Remember when *this* happened?
Kind of REALLY wanting to do it again.
Remember when *this* happened?
Kind of REALLY wanting to do it again.
We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Had an event or gathering that we wanted to go to, looked forward to, but as the time was whittled to hours, then minutes before we had to leave, as we grew more interested in a project we were working on, increasingly loving our solitude, or, in my case, a good book with my puppy finally sound asleep resting her head on my ankles, we begin to make excuses.
It won’t be the end of the world. There will always be next week or month, the City just stole my car and I have a disdain for the bus and besides, don’t have the four dollars to spend, don’t want to wait.
The worst of all – I won’t be missed.
That was me tonight, thinking of any reason I could not to go to Mark Growden’s beautiful manifestation, the ‘Calling All Choir’. Any reason… but especially getting there and back. They were the strongest. I love driving, loved having a car, and absolutely adore getting out of the Tenderloin – loathe walking Ruby in it for the most part… but I digress.
I received a message, straight out of the fading blue by someone who is becoming a dearer friend by the day.
“Hey darling! Are you singing tonight? Do you need a ride?”
I remember to listen, and I hear. I accept. The world does not work in mysterious ways. It works, and we only need to realize how perfect they are.
I remember Mark, so many years ago, driving by and seeing me in my garage on Paige and Steiner, holding a garage sale to hopefully pay rent. We waved at each other, and he pulled over. (I have permission to say this from him) – and then, said a brief hello as he walked quickly into the breezeway to do what he used to do after copping. I could say that he isn’t the same person, make this a lie – but he is the same person. Full of passion, determination, desire and… and love. He just changed direction. Now, he channels everything from the former past of the crack stem to the world, creating magic. Magick.
Then there was tonight, and for the first time, my voice wavered fighting back tears. Tears of appreciation for him and all the others, tears for… for everything.
We began with voice exercises, Cameron and I bumping each other out of love and appreciation and so long unseen, holding hands, exorcizing our demons, exercising our voices. We needed to be here now, needed to let go of everything. I tend to hold on to so very much… I have let go of more, but always remember.
Part two. Moonlight.
Mark crated a song out of a single word, which he wrote while it was streaming through his window in country. Moonlight. If I didn’t know better, I would call it contrived, but I see, I listen – and some, I cannot help but hear. A four part harmony, even the least of us were now singers with his humor and instruction. We look to him not as a teacher, but as a true friend, he us just that way – and as I said before, I would die for my friends. Hell – I would even sing for them. WITH them.
Mark requested that we sing all parts, find our range, find what we preferred to sing. I was, and always will be, Bass. (In an opera, I will always be killed. Ain’t that fitting? A New adventure!) Wandering again.
He asked us to form unclosed circles – imagine a flower. We were pedals. Bass, tenor, Alto, Semprano. Might sound difficult, but under him, easily and quickly done.
Then, he asked us to sing. He asks us to sing, and the heavens opened; He asked us each to sing the part we had chosen and then led us outdoors, to sing “Moonlight” to the full moon.
I didn’t look at anyone. I looked at the moon, singing my part. Everyone else was so perfectly singing their soul. My voice wavered with tears… and I was home in the light of the Harvest Moon.
One word, and a song so powerful.
It is nice to be back.
Listen. You just might hear us – or better yet, come join us.
It’s actually quite funny. I got fired from a gig for being drunk when I was quite sober. Tired, weary with little sleep but as always ready to work – but not intoxicated in the slightest.
I got there late due to the train (and yes, me) but once there, at a bar on the wharf cheering for New Zealand and as requested, dressed as a pirate to inspire, entice, and engage the customers – I WAS a damn pirate. The very first thing I did was find my co-worker, who offered me a piece of minty gum after saying I smelled like alcohol (which didn’t surprise me, I had just celebrated the best birthday of my entire life with a dear friend the night before) – and then, and this is a key point – I grabbed one of the poles that was supporting the long tables they set up, and, quite honestly, did what I was supposed to and dressed to do – to be a Pirate. I hollered for New Zealand. (Oracle can suck my a**) And gods, what happened then…
I had – I guess we had people coming up to us in elation, one girl even said she changed bars, came to us, because she saw me on the table. I danced with people, I played with them, I held little back, but some. I played with kids. We passed out their schwag (eye patches) until we were dry – and yeah, pictures taken of me and us everywhere.
I engaged in no one improperly. I held good and fun conversations. I am not bullshitting. If I were in the wrong, I would be the first to admit it, but – I truly believed that is what they wanted. Seems like the patrons did.
Maybe it is just an excuse. Maybe everything is. If you don’t want a performer, ask for a pawn – or at the very least delineate boundaries – but don’t fire me for actually being a character that you asked for.
Yes, I take this personally in ALL that were involved – Some people are weak, some are impetuous, some just try to survive.
I choose to not try any longer. I will just simply live.
I admit – this is was a very difficult post to write; leaving out names, most anger and words. In forty-six years, I have never felt any anger to a recent ex… I have felt passion, hope, and well wishes – but never anger. I have studied this, and know it is only a small part of me, where this comes from. I have always striven to be a better man – and I have always written about them all, in understanding or trying to find it… until she asked me not to. Doomed from the start, and she is beautiful, and people tell me I am, and…
Life goes on.
I’ve fought far too hard so I can give my life to others. I believe your life is yours, and that is good – but…
First, as I settle into my bed, thank you Scott & krew for making the day I was thrust into this world so beautiful. I will tell all of you how magickal it was soon.
Thank you Angela, Pieter, Ken, and all the others for knowing I am your brother, forever, Spoken or not. I know my true family, and quite honestly, would die for you.
Yes, that carries weight in words, but also is heartfelt truth. I mean hell – I fucking LOVE adventure, and there is only one way to find the final one… but I digress I ain’t gonna die, ever. There is a supple strength inside of me, and I will always be here, because of, and for you. All of you, and all of my dreams.
Second, and this is where life gets real. In the past two days I have played a part, have, as The Hobo King, had the blessings to speak with people who ripped open their hearts for me. I only spoke to entice, encourage the next wave of immeasurable love and determination. I somehow was able to fight back tears as a man my age old me his truth was his four month old son, and in speaking with him, in listening, he gave me the answers to the questions that I needed.
I was not playing a part anymore, I fucking AM the Hobo King, and in being myself, was blessed with what I needed to hear ~ that life goes on.
Then there was another, a beautiful Sufi Muslim who sat beside me, beside us, the Fairy Queen and Hobo King, and spoke. A young woman from Pakistan who was there fighting for women’s rights in a world that we don’t know – but as she she opened her heart and spoke in this exquisite creation so humbly called The Mystic Midway, I was silent as she spoke so eloquently, fiercely, and in all that she fights for, in watching her best friend stoned to death at sixteen years, in the stories that she shared… I could not help but cry.
I try not to talk much, only give direction and entice the heart that is being shared, but
but I needed to say something. She has only a few months left to find a husband before she is given away. This is her belief, even after running way, after… everything. Believe me, these are just notes that I write, moments I will never forget, but just notes.
I couldn’t avoid myself. I cried when I told her how beautiful she is, how, in hearing her, she has a strength that is not born out of intimidation, not out of fear – but out of love.
I don’t remember exactly what I said, but when It it was spoken, she, this glorious human who has hugged Oprah, met Desmond Tutu, and will soonmeet the Dalai Lama, asked if she could hug me. Me, this simple man brought to tears by her words.
This is why I exist, I think. To feel her arms around me, to feel arms that had an incomprehensible hatred for men in a religion and culture that we as americans cannot even begin to imagine… and she gave me such an effortless, beautiful, glorious gift. A hug, her arms wrapped around my heart, a touch that spoke of us all so beautifully, intricately intertwined.
So much more to say, but it will have to wait. I need to be a Pirate in a few hours.
Gods, I love this life.
In time I believe it will all come to fruition. In time, but I am an impatient bastard, cursed with a lackadaisical attitude on the outside of my insides, and a heart that wants to do everything NOW, in the grandest possible way.
I’ve realized why I want to recommence CultureFlux – why it has been gnawing at me for so long. I am completely, head over heels, deeply, gloriously, unapologetically in love with Wonder and with the people who create it. I wish to promote it in every way possible, and CultureFlux, quite honestly, is the best vehicle I have found. The best vehicle that I have found to bring these people to life in their own words, to show who they are; larger than life, driven, passionate, true to their dreams. True to their soul. I see it. I see it, I see them, because I am them, for as long as I could remember and I want to be a part of it and more, because even as the world crumbles around us, we shine. We fucking shine so brightly that I think if who they are gets out there, even to only a few, it will inspire those few. It will inspire them to realize that while it may not be easy, it is most certainly possible, and the world they want is out there. When I was younger, much younger, I only had dreams. The world has changed – in my life, in my heart, in what needs to happen. THIS is how we fight.
I’ve fought my own battles, a living testament to the power of the mind, I simply chose to live and to dream larger and more beautifully of what could be, wanted so much more, dreamed of being on the stage again over and over and looking at all of the beautiful people and this was the vision I kept in my head, this was the vision I fought for when I had to press the button for the nurse because I didn’t have the strength to even turn enough in the hospital bed to put the bedpan under me. This was the dream in my heart when I pushed them away, finally, and for the first time after being injected with paralytic chemicals because even when I was unconscious I tried to rip the tubes out that breathed for me. Even when I awoke I couldn’t talk, couldn’t even write. Bobzilla, as much as I loathed him for not letting me die, saved my life – and when I woke up, I hated him for it. Fucking HATED HIM… just. let. me. go. away…
Come touch me here so I know that I’m not there.
I don’t hate him anymore. Alive, awake, living, and now I piece together all the parts of my past to make me whole again. Now…
Now it may be time to let go of the past. Yeah, I should be dead, ashes to ashes, spread me in the Sea so I never stop travelling…
So now I try to dredge up the passion, to forget that I should have been dead a few times over, to thrive again. To be who I once was. I’m not going to lie – it is difficult…
But how could I truly live if I didn’t jump again? Of course I am afraid. Of course I am uncertain.
Of course, I need to keep fighting.
Day 4 of 1500
Still the constant pain, nausea, and feeling like there is a colony of ants burrowing under my skin when I am adventurous and tired enough to try to sleep, but… it’s getting better. *I* am getting better.
I have tried before to do this. Tried, and failed. This time I am winning. The halfway mark has been passed. I WILL win, I will come back from over four years of the numbness, the absence, the nonexistence, the empty shell of who I was, the man I remember who was burning with passion and fought for dreams.
It was well over four years ago that I was prescribed my first bottle of morphine, and then it made perfect sense. The pain was bearable but still got in the way of most things I wanted to do, so when my doctor recommended the opiates, I warily accepted. I knew what would come of it as I still had clear memories of the agony felt over twenty years ago when I was kicking heroin for the first and final time after a daily two year habit. I knew what would come of it but the alternatives were weighed and the decision was made.
Twice over the years it appeared as if I wouldn’t need to wrestle with this, that everything as far as the morphine addiction goes would be well taken care of by simply dying, but appearances can be deceiving, and here I still am – one year and one month after my last hospital stay, and getting better as the days progress. Better, but only in some ways. Everything was still blunted, vapid, uninspiring. With the help and inspiration of incredible people, I had conquered death – but only to come out on the other side still a ghost.
I want to give you more than that. I want to give ME more than that, more than haunting memories of seeing how high I could fly, how big I could dream.
No more. No more wishing I was here.
I’ve gotten over what I hope and believe to be the hardest part, last night was actually able to sleep for four hours after being awake for thirty six, and though I am still days away from “better”, this time I am NOT going to give up the fight.
There is no way in hell that I am going to go through this again.
In a week I’ll get my monthly ‘disability’ check for the impossible-to-survive-on $380, and hell – I just may celebrate by spending some of it on a nice dinner, seeing as it will actually have time to digest after all of this is over.
Friday morning, 10:30 am. My eyes open slightly as I lay in bed. I notice the time, shut them again hoping for a bit more sleep as I know it will be a long and active night, but my mind has other plans for me. It toys with me, letting me be just relaxed enough to think sleep may be possible but active enough to prevent that: “What do I need to do today? Ahh, my Dr. appointment.” I get up to check the time I need to be there and notice that this is the first one I’ve had in many months that falls on the morning side of the noon hour. I was supposed to be there an hour ago. I feel guilty for a fraction of a second for missing it, for not doing the ONE thing that I had to do before this evening, but that guilt is quickly rationalized away by realizing that I didn’t have enough gas in my car to make it there and back anyway. I’ll reschedule. Life goes on.
I begin to reach for my phone then remember that the service was cut off last night somewhere between 11:20 and 11:26, just as I was in between receiving and answering a text from L. I was intending to call my mother today as well, but I guess that will have to wait. Hell, I had to wait forty-five years to talk with her the first time, so I guess waiting another two weeks for my disability check is possible, or perhaps some other form of infusion of cash before then… but then, the whole process begins again at the beginning of next month – the constant question of “where will the money come from?”
I need to figure out a way to make ends meet. Write the book, tour, and HELP people. Create things. Perform. I have two of those down, performing tonight and tomorrow at the Edwardian Ball with Vau de Vire as a Living Statue and creating things to sell, though when I get paid for performing (and how much) I’m not certain, and what I’m creating needs to sell. So I can make more, sell them, make even more, sell those, and so on. I have two pieces made with lots of positive feedback, but for a bit, until that grows, most of the money that I hopefully make from them will go back into making more and simply using the small amount made on top to survive – get food for Ruby & myself, herbs, and the fuel to get around. Still, it’s a start, and much more than I had to look forward to a few short weeks ago when I was wondering what I could do. I’m thankful for that more than I can say, as it silences the turmoil inside that has been deafening me for the past few months. Sometimes wondering what to do was far too loud to let me simply be quiet and listen to the possibilities. It happens. My brain screams at me, gets all fretful and worried, and I can’t hear anything else until quiet happens inside, and I let things happen instead of trying to force them too. I’m not saying that action isn’t good – it’s great, unless that action is running around in a friggin’ circle, eyes bulging, heart pounding, and not seeing or hearing anything that I should be paying attention to. I’ve taught myself to be better at not letting that happen, but sometimes… yeah. It’s like drinking 20 cups of Peet’s coffee and being shut in a barren 8×8 room. Without the padding on the walls, though that would be fitting.
I’m becoming more and more inclined to write the book on my experiences over the two years I was in the hospitals, expected to die. I want to do it soon – need to do it soon while it is still fresh, but I mustn’t lose sight of its purpose, which is to help people, to offer them hope where there may not be any. It can’t be written well, I can’t hope to help anyone, if somewhere in the back of my mind is writing it for the purpose for financial gain. That’s the rub. It must be written for one purpose only; to give back all that I have been given, all that I have, for some reason, been blessed with. It needs to be written out of love.
Time now to take my wonderful little beastly out into the streets of the Tenderloin, let her explore the world outside this apartment and expel at least a tiny bit of her puppy energy, then back here for the Edwardian getting readiness.
And life, so beautiful and terrifyingly exquisite, goes on.
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