Day 4 (Frost Comes) – 30 Day Writing Challenge

Credit to Marketwatch for the image.

There is a whisper laying heavily across the hills outside
our back window. It calls of frost and aching joints
amid pale rains covering all the land in pure bone shades
before the grime of cars and feet tracks humanity
across that softest of faces.

Forever replete in an incomplete cycle
washed to bare sticks and the legend of struggle
through the flames of Summer which left
vaunted few standing into the withering of Fall.
Not in perpetuity do the giants stand, rather, they
grovel to the wind and vanishing sun as it takes
it’s yearly rest deep in the night.

Ground down over a mashing of ephemeral gears
as children romped across their veins
sucking desperate gulps of life through buried tendrils.
Survival as a gasp to share their essence
revealed finally as they die beneath the weight of Winter.

Day 3 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

Nearly ever morning my girlfriend and I sit outside on the back patio and sip coffee while shooting the shit. There’s something wonderful about sharing the early morning moments with another living being, it puts us in tune with each other and sets the pace for the day.

Today, stepping outside into 55F degree air and feeling that cool Fall-esque weather wash over me was incredible. It’s always been a point of question for me as to whether other people experience what I coin as joygasms since I was awash in one this morning. For me, it’s that moment when everything seems to line up just perfectly, usually with music accompanying it, where sight and sound and feel all mesh in a bucolic fashion and leave me tingling with excitement or peace head to toe.

It’s so rare to find those moments in life, particularly considering the seeming catch-22 where if you’re looking for that moment it seems to move further away. Only in the unexpected and spontaneous times when we are to be caught unaware do they sneak up to wrap you in absolute bliss.

Of course, most of my life has been spent searching for the opposite, mired in drugs and alcohol to the point that there seemed to be a morass of misery punctuated only periodically with small glimmers of stolen happiness. It is very possible I have this whole thing backwards and in reality it is possible to take control of this life situation and legitimately hunt those special moments done.

I suppose, actually, if I were to take that logic leap in general it might help restructure and redesign my interaction with the world around me as a whole. There’s a reasonable chance that that belief might guide me down some better roads. Well shit, look at that, a weird epiphany moment 3-days into this writing challengemajig.

This comes at a time when I’m mentally trying to prepare myself for a 9-day shamanic healing retreat in the wilderness in Oregon. I have been graced with an opportunity to work with a healer who uses plant medicine to address a myriad of issues, including addiction and the struggles that materialize from it.

While I’m thrilled at the chance, it will be the longest I’ve spent out of touch with my significant other since we got together and there is of course apprehension since it’s been such a wild ride up until this point. That said, the risk, any concern or latent fears based on insecurity, really much anything, falls by the wayside to the looming possibility that maybe this time I’ll land on something that can genuinely help heal the madness and wounds inside that so regularly lead me back down the darkest of paths.

Either way, an early October camping trip onto a beautiful property with good people and communal living sounds like one hell of a way to start wrapping up what has been (much as for everyone) one madcap year. I’m eager to start anew and continue finding those things and people in life that bring me a spark.

Maybe I’ll even find some joygasms along the way.

Day 2 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

There’s a brush fire burning not so terribly far outside of town. With the wind yesterday and today the smoke moved in and the air quality took on that most questionable of feels to it. When every breath tastes like cigar smoke should you really be outside moving around at all?

The raining ash finished answering that question.

While fire season sucks, there are a few moments that always stand out. The way the Sun turns into a brilliant red ball behind the smoke screen, the ongoing smell of wood burning as though the whole world was joined in some weird form of camping together, and the silence–that eerie crazy silence that happens sometimes like yesterday.

No birds, no animals, barely any cars, and aside from the breeze, just stillness to the air.

If anyone happened to be in the total eclipse crossover zone a few years back (happened to be at one of the main spots for it myself accidentally) and remembers what the world was like for those few minutes, shockingly similar.

I’m not sure why I like the silence so much. On some level I know it’s because the animals are afraid and their habitats are being destroyed, so it should have a mournful or lonesome quality to it. Despite, it grabs the happy spots inside my brain and milks them with something so surreal for me that I always find myself questioning its existence to begin with.

True unadulterated peace.

The only other time I seem to be able to find it is in a sensory deprivation tank, floating like a child in the cosmos across massive fields of stars and nebulae instead of inside a water filled coffin creation. If you’ve never experienced one before, I highly recommend it.

Isn’t that the end game we’re all pursuing in some way? A feeling of peace? Is it so wrong I get it when the world is on fire enough that the birds stop chirping and the crickets are silent at last? To be fair, the landscape of raining ash and a red son also bespeaks a darker place to be sure, but we all find our joy where, when, and how we can right?

Day 1.5 – 30 Day Challenge

Ok, so a bit of a haphazard start….I decided to do this 30 day writing challenge and then promptly went on a camping trip with the girlfriend and kids.

I’m struck by how interesting it is to watch these kids learn, to envelope their surroundings in excited shrieks and exploring activities that stretch them to find comfort zones expanded or reformed. It’s heartbreaking in some ways, as both her children are the same age as my own who I find myself estranged from at the ice wall defense of an ex-wife who wants me to have nothing to do with them. Sad because I miss them, but also because I finally have been able to realize that for all my foibles and gaffs as a human being, I am a good man (more so today than in the past) and that I do well in a paternal(ish) role. Always patient, even keeled, understanding and willing to discuss or talk about anything.

Not trying to toot my own horn, it’s just been a realization of late and I’m pretty excited about it.

So with all that said, I’m going to attempt to restart the challenge knowing full well that I’m going to be headed away again on the 1st and 2nd weekends of October for a shamanic healing retreat that I’m also very geared up on, but I suppose more to come on that front. Suffice to say that it may be an opportunity to work with both Grandmother and Grandfather in a way to address some deep seeded and frustratingly difficult to change tendencies that I still struggle with on the daily.

So apologies about the false start, here we go into revision 1.5……let’s see how it goes this time.

Day 1 of 30 – Writing Challenge

I’m going to try and actually stay consistent about something for the first time in, well, probably ever. I’m making it a personal challenge to write 30 pieces, one a day, for the next month to practice, and to see if I can actually do it. Sure much of it is going to be slop….but here we go. -S

Another mental crunch as the pieces fall into place. Patience is watching without virtue the calamities of yourself as they leave ricochet pockmarks into the surrounding population. What a shame that it all came circling back around this direction, to the twitchy fingers and uneasy guts. The lackluster moans and the desire for release in some way from the grip and tight tenor of the fingers laced around your brain stem.

Just another day in paradise it seems. Drooling into a cacophony of disinterested moments where the past is relieved in modern terms and the future slips by as identical discord. Yeah, here it goes again with the “will I nevers” and “if only I had the”–this time will be different, sure of it. Always remember that slip comes before the fall and that landing on your hands is a great way to break something. Take the bumps and bruises, roll yourself up and get a grip.

Next hour is a doozy, but the one after that brings us closer to setting off on a worldwide trip. Settle down now young buck, rest your weary head, we’re in this for the long hall, and some might question why it is you aren’t just dead.

Peace for Trash-Pig the Soon to “Once of Have Been” Doggo

Today marks the end of my doggo’s existence on this plane and everything she would have experienced pre-Rainbow Bridge if only she could have stopped being so erratic. We worked together, played together, drove each other nuts periodically with either one of us having spontaneous bouts of neediness. She has/had such a soft demeanor if she knew you, only wanted cuddles–something she would come bounding into the bed to collect every morning as soon as you blinked your eyes for even a moment–and belly scratches. Her favorite thing was to throw herself in snorting and snuffling pig-like delight into shaded grass with complete abandon. When she had spree and would do the little butt tuck run that dogs do as she raced highest speed back and forth to a toy she was throwing for herself you couldn’t help but laugh.

With all that said, she bit someone (again) and then attacked another dog the following day (again). The results of my breaking up the fray are (as the doctors put it) “near complete amputation of the soft tissue on the left thumb” where she in a moment of frenzy decided to clamp down on me and chew, hard. She’s too unpredictable, like I’ve been so often in my life as well. She reminds me all too well of what it was like to be in a psychosis, seemingly find one instant, chasing strangers the next.

Thankfully I wasn’t put down during those episodes, I was treated with care and compassion well beyond what I feel I actually deserved. It’s sad to think that despite all my efforts and love she will still hit the end of the road far sooner than she (in my mind) was intended. I imagine on some base level, it’s the same frustration and discontent that so many who have watched me battle with addiction have felt. For me, though she be only a dog, there is a lesson to be learned in her passing.

Time is short, personal stability is crucial to long term happiness, and you never know when the final curtain call is going to land.

I’ll miss you Gigi… have been a touchstone and an embodiment of all the insanity and weirdness in my head. You always seemed to be on edge and I never knew what would scare you and have you shivering in a puddle as close to me as you could. After surviving kill shelters, humane society returns, homelessness and then finally landing someplace rather comfortable, the clock has run out. I can’t continue to jeopardize the safety of those around us and I don’t have any other rescue options open to me. I love you, and hope you’ll be happier on the other side of the veil. Maybe you’ll find some of that peace that you never quite were able to find with me.

I’m sorry.

In Control – a flash fiction.

Hello there observer.

“Tom, there’s no way that they can take another round. See that ocular leakage, way over tolerance.”

“Yeah, yeah I know Bill. I can hear too can’t I? Ancestral recall or personal identification with Canis lupus do you think?”

“No family resemblance but that baying is putting my skin on edge regardless. How you want to do this? We’ll get some sympathy views if we drag it out—personal favorite of mine I’ll have you know since this is our first time working together—might even get a couple more weeks out of the budget. Holds a lot of risk with this pair though from what we’ve seen and neither of us wants to explain why we’re carting off a pair of body bags.”

“Fair point. How would you feel about a hybrid? Start off slow but keep an eye on a drop dead date where it all crescendos again and forces a clean cut. Watched Geoff do something similar once. Takes finesse, as always, but it can be done.”

“I’m game, closeouts are your arena anyways from what I hear, I’m better at the fluff and the early game. Just let me know the confidence and insecurity tables you want to use before we start so I can keep things on track.”

“Retro-consideration and empathetic quotients are going to be key factors as well. Can you send Jim to let psych know that we will need their numbers first. Future orientation has always been lacking in 5KY3 and like you said, we don’t want any b-bags.”

“No problem. Such a shame.”


“Really thought it was going to work this time.”

Mountain Trail

Meandering feet fall between the scent of wildflowers and moss,
deeper into the mountain side this long trail winds.
Water courses on a ceaseless tract towards the valley,
runs furiously far below where the air is cooler
and the sun rains its heat against the rapids.

Heated Gaze

All credit for image to

Summer becomes the tone of fresh and old love mingled.
Of exhilaration, fascination, inspiration,
all put in skin sacks, given names.
Each heat riddled day the sun bakes us,
we are entwined in passionate reverie,
where no mere words will penetrate the sanctum.