There is a place I can dwell – Jasper Kerkau

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There is a place I can dwell, removed from silent gore of emotional life tied to humid residue of lost summers. From failure springs the renewing waters of new worlds laid out–removed of the impurities of dysfunction, bad relationships, tarnished pasts, regressed lives spoiled under the hot sun. A celebration of life! Turning from folly, the endless cycle of death and resurrection, the desire for absolution from a human problem: Lost in people, feeling tied to desire for healthy relationships, nuclear domestic dynamics. It is all so fleeting!

There is a place I can dwell, upright, given to spontaneous laughter, at peace with the balance of universal order, finding a person in the mirror I can live with. Slowly the last forces come in from remote villages, shoulders slumped, spirits broken, bones shattered; the light from their eyes extinguished by the long battle. Longing for the peaceful, tender embrace of loved ones, starting a new life devoid of the endless war against everything, their shattered nerves begin to calm. There is solace in the sun rise, the ceasefire that brings lost souls from a life of peril–and conflict–to the hearty meals, comfort on either shoulder: Silence. Is this merely a mirage?

 There is a place I can dwell, benign rumors of demise, refuted with archaic parchment written on the heart, shown to elders who rub long beards, nodding silently as bread is broken, ceremonial wine consumed out of ornate cups. A world of possibility beckons with the hustle and bustle, normal lives being led in quiet satisfaction: Ah, everything is actually going to be alright! The grass eventually pushes the dark red stains of war off its leaves. The moon hangs passively in the sky as tired souls find solace in soft bed, the smell of candles and the laughter of children. The war over, the battered souls finally at rest. I find my place there, away from the carnage, emotional wounds heal slowly; at last, the world opens again with all of its blissful majesty.

Jasper Kerkau (9/27/16)

Everything Wasn’t Enough – Jasper Kerkau

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Laughter echoes down long hallways, gives way to arguments and eventually more giddy children’s laughter. Plastic toys are left in my restroom, socked feet bouncing on beds, falling down and I scream from the other room. There is silence that eventually erupts again with the delight and carefree abandon of childish glee. I bury my face in my hands at my desk, waiting, waiting, always waiting for everything to change, for the laughter to eventually stop, the shadows to take over, the long unwinding of a life built on endless toil–nothingness.

The sword of Damocles looms over me. My skull anticipates the shattering strike; blood and fragments of bones mixed in a concoction of death. My fate sealed by icy hands. Alas, they have come to purge me of what is left; they have come for my children. They have come for my words; a blind witness, left with the bloody rags of silence, childless, suffering for the sins of my oppressors. Blood upon blood upon blood. They relish in feasting on my fear and devour my heart, desperately trying pull the fruit of my loins from my bosom. Am I vanquished?

Splayed on cold table, I am pulled apart slowly. My eyes affixed on the past, the mistakes left in closets among unmatched shoes and discarded summers. It all rolls off of me as the they slowly drain my life, whisked the children away, leave my words fatherless, left as an empty vessels that once held such promise. I could have been better. I could have been better. They smirk and guffaw, standing over me with forks and knives, waiting to dine on my soul, exposing their vicious appetites. Will everything be enough?

There is something inside me that is immune to their illicit desires. I hear the hymn of sacred souls, the chorus of magnificence sang from distant places, songs of hope and sorrow. Each voice carries its own unique message of personal salvation. I am not alone; they cannot destroy my sacred vision, the words sewn with the sinews of travail and perfect love into each verse. I am a writer and a father, with undying affection for my children; the words create divine tapestries which can never be wrested away from me. They will live long after I am gone.

I stand steadfast in the light, accompanied by the remnant chosen for the articulation of suffering, their special dispensation due to the ability to speak the secret language of the universe, their affliction decoded and turned into consecrated arias. The shadows will eventually flee, leaving me vindicated, left to tend to my words, nurture my children, guard them from the profane hands which seek to drag them into the dark places, strip them of their beauty and joy. There is nothing that can stand against truth, innocence, and pure love. I hear a voice in the darkness, fingers intertwined with my own: “I love you daddy.”

Jasper Kerkau (1/19/17)

Strange Life – Jasper Kerkau

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Waking up before the sun peaks into same window. Earl Grey and dogs changing positions, watching the silence of early Fall, trying to remember. The end is the only thing that matters now, the evolving, the crushing weight of change, being contorted and twisted like the vintage trees, ring of lives past. Nothing up to this point really matters. The burden made proof of worth; the end result greater than the tragedy—a strange world.

A life tattered and transformed by destiny—or a seemingly random sample of events that left me buried in bathtub, risen with shield of words, powerful symbols of magic and life. I will not be vanquished; there are cherubs playing my melody, singing a beautiful song, baffling gods and dark nymphs. I find my new place disconnected from the hive, separated from form, existing in truth etched in  marble stele, consisting of heart and blood. I dine on truth. Existing. Baptized by the whimsy of dreamers. Emancipated!

I stroll through days, decoding smiles, passive-aggressive shrugs and look for the miracles in everything, meaning pulled out of nothingness. It makes sense now, it really does! No one is going to save me, no salvation in feminine wiles; salvation is beaten out of earth, shaken out of the sky, found in the ephemeral beautify of perseverance and experience. I woke up in a strange life. I make it my home, hang pictures in awkward corners. I own this place. This is my world.

Jasper Kerkau (10/8/16)

I Want to go to Vegas – Jasper Kerkau

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I’m not depressed, just bored. I really want to go to Vegas. Maybe I can get one of those packages, airfare and three nights with free buffets and a complimentary show. I will eat steak and lobster and get followed around high-end shops by menacing looking security guards with thin mustaches.  Sit on the blackjack table hitting seventeen every time, much to the chagrin of everyone at the table, which leads to me getting into an argument with the pit boss over my table etiquette and the nature of reality. Eventually, hiding in restroom from undercover satanists masquerading as cocktail waitresses. I will try to sneak to my room and somebody will slip microfilm with classified information in my pocket leaving me to be pursued by Russian spies with thick necks. I will have to hot-wire a car and drive to Los Angeles and deliver the sensitive document to a beautiful Norwegian who is obsessed with bossa nova and Isabel Allende. Without fail, I fall in love and sneak out the bathroom door after an argument over the television remote. Ending up working in a bookstore in Encino before I am informed Interpol wants to talk to me about a situation at the French embassy in Morocco. I will start wearing a disguise, become a Scientologist, take up the trumpet and start an improvisational jazz quartet. Until, of course, I discover the Great Secret and yearn for the quietude of dogs sleeping and laundry, watching the big game before taking a nap and dreaming of something more. So for now, I will fight this traffic and resign myself to monotonous labor and my simple life, but I really want to go to Vegas.

Jasper Kerkau (9/21/16)

Killing the Phone: Finding Peace – Jasper Kerkau

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As a job requirement, I have to keep my phone on me at all times. Even as I slumber my phone is in arms length. Every night I go to sleep hoping that the phone doesn’t rouse me into action. It is an abomination. I am beholden to the incessant flow of notifications, updates, irrelevant texts, and infernal headlines. It is overwhelming. I have daydreams of throwing my phone off of skyscrapers, cutting a hole in the ice on a frozen lake and dropping it to its icy death or wrapping it in toilet paper and releasing it into the bowels of a porta potty.

I have contemplated deconstructing my phone, taking it apart and carrying a thousand little parts in a sandwich bag, periodically laying it out on the floor and making designs, or spelling out my name from its delicate little pieces. When asked, I would say I was trying to get to the bottom of things, figure out how it worked–looking for some kind of breakthrough in communication. To be frank, they would probably hand me another one and tell me to be careful moving forward. After the third or fourth time, they would probably fasten it to my neck or tether it to my testicles. There is no escaping it.

 In the future, I am going to retire to a life of hand signals and telepathic communication. I will replace my televisions with fish tanks and my laptop with a vintage Underwood. Of course I will exist on an island, not receiving vital updates via social media on the mood status of people I never talked to but shared a homeroom class with in the forth grade. And I will not find be able to stay tuned into the latest celebrity gossip or fantasy football talk. Oh the horror! I need to downgrade my life and find a magical community of those so predisposed to aversion for all this digital bombardment. It probably doesn’t exist, but my sense is that it is right around the corner. I am not alone.

Jasper Kerkau (9-26-2016)

Labor Day – Jasper Kerkau

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Yesterday was a disaster. The last weekend of summer, at least summer as I visualize it. It was supposed to rain. It didn’t. I was supposed to turn the corner, transform my life. This summer I would pick up the debris of the storms that I had weathered and find myself in a new place with laughter, scores of new people, new loves, new passions, yet all I got was a kitchen devoured and heaps of trash on patio. Nothing happened the way it was supposed to. It never does. As I sit and wait for a cool breeze, my thoughts turn to the future. Never give up.

I realized that everything is different than it was in the spring. My kids are gone half the time. My wife is now my ex-wife. I pace around constantly, chain smoke most of the time and find myself struggling to make connections in a world of texts, email, and social media.  Thankfully, the future is wide open. Soon, I can start thinking about kids squealing with excitement getting into Halloween costumes, sitting outside with a blanket smelling the first cold front, the giddy preparation of Santa letters, and, lastly, a new year sitting on the horizon, which can only bring better things.

Jasper Kerkau (9/5/16)

September Peaks its Head out Slowly – Jasper Kerkau

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Devoured, I dip parchment in blood and furiously scribble incoherent texts in invisible ink. Stains everywhere. April was folly. Gave birth to half-life, sickness, and inevitably death. Each humidity drench day was an exercise in funeral preparations for a life that was nothing more than fantastic mirage. Inverted crosses and sacrificed infants give birth to dark demons that pursue me in my dreams, clutter mind, and poison perceptions. I never realized that it would be this hard. The sound of the football games pours over backyard and in-between houses and beckons September which holds the promise of something on the horizon. Cool air blowing in from exotic northern locales, breathing life back into me as I am close to destroyed by divorce, fear, and, of course, failure. I awaken slowly from a passive-aggressive coma. Then comes more silence. It’s the silence that is the killer. Thankfully September peaks its head out slowly, stretching its long arms and embracing my battered body. It can only be better.