Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Mirror

What do you see?  Tell me.  What is the image cast before you: its shape, its texture, its color?  Are you speechless?  Has the Devil gotten hold of your tongue?  There’s no need for that furrowed brow.  Who’s kidding whom?  What did you think this life was about anyway, huh?  Talk to me.  Do you even see your image in the mirror, or are you once again gazing into the abyss?  Sad, twisted features stare you down, yet you look past this visage and into black space.  Are you upset?  Have I upset you?  What?  Don’t look away.  After all, I’m all you’ve got.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Moment

I’ve been waiting for this moment.  Have you?  It’s special, is it not?  Let us linger a while in it, for it will pass in no time.  We’ll certainly be mindful as it passes, like sand slipping through our hands in spite of our tight grip.  Shall we receive this moment in silence, or is it better to lose ourselves in it?  We’ll be looking back at it, of that we can be sure.  As the days, weeks, and years roll by, we’ll wonder about that moment as it recedes deeper into the distant, misty past.  The moment just passed, nevermore to return, and yet it lives within me, within us.

Downward Spiral

My psychiatrist gave me a rope to hang myself and my parole officer is gunning for me.  Other than that, I’m fine.  Seriously?  For those of you I’m currently disappointing, and for those who are about to be disappointed, not to mention the usual suspects of those looking to be disappointed, please take a number and stand in line.  I can’t seem to cope lately.  Life seems to suck.  I’m not exactly Job sitting on an ash heap, afflicted with boils and having lost family, property and wealth.  Still, I could use some good news every once a decade or so.  Is that asking too much?  I dunno.  Maybe it’s the booze, and the pills, and the existential crisis, and the manic depression, and the pangs of unrequited love, and the one testicle, and the apocalyptic landscapes in my head, and….well, let’s stop there.  Even my cognitive therapist, whom I see every Thursday, is adding her voice to the chorus.  She told me to go f… myself.  Really?  That’s what I get for my time and money?  Well, the insurance paid for it, but still.  Look, I know what you’re thinking.  Der has his act together.  Yeah?  He’s the epitome of stability and groundedness.  What?  Yet here I am swimming in a sea of shit without a lifesaver or driftwood to keep me afloat.  Have you ever swum through shit?  It’s not pleasant, even if it’s metaphoric shit.  Don’t matter none.  I’ll figure things out, eventually.  I’ll find my way, even if my lawyer is telling me I’m a lost cause and my guru says he’s lost faith in the transformative value of meditation because of me.  Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, asswipes.  What am I supposed to do?  Jump off a cliff?  Naw.  I’ll retreat into myself, deep inside, with the aid of music, literature, and imagination.  No more reaching out.  No more vulnerability.  No more overexposure.  I'll crawl inside myself and find, not solace, but maybe a greater sense of security.  Still, you know it sucks when your primary care physician laughs hysterically during a physical examination while you just stand there, half naked and helpless.  And by you, I mean me.  Anyway, I'm spinning out of control.  Maybe I'll land soon.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Man in Wilderness

I knew a guy who got so sick of other humans that he finally moved to a remote area in British Columbia with his dog Sparks.  He set up camp and lived off the land.  The wilderness can be a forbidding place for anyone, especially those of us who need our creature comforts and precious electronic devices.  This guy was as hardy as they come, well versed in the art and science of survival.  Nonetheless, while he found himself staving off hunger from time to time, and warding off bears and wolves almost always, his biggest struggle was with loneliness.  So he invented imaginary people to keep him company during long nights around the campfire.  He gave them weird names like Dodge, Shenandoah, and Earl.   Oh, but there was a female in the bunch as well.  Her name was Sheila, a chestnut-haired beauty from Kansas, and her inventor savored moments with her (and his canine friend) under the stars.  He imagined her sweet face and amber lips in the moonlight, tucked inside a hooded woolen jacket, as he ruminated on the meaning of life.  A year or so passed and our wilderness man became perturbed, though this state of mind had nothing to do with the daily struggle for food or the threat of predatory animals.  No, he had grown used to this rugged lifestyle.  What perturbed him were his make-believe friends, as they had become more numerous and quite loquacious.  All they seemed to do was bitch and moan.  They'd complain about his unkempt facial hair or the mess he'd leave around the camp.  One of them, a vegetarian named Joel, gave him a hard time about his "murderous diet of meat."  So the guy moved back to the city and currently lives with his wife Sheila (so to speak) and dog in a van off 43rd Street.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Laughing through Life

I’m laughing my way through life.  Earthly existence can be full of such sorrow and pain, and even a privileged male Caucasian primate living in the jungle of opulence, such as myself, can succumb to the weight of the world.  Viator is my name, and for a reason, but too often the path leads through what my German friends would call a Jammerthal, or vale of tears.  Laughing is probably overstating the case; in fact it’s downright incorrect.  I depend on my wit and idiosyncratic sense of humor as a coping mechanism.  I need to amuse myself.  Granted, sometimes other biped mammals don’t find me amusing, and it probably doesn’t help my case when I’m cracking jokes at a funeral.  I’ve learned through the grapevine and unguarded comments that work colleagues consider me rather socially awkward and certainly a loner.  Well, excuse me for living!  So I march to the beat of a different drum?  Whatever oddities I might exhibit, though, keep in mind that I’m just trying to cope.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Once again it’s time to read your letters.  I always look forward to this segment, for readers never cease to amaze me with their gracious comments and witty reactions to the topics of this blog.  I had Der Viator Blog staff members place a box of them on my desk.  I’ll select a few at random.  Let’s see what we have here…  Ah, this one looks good (opening the envelope, so hold on a sec…).  James from Providence, Rhode Island writes… Well, he writes just one word, “Asshole.”  Really?  You took the effort to send a letter with just this one word?  How you ended up inadvertently writing down your thoughts while looking in the mirror, and then sealing this note in a letter addressed to me, is beyond me.  Let’s move on.  Here we go: Jen from Hayward, Wisconsin wants to know my real identity.  My name is “Brian.”  I’m an “orthodontist” in “Indianapolis.”  That's about all I’m willing to reveal at this time.  Alan from Detroit writes: I’d rather eat dog shit than be subjected to your drivel.  You make me sick, not just your face or viewpoint, but your essence, your being.  Look, Alan, you don’t have to read this blog.  I mean, it’s not like it’s required viewing, right?  Geez.  Please, people, get a life.  Don't waste my time with your crappy letters.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


It’s been a while since I’ve written something in this blog, the longest stretch to date.  I don’t think the spark for creative writing had died within me lately so much as I’ve just been overwhelmed with work and preoccupied with thoughts.  I’ve taken up more responsibilities between my academic and military jobs.  And I find myself unable to take care of a backlog of issues each week, let alone new ones that come my way with each passing day.  Reader, you should know that such an excuse pains me.  While many people in our urbanized culture value busyness and take pride in a calendar filled to the brim with meetings, appointments and other commitments (even as they complain about them), I’ve never been impressed with this method of finding self-worth.     Yet here I am before you  claiming to be swamped with this, that, and the other.  Why do we entangle our lives into such a mess?  Where are our priorities?  Why do we seem to find value in living a busy life when time is so short and we should be spending time with those whom we love? 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Under a Lavender Tree

A traveler on the road through life sat down for a spell under the shade of a lavender tree.  It was late summer and his pack was full.  “It is good to rest,” he told himself, more to justify respite from the journey than in earnest.  Still, the items he carried with him had increased as time went on, as if each turn on the path became more onerous, so a pause would do him some good.  Perhaps for the first time, as he sat under that tree, he noticed the dust on his clothes.  He had been travelling for quite some time, longer than he would care to know.  Autumn would be here erelong, he thought, as the dust on his pack whipped into the air from a random summer breeze.  With the branches rustling overhead, he drifted off to sleep with these words in his head:
I once fell asleep under a lavender tree,
Supine between surface roots twice the size of me.
Blue-tinged shapes framing an opal afternoon sky,
Lulled me with whispers as a playful breeze blew by.
On a soft patch of moss I laid my weary head,
My body ensconced in a verdant earthen bed.
Dreams flit like monarchs in a sea of marigolds;
They hover over fire deep within my soul.
The weary wayfarer awoke, awash in white blossoms, his catnap in no way matching the blissful slumber of his dream. He shook himself off and peered down the road whence he came, the surface heat distorting his perception.  He didn't look long, for there was no turning back.  No homeland awaiting his eventual return.  The road ahead, however, beckoned him.   So he stood there a bit longer to enjoy the shade before he took up his burden and continued on his way to an undiscovered country.