In Search of a Title

In Search of a Title 

Though you spend years buried, knowing who you are, but unable to be, still there are leaks along the way, both good and bad, glimpses from above, colors so bright, impossible to ignore, even from below. 

Then something happens, not through the strength you know you have, but will not budge, but something outside yourself, from above, forces beyond your reach, forces that nudge you to be the person you know you are. 

And though the roots have always been strong, it’s branches gnarled, they shed and new ones, unlike any before, spread above and beyond, uncertain of how far, and though this sensation is new, you know it well, for this is who you are. 

And so you begin, lighter than ever before, though heaviness and darkness still prevail, but now are bathed under the fierce light of the sun. And so, you tread carefully, but with confidence, on a thread you were meant to walk, and though balanced, shakes ever so slightly, as its rhythm grows. 

And though you now are the person you’ve always been, you know that was merely a theory before, and stood as shadows do – not far from you, but far enough. But now, you and your shadow are one, your companion, while you walk upon this trail, and learn, things you could never before. 

But this is no easy task. 

Though filled with light, the sun behind you, darkness is still ahead, for light never stands alone, but is the consort of darkness, and this is how you balance the scales. And though the branches are no longer gnarled, and the engines roar, the road ahead is, as always, unknown. 

And so, you follow paths, which must be followed, however dark they may appear, until you reach a room filled with light, and the sun bathes your face, fully knowing who you are, until you don’t, for you never know when the end is near. 


Betty Barkas Hood


I nudge my cardiovascular system by extending my daily journey from the Dark Kitchen Room to The Light Room Of Many Windows and the kitchen and the light room of many windows and…the… It sure is bright in there. There’s a world of difference between them. Both serve a purpose. But really. Who would choose to volunteer for such an experiment? The Study Of Adaptation From The Perspective Of Extremes.
Once I complete the journey, I’m back to my steadfast routine. Sometimes I cook. But mostly, I nurse a mug of espresso and consume lots of cigarettes and swirl ideas above my head. The dark kitchen room is a good way to transition from sleep to wakefulness. It has no light. Not a single window. And some icons covered in spider-webs stuck in a corner. It’s thoroughly dank. However, you never have to fear you’ll wake up blinded down here. It’s impossible.
Along with the diet of dank corners, you get to experience and taste dank thoughts. Who would’ve ever thought you’d end up doing this? I see one hand raised. Great. Thanks for the vote of confidence.
It’s no different than living in a cave – though I have never lived in one. The chief resemblance is the dampness, the darkness, the absence of life. So you finally understand your sole mission and what isn’t. It was not as you had imagined. There were no ballerinas there. There were no canvases filled with brilliant colors. However, music was the nearby thread to the world of Living things. Some of the music was dank. But most of it wasn’t.


Channeling Voltaire – Report From Death

There are many who live in this world of ours who both embrace and fear Death. Some have even come and gone, returned, sojourners, and have testified to a life beyond life, a passage, filled with intense visual imagery, weaving their connections into an encouraging and gratifying mosaic of what comes. 
Here is my testimony …
My mission is to report this – 
Once the lights go out, that’s it. 

The Day God Answered My Prayer

It happened to be a Sunday – HIS day off. 
I was miserable. I had a long drive ahead of me, Chicago to Maryland, and it was hot and humid.  I didn’t want to go back to Maryland. I was staying at a hotel, a miserable experience, while packing my bags, to move overseas. The hotel in Chicago was delightful! It was clean, friendly, served coffee 24-7, whereas the hotel in Maryland was an overpriced dive and miserly in its services, and provided none of the above. However, it did have Character. I had delayed returning for that very reason, even though I was paying for 2 hotels simultaneously, but I couldn’t put it off any longer. I had to go back. 
This delay also put me at risk on the Interstate, as the hogs were out en masse, which for one who loves the driving experience, is extremely frustrating. Sundays are bad enough. But the Interstate on a Sunday is enough to make you crawl into a hole, and never come out. 
God had pretty much ignored me most of my life – even though I’d say things like, “Oh, God.”  He was pissed, I think, because I had asked a priest, as a child, what would happen if God died?  From then on – No, wait. – even before then, he wasn’t exactly the benevolent leader we have portrayed him to be. In fact, he was, without question, exceedingly cruel. So I ignored Him, as much as possible. However, I honored his cruelty towards me, since that was all I knew. 
It took a while to realize that he had decided that my role in life would be that of a warrior-soldier, even though I was adamantly opposed to war. I found war reprehensible. But that was the theme of my life. I fought continual battles, and they were unrelenting, each more challenging than the previous one. When would they stop?  I called upon Voltaire as my mentor. “Never!” he said. Somehow, that helped, as I had read Candide, while still an adolescent. Little did I know then how influential Voltaire would become for me. 
So fast-forward to this hot and humid Sunday morning in the year of 2016 (It could’ve been 3096 – WHO knows, anyway, what Time means?) and there I was sitting on a bench outside the nice hotel, in a downpour, under my umbrella, when I was suddenly overcome with extreme nausea. And those who know me personally, know how much I hate puking. I’ll do anything to avoid that violent expulsion from my gut and outward and into the the toilet or onto the ground. 
“PLEASE, God. Let me not puke. Not know. I’ve got a miserable day ahead of me – on your day off  – and I’ve GOT to get back to Maryland. “
Well, damn, if that wasn’t a miracle!  Within seconds, my nausea had vanished, and soon after, I began my long drive back to the East Coast, with hogs and all. 
I had begun my journey back at 10:00 AM. But because of the conditions noted above, I arrived (in what is normally an 11-hour drive) at 3:33 AM. I marked my calendar. And then, as soon as I walked into my room, I puked. 

Looking For Paradise

The end is more likely than longevity now. The odds are against you. And so you start to think a lot. You think a lot about Life. You don’t have to think much about Death, cause that’s around the corner. How then will you spend your final hours?  And while you may welcome Death, ready for the embrace, it is Life that still pumps your Heart. “Strong Heart,” the doctors always commented. Ah, what a relief, you think. Well, then. When do we get to Paradise?