an empty victory

I avoid the mirror, the bloodshot eyes stained from the tears brought by years of frustration, 
I look instead inside, searching for an answer, a reason. 
Some sort of justification. Anything. 
The energy it took, the agonizing pain I forced myself to get past or swallow or get through, the stench of my own flesh decomposing, rotting away on my legs…
So many times I could have stopped fighting, so many times I wanted to. 
It wouldn’t have taken more than a few weeks until I went away, and if the pain got too unbearable I had the pills stashed. 
An hour at most, into one last dream – 
and then nothing but a name
forgotten in time.

But I had hope. I believed that things could be better.
That they would be.

How wrong I was.

So now, I search inside
for the passion
the rage
the anger
that i have found 
and hold so dear

I search for the love,
a reason,
a purpose…

but these past months
the deeper i go
the less i find and
the less i find a reason
to go on.

Seven years since I left the hospice, seven years fighting against the current, trying desperately to make it to calm water… 
and for what? For THIS fucking life? This life, where loneliness eats away at my heart, where I seldom know where the next meal is coming from, where I can’t even pay my bills.
This is not what I fought for. Not what I lived for – and I can’t help but think, at times, that I made a mistake.

But here I am. If it was a mistake, it’s already been made, and it’s far too late to give up now.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll sell some jewelry, maybe I’ll soon finally be able to buy a car so I can not only do the things I need for my business to make it grow, but escape this city and just drive until I find a place – a beach or forest somewhere, alone, where I can find my heart again.

Maybe.


in silent screams

I leave one message for her, then another after a few days, a week… then twenty, thirty over the months. After a short while I find I’m talking to her answering machine, having almost conversations, telling it what I’ve been up to, how my day was, my week. It’s silent as I tell it that I think I’m getting better, that I wish she could meet some of the amazing people who are helping to keep me alive…

but it’s never her.

It must be around eight months now, maybe nine since I’ve heard my Mother’s voice – or heard from her at all. There’s been some amazing news that I told her answering machine; I’ve met my Blood Father with whom, on that fated New Years Eve of ’66/’67, she created me. The last time we talked, when he & I were only barely beginning to plan it, I asked her how she felt about me meeting him, & she said she was completely cool with it – “He’s a really sweet man.”, She said. He is… I was in & out of the hospital, been cured of Hep-C.
My Birthday has long since come & gone. The day she watched as I took my first breath… the day that only after we met meant anything to me slid by without a word from her.

I went to a small party which only by coincidence was the same day – dusted off & put on the well-practiced smile that hides everything else churning & twisting beneath the surface so that no one knew & it didn’t dampen the moods of my friends.
Hell, over this lifetime its gotten to the point where even I believe the mask I wear for those moments,,, until I get home, check the mailbox and again find it empty.

Maybe everything is broken, and she’s not getting any of my messages. Maybe she doesn’t check them. Maybe it is just too much for her and she has left me with nothing but silence, confusion, – and far too few beautiful memories of the times we had together… just like the others.
Maybe I did something wrong.

Maybe… this was a mistake. Maybe there was something past the smile that I never saw, the few times I was able to get up there to see her. An uncertainty, a fear…
Maybe I planted myself in her life too quickly and grew up too fast in the 47 years since she last saw me, one day a baby fresh from her womb, and the next, a man who has already lived a full life that she wasn’t allowed to be a part of.
Maybe, I did something wrong.

Maybe… I’m broken.

I’ve sent two letters now, another one will arrive for her shortly after thanksgiving. I’m thinking of sending a stamped & addressed envelope in this one. Maybe with a note to me with multiple choice answers.

Hi Casey!
Great to get your letters. I’m doing a)great b)pretty good c) busy, and I/I’m a)VERY sorry b) insanely busy with work c) have been feeling kind of down, but/and meant to write/call…

My ½ sister – her daughter, who I talk to about mom every month or so when we go to the archery range or dog park says not to worry; that maybe mom is feeling bad because she wasn’t able to be here for me, and she’s been a bit depressed lately anyways, not really being able to get around due to her recent hip transplants, or….or….

If I had a car I would have been up there long ago – maybe.
Probably. I understand the need & desire to be alone, but this has gotten to the point where it has just fucking become selfish.

It’s been 2 years & 6 days since the first time in my life I saw my Mother’s face. Could hold her in my arms. Could, at last, after 46 years… feel wanted. I found the heart that I belonged in.

I think of her every day, miss her – especially now, with the holidays here & looming, a time when we should be together – if even only through a phone call.

She always seemed so excited to see me in the few times I’ve been able to get up there.
Maybe she had a change of heart, and closed the part where I seemed to fit so perfectly before.
Maybe there will be a beautiful letter in a plain white envelope waiting for me in my mailbox tomorrow.

I don’t know.
Her answering machine ain’t talking.

Fixing Holes/A Reason to Continue

I haven’t done this for a while.

This thing where I write – you know, just write, write what I think, what I feel – or not think, just write like I could back when everything I though was formed in a way as if it was already written, where I noticed so much more, where I felt so much more alive because of that and I put things down in my head in beautiful prose and all I needed to do was copy the pages that had already been written in my heart… all I had do do was shit down and rest the fingers on these little square things that make the letters and then the letters when put together well became words and when those were put together well it made the beauty I saw or the pain or the frustration or the joy or the love come out and it would just be here because it needed to be because when it was when it worked then I felt so much more alive so much more like me and it made sense when it made sense I was so much more in love with you and felt so much less alone.

It was there, simple, it was honest and it was true and at times it was good at others, scathing, but I really didn’t give a fuck what the words ended up sounding like because it was honest and if for one reason or another it was one of those times where I hated everyone then fine because there were words behind it that didn’t somewhere, many times there were the words that were written through the eyes I prefer to see through, and it was just me, just like you, when sometimes the pain was there and it was as real as everything else… but there was so much back then. So much beauty, pain, frustration, confusion; So much love for every fucking second. I was alive and I knew the world was mine and all I needed to do was figure out how to get it, how to let it know…

Everything was magical, back then.

But now, now. I don’t know anymore. Every single day is a fight, every smile forced and false. Somewhere along the way I was broken, somewhere along the way I made far too many mistakes, or just one, but at the time it seemed right. At the time it seemed like what I was supposed to do, so I did it and in doing so, lost myself. I created something that I thought was going to be beautiful, that I thought would be worth it, but all it is doing is ripping me apart piece by piece and I don’t know how many pieces I have left to give.

I need to dig down, find the answers. It’s not you I hate, it’s not me. It’s not the magazine, but what I have become as a result. It’s how fucking alone I feel in trying to make it happen every fucking day and trying to ignore the feeling that none of you really give a fuck about the magazine, about me, because I can’t find the line between them anymore, but that’s not it. It’s how fucking alone I feel, and it’s not your fault because I’ve always felt this way so there must, there must be something wrong with me, because I think I’m doing things right, but nothing ever works out…

and fuck, this isn’t want I want to write at all… but it is, maybe, because that’s what came, but these days for some reason I’m worried about what you’ll think which is the most fucking absurd thing possible because… because I at least want to pretend you give a fuck, and the last thing I want to do is sound like some whiny woe-is-me asshole but … but that’s how I’m feeling… but no, NO!, I’m supposed to be fucking strong, I’m supposed to be resilient, I’m supposed to keep on fucking going because people aren’t supposed to show weakness, not like this, not like this not whiny and self pitying because that’s childish bullshit but gods I feel like a child and I’m fucking scared and I fight back tears of frustration every single day these days because I need to get things done, as futile as it all seems I need to get things done but I’m fucking terrified and I don’t know why the magazine isn’t working the way I want it to and I don’t know why you never ask me to hang out with you and I don’t know why I feel this way when so many of you say you love me and I really don’t want to read any bullshit “it’s going to be okay” comments because what I want you to do is ask me out for a cup of coffee just a fucking cup of coffee where we can talk just you and me and be real and express our fears and be human and honest and maybe you’ll let me know you’re scared too or jesusfuckingchrist not even that just say “hey let’s do something, y’know, hang out” but that never happens and so it must be me something wrong with me, something wrong with me? Still? And I don’t know why half my life ago I fucked that guy or maybe that guy then got that call that changed everything (okay, just wait, just wait and it will all be over) but I’m still alive when so many others have died and there’s a reason somewhere there’s a reason that I need to get way down inside but I’m frightened but even though I’m frightened I am fucking strong but I don’t know how strong I can be I  don’t know how much I have left to give and I’m full of nothing but frustratiion and I want to stop looking at the full bottle of morphine knowing that’s all and I want to believe that I’m not that far gone but sometimes, sometimes… and I think the magazine is good but I don’t know if it’s worth it but I want to keep trying and I want to make it grow and I want to change the world because I’m not dead and I DON’T KNOW WHY and I can I can and I don’t want to stop making the magazine, I don’t want to stop creating my life, I don’t want to… ,

I just want to enjoy it again, and feel like it matters.

And then this came in my email literally just before the end of the last “paragraph”, before the last line above, wne I already knew what was going to come out of this fucked up head…

It fucking blew me away, as the Universe usually does at times like this – but seldom so directly.

Hi… I’m sure this seems kind of weird because you don’t know me
(well we’re facebook friends, does that count? haha), so I’ll
introduce myself a bit. My name is ***** **** (name removed by request) and I’m a circus artist
and dancer. I’m mexican but soon moving to Buenos Aires to train in
order to enter a circus school, after years of struggling with what I
wanted to do with my life. I first fell in love with circus at about
14, after discovering the Cirque du Soleil. Then, there were no circus
schools, classes, or teachers in my city, so I applied to Montreal
school. I was rejected (which few people actually knows), and decided
to forget about that dream. For the next 5 years, I did many kinds of
dance (but mostly ballet), until I lost my ballet teacher, and with
nothing to do, decided to enter a silks class (now there are some
circus classes here). And then contortion. And acrobatics. And
handstanding. And aerial hoop.
I was amazed. I found what I thought I had lost, I felt alive, and I
knew this is what I wanted to do, because it makes me feel happy and
alive as nothing else in the world.
Yet, I’m 21 years old, and though I’m flexible and more or less
strong, this is a really late age to start. I have lots of things
against.  I actually started Graphic Design, but dropped out after one
semester. Then I started Fashion Design, which is cool but not what I
really love. Then, a month and a half ago, we weren’t able anymore to
pay for the place where we trained, and became “homeless”. And then I
realized I was fooling myself by trying to “play safe”.  During those
days my best friends were out or unreachable so I was really face to
face with myself. And then I decided to go for what I really want.
Buenos Aires was my choice because it’s a city with lots of circus
opportunities, great schools and definitely more affordable than San
Francisco, Montreal or Europe. I’m lucky to have my mother’s support
(my father thinks I’m wasting my time),  and I was able to get a
ticket to Buenos Aires, where I can stay with a cousin. I’m training
all year to be ready for the school I want’s audition in 2011.
Truth to be told, I’m terrified. I’m really afraid of not making it,
of not being strong enough, of failing, of… wasting my time. But I
feel deep inside there’s no really another option.  Everything else
would be fake.
I’ve been following you and Culture Flux for some time now, and I’ve
been reading your facebook messages. I know your going through hard
times, and though I can’t do much, I wanted to tell you what you’re
doing is inspiring and definitely worth it.  I admire you for going
for your dreams and fighting, standing even in tough conditions. I
wanted to tell you that you’re not alone.  I guess this sounds naive,
due to my age and life, but we’re really in this together. Us and
others. These aren’t good times for dreamers but that’s what we are
and I think it’s worth a try to go for our dreams. I send you an
illustration I made for you, to show you in some way my support to you
and your project. I hope it helps in some way. I’d be glad to really
send it to you, if you agree.
Sincerely,

***** ****’


>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<

Morning now, still amazed at what she sent to me at just the perfect time. Always amazed when things like this happen… and christ my hands are cold but still I don’t think I’m done here, not yet, because as perfect as this is there is still an emptiness inside – though the will to go on, at least, is much stronger.

I don’t know how to fix it, where to start. I look back trying to find answers, clues as to who I was when I was who I wanted to be and I wonder if I ever have been that person. I know I’ve been close. Close.

One thing I do know now, without question, is that I need to continue with CultureFlux. I need to continue because one person cares, because one person is inspired, and I can’t let her down – for a million reasons, and because of what she has given me.  We give our strength to each other, our fears, and through that they are diluted. Through that we can walk a bit taller, feel a bit better, face the world even if we are terrified of it, and maybe even smile because we know how strong we are deep down inside. We just need to be reminded from time to time…

and not feel so fucking alone.

I need help with CultureFlux though. I don’t know what… but I need people. Good people. People I can tolerate. People who have beautiful dreams and believe in this one. I want meetings on how to improve it, market it, figure out ways to bring it to print, have it make money. I want a fucking office, because I’m sick to death of the cafe. There’s a great place called ActivSpace right across from where I park my Motorhome where they have private office spaces for only $400/mo., and I want one of those. They’re cheap, and have a window. I’ve already talked to the manager, move-in would be rent + $500.

All I know is that after almost two years of doing it almost entirely alone, I don’t want to – can’t – anymore, and I need to keep it going.

Maria has made me realize that this dream has come true, but I want to reach even more people so it needs to grow and I need, perhaps, you. I sure as fuck need someone.