Life, Death, Dogs. A Rooftop Contemplation

The occasional whisper of tires as a car drives by below, an unintelligible shout, the scattered songs of birds. The only sounds at this hour. Only the crackheads & I seem to be awake. Even the sirens are quiet, sleeping.

It’s 4am & I’m up on the roof of my apartment building with a fresh cup of coffee, a cigarette, & Ruby. The clouds above reflect the city lights giving a faint glow, just enough to see by. A cool breeze plays with my hair, blowing it in my face then away. I wrap my robe a little tighter around me.

I sit on the short wall of my building, look down at the weeds growing in our forbidden & neglected back yard. Near the far right corner calla lily’s bloom, defying the otherwise abandoned and unloved desolation. With their beauty inevitably comes a warm sorrow as I’m reminded of when Striggy brought a gift of bone-white lily’s to my tent in Austin. With love & reverence I placed them on top of the pale blonde box I had picked up earlier that day, already made into an altar surrounded with candles, a picture of Bean propped up against the box that now held the ashes of the most amazing dog & companion I’ve ever known. She was killed by a freight train a few days before, found by friends lying between the tracks, her favorite stuffed toy a few inches from her head. Nearly 13 years later & the tears still fall for her.

I turn back facing the roof top, close my eyes, take in a few deep breaths as I find a strange comfort in this sadness. Now, it’s filled with love and warm memories instead of the anguish I carried inside for years, holding it tight, afraid that if the pain wasn’t there I would somehow be betraying her memory.

I know better now. I understand death better now.

I think of how exquisite this life is, how fortunate I am. Occasionally I still let the weight of it all get to me and forget these things, but not now. Not today.

I open my eyes and catch Ruby briefly chasing her tail. I chuckle silently to myself and somehow love her even more.

I think of the time I spent in Hospice. Months on end so close to giving up, so desperately wanting to stop being strong, and each morning having to somehow find just one reason to keep fighting. One reason to stay alive.

As impossible it seemed to be able to imagine at times, I needed to believe that I would somehow get better.

I had to know, with as little doubt as possible, that there would be mornings like this one to look forward to.

Book Excerpt – Dungeons & a Dragon

It was no surprise when I walked up the stairs & found the eviction papers taped to my apartment door. I was just surprised that they took so long to appear. When my new house-mates first rent check bounced however, I knew it was time to start packing.  In a strange way it was exciting – I imagined the papers as a passport to a new life, like a baby bird kicked out of the nest and into a tornado.

Having a feeling that this was coming I had already began to prepare, and now my entire life was portable, fitting into two duffel bags and a backpack. I put the books I couldn’t bear to part with and a few sentimental things into boxes to be stored at a friend’s house, and after I had sold or given away everything I could, I set the rest out on the sidewalk and went back inside to clean.

San Francisco has a wonderful system – many people I know have furnished their entire apartments with treasures found on the street, and much of mine was as well – from the gorgeously ornate wrought-iron wall sconce the size of a semi-truck tire to the beautiful hand-blown glass bowl which I kept on the coffee table, filled with the soft glow of blue Christmas lights that I bought at a post-Halloween sale. They were cheap, so I stocked up. A person can never have enough tiny lights to practice their patience – or failing that – their cursing, as they tried to untangle them.
I put the remainder of my things in front of my apartment and went back upstairs to do some cleaning. After about an hour I glanced out the window & what was a somewhat sizeable pile before, with chairs, a couch, various lamps, clothes & random other things that had found their way into my apartment had almost entirely disappeared. It was as if I had missed the middle part of the sped-up video where the maggots clean a dead rat down to bone.
Curious about this phenomenon, I wanted to gather more of my things and set them out there, then peek out from behind a curtain with a video camera and watch what happened. I imagined that there was a network of scavengers who prowled the neighborhoods in cars & on foot, looking for piles such as the one I had put outside, and when they found one the alarm went out. They got on their phones or cupped their hands around their mouth & made strange animal calls, alerting the rest of the foragers to the booty. Of course, in my head, they weren’t normal  people – they were some post-apocalyptic dystopian creatures, some with mechanical limbs, dressed in dusty black leather with wild hair & eyes, who had trailers made of steel & lethal stabby-things hooked to their flat-black Prius’s, and worked with lightning fast efficiency.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a video camera or anything else to set outside and lure them, so the mystery still remains unsolved.

I had previously announced on a social network my imminent eviction, and was offered a few places where I could rest my head by the wonderful community of freaks I called friends. Bean made it more difficult, as most were apologetically not able to host a tragic, homeless Klown as well as an 85 pound dog.

All except one, offered by a person named Bob who I had met only once before. It was a home in the middle of the Mission District of San Francisco, Bob spent five days of the week at work in New Jersey, flying back on the weekends on his employer’s dime, and the only other person who lived there was the woman who owned the house.
There was just one catch. Bob’s dog already called it home, and while to most humans he was the sweetest, most loving beast – he had been trained by a former owner to joyfully rip the throats out of any other animal he came within destroying distance of. Bean was welcome though, and that was the most important thing.

Bob picked me up a few days after we talked, and when we arrived at the house I couldn’t believe where I would be living. It was a beautiful two-story Edwardian house with an enormous beauganvilla draped over the entry gate, as if it were a portal to a different world. Shortly after, I realized how fitting that observation was as I met the owner (a woman who was perhaps in her late forties who had the look of someone who rated daily personal upkeep pretty low on the chart) & she told me about what the 2nd floor was primarily used for in this quiet, seemingly ordinary house, then took me on a tour.

“I’m going to give you some chores to do while you’re staying here.” She said as we started walking up the stairs.
“Sure, of course. No problem.”
“If a certain room is booked twice in a day it’s the girls job to clean it for the next, but I want you to come up here when it’s empty at least once a day and make certain things are in their place and the room is clean. Don’t worry – the girls are responsible for anything that gets soiled with any kind of body fluids, you just need to take the bags of towels down to the wash room & straighten up.”
Girls? Body fluids? Vague, seedy images started coming to my mind, but I couldn’t have expected what I was led into.

She led me from room to room, each room designed perfectly for its use. I thought that I wasn’t naïve, already being a part of the BDSM scene pretty heavily for a few years at that time, but this was another level. I’d heard about it, of course – but I could have never before then imagined them on the second floor of a house that looked just like any other nice place when you first walked inside. Living room, kitchen, laundry room, nice looking but nothing at all hinting at what was found at the top of the stairs.
I tried to keep my jaw from dropping open and looking like an idiot as she opened the doors to the various rooms and led me inside of each. A medical fetish room complete with steel trays with various strange implements and a surgery table, a baby fetish room with a crib, flowery wallpaper, drawers full of pacifiers & diapers, and of course, the BDSM room. Walls lined with hanging floggers, canes, cats, paddles & so much more, a beautiful St Andew’s Cross, a cage – it was elegant. Exquisite. I was in complete awe, feeling like a kid in a candy store… and this is the house I would be living in, at least temporarily.

From sleeping on beaches, in abandoned warehouses, and living with my meth dealer as a teenager, I’d felt I’d really stepped up my homeless game. What I didn’t know at the time was that the woman who had just taken me in would end up being quite a challenge to live with. While at first she seemed stable and at least tolerably balanced, I would soon start to understand that she was pretty far from sane…

 

 

 

 

Elephants Skating On My Brain

Tuesday morning, 9:30, and when any other self-respecting person who doesn’t have a horridly typical 9-5 job would be sleeping, I’m awake and have been for roughly an hour. These days it’s something of a rare occurrence as I’m commonly up until at least 4am working on maille, but I’m one of those odd people who actually do like mornings so I’m able to forego the embarrassment I should, by unwritten law, be feeling as one of the happy few who can wake up any goddamned time they want so there. We hold onto this dearly, sacrificing security, health insurance, and likely much more money to be able to do whatever we want, when we want – if we can afford to, that is.

My wake-up routine is simple. I began it only a couple of months ago, feeling a need for at least something that was routine in my life, and it consists of laying in bed for roughly 30 minutes from the first moment of consciousness, eyes closed and just breathing, thinking about consciousness, quantum mechanics & the question of reality, considering magick, spirituality & science, a subtle smile on my face as I think about the day ahead what I want to create in it & how fortunate I am just simply to have it. If it’s one of the frequent mornings when Ruby is laying next to me instead of on the couch, I gently rub the closest part of her body to my left hand (her side of the bed) which, is usually, the lower half of her body. I still haven’t figured out if she plans the perfect position of her butt to my hand or if it’s just luck, but knowing her, I’m guessing the former.

After the short time in bed, I open my eyes, slog directly to the kitchen and make myself a cup of coffee. Usually, since I make a full pot at a time, I just put it in a cup and microwave it, but every three days I’m able to make a new pot, programming it to begin brewing about an hour before I think I’ll wake up. This is one of those mornings – a special treat of fresh coffee. It’s the small things, y’know?

With my coffee and a few small treats for Rube (I figure it’s nice for her to help get the morning-mouth washed away) I head back to my bed, adjust the pillows into an upright position, and spend a couple hours reading, writing, & meditating – usually in that order, but not strictly by any means. It’s a quiet & peaceful time for me, and since I began, I find it’s necessary. Phone face down, on silent & yet untouched, as yet uncorroded by the acid, ignorance & simple “who gives a fuck?” in today’s world – this is sacred & essential time.

On this morning however, my upstairs neighbor, a guy around my age named Rick who seems to have quite a few little street-urchin boys who can’t seem to figure out that the top floor is probably the top button on the elevator, or even fucking read the number on the door (and every door they pass before mine that begins with a 3 instead of a 4 before they knock on mine) has decided that 9:30am is somehow the perfect time to teach elephants how to rollerskate to the industrial music of one of those vacuum cleaners that incorporate a jackhammer to help loosen the dust in the carpet and whatever teeth you formerly had firmly planted in your mouth.

My instant & automatic passive-aggressive response is to get out of bed & pretend that the floor is lava so I need to use the bar stool I have to hop around the room on as loudly as possible, but then I realize that wouldn’t work as planned, since he lives *above* me. Still, every single time I go straight to that. It’s kind of embarrassing, and I roll my eyes at myself a lot.

To remedy his cleaning habits, I’ve briefly considered the ceiling-broomstick technique, but I don’t want to be “that” guy, just subtly make him realize that every impact he makes on the floor is impacting my sanity. I’ve considered borrowing a hammer-drill and making a few hundred random holes, hoping he thinks I’m just building a hanging trampoline so I can practice my prone-bouncing performance or setting up a mister over my entire room for that refreshing tropical rain forest feeling. I’ve thought of painting an archery target above my head for when I just want to relax in bed & shoot arrows, or strapping some sub-base speakers to the ceiling like the ones that make the cars that drive by sound like they’re about to vibrate themselves into a pile of parts at any second, but nothing really seems to be truly feasible for the level of non-energy I want to put into it.

I guess when I think about it, it’s really not that horrible. Sure, it’s not the cute little birds hopping on the roof of my motor home I used to wake up to, but it’s not screaming tweakers either. He doesn’t do it every day, or even every week for that matter, and almost never at this hour. I guess I can live with it for now… but if you happen to see me walking down the street with an odd twitch or frequent spasm, you’ll know why.

Messages Beyond Consciousness

I’ve never had dreams such as these before. For the past three evenings every time I closed my eyes and slept I went back to the same setting.
Back to her.

From the beginning, most of the dreams were set at a small outdoor party in a strange & beautiful place. In a way it reminded me of The Enchanted Forest, where I lived for four months in Austin. It had a similar energy, where you knew you were home, and everyone there was, in some way, a friend. Family.
As only dreams can be, however, it had its touches of the surreal. From the fire pits with twisted & colorful glass sculptures spiking out of them, channeling the flames & giving of an eerie yet warm & welcoming light, to snails the size of footballs & other odd yet harmless crawling creatures, to… to art, terrain, trees & plants I can’t recall enough to properly explain. I only remember it was beautiful, and she was there.

In each dream, the people were the same. I knew them only there, in this other world, but they were friends or became friends when I showed up to this place. It seemed – seems – like a meeting place in another reality much more than it does a series of dreams.

I seem to remember a first dream, somewhat like a prologue that led to these, where it was a large gathering of people for an outside performance, and peformers accomplishing things that even had the power to make me gasp… but then, every dream after that until the last, it was just us, these people I knew but don’t – perhaps something of an after-party.

And that’s where I met her.

Shoulder length dark hair somewhere in-between curly & wavy, she stood a few inches shorter than me, the top of her head reaching just above my nose. Kind, compassionate, caring & with an inner strength she didn’t need to display, but I could feel it was there. From the moment I appeared in this place, when we caught each other’s eyes, we knew…

We made a point of sitting side by side every chance we got – laughing, talking, wanting to know more about each other and someties just looking into each other’s eyes & feeling the whisper of yearning behind them, but the conversations and moments we had were short – as each time we began to talk I was literally pulled away from her by some force, as if I was attached to an invisible cable. She would try to hold onto me, keep me next to her, but even with both of us digging in our heels I would be yanked away, dragged over whatever terrain there was, trying desperately to grab onto things & fight it & either break what was ripping me away from her or at least hold to an anchor it couldn’t overcome, but everything I grabbed would be uprooted, torn, and and I would be dragged away from her – not out of sight, but out of reach.

The dream would end in frustration & I would wake up shortly after, but for three days, every time I drifted off to sleep for the night or a late nap, I found myself there again, in this other world, this place beyond the daily mundane consciousness we think we know, and we would find each other.

After one of these “dreams” I realized when I woke up that I had never had a chance to ask her name before I was pulled away. She was only a face, an energy that matched mine, and someone I knew I had loved far beyond the dreams or realities or time of what we think we know. I made a conscious note to myself that, if I could get back there, I would ask her what it is so I could hopefully carry it back with me in my mind the next time I woke up.

The last dream was in a futuristic setting – the space we had been in before was gone, and now I can’t recal enough to explain it, only that it didn’t have the peace of the other dreams. It seemed like most of the people in this place were lost or looking for something they couldn’t find, and that many of them were being pulled away as I had been in the four or five other dreams I found myself in, but still, somehow, I managed to find her – and this time, I wasn’t pulled away.
As we talked there was a sad look on her face as she told me that, for some reason she wasn’t certain of, it couldn’t work between us – and as I stood there with her, confused and wondering why, she started sliding away, a sorrowful & forlorn look in her eyes… and she was gone.

Her name is Constance Sebastian.

These weren’t “normal” dreams, by any means. I had never experieinced anything like these before, where I could take conscious thought into a dream and return to where I was before, continuing the story.

I have my own theories about the meaning of this, but I would also love to hear what other people think – and I think I need to. There is a somewhat obvious message that I can see, but I would sincerely appreciate other interpretations of it – ones not possibly (likely) clouded by my own judgements or insecurities, thoughts that aren’t veiled by my self’s uncertainties of my Self.

So whatcha got for me?

The Friendship Farce

There’s been a melancholy that’s been surrounding me lately, a darkness that roots itself somewhere inside of me and reaches out like thorned and poisonous vines to nearly anyone who has the audacity to enter my mind. Of course, it’s not them, not really, not entirely, not if I get down to the bones, but I’ll blame them for it anyway, because that’s much easier – and gods know I’ve tried multiple times in the past, only to be met with their same bullshit.

I’ve been making the mistake of watching – or at least semi-watching as I sit at my work-desk making chainmaille, the types of TV series that involve things called “friends”, which seem to be other people that you can call at anytime and ask to go get a drink or brunch or something that doesn’t have to be planned days or weeks in advance, and seldom ends up with the other person cancelling unless they’re in a life-threatening situation, at which point of course I jump up off of my bed & go save them or vice-versa, and even in the midst of all the excitement, we are able to make jokes about the other person where we both laugh and come back with even a funnier dig, because we know each other well enough and are close enough not only to know that the other person is just playing, offering some levity in a horrible situation, and we know that we can say these things without the other person getting offended because they aren’t a lily-white boring piece of shit, and understand that there are much more important things to contend with in daily life than getting upset or hurt by something our friend said in fun and being able to laugh at it, because they’re, y’know, our friend.

I remember having friends like that when I was younger, mostly when I was working as a Harley technician. It was a simpler time, a time when people could not only dish shit out but take it without taking anything personally, and as we tested each other’s limits, it brought us closer. We’d see each other nearly every night at a bar called Stinger’s or at one of the Harley shops I worked at, and if someone needed something, needed out actual presence, we were there for them – we were never “too busy”. Hell, I even got my ass kicked (& quite well, I might add) because fucking Billy didn’t realize it was time to shut his damned mouth when there were suddenly 7 of them to our 2, standing up for a girl we didn’t even know because a friend of his said her ex was hassling her. After, with black eyes & swollen faces, we laughed about it – then laughed about how much it hurt to laugh.
Or when I lived in Austin Enchanted Forest as recently as 2005, when friends would come to the door of my tent and ask through the thin material if I were there, simply because they wanted to say hi. There were a few, but the one that holds the deepest place in my heart, and always will, was a woman named ‘Tea’ who would sometimes come in even after I told her to go away – especially after my dog Bean was killed by a train. She knew that as much as I didn’t want to see anyone, as much as I wanted to wallow in some of the deepest pain & desolation that I have ever felt, I needed a friend, if only just to hold in comfort and silence

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I don’t know this world anymore. You can barely say a fucking thing without someone ending up acting like you just pissed on their sand-castle… but that’s not really what I’m here to get off my chest today, even though it did feel good to drain that particular poison out of my fingers.

A couple nights ago I posted on Facebook looking for a person or three to simply meet me at a dive bar, any dive bar in the City. Just meet for drinks, conversation, laughter and maybe even fun. That’s all I wanted.

I didn’t want to go to one of the many social “events” happening, where inevitably I go alone, wander around alone, save for a few mundane and worthless encounters with people I hardly know and am supposed to somehow be happy to see (though admittedly, on rare occasion, there actually is someone I’m happy to see, but all we do is talk for a few minutes then go our separate ways) …until I realize, yet again, there are much more fun things I could be doing – like walking home alone.
It’s far too easy to feel isolated, to feel friendless, even in large gatherings that are built primarily of people I call “friends”, in the loosest sense of the word.

I just wanted to meet at some random place where nothing was happening except “us”, the anonymous bar-crowd swirling around us, our only purpose being to hang out with each other, take the time to listen and talk and maybe even find out things we didn’t know, things that might bring us closer. (“Really? Your sister only has three toes on her left foot too?” “You got arrested for WHAT?”)
I posted on Facebook because I knew if I tried to call people I would just get increasingly angry & depressed with each fruitless call, every person saying that they couldn’t for whatever bullshit reason – and besides, not only do I not have most people’s phone number, but was only able to think of two people who would likely at least be interested. One just recently moved to Seattle (& doesn’t drink anyway) while the other is out of town – so I opened it up to everyone. Who knows, maybe someone might respond that I would never have thought of, and maybe we’ll actually have something to talk about. It was worth a shot.
What I got in return were about 7 or so replies, each one from people in an entirely different city saying “I would, but…”  While I forced myself to appreciate the sentiment, words aren’t worth shit when actual physical presence is wanted. I don’t give a fuck that you would “like” to come hang out. Hells, I’d like to be able to give thousands of dollars to some people I care about and charities that need it, but saying “I wish I could” is worth less than not saying anything. You can kindly shove your “I wish”s & “I would, but”s up your ass. I would much rather hear the honesty of your silence.

Okay, enough of my rant. Letting some of it out through my fingers did help a little, as always – and the disgust I feel with myself & this world had been alleviated a bit, the load lightened as each whiney word was vomited out of my head and onto the screen – and though I have much more to bitch and whine about, I promised my dog I would get us both to the park today – her for some running & playing, and me for the laughter & smiles she brings even when I’m in much darker places than this.

I guess that I do have one friend I can always count on to be there- I just wish she were old enough & had the language skills to hang out with me in a bar or over brunch or just someone to try to figure out how to get through this life without ending up detesting nearly everyone, and perhaps even make this darkness fade to a lighter grey.

old and bitter

5:13 in the morning and finally I have stepped away from my desk, making chainmaille and on a whim more listening to than watching “The jerk”. At this time, whatever time it falls on I usually just take Rubes out to pee, change from my jeans into worn and comfortable pajamas and snuggle up to sleep, but tonight I change things around, no particular reason with the exception that I always feel better after I write, and I haven’t been feeling so hot in my heart or soul.

It’s been hitting me hard how few friends I can count or count on in the many people I know. Though many have offered kind words or money when I needed it, I have no one that I feel is my own.

Is this the world I have created fro myself? I have no argument that it isn’t, but for months a little over a year ago I contacted people I have known, people I wanted to know better, and only an occasional coffee and time were offfered, more of a single shot than something that I felt I could follow – and I feel if they wanted to, they would.

Something needs to change, but I don’t know how or what. I am writing now about earlier times and in those times I had lunch with a friend, received a beautiful email from another, and had dinner with others. As it sits, I’ve only seen one person for more than five minutes in over a month, maybe two – and I wonder what is wrong with me… but I know where the distrust comes from.
This life has already been to long, I’m thinking.

old and bitter

5:13 in the morning and finally I have stepped away from my desk, making chainmaille and on a whim more listening to than watching “The jerk”. At this time, whatever time it falls on I usually just take Rubes out to pee, change from my jeans into worn and comfortable pajamas and snuggle up to sleep, but tonight I change things around, no particular reason with the exception that I always feel better after I write, and I haven’t been feeling so hot in my heart or soul.

It’s been hitting me hard how few friends I can count or count on in the many people I know. Though many have offered kind words or money when I needed it, I have no one that I feel is my own.

Is this the world I have created fro myself? I have no argument that it isn’t, but for months a little over a year ago I contacted people I have known, people I wanted to know better, and only an occasional coffee and time were offfered, more of a single shot than something that I felt I could follow – and I feel if they wanted to, they would.

Something needs to change, but I don’t know how or what. I am writing now about earlier times and in those times I had lunch with a friend, received a beautiful email from another, and had dinner with others. As it sits, I’ve only seen one person for more than five minutes in over a month, maybe two – and I wonder what is wrong with me… but I know where the distrust comes from.
This life has already been to long, I’m thinking.