Thursday, July 31, 2014


And it was right there, lying in the embrace of everything that a real human being has ever hoped for, waiting for that opportune moment to dip out and resume the pursuit of something entirely different, that it came to me just what the root of the whole thing was... maybe is...

That I had never sat down at the table and tucked into a nutritious, home-cooked meal with the same gusto with which I had delighted into the guilty pleasure... the stolen confection.

That I had never found any value in that which fed me, but only that which temporarily satisfied a sick craving of unknown origin.  Not that which fed me, but that which fed the alien  hunger.

That which was given to me freely never held the same delight or tasted as sweet as that which I stole.

And I could never tell what was real from just another symptom of the disease.

Like a spiritual diabetes...


Maybe I'm amazed...

Art Everywhere

Because I've only got one.

Venice Beach, CA

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Before The Devil knows you're dead...

The Devil herself looked at me this morning while I was lacing up my boots.  She had that look on her face.  Shit sure, there was something on her mind.  She was going to try to drag me back in.

Not today.

Not this man.

"We have some unfinished business," she began.

"Do I owe you money?"  I didn't look up from my laces.  My dog sat fidgety, a few feet away.  Like, let's get this show on the road, Pop.  When the dog knows it's time to go, best listen.

"You know what I'm talking about."  Bitch was getting testy.

"Nah, I don't think I do."

"YOU..."  Decibels about to climb.



"No."  I kept it even and low.  "Just no."

And I was out on the street, me and my dog.  Walking.


"All over but the shouting, it's just a waste of time..." is how the song goes.  Another minute and there would have been a lot of wasted wind.  There was a time when I would have been up for it, or up for any fight really.  Now, living with the reminder that days are numbered and time, our time here anyway, isn't really in our hands?  Nah, why bother.  All the red flags were up.  Red lights, or whatever.  This was a runaway subway train blowing through all the stop signals.

I had already apologized for things I was pretty certain I hadn't done.  There were concessions for misdeeds, miscommunications, mishaps, near misses and assorted slights that I'm fairly sure had nothing to do with me.  There was a lot of calculated effort coming the other direction to keep me driving along the shoulder or in the wrong lane.

Any lane I was in seemed to be the wrong lane, and there was a time that I would have run with that just for the "privilege" of being on the highway at all.

That was then and this is now.

"Just remember that the door only swings one way, so if you walk out..." is what I think she said to my back.

That's cool.  I'm only going one way, and even the dog seemed to breathe a sigh of relief as we got out the front door.  She was still squirrelly though, and so was I, if the truth were told.  At some point in history, way back when, an ape walked upright for the first time and thought to himself, shit man, this is different, isn't it?  Standing upright and walking out the door before the open door was shown to me was sort of new territory.  One small step for man, and all that noise.

A lot more steps to get home though and we were taking them, me and my ol' dog.  It was another strange morning on alien terrain.  The air was thick and wet.  The sky couldn't seem to decide what exactly it wanted to do.  Drop the buckets or surrender to the sun.  My skin felt waxy green and my breath tasted sour.


It had been a minute or two since I made a hot summer morning walk of shame, sweating out the night before, but this felt all too familiar.  It started to make sense what the old timers said about how sometimes you don't even need to pick up to go out.  Nothing seemed quite right and I'd be lying if I said there was no self-doubt in play.  Had I just done the right thing?  Was there unfinished business?  Should I have sat there and taken my licks?  Had I said or... And so on.

I assured myself that I had, for the first time in a while, done the right thing.  That this was growth.  That it was progress.  Still...

The dog probably heard him coming along first.  I heard the footsteps slapping along and then unintelligible grunts and coughs and whoops and howls.  What book was it where someone said that Death is always a step behind you, and that if you look over your left shoulder you can catch a glimpse of him?  Don Juan said that to Carlos, right?  Fucking Yaquis.  I wasn't going to look back.  I picked up my step but he was still gaining.  The dog was getting nervous so I shortened her leash and kept her right over my heel.  She was already looking back but I wasn't going to.

As he came up on my left, running hard and covered in sweat, I looked over at him.  He looked over at me.  I could make out what he was coughing out:


He didn't slow his pace and was soon half a block ahead, and then a full block.  I slowed some to let him get more distance.  The dog looked at me and I looked at her.

Okay, then.

Now, see... the problem with believing that the Lord above sends messengers with bits of wisdom especially for you is... in that God is everywhere or God is nowhere way that faith requires... is that you really have to wonder which is a direct message and which is random bullshit that the universe throws at you.  Like a stick jammed into your bicycle spokes while you're racing down the hill unable to stop.  When life gets stupid like this, I would prefer to not believe in anything at all.  There is enough doubt and uncertainty in anyone's day when you don't have an interpreter straightening shit out for you .

And the problem with believing in God, at least in the Christian sense, is that you have to believe in the Devil too.  Now this is going to sound dumb, but despite any moments of doubt about the existence of a benevolent, all-knowing, all-powerful God, I've always believed in the Devil, at least insofar as it manifests in my life.

So I will never be certain, but I'm pretty certain that I dodged a bullet that morning.   And I know what she said was true, that the door only swings one way and that's true of every decision.  Problem is that it's one door after another and it's easy to stall and not turn the next handle, or the next one or the next one.

I'll put my trust in Dog in the meantime.  If she seems unsettled, probably best to keep it moving.