JUDAS BLUE EYES

Life was good

It was fine

A bit mundane

from time

to time

but fine and dandy

dandy and fine

Never once entered

my contented mind

to look for someone

or

cross a fine line

Who

could be

out there?

I never once

had a care

for a

mesmerizing

intense

blue-eyed

devilish

stare

Smooth

suave

and

sure of himself

Getting caught up

in spite of myself

A

Charming

Sexy

Funny 

Clever 

person

I didn’t know

existed

Ever

Never

I’m savvy

Street-wise

Nobody’s fool

No blinders on

Lady Green Eyes

Always so cool

Drawn to him

Dream of him

Laugh with him

Fun times begin

Really good friends 

That’s it

Nothing more

Though the roar

in my head

and core

screams

“Maybe more!”

Than friends

Exciting

Inviting

Igniting

Skywriting

Delighting

Inciting

private jokes

and

teasing

flirting

What does it matter?

Who are we hurting?

Close friends

Familial blends

All so natural

All so casual

Days

Weeks

Months

Years

Lunches

Dinners

Laughs

No tears

Holidays

Relations

Weddings

Vacations

never foretold of the

inevitable cessation

When did it change?

When did it turn?

I was about

to learn

and

to feel

the burn

of

Lies

Aspersions

Deceptions

Distortions

Evasions

Contortions

Deceptions

Fabrications

Hyperbole

Inaccuracy

Mendacity

Dishonesty

Insincerity

Falsity

Hypocrisy

Duplicity

This ideal

once heaven friend 

Now

Svengali

Machiavellian

Reptilian

Cheater

User

Liar

Abuser

Selfish

Shallow

Manipulative

Hollow

I was a friend

I was a fool 

To the bitter end

an unwitting tool

Too kind

So blind

Edged out

Left behind

Lied to

Why?

Once bitten

Twice shy

One step too far

behind my back

A devious blow 

Did he think

I wouldn’t know?

No

Apology

did

Judas Blue Eyes

see

He didn’t

even care

he was

losing

me

Obtuse and dense

Now past tense

Amazing how

caring

and

sharing

can turn

into hate

Fuck you, my once friend!

Too little too late

NAR © 2018

SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER

As we drove down the gravel road to our summer house, I opened the car window and inhaled deeply. Mixed with the salty scent of the ocean was the fragrance of lilacs and honeysuckle – the delicious aroma I missed last year. The pool was still beyond our sight but I saw it clearly in my mind … our private haven … the sensation of floating, feeling all stress evaporate, stillness interrupted only by an occasional breeze. 

Our house is large with floor-to-ceiling windows affording us spectacular views of the distant ocean. Located on a cul-de-sac, there is no traffic and we are invisible from the street.

Last year was the first time we didn’t make it to our sanctuary. 

It all started on June 3rd when Bill fell off a ladder. I was sitting in our den overlooking the backyard and saw him fall. In the seconds it took me to reach him, he was sprawled on the deck, barely conscious, a lump on his forehead the size of a peach. But it was the sickening angle of his leg that made me realize this was serious. 

I called 911, then our kids and we followed the ambulance to the hospital.  Bill had a badly broken femur. Surgery was done that night which would be followed by a lengthy hospital stay and rehabilitation. We all realized our long-anticipated vacation scheduled for June 30th would be cancelled. Priorities. 

Surgery went well and I visited Bill every day, staying all day. At night when I closed my eyes I saw him falling off the ladder. Stress took its toll on me, my arthritic knees screamed in agony and my back began to spasm.

Compounded with Bill’s physical pain was his guilt over “ruining our vacation”. He felt far worse for me, our kids and grandkids, convinced that we were too disappointed to forgive him. Again, priorities.

As Bill began to improve, I thought I would also but my pain became excruciating and I began a months-long regimen of spinal injections to relieve the torment in my legs and back. 

And the year from hell ravaged us, bringing with it more hardship and tragedy than we could imagine – all difficult, some almost unbearable. The most crushing of all was the overdose death of our dear nephew – ripped so cruelly from our lives. We cried in pain, sobbed in anguish. We woke every morning of that hellish year, putting one foot in front of the other, somehow managing to go on. A missed vacation paled in comparison.

Now rebirth … another summer. Driving down the gravel road to our vacation house all I can think about is floating in the pool with Bill, the sun shining down on our battered bodies. The unpacking and settling-in will get done soon enough but right now the warm blue water of the pool and the smell of honeysuckle and lilacs is all we need.

NAR © 2018

OP-ED: THOSE LEFT BEHIND

Covered in filth and mange, a multitude of dogs and cats that survived Hurricane Katrina were crammed into military vans. Some had maggot-filled sores, broken limbs and infected eyes that burned like a red hot poker. The vans were filled to capacity and it was impossible to tell one animal from the other. 

Those once long-haired canines with soft billowy fur now resembled stone creatures encased in a shell of thick crust.  Scrawny, flea-ridden cats no longer purred contentedly but howled in fear and pain. The muscular pit bulls were reduced to skeletons, the outlines of rib cages and hip bones clearly visible in emaciated bodies. On and on it went, each animal a mere shell of its former self. 

The catastrophic hurricane had ravaged New Orleans, Louisiana three weeks earlier. The relentless rain caused the levees to burst, resulting in extensive flooding. Home-owners lost everything, all their possessions destroyed. Many scrambled to the roofs of their houses in a desperate attempt to save themselves while others tried swimming to safety. Those lucky enough to own a rowboat floated on the flood waters, dragging people into their boats along the way. 

The president declared a state of emergency and the military arrived .. some say too little too late … but they worked their asses off to bring a sense of order to New Orleans. Non-commissioned officers worked side by side with police lieutenants and fire chiefs. Doctors, paramedics and volunteers all worked hand in hand. The levees were rebuilt and people were relocated. 

However the animals … too many to count …  were forgotten or deliberately left behind in the frenzy. When the waters subsided weeks later, they were found chained to fences and porch railings. Others had climbed up trees or hidden themselves away in the attics of abandoned houses. All were starving, sick, in pain and scared. Others struggled valiantly to survive but failed. 

That’s what the military and animal rescue workers found. Helpless, hopeless animals in need of immediate medical care. Who knows what those poor creatures were thinking as they were being loaded into the vans. Could they sense these people were trying to help them? Were they frozen in fear, traumatized by the events of the past few weeks? 

All the dogs and cats were brought to animal hospitals and makeshift triage centers throughout the state. With the patience of Job, veterinarians … many from out of state … treated thousands of animals, gently cutting off matted crusty fur, administering antibiotics and vaccines, providing food, water and shelter, bringing those nearly dead back to life. If necessary, infected eyes were removed and useless limbs amputated but sadly, in the end, more animals were lost than were saved. 

Is human life more important than animal life? As a reporter, I ask: “If you saw an injured animal lying in a ditch, would you help?” If we choose to believe that a Higher Power created all living creatures in His or Her image, the answer is  easy. 

NAR © 2018