First Breath – Last Breath

Last night, I fell into a poem
one that made my heart expand so much, that I felt at times as if I was suffocating
on dreams
on fantasy
on truth
on reality
on everything that I keep hidden, and everything that I give away.
Last night, I fell into a dream
one that filled my heart so much, I felt that I could finally breathe
because everything that I give was finally accepted
and everything hidden was finally exposed
and I was raw
and I was beautiful…
and I still am, today.

Calling Bad Unkl Sista’s production of ‘First Breath – Last Breath a show is an offense. Calling it a performance doesn’t even begin to ring true to what it actually is. If one calls it an experience, they’re getting closer, but beyond everything, the closest I can come to describing it would be – a gift. An offering.
If you’re fortunate enough to have been there for it last night, perhaps you know what I’m trying to say – or perhaps you feel something else entirely. What you let it do, how far you let it go, can be your gift to yourself, or you can simply just watch and be transfixed by whatever it is *you* choose to give to yourself.
It’s entirely up to you how far in you want to go.
Almost.

Anastazia Louise – stazL – and the amazing people who collaborated with her on this have created nothing less than an atmosphere, an experience, a…
Hell, just go yourself, and FOR yourSelf. Only two more showings, today at 2 & 8pm. Z-Space.

Details at BadUnklSista.com

Simple Beauty

 

Day in, day out, up at 5:30am again, out the door at 6:00 to move my car – no too many people out on a post-rain morning like this but the crackheads and me. I start driving and on the way remember that I still have almost $5.00 in my paypal account – a fortune these days, but a fortune that goes fast…

Groggy in this hellish yet beautiful hour, but in a special kind of mood; life is turning around. I not only feel it, but it’s there, in front of me, smiling and calling and just looking for my answer.

YES.

Always yes.

Things are coming my way… the way they should and do when I do something as simple as switch my heart around and believe, *know* that they will turn around. I think the magick is in far past just believing, as that always leaves room for doubt. It’s the feeling of knowing that makes all the difference, and simply taking action. Simple.

Not easy.

This past Thursday I stopped by the Vau de Vire rehearsal at Cell Space, to say hello to good friends, and to get out of my damned apartment which, after I move my car, wait for the time I need to and return, has become something of a glorified jail cell, one that locks from the inside. The struggle to leave is immense, the reasons, few – but on that day, that Thursday past, I made it out – and that’s all that needed to happen.

I take a seat for a few minutes; watch Shannon work on choreography with all of the insanely beautiful & talented Vau de Vire folk as much as I could (it’s a love/hate relationship – I love them for their stretchy, bendy, strong and insanely sexy ways – and hate them for the same out of utter envy.) and then see Mike across the floor, taking notes. I give Mike a hug, (Gods, that felt good – so long since I’ve felt the warmth of touch) the smile on my face in seeing him, feeling an old friends arms around me stretch the muscles that I so seldom have use for these days, save for the rare occasion in front of the mirror where I try to remember what it feels like when it’s genuine, coming from my heart instead of forced to my lips as an exercise…

He says that he and Shannon have been talking – want to know if I’m up for performing with them at Symbiosis as a Human Statue. I try to contain my joy, try to maintain *some* control but realize that it’s an exercise in futility and act like a little girl who actually *did* get a pony for her birthday. Without thinking of logistics I readily accept, already feeling like I’m on my way home again – the home where the heart is, not the walls behind which I pretend to live. The home where when I walk in there are smiles to greet me instead of a room barren of life, of warmth, of welcome.

I have no idea how I’ll make it to Symbiosis, a three day festival a few hundred miles south, but I’m sure I can figure out something… I need to. I’m certain that I can get a ride, but I have no tent, sleeping bag, or anything that a proper camper should have – it was all given away or sold long ago when I got my first running motorhome. I could take my motorhome, but how would I afford fuel and that one small part I need for the carburetor? Answers with more questions are all that I possess. Still, I have to make it – more for my heart and spirit than anything else. All I can do is trust. All I can do is *know* that somehow, some way, it will work out.

Two days later I get an email from someone named Bascom. Seems that he & his girlfriend are looking for a third to busk with. Someone taller, someone with a voice, someone seasoned on the streets who doesn’t have the encumbrance of trying to gather a crowd & work a pitch with razor blades hidden in his cheeks. It will be a far cry from a human statue, but it’s back to what I love – what I need; the smiles of strangers & passerby, a special gift that I know how to give them – reaching out of the common sights, the magick of wonder, and, even if just for a moment, the feeling that they are someone special, someone outside of the crowd. Even in stillness, even in silence I could do this, give them a gift of my energy, that they would hopefully carry in their hearts instead of their minds, that could just possibly bring splendor to a commonplace day, beauty to the mundane, remind them how to *see* the majesty of this world, instead of only looking at it through jaded eyes…

 

I drove towards the Mission for the sole reason that my car was already pointing that way, and to celebrate recent events decided to buy a vanilla latte from Peet’s Coffee with part of my final five dollars – one of the few coffee drinks that I’ll spurge on, one that I haven’t had in months. On my way inside of Peet’s I notice a homeless man sitting in front of Safeway, wet, cold, in between two bags that look like they weigh a ton dry. I get my latte, then thinking of how even something small can make all the difference in the world, with my last two dollars I buy a regular coffee, fill my pocket with some sugar packs and a cup with some half & half, and put a cardboard cup thing on mine so I don’t mix them up. I walk outside into the wind & wet & deliver the cup of hot coffee to him along with the sugar & cream.

His smile and gratitude was worth far, far more than that last two dollars.

Getting back to the warmth of my car, I notice that I had somehow, somewhat impossibly, mixed the cups up and that he ended up with my treasured vanilla latte. I look out my window, see him cupping it with both hands, taking gentle sips, the absolute pleasure on his face… and share a chuckle with the Universe.

After all, it’s simple – who am I to argue with what is truly meant to be?

 

New Day

 

Saturday, April 21, 2012 :

6:33am

It’s a tight game, this. Making sure I have the dregs of gasoline left in my tank to avoid the street sweepers; get out of the neighborhood I was put in and get back. Today, however, I’ll make it – but tomorrow or the next day? Yet to be seen. Still, I have faith. No reason to worry until… well, no reason to worry at all. I either make it or I don’t, like so many other things. If I agonized over the challenges in life I would never sleep again – I’d be an anxious rattle-boned boy, or more likely the remains of one tossed to the Sea.

This life, though nothing special to me, is mine to destroy or cherish – and I’ve done the destruction. One question that will never be answered in this life without a beginning is if I believed in it, if I knew where I came from, if I knew who my mother was – would I have valued my life more? Been more careful with it, instead of searching for the subconscious suicide? Or is this my purpose, into so many hells and out the other side, and bring that wisdom with me to help others in some way? So many questions…

 

The Sun rises, warms the back of my neck through the car window.

It’s always a new day…

incomplete

I was offered death on a silver platter, on the house, free of questions or guilt or blame; the setting complete with cocktail forks and a shell cracker to be sure that every bit of its marrow and juice was consumed, to pick clean the memories and every bit of what was and could have been so that nothing remained but the carnage and shattered bones of a life that had become empty. It was a gift that would have been so simple to accept – an easy way out of something that had become lackluster and plain –

There was one mistake made though in the almost perfect set-up. It would have been far, far too easy to do. Some said I was courageous, which I possibly now understand.

Perhaps the courage was in turning it down. I have an unquenchable thirst for adventure, for life, for proving the impossible possible, for realizing dreams – yet with all of the meticulous preparation there was no beverage served to satiate my craving.

Possibly it was believed by the hosts that death would have been enough of a voyage in itself to entice me. Perhaps the Powers That Be, The Great Big Ooh-Ahh, The Universe, The One And All were giving me a way out of what’s coming, and a fantastic justification at that.  I’m certain that one day that final journey *will* be enough and I’ll cease this struggle for life – but that can only come after all the things I wish or need to do while alive have been undertaken.

 

The fifteenth day of the second month in my new apartment. I’ve become to view it as a jail cell that locks from the inside, offering peace, offering comfort, but this is not who I am. It is with unease that I call upon the words again, beckoning to them, encouraging them to be my friends again, as where I need to go inside is a place that I inevitably go alone.

The Search.

It takes everything I am, everything I have been through, every tiny bit of strength that has been cultivated over my years, and yet I don’t believe that this will be enough. It will, however, be better than the first time, be better than when I attempted to do it myself, as this time I have hired a search company to assist me – I had little choice, although payments for the fee will leave me destitute for the next four months. It’s either live for this time barely able to survive due to lack of food and the herbs I need, with some air of hope for finding my birth mother, or it gets put off longer and longer with the possibility of never getting done at all, never having the questions answered that I’ve been asking since one day as a child I found my adoption decree hidden in my parents things and taught myself how to ask them. Either I do it now, and with the help, or it never gets done and I’m forever left wondering, forever remaining incomplete, a shadow of who I could be.

At the autopsy they would find a heart with a hole in it and no guts.

barren

 

Though it is Spring, the branches of my heart are barren, wanting for the tender meat of the fruit to sink my teeth into, the succulent juices of “I love you” dripping from my lips, the shine of the tender meat that would appease my hunger mirrored in my eyes and smile as I look into hers…

but who would want this man?

Bruised, tainted, scarred, both outside and in, yet still and forever an incurable romantic, who eternally dreams of what could be.

 

for too long

All the words that I wrote then rings just as true today. I’m praying that I get to write something different soon…

1/13/99
“I sensed my loss
before I even learned to talk”
and yes, this
I know
for too long
kept away from those places
in me
that could feel
keeping it all in my head
profound ignorance for what it said
to my heart
How close am I now?
Is there something missing in her?
can you take two missing pieces,
put them together –
and transform a world?
The sorrow that has hidden in silence
for so long
now has gained a knowledge
of it’s voice.

1/15/99
Early to bed
early to rise
a cup of coffee
a cigarette
wet hair
the morning sun streaming
through the clouds
silence has a sound.
Ring…
Ring…
“Hello?”
(Would I know her voice?)

silence

“Hello?”
“Um, hi. I was wondering if there might be a woman with the maiden name of Stenerson there.”
“Yes, this is she. Who is this, please?”
more silence. A question I have been wondering for all of my life. a question that I might
finally be able to answer.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“I’m called Casey, but that doesn’t matter anymore. We knew each other very briefly thirty one years ago, but I doubt that you have forgotten me. I don’t know your face, I don’t know your voice, and I don’t know your life, but I’ve never been able to stop thinking about you. The three months that we had together so long ago I can’t remember, either, but it has affected every relationship in my life, the way that I related to others around me, my expectations, and my fears. There has been a profound pain, an excruciating sense of loss inside of me all of my life that in some ways, I was able to ignore, in some ways I was able not to feel, but it always showed itself in my actions. Now I want it to be gone, and I think that you can help me.”

More silence. Her turn this time.

“This is your son, and I need to meet my mother.”

I don’t want this pain anymore.

In the Meantime…

As far as the search for my Birth Mother goes, I’ll break away from my common habits and keep you posted as well as I can.
In the meantime, here’s a lovely blast from the past – one of the milder ones…

1/99
I began with a scream
a wail
thrust into this new life
pushed out of the comfort
and the warmth
and the security
in to a world that screamed back at me
and for a time
a very short time
I had the comfort of her arms
around me.
The arms that held me
and let me know
that it would be all right
because she was there
and my screams
subsided
soothed in the heartbeat
the voice
and the scent
so familiar
and it started
to get better
and the comfort was coming back
wrapped up in the nurturing arms

of my mother.

Then those arms
and everything that was peace inside of me
were torn away
no comfort no understanding why
nothing made sense anymore
and the screams came back
got louder inside of me
and that gnawing pain
was something that I learned to hide
so shut away so that even I couldn’t find it
didn’t know it was there
at such an early age.

They said I was such a quiet child
seldom cried, seldom complained
so everything must be
okay, right?
Alone
in a way that so few can understand
the arms of my mother
the arms of the womb that
I became in
gone
handed around to so many
such a precious child
look how good he is
so quiet
adjusting so well
give him no history and call him theirs,
pay the money, sign the papers
and hand him over.

He’ll be fine…

Taught how to completely fucking
SHUT DOWN
before I even knew what it was
that I didn’t feel
kept away in a secret fucked up place
that I didn’t even know existed
for these thirty one years
Nothing was right
passed around and cooed over
patiently waiting for that comfort to come back.
My first taste
the time I discovered how to be who I am
the year that all of the actions in my life became what I became
and even as I grew
thinking so logically
in order not to feel
Past the “Baby Boy Mathern”
The “Baby Boy Stenerson”
of screams (an identity even then of no-one)
past the knowledge
of nothing but loss and anger
I came into this family
of a man, a woman, a little girl
but they didn’t know, though they tried
and the screams inside grew louder
they didn’t know
that to raise a child
it takes so much more than discipline
they didn’t know how to nurture
this new life in theirs
Or maybe it was me
in a subconscious solitude
in a subconscious anguish
that would never let me open
that could never let them
or anyone
become my friend
become someone who I could talk to about
anything
but I don’t think so.
I’ve never had
the words of wisdom
that a child so needs as it grows.
words that I could listen to
and remember
when things just didn’t seem right
inside of me

and things never seemed right.

Never words
of how to believe in myself
of how to love my Self
never words of strength
or words of how to know
that feelings of hurt
and pain
and confusion
and anger
were okay.
were normal.
So feeling alone
was all I ever felt
and alone
was all I ever knew
and the years went by
but even with the sorrow
even with the constant pain
by then so much a part of me
I learned
I taught myself
I dealt with everything fucked up inside
alone
I tried to make sense of it all
and I began to become me

I taught myself warmth
I taught myself love
and what I think it means.

I made myself
into someone I thought I could love and
I made myself
a king
in my own heart
in my own soul
in my own life
and even though at times I have forgotten
even though at times I have let myself down
and had my doubts
I KNOW
who I have the strength
who I have the power
who I have the love
and who I have so much passion
to be
and no one can ever take that
away.
I have this knowing
that has come from no one except myself
because I
am the only person
I have ever
truly
had.

Casey ~ 1/99

Now.

 

I didn’t have the courage. I didn’t have an address. I wasn’t healthy enough to go through the stress again. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have, I wasn’t, what if…  I could think of anything to put it off a little longer, vowing that one day I would start the search again, and pray that I wasn’t too late. That she might still be alive.

There were many times I almost began, but was prevented from starting with vivid recollections of the stress and anguish, the crushed hopes and shattered dreams of when I tried to do the search myself. The nervous breakdown brought on by a lifetime of perfectly suppressed emotion flooding my heart, and when that was gone the immeasurable emptiness, my .38 Colt pressed to the roof of my mouth, sitting on my futon in San Diego when I was living with Dana & Georgia. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wondering how much more pressure it would have taken on the trigger to make the hammer fall…

All the beauty I would have denied myself of…

 

But that is the past. Fourteen years have gone by since then, and I can’t come close to beginning to measure the splendor I have seen, the incredible people I have had the blessing (or in some cases, the curse) to meet, the dreams that have been realized, and the strength and courage I have found inside of myself. Fourteen years. It’s time to search again.

It’s time to find the woman who gave me this extraordinary life, and if possible, thank her, with all of my heart. If possible, introduce her to the people in my life to show her how truly blessed I am.

Of course, I can make more excuses not to hire the search company and put it off longer: it will take almost all of this check for the down payment, meaning none of the herbs that I need for my health – but if I don’t do it now, nothing will change in the near future as far as income, so I’ll just have to try to live without the herbs, hoping that I’m able to eat well enough, and praying that my health remains as good as it is right now.

I need to make this step; I’ve wasted too much time… and I need to do it now.

Catching Up – Ch-Ch-Changes – 3-27-12

Down at the Wharf, 7:30am. It brings back such beautiful memories being down here, parked in the area that I frequently parked, years ago when things were different, so many years ago… Hell, I can’t even remember when that was, or what changed – not off the top of my head… but oh, the dear memories. Making a living, having a purpose – my job was to delight people, make them smile, make them laugh, amaze them – and give us both something to remember.

Why did I stop? What happened? I’m not quite sure. Perhaps I stopped because the money wasn’t there anymore, the people were less and less entertained even though I was getting better and better. The silver painted panhandlers destroyed the area, took away the wonder and magic of busking, literally at times chasing down people, swearing at them if they didn’t tip after taking a photo – and honestly, the majority of them were absolute crap. There was no skill in their performance, no love. No performance in their performance, and certainly no magic or wonder.

Perhaps as well, it was time for me to move on before it turned into something that was more for getting money than giving love. I remember the final days, where regardless of how much love and effort I put into it, it wasn’t received by those whom I needed to give it to – and there’s only so much I could do as a statue… but being down here again, the beautiful memories flood back into my mind, into my heart – especially the truly wonderful ones: Anastasia and her extraordinary niece, Ane… Keri visiting me at my van for coffee, and our first kiss; and of course, the people, the random people and their beautiful, beautiful smiles…

It’s time to get out here again. I *need* to, for the life I am living now cannot go on like it is – not without me slowly losing my mind, every day the same, every day wondering how I will survive, knowing that there is no way I can without giving something, creating, offering whatever I can. Without performing…

And there is no way I can survive without earning some extra money here and there, as the other two things that I intend to do, finding my birth mother and curing myself, once and for all, of Hep C, will take money. I’ve taken the search for my Birth Mother as far as I personally, possibly can without hiring a searcher, and the herbs and other special things I need to cure myself will cost. As it is now, I’m completely broke shortly after I get my check and pay rent and my bills, pawning and selling what little I have left just for healthy food and fuel, and each time I read on Facebook about someone who needs money, I get frustrated, as there is nothing I can do to help. Words only go so far. Intention isn’t shit without some cash to give away to someone in need of it. So many people have given to me, but with my herbs running out and almost all of my current income out-going before I even see it, changes need to be made.

Changes *need* to be made.

Down at the Wharf, 7:30am. It brings back such beautiful memories being down here, parked in the area that I frequently parked, years ago when things were different, so many years ago… Hell, I can’t even remember when that was, or what changed – not off the top of my head… but oh, the dear memories. Making a living, having a purpose – my job was to delight people, make them smile, make them laugh, amaze them – and give us both something to remember.  but oh, the dear memories. Making a living, having a purpose – my job was to delight people, make them smile, make them laugh, amaze them – and give us both something to remember.

Why did I stop? What happened? I’m not quite sure. Perhaps I stopped because the money wasn’t there anymore, the people were less and less entertained even though I was getting better and better. The silver painted panhandlers destroyed the area, took away the wonder and magic of busking, literally at times chasing down people, swearing at them if they didn’t tip after taking a photo – and honestly, the majority of them were absolute crap. There was no skill in their performance, no love. No performance in their performance, and certainly no magic or wonder.

Perhaps as well, it was time for me to move on before it turned into something that was more for getting money than giving love. I remember the final days, where regardless of how much love and effort I put into it, it wasn’t received by those whom I needed to give it to – and there’s only so much I could do as a statue… but being down here again, the beautiful memories flood back into my mind, into my heart – especially the truly wonderful ones:Anastasia  and her extraordinary niece, Ane…Keri visiting me at my van for coffee… our first kiss; and of course, the people, the random people and their beautiful, beautiful smiles, smiles that *I* gave to them…

It’s time to get out here again. I *need* to, for the life I am living now cannot go on like it is, not without me slowly losing my mind; every day the same, no challenges (save for figuring out if I have anything left to pawn for food), nothing to fight for, nothing to get my heart beating , no inspiration, every day the same, every day wondering how I will survive & knowing that there is no way I can without giving something back to the world, creating, offering whatever I can… putting all of my heart into something, and then giving it away. Without performing…

And there is no way I can survive without earning some extra scratch here and there. I have made a decision, given myself goals – and these goals aren’t, in any way, light or easy.

I *will* find my Birth Mother, and I *will* cure myself of Hepatitis C without the aid of western medicine – and somehow, when I accomplish these things, I will help others to do the same… but in order to do either of those, I need money, as I’ve taken the search for my Birth Mother as far as I personally, possibly can without hiring a searcher or paying the fees for records, and the herbs and other special things I need to cure myself will cost. As it is now, I’m completely broke shortly after I get my check and pay rent and my bills, pawning and selling what little I have left just for healthy food and fuel, and each time I read about someone who needs money, I get frustrated as there is nothing I can do to help. Words only go so far. Intention isn’t shit without the cash to give away to someone in need of it. So many people have given to me, and it’s time to give back – but with my herbs running out and almost all of my current in-come out-going before I even see it, changes need to be made, and need to be made soon. I need to get back to busking, and/or some other way to bring in money… actually, nix the “or”.

Changes *need* to be made.

So, I’m going to make sure that my heart keeps beating by curing myself, so it can be ripped apart again, as searching for my birth mother always does. A perfect plan!