By Joel Pelegrina


Let me just cut to the chase: I labor in the background and relish my obscurity.

This is in no small part due to the fact that I have wandered aimlessly, squandered too many chances to enumerate, and pondered more existential questions than a depressed Camus in an opium den. Have I attained a level of enlightenment that transcends the time-space continuum? I’d be hard-pressed to answer that in the affirmative.

The answers are everywhere and nowhere, simultaneously.

There once was
A center-console
Soulless wonder
Under the influence
Of stalactite lightning in a bottle
And a perpetual rumble
Of chemical thunder,
With nary an instance
Of nonresistance,
Tore asunder every blunder
That supposedly defined
His nonexistence…

It is an irony not lost on me that after many years spent numbing my senses in every form imaginable, be it through a wealth of intoxicants, the rote routines ritualized for income procurement, or long-term involvements with those better suited for short-term dalliances, they are now sharper than ever.

Of course, I could just be imagining all of it. There’s probably no way my snout could properly sniff out a truffle. My hearing is not what it used to be, a result of many years spent listening to and playing loud music in cramped practice spaces and small venues, in close quarters, without adequate ear protection.

I need reading glasses to write this, for my words to be legible and not get lost in a mild blur. A recent trip to the eye doctor revealed my encroaching presbyopia, or “inability to focus sharply for near vision.” I found this assessment amusing, as I feel my level of mindfulness and clarity has never been more attuned to the idiosyncrasies of our vast and multifaceted universe. Nevertheless, it is what it is—the obstacle is the path, my new favorite saying.

I can only continue on my way as it unfolds before me, forever cognizant of each new sensation that reveals itself as I process the unprocessable, attempt the know the unknowable, and perhaps even think the unthinkable.

I used to bartend
Around the bend drinks
To those fond
Of palm frond schemes
And pipe dream hijinks.

Methinks the time spent
Climbing distant peaks
With all these sherpa clowns
And snowcapped freaks
Did help me reach
With greater ease
The roots of all my maladies.

Joel PelegrinaJoel Pelegrina, once enamored with the itinerant life of the wayfarer, now finds himself most at home when wiling away the hours whittling driftwood words into wondrous shapes both exotic and known. Each handcrafted piece is lovingly made, carved with an array of ancient implements equal parts archaic and modern, with methods both traditional and avant-garde. Needless to say, it is not for the flea market or occasional arts & crafts fair for which these relics are made, although in such company they would most perfectly reside; no, these artifacts and totems are meant for more personal locales, in the lofty residences of all those of open mind and gypsy soul, perhaps best placed on the mantels of all the inner sanctums in which we find the most solace.

Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall



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