to the wind

Of course it changed me. I expected it to. Only now though am I realizing how much… and I found that I was completely wrong in how I changed.

Well, what do ya know. It’s pretty amazing what you hear when you stop and actually listen to and question your mind.

In the time I spent in the hospice then hospital, I thought that I had grown stronger, more passionate for life, more driven to not only survive, but live Throw caution to the wind, live everyday to its fullest without a care or worry and a renewed lust to reach further and live harder than ever before. Burn, Shine, be brilliant and beautiful. Inspire.

Before I realized that I had lost control I never questioned my thoughts. After all, even though my soul was trying its best to break free, my mind, my thoughts always countered with a logical explanation as to why I should back off, settle down, be quiet.

Be safe in this little world where nothing can reach you, nothing can harm you. Buckle up. Hold on tight. Keep your hands inside the car at all times.

I always considered that because I was making what I thought were rational thoughts, that I could believe in them. That they were helping me.
I had forgotten how to question, forgotten how to feel for too long before my brain took over and said “Whooooa. Wait. What if you fail? You’re supposed to be inspirational, lived when so very few expected you to, supposed to give back. You made it this far, thanks to me, so hey, just chill, forget that fire in your heart and soul. Remember, it’s what got you here in the first place, that lust, that passion – but I saved you. Remember that.”

True, it was my mind that made me search beyond Western medicine, and found what could keep me alive – but through that, I lost control of it, believed in it far too much. This is the act of the insane.

The mind is an amazing thing, far above what we can even comprehend. All the supercomputers in the world couldn’t make a robot walk, chew gum, be markedly aware of what a dog is doing and admire the architecture of the buildings it walks by, while still watching out for shit on the sidewalk at the same time. And still, beyond all of that, making each small thing in our body do exactly as it should…

But I believe that we were given a heart, a soul, for a reason far beyond just pumping blood or playing blues. Our mind tends to get a bit arrogant in its power and authority. We forget to question it.

In the nearly two years I spent fighting to live, I needed to give all the power to my mind. Not only to stay alive and trust it would make rational decisions, but to keep as much as I could away from my heart. In one year I watched 13 people die in a building with 14 rooms. They were mostly friends. At the hospital more, but no number. Just empty beds in a sea of rooms. To feel them all would be to give up. My heart had to be separate from my thoughts.

Only now I realize my mistake. Only now I break through it – and it is actually quite simple. Just ask youself – “Is what I am accepting without questioning the truth, or only an illusion?” Really. feel. Fight the arrogant little demon that is in your head.

About a year and a half ago I walked out of the hospital. Maybe two. In that time, I have started and partially shut down many artistic endeavors, not followed through with CultureFlux, been barely surviving on less than $300 a month in the most expensive city, found, spent nine months with, and broke up with a beautiful woman – all because my mind told me I wasn’t worth it.
Oh, my mind certainly knows my buttons!

I am. I am worth it, and everything, and more. I had lived a life of throwing caution to the wind, and my mind did exactly what it is programmed to – keep me alive. Keep me safe.
But it needs to be questioned, it needs to be challenged. Safe is not always best, as if it were, we would never leave our homes, never try anything new, never desire to be more, never risk making mistakes or reaching for our dreams.

Never shine, never burn with passion, never fall in love.

The mind is only a tool. It is nothing if you don’t learn how to use it. It’s really quite simple to achieve – all you need to do is consciously question it, instead of believing that it always knows best. Pause. Breathe. Let Go.
In order to truly be alive, the heart and mind must work together. Make as many mistakes as possible. Jump off a cliff, but into the water. Learn how to breathe fire. Learn how to walk on stilts, and fall. Realize that everything hurts far less than you worry it will. For that matter, don’t EVER worry, but get shit done when it is time. Focus on the NOW.

Fall in love, even if you think it can’t be returned.

I have never questioned my heart…
And It Is Back, in harmony with my mind.

“Some people never go insane. What truly horrible live they must live.” ~ Charles Bukowski

This is something I wrote a bit ago in one of my journals. When it starts speaking TO me, the handwriting changed dramatically. In parts it was scratched through the thick paper in passion.

12/27/98

For so long

I’ve been waiting for someone

like you

for so long
then you came a Thanksgiving night
And I looked into your eyes

for the first time as you stood beside me

there was no bottom

and I was lost.

It was you and I knew it

Talking for hours, looking so deep into your eyes
wanting so much
to know you

to believe in you

to believe that this might be.

Never leaving my mind,

filling my heart, slowly helping me to realize

who I am again

I offered you pieces
of my past
I offered you all
of my present

always looking to the
unknown future, wishing
that the ties that bound you
weren’t there, wishing

that mine
weren’t either.

We dreamed together

we laughed

Tears fell (more mine than yours as I became again)

we wrapped each other up
in each other
So nice inside of you
so warm
so real

so afraid that the tests would come

And now they do.

Now they aren’t fucking around.

HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT THIS

HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH TO YOU

THIS IS WHAT YOU ASKED FOR NOW

PLAYTIME IS OVER TIME TO STEP

TIME IF YOU DARE TO STEP AHEAD

TIME TO SUMMON ALL OF YOUR

STRENGTH.

SO WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO?

GONNA RUN? THAT’S WHAT WE’RE

USED TO SEEING AS WE WATCHED YOU.

YEAH, SURE, WE KNOW THAT YOU

KNOW YOURSELF, BUT WHY

DO YOU ALWAYS RUN? HAVE YOU BEEN SO AFRAID

OF KNOWING YOU? ARE YOU SO FRIGHTENED

OF YOURSELF?

No. We know it isn’t that. We know

you aren’t afraid of you. We know

that you’re better than that.

We know you are stronger.

We know that you were just so fucking tired of the gifts we gave you

so that you could become

who you are today.

we sent your mother away

we gave you no blood of your own

we gave you a family

who gave you everything as a child

except a friend who you could talk to

when things just weren’t right

and you had so many questions.

We gave you confusion

we gave you years of emptiness

we gave you an excruciating feeling

of loss

And we didn’t ever tell you why or where

it came from

we gave you so many lovers

so that you could try to leave them

with the same feeling

Not knowing that it was always

going to end up with you abandoning them

the way you were as a baby

a helpless fucking baby who

after four short months

the first four months you ever experienced

asking where was that part of you that was so warm where was that part of you that was peace where was the heartbeat and the smell and the voice that always could soothe and where was that part of you that your fucking life started inside of???

And yes.

We gave you that emptiness knowing
We gave you your pain knowing
We gave you your confusion knowing
We gave you your heart knowing
We gave you your head knowing
We gave you your lovers
We gave you your drugs
We let you watch your friends
slowly die in front of you.

Do you remember that smell?

Of course you do. We made sure of it.

We gave it to you.

But we also gave you your joy
We also gave you your laughter
We gave you your heart, and
made sure it could feel love
We gave you your eyes, and
made sure they could shine

But we saw that you forgot, sometimes,
that you could love.

We saw that you forgot, sometimes,
that you could shine.

So we gave you a mind, a heart…
and we gave you a pen
So that you could remember.

We gave you all of the tools
it would take to become
who you are today.

We gave you everything you needed to be here,
now.

So… What are you going to do?

Of course you can run. It’s easy.
We’ve given you that, too.
We’ve given you so many reasons to.

But if you stay

If you try

IF YOU WANT SO MUCH
WHAT YOU ASKED FOR
if you stay

IF YOU TAKE THIS DARE
(you always did as a child, remember?)

IF YOU USE THE STRENGTH
IF YOU USE YOUR LOVE
IF YOU SHINE LIKE WE TAUGHT YOU HOW
IF YOU USE THE RAGE THAT WE HAVE WORKED
SO HARD TO MAKE INSIDE

IF YOU DON’T IGNORE
YOUR PASSION
AND PAIN
AND ANGER
AND HATRED

And you don’t try to crawl
inside again

If you realize that
you have found a way
to keep yourself.

If you keep, this time
what we gave you
what you asked for
then won’t it all finally

make at least some sense?

Think about how much
would have been in vain
Think about throwing away
what could have been
Think about the time
that you didn’t have to let it become

Like you have

Like she has

There is so much more ahead
and it won’t always be easy
and it won’t always be fun
and it won’t always make sense
but the time you will share
as long
as you don’t run from the lessons
as long as you don’t run from the pain
as long as there are the words
to fight the occasional confusion

as you give it time –

it finally may make the pain
just a little less.

We will always offer you, through this life
gifts to help you grow.

There will be pain involved,
and sometimes
more than you think that you can bear
but if you live through them
if you meet them face to face
see them for what they are, welcome them
and learn from them,

then you will also find
the strength you have inside

then you will also find
how deeply you can love

and then you will also find
your Self

and know the pleasure in that

because the pleasure
and the love,
and your heart that continues to beat

are our true gift

to you.

The Strange Things Inside Of My Head

Well that was quite some dream. One of those dreams that when you wake up from it, you just kind of go “huh?” and leave it at that, not even bothering to look into an interpretation.
It began with Amy and I getting ready for Day of the Dead in my apartment (which was BIG!), getting dressed, putting on makeup, getting all done up. Johnny Depp stopped by out of the blue, and seeing an opportunity, I asked him to help me cover some areas of my face in white, simply so I could say that Johnny Friggin’ Depp once helped me with my makeup and add that to the list of memories I had for the reason of “just because”.
He left shortly after, and I was having a serious problem with my makeup. I kept changing it, but instead of taking it off and starting over I just put more makeup on top of the old. This worked until the top layer started peeling off like a layer of paint warmed and softened on a sweltering Southern day. Some unknown friends came over to give us a ride, and only then I realized that it was 11pm. Fuck it. Let’s go.
Act II (Completely Unrelated)
My makeup for *something* was going on well this time, but still undone. I looked like a half-done clown that had been in a pillow fight – I just needed to straighten the lines. Cut to random officer knocking on my door, saying I had tested positive for Class Six Narcotics. (Was I on probation? Huh? What the hell are Class Six Narcotics?) Anyway, after a “what the hell do you MEAN, I tested positive?” Pointless argument, I ended up going with them knowing that it would be cleared up – but brought my makeup bag and just for good measure, my Roller Blades.
I ended up in Summer Camp Jail, with ping pong, open co-ed rooms, and two air hockey tables that were being used for one game, the two players hitting the puck and making it jump from table to table. I saw all of this as I was skating around looking like some bizarre half undone klown. Oh – and of course I was wearing my bathing suit, because that made perfect sense somewhere inside the subconscious depths of my dreamland mind.
I was called into the office, skated around the multitude of joined rooms until I found it, and sat down at the desk of the plainclothes officer who took me in. There was another uniformed officer there, who said that my test results were most likely a mistake and they would get it cleared up as soon as possible.
And then it got strange. The plainclothes guy (who was actually quite nice) took me and another person I apparently knew (?) out, and we all climbed into a van and headed out.
We took beautiful roads that were unfamiliar to me, lined with autumn trees in some places, along the crest of tall mountains in others with breathtaking views that stretched for miles. Then, we started to descend, and on the left I saw what looked like the La Jolla Cove. In front of us looked like Shores Beach, and gods, what an epic day it was! Waves beautifully formed with nine foot faces, surfers dancing on them. “We’re going SURFING!” I thought… but as the van approached the shore, closer and closer, it was speeding up on this road that was only ours.
Then appeared something that looked like a Hot-Wheels ramp which ended just before the sand. We were going fast then, much to fast to stop in time, so I figured out what was coming. I was nervous, yet at the same time excited to see what would happen.
We flew off of the ramp in the van, well over the waves and the surfers and beyond the break, and then – there was a landing ramp. We touched down on it as if on a cloud, barely jostled, and kept going.
Now this road turned to the left, and we climbed a hill, again with extraordinary views. We drove for a bit more, climbing, when off to the right side I saw a Water Park. The van stopped, we all got out Somehow my skates had disappeared) and as it turns out, we were at the top of the tallest water slide. Just drove straight up to it, like we owned the place – and then went down. I stopped about half way to help a girl on another slide that was stuck, or afraid, or… something. I forgot.
Then Ruby woke me up to go outside.

I still want to figure out a way to record dreams. Oh, the strange things we would see inside of our twisted heads…

Until Again, Lou.

In memory of Lord, of Lou Reed and Andy. I will never forget, and please wait for me. I am not done yet.
Special thanks to you. To Bob, Ryan, to Cody (I still remember our conversation in the bus outside of DNA) to Lori SWitch, to Douglas, to Zac, and to all of my past loves – Striggy, Astrud, Blair, Dana, Lulu, Leah, and so many others.
To Doug, to Zac, Especially to Raven, the best driving partner I could have ever hoped for.
This is not a suicide note, I have a pup to care for. This is just appreciation for all of you until…
To Annie, the beautiful woman who made me. My Mother who I have still yet to meet. She said that I screamed when I was torn out of her arms, and the people that bought me said I was silent. Silent in the first years.
I am not silent anymore.
I live my life as I seem just. I have darkness and light. “The deeper the pain, the more brilliant the light.”

I love all of you.

All of you, in your pain and heart. I am far from perfect, but I understand the reach – and I long for the hug that makes my soul quiet.

I need to believe.

 

And life, as painful as it is, painful as we allow it to be, still goes on. Still goes on for some of us, those who aren’t ready yet, haven’t fulfilled our quota in this one, having not lived their full purpose.

I see it every single day in this neighborhood, bodies wasted away to nothing, skeletal faces, some hunched over in impossible angles but still somehow making it down the street. I can’t help but wonder how they are still alive, what their lives must be like, and – how blessed I am. How blessed we all are.

Lost, another dear friend today, so very full of love and laughter, of wisdom, of pain, perhaps – but in all the times I saw him, he never let on that he might have been. He stood straight, he laughed from his soul, his smile could make even the darkest days brighter – even the memory of it.

Lord had a certain adolescence to him, he had found a way to remember the wonder and love for life of a child, where everything, as old as it may have been, was new. In my experience he seemed to love everyone with the same conviction, and knowing.

He lived his full purpose, and then some. I need to believe this. I need to believe this for everyone I have watched die.
I am tempted to say there have been to many, but just perhaps – there have been just enough.

Tonight I again opened a bottle that has been sitting for many days, poured a three finger glass, and opened my kitchen window at the back of my building to pour a sip, O.G. style, on the ground for the brilliant fucking people that have blessed me with their knowledge, wisdom and love. It filtered through the flat grey steel bars of the fire escape, but found its way to the dirt three floors below.

This goes out to all of you. Lord, English Don, Ron, Ernesto, Ruby (not my dog, not named after her) Alisun and Alison, so very many others that I watched die horribly slowly, and the two dogs that have passed, Bear, in 9th grade – and of course Bean. Far, far too many others, enough to almost consider myself immune.

I understand death, or at least I thought to enough to not have this effect me in any way, but… I still have a heart, and still have shitloads of fight inside o me. Lord reminded me of that. You all did.

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus one day, so I will never be without you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

All those who passed, I’ll see you again – that is certain – but fuck, really… stop that leaving is shit – though I know you must go. Just don’t really dig it, at all.
We will meet again.

To be a Dog

 

 

I strip naked to crawl into bed. It is an uncommonly warm night in The City, the few weeks of summer in the fall, and I prefer a slight bit of chill at the very least. Ruby has a tendency to snuggle, and by snuggle I mean to attempt to push me off of our bed.  She doesn’t just slowly slide up – she essentially falls down on me and expects me to slide out from under her. It is still my damned bed, to a certain degree. She has learned that when it’s time for me to get in, she gets off. I make myself comfortable, avoiding the edge that I know she will push me to (a head start) and when allowed, she then hops back on to claim her side/middle/the whole damn thing. Her simplicity is just one of the things I love about her. Primal, no bullshit.

She tests me. She pushes, I push harder, and very shortly after we both find sleep, my arm outside of the covers caressing her, in adoration listening to her breathe, feeling her puppy belly rise and fall, the occasional sigh. If only she could know I would do anything for her. I think that she’s learning this.

When we walk around the neighborhood there are many loud noises, many people, many things that she is still unsure of which cause pause for her. “It’s okay, Rube.” She looks at me, her leash goes slack as she walks next to my leg until we pass, then she’s off to exploring again in her zig-zag roundabout way, from one side of the sidewalk to the other, exploring everything. I walk behind her in more or less a straight line, but we both get everywhere we are going, just the same.

Though I love all animals, there is an exquisite pureness, faith, and loyalty in dogs that can’t be refused. In their innocence they trust that we know best, even when we don’t. When they look at us and their eyes shine in a big goofy smile, we realize that life really is beautiful, and even in our lowest times, there is hope.

They don’t care if we come home late, they are always thrilled to see us. When we drink a bit too much they don’t judge. When we pass gas, “HEY! New smell! WOOHOO! They don’t care what we look like, are excited about everything, don’t mind the garbage on the streets in the slightest. With Ruby I have free reign to behave like a complete fool without any concern about what other people think, though that has never been much difficulty for me. They don’t care what we act like, how much money we make, even if they live in a tiny apartment that they consider home. And have a bed that they can take over. All it requires is love and caring.

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.” ~ Jack London

Yes, I will do anything for her. It is the very least for what she gives me.

This is something I read quite a while ago, in between Bean and Ruby, and it stays with me.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me.  I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.  He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

I know my time with Ruby is shorter than I would prefer.  It was with Bean, with Bear, even with Happy, the Sheep Dog who I was raised with who almost ripped my cheek off when I was a very young child… but it is never long enough, and I can’t ever do enough for them.

http://igg.me/p/534079/x/451145

 

 

 

 

a beautiful harmony

I live the life that I have so intricately created for myself, by myself. My Self is all that I ever had. I am a complex person in many ways, but exquisitely simple in love. Love is all that I believe in. Still, I tend to say too much. Is it a test, a challenge? Can you see me for who I am beyond this?

Talk to me once and you will see that I am only a fool, a fool with heart full of everything, peace and desire in combat, in unison.

Both sides resound in a beautiful harmony.