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Sekurity Alert

Posted 20 July 2004, 4.58 am by Villager

Hrm. I'm in Starbucks and two policemen have just sat down on the table opposite me. Of all the tables in the (empty) room, they pick that one. Do you think they're onto me? Should I make a run for it? Or pretend I haven't noticed them, and try not to look suspicious? How did they see through my disguise? Am I not the archetypal, blue-eyed, innocent as apple pie Aryan American? Or was it too good a disguise? They're both overweight, I could probably outrun them. But I haven't finished my coffee. Or my raspberry Danish. I really am at a loss here. Perhaps they know I ticked 'vegetarian' on my meal choice for the flight over. That's one step away from choosing 'halal' and everyone knows vegetarians are to be suspected. No wonder they frisked me at the airport and made me take off my sandals. Wait, that's it! Of course. Sandals + beard = terrorist! What an amateur mistake! I appear to have underestimated the enemy, thinking my pasty complexion would fool their defences. I guess they sussed that one out when Michael Jackson had his makeover. Wait. Perhaps I'm needlessly jumping to conclusions. American cops aren't that smart. But then, why would they be sitting in Starbucks in Uniform? Hm. So... either they're slacking off or they really are onto me. The bigger one's looking at my Danish. Is he trying to intimidate me? Provoke me into making a run for it so he can make his arrest, send me off to Guantanamo and scrump my Danish? So much to think about. What if I'm captured, and they try to get me to talk, torturing me with delicious, aromatic cherry pie that 'I can have if I talk'? I have a high pain threshold, but I don't know if I can take that. I might crack. I only came in for a coffee. And a Danish. Where's Fraser? He'd throw them off the scent, he's lanky and whiter than me. But wait! Fraser's passport has a Saudi endorsement! They were onto us all along! I'm doomed. Maybe they're just waiting for him to come back so they can nab us both. Why else would they hesitate? The smaller one's fiddling with his truncheon. That's not a good sign. What a sordid way to go out, sneaking out to have a brief, sticky affair with a sweet, freshly baked pastry. It seems my vice will be the end of me. Wait! Fraser's coming! This is the end! I could run, but these guys are seriously overweight. I could get pounced on, squashed and suffocate, pressed against their sweaty man-breasts, handcuffed, kicking and screaming like a girl. Tell mother I went out like a man, will you? They're getting up! They're going for Fraser first. That gives me time to finish my Danish! They have mercy after all!. I guess this is goodbye, my love, don't give up the fight. I'll see you in Cuba.

"NO! Get away from my food! You can take my freedom, but you'll never take my Daniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!"

I am your...

Posted 19 July 2004, 2.33 am by cris

I feel you stroke my side. You hold me and gaze with distant eyes. The coolness of your touch is like no other. I am naked, pure, a virgin. Desiring to be a part of you, a part of life. Lusting for life itself. I am soulless without you, a void. I need to embody you, to absorb your being. To experience you like no other.

But I cannot. Not unless you are willing to expose yourself to me, a piece of your inner being. To share your self with me. To create me. To breathe life into me. Bringing me into life and existence itself. I am what you make me. I am of your design.

My mood is the pigment, my strength is the layers and my form is the intricacy. With each graceful movement I am more and more complete. Adding color and texture to me. Creating me. Bringing me to life. You make me me, and I am a part of you. Your soul, your vision, your love, your hate, your desire. I am all that you wish to share. I am your CANVAS.

Vanishing Point

Posted 13 July 2004, 1.28 am by shaggy

The world comes at you at times and is focused in on a single point. At this point is eternity, the reaches of space and time, and you feel concentrated, like a black hole at its deepest point.

This point is called "knowledge."

The old adage stands. Knowledge is indeed power and can, taken in the right context, in the right understanding, give one limitless power. Misunderstood, taken out of context, distorted and filtered into a bitter and black mess, and it can subtract your power, can dilute it into a gentle nothingness.

This is the delicate balance between knowing facts and knowing truth.

When one hears something, one understands it. This is an interpretation, and one that can often be correct in its assumptions. However, one must be certain that the assumptions are correct, or the filter (the lens through which we see the world) becomes more of a hindrance than a help to decipher the facts.

Then there are people with instinct, people who understand one another. Perhaps they see through the same filter, perhaps they see more than others, but there are people in one's lifetime who are said to "understand" rather than just merely know you. The people who know you can get close, but only up to a certain point before their potential for misunderstanding becomes disastrous.

The ethical dilemma comes from what to do with such incidents. When people become diluted and jaded to one another, the only option sometimes appear to be a severing of ties. The problem of this is how does one sever completely a tie with one who knows but does not understand you?

One does not like to forget one's friends, after all, even if they have become painful.

But this issue is never to come for those who truly understand you. They are the friends that never go away, the friends that can suffer through misunderstandings because they have faith that there is explanations. Things do not become distorted but concentrated, not muddy but crystal clear.

This condition is rare and must be treated with the greatest of affection.

Where Am I?

Posted 28 June 2004, 11.55 pm by shaggy

"I once was lost, but now am found"

The soldier was lost, this he knew. He had travelled with such a sincere and strong belief in his direction that he could not understand. The maps, the compass, the paths... all melted together in their own uselessness, adding to his trepidation. His heart, encased in its pitiable cage, sat beating rythmically against his death.

"This is not right," he said. His frustration made his mind race with breakneck speed, not caring about how his heart felt, his desperate heart beating its message against his ribs. Looking up, seeing that his way was lit by the moon, the soldier began to have a terrifying thought: "What if I'm going the wrong way? What if, somewhere along the way, I managed to disorient myself, and I'm headed toward--" but he did not care to think about that right now. His training meant little to him except as a disappointment. He had been properly prepared, he had known what to do, and still somehow, the startling truth hit him in the face.

He didn't know what to do. If he doubted his sense of direction, he could either correct his mistakes or make new ones. He might be on the right path, after all. His judgment might have failed on an expectation of time, but prove basically correct. Yet, such line of thought also had its problems.

"A rock and a hard place," he muttered to himself. "Damned if I do, damned if I don't." The desperation grew with the realization that his future decision took all the blame and put it on himself. If he chose the wrong path, he couldn't blame it on the map, on the compass... the only thing he could blame, should he walk up to Death's door with his Bible in his pocket,-- Death would be able to say "you came to me, child. No tears, no pain. You came to me"-- was himself.

He wasn't ready. He wasn't a real soldier, not as strong as he might have seemed to himself and others. The mere presence of his dilemma proved that without a doubt.

"One path to hell, one to heal. One choice made well, but both conceiled."

Eeny-meeny miney mo-- but no! He would not trust such things to chance. Even though it would pass the blame, he had never really been that lucky. Then again, one of his weaknesses was obviously difficult decisions. There was always that snake in the grass to worry about.

He knew he had to make a decision. But how does one make a decision when your heart tells you that you were cheated but your mind tells you to be reasonable, to have faith? Wasn't your heart supposed to have faith, and your mind justification, not the other way around?

The soldier turned his head to the sky. "Is this a test? Am I the new Job?" He was not terribly sure what to expect for an answer. Two equal paths... even if it were a test from God, wouldn't that only force him to live with his decision?

Is that not what he was forced to do no matter what?

God works in mysterious ways. The thought made him began to cry. "I wish your ways would be less mysterious. I'm not even a real soldier. It's just a nickname, ajust an empty title they gave me without really knowing anything about me. I can handle myself in training. Hell, even if bullets are firing, it makes it even clearer what I have to do. But now I can't blame immediacy. I cannot blame violence." He sighed, slumped over in confusion.

He realized his heart knew where to go. But it disobeyed his map, it disobeyed his compass, and it disobeyed his mind. And the truth was, he was not terribly sure he had the courage to know how to follow his heart. He was pulled in two different directions, but tired of not making any decision, he picked himself up, picked his breath out of his pocket, and began to move toward a random direction. As long as he did not stray from his current decision, as long as he followed where he believed he was going, at least he could always find his way back.


So. He moved in the way he currently predicted was the right path, heedless to all his inevitable doubts. "What if I'm wrong" could only be met with "how can one ever know?" He could be making the wrong decision just as easily as the right, but at the very least, deep down, at least he knew he was making a choice.

As he walked the path, tasting it for its judgment, he began to fire off words. "At least my ammunition is still intact," he told himself. What he actually uttered out loud were words unspoken, or perhaps stolen from a friend or archetypical memory:

I made my decision through indecision

Fate leads me now, my body her helpless victim
Moments not lost but gone, not forgotten but
Emptied of meaning. 'Here and now'...

He paused, sighed deeply. "What kind of soldier recites poetry?" he thought to himself. "What war do I fight that I must, but with words instead of blood? What victory do I hope to gain when all my meaning is contingent, a neural designation? What functions decide the output (decision) from my input (here and now)? Do I, as I hope, change these creations of mine merely by observing them, light waving its particles around like it is wont to do?" He pondered, weak and weary, before moving on with his fight:

This imprecise indecision
It's victim my heart's frail prism
Casts its shadows on my heart,
Casts its frail unforgotten
Showers of unspoken depth,
Upon my fragile door.
Beat my heart, oh Fate,
And make my decision for me.
Lead me by the hand
And force me to understand.

He slowly realized that his eyes were closed as he walked. A quick observation, with his compass and footprints, satisfied him that he was still pointed due East. Once he was satisfied of this, he began where he thought was homeward, his heart constantly imagining the other route.

He realized that he should have taken the other way, but occasionally, the path a man can take and the one he wants to take are two terribly different (but equal) paths. One positive, one negative, equal in magnitude but opposite in direction.

The light of the stars comforted the soldier, somehow. Walking on the sand, the stars calming him with their gentle and angelic harmony. Far off, the sound of water gently moving, swaying seductively in his ear, whispering to him in relaxing tones. He could have walked on a landmine, exploded in a mist of blood and bone, and nothing would have shaken him from the soothing breast nature had exposed to him.

As he was walking, he approached a (thankfully) good sign. He found footprints that, after comparing them with his own, were at least those of someone else. It was a new beginning, an extravagant Eden which looked at him, lovingly.

The signal was clear, or so he thought.

He approached a camp, immediately realizing that it was not the soldiers of his army. Which was fine, because his army didn't really have enemies, nor would there, of necessity, be any clash of ideas.

It was, at least, a temporary home.

He walked up to the sentry, who was a corpulent, petulant fellow. His sarcasm was etched deep into his eyebrows for all to see. He was, Our soldier soon realized, a bitter youth.

"How are you doing this miserable wretch of a night?" asked the young sentry.

"I am in need of assistance. I seem to have lost my way."

"Well, Buttercup, you're in the east camp of Nowhere."

"I'm actually looking for Somewhere."

Pause. "Indeed, well; sometimes Somewhere is very difficult to find. Anywhere, on the other hand... are you a soldier?" Squinting eyes.

"Why yes."

"What side?"

"I am a member of T.E.L.O.S."

"Tell us what?"

"No, not 'tell us' but telos."

"You mean to say you are with the Greeks?"

"I'm with everybody." Another pause. "Sort of like the Red Cross or the Salvation Army."

"The sideliners?"

"I guess you could say that. I personally wouldn't refer to Telos as a sideline, but sure. Can you help me find Somewhere?"

"My captain can." The sarcastic one disappeared for a moment, then reappeared, looking quizzical. "What did you say your name was?"

"Timon," said Our soldier patiently. The corpulent sentry snuck back into the tent. Our soldier listened intently, hearing the sounds of a waking, cursing captain drown out his previously comforting sounds of nature. After a bit of noise, ending in the sentry rushing back to his post, a rough, bearded fellow came out of the tent.

"What do you want, Son?" So the captain was the father, then.

"I need to find Somewhere."

"Don't we all, Son. Do you mind if I call you Son?"

"Sure. Just don't call me 'Chief'."

"Duly noted. You see, the folks around here call me Father. I guess that's because I'm the last one here to hold unto my religion. Do you have a religion, Son?" Pause as Father lights a cigarette.

"That question is illegal. Besides, even atheism is a religion, Father. Just one without a centre."

"Do you have a centre, then?"

Pause for consideration. "Yes, I suppose I do, though I don't know if it suits your tastes."

"All sorts suit my tastes. We have jews at our camp, wickan soldiers, buddhist soldiers--" A pause as he reconsiders. "Well, we lost the last two. The jews seem to be the ones doing all the fighting."

"Are you a jew?"

"You can't legally ask me that, Son. I am whatever I want to be. I care about my soldiers and myself, not our titles. I don't even know their names. They aren't 'Joe' or 'Sam' to me, they are extensions of myself. Closest think to naming we have is that I'm Father and everyone else is Son."


Nodding in agreement. "Terribly." Pause for reflection. "In fact, some of my atheist men (which is all of them now, except myself) believe that we are all mathematical functions. We receive input, process it with our biases, and create an output."

"What happens to the output?"

"It gets itself turned into someone else's input. Crazy, how things circle around themselves."

"Sad, really."

Father nods his head, and gently wipes his right eye. "I hate it when ideas that were once so... new and exciting get turned into something else, meant for someone else other than the original owner of the idea."


"Downright unfair." Pause as both men contemplate this seemingly childish, but true, outburst.

"So, can you tell me how to get to Somewhere?"

Father snaps out of his trance quit violently. "Oh well... yes... let me see if I can remember..." Pause again as Father smacks his lips:
Time is an arrow,
Its window narrow
And its pathway numbered
Its house Somewhere
Will take you there
Unless your life is plundered.
There did that help?"

(Frustrated) "No, it did not! That tells me how to go through time once I find Somewhere, but I still do not know where Somewhere actually is."

Nodding his head in agreement, "Must be one of those circular things we were talking about earlier."

"At least I'm safe," Our soldier thinks out loud. "As long as there is someone nearby, I am not technically lost. I know where I am now, I just don't know where I have to be."

"Tell you what, Son. Why don't you stay here for the night, tomorrow we'll figure out what you need to do. At least you'll be safe tonight."

"Thank you, Father."

"Now. You look starving."

"I've had crackers this morning, with some water."

"Well, before you die or something, have a few things to eat. Indigestion might give you bad dreams, but you can feel safe here. Dreams can only hurt you if you don't believe in them."

"What if I do believe in them? What would that mean?"

Contemplating, the Father says, "I guess that means dreams will come true for you in the end. But the end is a far place, though we all catch glimpses of it from time to time."


"Glimpses can be so welcome, especially here in the middle of nowhere. One does not catch glimpse of much here. But when one does, when one is wirey and strong enough to catch such things, it becomes quite overly worshipped."

"As all good things must be; everything needs to be destroyed."

"We would have no new things if we didn't destroy them first."

"This is true."

"Most certainly true." Again, the two paused, and looked at each other.

The captain sucked in a deep breath, and then let out with a loquacious and boisterous shout, "You must be one of those new men, who never get tired of agreement."

"No, sir. I disagree with everyone, almost all of the time."

"Such is the way things are, I guess."

"Such is the way things have to be, sir."

"I guess you are right. But you are young. How am I to take this?"

"Well, sir, youth can be a dangerous thing. One expects more from us than we can deliver. Others expect less than we deserve. Nobody really has anything pegged right."

"The problem is pegs. They are as faulty as labels."

"Indeed, sir. Pegs and labels are really crutches that keep a man's muscles from developing. They atrophy humanity."

"Simply tragic."

"There is no simplicity in tragedy, sir. Tragedy is a very complicated business. One must not shed a tear unless one is terribly certain one knows the facts."

"Do you know the facts?"

"On what, sir?"

"On where you are." Contemplating, "but this is not a worry for you. You must be tired. Go have that bite I talked about, and take your nap, and for God's sake, man, stop peskering me."

The soldier began walking toward food when the Father stopped him. "What do you think of the postmodernists?"

"Devils, all of them."

"Then there are no angels amongst them?"

"Only if you believe angels can be immaturity."

"Devils can be the epitome of maturity. It is a serious business, being a despicable creature."

"Indeed. But it is much more serious being good and being perceived as despicable."

"This is true, I suppose."

"And what is more, it is a serious business being innocent."

"Yes, one must preserve innocence. But I thought I told you to stop peskering me?"

"I am sorry, sir, it is just that your conversations are terribly interesting."

"Yes, well, I am brilliant. That probably has something to do with it."

"Probably more than something, sir."

The two exchanged an awkward glance, and then the soldier finally made it to food, and after eating, was directed to his 'chambers,' as they called his tent.


Girls Get Off Too

Posted 27 June 2004, 5.18 pm by Lilith

The net is full of conversations about the male wank. What once was a shooed-down subject is now all over the place and is discussed by men with others present like it’s the newest thing since sliced bread.

Well, ok. Masturbation is healthy, and it’ll probably help keep your wiener in better condition if you aren’t getting laid for years, and keep it prepared for the odd chance that you will get laid later after all—or, for that matter, a good way to pass the time for a guy between sex and sex. Nothing wrong with it, or even talking about it—but why in the world is there such a wall of silence where female masturbation is concerned? When was the last time you’ve seen someone declare something to the extent of “damn, this new vibrator I got is da shiz!”? You’d think that girls don’t play with themselves or something!

Newsflash: we do. I haven’t checked the statistics for this (and considering their sources, I would not trust statistics on this subject anyway), but I would guess that, barring Muslim countries and those where female circumcision is practiced, as well as the stricter Christian sects, more girls do than do not play with themselves when they feel like it. The only difference between males and females in this respect is that men need to release sperm on a regular basis if they don’t want to have a sticky or wet bed in the morning, and girls can really survive without an orgasm now and then and would still have more or less clean sheets.

To an extent, part of the reason for this being such a closed topic is the general social attitude that still lingers from earlier times—girls are not supposed to want sex or have a sex drive—rather, it is something men have and do, and are proud of. Girls are supposed to acquiesce to it under the pressure from the males, and then enjoy it in spite of themselves—or something. I know that the Western society is moving away from that ideal, but it is doing so far more slowly than it would appear at first glance. Like the fact that gay men are typically more accepted and thought of as cool, like the show “Queer Eye for A Straight Guy”, while lesbians are still frequently labeled as “man-haters” and portrayed as huge ugly hulking fat dykes. Or like the gender disparity between the amounts of the public conversations about satisfying oneself.

Another reason may be parents. While Christianity has long tried to label masturbation as evil, even relatively non-religious parents still often get angry and the kids that are caught masturbating, get slapped on the hands or private parts. They punish the children and tell them not to do it again because it is bad and shameful and dirty, often without explaining to the 7-year-old in question what “dirty” means, or even what “it” is. The atmosphere of fear and shame do not facilitate healthy sex attitudes but rather stunt them from the very beginning. And of course, this is more so for girls than boys for the simple reason that our equipment is more complicated and harder to deal with. No snubbing guys and their wonderful tools, but they are a whole lot easier to play with discreetly, don’t you agree? More girls get caught, more girls get shamed… and later on, the society confirms it for them, while releasing the boys from the stigma at about the age they reach middle high—by then, it’s “cool” to wank.

Later, much later, when we grow up, we discover that there are stores full of toys that are made for the purpose, and a variety of other things—but the damage is done, and girls keep quiet about their masturbatory habits. Short of going to crazy feminazi conventions or participating in lesbian forums, one does not hear/talk about it. Ever.

So how is it that we, girls, get to talk about satisfying ourselves? Where do we get to bring this up? A friend of mine—who loves men and is a very attractive blue-eyed blonde, so please leave the “she’s ugly and can’t get men” stigma at the door—happens to own a nice collection of fancy and expensive vibrators. She uses them between boyfriends (and when boyfriends aren’t enough), and has recommended a few (namely, the Bone, the Rabbit and the Dolphin) to me and other friends. She says that the toys give her mind-blowing O’s that are rare with a man and the different toys provide variety. I believe her, but my personal preference has always run to either sex with men or, barring that, a good jacuzzi, so I haven’t followed up on her advice. Another friend did and quite appreciated the results—in some cases, like when women have trouble reaching orgasm with a man, vibrators can be a lot of help. Another friend of mine (male) also owns a large collection of toys (vibrators and otherwise) that he likes to use on his female partners as foreplay or to supplement his own (quite adequate) tool. He sees no shame in it for himself or the women involved, or in discussing ways of bringing a girl to climax with me and other male or female friends.

In contrast, I still remember my shame and disgust when I first accidentally found my mother’s vibrator in her nightstand (Note: DO NOT tell a kid that’s looking for some lip balm to “go look in my nightstand” when you have not put away the toys beyond stuffing them in the top drawer!). I have since then grown up and realized that there is nothing wrong with owning or using one, but I still carry with me the sheer shock of looking at the iridescent pink thing laying there across pens and bits of paper, and being too grossed out to touch it, left alone look around it for lip balm. I went to a friend’s house and stayed there for the evening (incidentally using her lip balm), just to be away. I still wonder why my mother, who obviously had no problem with the concept of female masturbation, never bothered to talk it over with me while I was growing up.

Was it the social conditioning she received when she was a girl? The pressure of society (can’t say religion, as that is not an affliction that plagues my family), or personal problems? What are these forces that drive mothers not to talk to daughters, and friends not to talk to friends, and women not say anything about wanting to do dirty things with themselves in the dark? I don’t know entirely, no—but considering the double standards of sexuality in the Western society, I have a pretty good idea.

That Place in My Mind

Posted 12 June 2004, 2.40 pm by shaggy

Throughout many contemplations I have, the most difficult problem I have is defining humanity. I do not believe it is as subjective an experience as the postmodernists believe, nor as objective as science would perhaps like to believe. Like everything in life, I believe it is a balance between the two, which makes it difficult and a tricky thing to define.

One can and cannot describe it.

The moments of universality, moments like love and hatred, can be explained and indeed, across the paths of literature has been discussed many times. Even, to a lesser extent, the more subjective experiences have been attempted to have been described, like George Orwell in 1984 when his character says that the greatest books are those that tell us what we already know. Yet, with the above example, the subjective becomes the objective, what was thought to be an oddity of humanity becomes something which can be shared.

And yet, still the question remains, what is humanity?

The reason I ask such a question is because of a thirst I have. As I grow older, I realize more and more how much love fills my heart for this thing called humanity. At bitter moments, I have become very cynical at it, even so much as to scorn this life for a better one, to scorn flesh for something greater. But I think that doesn't solve the problem. I still believe in something greater than flesh, but I realize now I was being selfish and irresponsible.

If I see a problem with this world, I should, after all, try to solve it. The problems might not be solved in my lifetime, but as Chekhov said in Three Sisters, happiness is not ours but something we build. We will never see it, but we will have built enough for our children, and those who come after us.

One of the problems I see is a slight irresponsibility. We recognize that we are all human, and yet rarely does a discussion on the universalities of said humanity come up. Psychology attempts such a feat, but again, I think its focus is too objective or too subjective, depending on whether it is treated as an art or a science. We are, I believe, a little bit science and a little bit art.

It is the balance between the two I search for... a scientific art, or an artistic science. Perhaps, as I have found many times, they cannot be blended because they are the same thing. But the point is that I want to blend what I feel to be naive in both the studies. Science is naive in thinking everything is objective, art can sometimes be naive in thinking everything subjective (and yes, I know, I am so very cruel to those postmodernists).

So where do I find this? In experience, I believe. In knowledge of the world and the experiences it brings. In compassion and love, but also in understanding and appreciation. In cold calculation about warm, loving things. In careful, warm appreciation of cold, hard science.

I am not out to break down any binaries except those that do not work. I think there is very much a difference between the subjective realm and the objective, and at times I have felt at war with myself between them. I want to see, to know what it means to find the middle ground, because I believe that in that middle ground lies humanity.

I know a group of intelligent fellows like I have here at akpcep will be more than happy to tell me "oh poor naive Shannon, here is the pathway you thirst for, these are the books you need to read." Or perhaps it is that they have not been written yet.

Any comments?


Posted 7 June 2004, 7.51 am by cris

A couple more acrostic poems to ponder.

Soft are the whispers of the wind
Alluring me deep within
Nowhere to lay my weary bones
Cherished wishes one makes alone
Temples adorned with flickering lights
Unto shelter from the night
Anticipations oh so bleak
Refuge for my soul I seek
Yore hopes for which I weep


Thirsting for your flesh and soul
Embers burn inside
Masked are reasons untold
Pleasing desire's whim
Temptation grows strong
Anguished heart aches
Torment lies deep within
Ill passions lust hesitates
Oh, the vises of our sin
Now that we have given in


In Remembrance

Posted 23 May 2004, 6.55 pm by cris

I think writing can be a form of therapy and a way of remembering history. It is in this way I am writing. Thoughts and feelings put into words. I am sharing a piece of history, my history, Carl's history. A piece of us, I now share with you.

In Remembrance Of
Carl James
3/16/87 to 5/28/99

The over stuffed recliner is warm and comfy as I cradle Carl in my arms. He is a bit heavier now than when a baby, but that is no matter, we are settled in. Why is it in death people's minds tend to wander? My mind is a flurry of activity; after all, we knew this moment was coming. We had met death head on many times in this child's past. From the moment of birth when he was whisked out of the delivery room doctors stating "he will be alright, he just needs to get some oxygen". His lung disease always will be an issue and the gamut of disabilities ran the length of my arm. I didn't realize at that moment I was going to take on a role far greater and challenging than that of mother. I would have to in time become his nurse also. Such is life. Take what you get and go with it, which is how I handled things before. What we got was a happy child, never learning to walk or talk but his laughter filled the air on almost a daily basis. He was described by most, as a living angel, it was hard to dispute. It was almost like he could see angels, waving his arms and laughing as they danced around his crib.

But now the angels call, death can not be held off this time. Now I hold him in his chair as his brothers and sisters say their good-byes. We laugh at memories and they cry knowing that he is leaving. Knowing that he is going to die. "He is going to heaven off with the angels", we say, trying to soothe their fears. God is a great comfort when no one is sure what indeed will happen and our family has always believed. I am calmer than I had imagined and have not cried. Even when asked "when mommy, when will he go?" I just respond "when it is time". The pastor, who came to be a support, tries to help by consoling them and the home nurse fights back tears. I take comfort in holding him, in kissing his forehead and stroking his hair. I have my goals I had told every one of my three goals for his death. I didn't care what death had planned; I knew what I wanted for him. To know he is loved, to be holding him in my arms, in our home and to have no pain. God knows the child had more pain in his life than most adults. I couldn’t even count the number of times he had been in the hospital, but the pile of hospital bracelets in his dresser drawer was large. I was set on my goals and made the necessary plans so when this time came we were ready. And now was that time, no more planning, just waiting. Jim has to be the mom for the day. Taking care of the kids, answering the phone which is a task in itself, keeping family informed. The household is a whirlwind of commotion and emotion. Plus trying to keep his own emotions in check. I have still yet to cry.

Suddenly Carl's lungs restrict more, his body flinches and a muffled groan from his sleep is heard. A quick glance to the nurse and she is off to get the next dose of morphine. Fear drives through me at being told "it's too early, I can't give him more yet". He flinches again and I along with him. I stroke his head and talk to him as calmly as I can "I love you, I am here, it will be ok". Anything I can do to make him comfortable. She calls the supervisor along with the doctor and is able to give him more. I talk with the doctor, who is already aware of my feelings, "I will not watch him suffer" I tell him. He tells me the maximum we can give him and the frequency. For now it works, for now he is calm and sleeping in my arms. The house begins to calm also as the clock ticks and time passes. It is late evening now. The kids say a goodbye again and Jim shuffles them off to bed. Taking the extra time to talk with them again and calm their fears. The pastor gives his final blessings and departs.

Time can be joy and agony. Relieved that we are at home, that he is sleeping peacefully, unaware that the next breath could be his last. Agony with each passing minute, that it could be his last. Agony, as I hold him, I can feel him slip farther and farther into death. He has been as pale and cold as death itself. His breaths shallow and his body limp. But Carl refuses to give in. He never let death win before why should he now.

I shift in the chair as my arm starts to fall asleep. It is the early hours of the morning now and the house is quite, the nurse is talking to me just making idle conversation and reminiscing of Carl's life. We disconnect some monitors; there is no need to watch numbers fall. He has been receiving the max. oxygen that the tanks can put out. The morphine is working and we have been giving it to him as often as directed. I am relieved that I do not need to administer it myself and put the nurse in an awkward position. But I had prepared myself for the possibility. I will not let him suffer I was determined to stick to those words. Time passes and I grow tired.

Carl gasps, no flinching this time just an exhale that seemed like a balloon lost all its air. Then nothing, I remain still, my heart and mind racing in tempo. The nurse checks his vitals and he gasps again. I had been warned of this. A type of breathing that can occur at the end of life. Death is here his body hasn’t realized it yet. My mind spins, how can someone breathe one breath every 2 minutes or more and how long can he breathe like this? My screaming is only heard to me as my heart breaks open. The half sleep and calm is replaced in a split second with a rush of adrenaline. He gasps again, his body still limp. A breath then nothing, time passes, a breath then nothing, again. How long can he do this? I kiss him and whisper its ok you can go, you don’t need to fight anymore, I love you, I love you.

A final breath and this time no repeat, all is still, he is gone, it is over, death has won. I keep a hold of him and say my good-byes. It matters not that his life is gone. I feel the need to still hold him, so I do. The once still house has a silent commotion this time as if thieves in the night, the doctor comes and the nurse's supervisor comes to relieve the nurse of her duties. I now release him laying him in his crib, no need to raise the sides and find it a disturbing sight to see his motionless body in the crib. I resist the urge to raise the side for fear that he will roll off. Finding it half scary and humors how the mind works. The nurse hugs me tears in her eyes, she has no need to hold back emotion now. I have still yet to cry. Everything is occurring as if I am in a trance, as if in a dream. The funeral directors come and protocols are met, sympathies given. Then all are gone - the doctor, supervisor, funeral directors and Carl, my baby. My baby is gone. The house is total silence, all are gone. I stand in the hall face pressed against Jim's chest in his embrace and begin to cry. Now I can finally cry. The battle is over. Carl is at peace, he is finally at Peace. Peace.

C. P. J. May 15, 2004

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Doggybag/baggy_dog is an artist living and working in Barga, Italy. Click here to read about this piece in his own words.

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Hey Cris, it's as busy here as it was at the end - which is to say, not at all

I wish I could new you guys was here in the beginning of 2020 LOL

OMG I was feeling nostalgic and I can’t believe that AKP is still here! So how’s it going ?

Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness


80s candy bars were pretty good


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