Don’t worry about me.

Don’t worry about me, keep walking to your dream.
I will get my fire started as soon as my kindling dries out.
I will dry my clothes as soon as this rain has moved on.
I will fill my rations as soon as the hunting season ends.
I will plan for tomorrow as soon as today allows me.
I will close my eyes in the remission of hardship as soon as my work here is done.
And as these notions rise from the depths of hope, the sun will soon rise on my new day, just as the night gives in, and relents it’s grip on my being.
Never worry about me, only the worn trail to your dream.
Because I am walking mine, and will meet you where our dreams cross paths somewhere in the unseen distance.
Just wait for me should you arrive first.

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Is it too much to ask?

I want to live in a world where hilltops flood first. Where Waterfalls are borne of high tide’s devastation.

I want to swim in an ocean that gives up it’s secrets. Where the circle completes. Where we are always welcome to come back home.

I want to fly in a sky big enough for the both of us. Where landing is always an option, an alternative to Amelia’s plight.

I want to sleep in a dream that coddles reality. Holds these ideas to be true. Holds our love to the fire, where it’s tempered. Dreams that focus everything. Dreams from which we don’t wake up.

GM

Reflecting

I can look into my past and it’s seemingly still so close that I can touch it with my weary hands, rough and calloused, palms furrowed. I can enjoy the well-meaning invitation of an expired répondez s’il vous plaît. Taste it’s menu, it’s buffet of self-served, self-serving and bittersweet moments, each with an itinerary that ends it’s travels halfway down my throat, where it will remain, even, and especially, after it’s finally digested. I can see my past, but it does not see me. I am not the same as my past remembers. I do not look or act the same as I did then. If only my past knew just what an impact it had on the stranger standing before it today.

Anybody Home?

Have you ever driven down a quiet suburban neighborhood street in the photogenic darkness of evening, and found yourself looking into all the windows of the homes you pass? Windows into a world you do not know, will never know, can never know, and – somewhere deep down inside – do not want to know? Find yourself thinking about how warm and inviting, how comfortable, how at peace that room, framed neatly in the window looks, with the soft flickering glow of the television lighting the room with the despondent feeling that 1,000 consecutive years on the broken down couch inside would not be enough to satisfy your hunger for all the reciprocated love it has to offer. Find yourself imagining the warmth generated within from the mechanical and human furnaces raging deep in its bowels. A warmth so abundant that it’s pushed up tight against the timeless glass, forming dew like moss, suffocating, arrived by way of teared droplets of envy collected from the nameless strangers passing in the night, searching for the plucked strings singing it’s irresistible siren song, and showing the weary and excluded world – dark and cold, with an effortless wind and compassionless sting – just what they are missing, using the simple inertia exhibited by the caged souls absorbing that warmth so seemingly far away as it’s poignant reminder. Content souls surely basking in the unconscious greed of excess with an extra blanket for good measure – draped on all parts except their feet in a mindless attempt to avoid an unwelcome bead of sweat and discomfort. A sweet sweat some would die for, and some will die without. In the time, the sand drifting moment – the eternity – it takes to surmise and fire off all of these assumptions, half-truths, and bunker busting munitions of self-doubt and discontent burning brightly within our own world of wants and needs, the home will have passed. The peace and safety in your rear-view mirror, as you are on then to the next home – with a desperate hope that it is less inviting, less welcoming, while offering less of what it is that you are thought to be missing out on. Perhaps hoping it is more like the destination you feel you are driving towards, because if you are like me, you always feel that your home – regardless of the light within, the warmth generated and the familiar soft flicker of your favorite show on the television – is just never as comfortable, as welcoming, as safe as every other home that you passed driving home seemed to be.

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‘Hustlers’ – Philip Lorca DiCorcia

False Prophets of War

I stood like a false steel, watching as the pharmaceutical vampires ran blitzkrieg method towards my bloodstream. It was me or them; stifled life and snuffed out breath or wide eyes with a penchant for choreographing a side step when dire circumstances called for audible. Chains were bound around every free limb, for I was a prisoner to a never ending onslaught, a battle, a war – tortured with the Rockwellian picture show that played for everyone else. An oasis life that was always just over the horizon, kissing the sun somewhere I could never find. Could not reach. Could not imagine. My arms tired, legs anchored from the weight of the cold steel I could never replicate in my will. Just kill me. End it. Let me find the life that awaits my exit from purgatory. I could see everything so clearly as I lie face down on the floor, my electrified bottom with a false door, no magic on tap. Staring at the cage that kept me from the world. From you. From me. My days on the battlefield receded further into the past, a locomotive of pain picking up speed until it faded from my peripherals. I was left on the platform watching it disappear, happy to have gotten off, yet sad to know it even exists. Sad to know it will never stop. Not even slow. Sad to know many others will unwillingly board. But there I was, in a world condensed, chained and broken when I realized – I already had the key. It was in my smile I hid from view. It was in my laugh that I muffled from you. It was in my eyes, I just had to close to see. It was in me. The whole time, it was in me. Warm sun. Cool rain. Stiff wind. The silence of night and the never ending decibels of day. It was now all mine. But I am not greedy – I left some for others when they decide to stop playing war.

My Dear Shadow

So here I am again. Just you and I, my dear shadow. Shadow of my disjointed self, stacked high like used teacups, some full, never touched with a past as simple as good manners. Others with a burnt sienna ring, memories of an enjoyed roasted bean, clinging to one corner of the porcelain bottom, the way a rough rust covers the newness of neglected patio furniture partially under cover. Each cup, unsteady, none level as they do their best to fit in a stack they never were meant to erect. Each sized in a rhythmless manner, fused together for only one hand in this world, but instead settling for the company I invited. It’s just you and I, my dear shadow. Ragged bones, fleshed out with aged tendons and worn cartilage, heavily salted to minimize the rancid nature of its dissection. Tough to the sharpest tooth, a skin cannibals would shy away from, stumble knee and ankle to stumps for, claw nails into muddy earth and manifest energy from starvation to pull ground between. Choosing rather to die again, and again, and again before wearing or choking on my shell. Pro and con weighed, time capsule tombs deciding exponential death wouldn’t taint their lifeless souls the way the sustenance of my own offering would. Please’ let me stand with you, I can hear myself say beneath my tired and desperate breath. But I can only watch as it falls and fades into the silent void between me and anyone. Anything. Everything. Silence. Looks like it’s just you and I, my dear shadow. My soul mate. My love. My best friend, my enemy, my boss and student. My family and my neighbor, my countryman and my comrade. It’s you and I. You never leave me, always by my side, and to you, I can do no wrong. You complete me, my being intact only when you show your silhouette. It was you and I, my dear shadow, as my hand, palms down and outstretched, reached to the ground to hold your hand, my anchor to this world – until I watched, desperately, as you let go and bled into my peripherals, my anchor lost in a gust announcing the arrival of darkness. Alone I found myself; my being incrementally betrayed, as the sun had already set on my warmest day, giving way to a cold, moon-less night. My shadow had left me, my friend no more. For in the middle of the night is when the lonely are lonliest, their failure the loudest, their broken shards the sharpest. For in the middle of the night, at the height of our plight, in the quietest of self-sabotage, there is no one left to protect the lonely, undulating failure in a sea of haunted memories. Perhaps the viscous fertilizing cells that fall and fill the oceans, my newest of friends, borne from emulsion of good memories and world shattering decisions that pool at my feet, expanding and nurturing the collateral damage of my existence, will stay with me longer than my shadow chose to, unattached to the position of fission in the sky. Perhaps it never was my shadow that I had befriended; rather, it was simply the thought that it was the only one who would stay by my side that was my true confidant. Without it, I find that my choices are the intangibles that cling to me like nicotine yellows all without prejudice. Taking my cues from the muted smoke plumes that have no fear of others boundaries, I will wade into a certain friendship with my enemies, without fear of trespassing – even if my enemies, in the end, are just my past wind-strewn paths of destruction carved into the lives of those I held closer to me than even my dear shadow. 

Night Sky

It’s amazing how the story of man, of us, of me, can be retold through the shifting night sky. The stars. The heavens. A testament to something so much bigger than us, yet permeating every fiber of our being. And as I look up tonight at the lonely moon, the moon looks back at me, slowing down to tell me my story. The long contrails of a passed jet linger just to the right. Almost as though a fateful torched arrow shot at the heart of the sky just missed its hopeful target, sailing past and leaving nothing but its skewed trajectory. I can only stare. Dwell. Think to myself, “Yea, you’re right. It was just like that…”

Indifference

I drank the soil, and with it, the sun, water, air, seeds of love and torment. And in me grew a beautiful tree, frayed bark, pruned defects, rooted in hell, reaching to the heavens. My limbs grasp into the darkness to feel for you, for something, instead finding eternity, and breathing it in with a desperation of last gasps by which the meaning of life becomes clear, and the certainty of death becomes my teacher.

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.

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.