Sunday, August 17, 2008


Freeze warnings. In places with the last name of “Valley” …. Lucerne, Apple, and (you guessed it) Yucca. 29 degrees out in the bitter, dust drenched wasted land of the Hi-Desert. Performed two embalmings yesterday. The first was an elderly women. Used Plasdoform-25 fluid with good results in regard to skin texture and color. The second was a forty something year old female who committed suicide with sleeping pills. The note she left in crudely scrawled print started out: To Whom it May Concern ...

A thin, somewhat attractive half Latino, Mary O. was her name, and she was well abused and used up by life. It was obvious from the multiple scars, no doubt from savage beeatings by a dope fuled ex-biker boyfriend and stretch marks from child birth. Nicotine stained teeth, hard lines in the face, tattoos and even attempted tattoo removals. One tattoo in particular grabbed my attention. It was the outline of a crudely drawn heart. Black Indian ink. About an inch tall and 2 inches wide with an inch and a half scar going across the middle. Perhaps some ones name was once in the there. Maybe it was a knife scar she wished to erase from memory. It held my attention during the embalming and remains with me still: the heart shaped tattoo with the scar in the middle. Perhaps a metaphor for her suicide?

Regardless and in retro-grade, it begs the question: physical beauty abused by physical life? Trans-continental divides of back alley realities stand before the altar of pain. Chance the chess game my dear? In efforts thwarted by starved blue collar existence, Miss Mary is now a child again in the realm of the void … the empty darkness. She made the leap.

Going off to work at the Funeral Home. No doubt I will return again with the sorrow of another human tragedy pressing down on my soul. Seems as if everyone is just passing the time between birth and death. Wasted lives in slow decline. However, when you lay on that embalming table before ME ... no one is judged! All your sins and crimes are wiped clean.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


She was a radiant moonbeam taking flight. Something of a soft sonnet and a deep longing. The old barn yard lay blanketed in February snow. The fire crackled and sparked. Early morning. Wood burning stove. He had an old, faded colorless photo in his right hand. The year 1937 was scrawled on the back. After all this time her face could still leap from the photograph to snatch his heart straight out of his chest. Tears weld up in his eyes. For years he had tirelessly been waiting for spring … a spring that had never come.

He rocked back in forth in his easy chair with a shotgun laid across his lap. All he could hear was silence. All he cold feel was the unrelenting cold. He thought it strange, but in fact, one can actually hear silence more keenly then any sound. Some children, bundled up against the weather and walking to school, were passing the old farm house when they heard a sudden, faint pop. Like a firecracker or a flat tire. It erupted out of nowhere and in an instant was gone. It was surely something to make note of. Even if only for a moment, then let drop. Their thoughts turned quickly back to Christmas presents and fart sounds. They hurried on to catch the bus.

Inside the old farm house the man laid slumped in his easy chair. The rocking had ceased. Blood was splattered upon the wall behind him and a few drops had hit the roll top desk where he kept a bundle of letters marked “return to sender”. The photograph he had been holding rested on the floor at his feet. The silence returned, this time louder then ever.