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Here’s another quirk of mine; a stubborn flaw… as ungovernable as Trump’s tweeting thumbs… my personal nemesis if you will:

I love coming up with novel ideas but loathe their tedious execution. A brilliant creator but poor administrator. Shine in conquest; suck at holding territory. In matters of love, I love the ‘falling into it’ bit, but tend to drop the ball once the flame of romance sput-sput-sputters under stacks of dishes, diapers, and bills.

So in love, so in business.

And so it was that I soon got bored of managing my brother’s cardamom export company, wound it down, and shifted my attention on macadamia nuts. Besides the tedium, I still lacked the hard-edged toughness required to deal with wily Arab traders and the ruffians who controlled the local cardamom trade. Not yet a pirate; still a dreamy prince. …

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Not the most romantic setting, I grant you, but perfect for a Gothic novel if I ever decided to write one. And just so we’re clear, it wasn’t like I was crashing funerals back then to find me a girlfriend.

Whether Lucrecia was gunned-down as a result of a foiled kidnapping attempt or a car-heist gone awry, no one ever found out. That she was riding in the car with the son of my father’s partner the day of the bloody attack suggests the assailants were targeting him for ransom. …

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As I settled back in Guatemala, hoping for a fresh start after my dismal performance in Costa Rica, my middle brother’s coffee trading firm was upending the traditional structure of the industry at the whirling speed of a Tasmanian Devil which drew anxious sweat from the aging overlords who had enjoyed a seemingly invincible dominion over a business then worth close to half a billion dollars.

Buoyed by the trustworthiness of our last name my step-grandfather had nurtured all his working life, my brother, barely 25, was splintering the gates of the old-timers with the battering ram of his resolve, inexhaustible energy, and shrewd business acumen earning him mythical lore and astounding wealth in the process. A legend… a wunderkind! gifted with the Midas touch. No way our mother could’ve come up with a more apt nickname than “Elephant” to describe his steely determination helping him trailblaze his way to the summit. His is still the tenacity of the vine. …

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“Gordon Gekko” by Berko Art

Adolescence (noun): The period when a teenager often develops a wholly new personality that comes off with soap and water. — Evan Esar

Teens are fickle mirrors.

One day, they’re all in black listening to hate-filled music locked inside shadowy rooms amid walls screaming skull-boned gloom. The next, it’s punk rock and hair dyed green wondering how many tattoos and piercings they can get away with. Then it’s incense and namasté, Buddha figurines and mandala tapestries and saving spiders from mom’s murderous broom.

The search for identity is a hallmark of those turbulent years. Acceptance is another, often purchased at the expense of authenticity. Once that devil’s bargain is struck, life becomes a charade; a masked ball to which we show up as anyone except ourselves and dance the world’s tune. A grim dance of deception, censorship and repression demanding we bridle our wild exuberance, tame the erotic, and smother our zaniest passions in a veritable suicide of the best parts of ourselves. …

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Dad’s Peregrine Falcon ‘Iago’ etched as a stylized ‘T’ for Tei Trade Corporation

With a hooded falcon perched on the shoulder of his open tuxedo shirt, a gold Rolex clasped on his left wrist, cowboy hat and boots and a towel wrapped around his waist, my father walked into the dimly lit bar of the fanciest hotel in our country and ordered a double Screwdriver at ten in the morning.

Had it been anyone else, the barman would’ve called security and had him thrown out. But this was not “anyone else.” My father’s legendary tips and his preference for mingling with the “common man” rather than with those of his class occupying the stuffy air at the top of my country’s rigid social hierarchy garnered him wide esteem among what he called his “army of angels” — the barmen, waiters, prostitutes, peripatetic musicians, and street urchins he claimed had his back and would rise to his defense were he ever in danger. …

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The Fall of Icarus

“The most beautiful stories always start with wreckage.” — Jack London.

Amid a war-torn country, my riches to rags story began the day I abandoned my boyhood dream of becoming a writer and climbed aboard an infernal machine in pursuit of wealth and acclaim. Desperately wanting to catch up with my brother and earn my father’s admiration, I soared to the top but lost sight of who I was and became a man I later despised: ruthless, arrogant, consumed by insatiable greed and swollen with pride.

“Pride,” says the Bible, “goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

In ancient Greek mythology, ‘Hubris’ was the god of overweening pride and insolence, followed closely by ‘Nemesis,’ the goddess of retribution or inescapable agent of someone’s downfall. …

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The Titan Saturn devouring his Son, by Peter Paul Rubens

According to Roman myth, it had been foretold that one of the sons of Saturn would overthrow him, just as he had overthrown his father, Caelus. To prevent this, Saturn ate his children moments after each was born.

In every boy’s life there is a moment when he imagines his destiny outside the expectations of his parents. When that time comes, the deepest wound a boy can suffer is not receiving his father’s blessing.

My dad never overcame such devastating blow.

At age seven, right before World War II, he escaped Germany with his mother and moved to Guatemala to begin a new life at my grandparent’s estate, which, at the time, led out to grassy fields, steep ravines, streams, rivers, and roaring waterfalls. …

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Heartvoice (n): 1. The unvarnished and vulnerable unveiling of a man’s wounds, longings, regrets, victories and defeats. 2. A man’s authentic story.

I never heard my father’s.

My father didn’t either.

Not once having heard his father’s heartvoice, Dad did not know how to listen to his own so never allowed me into the inner chambers of his hurt. Never unveiled his wounds. Deeply buried, he never reached them himself, thus never healed.

“If a man, cautious, hides his limp, somebody has to limp it,” warns Robert Bly in ‘My Father’s Wedding.’

A few years before Dad died, I tried to limp his wounds by reconstructing his past. I urged him to face his demons hoping to make him whole. But I arrived too late. By then, his heart was an impregnable fortress and he left this world haunted by a thousand regrets. …

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Stagnant water breeds pestilence

No matter what they say, most people don’t want to change.

Or at least, if they do, they don’t want to put-in the work. Instead, they thirst for a quick potion to magically solve their dilemma. All in vain. For proof, 11 billion dollars are wasted every year by Americans on such ‘remedies,’ yet a growing number remain stuck in stagnant swamps of despair.

Askhole (n): a person who constantly asks for advice, but always does the opposite of what you tell them.

I just wanna be happy!’ they clamor, but pressed to define what they mean, they draw blanks, like dazzled deers. …

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Creator: Leanne Kanowski @ IPTC Photo

They say there’s no use crying over spilled milk, and I couldn’t disagree more.

The use in crying lies in what’s left in the glass and in figuring out how you spilled it in the first place.

Careless, inattentive and unaware, we spill our years under the delusion that we’re eternal. In fact, we often kill time by waking up late to shorten the hours not knowing what we’d otherwise do with ourselves with so much time on our hands. “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity,” said Henry David Thoreau.

Just wait a little, wait a while’… we tell our hoped for dreams and repressed longings. But while and while have no end, wait a little is a long, long road, and time waits for no man. …


Jeffrey Erkelens

Flying fish. Iconoclast. Currently writing ‘The Hero in You,’ a book for boys:

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