F*ck Sunshine

I’ve found playful meaning

in the sharpest strands of daylight

while they bleached my night tan

into a wholesome red and brown.

been stripped clean of the unwholesome.

The rasping, the choking, the decaying

scent of another moon laced night

spent chasing dragons down the streets.

In the silver kissed necklace of shadows

that roll menacingly beneath the stars

as a slipshod grasp on tenuous reality

falls away, fast as a bat, never to be caught.

Crawled out dusty and beaten by self

into the unwelcome openness of daytime

Where people have jobs and families

go do things and have fun of their choosing.

There’s always a sick, nasty bitterness

surrounding the way I’d look at the crowds.

In those moments when shame carries

the day and bitterness over the injustice,

of wounds septic and worsening, a brain

melting beneath the heat of inquisition.

A Cadillac of contempt would sit, shining

In the corneas of each purple smudged eye.

Letting the self-loathing and concern go awry,

masking envy as hate and desire as disgust,

riding panic and fear out as arrogance and disdain.

Patronizing seconds as the world creaks,

moans its way out of the decadence of night,

quickens into the tittering joy of form alive.

There’s no surface to touch and manipulate

no interface that allows for a connection across

to that other world imbued with shiny smiles

and unbroken teeth not doing unspeakable acts.

In those moments when the sickness begins,

wafting out of your skin to notify and alert

anyone caring to notice of your diseased being,

your lesser than status, your unworthiness.

Those are the defining moments that show

the defying strength and fortitude you want,

when you have the opportunity tell the world

“get fucked, piss off, I make the next choice.”

or reaffirm the skepticism pandering to your

apathetic acceptance of what life has become.

Those are the moments when the shear grit

required to simply gut out the next series

of bad decisions, knowing how much it will hurt

but owning it, owning that the deeper down

you crawl the higher it will feel at baseline.

When you finally disconnect from the grime

Long enough to breathe untainted air

Purified in the radiance of sunbeams

And the wealth of happiness that soaks

Summer days beneath the blue painted sky,

there is a startling awareness, an epiphany,

a closure to doubt and a recognition,

that sobering up is just getting high in a new way.

Clown Shoe Hustle

On with the show.

When I show up and use a prepaid debit card with borrowed funds and a big grin while spouting the sweetest “thank you” ever heard to the check-in lady–ignore the fact my clothes are second hand. Ignore that from a material standpoint, virtually everything I’m wearing is from homeless shelters, the YWCA, and the generosity of strangers and family. One of the necklaces I have on is from a cellmate when I was in jail, the other is a gift from my wife, neither ever comes off. A reminder of what awaits when my control slips, the other a reminder to be grateful for the people in my life who mean more than things–something I’ve consistently been terrible at remembering.

The suitcase I have has traveled more than 42 residence moves, endless hotels, the streets, and being encased in the coffin of my truck bed while filled with the only non-destroyed dress pairs of shoes I own. In point, the ones I’ll be wearing which are from a Goodwill purchased on my wedding day, another pair came from the local 7th Day Adventist thrift store on our bi-monthly free clothing visit. I once owned a brown, $700 pair of Italian handcrafted leather wingtips that fit around the cedar shoe trees as perfectly as my feet and sat in shoe bags so as not to be scuffed. These days, you’re more likely to see me wearing absurd Size 13 flip flops I accidentally purchased and for some reason couldn’t part with. I’m a size 10.5.

My bracelet was the first item I bought for myself when I moved to Oregon. It came at the same time as a pair of beautiful green earrings for my then new girlfriend. When I sued her for the return of my stuff it came to light that her mother had stolen them along with the cell phone I tried to return. That same woman kept my dress clothes and shoes I had put into storage, changed the lock, and had me trespassed from the property. That was a year ago and just like every other time I’d lost everything, I’ve gotten used to not having as much. The bracelet is banged up, missing insets and can be generally uncomfortable, but it’s mine and there are a host of memories attached to the feel of it’s rougher edges cutting into my wrist while I type on the computer.

That’s what it boils down to: memories–items, trinkets, keepsakes, notebooks, letters, a pair of socks, a favored t-shirt, a picture–everything is a memory unto itself in some sense. Those are what I miss more than anything as I find my recall to be less then lucid owing to the PTSD and schizoaffective bipolar. Like I’m fishtailing through a swimming pool of ideas more than memories in any sort of recognizable pattern. Concrete items help lock down specifics in a tactile fashion as though a smell conjuring up the taste of grandma’s sugar cookies.

Just like the suitcase I’ll drag to the elevator has the mental odor of a hundred hotels I stayed in with it when I was last a corporate man traveling the country by plane, train, and automobile. It remembers the blackout drinking, the shakes in the morning, desperate preparations in strange towns trying to banish the heebie-jeebies from my body in time to present rationally to the next client. New York City, Philadelphia, D.C., San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh, Baltimore, Rochester, Binghampton, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver, and every damn city in New England to boot. My bag remembers a time when we stayed at nice hotels and flew 1st class because we were Gold Elite or Platinum mileage members and had a reason to be going from point A to B that didn’t involve simply surviving for another day.

It remembers being filled with the stuffed pig I would take pictures of in all those cities to send home to my son and ex-wife to let them know I was thinking of them. Being crammed with apology gifts for when I hit it too hard and forgot to call home because I was passed out or indisposed with a drinks meeting that night.

I’m sure it remembers being stuffed in with everything I was allowed to salvage from the house when the divorce started. That was the storage unit, 10’10’ space packed full, that I used to sleep in some days when I was too beat. I would lay my head on it like a pillow and bungie cord the door shut since there was no lock on the inside.

Because it remembers those things, holds them in the toughened fabric sewn to it’s exterior and it’s still rolling wheels, I can still feel those moments as vibrant as they were when they happened.

When I get to the room, you won’t see the mixed look of shock and delight on my face when I lay down in a normal bed, or take a shower with hot water and comfortably dry off rather than contort in the space available at home or the local truck stop. You won’t see the delight when I shave, appreciating the joys of a full mirror and a counter to lay things on. The last sigh as I close my eyes in a fully darkened room without dogs barking, goats bleating, and crazy midnight dazed roosters crowing away convinced the stars must just be confused suns needing to be warned away.

Next time you’ll see me is catching the 6:45am shuttle to the training center. You won’t know this backstory either, this is my life story and while I’ll share it with the world proudly, I know when to keep certain things under wraps. After all, I’m back to being regarded as a competent adult male who knows his shit, and you know what, I do. For every moment of doubt that might materialize, or second of uncertainty edge its way through to rut against the fundamental sense of confidence I have to nurture daily–for every one of those moments I can recover with a sense of gratitude and awareness I once lacked. I do know my shit. I’m grateful to be able to say that comfortably, though I will always remain open to learning more.

This time I’m not going to feel like I shouldn’t be where I am. That the world was just messing with me, getting my goat by pretending that I was a real boy and letting me play dress up as an adult. I’ve paid my dues, and I know my intentions. I’m going into this with knowledge of myself, the good and the bad. I have a partner/wife who is behind me and supportive as I have never experienced. She deserves my undivided time and attention, I will not slip into the mentality of unappreciative disdain for others in lieu of burying myself in the job. I will maintain the vicious degree of honesty by which I live my life and the understated fact that I don’t change who I am for anybody–take me or leave me, I am enthusiastic, creative, weird as hell, and 100% genuine. Let’s see how that shakes out this time as I step back into the corporate sales world.

You will see a big smile, teeth perfectly aligned and shockingly intact despite decades of drug abuse, hair combed, suit jacket fitted precisely, shirt pressed, bracelet and watch sparkling, shoes polished and clean shaven with eyes glittering a million laughs and adventures into the air between us.

I’m happy to be there, I’m thrilled to meet you, and I’m actually excited for this challenge. Let’s get this show on the road, because I have a wife and dog who deserve to not be crammed into a broken down RV missing it’s ceiling where the water damage was worst, someone who never asks for much but has earned the right to be supported as she pursues her own dreams in education and life. People who believed in me and lent hands to repay, child-support to pay and an ex-wife to sue for access to my children so I can try to set things right with the ones who never did anything wrong or asked for anything more than to be loved. Friends to show that anything is possible, that it can be achieved, you can change your direction in life no matter how low down the ladder you have gone.

I might even buy a pair of size 10.5 flip flops if things go really well. But I would never get rid of the old clown shoes–after all, they have some stories to tell.

Books, Booze and Blues

Boozehound image from dadadreams showing a dog drinking scotch.
Image borrowed from Dadadreams

John Lee Hooker says whiskey and women,
the blues man before asks for another pint.
Pour me a tall glass of that liquid summer
down the hatch and off into the night.
Pounding embers of wisdom shed into fluid form
its time to get wasted to the tune of a misfire
and the sobbing caterwauls of mans plight.
Joy measured into shared company is compounded
misery dissipates in that carefree state. .
Spider Robinson says that Callahan’s is the cure
that telepathic understanding would make us pure.
Three shots of jack and the curtains reveal
magic bullets in glass containers of sin.
Esoteric breakdown of barricades sitting strong
imagining the beauty in words as music hits the song.
Dusty lungs coughing out something foul
to the satisfaction of another cigarette horked down
sitting numb eyed in a daze that seems to follow.
Chest sits warm in dispassionate easy grace
somber living never gets you to these places
never breathing deep enough to indulge in phantom chases.
Down memory lane and into the brambles
a stumbling mess of skull fucked cobwebs
and woven disasters of recollection branches.
Drop those spiders on my spirit and proud face
its not for nothing that they call it a sad display.
But here I’ll sit until the noonday sun
calls out my moon tanned skin for daytime fun.
Polish the bottle child and don’t leave a drop
there’s a ride to be ridden this evening,
no conductor to guide us
and no idea where it stops.





I STAND WITH DARKNESS! – JASPER KERKAU — The Writings of Jasper Kerkau

Powerful writing in the vein of personal identity when faced with “to normalize or not” decisions like I’ve been wrestling with. One talented SOB and the grandmaster over at Sudden Denouement.

Drone Boy Reflects

To the top mother fucker.

There is a gaping pressure to perform
and become something more inline
with the standard expectation
that we all face daily. To become
a contributing and upstanding
shill to the mockery lifestyle of
the norm. Where an unabridged story
of what life has really been like
would cause discordant gasps
and choking on $7 coffees. A land
of spreadsheets and data with endless
phonecalls and emails to confirm
that we are all part of this droll
and seemingly futile empire of dreams.
Each moment will be etched as gray
as the moment prior and only
punctuated by the sycophantic
bleating that denotes contrived success.
But there can be joy milked
from every endeavor, every adventure
and journey of any kind. For all I lament
the necessity of this change
I recognize that this, as so much else in life,
is temporary in passing. A gateway
to attain a degree of comfort for myself
and those that I care deepest about.
Walking through the door framed
in expectations is a moment of sacrifice
and service to the good nature of love
where we are willing to endure,
seek to excel, survive and adapt
all for the promise of a more easy smile.
Once the game begins, I enjoy the race
rat or otherwise. I’m programmed
to enjoy the chase, the thrillingly mundane,
the average existence. In some ways
I know the unsuspected truth of experience,
let it guide into appreciation for opportunities
and a day not on the street or going hungry.
For the leakless roof overhead
the potential for participating in the world.
I hate the side of me that is drooling
at having funds available and the luxuries
that they provide. Its almost as though
my inner monsters haven’t been sated,
are waiting for the next opportunity to scorch
away the meat and tender outline
of my flesh gone to pasture in the haze
where hard living is the only pleasure to be found.



Barefoot Lottery Winner Injects Crack Cocaine

An ex-girlfriend stole my shoes once. By breaking in through the floor level hotel room window I was in while I was preoccupied with injecting another fifty units of liquefied crack and vinegar. I even came out when I heard the noise. All I was capable of doing however, was to stare blankly while trembling under the pressures of the locomotive that was my heart careening off the rails inside my head. Didn’t even say anything, just stared.

              It was a bizarre occurrence to be sure. I could only fuzzily sketch out how I had l had hefted her bodily not 30 minutes previously–out into the hallway following what was a reasonable argument taking on unreasonable levels. Now she was snaking out the window to my room dragging behind a pair of black and white Nikes that happened to be my only pair of shoes I had brought.

              Earlier that day I had seen my children for the first time in more than a year. At a supervision center I had ridden the buses and trains for eight hours to get to. Just one hour that I paid for out of pocket. They looked beautiful, he was handsome, she was angelic.

              Far more than I could take

              My ex-wife had structured things so as to ensure I would have to return to my old stomping grounds of New Bedford, MA and this dingy facility if I wanted any access to the kids at all. It was the same city I had desperately sought to get away from during my attempts to get sober. Aside from my children, there was nothing there but the grime and filth and needle strewn streets and shit memories and traumas and fuckups and locations and people I didn’t want or need anything to do with.

                 I had won $10,000 on a scratch it a few weeks before, something that I never thought would happen though I had kept gambling on them periodically for most of my adult life. I had started a new job a few months previously as well. I was living in a halfway house and had been there for nearly 6-months, longer than I had stayed anywhere in several years now. Things were upbeat with many reasons for optimism and putting nose to grindstone while enjoying some happiness for once.

                After seeing the kids I broke down. I knew how much of their absence in my life was my fault, both before and the recent inability to clean up my act.

                I checked into a hotel and managed to track down my ex-girlfriend.

                She was doing amazing, clean, signed up for school to become a certified drug and alcohol counselor—she was really putting the pieces of her life back together again.

                I don’t know if I showed up with the drugs to the hotel and met her, or ordered them after we got there. I do remember using the inside of a hardened blue glasses case as my mixing surface for the rocks. It was good stuff, probably should have just been smoking it, but once you progress to the needle it’s something of an end all be all.

                You mix crack with vinegar or another highly acidic agent to break it back down to water soluble form. I used Braggs Apple Cider with “The Mother” because it was rich in amino acids and somehow in my addled puddle of a brain that meant it was better to use for these particular purposes. That and it reminded me of making salad dressing at the home I had once owned.

                Shot after shot after shot, ringer after ringer after ringer. All she wanted to do was cuddle up and maybe read some of the book she was studying from with me.                

                Rock, vinegar, mix, pull-up, vein, red flash, push plunger, go lightheaded, gasp, nearly orgasm, fall slowly when short gulping air, wind up sitting on the edge of the bathtub shaking head to clear the spots from vision and WHUMWHUM from my ears, rubbing quickly inflating arms to try and minimize the swelling.

                Lost in and to a ritual, there was no mind being paid to anything else but the same rinse and repeat exercise as had just played.

                I realized things had escalated rather dramatically when the chocolate cake was flew past my head, She came at me with those sharpened nails of hers, tried to grab the drugs and throw them in the toilet. Failing that, my ears and face were a good enough post to thud into.. Holding her up against the wall so she would stop ripping at my face, getting spit in my eye before throwing her out into the hallway. I was callous and cruel and willfully ignoring the pointed reality of what I had been doing and how it must have felt to watch me self-destruct so viciously.

                Then she stole my shoes.

                I had smashed my cellphone earlier that evening in some bizarre fit of rage over something seemingly trivial. Thrown it so hard against the wall the mental housing of the iPhone had crumpled as the screen shattered.

                I used the hotel’s lobby phone to call a taxi who took me to get a pair of flip flops at a pharmacy and take me to the hospital for the cuts on my face. The idea of just grabbing some first aid for myself at the pharmacy never even crossed my mind. For quite some time I had become accustomed to just going to the hospital when things had gotten to be too much and I was dehydrated, or crazy from lack of sleep, or desperate for another rehab. It was second nature.

                They thought I was there for chest pains after taking my pulse rate. The EKG came back okay and they let it slide though.

                Eventually I made it back to the hotel.

                The wall in the bathroom was covered in chocolate cake, towels were laying all over the floor. I knew “it” was going to fall apart again with a twisting certainty in my gut born of seeing the same thing happen over and over. Different implosions, different actions at least—but the same result no matter what. Isolated, lonely, confused, ashamed and embarrassed, it never seemed to change.

                When I kept shooting coke for the next two days and had to resign my position I was barely even surprised.

Spasms to a Crystal Overture

Smoke demons.

In honor of one recently fallen, may you have found the peace you searched for in life.

Twitch, twitch again.
Twitch, twitch again.
Fumbled up the crack back, didn’t do it right,
left loose diamonds pooled in starlight.
Chewing on white whales of smoke,
dense enough to consume morals and hope.
There’s no platitudes to offer,
if you’ve been inhaling at the holy altar,
just bow your head low for new atonement,
merciful gods appear if you stay to own it..
Twitch, twitch again.
Twitch, twitch again.
Ceaseless movement all around,
darkness clutters so shapely where beasts abound,
nightmare creatures from shadows are made,
do what you can though you can’t be saved.
There are monster deeper then mind or skin,
you called them forth hoping to let them in.
Twitch, twitch again.
Twitch, twitch again.
Begging for slumber at the end of 10-days,
get along now sanity we’re deep in this haze.
A misbegotten attempt at revival,
turned the mysteries of the past into present survival.
Let lessons be taught in the way that they are.
Sick and gasping looking for the end not so far.
Twitch, twitch again.
Twitch, twitch again.
Never again, he said.
never again….

Glass Walls

Glass maze image from overhead.
Labrynth

Putting pieces back together in a maze made of glass,

Seeing clear the future goals to move beyond the past.

These walls that edge without blotting out my vision,

They feel so tight yet loosely fit and lie about position.

I thought myself to be far in, so buried deep indeed,

Nearly neglected thought and action calls to change for want not need.

Externaphizing

Hoping the jury is out.

I’m coming to the realization that on so many different levels I am either a remarkably calloused and demanding individual or there is a screw truly loose (several more likely) upstairs. It’s the only thing that can, or would, account for such indiscriminate moments of self indulgent burbling and behaviour as leads me to regularly overlook the concerns of those loving figures in my life. Unless I am well and truly an actual certifiable dick.


I’m even finding a flair for it in the fact that I tend to fixate on my own reactions and actions in situations – pre-emptively justifying some flagrant display of asinine “my way or the highway” choice making prowess with a fixated smile plastered in disregard on my face (which I will only later realize to my own chagrin). If I were to explore the world around me, step outside of this little glass room and observe that what I previously represented as fun was actually a brazen push off of my wife’s emotions and verbalized needs (supplanted by my own), irresponsible actions that drained coffers and put us at risk, and a worthless extension of a wonderful day into the doldrums and mire of a night huddled at opposite sides of the van.

Somewhere along the lines there is a lynchpin moment – like when I say, “wow, we are getting along great recently!” Klaxons should go off inside my head that any moment now my own self-destruct sequence just silently clicked on and started down. If I can chase back that singular moment as it happens and repetitiously drill it into my head that this is the moment where a choice can mean the validation of goodwill and genuine happiness being experienced and a continuation thereof, or disaster and a repeat of the same overplayed mistakes once again.

It seems intuitive that anyone would want to sustain positivity and goodvibes that are making themselves felt in an interpersonal dynamic – so why does my brain blank to suddenly and with seeming intent when it comes to taking the basic neccessary steps to do so? I don’t like the burned out husk of joy that is left when I don’t, no one does. If I have to be self serving enough to recognize the discomfort that the miss of that moment will bring to myself in order to identify the external impact that will precede, so be it.


I really hope I’m not just a dick. That would really be terrible.

Stuck

Stuck on,

Wash, rinse, repeat,

Stuck on,

Reading the same page.

Stuck on,

Making the same mistakes,

Stuck on,

Being stuck on.