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.

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the strength to need

It’s not so black & white, this language. No fixed nor finite definition. Not in the arena of love.  There is no Caesar with a thumb pointing up or down. It creates its own world, a language that no one has ever been able to transform from liquid to solid. Similar to love itself, love’s language cannot be contained, cannot be tamed, cannot be predicted how it will be responded to. It remains wild and uncertain and always will. It is messy, confused, enlightening and beautiful when spoken & learned.
The same words can conjure demons or delight in the listener, can summon demons from the past or placate the present.
It carries with it all of our memories, our pain and our bliss; it is we who choose how to hear what is said.

Love. The word has been written and spoken into oblivion. I do not say it without meaning everything it encompasses to me, but I say it sometimes without the feeling of it coursing through my body, making the hairs on my flesh stand up and making me feel as if I am floating. I say it sometimes without the kindness and adoration that should be shining behind my eyes, without the warmth and serenity and passion and overwhelming knowledge that I would do absolutely anything for who I offer this gift of my entire heart to. We say it in distraction, in passing, as an automatic response because we feel it is expected.
Love is required. Speaking it so frequently carries the danger of the word being diluted even when what the heart feels is still just as strong. Love is easy. It is the simplest fear to conquer when crossing the threshold into what could be, and we can not move forward without it. Love is beautiful, sacred, necessary… common.

I want more. To be able to express more in words. We see each other far too infrequently to let her know in actions, and I truly hate that. I feel short-changed, small, at times only the absent lover who dreams of a better time. Is this even real?

In conversation recently she tells me that she doesn’t want me to need her. I understand then what she means, my entire life designed & built & barricaded to depend on no one.

It is the first thing I was taught.

… but her words continued to echo in my soul. Her words hurt me. I let them. I needed them to.
Is it possible to truthfully tell another that you love them completely, with everything you are now, & everything you will become together, without in some way needing them?

When I think of my day, she is there, even if only briefly. Foolishly. Images attach themselves to every thought, in my mind I see everything I will do – walking with Ruby through the streets, always a different way… sitting in a cafe, will I be working, reading for work or reading for me? Or just sitting, watching people and creating stories around them.
Once I was alone in these things, these thoughts. Only Ruby & me or just me, I knew better than to hope for another to share these moments with, though at times another was with me, forever faceless, this fools heart simply wishing for someone to share things with – simple moments, simple times, laughter, thoughts…

This is not the need of our adolescence, when needing another showed weakness. There is no longer any question that we can care for ourselves, that we arent afraid to be alone. I do not need out of desperation, of addiction, of obsession. It is not a need that confines, not a need that chains one to another. I do not depend on anyone else… but over this last week I have realized that needing something outside of me is not as wrong or weak as I thought.

I know myself. I trust my heart. I do not confuse need with love. I keep them both separate and in doing so

keep them honest.

Love is necessary. Need is… is perhaps that little bit more we can say, terrifying to admit but if allowed and understood it breaks open the hard stone of our hearts and permits more light to shine out of them.

Language is dangerous. What we say, what we admit draws people in or pushes them away in fear. I cannot love anyone afraid of my words. I can only show so much in action, and there is seldom any poetry in making something for her or watering her plants. Haven’t figured how to do that one out yet… maybe if I dressed prettier while doing it… but

I want a lover who isn’t afraid when I wrap my arms around her and tell her “I will never let you go.” I want a lover that is not confined, who is ready & willing to risk everything because she truly believes in love. I want a lover who never does anything she doesn’t want to just for me… even though I would for her. I still haven’t figured that one out.
I want a lover who knows the only way past fear is knowledge. I want a lover that is so insanely complex that she has learned how to be simple.
I want a lover who sees the parts I do not show to anyone and still accepts them. I want a lover who I wouldn’t hesitate to imagine living the remainder of my life with – and do, frequently.
I want a lover who needs me, but is complete without me. Who has no problem with saying good-bye if I don’t meet her needs. I like being kept on my toes.

In her, each breath tastes sweeter. I want to do more, create more, live more, be more. I am inspred to give more, be kinder, to care about myself more… for me.

I have found this lover.
I only ask that she allows me to need her… she is the face in every image I have and have had, and I want to be allowed to give her more than my love.

 

This is a need that is built on strength…
I am strong enough, now confident and complete enough, to admit that there truly are some things
and some people besides and beside me
that I need.

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.