Author Archives: Just another average person

Embrace your greenery

Copyright 2018 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

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The tides of your life

On this side is Cramond Village. On the other side is Cramond Island. If you pay attention to the tides, you can walk across to Cramond Island.

If you tune in to the tides of your life, you can walk on water

Creativity

Creativity

Flows like a river that never runs dry
Through all of the seasons
From ocean to sky
It’s ready on call
In thick and in thin
It’s there when we fall
If we look within
But few among us
Will go down that path
And most of us all
Will seek not the heart

© 2018. Marlon de Souza. Al rights reserved.

Smaller deaths and dodgeball

Even imminent mortal death
is sometimes not enough
to break the fatal lure
of pleasure covered
pain that promises
to fully block out
smaller deaths
so let it hit
you now
instead
of the
very
end

 

 

Copyright 2018. Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved

A short life

It’s past midnight. I’m on the second walk of the night with my dog, Jules, who needs to empty her bladder yet again – she’s been drinking a lot of water to cool herself – it’s been unseasonably warm and very humid lately – that, and the fact that she suffers from incontinence. Yes, we have a good life. I have to drag, coax and charm her into walking for more than a block as she’s quite content to return home with an unemptied bladder and then look at me in distress after a half hour, or worse, wake me up in the middle of the night to take her out. So we walk several blocks before turning around.

Raccoons screech from across the street, inside Central Park – Jules stops and fixates on the racket. This is normal on a late night walk. By now, I’ve gotten used to stopping to indulge her curiosity – much like the way she freezes in place when stalking squirrels she’ll never catch.

We turn the corner to my street and Jules stops briefly to sniff a tiny branch on the sidewalk. I steer her away from it as it looks like dog shit. When I take a look at it though, it’s a small bird, a chick, dying. I’ve seen smaller birds before on the street, very tiny infants, newborns not more than an inch long. This one is bigger, about three inches from head to tail. It has a big, mostly bald head and blackish feathers, a baby blackbird, maybe – I can’t tell. I guess it probably fell out of its nest – it’s clearly not fully grown and I just don’t know why it would fall out of its nest after midnight. Shouldn’t it have been asleep in its nest then? One of its legs stretches out. For a half second, I want to save it, but intuitively, I know it’s dying. I don’t want to leave it there in case someone steps on it or a passing dog plays with it. I think of breaking the bird’s neck to put it out of its suffering. Thoughts of interfering with the cycle of life and death run through my mind, alongside my not wanting the bird  to suffer. Jules politely stays put when I tie the end of her leash to the fence of the building next door.

I bend down and lightly stroke the bird’s head. I gently caress its wing. There’s also very light trepidation that it might turn around and peck my finger. That does not happen.

A neighbor passes by with his dog, inquiring what’s going on. I tell him I’m thinking of breaking the bird’s neck to put it out of its suffering. He agrees, and adds, “Or you can try and save it.” I say, yes, I could take it home but I don’t think it will make it through the night and the Wild Bird Fund is not open now. I’ve taken injured birds before to the Wild Bird Fund, not very far from where I live in Manhattan. They do a good job of rehabilitating injured birds when it’s possible to do so. I’m glad my neighbor suggested saving the bird, because just a few seconds earlier I’d seen a wing twitch. My neighbor also suggested giving the bird drops of water through a dropper.

I pick the bird up in a small, open plastic bag and carry it home, with Jules by my side. Its eyes are shut and as I hold it in my hand, it appears that it has died, that the twitching of one wing might have been the last sigh before it died. Its legs are not moving. I get home, place it on a plate. It’s not moving; its eyes are still shut. I stroke its chest, its wing. I’m very sad at this point – encountering death firsthand usually makes me sad as I am faced with the fragility of life. I have incessantly questioned the meaning of life since I was a teen. The question is near at hand at this moment but it’s of no consequence right now – all I can see and feel is this bird that was here, and now it’s gone, dead on this plate in my house.

Jules is silently observing all of this. She’s a good reader of energy. As I put the dead bird in a plastic bag and get ready to drop it down the garbage chute, I wonder what the difference was between the bird dying on the sidewalk and letting its body lay there versus its dead body in the plastic bag and down my garbage chute. I don’t see a difference from the bird’s perspective. Some Buddhists and certain other religious practitioners will tell me that I did a good deed, that it was my intention that mattered. I think once the bird died, my intention and my actions were of no consequence to the bird anymore. It seems to me right now, intentions are only relevant in the context of a spiritual mind fuck. I’m not here to collect bonus karmic points.

I did not know that the bird had already died when I picked it up, trying to save it. I don’t know why I did it though. Whether I was trying to save it even though I knew it was going to die very soon, or whether I wanted to give it a peaceful, dignified death. Or maybe I just wanted to be kind to another. All of no consequence to a dying bird. Or to a dead bird. Or maybe not.

© 2015 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

Caw-caw, says the crow

The crow kept cawing from over there, under the green awning, just off the empty lawn. Its sound was now becoming annoying so I went over to see this thing that had disturbed my peace. It was perched just under the awning, going awk-awk.

Hmmm, awk-awk? How interesting – I’ve never heard a crow go caw-caw, I thought, the way we were taught in kindergarten.

But as I listened closely, its call did sound like caw-caw with a guttural awk-awk in there. I looked down on the lawn to see whether it was calling to another crow. There were no crows nearby and none in the distance. A few sparrows, a pigeon. But no crows. Maybe it was calling to attract a companion. Its body matched the intensity and fervor of its call. Crouched, chest pulled in, head sticking out and cawk-cawk, cawk-cawk

I listened to it for a few minutes and then moved a couple of subtle steps in its direction to get a better look at this now captivating scavenger. A shiny black beak, long too, and black wings ending their color at the precise point where they merged with its light battleship gray body. A good-looking bird, quick of eye, as it noticed my not so subtle move closer and prepared to launch. In response, I backed off lest it fly away. I resumed my seat a few feet behind the awning, no longer disturbed but enjoying the continued call of my brother or sister, the crow. cawk-cawk.

© 2014 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

Somewhere I have not lived

Somewhere I have not lived
right where a child’s heart lives
Some days life passes by
and I have not much to give
Some paths I have trod too long
where hardships never cease
Some days I cannot tell
the dark storm from the breeze.

Sometimes I look out at where
the crows and sparrows fly
and all I see is darkness there
as darkness is my eye
And some days I’m lost in thought
when life comes sailing in
for my heart is so distraught
at regrets unlost within.

Sometimes the path ahead seems long
even when it’s short
and those times are times of grief
that I have overbought.
And some days the winding road
seems to have no end
And then you look at me and smile
and keep me going, my friend.

© 2014 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

Homeless

This morning I got on the train and right there on one of the seats was a homeless man, with a trolley filled with his stuff, numerous giant plastic bags and a couple of smaller ones. He smelled. I looked away from him as I wanted to get away, to another car, or at least to the other end of the car I’d entered. I don’t know how he came to be homeless, or if he was mentally and psychologically beyond being able to help himself. He probably was. What can I do for him, more than helping him with a dollar or some food, I thought. I found a seat about twenty feet away and kept leaning forward to see his face, but he was hunched over. There were other people seated closer to him. Like me, no one did a thing. No one can do anything, I thought, to bring about lasting change to someone in this situation. Unless you dedicate all your energy to saving someone. Then maybe. But if they’re not saving themselves or if they’re not able to or have any desire to, what then? What can be done? What can be done? What can be done if, like me, you choose to not devote all you have to helping the homeless or those in need who cannot help themselves? I don’t know. It’s a good question to contemplate on, I now feel.

I looked into my bag to see if I had a piece of fruit or food I could share, but all I had was bread and an avocado. And I didn’t want to give away all my bread and the man had no teeth, I remembered from the very brief glimpse I got of him earlier. I was aware I was justifying my not wanting to share the bread I really liked. But also, when I’ve tried to share my food with toothless homeless people, they’ve often declined the food and asked for money instead. I wanted to go up and talk to the man but what if he didn’t want to talk to me? I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of the other people in the car, people I would never again see and whose opinion of me did not and should not matter. But it also could have been intrusive to go up and talk to a homeless person just because the person is homeless…what if he saw it as pity, what if it was pity – I don’t like to be pitied when I’m down, not sure that others do…it’s not like I was sitting next to him and starting a conversation just like that.

I decided to give him some money instead. My stop was coming up, so I walked up to the door nearest the man and gave him the money. He thanked me in what sounded like a female voice. I looked at the person’s face. It was a woman. She was old and wrinkled and she had no teeth. She looked tired and weary. She looked at the bill I gave her. I tried to not stare at her and instead looked at her from my peripheral vision. I wanted to talk to her…to talk to her. I looked out from the corner of my eye to see if others would be inspired to give her money too. No one else did, at least not until I got off the train. I wish I could have spoken to her for a little bit. I wonder if she feels alone. I wonder how she feels. I’ll never know. I realized that even if I gave her a hundred dollars, it probably would not change her situation. Still, it’s not enjoyable to have no place to live and no one to take care of you or to be unable to take care of yourself. No one consciously chooses to be homeless. Things happen. It could be me. It could be me. I wish you comfort and peace, lady.

© 2014 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

May your star shine bright

May your star shine bright

may you join with the other stars in the galaxies
to celebrate the best in you.

Let your path be lit by brighter stars
and richer galaxies
welcoming you
to outshine them with your beauty
and your voice.

May you inspire other stars
to spread their beauty
and their light
across the darkest spots
of the universe

and may you be

unlimited

joy

© 2014 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

Eternity

I chased eternity for a long time,
running this way and that
and I suffered for it.

So I gave up,
tired and exhausted.

Then eternity found me.

© 2013 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.