February 21

On the passing of Umberto Eco

Author Umberto Eco passed away two days ago at the age of 84. Although not an author I read on a regular basis, he was an amazing writer, whose work was rich, like Godiva chocolate or hundred year old balsamic vinegar, the kind one can sip like wine. I can read most books in a week or two, but Foucault’s Pendulum took me well over a month, and I would be able to glean more upon a second or third reading.

Death is a sad affair, with the world losing a person whose influence could mean a lot to it. In Mr. Eco’s case, his work had wide reaching appeal, and powerful impact, and it will endure for a long time, though his name may not be as recognized by as wide an audience as some. He has well earned the peace he is now at.

I hope some day to write half as well as he.

March 8

MS and Zombies

The zombies don’t bother me much. They ignore me. I don’t know if they can sense the MS somehow, or maybe my shambling makes them think I’m one of them. I don’t really care.

I’m a little afraid of other humans. I’m hoping they won’t think I am one of the zombies, so I make sure I am well groomed before I go out. Zombies do decay over time. Most of them look like a cross between extras from Les Mis and medical waste.

Anyway, they walk right past me. When the whole thing started, I resigned myself to my fate. There was no way I could run from them. If they wanted to eat me, I was easy picking. When the infection hit my neighborhood, I figured I had a good run. Forty, never married, but happy. Life was hard but not impossible.

But, they didn’t even approach my house. I counted myself lucky.

When I ran out of food and water, I had to go out to get more. I cleaned myself up as best I could, and headed to the gas station down the street.

In was a matter of minutes before the first zombie appeared. I prepared myself for the end. I could smell the rotted meat smell as it came closer and closer…

…and walked right past me. Didn’t even look at me. Like I was invisible.

Several times in the two hours it took for me to get to the gas station, I prepared myself for death as either a zombie came close to me or I came near a zombie, only to have the zombie I thought would eat me simply shamble past me. Or I would shamble past the zombie. Either one.

When I got to the gas station, I filled my backpack with as much nonperishable food as I could. Tried not to go for just the candy, although that’s what I really wanted.

I sat down on the bench out in front of the gas station to think. I could stay in my house, which would require regular trips to get supplies, which were exhausting. I just wanted to lay on the ground and sleep for a few days just from having to walk from my house. So, walking was not the best idea for me. Problem was, I had no car. I would have to figure out how to get one.

As I sat there, an SUV pulled up carrying five people. A man, two women, and two teenagers piled out. The man pointed his gun at me. I raised my left hand. My right doesn’t work too well.

“Both hands!” he shouted.

“I wish I could,” I said, “I’m disabled. I’m also not armed.”

One of the woman came up to him and put her hand on his arm, lightly. He lowered his aim. At the ready, but not pointed directly at me.

“My name is Albert. You can call me Al,” I said, trying to be friendly.

No one responded.

“There is food in the station. Help yourselves,” I said, trying to wave, but doing it with my bad hand.
“What is it? Were you bitten?” the man asked.

I smiled. “No, nothing like that. I have multiple sclerosis.”

They stayed the night. We all huddled in the gas station. The zombies were a lot more interested now that there were five healthy people with me.

In the morning, the older woman, Anna, asked if I wanted to join them.

“Thank you, no. I’ll just slow you down,” I said, only a half truth.

As they drove away, I was grateful. Healthy humans drew the zombies. Who knew what would happen in the middle of an attack?

March 2

The Never ending Rhythm

Bum ba dum
The beat began
A chance encounter
A happenstance of physics
Billions of years
A bright idea
And the idea on clay, on reeds
On stone, on paper
On glass, on plastic
And now, here, in the waves of electrons
But the rhythm continues
Not a heartbeat, not one
But a hundred billion
We think of ourselves
As self contained cosmoses
Narcissistic realities and one man plays
All playing for our own amusement
But we all drink
From the same succulent pool
Deliciousness dripping from our ravenous mouths
Never wanting to turn away from the source
But all ultimately becoming full
The best of us adding the best ingredients we find
To the broth
Fuel for our journey up
From where we started, to a destination unknown
Do not despair, and drink deep the broth
It sustains, it keeps
It fuels the fires inside
The passions within
The music goes on
Even if we think it dies
It merely changes key
Sometimes to one only the younger ones can hear
But that is natural
Bang your drum
Strum your string
Drink your wine
Be alive
For those that can’t or won’t
Do not bathe in the dust of the past
Do not paint yourself with pain
Breathe when you think you cannot
Walk when you want nothing more than to fall down
Because you are all of us
And we are moving on

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January 27

For Addi

I’m looking at my ring finger
Chipped enamel still pale pink
Remembering Leelah
A year ago, my finger would have not been painted
Would not be a memorial
For a teen I’d never met
Fifteen years ago
Two became seven
As I broadened my understanding
Twenty years ago
Experiencing so many new things
Ways of being
Twenty five years ago
Sitting at the McDonalds at the Merchants Plaza downtown
Looking at the woman whose Adam’s apple gave away her birth gender
Surrounded by my eighth grade class
Few of them noticing
Perhaps the teachers
More of a curiosity than anything
The deep blue eyes
Of the man my parents befriended on campus
Whose flair was a stereotype

I still would change nothing
And I am very proud of both of my sons

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