Monsters and Fathers

He speaks like an exploding dictionary,
Picking out the meanest words,
Arranging them
In the worst order.
Prides himself on dumb.
Smart
Is for “college boys.”
And “he ain’t no college boy.”

I can still hear him
Echoing through my mind
Like nails
Scraping against chalkboards.
Reverberating and replaying
In awful pitch.

Timeless.
A tantruming child
In aging skin.
Wasting away
And lonely.
Pushing away everyone
Who cannot bend
To his demand for authority
Without responsibility.

Shouting at walls.
Captivating an audience
Of hallucinogenic mice.
There is no question
That cannot be answered
By violence.
It was his answer
To every question.

He taught me
That God was a weapon.
A means to an end;
Control.
Relinquishing him of all guilt.
“If you don’t like it,
Take it up with God.”

To him,
Everything is evangelical black and white.
The white,
Always the measure of what was right.

I keep him in a cage.
Bind him in chains of
“I will be better than this.”
Speak over his screaming with
Our Fathers,
Hail Marys,
And pleas for grace.
But his face manifests in the mirror.
Reminds me that no matter the binds,
He is never far from the surface.

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The Point of Honesty

“When I learned to love myself, to accept all the broken parts, the ghosts of my past could no longer bind me; could no longer hold me in so much stagnant water. I was at last free.”
-Basil Fish

It has taken me years to write these lines with any honesty. Over a decade of internal warfare, wrestling demons, letting go of lies and bullshit, to finally look into the mirror without hate. Without contempt.

It feels like I’m putting the pieces back together, but in truth I’m putting my life together. I’m peeling away dead skin and uprooting the deeply sunken in bitter roots which ran my life in cycles of hurt and recovery; hurt and recovery; hurt and recovery.

The scar tissue is no longer shame, but beautiful. A road map of origin and destinations; and I am going places.

I had to learn to love myself. I had to learn to see me as God sees me. Eyes filled with grace and forgiveness. Compassionate and filled with purpose. Loving for love’s sake.

This love has poured out into the lives of the hurting. Given strength to those who could no longer walk; sight to those who refused to see. Manifested itself in the form of forgiveness for them and for me.

Them. They told me what their god expected of me. When I couldn’t fit that cross shaped box, I was shamed, and I lived that shame. Calvary Chapel, that church on the hill where they crucified the unworthy over and over again.

The weight of their nails heavier than a father’s distance and heavy hands. I couldn’t let that shit go. My grip ruined me. Drove me to deepest hate. Sent me on a journey of journal entries filled with verse and passage sworn to unwrite myself.

But God.

Snatched me away like a thief in the night.

Took captive my grip that I might finally let go.

When I learned to love myself, to accept all the broken parts, the ghosts of my past could no longer bind me; could no longer hold me in so much stagnant water. I was at last free.

I am at last free.

 

 

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Crossroads

crossroads

In an odd sort of way, I have been involved in ministry for the last 13 years. My work mainly consists of logistical support, program management, information and referral, appointment scheduling, building management, and supervising/office management. I also provide crisis response, professional counseling, and security. All of which centers around the religious setting in an operational context.

I serve those who serve, and I provide care to the caregiver. I have overseen thousands of religious services, managed thousands of various faith based programs, provided support for hundreds of memorial services, and have responded to more life-and-death cornerstones than I care recall.

I have been an advocate for religious groups seeking the opportunity to express their faith in the absence of official faith group representation. I have trained lay leaders in the proper conduct and practice in the confines of our organization.

I have instructed hundreds of newly christened members of my organization towards a path of success, professional growth, and transition.

In these things I have all manner of pride. I do what I do because of the positive impact I am able to leave with people from all faiths, creeds, nationalities, races, gender identities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

But my organization is changing; dramatically. I don’t know how long I can stay here in good conscience. I stand at a proverbial crossroads filled with uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.

Lots of fear.

I am looking at career alternatives. I have spent the last year looking at where my skill set would fit outside of this organization. Religious ministry and counseling both appear viable, as well as teaching, but there are certain roadblocks (schooling, certification, etc.) which stand in my way. They are not impassable roadblocks, but roadblocks which present significant difficulties with the resources I currently have available.

An interesting prospect I have looked into is that of Funeral Services. Many of my specific skill sets, personal talents, and interests fall within the realm of funeral services. Being able to offer compassion, consolation, counseling, information and referral, are the very things I do now. Arranging services is another thing I do at this moment.

The practice of embalming and body restoration would be a new realm for me, but one I know I could handle. I have an interest in biology and anatomy which would bolster my capabilities with the not so “glamorous” side of mortuary affairs.

Yesterday, I took a bold step; one of faith and hope. I’ve applied to a college with a program certified by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). Strangely, I have an overwhelming sense of peace with this step. It feels right. I’m scared, but it feels right.

An opportunity like this could change my family’s life for the better. And I would always be in a place to help others.

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And Sometimes Monsters Don’t Matter

colortimeThere are still monsters who find space in my mind. Even after clearing away all the dust and fog, they still find places to hide. They love the shadows; the dark places I fear to tread. And when I least expect it, they reveal themselves and beg to play.

Today was one such day. I had been battling these monsters through poetry. Struggling to keep them from taking hold and tossing me down a well of depression.

While I wrote (during my lunch hour) a woman came into the office with her children. She had an appointment. She set her kids up on her phone with a movie just before being called into another office.

The children were young. Similar in age to one of my kids. I could tell already the movie wasn’t going to hold their attention.

I set myself aside and engaged. Asked their names, their ages, what they like doing. In the course of the chatter they shared, in not so many words, how their world was falling apart. My heart melted.

I guided the conversation to what kinds of things they liked to do and what brings them joy. I then pulled out some extra pens and index cards. We drew, played games, and watched a few episodes of “Super Why.”

In that moment, I didn’t matter. My monsters didn’t matter. These kids mattered. Giving them a break from the cold reality they faced mattered.

After they left, I looked over the poem I had been working on and scrapped it. The whispers of old ghost didn’t seem so loud. And the monsters vying for my attention just seemed so trivial.

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A Peek Into The Writing Project

treefog

owlA grey mist stretched endlessly in every direction. Echo shivered uncontrollably. His teeth chattered in the bitter cold. Around him the world was cast in an unnatural darkness. Empty and void.

He wandered, naked save for the crucifix around his neck, through the darkness. He felt eyes as old as time watch him from a distance. From his lips fell ancient prayers invoking the names of saints and angels to guide his words to God’s ear.

Every footfall sent arcs of shooting pain through his body. He marched onward driven by instinct. Though he didn’t know where he found himself, he knew he was not lost.

He came upon a tree. It was diseased and bare. Charred black as if scorched by fire. Its branches weaved sharp and profane through the grey mists, stretching and winding until lost in the fog.

A sicking odor wafted from the tree. Smoke, brimstone, and human waste churned his stomach. Upon the lowest branch sat a great white owl. The creature, majestic and wicked, sat upon its perch in regal lordship over the mists.

“My child,” the raspy voice of an old woman emanated from the owl though its beak never moved, “your prayers are in vain. God has long since abandoned you.”

“T-the Lord does not abandon his children.” Echo said defiantly.

“And yet you wander my mists alone, hunted by ancient and terrible beasts, with only the weight of a dead god around your neck.”

“W-who are you?”

Echo trembled. Whether by cold or fear, he did not know.

“Mother. Giver of life and power. She whose lineage courses through your veins. Who guarded your ancestors in times of persecution. Whose gifts manifest in you, the last of your line. It is I who have given you eyes to see. Whose gifts you waste in the service of a God who doesn’t care.”

“You…you lie.”

“Lie? How dare you! Mind to whom you speak, boy!”

The thunderous voice shook the ground beneath Echo’s feet, throwing him off balance.

“Pitiful mortal,” the owl crooned. “I forgive your insolence. I am gracious and kind to my children. Tear that fetter from your neck, and I shall guide you.”

Echo rose weakly to his feet. He could feel the icy hatred of the creature despite its words. It was devoid of any grace or kindness. He stared at the owl for a moment before speaking.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

“What did you say?” Every word from the raspy voice was sharp and carried an unspoken warning.

“I will fear no evil.”

“Foolish little man!”

The creature spread out its grand wings which spanned a breadth longer than a man was tall. With a powerful push it soared upward, disappearing into the mists. Echo searched the sky waiting for the owl to descend. His body trembled uncontrollably.

In the distance, far above him, beyond his vision, he could hear the cawing of crows. Thousands of black birds descended through the mists striking against his body. The vast murder scratching and pecking at his flesh.

He was thrown against the gnarled tree. Branches whipped through the air wrapping around him, binding him to the trunk. The crows relentlessly continued their assault.

“Will you let me save you?” The raspy voice spoke over the deafening caws of the frenzied black birds.

“Nnn…Nooooo!”

The murder of crows vanished in a black smoke. The branches coiled around Echo tightened splintering bones and cracking ribs. He let out a painful cry.

WitnessBefore him stood a girl in a floor length black dress. A leather mask accented with white feathers and forming the shape of an owl hid her face. She clasped her hands behind her.

“But you will be destroyed.” The girl said.

“But…” Echo panted and gasped for breath. “my soul will be delivered to God.”

The girl let out a long shriek like that of bird of prey. She brought a talon adorned hand across Echo’s face.

“God is dead. Let me save you!”

“N-n-no.”

The girl stepped back. The branches binding Echo gave up their grip allowing him to fall to the ground once more. Cuts and scrapes covered his body.

“You will let me save you.”

“No. No. No.” Echo panted.

“Enough!” The girl pulled Echo to his feet. With a free hand she drove her talons into his eye sockets. Echo screamed in agony. “I will open your eyes. You will see the horror around you. You will beg me for protection. You will call upon me to save you, and I shall come. And you will be mine.”

In a single motion she ripped her talons from his eyes throwing him through the air as if he were weightless. He crashed into the ground and rolled a few feet before coming to sudden stop.

The cold gave way to a blistering heat. The smell of smoke burned his is nostrils. He gasped feeling his windpipe closing off.

***

Echo bolt upright. He was in the kitchen of his childhood home. A fire raged all around him. Black smoked billowed throughout the house. He remembered Chris and the attack. He looked around and found his satchel was gone.

burninghouseHe scrambled to his feet. His body still aching from taser and Chris’s boot to the groin. Grabbing a kitchen chair he swung it desperately against the sliding glass door. The glass fractured sending a spiderweb of cracks out from the point of impact. He swung the chair once more shattering the glass.

Clearing away the large pieces of glass remaining in the door’s seized frame with the chair he stumbled into the backyard. Sweat beaded along his bald head and rolled down his face. He watched in horror as his home was consumed in fire.

“God. No.”

 

 

 

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To Feel It All Overwhelming

empath-and-narcissist-2

I feel everything. It’s overwhelming, and I can’t turn it off. I can’t make it go away. I don’t just see the hurt and brokenness around me, I feel it as if it were my own.

Maybe this is why I become so emotionally charged when I see injustice and cruelty on display. Perhaps it is the reason why so often I want to zealously reach out and cut the head off evil. The reason I become frustrated for being too small to save the world.

Leaving my home fills me with anxiety and anger. Walking through crowds I pick up on emotions, with the most negative sticking to me for a long time. I have a massive amount of compassion rolling through me like waves crashing upon the shoreline. As a result, I offer as many heartfelt smiles and greetings I can muster with the hope that it does some good – no matter how small.

I have been like this for as far as I can remember, but it is only recently that I’ve discovered the connection between this ultra sensitive empathy and my insecurities and anxieties. I wish I could better understand why this is. I wish there was a way to either turn it off, or at least minimize some of the intensity.

This intuition, instinct, or whatever one may call it, has not been a complete burden. It has allowed me to see through walls and illusions others in need have put up. It has granted me the opportunity to give comfort and aid.

I’ve had the opportunity to step in to prevent suicides, interrupt abuse, supply need in place of want and lack, and to give voice to the voiceless. It has been those moments which have encouraged me to persevere; to press on towards higher goals.

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The Demonologist

dmnolgistConviction is a dying art. Speaking with certainty on matters of principle and truth are often shunned – especially when dealing with morals, spirituality, and conscience. In my experience, taking a stand for a belief that encapsulates assumed truths is a quick way to find oneself ignored, mocked, and/or silenced.

In the absence of conviction we are often left with a void filled by apologetic uncertainties, maybe’s, kinda like’s, and statements ending in question marks. Perhaps this because years of conditioning have taught us to be afraid of being wrong or hurting someone’s feelings.

So it was a breath of fresh air when I read “The Demonologist: the Extraordinary Career of Ed & Lorraine Warren” by Gerald Brittle. In it Ed and Lorraine Warren, experts in demonology and exorcism, speak with conviction regarding the paranormal. Their overall goal is simply to expose and educate.

Gerald Brittle, through painstaking research, interviews, and follow ups, presents an incredible panoramic view of the Warren’s career as paranormal investigators and demonologists. Using Ed and Lorraine’s own words he allows them the opportunity to speak to the revelations regarding the paranormal they’ve uncovered through decades of investigation, research, and experience.

Ed and Lorraine Warren discuss their dealings with the paranormal in an unapologetic matter-of-fact tone. The Warrens offer a variety of evidence (physical, testimonial, experience, recordings, photographs, etc.) to support their conclusions.

By the end of the book the reader is given a choice to simply take what is offered or leave it. As much as I found to take, I also found some points to leave. Overall, however, the book contains a wealth of wisdom and insight many might do well to consider.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the paranormal, to the religious, or to anyone who simply enjoys the various horror films (such as Annabelle and The Conjuring) based on Ed and Lorraine Warren’s investigations.

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The Writing Project (an Update)

writingpen

I have found myself working feverishly on my writing project for the 2016 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. I started the project from the beginning (for the third time) and it has evolved beyond the original outline. I am heaping massive piles of sand into the sandbox from which I will form castles and oddly defined shapes in the second draft/editing phase.

I don’t expect the project to be completed by the end of the month. Illness, and a week lost to post election shock, has hindered my word count. Nonetheless I press on with the intent of completing the project.

I am adhering to the wisdom of Stephen King and writing “with the door closed.” At this stage, telling the story to completion is the goal. Getting it all on paper. I will “open the door” when the time comes for editing and revision. For now, the focus is to complete the story.

I have been working on this project for several months; chipping away at it with slow leisurely pen strokes. There is still a sense of urgency with this tale, but I fear the urgency will dim and I will lose momentum if I don’t put my nose to the grindstone now.

The evolution that has taken place with this story has left me floored. I am filled with a renewed excitement, and I look eagerly towards the future of this project.

To everyone who has read along, thank you! Thank you for your time, energy, insights, opinions, and desperately needed critiques. It is my hope to produce a tale you will enjoy immensely!

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Discuss Debate Engage

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Be a Burning Light

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:36-40

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.
-Helen Keller

Elections, as far back as I can remember have always been ugly. This election was by far the ugliest I have seen in my lifetime. From the primaries to the final draw, it was a race dominated by division and fear.

donald-trump-hillary-clinton-funny-memeAfter the primaries we were left with two candidates. One representing everything wrong with government and politics. The other was a perfect picture of everything wrong in our society. Both sides ugly.

Many of us voted for one candidate simply to keep the other out of office. I did. I cast my vote afraid that the devil I didn’t know might be worse than the one I did. The outcome didn’t favor my vote.

I’ll admit that I was heartbroken. The election of the devil I don’t know revealed a darkness in the heart of America. One divided by racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other very ugly prejudices.

I wanted to call up every non-white, non-christian, non-straight, non-male friend and family member I had to apologize. I wanted to hold everyone I knew with severe health problems who could very well lose their access to healthcare coverage. I had voted with every single one of them in my heart, but it wasn’t enough. I felt on the verge of tears.

I took a day, grieved, and battled fiercely with hopelessness and loss. In the end I emerged with a renewed spirit.

There is no question that our nation is plagued by evil. The result of the election exposed the ugly prejudices and fears which are alive and active in our nation today. We can see with clarity the fractured nature of our society.

We can give up. We can fly into a rage. We can riot and commit heinous acts of senseless violence.

Or…

Or we can be a burning fire of love, life, and compassion willing to extend ourselves to those blinded by the dark, bringing them into the light of understanding and hope. The answer is to live the ideals we claim lay at the foundation of our being.

didistutterI, a Roman Catholic, live a life committed to faith. Committed to a God who is love and commands that I live by love. That love is not silly emotional idealism, not limited to those who believe as I do, but an action taken to care for those around me. Speaking up for those whose voices are being silenced. To provide, where I can, for the needs of those who are without. To treat everyone with the dignity that comes with being created in God’s image.

I don’t need a government to legislate my behavior towards others, and thank God for that. The devil I don’t know seems to want to legislate that I treat my neighbors who are different than me like second class citizens. Fuck that nonsense.

Be a light. Treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve. Regardless.

If we can hold fast, if we can stand together, if we will let our light shine, we will be as stars burning bright in the darkness. Do this and the result of the election means nothing. We can still press onward towards something better.

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Vote

cthulhu-vote

The apathetic and nihilistic will tell you your vote, your voice, doesn’t matter. Nothing changes. It will be status quo no matter who is in office. I tend to be that voice. It would be foolish not to confess Congress is bought by wealthy special interests.

It would also be foolish not to confess that we the people are not part of the problem. When we allow our apathy and nihilism (and cynicism) to move us to inaction, we allow the status quo to continue unchallenged.

What if I told you that you have a nation changing super power? What if I told you that the magic to disrupt the current paradigm was in your hands? You see we don’t have to be the slaves of special interest owned media talking points.

Your vote matters. It gives the powers that be notice of your vision for our nation. Even if we fail, if enough of us fail together, it gives warning to those who pull the strings that change is rising on the wind. It lets them know that more and more of us are waking up to their games, and we have had enough.

This election isn’t just about POTUS. There are Senate seats up for grabs, and that is powerful! Congress, as we have seen the last eight years, can halt or promote the change you want to see! Look at who is up for election. See who represents your interests over their own and their donors!

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for; that is not my place. I am, however, going to plead with you, that if you can vote, do so. Your voice matters! This election matters. Make your voice heard!

If your choice doesn’t come to fruition, that’s fine, but see how many other voices stood alongside yours. This could indicate what change is on the wind.

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Hanford Ground Zero

A few months back I registered the Hanford Ground Zero domain. I have recently publicized a blog under the domain intended to be filled with short stories, strange news articles, images, history, etc. set in the town of Hanford, California.

All stories, characters, and locations are fictional or used in a fictional manner unless otherwise noted. Stories featured are of a strange and horrific nature. If you feel so inclined, please check it out and let me know what you think!

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A Halloween Story


Join me at HanfordGroundZero for a Halloween horror story!

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Hallelujah Harvest Happening

thebigtoe

jackoHay rides, bobbing for apples, pumpkin contest, candy, music, and games. We called it the “Hallelujah Harvest Happening.” A Christian alternative to Halloween – which we knew to be a night of Satanic celebration.

With the exception of costumes, it was no different than a Halloween party. We just threw in “worship music” and prayers for those filthy sinners going house to house for the Devil’s candy. Looking back it was ironic.

We were refuting superstition by succumbing to superstition. Jesus warriors prepared to battle the forces of Satan should they arise and show their faces in our town. And we claimed that town, and our nation, in the name and blood of Jesus.

It was self-serving, silly, and foolish. We were afraid. We lived in fear that we might accidently hand our souls over to Satan – whether by mistakenly taking the “Mark of the Beast” or worshipping him by dressing up in outlandish costumes and asking strangers for candy.

The only reason I can see for this nonsense is that when we rejected tradition for our own interpretation of Scripture, we filled the void left by the expelling of old practice with superstition and fear. There was no foundation under our feet to allow for the freedom of movement without fear of falling.

nobodyI am grateful to be away from such childish nonsense. Every year my family and I get to enjoy Halloween guilt free. We have no fear of accidently falling into Satanic worship by allowing our children to dress up and go out trick-or-treating. I am not worried I’ll accidently let demons into my home by handing out candy instead of religious tracts. Scary movies and ghost stories won’t snatch my soul away.

I am able to enjoy time with family and friends, meet neighbors, and see everyone without the lens of religious snobbery. We do not pretend to be a lost tribe of Israel which must segregate itself from all others.

This time of year is another reminder of why I am glad to have rejected Protestantism to become Catholic.

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God Have Mercy

fallingapart

Slow poison.
Sick and drowning in myself.
Each cut closer to closure.
Closer to home.
I am
Unraveling myself.
Pulling out heartstrings and tendons.
Ripping out
The better parts of myself.

Always,
An excuse for leaping without looking.
I am looking at the wall.
Driving faster.
I want to hit it harder.
Watch the pieces of the wreckage.
Not thinking about the damage.
Just the explosion.

Caffeine induced shaking.
I get nervous
Touching that knife to my skin.
Still I hold it there.
Looking for a way out.
Buried
Under so much guilt.
I shouldn’t be happy.
I don’t deserve to be happy.

Every blessing
Is a pin prick to the conscience.
And I am conscious
Of the stones around my neck,
The waters around my feet,
The fear
That keeps me from wading deeper.

O God.
Have mercy on me,
A sinner.

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