Fall of Us


That familiar hum inside and out. 

The thrumming TV static-snow blustering my brain 

like when I slid down a steep mountain backward on my ass, 

the board strapped to my boots kicking up torrents of snow 

coating my eyes and nose as I plummeted blindly 

facing only where I came from. 

That happened then for this very day–teleported.

Today’s that cold-faced day.

 

The snap-to-it chill smacks mightily, 

your face-skin taut with expectation, 

braced to ward off the front, 

the sting of knowing you could trip, 

lose your step and your knees buckle, 

your bones splinter and your ankle crack. 

Something tragically foretold unbeknownst to you, 

the usual chaos lurking out there along your life’s line. 

To feel that approaching crisis is to live.

 

But only on days like these, 

wedged between enough and not enough 

and itch and scratched. 

Our clothes are fresh but our visions stale, our breath coffee rotten. 

These days smell like winter kill. 

But it’s only the dying fall when crockpot lamb-stew and mulch 

pepper muddy moods built for cutting, 

crying into dust and hanging amulets.

 

Her neck exposes naked-ruddy latticed vines, 

burnt and creased in spider legs enfolded, 

smothered and feathered like aortic-bony leaves, 

en-sleeving jugular flush–

as if the world pumped incessantly 

in syncopated gurgles, 

muffled to the dull roaring hum.   

 

On either side of the black hole: Ten for Today

September 23, 2016

She smiled. Big, rangy, opened mouth, showing teeth in disarray, pebbly whites leaning this way and that. She might have passed on the 6 years of braces and a jaw breaking operation to fix her over bite had she known.

It’s been weeks, maybe months since I’ve seen one. Stoic, plaster of Paris’d grimace with etched, rheumy eyes of wandering distant dimensions cast her face in alabaster stillness most days. But this one came with direct eye contact–so rare these days–followed by an electrocution of recognition, and light, light, oh heavenly light in her eyes. 

She was happy to see me. I said, “I love you,” and with doughy mouth, corners tucked upright into flaccid folds as if hung on clothesline wooden clips to her cheekbones, she garbled a few syllables in reply. And then she made a silly face, rolled her eyes, wobbled her head side to side, like a drunken clown, and muttered a mocking kind of bubbubbub with her deliberately deep voice. Sarcastic self-deprecation, her specialty. As if to say, what the fuck can I utter with this face, with this chaotic, misfiring, brittle brain disconnected from its humanity? 

“I miss you, Mom.” I didn’t want her to see the ache. So I smiled even larger. If I could make her know. If I could just…

6 seconds and it was over. We lost ourselves once more to our distant galaxies, each on either side of the black hole.

 
Black hole: pixabay.com

Reaching Out Reaching In: Ten for Today


August 22, 2016
 
How do I make it through this election season without losing friends, lovers and hope? I have never been particularly political in the sense that I cared not overly for the outcomes of elections. In my 40 plus years of voting, I may have voted FOR someone on the ballot twice. And only one presidential tenure had me gritting my teeth and angry too often.
 
But for the most part, my life is lived locally and interiorly. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the results. I do. But I am fortunate enough to live a charmed life where I can choose to live in a cocoon. Going about my daily chores, cares and doings, I burrow down deeply and ignore the rest of the world, or participate to the degree that I wish.
 
Perhaps that’s called first world or birth privilege. I don’t take for granted my genetic demographic winnings to be born where and to whom I was. I vote. I discuss. I inform hundreds of students a year about the world, locally and globally. I am not nihilistic. I hope. I care. I do my civic and personal duties.
 
But this election is different, to belabor the obvious. And not just because of who is running and how. I think I’m different. My eyes and sensors seek the world more, and so am more susceptible to it. My practice leads me to confront this headache nation, this raucous populace, with equanimity. I’m finding it difficult, prone to suddenly remembering books that need urgent reading. 

Game 

zero-sum

Your move. Now mine.

Yours, mine, yours,

we play politics, soccer and love.

Games of words and alignments under-girded by

luck, skill, wiles, wit and speed, overlaid intention,

drawing a letter, or a trip and cheat,

fallen, kicked and stalled, all tactics:

dive, grimace and grovel.

End goal?

Save, fail, score, win, promote, chest-bang, leave, shout,

cry out your props, boost your stature, grow tall and shiny or

make other plans; just so you know

might makes right

might makes right

might makes right.

You’re damned right.

No one ever won quietly fostering

connections and alliances, powerful

listening before empathetic action.

Subtlety, often like soccer games, ends

scoreless, some zero game.

 

Image: zero sum portent

It’s a Soul Thing

  
I think she’s right about that. It’s a soul thing.

She was my best friend in elementary school until teachers and distance separated us. 

I lived in a town that had four junior high schools: north, south, east and west. 

I went South and she East.

But before then, she was a beloved friend, one to laugh with, mostly laughing.

Not much intellectualizing in fifth grade.

But she also bristled at pain and injustice, felt empathy.

Like the time the fourth graders unmercifully tore into the acne-red-faced substitute 

teacher, Mr. Ebert.

They found his weakness, his vulnerability, and dug in. 

They cried and outraged, accused him of something I have forgotten.

And he shook and stammered and reddened until I thought he would burst into flame. 

Until he was fired.

They were vicious. We, my feeling friend and I, were mortified. But no one else seemed to be.

Just us, two angst-ridden misfits–maybe that was just me, though.

The singular, coded, inside jokes and kinetic joy we shared was neural blazing.

The inarticulable closeness–intuited–that we took for granted was the glue, 

what made us seek each other out in our memories, in the halls of high school, and finally on facebook.

And as if 43 years had not passed, we laugh.

The sensation of spun years, like a casino slot’s triple 7’s whizzing past round and round, 

experienced as static motionlessness catches my breath, pricks hyper-notice.

An arm reached, a stretched connection folded across time flattened into special relativity

–the train’s caboose merged with the engine.

Special relating. It’s a soul thing.

Cave

 
 

My cave surrounds me wherever I go, shrouding my aura in darkness, oft-colored midnight, even then rich cabernet red and other so charcoal and dirt, depending where the eyes.
 
A child’s pinched lips and piercing wail at a dropped candy in a sweet shop, an obsessive loss and raging irreconcilable remedy no time will heal, deflects from the walls of my helmet.
 
But inside this dank hollow lie dusty old book traces by the scores with yellowed leaves of lingering tales in smidgeons of dribs and drabs hooked on peek-ish memory bites and
 
Tasty morsels of cookbook glossy tongue shots gleaming moist bread puddings, fired sugar crisp tops of creme brulet fine firm fork poked and 77 chicken crockpot recipes.
 
Flickering in the black are 35 millimeter reels spinning snowy memories cast in 60’s vintage plastic coating like clear crunchy couch covers that thigh-stick on humid summer days.
 
My cave halos me in shadows, protects me from seeing too crisply, feeling too widely and stepping too recklessly from coral blue wave-walls framing family, clutter, oranges and Picasso.
 
Within I carry the cavernous dim where the entryway light blazes shimmer on passersby or then again, maybe yet, the innumerably shot clear through rays shine outside in. 

Soccer is Life

  
Soccer squeezed the last drop of child connectedness present in me since birth, the longing to be with children, entertain them, love them, nourish and teach them, whether they were mine or others’. Soccer helped me prolong that self-nourishment, extract and exercise every morsel of that longing up til and beyond the passing of my children through the soccer loop. 

My youngest is a year or two away from concluding that endless year in year out schedule of life around soccer, that sharing of time that we all could communicate and commune through the participation in it. As the end nears, a clear cut picture of its termination in view, coinciding with the embrittling of my bones and calcification of my mind, enervation of my drive and lust, I see that soccer was my destination and destruction, a pattern of life that breaks along with reputation, image, doplegangers self-created. I build a monument to my image and then swung a sledge hammer at it in my sleep walking state. Only, now I select the salvageable pieces and so limp along until the chosen pieces re-integrate, grow like regenerating brain tendrils to form the new old me.

Power Tools

  
Man, myth and vibrators: the Power Tools of the Empowered. Good vibrations: for all your pleasureful needs. And worse. 

I was trying to come up with a title for a blog post I wrote for one of my will-write-for-food sites, a post describing a massager and vibrator section of an online catalog of “romantic toys.” The copy was pretty straight forward: selling sex toys with luscious descriptions of need and success in the bedroom. But the title–a real grabber–is always challenging for subjects I know a lot about and so are enthused about, let alone for topics I know or care too little to whisk up a flavorful title. 

It’s not that I don’t like vibrators. I just have been sort of meh on them. Some have suggested that I may not have found the right one or are too accustomed to “other ways” of achieving the same results, both of which may be true. But I haven’t really thought about it much until I wrote up this blog piece.

Curious whether I could find commiseration in my take-it-or-leave-it attitude about vibes, I went to the internet. Wading past the ads disguised as informationals, I found lots on the topic but only a couple of good reads:  The Secret to Having Mind-Blowing Orgasms with Your Vibrator in YourTango.com and Psychology Today’s Vibrators: Myths vs. Truths.

Beyond the obvious of all obvious recommendations in the one–to experiment and try what feels good (duh, really?) and not to drill your sensitive areas to death–I did take up the solo solution of massaging the rest of your body first as foreplay–sorta.  Imagine that, using a massager as a…well, massager.

And while both tackled some myths about becoming addicted and desensitized to using a vibrator, one confirmed that too much of a good thing could lead to less of a good thing in other areas. In other words, orgasming with a vibrator may make it more difficult to orgasm without one. The psychology writer’s opinion was more a “it depends on the person” comment but clearly denied addiction danger:

Do carpenters become addicted to power tools? No, power tools just get the job done faster. Many women really love their vibrators, but that’s a personal preference, not an addiction

Not sure about the analogy as altogether apt, certainly is cliché, but like most habits, it seems to me it would depend on so many other factors like the person’s relationship(s), mindset, attitude and existing personality traits as to whether vibes are habit-forming. And so what if they are?

Maybe it’s my prejudices. Solo sex is utilitarian, accomplished with or without powertools and a good imagination. Beyond solo, connection with others, well that’s my preference–with or without the tools.

 
Credit:  https://bmnorthamericaprod.blob.core.windows.net

Shucking Seeds

26933512-sunflower-seeds-shuck-background-close-up (2)

Flustered, mind agape, silently wide-eyed,

I know not what sits behind her eyes.

She, a squirrel up a date palm, looking for acorns,

and I, a logical storm looking for a landing, apace,

we dance the squares of the place, tiled and tidy,

a touch of mildewed madness escaping. We spin.

She hides, a cushion pin stuck in the grimy wall.

Magenta stew toppled around her meaty face, her,

I stare across the room at only silhouette;

flat ribbon plastic words float to her

cordon her off like a crime scene

in the corner, dark, smoldering

punk in a steamy seamless-ness,

drunken porridge, we two–a corruption,

an oil leak of foul forethought.

She takes me home–her home–

a wondrous oak tree, reaching

branching, bleeding out the red roots.

We shuck seeds, plant acorns, see what grows.

The Gift of Writing in the Mindful Word

  
My first piece published as a contributing writer for this wonderful journal, The Mindful Word, came out today. Please enjoy this esssay about writing and teaching students old and young about the craft I attribute as salve for what ails us in the human condition of illusory separateness.
Peace, 

the Gaze