I’m at the age where I realize,
Nothing, actually (Sublime)
Just say the words, tell me I’ll be okay.
You don’t have to mean it, it ain’t gotta be true, you’ll never have to be accountable for what comes or goes,
Just say the words.
I tell my friend, she of open heart and hospitality, tell me my parenting will get easier, tell me it gets better.
She says, yes.
She says, I did it, you will too.
I tell my son, he of 13 years and internet-trolling, if it’s not true, helpful or necessary,
Don’t fucking say it.
He says, okay Dad.
He says, I understand.
I tell my wife, she of magical unicornism and poetry-inducing madness,
I will always give what I have, I will work until I drop, to give us, I say, to give you,
To provide for you, my girl, wife, dream, goddess, queen,
My endless frustration
To give you home and hearth and love and food and bandwidth and hot coffee and cold air when it’s hot outside,
I will give what I am to a job that takes all I have, to earn this place I see, this golden fantasy where you smile and we have a door with a lock, behind which we remember our youth and we expose our eternal truth
She says, wherever. She says, I got you.
She says, be happy and I will.
She says, we got this, love.
We got this love, love, we have our love to rely upon, she says and she shows and sometimes she needs reassurance but,
Tell me, say the words.
I will say the words.
Even when I have trouble believing myself.
You’re going to get through this.
I’m going to get through this.
We’re going to be okay.
We got this.
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.
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.
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,
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.
I am three months and a week from my fortieth birthday and I miss my mom.
I am the father of three crazy, beautiful, intelligent boys and I miss my grandmother.
I am living a love story with a girl I met when I was eight years old and I miss my sister.
I am working on being able to reconnect with my daughter and I miss my daughter.
The other night I was talking with my wife about dying. It’s not unusual to do this, we have had rough lives and her mom died a month ago. She and I have a deep understanding of the temporary state of life and, honestly, sometimes life is rough enough for us that we each consider that it would be easier to end.
I’m not going to kill myself. My wife isn’t going to kill herself.
We talk. We argue. We cry together, sometimes. We care about each other, and because we each have some self-loathing we usually care more about each other than we do for ourselves.
Sorry… I get sidetracked.
So we’re talking, lying in bed, and I ask,
“What will you say to the kids if I die?”
She starts to say that she’ll tell them I loved them and they’ll get through it, and they-
“No.” I said, “What will you say to Aidan?”
Aidan is our six-year-old hurricane. He is overly emotional (like me), he is overly intellectual for his age (like I was), he is and has been over-the-top expressive and reactive to everything, all the time (like me).
I am the only one he will listen to. I am the lifeline that pulls him in when he is flailing. I am his hope, because he knows I understand him. I am his, and he is mine and we both know that we need each other.
So I asked my wife, “What will you tell Aidan?”
She doesn’t know. She made me promise not to kill myself, she’s convinced that if I died she will wither up like a tomato plant in Fresno during August (it’s hot).
She doesn’t know how to get through Aidan’s maze. He doesn’t know how to interact with her. She loves him as fiercely as she can, and he loves her as insanely as any boy has loved his mother, and they clash. Two storms fighting for control, and they usually both end up very upset.
Sorry… I digress.
What would she say to him?
Daddy died and now you have to figure things out yourself. All the chaotic emotion raging through your mind are now yours alone, the only one that knows the way through is gone.
So here I am, just in case.
Aidan, if it’s time for you to read this, then I’m not coming home. I’m sorry.
I need you to know so many things that I didn’t get a chance to tell you. I have all of these dreams for you, so many hopes and ideas of how you will live.
I can’t start telling you those, for two reasons. First, if I start, I’ll never stop. Second, my dreams for you aren’t big enough for you.
You’re going to make mistakes. You will do things the wrong way. This is a necessity. Doing things the right way doesn’t teach you much, if anything at all. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. You will get stronger, smarter, better because you won’t want to do things wrong over and over. Do your best when you can. Just do… Don’t let fear of failure stop you from trying.
I don’t regret anything I’ve done. My only regrets are things I didn’t do. Things I didn’t say. Chances I was too scared to take. Be better than that.
Don’t let anger be your go-to reaction. Your emotions make you angry, not getting your way makes you angry, being sad or being tired or being hungry or being bored or being ignored or embarrassed or basically everything except music and candy make you angry and I’m telling you in absolute terms, this is going to hurt you. Learn to let anger slide past while your other emotions load up. If your reaction is sadness, be sad. If you’re embarrassed, smile and laugh because it makes embarrassment go away. If you’re going to be angry all of the time, you will make your life so much harder than it needs to be.
Enjoy the little things, and chase the big things. Little joys are where happiness lives. Eat the cookie. Play the game. Laugh at the stupid joke. You can’t focus only on the big Happy.
Set goals and work for them. You need a direction and it needs to be your choice. Find the thing that makes your heart beat faster, the thing that makes your brain feel like fire, and just do that. Act, sing, dance, create, do whatever makes you, you. Don’t get so caught up in comfortable happiness that you lose track of your path.
Be prepared for things to hurt you but don’t worry about the hurt before it comes. You will always recover and the things that hurt deserve to hurt.
When you love someone, all you can do is give that person your love and hope. You can’t make them into what you want them to be, you don’t get to choose who they are or how they will love you. You can decide what you will allow but you cannot make people give you what you need.
Sleep when you’re tired, and when you wake up, get up. Don’t lay around doing nothing. It makes your mind stagnant.
Eat when you’re hungry and when you feel you’ve had enough, stop.
When you miss me, remember me. Think of the times we shared. Think about my smile, my laugh, my voice talking to you. Think about the way we connected. Remember the things about me that make you feel good, loved, special.
Because you are good.
Because you are loved.
Because you are special.
Don’t ever, not for one moment, believe that I am gone. I am right here, thinking of you. You’re asleep and your brothers and Mom are sleeping, and it’s quiet. I’m thinking of you, and my heart is wrapped around you, and I will always be right here in this moment.
Can you see me, son? I’m smiling, and loving you, and I will be,
It’s okay if you feel like these are just words on a screen, and if that obscures the obscene from your mental regime than I cannot fault your resolve and try to topple your walls, if it’s somethin strange in your neighborhood and you don’t call Ghostbusters than I’m not sure we can really connect.
So. I see a lowered flag waving from your heart, and I want to help it fly boldly and proudly, to stand true and strong and somehow find light in private imagined darkened rooms, pre-emptively constructed tombs of doubt and despair, to climb up the ladders and fly up the stairs no matter how the stares and the glares might pierce you and demean, your challenges accepted, you are coming clean.
] tell me what you need
And I will provide
When they read of my love for her they look above her but none could ever be supreme to her she is my queen to serve and my life is what she deserves to burn if she wants fire I’m fuel, an uncontested duel of whatever you want and what I’m willing to do, but I would sell my child’s organs for you because my skies are all lies covering a thin disguise and my eyes cannot pry from locked doors and closed minds what truth in my life I should not leave behind.
i can’t say anything anymore without thinking of how it sounds,
is there a gentle touch inside us all which might propel some form emotional evolution, some type of redistribution of values and ideas which have been seen to be false; perhaps on a cold day all men shiver, and time is a package which never remains undelivered, but the hearts of all creatures are designed with a purpose, to live the next fraction of a second before your life muscles contract, every breath is gone with no guarantee of payback.
At times I think the whole world has gone crazy and at times I know there is no world or any crazy which is crazier than the thought of a placebo effect and we still won’t believe that we are what we perceive…is there any sense to any of these insane pursuits which scuff up our boots and leave us bereft, clinging to the small pieces left from the last time we loved and got broken again.
someday all the doubts that live in my head will be silenced for good and I will believe what I cannot deny.
I meant to say, I love you, Mom. I was eleven and lying on the living room floor, and she was falling apart. Crying about life, about the difficulty dealing with my youngest brother. She poured out her heart, and then she had to go.
“I love you,” she sobbed.
“Bye.” The cold cruelty in my voice startled my brother and I felt something die, inside.
I meant to say, I need to be your friend. I had been strung out on meth for weeks, maybe months… It gets fuzzy. Fifteen years old and trying to destroy the thing called me. I was desperately in love with her, Twenty-three and so much that I understood. Smart, funny, damaged. She told me that I was too young, of course I was. I told her that I couldn’t hang out with her anymore, because I couldn’t get over wanting her.
I meant to say, please don’t let me screw this up. Twenty-three and so easily destroying the only real love I had ever found, she needed me and I needed her. We fell in love together, holding hands and reading philosophy and poetry by the ocean. Making love every night and fucking every day. Innocently, desperately, with joy and enthusiasm, we loved our love. We licked it. We breathed it into each other,
and there I was on the phone, saying,
don’t come back. Inside my head I was weeping, begging the words to change, please don’t let me do this. I need to be in this love. I can’t let this happen.
But I did.
I meant to say, so many things. Death after death after death and I kept thinking of the perfect things to say, too late. Funerals and memorials and another and another and when, when, can I say the fucking words that I need to say, in the moment?
I need you, I love you, I sorry. You were so much to me, you were my favorite. I need you. I need you. I need you. I’m sorry.
Please don’t die.
Look both ways.
Take care of your health.
Go see a doctor.
Stop doing drugs.
I need you.
I meant to say, I waited my whole life for you and I screwed it up the first time but I will not, this time, thank you for loving me, today we are man and wife, woman and husband (why don’t they ever say it that way?) Today we are choosing to say,
This is us.
I meant to say,
I’m not anything special, just another survivor of childhood trauma and abuse. Just another recovered drug addict. Just another tormented writer, just another contradiction. Just another overactive mind. Just another insecure, needy, desperate fool trapped in a moderately attractive and confident man. Just another magician, using sleight-of-hand to show smiles and talent while hiding broken edges and shattered dreams. Just another depressed person, struggling with PTSD and suicidal urges. Just another day in the life of the impossible.
I meant to say, this.
What hurtles toward this collision hides yet from clarity, which reality will be left after the meeting is impossible to predict from where/why I am,
This will not be an end.
Endings are one-sided, from a place of limited perspective. For the dying the world seems to be ending, for the Walker, when the path runs out a new one must be written.
When we get there, you’ll know why we came, and so will we.
If a message is received from unknown sources, how then is the veracity of the message to be measured? Where enemies and allies have not been determined, how then will a treaty be transcribed, negotiated, collaborated?
When the well runs dry, how long do thirsty people wait before seeking an alternative source?
The arrival of new information does not always change the verdict of a trial, yet it must be allowed consideration. Fault lines are not cracks where the earth splits, rather they are laugh-lines, wrinkles left from expression, what fear cannot damage is the coming of dawn, when stars shine closely we name them and record in our ledgers how far, what size, colour and shape, yet when they are too distant we claim they have died. What is not understood is rejected.
When we get there,
we will know why we come.
You will know, also.
Dreams are not safe places. The dead beckon from across veils and accompanying them means leaving this world, he died in his sleep, and now nobody will hear the tale of the love and the loss, the romance and the comedy of a life seen from a balcony, a life lived with minimal involvement and maximum emotional investment.
Dreams are not safe, to achieve something great a great price must be paid, balance finds itself no matter how the mountainside falls, no matter how the deck tilts as the waves toss toy ships around a child’s bath, balance will be,
It must balance.
The ending is not what it seems, there will be no post-climactic wind-down. No neatly wrapped loose ends, it will be sudden and fierce, there will be nothing left and no survivors.
The beginning will not be what is believed, there will be no deafening bang, no creator speaking of light in the darkness,
There will be nothing,
And then there will be everything.
It approaches, pretty up your face
It approaches, tidy up your room
It’s coming, from the depths of outer space
It’s the bride, walkin’ to the groom