(for Anne Sexton)

She carried her love into a whole other house
leaving her splendid eye for detail
in the world.
Softer truths enfold her now,
out there
with the stars she devoured.
So, be kind to her.
She was the best.
Nobody bit into the darkness
as prettily as Anne.
Nobody mined the depths
as courageously,
to set down on the page
in her own blood,
open veins
judged inappropriate
by jealous academics.
She was the real deal,
the one who does not
relinquish her quest,
a craving for absence
that gnawed and whined.
Perhaps she felt its
velvet glove
already brushing
past her bones,
the witch’s invitation to a table
Come in
Lay down your burden
Lay down your burden
Leave your flesh at the door
This is a real party
what beckoned
what called
must have wafted
stronger than a blood rose,
promising marriage and peace,
a stepping down,
as she acquiesced
to ride
the slow carbon monoxide air


He sings like a demon on fire

He moves like a wildcat in heat

When he stands still he can even make the women weep

So give reign to your pain and your anger

Get up and throw off your blues

Get a monkey to befriend you

You’re right to say you’ve paid your dues

I don’t remember the man I used to be

Now I’m tired but I’m nearly free

I never look in the mirror

I don’t even want to see

Something coming up around the corner

Get a jump on me

Yes I can feel it in my ears

All I can say is I don’t want it to be

Something more than a tragedy

To all my friends in a tree

Singing your songs for me

You give me heart you bring me ecstasy


I try so hard

I try so hard

I try so hard to love you


I try so hard to live with you

I try so hard to know you


I do not know you

I cannot rule you




I am blue not gray

I am just made that way

I will just fade that way




The lamp’s down low

How low will it go


Into the dark

Our natural space

Our silly place


I try so hard

To win the race

To end the race


I try so hard

To find my place


I want to be inspired

But inspiration hides under a pile of soiled clothes.

I want to be in demand

But I’m not the man I used to be.

I want to be completely me

But I don’t know where I permanently stand on anything.

I want to do what I’ve forgotten to do

But I can’t remember what that is.

I want to be on a tropical twist with A.

But she has her obligations.

I want to get back all the wasted time

But it’s time I stopped trying to do that.

I want to be free

But from what and for what?

I want to be able to love unconditionally

Everyone everything even myself.

I want to want something,

I mean really want like I’m on fire for it.


Despite these wishes, I’m a reasonably happy person,

Which I don’t ascribe to all the drinks and dope.


I wake up in the morning
To nothing much at all
I let it all go thru me
I don’t have much recall
The never changing noises
The total disrespect
For any real advancement
And all the same neglect
Like black men sitting in prison
Many innocent of crime
The others that did it
Obliged to make a dime
I wish I could make things happen
I wish I had the balls
To overthrow the status quo
Escape privilege once and for all
I want off this merry-go-round
With all the drugs and lies
From the evening pundits
In their shirts and their ties
But I’m just a good Jewish boy
Did everything I was told
By books and parents
Who really were quite old
I’ll deal with defeat in heaven
If everything goes well
I’ll be right up in front
Sounding a big brass bell
I’ll kiss all the angels
Give them each a rose
Convince them to relocate
Buy them some street clothes
If there is a God sitting there
I won’t say a word
I won’t betray my bitterness
About which I am not cured
I imagine He’ll just nod and wink
And drink up His usual praise
Coming thru the Intercom
From churches in a haze
What do they expect from me He”ll ask
What do they think I can do
About all their pain and unhappiness
Their problems not a few
I’m just a dude with a good job
I got it long ago
I was elected President
In a world I do not know
I’ve been to hell and back
I’ll tell Him steady and straight
It was quite a ride for sure
It makes me want to hate
And now you’re in heaven you think
With the man Himself
I guess you want an autograph
To place on your shelf
No I don’t think so I’ll retort
I never thought You great
For being so full of yourself
In everything You state
You made humans the way we are
That really wasn’t smart
We’re just a bunch of insane beasts
From the end and from the start
I think you made a mistake He’ll say
You came to the wrong place
You need to go next door I think
The Devil’s in that space
Blame blame is all You know
I’ll tell Him with a sneer
It’s always the other guy
It’s always the one You fear
Fear in what You bank on
Fear is what You need
To keep Your fans writing cheques
While they continue to bleed
Your fans don’t even know who they are
They only know their names
You need to make them need You
To referee their games
Why don’t You tell them the truth of it
Tell them they can be strong
That they don’t have to get on their knees
To live well and get along
Then what would I do up here He’d say
I would be all alone
No more droning prayers to hear
No more messages on my phone
The fact of the matter is
I’m not getting any younger
Don’t have the energy anymore
To satisfy anyone’s hunger
Still people want to dream I guess
Of an afterlife one day
They cannot handle the alternative
That they must just decay
Should I destroy the illusions
That keep some men afloat
In a world they cannot tolerate
In a world without hope
To these very words
I wouldn’t know what to say
Illusions may be all we have
To keep the world at bay


When we first experience…

When do we first experience prison? It must be when as babies we realize that we are limited by our environment. The lines are formed early. Cribs are little cages, and the prisoner is always rattling at his. He wants out. The prisoner must realize there is a world beyond the bars, where he cannot go. His life is curtailed. He is in prison. 

A prisoner of needs

Maybe it goes back even further. Out of the undifferentiated universe of the uterus, the new person meets the cold air of our world.  From its predicament of near helplessness it realizes it is a prisoner of its needs and must depend on an agent from outside, who may or may not be there to accommodate them. It is the first experience of the pain of dependency. It also shows the person that there are various kinds, some more demoralising than others.

Caregivers as wardens, and schools…

As children we are under the rule of our caregivers, who decide our limitations. We may rail against these in shows of rebellion, but they usually hold the upper hand, indulging or punishing us for our behaviour. We will adapt to what they decide is acceptable, this forming our bars, and which provides a template for our encounter with the social contract.

School comprises a larger prison in which we learn to read and write and sit and stand and repeat in unison. We are told what is important in life. We contend with others who are in the same situation. Many thrill to the sound of the bell announcing the school day is over, or there is a recess, and we may escape for a while. Watch children in schoolyards celebrate their freedom with extreme loud defiance.

And, so, the socialization process continues, with limitation at every turn, compromise in every encounter, and as long as limits exist we are not free.

But when we sleep…

the most free we ever feel is when we sleep.

After enquiry, it is possible that freedom can be reduced to a feeling: space and non-attachment. The sky is a picture of freedom.

The body is the most constant prison of all. It is what encases us. It is us in relationship to everything else. We cannot escape our body unless we turn into a ghost.

If we suggest that we are something beyond our bodies, that something is dependent on our having a body in the first place.  It requires a body to house it.

Ideology confines thought, limiting it to its boundaries. Any thought which does not conform to the system is disallowed. Any ideology requires guards to protect it. To keep out the contradictions.

A prisoner to a system of ideas is often a willing prisoner. The world of ideas is a dangerous place, resulting in confusion. So, it is safer to buy into a system and keep it.

An actual prison can have its charms: your needs are cared for. You are not burdened with making choices. You have company. In general, however, how many people have tried to break into a prison?

Freedom, even partial freedom, seems to be a powerful need. It is a rebellious force, determined to overcome restrictions, as if restrictions were inherently the enemy of our nature. Regard your feelings while watching wild horses bolt; identify with the young child bent on overthrowing authority.

Thought is free. Anyone can at any time entertain whatever thought happens to be there. Why one thought generates itself and not another at any given moment is a great mystery. Yet, to function successfully requires organizational thought. We may organize thought any way we please, but then that pattern becomes a form of prison if we cannot at the same time not get stuck in it.  If you say you like peaches and at the same time cannot say that you do not like peaches, then you are in the prison of liking peaches.

In other words, logic is a prison as well.

Why is habit so commonplace among people in certain societies?  It must satisfy something in the mind that is pleased by repetition.  Habits are often difficult to break. If a habit cannot be broken, regardless of how beneficial it may be, it is a form of prison.  It is probable that habit is satisfying because it provides a degree of security; uncertainty often causes fear. If we could accept insecurity we would be freer for it.

People often prefer to be in prison than to be free as long as they are getting compensated in some way. The case made about one’s needs in prison being accomodated suggests that a trade-off is taking place wherein freedom is swapped for security.

It is reasonable to assert that people require freedom, and at the same time are afraid of it.

It is only when security becomes oppressive that people wish to replace it with freedom.

People who break certain laws may find themselves in a physical prison. But laws are also prisons, because we are required to act within its confines. If we break out of one type of prison, we way be put into another. 

Absolute freedom is what is required by the individual, although this is not usually a conscious need.

How is absolute freedom attainable? It probably isn’t, which is why an afterlife has been imagined. It is assumed that only there the individual may be perfectly free.

Attachment to the past is a common prison. The past has determined the present to a degree, but are these really linked? It is possible that connecting dots has no basis in reality. Perhaps all of the dots are, in fact, pristine and isolate.

Cause and effect would work as a principle if it were repeated infinitely, which hasn’t happened yet.

Accidents tell us that freedom exists. It wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did. This tells you that anything is possible.

Of all the emotions, fear and love are the strongest; yet they are often in conflict.

*Putting a person in prison is telling the person that from this point on they will have no power.

A promise is a prison we make for ourselves.

In actual prisons…

*In an actual prison human beings degenerate, as if they were being deprived of oxygen. They revert to a more primitive life form.

Violence strikes at unknown moments. Prisoners feel that they are already dead, so that they might as well kill or wound others. It is a profound reaction to their condition. A person dies every morning in their own mind in prison.

A prisoner will need to adapt to his environment.  Eventually he may come to believe he belongs where he is, which means he has abdicated his freedom. This most unnatural state is something he must live with.

Perhaps the most unfortunate cases are ones who can only deal with confinement. These will return automatically to this environment. But if freedom is at the basis of human nature, they have become something other than human.

Imprisonment is meant as a form of punishment, which it is. But a crime and this form of punishment have no meaningful relationship to each other. The only possible positive outcome for the individual is that he determines not to go back. But will he?  If he has learned nothing about his behaviour, he will. It is often the case that you come out of the experience a worse person than when you went in.

Society must learn that treating people as less than human is not in its best interests. If a punishment is not understood as just, the prisoner will feel only resentment, which runs counter-intuitive toward that person not re-offending in the future.

Being in prison is referred to as “doing time.” If the prisoner is to benefit from this time, he should learn something about himself. Thus prisons should be educational establishments rather than pain factories.

Choices. What happens when choices are taken away? We do always have the choice of how to deal with not having choices. If done correctly, it can induce a sense of inner freedom.

Being thrust into a solitary state, the prisoner has the choice either of losing himself, or forging a new deeper self; the former leads to insanity, the latter to transcendence.

Emotions are usually our downfall. Most crimes are committed due to the control of certain emotions over the individual. Prisoners have the luxury of time to be able to understand this and to come to terms with their emotions.

Who needs more patience than a person doing time?

It is interesting how many people see offenders as different from themselves.  We perceive them as alien, degenerate, possessed. But we are just the same as them in our dreams and reveries.

*We are all prisoners of who we think we are. We are probably far from who (or what!) we think we are. But whose point of view should we see ourselves from? That is unknown and unknowable.

I think we all have a vague sense that we are living in prison most of the time, just under the veneer that we ride autonomous and in command.

I think we all know at this point that prison is a mistake.

One of the worst tortures in prison has to be the infliction of boredom, monotony to the point of causing no thought that anything will ever change. It is obviously meant to weaken the spirit of the individual.  In order for the inmate to remain sharp he must stimulate himself, which often means he turns to violence.

Boredom can be the springboard for creative activity as well. Many schemes are birthed as a result of the prisoner having little else to do.


Breaking a law is transgressive. It is crossing boundaries that have been set up. As children we always look for a line that is there to be crossed. The child looks at it with excitement, as if on the other side there is the land of enchantment. Of course, there is also fear involved. What monsters lurk? What will happen to me? The child soon finds out the price that has to be paid, and if it was worth it. This is something the criminal continues to ask himself.

Being a habitual criminal means that transgression is more satisfying than conformity. The square sides with conformity, obedience, docility. The criminal always has his eye on the next crime, the golden prize, after which he may want to retire.

Of course, he won’t; the life is just too exciting. Transgression continues to hold out its appeal.

What would it take to rehabilitate the seasoned criminal? Obviously, it would have to align with the criminal’s needs. Does he need to get beaten down in order to understand the error of his ways? No, because prison has taught him only to be more creative at doing what he does. It provides a more beguiling challenge to overcome his confinement. Just as the child seeks to triumph over his imposed conditions the criminal needs to think he can win against a world he believes is not in his best interests.

The criminal is never at peace if he continues to think he can win. Gradually, this ceases to be an illusion and depression sets in. Old cons in a prison environment is a sad picture. Age plus defeat equals devastation.

So, if the criminal is the unrepentant child who continues to transgress, perhaps it would be instructive to point out what maturity has to offer.

Maturity, it seems, is a tradeoff – the impulsiveness of the child for the solidity of the adult when reason can prevail over emotion. Can the criminal be shown the value of becoming an adult? What are these if truth be told?

Perhaps one of these is the satisfaction of self-determination. The convict lacks totally a sense of determining his life, which is at the discretion of the authorities who oversee him. Easing him into the role of adult by allocating responsibility is a good beginning. This goes beyond keeping him busy with mundane tasks; rather it is requiring him to offer his own ideas in his quest. The more we treat convicts as adults the more adult they will become if not at once, hopefully, over time.

The prevalence of violence in prison is related to a sense of helplessness on the part of the convicts. Violence creates consequences, which means that something has been attained. It matters little who the victim is or what happens to him, as long as some damage has been seen to be done. It is a game of thwarted ambition.

The type of violence practised in prison is hands-on with makeshift knives. This makes it intimate, requiring an elevated degree of emotion. It is as if a bonding ritual has been substituted by a stabbing.

To pierce a person’s flesh with a sharp object takes an intensification of hostility. Making hate the desired emotion to carry around by the convict. As long as the convict can still hate he is not yet emotionally dead.

Sex in prison must entail the element of violence. Bodies re-arranged as weapons. And sadomasochistic rituals. A fierce hierarchy presides. In this environment convicts need to know where they belong.

If the convict cannot trust anyone (at least at the beginning) he is all alone in a sea of potential sharks, and must guard against an attack. He must go into himself in order to summon the strength to survive.

Convicts in a crowded facility revert to a primitive form of bonding based on race, because it is the most obvious way to distinguish like and unlike. A shared race suggests a shared past, which is hoped may be a reason to trust. Whom to trust in a place where people are because they are not trustworthy to begin with is a hard call. The rule in prison is to trust nobody who appears different from them.

Prisons confine people who are anti-social in one place where they may be anti-social toward each other, thinking that when they are released they will no longer be anti-social toward society in general.

It is expected that most cons will return to prison. The justice system depends on it. If rehabilitation worked the system would suffer.

*Only the human animal keeps people in cages.

All organisms obey laws that make sense to them spontaneously. Nobody would think about disobeying the law to breathe, for example.

A society where everyone obeyed laws would require a lot fewer employees, so that the justice system is more of an industry than a judicial body.

It is important that bad people do not break good laws; it is also important that good people do break bad laws. (or at least change them.)

There must be a myriad of reasons people commit crimes, all of these worth investigating.

If we were to say that any crime at all is punishable by execution, would crime be eradicated?

Execution is preferable to a life sentence. There is nothing less humane than keeping someone in a cage to the day he dies.

Being an outlaw means being outside law, outside established order, be that an order laid down by men or the natural order. It is saying, “I will create my own laws and attempt to live them.” It is by experimenting that the outlaw determines what works for him. This then becomes a personal system he lives by, any part of which may be modified or changed or abandoned at will. If an outlaw joins a gang or organization he is no longer an outlaw because he must now submit to the rules of the club, rules he did not make. Being a true outlaw is a solitary experience.

Our attitude toward the outlaw is to denigrate him for not living according to a system we have been forced to adopt, and to punish him for this. On the other hand, we admire him for living by his own code, that is putting himself at risk for us so that we can still manage to imagine owning our own freedom.

Certain crimes are worth more than others, murder being at the top of the list. Killing somebody is an existential act that criminals understand makes the murderer worthy of respect in that it changes the person, making him aware of the karma he carries. Psychically he has a weight strapped to his back.

The murderer needs to pay for his crime with his own death. It is the only way he may gain relief. Unfortunately this is not often the case today in judicial rulings, in which the offender need only spend a certain number of years incarcerated. Years for murder do not equate.

In a crime of passion the killer is at the mercy of his emotions. It is worth enquiring how rage came to be part of our psychic makeup in the course of evolution. Has it served us? Has it kept our enemies at bay? Perhaps it has, but probably not. A cooler head is surely better for that. Rage appears as useless to humans as nipples on a man, and is moreover the cause of much barbaric criminal destruction in the bargain.

Because emotions play a part in human behaviour we understand a crime of passion and evaluate it as not as offensive as a crime that has been planned. It is as if you have abdicated responsibility to a part of yourself that you temporarily do not own. If someone has thought about the act beforehand he has understood its implications and has decided to proceed despite any inhibiting factors. That is the more serious crime.

Is it possible to gain freedom from our emotions? Emotions play at least as much of a role in human affairs as thought. They may cling, or pass, or recur. Nobody is ever without an emotion even if the emotion is unconscious. If we were free from emotion we would be closer to a machine. This is not to say that one mood cannot be swapped for another. This can and does happen all the time. It is possible to cause one emotion to change into another. Physical exertion often causes that. Which shows that emotion is physiological as much as psychological. As humans, we relate in emotional terms more often than any other, as in “How are you?” rather than “What are you thinking?”

Freedom is a daunting prospect. I have complete freedom to say what I wish in my next sentence. It is my choice. Let us say it makes a difference. Let us say it makes a great difference. The difficulty comes in the possibility of making the wrong choice. It could set off a chain of events that might take innumerable incarnations to overcome. The human race would be plunged into darkness. It would be my fault. Solidly on my shoulders. Obviously with freedom comes great responsibility. It is almost better to be a slave.

It is a sad fact that a high number of convicts who have been released from prison return to it. There are several factors that may contribute to this, but probably the most important reason is that the person cannot handle freedom. It is too heavy to bear after a long period of not having to think for themselves. Inside they are not burdened with freedom.

It is also a sad fact that people in general can not live with the burden of freedom, and are dependent on external forms of authority dictating their lives. Civilization has had its way. Humans can no longer even conceive of leading free lives. Leading a free life means living in isolation. It means living completely one’s personal experience. Perhaps only the insane can live entirely free lives.

The comfort of the slave comes in the form of freedom from the need to forge a destiny. His destiny at the mercy of an authority close to him, his god is physical.

Our boss is our god and that is why people work for other people.

People have a natural aversion to fat because it is flesh which keeps us confined to the prison of this world. A thinner person can more easily escape between its bars.

Skeletons don’t have problems.

Buddha says that desire is the great prison. Lack of desire can be just as limiting.

A problem is a prison. We are stuck within its confines and can see no way out. Once we see it from outside the box the problem is solved.

Freedom to curtailed by ethical standard, the standard itself a form of bondage.

The newly born first feel the prison of hunger and wonder what they are doing in there. They don’t realize yet that it is a life sentence.

Any need creates its prison. It is not just the need itself but the awareness of the need that makes one a prisoner. Even when a need has been met there is an underlying anxiety that it may not be the next time. Does the hungry baby know he will be fed every time he cries?


The wide blanket that covers it all,

I have a heart for you.

The dream has always been

to ride the skin that is your game,

The sad markings thrown away.

In any climate I make a vow:

I will not change my quest for you,

Your lullabies that bring on sleep.

I leave my gift at your doorstep.

I have no more appetite for loss.

This pales before your promises,

The great defeat of unhappiness

That trails along a cool white sheet

With whispers down an avenue.

Between your pear-like breasts

I lay my head

I lay aside my childish scorn

In you I will be torn

Outside of time and flesh,

An exquisite Nothingness.

You are always there

In the glare and in the dream.

From your constant womb of white

The perfect crown of a perfect life

You beckon to watery steps

With an air of indifference,

Or down into the arms of earth

Where we relinquish our flimsy truths

Of the noises that were us

The stances and the spasms spent

on happenstance.

You open your legs to this.

It is your fragrance that overcomes

my weariness.

In the dream I have seen

Your lipstick is reminiscent:

The smile.

I am afraid.

Outside of myself I watch myself

In my drugged state

Tethered to another life,

A weaker life,

I shudder.

You fade, removed page by page.

Over oceans of time,

You disappear.

I am clear

And alone.

It is another day:

I watch the sun rise.


RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,
My problem is this: I cannot get my hair cut right. I tell my barber to stop at the point where it looks to be the right length. Okay. So what happens? I walk outside, catching my reflection in shop windows and  feeling pretty good about the length. Next I go home and take a shower and shampoo. What that does, believe it or not, is make my hair seem a lot shorter than it was in all those shop windows.

And this less- than-hairy look is something I have to live with for the next week or so, which causes my digestive juices to circulate so horribly that I am forever expelling gas. PLEASE don’t tell me to have my barber stop cutting sooner. I did that last time and had the problem of overhairiness, which was just as painful. I don’t know anymore what to say to my barber. (which has caused another problem, but not to go there at this juncture)

Hair Horror

Dear Hair,

Hair can be horrible –no doubt  about it. Why do we have hair at all is the question I have been asking myself since the age of six. I finally found the answer in my 65th year: We have inherited it from our simian ancestors. Apparently it is a way for animals to protect themselves from the elements. Big deal! I mean it’s cold, you jump into a pair of woollen long ones, right? No need to have hairy legs.

The same for the head. Wrap a scarf around it and travel. What in the world is the point of hair? Itches, becomes a snowstorm when you scratch that makes you  resemble Christmastime in a fairytale. Washing it takes forever and you always get shampoo in out of the way places. You dry it, it blows every which way but the right one. Then it sticks up where you don’t want it to and flattens out when you don’t want it to. It changes colour and nobody told it to. And it’s the first damn thing you see when you look at somebody. You are always comparing thicknesses.

If I had the ear of Mother Nature, I would ask her to do away with the pesky problem altogether. Just leave us with a nice smooth surface and be done with it. But She, knowing women, would probably be too busy at the beauty parlour to give me a straight answer. About your problem? I am just too agitated about the wider question to give you responsible guidelines at the moment. My hair is such a mess! Forgive me, Hair.

I know this didn’t help.


I am teaching an Adult ESL class. There are not many students present. Anita is there. She and I are simulating an argument between a couple in order to generate a conversation on this by the students later in English. One of the students, a middle-aged woman interrupts and states that she objects to this exercise and wants to leave. We stop. I think about the situation. I do not have anything else I wish to start and there is about an hour left in the class. I tell her if she does not like it to just go. At this point, other students who were absent show up, including a man I like very much. The woman who wanted to leave suddenly gets very angry. She approaches me and puts a hand on my chest, poking it. I tell her plainly that if she does not stop this she will regret it, but she continues. I grab her hair and see her face actually fall apart into pieces. I am horrified. The dream ends.


RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

I have a problem that I would like to ask you about.  I have a new boyfriend and we have been together for like about  a month and a half and the thing is we never argue. Maybe people say that is a good thing, but I am kinda worried.

Is it normal to never argue?  I like a good argument. It airs things out and makes you feel light afterward. I love him (kinda) and I think we have a future together. He is likable with a good personality and he thinks about the future. He says he wants to be a serial killer someday. What would you say our chances are?


Dear Mariko,

You have a boyfriend with whom you never argue and you wonder whether that is a problem. Well, it can be if you are the kind of person who likes to argue and he won’t engage you.  There is nothing more frustrating for an arguer who is in the mood for a good dust up than to have nobody to dust up with.

We tend to think we can always find something to disagree about with a person and then this person doesn’t take the bait. What can you do about this?

I would find out what he really doesn’t like and then go to work to provoke him about it. Go out of your way to make him miserable and angry.

The fact that he wants to be a serial killer tells you that eventually he will react in a negative way, which is just what you need.  He may even try to kill you at some point, but then you will know finally that you can be compatible.

Don’t let him kill you, of course, but explain to him that you appreciate him for conflicting with you, and then try to make it work out between you.  That seems like the only reasonable procedure.

Good luck, and I hope this helps.

Dear Ron,

I did like you said. I went into the basement room where he lives and I kinda messed up his torture kit.

This got him upset , but he he didn’t express it in an unpleasant way. He just dropped his habitual smile and explained to me quietly that he would prefer it if “you kept your paws off my equipment.” Then he offered me a glass of grape juice. I knew that I was in the wrong, so I apologized. Then we had sex. Still no real arguments though.


Dear Mariko,

You are not taking it far enough.  You could have pushed him on the “paws” comment, angrily rebutting that “these here appendages are no paws, certainly not, they are clearly enough two human hands.” He might’ve gone for that one.

You could also have challenged him about his living quarters, berating him for living in a basement, which is just as likely to make him into a cliché in his future career. You need to pick up on anything that will push his buttons. Keep trying.

Dear Ron,

I finally hit on something that worked. He invited me to his mother’s house for dinner, and after it was all over we were walking back to his basement when I told him what a nice person his mother was.

Well, that was the wrong thing to say apparently, because he hit the ceiling, calling himself cursed for coming out of her womb, that she had made his life hell itself, and that I was just like her, that is a female. I was so happy to see him get angry that I got angry too and we spat and yelled at each other for twenty minutes. Then we had sex. So thanks for making me pursue it, Ron.

Dear Mariko,

Excellent. The point here is that everyone has an Achilles’ heel, which you obviously noticed during your walk to his basement.


You are the blood in my every thought and motion

The essence of my dream

Your voice echoes softly in my sleep

You are the morning star to me

Your face is round and pretty

A mask of the sun

Even if I am almost over

I have only just begun

Our love has not been easy

The way has been obscure

We tried so many times to undo

What we were never sure

The future is your forté

You pursue it like a bitch

Will we go together

Into that abyss

Is this just a dream of love

Is it really real

Can I ever express to you

What I really feel

My heart is so weary

My mind is so upset

Though I have no regret

For what hasn’t happened yet

Will we meet again one day

On that special hill

And play again like children

Which we were once well

If not

It is just as good to be old with you

And mope and rub away our aches and pains

Many times or few

And have a word with you

As you go here and there

Tearing up the scenery

While I stay in the square

You know time is relentless

It takes you for a ride

Remember that beach we knew

Remember that morning tide

I wish us together there

In the early air

We join the endless ocean

Beautiful and fair

Our love means more than

Days and nights

Our lives are not just

Bits and bytes


It is already light


I don’t want to fight


RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

Sometimes I think that I am wasting my life. I have this anxiety that I should be doing something with my life, but I am never able to decide what that “it” is. Maybe writing to you will show me the light. Sorry if this is too vague.

Existential Ed

Dear Ed,

You certainly wrote to the right person.  I spent the morning checking the oil quality on various body parts.

Let me pick out some words you employ:  “Wasting. Anxiety. Vague.”  Waste, according to the dictionary can mean many things.( They always list five or six meanings of one word which is annoying . I will go with number three. “To fail to use…” )

Are you failing to use something? Let us say you have a key that you never use. Well, you are wasting that key. It might be for a lock you don’t have  anymore. What should you do in that case? Throw the damn thing out, of course, or give it away as a gift.

Let us say you have shampoo and you are a bald person. Stop buying shampoo. It is a waste. Get the picture? But –and this is a pretty big but- I think I am hearing from you that you are wasting time. Okay. You can’t throw time in the garbage, can you? Or stop buying it. What you can do is to use it. Use it to do something. Get up in the morning and give yourself an objective for the day. Go to the toilet. Have a cracker and some marmalade.

Help someone out. Be a volunteer. That is always satisfying. Knock on your neighbour’s door and offer to do his dishes.  Don’t take no for an answer. If you see a lady carrying a purse that is probably heavy, offer to take it off her hands. You would be surprised at her reaction. Don’t let her give you anything back either. If she objects, just smile and insist.

You mention anxiety. Don’t let her anxiety throw you off. All people are a bit shy about speaking to strangers. At first. Once she gets to know you, it will be different. And never be vague. Tell them exactly what to want to do.  Say, “I want to polish your car.” Or better yet, find their key, get right in the driver’s seat and tell them that you will take them around town.

I hope you are catching on. Once you get home at night you won’t feel like you have been wasting your time at all. Let me know how it all went.


RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,
My problem fits into the fashion/hair category. I love my cap and I love to wear it constantly in the winter. What happens is that every time I take it off when I arrive somewhere I notice that my hair is flat. It throws my haircut which is giving me all manner of grief.  Do you think I should give up my cap or make peace with my ruined haircut?

Dear Larry,
My first question to you is: why do you take your cap off at all? You could resolve the issue by just keeping the cap on the whole time, and that way people would not have to witness your flat hair. All the boys are doing it these days, haven’t you noticed? It is “in”, the thing to do. The world is starting to resemble a Passover dinner or the inside of a dugout. You would look fashionable and maybe even meet new people in the process. Try it and let me know what happens.

Dear Ron,
I thought of that, but find it poses a problem of its own. If I wear the cap inside, my forehead starts to heat up causing a band of perspiration to form and eventually drip down onto my nose, making me have to  take the cap off to expose my ruined haircut.  Please! Sometimes I feel like the gods are against me.

Dear  Larry,
The dripping part is unfortunate.  Couldn’t you fit a little Kleenex in there to sop up the dampness? By the way, of what religious persuasion are you? I don’t know of many with more than one God.

Dear Ron,
The “gods” comment was just hyperbole I used to express my malcontent with my pesky situation.  I mean if there were more than one god, would they really have the time to get together to form a conspiracy against me, Larry? I am not that paranoid, but I am in despair about the cap/haircut problem. Your suggestion that I use Kleenex may be good, but what happens if it falls out and into my soup, for example.  I think I would feel awful if that happened.  It would then pose another problem, wouldn’t it? Would I be able to continue eating my soup?

Dear Larry,

It would depend on how tasty the soup was initially, but yes, I do get your point. Larry, there are times in the lives of men when a man must do what a man must do: I am sorry to have to tell you this but you are just going to have to stretch your cap. It can be done. Ask any haberdasher. It’s called “propping.” They can push it out so that your hair will have enough room to relax. Good luck and if you dare, let me know how your hair fares.


RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,
I have always wanted meatier arms, and now I am finally getting them.  But now that I have them  I want more!  Am I being greedy?
Meat  Lover

Dear Meat Lover,

I am supposing that you will probably never be satisfied with your arms. I say that because it is like the person who has only known poverty all his life, and then one day he gets some money and it makes him feel better about himself. But soon he wants to feel even better and he thinks by accumulating more resources he will. Of course, once this ball gets rolling, it doesn’t stop, and the person finds out that he can never really be satisfied.
Tolstoy once wrote a story called “How Much Meat Does A Man Need” (or something quite close to that) in which a person begins by ordering a smoked meat sandwich in a deli, after  which he is still hungry, and so he orders another, and another, and he just keeps going, wolfing down the meat rabidly.
Eventually the short-order guy is getting a sore arm making the sandwiches and tells the customer maybe a little fish would be a better choice. But the customer is so fixated on his meat that he rejects the cook’s advice. Eventually, the cook, walks out of the kitchen with a sling on his arm and begs the customer to end his meal. The customer agrees to this on the one condition that the  cook tell him where he can purchase a cow.
Do you see where this is going? I hope you would agree that Mr. Sandwich has gone overboard. My best advice to you is to be satisfied with the degree of meatiness of your arms and don’t make a pig of yourself.