The Middle of the Story

Where our main characters find themselves journeying apart from each other into adventures and places unknown in the hopes that they will reunite as realized and complete individuals on the other side….so we begin in Reno, NV…..

S & H at Taco Loco

Transcribe the hope I feel
into optimism and other such essential stuffs.
Imbibe the flow of sweet spirit
that drips from off our lips and out our mouths.
Believe in dreams meant not to fade
even if the road has twisted uglier and uglier still.
Hold tight to goals we shared
as our footsteps drift further and further apart.
We’re still in love,
and this journey which so profoundly changed us
is not at its end yet – just an interlude.

Missing Flow

Loneliness Sunset
All image credit to this beautiful article and author.

I’m looking for a flow to spew,
to vomit pained fire in words and lyrical nonsense,
drench virtual paper in a cascade of feeling,
wishing for the release of a moment where my fingertips press
onto keys melded into an outpouring of something greater than myself.
I’m looking for a rhythm and a cadence,
and empty hollow to rest my eyes and heart within
where my brain can’t intrude or interrupt
where the language is something not of word
but made of a noise that comes from deeper down
primal and totally absent of definition.
I’m looking for a tapping of keys that harmonizes with my feelings
and that calms waters boiling over with discontent
where monsters lurk and playful creatures breathe imagination
as though it were the purest of air
carefree in their joy and hungers
contented to be their own masters and demanding nothing from anyone.
I’m shaking the trees of logic and thought
demanding that they un-fucking-root and get on with the business of dying
so that chaos can wash over me as a wind of compassion
letting me know that the madness is so very real
that anything else was a facade and an illusion
that its okay and I’ve come home to rest where I belong.
I’m lacing myself with poisons to calm the nerves
incinerating the memories of dreams never to be realized
in pools of chemical passivity
bleeding oil into my disquiet shores
where the glass and sand are never polished and always cut
though they shine like diamonds to lure you in.
I’m hunting for a flow,
that special moment when time collapses on itself and there is oneness
understanding, immutable confidence, and a distant stare
connection to more, recognition and awareness, centered peace,
consolidated thoughts, pacified emotions, acceptance, and satisfaction.
I’m looking for a flow,
one that tells me loneliness is temporary,
and that the universe is there in all its infinity and splendor
ready to skull fuck me back into joy when it feels fit
that reminds me there’s no point sulking and being miserable
this is the human condition in all its shit stained raimants
and that I could be grateful for the ability and opportunity to experience it.
I’m looking for a flow,
but right now I’m just writing, and there’s no flow to be found.


Wistful Short One

Sing me songs of vitriol all laced in melodies of love,
shame my wisdom gained by years of pain,
tell me that sentience comes from somewhere up above.

Mock my broken harpsichord that I played with as a child,
tone deaf ears on loosed strung strings twanged hard
milk savagely the loneliness we all feel as calling from the wild.

Forever more the notes will keep as a heap rotting in my memories,
the smell of favored sympathy and dulled attention,
what once was beautiful to the ears of youth is deadened by perfection.

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.

Jews at a taco shop

Two Jews and burritos.

We were doing laundry during “Free Washing & Drying” day sponsored by a local church. The gent who runs everything hasn’t been pressuring or overbearing when it comes to religion and we’ve gotten to know him very well over the last year. He has asked us to come speak at his congregation this upcoming Sunday before I leave for my new job to comment about the changes this last year has brought into our lives.

There’s every reason for us to do it, and I’ve started trying to lay out what I’d like to say since my wife is anxious about public speaking, particularly to a denomination which she was indoctrinated in by way of abuse in a dozen ways through her entire childhood, leaving mental scarring that is still a struggle to this day. She’s going to go though, because it’s important, and the gentleman who has been there for us every two weeks for 10-months to pay for our laundry when we had not a penny to our names, deserves to know the impact that has had on us.

When you’re homeless, a clean pair of socks and underwear is better then the best sex you’ve ever had. It’s a moment where you feel again human, part of, connected, capable, possibilities actually seem possible again, confidence soars, misery slackens and you can see a trail forward again. Think I’m joking? Try wearing the same clothes and not showering for 7-10 days at a time and still engaging in your standard day-to-day routine without feeling outsidered and uncomfortable. Even a rotation will have you slicked down with the grime of the world in no time and my hat’s off to you if you’re unfazed by the experience in this materialistic and impression based existence we all inhabit.

After agreeing, I headed down to the best damn burrito joint in the whole of creation, Taco Loco, aptly named for the disgustingly sized plates of filth meat fixings they dish our at poverty acceptable pricing. Friendly staff and owners too, always smiling.

After ordering and having a smoke outside I walked back in to pay. I hadn’t noticed earlier the elderly family dining in the corner. I hadn’t noticed the bearded gentleman and his yarmulke calmly resting on the top of his head. Being a misanthropic and culturally insensitive clod and a twat–along with a Jew myself–I’ve referred to them as “head condoms” at different points.

Sensitivity has never been my thing clearly.

I hadn’t seen anyone wearing one since New York City ages ago. In this political climate it’s like wearing a target on your head and declaring that you’d like to be sent to the modern day concentration camps when they’ve scraped the hispanic blood off the floor sufficiently to allow the next round of victims.

Politely I interrupted the conversation between the two men (the bearded man’s wife was sitting to the side and helped me find a segue while they were engaged to let me slide in).

“Sorry to interrupt, but I’m Jewish as well and I haven’t seen a yarmulke in ages. I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.”

The bearded man stood up, and shook my hand. We got down to chatting.

He’s from Hawaii and didn’t know any local groups that might facilitate my wife and myself engaging with the faith to understand my roots better or foster a better understanding. He journeys to Auschwitz once a year in honor of the sacrifices there. He has a bat shit crazy Rabbi he loves learning from. On his arm, he has tattooed a series of numbers (amidst the others) to express his solidarity with members of his faith. He’s not old enough to have earned them the usual way, but feels they bring him to be more connected with his people.

He wears his yarmulke as a “fuck you” to the climate of hate and rising fascism that is bubbling over across the world. He knows it brings notice, he knows that many people stare at him and consider him abhorrent. He’s aware the danger it brings. Quoting “Transmetropolitan” – he doesn’t give two tugs off a dead dog’s cock about what any of those fuckers thinks about him. He does it to inspire his brethren to not hide ashamed and be true to their spirit and beliefs.

He does it because it helps him be proud of his faith, and if someone is offended by his passive display of confidence, it’s because they are weak in their own and it is not his responsibility to fix stupid.

I went back to the laundromat and had a conversation about ghosts and the possessed copper carousel that I once owned which glowed under Luminol spray and left a soaked patch of luminescence two feet wide beneath it whenever it was placed in a new room.

I met a real man today. What a fucking inspiration.

Fuck the new age Nazis and this puppet regime of misdirection that panders to the ignorant jackals across the world and at home. Bring me your seething falsely righteous hatred of a people and I’ll raise you an old man with a little hat and a my own fist.

I’d put my money on you cowardly shitbitten assholes backing down every time.

Impatient

I’m late for life.

Lick my frustration laden eye trails
with your feverish degree of need.
I’ve pulled apart my patience in brushstrokes,
and sit damming rampant torrents of greed.
Traipsing through a shutter-box as though
a thrown skein of glass trapped thoughts.
Spending words of do not try a thousand times
until they’re echoing so loud it hurts.
There is less difficulty here then meets the eye,
even when it’s filled with sorrow.
We’re on endless roads, journeying upward
on travels through time into tomorrow.
The final hurdle is simply to start the race,
get up off your ass and focus.
Move away from rabbit holes and wasted days
lest the world consume us as the locusts.


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.





Infectious

Infectious mood imagery.

Sardonic reserves of time kept patience
blending outward in rippling shades of hatred.
Baby, you’ve got that heart shaped gaping wound
says you’re bathed in longing for now not soon.
Nothing moves faster than a synapse firing off kilter
blistering brain waves melting downwind all splintered.
If the days were longer and I could taste your fears
all that we’d share could be understanding made clear.
So if you’ll touch your enthusiastic distaste to mine
lets go passe with anticipation and the cheapest wine.
Show me your ugly that I might gag and spew
my own redolent virus of loving life all over you.

Empathy

Blended souls.

Witticism fades on dribble soaked lips
caught halfway between quip and piss poor joke,
snagged in realization that the statement is not desired.
Flagrant display following an ineffectual attempt
to display the degree of empathy passed across,
mirror the affection and nurturing that is so foreign.
Scrub out those Golems whispering in thunderous tones
where they sit perched atop your clay built heart
you’ve deluded yourself into believing beats so strongly.
Open yourself to a differing of feelings,
a roughshod pillaging of your isolated innocence
protecting you as thistles would from the harm beyond.