Kendall  Train  Catastrophe    c. 1957


Once upon the time, between my childhood foray in the funeral home and teenage pallbearer experience, there was a national railroad catastrophe in my birth country. It was an out of the blue occurrence that struck at the heart of the country. What stood out were the reports of inhumane behaviour of many on the scene. The carnage described included screams among the wreckage, with so-called rescuers victimizing those expecting help. Those reports made indelible images behind my eyelids over the years.


Unbeknownst to me during this reporting cycle, my grandfather worked for that railroad, the only one in the country. I had no knowledge of this having abnormal family connections. Thus, I was spared the rude awakenings accompanying this catastrophic incident. At the time of this news’ airing, I had relocated to a then ‘boarding house’ under the guardianship of an elementary school teacher; my sibling and I getting settled into our new residence.


Those were truly, disorienting and surreal times, living among strangers without our mother, primary caregiver. This was made more difficult and horrendous as we would no longer have accustomed nurturing, being left in the guardianship of this school teacher’s boarding house, unaware of reuniting in five/six years.


In retrospect, was this railway catastrophe a premonition? Life mirroring our relocation-orientation living condition circumstances? A catastrophic accident, a one step forward with two steps back synopses, setting the stage for what awaits us in our future-present lives?


The news reports, both written and spoken over the radio, captured the country’s attention. Our micro-spheric Caribbean Island continues its contribution to Life’s grand designs supported by the inhabitants’ destinies.



5. About 1yr Later



Most of us, if not all, have heard the sayings; ‘strike while the iron is hot’, and/or ‘opportunity strikes but once’. Often these sayings were usually double-edged advice. You also know when, and by whom. Those who, by self-assured authority, claim to know goings on beyond immediate comprehension, and assailed with admonitions that aim to confuse and assault accompanying guilt and shame.


The fault/flaw is not ours, as I’ve come to discover after decades of resistance to these assaults that inspired reflections that sought answers to what appeared undeserved, unwarranted accusations and condescensions.


These advice rarely knew individual conditions, circumstances and contexts that inspired the words of wisdoms, be they from family, friends and/or estranged relations. What mattered were intended projected discomforts at the times they chose to give these advice.


I found these advice were seldom offered to benefit and enhance daily living, unless simultaneously benefitting the advisor; more so, if these advice caused results even more beneficial.


I once thought my concept of friendship similar to everyone who engaged me, mostly without apparent discord. I was to learn that this was not the case, from minor to extreme resultant conditions. Minor feedbacks entailed overhearing deprecating words between those I considered mutual friends, when passing on the other side of a partition without them ever knowing I happened by. Another occasion, my first day-off from work resulted in a replacement’s assault intended for me. The reciprocation was in being set-up for being assaulted that me took two-months the recover.


Undaunted by these betrayals, which I accepted, as the latter was biased by the fact that one of their own ethnic/cultural heritage suffered in my stead, I returned to same said workplace, with changes made because of my assault.


Much had occurred in light of my demise from which I was learning how alone, and precarious, growing into manhood can be. Some of you reading this may have made my acquaintance before, or after those edifying days.


Nonetheless, I continue marching on in Time; enduring, surviving, coping and managing as best I can.







You may have heard the tale told of the ‘Battling Wolves’ and, like me, you’ve been led to believe there were only two wolves, since that was how the argument went. The story goes, “there are these wolves, one bad one good, and the victor between them is the one that’s fed often.” Straightforward as it appears, it is misleading.


Recently, it came to my attention that there are more than two wolves, and I’ve been feeding the lone wolf type for decades. You know the one! The one that’s strong, defiant and independent. The one who can be depended upon to save-the-day when things are going awry, even if it costs limbs and/or a life as sacrifice. I identified with the hero you see riding off into the sunset, leaving the saved to live happily ever after waiving him good-bye, as he wanders onto the next ‘save-the-day’ adventure.


Repeatedly, hearing of these ‘two wolves’, I cautiously accepted their story’s import, wondering about it sounding too absolute. After periodic reflections over the years, it suddenly emerged that I had been literal and limiting in my comprehension. I was unaware I was compartmentalizing their battle into a simplistic dichotomy. Not deliberately, mind you; but, limiting it only to crisis situations of right-and-wrong. Even though, as I grew older and somewhat wiser, the meaning of their scenario slipped my mind through distractions in day to day living.


I have collected my thoughts relating to this subject, but only to discover I have been maligning myself appearing too strong, arrogant as interpreted by thoughtless onlookers. Feedback have been directly and indirectly revealed, giving me pause initially. Musing on these feedbacks, I have become aware of how I was led, as were many others, in restricting my self becoming. Sadly, these lessons are emergence impressions only, with individual intimate stories created in the offing.


The art of living, as can be said.



6a. Sunset on Queen St. '13



Time’s a familiar stranger, according to a text I once read, and looking back an unfamiliar stranger shadowing me from birth has become a familiar. It follows us all with many choosing to deny Its identity. Early onset asthma assaults, which scared the many adults round about, may have been where I was allowed a sense of Itself, not readily available to others. My first childhood funeral experience continued my initiation process, which was followed by others across my island birth home. These ongoing episodes were overlooked until my funeral experience in my late teens, and Its processing took a mindful turn due to Its proximity.


Still, I continued making friends of varying nationalities, building close relations as I went my merry way living in the moment, taking things as they were.


One of these moments occurred before my twenty-first birthday, when I gained employment as a doorman at a regular drinking establishment. I was the primary fundraiser myself of my post-secondary education, and I needed the work having been unsuccessful in my first year university studies. Appearing older than the required age of employment, I was able to secure this, the first of many jobs I was to hold while working through my post-secondary education.


On this job, I was blossoming as a social individual. I was developed a gregarious persona to create an enjoyable club environment, and acquired friendships with so-called friends steeping in envy. One acquisition included with a small group, two women and one man. We developed a closeness facilitating offsite meetings, a difficulty for me as I worked two jobs. One difficulty for the man had to do with keeping our sporting arrangement to play tennis. This primary sport, which he was keen on having me improve, as I also desired to do. He was quite a driven man, with high ambitions but he kept postponing our playdate, often slipped my mind and became a running joke fro us each time he ventured inside to club. But, one day he claimed determination for that tennis game without fail.


He had a girlfriend in Ottawa who was a priority, and she had him postpone yet another match in favour of another weekend visit, in spite of promised tennis event. No matter, we’ll get to it sometime, we would say. So, no tennis match that night, I reported to work as usual. Early that evening, the two women, our mutual friends, stopped by unexpectedly to see me. I couldn’t tell by their attire, but their demeanour in the late-afternoon lighting ushered in a foreboding air. They sombrely intimated that my tennis date will be postponed indefinitely at which I took a pause in processing.

Details of our postponement was eventually revealed to me.

On his return to Toronto along Highway 401 from visiting with his girlfriend in Ottawa, his little sports car was side-swiped by a transport truck forcing him to crash upside down in a ditch. All I could do was envisioned his accident alongside the many cancelled tennis meetings, wondering if this was simply another fateful event. Ahead was an evening of responsibilities for the enjoyment and well being of imbibing clienteles which delayed my processing of the motor-accident, not unlike our many postponed tennis matches.


Life goes on, the way of things along my way.




In Time…



Yet, another night like all the others where sleep came easily due to martial arts training regimen and care-free attributes. I was cruising from dream to dream, with one resonating and occasionally repeated. I found myself on a walkabout through a densely forested area, only to realize I was separated from friends with whom I had been venturing.


Looking up from the base of a steep incline, I elected to climb upward continuing my quest. Reaching a plateau, I happened upon a crystal clear, stream fed lake encircled by overhanging greenery. I experienced an inviting sensation, and I waded into its depths where I dove in to ascertain its depth. To my surprise I discovered I was able to breathe without difficulty. I swam about amusing myself at this newly discovered environment orienting myself.


While navigating the lake’s depths, two water-nymphs, male and female came into view. They introduced themselves and, as we playfully swam about, they led me to their patriarch, a Neptune-like aquatic personality. There was an ever-present sense a force emanating from his regal enclosure. Curiously, I felt no opposition or imposition in his welcoming, a sense with which I was greeted.


Suddenly, I heard my name being called echoing around me in the depths. I could not tell, no matter where I looked. As I looked about, the nymphs led me to a polished stone in the further reaches of the pond on which I saw the images of my two friends calling out in search of me. Now, came the quandary, what to do? Do I leave my idyllic find, or do I rejoin my lost friends?


Reluctantly, I elected to help my lost partners, and they ushered into and through the polished stone.


I saw myself high atop an outcropping in the mountainside similar to the one I had climbed. I called out in response to their alarming cries, being lost in this dense forest, allowing them see my location. They began climbing towards me, in confirmation that I had gained their attention. Simultaneously, my mind slipped into this reality’s existence while my dreamworld faded from sleep.


Once again, another dream fed lesson from which I was to learn about living.



11a. Varsity Arena '74



Once upon a time when I was very young, similar to everyone reading this story, I encountered states of being that adults felt inclined to explain. The fact that honest and cursory explanations would suffice, later added into my mind settling into this growing human frame, were often overlooked.


You see, when a child is faced with a body lying motionless, lifeless, nothing more than a simple explanation would suffice. Maybe, grief is a consideration, but it is not the shield for deceit. And, as time went bye, I was left to determine the state of being encountered along the way, in a timely fashion.


Yet, another timely incident after emigrating to another country, for Death takes no holiday, as I was want to learn.


I was in my late-teens having met and befriended a school-mate and his family. What was unusual, as an aside and a part of my Life’s flow, was that this friend was of an origin similar to others who had dealt with me in a bigoted manner upon my arrival in this new country. I was attacked, defended and befriended by immigrants from Italy, which was an extension of experiences in family relations. I decided this was a lesson, that family and friendships are the two sides of the same coin.


On one particular weekend, Rocco invited my family to partake in a celebration with his family in their home. It was a festive time and we were enjoying each other’s company and having great fun, bonding as some would say. I had my first taste of Italian home-made wine, and succumbed to its measure. I was given a room to sleep a spell, while everyone else frolicked and played throughout the home.


In time, I awoke and joined the ongoing festivities. The day progressed into evening and our invitation drew to a close. We said our farewells and expressed our gratitude, and made our way home.


Time passed, two-weeks went very quickly, during which time Rocco informed us of his younger sister falling ill and being hospitalized to undergo surgery. Another first in a slew of firsts I was to encounter during my Canadian Orientation Phase. What I was not prepared for was the news, another other first that followed. There was a complication regarding the surgery, unclear/forgotten now, to which his little sister succumbed. I was stunned, my mind went numb with an unknown emptiness, and another first followed.


Rocco made an unexpected request, something I was honoured to accept with profound sadness and respectfulness. At seventeen/eighteen, I was to be a pall-bearer at his younger sister’s funeral.


The day came/went, a bitter-sweet experience I’ll always remember, with cultural nuances imprinted biased in loss and sadness. There was one surprise of a physical nature, the weight of the coffin. In spite of our numbers, I was not expecting the weight of that coffin while reflecting on her age and size while we all played on that festive day. We descended the steps of the church, placed the casket in the hearse bidding a sad farewell and went our separate ways as that saddened day passed bye.


Thereafter, contact with Rocco becoming less and less frequent, becoming but a memory fading into memory.


10. A Special Occasion '65

In transit

DreamScape #2




This reoccurring dream recalled from my youth, c. 56, was one leftover for later comprehension in the late ‘80s. Making no sense to me each time I dreamt it, life experiences with the accumulation of losses that many labelled ‘opportunities’ gave way to theorizing its meaning.


The dream went like this:
I am walking alone a roadway looking upward into the sky, when a feeling came over me and I began to fly without wings. Slowly, but surely, I ascended toward the sky. Fully expecting to soar my flight was aborted because I became entangled in the roadway’s electrical wiring, which forced me back down to the ground.


I walked further along the road, looking skyward for a place without overhanging wires. I took flight once more, but the end result was the same. Somehow, no matter where I chose, I became entangled in overhanging wires. I looked for a solution to this dilemma, as I walked up the road.


On my right, further along the roadway, the ground rose with wrought-iron fencing around a well-groomed garden. From one of these elevated gardens, along the road and through its wrought-iron fence, hung vines of varying lengths and thickness. I took hold of one of the vines, pulled myself up from the roadway and climbed over the wrought-iron fence.


I looked around, the wrought-iron fence behind me, I marvelled at this well maintained garden extending before me. While admiring my discovery, fully intending to resume flight without power-lines entanglements and opposition, my mind slipped into darkness and I emerged into consciousness- waking up …



1d. Making Ready c.'56

On my recent family-visit, a few quotes resonated which I quickly noted and now share:


“For there is not a just man on earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.”
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

“Logic is an enemy, Truth is a menace.”
~ Rod Serling: Twilight Zone/The Obsolete Man

“Yesterday I got a call from the outside world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain, and now there is no chain.”
~ Jim Harrison/Montana: Anthony Bourdain/Parts Unknown

“It is a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the heart.”
~ O, Brother Where Art Thou

“How do you find the facts, when memory becomes a dream?”
“Are we the stories we tell ourselves?”
~ Legion/TV Series 02.3.17



50. HALO

DreamScape #1



‘Now I lay me down to sleep, …’; some of you reading this may be aware of this children’s prayer that often resonates in adulthood. But, this is but the tip of the iceberg in one’s daily affairs that emerges during sleep.


One such day affair kept repeating in my childhood, before the age of eight. It emerged in the form of being a man on a beach late at night. I was listening to the waves breaking against and over the sand where the sea meets the shore. I stood a while in contemplation, listening and watching the fading light that heralds the night sky. While looking out to see a sadness invaded my emotional being, settled deep within and filled me to overflowing.


Overcome with melancholy, I stepped forward, over the edge of the shoreline. The water was welcoming, no shuddering of air and sea discrepancy, just a comforting caress. I continued walking, until swimming was the only option in forward progress. I swam until, without caring, allowed the caressing and welcoming sea to envelop and usher me into its abyss.


My sleep continued thereafter into morning, until upon waking I wondered in a sombre mood as to the meaning of my nighttime adventure. It was forgotten in the daylight, only to return a few more times on other nights until overtaken by another emergence.


So, I lay me down to sleep not knowing and allowing my soul to keep.



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