timwhalen.net

for joel

Jan
10

Be free, my friend, be free
Be free my brother, be free
Shake loose your mortal coil
Be free
Take a cue from the ancient dove
Or the hawk that soars above
Be free my friend, be free
Abandon your spiritual latency
Replace with metaphysical potency
Be free my brother, be free
Search for meaning on a higher peak
Oh, what havoc we shall wreak
Shake loose your mortal coil
Just wander poignantly through the psychic plain
Seek and find beauty in the mundane
Be free, my friend, the hawk, be free
Be free, my brother earth
Be free

tribute to evolution

Jan
10

His head hung down from his shoulders
Bearing some immense weight
As if he wore an invisible head dress of lead feathers
He peered at me out of the corner of his eye,
His whiskey-charred voice gently sounded
A plea for help subtly transmitted
“Does anyone know what time it is?”
Time for the sun to rebel against the moon
Not to forget our friend,
With his head held high now,
As an officiating official
An arrogance of Hitler
And affability of Manson
In his eyes float disks of black,
Surrounded by razor-sharp rings of gray
He uses them to their best advantage
Living in a loose shell of wrinkled canvas
He struggles to break free of the gravity
That holds him wistfully to the ground
Time for the sun to rebel against the moon

greatness?

Jan
10

I am the all-powerful
Shaman poet
I am the all-knowing
Weaver of words
I am “that one”
Friend to many
The greatness of my soul
Enhanced by onlookers
“Give me a hand, I’m drowning!”
Exclaimed from the insane waters
A hand, then an arm
Materializes in the darkness
Pulls a floundering shaman-poet
From the depths of… whatever
I am the great lord
Of lyrical mastery
I live for
The great American night
Which provides me with my visions
Which spurs my inspiration
I rue the daytime
That steals sleep
and hides my inner poet
sun beating on weary, work-worn shoulders
pushed into submission
causing lack of creation
Who are you?
A poet
A shaman
A singer
Three different states of being
Exist in all of us
The poet writes
The shaman leads by spiritual example
The singer proclaims at the front of the stage
Are you one?
Are you a combo?
I am.
A shaman-poet
It’s what I’ve sought to be
Although whatever I am
Wherever words take you, take me
I am nothing
Without the people behind me

there then I fell and wondered

Jan
07

There’s a devil in me
But when
You see me sleeping
I’m so peaceful
I can feel you looking at me
Looking after me
If I could open my eyes
I’d see your pain
I’d feel your invisible embrace
If I could open my heart
You’d know
I was there
If you’d open the window
I’d take flight with you
Guided by the earth
Floating through the heavens
I saw you again tonight
You were in my dreams
I dreamt I saw you
Mystically floating
I saw your spirit
Swelling and ebbing
With the light and gentle wind
You were moving to the next room
But I couldn’t
I couldn’t run fast enough
Enough to catch a crystal clear glimpse
I was walking along
Blocked by your walls
I patiently wait outside, patrolling
Protecting you from all harm from the outside
The walls you consider brick and mortar
In the doorway to your heart
Crumble away in reluctant acceptance
Hiding in corners of forgotten dreamscapes
I’ve seen you sitting, quietly weeping
Behind the curtain
I was too far away
Disconnecting from my shadow
Disavowing the past
Never realizing
Your true physical presence
I was claiming
Falsely touting
That I didn’t deserve it
Through the personal wars
I never lost sight
I never lost hope
That just once,
Maybe tomorrow night
You’ll return to me
And I’ll get one more chance
To gaze forever into your eyes

the inconsiderate journey

Jan
03

This week’s travels took me to Pittsburgh, connecting through Baltimore. It was a last-minute trip, so the choices on connecting flights in the time crunch were fairly limited. I hopped a flight from STL to BWI and we got there on time, without incident. A two and a half hour layover was just enough time for me to grab a bite to eat at a decent restaurant just a short walk down the terminal.

The layover was decidedly uneventful, sans the mention of an excruciating soft jazz Christmas soundtrack. Boarding began. My “A-List Preferred” status with Southwest allowed me to board after the “elite upper echelon” Business Select passengers, but before the rest of the “common folk.” As with most full flights, we were advised by the flight attendants to find the first open overhead bin and the first available seat. I didn’t ignore my instructions. I dutifully followed the guidelines set by our airborne caretakers.

The first seat I found with an open bin above happened to be an aisle seat. I put my bag in the overhead bin and sat down quickly so the others behind me could do the same. I did not realize the person I had chosen to sit next to would prove to be quite the trainwreck. A self-centered trainwreck at that. She had put her obnoxiously large “purse” in the middle seat, and positioned herself in such a manner that she was leaning over into the middle seat. She was using this well-known tactic of making it look like the middle seat was unavailable, so she could have more elbow room. It was all for naught, as all she would have to do is sit there and act like herself.

She was keenly focused on the white glow of her cell phone, the contents of which seemingly making her sigh loudly and angrily every few seconds. Each breath intruding upon my own personal airspace one seat over came with the unmistakable odor of alcohol. I could only surmise that she had consumed about a gallon of wine before getting on this plane. Her clown-esque makeup and overall disheveled demeanor only served to bolster this assumption. I strained my neck around looking for other seats. It became evident that I was in a prime spot – near the front of the plane and on the aisle which would make for a quick de-plane in Pittsburgh. Disheartened but accepting of my fate, I uttered a quiet, “Oh well.” Immediately assuming that I meant an offense towards her, the woman blurted out, “WHAT!?!??” I didn’t bother acknowledging her outburst, but put on my headphones and focused my gaze on the movie on my tablet. I did however, keep the volume down low enough so that I could hear what else this disaster of a human being had to say.

Chronologically:
Scheduled take-off time: 10:30pm

10:09pm: First utterance of “Jesus”

10:12pm: Second utterance: “Jesus, damn-it” while looking out window

10:16pm: Everyone boarded, doors about to be closed

10:16pm: “Jesus Christ” – apparently antsy that we’d not taken off yet, despite it being 14mins early

10:19pm: Flight attendants close door, begin safety announcements

10:19pm: “Assholes” – reacting to the flight attendants using humor to enliven the presentation

10:22pm: “Jesus fucking christ, come on.” (Still 8mins ahead of the scheduled departure)

Woman, still on her phone, obviously texting someone & getting madder, looking back & forth between the window and her phone. We had already been told to turn devices off or put into airplane mode.

10:25 – “jesus, come on.”

10:27 – “are we leaving today? jesus christ.”

10:31 – Plane pushing back from gate “unbelieveable”

10:33 – takeoff, up in the air, woman is still on her phone

I mostly ignored the woman for the rest of the 35 minute flight. I just turned up the volume and watched my movie. I certainly did not want to engage any interaction with her.

Upon landing, there is always a mad dash to get that seatbelt off and be the FIRST one up in the aisle, the FIRST one getting the bag down, and the FIR- oh, wait, everyone has to wait? Good thing I jumped up and grabbed my bag, only to be uncomfortably crowded, crotch-to-butt with complete strangers that have absolutely no concept of personal space. At this point, the woman was cheery, and even remarked to me, “Wow, you got up quick!” My instinct was to retort, “Yeah, I wanted to get the hell away from you,” but I just nodded, not wanting to spur any further interaction.

Everyone got off the plane without incident. The Calamity Show, as I’ve dubbed her at this point, continued her antics at the baggage claim carousel. Still focused on whatever text conversation that was enraging her earlier. Still muttering obscenities at random. (It was NOT Tourette’s – I know what that looks and sounds like). My own bag had just passed me on the carousel. I did not pick it up because the situation with CS had elevated itself to comical status. I wanted to see the rest of the show.

Sure enough, it continued. She eventually put away the phone so she could find her bags on the large metal device. The first bag she picked up was a rather large hard-shell metallic pink suitcase. She struggled with it and it nearly toppled her over as she drug it over and slammed it to the ground in front of her. I should also mention that she was exhibiting another quality of air travelers that I cannot stand. Those that go to the baggage claim and stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAROUSEL. They stand so close that those around them cannot get up to the rail and get their bags. It is common courtesy to stand back a few feet so others can see their bags and move around and get to them. Not this woman. She was one of those that think their bags are going to disappear if they aren’t snatched up the very second that they are recognized.

After she offloaded the pink monstrosity she still stood there, as if waiting for more. As if her giant purse and oversized suitcase weren’t enough. She apparently had more to claim. Meanwhile, my bag had gone around two more times. I needed to see this through. I needed to have another farcical story to tell and entertain the masses. Though, just as I was considering grabbing my bag on its third trip, “Excuse me!!” was the next outburst I heard. She had TWO more bags to get from the carousel, two medium sized duffle bags, only slightly smaller than the first monstrosity. She also struggled with those. She had been such an abrasive person to those around her that no one offered help. She managed to get the bags into a pile next to her. The next task was to search for a luggage cart. I have no idea why she didn’t think ahead and get a cart beforehand. I suppose she had to get the precious cargo off the big evil carousel before they all turned into pumpkins. I didn’t stick around to watch the abuse she was about to lay on the poor airport employees for not having a cart available within milliseconds of her claiming her entire closet from the metal conveyor belt.

I went about my business. I picked up my rental car and drove the fifty miles to my hotel. The following morning, I got my work done and was able to go out and get a steak & a beer at the end of the day. A minor celebration for getting things done in a timely manner and being able to go home the very next day.

The restaurant I chose was in close proximity to a mall. After enjoying a steak, potato, and a moderate thirty two ounces of Sam Adams, I parked closer to the mall and walked around a bit. Once I had enough of the heat, crowds, and lackluster Christmas music, I decided it was time to go back to the hotel and pack.

As I was leaving the mall, I saw someone I did not expect to ever see in three lifetimes, let alone less than twenty four hours later. It was the same catastrophe-addled woman I had just encountered the night before. I stopped dead in my tracks. I had to do a couple of double-takes before I was able to focus and figure out that it was indeed the exact same woman I had dealt with previously. I couldn’t believe it. I had flown into Pittsburgh and THEN drove fifty miles away. At some random time at some random shopping mall, I had run into this woman again! What made the situation even better was that she was being addressed by two security officers. I couldn’t make out exactly what was being said, but it was not calm. SHE was not calm, the officers were. She obviously got caught doing something, or her behavior got her in hot water and the situation was being handled by authorities. As I made my way outside, I realized I had inadvertently gone out the wrong exit. I was parked on the opposite side of the mall. I went back in, passed the shit-show, and straight through to the parking lot at the other side of the mall. I drove around to the entrance on the other side of the mall where she was, and by that point, the actual police had shown up. Calamity Woman, two security guards, and two Police Officers were all outside. I was in hysterics. I had the window down. As I drove past, she had to have heard me laughing, and she offered the one-finger salute before continuing whatever tirade she was bestowing upon the Police officers.

Walt’s folly

Jul
28

I fell into these riches
Sharp and green
As I roll and wonder
At the sky
I rolled over
I stared
For ages
At this one blade
And questioned
The sky
Why so blue
How so green
Yellow bees
Assaulting me
Brown bark
Shielding those
Naked trees
Away from me
For naked plants
I do not care
But look at me now
And I know
You’ll stare
Howling thunder
Is what we’ll call it
Dragging your mind
As fast as
You can haul it
How’d you get here
How fast did you do it
Ants are being antsy
Almost blew it
Bending back
Thrusting knees
Swift motion to stand
Just in time
To watch you pass
Frolic
Breathe the meadow air
That one blade of grass
Was but
Imaginary
Wistful like glass
Stained
with nicotine
yellowed but
still clear

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ordered

Jul
28

alcoholic allegory
is
bullshittery bewildering
but
cautionary caucasians
can’t
decipher democracy
and
enigmatic elegies
won’t
fertilize fruition
but
godly gifts
can’t
help hollandaise

indicative indignations
jokingly jibe
while
kooky kings
lose
malevolent miscreants

never negotiate
opulent obfuscations
perplexing pussycats
questioning quixotically
redundant resuscitations

silent solitude
tames turmoil
under uvula undulations
voracious vagrancy

when will we
Xerox xerophytes?
You yawn
Zealously.

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self loathing avoidance

Jul
28

Rough life spent in a languid void
Meandering through existence
       using loved ones as props
A lean-to shanty of a ramshackle body
Convalesced in wistfully fleeting promises of improvement
Empty-headed morose reflections,
lashed out in loosely lashed-in rafts
Only momentarily staying afloat
on rising & sinking tides of false self-penance
Flippant offerings of apologetic notecards
Discarded and gently floating down
       upon tumultuous battlegrounds
Leaves fallen from the towering tree
       silently descending and coming to rest
               on the deceased and muddy ground below

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Words

Jul
28

Words
Words. Mean. Everything.
Though some say they don’t
Some value the beauty of every consonant and vowel
Words, at some point in time mean everything to someone
Simple assemblies of strings of sentences
Complex cacophonies of verbose paragraphs
Some words can strike you down and make you feel worthless
Some can uplift you to ultimate heights and make you feel as though you can soar through the heavens
        using your interpretations as wings
Some people hold words in their heads
Many let loose their own hounds of hell in vocabulary form
Words are never meaningless
Though you can spout off random and non-sensical bullshit
        all of it has meaning to someone at some time
Everyone interprets words, it cannot be stopped
Be constantly aware that your words could be the molotov cocktail that incinerates someone’s innocence
Be ever vigilant that each inflection and context you lavish upon your words
        could be the very molecules of air that strike at someone’s eardrums and enlightens their soul
                could be the fuel that keeps them on their journey through this life
Do not fear words and do not fear using words
Even in some weird, staccato rhythm and broken intentions, your words must be released into the world
Words must be allowed to evolve and take shape and mature like the finest of wines
Your words are beautiful

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In amongst the trees

Jul
22

I ventured forth in the month of May
Into a forest, dull and gray

No voices, few noises entered my ears
As I breathed with the trees and eased all their fears
At first they were frightened, standing tall and straight
But as a wind swelled up they bore a graceful gait

Some wept for their fallen limbs
While others cordially tipped their green brims
Even more stood proudly, stretching up high
Reaching desperately at a cloud-filled sky

The penumbral puffy blanket overhead
Melted then moistened the cool forest bed
Thunder echoed and jolted the peace
Just moments later the light rainfall ceased
My newfound companions hadn’t let me get wet
Under their protective canopy, I was glad that we’d met

My boots were then caked with the dead skin cells of leaves
That had fallen days before from the towering eaves
I was lost in my travels when daylight faded
I couldn’t recall the path I had braided
Throughout this dimly lit wood
I needed to leave, but didn’t feel that I could

I stopped and leaned against a soaring oak tree
Then noticed a low branch pointing away from me
I let nature be my guide and soon found my way out
I trusted the timber and let go of all doubt
Once out in a clearing awash in the moon’s twilight shine
Quietly humbled, I thanked the trees for their time

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