9 published works (poem)

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Jilbert Ebrahimi

walking on shattered glass
all that remained of my life..
I stood in the midst of my turmoil
storms had come
and all around me chaos 
reigned in fragments
of my sanctuary

I stood there
hands shoved in my pockets
afraid to take another step
for fear of cutting my feet
all that I was and would be
had exploded into unrecognizable
shards

I didn’t know what to do
I cried for a bit, called out for help
but no answer came
and as the wind swept the curtains
inside the hollowed out home
I’d never felt so lonely

I dried my eyes with my sleeve
cold from the wind and the rain
I found a red tape recorder
I’d been given for Christmas
laying at my feet

kneeling down I cleared a spot
until I had a place to sit
then, with recorder in my lap
I recounted the wolf like
screaming of the wind
and pounding of fists
of thunder and rain

there alone and in the dark
I told my story
nine times
Over and over
adding detail to some
removing names from others
but each time telling the truth

I fell asleep at some point
My head resting on my right arm
the left clutching the recorder
i curled up inside myself
with my truth pressed against my heart

When the dawn woke me
and voices calling out my name
jolted me from a fitful night
filled with nightmare images and ghosts
who’d leaned in to whisper
in my ears
stories children shouldn’t hear
but ones this one knew by heart
I yelled out for God

When I was swept up
I’d realized in horror
that my recorder had been handed
off
and someone had pressed play
in silence of those who’d come
I heard an old man
telling my nine truths back to me

It was motionless in the ruins
No one moved
I couldn’t even hear myself breathe
The world should hear this
The one who held me whispered softly
when the tape ended
I turned to my head to look my husband in the eyes

They did.
Where do you think the storm came from?
He gathered me to him
and in silent reverie
walked me out into the morning sun

Halcyon Dreams

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(Photo Alex Martinez)

 

In the secret space of knowing,
in that space where truth resides,
I found a sun lit portal,


not visible to mankind’s naked eye,


The key in my pocket was found to unlock it,


and as I twisted the copper colored solution, the tumbler resounded hard, and hollow,

and heavy,


The fog of Halcyon dreams o’re took me,


and rocked me gently upon the face of its deep waters.

 

A Jeff Key and F.E. One Time Poetic Exclusive  🙂

Message in a Bottle

 

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There is no pain so profound as a story waiting, inside, to be told. I believe that is quote by Dr. Maya Angelou. But I haven’t the will to sluice through Google to find out.  It doesn’t really matter anyway since it’s the truth.  I fell in love with that woman on the day she passed away.  And it always feels that way. That I’d missed my chance. I’d missed my opportunity to get to know her.

I have always felt like I’ve arrived in life a day late and a dollar short.  Born in the concrete jungle in a city that used to be. A city on the edge of a river that flows down to Lake Erie in Michigan’s handprint state. Detroit was a city that used to be, more Roman Ruins than American Exceptional. The gothic towers of old churches pointed heavenward amidst the broken down and bedraggled houses built during the world wars.

With broken concrete, broken dreams, and broken taillights the city’s skyline shined on the Detroit River like false advertisement.  Motown, HockeyTown, The Motor City – often vied for the title Murder Capital of the World along with Chicago and Washington D.C.

In the 1980’s, when I was young, the city to consisted of a few houses in a lower-middle-class neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Forbidden to the cross the street or go beyond the bushes that bordered my grandmother’s house several houses down, that had been my world.  Things were not bad then, or at least that’s what my brain tries to tell me, but bits of memory like so much smoke in an old juke joint rise up from in between memories of Christmas and summertime to make a liar out of me.

The 1990’s was pure hell. In summers heat gangs were restless and bored. And during the cold months leading to Halloween, they sometimes firebombed homes for the fun of it. We called that Devil’s night.

I am writing this today, mostly, as a sort of message in a bottle. Written down hastily, corked, and thrown out onto the sea of the internet in hopes that someone would read it. And once they’ve read it would sit down along the shoreline and believe the words that I’ve written. And in that belief wonder at how it was that a soul like mine could have gotten so lost. No, that isn’t exactly true. I don’t want your pity. I just want you to believe me.

Over the course of several years, I’ve tried to figure out what happened in my life to make me so sad. Why I carry with me this weight in my heart that stoops my shoulders and bows my head. And for many years I did everything I could to escape it. From joining the army, to going to the middle east, to coming home and running all over hell’s half-acre. But like a great shadow, a conscious creature, it followed me wherever I went.

The newness of my new world and new circumstances would wear off and there I would be.  Knee deep in my ‘me-ness’. When I lamented that to an ex-lover – he sniffed and shook his head with profound (profoundness purchased from his several shrinks he loved to keep on his payroll, I’m sure) seriousness and said, “Freddie, no matter where you go there you are.”

Now this sage wisdom came rolling off the lips of someone who cut hair for a living. Not that there was anything wrong with that. Certainly not. Many people make great money doing it as he did. But the statement was out of character for him. I had failed to been added to his thin concerns which were only for himself. Of course, until I wanted to leave and then he’d tell me he loved me, or he’d cry, or a million other reasons why I didn’t walk away. It would take me three years, and several random men who approached me to tell me about him, to figure that out for myself.

But that’s a story for a later time.  Right now I am focused on beginnings.  Where things originated. My Genisis, so to speak. As a writer, I have often pondered about putting all this down in book form. But the idea of making money off the stripes on my back make me curl inward as if I had just witnessed something obscene. It felt dirty that I would be airing my life out and more than ever I felt reticent about selling a book that would reek of scandal and be tantamount to some cheap ‘tell-all novel’ about the inner workings of fundamentalistic religion and  how I survived it.

Recently, I’ve even emailed four educators, professors, experts in fundamentalist religion and violence and offered myself and my story up for use by them or any student working under them who needed dissertation material, or thesis material for their Master’s degree. I figure someone somewhere ‘out there’ could use this information.

I received one reply email today from one of those experts. A nice man who informed me that the was no longer in fundamentalism and didn’t have any graduate students studying about it at present. He thanked me for my query and wished me luck saying, “I’m sure you have much to offer in the above regard by way of your personal experience. I hope you eventually find an appropriate venue for such discourse.”

See, that’s the problem. I’ve never been able to find so said appropriate venue. All I know is I’ve had stories rattling around in my head that would probably curl people’s hair. It’s weighed me down in ways that I can’t even begin to describe and as I said in my email to this man (and to three others)that, “… if I can’t relieve myself of the weight of them (my stories) then perhaps I can use it for the greater good.”

Again, a day late and a dollar short.

Not to say that I am unhappy. I am not. I am a happy guy. I have happiness in my life. I have a wonderful husband and a near-do-well writing career.  But I have sadness in me sequestered into a corner of my mind that every once in awhile – like a ghost- decides to raise it’s head and tell me stories I’d like to forget.

So, without any other ‘appropriate venue’ I think I am going to bring it here. A message in a bottle. Or a series of messages in a bottle from a storm-tossed soul. A man who’s gay, an ex- fundamentalist, an ex-republican, married, scary story/ romance writer who hopes that someone out there tonight – or in the following days, months, years etc. would believe him.

Because like most horror stories, novels, and movies out there – sometimes there is no answer to what happens to the cast of characters when the story ends. So, this is my S.O.S as I’m stranded on the isle of recovery from what would amount to an American Horror Story. Except the ghosts were real, and the monsters loved Jesus.

I don’t know how often I’ll write. But I will write as often as I can. Thanks

F.E.

 

The Intensity of Wisdom (opinion subject to change)

I will never discuss banal things.
I like conversations about ideas. I want to talk about sex. I want to hear your thoughts about space travel and colonies on the ocean floor. I want to hear your thoughts on God. Philosophy. Religion. I won’t accept your Atheism, Christianity, or Wiccan ness unless you tell me why.
I want to know why.
I don’t accept things because we throw pretty and modern words to the masses and because it’s repeated over and over again. Tenacity is not truth. Mendacity is just a pretty word for lie.
Concerning your sexuality, I want to know your experiences. I want to hear from you about when you found out you were straight, gay, trans.
I want to hear your truth between the words you speak. I want to feel your emotion wrapped up in the nuances of your speech.
I have spent too many years with people who promoted their ‘truth’ so absolutely that I am suspicious of others? Or, maybe that’s not the right word. Inquisitive? I don’t know.
When I left the Fundi Baptist church – I left the philosophy due to its shallowness. It’s inconsistencies. It’s inability to contribute anything meaningful to the world. It lacked ethics. It lacked aesthetics. And it half lied and it half told the truth. And that truth was manipulated for control’s sake. They were out making converts twice as fit for hell as they were in accordance to their own holy text.
The Atheist makes a point that if you need the threat of eternal damnation to do the right thing, you don’t lack religion, you lack morals. And they’re right.
But even those with religion, the saved of the saved, have the fear of the ‘Big Sky Daddy’ and STILL lack a conscience. We see that played out over and over and over again through not only history but modern political thought. Ayn Rand was a shit person who had an irresponsible philosophy that our current speaker of the house shares. Donald Trump is another great example of utter garbage in our world today backed up by American Protestantism. Like the German Church, they’ve thrown their hat in with someone who could be a kind of Anti-Christ should he gain control. And on the flip side of that, Trigger warnings at the University level and even in book production today is utter bullshit. Truth is not often pretty. Sometimes it’s downright nasty. And you shouldn’t be protected from those things because people who went through them, weren’t. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the hammer blow when I see something in regards to child abuse or systemic racism. Because I often know where it’s rooted. And it’s rooted in the idea that a person ‘owns’ another.
And these things are not in an attempt to make me sound smart. There are smarter men and women than me by light years. And I don’t want to talk about these things to intimidate people. I’m not trying to prove anything. I owe you nothing and you owe me nothing.
But I’ve spent years trying to figure myself out. Trying to figure out what the truth is in regards to who I am. Because the more I know about you, the more I find out about me. And these things lead me out of a word of certainty. Statements made with exclamation marks.
An uncertain person will never kill a gay person, will never blow up a Mosque, will never call a woman seeking an abortion a whore, will never subject someone to the auspices of a book translated by a King with an authoritarian ideology, will never once hold a slave, or castigate someone for finding their own truth and living freely in it. And uncertain people make shitty terrorists.
At the end of the day, I know very few things. But I do know that I love my husband and I love my friends. Anything else is anyone’s guess. And the willingness to live in such a nebulous gray place requires intensity, I guess. And it requires the understanding that the more I learn, the less I know. Aristotle said the beginning of wisdom is the understanding that I know nothing.
But it also requires being brave. And you can’t be gay in this world and be a coward. It’s impossible.

Happy Halloween Podcast (Presented by WROTE Podcast)

WROTE

Welcome to the FIRST annual Halloween Radio Broadcast from the staff and crew of the WROTE Podcast!

We have 10 spine-chilling tales for you to enjoy in this special homage to classic radio storytelling with a decidedly queer slant on Halloween classic genres:

1) Lost Soul – FE Feeley Jr
2) New One – Albert Nothlit
3) Waiting for Morning – Angel Martinez
4) Excerpt from Paper Doll – Joe Cosentino
5) Destined to Repeat – Keelan Ellis
6) Gargoyle – J Scott Coatsworth
7) Extreme – Jayne Lockwood
8) Excerpt from forthcoming “Quarrel of Sparrows” – SA “Baz” Collins
9) Excerpt from A Demon Inside – Rick R. Reed
10) Excerpt from Werewolves of Brooklyn – Brad Vance

NEARLY TWO HOURS of spooky tales and malevolent glee to be had by these brilliant and engaging authors. Enjoy – IF YOU DARE!

Listen here!