Soul Music

Remember that night, so bright, enveloped in the most fragile of shells, waiting to be birthed every moment of every day. We danced in the old barn, slow in method, under the glowing crystals clinging to the skeleton like ivy grows on aged foundations. Crystals that illuminated us almost as poignantly as the eyes that followed our every move, our every spark generated from soul kinetics. Our feet did not touch the cold concrete, gliding like a destined pendulum, swinging wildly under control. Bodies clung, soft like magnets, in unison, as one, in the eye of a hurricane that would eventually blow us apart once we exploded through the walls, back into the storm. It was sweet to feel the breeze as the beads of sweat collected, so nice to live the wind knowing we were not the source. So easy to let it take us, for we were alone, weightless and fragile. We did not have our song, but at that moment, it didn’t matter. We were orchestrating our own symphony, and everyone could hear it on that night of someone else’s dream. Ours would would break under the strain of the past, because sometimes love is not enough. I still remember the sharp heaviness in my chest. The music has since gone silent, the staled air no longer carries a tune, but now and then I still catch myself dancing to that masterpiece we created so long ago. I wonder if anyone else does, too.

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Jesus – What Did I Do?!

We all have our nights. Those nights where the stars align, the haze lifts, and the sins dripping from our hands shine brightly against the backdrop of an illuminated moon, only to be further electrified by the rising of a new sun. Whatever you do under the cover of night, you better be prepared to explain under the pulled blanket of day. And laugh. Laugh, because if you don’t, well, it’s a missed opportunity of a pretty good story to tell later in life.

It is with this sentiment that I tell the story of a night that I will never forget – that is, won’t forget what I can still remember from that evening. But I remember enough that it is worth retelling – for my future children, strangers, and friends alike – even if the undercurrent of my rehashing this is purely for selfish reasons – to make myself smile.

The evening had begun like any other night from that period in my life, inviting 20-25 people to a party at a friend’s house, adding alcohol and whatnot, and then proceeding to let the night unfold like those origami fortune tellers that were around back in high school. You know, those folded handmade paper Miss Cleo’s that told you that you would marry Allison, have six kids, and then turn out to be gay, all because you like the color blue and the number 4. Fool proof. Anyway, the friend’s house we would party at that fateful night happened to be the home of a girl I had been pursuing for some time at that point, and I resolved to make that night the night that I walked in, set the world on fire, and showed her that there was no other guy in that house. Yes, I was going to make her want me as if it was meant from the heavens, and the skies rained only for us…

So, off to the races we went. People showed up, began to drink, and damn did we have a good time. Look, we were in our late teens and early 20’s, and this was our time – nothing else mattered except that night and having fun. I, of course, was pacing myself by only drinking my fresh bottle of Wild Turkey 101 like it was a 20oz. soda pop. Yes, I said ‘soda pop’. Apparently, I had inadvertently left my moral governor at home that night. Woops.

One of the first recollections of that evening is a friend of mine – who had earned his degree to party while majoring in vertigo and narcolepsy – passing out while standing up, mid-conversation, and ending up on the ground with his head through the wall. Now, sure, we have all passed out mid conversation and put our heads through the wall at some point in our lives, no doubt, but this house happened to be an older home that had solid thick plastered walls, not the chintzy drywall found in newer homes these days. It was amazing to see, and to this day, I am underwhelmed with skull holes in Toll Brothers homes. While I won’t name names, maybe you can do some leg work on your own to find out who this was. Over the next few weeks and months, keep a keen eye out for anyone you talk to that has an awkward flat spot on the right side of their head. No, this will not definitively determine that person is the Plaster Blaster in the flesh; but it can be a solid hint, and lead to further gentle questioning on your behalf about its origins. God help you, however, if it turns out they suffer from an ailment known as Positional Plagiocephaly, or just Plagiocephaly, and otherwise known as Flat Head Syndrome. At that point, if they just were stricken with a flat head, you are on your own, and may I just say – you are such a dick for asking them.

Back to the night, and as it moved on in its beautiful song, and I got drunker and drunker, I decided it was high time for a nap. I couldn’t see straight, and no one else was falling through walls at that point. It wasn’t a long nap I was yearning for, only a cat nap long enough to sweat through my shirt with the sweet aroma of liquor, cigarettes and intoxicating shame, only to be woken up in time for my very first interview with this girls father, who had come home during my nap. Truth be told, I think I did astonishingly well, passing in and out of consciousness, slurring the words of a poignant question, “Why didn’t Disney ever make a movie about 101 Wild Turkeys?”, while taking my shirt – now soaked with the all 101 turkeys – off and doing my best impression of this bear-chested grizzly bear of a man. I must have endeared myself to him, what with my deep philosophical thinking, because he didn’t throw me out. So, naturally, I rallied. I returned to my assault on the bottle, now clutched under my arm like a mother hen to her egg, and drank it down to celebrate conquering a mountain – the father’s blessing. In reality, I just made a fool of myself, so fuck it – let’s drink.

Fast forward to the early hours of the next morning – fast forward only because I cannot tell you what took place the rest of the evening, as I blacked out. What I am about to tell you set me on a course from which some people could never recover. It is a monolithic moment that would be replayed in my head for months and months, and now, ten or so years later, still bangs around my cranial cavity now and then. You know how you can sometimes have dreams that you forget the second you lift your eyes in the morning, but other dreams stay with you? Yea… I still remember this dream I had that night, and unfortunately, or fortunately for backgrounds sake, this was a dream that I carry with my to this day. It at once haunts me, and amuses me to no end, to think how the body and mind work in conjunction, even when we are in a drunk-induced coma. In this dream, I am fixed in an upright position, laboring with all my might to draw first my initials, over and over, and then a dragon. But not just one dragon – a whole fucking family of dragons. Dragons riding bikes, dragons flying, breathing fire, even one baby dragon in a manger. I mean, I drew dragons like it was the god damn Picasso of Beowulf. And true to form, I would then use my freshly drawn sword to cut the heads off of all of these dragons. Yes, PETA – I massacred a dragon family, so play Sarah McLaughlin to that vignette. Don’t you worry though, I made the mistake of drawing some smart, vindictive, asshole siren-like dragons, and they would get the last laugh…

When I woke up, I had no idea where I was. It took a moment, as looking at the clock I could see it was 5:30 in the morning, and the sun was just beginning to sneak in between the blinds, filling the room with a light I did not want to see. I noticed I was in a bed, and next to me was the lifeless body of that very girl of my fancy. People must have carried me upstairs and placed my in the bed when I finally succumbed to alcohol poisoning downstairs earlier in the night. The silence was deafening, the party was over, and….. Well, I was lying in piss. Yep, those initials, the Ringling Brothers Dragons, and mid-evil swords were being drawn in a beautifully crafted, tall white dreamscape urinal, and my paint….. was urine.

My Mind: “Oh my god…. Oh…. My……God…… OH MY GOD…….. OH GOD…… What did I do?? What did I get myself into?! OH MY GOD, WHAT THE FUCK DID I DO???!!!?!? I pissed the bed! I pissed the bed! OH GOD, I PISSED THE BED!!! JESUS, YOU SON OF A BITCH, WHY DID YOU LET ME PISS THE BED???? FUCK, FUCK, FUCKER FUCK FUCK, FUCK, SHIT, FUCK..!!!!”

My body: Still hasn’t budged.

Worse yet, there was the girl, who I had chased for so long, peacefully sleeping next to me, and… IT. I was in shock, and continued to lay there for what seemed like hours trying to figure out my next move, mind racing, heart pounding, and scared shit-less. Thank god for that, too. The last thing I needed was to take a shit in bed, too – I was already clearly a shitty guest. So what to do… what to do….. do… dooo… doo.. STOP.

I could run. I could roll her into it and blame her. I could just get in my car and drive home and act like I had no idea what she was talking about. I mean, haha, who would piss in your bed and leave? What a dick…. No, I can’t do that. Yes I can, fuck that. No. No, I would never forgive myself for pissing in someone’s bed and then ROLLING them into it. Finally, after much deliberation, I inched my way out of bed, quiet enough to not wake her, and stood in the middle of the room. Wet. Drunk. Seeing double, which now meant there were now two piss spots. My god, I had to act fast because my urine was multiplying like rabbits. I thought about suicide. I could just kill myself right there. Upon more reflection, I couldn’t piss her bed AND kill myself in her room, at least not in the same night – then she would NEVER agree to go out with my piss soaked corpse…

I finally decided to wake her up. Funny thing, she actually began to roll towards it as I woke her. I quickly grasped at her and rolled her back, telling her “…you don’t want to go that way… I…. I pissed your bed…..” Smile! Oh, and you want to go out with me sometime? That’s all that kept going through my head. I would be relegated to the history banks with the likes of Shit-face Steve, Period blood Brandi, Douchey Drip Dora, and now Pissed Pants Greg. I knew how this ends.

Except, it didn’t. She was totally cool about it. Why? I don’t know. How would I have reacted? Or you have reacted? I can’t say, honestly. Maybe it was because I didn’t shit on her as well, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to test this theory. I let bygones be bygones.

We dated for the next six years, and it never came up. I just recently talked to her – I messaged her and brought it all back into the light. I mean, how can I let something like that go and not explore it a little more. While it was mortifying at the time, it has evolved over time into a pretty good story to tell. The thing is, the story hasn’t evolved – only time has. Time is the only element that made this whole situation funny to me. It’s like Bruce Springsteen sings in Rosalita, “One day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.” Self awareness, confidence, all of those traits that takes years to build, and minutes to crumble, are so important in learning to laugh at yourself, and for me, this story was no different. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, anyone could ever say to me, about this or anything in my life, to embarrass me. I have been in others judgmental shoes, and I donated them. I have been high and crashed down, I have been low and risen up again, been healthy only to fall victim to disease and beaten disease to return to health. I have looked death in the eye, met devastation and loss head on, and struggled with the moon walk. Hell, pissing a bed, upon further thought, could be grouped in with some of my other high points, and quite literally, doesn’t have shit on me.

To my mom and dad, I’m sorry, but I am who I am – a urinating casanova whose kidney burst just like a supernova. Don’t ever worry about me though, because one day I will walk like Brando right into the sun – that should surely dry my wet underwear.

Canyons

My memory imitates an empty riverbed, sculpted by moments that once flowed freely, viscous, raging at times, spawned by innocence at once, spurned by the reality of an ever ripening age. random way points. nomadic flecks of dust, momentarily illuminating in the sporadic rays from a setting sun, weaving their infinite lengths through the web of limbs, dancing at lapping intersections, smiles. points on a chaotic timeline, brief moments of life embedded in the mental tombs of the past. resolve to remember the now intangible moments before time takes its toll, cracking the raw earth beneath that once sheltered childhood, relegating the fire of youth to its inevitable place in history.

Let it Go

Sharpen your knife, and clean your ground zero,
For time’s getting short, and you are yet to be a hero,
Insert it so soft, into the buttery soil,
This is the only way, the only way, do not toil,
Around the catalyst, carefully make the incision, 
Do not fear the blood, the blood shows you are living,
Let it run wild, like a river without eyes, 
As it drips to its new home, a new ward where no one cries,
When at last your knife has gone ’round and full circle,
Cup your old baby, a beautiful deep red, so red, almost purple,
Let the sun wash over, the breeze pat your love dry,
The wings already twitching, let your enigma fall to fly,
Searching, blind, it moves with no grace,
It’s a simple process made complex by time and space,
To land is to fade, to die without a host, 
Maybe that’s an alternative, to live out life as a ghost,
But a ghost does not live; it’s lost its jaded days,
Clinging to the living, vicarious in its ways,
Not this time, not this dream, not this boy full of piss, vinegar and steam,
It beats faster and faster,
Its home felt close and real,
A chance in the distance, oh god, at last, I can feel, 
Pumping unchained melodies of blood, sweat and chaste,
The rhythm gets maniacal; its senses get a taste,
It lands in a cavernous cage; new roots begin to grow,
It found its true resting place, new memories to sow,
It just feels right, stitches labor feverishly,
But before the last seed of day light seeps in,
It looks up, so sad,
So sad,
So sad, it sees me.

Did the Kids come to cut the grass?

I have been living at my parents house for the past few months, and while I would usually cry foul for such an unfortunate situation after flying the nest, it does lead to a little comic relief every once in a while…

We have cousins of ours come to cut the grass every week for the past few years, and while most people would discern the grass has been cut when the grass ends up shorter at the end of an evening than it was at the start of that same day, I found that it is not always so cut and dry for everyone – no pun intended.. At all..

So there I was, brushing my teeth in the bathroom the other day, admiring the red hair of my facial beard that I, in all honesty, have no fucking clue why I have.  Yes, My brothers are all 5 years apart in age, until I broke that trend with a slick 2 year difference from the previous youngest brother, but that doesn’t mean my mother cheated with David Caruso, right?  Now, if you want to argue Danny Bonaduce, than I might even grease those wheels a little – Danny was a young fireball at the time, and was fresh off starring in four episodes of “CHiPs“.  But not Caruso…

Anyway, As I brushed with a manual toothbrush – I sometimes try to simulate my old Sonicare Toothbrush due to an inferiority complex, but it is both physically and emotionally hard on me – my dad yelled up to me, “DID THE KIDS COME TODAY AND CUT THE GRASS??”

I remained quiet for a few seconds, wondering if perhaps he was just fucking with me.  We have many windows in the house, and he no doubt was near one, wherever he was yelling from.  Alas, upon repeating his question, I slowed my brushing to the pace of an Oral B Electric brush, and told him I did not know – I had not yet had the chance to look out the window, or walk in the grass the way he had when he came home 5 minutes earlier.

I sat on this question, amused every time I thought about it, until I finally brought it back up the next evening.  I just wanted to know – why did he ask me this?  Was there a reason that he maybe had an inkling that the grass was cut, however, could not confirm nor deny it without a second source to ask?  So….. Dad… What gave it away that the grass may have been cut?

“There was grass clippings in the driveway,” he answered.

Right – so it was grass clippings in the driveway that gave it away something happened – not the fact that the lawn was neatly manicured after a week of rain?

Uhhh.  So lets just recap this situation, as there are a few different directions I could see him taking this observation.  There are grass clippings in the driveway, therefore a) the kids came and cut the grass, b) random grass clippings blew into the driveway and the kids did not come and cut the grass, b-1) this could have been confirmed by looking 3 feet over at the grass to see it short and even or uncut, or c) a rash of unaccounted for grass cuttings have been happening in the neighborhood, with my parents being the latest victim, in which a grass ninja cuts your grass, and then leaves without a trace.

So, dad, I love you, but I was wondering – did the kids come and cut the grass?

Origins

The weight of the burning daylight grows heavy in the heart,
Heavy with the critical expectations of a bloodthirsty crowd of eyes,
Screaming for a resolution,
Any resolution,
Heavy with the demands of an angry, tyrannical deity,
Looking down in judgment from the distant, silent rafters,
Tracking my lines resounding with circles and redundancy,
Heavy with the directives I bury myself under,
Desperate decrees that can only be met under the cover of closed eyes,
In the Safety of the darkness encompassing my mind,
With but a single ray of light emerging from a flickering hope,
A spotlight which shines on my soulless character under raised and flowing velvet curtains,
Making me the tragic figure for which the morals of civilization will be secured or abandoned with my final act,
As the tide of lush velvet rolls in to meet the wooden shores,
Finally giving way to the gravity tugging on its frayed dress,
And the roars of the masses approval echo’s down the hallowed and vacant halls,
Coloring the silent rafters raucous,
For the lamb has been offered,
The fire stoked,
A wave of anticipation replaced with a wave of anxiety,
Crashing against the seawall of unbearably oppressive adulation,
In which my greatest fears forever reside.