It Was 1600 Words: You Can Have 300

I value the people who give back.  It’s not as much a tit for tat as a, “Wow, look at that!!”  It’s easier to find the best in me, when I see it in others.

When my friends tell me to take it easy, that anybody can work themselves to death.  The generous few in my life who consistently are willing to put up with my cycles of idealism and dreaming, without stomping me into the dirt with judgements.  Their questions are oblique.  They don’t tear at me like a prideful cleaver.  They sit back and ask me something of honor….and let it steep in their love.

These are the people who act like my dog, or a kid.  When all the hope in my world has gone into the engine of a nasty train of thought, and I look at the memory of them, and see only calm acceptance, or a well-meaning question.  They are the reason suicide is never a viable option for me.  They are the knot at the end of my ropes of disappointment.  They burn the doubts in myself, with faith that what is inside of me, is worth their attention.  These are the people I live to serve.

Maybe I should let go of wishing they were in my age group.  I guess that’s one of the main reasons I love blogging.  I don’t know how old you are, and I don’t really care, but it gives me a chance to cultivate and share the sentiments I value most, from the wisdom of those people. I am thankful for my family, my friends, my honorable customers, and my readers here.  For the several who make the difference by reading and encouraging me consistently, and the many who just stop by to see which way the wind is blowing.


Refreshed Oil Lamp

Thankful for safe harbor.

Packing the bags with hope.

Anchor lines whisper on the gunnels.

Sail hems mended to almost blend in.

Slap of chop echoes in the belly of the keel.

Port masters will only glance as a fresh shave.

Storm clouds on the horizon are beckoning wind.

Coats of paint baked to a cure in the hot sun.

Tying the tiller to sleep on the deck.

Forecasts of bathing in a bucket.

He thought I was land sick.

Eyes wide with knowing it.

As truth in a blue sky.

Letting go in clouds.

A lamp-lit bow.






Wheels Don’t Build Themselves

On the drive side the spokes are too tight. The dish has pulled aside, and riding with no hands isn’t safe.

It was never perfectly round, and the tire went flat years ago, so each bump transfers to the seat.

There are dents in the rim, each blemish a reminder of a failure, a betrayal, or a wreck.

Sand paper, a file, and a rag to pick up the shards.

Oil applied to the nipples, so they won’t strip.

Patching the tube, airing it up, and noticing a blow out in the tire.

Cutting the lock nuts off the races to free the rusted axle, wiping out the hub to shine a light inside, and taking note of the cratered belly.

Each article is another batch of new grease, and fresh bearings.

I am not a wheel, nor a unicycle. I am the frame. The brake cables. The chain.

My drive-train is intact, and this is a search for the tools to maintain it, so the cogs will take longer to strip out.

Blogging For Tears

There’s medicine in the sadness, it shines from the curl of tears on cheeks, and the crust of too many that build up.

I miss the peal of her laughter into the night, her body out the window of the car, as she screamed into the sky with the pleasure of knowing it would end soon. She’s gone now along with my hope to be with her forever. The x on the calendar came and went, in blood stains on a tub, and an email of thanks to me.

He brought me happiness in his angers. It shined with passionate release, and the things in his path were music. He made it with fury in a mesmerizing pound of rhythm, from his spirit. The altar I made for him is gone now, somebody stripped it down to burn. White lightning in the alley.

I think about him at times. He’s like me, a kid with too much feeling. He can’t shut it off. He’s curious and misses his father who died the same way. He will never be domesticated, he’s got the itch of too much mountain air for that. I hope his survival becomes more joy than pain.

What a man! He made me feel like a mountain of a worker as a kid. I never doubted the danger of our friendship, I relished in the deliciousness of somebody who cared to be good, and had the courage to be wilder. I wasn’t surprised when he left the earth, just wistful. I miss his laughter, his admiration for my spirit, and the feeling it gave me to return it.

My adoration for these people will get me in the end. I caught the fever of the road, the pitch of the boat, and the trail of happiness, in not fitting in long ago. They have pain you can taste, that builds into the burst of their lives.

Their stories are bizarre and comforting, in the extremes I know as truth. I find it in their lack of ability to conform, and the glee they hold onto so fiercely. If I doubt them, I begin to anticipate the whisper of a knife. They look me in the eye with danger, and thank me for the honor and respect that was shown, and then dance into the night.

When they grace me with a tear, I can see it bled from their soul. Their look of surprise turning into recognition, becomes our friendship. After that our union becomes palpable, and I beg them to edit their words for me. I hold onto the moment with them, as it consumes me with purpose, and I’m thankful for the secrets I won’t know.

What shines through the filter of my desire to not be a witness at their trial, are things like, “I don’t know what intimacy is.”, or “My father is in prison, and my husband was chopped into pieces in the alley.” What do you do with that? Hold your judgements for the actions, not the results of past actions. People are not what they did yesterday. They have a moment in time to share, and its gone.

The art I love most comes from people who have the courage to preserve a chance, to witness these tragedies. They aren’t stuck on a vanity streak. They look to the outside of a person, and see the trail of pain painted on their social status, and embrace the inside of that person with a question to themselves. The cost is compassion. The reward is love, and a conscience that can sleep, in a bed of art.

My friends in low places tend to die faster, but they also know how to live. If you ever get the chance to sit on a curb with somebody and hear them out, they might lie or steal from you until you learn how to do it right, but you know what? You’ll get to enjoy tears that aren’t your own, and those tears are some of the best medicine.

People on the street look out for each other. Be one. A person on the street. Humanity is the transcendence of animal nature. That to me is taking the “fight or flight” urge, and turning it into the mercy of patient kindness. If you look out for the people on the street, they remember.

Are you curious about what goes down in your neighborhood? The best neighborhood watch is done by the guy in front of the store asking for change. If he’s there every day, it may be that he’s allowed to be there, because he is actually a priceless member of your community. Give him a cigarette and listen to his story, as the next time you see him, he may just smile.

An update to this post on the following morning:

Some people choose to wear rose colored glasses, but the dust of the world builds up, and their view becomes dim. I admire the way that Dennis uses his blog to reach out and clean the lenses of them with his efforts, as a radio of the street. His latest post inspired the flow of my thoughts for this article, and following up my last post of “Blogging Makes Laughter” with this one is fitting, as the joy in embracing the less fortunate, can be seen in between the lines of his stories.

Cedar Trees From Ridge to Ditch

The thing that makes me strong buries me in misery. She is the shining light that burns my skin. He is the fierce hug that I miss. We are the moment in time that was here, and is now gone.

They wondered why I didn’t show up, because I was showing up for myself. The last conversation we had was wild, it took me across my mind-scape, and brought me laughter to tears. It was exhausting because the flow consumed me.

You know the dance a puppy makes? The one that leads from “Hey, how you doin?” to “Ouch, dang… chill out!” Well, that’s friendship for me, and while I take it seriously, I end up being a sad puppy at times.

I have lot’s of people I consider friends. I love to socialize, but it’s exhausting to fully embrace a high standard of emotional intelligence, and I grow empty from it. If the ditch I land in from failing to meet their expectations is something I have to climb out of each time I see them, our friendship is weak.

My best friends appreciate my need for silence, and revel in my reappearances. They don’t expect me to conform to their sense of attachment to my time, and express their longing in easy messages that end with, “If you don’t call me back I’ll know everything is okay.”

Depression cycles have been the worst, and best. They jump me around, toss me in the air, and I land on the ground in a heap. I enjoy sharing the lofty parts of it, where I’ve finally come out of my cave of sadness, and I can’t get enough of the smell of flowers. Sunshine puts a smile on my face, and the storm of a grey day is something to challenge.

Through research I’ve found that this is a common pattern. From the honorable place of wanting to save my friends from misery, I bury my sadness from the people I care about, hide it in being alone, and let it stew in me for long periods of time.

This had built a shame deck that people who cared about me would walk on to get to the house that was me. They would tread softly in their approach, and knock on the door gently, asking if its okay to enter. At other times out of disgust for my pattern, they’d pound on my door, and think about kicking it in.

Each ridge and ditch has gotten bigger over the years. It hasn’t taken any longer to climb or fall, the ride just got more intense. The best things I learned from it make the ride easier for me, but unfortunately for the people who care about me, I’m a stranger who built walls.

Some people judge my actions as irresponsible and immature, but I’m not as ashamed about my miseries and expressions of exponential happiness, as I’ve begun to accept them as my process in learning to survive change. My relationships grow stronger from this experience, and I see it as one of the main benefits of my blogging.

How am I doing? Do you need to worry? Read my blog if you think you do, because the doors to the walls I built between us, are everywhere. I’ve done enough worrying for the both of us, and plenty of other people I may never meet.

I’m working on not worrying. Do you want to help with that? Good. Stop worrying, as doubt feeds doubt. If you want to show that you care about me, get curious. I do my best to preserve love with my question marks, and I hope you can return it.

I’ve proven to myself that I am not the king, the best, the smartest, or the prettiest. I feel like a beautifully shined burning boot, and that won’t ever change. I get pleasure from seeing you, and if I turn away to hide my tears from your joys, at least you know I still feel.

Have you felt the bottom of the pit? Did you ever lay in a curled ball and cry yourself to sleep for months? Was your perception ever laced with the crystals of so much happiness, that you burst from it and people were worried for you? Do your friends look at you with curiosity and wonder how you feel?

Do they assume you showed up only for pleasure? Watch out for that, as they’ll like you better if you let them bear some of your grief. If you don’t, they’ll bear it anyways in quiet resignation, or reject you from the compassion fatigue of bearing to much.