Life

 

A giant wooden circle spins.  Old drawings of children riding on animals and laughing, cover the center hexagonal pillar.  The roof is like an ornate hat for a spinning round house.  Wood shaped into framed swirls and borders.   The paint is faded.  This ride has been on the Earth for some time.  An old group of people occupy it.  The music plays, yet the looks of blind joy, knowing sadness, and silent fatigue hangs on the face of the riders.  A voice booms over their heads, the music fades, the lights dim and the ride stops. They make a line, some are wailing, and trying to hold on for one more time around, but when the music stops, everyone must leave.  They begin walking slowly our of sight. The exit gate is closed as new group populates the circle.  Riders sit on plastic animals impaled with vertical poles.  The frozen faced beasts of burden drift up and down, limited to their evolution, or their design perhaps.  The moment is brief.  The ride starts.  The ride ends.  As the gate closes behind the old riders, children run to the animals, laughing and telling their own stories of how it all works.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W. Gilbert

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Devil’s Territory; Word Bullies

The tale of sticks and stones, begins true, and ends in a lie. Words have hurt me.  The words themselves wiggle inside ears, the brain digests the patterns, the mind sparks, and the heart breaks.  But I wonder about the nature of the spirit pulling on the marionette strings of the tongue.  It dances and twists, its silver glint catching the reflection of flame.  The floating black mist of an evil demon, grins under red eyes, and hides laughing behind yellowed teeth.

I was in my grandmothers garage in Fort Collins, my cousin and I were playing on the dusty concrete, when he produced a letter.  He told me that it had been scribes by a demon named the phantom.   At seven years old, those words begged my soul to jump out of the cold standing hairs of my neck.  Because he was my hero and idle, as he was two years older than me, I began to read.  He got up and closed the handmade brown screen door with black metal hook, and eye latch.  “Keep reading,” he whispered.  The demon spoke of all those who would die and be rippled off of the earth.  I cried.  I asked him why the handwriting looked like his.  He said he sent a letter to his friend and the phantom intercepted it.  I beloved him.  His tongue licked a fire into my brain.  My Aunt (his mother) has a bad heart, and she was always sick, she had lost her husband in 1982.  He was in Vietnam when they were spraying the jungle with Agent Orange.  I remember he was always angry, and yelled at me.  He had a beard, wore turquoise, and had permanently tinted thick glasses, he collected comic books, but I was too afraid of him to ask to read any of them.  My cousin Jason, was adopted.  I think his blood parents were 15 and 14 years old.  My moms family would always say, “He’s adopted”, as a justification for any wrong doing.  So the phantom, born of lies, lived on in my mind.  I would never tell my parents, because Jason told me not too.

When I was twelve my mom told me I was going to a church camp.  I was in the desert of Wyoming.  It was dry and windy.  I remember there were weeds that were like spears.  I had a few laughs with my friend Jamie throwing them at unsuspecting peoples shoulders.  We set our tent down by the river, where the boys camp was.  It was dusk, and I thought to myself, “No showers this week,”  as I looked at the garden hose hanging over a picnic bench under a tree.  When you are a twelve year old boy, standing naked in front of a crowd of laughing and jeering boys is something of great terror.   It was getting to be time to get to the main hall for evening services.  I was scared and nervous, and I stood by myself at a door.  Someone had pulled up in a car that had a something in the backseat, that caught the light on its purple glittered surface.  I was staring at it.  A preachers kid with curly hair like a poodle, and thick glasses leaned into my gaze and said, “What are you doing?”  I sheepishly replied, “I was just staring at this car, it looks like it found pieces of crashed alien space ship, I wonder what they are going to do with them?”  He pulled away with a look a surprised disgust.  Then he lean back toward me and yelled, “Its a Drum! Duh!”  Words will never hurt me?  I thought I must not be a normal kid, because they did.  Later that night, he was at the podium, talking about the mercy of God and how he had a seizure and almost drown in a river.   His angry words were burning in my mind.  I was crying, because I was hurt and angry.  My tongue flicked words in the air like a fiery whip when I whispered to Jamie,  “I wished he would have died.

In the early 90’s Bill Reed Middle School was getting remolded.  The city of Loveland had just changed from a Junior High to a middle school format.  Instead of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders at a Junior High, they sent the ninth grades to high school, and brought the sixths graders in from elementary school.  Since Bill Reed was going to be remolded, there was only seventh and eighth grade there.  My seventh grade year, we had class in the old side, while they remolded the new side.   The wooden steps had grooves warn into them.  There was a concrete bunker in the basement just in case there was a nuclear war.  Mr. C. told us on a tour that the banging pipes was a disrespectful kid that they buried in the concrete back in the 50’s.  I believed him.  I told everyone it was true.  I got laughed at a lot.  I didn’t master sarcasm until I was in my 20’s.  On the third floor of that beautiful brick building I was in an English class, it was a period just after lunch.  Ms. R. came to the door and asked for me.  I said, “Alright, and energetically walked to the door”.  She was a short fat liberal teacher that was going to change the world, and I was somewhere on that list to get that done.  “I just spoke to your cousin Stacie,” she whispered, “She said you were mean to her last night.”  I turned red and took a step back.  I was angry and embarrassed.  “Yeah, Ms. Rogers, after two hours of basketball practice, I was looking forward to a slice of black chocolate cake,”  She quickly stopped me, “I am talking about Stacie crying, and you are talking about cake…”  I held my ground, I was 6 inches taller than her, and yet I was embarrassed by my size, “Look, there was half a cake,” I interrupted her, “Stacie, and my sister at half of it!  There was nothing left when I got home, and I called them a couple of fat pigs!”  She smiled, and looked me right in the eye, “You can’t talk to people that way, you need to be nicer to your cousin, she is adopted.”  I ended up telling my mom that story when I was twenty five, she just looked at the floor and cried.

I was at the Wendy’s drive through in Longmont on a cold in windy February day in 2002, I was on my way from Denver to Livermoore Colorado, it was funny because I the preacher from the church I was trying to go to was in the drive through in front of me.  He didn’t take much notice of me.  Back then everyone had aqua green four door Pontiac grand AM’s.  I felt bad because I lied to him a few months ago.  They was a nasty dent in my passenger rear quarter panel.  I had a fight with my mom, and in rage I jump kicked it with my heel.  I told him it was vandals.  I felt bad, because he was genuinely sad for me.  As my thoughts danced around my stupidity my cell phone rang.  It was my little sister calling from Denver.  “Where are you?  Do you want to carpool to the wedding?”  I paused, because I knew my answer would go over well, “Sarah, I am going to to the Ranch to help Dad install window wells on the house, he hired an excavator.”  Sarah never got the guilt trip my mom would lay down for manual labor, so it may have been a waste of time to give her the technical details.  The phone was silent for a moment, then she said in an angry exhale, “I hope nobody comes to your wedding!”  I hung up, it was time to pay for my food.  I cried, because I thought I would likely never get married, and if I did, she was right, who would want to show up.  In 2008 as my little sister got married, I cried, because cancer took our mom early that year, and she wasn’t at the wedding.

The tongue is a weapon.  I think, perhaps that God’s intention, was to give a gift of writing, public speaking, and a sharp minds.  Those gifts have been fouled and made a flame throwers burn peoples souls.  A Christian, blasts an orange flame. Burning words tear though souls like burning grease on wet paper. Afterwords, suffocating smoke kills relationships.   Cowards throw arms in the air, and say in a sarcastic giggle, “What?  I was just kidding.” then they smirk and say “Based on A, B, and C you are going to hell!”  Why not tell them how to get to heaven, and beg God to open their hearts to the path.

Behind words, there is darkness or light.  Words are fueled by the glow of heaven, or the fiery burn of hell.  Perhaps focus must be shifted on the listener.   Consider caring about how they are going to feel, then maybe cool the fire the hell fire imbued on foolish tongues.  The flame thrower can only be dismantled by a surrendered sinner who calls upon the strength of his Creator.

The Sticks and Stones, were at least honest.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

 

 

Ears in Heaven

The great controversy,

of how to deal with woe,

is challenged

by the whispered wake

of my dancing pen…

Solids Management Program

for the soul.

Emotions, can not be extracted,

diluted, purged, or burned.

Orange fire cannot lick away,

a charred brain.

How then, does one,

unburden, a soul buried

beneath, hot sticky tar?

Talk to God,

as if you were,

talking on your cell phone,

going for a ride in the car with a friend,

on a long walk, sharing your woes,

to a sacred friend,

under the moonlight.

Ask to be forgiven,

ask for the strength to forgive.

Ask to feel forgiveness,

under the deep marrow of soul,

where hurt lodges deep.

Ask for answers,

Ask for humility to accept them.

God is listening…

Are you willing,

to talk?

And then my words tore through the air like cannon fire…

As a Christian I don’t have a very good track record.  Apparently the ten commandments are a, ‘NOT to do’ list, and not so much a ‘to do’ list.  I look back on the last 40 years, and realize, that evil in all of its twisted forms, is something that is done by me, to someone else.  I am supposed to value others, and not hurt them.  When I find myself in a verbal volley with an adversary, my instinct is to inflict as much verbal damage as possible.  Our exchange mimics the ancient sea battles with wooden ships, and belching cannons.  What is the cost behind words?  You have to judge, (aim) then hate, (load gunpowder) and not care about the hurt you are about to inflict on someone else, (fire!).  The handle side of the weapon often feels less pain than the bloodied recipient.  Words are weapons.   Who’s side do I fight for?  As a burning ship sinks, why do I find joy?  Does taking something away from someone with criticism and lies help make me better?  No, it simply shows I am worse.

Every human on this Earth has a backstory, a history, a perspective, and a soul.  If I truly care about them, and who made them, then why don’t my words reflect that?  Do my words take something away, with my witty observation of physical defects, and social choices?  Or do my words offer hope, with my perspective of their value, to me, to the world, to God?  To immerse myself with the struggles of another person, will silence my gaping cannon of my mouth, leaving me only whispers while talking to them. Then maybe I can tell the true tale of their value to God, and will only leave encouragement and support to saturate the air.

This reflection, is to remind myself, that there is nothing wrong with being a chatty extrovert.  But, I do need to do a better job seeing people, and loving them.  To be more ears, and less mouth.  My words are loaded in my guts where evil in all its forms writhes in a ready cauldron.  In the storeroom down there, there can be light, and hope.  Scripted musing of the wonderful things of people, and the world.  How will I stock the latter? The choice becomes mine, to pillage conversations, and wound listeners.  A Christian should know the tale of God, and the undeniable value of people.  Before I am silenced, and planted in the cold ground, perhaps I will leave behind words, hanging soft in the invisible air, that let you know, there are many great things I see in you.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

 

 

Green smoke, whispers

Behold the black lion.  His teeth red, his chin wet, with blood.  Glowing embers from the depths of hell, fix on his prey, fix on you.  “Your safe.  Your ok.  Don’t worry,” a rumbling murmuration, rumbles from his throat.  His words, that are his unleashed children, are all lies.  In an empty field, cold air bites your skin.  You have no weapons, and the black lion approaches.  In your hand you remember, you have a one way radio.  On the other side of it, He is listening.  You need not format your words, or regurgitate some ancient chant, just talk.

“Put down the radio,” hisses the black lion, showing the snake tatoo on his silver tongue, “He is not listening!  Why would he help a wretched blight like you…  Surrender!  Surrender to me!”

Your thumb finds the button, waking a red glow.  The line is open, as the black lion lunges for your throat…

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

 

Fabric of Life

Everyone’s life, is a fabric square on a large tapestry.  We all live, for a twisting wisp of a blue gray shadowy moment, then we die.  Our story is added into the tale of humanity.  Where does the tapestry hang?  Is it proudly displayed in God’s great kingdom? Or perhaps, is it only stored in books, and memories.   A dying phantom, chained by lost languages, burning invaders, and evolution’s relentless march.

That prompts a question.  Does death scare or hurt Evolutionists?  From nothing, there can only be nothing.  No soul, no life beyond death, no real value, becomes all there is to look forward to in that perceived existence.  If I were to believe evolution as true, I would reduce myself to the product of random chance, and the offspring of a filthy monkey.  I would have no creator to ask for guidance and help.  My relationships with other people would be reduced to simply the shifting and sorting of dead matter.  Life, would not matter.  Millions, and millions of years of nothing was all there was, so what value is a few years of a false something.  There remains, only nothing.

I recently heard a wise man say, “I don’t believe in God, I know in God.”  I like that.  As a writer I am commissioned to write what I know.  I have never been to Heaven, or swam in the fiery lakes of hell, but I do believe they are real.  Much like I believe there is a center of the earth, and a heart in my chest, I believe gravity and heartbeats are felt, and not seen.  I therefore can only tell what I believe, and if you need a demon wing, or a pillar of heaven, then I can’t help you.  All I can do, is show you that you have a value beyond your physical pattern, I can take that invisible magic that is called love, and send it floating on the invisible air, to land on your invisible soul.  Love, for the sake of simply showing it exists.  It rhymes with the purpose of God.  It shows God.  It is God.

 

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert