Right in Front of Us

April 13, 2019 § Leave a comment

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People: young parents, little kids, the skinny black man with red athletic shorts, the older white man in a Dodger cap. We all have our story.

Me—observing, creating my story from my bias, watching what happens. Them—wondering why I’m sitting on this bench alone. Maybe, also, weaving their gossip of other people’s lives by seeing and not really knowing.

No one else is by themselves for long, so I understand the possible storylines: pedophile, lonely man, the one that often is described as “he was such a nice guy” before shooting at a crowd of people.

Society doesn’t like silence. Quiet and contemplation scares those that can’t imagine enjoying a day by themselves or not needing white noise in the background, or music playing to substitute for small talk. It’s like the lights on when it’s dark because something might be hiding behind the sofa, an imagined something that’s only purpose is to hurt, or maim and kill.

Suddenly a dog comes up from behind a woman’s pant leg, leash pulled tight as the turn to the wood-chipped landscaping snaps me out of my muse. Right after, a single digit girl joins a sibling after picking at something on a tree and noticing that her mom had left her behind—“Bye, I’m leaving,” she’d said to scare her with threat of abandonment (I’ve never understood that).

Expectedly, before I see I hear an annoyingly loud phone conversation making everyone turn to see why the man speaks so loudly (I get that).

The only ones not disturbed are reading their printed little stories, solitarily. The condensed worlds of fiction escaping them from what is right in-front of them most weeks: the unpublished reality, alive and just as vibrant if they would pay close attention—right in front of them.

Whatever world we’re in—something always happens. In this now space of present no one talks, or, I don’t hear them: what they’re saying out loud, at first, is sotto voce, but I can slowly hear their thoughts crescendo. Their voice speaks through how they stop and look down to their phones. The way they decide where to sit on the bench—center, all the way right, standing up a few seconds later, adjusting inches left. Sotto voce, yet on 10. Like an electric guitarist through a silently loud Marshall stack. Something is silently, yet loudly, happening, something is always communicating something if you stop and listen. If one doesn’t drown what is happening now with the past and future.

Not as intuitive or subtle, a mother shouts to her little boy who runs off across the lawn. A few feet away a crowd of poses ‘round the big, pretty, aquamarine fountain for pictures. A few creative and candid, others obvious and repetitive. “No picture,” a dark haired toddler says, “No picture, Daddy!”

The constant rush of water from the fountain makes the loudest sound. I drown the gurgling unconsciously as the mother playfully chases her little boy back passed the fountain and across the lawn in the opposite direction as before. Where’d the sound go? One moment there a millisecond later—gone. Where to?

How long has that enormous tree been there, looking down on all the people that walk under it and into the library? How long has she been looking at me? I feel a feminine presence. Her yellow green leaves and curvy octopus trunks alive. It’s a maternal, multilayered presence—as if she could swim across the same lawn, the same green grass and still take the time to listen and wait for me to ask her a question. Intent even though she is exhausted from her decades of standing alone watching people walk and run, saunter and ache, skip and whistle into the library.

I’ve know her before today in dreams that keep me awake and make me miss work to ensure I don’t forget to cherish life. Her answers explaining without speaking, without existing in this nebulous world, yet guiding me along, holding my hand. A matriarchal majesty. I want to ask her the question. It doesn’t come in time.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see her lean and twist weightless, place her crown on a nearby roof and free herself, moving her branches to a more comfortable position, stretching a humanlike swim stroke across the spring bloom ocean green of the park meadow, then come up for air, blowing blowhole mist over the sloshing waves, splashing back white foam over the mythic-like row of cathedral cypresses hundreds of feet overhead, higher than anything else–imagined or real. My question is the dream I wake up from. What didn’t I ask? Why? In time I hear an answer: “There is no why.”

You are there. I am here: gratefulI for my story. You are here. It’s your story too.

 

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Scared Awry

December 7, 2018 § Leave a comment

Things are out of sorts. Surreal through the rearview. Backwards, yes, like a chain of cars driving at tailgating closeness. They pull forward magnetized. Polarities invisibly keeping their fiberglass bumpers from touching.

Lynchings on the radio. Torture in South East Asia. Stomach tight with fear. My cousin in ICU. Everyone saying, “He’s not going to make it.“ Fuck!

The push keeps moving awry. My childhood recurrences even after specialized fatherhood. The loss of control. Like 1977 and Jedi mind tricks controlling my weak mind. The circular familiar stumbles familial.

There’s no avoiding it. Part of the way of things. 1%ers and 1st gentrificationed Americans at play. Side by side at the public house. Sips of painful history as the suds of hops side by side converse. White and red clinks of crystal. Delicate and fragile. After it all, stomach still tight with fear.

I’m waiting. Waiting still for what will never come. Hoping to make it all make sense. It will come. It’ll come, motherfucker!

I know it’s not up to us—our time is measured to measure, not up to us, but it’ll come. It’ll come.

It’s coming, right?

Close Up

December 1, 2018 § Leave a comment

El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula.

 

Slowing down on purpose brings us close. Magnified with a magic commonly lost within double digits: 16, 12, 14: about the time parents become embarrassing and our world becomes unimaginably heinous.

Come in again with us. See and feel. Smell and taste the small stuff versus the nothing matters mindset of cherries tattoos and tramp stamps, names of family members and personalized corporate logos in inks left on your neck, shoulder blade and breast. Me vale madre.

Be the now. Stay away from the next day. Leave the was where it is. The furious fast life is Hollywood fantasy’s cotton candy. We want El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula of the living 21st century. Come in, the river water’s just at your ankles.

Raven Loses his Feather

September 10, 2018 § Leave a comment

Going with or against? Flow, grain, norm. A little friction builds heat. Fiery uncomfortability has burned and left ashes because of the retrograde momentum. I wouldn’t change direction now—even if I wanted to. It’s who I have become over the decades. The ashes blow away in time. Fires burn out. Chaparral growth from under charred branches.

From this thought you might see the phoenix fires lifting upward to their celestial hope. Flying by overhead I also see a raven. It’s beautiful black wings graciously waving as a feather falls butterfly-like 400 feet ahead of me. I run to catch it, miss it, and pick it up from the grass. Deep green juxtaposed against deeper black.

I push against the nape as I hold it in my hand. The feather loses its smooth silkiness: strands of black out of place, sticking out in unnatural awkward angles, disheveled, out of place, yet not.

All it takes is a soft swipe of my gentle touch and the feather’s black beauty is set back to the natural grain of things. Back to its normal place. The flow of its life living the way of things.

Putting things together it seems that an unnaturally awkward against is natural. Nature’s patterns have anomalies. More than a simplistic Darwinesque gesture.

At least that’s what I often tell myself. All is as it should be. Nothing less. Nothing more.

Cyclical Anniversary or A Möbius Strip Life

July 30, 2018 § Leave a comment

present

 

I keep myself from nostalgia. The present taking it’s place most days. Automatic for at least a decade, now.  I go back ten years of this blog and I read how much the past still comes in, just as automatically as the present.

What I do now and then fuel each other. Most of the time I remember mysteriously when I need it most to stay present. The ironic pull to push to keep in place. Like the indigenous cyclical or homeomorphic European band. Moving, moving, going and coming, stopping  simultaneously. Maybe it’s a time-space visual experiment? Vonnegut’s space men would confusingly ask, “Why do you focus on one spot on the timeline? Time is one continuous phenomenon, earthling.”

The feel good and uncomfortable are just that. Nothing else. It’s ignorant to pick and choose the embarrassing over the favorable, the painful instead of the joyous bliss. It’s all one continuous phenomenon. “You humans are an interesting species,” the aliens would also say, “Choose your past wisely.”

So if I do this again: if I read through of few of my posts after a stop in my  personal timeline, may I remember this as a time to keep me in the future’s present. I don’t want to be an ignorant earthling.

Dust

July 10, 2018 § Leave a comment

All in a gesture that focuses a time a long time ago: particular matte desk, the wheelchair, a glitterati spoke spinning in perfect light. Then the black Fender bass hunched against the turquoise painted cardboard wall like in a soundproof Liverpool studio. A run down the wooden neck, the slide of sweat from brow to flick to cadenced silence, a mythical trail of feedback far far in the background.

Another time. Distant conversation like today. Alone. One sided. Physically there not here. All very much the same. The gesture somehow lodged free the realization of it being over. “I can play that,” I say, and we keep listening to the tape deck till it’s dark outside the tiny window. The antique Victrola still looking at us bedside, quilted brown with flecks of color bedspread half falling to the floor, when we leave the room.

Legs walk passed the little window. Black lightlessness to jumpy headlights as cars loosen and crack free the rocks from the dirt road underneath as they pass. Without the light bulb it’s hard to see the dust on everything. The smell of dryness is all the evidence till next morning. Each deep breath through nostrils leaves an invisible residue on my throat. I cough, but the dust stays put just like the gesture in my memories.

Dust

For Millenia

June 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

Is a funk like the blues? Are they like they were in the 30s as Merle said? The depression.

Historically it makes sense now. So does the feeling. Hadn’t before. Might be these meds, the toll.

For whom does it sound? How much does a half century cost? Happy birthday.

I’m already older than most of my idols ever were. Older than my mother when she died. Seising the flame is better than fading some may’ve said. I disagree.

Even not ever being down like this before—for this long anyway—is the way it should. These primordial weights of the world that the 27 Club didn’t have enough time to share, like modal scales, is as it has been for millennia.

So I’ll blame the side effects for they are not as bad as blindness, cardiac arrest, erectile disfunction, or shortness of breath as TV’s fear routinely broadcasts.

I am not afraid of living. She can kiss me sour ‘cause I love her when she’s sweet. And “Picking sides is plain just not fair, Mama,” I say to her.

She just smiles. Does not say anything. Looking right at me she says all she needs to, and I nod back at her, understanding that I understand very little and almost silently I say, “Thank you.”

I know she heard me. She hears everything.