I don’t have to wonder much bout the answer to life’s questions or the ones that haunt me in my head. That’s because all the answers have been told to me in detail as a result of Dhyan’s (Guy Traiber) new book, “The Zen Pocket Book of Irrelevant Answers.”

As of today, I have everything I need to be happy. Important answers follow.

What’s the purpose my life? I close my eyes and flip the pages of this compact written mecca of meaning. Page 53: “night time.” YES! That’s what I’ve been trying to say for years.

Which way is the nearest discount store? Flip. “Before he was five.” Yes!

What’s my sweet dog Lucy thinking about? Page 22, “black.” And what of my Emmie’s thoughts? Page 23, “not black.” Yes, Jesus.

I’m so very blessed with this book and you should be, too, dear reader. While you’re at it, support a writer’s work. It’s hard as hell.


I’m not flashy
I’m broken in pieces
Buried and lost
Buried and found
By the softbodied me
On a crowded beach
With no relevance
Aside from being a part of my whole life

My words are not flashy.
They are broken
but they are mine.

Noises in the wall
Like chatter
Or the clatter of chains

It wasn’t haunted before I forgot garbage day
Once then twice
The wall absorbed the trash
There are things I would rather not see
Things I left to rot

It’s doing its best
Salvaging the broken and discarded
Whoever is in the walls, making do with my junk,
Must be paying penance
For a word alone

His passing meant he had the last word
And I fire on my tongue,
Love and resentment’s frazzled flavor
Offering more sizzle than succulence.

It was a dish best served cold.

It was a coyote
Or a lone wolf
Something savage

It lurked in the shadows
Of dead land

It shouldered the shoulder of interstates and crops
Its scraggly coat
And lowered head
Darting as if in surprise
but no

It was something sage
Something undomesticated
or worse
Something formerly domesticated
Something vengeful
Something worse than rogue

Something savage

There were words to say or salvage
I’m almost positive
I would have said them already
I truly hated you
In silence


The diagnosis is raspberries

or blueberries

or mulberries

berries of the brain

harmless nothings

sweet somethings

berries bleeding dusk

and then

dirt in your eyes

dirt in your lungs

dirt from above

homegrown berries reborn

in a field shared by your kin and country

“It’s not like I’m going to die,” said no hypochondriac ever in the history of the world. I am an expert hypochondriac, or so I say. I make a good game of diagnosing people with random, non-fatal ailments as a way to produce more good humor in the world. I would never tell you that you have a lung cancer or heart defect sure to kill you; I might, however, tell you that tiny tinny red spot probably means you’re now the home and host to a rare African parasite. You might protest, saying you haven’t been to Africa. I would nod grimly, knowing you’re future is going to be wrapping a worm around a toothpick and gently putting it out over several months’ time because the damn thing will regenerate if you rip its tail off. But I mean, you’re not going to die from that.

If you have a cold, I will likely diagnose you correctly with a virus, a bacterial infection and/or pleurisy. Or the plague. Whichever seems most appropriate.

So, on Wednesday, I wasn’t expecting a call from a neurologist indicating that a MRI of my brain showed an abnormality. The MRI was supposed to be for fun. It wasn’t supposed to come up with anything of interest. I’ve been dizzy and my balance is shot to hell but what amounts to a vascular tumor? Fuck me, check that shit again.

Cavernoma: a cluster of poorly formed blood vessels that can leak both from the inside and outside. Leak as in brain hemorrhage.

Okay, it’s not that dramatic. Here are the facts. It may or may not bleed. It’s not an aneurysm or brain cancer. It may or may not cause symptoms such as dizziness and unsteadiness. It might or might not cause migraines like the one I had in 2011 that was so severe I knew I was going to die in my apartment and my dogs would eat what’s left of me.

Yes, let’s not be dramatic. It looks like a raspberry, a mulberry, or a blackberry. It’s hard to think of berries in a negative way. They’re delicious.

Bryan says as these things go, mine is pretty mild.

He’s right. They’re not life threatening, except when they are.

As I sit and write this, I’m not worried. I have to see yet another specialist later in the month (17 days from today) who will give me the real information I need–location, size, bleeding risk. He will give me options. Mainly, I’m already bored of the whole thing.
There’s not even a little whisper of a barely-there voice that says I’m clusterfucked beyond the defective veins in my head.

Postscript 5/7: brain lesion (cavernoma) has been ruled not a big deal by neurosurgeon.

We welcome scar tissue into our arms like it’s a good thing
As if it were a long-loved but long-forgotten lover we pretend never made us long-suffering
Scar tissue whose flap signals hardening and distance, both reasons to smile sorrowfully
Scar tissue whose cells allow us to survive
But at an angry and vengeful cost

Scar tissue whose existence prolongs our own as if it had an agenda despite our will to die
Whose will does it heed?

Pretty ye gleam, hard diamond
I smile at you
Bitterly aware
That my awareness is irrelevant
And unnecessary
Prettiness hardly matters when you shine.

SOB with me

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