So you can read my books

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Among scars, I am the fresh wound,

Among days, the one that never comes,

Among the bones you find on the beach
the one that sings was mine.

- Lisa Mueller

Fields of the night.

When that midnight of the soul blankets us in the silent, still hours, we explore them.

Some fields are deep valleys. Others are hills winding up into the mists of memory.

Anne Gallagher has written an insightful post on the writer's advice to write what you know :

What I know.

I know a good friend was buried today,

a victim of this city's callousness and unconcern. This city has a way of burying its mistakes.

But life mishandled is much like a snake grabbed roughly by the tail. It has a way of turning around and biting you for your arrogance.

The guilty in this case will, soon or late, find that out.

What I know.

Like Raymond Chandler knew his Los Angeles, I know this city in which I live.

Its sprawling expanse cups a beautiful rippling lake which it poisons daily with the petro-chemical plants bordering it much like Mordor did Middle Earth.

If you look up, an eye-aching blue sky will take your breath away. In more ways than one.

It has absorbed the poisonous fumes from endless stacks for so long, breathing the air in a course of the day is like smoking four cigarettes.

City and state politicians swear all is safe. The national newspapers cite the city as capitol of Cancer Alley which runs along the Gulf Coast.

The city is a strange meld of something Tennessee Williams and Upton Sinclair might have written in a joint affair --

emphasis on Tennessee Williams.

One of my older friends was once the "disciplinarian" of the local Hells Angels. And so I have seen a side of the city few have. He was also once a E.M.T. for the one ambulance service here.

Often he told me of dragging into the center, covered in blood, too weary from the many calls to immediately clean up.

He would turn on the TV in the break room and hear the local news proclaim the police stating that all was normal.

He laughed, "I suddenly knew their definition for normal : four car accidents, two shootings, and one fatality."

I have a Non-Aggression Pact with the city.

I don't mess with it. And it considers me too small to notice.

It still possesses great beauty. But like ugly scars criss-crossing a beautiful woman's face, progress slashes away at it.

Terrible poverty and bleak living conditions often within blocks of opulent mansions. The poor turning upon themselves. The oblivious rich attending sprawling, ornate churches.

Business owners committing suicide on the premises of the local casinos after having lost all. Silence on the TV and on the radio.

Jokes among the citizens that the logo of the local TV news is the three monkeys covering eyes, ears, and mouth. The Plants and the casinos feed the city's treasuries.

The city fathers deny that the Cancer rates, ruined lives, and closed businesses even exist.

Then why stay?

It is the city in which I spent my teenage years. All the friends I made, I made here. Here is where I grew to know my mother as one adult knows another.

(If you are wondering : not this city but New Orleans was where I spent my days with Katherine.)

This is the city in which my best friend lives. The common people here have a zest for living that I have seldom met elsewhere. If they hate you, you know it. If they are your friend, they always have your back -- even when it would be smart to look the other way.

They live large. Broad, bold strokes for them. No small, mean snipes. The city loves Mardi Gras so much that it has found a way to have two of them every year.

No ambushes from smiling faces. And the last time I checked, the powerful eat the helpless in every city in every state.

And in a few minutes, you can drive to great expanses of wildernesses.

In fact, one of the last great American wildernesses is only minutes from here : the Creole Nature Trail. { for a more detailed description of it from me go to }

Drive it long enough, and you can catch the faint breath of the ocean.

It is like the Great Mystery reminding me this land had once been a clean wilderness, where the waves came in, creamed up to the shore, and their breath smelled of something besides dead birds and fresh-spilled oil.

Now, tonight I sit on the terrace of my apartment, bordering a small rippling bayou,

watching the egrets gracefully settle into the tree branches and beer bottles float listlessly while listening to the voice of the city.

In the distance, the banshee wails of police sirens and ambulances. The night is never silent long here.

In the darkness, somebody is always runing and somebody else is trying to catch him. I look into the blackness

and know somewhere out there, people are hungry, sick, forlorn, desperate with fear or loneliness.

And others are shaken by sobs or anger. Mankind is not very kind.

It is a city no worse than others. A city filled with hope, pride, and ambition. But mostly, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness.

This is the city that I know.

And to end the night,

here is the haunting melody ADIEMUS set to the all-too fragile beauty of the world, defiant to its impending destruction by the selfish, blind hand of Man :


  1. I'm drained, barley able to see the keyboard, flicking away the tears. Why do yo do this to us? And how? Do words just flow from you like raindrops from the heavens?

    Another hauntingly beautiful post. There is nothing more I can say.

    Thank you for your kind words about my Dad.

    I am very sorry about your friend. At least he is in a place were beauty is real, not masked behind pollution.


  2. Thanks, Michael. I feel honored that you like my posts. I always find something engaging, insightful, and moving when I go to your blog.

  3. Haunting and beautiful imagery, Roland, as always.

    Many sympathies on the loss of your friend.

  4. I do try, but it seems to come so naturally to you. You must have been writing for years.

    With me my art always came first, writing took the back seat for years, but now it in the front seat.

    I, too, am honored that you visit my blog. I look forward to your comments every day.

    Tomorrow I have another design tip....


  5. Lisa : Thanks. Her pain is finally over. I like to think of her in a new body, young and strong, laughing that deep laugh of hers.

    Michael : I've been tapping these keys for awhile now -- ever since when as a boy I wanted to do what Homer and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert E. Howard did so well. I'll check in on your blog tomorrow for that design tip.

  6. I've had a bad few days now. I had a horrible reaction to the tetanus shot they gave me. 6 stiches in my cut finger and a swollen arm, stiff muscles and too much more to say. This was a wonderful distraction. Your description is so sad yet poignant. Even with all of its warts, I can see your love for it.

  7. Wendy : I really hate to read this! This city has much to love in it, much to grieve over as well. Now, that you know of this reaction to a tetanus shot, is there a substitute they can use should the need ever arise again?

  8. Roland-

    Sorry to hear about your friend.

    This is a beautiful and haunting post. If you used acrylic on canvas you couldn't paint a more evocative piece.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


    Oh, and I have actually been trying out your IMBD suggestion from the other day, and it is so hard. I thought, oh, this will be easy peasy --becuase you seriously made it look that way--well it's not. It's difficulte but so worth it.

  9. When things go wrong - they really F** off. I lost my comment. I'm sorry. This one will be lame b/c I already poured my heart out . .

    I had wondered where you were. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

    You are such deep, caring person Roland. This is such a honest post; I always knew you were Samuel McCord fictionalized. The depth of your passions show in his writings.

    I wish I could say something that would ease your suffering; to bring you a sense of peace and comfort. While your passions have instilled in you deep empathy for the brokenness of the world, mine have left me too often cynical and heartless.

    I love this Adiemus song; I play it often when my soul is tortured with helplessness.

    Be well my friend.


  10. I'm sorry about your friend.

    Beautiful post.

  11. Flying High In The Sky : Thank you. I will heal.

    Golden Eagle : Thanks for the kind words. Have a great weekend.

    Donna : I think you are not even in the same galaxy as cold or heartless. All of us rage against the darkness in different ways.

    I hate that blogger snatched your thoughts. Don't you howl when the computer-gremlin snatches away the words you poured such intensity and passion into?

    Thanks for your insightful, warm words.

    Jodi : I'm glad my ImdB appealed to you. Queries are hard -- really hard -- for me as well. How do you do a Mini-Me of the novel you poured your heart into? Tough stuff.

    You do have talent with words -- your "acrylic on canvas" imagry is quite evocative itself. Thanks.

  12. OMG, what emotion. This was a sobering movement to despair and yet, there is hope. I loved it. :)

    Peace and again I'm sorry for your friend.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow