The Wonder of It

English: Electron microscope image of sperm.

By Delbert H. Rhodes

My eyes open, it is something after four in the morning; somehow, I feel the bathroom listening to my stirs, and mentally I call out, “I will be there soon.” The radio’s voice pours into my ears, it is too loud; it is strange how the volume operates independently of my preset levels. I must reduce the volume, though my desire to remain still makes turning in bed difficult.

Quietly, the soothing tones of classical melodies drift me away. I love and enjoy listening to delicate musical manuscripts, and this I could do all day. Even so waking instills responsibilities, thus, the day begins and it matters not of the time.

The constant ringing in my ears disturbs the pleasantry of the music; I wish that I could rid the noise in my head. For many years this malady has held me. In my youth, I sought a specialist for help, and he said, “Maybe we will take something out.” After my second visit to his office, the specialist left for vacation.

I wonder about people whom listen to loud audio; what occurs inside their brains? Whatever it is, doubtless, it is different from my own. Strange, people who prefer LOUD seem to act without consideration of loss of hearing, and by ignoring other people.

I am happy to note that some people actually learn. While sitting outside in his vehicle, a young man awaited my neighbor. The man’s car radio volume was extremely loud. Fanciful as it may seem, the noise could have interrupted orbiting stars. Simultaneously, my neighbor, and her Mom walked outside and  quickly, Mom indicated displeasure to the loud noise. Immediately, the person turned the volume down. Now, each time he returns to the property, his music cannot be heard.

Some people fail to learn. About two weeks ago, the neighbor in the house next door, that house is also owned by my property owner, played his music even louder than did the previous person. Taking out the garbage, I strolled over to see whether the music came from indoors, or outdoors. While cleaning his cars, the neighbor wore earplugs while listening to his very loud music. Are You Kidding!

That is correct; he protected is ears from his severely disturbing music, while the melodies pelted and melted  the neighborhood and me. After a brief encounter, the person immediately turned the volume down. Well, within less than one week, it was…I’M BACK! Would it be disrespectful of me to pray for a HAUNTING!

The morning sky is dark; the forecast is rain and snow; maybe the snow would find somewhere else to fall. A pleasurable thought. I am not a winter activist; therefore, for what needs have I of snow, or winter. Already, the city feels the impending storm; heavy rain falls on the stonework of NYC and Long Island.

Outside: the wind howls loudly; seemingly, its ferocity swells inside my bedroom. Rhythmically, water-logged trees and vegetation flex swashing back and forth. What must life be as a plant, a tree, a flower, and anything subject to nature’s wrath? Unlike trees and other vegetation, most-times man demonstrates capabilities to protect himself from inclement weather. Romantically speaking, the dichotomies in nature may be similar to those of (some) women, they are beautiful, but at times caustic.

A neighbor’s dog barks; lately it seems to crave attention. Alternatively, perhaps it sees a rabbit or squirrel scampering about. Often, barking dogs are alerting to intruders; but many times, barking minimizes and negates the focus of intended alerts. Here, unwanted and intrusive barking has zero affects against possible intrusions. Owners quickly quiet their pets; frustrated neighbors disdain the unwanted noises, and especially during hours of sleep.

Remember: dogs are protectors, not playthings, and deserve all provisions of dignity. All too often, and unfortunately, plaything is the order of the day; as a result, properties could fall prey to predation.

My feathered friends add voice to the day; mornings are never the same without the trill of birdsong. Occasionally, I have the pleasure of enjoying the songs of Nightbirds. Dearly, I love birdsong, for if I did not, then surely, other unwanted insufferable noises (would) intrude upon my world. Fortunately, this is not the case.

Last night on the News, I learned that Valerie Harper, AKA, Rhoda, has brain cancer. Why is it that some people inherently borne certain diseases, while others do not? High blood pressure and Diabetes populate my family. Most, if not all, of my mother’s paternal line, (the old ones) have perished because of Diabetes, or some form of cancer.

My Mom and I suffer with high blood pressure, albeit neither her children nor she suffers with Diabetes. Well, no one lives forever; the great misfortune is, and for some, ‘forever’ is a short-term.

The bedside lamp has an interesting configuration; it appears as a sperm cell. The head of the lamp imitates the head of a sperm cell. The lamp’s body is thin and long, similar to that of a sperm cell’s tail. One cannot help, but wonder whether suggestive shapes overrun the minds of crafters. Bottles of perfumes and colognes are curvaceous, sensual, and pleasing to the eyes. Previously observed is one company whose name commingles letters colloquially to misspell the act of making love.

Somehow, absent are considerations of impropriety whenever concerning some products. Are not children and minors moving about in the public, and do they never view T.V. or videos? Whose responsibility is it; I wonder, to protect children and minors from influences, which fall into the void of IMPROPER, the commercial industry, stores, or parents?

Some products clearly are sexual in design, or use sex as the primary tool of selling. Cars, furniture, perfumes, colognes, exercise equipment, name it, and probably, sexual innuendos or directed sexual interfaces share and sell the products. Victoria’s Secret certainly is highly marketed; do children and minors see those commercials? What is ‘your’ answer?

With and without parental peeping could the Internet and technologies including television, videos, and music render children and minors less innocent? I Wonder.

About four years ago, a long-term ex-girlfriend, regarding a Post I made to a social network, publicly attacked me. The Post was an excerpt from a short story of mine, whose main character, a female, is a pole dancer. In the script, the dancer describes her first time dance experiences in detail. The language though not acutely graphic, is suggestive.

The ex-girlfriend indicated that her “girls” had received the Post, and this fact disturbed her. I responded by requesting the “girls” to remove me from their “Friend” list. This, the ex-girlfriend also complained about; she did not desire that I disconnect from her granddaughters. Well, eventually, I disconnected from the ex-girlfriend, permanently.

Now here is the skinny: I sent my Post only to individuals in my “Friend” list, and none was underage. My ex-girlfriend’s granddaughters, underage, were NOT in my “Friend” list, and I was not in theirs. Therefore, and though the EX accused me of “Sending” the Post to her “girls,” it was not I who sent the girls the Post, but my EX and her daughter, the girls’ mother.

Configuring the Page Preferences of my EX, her daughter, or anyone else whom might have had the “girls” in their “Friend” list, was not my responsibility. Apparently, and these assertions I gained while communicating with the ex-girlfriend, the EX was not well versed in the mechanics of controlling her page, and it was not my duty to inform her.

We must ever be mindful of not only the things that disturb us, or cause us rage; but of the facts surrounding our disturbances. Misdirected accusations and blame serve to only diminish the assertions they raise.

Staring out the window I am mindful of beauty, and though the day is bleak, overcast, and dreary it is no less beautiful. I think of the many things that afford me pleasures, and feel thankful for my blessings. Life is ever wonderful and it is ours for just a moment; the moment is as beautiful as we make it.

Beneath the umbrella of repetition, each morning my day begins the same, or so it seems; and I know at least one person who (fervently) complains of repetition, as witnessed in other people. Is any human afforded life or lifestyle without the syndrome? I say NO.

In my opinion, repetitiveness naturally occurs in human behaviors. We hear it speech, and observe it in the things we do as individuals or in groups and like it or not verbally iterations “reiterate.” Of course, if our speech or behaviors are too overt, then we suffer labels and then sometimes end in “A Better Place”; however, this place may not be better…indeed.

The rituals to which I commit each day relax me; they make me happy. Naturally, I commit only to things I like; the wonder of it is why I disfavor certain commitments. Answer: Seemingly, something occurred at my birth. (I must think more about this.)

Snow litters the morning sky; and since first observing them, the falling flakes increased in volume. Yes, I absolutely have zero needs of the stuff, yet if snow is pristine then it is lovely, and I enjoy its presence.

Today, I watch as snow whitens the world. Tomorrow, I prefer to see not one “floating flake.”

Copyright © 2013-2014 Delbert H. Rhodes

Darkness, A Fulfilling Light

By Delbert H. Rhodes

A February morning and the sunlight slowly brightens the skies. I have enjoyed sleep, yet laziness embraces me and I prefer stillness. The day disappears quickly and as much as I desire laziness I relent to responsibilities. Each morning, various instructional texts which include The Bible, a grammar bible, a mathematics edition and a book of poetry shake and sharpen my mind. At some juncture in the day and for the thrill of it, a suspenseful novel adds more twists and turns.

Occasionally, the words in the Bible impress me as worthless entrapment, counsels of which I too could write or might have written. Other times, they summon passionate suffrage even causing tears to well in my eyes. The book is filled with smaller books of taunts and tales boasting lessons for all willing to peruse the pages. The storytellers are adept at portrayals which unearth deep recesses of human thinking, feeling and even rage.

Sometimes religious teachings appall me: causing me to curse the writings; mocking them as I toss the Bible into the trash. Somehow, I retrieve it, continuing the suffrage. Jesus Christ is the Savior for some; however, I do not fully support or revere him. Moreover, I do not ‘fear’ him; and surely, he hears and feels ‘my’ wrath from time to time.

That said, and honestly, there are moments when I invoke Jesus’s name; especially during prayers learned in my childhood. The benefits of prayer are proven, and though I cannot actually account for His presence in my life, during prayer I afford Him the benefit of doubt. No one is perfect and (accordingly) Jesus Christ certainly was not.

Imperfections occur in the whole of humankind, and whether man made or not, it seems that their presences in our world account for positive or negative manifestations. The wonder is whether certain families may be (genetically) responsible for the psychological burdens borne by children early in life. Further, and possibly, prior to fetal development, what if the genetic plan could be altered.

That is to offer, if the organic materials could somehow choose the receiving host. Preposterous? Perhaps, nonetheless, before birth and in this way, the life forms later to become children would have a say in the choice of parents. After all, if we dislike whom we are is it then possible to love whom we are?

Families represent everything we are, and are the first avenues of instruction, the first hands delivering punishments, the originating sources of pride in our lives. Pride is deeply personal and each person hosts and hides his and her viewpoints of family and self. Yes, some of us dare ask questions of whom we are and wonder whether we would change outcomes before birth, if this were possible, if opportunity were ours. Would you?

Some would embrace the miracles, others would stand rigidly steeling their souls, BLASPHEMY! so sayith. “The gates of Hell will receive you.”

Of the heritages born to my family, my Seminole (Creek) ancestry is closest to my heart. I embrace the lifestyles of Native people, I feel more secure and sensible celebrating the natural elements as deities, refusing to permit others to decide how I worship; or the path I follow, force-feeding me with unsolicited versions of doctrine.

I assert a shared path to creation, a cooperative venture to man’s heart and mind. Therefore I pray to the Earth Mother, and to God and the Virgin Mother.

Additionally, I neither fully nor blindly relish Christian teachings but these and others selectively provide plausible insights quickening the pace to informed choices. On the other hand, and with man at its helm, religious towers are lighthouses staring down upon so called darkened waters, the arms of light are fishermen whose nets strip away fish scrambling to what appears as safer waters.

Wealth, Control and Power: the bases of religious zeal. Truth, Honesty, Honor and Integrity are important human traits; these are attainable and teachable without lashes of guilt, or ligatures of lies.

In my opinion, religion and politics share podiums, that is to say, in many ways they appear to be forms of mind bending, agents of dominion and control. The masses are the easiest to fool, simply construct a tale insert fear, and especially regarding women, children, loss of culture and race or finance and then SELL IT.

The wagons quickly circle by the powers of psycho-emotional suffrage; and for them eager to fight, the horizons brightly glow beneath flames of blinded vision.

There is a time to worry and a time to war and these demand undeniable truth; a truth supported by untainted facts, and regarding information presented by the Media, this information must be qualified by question. For, though the topic be religion, politics, money or power, and unless the sources are independent of Puppet Masters, the Media too and accordingly, act out of special interests…

…The soft ticking of my wristwatch offers a pleasantry to the morning. Sitting atop the bed table, the wristwatch cannot know of its powers of influence but the morning senses the effects. Somehow, the ticking provides a pulse for the melodies inside my head; the tempo for an invisible orchestra of which I am the Maestro.

Attentively, I listen to the ticking; the call of its voice is soothing and hypnotic and I fall deeper into its spell. Until last week, realizing that my watch ticks escaped me.-Strange. I have owned it for about one month.

Morning evolves and its shape all things living inside the moment, the day. The dark sky shies sunlight as specs of sunshine lightly brush the clouds. In some places, the clouds appear as creating light. The brilliance emerges from within the puffy masses. In other areas and like fingers of delicate hands, intricate etchings masterfully create the canvas.

The magnitude of the heavens is vast and mysterious. Would we ever understand the worlds living above us, could we truly appreciate them?

The miracle of the day is before me and within it I am but a tiny insignificant being; nature’s plan flourishes without my input. On a day like this and in a place far from here a young woman pregnant with child broke water in her doctor’s office. On a Monday and sometime between 5:15 and 5:30 P.M. I was born, sixty-one years ago. My Mother was a seventeen year old turning eighteen in nineteen days.

Often I think of my childhood, today is no different. I think of the tiny house on Seventh Street and the Catholic school that I would later attend. I think of playing alone, at first, in my yard and later with Louis my neighbor. I think of Blackie my beautiful Black Lab and first friend. Stepping out into the street, I look yards away to Rhodes Ville; owned by Thomas (Papa Tom) Rhodes, my Mother’s paternal grandfather.

I think of the many days I enjoyed playing in the sands outside of Papa’s store. I remember Stanley and his large bulging stomach with its protrusive navel, and the few days before our meeting, when his big brother, Freddie, said, “You can’t beat ‘my’ brother.” Meeting the challenge, I asked for the whereabouts of his brother, and then upon meeting Stanley wrestled his fat belly into the dirt.

I think of the first time someone referred to me as “small” and how terrible it made me feel. Before that moment I never realized that I was tiny as a child. Afterwards, I disliked the woman who tagged me with the moniker. I reflect on the few times White people called me “Black Boy” and the one time that I was indirectly called “Nigger.”

I remember the many times White children sicked their dogs on me as I by passed on my way into town. I am saddened by the (little) boy never wanting to grow (up) and today while reading a passage from the Bible it is written that as we attain more knowledge we accrue more sorrows, I cry for the child.

I recall the few moments of happiness in my life. I feel sadness for my old friend, Stanley who, about four weeks ago, went to walk with his ancestors. His death would occur prior to his sixty-first birthday. Stanley was my nephew’s Father.

A Father is something that I have never had and would never know. Truly, I wonder about the men whom sire children to end abandoning the innocents. I hurt for the mothers; I sorrow for the children. I have no children; and therefore, upon my death would leave only life.

Among my cadre of books is a wonderful poet, Mary Oliver. Her book, “New and Selected Poems,” Volume One is a recent gift. The gift is a treasure. Miss Oliver has a style all her own and her portrayals of the world and life are spectacular. This morning I read a poem about an owl she has observed and how, in the end, this moment delivers to Miss Oliver a rethinking on death.

She (now) views death as (possibly) not a place of darkness but rather a wonderful and fulfilling light, an entity forever holding us within its sweet illumination.

While realizing that characterizations of death are different individually, culturally and throughout the world the imagery painted by Miss Oliver is splendid, indeed. Moreover, and paralleling differences, the human emotions of crying and laughter seem to share similarities.

Whenever we cry or frown, the morose characteristics in unhappiness are distinctly evident. Conversely, the radiance in laughter, smiling and joyousness of one person appears identical in another. Perhaps, and because as people we connect or share similarities during events of sorrow or moments of joy; the fulfilling light shining on Miss Oliver’s view of death is representative by an universal brilliance in life.

Miss Oliver’s poems are wonderfully expressive and per poetic license well written. Her expressions of mornings are serene and my favorites. Her mornings are filled with stillness or movements, and colors and animals, flowers and living and non-living things, her mornings are beautiful. Because I write, I am happy to have access to this great poet. She is inspirational, improving my writings and me.

I am alone on my birthday. I am always alone. My Mother is far away; I have siblings, they too are far away. Most times, I feel that our Mother is the only link connecting my siblings and me. In accordance to this thinking and whenever our Mother walks with her ancestors, metaphorically, I would be totally alone.

The solitary call of a “Coo” bird stills the cold morning. Seemingly, it too is alone; seemingly, it too walks a dark path. Shrouded by the unknown and as do I, somehow, it must find its way.

Copyright (c) 2013 Delbert H. Rhodes

Piano Square: The Finest in the World

Advertisement for American Grand Square Piano ...

By Delbert H. Rhodes

The sky is overcast; specs of sunshine tenderly touch a tapestry of gray clouds. Outside his bedroom windows, the swaying of trees, trill of birds and scamper of squirrels are the welcoming voices of morning. The breath of the winds provides a loving chorus for an orchestral interaction borne by twilight. Seemingly, an invisible Conductor waves his wand through a symphony of trees.

Yes, a beautiful morning it is, and the spring in upstate New York is a most wonderful time. Thomas J. Seacrest lives in an old house; he has lived here for almost eleven years. The building needs a facelift, but he likes the place. The neighbors at home and in the town tend to cling (more) to quiet than to the nuisances of noise. This fact is of great importance. Tom is a solitary man, and the quiet calms him.

Stretching as he glances out the window, Tom smiles ever so slightly. The scenes outside always brighten the man; he adores the trees, and flowers, and the tiny insects, and birds and the wonderful aromas teasing his nose. The air here is clean, and the water flowing from the faucets, and filling the rivers, lakes and ponds is clear.

Tom looks about his bedroom; the room is spacious and comfortable. He is not (really) the furniture type, but has enough furnishing to suit his needs. In the living room, his favorite piece of furniture is the couch; it is solid, and long and the pillows are firm. The man loves stretching his body across it as he relaxes.

In two weeks, Tom celebrates his forty-fifth birthday. Today, he is happy about his job interview. This is a huge opportunity and the man has spent much time researching the company. “Piano Square” is an international company, and has a stellar reputation. The musical instruments sold in the stores are some of the finest in the world.

The materials chosen for constructing the instruments have a high rating of “supreme grade.” The companies supplying the resources, and in keeping with Piano Square’s operational profile, are not purely domestic, but international. The team of builders, the crafters, are highly skilled, and expertly trained. Even company sales people spend countless hours in training; they must meet rigorous standards before acquiring full membership. Tom is confident about his possibilities; he knows music, and he has completely studied this company and its histories. Today, Thomas J. Seacrest seeks the most important job of his career.

Often Tom has seen concerts in the garden, and on television whose orchestral members use instruments crafted by Piano Square. During these occasions, the airways fill his apartment with the purest tones the man has ever heard; the music always brings tears to Tom’s eyes. Having a musical background, Tom sometimes misses the days when he dreamed; and yes, he dreamed of a career in music. For deeply personal reasons, the dream remained in his mind; and though he loves music, today, the man walks a different path. A path that and thankfully keeps him attached to his greatest love.

Stephen Beus performs in the 2006 Gina Bachaue...

Tom is interviewing for a sales position, and though he is qualified for management the lesser position helps to build him, and from the ground up. If things work out, Tom intends to enjoy a long and lasting relationship with Piano Square.

The office building looms in the distance, and it gleams as its silky stone reflects the sunlight. The location for the office building is well-chosen; various companies have offices in this area, and the scene is a commercial dream. Nearby, different types of shops offer customers just about every kind of product. There are food stores, shoe shops, clothing stores, electronics stores; and, yes, even one other music store. Competitors ever stare each other in the face; however, and because of its professionalism and quality, Tom knows Piano Square to be the better place of business.

The elevator doors open to the fourth floor, and Tom looks out and into splendor. The décor pleases him, and he thrills about the prospect of becoming an Employee. A long, and winding hallway leads Tom to the Personnel Office. Thinking of the Interview, the man feels somewhat nervous; but who would not be, and calming his nerves he readies for the challenge. Greeting Tom, a radiantly ravishing young Receptionist escorts him to the Waiting Room.

Glancing at his wristwatch, Tom calculates that forty-five minutes have passed. The walls in the room are beautifully painted; they are light green with white trim. Lovely framed pictures expressing an antique appeal allure the eyes. Landscapes and seascapes pleasantly excite with the charm of an old world craft, and noticeably absent in the art of today. Tom’s favorites are the Spanish Galleons engaging stormy seas under starry skies. His mind places him on the decks of these mighty vessels. He is the brave and swarthy Captain piloting his ships, while fighting the fury of the seas.

On a far wall, two profiles of famous writers seem as though interjecting questions into the scenes. Poised, but posturing, the writers appear to quibble over suitable narratives for the panoramas. Tom fails to remember the name of one writer, but the other is his favorite, “Edgar Allan Poe.” Strangely, Tom feels, there is not one picture of a famous musician.

The lovely photograph of a Cello hangs in a low-lit corner. Delicately cloaking the instrument’s curvature, the light lends (a) sensuous stillness to its frame. The picture is stunning: it appears as a painting. Tom loves the sweet tranquil tones of the Cello, and those of its relative, the Viola. The tones are “mellow,” and they immerse Tom’s mind in worlds of wonder.

Remembering his childhood, Tom thinks of his musical beginnings. Remorsefully, and once more, he feels the pain of lacking a musical career. Yet the zealous achiever’s reading, writing and playing are superb. The horns, strings, percussion and some woodwinds remain as his instruments of choice. Now and then, the man considers composing a piano score, and to achieve such a feat has special feelings for him. One day, to hear his musical score played by any leading orchestra realizes Tom’s long and lost dream. “One day.”

(The receptionist informs Tom that the Executive Vice President, “Mrs. Collington,” is ready for the Interview.)

Walking into the lavish office, Tom encounters a familiar face.

Mrs. Collington smiles while offering her hand to Tom. Returning her smile, he wonders whether Mrs. Collington (Denise) recognizes him; but then, those were many years ago. (Mrs. Collington is Tom’s previous girlfriend from high school.) Naturally, the man does not care to negate an otherwised honest and objective interview. 

Mrs. Collington begins with her overview; however, permitting Tom to respond with questions or comments. She is quite intelligent and obviously has years of company experience. Tom cannot help, but notice how beautiful she is, and after so many years. (Time has been kind to Denise.) Also, and though the man realizes that this is a wonderful opportunity (and he would never do anything to destroy his chances of achieving his goal), Tom begins to feel something.

The man is starting to feel the urges of an old romance. Certainly, the man must contain these feelings, after all, things are different now, and in significant ways Denise and Tom too have changed. Tom composes himself, and subsequently focuses on “Mrs. Collington’s” questions.

One hour later, the Interview ends; and standing, Mrs. Collington and Tom exchange a handshake. (Her hand feels so soft and gentle.) Politely, Tom informs Mrs. Collington that he has enjoyed the interview session, and that he is happy to have met her. He continues, “When should I expect to hear of my results?” First: Mrs. Collington responds, “You should receive information in two weeks.” Next, the gracious woman (with a dilated pupiled smile) returns the gesture, telling Tom that she too enjoyed the session, and that she is (brightly) happy to have met “him.”

Tom walks out. He wonders whether Denise remembered him, but then the important thing, and the most important thing is securing the position. If things were different (Tom admits) the man would have attempted to regain some part of the old relationship; but things are too different, and Denise is married and “this time,” the man fights for his dream.

Still, Tom permits his feelings to embrace him, and he enjoys the lusting as his thoughts entice him. Moreover, and even after so many years and all the changes in the man’s life…yes, still, he loves her.

Two hours later: The telephone of the Executive Vice President rings; Mrs. Collington answers her line. Smiling and then kicking off her high heels: sweetly, Denise says, “Hi….”

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes