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.

“friends”

Saturday morning, 7am. What I’m doing up at this hour I have no idea, but since I’m here, may as well write.

I’ve recently come back to it, to the pen, the laptop, to the words that have been sitting inside of me and denied an outlet. I’ve been unfair to them – and so now they’re making me pay, trying to remember where they go so what I want to say is said.
It’s fair.

I’ve been writing again, and fuck, it feels good – almost like seeing an old friend you love dearly but haven’t seen for a while, but better. The writing comes almost whenever I call it, never too busy, knows that the words “Hey, want to hang out? Maybe get coffee?” mean so much more than that. The words know that sometimes, I’m drowning in loneliness and I’m so fucking weary of being the one who has to call you over & over again just to see your face and enjoy your presence for a brief amount of time while on this side the phone remains silent..

So you’ll understand if I choose my words over you, right?

I sent out a private message to someone a few weeks ago, again asking for help to get the herbs I need and explaining why – as well as briefly, what was going on in my life.
I got a message back – “That’s so much to read – do you need money?”
It would have taken maybe four minutes to read, and took everything I had not to tell this person to go fuck themselves but my health depended on it and I can barely afford bills much less my herbs so I leaned against a building’s wall as I wiped a tear or two of anger & frustration out of my eye and simply replied “yes.”

I’ve been writing a lot lately, and some of it has been good as I find my way back…
but I’ll be damned if I post it. If you don’t care, why the fuck should I bother.

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.