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.
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.
Psychiatrist recommends typing. So typing. Every day at work the fingers ramble with no purpose. This is achievement. The other is useless to me.
I have no psychiatrist.
Paper and ink printed and informing, no use to anyone. It hangs lonely from a cubicle wall. Pins stuck at the corners. Excruciating perforations.
When is lunch? When is happiness? When is respite from the goddamned unrelenting rulebook. Wife was here so what. There is a camera with no connection to the other end. No-one looks constantly at my face as I try to decide why I’m here. The nerve.
Illuminated screens scream at my face all day. When they break I fix them so that they can re-scream the infinite useless drivel.
Styrofoam. Blank. Plastic covering. Cell phone will charge until it’s full because I allow it. I plug in the phone and expect that it will be kind to me, but it’s full of angry people and it can’t filter its guts. These customers think they’re asking for help but they are really tearing my life apart. I have contracted to sell my creative soul to hell in order that I can go up 4 floors, or down 18 in order to fiddle with shit that I happened to learn about 20 years ago by accident.
For this entire time I have been pouring words on to paper, but for some reason this is not my vocation. There is no vocation. There is only an alarm clock, hungry family. Needy family. Things needed. Everything is needed. I need. I need sunlight and horse.
I need books and I need music. I need to write. This feels good. This feels like accomplishment and it’s just drivel really.
Don’t read. Don’t write. Don’t worry. I anticipate problems. I anticipate things my mind is capable of thinking. This mind, this brain is over powerful. There is a problem with thinking so quickly. The sun is coming up behind me. I saw it through binoculars yesterday when there was no cloud cover. You have to anticipate its birth. Look right at the horizon as the upper curve of the sphere appears like boiling air. Red boiling air. Red, orange fire filled boiling ball. You can watch it until it hurts but I wouldn’t tell a child that.
Basement is fucked. Who cares when trees smell like that. Trees and grass and dirt and mud and water and rocks and walking and stop and look.
I can imagine sometimes the calm air surrounding me and just close my eyes and wish. There is color and there is blue and sticks and grass and shoes and pants. What is this for? What are you for? What are we for? I am for good. I am for humor and music and art. I am for ecstasy.
Unimaginable weight of information. Pile of quantities. Quantity of confusion. The amount of things is unmanageable, but infinite. There is no need to worry. There is no need to want any of it. It isn’t for me. Somehow there is a place that I’m not seeing.
Where is the bubble for occupation? What occupation is there that has no need of insulation? Where does insulation fit in? How does one find that hole? Cutting rebar down below in the construction zone. A hand held monster pisses sparks at the floor. I don’t care enough about any corporate aspiration to think in a valuable way for them. I can be here but my ambition is aligned with a creative end. There is no care for this machine. This machine has no care for me. Is that it? Am I missing my machine mommy? Is that why I can’t function here. The oily teat was not supplied. I have no memory of being soothed by a rusted metal hand.
The fuckers expect fealty. These fuckers have made up these rules so expertly that to speak of this in the face of all the others who have done so doesn’t make you powerful it just makes you too weak to succumb to their ubiquitous imagined bullshit. Because it’s ubiquitous it’s to be obeyed without question. That every other dumb fuck in the world has taken the pill makes it appear that only the weak won’t swallow. When in fact there is no judgement. Taking or not taking that pill is not the issue. The only thing that matters is that every person on the earth should be encouraged to pursue every avenue they find valuable with appropriate consideration. That is if it has been found to be their calling, they should go there.
Go down the path. Walk with a backpack don’t look back. Where is this place? Where is this mansion of soul? This expanse of free thought. What is holding the reins? Who is this black spectre behind me riding my back with leather straps and cruel bit wedged to the back of my throat? Get off of me fucker. By whatever means necessary I will buck you off. I will tear these straps and use them to garrote your vicious bastard neck. How did you get there in the first place? How was I so complacent as to allow this ball-rope tugging fucker to steer my life? I bet it was want. I bet while I was wanting clothes, shiny shit, car, sex, the bastard rode in on the side of a truck filled with adolescent necessities and while I was dreaming of some beautiful cunt, it tied me with spider webs until I thought I could see truth. I ate and drank this desire, I willingly walked through the gate. It’s the same gate the crowd is rushing toward. It has no sign on it. There is no door number two.
Oranges in the sun. Red clay soil. Backwoods railroad track with the sky slice of air above, trees obscuring the rest with their wisdom and grace. They silence the entire world around with stature and leaves. Birds know this place. And little animals, insects of course. But men don’t come here except to burst mechanically through sparking upset and trauma with their wheels and diesel and oil and screams of metal plates objecting to their very manufacture in the face of a world so gentle and filled with beauty.
What’s in here. Really. Hello? Is anybody home? I can feel little Doug. He was screaming crying last week. It’s hollow. It’s busy, it’s fragrant, and whizzy. It rhymes sometimes. I wonder why it’s so difficult to fit in? I love what I am. I love how I think. I want to share this but I think this mind would drive any sane soul away. I’m afraid of that. I want to be alone but I want to have company. I don’t want to be lonely. I think I’m very smart, but I’m almost afraid to say that.
It can be very difficult to look out from these eyes. That means two things. Introvert that I am. Sometimes it’s hard to turn thoughts outward. They want to concentrate on me, me, me. It looks like this; wow, it’s nice out today, I wonder why I don’t feel up to enjoying it. It must be that there is something wrong. I think it would be with me. But that’s not what I want to think, etc.
I wish relaxation had a light. Green for good, yellow for you need to try a little harder and red for – wherever you are, it’s not doing you any good at all.
I shiver sometimes, just a momentary body shiver, I believe that is a good thing.
The need to bail out of here never goes away. The need to be done with this is part of the job. Why am I like this? I’ve known for years that I’m different. I’m tired of this discussion. I want out.
Music, records, books, the smell of old paper. My new first edition copy of ZAMM smells like it was stored in a trunk for 30 years, surrounded by dictionaries and marionettes. The paper is substantial and so thick you can read the edges. The book cracks at you when you open it, and the pages resist intrusion. But this font, this deep struck ink, this dark plot on deep fecund turf. It leaks matter into your eyes. You can’t forgive yourself if you stop drinking. The letters could be stuffed into your mouth and you would die suffocating, happy that finally you’ve tasted truth.
You bastard. Spelling is ok but keep your eyes forward! That may be the first exclamation mark I have used in my life.
Forward. God, I wish there was a way to move in that direction. In any perceptible fashion. I can intend that things move forward, but day after day, year after year, I face the same pile of shit. There is no respite from the need to constantly keep myself ‘up’. Where is the unintended joy of it all? Where is the spontaneous feeling of complete freedom and belonging? Where the fuck did that go?
I get to go riding again this weekend. I love to be near horses, yet they are intimidating. The size, of course, but there is something else and I can’t quite get to it. There is a lot of work involved in preparation to ride. I’m afraid of not being good at it. I’m afraid of not being able to do a step or to be seen to need help with it maybe. That’s funny. Is a man less a man if he needs help with something? Where does that come from in my past.
Music is sacred. I can hear nuance in every millisecond. There is always a wash of technical metaphor to accompany the sheer bliss of the composition. I have so many layers of awareness when listening to music. Texture, tone, dynamics and taste. It’s a wonderful way to engage a brain that is capable of multilayered lateral thought. I can be busy and happy.
And it moves me. When some individual has considered a sound and its surroundings completely enough, you can hear exactly what they had in mind. This is a little vague. I can hear distance, I can hear loneliness, love, happiness, space, calm, anything a person can think of when they compose music, can be heard in the delivery if you listen closely.
September 7, 2013
Cars and rain and dead flowers the porch looks ghostly. The neighbours are a weight of purposeful activity and continuously look as if they’re intentionally pushing superiority. They are tiring in their zest to look alive and perky. There is very little money and I work my ass off. I wish I could watch the moonrise over the hoodoos at Writing on Stone park.
Dirt on windows. Grass is too long. There has been no maintenance this year, there has been no maintenance this life.
A piano sounds like individual taps of peaceful pressure on the lobes of my brain. Each note is a beautiful color and a sweet release of tears as its echo rolls backward and flows down the base of my spine. Human voices in choir harmony issue from the mouths of immaculate ghosts, single syllable rises from out of the music and covers the host in drapes of lace. Folds, and fluid, opaque whisper that raises the hair on the back of my neck.
My hands type as my brain squeezes the last mangled metaphor from this tired life. It seems endless but it always requires that squeeze. It’s a syphon of detritus left from the unkempt flow of life. To start it you have to suck the pipe until your cheeks ache. You can feel the words pull up from the pit, heavy and thick and when they reach the level of equilibrium and tip over to gush out the pipe, you can’t remove your mouth fast enough. You always get surprised and force fed this unwelcome first wave, or receive it on the side your face as you pull away. Then they flow all over this keyboard. Letters, words, thoughts, impressions, people, feelings, unbelievable ramblings of a troubled soul yearning to be understood if only for a minute.
Please read me. Please feel me. Please.
500 words per page. Give or take. What does it take? Who will see these 500? There are a million words on paper between me and anyone living. There are a billion keystrokes pounded from my fingers into the dumb surface of reality. Waiting. Hoping.
Keep typing though. You haven’t spilled enough. The exercise is not to just empty what you think is there, but to get down low. Into the dark pit of this barrel. Where everything is so much thicker. Not like milk. This is clear at the top. Crystal water where there is no dirt, just clean, clear ideas. At the bottom where light can’t go the darkness envelopes things that have fallen out of fear or out of necessity to be forgotten forever. The pipe can barely move in this muck and it’s difficult to pull. It may be that you’ll never see this stuff. Maybe it’s too vile. Maybe it’s just too secret. I wonder if any of it is stuck down there because to look at it would make your heart explode with joy? I wonder if the answer to loneliness is down there. I wonder if just underneath a layer of thick muck there exists a perfect jewel of explanation that would cause a person to leave this isolated plane in a wave of joy unbounded.
I wonder if that’s possible.
My books are all around me. There are individual pieces of my history, their history and the history of the world. A library like this represents a man, his place, his journey and his planet. It’s a big picture when you see it from all the angles.
Places travelled, ideas introduced, pieces of light, pieces of darkness. All the words and all the paragraphs, all the thoughts sit there like little bombs. Hundreds of volumes of little bombs. Some delightful, some terrible, all of them thought by people like you and me and crafted with care into the perfect vessel to deliver this single shattering truth to a mind a hundred lifetimes away. Delivered through space and time to another lonely seeking mind. All minds that read must be lonely and seeking in some way. The only mind not of this ilk is the Buddha, or Jesus or some god so holy that life itself is enough. And there are books about him here too. Many. Books about how god exists and how god can’t possibly exist. All conjured into being by people of mind, people of creation. From the bosom of milk and honey or from the random slime of the universes most wondrous machination.
I want to keep going until there are a thousand new words on this page. Nonsense can be beautiful can’t it? Is there something keeping me from writing joy? Is there something keeping me? Is there something? What is this about? There are plants that are more clear at communicating. The sky is dank today and my demeanor is the same. I feel I would like to be more cheerful, but I know from experience that this isn’t going to happen any time soon. This feeling is the same feeling I experienced 30, 20 10 years ago when pining for someone or something to make me feel better. Prior to quitting the ingestion of alcohol and drugs I would find myself in these funks. A trip out to the bar and an evening chasing experience is all it took to drive that feeling away. Some ribald camaraderie in a bar somewhere, some partying and laughter. It would all be gone the next day. And then it would return and I’d again go searching in the pubs for relief. In the end, it turned out I was spending most of my time there. There was no respite from whatever was ‘wrong’ and there is none now. Except that I have no way of beating it back anymore. All I have is my brain and time.
Close enough. I’ll count again later.
There is riding tomorrow morning. I will be nervous on the way to get a coffee, I will be relaxed on the drive. There will be music on the stereo in the car. Loud. It depends on the mood. I hope there will be sunshine, but whatever comes is good. I have ridden in the rain before. I will be nervous catching Dann, I will be nervous putting on the bridle, using the hoof pick, saddling, and putting on the halter and bit. I don’t think I will be nervous riding. I never have been even at the very start. I don’t sit well, my back is not strong yet. I should work on this at the gym but there are many things I should work on at the gym.
I want to talk to Meissa for a while. I want to ask about her life. I would like to write more about her.
I feel something. I’ve dropped Erin off at a job and I’m sitting in Starbucks next door to the gates of hell, Wet, slick concrete and asphalt, suburban streets, little shitty buildings and suburban people, sitting in their togs giving life a try. The music is in the headphones so goddamned loud that it drowns out the sap coming from the speakers and the speech around me. My computer is on my lap and there isn’t anything really to be concerned about. This is as close as I’ve felt to satisfied in a while. I’m out of the house, I’m in a crowd of people I can expect nothing from and they perform as I sit back and watch.
Is this a symptom? That I feel most comfortable in a crowd of people I can expect nothing from? Or is there really no question to be asked here?
When my fingers begin to type I expect them to default to some dry poison. But when I’m out by myself this doesn’t happen. Jesus. What is that all about?
I remember being young and dangerous. What was I really? I was self- assured there is no doubt about that. Arrogant. Likely dismissive. Rash, I loved though. I’m certain of that. I held people close and treated my friends with respect mostly. I was great in crowds. Crowds of like- minded people. If I was at a restaurant with my people you couldn’t beat me for conversation, form and bravado. Friendliness too. But put me in a bar with idiots that I was expected to impress and I would clam up. The radio crowd. The vultures and the hunters. I couldn’t pretend to be one of these men that hung out trying to pick-up women. Although at the time I thought that might be an alternative, I couldn’t make it happen. I believe the problem was my conscience. That approach just seemed too cavalier to me. And that’s funny because I remember numerous times when a glance across a room ended up as an all-night agreement. No questions asked. I guess it’s just the people and the expectations. Especially the style. This false bravado they would display, the pack mentality, the bragging, the hunting. I found it much more noble to approach people with intentions borne of better breeding; discussion, awareness, celebration of life, humor, intelligence. And as it would come to pass, practice of these disciplines, and expectations of that calibre left me mostly alone.
What happened last night (Friday September 6) in my room while I slept? It was about 11. I remember being not long asleep – those moments when you’re aware of fading in and then out. In such a moment, I felt something wonderful; there was a mouth near me. Lips seeming to come up from the ether, out of nowhere and a mouth out of the blackness. It was a beautiful ghost. No person was there. Just the most beautiful invitation. I lowered my head and put my lips to it and began to kiss. It was there – it was her kiss. I know this with all my heart and soul it was our kiss. It was there and it woke me up with its power. I was suddenly awake and I called her name out loud. A very dangerous thing to do. It was a kiss that belonged to 20 years ago. And I recognize it. I have no doubt. And when I read this back it sounds crazy. It sounds like some plasticine fantasy, but it happened. I was so real I can feel it now. Nothing like this has happened to me before, and I know it was as real as life.
My horoscope in the newspaper says that I will be famous for my talent by the end of the weekend. That’s going to be a neat trick. I sometimes wonder if anyone at all will ever read what I write. It would be a miracle if all of this turned out to have legs. Real power. If it was the answer that takes me through the next years.
There’s a secret that I need to tell. I don’t know who it will be told to anymore. I had hoped that one of the principals of the story would be the object of this reveal, but right now I’m having trouble finding faith in that blessed wish. How can a man keep this inside?
September 8, 2013
Riding cancelled by trainer today.
September 9, 2013
Gratitude should be priority but I find it hard to grasp sometimes. I will spiral out in to the ether with anger, self-pity, etc. and then feel guilty for it. I suppose it’s natural, I’m human, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to keep from placing myself aside others who look more well set.
Comparison is an issue in my life. If I could just shut the blinds and go forward, there would be no problem. Maybe this is one of the things drinking and drugging did for me. It would seem natural that a person would be less prone to comparison when sequestered in their own head.
It’s so hard to just go forward.
Back in the office. It’s a dead emotion. There is some camaraderie but little satisfaction. What do I expect? Glee? Not really, but some days spent contemplating nature and writing the beauty of it would suit me perfectly. I have a place in mind to be in the fall, but it’s expensive and I have a family and I have obligations and there are many different things that are all keeping me from being anywhere I want to be. So I go on.
Lanyard. That a great word. It sounds like a piece of a ship.
There is not a lot to say today. It’s going to take a lot to get a thousand words out.
Or maybe not. What is a thousand words? One hundred grocery lists. Two pages of a magazine. One page of a small font project management guide book. I have such disdain for anything having to do with working at a corporate position that I can’t even type the words. There are scenarios that I can imagine that feed my brain good chemicals and suddenly I become less affected. If I think of certain women, places in the country, cabins with forests outside and calm places with little responsibility. And women.
Why should any concoction of my ego (riding horseback with beautiful blonde riding instructor, chatting occasionally with beautiful blonde friend) be the origin of such turmoil? Can’t a man have a little fun in life without some bulldozer of guilt riding over the playing field ripping the very fabric of life to ribbons?
God, ego, fault, forgiveness. I had a thought on the way home from Bragg Creek; what if it’s all pure chance? What if there is no ‘ego’, no ‘god’ no forgiveness? What if it’s all just billions of dice rolling constantly, falling through infinity, changing from one result to the next. A cacophonic ballet of spinning white cubes and tangled dots each pausing for whatever instant it takes to have their results catalogued, and then spinning, rolling and cascading again to foretell the next random result; tragic, comedic, virtuous or fortuitous that determines the life-path of you and everyone you touch from the instant of creation until eternity.
How much freedom would I feel if I didn’t hold the weight of responsibility for any of this? If my good judgment was enough to let my conscience lie in peace? And why is this not so? Where is the truth that solves this question? I invite this, and have for some time.
September 10, 2013
What is this dark pull. This weariness that creeps over me in the early afternoon. A quick lunch and then watch the world for a few minutes while my brain begins to feel the weariness of the day. A cup of tea is hot and still steeping by my right arm while I type and try to come to grips with what my mind may want to say. Is there any path here, I ask? Is there anything but complaints? How about some gratitude today. I am grateful. If I go to the pit for the last bit left-over from days of repetitive slogging on this topic I will find that I am very grateful for my talent at writing. Issuing thoughts to paper. I think I am very good at it. I also think it may be the reason I’m so dissatisfied with the status quo. I want validation so bad.
Now validation may be a valuable gift for every human on this earth, but I wager that validation for a writer, as far as needs go, far outweighs the average person’s level of want.
And I have no way to prove this except with circumstantial evidence, but I think that the requirement for validation in my life may be another exponential step upward even from that.
I don’t know why this should be. Insecurity? Maybe. Again, I can’t be sure. But, I’m grateful for the talent. I’m grateful for my sobriety, certainly. It’s why I have use of this over electrified brain instead of being saddled with a mass of underpowered, squishy gray matter. I am grateful for my connection with beauty. I appreciate music, art, fine writing, and the female form in a way that borders on infatuation.
I am grateful for my children, although I have a very tough time trying to get past the place where they won’t listen to a goddamned word I say.
I am grateful for my wife because I see how hard she works to make herself a good and kind person.
I am grateful for my dog. My dog is pure joy.
I am grateful for sitting in the back yard reading, smelling wood-smoke and sipping on a cold drink.
I am grateful for the moments where I lay in bed at night and read, and the moments just before sleep where I can close my eyes and imaging things that can’t be spoken out loud to any living soul on earth.
I wish I had a cabin. A two or three room log cabin with a very large porch. A porch that is so big you can have a living room suite, a king sized bed, a kitchen setup and a simple table with a chair beside it and all out doors under an eves of logs that extend outward to the edge. I want it to be on a treed piece of land so that the forest surrounds it except for the field in front, beside which a road runs parallel to the tree line, as far as the eye can see into the distance. That’s the only road in and out. There is a stream on this land, deep enough so that you can catch fish, and fresh water from it feeds the field below and supplies the house and a large cistern for storage. There are a couple of horses and dogs kept here and plenty of time to ride the perimeter of the property to check on nothing, but to make a pleasant distraction from the rest of the non-existent plans for the day.
The trees are a coniferous and deciduous mix in equal parts. There are tall spires of Douglas Fir or Cedar reaching to the very sky, and at the edge of the field and all around stand huge crowns of birch and aspen. The greens of this land on any given day are immeasurable in number. The silence of the forest extends outward and captures the soul of the fields and the buildings so that any incidental attempt to insinuate sound onto their presence is swallowed up in a solemn, sacred blanket.
September 11, 2013
This is the anniversary of the destruction of the world trade center in New York. The Americans will be solemn today.
Orange highlighter pens, sticky notes, cords, monitors, computers, all of this stuff is made of ideas. A couple of emails today for the riding coach and for someone else maybe. Who knows.
These fingers have little to say today. We’ll see. Sometimes it comes out anyway, regardless of the shitty start. You just have to go to it again and again.
Frequently I don’t know if I’m right or wrong. I react quickly to issues and stimulus and then regret my actions or words. For some reason I have little filter and I’m easily aroused to anger or frustration. This is not me, or at least it’s not who I want to be and I want to be told that I’m ok and that I’m doing a good job of all this.
September 12, 2013
Here we are in the sunshine and cubicle for a beautiful Thursday morning. Yesterday was a long day with a long walk home at the end of it. The best thing about the day was I found out it takes a little over an hour to walk to my house from here.
I don’t have much motivation these days. I see things that show me a different way, ie. people posting their opinions on facebook (some valid points) and I know I should be embracing some of these, but the effort seems too dear. The act of coming downtown to earn money for the family sucks the life out of me. And now I’m starting to blame myself for this. I have stated many times that this is not a life that I can be comfortable in, that I prefer to do nothing but write, but this reality is not realistic and the upshot of this is that anyone with any feeling of responsibility would just buck-up, go to work and say ‘that’s good enough’. Not me, and I can’t figure out why.
September 13, 2013
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. All there will ever be.
September kneels. Its leaves, cool air, and diffused light paint the harvest fruit. Fields are mottled brown, a certain muted umber. Endings. He feels this, what’s more he feels that all humans can feel this, and he says aloud to the trees, We all share a melancholy walk through this thick air, separate in our perception and joined at our hearts. There is gallantry in this great divesting of skin. Last years detritus kicked aside, naked we walk toward the grey autumn air.
He breaths, turns around completely – arms outstretched and lets his mind flow on, Gather wood, gather fuel, gather thoughts and courage. Put up supplies for the heart and mind. A thousand books, a million friends in words and on pages to help when you become lost, the real world too distant to mark upon. Curl in your blankets. Safe and warm in those hands, the familiar, the welcome, the home. Breathe in, and wait.
I read a website today that contained peoples’ opinions of the best words of wisdom ever imparted to them. These tidbits of advice are all very well and good to look at. I see them and think, “I would do well to pay attention to that’. However, the commitment to practice this kind of thing is likely beyond the power of conviction for me. There are too many of them and each one requires that a person monitor their behaviour. I am not consistent. I would rather let myself be, without thought, to do as my heart wishes. Good, evil, (mediocre likely as that’s all I have time for). Except at this keyboard. Every piece of my life is a compromise except the time spent with my fingers exactly here. At that point the flow can be regulated precisely by my whim. I can be utterly truthful, I can lie like a goddamned snake or I can laugh, weep, sing, celebrate or spew invective at various blame-horses contrived by my imagination until I have nothing left but to explain why these fingers are my only solace.
Things seem less constricted today. My level of satisfaction seems moderate to ok. I miss many things. Many freedoms, and that’s a sad fact. This wandering heart/brain/mind of mine seems to be waking up for some reason.
Yellow and black roadside hieroglyphics on dirty highways.
When I sit in a café alone – I can spin the world into something wonderful. It starts lonely, works through a kind of proud individuality and somehow lights up with humor, depending on the music and the sights out the window. Last week – Cranston. A goddamned pile of shit at the southeast end of Calgary with huge investment homes, green plastered lawns, a thousand spindly, thin, deciduous spires and a smattering of evergreens, conical and precisely placed. Fresh concrete and fresh paint, peeling already from the sun on the south side. Hot summer; bastard, cheap contractor. The flaws are only a year out from the possession date.
Send out a random x? The question is bigger than the world. How deep do you want to go this time? Down to the very bottom again? Let flow the blood and tears, wait for some kind of reflection. How much do you want? There isn’t enough here to hold you, but in the wild on the highway in October your heart is an orange target. Or invisible; even worse.
Where am I going to go to die? I wonder sometimes and wish sometimes for this home in a forest somewhere. It’s the place I will call home. Someday I will find this place. I hope I will. Maybe it will be some delusional drool in my final year, mind splayed out on rot and drugs, the synapse finally providing relief that life couldn’t find.
I need some time to myself. This chauffeur thing has got me feeling up against the wall. I can’t have a day to myself. There are people I suppose who are alright with all of this, but I’m feeling really squashed. And Erin is so goddamned sensitive that if I mention it she will likely shrivel or just get angry. That’s not what I want. And I don’t think I could take it.
Here we are in the roundabout, moving constantly and never taking an exit. The people all round driving and driving and happy, windows closed against the wind and the day. Signaling left forever.
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 […]