This new situation. A location that is familiar in a small way, but unlived. Unfettered. Unexperienced and unwritten. To transplant a sixty five year old onto brand new earth exposes all the paths. All of the potential – and here is the first fear. There is a way around it though. Release expectations and just live. Forge no chains, tie no ropes. Consciously draw no borders or demands. Watch life form or dance in whatever places it may, allow all things to be possible. Let all possibilities become, if and whether they desire. Say no to nothing – say yes to less than that. Say roll over me and take me – say watch me push the ball and feel it pull me downhill gathering circumstance or possibility on the way. Push everything away to rest and then grab hold of any piece to feel its yard and anchor – just to feel the hold of it – to test its mettle and surprise it with your mathematical interest. Live some evolving flow with its naturally selected story unfolding surprised, unsated.
But – I worry, and then hope I haven’t finally deposited myself in a location where no one can find me.
The fact that people still believe and practice these far-gone idiocies of bigotry, religious fervor, misogyny and the remainder of human sociopathic sickness makes me believe we never really had a chance. Our broken pieces are too broken and the good pieces haven’t enough reach to effectively balance it all out. Are we really still having these conversations? How did fear and ignorance become the default setting in human societal intercourse and discourse? Who is the architect of this disconnect? Is it evolution? God? Capitalism? Sectarian tension? Tribal isolationism?
So many stupidities. So much wasted time.
Or does it have to be this way? That in order for anything to exist all things must exist? And then no matter where you are your choices mark and shape the life you’ll live.
This seems to add up – when religion looks in a mirror it sees reality. In the mirror and in concert with despair life creates religion. Religion is a mirror reflection of our reality and all religion is the doppelgänger of chance and life – this impostor, this beggars desire and need – an inverted image of the accidental world we all inhabit.
Our insane commitment to the mirror-ghost keeps us from fixing the reality that could turn it all around.
The dream of shaking a mans hand. There are these dreams —they number in the multitudes —wherein there is something favorable happening to me either alone or in the company of others.
Last night I dreamed I was standing before someone familiar. We had spoken for a while or we had just decided to part (as in most dreams this isn’t apparent or even relevant) but I was shaking his hand. We were shaking hands and the act, the sensation was so full of joy that neither one of us wanted it to end. Both being aware of this made the event more joyful and then add the hilarity of that realization. There was just too much beauty and grace and fun in the whole thing and I was laughing both inside and out and so was my partner. It was pure bliss in a simple greeting.
In another dream I am talking face to face with one of my daughters and we are discussing something she finds fascinating and she begins to laugh and I am overcome with gratitude and love.
Some other dream has me alone but somewhere in nature and there are paths to walk through trees and there is morning sunlight and air and the scent of days I remember from being very young.
And after any one of these dreams the act of awakening and being moved from the dream into my reality, well, there is the issue. It is the difference between these two things that is alarming. The joy of one of these dreams held against the uncertainty of enthusiasm —its fragile mantle, indeed the bland uncertainty of reality; the work that must be done in order to experience a day that has any joy at all. That’s the difference right there.
This seems terrible, but it was simple detached observation;
There are three locomotives – train engines – standing abreast on a platform spanning a huge deck that stands out into the roadway from the rails their entire collective girth, like a ship of engines being hauled impossibly forward, and lengths of great stretched orbs – black oil cars and rusted boxcars tethered backward forever from the driving of it.
All of this mass and gravity inching up-slope tenuous and horrific – I can sense the impossibility. Its very existence is a warning; I feel that it’s possible my apprehension or disbelief could be a trigger and I try to think around it.
Surely, the whole thing slides and shifts and begins its backward ride into calamity – upended, side-thrust screaming – jack-knifed hell coming toward me – carriers and wheels thrown up and appearing above the tree line and the tops of distant trees whipping and splitting in the tornado of whole train pieces and then the bridge wide span of that engine-deck with its three-across dead-weight locomotives ass-on and unstoppable plowing earth and trees and wind directly at the locus of my vision and through both sides peripheral.
It’s a four engine train wreck and there is nowhere to run.
This is Olivia — she is a student in her first year at UBC. Olivia is studying anthropology. She wants to be involved in digs in Belize. It’s hard for her, she has left her family for the first time and she’s very home-sick. Everyone is kind — the whole family is supportive, but she misses her dog and her family terribly.
Over by the entrance, with his back to me. I’m sure that’s him. The glasses, the gray, thinning hair. His posture, I remember the look of him. Oh, Christ. Even in the middle of the day, at the oddest time, some piece of regret will climb into his awareness and cause sweat […]
It’s been raining for a month – the eaves, the trees on the boulevard, the forest behind the house, the telephone poles and wires – the entire world is dripping. Even here on the leeward coast it’s been a month of relentless thick, wet air. Windward? Don’t even think about it. Breakfast is late […]
Dust and gravel, gravel and dust. Hot, dry air and nothing else. The road ahead is arrow-straight and tires rumble on the dirt surface. In the rear-view mirror a huge rooster-tail rises and hangs behind his car, a beacon of progress visible for miles for a solitary traveler on a forsaken back-road. The […]
John Jeffrey Allison is on his back in a field. He is looking up through tall alfalfa and pondering the play of a kaleidoscope of butterflies dancing in still air over his chest. They have been there since he opened his eyes five minutes ago. The sweet scent of the field reminds him […]
The basketball isn’t ours. It wasn’t on our property until four this afternoon. Maybe a bit earlier. That’s when we both noticed it. We were parking the car on our return from a day out with the kids. It’s against the house now, but it started it’s journey across our yard […]
You left at eleven o’clock Saturday night. By eleven twenty I’d shaved off my beard and trimmed my mustache back to almost nothing. I remember being shocked at the result. I sent email at four the next morning, waiting for a cab to the airport… “…my god I look goofy.” Now, I’m […]
Trigger warning. Dark. Normally I wouldn’t preface a piece with any comments, but this has severely disturbing content. Particularly the final paragraphs. However, those are invention – imagination, nothing of them comes from real-world experience. There is a physicist – a man who dabbles at the edges of universal power. The […]
He’s missing a garage door opener. He recalls only the idea to remove it from the van in order to prevent a break-in. The neighbors have reported a number of incidents of thieves rifling through vehicles and taking the remotes in order to gain access to garages in the middle of the night. […]
The roads become grimy from city trucks chuffing exhaust and spreading salt and gravel through the long, hard winter so that in May brisk winds from the mountains breathe a dry, dense haze —coating cars and windows repeatedly with an insidious layer of fine grit. They’re on a quick shopping trip on the southeast side […]
William Anderson is at the foot of the stairs, commanding the air in the den. The wife is standing almost at attention. His boy is by the stereo console, rapt. There is an air of secrecy – necromancy much beyond the capability of anyone contracted to install stereo speakers – bi-amping […]
He has chosen clean jeans, a pressed khaki shirt, and a sport coat. On his way out he grabs the package, notices there is already a rip in the wrapping and stops at the kitchen to repair it with another piece of tape. Completely baffled by the expectations of a five year […]
For a couple of days in early summer – just before they drop their seed, the prairie grass will celebrate by putting on a purple coat to sway in the breeze – and you’ll be reminded to return near sunset, the golden hour, when the air will be cool and the […]
On a perfect summer mid-afternoon, sunshine glinting through a canopy of leaves – still, humid air, deep greens and tall white birch, with the scent of silver brush, blue wildflowers and cool dirt, he descends the gully path behind his home with his birthday present – an air rifle and a pocket rich with […]
She found it under the floorboards in a barn 35 years ago. She was a sprite on a summer day in the fields behind a house at the edge of the town, sneaking about the building’s perimeter, looking in through cracks in the raw plank walls, and exploring into the danger […]
Jamie sits on a bench in front of the candy store, boots on the thick wood slats that make up the sidewalk, sucking a licorice-root confection, and realizes he is in love. There are green shingles siding the law office, a green that recalls the quality of foliage on fir trees but […]
Cecil Harder is not a presentable man. At first glance you will notice ear hair, a comb-over – a neglected sense of right or wrong as concerns the world of fashion. He also sports a certain odor, undefinable, not overpowering, yet unpleasant and immediately noticeable. His demeanor is a wall of sorts […]
There is an entity – a piece of artistry – a benevolent ghost that exists in order to heal the scars of solitude marked onto the souls of the creative in spirit – this goddess is the ghost of a woman, an artist driven by terrors – a gentle woman who […]
Photo; Ryan Hetherington Keys This past October (eight months ago now) I bought a motorcycle. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. If you held a gun to my head I couldn’t tell you how I made that decision. I’d have to say – well, I saw it advertised on Facebook market place. […]
This field of beautiful alien creatures – mingling and socializing in some indecipherable ritual. Hands and arms articulated – call and reply to the woman on the grass. One could feel threatened or excluded, but why? This soup of humans has a common pursuit – all of us are bathed by the same sunlight […]
I remember my introduction to organized religion this way; I was a child. I had been to Sunday School (my Mother taught it for a while – not long as I recall) and I was familiar with the idea of a benevolent, revered fellow who had existed sometime in the past. A good example for a child. I was mostly taught to sing songs about it/him. I was probably five years old.
The idea of reconciliation can’t be defined by an offering from those at the source of the wrongdoing. It has to be an idea of completion in the mind of the aggrieved. That is the very nature of the word. You don’t ask a bully whether or not he is a bully. Reconciliation cannot be defined by colonials.
Buckle up for this one. Everyone lives all lives. How am I to even explain this? I remember having this idea when I was in my mid-thirties, early forties. This was a time of introspection, a time to practice gratitude, meditation, sobriety. I had just become sober. I had just become married. The […]
In the still morning air of mid November, the orange horizon greets a tired mind. Coffee and a quiet moment by the window – the ritual, the brain preparation – there is time to anticipate todays mysteries. Across the street an ancient brick home, now offices for a group of surgeons is the only […]
It’s a Bed and Breakfast – such a simple concept – people need a place to sleep and they need a meal to get the day started. However, the breakfast part has always seemed like an add-on to me. Like someone was trying to make something out of nothing, so they added a […]
Today’s thousand words There is a type of therapy that takes into account all these things that are wrong. James is going to the doctor today. Getting fixed isn’t as difficult as you think. It’s pills, sure, but that’s just the start. The dances and the nights running down the street with your […]
Today’s one thousand words; Sally is a grocers daughter. She loves French jazz from the 1920’s and regardless of how people label her, make fun of her and give her trouble, she wears cloche hats – in the style of Anais Nin, long, black sleeveless sweaters with fringes – and utilizes a cigarette […]
This morning I read a piece by Sylvia Plath that came up on the news feed – unfathomably deep and beautiful poetry from a truly tortured soul. I haven’t read enough of her work. It can be difficult. It’s the kind of writing that can unseat your day, but my mind didn’t […]
“Why Trombone?” This question is posed across the aisle at a table on the patio of a coffee shop and the short answer is washed out by the sound of a passing gravel truck. Two men, aged thirty-something are speaking across lattes, muffins, and a local music-scene magazine, open to the cheap […]
There are two regular visitors to my writing world on Mondays at the park. I started conversing with them individually last year in early summer when I noticed their gear behind the table shelter, had to turn off a loud abandoned radio and felt compelled to explain myself when the owner returned […]
Tonight Marguerite will sleep like the dead. Diesel belch and rumble —the tractor, hands-on gear train and throttle. Stiff clutch-shank and pedal jerk —foot, ankle, and calf battered —engine growl, twisting torque and the platform of the machine hovering, shaking with fueled intent, and the mower with thrashing blades, sliding chains, pinion, universal joints. […]
True story; I am fifty nine years old today. This simple fact seems to hold more weight than it should. I am fortunate to have arrived here, some don’t and some get way beyond. And I think any feeling – positive or negative – about this milestone is a product of ego. Where am I? […]
I gave my eldest daughter four books for Christmas last year. As she unwrapped them, and thanked me I felt compelled to explain my reasoning. I told her that these authors were the people most responsible for the way I think today. Her first comment, “Which of these should I avoid?” Two months later, and […]
Anyone who knows me understands my aversion to media. I have a healthy distrust of style, motive, and standards. I recently caught myself commenting (again) on the lower fifth dialogue and attitude of dragging audience by the nose – not allowing for intellect – in a film I had hoped would offer much more. And […]
I’ve recently connected the Robert Hunter lyric; ‘…statements just seem vain at last’ and the idea of creativity – narcissism, participation, the different kinds of artists, performers, entertainers – their agenda, or lack thereof, with my understanding; that is – facing yourself as a conduit for beauty and sharing, intentionally or not. It’s a […]
I’ve noticed that my preferences for listening have evolved with the advent of playlist enabled equipment. I don’t think this is a bad thing, it’s just a thing. I’m no vinyl snob. I don’t advocate that one sound is any better than another, and I’ve listened to all of it. I’ve listened […]
It is interesting to me that in my mind the violent creations of Cormack McCarthy exist in a world of tragic immaculate design as applied to history, but when he writes of contemporary horrors the beauty is gone. It is displaced by feelings of despair, sadness and defeat. I loved the book Blood […]
There are always good things happening in music. Not just legacy throwback traditional rock and roll, or folk/blues derivatives, but new inventions – innovations and composites borne of ideas culled from different ages and times (whether they know it or not). I’m writing this now but it’s been coming for a long time. I […]
This day starts like any other; an alarm pisses me off, and I’m out of bed, showering and trying not to picture the day ahead as a negative thing. I mount my bicycle to ride in to work and I notice the light from a brilliant moon illuminating the alley, I see the shadows […]
What comes out of these tired fingers today? Pondering, hesitant searches for words or thoughts. I know there is a lot more in here, but for some reason there is an intake of breath. If I pay attention this will be a restful time for meditation. Peaceful regrouping. If I fight, it will be a […]
About a year ago I heard a song by the Wailin’ Jennys (the name is a self-admitted fabulous tip of the hat to Waylon Jennings) which they recorded as Long Time Traveler. I’m usually a long time behind the curve on music as I’m nowhere near the industry any more, and this is no exception. […]
On the way to work this morning; A handsome native woman in layers of coat, warm and smiling, walking quickly southbound on the east side of 9th avenue beneath the bright streetlights. Scarf wrapped at her neck. Two separate individuals within a block of each other who trip over two separate pieces of raised sidewalk […]
Thick, warm shirt, fall day; the south wind is a steady breath on the leaves, yellowing and dry. Under the sun and the clouds and under the planets and the universe, under the trees where the leaves fall and under the sky where the wind blows. Under eternity and under infinity, here it all is. […]
I don’t discount the idea that the universe speaks to people when they; a) need it, and b) listen. Here is an interesting example; I have had this adage in my mind for a few weeks; ‘don’t discount the serendipitous’. Then today, while reading an article on a completely unrelated topic I came upon a great new […]
It’s difficult to find a place to start. I think the importance of this concept began to dawn on me around 2000 (in Portugal). And this is only a guess, as I believe the thing has been haunting me from the very beginning. A couple of sessions in my life of solitary living […]
I mean no disrespect. I feel strongly that there have been places and times on this troubled planet when violence as a response to imperialism or hegemony has been justified, when the call to arms for some society was justly sounded and bravely heeded. I hold the greatest respect for people who have given of […]