The king's reign is but temporary. No matter how long, it is, in truth, ephemeral. The king knows this. He knows that if not by evil adversaries or righteous competitors, he will inevitably be brought down by ceaseless, brutish time -- the ultimate victor. And when the moment comes, when the bejeweled crown must be lifted from the king's head, he will bow humbly in honor and pride and humility. As the sun rises for his triumphant rival, the king will summon what's left of his fading strength and undying dignity, asking his scarred, broken body to make the painful journey towards the setting sun, yet his countenance regal and still, somehow, radiating the lush memories of a thousand battle victories and the knowledge that only an enviable few ever deserve to wear the crown. And in those final steps of immortality, the king raises his head one final time. For that singular ephemeral flash, his nobility shines a dim beacon into the night...
Alone among people.
Do you see me?
Whisper in the wind.
Do you hear me?
Adrift in my mind.
Can you save me?
Find me, search for me.
Where am I? Where have I been?
Keep breathing, keep running.
Keep the sun bright in your eyes.
A sudden cold wind sweeps over the hill. I grit my teeth. My legs ache, then give way. And I drop to my knees. My fingers scratch at the years of dirt caked on the tombstone. What was oscured becomes visible. The ghostly scrawl of a lost long name.
W E S L E Y. H A R R I N G T O N.
A sudden darkness falls upon the tombstone. Someone--or something--stands above me. I do not lift myself up. I do not raise my eyes. I remain on my brittle knees, hands to the earth. Bowed and beaten. It's time for a reckoning.
"I been a rough man," I whisper.
If I was expectin' a reply, I do not get one.
"A rough man, livin' them rough man ways."
Winds whip into a frenzy. Dust and dirt swirl in the air, filling my mouth, filling my nose, filling my lungs. I spit at the ground, as if expellin' the sins of my life.
"I'm a rough man!" I offer one last defiant time.
Then silence. And calm.
And the click of a six shooter, readying itself.
You see me, sweetness.
Kid in a candy store.
Or Christmas morning.
Gifts spread on the floor.
Hands hold you close.
Lips touch your ear.
Cry if you can't help it.
You got nothing to fear.
My desire is wild.
A free running steed.
Whisper to me.
Take what you need.
Could go on about Roses.
Red petals color the bed.
But your body tells me.
Time to talk has ended.
Say, release the beast.
Don't hold off the crazy.
Take what you want.
Until the dawn's hazy.
"Enjoy," the twentysomething woman said, placing a cappucino cup in front of me. The coffee was a light, light-brown that matched her remarkably straight hair, separated the left from the right by a ruler-sharp part. She flashed a lovely smile, as successful waitresses are wont to do, then moved on to the next table. I tilted my head back slightly, catching deliciously warm beams of sun that pierced though the leafy trees surrounding this outdoor cafe, and, for a while, slipped into that dreamy state where the sunlight fills your brain, pushing aside worry and issues and problems and concern, and shutting your body down into a kind of beautiful lull. I wanted to be left alone, and though I was surrounded by couples no more than an arm's length away, murmuring their quiet conversations, and a few others sitting alone, munching on brioche with razzlebery jam or some other breakfast food, I was essentially alone. Surely no one was looking at me. Certainly no one knew me. And if I had happened to pass into any person's field of view, I would be as unremarkable and anonymous as anyone else. It was bliss. I reached for the cup of cappucino and put it to my lips. The liquid was not especially hot, not bitter. I thought it might need a half spoon of sugar, but then decided it was fine for this moment. A light breeze carried the scent of salt and tropical ocean and sunscreen. I breathed in until my lungs were full. A rather elegant woman to my left was wearing a lovely perfume. Another table just received their orders of eggs Benedict. Beyond the dozen or so small tables of the cafe, men in khaki cargo shorts and white T-shirts walked with women swooshing by in colorful sundresses like gentle waves of mauve and flamingo. lilac and emerald, talking softly and lightly, and moving in a kind of pace just a bit more purposeful than meandering, which is to say they all seemed to have places in mind to be or go to, but were in no rush to get there. My brain was kind of meandering too. Dreamily thinking about this or that. Taking in the vision of a young girl, mildly tanned cheeks, with budding breasts, and a pink flower set just above her left ear.
A sandstorm gathers on a distant plateau. Winds of vengeance pursue me, as I continue towards the fading afterglow. My body aches, my steps unsteady. A lifetime of memories—few pleasant, the rest, not so—and a six-shooter, are all that I possess.
I stand on barren ground before a lost headstone. The name is indistinct. But I knew him well. A childhood friend. We ran as ruffians, finding our way into manhood. And, in our heyday, two of the most feared outlaw gunmen on the plains.
But they struck him down. Like a dog. Lawmen, vigilantes--rough men, like us. So I struck them down. Like dogs. And their families too.
Revenge is a curious thing. It tastes like death. But in time, it turns. Not into something good, mind you, but necessary. Something like rations. You can’t live without it. Keeps you going. Day after day. For a lifetime.
And it keeps them going. Day after day. For a lifetime.
In dreams I stand on a hilltop, follow what's inside me.
Shadows begin the race over the fields, I am on my way.
Putting our fate into the pursuit, some call it our destiny.
Talk to the wind, no one is listening, I hear what they say.
Passing those who preach the answers, the truth remains afar.
To touch the bark of the looming tree, running fingers in sand.
Tilting our faces to the setting sun, we won't find it in the stars.
Each of us opens the door in our time, holding mother's hand.
How do you know that I'm running away, if you can't see where I'm going?
Why turn the key on the lock, it's not where love's showing?
Die With My Boots On
Forsaken my soul in a valley a lifetime ago,
Hail storms thunder shook the playa low.
Faced the devil a baker's dozen, a mano,
Buried a wife, child, and twelve-and-one foe.
Roamed a dusty trail since I don't know when,
Just my canteen, six-gun and a lifetime of sin.
Seen every place, still not sure where I've been,
Was bad at faith, found God in a bottle of gin.
We are rough men, and our rough ways.
No time for debts, no time to pay.
We are rough men, and our rough ways.
No time for debts, don't care to pay.
Think I hear my maker a callin' my name,
Time for a reckoning, embrace the blame.
Pay the butcher's bill, death's the end game,
I'll keep moving along, thanks just the same.
Once a boy, then a man, leaving as dust,
Lived a life without penitence, a lifetime unjust.
When the time comes in my fate I will trust,
I'll lay where I'm felled, there my spurs will rust.
We are rough men, no time for debts.
Living our rough ways, no time for regrets.
We are rough men, no time for debts.
Living our rough ways, never regrets.
"Gillie!" he heard his mother yell from the kitchen downstairs. "Breakfast is almost ready."
He walked to his bedroom door. "Give me five minutes," he said.
After a moment, his father's voice boomed. "Get your ass down here! Last day of school, don't slack off by being late!"
Gilbert felt his jaw tighten. We wanted to shout, "Fuck you, Dad, I'll be down when I damn please." Instead, he called out, "Just getting dressed. Be down in a minute." Then he closed his bedroom door with the force just short of a slam.
He walked to his bedroom window, pulled down his underwear, and dropped them to the floor. He flicked them away with his foot. He was late to leave for school, but Carly would be walking by any moment. Last chance to see her on her morning walk to school. He reached down and held himself. He started to stiffen.
Where are you? Where are you?
He cranked his neck to look as far down the street. There she was. There was Carly.
Time to get serious. He closed his eyes.
John called it spanking the monkey, but that seemed strange to Gilbert because the motion wasn’t spanking and his dick didn’t look like a monkey. Gilbert thought tossing dice would be more appropriate. And, he figured, if he ever went to Las Vegas he might be pretty damn good at a craps table.
I'm going to melt into you. Let our thoughts drift together, feathers on a wayward breeze. Let our bodies become one, moving in rythm. Circumstance may keep us apart. But for now, let time stand still, let the night fall upon us. Let's disappear to anywhere. and when the dawn breaks and the sun comes up, we'll face the day. And all it's conplications. Whisper your thoughts. Let desire ride along. I've waited a lifetime for you, and I'll wait another if we're true. Because time means nothing, when you'll be there at the end. Time means nothing if I can be with you once again.
Alfred C. Martino
Updates from everyday life as seen by me