20 August 2013
Staring silently at photos from the wall, the clumsy frames giving unneeded weight to a photo. He ends up in the back porch, in the dark, staring at a skyline of ski trail lights. Whimpering softly and muttering between breaths and sniffles. I know he is crying inside, stoic and weak in alternating moments. I can not stop his mind.
I can not.
It is not about me. Not about my sister, or my brothers, my nieces or my nephew. We have all had a loss.
It is about reminding him, in the dark,
as he lays in her side of the bed;
that he is not alone.
26 July 2013
I had an idea of what to expect. I spent the a night searching for Matt on NY State inmate search sites. After finding where he was, I then went to the Orange County Correctional Facility website, reading and rereading the Rules of Visitation. I knew not to wear clothing with many pockets, for each on would be searched. I knew not to wear a belt, a hat, jewlery or clothing with metal buckles. I decided to only bring in my driving license, a quarter for the personal posessions lockers, my keys, and a copy of 'Lullaby' by Chuck Palahniuk as a gift for Matthew. I would have to give the book to Sheriff personell. I wrote a small note inside the book cover to Matt, telling him a little on how I felt and to give good wishes.
I told him how nervous I was. After not talking to him for almost six years, I was left with the mystery of why that was. I never knew if it was on purpose or by circumstance. How would Matthew react to seeing me sitting there in the visitor's seat? Would I even see him at all? I don't know how the process works; if he is told who is here to visit him, if he has a choice of denying a visit. These mysteries all worried me, but this was someone I considered a brother, regardless of how long it had been that we were active in each others' lives.
The parking lot was a winding mess of one-way lanes and marked parking spots. Every visitor's spot was full, and there was very little foot traffic of people's going back to their cars. While three other cars drove in circles waiting for an open spot, I saw one pull over and ask an Officer a question and then start driving on the way out of the parking lot. As she passed, I rolled down my window and asked her what she learned, assuming she had asked where else we can park. She acknowledged that was what she had asked and led me to a seperate lot, with many empty spots and partially filled with air conditioner compressors, tractor trailers and officers' personal cars.
I parked and tried to collect myself. Double checking to make sure I ONLY had the few things I needed and nothing more. I got out of the car and locked the door. I turned to face the large cold building. In front of me was a few large bay doors. To the right was the beginning of double fencing that circled around what was obviously the inmate area. The fences were both very tall, unending circles of razor wire were extra barriers added to the top and bottom of the see through wall. Behind the fencing was two stories of concrete with evenly spaced windows that looked more like archer slots than windows meant for light. Large plots of grass gave space between the each of the two fences and the quiet prison. The unfenced area I was closest to was most likely the office and infrastructural areas of the prison; the kitchens and laundry, garages and storage areas.
I walked my way around the lot towards the front entrance of the building. The heat and humidity of the day would have bothered me, if I wasn't burning inside with anticipation and nervousness. I was finally going to see my brother again. This could very well be the last time I see him, or the beginning of a new reconnection. I crossed a field of grass to go around to the front door. As I walked passed a row of parked patrol cars a dog barked viciously at me through a small cracked window. Even with the car running and the assumed A/C blowing inside, I couldn't believe it was OK for the officer to leave the dog in the car in this heat. I made my way passed a few people smoking outside the door and into the cold gray building.
Opening the door there was a mass of officers walking all around with a few behind a counter talking to civilians. To the right was a windowed counter for civil business. To the left was rows of hard plastic chairs, a couple vending machines and an alcove of small lockers. There was a wall of glass bricks and what looked like a metal detector behind it. Immediately beside me was a winding line of felt ropes leading to the counter with a few visitors already in line. I took a breath and got in line, watching how the process flowed, to try and keep things as efficient and comfortable as possible.
When it was my turn to walk up to the counter, I looked at the sign in sheet and entered Matthew's name and then my own where each belonged. I thought of the many scenes in movies where a visitor looked at the rest of the sign in names to track who their loved one's other visitors were. I admit the curiosity came over me, but the situation would never allow me to take that much time. I gave my drivers license and got a visitor pass in exchange. I walked over to the small corner of lockers. Many were already taken and the balance were broken. I eventually found one that worked, placed my keys inside and closed the door. I had to placed a quarter in and turn the key to lock the door. I went to the bathroom and put cold water on my face. Staring at my reflection, I imagined what my expression might be like when I first see him. I felt my heart racing and took a few deep breaths. I washed my hands and used the industrial brown paper towel as a glove to open the door. I walked to back of the line of people by the glass bricked wall. It was almost time.
16 March 2012
I get an update from the patrolman while I am asking the woman if she is ok. The officer explains that when they arrived she was asleep on the porch of the house we are in front of. None of the residents knew her and was worried she was dead. She saw the cops and told them she was going to walk home, got up to leave the porch and tumbled down the stairs eventually falling onto her ass on the lawn. This woman was drunk beyond belief. Her vitals were fine overall, but her gait and awareness were below acceptable levels in my opinion.
We have this weird strategy that has become the norm in my city with PD and EMS. Not one I am in love with, but I have learned I pretty much have to deal with it. The PD often avoids dealing with 'drunk tank' prisoners, partially due to work load of actual criminals, partially due to avoidance of paperwork and general hassles. When they encounter a drunk who hasn't broken any other law besides Drunk In Public, and is not a threat to themselves or others, they call in EMS and we bring them to the Hospital. It's a general pain in the ass, but quite honestly I can also easily say trying to help someone who refuses to help themselves is a pain the ass anyway. Also, the time that call can take up, I might miss a violent call or a puker, so I shouldn't complain.
So this woman was extremely intoxicated, not a particularly pleasant drunk, and she was more than likely homeless due to her scent of urine, grime and alcohol. Quite honestly, considering her demeanor my partner and I as well as the cops were as nice to her as can be expected. She proceeded to insult my partner and I and then went on to call the cops pigs and liars. We gave her her options.. She is unable to ambulate herself due to intoxication so it was either, go to the ER for intervention or go to PDHQ for registration. We couldn't responsibly leave her to her own accord. She started getting more belligerent, and when we informed her that her two double-deuces of Natty Ice were not going with her to the ER or HQ, she decided it was time to start with threats and accusations of theft (pfft.. like I would stoop to drinking Natty Ice).
So the woman was insistent on going on her own, which was impossible and we let her know that, so she choose option B, the ER. We lead her to the ambulance and I take the roll of being at the top of the two steps in front of her, while one officer is at the rear of the Ambulance cab and the other assists my partner with helping her inside. She gets up one step and stops to turn around, demanding her Natty Ice. We explain that alcohol is not allowed in city vehicles (again) and she is not happy, she turns towards me to go up the second step. She starts yelling at me and then smacked her lips together, looking like she was prepping a gob to spit in my face. As I go to protect myself from the possible loogie she reacts in this totally human and forward way.
She flinches and says, "what, are you going to beat me up now?"
"No, miss, I do not beat up drunk women."
I don't want to let her know I envisioned the possibility of her spitting in my face, just letting on to that thought could offend her, but I really did think it possible. I've learned from experience.
That sits with me, and horrifies me. That this random woman thought I was prepping to hit her, because I was proactively protecting myself from what happens at times. I used experiences I've had to prepare myself for this experience. But then I envision the experiences this woman must have had to say out loud and mentally prepare for what she thought was going to happen...
Sad to say it, but it HAS to be an afterthought. I can respond kindly to her (and tried) but I also have to be open to change, and protective of myself. I can't let emotions effect me DURING a call.
But afterward, I am left with the thought that this vulnerable, drunk, (albeit unpleasant) woman thought I was going to hit her.
05 March 2012
Sometimes I’m can’t talk.
I write furious letters to myself in third person,
While I pretend that I am someone else.
Because I simply couldn’t tell you how I felt.
The loneliness and frustrations.
The doubt and hate of myself.
I write letters that will not get a reply
So I leave them never sent.
27 January 2011
we remember the times our words came back to bite us
Every time we spoke
too soon, too honestly, or spontaneously.
Those times we hasten our reaction,
or our own words spark someone else to
react with emotion
Those pains sit with us, those regrets, those pains
The taught us the wrong lessons so many times.
We all needed to be taught how to respond AND react
and not just how to talk.
So now as near-adults,
when it is our turn to talk
we are so careful
So unsure of every word
The slow, meticulous sentences are just a slow death
The slow talkers come off as if they are thinking too much
As if they have something to hide
The only thing we have to hide
is our scars, our vulnerabilities.
because if you show me yours
and i show you mine
we will both know just where to strike out of anger
All we want is some one who can think
but these cases of thinkers
these 'too-careful', they frighten us
We are all so scared of
that which might comfort us.
04 January 2011
we decided to stand upright
leave the trees
to become grounded.
It was only evolution.
We are now more hairless
We pretend it was an upward step
to become distracted from
our blood and future children.
Pretend that thinking in words and
speaking in sentences,
opens new doors
it put up new walls.
New ways to deceive ourselves;
new ways to mislead our others;
it what we call
25 September 2010
I can easily compare this to my feelings on music. I love music even more than books, and own alot more records than I do books. OK, I admit it, I am a music geek as well as a record snob. I, like most record geeks, prefer to own my music on vinyl. I can easily see a parallel between the Record Geek part of me and the Printed Book Geek part of me.
Then my ex bought me an iPod. She told me driving around with a 300 CD book of CDs was clutter compared to having one little device to listen to 10,000 songs on. The traditionalist is me fought it, but after she started ripping some of my CDs to my library, I quickly realized how convenient it all was. This could have easily started to cost me a fortune. I could have went out and bought a USB record player. I could have started to pirate MP3 versions of the records I owned. But then a little record company from Omaha,NE did something that quickly started being done by alot of the smaller indie lables that still produce vinyl regularly. When you bought a vinyl record, it came with a download code that also gave you the rights to MP3 (or ACC etc) versions of the tracks on the vinyl. Now I could easliy keep my vinyl at home, but still have high quality, frustrationless versions of the records I own.
As it stands, I do not desire a e-reader. As I said, I prefer the feel of a book in my hand, much like I prefer the sound of a vinyl record. But, if I could get digital versions of my favorite books, just by buying printed versions of books. I might consider having a digital portable version of my book library, like I do my music library.
30 July 2010
21 July 2010
20 July 2010
New Years Day 2010, Phil posted an update on a social networking site about Matt sending people weird text messages. This shocked me; I did not even know they knew each other well enough to still be in touch. I sent a message asking Phil to forward my number to Matt. To tell him, I have been looking for him for half a decade. Knowing he was alive and in contact with people reinvigorated my hopes to reconnect with him. At this point, the fact that Matthew and I have not had contact started to raise many questions in me. I have lost many friends through time, due to many reasons; some of them to distance, and lack of contact, personality conflict and arguments. I wondered why it was that we had not been in contact. Was it intentional? Did I do something to offend him? I was broke at the time of the wedding and couldn’t afford a gift, maybe he was offended that I showed up empty handed? With all of these possibilities, I felt awkward to bother Phil asking if he heard from Matt about my number. I was left thinking I would only bother Phil if a significant time went by without any progress.
In searches, I eventually found an address in Port Jervis, NY that had Matt as the tenant. This was about an hour and half drive away. I never found a phone number. So no call could be made. I sat with this address in my mind for a few days, working up the initiative to take the drive and face that mystery solving moment. I drove up there one night on a whim. On the way, I realized it was getting late, and with a child in the house; it would be too late to ring the doorbell. I decided, I already initiated the drive and would go anyway, at least to see if there was any sign that this was his home.
I eventually pulled up to the house. It was a quiet rural area, but on one of the main Routes. The sun was already down and there was not a light on in the house. I double-checked the address and it all matched. I pulled into the empty driveway. I got out and looked into the garage, no cars there either. I walked up to the front door. A playhouse and bikes littered the yard; I thought of their children and hoped this was a good sign. On the porch, the screen door had been duct taped, signs of the screen’s fasteners failing. I looked into the living room window and listened for noise. The house was dark and silent and I was disappointed. I started wondering what excuses there could be for the house being empty. Was this not their house? Was it ever? I know Jackie was a nurse; maybe she was working a night shift and the kids were at the grandparent’s house. I knew all the guessing in the world would solve nothing so I walked back to the car and started to drive away. I was deflated; I felt such anticipation to finally reconnect with them. When the house was silent and empty, I left feeling the same. As I drove away, I hated the feeling that this was a futile trip. All of the mysteries about the house left me wanting more, I turned the car around and went back into the driveway. I found a piece of paper and wrote and then rewrote a note to “Matt &/or Jackie?”. I gave a message and my phone number and asked that if the tenants of the house was neither Matt nor Jackie that they contact me and make me aware that I need to continue my search. I expected nothing, but left the note attached to the duct tape on the front door.
Nothing happened for quite some time after I left the note. No calls, no new addresses found. Maybe my guess was true. Maybe it was Matt’s intention to avoid contact? Maybe the stresses of fatherhood and married life just lead him to decide less people in it would make things easier; and I was one the ones who had to go? I thought of that house often, of how the driveway and garage were empty. I pondered the many reasons any house would be that quiet and felt a need to get myself back up to it during daytime hours and see if anything was different. I had a busy schedule of classes and work for the next couple of weeks. Another road trip would have to wait.
Two months after the trip up to the house, I received short notice from a friend that he had an extra ticket to a show in Brooklyn. It was a band I had not seen in years and was very excited to go. We went into the city early enough to stop at a local bar and meet up with a few friends. I also managed to find a few friends I knew from high school. Eventually, the large crowd we gathered walked to the concert and went on to enjoy the beers, laughs and music. My friend had gotten lost in the crowd; After the last band finished, I went looking for him and I bumped into the bassist of my second band with Matthew. I was surprised to see him after so long and we caught up a bit on life. His current band was recording a new record and he was doing well. I eventually asked him about Matthew. When I brought him up, Sean said ‘Oh, I guess you haven’t heard?’ My heart sunk as I saw the look on his face, he was about to share bad news he had come to peace with but knew I would need a second to handle.
‘I haven’t heard anything about him in ages and have been searching for him.’
‘Well, Bryan; Matthew is in prison.’
Burned Wood and Lost Wishes: Lost & Found Pt. 1
09 July 2010
I want to run, I want to write, I want to shoot, I want to feel the fog in Meath once again,
I want to talk, I want live music, I want to see more, I want to drive all night. I want to own every album, I want to read every book;
I will get to most of these at a pace that is reasonable; but most of all, tonight, I want to be still.
Mind slow and silent, and accepting.
Since I first remember sleeping, I've been restless; averaging four to five hours of sleep a night.
Always with a defiant desire to get back up and see what the world had in store.
Unless I am tired enough to pass out, or have a lover beside me;
I am resistant to sleep.
I have gone thirty and forty hours without sleep and have thought nothing of it.
The nighttime gives me a new found desire to awaken that is often refreshing, but on nights like tonight, it can also be bland and repetitive. To hear others talk of how complete they feel after sleep, I can not relate. When others complain of a lack of sleep, I often can not relate to them either.
If the time comes when I do feel a doze coming on, it is a chore beyond the normal routine of others' to try and get myself to sleep in bed, a second wind will often come and I have to hope to be exhausted soon enough to lay down again,
but many times I just awaken, just to find out where I finally passed out.
08 July 2010
On another day, we met up at a gas station in Long Island. I was asking directions to a show, he happened to also be going to it so I followed him there, but we hardly spoke. After the show ended, my ex and I headed west; back to NJ. We stopped to eat at a diner. A little while after we sat down Matthew and Jackie walked in. I invited them to sit with us, and by the end of the night we were beginning to be friends. It turned out that, though we met up twice in NYC and he had an easily identifiable NYC accent, he was actually living in Dingmann's Ferry, PA. About thirty minutes from where I lived at the time.
It wasn't long after that Matthew and I were spending a lot of time together. He and I had many things in common. We loved the same music, authors and hobbies. We both grew up in inner city neighborhoods and had difficult relationships with our fathers growing up. We would hike the woods of NJ and PA, sometimes just finding calm places to talk into the night about our confusion of getting through our twenties. We went out skateboarding, went to punk shows, and eventually we started making music together. Matt and I were in two bands together. The music we made back then was a reflection into the confused and angry mind I was in back then, but I remember every note and show we played, and they are some of my most fond memories.
There was a night I needed a friend badly; due to my girlfriend of more than six years and I broking up. Matt came over with a couple six packs of Anchor Steam and we drank and talked into the night. We decided to play some music. I was on my acoustic guitar and Matthew sang. That night, our musical instincts and emotional connection were in perfect sync. We recorded five or six impromptu songs, all completely off the cuff, and they are the most emotional and nostalgic songs I ever wrote. The recording, is sadly, long gone, but that magical night echoes on in my mind.
As time passed, Matthew's relationship with Jackie got more serious. I was having my own complications in life and things were changing. I would see him less. A few weeks would go by, but we would eventually call each other and make time to get together. Eventually, I got an invite to their wedding. I went and had a great time, hoping this was the moment where things would only get better. For my relationship with him. It would not go as planned. I had to move not too long afterward and when I got settled in and tried to call Matt, his cell was disconnected. There had been more than a few times one of us would lose our cell or have to move; we always ended up finding a way to reconnect. That is not the case this time. It is now six years later, and I never received a phone call from him since.
Burned Wood and Lost Wishes: Lost & Found Pt. 2
30 June 2010
Then the sight comes into view. It is inhuman. A mannequin spray painted black. Toes curled tight as if the foot was bound down like an ancient Chinese custom. Splits throughout the skin and then the face. What was once the face will never shake from my mind. Almost with extreme comical exaggeration; the face is horror and humor at once. It is all teeth and skull. No hair, no wrinkles, no real discernible expression, yes the desperation is unavoidable. Breathless and frozen; straining for air and release from the trauma.
The burned have no social class. For there are only slim scraps of clothing left, and the dead have no regard for dignity.
In this case the fist is what will follow me home. Laying there on his back, his arm frozen in the position he was baked alive in. His fist was raised up above his head. Almost victorious; though this day, there was nothing my brothers could do to have his rescue be a success.
20 December 2009
12 December 2009
08 December 2009
in the gazebo
at the center of Paterson
Tri-color bunting and streamers
line the roof and banisters
more on the red brick windows
black and white couples
dance in the street and square
kicking sideways at each other
mouths open in a song or yell
Statesmen stand around a plaque
smiles with suits and cigars
like a card game without a table
Townsfolk in simple clothing
stand at the curb
eating over-wrapped hot dogs
their children look up
anchored to balloons
the clarinet player in mid-solo
leaning back to bring the horn
up to the microphone
the drummers arms and cymbals
invisible from the beat
The sax players face
a smudge under a hat
the balding bass man
takes up half the stage
looks down through sunglasses
surprised at what he is doing
all of the colors and sounds lost
leaving only a second
found in a faded print.
The spiraling stairway
gently turned pillars
steps worn to
high contrast grain lines
like a comb passed over wet hair
Light through dusty window
that watch the harbor grow
All of this was my subject
an attempt to photograph.
What developed was over-exposed
I hear your footsteps
as I check us out
I don’t want to go home.
04 December 2009
When I took your photo
it was not to use against you
It was to hold onto how you looked
skin still humid from your shower
hair up in a towel
threadbare robe snug to your body
Where all you felt was refreshed
free of any bit of dirt you ever carried
of every lie ever told
clear of any mascara you thought needed
where it was finally just
and looking at me.
30 November 2009
have been filling heaven.
enhancing the gallery of clouds
filling the closet of colors, ideas and brush-strokes.
Even working with light in northern evenings.
The conventional white and blue, still popular,
images of random objects, animals, faces of lovers;
within the white and gray.
Sometimes they give us a blue canvas
with small faded clouds, far away,
like missed chalk-marks on a lazily cleaned board.
Other days, they overdo themselves,
leaving us to guess the colors we would see.
The sun blocked by a pile of afghans.
Today, the sky is a gift
from my grandmother
whispering to the spirits
“Try to add green, he loves green
and layer it, he bores easily”
the distant sound of applause, or gasps.
We sit dividing our belongings
the paintings yours
the candles mine
my bookshelf that held
some of your books
Mixed in with the thunder
the crack of the wood
Wind knocking a tree limb
onto the neighbor’s garage
You told me how I needed to learn
how to appreciate things in life more
that you were taken for granted.
On our air conditioner and windows,
the frantic sounds of rain jazz.
Untouched cigarettes burn as I sip tea
you drink water
Silent together in a half empty kitchen.
The storm door breaks off its hinges
shattering into a puddle in the backyard.
I turned off the final light as I left.
29 November 2009
Criticized the way anthills are made
How there never is enough time to do things the right way
Have commented on people’s clothes
the way they walk in them
thinking my style and posture
was a reflection of a god
I have lost my temper and yelled
at an inanimate object
threatening it with kicks and curses
I have believed everything bad in the world has happened to me
That nothing can go right
if I am associated with it
I have thought it was the end of the world
to not be happy with my father
Ignoring that he is human and capable of error
I have found excuses for why
I never thanked my mother enough instead
Losing the one I love because
I complained about the song
Instead of dancing with her
A negative side to everything bad
and most things good
I am over it now
I have gotten all of this hating out of the way
So when you are born
and we are together
You will be a better person
the way I welcomed you in
watched you play with
my prized possessions
The cats I shared my apartment with
cuddling on your chest
and shedding onto your sweater
Songs that meant so much
each of them a soundtrack
a narration of my life
a perfect autumn day
a lovers change of heart
mistakes that domino into a mess
I thought I was sharing
the places that I found a secret energy
places I called home
a opening of solace in a forest
restaurants I could enjoy
and secrets I shared with only you
With each place
a new prize was founded
a person I can enjoy these secrets with
But then it was no longer sharing
it was only evidence
You now brag to me
about how the songs sound and feel
how the book is written and movie ends
the meals taste with someone else
the air smells in that spot by the stream
now even the walls
that once surrounded
the bed I slept so well in
have been stolen from me
with one mistake
My secrets have turned into a sacrifice.
28 November 2009
uttering a soft meow hello
waiting for me to sit
so you could climb your way
from my lap to my back
Perched on my right shoulder
as if your listened while I cried over the many
losses and disappointments of living
half-closing your eyes
as you massage a purr against my neck
reminding me that you are still here
Relieving the every day stresses in my back
one step at a time as you tip toed across
curled up within the warm covers wrapped over me
I stared into the emerald field of your eyes
the sight fading as I gradually fell asleep
Slowly the lump grew
changing your position on my shoulder
changing your meow
from hello to a cry
Everyday putting off your pain
out of selfishness and love
out of fear that I may have to live without you
coming home to blood marking where you have been
the inevitable is obvious
Holding you as you resist to the needle
you look at me with fear
I just stare in disbelieve of the actions
a red ribbon of blood sucks into the liquid
and then empties into you
An hour-like minute passes
you look up at me and cry
you lick my arm as your movement slows
leaving your tongue out as you slowly drift
from sleep to silence
I lay here staring into darkness
within the covers wrapped around me
wishing I had healed you months earlier
wishing I could undo the impossible
without you I cannot sleep
Usually, when our family has these gatherings it would be the six brothers: my uncles Art, Jim, John, Mike, Bob, and my father, Tom. Today, I was promoted to pallbearer. The last time the brothers lined up like this my grandmother was between them, inside. That was seven years ago. This time Uncle Mike, Fat Mike as we called him, was in the center being carried. And with him passing in his sleep, I was promoted.
Most of the memories are a blur. I remember it started to rain when we finally drove to the church. A large dump-truck was driving in a rush and hydroplaned into the procession line, almost taking out Uncle Jimmy’s car.
As I stood in the aisle, I was uncomfortable, as I always am when I am around my father's family. I looked around for support. Most people just prayed there, looking up, probably asking God why he would take away Uncle Mike at such a young age. I glanced over at my grandfather. Surrounded by my aunts, he barely had any expression on his face, besides obvious grief. Much like how he looked when Nana passed away. I felt so frustrated for my grandfather. Your children should not pass-on before you do, especially when they’re only in their early-thirties.
The coffin was heavy, and cold. I think one of my uncles nervously made a joke about Mike’s weight. As we all did throughout his life, but only after he would have a comment for us.
The organ started. We all jumped slightly, knowing this would be the last contact with Mike we would have physically. Every one in the pews slowly rose. We slowly headed towards the double-doors. I hated the thought that this was the only way the family ever got together, yet I knew it to be the entire truth. I hardly ever saw my father, let alone the rest of the family. Everyone was quiet among the pallbearers. Except Uncle John, who quietly wept, almost letting go of the casket entirely. We struggled to keep Mike up as someone gave John a few words of support. We got to the stairs and paused to make sure everyone was ready for the last of the haul. Slowly the people from inside filed out and spread among the grass and sides of the staircase. We slowly positioned the coffin into the back of the hearse. As we let the car take on more of the weight I realized just how heavy it was. I heard my father weep something to himself as we pushed. When the end of the casket was in, I backed away.
My father turned to face me. I reached up to him and hugged him. My father rested his head in my shoulder and cried ‘God Damn It!’ We stood there for a minute or two. Now calm, my father let go and walked over to his other brothers. We then went to the graveyard and the party afterward. Most detail after that becomes a blur.
That was the first time my father ever cried to me like that. And the last time I can remember hugging him.
25 November 2009
She took steps to understand me. She asked questions, and never expected. I felt safe with her, in her arms; she smelled like musk and tea tree.
I try to see the face now, I close my eyes, and although I can sense her,
even remember the touch I have never felt; I cannot see her face in my mind.
I know she exists here, she told me she would find me, if only for a moment.
I imagine how I will find her, where we will meet. I have often thought it would be shopping, for food or books.
I recall being in those places, suddenly feeling like I was being watched. I would look up and see someone walking away from me. As if, she might have just turned around. I wondered if she might be her.
There have been a few times; I was even convinced I found her. I would look into the eyes of my lover, in bed, or walking in sunlight. Trying to see if she would remember what she might have promised me before we were born. One thing was always missing; the touch, or the questions, or the smell.
I cannot imagine her face, and do not yet know her name. I am not even sure if it was just a dream. Nevertheless, I will continue on, walk with my head high.
Peeking around corners; not really looking so much as being aware, and hoping.
23 November 2009
"It's not the way it looks."
As she paints black
over a used canvas,
once a blend of colors like a sunrise.
Auburns, reds, yellows, purples
all disappearing under the black.
She ties my ankles
to the legs of the chair
with frame hanging wire.
She says, "Run away".
More wire and she ties my wrists
to the arms of the chair.
With a small putty knife
she is cutting off my pants,
tearing open the seams
on the side of the legs.
"I want to see who you really are"
and eventually, I am naked.
She tells me not to look at her
takes a razor and cuts open my eyelids
Skin that was once part of me
thrown onto the once-sunrise-black.
Behind me now, I cannot see her.
Slowly my hair is being cut off
then my head is roughly shaved
"You are not who I fell in love with"
Scalp bleeding into wounds
that were once my eyes
"You decided long ago
that you would be
the one hurt most"
She just stands there
covered in bits of
hair, blood, denim and black.
Staring, until she walks out of the room.
All is silent,
but for my breathing,
and the dripping of blood
into my ears.
When she comes back into the room
she is holding the bottom half
of what once was a hollow statue.
Close to me now
"I'm trying to show you how much I love you"
She kicks the arm of the chair
I fall back
my head lands hard onto the ground
I taste blood and adrenaline.
I feel the air move
through what was once my eyelids as
she moves to stand over me
"I never meant to hurt you"
Through red and tears
I see her looking at me.
I believe her.
She lowers what is left of the statue into my chest
I smell acrylic and blood.
I see blood red fading to black.
And then I smell Her.
I try to forget
the pain, the past,
the smells of pain(t)
and I'm bound
laying here naked
bald and bleeding
22 November 2009
She had been trying to build up her business and she was working from home. She moved recently and never got new business cards. I decided to take the initiative and get some business cards made for her from a place I knew that did it online for a decent price. I used an old card she had laying around as a template and built her a card from the ground up. I used a good picture of her I took recently and updated her info on the card.
I waited until the episode she was watching was over and then I called her into the office to look at the laptop. She came over, asked what it was. I explained to her that it was her new business card. That she had been saying she needed new ones. She asked how much they were and I told her price wasn't important, because I was going to have them made for her. That it was my gift to her in the name of helping her continue to build her business up.
She looked at the screen some more, asked to change one of the colors; I did this with a click. Then she stared at the screen for a minute or two. I watched as the expression on her face changed. Tears welt up in her eyes and she asked me why I did this. I told her because she was important to me and I wanted to help. She became more upset and got up and hugged me, saying that I was too good to her and thanked me. I felt so good to make her so happy that she cried. It wasn't until later on, a couple of weeks later that I understood why she got so upset.
She wasn't crying because she was happy. She was crying with guilt. I was good to her, and did a nice thing. Meanwhile, when I was not around she had been lying to me about who she was with, what she was doing and where she was going. She was using cocaine. She was cheating on me with a person she claimed was a good friend. She was breaking my heart. To see proof that I didn't deserve this; that the guy she was taking advantage of and deceiving was actually still really into her and being good to her, while she was not good to him. Well, the guilt overwhelmed her at that moment and she got emotional.
To realize this later on ruined that memory. I had thought I made her that happy, happy enough to cry. Instead, I made her realize her guilt.
18 November 2009
16 November 2009
holding her nose crying
blood dripping down her waitress white shirt
the baby-sitter gets her ice
a towel for the bleeding
she is cursing and crying
I hear the rumble of my fathers' Malibu outside
the baby-sitter helps her take her coat off
What happened Mommy, did Daddy hit you?
the engine's fumes billow into the window
noise and smells adding to the confusion
Mom pays the baby-sitter from her black apron
food stains wet from ice and blood
she says she got mugged
If you got mugged Mommy, call the police
I hear my father pull away
Mom tells the baby-sitter she could go
sits down on the couch
I crawl up on her lap
pull back her hair
wet with tears and sweat
Don't worry Mommy, I'll protect you
to pluck your eyebrows
and I did.
I held you face and neck in my hands
Our legs overlapped one another.
Your hair over the back of my hand,
neck stretched and relaxing with your breath;
I was worried about hiding
my shaking hands.
I could feel your breath on my face.
and I was scared.
Your eyes closed in trust,
head tilted back, neck exposed.
Waiting for each little tinge of pain
as hair slightly lifts skin
You opened your eyes|
looked into mine.
I tried to tell your eyes
with my eyes,
That I wanted to hold you closer.
They didn’t answer
Hairs all over my shirt and skin.
I wished to have us hold each other
until every hair had re-grown
until what was plucked away
14 November 2009
The way that morning was to me
flowing from dreaming to awake and back
I wake to feel you next to me
the night was cool and quiet
I could hear you breathing and move
putting my arm around you, afraid you might wake up
Awake again, you were in the shower
a feeling of comfort came over me
I was going to join you, but remembered
we are not like that, anymore
Then I woke up to the hair dryer
I wanted to get up and see you
watch you get ready for work
the monotone sounds droned me back to sleep
Then I woke up to warmth
of your face near mine
your scent came close to me
‘lock the door on your way out’
and I felt lips kiss my forehead
at that moment
I thought you might still love me
The next time I woke up
it was to your door closing
I heard your cat crying good bye
as you went downstairs
closing the door to get outside
I went to the window
to watch you get in your car
thought of the dinner we made
f how I massaged you and held you
of that moment with you over me
not knowing where the dreams started
I brought a book of my own, expecting to wait for a while, but I ended up people watching. I've always enjoyed looking at strangers. Guessing their stories and histories, and studying their behaviors.
There was an African-American woman with an infant who had come in and sat down close to me. I saw her and thought to myself how annoying it was going to be to have a crying baby screaming across from me. I got a look at the baby's face. The little girl was beautiful; with huge and curious eyes and cute chubby cheeks. She was very small yet alert, looking around at all of us admiring her. I watched her movements. How her mother held her close and with pride. Kissing her every so often, and constantly primping her collar or bonnet, not coming off as slightly annoyed for having to sit here. She had her child to distract her from the scene.
An older heavy set man with a red face and too much clothes on came walking in, heading in our direction. This was fall, a slight chill in the air, yet this guy looked like he had enough layers on to march along the Northern Swiss countryside. Well overdressed for the season; he took off his outer jack and hung it over his shoulder. He had a red face, you couldn’t tell if was red from the cold, or from alcohol. He walked passed us and went to sit down.
He noticed the little girl and stopped. She turned and looked at him and he gave a little wave hello. Her mother’s face beamed with pride that her child was such a beacon for such attention. He asked how old she was, her mother stated 10 months.
‘She is adorable’ he said and he leaned over and touched her sleeve to tap her and play with her. He mothers face suddenly turned into a look of discomfort. He made giggling child-like noises as jiggled her arm though the coat. Then he went to touch her face and her mother’s arm intuitively shot up and covered the child’s face. The only word she could get out of her mouth was ‘No’! The old man’s arm flinched back towards him. “Oh, I’m sorry; I just wanted to touch her…’ He motioned to touch the infant’s face again and the woman turned her body away from the man, covering the child’s face entirely ‘I said no, NO’. She then reached for the man’s arm with her forearm and looked up at him in disgust. ‘Are you crazy? You don’t go just touching people’s face’.
He stood there, awkward and uncomfortable. ‘I just… I’m sorry… I…’ and he turned to look for the seat he was about to take. It had already been taken. He gathered himself together and walked around the other way and continued on out of my vision.
The woman sucked her teeth and looked around for support and amazement. The people around us all seemed to give off the attitude that they also found his actions to be unusual.
I felt bad for the guy. I fully understood where the mother was coming from. People don’t just go putting their hands on the faces of stranger’s infants. But I think he was just naive in his actions. Obviously the woman was well within her right, but I couldn’t help feeling embarrassed for him.
The image of a stranger appreciating a child’s innocence and beauty quickly changed into an act of some kind of accidental bio-terrorism.
12 November 2009
feeding the young one spinach
and your bed spoke to me
it asked me to lay down
and I did
I didn't mean to undo your bed making
but it was so inviting
pleading to me
and the smell of you
made it so comforting
The ghost must have know I was there
cause while I was sleeping
I thought I felt a head resting on my shoulder.
It was the best sleep I have had for a while
Then I went to hold you closer..
When you were not there
I woke up
a dark grey sky
peeked through the slants of blinds
and the room was cold.
11 November 2009
he had been playing music for forty years
So why, at the age of seventy
he still felt the need to practice was beyond me
but now with him gone for only ten days
I am thankful for hearing those never ending ups and down
The Soundtrack To My Childhood.
His full head of salt and pepper hair
with brave sideburns
the clarinet sticking out from the cheeks
between the chops
slight head tilt, back and forth
left and right
keeping rhythm with the lifting and falling notes
He would play songs too
being so young i didn't know
Mack the Knife or
Strutting With Some Barbeque
All I knew then was The Muppet Show
All I remember are the graceful steps
From low B to High C then Low A to High B
Maybe he was telling me
that life has it's ups and downs, high and lows
Ten days ago
his family surrounding him
sharing memories and talking to him
half conscious but foot still tapping
arthritic fingers still playing notes with
The Joe Mooney Quartet on the CD player
He finally perfected the simultaneous High and Low A's
The highest and lowest he could get
As I held his hand
he took his last breath
let all of his pain win
But lost all of his pain, forever.
10 November 2009
getting through every theater of war twice.
I used to lie in bed hearing his stories
of a battlefield worldwide.
He told us of a people united;
covering each other with blankets,
sacrificing for the next man,
looking out for neighbor’s children.
I dream of visiting this land of stories
but the road to that place is lost
hidden under graveyards,
skyscrapers and newspapers.
At every corner is a liquor store
a post of road signs pointing
in eight separate ways.
I wonder what he thinks as he looks down on us.
The country he helped build while he was alive
faded away while we slept with our TVs on.
That was my beautiful moment.
To kiss in the desert, at sunset, in the rain. Of all the things I am sure and unsure of, that was the one moment certainty didn't matter. I am left with questions, yet the mindset of knowing I shouldn't question anything. Logic vs Love, in a sense. Responsibility of life vs responsibility of self, in a sense. I love the questions and the uncertainty of it all, it is already not easy, but it is not trouble, or difficult. It just is, and its wonderful
we fell asleep with the television on.
I turned on my side
watched you sleeping.
You were on your back,
your head tilted towards me.
Hair falling over the side of your face,
still damp from the shower we shared.
You looked calm in the T.V. light
Eyelids softly rippling from movement.
Your right hand
out from under the blanket
over your heart.
I stared at you,
wondering what mystical lottery
it was that I won,
to be here
sharing this bed with you.
And then your eyes opened;
You looked at me,
but touched my cheek and lips.
While turning on your side
you leaned up and kissed me
and closed your eyes.
In that perfect place
between sleep and reality,
where we are most vulnerable and honest,
You felt it fine to kiss me
and hold my hand.
Since then, I have been trying to get there
and join you.
hair gets in your mouth and nose
licking your lips and softly exhaling
breathe in the scent of exciting danger
you want her closer
She tells you
'I want you to hold me
but my stomach hurts
hold me soft'
You have to hold everything
about her gently
your words, touch, and thoughts
It’s not just her stomach
it’s her skin, hands, head
her eyes, and more so, her ears
Yet, the pain
of biting your tongue
fails in comparison
to her silence.
08 November 2009
While rolling down the stairs of the internet I found a site on blogspot about a band I like. I wanted to chime into the conversation being had about the band and I needed to sign in to comment. After commenting I followed some links to my profile on here and realized that not only had I had one already, having a Google account, but that I also started a blog I had forgotten about. I hadn't really done anything with it yet, and felt maybe me rediscovering it was or a reason. I know I wanted to bring writing back into my everyday life and the coincidence was too much. So here it is. This may end up with some photos on it, it may end up with a list of things I need to do to get a task done. It may not be what you expect, but then again, are any of us?
05 November 2009
two dragonflies mating in flight,
darting back and forth around us.
The sun reflecting rainbows off
algae green hidden waters.
and you were in awe of the brightness
the cobalt blue of a dragonfly in particular.
And I was in awe of you.
You were not self-conscious.
In love with all you saw
the deer, the bugs, the moss, the dirt.
You enveloped yourself in the simple nature,
the complicated beauty of everything.
And the image that holds together my summer
was the sight of your eyes glowing at me
honest and angelic
reflecting back the sun off the pond
showing within them the definition of life and love.
I was amazed that nature found a way
to create the wonderful being that was you.
My Grandfather traveled
Around this world twice over
One time with a gun
Both times with a horn
In those times he learned
How bright the sunsets can be
And how death can take the breath
Of a man you bunked with
From Guam and Germany
To New Orleans and Hoboken
Theaters of war
Learning how music can be a life in itself
His life married to it
And my loving grandmother
Whose scent of sun lotion kisses
Would follow me
Even after a jump in the pool
I then shivered out
Dripped inside and sat with this gentle man
And shared two things
Never to be forgotten
One learned in his travels
A wonderful bowl of grits
One he always had
The size of the world, twice over
Either way, I met a bunch of interesting people and if I was the person I am now, then. I would have probably started a bunch of new cool friendships, but I was much more introverted and quiet and felt I had to keep my guard up alot, especially when dealing with people I met through Debbie. The party died out somewhat early, but there was a few of us left. I remember a the birthday boy, Debbie, myself, and I think Elizabeth, one of the guys friends. We went out front of the bar to smoke a cigarette.
The conversations were going all over. At one point me and the guy was talking, at another point me and Debbie was, at another point me and Liz was, etc etc not atypical to any group of people hanging out. It turned out that the girl wasn’t dating the birthday boy, as I thought she was, but that didn’t matter to me at the time, I was with Debbie, and convinced that eventually we would be happy and ever after, all that stupid shit.
The girl and I hit it very quickly and easily. We ended up having alot of in common and spoke alot. I felt a connection to this girl but only saw it in reflection. I had no intentions with the person other than having conversation.
On a related, but off topic note, I recall having a few conversations with friends of mine about how we can behave as humans. How we can be so shy and guarded, but once we are in a contented relationship, we seem to come out of our shells. We feel more confident, almost like we think 'i have no one to impress; I’ll just be myself; or something of that ilk. Which is why, when we have a significant other, we often end up attracting others. You know how it is, you finally have a bf/gf and suddenly all of these people come out of the woodwork, trying to gain your interest. Where were all of these people before?.. yadda yadda yadda, i digress, slightly
That was how I guessed I felt. I felt like I can just talk to this woman, and she will know I have no intentions. Because I am there with someone and I am just looking for conversation. All of us spoke alot and the four of us ended up closing the bar, and eventually Debbie and I left. I remember her mentioning to me that I spoke to Elizabeth alot. She didn’t say it in this accusatory way that she often had, jealousy and control being her popular motives. I reassured her I did not get a number, I did not have any ill will, I was just making friends while we were there, which in a sense was true.
Six weeks later, I broke up with Debbie. Things had, ironically, taken a significant turn for the worse and beginning of the end took too long, and we ended it in my jeep, in a church parking lot, late one cold autumn night.
Debbie and I spoke off and on, mostly just 'Are you ok?' 'How are you doing' types of calls, but I recall getting one particularly odd phone call from her. She said that she remembered how well Elizabeth and I got along, and that her friend mentioned to her (Debbie) that if she were ok with it, Elizabeth would like to get in touch with me, beings that we are no longer together. Debbie insisted I called Liz, that she saw a magic between Elizabeth and I. I know of only one person on my friends list who knew Debbie anything close to as well as I did, and even he would have to say that the idea of Debbie having this conversation with me would be very out of character. I took the number down, but was left very troubled.
I held onto that number for a month. I could never call. (In hindsight, I do not think I should have called her with anything other than platonic intent at that time anyway. It took a long time for me to settle my heart about my relationship with Debbie ending.) However, even then I felt like I did get along with this woman very well. I felt like she might’ve been someone special. I also felt like it could be a trick. I felt something so odd about an ex trying to hook me up with someone, that I wrote it off. Maybe she found out the girl was as treacherous as she was. I dunno…
But as I thought about this memory today, I thought, maybe Debbie was aware of something. Maybe she wasn’t pulling some scheme. Maybe she really did just see something special. We never did get back together in a committed relationship, so maybe she did actually think this woman would be a good idea for me. I cannot change anything about it now. But to think that If I had just done something for myself then, instead of thinking of many trivial ways in which it was wrong, who knows what could have been?
I looked in her eyes, wonderful as ever. Her hair had been lightened a little; I remembered it being darker and shorter, but not by much either way. And we stared, although it was obvious to me we were taking turns, her staring at me as I looked away, and then reversed.
God, I was nervous. I could not get words out I was so awestruck. I felt my throat get dry and had to stutter and clear it a few times. I had been in situations like this before, but never like this. I never felt like this; excited that it happened. I hardly felt awkward, if you ignore the lump in my throat and down to my stomach. However, that was enough to make me nervous. Enough to make me think ending the conversation was maybe best; Not because I wanted it to end, but because I did not want it to end at all. I was afraid I might make a fool of myself in front of her father, the way my stomach was dancing around, to match all of the words and feelings bouncing around in my head. So, we ended the conversation. I walked to my car, conscious not to look back until I sat down. Not wanting to make it obvious how awake I suddenly felt. I sat down and took a long breath. Amazed, I started the car, and the radio kicked on, giving me another jump. I had left the iPod on and on random while I went into the store and it was mid song. A song that always made me think of her. A song she loved the first time I shared it with her. It only made the situation make more sense, the coincidence. It fit. I back out of the parking spot. Purposely going the long way so I could face right into the store I just left, the store they were in. She was in the front door, on display, pretending to look at the racks with her father, while she looked out at me. I got to the front of the store and turned toward the exit. We looked at each other and waved at each other. I was curious if she felt anything I did. I was curious if this was random, coincidence, or fate.
her ring finger wore no ring
confidence was in her eyes
She told you her name, it did not sink in
you could not recall her speaking
being lost in her green eyes and flowing hair
She must have realized this
she spoke again
leaning over into view of your eyes
Your attempts at being coy and cool were lost
She listened to you stutter
watching your lips and eyes
Her soft laugh made you deaf
the innocent sound echoing
she gently smiled at you
You felt comfortable so quickly
She did not seem to judge you
each moment was a new day
her lead in to the next moment of speech slow
Find yourself imagining futures
a déjà vu or lost dream rediscovered
rewritten with each wave of her hair
You looked around as you spoke
to find someone you knew
a savior from this moment of reckoning
A life rebuilt with each look
from her eyes to yours
tearing down ancient walls and dreams
Your left thumb and forefinger
pinch the back of your right arm
assured yourself you were awake
She felt like home so quickly