20161105_062657“So tell me how this ends.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“I want to know the ending.”

“Oh. It won’t be sudden. Your heart will just stop. Like it would for someone elderly.”

“Okay. Because I’m afraid to go to sleep.”

“It won’t be a heart attack.”


“Anything else?”

“So ten to fifteen years? I’m only 55.”

“Let’s be more optimistic than that.”



StPatrick1Listen up:

Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish; he was British and sent to Ireland as a slave. He escaped, returned home, became a Roman Catholic priest.

Saint Patrick wasn’t an immigrant; he was a missionary priest. Google the difference. Educate yourself.

Saint Patrick didn’t profess religious tolerance. He was an advocate of one faith: Roman Catholicism. He traveled to Ireland to CONVERT the Irish to Roman Catholicism.

Saint Patrick’s Day isn’t about Ireland: Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus. Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious Roman Catholic feast day that honors the sanctity of a faithfilled priest.

You’re either against cultural appropriation or you’re not. Grow a pair. Define your beliefs.

If you’re celebrating Saint Patrick’s Feast Day today and you’re not Roman Catholic – consider yourself the Iggy Azalea or Justin Timberlake of the Christian world.

Let’s honor the Saint today and eliminate your ignorance.

Look up the definition of hypocrisy.

Look up the definition of cultural appropriation.

Look up the definition of sciolism.

You want to make political points – don’t use facts that are polar opposites of the facts.

And to all my Roman Catholic friends – happy Saint Patrick’s Feast Day.


Fruited Plain


Can you stand nude in the middle of the room with your arms by your sides and endure the criticism of your manhood? That’s the cost of moral integrity. Cowards cover-up their shortcomings with holy books. You ate from the tree of knowledge – own it. Fig leaf / parchment it’s all cowardly covers. Saints stand in front of God. They don’t hide behind Him.

Getting To The Heart of The Matter


Daily I write sentences or paragraphs and tuck them in my cloud. I usually don’t want to lose the thought and I intend to edit the words or expand the concept.  And then about once every couple of months I peruse the documents and delete them.  Well, if I didn’t see the merit then …?  I started this practice years ago.  Then I scribbled and filed.

I found this piece tonight.  I don’t intend to edit it and I don’t see the need to expand it. Yet I don’t want to abandon it.  Because of all the cardiology things going on inside me, it resonates in a completely different manner now.  I’m glad I kept it aside.

The heart is the most self seeking organ in the body. It merely gauges a personal reaction to an action.  Consider the physical pyramid: the heart lies in the center but the mind is the pinnacle. A man’s most prized possession is his conscience. It’s the seat of his justice and the reminder of his obligations. If you want to offer humanity your greatest gift, offer your assistance. Don’t offer your heart; offer your help. The fundamental flaw of The Wizard of Oz is that they asked for all the wrong things. The yellow brick road led Dorothy back to where she began.

Miss Takens

45957I find myself offering apologizes. It’s not that I have regrets. I don’t have regrets.

If I’ve wronged – I admitted it.

If I’ve loved – I declared it.

If I’ve feared – I risked it.

If I’ve sinned – I confessed it.

That’s one of the reasons I returned to Roman Catholicism when I was 23. I love Confession. I love publicly admitting what I’ve done and what I’ve failed to do. I love taking ownership of my sins. I love making amends for my transgressions. So you see I love confession, and repentance, and reconciliation.

I’m not looking back on my life with regret. And I don’t feel guilty. I haven’t left deeds unconfessed, unrepented, unamended, or unfinished. As I move toward death – be it sooner or later – I daily examine my conscience and I amend my life. And lately I find myself apologizing. A lot. My behavior is sentimental. I feel embarrassed by the exhibition. and so I explain myself.

Last week I sat with my best friend and I apologized to him. I told him the reason I’m so sentimental is that I miss him. I explained that I don’t miss him now – I miss our future. I miss the conversations we won’t have – the activities we won’t share – and the laughs we won’t give each other. I’m smart enough to know the finite of the friendship. My irregular heartbeat is a metronome of our finishing moments.

This morning I played tunes and my Mother walked by me. I watched her 79 year old body as she moved. My Mother is so fun. While music soundtracked my childhood, she rarely walked; she danced. She rarely spoke; she sang. My Mother was a great dancer. When she heard a song she loved – she danced a combination of a tap and a step. She could twist and turn from her ankles to her toes. Very unique. But that was before the pain.  That was before the ache.  This morning as music guided her and she walked by – she just walked. And I missed her. I miss her.

Sentimental? I don’t know.

Don’t you want to be missed?

(Photo Courtesy of Lottie Wihl)

Spared Change

“What was that?”

file000462846448“It’s a …”another prolonged feral growl leaked from his closed lips. It was accompanied by an upper respiratory spasm that shook him from shoulder to sternum. “It’s … a … spasm.” He labored each word until it emerged from his mouth. “My pulmonologist said it’s not my lungs. It’s related to my heart.” He raced the sentence to its completion. “Fuck I don’t know.” He paused to control his voice. “I can’t even talk on the phone anymore.” He whispered another wail and elongated his neck in an attempt to open his airway.

“Can’t they do something about it?” He straightened himself in his chair and crossed his leg over his knee.

“I don’t know.” He steadied his voice and tried to control the rasp. “I’m hoping.” He waited for another spasm to end. “I’m on two inhalers. But I don’t want to talk about that anymore. I don’t want to waste my words.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

“This is spiritual direction. Let’s talk about God.”


“I can’t figure Him out.” He placed his tongue behind his bottom teeth and inhaled. “Yesterday morning I was so depressed.”

“About your health?”

“No. I just felt alone.” He tried to silently suppress a spasm. “I had no one to shovel my sidewalk. And so I decided to shovel it myself.”

“Please tell me that you didn’t.”

“I didn’t.”

“I can shovel your sidewalk after work.”

“No bro. It’s okay. As soon as I catch my breath, I’ll finish the story.”


“I’ve got to stand up.” He walked over to the window and looked outside. “I just couldn’t believe I didn’t have anyone to help me. And I told God that.”

“Could you hire someone?”

“I have. But it’s $20 a shot. And that doesn’t sound like a lot? But with all the medicine and three of us being hospitalized in the last couple of months, I’m trying to save cash. Did you know it’s $96 for an ambulance to take you to the emergency room? We’ve done that 3 times this winter.”

“I could pay for someone to shovel your sidewalk.”

“Bro you took the vow of poverty. I didn’t. Let me finish my story.”

He nodded.

“Okay. Jesus, I can’t breathe!” He closed his eyes and hissed through a spasm.

“How can I help you?”

“Can you see why my social life is dead?” His lips smiled; his eyes teared. He exhaled. “Anyway. I thought it would melt during the day. And so I waited.”

“Did it?”

“No. Do you know my next door neighbor knows … about my heart and … actually watched the ambulance take … my Father last week, and he shoveled … his sidewalk yesterday … and didn’t touch mine. I couldn’t be that man. I couldn’t.” A spasm shook him. “Fuck it.”

“It’s not a kind world.”

“Truer words bro.” He walked and sat on a chair. “Anyway, last night there was a … small knock on my door. I opened it … and an old man was standing on my sidewalk with his bicycle.” He rode out a spasm. “He held the shovel I keep on my … porch and he looked homeless… He asked me if I wanted my sidewalk shoveled. He was at least in his late 60s. He said he’d do it for $7.”

“Did you hire him?”

“Well, I had to see if … I had cash. Who has cash anymore? And I only found $3. And I told him I couldn’t hire him because I only had $3 cash. And he said he’d do it for $3. I started to cry. … I remembered I had a jar of change. I asked him if he’d take quarters. He said he would. … And so I paid him all the cash I had. Isn’t God funny?”

“I wouldn’t say God was funny.”

He leaked a guttural growl. “You know what I mean. … In all the years I’ve lived there,” he rode a spasm, “I’ve never had anyone ask to shovel or mow my lawn. …I knew God sent him.”

“God sent him.”

“I’m not alone at all.”

“I never thought you were.”

“Hey, today? I don’t want to pray for me. Let’s pray for that old man.”


“Can I go to confession now?”


“Thank you Father.” He controlled a spasm as he knelt on the carpet.

Likeness & Image

92789846I posted a game on Facebook. I asked people to post a picture that best describes them.

Here’s the picture that best describes my life.

  1. I like suits. I have suits. I just don’t wear them anymore. I am a suit kind of guy. I am more a manhattan than a beer. My neighborhood bar serves beer.
  1. I always have my hands in my pockets. Often it’s to prevent me from hitting someone. And often it’s because I’m in a great deal of pain and I clinch my fists in the hope I won’t scream or cry. Mostly it’s because I carry my rosary in my pocket and I often pray it while I walk.
  1. I’m always waiting. Always. My life is about waiting. And hope.
  1. I’m a very social person. I laughed because I took 15 different people into my favorite bar in the last 3 weeks. Yet everyone always tells me I’m “unique.” Unique is a sad and lonely word. There’s no two in unique. I’m never lonely; I’m always alone. I’m often sad. My life is often about loss.
  1. I have the ability to walk away. I can walk away. I can forget.
  1. I live on the edge. I live at the peak. I live with my soul exposed. I live unzipped.
  1. It’s faceless. I’m cloaked in anonymity. Not by my choice. I’m either read by those who don’t know me or I’m surrounded by those who don’t understand me. I’m “unique.” I am unlike. I have no features that are alike.
  1. It’s the cover of my novel. I’ve put 4 years into my novel. It is the summation of my career.

I bought this picture for the cover of my novel because it is my life.