Come on, Come Talk to Me

“I can imagine the moment
Breaking out through the silence
All the things that we both might say
And the heart, it will not be denied
Until we’re both on the same damn side
All the barriers blown away”

COME with me, one Wednesday. Start a brand new day. COME show me the way. “In this swirling, curling storm of desire” COME on, COME talk to me.

TALK in whispers, secrets about who we think we are. Thoughts of each other going too far. TALK of wishes forbidden, of acts unforgiven, wanting to be in your arms.

TO reach again that deeper understanding. Who we were and wanted TO be. TO try TO solve this, unlock this mystery, TO swim in that sea of you and…

ME, I’m lost in oblivion. You’re right to be afraid. Of the words I would or wouldn’t say. Continue to hide away. But words… What are they worth? We’ve learned. Books and poems. Songs and stories. All that’s said and not, just words, drift away. Yet, we understand. Please tell ME you understand. It’s just ME. I’m still just ME. Oh won’t you please, talk to ME. Come on, come talk to ME.

I just want to listen. To hear you say my name. COME tell me of books and bike rides, and TALK of how you’ll never be the same. It’s a sad undertaking. Surely, a rude awakening, but please, help me TO see. I still pick you flowers, and dream of full moon tomorrows. As I watch you forget about ME. There’s a reason I can’t let you go, a reason I need to know, and so many I don’t want to believe. I still swim in that sea. So come on, come talk to me.

Book Review: The Overstory

By Richard Powers

Winner of the Pultzer Prize for fiction in 2019, this is a book about catastrophe, in myriad forms, from personal to global and how they are linked. And how trees can help us withstand, overcome and hopefully avoid catastrophe. But it’s not very hopeful, to be honest. Human progress has destroyed our world. Quite likely, it seems to me, past a point of no return. The catastrophe of climate change is upon us, and our world is ending in so many ways. I fear for the future. My kids and grandkids will live in a drastically different world… Dystopian, apocalyptic, maybe, and technologically, artificially enhanced to overcome, or bypass the uninhabitable reality of what we’ve done to the natural world. These are terribly sad, pessimistic thoughts and ideas I’ve carried with me for much of my adult life. This book doesn’t speak directly to those feelings, but it is very much about them. Humans have fucked this planet up beyond repair, and our short term quest for dominion over and profit from our planet has set us on a downward spiral towards worldwide suffering, war for scarce resources, weather events, global disease and other natural disasters as part of a vast correction to the currently unsustainable path of destruction which will mean nature is going to take a few billion human lives off this planet to restore balance.

Quick update : From The Guardian today. Makes my darkest, pessimistic predictions sound quite rosy. Life on Earth is going to change sooner than later, and we have no idea what we’re in for. But it’s going to get very bad. In my lifetime.

I remember learning about the hole in the ozone layer in the early 1980s. Aerosol sprays were causing it, apparently. I remember looking at cans of hairspray in the supermarket, completely dumbfounded by the connection. I remember Sting, one of my favorite musicians in the 80s on MTV with some indigenous Amazonian tribe members talking about saving the rainforest, and how pretentious he came across. I remember organizing Earth Day for the school I was teaching at in the mid 90s, with my class putting on an assembly that included a song with the lyrics, “recycle, reduce and reuse”. I remember the rise of recycling, cities requiring citizens to sort their trash. I remember life before the rise of plastic shopping bags and water bottles, and much later, the feeble attempts to reduce their suddenly ubiquitous presence in our everyday life. I have always been radically sceptical of recycling, and have had friends tell me in recent years, “dude, you were right”, recycling IS a joke being played on us to make us think we’re doing something. It’s “save the world” theater, much like all those airport security measures after 9/11. And all this time, the machine of progress just keeps rolling along. In Colorado in the mid to late 90s, I had a friend named Logan who lived in a solar powered cabin, off the grid, and dedicated his time to his Priorities Institute, which attempted to slow down the development by advocating smaller, auto-less cities and towns along the I-25 corridor between Denver and Colorado Springs, which still had open spaces then. I was his legal representation, getting his Institute set up as a non-profit and helping write the constitution and legal charter for this mythical world. We would be laughed out of city council meetings. Completely dismissed as the stoners we were. He had a 4 meter square model of his city that he would set up and present to whoever would listen. No one did. I brought him to my school to present his ideas to my classes, working on their own projects to design civilizations of the future. A bit like a non-computer version of SimCity. I remember one student who’s entire city was set in the trees. If only.

So, I’m no idealist, but I’m familiar with optimistic idealism. It’s a heart breaker. You don’t need to study the statistics to know the environment is fucked. The number of species disappearing, the climate change and resulting destruction of storms, fires, drought. The man made disasters like deforestation and oil spills. On and on it goes. And at the same time,the internet, this alternative reality, the double edged hope and false promise of being “connected” when, really, it’s just been a further extension of human selfishness, greed and stupidity, leading to an even more insulated, anti-social, blind populace, worldwide. My son plays Fortnite for hours and hours. He doesn’t have any idea or interest in the lack of clean drinking water here in our posh little enclave where we live, called El Bosque, The Forest… As if to mock the trees here that were not cut down for the golf course, equestrian stables, tennis club, and of course, million dollar homes. We have to buy bottled water here in The Forest.

OK. Let’s take a break.

I guess I used to care more. I still care, of course, but it’s different now. I’ve learned a lot about how the world works, I got old, I realized I was fucking my own life up more than the planets, and I’ve fucked my own kids’ lives up enough regardless of my recycling habits, so fuck it. I wouldn’t say my cynicism won, it’s just reality. The world is fucked, and maybe with alot of luck, my grandkids will live a life something close to mine, but probably not, and certainly not their grandkids. They’ll be lucky to have a place to live and access to clean water. Our ship has come in, and it’s sinking. We keep on building, concrete everywhere, not enough fuel, food or water or anything, even parking places. Advancements in electric cars are hard won, too slow and mostly useless, much like the efforts for solar electricity in the past. The present infrastructure is simply too powerful, until it isn’t. And when that happens, and there is evidence that it is happening, that our current way of life is crumbling, you just have to know where to look, it’s swept away, under the rug, everything is fine, keep on the path of progress and prosperity. What’s happened in China and India and parts of Africa, where western ways of easy living came later, are truly catastrophic. The unsustainability of it brought into clear focus. Pollution is just the tip of the iceberg. The economic and societal consequences of this capitalistic insistence are too great to ignore. But we do. As long as we have wifi and running water and cheap electricity. Fuck the rest.

Along that I-25 corridor between Denver and Colorado Springs, which I traveled ALOT, I can remember the long trains full of coal. Miles long. Off to feed generators so we could keep our air conditioner’s running all night. A friend there, also from the northeast, like me, once commented on how strange it was to pass from one town to the next with all that space in between. In the northeast, the I-95 corridor between Boston and Washington D. C., passing New York City and Philadelphia, it was concrete and towns and cities and traffic the whole way, each city connected to the next, sharing a border. It wasnt like that in Colorado. It is now. Logan tried to fight against this. He, we, never had a chance. The Front Range of the Rockies is totally “built up” now. Housing and industry filling the landscape I used to compare to Mars.

The west of the United States branded its wide open spaces and exploration places into my psyche. I am not who I am without having spent ten years traveling around and hiking and biking the west, from Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Grand Canyon to Mt. Tamalpais and Wilson. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon…Moab, Mt. Ranier, Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur, Sante Fe, Great Sand Dunes, Rainbow Falls, Rockey Mountain National Park, St. Elmo ghost town at foot of Mt. Princeton, Muir Redwoods, Point Reyes National Seashore just north of San Francisco, Whistler in British Columbia, Tahoe, Vegas desert, Great Salt Lake and skiing in the Wasatch. And I climbed over 40 of the 50 highest mountains in the lower 48 states. I’m skipping over all my mountain climbing, biking, skiing and running in Colorado because it’s too much to elaborate. This is all off the top of my head, I could check my journals, I just mean to say… I HAVE BEEN OUT THERE. DEEP IN THE OTHER SIDE. THE OUTSIDE. Deep in the woods, often in winter. Often alone. I have heard their voice, their words. I have shared the spirit and found that connection with mine. I remember climbing Mt Yale in the Colorado front range, in winter, in snowshoes, with skiis on my back for the descent, and stopping for a sip of water and hearing a voice… No one knows where you are, but you’re not alone. At the top of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states, in a thunder and lightning storm…the same voice… Be still and be here now. I still hear these voices on sleepless nights. Memories of places and people I used to be.

Those palm trees aren’t native to this place. Just like me.

So, with all that nonsense out in the open, lets talk about the book. It’s about all this. Our relationship with nature and our fight against the end of days. Our history of connection and rejection and denial of our natural instincts. Or our disconnected acceptance of our modern day existence and technologically induced paralysis. There are two main characters in the book with severe paralalytic handicaps. Their insights, clearly relevant. Two other characters end up in federal prison for their beliefs that led to actions of illegal protest. That led to a woman’s death. So they accept their justice. Others are artists and significant scientists and writers who move the landscape of the movement against corporate landscaping. People live in trees. People get maced in the face and balls. People get caught years later. Others don’t but know others do. There are backyard gardens, boreal forests, the Amazon and giant redwoods. There is arson and death and prison and street art and activism at its purist pursuit. Graffiti on a global scale by a man who’s father, grandfather and great grandfather took a photo every month of a great American chestnut tree in Iowa for over a hundred years. How would that look when you flip through the photo album? He risks his life for the photo album and so much more. He lives on a platform 200 feet high in a Redwood with a woman he loves to save the tree, fruitlessly. There is a genius computer programmer, inventing fantastic new worlds that are ultimately just like this one. A Vietnam vetran who owes his life to a tree. And more. Characters touched by trees and sacrificing their lives to protect them.

All the characters have exerienced personal, private catastrophes as well, experiencing loss of family or career or other such tragic accidents and circumstances. And each character has a deep connection with trees. Some more obvious and direct than others, but all have been changed in some way by a tree. So many trees. We learn so so much about trees in this book. Absolutely amazing things about trees and how they live and breathe and communicate. How they help us and each other, and, of course, as I spoke about above, how much we take from them without giving anything back. Perhaps the most obvious, yet overlooked aspect of trees is how long they live. I find myself now wondering about the trees I see. How old is it? What kind is it? How does it spread it’s seeds and send it’s messages to the world around it? We think living to 100 is something special, but trees are on very different timescales. Humans simply don’t, can’t, understand longterm consequences. We are very bad at thinking beyond 20 or 50 or 100 years into the future. Trees have longer, slower perspectives and stories to tell. One passage of the book includes the familiar, “if the history of Earth was compressed into 24 hours, midnight to midnight, humans don’t appear until about the last 2 seconds of that day.” And in that short time, we have destroyed over half of the trees that existed when we arrived.

                          The gardener sees
only the gardener's garden.
The eyes were not made
for such grovelling uses as they
are put to and worn out by,
but to behold beauty now invisible.

Another obvious but overlooked aspect of trees and plants is photosynthesis, the miracle of light, air and water. Trees are made from light, air and water, growing from a seed that sits on the tip of your finger. Miraculous, really. They hold the secret to life. And by killing them, we’re killing ourselves. There’s SO much more to say about trees, and our connection and misunderstandings. But the author says these things so much more eloquently than I ever could. There are deeply poetic and philosophical passages. He quotes Rumi, “Love is a tree with branches in forever with roots in eternity and a trunk nowhere at all, ” which I appreciate. The structure of the story, like others I’ve read recently, dedicates a chapter to each of the main characters, explaining who they are from just about the very beginning of their lives. Then the second section of the book starts to bring them together, and reminded me of some Stephen King books I’ve read, such as The Stand, with it’s long list of characters coming together in one way or the other to take on some malevolent force. The connection between some characters can be very subtle or difficult to decipher until the end. The last 200 pages of the over 600 page book were profoundly beautiful and satisfying as the story came together, and “overstory” becomes clear, though with so much story, I found myself looking back to earlier passages to find explanations or connections for events or conversations. I think before reading the book, and even as I got well into it, I had this idea that it might have some surreal, or mystical or other-world like influences, with talking trees or an apocolyptic disease or something like Stephen King might write, and for a long time, that’s how the novel felt, although more poetic and pretty. But, in the end, while there have been deeply moving and emotional moments, and an awakening to the great lifeforce of trees, nothing really mystical or magical happens. Just the cold, hard reality that human beings are hopelessly stupid and the only hope for our planet is that we disappear. Unsuicide.

For many years now, I have taught ten year olds about rainforests, focusing on the Amazon, in our History/Geography class. We read a novel called Journey to the River Sea, and we look at the distinct layers and habitats and the incredible biodiversity of each one, and all of them together. We look at the indigenous people still living there, desperately holding on. We copy Rousseau’s famous jungle scenes, making collages. We study butterflies and other rainforest animals in science class. It’s a cross-curriculum unit of study with endless teaching and learning opportunities. And every year, we talk about deforestation, and have a debate about the construction of new roads with students taking a role and researching their position, whether they are playing an animal, a cattle rancher, a mining company employee, a logger, a farmer, an indigenous tribe member, a conservation group leader and so on. I’ve been doing this for over ten years. I’m afraid to look right now at how much of the Amazon has been lost in the ten years I’ve been teaching about it. Here we go….

Ten million football fields. What does that really mean? That’s too big to really fathom. Like the long life of a tree, it’s just too much, too abstract for our brains to really appreciate. I see the Amazon in the news all the time. This is from last week:

It’s just going to go on and on. There are people like the characters in The Overstory who feel so fervently that it has to stop and that they must do something. But most of the world, including myself, don’t. And most of us don’t even appreciate the trees growing on our own street. Go touch a tree, and see what it says to you. Read The Overstory, and consider your relationship with the planet, your family and yourself. Face the catastrophes of your life and hope for healing and growth. Hope.

From a bench in a park next to a café where stories have been written and shared.

I Tried

So hard. I believe that. Two years of hope and struggle against the odds. But she was is too hurt. The fights, just kept coming. And tonight, punches. She hit me, a lot, and the last shot was right in the mouth. A hard slap, right in the face, across my jaw and mouth. I think her hand must hurt as much as my face. Needless to say, this violence certainly… Right? I mean, I just immediately started getting things together to leave. But then thought, No, the kids. I could hear her downstairs with one of them, crying. She came up again, I sat on the bed, Please, don’t explode again… But she did. It’s all my fault. But I don’t agree. Her version of events is so unfair. But she has this one thing… Tu has puesto los cuernos… And nothing else matters. She distorts and negates and denies and lies and forgets and twists and fights to be right when she is so so wrong… But then she justifies it all with… Tu has puesto los cuernos, y esa mujer sigue en nuestra vida… And anything I say, anything, everything possibly positive from the last two years, including buying and building a new house and home is totally undermined as if it were nothing, or a mistake. Negative. Bitter anger, pain, hurt. I mean… There’s marriage crisis… Sleeping on the sofa… Going for long walks alone… Tears and fears and all that.. And then there’s getting punched in the face and head.

Sadly, this all started this evening because our son got a 5.6 on an English assignment. I forced myself not to point that out during the argument because I knew he would hear… But I’m sure he feels it anyway. God knows I still hate myself for my parents divorce. I’m crying now, for the kids. I really tried… I swear it.. I really did. I tried so hard, for them. But… But… But… Yo he puesto los cuernos. Her sleeping with her workmate however many times, including at work AND in our bed in those months we’ve been separated.. . Nor her throwing everything, including her fist, in my face, all this time, even until tonight, still, getting hit and punished for something she claims she has forgiven… Even still, after having her own extramarital experience, after buying this house, after two years, the counseling, the walks, the talks, the arguments, the agreements, even the punching me in the face… After two years of pain and suffering…we’re still not even… It still comes back to my affair and how horrible everything was before and after, as if every moment of our marriage has been nothing but suffering. I don’t agree. But we’ll never move on if that’s how she sees it… And that’s how she sees it. She hates me, hits me, and wants me out of her life. I don’t want to do that to the kids. I want to find some peace. I want to be here with my children. I could have left tonight. Most people, maybe, after the violence of the fight we had, after the turmoil we’ve been through, would just leave. I changed my clothes and got some things together to go, but stopped. I can’t leave like this. The kids. And changed again and got into bed. And she came again, and there was more shouting. Why? Porque yo he puesto los cuernos. Yeah, but…. No buts. How does a marriage recover from this? And should it? For the kids? Just tears and heartbreak and failure. I tried. I really did. She challenged… “what have you done… Tell me que has hecho para mejorar la cosa?” “Well, there’s that plant you’ve left on the chair that I brought home for you, with a bottle of wine, on Wednesday, for example.” “oooohhhh…hohohoooo…” she said, “impresionante… Asombroso.” well, you asked for an example and there’s one… From two days ago. It obviously doesn’t matter. Me going running or playing the guitar is thrown in my face as evidence of my selfishness. I feel so bad for hurting her that I take the abuse and fights and strife as well deserved. She only knows what she thinks she knows. So I deserve this. And will endure it for the kids.

I had also suggested we actually do something this weekend, besides drink and smoke in the kitchen while she watches cat videos and I stare at the sky through the window, wishing, waiting, dreading the argument over who cooks and cleans more often. Instead, she told me to move out this weekend. She wants a divorce. But the kids…

I don’t know, don’t want to know what you’re doing tonight or this weekend or in your fixed marriage, for the rest of your life, or with someone else not me, sitting strong on top, or on your back, or on your knees, looking up, or over your shoulder, or whatever position you find yourself in, whatever it is, we don’t talk anymore, like you once sang, so I’ll never know. But whatever it is, it’s a cup of tea compared to this, and sincerely… Be thankful for that cup of tea. And know I tried for you, too.

Summer Song Update: Bad Habits

Back in May, I recorded and posted Watermelon Sugar in the Music page, which I’ve since deleted due to the emotional reaction all that music was causing. Recently, however, inspired by some new blue boots, I visited the page to find my recording of Blue Suede Shoes, and while I was there I found this post about the songs of summer, including my very amazing recording of Watermelon Sugar. (Here’s a bonus update, confirming that Watermelon Sugar is exactly what I thought it was about… Champagne Pussy…I dont know if I can ever go without…

That post ends with me wondering what my song of summer 2021 might be, so I thought, now that summer is over, I would update the post. With no further ado…I present the song of summer 2021, Bad Habits, by Ed Sheeran.

It’s possible that I heard this song every single day this summer, and certainly some days more than once. I heard it on the way to school this morning. Like Watermelon Sugar, Speechless, Flames and Boys of Summer from previous summers, it’s a song that somehow says everything and nothing at the same time, spreading deep emotions over a wide, thin surface, so that it seems extremely relevant to my life and the lives of millions of others. It speaks to me, while speaking to the maximum amount of listeners possible. Somehow unforgettable, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get it out of your head. My bad habits lead to you. You. It’s true. I really do want to be with you…and I’m not going to feel bad about that. I know my heart. It’s better now. Stronger. Healthier. My mental and physical health has turned around over the summer and I’m feeling so much better about who and how I am. I have turned those bad habits around. And you, you and me, that was not a habit, or a drug or an obsession or a mental problem. I believe in my heart, I believe in love. I believe we belong together. It’s this. Not a bad habit. And I’m truly sad that we can’t be together, because we would have been great. I know you’ve let it go and have moved on, and I’m very impressed, because we both know how amazing I am, and how hard that it must have been for you to let me go. Smile. But you’ve done it. Congratulations. As the song says, I only know how to go too far. This isn’t the way I wanted it, but it’s the way it has to be. What a song.

At the end of the Watermelon Sugar post, I say that there’s one more song that really, truly is my favorite summer song…for July 10. Since I’m dumping summer songs here, dipping into the archives…and because it sounds a bit better than Watermelon Sugar, I’ll leave it here. Goodbye, summer.

Throw Your Arms Around Me

Watermelon Sugar

Champagne Pussy

Pop music. Summer music. Strawberries. On a summer evening. Baby, you’re the end of June. I want your belly. And that summer feeling. Getting washed away with you. I just want to taste it. I don’t know if I can ever go without…

I am very embarrassed by this song. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s just summer pop music, and it’s supposed to be fun. I remember last summer, at the beach with my kids and they demanded that I buy these watermelon flavored slushy ice drinks…and I literally said, “You don’t need any of that watermelon sugar shit…” and, as this song became last summer’s summer pop song, on the radio every ten minutes, I would sing it in my ridiculous falsetto voice with these changed lyrics.

But with a new summer coming, I have a new appreciation of those lyrics. There’s something a bit sad about summer, I think, because you know that it’s going to end. Those warm and wonderful summer moments simply can’t last forever. And as the song goes, I don’t know if I can ever go without…

So, here comes summer, and I’m already feeling sad about it being over. What will this summer’s summer pop song be? Maybe my friend Pisu has something up his sleeve?

Here’s Watermelon Sugar, summer pop song from 2020. I should have practiced more…my version sounds terrible.

Here is the summer pop song from 2019. If you love me, say you love me, say you are mine. Come on darling, stop the hiding, speak your mind.

And 2018. Go, go, go…figure it out…figure it out…don’t stop moving…you can do this.

And here’s one I always come back to during the summer…classic end of summer sentiments…a little voice inside my head says don’t look back, you can never look back, thought I knew what love was, what did I know, those days are gone forever, I should just let them go…but…i can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun, you’ve got your hair pulled back, and those sunglasses on, baby….i can tell you my love for you will still be strong, after the boys of summer have gone…

So, here comes summer. There’s one more song that always reminds me of summer, but that’s for another day. July 10, to be exact. See you then.

We Fought About Money

And that's when I knew
It was time to go

She'd never forgive it
I will forever owe

A fight about money
But so much more

She just doesn't like me
I slammed the door

Tried so hard, so long
With my son by my side

To not enter the tempest
Give fuel to her fire

But, God, she's so angry
So much venom inside

I deserve every word
For the things that I hide

Every slanted assumption
To put me in the black

Every cruel accusation
She'll never take back

I shouted, not in defense
Just stop, stop, STOP

My son left the room
A daughter came out

Please, don't fight
"That's what I'm SAYing"

But still it goes on
Bottomless hatred

So I left the house
Walked and found a rock

Sat listening to silence
Trying to figure things out

I don't know what happened
How it started or why

But I remember leaving work
Thinking of goodbyes

Searching for lost love
Hopes left on street corners

Is that why I'm here now
Sleepless on this sofa?

It wasn't my fault, sincerely,
This fight about money

It wasn't about others
Hearts or infidelity

It was just another night
Slamming doors and kid's tears

It's happened before
For years and years and years

And years before
There were these other ideas

Of who I should be
Could I overcome fears

With or without you
I need to be me

If I take off this mask
Take three steps

To where you stand
With that look on your face

And ask, again,
Will you come with me?

What would you say?

These are things
I dare not think about

On the sofa
at 1am Saturday morning

On the night
We fought about money

On the evening
I stood on the street corner

And reluctantly walked away

Who paid for that bike?
The place that it's parked?

Do you fight about money?
Do you want to start?

How much would we need
To never fight again?

To be together with our books
Our story with no end?

I could go on like this forever
This poem, these broken nights

While you sleep
Securely, in your bed, warm, satisfied?

Who bought that bed?
Who paid the price?

Don't fight about money
Fight for your life

Brain Pickings: A Recommendation

I have received the newsletter from this site for many years. If you have a moment, click around and discover some very deep articles and insights about love, life, philosophy and the art and emotion of poetry and painting and writing and reading and so many other interesting topics to pick your brain. Topics I write about often here in this journal, but not with the literary support and authority found at Brain Pickings. It’s funny to me sometimes to reach some breakthrough in my own thinking of my self and love and squalor and how to get out of bed and through the day…and then find the words to express it…words to express my feelings…and then discover that the same thing has been said before, and much better, by someone like Rilke. This website, Brain Pickings, is full of things like this. I do wish I could share these thoughts and ideas of my own and those of famous thinkers like Rilke or Eddie Vedder or Leonard Cohen or W.H. Auden, etc….with someone who might understand, but that someone is out of my orbit…so I write these thoughts here. So, to my future self, the only one I think who ever might read this…the above link leads to a Brain Picking article that I remember reading exactly three years ago that is still sadly relevant today.

Mr. Cohen sang Hey, THAT’s no way to say goodbye. (He seems to want everyone to be happy about it). Mr. Rilke has some advice on how to do it quickly and coldly, in my opinion, but with hope for a future. Mr. Vedder said, “Say ‘see you later’, don’t say goodbye, just a little trick I play, on my own mind.”

I have my own ideas about how we should say goodbye, (“bye for now”) that have been informed by Mr. Malcom and Barret, but all are very flawed in their own way. I think it all depends on the wishes, desires and hearts of the people involved. Everything is easier said than done. All you need is love. Love is all you need. Be well.

P. S. – Ranier Rilke and Pearl Jam links in the same post. All these thoughts spinning, fluttering around my head… Like butterflies they arrive…on a bicycle with a guitar on her back.

Blue Suede Shoes

I recorded and uploaded this a long time ago, but I saw some blue suede shoes today that I really, really liked and so I thought I would dig this post out of my Music page, which I shut down due to emotional overload and mental anguish, like a true artist. Like the King himself. I have been in Elvis’ house, Graceland, in Memphis. I walked around wearing my cowboy hat and sunglasses, and fit right it. It wasn’t as big as you might think, but truly an epic experience to see all of Elvis’ things and all the people that came to visit…poor boys and pilgrims and families, and we’re all going to Graceland. And my traveling companions are ghosts and empty sockets, I’m looking at ghosts, and empties. But I’ve reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland. So, I took down the Music page. Here’s Elvis changing the world. Those really are very sexy shoes.

If our lives became too long, would it add to our regret?

Have I lived long enough? Is there something else besides being a father that really matters? The world is too big. The distances too great. Too many people. Not enough love. Not enough humanity. Or nature, natural places and ways of living. Too much is constructed. Madrid is finished. My mom has left after 8 weeks of family, façade. I’m sad. We held each other and cried. Said goodbye. Then I made a long, lonely trip home.

Autumnal Equinox

Today is the last day of summer. It’s been in the air for awhile. The lightning storms, heavy rains, dark clouds. From here to December 21, the days will grow shorter, the nights longer. It will be dark when we go to school, and dark when we come home. This darkness, this time of year, has always been difficult for me. It started in my mid-20s, when I stopped playing ice hockey, which usually would start at this time of year. I started playing when I was five, so to suddenly not play was a strange experience of loss that I still feel at this time of year. Later, though, other difficult events, age and consequence, lost connections and relationships, breaking engagements and marriages, my Mom’s illnesses, lost opportunies and people in my life leaving an empty, cold, dark feeling inside to match the weather. The seasons change and so do I.

I’ve heard it called S.A.D., seasonal affective disorder. Less light, colder temperatures, nostalgia for people and places and events as the passage of time and seasons of life sink into a deeper, quieter, darker place inside. Memories of the beach days and warm rays of sun and smiles on the faces I’ve loved. Even those days alone at El Saler, July 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 22, 26 and August 3. (I kept a journal), even those days had hope and sunshine and running and affirmations of life. Now, flowers fading in the sharp, crisp air as the sun sets on summer and shadows grow longer, those summer days sink into long, dark shadows. Oh, those long, dark shadows, as the sun sets on summer.

Now it's morning. Before sunrise. Alone in the dark. 
Lost and left behind.
I dreamt of her. Again. It happens all the time. She spoke to me. The sound of her voice, saying my name. "yes?" I replied. "nothing. I just like to say your name."
We were in an industrial place, like a factory, with tall iron columns and poles, like beneath the bleachers of an old stadium, or maybe it was a train station. Or the kitchen from another century. She stood at a large, flat, marble table. She was preparing a chicken for our dinner. There were spices and bottles on the table. I came up some stairs, seeing her through the iron railing, knowing it was her. Then she said my name. She came to me from around the table. So vivid now, so real, this dream. Her striped shirt, her long, elegant body. Her hair. Her feet. I was wearing some athletic clothes, and said, "I've been riding my bike." she said, "You look great. Be happy." I said, "I'm going to change." I moved toward a brick wall, near a dark, leather sofa. I put my backpack down and took out a blue, denimn jacket. I turned around and she was right in front of me. Close enough to kiss.

I woke up, heart beating. And have been awake since. Breathing in, here, out, now.
Afraid of my self.
My subconscious, my truth, so strong. My disguises so thin. Planning all the me's I'll pretend to be today.
Awake and alone in the dark, with memories and heartbreak.


I hung a mirror in my daughters' room because they enjoy looking at themselves. There was some measuring and drilling involved. When I lifted the mirror into place and hung it on the screws, using the level to make sure it was straight, I stopped and stared at my own reflection, those eyes looking back, seeing too clearly, deeply. I try so hard to avoid these moments of reflection, but there I was. Whoever I am. Oceans of disguise in those blue eyes. I promised I'd never go there again. I'd come through the undertow, barely. But the sea is not only in me, I'm in it, subsumed. You can see it in my eyes if you get close enough. Upsetting, soft, luminous eyes. Looking back. Seeing too clearly. I swore I'd never look there again. But here I am. 

Typically, after using tools, men feel they have earned a beer. Cheers.