Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Mind and Me





Me: Write,write, write, write...

Mind: Natalie Merchant would be good writing music. Put on some Natalie Merchant. 

Me: Okay. Write, write, write.  *stops to put on Natalie Merchant*

Mind: Not the old stuff, but the new stuff, but not the new new stuff, the old new stuff…

Me: What? 

Mind: Tigerlily. 

Me: *sigh* Okay. 

Mind: YAY! 

Me: Write, write, write, hey what’s that word I used to describe the inner courtyard of a castle?

Mind: I don’t know. 

Me: What do you mean you don’t know? We used that word a couple of chapters ago. 

Mind: I forgot. It’s gone. I swear I’m trying. 

Me: Damn. 

Mind: We saved that chapter to the jump drive and didn't upload it yet. The jump drive is in your spare shirt pocket and it's in your work truck. 

Me: You remember all that and don't remember the word?

Mind: Sorry.

Me: We'll call it the courtyard can change it later. 

Me: "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that. "

Me: Don't do that.

Mind: Ask Facebook! YAY! 

Me: *sigh* Okay. 

Mind: What is she saying?

Me: What?

Mind: Natalie Merchant, in “Carnival” the second to the last 

chorus, she says something in the background, what in the hell is it?


Me:  Who knows? We have to get back to writing. 

Mind: No, ask Facebook about that too! YAY!

Me: No we’re going to write. 

Mind: They sell beer on Sunday now. 

Me: We write on Sunday now. 

Mind: Call her.

Me: No, write. 

Me: Write, write, write, write…

Mind: You think someone might know the lyrics to that song?

Me: Write, write, write…

Mind: If you knew I would shut up. 

Me: Write…write….

Mind: Someone out there knows. You could know too!

Me: Write…

Mind: Could we look up that movie, the one with Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale?

Me: *sigh*

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Returning To The Pack






I had to get back in time for the Full Moon. I wouldn’t have any other way, really. There I am in my own bed for the first time all week and the yard is full of moonshine. The Mutts, already in a heightened sense of awareness drank deeply. My first night home would not be a peaceful one but it would be home. Much more a man cannot ask for if he needs to be happy.  It was good to be on my own bed again even if the vast majority of it belongs to the dogs who are now accustomed to sleeping out of their usual places and patterns. But such is Dog Life.

Sam neck was gashed fairly well. His skin is old and is flesh weakened with age so it is no surprise he took some damage. He jumped a dog eleven years his junior and he tried to ambush a Pit. Lillith is as laid back and as submissive as any dog I have ever loved but had there not been someone here when Sam attacked her I suspect it would have been much worse. A thirty-five pound dog is a lot of dog when it gets right down to it.

Lillith seems to be more affected than the other two by my time away from them. When she first arrived here she would go off by herself and sleep while the two older dogs stayed close to me. I made it a point to find her, pet her, and ask her to join us and after a while she got into the habit of staying close. I want her to feel comfortable no matter if she comes or goes, but I want her to know I would rather have her close to me.

Lucas was delighted to see me and he seemed to be the happiest to have me back. Sam seemed to still be in a state of shock, just a bit, and he seems to be a little more wary of where he is when I’m petting them all at once. His wound isn’t serious but at the same time there are no minor injuries to the aged. I worry that this will turn into something more serious if I don’t get a handle on it right now.

It was good to have everyone back inside and everyone needed a good meal. I gave them wet food and dry food mixed which they love and I had tuna. I was too tired to try cooking. A week long inside class has left me drained and bitchy. I didn’t get a chance to work out or write like I wanted to, either.  The hotel was noisy and there was a set of train tracks behind it. The train ran once and hour except when it ran twice an hour. I was under the impression there were shipping boxcars full of noisy people into Macon just to wander the hotel hallways while shouting at one another.

I rather have a seven hundred pound gorilla shove a treble hook attached to a chain down my throat and swing me around over his head like buzzard on meth than sit through another class.


Last night was rather warm but all three dogs wanted to sleep on top of me. Lucas put his chin on my chest, which wasn’t going to work for long, but I let him stay for a while. Lillith got next to me and kept wiggling her body to get closer to me. She also tries to twist her neck around and kiss me while I’m trying to sleep but hey, she’s a little girl dog. Sam slept at my feet with his chin resting on my shins and I felt as if they were trying to make sure I didn’t get up and leave during the night. There was no way I could sleep like this but it was good just to lie there and feel the weight of the pack on my body as if we were all recharging what had been drained from us during the week. Lucas got up, turned around three times and plopped back down, Sam repositioned his head, but Lillith stayed close. I actually dozed off. When I woke up again it was after one and the room was full of moonlight.

The dogs wanted out and they stayed out for a long time. I lay in the bed and wondered what they did at night while I was gone and how they must had wondered what happened to me. My grandmother’s dog never stopped looking for her whenever he went into the house, room by room, and he never found her again.

The second attempt at sleep was a little easier. Having discovered me still around the mutts decided to take their normal positions, except for Lillith who still wanted to cuddle. She seems to have lost some cohesion to the pack during my time away and I have to get her back. Sometimes former strays are like that and I have never really known anything about Lillith’s history. She doesn’t seem to suffer from the same sort of damage that Sam has but she does seem to be very shy about asking for attention.  The first thing this morning I got a face full of Lucas nose. Sam stood up and tried to crawl on top of me. I am back hone now.

At this very moment all three are sleeping in various places around the room. It is comforting to hear them breathing deep and restful.  I left them this morning when I went to Yoga and they were delirious when I returned. But now, we’re all back together again. I’m going to wake them all up and take them outside and we’re going to go through some training exercises so they’ll remember some of the stuff they’re already supposed to know.  Uppermost in this session will be is we’re family again, just as we always have been, and just as we always will be.

Take Care,
Mike

Thursday, April 25, 2013

On The Run


Somewhere in Dante's Circles of Hell that have number he never dreamed existed are those Damned who realize after the first three or four eternities the Power Point Slides are repeating endlessly. Do you see what I am trying to say here? There is no way a man a couple of centuries ago could imagine what infernal vision displayed before him and in his agony, rather than even dream something of the sort might one day be true, he dismissed it for even Satan would not be so cruel.



After one hour and forty-five minutes of detail so minute that microbes seemed to tower above us, we realize the repetitive nature of the un- information. Worse, and this was much worse, we realize this might actually not be incompetence but a form of unspeakable evil, bent on devouring a certain amount of time regardless of whether or not anyone was educated or not.





The answer of all of this is clearly and only can be one thing; Tequila. Liquid amnesia awaits me, yes. There is a bar near the hotel where a blonde who once danced for a living serves drinks and there I must go.



But instead I put on my running shoes and run.



Macon is a hilly place with a lot of traffic but I soon realize I am raster than most of the cars this time of day. I pass an overweight woman on a cell phone. She's eating and talking and sitting in traffic. The light changes and she passes me. The light catches her and I pass her again. I dodge traffic at the intersection and she is passes me forever gone.



The guys are all going out to the bar and I'm going to run. I start a hill and realize I haven't had enough incline training yet. One minutes, two, then three then four and I am over the hill and realize I have to climb the other side on the way back...from where ever it is I am running to. The grass is too high and there are rocks and ruts. Run!



Thirty minutes later and I'm panting, back at the hotel, and I am writing on a tiny iPhone screen, dripping sweat.





But given the chance to go out and drink or run from my troubles I decided to run.





Take Care,

Mike

Monday, April 22, 2013

An Open Letter to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev






Dude. You are so screwed. I mean, like, totally. Each day that you wake up, for the rest of your life, you’re going to face the very real possibility that it is only going to get worse. And you’re like nineteen.  If they don’t kill you that means you might spend sixty years of a life behind bars.  That is a long ass time to be in an orange jumpsuit.  If you made those little tick marks on the wall here would be twenty-two thousand of them before you died a very old man in a very small cell.

Do you think Allah had this in mind?

I’m not one for a religious debate here but the people you killed… do you think they were your enemies? You could have done a lot of things to make the world a better place, in the name of your religion but instead you decided to kill people who otherwise might have stopped and listened to what you had to say.  But now whatever you say is going to be tainted by the fact what you did was murder.  Charles Manson is a lot closer to being your god than Allah is if I know anything about religion and anything about murder.

You might want to take a good hard look at how Chuck is doing over there in California right now. He was thirty-five when he went in and you’re going to spend sixteen years in jail before you are that old. Do you sense a reoccurring theme here? Do you now see an open ocean of time opening up before you? It is endless. It will seem endless. There will be nothing but the same day, every day, for the rest of your life.

The Americans who were your friends will go on with their lives. They will fall in love, have families, educate themselves, worship gods who do not want murder, and they will go to movies, art shows, and they will walk in the woods.  These people would have remained your friends. Now, I suspect, you’re best bet is going to be some guy you meet in the shower.  For the rest of your life the only person you’re going to have any contact with at all is when you’re raped.  

The one thing I want you to think about here is what would have happened if your bomb would have gone off too soon, and you and your brother would have been injured. Bystanders would have rushed to your aid. Policemen would have cleared the streets so you could have been transported to a hospital.  Doctors would have rushed to save your life and the life of your brother. The American government, had you no money to pay your bills, would have paid them for you.  Money would be donated by strangers.

No one would have asked you about your religion because it would not have mattered.


Now, your brother is dead.  You’ve been maimed. You murdered four people and injured hundreds more.  What did you accomplish? What did this help? What cause is now elevated so that we might see why someone would do something like this?  Nothing. You did nothing but murder.  You are a common criminal and you will be treated like one.

I hope they show you Yankee Stadium with the crowd singing.  I hope they show you a video of people cheering the police as they walked down the street. I hope you see the next marathon and the number of people who are running for the first time in remembrance and in honor of those killed and injured.

You are so terribly young I suspect you will be spared the death penalty. I so hope you are spared. The vast amount of time you have left on this earth will do very little but show you that we Americans will be strengthened in resolve. We will be united by a commonality that you could have claimed as your own. America could have been what you worked for, built towards, and dreamed, but no. 


You wanted murder instead.

So now, I hope you read this.  It will seem odd to you that I still respect Islam and I still respect Muslims. What? You cannot believe this? Believe in a place where differences manner less than what we all share? Yes, that is what I believe. Perhaps that is enough for me. Perhaps, and I venture out into the unknown here, perhaps Allah would like that thought.

I will ask someone who knows Islam which one of us, me the writer and the dreamer, or you, the murderer, which one of us, is closer to God.

You have a very long time to consider the answer. 

A very, very, long time.

Take Care,
Mike

Talked Into It.






Jimmy was famous for threatening to kill himself one day. No matter how festive the occasion might have been, invariably Jimmy would sit in his car and hold his pistol and cry. He wasn’t a bad person or even a sad person but this was his thing, to drink and cry and contemplate the end. Jimmy slowly but very surely isolated himself from everyone he knew when he was young and that meant he had to seek out a new audience. In a small town there are only so many people who hadn’t already bought tickets for the show.

Jimmy, when he was sober, showed no signed that he was suicidal and he really wasn’t, at least I didn’t think so. I thought he was like one of those guys who had learned a card trick that was really very cool, but he had learned just one trick. It was like being double jointed or being able to peel your eyelids back without touching them or some oddity. But Jimmy’s prop was a gun and sometimes it was as loaded as he was.  Even drunk people know what a loaded gun can do. Jimmy could show up at a party and people would begin to ease on towards the door and that ruined it for the rest of us who simply wanted some self-anesthetized time with some friends.  The presence of Jimmy’s VW bug was enough to kill a party.  More and more often he was the last person at a party and if he was one of the first then it was going to be a small gathering.

I got into the story late.  Jimmy had been threatening to kill himself for nearly ten years by the time I met him. He had been arrested a couple of times, his gun had been taken away from him more than a couple of times, he went to AA meetings, but there was nothing like the thrill of telling people he was about to die. Jimmy was an Oscar award losing actor who was nominated with each twelve pack of beer.

There was a woman he had dated off and on for a while named Anna, and if Jimmy had been smart enough to realize it, being sober and calm would have gotten him a life with this woman. He chose instead for a few brief and intense moments and who doesn’t choose this sort of thing when they’re young? It was just the way he went about it. Anna talked him down from the ledges more times than anyone else had and finally walked away from it all. She and I had dated for a month before she would admit to having loved him, or trying to.  She took his pistol to a gunsmith and had it disabled so Jimmy couldn’t hurt himself but eventually Jimmy discovered the ploy. It scared Anna that one day Jimmy might think the gun wouldn’t fire and I wondered about that. Would that man’s brain talk him into believing the gun was harmless for one final show? Anna hated talking about it but when she did she couldn’t stop. I filed it all away into the “Don’t Ask Again” category and Anna went her own way, just as most people do.

Carmi was a weird little dude who just popped up out of the blue one day. Everyone was sure he was a narc, an undercover cop, but he scarfed down drugs like there was no tomorrow and couldn’t remember anyone’s name from one day to the next. His thing was reading. Totally blasted this guy would curl up in a corner and read anything that had writing on it. There everyone else was partying and having a good time and this dude was smoking a joint and reading some book thicker than the bible. He had never seen Jimmy’s act so he was just as freaked out as anyone the first time it rolled around. Hell, he was freaked out a little worse, honestly, and he wouldn’t get near Jimmy on a bet after that.

But Jimmy always had good weed and Carmi couldn’t live without it. They rode off together one night and the next day I got a call from Anna that Jimmy had done it, really done it. He had put the barrel of the gun under his chin and pulled the trigger. A VW is an incredibly small place and the mess was awfully big. We were all shocked but no one was really surprised. It was going to happen one day, one night, and no one could figure out why that night was so different than any other night, out of hundreds of night, except it was the last night that Jimmy took the stage and the curtain finally fell.

The cops had been called to come take Jimmy down so many times they hardly flinched when someone called about a man in a VW with a gun. They didn’t bother to ask anyone a single question about it. After all, there wasn’t a flatfoot on the force that hadn’t seen Jimmy with a gun to his own head. This time he had done it.  The funeral came and went and it was like a theater had closed that only showed one play and once it closed forever, everyone was relieved, but kinda missed it.

Anna came over one night, a month or so later, and she asked me what I think had happened. What happened? What the hell could have happened? She wanted to know if Carmi had been there when Jimmy pulled the trigger and it never occurred to me he had been. Why would it matter? But Anna wanted me to ask him, to find out who had been there, if anyone. I thought it was much more likely Jimmy had simply run out of people to impress, even himself, and ended it. That was the popular theory but some people believed that Jimmy though the gun wasn’t loaded and he had done that a few times, too, pulled the trigger on an empty gun.

You know, that’s a popular thing among pseudo suicidal drunks, to play with unloaded guns, when the audience doesn’t know it. Someone always rushes in to take the gun away before the trigger can be pulled again.  The stage is reset, and perhaps, after a time or two, more tickets are sold for the show.  But Jimmy was an experienced fraud. It was hard to believe that after as many times as he had done it that he could have finally screwed it up.

I talked to Carmi and it was hard to figure the kid out. He claimed he was nineteen but he looked five years younger. His mind shifted in mid-conversation and he couldn’t be still. His hands flitted around when he talked and he shifted around in a chair like he was on a ship rolling around in the sea.  He was hard to talk to and even harder to like. There was something about him, I have no idea what it was, but his mind never stopped long enough to finish anything he was saying.

We smoked a couple of joints and started drinking early. It was hard to be here in the same room with him because everyone, everyone we knew, and everyone who knew Jimmy, was talking about it, had to talk about it, but this kid, who had been there that night with him, talked about a thousand different things, but never mentioned it. There was a thousand spiders crawling around under his skin and I knew that he had been there.  He was a weird one, this guy, and everyone just assumed it was his own weirdness but now I knew that Anna knew, and now I knew too.

It took some doing but I found somebody with some pretty good stuff, not just kick ass weed, but that stuff that you find once a year and share it with no one else but some chick you really want to lay. There was some good ‘ludes around, too, and if that didn’t turn the trick I knew the truth wouldn’t be had. Maybe it wouldn’t. The kid sure as hell didn’t have a future in the truth and no one else did either.

Carmi never wore anything that fit him and it wasn’t hard to figure that one out. He was a buck ten soaking wet and nearly six feet tall.  He always wore something with long sleeves and it seemed like he was being devoured by whatever he was wearing. I think he could have turned around backwards in the shirt he was wearing that night and finally I noticed he was wearing new shoes. That was another thing he was famous for; he owned one pair of shoes. He had a pair of tennis shoes that the soles were worn down to nothing and there were holes in the toes where his feet were beginning to wear through them.  The new shoes were bright white and it was hard not to stare at them. The weed was messing with my mind. The ‘ludes were kicking my ass and I wondered why I was bothering with this.  Anna told me she loved me once, just that once, and I wish I would have said something, anything, but what came out of my mouth was, “What?”  and she never said it again.

“You were there.” I said to Carmi and he stopped moving, stopped talking, and for the first time since I had met him I was afraid of him. Suddenly, he wasn’t some skinny little fourteen year old pretending to be old enough to drink.  He leaned forward and cocked his head to one side like he was going to say, “What?” and I knew if he did I was going to just walk out.  It was like he had been waiting for me to ask and that all of this I had done was clear to him now, that I wanted to know what happened, if he was there, and now I knew he had been there and I didn’t want to know anything else about it. Now I knew. That’s all. That was all I wanted.  The show was over. Let me go.

“Yeah.” Carmi said. “I was there.” And he didn’t move or shift around anymore. “Jimmy was there with that damn gun and he was crying and he went on and one, you know how Jimmy is,” and Carmi stopped and kinda smiled at the way he said it, like having the top part of a man’s head blown off really didn’t change who he was deep inside, “and I told him I didn’t think he would do it, that he couldn’t, you know, because he had said it so many times that even he didn’t believe it anymore, and that he was going to live the rest of his life knowing that he was a walking, talking, lie, an illusion of something that was written on colored paper that got faded after a hard rain, something hung up on a wall in an abandoned house that some kid had drawn but no one wanted to look at anymore so they just left it there.” And Carmi stopped smiling and leaned back, “The stupid son of a bitch put the gun under his chin and blew his brains out, me just two feet from him. I got out of the car and ran like hell. I ran down that damn drainage ditch and lost a shoe but kept going. Took the rest of the night to get back without getting seen and it took a while to get all of that damn blood off me, but no way in hell I was there, hell no.”

I couldn’t breathe. I knew all of that before he had said a word but there it was.  “You talked him into it.” I said, or at least I thought I said it, maybe I just thought it. That’s how we are, you know, we feel the need to blame somebody, especially if it’s somebody we don’t like.
“No, he was going to do it anyway, just later than sooner,” Carmi said and he squirmed around a bit, “and you know it.”

Anyway, when I read about somebody doing something terrible and there’s those who tell us that the person who did this terrible thing was talked into it, or radicalized, or something like that, I know better. There are people out there waiting to do something, anything at all, and each and every one of them feel like the curtain is falling and they haven’t taken the stage yet. They feel like they’re out of time, or out of life, or out of touch or just out.

It’s the sorriest excuse to do anything at all.


Take Care,
Mike