Reaching Back

I saw him.

He held a razor to his wrist, tears streaming freely down his cheeks.

He kept whispering, “Just do it. Just do it. Just do it.”

I saw him, trying to convince himself to cut his life off, and I had no idea how to stop him, or if I should try.

When animals are suffering, we kill them, and call it humane. Wasn’t he an animal? Aren’t we all? How could I tell him to prolong his suffering?

What could I say which would be honest enough to be accepted, and change his mind about life?

He lowered the razor to his wrist, prepared to cut open his veins, vertically, so there wouldn’t be time to save him, if they found him before he died.

He had a plastic bag, spread open below him, trying to be considerate, not wanting to leave too big a mess, for the unlucky soul which would find his body. An open bottle of aspirin lay on the counter, he had taken it to thin his blood. He had thought this through, maybe for years.

I could see him, but he didn’t see me, yet. I watched him deliberate his existence, and my heart broke for him. I could see that the perspective I had gained through life’s experience had not been revealed to him. He was fighting a battle which he was bound to lose, searching for meaning in a meaningless life. His pain was palpable as he swam back and forth through the waters of depression, and all I wanted was to throw him a line, help him back to shore, give him some way to make sense of it all.

Over and over he lowered the razor, then pulled it away, shaking his head, face twisted with pain and sadness. He was dancing with demons, first leading, and then being led. The agonizing march was tapping its way toward oblivion.

I resolved to cut in on his dance, and I made my move cautiously.

Trying not to startle him, I softly whispered, “Don’t do it.”

He looked up, finally seeing me. A brief recognition crossed his face, then the storm clouds crossed his sight again, and he asked, “Who are you?” I shook my head slightly, responding, “You’ll find out. What’s more important is who you are, and who you might be.”

Anger flashed as he caught my eyes, shaking his head violently, and said, “This life is too cruel, for me. I have tried to be happy. I have tried to be true. The two mix like oil and fire. Humanity spends all its energy trying to destroy each other, and greed is the law of the land. Because I’m young, they tell me I don’t understand, but I understand better than they do. This life is wrong. For me, for everyone. We are not animals, we are a virus, an infection. I won’t be a party to it, anymore. I will go, on my own terms. Now.”

He once again lowered the blade, this time touching the soft, thin skin at his wrist, piercing his skin and drawing blood. A look of determination had fixed upon his youthful features, and a small grin peeked out between his teeth.

Mind racing, desperate, I cried weakly, “Please, don’t do this.”
He looked up from his bloody wrist and stared into my eyes again. He angrily spat at me, “Nobody loves me. Not the real me. They don’t know me, and they don’t want to know me. Nobody will even take the time to find out who I am, what I need. They have no time for anything but their selfish pursuits, and I won’t feed their egos nor wallets. They don’t care to know me.”

I tried to send all of the love I possessed into his eyes as I whispered, “I do.”

Laughing angrily, caught off guard but unwilling to concede a single inch of battled-for ground, he walked toward me a step and thrust his face toward mine. The rage flew out of his eyes and his voice shook as he yelled, “YOU DON’T KNOW ME!”

His point was valid. I nodded agreement, and put my hands up to show my surrender to his fury. I said, “I want to know you. If you die today, I never will.”

Shocked by my statement, he stepped away, looking down at his bleeding forearm. A crimson pool was collecting on the plastic below him, as his blood dripped down his fingers. He looked at me, then back at his arm. He started to speak, and his voice cracked.

Tears started flowing again, and he shook his head side-to-side. Shoulders slumping, he pointed his bloody hand at me, again tried to speak, but could only issue a mournful groan as the sobs ripped their way out of his throat. His anger faded, and he crumbled, limply collapsing, sobbing, to the floor.

I let him cry, speaking softly.

“You have only just begun. You will find your way to people who see you, understand you, and love the real you. You have more to be. You are needed. Your life has hurt you, and if you stick around, life will hurt you more. But you will grow strong. You have a purpose. There are people not yet born who need to know you. Would you leave them to their hurt, without your help? Without your love? Who will help them, if not you? Who can help the next young person to see their place in this life? The cruelty and suffering you see is real. You may be the only thing standing between someone and their grave. Someone will need you, and someone will love you. If you are here, breathing, living, fighting against the sorrow, the cruelty. To that person, to those people, you are already their life. Somewhere, someone is drowning in their own misunderstood sea…you have to be the driftwood to which they cling. You have to let them be saved, by your presence. If not you, there will be none. No rescuer, no lifeline, no hand reaching back to their flailing grasp. Your pain will not cease, but without you, they will never learn how to carry their own weight.”

When I finished speaking, a look of understanding was on his face. He stood, put the razor down, and looked me in the eyes.
“You’re right. I don’t know who they are, yet, but I need to be here, to be there for them.”

He picked up the plastic and placed it in the trashcan. Looking at me again, he said, “thank you”, and walked away from the mirror.

Again The Night

Through the darkness, the beast stalks
slowly, cautiously, tasting the air, peering through the shadows
perked ears straining for the slightest shift, the indrawn breath
silently probing the impenetrable darkness
for sign of the prey
prey which too suddenly could become predator
there, the whisper of flesh against tree-trunk
frozen, the beast fixes upon targeted shadow
swift and sudden, one fluid motion to the creature’s throat
teeth crushing breath, metallic life spurting as molten lava
death incarnate, the beast ends the creature
blood staining his fangs-

a noise
suddenly awake from my dream of predatory tension, lying next to her, I am a coiled spring, in my bed. Did I hear that, or-
again, a soft thud
a sharply indrawn breath
she shifts next to me, and now sure that my dream is over, I time my movements with her deep breaths, so I am not heard
inhale- my feet to the floor, softly
exhale- I stand and slowly move to the open door of our bedroom,
stopping just to the side of the opening. Knees slightly bent, head cocked to the side, I taste the air, searching the darkness for any unfamiliar scent
perked ears strain for the slightest sound, waiting for my prey to give away its location
there, a rustle of flesh against soft carpet
my mind sharpens, as my heartbeat increases slightly, adrenaline coursing through my body, in anticipation
I visualize my movements, I will be prepared,
sudden and swift I will be through the door and upon the intruder,
hand to throat as I attack, force the creature to the ground and overwhelm with ferocity, gathering violence in my bones, I aim towards the sound, swiftly and suddenly through the door-

my son lies on the floor, beside his bed, twists again to escape the monsters in his head… so much like me.
Calm, now, I scoop his sleeping body up, and he curls toward me, puts his hand on my chest and murmurs softly, still lost in his dream world
I gently lay him back in his bed, covering him with his soft baby blanket, then the thick comforter

I lie back in bed, mentally laughing at myself, careful not to disturb my wife from her all-too infrequent sleep. As I curl up next to her she reaches out for my hand

I close my eyes
Through the darkness, the beast stalks

Lasting First

In the time before the life I know

there was, basically,

everything that has ever been.

Life is long, so long it seems impossible. The first day of life is perfectly terrible and a lot of boulders roll down slopes after.

I know right here you’re expecting that I’ll tell you how short life is, that it moves too fast and you can’t get back your time and everyone you know will die before you do, maybe, if you’re lucky you might have enough time to do all you want.

But that sentiment has been shared ad infinitum and I think it’s bullshit.

Life is long, so amazingly and insanely long that there’s time to do everything. Every day is 23 hours and 56 minutes long, each of those minutes has time for me to live a minute, to torture myself for some pain I caused twenty-six years ago, to live in a memory of passionate lust and desire that went away seventeen years ago. One minute in so many days and what do I do with these minutes…

I’ve just spent three writing that paragraph. Considering the words and how I want to make my point, to cast the hook and see if I can get you to bite.

If you’re reading this sentence I’d guess that you’re interested enough to get to my point.

Life isn’t short. Even for a baby that dies on her second day, life is not immediate. Awareness creates perception which in turn creates a clock ticking, this breath and that heartbeat.

When Matt Wafer flew out of the rolling SUV and died as a nineteen year old kid, his life wasn’t short. He made it through about 7200 days full of minutes and seconds and thoughts and hopes and laughter and love.

When Ethan Eayre, great big goofy kid wrapped in the sins of his father, his mother, his older brother, died from a simple infection that became the descriptive and fun-to-remember labels “morbidly obese” when he lived and died, he still does, I’m in that moment now, telling my mother in the lobby that, yes,

She can do this.

She can say goodbye to her youngest son, she can carry herself through that moment, because he lived all of his days as a loving and confusingly decent person, a fluffy and smiling friendly-bear going around making people happy, mostly… In part. He lived a life as he could, and it is over, so, Mother, you won’t freak out

you’ll go in there and cry for him, cry for yourself, you’ll give his life the respect which is due.

The time we live is not short.

I live those days every day…and more.

That night in 2001 I walked into a room and was claimed by grey eyes that want to see me, the smile that needs to kiss me, the mind that needs my mind and my time, I’ve lived that moment a thousand times in the seventeen years and a few months since… I can still feel the first kiss,

it’s still the first kiss every time.

That moment has lasted all of these years and been added to all of the eternal and looping events I’ve seen and touched, I could try to forget what it was

but those pains and joys matter so much, I’ve lived those days with my grandmother, I’ve laughed with the boys and wrestled my brother, I’ve had parties and road trips and I’ve been to weddings and my own,

my own wedding has never ended,

she just walked out into the sun, and

my head got funny.

In a swirl of heat and love and pressure building inside a dynamite keg, she was there, looking just like the only thing that has ever been real.

I’m in that moment, right now.

And the backyard when we were kids.

I’m driving through mountains with her and the kids and we’ve pulled over to a rest stop without lights,

13,000 feet above sea level

and we can see the galaxy,

we’re watching the spin of infinite depths of time and light, in our little remote spot

I looked up as we held hands for a moment and I almost disappeared.

I’ve lived those moments,

Every day.

So don’t tell me that life is short,

because people died and you got to keep living, you get to keep living those laughs and smiles and hugs and tears, those days with calendar stars, the days that got pinned to the pages of a photo album, you get to live those every day until you go.

Life is long, incredibly and depressingly long. Life is longer than everything else.

You’ll never do anything that lasts longer than life.

The trick is making it through each moment and remembering.

this


My first year in high school was my last year in high school and I swear on my life it wasn’t my fault that I was the epitome of unreadable literature. I was raised like a weed in a rose  garden, I was taught to be the stone which will not erode, I was trained to stand against a hurricane without fear or concerns for my own safety. 
My first year in college was not my last but I fought the system the whole time. I was a spark plug in a water pump, I was a boyfriend in a lesbian marriage, I was a cup of coffee inside a box of frozen pizza. I argued my point of view and my professors would tell me, this won’t help you, and I replied, how small can I make my thoughts, how far from my home can I go, how am I supposed to create a new version of myself that looks like everyone that has never been me?
My first year of marriage was a boy begging for Turkish delight in Narnia, I promised what I could not deliver and I gave what I didn’t have. She was a mystery in her surrender and I cowered in corners, afraid of my own ferocity. 

We found our way, eventually. 
My first year as a writer was wordless. 
I am here and I will be here. 
This life has no meaning.

Lost

So, my sweet dream

Here we are again.

You know the words I wish I could say, 

They are carved into your heart

As they are burned into my soul

Maybe is such a terrible curse. 

We held each other’s eyes as though we could change the reality, we hoped and knowing the answers never mattered. 

Your sweet smile was a cold fire on that forgotten landscape, clear and simple we prayed, our movements echoed through eternity as we imagined what might have been forever, what could never be one day, that anchor cut loose and we drifted away from our only chance. 

If time had a pen, we would have maps and the journey would always take us home, we would dance in front of bonfires and the chanting mother’s would bless the rebirth of winter with a sacrifice freely offered and accepted by the ancient. 

If, maybe, these ideas are not as hard as truth, these thoughts do not provide a loving touch. 

Here we are, my sparkling sapphire. 

We have limits and rules for our insanity, we have stolen the fire from the mountain and left in its place a key with no lock. 

In uncertainty have these words stripped my skin from bones too old to grow. 

Belief has borrowed flavors, and we taste the memories of what has never come. 

Your love will decode my cypher and you will know my cruelty. I have chosen a road away from our Paradise, you will wait with no name for the return of visions lost in pieces. 

I will secure the gates behind my hands, so that none will know my betrayal. 

I know, and you know. 

A Miss Before Flying


i want to run away,

To stay,

And I can’t find the way,

No method in my mind

To leave this behind,

The traps that I find
I want to go home

Too tired to roam

I left a feeling alone

And never touched it,

But now It’s reaching me,

It’s begging and beseeching me

To return from the far away roads

To the place that I know

To where I started the show,

My heart started to grow,

My mind started to know,

All that matters
I want a ticket on a plane

Before I can’t afford it

I want a place to remain

Where all my love won’t be hoarded

In tiny boxes and bags

In finery and rags

On a throne or in the gutter

Commanding armies or

Churning butter

I want a plan for escape

With minimal red tape

And a happily-ever-after at the end

I want more than I’ve earned

But look how I’ve learned

I won’t leave any stones unturned

To find my home, to not be alone, to remove from my bones this longing and aching, to seal up the cracks in my breaking, to once again start giving more than I’m taking,
I need a vacation

And I don’t want to take me along

The Keeper of Time

This woman explodes my mind

The Lithium Chronicles

I swear to God, I am not proud of it,
this wishing and unwishing,
and the wishing and unwishing of more,
as if that could make these things be something
or nothing, or take them all away,
or even add a maybe to them all.
This wishing and unwishing is killing me.
If I could go back and take it all back,
or change it all I would,
God help me, I would.
There are so many things I would change
and so many things I couldn’t,
and wouldn’t, and would never want to,
but if I started to change one thing,
I would never stop.
I would wish to be the keeper of time
to whisper my secrets to you,
and we would sit beyond time and I would tell you,
“you can change this. I have kept your time.
I have kept your seconds.
I have kept your…

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Momma Said

 

  I was raised by a single mother and three sisters. My first friend was a girl. Most of my friends have been females. We had cats, a lot of girl cats. I’ve read a lot of books written by women. I’ve listened to (and loved) songs written and recorded by women. I’ve had really close friends and their mothers always liked me. 

This, in no way, makes me an authority on women. 

I have a wife, a daughter, and several female friends.

 I have eyes, ears and a working brain.

 I have reasoned my way to an understanding, betwixt my brain and my balls, a truce between thought and urge, a de-militarized zone between my mind and my dick. 

I have three sons. I tell them, several times a day, what my mother taught me –

“Keep your hands off of your weiner and off of other people.”

It’s not enough to say, act this way in public. 

The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.(John Wooden)

My oldest son is 13. I know that the raging river of hormonal metamorphosis is starting. I know that soon his pecker is going to be his main focus. Puberty is a difficult time. We change from children into children with sexual urges. 

I tell my son, leave it alone. Wash it when it’s dirty, and otherwise, try to ignore it. 

I know, I know… This isn’t part of the patriarchal dialogue. This doesn’t fit into the way that we see male physiology. 

I’ve seen it my whole life, from myself to my brothers and friends to men on television shows to literary characters and society says, men can’t help it. Dicks run the world. A man can’t control his penis. 

That’s the most ridiculous bullshit ever. 

My younger sons are constantly fiddling with their fidget-sticks. I tell them to stop. 

All three of my sons put their hands on others without permission. 

I tell them to stop. 

The two subjects are related. 

There is a need for boundaries. People need to respect the difference between “mine” and “yours”. Men, especially. We need a new dynamic in this world. 

We need to understand, men. 

Men, boys, all those that identify as male. 

We need to stop using that as an excuse for terrible actions. We need to create a boundary between our minds and our cocks. 

I know that the idea is quite foreign to most men, but I promise you that you won’t become female, or gay, or invisible, or alien, or a giant block of cheddar cheese, you won’t stop being a person. 

In fact, if that’s your fear, I challenge you to really think about that. We have ruled all of human history, we proud beasts with our mighty cocks and our dangling testes. Our physical strength and sexual virility has literally conquered the earth. 

Of course, along the way, we also destroyed and degraded most of humanity. We’ve cheapened life and made existence a filthy parade of dicks being dicks to dicks, one dick United in dickhood, with a dick-tatorship created by dicks, for dicks and about dicks. We’ve even got a ranking system based on money, which makes a whole lot of sense, because money helps dick the world over every day. 

The point here, the one I’m trying to make, is that I’m a Dad. I tell my sons to leave their dicks in their pants and to keep their hands off of other people. 

And my instructions mean dick. 

When my wife tells them, they listen. 

So we use that. Momma said, don’t play with your weiner. Momma said, don’t touch other people without permission. Don’t touch their things, their bodies, don’t touch them with your hands or your weiners. Don’t take pictures of your weiner and send it to people. That’s a dick move. 

My Momma said, you were born with a brain and a weiner and every day you have to choose which one is in charge. 

I’ve chosen both ways, through my almost forty years. 

My dick, well… He’s a dick. He doesn’t care about right and wrong. He doesn’t choose wisely, based on rational thought and integrity. He chooses to seek gratification. That is how dicks are programmed. 

My mind chooses more wisely. I choose compassion, love, integrity, poetry. I choose art, literature, romance, friendship, family. My mind is kind, my mind is interested in other minds and their thoughts, choices, interests. 

https://youtu.be/8APUM-b4-ns

I’m not standing here trying to convince all men that their dicks don’t matter. 

I’m saying that being a decent person means more than a dick. 

Momma said, be proud of what you do, not what you have. 

I’m not standing here, telling the world that I’m “not one of those men” 

I have used my maleness for male purposes in life. I have never forced myself on anyone, but I have certainly enjoyed male privilege in my life. I have a dick, which is like being a rich white guy in the U.S.  The world has been controlled by dicks so long that I don’t have any way to know if I’m “one of those”

 I do know that I have a choice. 

I do know that my sons have a choice. 

Make choices with brain. 

Make fuck with dick. 

Keep your hands to yourself, and use your brain more than your penis. 

Please.