXISTENCE OF PURE IGNORANCE:


43. MEDITATION ON THE EXISTENCE OF PURE APATHY:


44. MEDITATION ON THE REALITY THAT AT YOUR LOWEST POINT,
YOU WILL BE ALONE


45. MEDITATION ON THE REALITY OF HUMAN NATURE:


46. MEDITATION ON THE REALITY OF HUMAN LIMITATIONS:


47. MEDITATION ON THE EPIDEMIC OF CHILD ABUSE:


48. MEDITATION ON GROUP THINK:


49. MEDITATION ON OBSERVING EMOTIONS:


50. MEDITATION ON SEXUALITY:


51.  MEDITATION ON PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE INCARNATIONS:


52.  MEDITATION ON THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF LIVING ONE'S LIFE 
FOR THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS:


53. MEDITATION ON CLINGING AS HORNS ON YOUR HEAD:


54. MEDITATION ON THE SPONTANEITY OF INTUITION:


55. MEDITATION ON THE MIND AS A DIAMOND JEWEL WITHOUT FORM:


56. MEDITATION ON GROWING BEYOND WORLDLY AIMS:


57. MEDITATION ON THE DANGER OF MIXING EMOTIONS AND DECISIONS:


58. MEDITATION ON THE PAIN OF LONELINESS:


59. MEDITATION ON ONE'S GREATEST DIFFICULTIES BEING ONE'S BEST OPPORTUNITIES:


60. MEDITATION ON BEING AN INTEGRATED CONSCIOUSNESS:


61. MEDITATION ON BEING A MIDDLE-WAY:


62. MEDITATION ON VALUING YOUR CURRENT INCARNATION:


63. MEDITATION ON RECITING THE MANTRA 'OM MANI PADME HUM!'


64. MEDITATION ON FEELING BODHICHITTA:


65. MEDITATION ON TRANSFERRING ANGER INTO ACTION:


66. MEDITATION ON BEING PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE 
FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE, THINK, FEEL, AND DO:


67. MEDITATION ON THE SUFFERING CAUSED BY IMPATIENCE:


68. MEDITATION ON THE FOUR STATES THAT 
THREATEN JUDGMENT AND WELL-BEING, NAMELY, 
HUNGER, ANGER, LONELINESS AND FATIGUE:


69. MEDITATION ON THE SIX SACRED QUESTIONS OF 
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW, WHY:


70.  MEDITATION ON CULTIVATING A METHOD OF SELF-DEFENSE:


71. MEDITATION ON NON-ATTACHMENT TO 
CONCEPTS, IDEOLOGIES, RELIGIONS, AND BELIEFS:


72. MEDITATION ON IMPERMANENCE:


73. MEDITATION ON VISUALIZING GOALS:


74. MEDITATION ON CAUSE AND EFFECT:


75. MEDITATION ON THE SELF-CONFIDENCE OF ACTION 
THAT, 'I ALONE SHALL DO IT":


76. MEDITATION ON WHAT YOU CONSUME AND ITS EFFECT ON HEALTH:


77.  MEDITATION ON CONTINUALLY ACCUMULATING MERIT 
(BY ACTING WITH VIRTUE AND FEELING BOHDICHITTA):


78.  MEDITATION ON THE CAUSES OF UNWHOLESOME ACTIONS:


79.  MEDITATION ON MINDFULNESS:


80. MEDITATION ON CYCLIC EXISTENCE WITH THE 
RECOGNITION THAT YOUR CURRENT INCARNATION
IS FOREVER UNIQUE:


81. MEDITATION ON CONCENTRATION:


82. MEDITATION ON ORDINARY PEOPLE 
(AND A DEVOTION NOT TO BEHAVE LIKE THEM):


83.  MEDITATION ON THE REALITY THAT 
WE ALL DIE ALONE:


84. MEDITATION ON THE DECAY OF THE BODY:


85. MEDITATION ON THE DESTRUCTIVE CONSEQUENCES OF 
BEING DRIVEN BY THE WINDS OF OTHERS' ACTIONS:


86.  MEDITATION ON THE EXHAUSTING STATES 
ONE GOES TO TO SATISFY DESIRES:


87.  MEDITATION ON ACTING TOWARDS OTHERS WITH A
COMPASSIONATE AND CARING MIND:


88. MEDITATION ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN 
DECEPTIVE TRUTHS AND ULTIMATE TRUTHS:


89. MEDITATION ON THE ROLE ONE CHOSES TO PLAY, 
WHETHER BY HABIT OR VOLITION:


90.  MEDITATION ON THE FOUR DEVILS WHICH ARE:
-DEATH;
-DISTURBING THOUGHTS;
-THE AGGREGATES OF BODY & MIND;
-THE EVIL DEVAPUTRA


91.  MEDITATION ON EMPTINESS:


92. MEDITATION ON BECOMING A STATE OF CALM ABIDING:


93. MEDITATION ON POSTURE:


94.  MEDITATION ON YOUR BIG MIND AND YOUR SMALL MIND, 
UNTIL THEY ARE ONE:


95. MEDITATION ON ACCEPTING YOUR IMPERFECTIONS:


96.  MEDITATION ON THE VIRTUE OF AVOIDING SELFISH PEOPLE:


97.  MEDITATION ON THE VIRTUE OF CURIOSITY:


98.  MEDITATION ON THE VIRTUE OF NO-EXPECTATION:


99.  MEDITATION ON BOWING:


100.  MEDITATION ON WHETHER A FLOWER FALLS OR
A WEED GROWS, THAT IS YOUR LIFE:


101.  MEDITATION ON THE MANTRA, 
FEYNMAN GERVAIS HANNA LEE:


102.  MEDITATION ON OBSERVING INTENSELY:


103.  MEDITATION ON THE NAME 'MILAREPA':


104. MEDITATION ON YOUR WHITE DAYS:


105. MEDITATION ON RECOGNIZING THE BLACK DAYS
OF YOUR ENEMIES:


106. MEDITATION ON RECOGNIZING THE GAMES
CRIMINALS PLAY:


107.  MEDITATION ON RECOGNIZING THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JUSTICE & REVENGE:


108.  MEDITATION ON THE TRAP OF PRIDE:


109.  MEDITATION ON CULTIVATING EMPATHY:


110.  MEDITATION ON CULTIVATING CURIOSITY:


111.  MEDITATION ON YOUR META-GENEALOGY:


112.  MEDITATION ON THE QUESTION, 
"WHAT DON'T I KNOW?";


113.  MEDITATION ON THE EVIL SPIRITS 
THAT WILL GREET YOU WHEN YOU ARE DYING;


114.  MEDITATION ON YOUR MOTIVATIONS:


115.  MEDITATION ON RECOGNIZING 
THE MOTIVATIONS OF OTHERS:


116.  MEDITATION ON YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS:


117.  MEDITATION ON RELEASING THE FAKE FROM YOUR LIFE:


118.  MEDITATION ON FEELING A SENSE HUMOR:


119.  MEDITATION ON PRACTICING LAUGHTER:


120.  MEDITATION ON BELIEVING IN YOUR ABILITY TO COPE:


121.  MEDITATION ON A PEACEFUL MIND:


122.  MEDITATION ON A FEELING OF SELF-RESPECT:


123.  MEDITATION ON CAUSES OF STRESS & ANXIETY:


124.  MEDITATION ON THE EVILS OF RACISM:


125.  MEDITATION ON THE REALITY THAT
EVERYBODY LIES:


126.  MEDITATION ON COMPASSION 
FOR THSE WITH DISABILITIES:


127.  MEDITATION ON POWER IMBALANCES:


128.  MEDITATION ON MAKING HEALTHY DECISIONS:


129.  MEDITATION ON DISTINGUISHING SYMPTOMS FROM CAUSES:


130.  MEDITATION ON THE INDIFFERENCE OF DISEASE:


131.  MEDITATION ON YOUR ABILITY TO COPE:



132.  MEDITATION ON CONFIDENCE IN
YOUR ABILITY TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES:


133.  MEDITATION ON ACTING,
NOT REACTING:


134.  MEDITATION ON HAVING THE CONFIDENCE
TO EXPRESS FEELINGS & EMOTIONS:


135.  MEDITATION ON HAVING THE CONFIDENCE
TO LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION:


136.  MEDITATION ON THE PRISON OF 
DEBT AND POSSESSIONS:


137.  MEDITATION ON THE POWER
OF SYMBOLIC ACTS:


138.  MEDITATION ON YOUR
UNCONSCIOUS MIND:


139.  MEDITATION ON GOAL SETTING:


140.  MEDITATION ON SOLUTIONS OVER PROBLEMS:


141.  MEDITATION ON YOUR TRUE SELF
AS DISTINGUISHED FROM EGO:


142.  MEDITATION ON MATHEMATICAL REALITY:


143.  MEDITATION ON DEEPLY 
RESPECTING YOURSELF:


144.  THE FINAL MEDITATION IS
FOR YOU TO DISCOVER:


____________________________________________________________

WAYS OF MEDIATION

PATHS OF RECOVERY FROM TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES


THE 144 MEDITATIONS OF SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES:

1.  MEDITATION ON BODY AWARENESS;

2. MEDITATION ON BREATH;

3. MEDITATION ON WALKING;

4. MEDITATION ON HEARING;

5. MEDITATION ON FORM;

6. MEDITATION ON SMELL;

7. MEDITATION ON TASTE;

8. MEDITATION ON TOUCH;

9. MEDITATION ON THINGS;

10. MEDITATION ON INTELLECT;

11. MEDITATION ON BONES;

12. MEDITATION ON MUSCLES;

13. MEDITATION ON INTERNAL ORGANS;

14.  MEDITATION ON ENERGY POINTS;

15. MEDITATION ON THE BRAIN;

16. MEDITATION ON THE HEART;

17. MEDITATION ON SKIN;

18. MEDITATION ON WATER;

19. MEDITATION ON EARTH;

20. MEDITATION ON WIND;

21. MEDITATION ON FIRE;

22. MEDITATION ON SPACE;

23. MEDITATION ON PERCEPTION;

24.  MEDITATION ON CONSCIOUSNESS;

25. MEDITATION ON CLEAR MIND;

26. MEDITATION ON PURPOSE;

27. MEDITATION ON A FLOWER;

28. MEDITATION ON FALSE THINKING;

29. MEDITATION ON THE STARS;

30. MEDITATION ON AN AWAKENED MIND;

31. MEDITATION ON THE NAME 'AMITABHA';

32. MEDITATION ON THE DESIGN OF NATURE;

33. MEDITATION ON BIRTH & DEATH;

34. MEDITATION ON YOUR EARLIEST EMOTION;

35. MEDITATION ON HABITS;

36. MEDITATION ON RELEASING DESIRE;

37. MEDITATION ON FORGETFULNESS;

38. MEDITATION ON YOUR THIRD-EYE;

39. MEDITATION ON YOUR FUTURE INCARNATION;

40. MEDITATION ON AN INJUSTICE YOU CAUSED;

41. MEDITATION ON THE EXISTENCE OF PURE EVIL;

42. MEDITATION ON THE EXISTENCE OF PURE IGNORANCE;

43. MEDITATION ON THE EXISTENCE OF PURE APATHY;

44. MEDITATION ON THE REALITY THAT AT YOUR LOWEST POINT,
YOU WILL BE ALONE;

45. MEDITATION ON THE REALITY OF HUMAN NATURE;

46. MEDITATION ON THE REALITY OF HUMAN LIMITATIONS;

47. MEDITATION ON THE EPIDEMIC OF CHILD ABUSE;

48. MEDITATION ON GROUP-THINK;

49. MEDITATION ON OBSERVING EMOTIONS;

50. MEDITATION ON SEXUALITY;

51.  MEDITATION ON PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE INCARNATIONS;

52.  MEDITATION ON THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF LIVING ONE'S LIFE 
FOR THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS;

53. MEDITATION ON CLINGING AS HORNS ON YOUR HEAD;

54. MEDITATION ON THE SPONTANEITY OF INTUITION;

55. MEDITATION ON THE MIND AS A DIAMOND JEWEL WITHOUT FORM’;

56. MEDITATION ON GROWING BEYOND WORLDLY AIMS;

57. MEDITATION ON THE DANGER OF MIXING EMOTIONS AND DECISIONS;


58. MEDITATION ON THE PAIN OF LONELINESS;

59. MEDITATION ON ONE'S GREATEST DIFFICULTIES 
BEING ONE'S BEST OPPORTUNITIES;

60. MEDITATION ON BEING AN INTEGRATED CONSCIOUSNESS;

61. MEDITATION ON BEING A MIDDLE-WAY;

62. MEDITATION ON VALUING YOUR CURRENT INCARNATION;

63. MEDITATION ON RECITING THE MANTRA,
 'OM MANI PADME HUM!';

64. MEDITATION ON FEELING BODHICHITTA;

65. MEDITATION ON TRANSFERRING ANGER INTO ACTION;

66. MEDITATION ON BEING PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE, THINK, FEEL, AND DO;

67. MEDITATION ON THE SUFFERING CAUSED BY IMPATIENCE;

68. MEDITATION ON THE FOUR STATES THAT THREATEN JUDGMENT 
AND WELL-BEING, NAMELY HUNGER, ANGER, LONELINESS AND FATIGUE;

69. MEDITATION ON THE SIX SACRED QUESTIONS OF 
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW, WHY;

70.  MEDITATION ON CULTIVATING A METHOD OF SELF-DEFENSE;

71. MEDITATION ON NON-ATTACHMENT TO CONCEPTS, IDEOLOGIES, RELIGIONS, AND BELIEFS;

72. MEDITATION ON IMPERMANENCE;

73. MEDITATION ON VISUALIZING GOALS;

74. MEDITATION ON CAUSE AND EFFECT;

75. MEDITATION ON THE SELF-CONFIDENCE OF ACTION THAT,
'I ALONE SHALL DO IT";

76. MEDITATION ON WHAT YOU CONSUME AND ITS EFFECT ON HEALTH;

77.  MEDITATION ON CONTINUALLY ACCUMULATING MERIT 
(BY ACTING WITH VIRTUE AND FEELING BOHDICHITTA);

78.  MEDITATION ON THE CAUSES OF UNWHOLESOME ACTIONS;

79.  MEDITATION ON MINDFULNESS;

80. MEDITATION ON CYCLIC EXISTENCE WITH THE 
RECOGNITION THAT YOUR CURRENT INCARNATION
IS FOREVER UNIQUE;

81. MEDITATION ON CONCENTRATION;

82. MEDITATION ON ORDINARY PEOPLE 
(AND A DEVOTION NOT TO BEHAVE LIKE THEM);

83.  MEDITATION ON THE REALITY THAT 
WE ALL DIE ALONE;

84. MEDITATION ON THE DECAY OF THE BODY;

85. MEDITATION ON THE DESTRUCTIVE CONSEQUENCES OF 
BEING DRIVEN BY THE WINDS OF OTHERS' ACTIONS;

86. MEDITATION ON THE EXHAUSTING STATES
ONE GOES TO, TO SATISFY DESIRES;

87.  MEDITATION ON ACTING TOWARDS OTHERS WITH A
COMPASSIONATE AND CARING MIND;

88. MEDITATION ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN 
DECEPTIVE TRUTHS AND ULTIMATE TRUTHS;

89. MEDITATION ON THE ROLE ONE CHOSES TO PLAY, 
WHETHER BY HABIT OR VOLITION;

90.  MEDITATION ON THE FOUR DEVILS WHICH ARE:
-DEATH;
-DISTURBING THOUGHTS;
-THE AGGREGATES OF BODY & MIND;
-THE EVIL DEVAPUTRA;

91.  MEDITATION ON EMPTINESS;

92. MEDITATION ON BECOMING A STATE OF CALM ABIDING;

93. MEDITATION ON POSTURE;

94.  MEDITATION ON YOUR BIG MIND AND YOUR SMALL MIND, 
UNTIL THEY ARE ONE;

95. MEDITATION ON ACCEPTING YOUR IMPERFECTIONS;

96.  MEDITATION ON THE VIRTUE OF AVOIDING SELFISH PEOPLE;

97.  MEDITATION ON THE VIRTUE OF CURIOSITY;

98.  MEDITATION ON THE VIRTUE OF NO-EXPECTATION;

99.  MEDITATION ON BOWING;

100.  MEDITATION ON WHETHER A FLOWER FALLS OR
A WEED GROWS, THAT IS YOUR LIFE;

101.  MEDITATION ON THE MANTRA, 
FEYNMAN GERVAIS HANNA LEE;

102.  MEDITATION ON OBSERVING
EVERYTHING INTENSELY;

103.  MEDITATION ON THE NAME ‘MILAREPA’;

104. MEDITATION ON RECOGNIZING YOUR WHITE DAYS;

105.  MEDITATION ON RECOGNIZING THE BLACK DAYS
OF YOUR ENEMIES;.

106.  MEDITATION ON THE GAMES CRIMINALS PLAY;

107.  MEDITATION ON JUSTICE VERSUS REVENGE;

108.  MEDITATION ON THE TRAP OF PRIDE;

109.  MEDITATION ON CULTIVATING EMPATHY;

110.  MEDITATION ON CULTIVATING CURIOSITY;

111.  MEDITATION ON YOUR META-GENEALOGY;

112. MEDITATION ON THE QUESTION, 
"WHAT DON'T I KNOW?";

114.  MEDITATION ON QUESTIONING YOUR MOTIVATIONS 
(AND AVOIDING GREED, ILL-WILL OR IGNORANCE);

115.  MEDITATION ON QUESTIONING THE 
MOTIVATIONS OF OTHERS
(WHICH ARE TYPICALLY GREED, ILL-WILL & IGNORANCE);

116.  MEDITATION ON YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS;

117.  MEDITATION ON RELEASING THE FAKE FROM YOUR LIFE;

118.  MEDITATION ON FEELING A SENSE OF HUMOR;

119.  MEDITATION ON PRACTICING LAUGHTER;

120.  MEDITATION ON BELIEVING IN YOUR ABILITY TO COPE;

121.  MEDITATION ON A PEACEFUL MIND;

122.  MEDITATION ON A FEELING OF SELF-RESPECT;

123.  MEDITATION ON THE ADDICTIVE NATURE 
OF STRESS AND ANXIETY;

124.  MEDITATION ON THE EVIL OF RACISM;

125.  MEDITATION ON THE REALITY THAT
EVERYBODY LIES;

126.  MEDITATION ON COMPASSION FOR THOSE WITH
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DISABILITIES;

127.  MEDITATION ON POWER IMBALANCES;

128.  MEDITATION ON MAKING HEALTHY DECISIONS;

129.  MEDITATION ON DISTINGUISHING 
SYMPTOMS FROM CAUSES;

130.  MEDITATION ON THE INDIFFERENCE 
OF DISEASE;

131.  MEDITATION ON HAVING 
CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ABILITY TO COPE;

132.  MEDITATION ON YOUR ABILITY TO
MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES;

133.  MEDITATION ON ACTING, NOT REACTING;

134.  MEDITATION ON HAVING THE CONFIDENCE
TO EXPRESS EMOTIONS & FEELINGS;

135.  MEDITATION ON HAVING THE CONFIDENCE
TO LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION;

136.  MEDITATION ON THE PRISON OF DEBT AND 
THE TRAP OF POSSESSIONS;

137.  MEDITATION ON THE POWER
OF SYMBOLIC ACTS;

138.  MEDITATION ON YOUR
UNCONSCIOUS MIND;

139,  MEDITATION ON GOAL SETTING;

140.  MEDITATION ON SOLUTIONS OVER PROBLEMS;

141.  MEDITATION ON YOUR TRUE SELF
AS DISTINGUISHED FROM EGO;

142.  MEDITATION ON MATHEMATICAL REALITY;

143.  MEDITATION ON DEEPLY RESPECTING YOURSELF;

144.  THE FINAL MEDITATION IS FOR YOU TO DISCOVER.

_________________________________________________________


Most people carry trauma in the lives.  For most people, I've observed that they bury their trauma.  The result is that it manifests itself in neurotic actions.  Every persons' traumatic experiences are unique to them.  Even if the same on its face, traumatic experience affects people according to their own individual make-up and circumstances.  Thus, it is critical to validate each survivor's unique experience.  

In my case, I experienced severe abuse and neglect as a child.  Like so many people, I finally confronted my past as an adult.  Also, like many people, I made the mistake of relying on people I thought were my friends.  I didn't understand that they, like most people, were emotionally stunted and self-absorbed.  In other words, they were not only completely incompetent but they made my trauma worse by responding in abusive and dismissive ways.  

Luckily, I found the DC Rape Crisis Center which had compassionate and knowledgable people who validated me and my experiences.  The rest of my recovery was largely self-learned through meditation.

There are multiple approaches to meditation.  My thought is that one should do what is practical; in other words, take what works in leading one towards a centered and peaceful mind.  

Below I collect forms of meditation that have worked for me.  I include some descriptive background for some meditations.  The names I use are fictional.  

1.

The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation

Takeaway: To change myself, I meditate on a substitute view of myself

The traditional way to break an addiction is to create a substitute.  For instance, chew gum instead of smoking.  The power of religion is when it creates a substitute emotion.  That is why many broken people feel the transformative power of religion.  They often, of course, attribute that power, to God, and specifically to their God.  Thus is born fanaticism.  

Meditation is also transformative in that anything one does changes one's brain chemistry and wiring.  The Tibetan Book of Liberation offers the story of a prince Padma who gets married and thereafter goes through many tribulations.  The story contains many howlers for any thinking person and it is sexist and fantasist, ripe material for Ricky Gervais.  For instance, finally wining his bride, the Book notes Padma gets 500 virgins thrown into the deal because that is customary. He later deserts his wife, who he stole from another man, because he wants more from life than love, family and sex with 500 virgins.  The story makes no comment on what today would clearly be considered narcissistic and sociopathic behavior.  This made clear to me how religion is simply a product of culture and the times.  Specifically, religion is a reflection of power structures.  

Putting that aside, however, if taken as an allegory for a teaching on how to achieve wakefulness, or self-awareness, the story is instructive.

Self-awareness comes in bursts; seeking it is a continual path.  By changing his view of himself, Padua achieved wakefulness.  By achieving the discipline of meditating on the spirits around him and on the gurus, Padua changed the view of himself and achieved self-awareness.  Evil spirits are in essence, creations of unhealthy social relations.  I meditate.

_____________________________________________

2.

The fallacy of religion is the underlying premise that everyone is the same and can reach a state of being "saved" or of transcendence.  

Takeaway: I meditate on achieving self-awareness and the realization that self-awareness in others is the exception.

Reading about personality disorders accentuates the practical limitations of human interactions.  The narcissistic personality is one of the most damaging because in many ways society rewards the narcissist, who may be a high achiever.  The victim is sucked in and then, when discarded for having tried to express his or her own feelings, left isolated.  Like so many people, I learned this the hard way through a prior relationship.  To avoid this in the future, I meditate on the attributes of the narcissistic personality and the reality that a narcissist will not change and can't be reasoned with or helped.  

I mediate.

_______________________________________________

3.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Takeaway: I meditate on the evil spirits that will greet me when I am dying.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead explains what will happen when we are dying.  It encourages a person to understand that process now, and to meditate on it, so that when the actual time comes we will be prepared.  We will meet many evil spirits which are trying to confuse us and to distract us from being reincarnated at a higher level.  If we recognize those evil spirits, and understand they are all created by our mind, they cannot prevail.

I have found a practical way to approach this.   There are certain people who I have concluded are simply evil, who lack a conscience and who enjoy hurting others.  All normal people are aware that unfortunately there are sociopaths and narcissists in their lives.  When I encounter such persons I typically have gotten a knot in my stomach and felt anxiety because they trigger memories of my father and his deranged mistress, Ilse.  Now, if I run into my ex girlfriend or her girlfriends, or any of the numerous sociopaths bound to be encountered in life, my plan is simply to observe them as evil spirits; they are narcissistic and sociopathic material manifestations of evil spirits.  They now have a purpose in my life: I look forward to seeing them to practice calm in their presence, as practice for greeting those evil spirits described in The Tibetan Book of the dead.

I meditate.

_______________________________________________

4.

Dear Patrick, by Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D.

Takeaway:  I meditate continuously on the question: 'Why am I doing this?' If the answer contains elements of greed, ill-will or ignorance, don't do it!"

At one of the most difficult times of my life, I was fortunate to have stumbled onto a one-day lecture by Jeffrey Schwartz at the Smithsonian. Schwartz is one of the foremost neuroscientists who developed the new paradigm of the plasticity of the mind. Besides introducing me to this new field, he also got me interested in meditation, which he is a big proponent of. I've been rereading his book Dear Patrick which is based on letters he wrote to a teenager who didn't have a father. There is a passage I find useful:

"Whenever you feel any doubt or hesitation about something you're about to do or say, stop and ask yourself: 'Why am I doing this?' If the answer contains elements of greed, ill-will or ignorance, don't do it!"

To some extent this seems to stop most action - because for me I feel in a constant state of ignorance. But, it is essential as a technique to avoid being simply reactive. Schwartz would explain that this actually has a neurological basis, as asking 'why?' allows activation of circuit breaker of the mind to cut off the amygdala from running out of control.

Psychologically, it is interesting to think of habits formed. My father was a person of total self-indulgence and completely lacking in empathy. While I can feel compassion for him, knowing his actions were caused by unloving and abusive parents, it is important for me to realize that this is the role model I had. Consciously I want to be nothing like him in that regard, so perhaps I need to be more aware of the unconscious patterns I absorbed from him and incorporated into my emotional memory, and thus must more often ask myself "why?"

Meditating on mindfulness is a useful tool also to develop this new habit.

I meditate.
________________________________________________________________________
5.

The main story line below is inspired by true events: the reincarnation of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes,  a shadow saint of the Vatican, fulfilling the prophecies in The Book of Revelation which will lead to the rise of a Third Rome.  

This story reflects the greatness of people I've known and the evil of people I've experienced. 

I have necessarily changed names and events for privacy and narrative continuity, so I call it fiction and similarities to persons living or dead are coincidental and unintended.

And after all, until all of the prophecies are fulfilled, so most others will also call it fiction.

The meaning of life is to love one's self.
Takeaway: I meditate on the emotion of loving myself.

Where is hope? What is the best thing you ever did for anyone? Where is truth? Where is your truth? Political activism and religion do not translate into emotional empathy. Alienation didn't die with Camus. It is in every neighbor, friend, lover. I am excluded, a bother, an imposition of boundaries. And so are you. Trust me, at your lowest moment in life, you will be alone. Through me - and through you - they'd see themselves.
___________________________

I remember him strangling me. 

I couldn't breath. 

And for years afterwards I held my breath, inside. 

And then I met her. 

And loved her. 

When I think about those rare moments of coincidence in life, events so random and fantastic that change the trajectory of existence, I wonder if they are, in fact, destiny.

Since being an infant I remember having been fascinated by the concept of art.  Yes, I clearly remember sitting in a playpen outside as Toronto maple leaves fell around me and squirrels were my only playmates wondering: "What is it?  How is it created?"

Of course, maybe it wasn't as clearly articulated as I remember now.   Maybe what I remember was a craving for acknowledgment and nurturing.  An inability to understand that need transformed into a search for empathy within objects of art.  The first of which were comics.

At the age of six I stood in a Toronto supermarket transfixed by colors of pages placed right within my line of vision (fabulous marketing!).  Captain America 100, "Big Premier Issue!"  My Mother leaned over and asked: "Do you want one?" "Which should I get?" I asked.  "Whichever one you want," she said.  A rare confluence in my life of attention, nurturing, choice and sensory stimulation (the last being Jack Kirby).  I chose Captain America and for years afterwards was perplexed by how a "premier" issue could start at #100.  Later I decided premier meant "best" not "first".

Thirty years later I met Leslie.  I realize now it was deja vu.  It was one of those experiences that made the universe seem whole and meaningful.  It was so random to create a dizzying sensation of destiny.

For nearly two years Leslie Geddes repeatedly told me how deeply she was in love with me. 

This was through the hundreds of emails she sent me, and over the months we lived together. 

And every time I saw her. 

I wanted to believe, but was occasionally given reason to ask "why?", such as when she told her friends at a party (during the time we lived together) that she wanted them to set her up with someone-else, "someone cute and rich"; or when she would stop in her tracks while walking with  me to simply stare at a strikingly attractive man, and then refuse to discuss it; or when I came over one morning to see that she had clearly spent the night with someone else, or when she'd literally turn her back on me and walk away when I foolishly tried to communicate my feelings or to ask her about hers.

Once, when I persisted and tried to ask about such things she gave me an icy stare of such deep hatred that I jumped, and as I did so I saw a glimmer of laughter in her eyes.  She had a way of turning her emotions on and off like a light-switch.

When I visited her at Princeton, Leslie told me with glee about a classmate whose boyfriend had broken up with her.  Leslie laughed as she recounted that the woman was in so much emotional pain that she was rolling on the ground in agony.  When I suggested to Leslie that maybe the woman needed a friend and that Leslie could be that friend, her response was one of total bafflement and incomprehension.  I sensed then that if I ever showed feelings or vulnerability to Leslie she would use it against me.

So, as a result I felt that I was constantly walking on eggshells around her.  In short, a relationship with Leslie felt like being in an insane asylum.

Logically one would then ask: "So if your intuition told you she was a gold-digger and con artist, why did you stay with her?"  The answer is that the first months were bliss and unfortunately I fell in love with her completely.  I was so much in love with her that I blocked the sense of warning and the fear I felt from her later controlling behavior.  

Unfortunately, my love was so deep that I was blinded and once it was out of my heart, I couldn't put it back.  

Also, I didn't know how to articulate the confusion I was feeling.  Walking on eggshells felt natural and comfortable in a dysfunctional way, since that's how I had grown up.

But mostly, by then I wanted to believe her daily declarations of love.

I wanted to believe I could be loved because my childhood made it difficult for me to believe I could be loved at all. 

After nearly two years, the stress of it all took it's toll.  "I want to be friends," I told her.  What I really meant was that I wanted to develop a relationship based on emotional intimacy.  But, having never expressed my feelings or even allowed myself to acknowledge them, I didn't know how to begin to communicate that.  

Leslie had moved out and, I learned later, had been seeing that "cute and rich" guy her friends had offered to hook her up with.  His money apparently resonated.  Her response to me was simply, "okay." 

A couple of months later after living in agonizing pain at having, in my mind, sabotaged a meaningful relationship, in an act of shocking naivete I decided to call her and to confide my painful childhood, the reasons for my distrust of her and others and to ask for her support in finally confronting the past and moving beyond it. 

I also told her I loved her, which I did very deeply. 

Leslie laughed. 
 
She told me to never contact her again.  

She hung up. 

That was the last time we spoke.  

I fell into a cycle of despair. 

Thinking there must be a misunderstanding, remembering that she had told me in hundreds of letters that she loved me, that she asked to move in with me, introduced me to her family and repeatedly told me she loved me, and remembering the good times, I decided to write explaining the situation. 

I wrote every few weeks the most insightful and sincere letter I could, believing in my ability to open my heart and that that was what Leslie wanted, because she had said she loved me.

It was a huge mistake, the biggest error of my life, to put my faith in Leslie's love.  I already knew from experience that she was capable of turning her emotions on and off on a dime.  But I felt I had a breakthrough in confronting my past and decided to believe in her, foolishly throwing caution to the wind.  

I also naively considered her two best friends my friends and so reached out to them for advice. 

Kirsten Feyling was my neighbor who I had spent a lot of time with. 

I knocked on her door and asked for her help and guidance. 

She angrily yelled, "why do you keep bothering everybody?" before slamming her door in my face.   Later, I saw Kirsten Feyling again and she lunged towards me screaming, her face distorted with rage.  I ran.

Another day as I entered my building I ran into Leslie's other friend, Maggie Martel. As I reached for the large glass door entrance to my building Maggie Martel saw me and slammed open and smashed the door in my face.  As I reeled in shock, she snorted with laughter and walked off. 

Her friend Autumn Francois practically spit on me the times I passed her on the street.

It was very difficult to understand this onslaught of hostility from these people I had felt so close to. 

Of course now I know that my attempts to communicate with them were profoundly naive. 

I didn't understand the dynamics of relationships: because I hadn't loved myself I chose a relationship with a person alienated from their own emotional life.  Leslie was the last person who could offer empathy since she lacks it for herself. 

The common denominator among Leslie and her friends is that all of them have very difficult relationships with their fathers and in their romantic relationships.  

I theorize that once Leslie had no more use for me, they projected their unresolved anger towards their fathers onto me.

It was some sort of primal assertion of power which at the time I didn't understand.  They were the same as my childhood abusers in the enjoyment they gained from causing pain.  To me, in a perverse way, the abuse of Leslie and her friends felt familiar.

Just as the man strangling me and abusing me seemed to take great pleasure in doing so, I've found that what creates the lasting pain of abuse isn't the physical act but the memory of the joy reflected in the abuser's eyes at the moment of total control.  

This is what is the survivor remembers: the emotional pain.

I remember seeing it in the eyes Ilse, of my father's sociopathic mistress, when I was locked in her apartment as a child desperately trying to get out. 

My father would leave me with her in some warped effort to get me to know her. 

Ilse would sit on the couch smoking, icily staring at me. 

Finally, the ritual would be I would freak out and want to leave, clawing at the locked door. 

She would laugh hysterically and refuse to unlock the door unless I kissed her, at which moment her eyes reflected triumph. 

This was my first taste of emotional and sexual abuse. 

I saw it in the eyes of Peter Barnett, my fourth grade teacher at the International School of Geneva, Switzerland, who would hit my everyday and tell me I was stupid. 

Just at the moment of impact of his hand on my head a self-satisfied smirk would appear. 

And I saw it in the eyes of the teacher, John Fogarty, as he strangled me in a distant field. 

And in the eyes of Bruce Harlow, the headmaster of the school who realized my parents were incapable of protecting me, and so he was safe. 

And in the students at The Peddie School who in ninth grade would viciously beat me up because I was kind and thoughtful. 

I saw that same look of hatred in the eyes of Leslie Geddes and her friends.

It was a long climb out of their brainwashing to realize that I have value, that I deserve to be happy, to care about myself and to love myself.  And that I don't need them for that validation.

It was the DC Rape Crisis Center that ultimately helped me to heal. 

I now understand that having grown up with abuse I learned to devalue myself and consequently chose friends who were controlling and manipulative to reinforce my lack of confidence and to perpetuate my emotional scars. 

But, I've also learned that for me, compassion towards those who were hurtful is the final stage of my healing. 

For years I found myself plagued with the despair of "why?": Why would a teacher tell me he loved me and take me to an isolated field to violently sexually assault me? 

Why did the headmaster cover up the assault when I reported it? 

Why did my father choose alcohol, drugs and a sociopathic mistress who would hurt his children over treating his family with love and compassion? 

Why did Leslie Geddes, who told me she deeply loved me over two years, turn her back on me at my most desperate moment, when for once I believed in trust and in emotional intimacy? 

Why did her friends respond with abuse to my reaching out in friendship?

I nearly drove myself crazy with this "why" until I realized that the "why" is ultimately unanswerable.

At a basic level abusers have unfathomable emotional immaturity and lack the capacity for empathy.

But, explanations and theories are mere speculation, as meaningless as parlor games. 

What saved my sanity from the need to constantly ask "why" is insight I received through attending the lectures of the Dalai Lama: the only goal I have to work for is a peaceful mind.  

A means of doing this is to extend compassion to others - and to myself - with the belief that this engages the power of my mind and creates a virtuous cycle of karma. 

This is what works for me and what gives me sanity when Leslie, my father, and those others I loved and trusted acted insane. 

For me, the answer to "why?" doesn't matter anymore.

They either chose a role to play or it is their karma to play it.  

I choose mine.

I choose to believe in God as a power found within.  

That is where I focus my mediation practice.  

That is my answer. 

From a practical perspective, through the DC Rape Crisis Center I found friends who are empathetic.  They gave me strength and I learned practical coping strategies, such as somatic therapy.

I also empowered myself by taking legal action against a childhood abuser.  

It was not easy and took years of persistence.  

I won. 

Most importantly, I learned that the only person who needs to love me is myself.

Finally, I also forgave my former friends who turned their backs on me at my lowest moment. 

I sat down and placed a chair opposite me and asked each of them (in spirit) to forgive me for having given them pain and distress by imposing on them my expectation that they were greater than who they are. 

I know now from experience that Leslie Geddes, Maggie Martel, Kirsten Feyling, Autumn Francois, and Alice Riener are people of staggering and unfathomable emotional immaturity, seemingly incapable of empathy, completely lacking in self-awareness.and conscience.

In short, they are emotionally vile, abusive, self-absorbed fakes.  

In this, I feel, they are simply like most everyone else: banal, Ordinary People.

What Leslie Geddes, Maggie Martel, Kirsten Feyling, Autumn Francois, and Alice Riener taught me is that people are horrible human beings.  That is what they showed me.

They reflect a particular kind of evil: cowardice.  Based on my experience and in my opinion they enjoy seeing others in pain and inflicting it, as long as there are no consequences.  People for them are objects.  The causes that consume them - gay rights, health care policy, affordable housing, fund raising for SOS charities and politics - are worthwhile in and of themselves but exist for them as means to inflate their egos and process their neurosis.  For instance, in my opinion Kirsten is perfectly suited as a fund raiser because she is superficially charming and manipulative without conscience.  But she is, in my opinion and experience, a person devoid of empathy and compassion - a total fake.  Alice Riener devotes herself, in my opinion, to gay causes becuase she lacks the courage to express her sexual identity and these passions are a substitute sexual outlet.  She is a total fake.  Ditto for Leslie, Autumn and Maggie: fake, fake fake whose vocations and passions are means designed to allow them to manipulate others and to validate themselves.  


In character - in how they act towards others - they are empty.   They seek relationships with one goal: money.  

My belief that Leslie Geddes and her friends were capable of more than that was a delusion resulting from my pain.

The pain resulted from desire at the lowest point of my life: a desire for their empathy, a desire for their compassion, a desire for their kindness, a desire for their friendship.

I meditate on releasing all desire.

And, I meditate on the causes of their actions:  Leslie had confided terrible stories of childhood abuse but at the time I lacked the knowledge of how to respond and find her help.  She recited the events of her past with an emotional dullness, which I now suspect reflected a dissociative state.  I observed, in my opinion, the serial promiscuity of Kirsten Feyling, Autumn Francois and Maggie Martel, which I now see as clear signs of emotional detachment connected to unresolved trauma.  And I knew Alice was living in the closet as a gay woman in love with Leslie reflecting, I now believe, a repressed sexuality identity expressing itself through neurosis. 

I release the desire for them to be what they are not capable of being.

I thank them for the valuable lesson of the evil of human nature because it pushed me to have confidence in my capacity to love.  It is the adversity brought by enemies that allows my compassion, empathy, love and forgiveness to materialize as strength.

I wish them self-realization even while experiencing that they aren't capable of it.

I won't hold my breath anymore.

I won't believe in them.

I saw on Leslie's MySpace page a photo of her surrounded by numerous empty alcohol bottles.  She had two "favorite" quotes on her page: "I love the salty taste of cum" and "I'll climb up the pipe, go over the wall, and through the window to kill him."  The first made me feel sorry for her but the second sent chills down my spine.

I fear her.

I did have two later indirect interactions with Leslie.  About two years after she hung up on me I received a disturbing call from the Princeton University police at  around 5:00 am while I was sleeping in a city hundreds of miles away.  Leslie, they said, had contacted them and said I was following her that morning.  They asked me where I was and to provide an alibi.

I went to my friend Elizabeth's apartment to do so, but was so upset and in such a state of shock that I was hyperventilating as I wondered, "What happened to this person I trusted so much?"

Fortunately, Elizabeth is a massage therapist so helped me return back to normal breathing and then I called back the police with her number.  I never heard anything more about it but I later received a fedex at my door from Leslie with  a multi page nonsensical letter full of threats.  I tore it up.  A therapist I spoke to surmised that Leslie had had a psychotic break and couldn't separate reality from fantasy.

So I feel compassion and although I wish I didn't, unfortunately I still love her.

But now, I also acknowledge my fear of Leslie Geddes.

I know that she is a person with no conscience, and I listen to that.

When the scorpion asked the frog for a ride across the pond, the frog said: "but you will sting me!"  The scorpion answered he would not as they would then both drown.  So, the frog gave the scorpion a lift but halfway across the pond the scorpion stung the frog.  "Why did you sting me?"  the frog cried, "For now we will both die!"  The scorpion answered, "Because it is my nature to sting, no matter what the consequences."

I meditate on compassion and I forgive Leslie Geddes and her friends for their lies and abuse.

I sense exactly how Leslie Geddes' life will play out and feel sorry for her that she will never experience the gift intimacy and allow herself to feel the emotion of love.

I forgive all my childhood abusers because it allows me to reclaim power from them.

I meditate on forgiveness.

And I forgive myself for my past naivete.  

I have dedicated my life to helping abuse survivors and standing up to abusers.  

I learned to draw and to write to explore ideas, thoughts and emotions.

I no longer need the validation from others, a desperate search for kindness.  

It doesn't exist.  

What does exist is evil.  

Evil is mostly recognized in our society as a caricature.  For instance, it appears cartoonish in movies about serial killers and super-villains and in tabloid titillation over the horrors that people inflict on others.  On the other extreme are somber academic tomes about the pathology of evil, the banality of evil, the sociology of evil, and such.

My recognition of the existence of absolute evil came when I saw the eyes of its victim, Krystyna Trzesniewska.  

Krystyna was a young girl captured by the Nazis.  Wilhelm Brasse was assigned by the Nazis to photograph all concentration camp victims; his photo of her captures a haunting desperation and pain. 

When I saw that photo I lost all faith in humanity.  Krystyna's suffering was caused by an indifferent humanity.  Her pain exists today as a commodified artifact.  And it is this indifferent commodification that distinguishes conventional evil (the infliction of pain) from pure evil (the indifferent viewing of suffering).

I realize that it is easy for me to project onto Krystyna because the counterpoint to her suffering is the indifferent pleasure I saw in my childhood abusers.  So, I empathize with Krystyna and want to protect her from the insanity of the adults around her just as I  wish someone had protected me, and as I wish I could have protected Leslie. 

The strongest memory I have of Leslie Geddes are her eyes telling me, "I wish you were dead".  She gave me this look twice and in itself it was terrifying.   But behind Leslie's eyes resonated the insanity of multiple adults I had experienced as a child, so my fear was amplified.

In Krystyna's eyes I see the lost innocence and suffering of Leslie Geddes as a child, her true self before she built a protective wall of anger and rage.  

That is the Leslie Geddes for whom I have compassion and still love.  It is that Leslie Geddes for whom I weep.  

I realize that her need to hurt me began eons ago through cause and effect.  As long as I am in a place of safety I can put aside panic and cultivate compassion with the hope that it will positively effect her future lives while knowing that it is unrealistic to believe that meditating compassion will change anybody in this lifetime.  I am sure that all of my childhood abusers died self satisfied and stuck in their narcissistic worlds and I am sure that Leslie and her friends will be no different.

Popular culture says that love redeems.  Yet, the abuse I experienced by Leslie and others is what pushed me to redouble my efforts to cultivate compassion.  The meditation on compassion, cause and effect and emptiness is ultimately, I've found, for my benefit.  It wasn't their love that saved me but their hatred.

Through understanding emptiness, I have become what I sought all along: whole.

The hands of that teacher around my neck are released.

I see within me, and I breath again.

I'm no longer a victim.

I meditate.
_______________________________________________________________

6.
If I were to die today, 
three days from today 
my receptionist would ask:
"Where is that guy anyway, today?"
The police would arrive and say,
"Looks like another body today."
The EMS would say, 
"He stinks his rotting away."
The morgue would ask,
"Who's his next of kin, by-the-way?"
My Mom would say,
"I'd hoped to sleep in today."
My Dad would say,
"I'll greet him at the Pearly Gates today."
His mistress would say,
"Sweet revenge came my way."
My Grandad would say,
"I never much liked him, okay?"
My GrandPops would say,
"Let's do an accounting before we pray."
My sister would say,
"This really isn't convenient today."
My other one would say,
"He was an okay guy, anyway."
Leslie Geddes would say,
"Break out the Champagne, today."
Alice Riener would say,
"Hip Hip Hooray!"
Kirsten Feyling would say,
"Let's party today."
Autumn Francois would say,
"Let's grab some swag today."
My boss would say,
"Who's next for a window office, today?"
My colleague would say,
"I'd like his chair, anyway."
My broker would say,
"Someone's got a nice payday, today."
My HR would say,
"He's saved Uncle Sam money, anyway."
My abuser would say,
"Lucifer set him up that day."
Jodorowsky would say,
"Life is just emptiness, anyway."
My God would say,
"Now justify how you lost your way, today."
But...
I haven't died yet.....
So, 
I meditate.
I've got another day, today.

___________________________________________________________________

7.

The fog was rolling into San Francisco Bay.I looked into Leslie Geddes' brown eyes."I want to live life without illusions," I told Leslie."Without hope, there's heartbreak," she said."All my friends are getting divorced," I said."The women wised up," she said."What are you feeling?" I asked.Her mouth moved but I heard seagulls mocking meas the lighthouse on Alcatraz Island winked.

After she left me two years ago I started sleeping on the couch in my living room, 
leaving the television on.

She told me that she was going to teach art history at Columbia University.

But, I heard through the grapevine that Leslie and her girlfriend, Alice Riener,  found themselves screaming in a short-lived headbanging punk band called The Stool Pigeons.  

Every so often, the phone rings and the number reads "restricted" or "unknown".  I never answer to maintain the illusion that its Leslie calling.  She hasn't left a message yet.

Her art books and dvds are still in a plastic container in my closet. 

Her low brow Pinky Violence dvd collection nuzzles her high brow Katherine Hepburn blue-ray box set.

I've held off on selling her oversize monograph on Leonardo da Vinci's Windsor Castle Water Drawings.

And I still have her Japanese Araki photo books in my closet. 

Her signed complete Richard Wilbur poetry first edition collection is boxed under my winter clothes.

Since she's left I've gone back to eating ravioli out of a can.  I left her photo up in my kitchen, but behind the cereal boxes.  I wonder if someday she'll knock on my door? I imagine I'd casually open the door and ask, "hey, what's new?"

I know it will never happen.

When her girlfriends now pass me on the street they glare daggers at me and spit ice.

I see the Leonardo da Vinci monograph sells for upward of $1,978 on Amazon.   

I could use the cash.

But, maybe one day she'll knock.

Her smile is still worth more.
________________________________________________________________

8.

Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake (ages forty and thirty-five)You left before I met you but I know I knew Your spies;In Venice you felt ThemWatching you Cruise and Beck and The CIA But in truthIt wasThe Nation of UlyssesThat sunk you, Jeremy And took sweet Theresa Away Jeremy I read your vanity I also felt your distress Since I tooThought she was My love My life But She was so much Less

TheresaI knew your pain Since Leslie Geddes Had it too - A life spent Swimming upstream Cramped with loneliness Leaving too much Left to do I thought we’d be John and Abigail And Jeremy, I know You thought so too But A negative force Defeated us When they both left Without a clue Saint Mark gave Theresa Final communion Diphenhydromine, as wafer Rum, the blood of Christ And after you, Jeremy Alone Found her clammy corpse Comrade Svenonius whispered "conspiracy!" To the Nation of Ulysses' delight

Beelzebub’s dischord A minor threat A false positive belief In desperation, Jeremy You swam away Away from them all Alone Away From Rockaway Beach

Life’s a moving picture We’re all Mrs. Winchester Deep down inside Waiting for our Closest friends to betray us And Swimming upstream

Alone

Without a guide

__________________________________________________________________

9.

The National Gallery of Art. 

That's where Jodorowsky sent me.

I was getting a PhD in political economy (or at least was in the program) and worked during the day down by the National Mall.

Most lunch hours I'd walk across the street to the National Gallery and wander aimlessly; I loved art but knew nothing about it and had no way to put into context what I was seeing.

Anyway, one lunchhour I was standing in front of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Ginevra de'Benci" having no clue about what I was looking at when I saw her - my Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. 

She had brown hair sternly pulled back, pointy-rimmed glasses, wide hips and a wider smile.

She exuded freshness and innocence and a need to be loved. 

But, a maturity beyond her years also reflected from her eyes.

I'm in my thirties, balding and gangly, not ugly but not cute.

We both turned and looked at each other in front to Leonardo's Ginevra, and she smiled. 

I knew from her eyes that she recognized me from class. 

I was surprised at how friendly she was. "Ciao," she said. 

"This is better than class, no?" She was making more of a statement than a question.

I agreed and asked her what she thought of Ginevra.

"I see myself in her," she sighed.

I knew she was right - a wistfulness, a longing, a radiance was in both of them. 

She abruptly turned and I found myself following her as we wandered through the galleries. 

I asked her about herself.

She had gotten her undergraduate degree in art history at Columbia University and was working on a Phd at Princeton University but was now just auditing classes in Washington DC to pass time (until what I was never sure).

She gave me a tour of the entire gallery and spoke at length about both the history of many artists and their particular techniques. 

She especially loved showing me Dali's The Last Supper, which used to hang in the stair well of the entrance that connected the East and West wings.

She had written her dissertation on Baroque maps and also shared her lengthy thesis on why Pollack's drip paintings were derivative of them.

After that initial encounter, we ended up spending almost everyday together for the next year-and-a-half, or at least when she was in town.

As I got to know her she told me that her mother had been a model from Scotland (so that's where she got the cheekbones) and her father was a diplomat from Brazil. 

At first I was never sure if her stories were true, but then she gave enough glimpses of her life that I never questioned her.

She needed someone to talk to and I've always been good at listening (even if not trusting).

For instance, she told me that her father ran Brazil's intelligence operations in the U.S.

That sounded completely far-fetched (why would she even tell me that?) until one day she said she needed to go by the embassy to see her father and that I could come along.

We took a taxi there and were let in through a back entrance; the security guards all obviously knew her and let her right in. 

They photocopied my ID but otherwise eerily already seemed to know me and my background.

She told me to wait in a reception area while she went to see her father.

After about one-half hour he came out and said hello, that he liked to meet his daughter's friends. He asked me what I was interested in, and of course I said "art."

It turned out that his wife - her mother - had died when my Saint Leslie Ann was quite young. 

Her mother had been an avid art collector. 

"Let me show you my favorite drawing, then," he said, and pointed to a framed drawing of a line hanging on the wall over his secretary's desk.

He shared the story of how he and his wife met Oscar Niemeyer(a famous Brazilian artist) at a party and his wife had asked if he would make a drawing specifically for her.

Later Niemeyer presented her with that framed drawing of a line. 

"But its just a line," she said. 

"Ah, but its taken me a lifetime to know how to draw it," Niemeyer answered.

At the time I didn't understand the story, but later it became clear.

From time to time my Saint Leslie Ann would disappear for a week or two. 

I knew that she was extremely wealthy and hated living in Washington DC, but her father wanted her close-by.

When she could take it no longer she would leave for a week at a time, usually to London, sometimes Florence, where her father owned flats.

She confided that she was having an affair with some aging pop-star, but the name meant nothing to me at the time as I consciously avoided mainstream pop music and celebrity news.

I only followed punk groups at that time, so when she talked about him I was relatively ignorant of what it signified - that she travelled in elite circles and I was the exception to her letting me into her life.

The singer kept telling her that he was deeply in love with her, but he was in a "committed" relationship.

I only figured it out in bits and pieces, as she would start talking then abruptly change the subject, until one day she showed me a photo of them together in London.

They had started dating when she was fifteen and he was thirty-five.

I objected but she insisted that it was pure love and, using a phrase that had become her mantra, said she longed to live in "an ordinary world."

Much, much later I heard a song on the radio and then I knew where it came from.

After thirteen months and about the thirteenth time of meeting her at Reagan National Airport to greet her, I had it all planned out.

She saw me as she exited the arrival gate and was beaming.

"Darling!" she exclaimed in her typically exaggerated manner. 

Her arms opened up and she strode right into my embrace, kissing me on the cheek and holding me.

"I missed you so much," she said.

I began to let go but she held on to me for a full thirty seconds before letting go.

And, that's when I made the biggest mistake of my life.
"I love you," I said.

A confused look came across her face, but then turned to laughter, as if I had made a joke that took her by surprise.

"I love you," I said again.

And, then, I knew; she scowled and fell into silence.

I drove her back to her apartment.

We both sat in silence.

I was terrified of saying the wrong thing.

But, when we arrived at her apartment and I parked, I looked at her.

She was crying.

"Why did you have to ruin everything?" she asked, through tears.

When she got out of the car I hesitantly got out too but had the legs of a man marching to his execution.

Our ritual had been that after each trip we would sit on the couch of her apartment overlooking the National Mall and she would entertain me with stories of her adventures.

I handed her her bag and moved to hug her.

"No," she said.

She turned and walked away.

I called and emailed afterwards, but she never responded.

Then I received a letter in the mail.

In it was a photocopy of a sheet on which she had written:

"Tom, I love you more than you know."

Up to that point I had never drank (my father was an alcoholic so I religiously avoided alcohol) but for the week after getting that letter I went out and became plastered.

When I woke up in the gutter in Dupont Circle, and avoided jail for pubic intoxication thanks only to the kindness of one of the MPDC's finest ("Sir, I have two choices to book you or to kick your ass, and today is your lucky day") I accepted that destroying myself with alcohol wouldn't bring her back.

I withdrew from people and into my drawing and spent weekends on sixteen hour binge meditation and fasting sessions in Malcolm X Park.

What I didn't understand at the time was that she was having a breakdown.

Her life was such a mix of secrecy and the mundane with glamour that reality lost all context.

But apparently it ran in her family too.

Almost a year passed of not hearing from her. 

I called again to find her number disconnected and I never saw her around school.

It somehow wasn't surprising to me, given the nature of our relationship. 

It hurt and I mourned.

I went for marathon walks in the District, but always managed to avoid the National Gallery.

And then out of nowhere I received a call from the Washington DC police.

An police officer named Kirsten Feyling told me that Leslie had been found wandering in Anacostia with just a bathrobe on, totally incoherent.

But bizarrely she had a piece of paper with my phone number and name on it, so the police  called me.

I don't flatter myself that Leslie had my number; one late night I had stayed at her apartment over the Newseum - on the couch - but I had just gotten a new phone number so I wrote it down for her.

I remembered her sticking that scrap of paper into her bathrobe pocket.

"She's being held at St. Elizabeth's," officer Feyling said.  "Can you come down and identify her?"

It was 2 AM but I immediately called a cab to pick me up in Adam's Morgan to take me to Saint Elizabeth's in South East.

When I arrived, officer Kirsten Feyling was waiting for me at the intake counter.  

"Is she your girlfriend?" officer Feyling asked.  

She scowled suspiciously.  

"No, just my best friend."

That seemed to loosen officer Feyling up.

She showed me a photo.

"What happened?" I asked.

"I'm told it was a psychotic break, but you'll have to talk to the doctor.  Can you tell us who her family is?"

I identified her and of course called the embassy to reach her father.

Getting in contact was a total nightmare. 

Because of his work he was on travel in Asia.

The embassy called me back.

Yes, he would be there in a week, and meanwhile they'd send an attache over to manage her care.

I collapsed on the couch and sunk into a comatose sleep, waiting until I could see her 
at 8 AM.

"You can see her now," an orderly said, poking at me.

I had rolled onto my glasses breaking off an ear piece and rose unsteadily.

Then I saw her looking through the glass door.

Leslie stood in a medical gown, starring vacantly.

She appeared to be a shell of her former self.

But when she saw me she managed a smile.

I opened the glass door and hugged her.

"I love you more than you know," I whispered.

"I know," she said.

I stood there hugging her until the orderly poked me.

"You'll have to come back tomorrow, she still is under observation."

As I walked out I asked if I could speak to her doctor.

"Are you family?" the orderly asked.

"No."

"Patient confidentiality, we can't release any information."

As I left I turned to look at her, and thought I saw her give me a crooked smile.

But, I'm not sure.

I couldn't come back until the weekend, three days later.

"I'm here to see a Ms. Leslie Geddes."

"Yes, I recognize you.  She's no longer her, she's been transferred to a private facility.  No we can't tell you where.  Patient confidentiality."

I called the embassy and left messages but no one called back for two weeks.

I went by her apartment at the Newseum and was told it had been cleared out.

Then, just as I was getting ready to go to the Brazilian embassy, this time it was her father who called me.

"Tomas," I could hear him crying.  

He had never liked "Faust" and used my middle name; "Tomas..." his voice trailed off.

Suicide in London.

Leslie Geddes had jumped from the roof of the London National Gallery.

He flew me over by private jet to attend her funeral.

We were the only two people there besides the Deputy Minister, the chauffeur and two people I assumed were bodyguards.

As it turned out, Leslie's brother had also killed himself when he was a teenager.

Her father told me that over dinner as he reminisced.

Leslie had never even told me that she had a brother.

The secrets we keep is the pain that needs most to be released.

I flew home, promising to stay in touch with him, but somehow never brought myself to write or call.

Nor did he.

Time passed.

The whole experience was so painful that I kept all the photos of Leslie in a box pushed under my bookcase.

Then, on Christmas Day, 2013, I learned that Leslie's father died.

It was reported in an obscure news-report that I saw by chance when glancing through the foreign news magazines in the news shop off of the K Street, Farragut North Metro Station.

According to the article, his wealth was based on illicit arms dealing and a massive ponzi scheme.

The politics of Brazil turned against him.

He died mentally and financially broken.

With his death, I finally pulled out the photos of my Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.

As I meditated on them, she became simply, my Leslie Geddes, and I remembered that I had loved, once.

________________________________________________

10.

To distract my mind….
from my lost love….I went to Idle Time Books….to have some looks….
Poetry is relaxing….
let’s see, looking….browsing….soothing….Oh, Richard Wilbur….
Things of This World….
Leslie's favorite….she could quote it and ….Hmmm...Louise Erdrich….
Baptism of Desire….
until, Michael Dorris, a bag over his head….
she crushed his heart until he was dead.... 
no I'll pass...Marianne Moore….
Tell Me, Tell Me….Poems of New York….
oh, Leslie loves New York too…. 
well, maybe, then...Barbra Guest….Moscow Mansions….
wait, isn't she of the New York School?….
New York times two...pass….I’ll switch to art….
let’s see, Picasso, Cocteau, Marsh….Leslie Geddes is an art scholar….
baroque maps and such, she was too smart...pass….Er, ah, psychology?...
there’s the ticket… I might learn a thing or two….
Freud on Eros…. Adler on love and power...
hmmm...no, pass on them memories, 
damn it, and excuse me, let me through...
Head for the exit…. give a pass on Blink….
pass Homer (classics, her favorite) and his Iliad, I think....
pass Dumas (I'm The Count of Monte Cristo) and 'cause she loved Hugo too....
pass them all and run though the thicket 
of memories and glue....
And, forget….forget….forget….
I wonder what she’s reading now?
Pour another double…. blur the vision….
blur the past….blur the pain….
And write, 
to remember 
not to forget.

_____________________________________________________________________

11.


Before the advent of printing, stories were passed on in verse. In the course of my 
post-graduate research (disertation thesis: "A study of theviscocity of ancient inks and their use in renaissance counter-espionage") I had the opportunity to visit many long neglected archives. Through these visits the course of my studies shifted focus when an archivist showed me a document which led me in a new direction of research. The document, in the Royal Archives of the Kremlin (a copy is in the archives at Windsor Castle, Windsor, United Kingdom) leads me to believe that the Vatican maintains a group of "shadow saints". These are saints that have been blessed and certified (for lack of a better word) by the Vatican in private but have not been made public. I'll explain this as I continue to fill in these notes in preparation for my thesis.

The Saint that has been the primary focus of my research based on that initial document from the archives, is Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes, Scotland. She is not officially listed in any Vatican archives that are publically available. But the citation in the Royal Archives of the Kremlin makes it clear that she did exist, or at least was real enough to galvanize a significant legion of loyalists in the 1400s, or thereabout.

In keeping with ancient traditions (whose significance will become clear) I wrote her story in the above free verse, simply to get the narrative down in an accurate way and in a manner in which the knights would have recited her tale in their ceremonies.

On December 10, 1478, Philotheus of Pskov, a monk in Saint Petersberg, Russia, wrote a letter of prophecy to Ivan III. Among other things, he predicted that Russia would become "a Third Rome" when Saint Leslie Ann is restored to her "rightful" place in the Canon of Saints (more on this complicated tale later). The Knights of Saint Leslie Ann devoted their lives and fortunes to this mystical pursuit. [excerpted from the original letter ofPhilitheus of Pskov to Ivan III stored at the Kremlin's royal archives - based on a verbal translation of the Russian by archivist].

The Text:

"The nine lives of Ann Geddes exposed babies flowering in fields, so that when the world forgets us, innocence will still all heal; yet before the end of the game, i wish i had the chance, to give our baby a name, and to change my fate's circumstance;

Lola, Flora and Leslie Ann (pixils one and the same), Hepburn, Parrish and baby-maker Ann, our illusions unmapped and sought in vain; my patron saint was the best of us, illusions that i did know, the others were the rest of us, tria juncta in uno;

when Flora left-off, never-ever returning, my heart became lost, as when trainspotting; she was on the borderline when i pierced her soul, then i crossed the boundry-line, empty yet afoul;

Lynn said she had a metal heart but really it's shards of glass, cutting the quest for another start, alas, alas, alas; faith in me was shattered when i had a fleeting doubt, still it never really mattered, as i did it all to reach out;

did i really break her too or was it granny and pa, who gave her pain she never knew, and pain she never saw? i'll love her forever branded the curse of a monk, repenting guilt forever, unforgiven, disdained, a cyberpunk;

and so i say goodbye to the love she once gave, and so i say goodbye and will love her to my grave; can no one love beyond their ego? split my heart my love, king jamesmaragallagher reed, take my head as you go;

the battle of Geddes Run is over, her will be done, her gift a nail of clover, i am finished and they have begun; sitting in my cloister here on quarry road, i'll retell the tale of the pawnbroker, as i wither away and get old;

i had been so certain of my love, my one, my Leslie Parrish blue, my run Lola run; where did the end begin and the beginning end? was it poison inprinceton, or a search for a friend?

or was it even further back when colonel tom died of a heart attack, alone, insane, in an empty anteroom; as he hangs in my living room, her ghost passes by him each day,
as meaningless as a pachadom, as meaningful as life's entire dismay;

when i see backwards us, Jeremy and Theresa were her and me, ghosts dancing between us which we were too blind to see; am i a victim of my illusion's mind, and sweetheart were you? ghosts from our pasts making us blind, like delusions from a togolese fou?

i pretended flora to be compassionate and real, a Paula Pokrifki, not Pomeroy in the deal; who are you? I didn't know how to ask, her walls tightly around her too, and my moat too deep to pass; the gremlins in her mind are not her (even if Alice Riener in wonderland laid eggshells for her, her means aren't her ends) and i was blind to me, my father bipolar in the nude, his mistress seducing me, his father belligerently crude;

i didn't want to see what they had done to me, cause just like the teacher raping me, flora's words were killing me; i said, "i want to believe in you, that life gave me one thing good," so i loved sincere and true, yet, flora saw: poisonwood, sapwood, victimhood;

that's what flora saw, but i was coming out of into the wild, finding life a shared experience, i recall, with her i wasn't an isle; and what about (aslawrence said, freud too), our mothers, like cat power's pathetic zoo, subconsciously in each other?

still, what puzzles could we have known, as her map was baroque, and i didn't know where to go with my lifeline broke; who broke up with who, and why, she never told me we couldn't pull through, she never said feelings could die;

but i always saw her there, deep in my mind's eye, where storm clouds can't hurt the aether, a Nicaraguan poem, a scottish lullaby; the black hearted druid put a spell on her heart, you might say there's nothing to it, but black magic is her art; to break the witch's curse is to break through the pain, to free us from hell, and for all eternity all will be sane";

editorial comment: so to start not quite at the beginning, (we don't have time for that), let me tell the tale from the first inning, proceeding onward from that:

flora was Harry's darling by happen-chance, found purusing the mystical news for inspiration in advance of his life in the mystical pews; she was agallerista, for lord irvine some recall, while harry was a lonely shepherd, a wizard-monk who heard a siren call;

the gods guided him to irvine's castle, where he entered the gate in haste, and there he became her apostle, as her sunshine bathed his face; she introduced herself as maiden flora, and surely he did blush, finding the end of the diaspora, feeling his potter's blood rush;

she showed him maid sarah, for sale in the windowledge, and her minion thomas o'hara, a gentle redheaded knave with a frankpledge; the weeks went by, sarah purchased for his flat, when a missive by-and-by, was delivered by her magical cat; "dear sir harry", she wrote, in her ancient roman style, "would you leave your moat, and join me for awhile?"

harry hesitated to agree, because of his family curse, branded in his subconscious, but which he knew line and verse; at that moment then a comet flew by, opening a timehole in a wise owl's tree, and reaching through that dark sky, a gentle spirit said, "behold me;"

"only every eon and two multiplied by a formula divine," the gentle spirit wept and said "is there a true love in the world to find." harry never knew his math but understood the spirit's gist, that sweet flora equaled his path, a chance one eon (and two) to miss;

so he thanked the kindly spirit for allowing him to see, cursing his curse as chickenshit and disclaiming its power meant to be; but just as he felt proud to have beaten his family curse, lightening and a thunder cloud, and three kind witches sounding in verse;

harry knew those sad witches, three witches from witch hill, harry knew the names of those witches, born under a golden gate to be his hell; mag-pie, autumn and the sweed flunked witch school, were assigned witchweed, known as the human curse pool;

every living thing has a patron witch, every season has a patron witch, every country has a patron witch, so, which witch gets which? the top ranked witches get the assignments of choice, choice # 1: patron witches, the rest: managerial voice;

(editorial: the head witch's name is ilse the evil witch of salem, an austrian nazi with a gold digging past, in the UK she's known as: "the heather who mills curses," crucifying st. paul and creating misery as her favorite repast);

there is a huge pool of curses to oversee, so generally from the bureaucratic cesspool come the administrative worker witch bees; mag-pie, autumn and the sweed, trained for high assignments indeed, failed their tests in ragweed, so managed instead earth's bitterweed;

bitterweed in witch verse means "curse" and with the curse of witch hill, harry's family drew the worst, starting with colonel tom who died quite ill; the colonel was harry's great, great, grandpa who swallowed a bitter pill, creating a house full of hate, a house built on witch hill;

he made his fortune in railroads, nothing quite wrong with that, but his mansion stood at the crossroads, of a witches' coven (and brewery at that); it's a long story of evil, so don't lose track, but he made a deal with the devil, and let's leave it at that;

so these witches you see, harry had heard of them through time, through family history, inheriting the curse that was now divine; in chorus the witches' verse, "goonies evermore dying dead every soul," and then their specific curse, "in harry's heart shall always be a hole;"

as harry heard their terrible sound, he cried out to saint leslie ann, "please don't let the curse be found," and to flora he ran; they fell in love at theindian dance, but there were secrets too deep to share, she didn't want to take the chance, and harry didn't know how his soul to bare;

so harry loved her without attachment, even loving sincerely too, until she left suddenly with abandonment, never knowing what he felt was true; "you shall never see me again" is what she sang sailing away, but the wind whispered to harry: "belief tries again, making yesterday into today";

their friend collins had serenaded thus, "follow me and i'll follow you," so harry wrote parchment afflatus, "stay with me if i stay with you too"; in a state of euphoric bliss harry wrote, seeing the truth of shared love at last, but then a guillotine fell on his hope, and a spit ball came at his bat;

a druid took harry to the high priest, and there he stood accused, his soul lying on a dung heap, "this wizard-shepherd is a menace," the druid shouted to the tribunal, "his family curse was decreed endless," she smirked, as bile rushed with jejunal;

the witches danced as harry departed, a geddes baby breathes only stars, rosaries in the choir fell forgotted, my aesthetic illusion - saint leslie ann geddes - wanderjahrleslie parrish wore many faces, harry's muse he loved them all, each one had many graces, gracing his heart with their siren call;

only one of them is real, the rest celluloid desires past, and alone with his last meal, its that face that keeps harry steadfast; he saw flora and loved true, with no other purpose at all, but cursed he couldn't reach through, her mirage in that marbled hall;

life, pain and hurt, release desire to move beyond, unless living in denial is less work and sings a softer song; i know which face i love (he said), 1978 eyes shined 1776 in truth, misty eyelashes glistening above (he said), lips below touched with vermouth;

her as her because then he became fully human, receiving hope from above, receiving sacred communion; but defeated at trentonious, truth and compassion disengaged, "what might have been between us," harry asked, contemplating the waves;

"her lives mirrored love and laughter, and we had lots of fun," harry thought, "freedom to the hereafter, until cursed like a tommy gun";

editorial: and so in the gulag harry surreptitiously writes, ilse the salem witch a peircing fright, a silver railroad spike in his heart by her might, as he dies, each and every night;

he writes:

"now ink runs through my veins, friends hurry by me in my shame, flora's eyes daggers of disdain, unreflected, i no longer exist or remain; for flora was it all a game, and did she see this coming so hot, as she gave the druid my name, and said i'm someone i'm not?

coppers and druids? that poor beautiful sap, she didn't know me then at all, that was never where i'm at, but she gave me the fall; holly golightlysaid double rat, because she loved him, silver stallion, stalking her as quietly as her cat, while surreptitiously a rascalion;

Flora taught what holly then knew, although and yet flora didn't know it, that trust is given by few, and rejecting it is to blow it; it's a truth impossible to give and impossible to take, but to give it is to live, and rejecting it is to live as a fake;

i wanted Flora to be Holly or Chan, to rise beyond the witch's curse, but believing i could beat the curse was wrong, and beliving in flora made it worse; Alice Riener and old Joe knew, King James, Gallagher, Reed Harris and all of Eve did too: being fake is life's comfortable zoo, "honesty," (says joel) "means being shunned too;"

editorial: in his dreams he travels each night to the golden gates, trying to reach back into the timehole and to those three good witches for salvation. every time harry reached out, he was pushed away, but he did the same too throughout, he reflected over san francisco bay; and harry thought:

"i see that to reach out was to become self-aware, learning what love is all about, yet, fearing a soul naked and bare; bumbling-fumbling with piety, causing mass confusion,
writing her high on anxiety, wrestling my curse and illusions;

i then found but too late, that anxiety is illusion, losing her didn't have to be my fate, my religion and conclusion; i learned too late for us to meet, as my dreams died in San Francisco bay, it's my fault we were beat, that i caused her to walk away; if our love was real after all, was it just that timeless curse that made me drop the ball, and can resurection be my fate and verse?"

Harry stood on the rusty rail looking, looking to san francisco bay, seeing the light from Alcatrez calling, jump! jump! jump! today! Harry heard the teacher strangling him: "jump! jump!" He heard the teacher strangling him and calling: "jump! jump! jump;" calling to the good wizards of the past, those that are the only ones that ultimately last, harry cried:

"don't give up and cloud the sun, don't give up giving up the sun; i can die who i can be, not who i am, don't give up on me, through your silence i am damned; i believed maybe too much, since you showed me the mirror, your reflection and such, that then i knew my horror; flora showing me life, an illusion in the glass, saving me from strife, december frost, a shattered past; if i hold on at a later date, beyond the windmills too, can compassion await, and my patron saint, too? to lift my curse, i needed to lift ours, finding it the same line and verse, the same years and hours; did the curse exist only through my belief in it? actions and consequences weren't it, but the inner belief (A-B-C) that i fit; too late i find ellis, losing saintleslie ann, too late sweet flora, if you never can see, too late mrs. fay, curses from that man, too late, doomed to hell or purgatory";

Harry looked down to the waves from where the voice called, and let go:
Flora's magic letters floated then sank, the Geddes pixils became dank, the emails of promise were lost in rank, the waves became their watery coffin and tank...

and harry then said:

"flora i don't blame you, cause like a boy name sue, through that witch's curse i misunderstood and confused you, so i'll believe in life and in my patron saint too;"

each night in the gulag harry dreams of freedom and sees flora believing, and asks no one:

"why should love be mocked, because when the last gongs come, and the last click clock is tockedi'll choose love and to live in the sun."

each day in the distance, as harry potter labors in chains at the gulag ("I'll give it to God", he whispers to the frigid Norwegian wind that descends by him to Argentina), geddes babies around him flower in fields, and the peirceing laughter of ilse the salem witch is his morning meal.

As the sun floods the fields, "don't give up, don't give up, don't give up," is declared by faith from the opening petals; some live in ignorance (the three good witches, to start) and some are pure evil: mara, prince of darkness, the anti-christ king jamesgallagher harris reed, his counsel fayharlow and the hogwarts druids (number 9, number 9, number 9), fogartyilse the peircing salem witch (by way of Austria), Rob Reiner's Alice in Wonderland (hidden in The Princess Bride), and all their loyalists. But the lobes of the angry troll hiding under the icy rocks at the fjord of Saint Kirsten of Feyling can be moved still (Feyling's Twin Peaks where the troll's riotous laugh in imitation of Hannah Nielsen-Jones echos to those who choose faith over pain); So, good Wizards, keep living in faith (or in Hannah's true laugh) so the spell can be broken ...

"Saint Maggie Martel mourns her boyfriends lost...shards of broken Saint Autumn Francois turn to December's Frost," wept Antonio Calvo to Princeton University's Spanish gargoyles before his Fall (under the prosecutor's law) and before the call of Bill Zeller from his rapist's saw ... which went unanswered at Princeton;

Harry knew this because Tori declared that the Battle of Geddes Run's negative can be developed into a positive, exposing the glory of the true risen king. "Muhammed my friend -my patron saint, Leslie Ann of Geddes - it's time to tell the truth, we both know it was a girl, back in Bethlehem";

Harry then meditated through eternity on compassion and whispered: "I believe that you can love (despite the introspection, despite the pain), that you can find the roman map, the path home, the goonie's cap." What he meant was that the tarnished cross of Saint Alice of Riener, by way of Saint Joan of Arc, could be polished to its former glory and grace. harry poured their pain into a golden chalice and drank it in. The depression lifted.


Harry extended his hand in compassion towards Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. He suddenly knew that the ignorance and daggers of Autumn and Kirsten and Maggie and Alice resulted from their own pain. Stepping together through the water (shooshwoossh, roar) he found that what lies behind Leonardo Da Vinci's Windsor Castles' waterfalls (pishpasp, pour) is both God and Mara: the experience one gives another.

He was reborn.

He meditated.

______________________________________________________________________

12.

HAPPY NEW YEAR'S, SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES


Lola, Flora and Leslie are pixils one and the same, Katherin Hepburn, Leslie Parrish and baby-maker Ann are our illusions unmapped and sought in vain; my patron saint, Leslie Geddes, was the best of us, illusions that I did know, and the others were the rest of us, tria juncta in uno;
Her name was Leslie Geddes and she moved to Washington, D.C. from a little town called Geddes in Scotland. 
The town itself is supposed to be cold and grey and grim, but its claim to fame is a huge feast that takes place each December.
This is the feast of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. 
It is celebrated in Geddes, Scotland each year on December 10 because on that date in 1478, Philotheus of Pskov, a monk in Saint Petersberg, Russia, wrote a letter of prophecy to Ivan III.
Among other things, he predicted that Russia would become "a Third Rome" when Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes is restored to her "rightful" place in the Canon of Saints.
It's apparently a complicated and mystical tale full of contradictions and not much sense, but legend has it that the Knights of Saint Leslie Ann, who devoted their lives and fortunes to her, buried a huge treasure there in the 1400’s.
The legend lives on and each year thousands gather on December 10 to pay homage to the Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes before getting rip-roaring drunk and going out into the bogs on a treasure hunt.
So far, not a candlestick has been found. But the treasure hunters keep coming back for the ale, the fellowship and the dream of easy riches.
But I digress. 
My Leslie Ann Geddes arrived from Scotland (she said) to study art at Columbia University. 
I felt it indiscreet to ask more and she never offered details. 
I found that when I asked anything of a personal nature she would change the subject. 
If I persisted her face scrunched up and I got the feeling she was considering how to exit - not the room but the relationship. 
I was drawn to her and didn't want to risk it. 
She said she loved baroque maps. 
She said she was finding herself. 
She was my mystery, and maybe, I thought, she'd have to find herself before I could find her? 
Or so I rationalized.
We first met on Valentine's Day in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in front of Ginevra de Benci by Leonardo Da Vinci. 
The painting is about three feet by two feet. 
It is the only Leonardo in the Americas. 
Ginevra lacks the aura of her cousin, the better known Mona Lisa. 
But her face is nonetheless moody and distant and mysterious. 
We were the only ones standing in front of it on a rainy Sunday afternoon. 
We both stared intently. 
I was just about to move on when she said, "The water."
You'd think I'd respond "what?" or just grunt, because after-all, what do I know about anything? 
But I knew exactly what she meant. 
"I know," I answered. 
To sound clever I added, "virtue is beauty."
I cheated on that last bit - that is what Leonardo wrote on the back of the portrait. 
For some reason I wanted to show off. 
But she knew more than me. 
She smiled, and said:
"It is in Leonardo's understanding of water that Leonardo shows his understanding of human nature.
More than any saint or Buddha or writer or artist or psychologist, Leonardo gets it, and shows it though his wondrous depiction of water.
There is an obsession there, a revelation of a unifying, vital force in the face of man's impotence." 
Well, those are the words that Leslie Geddes used in describing Leonardo DaVinci's use of water in his painting. 
I couldn't have chosen those words, but they mirrored the university of my virgin thought and I knew. 
What I knew was that when I looked into her eyes I saw the universe. 
And, I was in love.
Leslie Ann had brown hair tightly pulled back, brown eyes, wide hips and a wider smile. 
She reminded me of a Renaissance portrait wearing pointy-rimed glasses and a corduroy skirt. 
After that first encounter we spent the day wandering the gallery. 
We met up every day afterwards at the same spot and then she would give me a tour of a new section of the gallery, lecturing with a profound sense of earnestness. 
A week later, in front of the Jackson Pollack in the East Wing, she told me she loved me more than I knew. 
It came out just like that. 
I leaned in to kiss her and we made out until a guard politely asked us to "find a room." 
I was completely average; balding, aging, boring.  
I wanted to believe the illusion despite my rational sense, so when she asked that afternoon to move in with me, I agreed. 
She had been staying with a friend and we went to gather her things. 
We walked arm in arm to my apartment in Adams Morgan and made love nonstop for a week. 
We shared movies. 
Her favorite was The Goonies. 
We cooked. 
Her favorite was eggplant. 
She rubbed my back while I washed the dishes until she got tired.
I loved her.
One day she met me after work (she spent her days reading about art and writing about Leonardo as part of her PhD thesis in progress from Columbia University) and as we were walking home we passed a strip club and I said in a serious way (I was always too serious), "Stripping is a form of feminist empowerment."
I was well-read in feminist theory, from Virginia Woolf to Kathleen Hanna.
She wrinkled her nose and laughed. 
"Have you been there?" she asked. 
"No," I answered truthfully. "Only my married male friends go. They're miserable." 
She laughed again and I pulled her close. 
She radiated contentment in her Steve McQueen dress, Milan black leather jacket and Fratelli Rossetti shoes. 
I noticed since she moved in that my wallet had been getting lighter but I couldn't bring it up. 
Once I tried to say something ("That $1,700 could have been a trip to Paris") and got the death stare indicating that she would be happy to leave if I had a problem. 
I wanted her to stay. 
I said, "It's okay, really."
She seemed to meet people easily (unlike me). 
Six months after moving in together, she took me to a cocktail hour at some snazzy Georgetown spot called Harvard House.
I sat in a corner, never very social. 
But I loved to watch her play the crowd. 
I carried my sketch pad and would make drawings of her and enjoy her "oooing and ahhhing" over them afterwards. 
But this time was different. 
As I watched her I saw her best friend, a loud, well-endowed, ditzy blond named Andrea Higginbotham, from Hanssenfjeldtsten-Feyling, Norway, come up veritably bursting with excitement. 
Andrea looked like she could hardly contain herself: 
"I met the perfect guy for you...do you want to be set up with someone cute, funny and rich?"
The word "rich" seemed drawn out and exaggerated. 
Without missing a beat my Leslie Geddes screamed in response, "Okay!" 
It all seemed then to play in slow motion. 
My soul died.
Surely she knew I could hear her. 
But I loved her and so I sat quietly. 
I was glad Leslie Ann had a friend. 
Andrea Higginbotham was my neighbor but they had met at the Social Safeway caressing the melons. 
Before the party I often saw them laughing together and derived happiness each time. 
To them America was something shiny and new and green.
I envied their faith. 
My faith was in Saint Ignatius: death, guilt and loss. 
When we left the bar that evening I never brought the conversation up with Leslie Ann. 
Because, then it would be real.
A few months later Leslie Geddes left me. 
She sent me an email at work: "I don't know why, but it's over." 
I called her and sobbed into her voice mail that I loved her. 
I was sincere.  I was deeply in love. 
"Why?" I wept.
She never answered.
She moved out before I got home. 
I became an emotional zombie.
For a year I wrote her love letters (well, emails) every week, some self-pitying, some self-blaming.
Then her lawyer, a silverback Butch named "Jim Gallagher Harris Reed" called, threatening me.
I saw on her MySpace Page on that Leslie moved in with a blue-blood named Joe Riener. 
He majored in the art of bullshit at Princeton University and Georgetown in Washington DC. 
Now he runs a hedge fund called The Woodrow Wilson Fund out of Boston. 
I saw an article in a magazine; Joe is short and has rich, blond hair and loves to tell everyone that, "life is grand" and that he's related to former President Franklin Pierce. 
He collects wives and Currin and Yusksavage nudes. 
I don't think he has any interest in Leonardo’s work. 
Now I question, did Leslie ever really, either?
I wonder if he's rich enough for her? 
He named his palatial estate "Priapus", erected overlooking Oyster Bay. 
When he was arrested for running a ponzi scheme, the press reported that he showers thousands on escorts, massage parlors and strippers.
So, I guess he is pretty rich.
Leslie exchanged the commodity of love for cash; a good investment, and I knew then that she never answered me because she had told me all along through her actions: love walks, money talks.
Leslie Geddes was an idealization I felt I needed to believe in, my Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.
She was an illusion of my being reborn.
-----------------------
"What does it mean to give up the ghost? To exhale?" Francois wondered.
It was Autumn; Francois picked at her cold eggplant and looked out the windows at the restless darkness which hung over dead branches littering Central Park.
“No muggers here in Trump Towers,” she thought, “not counting all the investment bankers in the building.”
She snorted and looked at her dark reflection in the huge plate glass window.
Examining her reflection she saw a short, squat, black woman of twenty-eight.
She thought back to high-school when she was bullied mercilessly with the name, “Troll” and "Thunder Thighs". 
Despite that, she had gathered the courage to ask Jeremy Geddes out to the prom.
He was an artist and seemed sensitive and kind.
He responded with a look of deep sincerity, asking her why she actually thought he would want to go to the prom with a woman with a troll's body.
Ever since then, Francois hated people.
"I'll use them. I'll destroy them," became her motto.
Autumn became Francois' favorite season.
She exhaled and imagined herself becoming one with Autumn's power over life.
The power of control.
"I am the executioner," she murmured.
Just then the front lock clicked.
“Francois?” a voice called. 
It was her boss, Jim Gallagher Harris Reed.
Reed insisted that people address her by her full name.
Except, to Reed's lovers and interns, she was simply called, "Jim."
Reed walked into the combined living room-dining room, throwing her bag onto the sofa.
“Sweetheart, I’m glad you’re still here. I got stuck in traffic.”
She took off her blazer, tossing it to the floor and began to unbutton her blouse.
“What a day.”
Reed walked over to Francois and lifted her chin and planted a lingering kiss on her lips.  
Reed stepped back with a girlish shrug and took a seat in the velvet dining room chair.
Reed kicked off her heels.
“You got dinner. Good,” Reed said.
She reached her hand into Francois’s glass and pulled out two ice cubes, popping them into her mouth.
“So, what’s the schedule for tomorrow?" Reed asked, crunching the ice in her mouth. 
"We’re meeting with that Leslie Geddes girl, right?”
“11 am” Francois said.
Reed lifted her feet under the table onto Francois' lap. 
"Massage," she commanded.
“I don’t pay you enough as an intern,” Reed said, stretching her arms.
Her toes tingled at Francois' fingertips.
“So, did you look at the emails?”
“Yeah, pretty pathetic stuff, his whining on and on about some childhood abuse, how he wants to explain it her.”
“The abuse excuse, huh? 
So he breaks up with her then blames it on a sorry childhood. 
Now he wants to get back together.  Get closure.  What a fucking loser. This will be loads of fun. Payback time.”
Reed chewed her ice cube and stretched her neck back. 
"Payback for all the fucking men out there."
“Payback?” Francois asked.
Her hands moved up to Reed’s calves and began massaging them.
“Cut them off at the balls. Take them down one at a time.”
Reed stood up and stretched.
“Geez almost midnight, time to crash. I’m taking a shower.”
“Okay,” Francois said, “I need to take off anyway.”
“Not this late.  Stay.” Reed said.
She began to walk to the bedroom.
She stopped in the doorway and looked back at Francois.
“I saw her picture, no wonder he wants her back.
Now into the bedroom with you!”
Reed snapped her wrist as if cracking a whip. “Giddyup!”
Francois gave a weak smile and thought to herself: “As soon as you pull the strings to get me into Harvard Law, just you wait, bitch.”
“Coming, Jimmy, dear” Francois said, pushing her eggplant aside.
______
“Hello?” Jim Gallagher Harris Reed asked.
She entered the reception area of the law firm with Francois sulking behind her. 
Jim subtly touched the broach around her neck and let her fingers linger before sticking the tip of her index onto her lips in a confused, girlish manner.
Leslie stood up from the leather couch and stuck out her hand.
“Sweetheart, I’m so sorry,” Reed said, embracing her.
Jim Reed then stepped back, imperceptibly brushing Leslie’s cheek.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart, we’ll get him.”
Jim was dressed in her favorite brown suit to match her newly colored silver short, spiky hair.
She looked over to the shorter woman standing next to Leslie. 
“You must be Ms. Alice Riener from the referring clinic," she said.
Alice nodded, stern.  She was a mousy knight on a crusade.
Reed looked her up and down and shrugged.  "Come on back to the conference room,” she said, pivoting.
As they entered the conference room, Reed motioned to Francois who was glumly holding open the door. 
“This is Francois, my intern. She’s applying to Harvard Law School.
I'm going to get her in, if she behaves.” 
Reed gave a brief flirtatious smile to all of them.
Francois blushed.
Francois walked over to Leslie and awkwardly embraced her as Leslie was about to take a seat.
“I’m so sorry,” Francois said. “We’ll crucify him for you.”
The conference room had a dark, walnut table surrounded by plush, black leather chairs.
Expansive windows looked down towards New York’s Financial District.
“What a powerful view!” Leslie said.
“Yes, but on 9-11 it looked like a crematorium down there,” Reed answered.
For a moment everyone shook their heads, knights in solemn comradeship.
Leslie looked over to the wall and saw a painting of a knight on a horse lancing a dragon.
Jim Reed followed her eyes.
“My father brought that from Germany when he came over in the late 1940s,” she said. "It was painted by the German Nationalist Hannah Nielsen-Jones in 1933.  I love the message it conveys: power over weakness."
Jim Reed smacked her lips.  "Okay, let's sit down."
They seated themselves.  
Leslie chirped, "We're knights at a roundtable!" savoring her red vengeance.
Jim fluffed a head of spiky hair and said, “Nearly fifty emails over a year. Pouring his heart out. Asking for closure. Understanding." 
Reed snorted. "Outrageous abuse. 
The threat is in the consistency, the unrelenting nature.  
Was he violent when he was with you too?”
“No.” Leslie said.
“Sweetheart, this is classic predator behavior.
Contacting him again in any way would only encourage him. This is abuse and we’re going to get the bastard.
This is manipulative and controlling.”
“Well, we lived together for six months and he always wanted his apartment to be kept clean.” Leslie said.
“I’m so sorry sweetheart,” Reed said. “He's a classic predator.”
Leslie scrunched her brow. “I've moved on,” she said.
“Sweetheart, leave it to me, I'll tell you what we'll do. Getting back at him will feel sweet, I promise.”
Jim reached across the table and lightly stroked Leslie's hand.
At the sensation of touch, Jim felt moisture build between her legs; she was wet.
"The thrill of destroying a man is the best orgasm", she thought. After this was over, after a decent interval, she would invite Leslie to dinner at her apartment.
It would be delicious.
And then perhaps a weekend at her Princeton cottage together?
Maybe even her consort at her Vassar reunion? Her lip trembled at the thought.
“Thank you,” Leslie said.
"Thank you, sweetheart" Jim whispered.
Leslie closed her eyes and thought of her planned future: a wealthy husband, a loft in Trump Towers, a cottage near Princeton University.
Maybe she would even have a child or two (if her husband insisted), and she could volunteer at the Met.
And when the kids grew older she could teach.
Then divorce of course, but by then alimony from her corporate lawyer would provide a nice sinecure.
Maybe Reed could introduce her to a suitable prospect.
“I feel so safe here. Thank you,” Leslie said.
She allowed the soft leather to embrace her.
She exhaled.
______
It was all very “hush, hush”.
There was even a vintage World War II poster in one of the hallways: “Loose lips sink ships.”
The interesting thing is that I never applied what I was doing to my own life.
Looking back now, I know why: never underestimate the power of denial, as the saying goes.
True, denial is powerful, and for each action there is an opposite equal reaction.
When denial breaks, the flood can wipe you out.
I was explaining this to Jeremy Blake, not word for word like this, but pretty much along these lines.
We were in a park in Manhattan, a short walk from the courthouse.
It was lunch break and my lawyer had told me to get some fresh air and to think.
As the rain fell, I wondered if the rain drops could feel anxiety just before they splattered into the pavement?
“Dude, how’s it going,” he asked.  "My name's Jeremy Blake.  You look upset."
“Not well,” I said.
In the months leading up to the court hearing I fell into a profound depression.
As a scientist I understood the roots of depression, and could have gotten medication, but I held off since I felt it wasn’t clinical depression but traumatic overload.
I craved empathy.
I continued babbling to Jeremy.....
“That’s difficult,” Jeremy said.
His friend Ian Sevonius stopped playing, picked up his guitar and walked over.
“I feel I should have something more impressive to say to you in response,” Jeremy told me.
His friend stood next to him, fiddling with the strap on his guitar.
At that moment a blond woman walked over and threw her arms around Jeremy’s waist.  Jeremy introduced his girlfriend, Theresa Duncan.
“Hey, Theresa, guess what, this guy’s from Washington,” Jeremy said to her.
He looked at me and added, “I grew up there.”
Theresa glared. “You're a spy, aren't you?”
I paused.
“Yeah, sure, of course 007,” I joked.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Theresa angrily responded.
Jeremy Blake hesitated for a moment and looked at me, searching.  Then he said: “Look, we’ve got to go. Ah, you know, the Jews were persecuted for 3000 years and got some wisdom out of that. One thing I've learned from their wisdom is that whatever answer you’re looking for preexists, and if you can’t find it, it means you’re asking the wrong question.”
"Are you Jewish?" I asked.
"Well, I call myself a silver Jew..."
Theresa tugged at Jeremy, snapping, "We're leaving now, and don't talk to us again!"
With that they left, Theresa Duncan dragging Jeremy Blake away, with Ian Sevonius and his black toupee silently lolloping behind them.
..........
I arrived back at the courthouse to find my lawyer waiting for me outside.
“Good news and bad news,” my lawyer said. “She’s willing to let this drop.
She feels you've been disrespectful.
Point made, I gather.”
“And the bad news?”
As he was talking I was thinking that as an analyst with a knowledge of neurobiology I had been a fool to believe that I could reach out to her through emails and letters.
Mirroring neurons are the key to transposing empathy and can only be triggered through live facial expressions.
This is why most long-distance relationships fail: not enough face time to trigger neuron blasts.

As Leslie walked down the marble hall earlier in the morning, underneath her red blazer she wore a mocking belly shirt. Kirsten Feyling and Maggie Martel marched next to Leslie like guardians of a lost child, their pear shaped thighs bulging like over-stuffed combat boots.  At that moment I knew that Leslie had regressed into the abandoned three-year old that had always been inside of her. Leslie's flank was protected by a silver-backed Butch who strutted like a throbbing red cock in heat wearing a haircut like a hessian helmet. For a mere instant, Leslie caught my eyes; the air crackled with her hatred. "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," I repeated to myself as mantra. I was alone.

I heard Leslie's voice up ahead.
“Into the batcave!” Leslie Geddes chortled as she and her entourage filed into a small conference room.
"This is freekin' hilarious!" another voice chimed.
I recognized the voices of Leslie's close friends, Kirsten Feyling and Maggie Martel.
"I'm going to cut his balls off!" someone laughed.
Someone shrieked in response, "yum, yum" before their conference door snapped shut.  

Then silence.

My lawyer directed me to another room.

“Wait here,” he said, and he stepped out.

After a moment, he returned.
“Alright, like I said, considering you’ll never talk to her again, it shouldn’t make any difference.  She and her friends came up with this contract.”
He passed it to me.
At the top were her name, and then a list of all her friends.
I was to agree to never talk to any of them ever again.
I spoke to no one, “I thought she’d want to know, I thought since she didn’t answer I must not be explaining it right…”
My voice trailed off.
“Well," my lawyer continued, "hopefully you’ve learned your lesson."
My head began to spin.  The blood drained.

A druid took harry to the high priest, and there he stood accused, his soul lying on a dung heap, "this wizard-shepherd is a menace," the druid shouted to the tribunal, "his family curse was decreed endless," she smirked, as bile rushed with jejunal;

the witches danced as harry departed, a geddes baby breathes only stars, rosaries in the choir fell forgotted, my aesthetic illusion - saint leslie ann geddes - wanderjahrleslie parrish wore many faces, harry's muse he loved them all, each one had many graces, gracing his heart with their siren call;

only one of them is real, the rest celluloid desires past, and alone with his last meal, its that face that keeps harry steadfast; he saw leslie and loved true, with no other purpose at all, but cursed he couldn't reach through, her mirage in that marbled hall;

life, pain and hurt, release desire to move beyond, unless living in denial is less work and sings a softer song;

We filed into the courtroom and signed the agreement.
As I walked away I saw a butch silverback in a charcol lawyer's suit put her arm around Leslie.
I had looked up her lawyer's bio beforehand.
She liked to be called "Jim."
Jim Gallagher Harris Reed had attended the University of Virginia but had a PhD in the art of bullshit from Princeton University.
Jim softly snorted and then almost imperceptibly stuck her index finger in her mouth before subtly moving it to the bush at the nape of Leslie's neck, tickling it in a flirty manner.
When she removed it I saw a wet spot on Leslie.
"Are you happy Sweetheart?” Jim asked.
"Yes," Leslie whispered.
I heard Leslie respond, "I think we made him suffer, thank you."
I saw in Leslie Geddes a lost child.
A wave of compassion swept over me.
I wondered what part of her brain was activating neurons.
I took my last look at her sitting at the courtroom table.
I remembered Leslie Geddes telling me, "I love you more than you know."
"I love you more than you know," I whispered.
I turned away, like Janus.  
Goodbye to my illusions and Happy New Year, Leslie Geddes.
I exited the courthouse and stepped out into rush hour.
..........
My cell phone: one message:  “Good news! The church is going to settle. They see this as a nuisance suit so the condition is that you agree to never talk about any of this. That shouldn’t be a problem, since if you give anyone a chance not to engage in a discussion of child abuse they’ll feel they dodged a silver bullet. I’ll get the papers out to you.”
..........
Drizzle had started again and I put on my windbreaker over my suit jacket.
After a twenty minute wait I found a cab: “Rockaway Beach.”
The floodgates had opened after years of suppressed emotions and my anterior cingulate cortex had taken charge.
I had regressed into a twelve year-old, needy of empathy.
I tried to explain what had happened through my outpouring of tears.
I had reached out to Leslie as best I could because I thought she loved me.
I felt I didn't have anyone else.
I was naive and idealistic.
In other words, I was wrong.
"People don't give anything for free," I thought.
There's no question that the biggest mistake I ever made was to trust Leslie Geddes; 
and yet I'm thankful for the lesson that she taught me.
Through their manipulation and lies, Leslie Geddes and her friends taught me what no guru ever could: that love is simply a commodity.

Where is hope? What is the best thing you ever did for anyone? Where is truth? Where is your truth? Listening to NPR does not translate to emotional empathy. Alienation didn't die with Camus. It is in every neighbor, friend, lover. I am excluded, a bother, an imposition of boundaries. And so are you. Trust me, at your lowest moment in life, you will be alone.  Through me - through you - they'd see themselves.

I thought that as I rode in the cab to Rockaway Beach.
The sun was setting when the cab dropped me off.
I watched it slowly dip into the ocean, a flash of green and then, nothing.
"How can no one understand?" I asked myself, and the surf. "How could she not understand?"
In response I imagined a Simon Cowell like voice answering with annoyance: "Look this is all very tragic and dramatic but frankly, no one cares."

And then I knew that I had been asking the wrong question.  I should have asked: "why did I think anyone would?"

“Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes, Leslie Parrish, don't let me let go of your celuloid dreams. But I can't hold on... “ I thought as the surf rose around me.
The salt smelled and stung.
Sewage, seaweed wrapped itself around me, Again.
I could still feel his hands around my neck, these many years later.
His forcing me to the ground in a distant field.
His telling me over and over that he loved me as he strangled me and 
pushed down his pants.

I passed out.
................

Thomas extended his hand in compassion towards Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. He suddenly knew that the ignorance and daggers of Leslie and Autumn and Kirsten and Maggie and Alice - their absence of mindfulness - came from their own unresolved pain.  He forgave them all.

Stepping together through the water (shoosh, woossh, roar) I found that what lies behind Leonardo Da Vinci's Windsor Castles' waterfalls (pish, pasp, pour) is both God and Mara.

It is the experience one gives another.

I was reborn, again, after 10,000 lifetimes.
I meditated.

________________________________________________________________________
13.

On the #42 Bus...
She told her cellphone...
and me...
and you...
on the # 42...

heading home on the # 42
the seat is free
next to the mod chick,
(yellow gogo boots and a
star wrist tattoo),
and she's chirping on her cellphone

('cause i guess that's what the kids do
to me... and to you...on the # 42).

"he said he really messed up and wants
another chance,"
she said to her cellphone
and to me...and to you...and to the #42...,

"but I'm waiting for my results.....std,"
she told her cellphone
and me.... and you.... and the #42...,

"so, I'm going to wait because its
too weird to talk about in an email,"
she told her cellphone
and me...and you...and the #42...,

"i told him,"
(she told her cellphone
and me...and you...and the #42...)
"I'm not sure I'm ready for a relationship,
and didn't you figure that out when I was drunk
and yelling at you?"
she told her cellphone
and me...and you...and the #42....

"I'd like to get together,"
she told her cellphone
and me...and you...and the #42...,

"except that I can never trust him again,"
she told her cellphone
and me...and you...and the #42...,

and then getting up
she said
(to her cellphone
and to me..and to you....and to the #42...),

"I just wanted your read
because I think I've been pretty messed up,"
and she left,
and she never looked at me or at you....;

she just told me,
and you,
and all of us folks
riding the # 42 

I meditate.

_______________________________________________________

14.

Ode to Lady Leslie Ann Geddes

She's got a Hepburn lisp, and a Julia smile, Sarah's wit, and Katherine's style, she's Tori (in her head), but Madonna walking down the aisle;

She's in with Prince for a ton, drinks Italian wine, she's fluent in pain, but hides it just fine, 
she knows art worth a mint, and wed Frazetta in her mind;

Princeton-Plainsboro calls her name, she's in love with a house of cards, and celluloid fame;

Her past dripping icicles, always running away, with poisoned, rigid thoughts 
in her mind 
each day;

From eight to eleven, a priest whispered: "it's for heaven",
wafers consecrated by the monsignor;

My beautiful glass, you're cracked, so how can you be put together, 
when you try to fly?

I'm not here at all in your mind 
so, why do you think i care,
about your need for repair?

But I do
and, at Princeton-Plainsboro, there's safety in sibelius' forest of conifer;
and she's got a girlfriend too, 
and for her I'm cash,
but still I do

She's taken lots of meds, or did they run away with her?
sundays betrayed her, 
fuseli's nightmare zoo, 
seeking sex to save her, 
priests were there too;

American psychos in florence, in milan, in rome, 
are burning (in her mind) memory's puddles, burning home;

Princeton-Plainsboro, such a peaceful place, where the sun yawns softly,
among ivy and health and stubble -no mace;

"I believe in you, I believe," (I wish she said), 
"sunday is black, but show me the map and the way back";

At Princeton-Plainsboro bedpans smell sour before the cock crows 
and
Love is the last living rock; 

The spring of health, the spring of wisdom, the spring of beauty...and I am dying of thirst. 

I didn't hear you and reached out to you and you yelled it. 

I still didn't hear it and gave my heart and then 
you jumped up and down 
and waved a sign 
and stuck pins in me 
and screamed: "Die! Die! Die!"

Done madam, done.

Now there is nothing left for me but to mourn and slowly drown in the dark wine-red sea of my love and call the name, Leslie.

_________________________________________________________________

15.

I got on the bus
/ at Quarry Road / my mind entrenched in the misery / in this senseless existence/ days, weeks, months, silently asking (again and again, over and over): how could it have happened, no one caring when they knew? How could they have turned away when I reached out, a criminal for reporting a crime? Is the interval between two notes/ always to be/ anxiety?

A mile from my stop/ an overburdened mother snapped awake/ baby in one arm/ bag in another/ Smurfette and Spiderman (or two tots)/ half-asleep on either side/ “Hurry! Hurry!” /a crowd boarded/ she tried, she pushed, she wished, struggling to exit against the tide of flesh/ when crayons of every color spilled out from the Smurfette/ large eyes, long hair, brown skin, panic/ crayons rolling under seats/ under shoes/ mother rolling away, in a tide of flesh/ the crowd gingerly stepping over and around/ pastel colors on the sticky floor/ lost not found/ as the Smurfette made her choice/ to follow the safety net/ tears welling up in her eyes/ colors left to die;

The circumstances of my world hadn’t changed; Leslie Geddes detested me/ my banker broke me/ my broker robbed me/ my lender foreclosed me/ my trust betrayed me/ my boss demoted me/ my religion left me/ my God crucified me/ my teacher raped me/ my dog bit me/ my song died on me/ my children never met me/ my hair abandoned me/ my ideas sabotaged me/ my love sunk me/ my fear cowed me/ my disease disfigured me/ my lawyer subpoenaed me/ my step-mother spiked me/ my grandfather disowned me/ my father derailed me/ my tears dried up on me;

Jumping up/ gathering up/ crayons, crayons, crayons, eraser/ crawling, reaching, beseeching: driver wait!/ pushing/ excusing/ moving through/ and offering the pile of colors to the Smurfette/ knowing then what I hadn’t: even if they can’t understand/ still I can be free/
I had gotten off the bus.

_____________________________________________________________

16.

The woods
A man took interest in
Youth
Killed my soul, and
His pleasure killed the truth

I reached out to the Master
Who assaulted and threatened
Me
Silence then conspired
That a pawnbroker I would be

I always thought then that
Silence was violence
And someday I vowed to
Share the truth
But what I didn't know then I know now
Which is that truth is a form of abuse

Years had gone by
Where I had pushed people away
Fearful of what they would say
Deliverance?
It seemed too fargone
When silence was the order of the day

In desperation and breaking down
Having pushed a sweetheart away
I began to reach out
Reach out to those I trusted
Entrenched fear and distrust of emotions
Reaching out, hoping they wouldn't be disgusted

How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?
I asked
I pleaded
I repeated

I pleaded with Flora, Lala and Wilson
And even the Norwegian too
But they enjoined me and put me on trial:
Oh Please!
TaTaTaTa!
You're obviously obsessed!
When are you going to move on?
Don’t talk to me!
Agree to silence, Tom!

And I was happy for them
That they didn't understand pain
That they could live
Without asking these questions
But I was crushed by the pain I felt of why?
The pain of not knowing
The pain of having been made to die

So I kept asking them
Clueless to their dismay and rising anger
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?

Arvada
Colorado Springs
Omaha
Virginia Tech
Columbine
The Dakota

Evil people and cruel people
Who kill:
Happiness
Joy
Innocence
Trust
Hope
Love
I read, searching
Steinberg
Thich Naht Hanh
Samenow
Peck
Kushner
Hendrix
Knauer
But, I was still in pain
So I kept asking:
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?

Leslie Geddes sought art and beauty,
And gave a scorching look;
Alice Riener lives for social justice,
But just in theory and book;
Joe Riener loves the classics,
Burying his head in the sky;
Kirsten Feyling didn't answer,
Perhaps seeing herself in disguise.

In desperation and in despair
There seemed no hope to go on living,
Knowing that I was
Shunned by people who I thought cared
And finding their worlds unforgiving

So I stopped asking
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?
I gave into silence,
Its triumph over violence

But then Anne told me
As I was making my way to Duke Ellington Bridge
to say goodbye,
I passed her.
She’s black, I’m white, 
she's inner city, I'm suburbs, 
she’s retired, I commute
We never salute
But for some reason, 
just then, 
she thought twice
To give me some unsolicited advice

"Tom", she said
"You don't know people
People are mean
I’m telling you
People are just mean."

And then I knew
And I allowed myself, finally,
to cry
The Duke Ellington Bridge Blues

_______________________________________________________________

17.

The Brown Palace Hotel, Denver Colorado

Look through their eyes
at the Brown Palace Hotel
‘cause everyone smiles
during high tea

I ordered chocolate truffles
and himalayan green tea
at the Brown Palace Hotel
and sat inside the lobby

My eyes swept upward
upward eight tiers of
cast-iron balconies
at the Brown Palace Hotel

At the Brown Palace Hotel
the balustrades are waist high
and I asked my server, a perky jane
has anyone ever jumped?

A chambermaid jumped during the Depression
at the Brown Palace Hotel
and jane told me she could show the spot
where the chambermaid landed

‘Cause she lost her job but didn’t want to leave
‘cause everyone smiles
at the Brown Palace Hotel
and the indentation in the tiles is still there

It sounded like lumber falling
and glass cracking
and over there diane keaton is sitting, sipping tea
at the Brown Palace Hotel

At the Brown Palace Hotel
john tinkles the keyboard, Les Miserables
and everyone is well-mannered
with black tops, wool and leather

There is nine-year old madison with her mother
at the Brown Palace Hotel
properly drinking high tea
button cute and catalogue perfect

John beckons her to the baby grand
madison sings silent night
at the Brown Palace Hotel
and tears stream down our cheeks

We believe in holy water
in angels, in ghosts,
we look through their eyes
at the Brown Palace Hotel

_______________________________________________________________

18.

I married her in Lincoln, after wooing her on-line. 
She said she were a virgin, 
and I told her that's just fine.
So, I broke up with my John Deere, 
told him we were through, 
It was to my Virgin Mary 
that my heart was locked and true.

I took a job in truckin
to support my lovely bride. 
I packed up that ol' John Deere 
for the highway and the sky. 
A tear came from his headlight but, 
I told him we were through, 
it was to my virgin bride 
that I knew my heart was true.

John Dear, 
John Dear, 
I loved your combine hood. 
Kept me warm in the winter, 
u were so good, 
John D. Good.

Got her hand from her Pa, 
took to truckin' on the road, 
Late nights packin' meat 
for love or for coal, 
'Til one night truckin' Omaha, 
I damn near dropped my load,
when I saw my bride trickin' Johnnies, 
Johnnies lined up down the road.

I went back to my shed, 
fell down upon my knees; 
and to my sweet John Deere 
did I grovel, did I plead. 
I kissed his foggy headlight, 
stroked that combine hood,
Forever John Deere, 
I pledged me 
Johnny be good.

John Dear, John Dear, 
I loved your combine hood,
kept me warm in the winter, 
you looked so cool John Deere Good.

My ex gots her Johns and "ice," 
but I got John Deere true,
My Mary was a Magdalene 
(red, white and blue). 
But, now I got me a true sweetheart, 
got a true John Deere. 
So she can keep her God Damn Johns 
'cause I got me 
John Deere.

John Dear, John Dear, 
I love your combine hood,
keeps me warm in the winter, 
you're so cool, 
John Deere Good.

_______________________________________________________________

19.

I came across a battered,
little book:
Sonnets to a Red-Haired Lady and
Famous Love Affairs
by
Don Marquis,
and
dated, 1922...
I took a look:
The verse seems triffle, and piffle and
such,
like:
"As she gave him the rapt Once Over, he
felt all his bounding pulses pause, then fill
with love as tidal creeks flood from the sea..."
(does it sound as bad as me?!)
But what caught my eye was
inside
an inscription:
"From Lyman to Patricia Elaine"
On the second page another note
(in feminine (?) script):
"Lyman dear - is this to be the end of my pet
love affair?"
And then,
this:
"Tis better to have loved and lust than never to
have loved at all - Elaine"
And,
next to that bastardized Lord Tennyson quote,
Lyman wrote:
"(I wonder?)"

And I wonder too?
Did Lyman give the book to Elaine
during an affair,
and then
break it off -
(maybe even at the national zoo?)
only to have Elaine return the book?
And there
it sat,
after 1922,
in Idle Times Books,
until I took a look?
Lyman,
what mistake did you make?
Did you lose the
Love of Your Life
through ignorance, stupidity and
star crossed fate (as did I, my sweetie?);
Or did you drop a strumpet
and return to your
true mate -
and did Elaine then
jump
(a shattered Jeanne Hebuterne?)
jump to her wretched fate?
I fear, the truth
poor Lyman,
is that you made a mistake -
that her true love
was yours to take -
coward!
but, Lyman, Sir,
you warned me
from your cold grave
much, much too late
as my memories,
the gifts of love,
the books she gave,
(and now yours)
shall end up in my
dusty estate.....
as I die alone,
forgotten,
despised,
drowning in Leslie's
dripping
hate
_________________________________________________________________

20.
Royal Palace, nor Cheetah’s too, have nothing on you, George. They can call you anything they want: Mr. Ed, Mary Anne, and Magnificently Ugly; but you helped heal my scars from my sweetie's blade, from my mockingbird cloaked in illusion and Hogwarts ivy.

When she carved up my heart and ate it in a stew I was, like you, in total shock too (since she had told me she was a vegetarian). So, George, thanks for sharing your story too (how Spencer raped your soul and you became unglued but still you kept writing him because you believed, even after he was mocking, telling his friends that your pussy smelled, you believed) because you saw something he couldn’t (a heroic possibility). And like you, I believed in her too, even while she chewed and carved, entertaining the gallery. So, beautiful George Elliot (Mary Anne), I’ll keep believing, even as her cuts and stabs run deep, because I know what they don’t: that the Diamond Cabaret and Tabu have nothing on you.

__________________________________________________________________

21.

Watch the dog! watch the dog!
I looked down the length of his cane
and sticking out
under his seat,
the clawed feet
of a white lab mix

Packing into the bus
I tapped on this shoulder and that shoulder
and pointed down, around us
annoyed looks, headphones,
cellphone chatter
below us, paws

Boots shuffled by
I asked him, "how long have you had the dog?"
"Fifteen years!" he said, "he’s ready to
retire
to live on the sofa
and eat biscuits.

when I got him he was like
a kid out of college:
he knew everything
and knew nothing," he said.

"then that dog is wiser than me now",
I said

18th street & Columbia Road, NW
my stop to get off;
past the headphones,
the cellphones,
the dour looks,
the damp down.

There was no one left
to listen to the man,
to tap shoulders,
to point to the paws

as I stepped off the bus,
into the rain

________________________________________________________________

22.

As I walked to the courtroom for the settlement hearing I thought of Leslie.

I knew by then that I would never hear from her again. 

It had been one year to the day.

I had kept asking her, "How can I be sure you love me?" 

Then she sent me a e-mail: "The relationship is over, don't contact me again."

I recently made a breakthrough with my therapist. 

She specializes in Jungian psychology. 

"Write down your dreams," she told me. 

And I did.

Last night I dreamed I met her again. 

"I still love you" I told her, "but I have a cat now so I can't get back together." 

She picked up my black cat and nuzzled it. 

Then she left me, carrying away the cat in her arms.

In Jungian analysis, dreams concern an intimate problem that is most painful at the immediate moment. 

I fear that Leslie still wants to hurt me.

Freudian analysis is more fun. 

It's all sex. 

I'm not getting any.

Walking up the courtroom steps I felt barbs in my heart. 

"I'll never see her smile again" I thought. 

"How did I get to middle age without a family, the one dream I always carried? 

How could I have lost the woman I loved so much?"

The court reporter was setting up in the conference room. 

I had seen him before. 

Jeff, or Michael, or something, was his name, I thought.

"How's it going?" I asked, as I unpacked my litigation bag.

His face looked red and he kept wiping his brow. 

"I'm at a crossroads," he said. 

"I need to move back home to Bethlehem."

"I bet in another life you were a philosopher," I said.

"That was many lifetimes ago," he answered

"I'm at a crossroads." 

He looked pudgy and flushed. 

I remembered that he had told me he was in his fifties and he looked that plus ten.

In short order the witness walked in with his counsel. 

He reportedly worked for the mob. 

He had set up a string of brothels in Hungary for tax evasion purposes (allegedly). 

The good 'ol American economy hadn't been doing too well, of late. 

We wanted our money.

I wasn't going to break legs but had been instructed to play hardball. 

We had traced the assets. 

His son was in dental school. 

His daughter studying architecture. 

A jail sentence and repayment of back taxes and we might look the other way if a small trust for his children's education stayed in the Seychelles. 

With no cooperation we'd clean him out.

We went on the record and I looked across at the witness. 

Johnny Nuts. 

He was in his mid-fifties and tan. 

I looked at his hair. 

It was either a very bad toupee or a very good haircut.

"I'm passing you exhibit number 1,"  I told Johnny Nuts.

"It's a list of your assets; let me know when you've had a chance to look at it." 

I tried to sound stern.

Johnny Nuts stared down at the exhibit but didn't turn the pages.

Slowly, a tear drop rolled down his face and splotched onto the page.

"I'm sorry" he said, "my wife is divorcing me."

His counsel turned away, embarrassed

The court reporter sat stock still.

I knew he was thinking of her smile that he would never see again. 

I knew his dreams would be worse.

_________________________________________________________________

23.




Francie Cottrell Gallishaw

I met Francie in Togo. Stunningly beautiful, tall and thin, a perfect ambassador’s wife - But she wasn’t. She was, like me, Peace Corps. I, quiet and shy, Francie was friendly to everybody, she was genuine, kind, and laughed. A lot. She loved children and was nice to me, always. Francie married Greg, who adored her. She gave him direction, purpose and two beautiful, healthy children. They lived in a cozy bungalow in cozy Takoma Park. Her adoring father bought it as a wedding gift. Their wedding was picture perfect. There was so much laughter and her father gave a speech saying how much he loved her. She cried. The last time I saw Francie she was parking her car in Takoma Park, near the elementary school she started. She was looking frazzled so I thought I wouldn’t bother her and kept walking. Just days later I read about it: a gun in Rock Creek Park. Suicide.

Did you reach out in hope and pain, and did I turn away in fear of seeing myself, a coward? And now how do I live, Unforgiven?

________________________________________________________________

24.

Leslie Ann I know you are broken inside
But isn’t life too short to die without love
Because I’ve died too
So maybe together we can climb above
And wave their anger goodbye

And, Leslie Ann maybe together I can get home

When I felt the first blow I thought I can survive
When his hands took my life I thought I must survive this
Now I’ve tried and see I’m alone
But Leslie Ann maybe together I can get home

They say that we should measure our lives by love
But I measured it by your eyes
When you looked into mine,
When you cried,
When you felt pain,
When you showed me joy,
When you asked if I was happy,
When you told me you were happy.
But now the pendulum has stopped and

There are no questions left to ask the darkened halls
But Leslie Ann, maybe together I can get home

Although I’ll beseech you, my voice won’t reach you
So as I sit and die I’ll pretend
That death is my bride
We’ll wave to you and I’ll imagine you hear

That you taught me how to love and will love me again
But Leslie Ann, maybe together I can get home


During the whole time I was tested
There were so many good ones 
But after this 
There will be less, 
They will melt, 
Or no one...
But Leslie Ann, maybe together I can get home
_______________________________________________________________

25.

The Circle of Life

behind every successful man is a woman behind every successful woman is a pair of shoes behind every successful pair of shoes is a man

________________________________________________________________

26.


I know there were times when everything was right;
Crazy times.
Exciting times.
Beautiful times.
Every so often, I
Remember, that I am
Grateful to have loved.

_________________________________________________________________


MEDITATION ON FORGIVENESS

Forgive: the ignorant, 
the hypocrite,
the bully,
the liar,
the evil maker,
the insane.

I Forgive:

Leslie Geddes,
Alice Riener,
Kirsten Feyling,
Maggie Martel,
Autumn Francois,
Andrea Higginbotham.

So, 
that is # 144
and,
I meditate.

__________________________________________________________________
THE END