Friday, April 5, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

The sickness lives inside of you, but we can all see it. It makes you twitchy, easily startled. It makes you paranoid and judgmental. It is growing day by day like cancer, but it is intangible. They can't lance it or fry it or cut it out of you. Sometimes, you are better at hiding it than other times. 

This is when you become dangerous. 

When you're full on raging, no one can miss it. It's all bells and flashing lights. It's when you almost have it under control...that's when you are the sharpest. That's when you make the cuts that can barely be felt. 

I prefer you flashing, but I know you no matter what. I see you. And I'll keep an eye out. 

Go ahead and keep hunting.

I will, too.

Friday, March 29, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

Once you realize, it is already gone. Slap your pockets all you want. Retrace your steps. Try to convince yourself that your senses are deceiving you. It can't be. It couldn't be. But it is. Acceptance is freedom. Suicide is a choice. That choice is always available. 

Sometimes memories bubble up to torment you. They confuse the process. You question these memories now because they have proved that you are fallible. 

There is something to be said for minimalism. For not tying your happiness to objects or things or money. Money is potential things. All this can be a burden, but it feels like security. You have to determine for yourself what safety means for you. 

Maybe there is freedom in loss. Lose your things, lose yourself. See what you find. Isn't that what the hippies were yapping about before they became plastic-loving financial advisors? Before they bought their Beemers. 

I like water because it is a lost and found. Water is the life giver. Water is a playground. Water takes so much, but it always gives it back. Speaking of which, I didn't know that dropping out also meant filling your kids with micro-plastics. Choking out sea turtles.

Live and learn.

Friday, March 22, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

Lay your head down, right there in the pine needles. Feel the mottling of the sun as it passes through the branches. Close your eyes and listen, smell. Sight is cheap and easy for most of us, but we are multi-sensory by design. 

There will be crawling things in the needles, but they are not your enemy. Imagine going about your day, doing your work, getting something to eat and then a giant comes and lays down on top of it all. The red ant's will bite, but everything will bite in the right situation. 

Life bites harder than anything.

You can trace the indignities down your body, feel the deep muscle bruises that don't rise to the skin. On the surface, your skin is pure, healthy. Inside of that skin is a collection of pain that never leaves. 

He knows how to hurt you so it won't show. 

Imagine that. Imagine having that kind of thought process about someone you supposedly love. How can I hurt you and get away with it? These sick fuckers are everywhere. I don't know how they rationalize their actions, but they do. 

I recently found out about "blanket training" - the idea is you put a baby or a toddler on a blanket on the floor. Then, you place a favorite toy off the blanket. If the kid tries to get off the blanket, you slap them. Pinch them. HURT them. Apparently, this is all the rage in some very conservative religious communities. 

What does this teach the baby? Babies are supposed to be immune to the ugliness around us. They are supposed to feel safe with the people who are responsible for them. I can't imagine hitting a grown kid, but a baby? That's so fucked up it makes me want to cry. 

Sometimes I wonder where school shooters come from. And, sometimes, there is no doubt in my mind .

Friday, March 15, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

Let me tell you about the muffin man. Little Jack Horner. That bitch with the spiders. That motherfucker who jumped over a candle. They were all bullshit, and you swallowed it thick. Those stories were seeds to plant inside your mind to see what would grow. 

When they told you about the golden rule, they left out some important info. Gold is malleable. I would much rather have a steel rule. A titanium rule. Fuck gold...the bane of indigenous people. How many innocents had to be killed because folks were enamored with a shiny, soft garbage rock? Not suitable for work or defense. Valuable only because of rarity. And because we like shiny things, just like crows. 

We are a murder all our own. Don't even think about African diamond mines and they way they abuse, use, kill. (but...but...SHINY! RARE!)

Maybe you should just focus on wellness. That's the new panacea. That's the bandaid we're expected to wear to help us deal with the fact that we fucked the world up for momentary comfort and ego. Yoga will make it OK that migrants die in the desert hoping for a tiny portion of what you take for granted. Don't worry about the moral implications. Worry about Instagram. Worry about the drag queens.

Keep letting politicians grab power by pitting normal people against each other. Keep doing that Pavlovian shit when they ring the bell. Sit up straight. Look presentable. Bark when you are told to bark. Be shiny. The shinier you are outside, the less they will notice that there is rottenness inside, eating you slowly while you traffic in paranoid misery. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

The cool of the evening settles on the valley. Day animals burrow and nestle and scurry in for the evening, while the night animals sharpen their claws. The sky is clouded, and the night is made for deception. The shadow sounds move swiftly, and they do not follow the rules that light enforces. It is night. Night is death. Death is coming.

This is the cycle, and it is what you make of it. Depending on your resources, this is bounty or famine. You may test your mettle against the night. That is part of what the night is for. But, be careful.

If you are lucky enough to see the sun rise, put food in your belly. Hope that the sun comes out. Let your full belly sit in the sun and be alive. This is what the sun is for. This is what the full belly is for. 

This is why you come to the light.

Friday, March 1, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

It seems to me like there are some people who just shouldn't die. I don't count myself among those people. When my time comes, I'll still be lucky I made it as far as I did. The problem, for me, is not that I am alive or that I will be dead. My problem is that good people keep dying, and a bunch of shitty people keep living, and that's hard to come to terms with. 

There is a dread that lives inside me, but it is not about my death. I dread the death of people I care about. I dread that empty, hollow, unbelieving feeling. Yet, I know that it will happen to everyone eventually. Still, it's easy to push that to the back of your mind until someone you love dies. 

The pain from losing a friend starts with anger for me. Not anger at the person, but anger at the cruel path that nature walks us down. Gradually, it shifts to sadness and, finally, it settles to live in my gut. That empty feeling. That cheated feeling. 

It's a drinking feeling, but I don't drink anymore.

When you lose someone you love, it is hard to remember that you knew it was coming. I close my eyes and rub them hard and try to switch things up, but nothing happens. Just silence. Just void. Just that ache. 

I've accommodated the ache, but the random stabs of painful memory get to me. Sometimes, I feel panicked even though there is nothing to panic about. 

They say that it is better to have loved and lost than to never love at all. I believe that, but in, sometimes I just want to leave civilization behind. Be the hermit - not like Leland who loved everyone, but a real hermit with no ties to any place or any humans. The loneliness would kill me, but at least I would never feel that pain again.

Friday, February 16, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

The air smelled of ozone, and the animals were alert. Hidden beneath the boughs of an overgrown tree, the boy waited. He was good at waiting. He had had lots of practice. What he was waiting for, he didn't know, but he felt that if he waited quietly, patiently, it would be revealed to him. This knowledge was first and foremost a prayer. He had faith. Misguided maybe, but he had faith.

He was a jumpy boy, easily startled. He hated that about himself. Always flinching. Always averting his eyes. He wasn't much of a man, he figured. He wasn't tough or particularly strong. Fights scared him. They made him frantic. Because of this, he didn't hang around the kids his age. They were pugilists, all of them. He had sampled their wares and regretted it. 

He was busy mastering an itch. It started at the base on his spine and climbed up his spinal column to the back of his head. The itch could ruin everything, so he suppressed it. He was good at suppressing things. It was a talent that served him well. 

The gum he molded to his teeth was long devoid of flavor. He was thirsty. Hungry. The gum was wearing out his jaw, but it kept the awful dryness away. 

When the buck emerged from the edge of the clearing, his heart almost stopped. It was white. Pure white like it was God's very own deer. The boy knew it could happen, but he'd never seen one. A tear sprang from his eye as he realized something. 

You could be different. You could stick out like a sore thumb...and you could still be beautiful. The boy tucked that knowledge inside his heart. When the deer left the clearing, the boy got up to go home. He was feeling lighter. He wanted to put on the soft clothes that he kept hidden.

He was thinking about how beautiful that deer was. 

Friday, February 9, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

Her eyes open, and the room changes temperature. You can feel it. A cold gust that whips through the apartment, changing nothing. You lie still. Pretend to be asleep. You are not great at pretending, but she is not perceptive. She is looking with wolf eyes, and they are easily misled. She has no pack to back her. Lone wolf, she.

When she rises, she will start her morning process. The same way she has started every morning for forty years. Same stretch, same tea, same mug. She is married to her habits; she finds safety in them. Safety from what, I do not know. I've been wondering about it for decades now. 

When I get up, it is all pantomime. Man wakes up. All playacting. I don't have a routine. I pretend to stumble, half asleep, into the kitchen. Pour myself the coffee she made. Wonder, as per usual, if it will be the last cup of coffee I ever drink. She watches me with such expectancy. 

But I live. I carry on. I keep sleepwalking.

I'll wake up when she closes her eyes again; that is my time.

Friday, February 2, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

The anger makes you shake. It makes your voice quake. Like you're about to start crying or spitting blood. It radiates off of you, and everyone can see it. It's like a rattlesnake tail, that shake, that rattle. It gets inside you and starts flipping switches. Old ones, made thousands of years ago when predators roamed the land, and we didn't have guns to punch holes in them. It's a natural response, and it is appropriate. 

Still, it's unsettling. It makes eye contact difficult. It makes you feel like danger is all around you. You turn into an antelope, anxious on the veldt, frozen in place while your comrades spring and jump and run away. Fight, flight, or freeze. If only you didn't always default to freezing. The veldt would pull your card quick. 

Anger and fear can get mixed up, and, combined, they are a potent cocktail. 

I call it the American dream. One part paranoia, two parts unwarranted pride. One part individualism. One part propaganda. 

Shaken, not stirred. No one has time to stir. 

Pour into a chilled glass and smash it into your face. It's good for you. It builds character. 

Friday, January 26, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

You didn't take a victory lap. You just packed that shit up and went home. It made me think. It made my heart pound a little bit. It impressed me, I guess you could say. I would have taken the lap. I would have signed the autographs. I would have listened to the women giggle. You didn't do any of that. 

There are times I can't even look at my own reflection in the mirror. So, any kind of adulation is terrifying, but delicious. I feast on it. I feel cheapened by it. 

I don't know if anyone else saw. Or noticed. I notice a lot of things. That's something I trained my brain to do. Most of the people were watching the lasers slice the fog machine. Most of them were lost. I wanted to be lost, but I have always been able to find myself, no matter how hard I try not to. 

The car was waiting. It didn't make any sense for me to dawdle, but I felt torn up and taped back together. I felt like someone had read my fortune and it had come true. I felt naked is the honest truth. Exposed, even if I was only exposed to myself. 

Maybe I will stay away for a while. Hole myself up. Get myself whole. Maybe all this has been a happens. Hell, it's happened to me. But I think it was real. 

Hallucinations don't hurt so bad. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

I've been thinking back ... years back. Triumphs and tribulations. Trauma. Victories. They rattle around inside my brain now. I had some of them packed away real neat, locked up in a box with a lock I did not know the combination for. Now, the combination doesn't matter. I popped the lid for a second, but it was long enough. 

It's weird that you can feel shame for things you didn't do. For things that were done to you. That's something I'm wrestling with. It's hard to look back with clarity and see anger. Or hurt. Or hurt that turned to anger. There are some things I rarely talk about. Weirdly, I had nothing to do with them. 

There is joy in there, for sure. I remember when life was much simpler. Not just because of my age, but because the world was just plain simpler. Moved slower. No one had constant news (legit or not) pumped into their brains. Journalism was still a lofty idea, a calling. There were ethical considerations regardless of politics. No social media.

Now, we're selling ad space first, telling the truth second. If we get to the truth. Truth isn't very popular these days if we're being honest. If it doesn't have the sheen of entertainment, we aren't interested.

I read the other day that deer are starting to feed and move at night, despite predators, because the days are too hot. Got me thinking how our relationship with nature will change with Global warming. Mountain lions at Costco. Coyotes at the supermarket. If they're still around. 

But I'm not going down that evolving rabbit hole. Not today. Today, I will try to focus on the things that are the same. Books are still magic. Guitar still soothes me...sometimes it even makes me feel talented. I can still write. Sometimes, the writing seems OK, too. I still have friends. Some of them from the old days, which is amazing.

Mostly, I'm just realizing that nothing ever makes sense. Not really. You grow up thinking that the pieces will fall into place and someday you will understand what everyone else understands. Then, you start realizing that most people don't even know how gravity works. Most people are going through the day shit scared that people will catch them out. Expose them as morons. 

And I'm one of those people. Honestly. I mean, I know how gravity works, but I can't explain it all that well. What can I do? I can open my heart wide, sliced like from a knife. Tell you how words make me feel. I can put my own words together. Sometimes, I can convince a kid that books and thoughts are wonderful, and I will 100% take that. 

Maybe I'm a moron. I've been called worse. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

The sound of birdsong complimented the sherbet sky. It was a cacophony of joy, a proclamation for the day. Inside, they were warm and safe. Outside, I had my thermos full of green tea and all day ahead of me. The only pressure was self-imposed. And the voice of imposition was stilled somewhat by the chill. 

It had been weeks since the old man had left. He didn't leave a note, but that was never his style. Folks said he was unreliable, but I knew he was as reliable as John Deere. He was just operating on his schedule. If you knew him, really knew him, his inclinations, then he was as dependable as a Casio.

And sure enough, I was just climbing into the truck when he pulled up. He was already dressed for fishing. As was I. I had been planning on this for months. 

We didn't talk much on the way to the stream. That wasn't our way. Talk was cheap was the way I felt about it, and I think he felt the same way. I listened to the rubber go from asphalt to rocks to mud. And then we were there. Drinking tea. Pretending we had come to fish.

The sun was high in the sky by the time we approached the water. 

Friday, January 5, 2024

2 Minutes. Go!

Oh, darling. I wish it wasn't so. I wish I could say that we could change things. That we could choose a path instead of having one chosen for us. Doesn't seem like that's the way it works, though. You just hitch yourself to the train and hold on. No one wants to know what you think about it. No one wants to hear your dreams. 

No one needs that kind of pressure. 

Everyone is doping their way through the day. Everyone's dope is different. Some people get into such high-minded dope that they lose touch. Some go low. Imagine the people that walk past you every day. Think about percentages. A good portion of those people are secret addicts. Some are cheating on their spouses. Some like to hurt people for fun. A few are probably child molesters. 

Statistics don't lie. 

You gotta be able to walk by all those people and still care. And that is the hard part because the burden you carry is heavy enough already. You're already carrying more than one person should have to carry. But you can take a little more. 

What's a little more baggage, really?

I swear, I wish I could tell you the things you want to hear. I wish I could smile and assure you that everything is going to be OK. But that would be fucking crazy, and I'm not that crazy. All I can say is that we'll meet what is coming together, and that has to be enough.