Archive for category Literature: Stories and Poems

A few books you might hang out with

Basic Text
A New Earth
The Road Less Travelled
The Five Love Languages
Vonnegut: Breakfast of Champions, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Slaughterhouse Five
The Firm, The Client, Pelican Brief
Kerouac: On the Road
F. Scott Fitzgerald: This Side of Paradise
You are Greater than you think
The Jew in the Lotus
Secret Wars
The Know it All
The Scarlet Letter
The Time Machine
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers Homes in New England
Davinci Code
From Beirut to Jerusalem
The Tipping Point
The Audacity of Hope
Jewish Meditation
Be Here Now
The Right to Write
Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feinman

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Stoneybrook Stupid, part 1

How in the world could it ever turn out like this? That thought kept coursing through Jim’s veins and into his frontal cortex no matter how many times he pushed it away. Was he so brilliant as to have turned a simple prank into a lifetime of privilege and opulence? He was too smart to fall for that bit of self deception. No, it was more a matter of being a little too careless to even consider the possibility of failure or its consequences and just mischievous enough to take someone else’s brilliant fantasy and turn it into something real. And now here he was, rubbing tennis elbows with Upper East Side Manhattan’s art buying elite, a glass of Dom Perignon in his good hand and a society gentleman’s smile grafted onto his upper middle class face? Kensington sign It all started one pot fueled night in Kensington, a comfortable if not upscale community on Washington DC’s now famous beltway. Families of beauraucrats, diplomats and government contractors have made this enclave their home since the federal government started its explosive expansion in the aftermath of Roosevelt’s New Deal and World War II’s resolution. A break in to the local high school somehow became the focus of mischievous planning among a group of seven high schoolers that night – five boys and two girls. By the time the flashlights were packed and the plans became a car ride, the group had thinned to four. Jim was more follower than leader at that point, more interested in Tina’s smile and tanned legs than in any profit. But a simple act of bravado – indistinguishable from massive fear of being left out or branded a coward – kept him in the game. For Joel, his motivation was clearer. Joel’s parents were society wannabes, and his own wrestles boredom drove him blindly toward adventure the same way his parents hunger for acceptance among the elite prevented them from ever pursuing it. Billy was from the other side of the tracks. Suburban Washington’s working class was no heroes though. Good government jobs meant pencil pushing purposeless security. Billy never wanted for anything, save parents with ambition. His rebellion was always to take chances. He longed for the pain that would explain his criminal tendencies, but never quite felt it for real. And then there was Tina. Who could ever understand what made Tina do the things she did. Certainly not Jim. He only knew that she was incredible – and just out of reach enough to keep him stretching beyond the comfortable boundaries he had grown up with.

Of the crowd, Jim was the rich kid, though he certainly never saw himself that way. He knew of real elites in Long Island, Greenwich, New Jersey’s wooded outskirts of Manhattan. He moved to Maryland following his father’s appointment to the foreign service. The move to DC never made sense really. Father and mother were divorced and both remarried, but somehow they remained inextricably bound. Mom seemed to remain the driving force behind dad’s carreer aspirations. Alimony and childcare amically arranged, she certainly benefitted from his constant, if incremental, financial improvements, but that wasn’t it. Jim’s stepfather certainly was not a poor man, with his business of installing home theatres in luxury homes. Somehow mom’s self image was linked to Dad’s political advancement. It wasn’t about money, but rather prestige. And it was a sense of serving his country’s interests that brought that feeling. She was one part patriot and one part publicist. His acscension thought the ranks of the state department was her greatest source of pride. The only rational explanation for the move, given that Dad spent most of his time overseas and only made it to Washington for quick meetings and must-be-seen-at galas, was the prestige thing. Career diplomats are only famous among other carreer diplomats and politically minded policy nerds. Jim always figured that mom needed the warm glow of the almost yellow dwarf known as Washington.

Jim sometimes wondered why his stepfather never expressed jealousy for mom’s persistent attachment to Dad’s every move. Was he just a dud, with no drive or testosterone of his own? Was he secretly shtupping the rich housewives of his clients, with their sculptured by personal trainer mid sections and their best you can buy boobjobs? He was certainly good looking and on the road enough to have plenty of opportunity for such daliences. His installation business was mostly in Greenwich, Connecticut and when mom forced him to move to Washington upon Dad’s latest appointment, he became a travelling man. Thoughts about such matters always left Jim feeling cheated that mom somehow managed to maintain two husbands without ever sharing even one of them for Jim to have a real father.

Standing in the swampy heat of the Washington summer air he never quite got used to, Jim waited with Tina as the Billy and Joel took turns trying to bend back the metal latch of the window through a pane they had cracked ever so slightly. When they finally succeeded, the window gently swung open and a gentle rush of air conditioned pleasure washed over Jim’s face. That moment of pause that no professional criminal knows suddenly sunk into Billy and Joel’s hearts. There was no goal of thievery after all. The only purpose of this adventure was the adventure itself. For the foursome of suburban teens, the climax of the story had just been reached. “I’ll go,” said Jim, surprising himself. With that he entered the 11th grade English classroom he had been in way too many times.

Jim instinctively headed for the teacher’s lounge next door, one of the few places that held any sense of the unknown for him. The others followed quickly behind. As he entered, he could feel Tina’s approval at his gutsiness. With a surge of adrenaline in his heart and pretty much nothing in his head, he began pulling open file drawers and throwing papers all over the place. Billy enlisted Joel’s help in taking things way too far by flipping over couches, tables, chairs and pushing whole filing onto the floor. Billy produced a small can of spray paint from his trousers and shrieked with glee as he guided its contents into inevitable obscenities on the bookshelf.

It was amidst this melee that a yellowing, long forgotten English essay slid out of a spilled folder and glided onto Jim’s left shoe. Stoneybrook Stupid, he read on the title page as he bent over and grabbed it by the staple. It felt about four pages thick – turned out to be five. Jim folded it in quarters and stuffed it in his right pants pocket, apparently as a souvenir that would immortalize the feeling of triumph, which was already receding as a dread of getting caught started welling in his throat. “Let’s get the fuck out of here,” Jim said. “Our work is done here,” he added boomingly, hoping his friends would think him indifferent rather than scared. It worked. Billy grabbed an NEA paperweight and hurled through a showcase cabinet in the hallway filled with antique books and trinkets designed to make students think that this month’s unit on William Shakespeare was fascinating rather than stupid. There were high pitched “yows” and low pitched “hoo hoo’s” as the four barreled down the hallway and out the front door of the school.

They trampled the carefully planted flower bed on their way out, just for good measure. And deep in Jim’s pocket laid the seed for a mischief so impossible – a dream so big – that it would soon change all of their lives forever.

mormon temple
–to be continued–

© All material Copyright 2009 by Foxx Falcon

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A Letter of Encourgement

Dear *****************,
I know you are going through some things right now, and it can be overwhelming. I want you to go into the bathroom and splash some cold water on your face, take a few deep breaths, and look in the mirror at a hero — someone who is breaking out of a deeply ingrained pattern and taking care of herself against a torrent of self-destructive conditioning.

All of recovery comes down to a simple choice — do I want short-term pleasure and the long-term pain that goes with it OR do I want short-term pain with long-term deep satisfaction and true joy. Just for today, your actions are those of a hero, a person who chooses to act with self-integrity in spite of your own imperfections along the way. You are a child of God who chooses to endure the extreme discomfort of a major pattern change in a series of acts of faith and trust that Hashem (God) will bring a new day of peace, light and joy.

Do not give up. Do not give up on the process. Do not give up on yourself. Persistence is a most valuable spiritual principle. The past does not equal the future. You are further along than you know. Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens. I’ll say it better — don’t quit five minutes before you have a profound realization that the miracle is already here — that you yourself ARE the miracle. You are a precious gift that G_d has put in the world to serve a purpose that only you can fulfill. You may not fully understand what exactly that life mission entails just yet, but that is not the issue. What is unfolding inside of you is what is REALLY going on. You are doing so much better than you know. Imagine what it will feel like when this reality becomes as clear to you as it is to me.

But — you say — I don’t know the things you have screwed up along the way. Here is what I do know: we are allowed to falter, to botch a step or two or ten or even a hundred. The part of your brain that tells you that you are a piece of garbage is a liar. My experience is that his voice gets softer over time, then louder, then softer. That inner critic has not been removed from me. Perhaps he’ll always be with you, too. But that is okay. Hashem is always and absolutely with you too, no matter what kind of mess you have made. He has not given up on you, even in the moments when you have given up on yourself.

You are awake, moving forward — albeit tenuously — staying clean today. This is all the proof I need that you are walking through this phase of your life admirably. Remember not to do it alone. Sleep — or at least give your body and racing brain a rest. Breathe, eat as nutriciously as you can. Keep your body moving — gently, not to exhaustion. Use the gift of words to express your feelings, frustration and thought processes to a few trusted confidents. Stay connected to people who love you and have your best interest at heart. Try to choose companions with stabile heads on their shoulders and avoid temptation of surrounding yourself only with people who won’t challenge you.

I know there are moments when this process feels horrible, but stay open to the possibility that you may be DOING way better than you are feeling. Your willingness to move forward in faith — trusting a loving Higher Power that you cannot see, hear or touch — makes you a hero in my eyes. May G-d as you understand Him give you the clarity to know and feel what I’ll bet you already suspect deep down in your heart — that you are a miracle and that miracles are happening through you every moment.

With love and respect,

© All material Copyright 2009 by Foxx Falcon

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Well my father was a farmer, down in old Dixie land
He didn’t grow carrots or corn
He grew cauliflower, ‘cause that’s what his daddy did
From the day my grandfather was born

Well the days of my youth, were spent in the field
And workin’ the farmers’ market fair
And I didn’t complain, or know of anything else
‘Til the day that I saw her there

My heart aches for you my darlin’
My heart aches for you my dear
And I wish your sweet lips could whisper again
In my old cauliflower ear

From the moment our eyes locked, together that day
I knew that we were a match
And my heart filled with joy, on the world’s finest day
When we were married, in the cauliflower patch

Well we raised a fine family, and I guess I didn’t see
That cauliflower was not my wife’s taste
And the strain of that plant, day in and day out
Was laying our marriage to waste

My heart aches for you my darlin’
My heart aches for you my dear
And I wish your sweet lips could whisper again
In my old cauliflower ear


Well my kids learned my trade, and became cauliflower farmers
And my darlin’ couldn’t take any more
She threw down her apron, and she didn’t look back
When she turned, and walked out the door


I supposed I could’ve stopped it, if I had decided
To take up some other line of work
But I am what I am, and my family’s proud heritage
I couldn’t bring my poor self to shirk

My heart aches for you my darlin’
My heart aches for you my dear
And I wish your sweet lips could whisper again
In my old cauliflower ear

© All material Copyright 2009 by Foxx Falcon

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Ironville Frank

Frank’s family and closest friends waited anxiously for the doctor to emerge. Was this finally the end? A thoroughly anonymous and unremarkable man at the time his cancer was first diagnosed, Frank had become something of a local cult hero, thanks to an overzealous reporter for The Ironville Talk and Times. Being diagnosed with stage-three cancer threw time into Frank’s consciousness. Was this all there was? Was his life as a husband, father, sheet metal worker, poker player and bowler going to vanish, like an ant who lost his way on the edge of the toilet bowl? Was there something more? Something he was meant to accomplish in this world before departing?

Frank chose to talk – something he never did much of. With the help of the local press, he became a spokesperson for time – for the value of time. Frank reminded Ironville of something we all know and most of us work rigorously, if unconsciously, to force out of our thoughts – that our days are numbered. Frank had used his uphill battle with cancer as a pulpit from which to deliver his impassioned sermon to seize the day. Simple folk like to heed the wishes of a dying man, which is a bit odd since the hopeless cries of the suffering seem to go unheard, or worse, ignored. Perhaps our compassion is aroused by the dying because acts of kindness dull the inevitable pain that comes when our armor of imagined immortality is pierced. Whatever the reason, Frank had a moment in which to be heard. He used that moment to tell us all that if there is anything we want to accomplish, now is the time. It was a simple message, anyone could have delivered it. But anyone didn’t. This simple, quiet Joe six-pack of fellow, suddenly transformed into a screaming preacher of possibility was simultaneously shrill and irresistible.

When he was asked to give a guest sermon in the church, he wouldn’t give up the microphone until promises were made – big promises. As a result of that first appearance alone, careers were altered, a homeless shelter was built, marriages were re-embarked upon, age old family rifts were confronted, restitution for thefts were made. And it wasn’t about inspiring platitudes. Frank would get right into the face of the person he felt needed to make a change and wag his weather-beaten finger at them, scream at them, beg them to fix what needed to fixed NOW. The confrontations were sometimes unbearable, and yes – he made his share of enemies. But his perceptions were clear and his instructions hard to ignore. Though some scoffed and walked (rather, ran!) away, many more welled up with emotion and tears, grateful that someone had finally cracked the shell of rationalization, justification, and denial that ego had used to prevent them from doing what their conscience and heart so deeply understood needed to be done.

And once the ball got rolling, it seemed to consume the collective ego of all of Ironville – amends, bold initiatives and loving action were sweeping through the town like wildfire. Not just a repentance of mind, but a peaceful state of love and unity that had never existed before, but somehow felt like a returning to a long ignored, always intended state of affairs. Within a year of Frank’s diagnosis he had had presented in every church, spoken in every school, sat with community leaders, and been consulted by the heads of local industry and philanthropy. The young reporter at the Talk and Times reported on his every move, catalyzing a frenzy of local media coverage that brought Frank’s message into any open heart in Ironville. With some reluctance, Frank agreed to taking up a daily presence in the back of Central Pharmacy. For as many hours as his health would allow, Frank sat a little desk in the back of the pharmacy. People would come for one-on-one consultations that somehow integrated the best parts of therapy, confession and friendship. He became a sage advisor. He never predetermined how long his consultations would last, nor did he make appointments. He’d just sit there – sometimes for 18 hours at a time. Some days the lines would extend out the door and down the block. There were weeks when the line could be seen around the clock. Frank never gave advice exactly. Rather, he would help people see from behind their egos what their essence already knew. The answers always came from the questioners, as it should be.

In the months that followed, Ironville could be seen, heard and felt as a new place. The external signs were easy to measure – unemployment was almost eradicated, poverty abolished, pollution reduced, beauty enhanced. But there was something more. A peace was in the air. Godliness, a holiness had been introduced – rather “released” as Frank would more likely describe it.

And now the final paragraph of the final chapter appeared to be upon Frank, as the surgeon’s skillful hands performed his craft on Frank’s body for the fourth time since this all began. When Dr. Nesor finally came out of the operating room, he looked as if he had seen a ghost. Nothing in medical training and years of experience, he managed to ramble, could explain what he had just seen. There was not a sign of cancer inside Frank. Not the slightest remnant of what his body had been through during the past 14 months. Nothing. He was as healthy as he had ever been in his adult life. There was nothing to do, nothing more to say. He needed only a night’s rest to recover from the surgery and anesthesia. Frank’s cancer had vanished.

The next morning was bright. The combination of warm sun and cool breeze made the sweet melody of the chirping birds all the more enjoyable. Word of the miraculous recovery spread overnight, and throngs waited outside the hospital. He emerged from the front door waving and smiling, eyes on the brimming crowd. I don’t think he ever saw that speeding ambulance coming. RIP, Ironville Frank.
© All material Copyright 2009 by Foxx Falcon

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Piney Branch and Dale

every journey starts, with a familiar path
you start out the same way, but it never lasts
you always cover new ground
you wind up in a new town
there is no need to repeat
so just strap in your seat
and go go go go go
Ah but first
you traverse
the burbs

Yes first
you traverse
the burbs

Sometimes it’s the country, with its open space
So primitive and lovely, in all its natural grace
the air is pure and free

Sometimes it’s the city, with it’s teaming life

Perhaps you’ll head east, with an expanding mind
© All material Copyright 2009 by Foxx Falcon

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Jeff Beck doing a little Beatles

I have to admit it’s getting better
Click here to listen ====>>> 14-a-day-in-the-life

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