Manchester

5

May 22, 2017, Prescott-

So many youths,

glad for an evening

of music that made them

dance,

on the floor

and in their hearts.

Nineteen are gone,

fifty hanging on,

because of one

with a detonator.

A light-hearted young woman,

seeking to make her fans’ lives

a bit more carefree,

sits crestfallen,

broken-hearted,

in a hotel room,

in Manchester.

Thoughts on A Morning World

3

May 20, 2017, Prescott- 

My spirit got me out of bed at 5:45,

just because this time of year,

with work winding down,

and the relative relaxation

of June approaching,

fills the spirit

with affirmation.

It’s easy to get off track,

when competing agendas,

of straight and narrow,

clash above my head.

This morning,

there is no such noise.

The lively Farmer’s Market

is always good for

several minutes of relaxation,

and live music,

even if one has to sit

on a curb,

as the tables are occupied

by people I’ve not met.

I’m just not so forward, yet.

My shyness goes back

a long way,

but no matter.

Let everyone

just enjoy themselves.

I think of a little girl,

whose name I know not,

who greets everyone

at school with

a hopeful smile,

and those she trusts,

with “Good Morning!”

Would that we could

all bring ourselves

to do the same.

I think I am going to buy

and put up, a hummingbird feeder.

It’ll be by the front window

during June,

and again from

August, forward.

I think I am

going to get rid

of lots of other stuff

in June,

and again in August.

I am going to make

Superior to Globe,

my getaway mainstay,

from September to May.

There is no romance,

that’s not the point.

There is intense spiritual energy,

vortical sustenance,

in many parts of the Southwest,

but especially along

that Copper Road.

These are my thoughts,

in this Saturday morning world.

Now it’s time to do a few errands,

pull a few weeds,

and eat a hot dog,

in honour of  Armed Forces Day.

Happy Weekend, one and all!

 

So He Loved and Has Now Flown

15

May 13, 2017, Prescott-

Another long-suffering soul has gone home.

His first comment to me,

thirty-six years ago,

was to not soak a tub of beans overnight,

unless the plan was

to stay up and watch them.

This, as we saw that someone had

done the opposite.

The ground was littered

with soft pintos.

Ants were emerging,

to savour the feast.

His last remarks

to his family, were

that he wanted to go home.

Yesterday afternoon,

he did just that.

In seventy-five years,

Moses Manybeads Nakai

had been a steadfast believer

in the Oneness of Mankind.

He married a young nurse,

who had come to the Navajo Nation,

to serve both the Dineh and Hopi.

They raised two daughters,

both of whom are

college-educated professionals.

Moses went many places,

in his life,

from Samoa to Alaska.

He always came back,

though,

to his beloved Dinnebito.

It was there that his father

practiced traditional healing.

It was there that his mother

made the best mutton stew

in the universe.

It is there that his sister

still lives,

with her husband and family,

living the traditional herding life.

Moses left us,

while in the comforting environs

of Montezuma Well.

It gave him solace

to know that

there is a deep connectedness there.

Only days ago,

a rare red snapping turtle

emerged from the well.

It had navigated the channels,

of which we seem to know little.

Moses knew,

and the Navajo people know,

quite a bit about such things.

One more bit of connectedness

has now gone through the veil.

I trust

that I will hear from you,

again soon,

my friend.

Embrace the Light.

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Different

14

May 11, 2017, Prescott-

I have, as most are aware, led a life that has been far from conventional.  My love and I did not play by the rules, as much as we might have, when purchasing our home, in 2003.  I did proudly bring in my mortgage check, for five years, whilst juggling her increasingly unpredictable medical state.  Then came the Madoff scandal, which hit us, indirectly.  Then came the “Great Recession”, bankruptcy and short sale.  Three years later, she was gone.  Son moved on with his life, a testament to our own resiliency, and his.

We, the survivors, are hanging in there.  He’s fine in Busan, South Korea, as far as I can tell.  I am stable in Prescott, as far as I can tell. Money is tight, but no matter.  Those who played by the rules have their struggles, as well.  In the end, we each have what we’ve earned, and little else.

My autism has made me different, from day one.  I approach new situations, new groups of people, from a distance, with some caution.That’s caused issues with others, who jump into newness with both feet, and think a delayed response is a sign of apathy.  It’s caused initial issues with women, who are more in tune with connection.  After reading my heart, much of that has faded away, but it still irks me- that I can’t.quite. be. as forthcoming with new friends, as seems reasonable.

Life is better now, though.  At this age, most of those around me have either been through their own scar-fests (my contemporaries and elders) or are heart-readers (children and teens).  I have one goal, for my own behavioural exchequer:  Feel less inclined to hang back, in new situations.  ACCEPT that most people are naturally inclined to be social, to be accepting, themselves.

It’s okay to be different.

Art Town Serenade

10

May 8, 2017, Cave Creek-

In my thirty-three years of Arizona life, I had never been to the oft-celebrated, sometimes kitschy, seemingly quiet but artfully shimmering oasis that is downtown Cave Creek.  The southwest is filled with these kinds of places.  I live in one, and have been to several others.  Each has its share of solid, hardworking artistes, and several have kitsch galore.

After a routine dental check-up, I got a message to visit here, whilst at my beloved’s grave.  These notions almost always lead me to a special place, and to increased personal insight.  Today was no exception.

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Local Jonny’s is at the south end of a one-mile stretch that makes up Cave Creek’s arts and entertainment district, aka “downtown”.  It’s attached to “world-famous” Flat Tire Bike Shop, so one could have his bike fixed, whilst savouring a breakfast burrito and cup of delectable brew-of-choice, or carry a cup of java around, whilst selecting her very next entry into Tour de France.

When it was my turn to order, the counter attendant, Hannah, looked me in the eye, as if to say, “It’s about time you showed up !”, and cheerfully took my order.  She had a large, exquisite, Flat Tire Burrito and sumptuous coffee on my table, within five minutes. Jonny’s is one of those places, like The Raven Cafe, Marino’s and Two Mamas, in Prescott, Macy’s European Coffee House and Toasted Owl, in Flagstaff, and Sun Flour Market, in Superior, where if one feels not at home, it’s not the fault of the house.  The ladies told me that Cave Creek is just that kind of place, as a whole, from end to end.

After my early lunch, it was time to check out the A & E.  Cave Creek reminds  me, a lot, of Bisbee, Mesilla Park and Laredo, in the number of metallic art shops, selling all manner of animal figures, made from cast-off  steel, iron and copper.

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Disneyesque Frontier Town opts for wooden figures.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Essentially, the love and sense of fun, that is exuded here, is not to be bottled up and stored in a cave.

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So, I found that Local Jonny’s, and a dozen other places around town, could easily answer the question posed by another visitor:

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I’ll be back, time and again.

“He Was At Home Here”

6

May 6, 2017, Cottonwood-

There was a magnificent scrum of motor vehicles, and drivers, when I arrived at the parking lot of Taco Don’s, and took my place in the rapidly forming motorcade.  The hearse and family cars were followed by the motorcycles, then the classic cars (Jayme was a car buff, being from eastern LA County) and us friends and admirers, taking up the caboose end.

We set out ahead of time, and had cleared Prescott, by the time we were originally supposed to leave.  Some stragglers caught up with us, on Highway 89A, and passed ahead, to get to their designated spots.  By the time we reached Jerome, and wended our way through the “ghost town’s” streets, everything was in perfect order.  Jerome, like much of the Central Highlands, is in full bloom.  Here are some lupines, that graced our view.

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We reached Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, on the northwest side of Cottonwood, with 30 minutes to spare.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the church’s cross-street neighbour had set up two golden Dol Harubangul (Korean “stone grandfathers”, the symbol of Jeju, where we lived from 1986-92).  This was very much something that Jayme would have found wildly amusing.  As the statues are usually black volcanic rock, this was definitely a nod to the area’s mining culture.

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Immaculate Conception is a spacious, majestic parish church- almost cathedralesque, in size and airiness.  The celebrant priest, also a friend of Jayme’s, noted that the man “felt at home here”, making frequent trips over the mountain, on Sunday mornings, perhaps because of the exhilaration one feels, when going through the pines, and along Jerome’s streets.  The church felt quite homelike for us, this morning, with a robust celebration of Jayme’s relationship with his Lord and an outpouring of love, from his family and closest friends.

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The exquisite service left me chastened, as funerals so often do.  I thought, once more, of my own ongoing mission, knowing that being there for others, something that Jayme Salazar did so well, and at which I am improving, is imperative.  We will all gather again, in his memory, on May 20, for a Fiesta Grande, at Prescott’s Watson Lake Park.  I promised his dearest friend that I would be there early and leave late.

One other nice touch- when I stopped for lunch, at Colt Grill, in Old Cottonwood, the soundtrack featured Mike and The Mechanics’ “The Living Years” and REM’s “Everybody Hurts”.  The Universe always speaks clearly.

“If you don’t give up and don’t give in, you may just be okay.” – Mike Rutherford

“Hold on”.- Michael Stipe

Density

2

,May 2, 2017, Prescott-

The night sky seems denser than usual.

I’m walking home,

from the second of two meetings

held after work.

This one was spiritual, in tone,

so I was not worn down.

Spirituality can be dense,

also.

Yet, that density is what lifts us

to the light,

and sustains us,

in time of an even denser sorrow.

My heart aches for one

who lost her dearest,

a few days ago.

I have been there,

and felt the aloneness,

even when surrounded by friends.

She feels lost, at times,

this I know,

without ever having met her.

There is a fog,

as thick as pea soup,

that envelops the grieving.

Left behind, it seems,

one inches forward,

in the gloom.

Light breaks through,

however,

because that is the nature

of the Universe.

The density of light

is what sustains us.

We stand with you, Senora.

Let us, the friends you know,

and those you haven’t met,

be your light.

Requiem On A Winding Road

9

May 1, 2017, Prescott-

I sat in a quiet, uncrowded taqueria, this evening.

The solemn crew of cooks and servers remained

as earnest and dedicated in their craft, as always.

Don Jefe, though, was somewhere else.

The motorcycle had been on the downhill of this road, countless times.

Its rider had gone to visit his friends, in the small town,

southwest of here, countless times.

That sunny, windy afternoon, last week,

he was taken somewhere else.

It’s not clear why she,

with both hands on the wheel of her truck,

felt it imperative to hurtle along,

pell mell, at breakneck speeds.

All that is known,

is that she over-corrected,

having realized she was in,

over her head,

on a winding road.

Her mind, it seems, had been somewhere else.

The young worker was on his way uphill,

driving into town, to put in his time.

He was a tad behind schedule,

but it wasn’t important enough,

to risk life and limb.

He was driving prudently,

and wondered why

the truck ahead of him

was taking the bends

so fast.

He saw the truck and motorcycle

collide.

He saw the rider, flying somewhere else.

The taqueria owner opened his shop,

most mornings, at seven,

and was  usually there for the closing,

twelve hours later.

His family, and a devoted crew

kept the place flowing,

building a dedicated base

of regular diners

and take-out customers.

Tonight, as I enjoyed

an enchilada-style burrito,

with a side of solemnity,

the messages of love

and gratitude

filled the shop’s windows.

Vases of flowers began to spread

along a small section

of the storefront.

Bright, multivariate,

in colour and hue.

That’s how the taqueria owner

would want it,

bringing joy out of pain,

as he watches,

from somewhere else.

Adios, Don Jayme.

Cornerstones

4

April 28, 2017, Prescott- 

Every great edifice has a cornerstone,

from which the foundation spreads,

and the stories rise.

Every family has two cornerstones,

from whom the children emerge,

and are raised to strengthen their communities.

Every community has several cornerstones,

from whom the leaders emerge,

and rise up to keep their towns and cities strong.

Every nation has a plethora of cornerstones,

from which the generation of ideas proceeds,

and safeguards the security of the land.

Our planet has a myriad  of cornerstones,

by whom the human race can be united,

and the spiritual unification of mankind may be realized.

 

Diamond Hearts

12

April 25, 2017, Prescott-

A few days ago, I remarked to a friend,

that many encounters I’ve had with people,

over the years,

had met a dead end.

Whenever I make a new friend,

two key questions cross my mind.

First, is how does he/she treat,

and is treated,

by her/his significant other?

At my age, most people I meet have one.

The second question is,

what is her/his story?

Everyone has a legacy of some significance.

Of the people I visited last weekend,

two women have husbands,

whom they love passionately.

One man, who also loves women,

in general, with a passion,

is finding his niche.

One woman looked deep into my eyes,

the day I met her, over a month ago,

and conveyed a message of love.

It was not from Eros.

In fact, I sense that if I met her man,

I’d see the same message in his eyes.

That would, most assuredly, not be from Eros.

I sense the hearts are gathering inward.

There is a call going out, heart-to-heart,

and diamond to diamond.

I got a message, this evening,

looking at a photo of my friend and her husband,

that something huge is about to happen.

The man’s eyes conveyed the notion,

that there is an urgency for people

to set aside their differences.

The woman’s eyes flashed a fierce love,

as they did when I photographed her

and her employer.

Everyone connected to that little cafe/market,

seems to have magnetic energy.

They all seem to be telling me,

stay grounded.

The ladies, and their gentle men,

are telling me, wordlessly,

stay grounded;

there’s a lot of electricity

coming in the air.

I see these things,

when I take the time

to really look

into people’s eyes.

Bless the heart people,

in the towns I’ve come to love, so well,

and bless their diamonds.