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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Through A Mist

I will not see your face with my eyes, nor touch your hands with my own.

I will never hear your voice outside of my dreams, I cannot watch you live.

A life is not made of time.

Supposing I knew you, I weep in secrecy for what I might have known.

I can tell the story of what may have been and what was, I can interpret my intuitive emotions into language and create a space for you in the hearts that might understand.

When I was twelve I had a kitten, he ran away before he was two months old.

When I was nineteen I had a crush on a girl that didn’t return the favor.

When I was thirty-two I forced life to my will and captured love and family.

When you were-

When you were-

You weren’t.

Perhaps I didn’t do it right, maybe a mistake on my part left you on the other side of the veil. It could be that I wish it was my fault, I’ve always been more comfortable wearing blame than my own face. It could be that random chance left me an unintended consequence.

When you were… No.

You were not, you were almost.

I will never forget your name, the sound that means my smile. I will never let go of your possibility. I will be what is, I will be your life. You exist in me.

I will hold your image, bouncing curls and sad eyes over a glowing, crooked smile.

I will say your name in privacy, I will call your name through the mist of what might have been until my lungs stop drawing breath and my mind can finally let go.

There is at least a small chance, still, that this life is my dream and one day I will wake to find that nothing was lost.

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. 

Madness and Other Games

I wouldn’t tell you that it was magical, no, the way she smiled and turned her head to the side, glancing sideways at me. 

My breathing didn’t change, I was forged in fires and tempered by vigilance. 

I wouldn’t say it was supernatural or otherworldly, when she asked me to light her cigarette and cupped her palms around my hand, softly brushing my knuckles with her pinky. 

She took a draw and the cherry glowed and as she pulled back she winked at me. 

“Thank you,” she breathed around the smoke and I couldn’t remember the response, decades of polite conversation guidelines gone in one second, 

but, no, I wouldn’t try to tell you it was poetic, or momentous, it was just a normal, ordinary, every day type of life-altering instance, boy meets girl, girl smiles, 

boy forgets how to do the thing, with the words and the voice, that thing. 

I couldn’t ask you to believe that love can really happen in a moment, at&first&sight. You’ve read the stories and you’ve seen real life and there’s no chance that you would take my story as something real. 

The light through the window fell only and directly on her mouth, and I had to kiss her, and I knew I loved her when she said “Hi” and I knew that she loved me when I smiled, I knew that I could have asked her to go with me, for coffee, for a beer, for a wedding, for a lifetime, after three seconds. 

I’m not asking you to believe this and hope that you’ll find that kind of connection. 

Sixteen years and ten months later she sits next to me as I write of that moment, and I’ll read this to her as soon as I am finished. 

I don’t need you to accept these words. 

She did. 

True

Everyone knows I’m full of shit,

Except for who knows I’m true

Everyone thinks I’m gonna quit

Except for those that know how I do
it’s a little bit inside of it, y’all don’t know what I’m trying to quit, your mind just won’t abide this shit, I’m a lot and not just a little bit
Unsure, uncured, not pure, so much wrong in my long sentence of unrepentant dependency, I try to look and I just can not begin to see, this virus inside of my brain is like John Wick come to cause pain, to exact revenge, to attack and not defend what has no worth since birth, my life was meant to be over but I have an eternal four-leaf-clover guiding my heart, I’m not creating, I’m riding this art, I don’t end because I can’t step from the start, it’s too easy I don’t care if it’s hard for the real and unmeasured, you think you’re gold but you’re not treasured, just junk rusting on the side of a highway, you go yours and I’ll go my way, don’t try to tell me or sell me your value, I don’t care and I won’t share what I can do, I get up and hot, then I get blue and too sad, I’m living through the ramifications of the bad, the dramatization of what I had and what I lost, my price paid and the cost is so damn high,
So why am I,

Why even try,

Why would I lie,
I don’t even care if you believe me,

Everything good always leaves me

And when I’m gone

Nobody’s gonna grieve me

So don’t tell me that you need me

I won’t let you come and bleed me
I don’t have anything left

So I gotta get right

Anniversary

He took the microphone and walked to the center of the dance floor with her, as everyone pushed back. She clutched her dress nervously, never liking the spotlight.
The music started, and she smiled like the sun breaking through clouds. ‘Butterfly’ had long been one of ‘their’ songs, he would sing to her in front of people with no fear, and seeing him free made her happy, so he kept doing it.

he sat down next to her hospital bed, again. the chemo treatment always took so much out of her that she slept for hours afterward. he sat and waited for her to wake up every time. lately it had been longer each time, he would sit, and watch her sleep. the pain showed on her face even though she was drugged for pain… the brain never let anything happen without noticing.

He slowly danced around her as he sang, touching her shoulder then pressing up behind her, spinning away and leaning toward her as he sang the sexy words to her- always, only her.
She began to loosen up a little, swaying back and forth and staring at his eyes and mouth as he sang, reaching up to caress his cheek, then yanking on his beard lightly with a mischievous grin. He started really feeling his voice as he got further into the song, serenading his love on their anniversary.

she woke from her drugged sleep to see him sitting next to her, as always. “Hi, love” she said. he rubbed her hand softly in his grasp, looking at her face without meeting her eyes. she noticed the evasion, of course. she always saw everything he felt.
“what’s wrong, baby?” she asked, squeezing his fingers softly, as firmly as she could.
“they said it’s over”, he whispered. he continued looking at her hand, caressing her fingers lightly. “they said hospice care is the only option left.”
she smiled, a wry, half-smile. she had known this was coming. the fight had been long and painful, and each step had been a step backwards. a step toward death. she tried to make him smile, tried to put the old familiar sarcastic tone in her voice, “what do they know?”
it came out weakly, quivering, feeling every bit as sad as she felt.
he looked at her eyes then, his eyes glowing with fervent emotion. “I won’t let it happen this way, baby.”

Then he got to the part of the song where lyrics disappear in favor of scat- and he stumbled. Trying to find the rhythm again, he did a very poor imitation of the singer.
It was agonizingly painful. The look of delight which had painted every face in the room turned to embarassment and sympathy as he kept going.

the plane ride was awful. fourteen hours from San Francisco to Greece, with several painful moments along the way. he held her hand as they landed, and said, “we made it baby. we made it.”

A voice broke out of the back of the room, “Stop, that’s not right.”
Shocked gasps spread across the room as horrified onlookers all turned to the owner of the voice. Her angry face stabbed daggers through the low light, livid that someone had interrupted her husband’s loving but awful singing.
A slight figure walked forward, wearing his signature hat, holding a guitar. Recognition turned all the shock to outright disbelief as everyone assembled realized who it was. She looked over to her husband to see a huge grin across his face as he looked back at her. Understanding followed immediately, as she realized what her husband had done.

they walked slowly out onto the beach, white sand gleaming in the sunlight. she was barely alive, but his love carried her all the way to the waterline, where they sat down in the clear blue waves. he cradled her body against his, her now frail body leaning against his healthy bulk. she nestled her face against his neck as he held her, water washing against their hips as they sat in the gentle surf. he whispered imagined tales of their life to her, telling her of all the things they would have done, explaining all the adventures they were going to miss. they sat there for the entire day, he whispering in her ear, she feeling her life slowly fade from her body as the water took their stories away into the Mediterranean.

The singer walked over to the couple, and said, “Can I help?”
They quickly gave assent, he laughing and she with her eyes wide. She mouthed the singer’s name as she went into her husband’s arms, shaking her head. She smiled up at him, tears glistening in their beautiful home before escaping down her cheeks.
The singer looked at the band, and signaled them to resume, then he picked up right where the man had faltered, scatting through the difficult part. The happy couple danced through the end of the song, and everyone joined them, The singer played their other songs, all of them, and had the man join in on a few parts.
After the music stopped, the man once again took the microphone. He walked to the center of the floor with his wife again, and raised the microphone to his mouth.

she stopped moving just after night fell. he sat there with her as the moon rose, soft white light shining and reflecting off the water as they sat. beginning to shiver with cold as darkness surrounded her, he told her now, still form, the story of their love- stories of imagined times being painted on an invisible canvas. after he finished, he stood up, cradling her lifeless form close to his chest. he walked slowly up to the resort hotel, mentally preparing for the job ahead- the last duties he had as a husband, seeing to her body’s last disposal. the tears flowed freely down his face as he walked, her body not much more than a bundle of sticks in cloth. the disease had taken away all of her substance.

Voice trembling, he said, “You have been my life. You are every word and every poem and every song, all the words and thoughts I have been trying to wrap around your heart. You have lifted me from my grave, given me safety and inspiration, you have held me through every storm that has ever raged in my soul. I would marry you again, every day, just to hear you promise to be mine. You are the only place I have ever wanted to be, and I am yours forever. As long as I exist, I will be needing you.”

they took her body away, and he sat alone in the hotel room. they had dreamed for so long of being here, in Santorini. they had not foreseen the path life had chosen for them- their journey here had been only a defiant gesture. he sat in the room, unable to sleep without her. he cried without sound, sitting on the end of the bed. there was no solace for him, no hope of home. his only home had died in his arms, and there was no longer a reason for him to hold his sadness back. finally free of hope, his lifelong melancholy flowed through him, as he dissolved over and over in his hotel room in paradise. he held a photo of her, smiling at him, and repeated over and over again, “I love you, my soul.”

Beaming at him, shining at him, looking at him as though he were the only thing that existed, smiled as wide as she could, and said,

“Likewise.”

In Pieces or Whole

I had a dream that I was sitting with my dead sister and my dead brother

and I was describing to them the way that Dennis the Menace park in Monterey had been dismantled, destroyed and abandoned

which was strange because the park hasn’t been, it’s still there and functional

but I told them in detail the way that the train had been melted down 

and the big slide ripped out

and the tables were burned

and as I told them, in my dream, it never occurred to me that they were dead

or that I was describing an important part of my childhood that was gone

and when I woke I felt the pieces come together and the picture fell apart

because somewhere between a group of kids playing at the park and an almost-forty-year-old man having a dream 

some dreams were lost, some dreamers woke, some nightmares came true

and I massaged my temples for at least twenty minutes while my wife slept and the darkness changed to dawn, my head and neck and shoulders aching and refusing my request to slip back into sleep

when we were kids we would play and laugh and it never mattered if we got hurt because we were going to live forever

and the secrets behind the daytime smiles were never told

In loving memory of Ruane Richardson and Ethan Eayre

First


From the moment of first awareness until death, I only get to see life from one perspective. 

It’s the same for you, no matter how empathetic you may be, no matter how understanding, you can never truly know what others think. Just what they say, what they do. All of that is interpreted by your mind, colored by your experiences, your emotions, so the truth is
there is not one TRUTH
everyone gets their own version
Knowing this doesn’t make much difference, right?  We still have to interact with each other, to see ourself. I am formless without confirmation. There is a balance to be found, between how I perceive myself, and how you see me, and in the middle lies all of human history, societal standards, religion, politics, and all the other devices invented by humans. We are taught how to act, how to pretend to be a part of the collective. We are criticized and degraded when we step outside of the accepted norms, we are punished for shining our own light, instead of dimming to the lowest common denominator.
I ask of you a simple question, without an easy answer:

Can you, will you

put yourself first on your own list?

Some will say it’s selfish, and somehow wrong. 

I wonder, if you do not put yourself first, if you always take care of another’s want before your own need, 

who will put you first? 

Is there another you, who will come to take care of your wants, while you see to someone else, and so on? 
I can only live my life,walk my path, I can only see through my eyes. 

It’s the same for you. 

I want you to just consider for a moment,

being yourself. 

I know that put up your defenses, saying that. What do I know about you? How could I say you are anything other than yourself?
What could I possibly know about hiding ?
Day by day,you bite down on the words you wanted to say. You stop yourself from showing the way you feel. You hide away that child that still lives inside you. You clamp down on the “foolish dreams” or ” silly feelings” or any of the cruel labels we put around our hearts. 
Can you understand that nobody speaks for you, if you remain silent.

Nobody else can feel your feelings, nobody else can stand up to your attackers, and degraders, and conformers, nobody is going to save you from the costume you’ve put yourself into. 
What do you look like, in your mind? In your heart? What did you want to be, when you were eight years old? When did you give up, and allow ” the rules ” to paint you to look just like everyone else?
It’s such a silly thing to say, You are unique, just like everyone else, but it’s true. 

At least, in my version of life, it’s true. 
I want you to do something today, that is only for you. Do something, say something, BE something, that is only for you. If you feel the desire, and see an opportunity, encourage someone else to do the same. 
Love ya, kid.

Speak

 They talked about what was lost, what had been taken away

They cried about broken trust and they poured out their rage

I sat in the circle wanting to fix them, not speaking

They took turns revealing wounds and scars and falling to pieces

They saw each other as safety, recognition of shared experience

I cried quietly and wanted to undo their past

They looked at me and asked the question

I couldn’t speak

I couldn’t share 

I hadn’t lost anything

I could still see the untouched, innocent, pure picture of me, in my head

I couldn’t reach him, but he wasn’t dead

So I didn’t tell them I understood, because I didn’t

I didn’t spill my hurts, my pains, my betrayals,

I was scared that they could tell the difference

If I showed my wounds

They would know that I hurt so much more for theirs

If I told my story they would hear the disregard I held for myself, they would know that I could see the hurt, but not feel it, I could remember the pain but never touch it, I could still hear the little boy crying and screaming in my mind but I couldn’t reach him to offer comfort, 

So I didn’t say anything, in that room where five teenage girls explained how they were abused, and I never explained why I was there. 

I kept my words inside and I never thought much of it, 

I couldn’t feel how hurt that boy was, 

I could feel the pain of those girls and my sisters and my friends and all the girls and women who had been hurt, I could see how they would suffer without end, and I was a boy turning into a man, I had no time to fit suffering into the plan, whatever I felt was moss growing on the other side of the wall, I know that it was there but I couldn’t reach it at all

But I could have spoken up in that room

I should have

That little boy deserved some respect

Unicorn Poop

   

When I started sharing the things I write, I had a lot to say. I would write four or seven or nine pieces a day, and at least three times a week I was discovering new parts of myself. 

I haven’t been writing as much since my sister died. 

I’ve been contemplating the balance of life. My sister was so many things to me, and so many parts of my memory are wrapped around her. In a lot of ways I worshiped her, as boys worship their mother. She was the protector, the teacher, the nurturing presence in my life. 

In a lot of ways I was angry at her, I still am. She had so much that others never get and she threw it away. She was capable of so much more than she did. She killed a lot of dreams, mostly her own. 

I saw her as a unicorn. Magical, impossible to capture, perfect. 

I was blind to the way she saw herself. 

There are lots of differing opinions about self-image. Some say that the way one perceives their self is irrelevant, some say it’s everything. 

I say that self-image can be heaven or hell, and it can change at any time. 

My sister was horribly abused and it twisted her life. My sister was wonderfully gifted and it was beautiful. 

She was a unicorn. She also had flaws. 

I married the love of my life. It was not easy, it wasn’t fated. I had to make it happen, she had to make it happen. We spent a long time apart before we were lucky enough to get it right. 

We each turned down other opportunities, we each tried other paths. We had lives apart and we have histories, separately. 

My wife is a unicorn. I am a unicorn. 

We have flaws. We have magic. We have damage. We have healing. We are devoted to our WE. We are human and we have wandering minds… We’ve both held fantasies that bring jealousy, territorialism into play. 

Balance in life doesn’t mean equality, justice, it doesn’t mean everything works out for everyone. 

Balance is the eye of the storm. All of life rages, all of life has pain or healing. All of humanity has the capability to be awful or amazing. 

I had some of the best parts of my sister. 

I saw some of the worst parts of her. 

I have most of the best parts of my wife. 

She has most of the best parts of me. 

What I have come to realize, about my sister, my wife, myself, all of the pieces of glorious magical humanity that live in my view, is that unicorns shit. 

Magical, perfect fairytale beings, out there making miracles, shitting just like other animals. 

Worship as you will, see the magic. 

Understand that flaws are present in every person. Don’t just say that you accept the flaws. Understand. Know that you have magic and you have flaws. 

My sister is dead, my wife is a person, I am a jerk sometimes. 

Balance is the eye of the storm, and remembering the wind.