Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014


To the curb...

The sign in the road...

I was wondering...

In spite of it all...

There may be nothing really to write home about today. There may be nothing really to look forward to, or at least nothing worthy of mention.  The day may be filled with chores and responsibilities.  It may not be the carefree Sunday that we glide through in grace and gratitude.  It may be a day for scuffed shoes and skinned knees.  It may still be a day for grieving and mourning.  There may yet be fear.  In spite of it all...

I am grateful for the sunshine and the cool breeze.
I am grateful for the sound of the dog's nails on the concrete and her playful snorts.
I am grateful for the birds whose songs I've never been able to identify but they are no less sweet.
I am grateful for the absence of dread that used to wake me and start all my days.
In spite of everything else, I am grateful that there is no spite to speak of.

I am grateful for this brand new place that I live.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ch ch ch changes...

via This Isn't Happiness

I get it, Robin...  I do...

That's me in the corner.

That's me in the spotlight, losing my religion...

Easy enough these days, in the absence of anything resembling answers, to kick it all to the curb and write off this faith thing as refuse.

The detritus of ego.  

Why if there were this... thing... Thing with a capital T?  I mean, it's all just rather inscrutable, isn't it?  In the greater scheme of things, should there be any scheme great or small, but if there were a greater scheme of things, is it worse to question the existence of a great, benevolent being, or to look up at something or someone you can't define, let alone understand and ask...


This is just rambling now.  I've got two hours to shit, shower and shave (and yes there is a logical order to such things and don't take that for granted because some routines are harder and just utterly random so be grateful something makes sense) and stump back down the hill and do it again.  Suit up and show up and it's really going to seem like it's all just for the sake of doing it that way.  

No big answers.

You just do these things because it's the right thing to do.  It doesn't have to make sense except maybe that the outcomes are a little more predictable than if you say fuck it, blow shit up, and go off and do whatever you'd rather be doing.  Maybe you worked a ten hour day yesterday and then got on a train going the opposite direction from home so you could check in on someone that may or may not have ever given a good goddamn about you but you're never really going to know that.  Maybe having done that you slept a couple hours sitting upright in a chair and woke up to your mobile buzzing in your pocket, and you washed your mouth out with orange juice and came back in the other direction.  Perhaps you got off the subway at 5:30 a.m. and you were still so stiff and tired that you stumbled on the stairs and bashed the fuck out of your knee and you know it's going to hurt for days.  

And just maybe you're coming up the hill with your knees and hips screaming at you; telling you to just sit down on the curb and wait there for a while or maybe longer.  Maybe your nerves are misfiring and the pain of a heel spur ricochets up to the knee and then the back and then the back of the neck or above the right eye.  And you look up to whatever it is that so many people tell you is out there and you don't really even think the words because whatever it is out there is supposed to be able to see you and know what you're thinking all the time anyway.  What a nightmare, right?  What is it Bob Dylan said?  

"If my thought dreams, could be seen, they'd probably stick my head, in a guillotine."

But it's all right, Ma... I'm only... 

Fill in the blanks.  

I have some questions.  Or maybe I just need to sleep.  

Later.  Not now.  

Sorry for all this.  Welcome to my existential crisis.  


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What people think about freelancers...

via I Love Charts

Very good question.  Having freelanced off and on for years, I've heard the pants thing so many times that I can only surmise that most people would rather be sitting home alone and naked.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

If the kids are united, they will never...

Pogo dancing in Myanmar

In some places it's still about more than hating your parents and teachers...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Life lessons from an old dog to a young dog...

Hot summer day and the old hound and the pup are sitting under the porch to get oit of the sun.
The old hound is imparting his wisdom to the pup.

You can lead a full life and grow to be my age if you follow a few simple rules:

1) Accept that you may never be the top dog in the pack no matter how good you are and no matter how hard you fight.  And even if you are the alpha on Sunday, come Monday that could change.  Always know your place in the pack.

2) Don't go barking around another dog's yard. You will get a kicking. And you will deserve it.

3) Don't fuck with the pups. It just ain't right.

4) Remember this always. Some of them are called bitches for a reason.

Burn the mother down...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

She blinded me with science...

And sadly, too many of us who aren't satisfied with unimaginable wonder until someone can show us empirical evidence.  Why can't we trust our instincts?  Why can't we just accept that the best things in our lives defy explanation?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

And still it rains...

Stumping up the hill from the train this morning on dead feet in a steady rain, my umbrella traveling in another direction to points unknown.  You might think the rain might ease the fever but the drops hit like needles, and the sky hasn't yet reached whatever shade of gray it's predicted to achieve today.

The air smells sweet like wet leaves and damp earth and sometimes that is the most comforting aroma, but she smelled like spring rain in the forest and I miss that and so... it stings too. 

And that's not the loss that I'm feeling though. That would really be kind of a luxury these days, when loved ones have been dropping like flies.  Since early autumn...

Since early autumn, one after another and others nearing the exit sign.  There are stages of grief I am told and it strikes me that through this funeral procession I am in all of them at once.  A melting pot of grieving.  A stew.

I am stewing.

Mostly it adds up to confusion and anger. Anger is the dominant feeling. It always has been but maybe now there is a reason?

The first to go was Courtney.  We were in the struggle together.  We shared the foxhole and she helped me along with the fear. We lost touch when she went out to do more research.  I would reach out to her and sometimes get an answer.  It would usually be bullshit and bravado about how all was good.  No worries.  When she died her family held a memorial get together at a cavernous Irish bar of all places.  The place was festooned with flowers and mementos of her childhood.  Nothing recent. There couldnt be. They kept her at arm's length.  Facebook was their sole contact.  Social media in place of... something that requires unconditional love and compassion.  Granted it is painful to be near someone in the trenches. There were a few photos captured from Facebook.  Conspicuously absent?


Me too.

There were a couple others I didn't know so well.  Guys I shared oars in the lifeboat with.  I'm over the survivor guilt.  Some people make it.  Some don't.  I'm making it.

For now.  

There was George.  George practically held my hand and walked me through the whole hustle with HRA.  Even as he was fighting the throat cancer which became this cancer and that cancer nobody ever heard him complain once.  He suited up and showed up every day and did his thing and passed on this legacy of grace and wisdom.  We all talk about him now that he's a few months gone.  He was like an angel that came in and touched everyone, and this isn't after-the-fact, maudlin bullshit.  He was quietly adding just a little to everyone's life.  Everyone he came in contact with, helping each of us with this or that, all anonymously.  Every time I walk up the hill I miss George and there will always be an empty hole in that corner where he sat.  I don't think I could have done 2013 without him so I am grateful for him and whatever powers of the Universe put him in my life.  

And I'm a little bit angry that the same forces took him away.  

There was Double D, and that hurts so badly.  We were brothers through all of it.  This one is too recent to say anything about.  Everybody though always talks about how this person or that person was too young to die.  What does that mean?  There are forces at work that don't seem to discriminate.  People die young all the time.  Really nice people die all the time.  It doesn't make sense.  Or it doesn't seem to.  Double D went out like a warrior though, not unlike the way he lived it.   This is too soon to talk about.  I can feel the rage rising.

The one that hurts the most, and the deepest heartbreak I've ever known, is Ngeci.  She passed back a few months ago when the weather was still bitter.  It's not like it wasn't forewarned... foretold or whatever.  She was the one who called me and told me that it was terminal but she wouldn't be going out "like a bitch."  She didn't.  I don't know how to describe what losing her means to me because I never even found the words to describe my profound love for her.  We shared this intimacy beyond sex, or love or romance.  Any words used here... I have no appropriate level of literacy for these feelings.  It was beyond.  Big things were going down in my life when I learned of her death.  I had to hit the ground running to keep things afloat in my life so there was never proper time to grieve.  There was no time to work through these stages of grief so mostly it's manifested as fury and rage and a crashing depression.  Life has slowed down some and it's only in recent weeks that it's really struck me that I will never again see her, or hear her silly laugh, or be able to just call her and have her wiseass me back into a good humor.  There will be no more just sitting and laughing ourselves sick, until we pass out  holding each other and smiling... that bigger than romance thing because it was never like that and probably the reason that we were able to reach such deep trust, because it existed outside our hang-ups and insecurities.  Goddamn I miss her so terribly.  I still reach for my phone sometimes to ring or text her, just to hear her voice.  There is a message on my phone still where she told me that if I am going to see her before she dies, and she was that blunt, that it would have to be within a couple weeks.  She didn't last those couple weeks. 

So I stopped on the way up the hill to get breakfast, before I go home, shower and brush my teeth, and head back out to work.  I'm sitting next to the front window and there's a flower box with one single sprout coming up and it's there just sort of trembling in the rain.  That was Ngeci the last time I saw her, determined to be upright and shaking a bit with the effort.  The single, greatest love in my life... 

And there are a couple more, as I said, headed toward that exit sign.  They're settling down like the rain is, and like my feelings are.  I'm drenched in those feelings, and it's too much to continue this at the moment.  Too many feelings and I'm too tired.  

Grown folk shit.  I'm not into it.  

Sunday, May 04, 2014


So yah, there really is this thing we do, and we've been doing it for a long time now, but this is not part of what we've been doing for so long  We're sitting at a cafe and Natalie is across from me looking gorgeous.  There's a slice of key lime pie and two spoons between us.  We're sharing.  I've reached across the table and I'm holding her hand and looking at her and we're not talking.  This is not part of our thing where I get the call and get in the car and I'm there and our clothes are thrown all over the room and we're wrestling and laughing.

This is different and I'm not sure but what it's about but it was my intention leaving the house a few hours ago that this would be it.  Now I'm looking at her though and she's so beautiful still, after all this time and God knows I'm not ready to quit it.  It's crazy.  My mind is racing.  So many thoughts like how does why am I so powerless over this?  And her question comes to me -- what does it mean that we keep ending up back in this place?  Not this cafe!  You know what I mean.  All this water under the bridge and we keep ending up together?  And after all this time, why do I still know so little about her? How does she keep so much so close to the vest?

Who is Natalie?

A friend?  One of my oldest friends really.  She know me back when.  Way back when.  She's seen some shit.  Why does she seem to know me so much better than I know her?  Or even know myself?  Maybe she pays closer attention.  Is she a lover?  Yah, I guess by some definitions she is.  We've been doing this thing we do forever and when it's been a while I think about it and miss it because it's so simple and pure and uncomplicated.  Is it still uncomplicated?  It doesn't feel it right now.  Who is this woman?  A nurse.  She likes to fix people.  Is that why I'm here?  Or is that what scares me?

Natalie is a fictional construct, a context I've created to talk shit out because talking to myself would be crazy, right?  Where I am missing information I've filled in the blanks.  Is that normal?  Is that healthy?  I don't know.

I mean, who am I?  I am my own fictional construct.  I am someone else's fictional construct.  Maybe a bunch of people.

So I'm sitting across from her and looking at her and she's smiling.  She's twinkling.  We've been talking about old times.  People we knew.  People who have moved on.  People who died.  Hell,  I'm going home with her.  Not my original plan but I'm going home with her.  It's late already.  I think I'm going to end up spending the night.  That is not part of this thing we do.  It hasn't been anyway.

"Let's get this wrapped to go," and I nod at the pie.


And now we're in the back of the black Lincoln headed to her place and her bedroom and her parrott and the whateverness of what happens.  This is a ride I normally make by myself.  It feels strange to be sitting next to her and she's warm and I smell her perfume and her hair.  I lean towards her and kiss her.  I love her lips.  Her lips.  They're soft.  They draw me in and they seem sort of welcoming and endless.


I am afraid to be here now, with Natalie, in her bedroom, in her big bed.  It's the same as every other time but it's not.  Our clothes are neatly folded, mine over the chair in the corner because there is no rush.  Coltrane is playing and the bird, the big African Gray, is kind of shuffling and muttering.  She is soft and feels and smells like a welcome place.  My arms are around her middle and my head is resting on her belly.

"So Bigga, were you in love with her?"  Not an invasive question coming from her.  Not prying.  Just curious.

"Yah, I... "  And I trail off.

"Were you never in love before?"  And she's stroking my hair and the side of my face.  How is it I can be 100% honest with her when she offers so little information in return.

Or perhaps I've never asked.  I feel guilty for a second.  Maybe I should have been pushing harder.

"Just once."  And yes, just once before.  Twice total.

"So what happen then, Bigga?  You fall out of love and mend and fall in love again?"

I'm quiet for a bit.  That's okay.  Natalie is patient.  She knows me.  It scares me that she knows me.  It scares me that she knows me well enough to be patient.

"It's not like that, baby."

"Tell me how it is then, Big Man."

"Well, I don't think it works like that."  And I don't.  I don't think it works that way.

"Tell me then, MacGregor.  Tell me how it works."

Deep breath.

"I think that...  I think that once you are truly in love with someone... truly in love.. that you will always be in love with that person.  You don't fall out of love.  You are together maybe, or maybe something happens and you aren't together.  You split up.  Someone dies or has to move to the other side of the planet or whatever.  But you don't fall out of love.  You just put it someplace.  You lock it away someplace where it will stay safe and dry and you hold it in there."

"That sounds like work."

"I think it can be.  Sometimes it gets out.  You see someone on the street that reminds you.  You smell their perfume, or hear a song, or whatnot.  It comes out and your heart twists up for a bit, and then you put it all away again."

"For how long?"

"I can't speak for anyone else.  For me?  A long time now."


And now silence for a bit.  We're just breathing, almost together.  I feel her inhale and exhale and my head rises with her belly.  Impossibly soft skin and I'm not quite asleep, nor ready to go to sleep.  We are close.  We are in that place with this thing that we've been doing for so long.  Not a physical place but that space two people get to where the air is charged.  Sexual?  Yes.

But more than that.  It's like riding a radio frequency together.  I feel her inhale and I know she's going to say something.

"Mebbe one day meh gwan wrap you up and put you away some special place.  Fer now, Bigga, I'll put you someplace else.  Very special."

I half ignore the first part.  I'll put that away for later on.  I'm paying attention to her hands.  Her fingers are in my hair and she's pushing me southward.  She's not asking.  She's telling.

"Do dat ting ya do, Bigga.  No more talking."


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Metal Mullet

The best thing is he was wearing an Iron Maiden shirt.


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