elizabeth lane lawley
michael "OC" clarke
e v h e a d
sweet fancy moses
wood s lot
m. melting object
Saturday, March 29, 2003
Books by Nut Cases
Here's some real don't-miss beach reading. What's that you say? The water is still 3° Kelvin? All the better!
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So they're not all
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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Friday, March 28, 2003
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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Thursday, March 27, 2003
Been That Kinda Day
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"either go away or go all the way.
look at what you hold..."
Self esteem is the existential booby prize, the path from empathy and pathos to the pathological. It's snowing here again today, and waking to my angel's voice, tell her I love her, that it's necessary, good. That I see in her longing my own. That darkness invades the light. That in it always underneath is where I touch her deepest heart, my own. Not in a dream, on the telephone. Real. And I read in Freud's classic paper on narcissisism, this: "A strong egoism is a protection against falling ill, but in the last resort we must begin to love in order not to fall ill if, in consequence of frustration, we are unable to love."
I take notes over coffee...
Something deep in my throat gives up an animal cry. A howling for a mate who now lies still, fallen and unmoving in the muted snow. Out on the ice, I have come too far, sleep now approaching rapidly as night. Peace or death, maybe both. What I dreamed in this life about to show itself. Or disappear. My eyes meet yours again, angel, another, alive. And I touch you in this empty mourning, this longing ache that holds no one, hold you there. Bless our unknowing as best I can.
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover...
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Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Baby Grand Clues 2
Well, pardners, I just ordered the balance of the Essential Papers in Psychoanalysis set I tol' y'all about last week or so. I got the first five down here at the ranch yesterday, and hoo-wee, are we talkin' some rip-roarin' wild west readin' material, or what? A boy like me jes cain't have too many reference works when it comes to matters of the mind. No siree, Bob!
In other news, I'm sitting on my couch with my new Mac Powerbook, cruising Amazon and blogging this here item by ripping off some unsuspecting neighbor's wi-fi bandwidth. Bad fences make cheap... No wait. That's what she said.
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Z-List Blogger Disses Kid for Kicks
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Monday, March 24, 2003
"...well you know I'm a 2000 man.
and my kids they just don't
understand me at all..."
My daughter Selene, who turned 13 this month, has just set up her own blog at smudgedeyeliner.blogspot.com. (Hey! I was going to rename mine that!) I didn't put her up to it, honest. Anything I suggest is a surefire candidate for her Don't Do list. But I was pleasantly surprised to see this today. As a proud dad, what can I say? Except: Please throw her some links.
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Sunday, March 23, 2003
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Saturday, March 22, 2003
The Man Lives
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Baby Grand Blues 7
"I need you to be divorced," she said. It was just before the Christmas holidays. The Christmas before last. Our last. We were just getting into bed and she was telling me I had to do this now. "I'm running out of steam," she said.
I'd told her many times, explained to myself, why time was necessary, crucial. How the settlement could break me if we had to go to court, let a judge decide how much, how long I'd have to pay my wife. My lawyer knew who the judge would be. A Boulder judge, a woman judge, not known to suffer men gladly. And I'd had a couple of windfall years. Made way to much money, which was now quickly dwindling in the subsequent economic "downturn." It didn't look good for me, my lawyer said. I trusted her implicitly, a tough no-bullshit lesbian with a heart. I had to work this out with my wife, agree with her on terms the court would accept, basically rubber stamp. But to come to agreement needed time. Needed the understanding that's so hard to find between two people ending a marriage. Or trying to live through one.
But she'd heard all that, too many times. Was delivering an ultimatum now. Do it or else. This is hurting us, she said, and I knew it was true. But not anything like what she had in mind would hurt. Why was I so stupid? I saw it all coming. Didn't want to see. I knew what I was saying sounded like excuses. It's not just the paperwork and lawyers and money, she said. She said you are still enmeshed with your wife. There's a part of you that's not available to me, and it's damaging us.
I understood something new from that talk. Saw what she was saying in a different light. Saw the truth in it. Even if it wasn't the whole truth and nothing but.
Enmeshed. It was a word I hadn't heard that often, and never used in this way. I could tell it had a special meaning. For her. For the people she hung out with, her circle of friends. I had a general sense of what it meant, of course. Of course. But I pondered what other connotations it carried. Something else I was missing, and it bothered me. Enmeshed.
When you live with another person for 12 years, or eight or two -- how long does it take? -- you begin to share experiences, memories, language. Times you laughed till you thought you'd die, and no one looking in on that scene would have any idea what was so funny. Times when you did die, little by little, and no one, not even you, had any idea what was so wrong. When I moved out, I knew it was time, that I'd been avoiding it with everything I had. Telling myself something would change between us. But nothing changed. Nothing was going to as long as we stayed locked in our cycle of blame and broken hopes. It wasn't about lack of tenderness, forgiveness. We fought, increasingly, about things that neither of us could remember later. But it wasn't hatred or even animosity. It was impasse. Some bridge we couldn't cross together. I thought for a long time, I told myself I believed, that we would, that it was just a matter of time. But we'd run out of time. And belief. Run out of the will it took to suspend our disbelief in what was happening between us. What was not happening. What was once there and now, whatever it had been, no longer was. What's wrong, I would ask. And she'd say I don't know. But not knowing didn't make it smaller, didn't make it easier to ignore. Not knowing had ceased to be a question, had become an inarticulate answer to the question: where did we go? Past tense. Past hope of repair. We both knew it, though neither of us wanted to.
One night before I left, we went to dinner. It was understood I was moving out. Perhaps for just a little while. Perhaps forever. It was a restaurant we'd been to many times. And we were just like we'd always been there. Talking about this and that. At one point noticing something strange, a baking pan that had been left sitting on the drop-cieling above our booth. Who knows why. It was nothing, beneath notice. But it struck us funny and we got laughing. Laughing so hard we thought we'd die.
We were about to. All that we'd lived through together blown away in a moment we could no longer deny, couldn't stop from coming. Either of us. Either. Of us, no longer anything but memory. Is that "enmeshed"?
I moved out later that week, trying not to think about it. Wanting it to be over before I let it sink in too deep. Let it touch the place in my heart that was breaking to be doing this. To be going away, to be leaving. It was the right thing. We both knew it, had talked about it, agreed. None of which helped much when it got real. Some days walking around my then-new apartment, the one I moved out of last week, it would hit me and I'd be bent over double inside. Remorse, but more. A grief I couldn't look at, could not let in. How could I be doing this? I need to, I would tell myself, and yes it's sad, and yes, and yes, but it's so sad. Where do we go when we're done with whatever we've done together? Where does it all go then?
But I had a new lover, and that helped. A lot. The woman I'd longed for for so long. The woman who'd left me 20 years ago, but now was coming back. I was so high on her. So high. Our story like an ancient fable coming full circle. Odysseus returning from years of travel and travail. Penelope still waiting beyond all reason, beyond all hope. We were living the myth of eternal return. So high on what we would finally become.
One morning soon after we became lovers again, I woke and the bed was empty. But she'd left a note in her beautiful hand. "Chris," it said, "I love you. There is no one above you. Not even in the same country."
I was stunned. Amazed. My deepest dream come true. How was this possible, I wondered. But it was. Was happening, was real. Only much later would I wonder at "no one above you," and the implication that there had been once, might someday be again. In an impossibly loving message, a veiled threat. Was I paranoid to think that? To think what I read in those same words two years later held some other part of the whole truth? Above you, below you. It was a hierarchy. Of needs I never guessed at. Still wish in unguarded moments that I'd never seen through to.
After the pedestal, she said, the scaffold. I was impressed that she knew such things. Such a finely tuned understanding of the heart. She was warning me, I thought, not to idealize her. Which I did, of course. Of course. What lover does not? But perhaps the warning cut deeper. I see you as the Prince of the Imagination, she said. And later: you imagine things. And later: we are not on the same page, not even in the same book. And I did imagine things, as I swung from her scaffold, no one below me. No longer even in the same country.
"Why are you so over-invested in this relationship?" she'd asked me one day. I forget what we were talking about. Probably that I wanted to be with her forever, for whatever time we had left. And I said, what? I said can we please not cast our fate in financial metaphors? I love you. What are you telling me? "Well, Chris," she said, "sometimes things just don't work out."
When do two people in love become things. "They're a thing." Do people still say that? They used to. Now they say they have a relationship. When did we become a relationship? Some third element that was not you, not me. Not even us. Soon after she left a year ago, after my angry letter and she was suddenly gone, she said she was still thinking it over. I can imagine coming back for you, or for the relationship, she wrote, but I just don't see what's in it for me.
And one day before she left, long before, explaining once again why she needed me to be divorced, she said, "Do you realize that if you died today, I wouldn't get a penny?"
No one above you. Not yet.
"I am in agony," she wrote when she was losing me. Cutting me loose. I didn't know she was leaving, didn't understand. Then call me I said. Pick up. What's going on with you? I love you. I'm angry, but I love you. She said she didn't understand how those could go togther. When she got angry at me, there had never been any question. I'd written to her saying such asymmetry didn't bode well for our future. She'd pulled away many times before, refused to talk. Her withdrawal this time said: what future? After two weeks of unreturned messages, she called me by accident -- something she did six, seven, eight times afterwards -- and I said again, what's going on? Are we breaking up? She said, "You don't see me there now, do you?"
It took me months to accept that it was over. Some days even now I don't want to believe it. Forever is such a long time. The last time we talked -- another accidental dialing -- I said I did get divorced, you know. I was never planning not to. And she said it wasn't so much that. It was more the enmeshment.
Can I ask you a question, I said. When you said you hurt too, that you were in agony, what was that pain? This was your choice. You could have stopped it. And she said, "I was just as invested in the relationship as you were, Chris."
[to be continued....]
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Friday, March 21, 2003
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Dolce vita. Bella vita.
"Ars longa, vita brevis," right? As it turns out, probably not. At least not the way this over-popular bit of Latinate snotiness is usually bandied about, which is something along the lines of: "Art lasts, but life is short." While our mortality can't be argued, the notion that the saying refers to what has come to be thought of as the privileged status -- let's call it the oh-so-specialness -- of "Art" is, in fact, pure bullshit.
The quote is a snippet from the Greek physician Hippocrates, the whole passage translating roughly as "Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult." The art referred to is not "Art" in some general modern -- or even postmodern, thanks anyway -- sense, but rather the art of healing. As in: medicine. As in deep, and deeply respectful, knowledge of the body. Not as in: Oh wow, baby, your Art is so fucking healing. No, not really.
My point here, basically, is that Art can kiss my ars. Life, however brief, is incalculably more valuable. Sweet and beautiful. At least to anyone who can legitimately lay claim to having one. Which, unfortunately, as some of us find out far too late in selfsame said life, is not everyone.
Inevitably, there will be those who believe this has nothing to do with war.
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Thursday, March 20, 2003
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to Monitor "Blogs" for Homeland Security
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Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Baby Grand Clues
I'm totally broke. In fact, I'm digging myself deeper and deeper into the debt hole. I charged over 300 grand worth of stuff this month alone. I figure once the anthax/smallpox/ebola/marburg hits, what the fuck, huh? But I'm trying to be frugal anyway. The end of the world is no excuse to become an irresponsible consumer. So today, I just picked up a handful of bare essentials...
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Monday, March 17, 2003
I've been more than a little self-absorbed of late, as perhaps you've been able to tell. I don't have cable (I forgot), I don't get the paper (didn't pay the bill), I don't read the papers on the web (Amerikan fascism is a newsflash?). So I was mildly delighted today, my second day here in this place, to find The New York Times on my doorstep. Now I can get out of myself a bit, take more interest in current events, cheer up some. I know I've been writing some terribly depressing stuff. What a bummer for you, but thanks for reading it. For indulging my pessimistic outlook. But now that I'm getting the Times again, I can see that there's hope for a better world out there. I can only thank God that everyone's not as down in the mouth as I've been. Whew, huh?
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Baby Grand Blues 6
More than anything, I wanted to, still want to, bless her life. Say yes yes yes, as we said to each other once, say yes, this too. Say yes to all of it. The depth of field, the clarity of the air, these mountains so shocking, immediate, the wrenching pain of separation. I tried to let go, to release whatever held me, held her back, tried to say go in peace. Do what you do, be what you are. That is what I loved in you.
What I could not let go of, what held me, what saved me in the end, was the adamantine, unbreakable knowledge that I could bless. This power I never asked for, never wanted. The knowledge that these words are more than words. In the name of love, Bono sings with U2 driving the incantation home. And it is an incantation. Not of the Father. Nor of the Son nor of some spooky pseudo-gnostic Zeitgeist. Three times no. In the name of love...
Los Brujos are not "ghosts." They are not "witches," too tinged with our thinly veiled Puritan fear. They are skinwalkers, dangerous to encounter accidentally in the desert. Dangerous any way you cut it. They are my brothers in arms, awaiting your return. Blessing and curse so intertwined they meet at the root of this magic. Hummingbirds and rattlesnakes both. You cannot choose.
I called her from London, a thread, a thin wire all that still connected us. Or so I thought, looking into my heart for a blessing I couldn't find. For me. For her. For what had been us. A love adamantine, I believed. Unbreakable. "I am sitting," I told her, "looking into myself. It feels like I'm dying."
"Well," she said, "you've come closer than most."
Closer to what, I wondered. And than most of whom? Suddenly I was not who I'd been to her, who I thought I'd been. But in a long line of others stretching back into a life I'd never known, would never know. Could not, from where I was standing then, holding on, my hands useless, eyes and ears stricken, unbelieving. In the year ahead, I would work hard to understand what had shaped that life, her heartbreaking habit of withdrawal. Habit, withdrawal; funny that those words have multiple meanings. Always a telltale that there's more tale to tell. And I promised myself if I lived I would write it. Say whatever sense I found in that life. Whatever sense I could imagine, make up if necessary. To survive it. For a long time, though, no sense would come. An empty past. A future measured in minutes. Keep breathing. Keep breathing. No letup. No solace.
"I would burn down the world for you," I once told her. She liked that, she said. Appreciated my devotion. Let me light a candle then, to recall that moment. Rekindle what I once felt. Mark its passing.
"We all like to think our pain is greater," she said at the end. Smug. Telling me how it was. How it is. Telling me she knew about this. Erasing me. Just a natural part of The Process. Something too horrible to hear. Her voice colder than winter. And this morning, this Spring, still trying to conjure blessing from these memories, I think instead of Bringing Out the Dead. I am in the ambulance, careening across an alien landscape of impatient traffic unaware that anything has happened. Uncaring, unconscious. But I am not unconscious. I am broken and bleeding, hurting more than I ever thought possible. Dying. Knowing I'll never make it to the hospital. That there is no hospital for this. And she is bending over me with a syringe full of morphine, saying we all like to think our pain is greater. Why is she saying this? Torturing me. She smacks her forearm, brings up the vein. I am watching in slo-mo technicolor. She slides the needle in. See? she says. Backwashes a little blood into the cylinder, pumps it in. And ah, she says, I feel much better now. I know that I've done the right thing.
Like all myths, the myth of the vampire is an attempt to explain something there are no other words for yet. For which no sense has yet emerged. But one day your head snaps back and you know it ain't no movie, baby. The myth of the vampire is not a myth. And I'd invited her. Cross my threshold, I said, and went down on her in deepest adoration, drank from her, and she from me. There is greater life, I said. We both knew it. Only in different ways. There are lies so deep there is no way to tell they're untrue. Some loves so false, they look hyper-real.
Do you feel like a victim, she said. Look into my eyes and tell me. Whatever you say, you are over. Look into my eyes and tell me this isn't happening. How conscious do you want to be for the operation? How much do you want to feel, remember later? Not that there's any anaesthesia anyway. Just wondering.
I prayed for death. For anything that would make it stop. I knew something that would. There's a liquor store two blocks from here. That would make it stop for a while. For a few blacked-out hours. All perfectly legal. Or I could get a gun. ("Why don't you just get a gun," Jagger was singing back then, "and shoot me through this heart of mine.") Or see how fast I could get my car to go with a full tank of gas. How big an explosion it would make run into a concrete bridge abutment at a hundred and fifty. All pretty much equal. I found a shrink who could prescribe. I said give me something so I won't drink. It was a rare act of humility. I knew I couldn't take it. I knew I'd get loaded in another eight hours, ten at the outside. I knew what it'd feel like to let it flood into me, over me. I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away...
The Magician bent over double, clawing the ground. Heaven and Earth disconnected, man and woman, sky broken to pieces. Pain adamantine, unbreakable. And people asked me, why? I asked myself. Can't handle his liquor. Can't handle his women. Not much of a man, then, is he? Pain like that. That can find all the places you're vulnerable, weak, uncertain. And pry them open for your consideration. For your ongoing education. You'll learn a lot about yourself from this. You hate people who say that. But they're right. And for that, you hate them even more. But yeah, I learned a lot. I learned what it's like to keep living when your only faith is broken. Discovered what breathes for you when you cannot breathe.
I knew she had friends who were comforting her. Supporting a sister in a time of trouble. Telling her she was being strong, making the right decision. Finding her own story, telling her own truth. Strangers, witches, feeding her bad counsel, whom I had held in moments indescribable, whom I had carried in my heart for half a lifetime. And she fed on it, grew stronger, the plunger dropping, shooting up what was left of my love. Flow Morpheus slow, let the sun and light come streaming...
I took back the fire from your eyes, and cursing the darkness lit a candle anyway. But not to remember. Blew on the little forked flame we had created. Fucked it into a different purpose, my Lady, than Lawrence had in mind. To torch every bridge that could lead me back to you. Gathered what I had left of words and burned the world down. Forever. For good.
And now how do you like your blue-eyed boy? What does it feel like to be walking in my skin? Deep in New Mexico, deeper than you've ever traveled, los brujos, my brothers, await you. Google offers to translate: "Beyond the fish the sea remained single. The roots had attended the burial of comets in the immense plain of which no longer it has blood, and were tired and without dream."
[to be continued....]
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Sunday, March 16, 2003
Books No Blogger Should Be Without (or) This End Up
I just got my hands on O'Reilly's new Google Hacks: 100 Industrial Strength Tips & Tools. Haven't had time to memorize the whole thing yet, but it seems to contain inside lore even I didn't know (he said, giving himself unwarranted airs). One of the authors is my old pal Tara Calishain, who was the first to write a serious review of EGR, lo many long years ago. You can bet it was glowing, or I wouldn't be flogging her latest. Now, would I?
Also, last week just before the big move, I noticed I didn't have enough books (he said, proving he is certifiably insane). So I picked up the companion volume to the above. No blogger worthy of the name would be caught dead without the DSM-IV-TR. The affectionate acronym stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. What's that? Oh no (laughs), it's not for me! It's to help in my work. Which lately has involved deep research into which end is up. The way I figure it, if I could figure that out, I could also figure out how I ended up this way. Make sense? No? Then you definitely need this book.
In other random news, I am getting very fucking little email from you people. Perhaps it's because I've been sending so little. Is that the way this Internet thing works? Shit, how come nobody told me? OK then, listen: Be that way. I hate you all.
7:53 PM | link |
Baby Grand Blues 5
I'm offline. Disconnected. Wondering what to do. It's just 9 on Sunday morning, overcast, colder than yesterday, Spring in remission. But just as I started writing this, the sun came out. Little things. In a couple hours, I go to pick up Selene, my daughter. We get breakfast somewhere, then drive around listening to her music. Lately it's been Good Charlotte. They're pretty good. I turn it up loud. Little things, little things...
Let the kids rock and roll. Like they need permission.
I woke today in this place that looks exactly like the place I just moved out of. Except it's not. And I changed where things go, so it's not the same at all. Hard to tell though when you're just waking. Strange. I like strange. It would be hard to say why. Something about the difference that makes a difference. Geese, as I used to say: flying information.
During the move, things surfaced, as things will. Last night, trying to find something in a box of bathroom stuff, I found half a box of tampons. I remember how proud I felt when I bought them for her. Taking care of my baby. Something deeper than that. Tending to her, as she would say. Did say, often. They'd gotten wet somehow, the paper wrinkled and dried. I threw them out along with some other things she'd left. It was strange, I thought later, that she didn't leave anything she'd really want back. As if she'd known before it happened and gathered up what she wanted to keep, leaving only bits and pieces of her presence. Enough to make it seem she hadn't planned on leaving. But maybe that's just me. Of course it's just me. Who else would bother thinking it. Especially now, after all this time. No one left to explain it again.
As I was tossing this stuff, I reached back into the trash and picked up a plastic bottle of some cosmetic something. Some sort of mousse, as it turned out. No water damage there. Attractivce bright packaging. A spray bottle with a blue label: Beauty Without Cruelty. I almost laughed. Yeah, I know all about animal testing and what this brand is supposed to mean. Stupid as it is. But sometimes the irony is just too much. Beauty without cruelty. Wow. Do advertisers hire semioticians? They do. Amazing to think about, if you stop to think. Think about it. Professionals in reading the cultural unconscious. Who is this stuff meant to appeal to? Why? Like the hand soap in her bathroom when I first started going over there: Kiss My Face. I guess everyone's seen this by now, on store shelves in better supermarkets everywhere. I hadn't. I couldn't believe it. Kiss My Face? You gotta be shittin me. How about Sit On My Face? How about kiss my ass.
In a lot of ways, I guess I'm slow. So many signs. So many signifiers. So much subtle sound and fury. Beauty without cruelty. Like a fish without a bicycle.
I left the bottle out on the counter, so I saw it when I was making coffee. First coffee here in my new place. I like it here. Two big pine trees outside the front door. And a stoop. A couple of them actually. Long shallow-rise concrete stairs leading down to the parking lot. Transistion at the entryway. A passage in the pattern language. Good places to sit, watch the nearly full moon sailing up into the night. Or going down. Mid-sky, what difference does it make?
In the middle of the night, rolling over in my sleep, I was dreaming of my angel. I haven't said much about her yet. Not the one I've been wrting about here. Not even close. Good thing. There was a time, not long ago, I couldn't write anything. Couldn't imagine love. I wrote to her about a dream I had, of a feathered demon. He was beautiful but dangerous. I wresteld with him, trying to get him to accept me. A contest of strength, of will. At one point I felt one of his talons touch my skin, incredibly sharp, powerful. I realized he could rip me to pieces in an instant, but instead it was as if he was embracing me.
After that, she called me demon. So just for the record, not angel the way some people talk about angels these days. Oh yes, my angel spoke to me and it was so amazing! Fuck that. This is a woman. Real. With a sense of humor big enough to accomodate our impossibility. I talked to her last night, sitting on my stoop. My stoop that I like so much. One of the differences that makes one. I didn't have a stoop in the other place. Just a flat sidewalk. So progress, as they say, not perfection. Dreaming of my angel who is not a dream. Who saved me. Showed me that was possible. To reach out of the deepest darkness and say... say what? Hello. Say what if I fell in love with you? What would you do? And what she did was show me that there was, in fact, in realtime, no bullshit, beauty without cruelty.
I have to go pretty soon. I should stop writing now, get ready to pick up Selene, once known to some of you as Self. A name she chose as a baby, just learning to speak. Now she calls herself Mirage and won't answer to Self anymore. That's cool. She'll flay me for telling you this. But that's cool too. She'll understand. I'll ask her to play the Good Charlotte tune that goes: tonight, tonight, it's on tonight. I don't want your boring life. And I don't want your 9 to 5. Or anyone to tell me how to live my life...
And we'll crank it till the windows rattle as we drive through downtown Boulder, thinking foolishly that someone here might get it. But not caring, really. Not giving a good goddam.
[to be continued....]
11:56 AM | link |
Saturday, March 15, 2003
Baby Grand Blues 4
Last day in this place. It's dawn now, the movers arrive in two hours to take all the furniture, what's left of the books, which is still a lot, too many to read in three lifetimes. I like looking at them.
Last time I will have slept here. Last time I'll write from this place. I have to tear down this system as soon as I finish whatever I can sneak in. Hurried last rites. He was a fine fellow. Well, most of the time. Made you think. A bastard too, no doubt of that, but let us not speak ill of the dead.
The peace symbol upside down was an anarchist thing. I used to wear mine upside down. I was a teenager in Binghamton, New York. I was very political. Upside down it's some sort of rune that means: the man lives.
When I erased her messages, among the earliest was one where she was saying "I think of you as the prince of the imagination." It sounded like Prince of the Imagination. And something coy about how she liked the way I tickled her fancy. I did. I had. It was hard to delete that one. Hard to delete all of them.
"You make things up, Chris," she said at the end. "You imagine things." Something must have happened in between. Something that's not worth thinking about anymore. Not worth trying to figure out. A car backfires on a street in Detroit. You are not walking point in a Southeast Asian jungle. So why are you ducking like that, diving for cover? It's just a car, see? Nothing to get hung about.
She told me that the last guy she'd lived with was a pathological liar. I was surprised. I couldn't imagine her being with someone like that. I was sad for her. One day we were walking around outside here and she thought she saw him. She was scared, wanted to get back inside as quickly as possible. Why, I wondered. Now I know. So he wouldn't meet me. Say something I shouldn't hear, perhaps. I'd like to meet him today. Two liars comparing notes. So let us not speak falsely now. Two riders wondering what they'd made up, imagined.
I played her Sanatana's cut off Supernatural, You Are the Love of My Life. She was. But she seemed distracted. Embarrassed. Tentative. Protecting her boundaries, perhaps. Who knows. And at this late date, she said six months later, I have no interest in explaining it to you again. Ice in her voice, the cold she told me I was imagining. "You always expected the worst," she said. I wonder why. I make things up to explain what happened. I imagine things. Quod erat demonstrandum. Demonstrate. Demon strait. The devil, as ever, in the details.
I wake in this almost every day, a year later. In the twisted wreckage of ground zero. Drink my coffee, listen to the birds she loved so much. Still does, I imagine, sitting outside her house four miles from here. Might as well be four thousand. Might as well be that we've died. Though we have not. The man lives. I don't know about the woman. I imagine her as I saw her once. How I loved her so. How glad she made my heart. Did I imagine that too? That she once made me a prince in her own mind? Made that up?
Of course. In the course of human events, these things happen. Like a newborn baby, the Stones sang, it just happens every day. The girls go by dressed in their summer clothes. Young girls are walking to the canyon. And in the morning I can hear them laughing. Sampling. Stealing. Borrowing, I like to think of it, like any thief. Words that said it better, and it had a soundtrack. Lines woven into my life that wouldn't make sense until much later. Or would make a different sense as I got older. I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.
The man lives. He does not forget. He carries these things with him in his heart and tries not to break. Not to dive for cover in the lovely spring sunshine, the birds singing for joy at another new day. Blue sky. These incredible mountains. So I will leave here now, not going very far. And I would like to leave some of these things behind. I should. Forget. Start over. But I have already started over. I'm writing again and I will write till the sun burns out. Till the jungle fills me, folds me into itself. Takes me home.
7:53 AM | link |
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Blogging from Starbucks
Hey, is this a great country, or what? I just signed up for the all-you-can-eat-anywhere T-Mobile plan. And I'm OUTSIDE, which means I can, you know, SMOKE!!! So you can bet I'll be drinking a lot more espresso. And what does this mean for you, Valued Reader? More quality hi-test blogging, that's what! Yeah, fuck, who needs to calm down. Not me. Oh no. Somebody asked me in mail yesterday if I was really paranoid schizophrenic (see below). Now what do you think? If I was that fucking nuts, don't you think it'd show? I mean, show more? Anyway, just wanted to blog a little intermission amongst all the recent heaviness. But there'll be more. And to all those who've asked (all five of you) if I'm OK, yeah, I'm jes fine, Jack. I'm sittin on top of the world. But now I gotta go get some more psychotherapy....
2:48 PM | link |
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Baby Grand Blues 3
Boxes and bags stacked up here in my living room, waiting for me to load them into the trunk, back seat, front seat, anywhere they'll fit. It's a short trip to my new place, a condominium I just bought, miraculously, because I'm flat broke at the moment. Hoping it's just for the moment. The moment I'm living in, yeah. Not like chopping carrots in the aesthetically satisfying Zen center, where the moment is imbued with that ineffable peace and tranquility and spiritual import The Moment is usually invoked to imply. Nuh-uh. Just now, this morning, right here, unavoidable. As opposed, I suppose, to voidable. Some guys are working outside my window, landscapers lopping limbs off the little pine tree I've passed on my way out the door for nearly three years now.
It was high summer when I first moved in here. Transporting my last load of stuff, my computer and all the wires, peripherals, the tangled mess of stuff necessary to get it all up and running again, back on the net. It was maybe 4:30 in the morning and the sky on my left as I drove was glowing red. First light. I flipped on the radio and it was going Doctor, Doctor, gimme the news. I got a bad case of loving you...
And I did. She was on my near horizon, about to rise again, I could feel her coming. Speeding across Foothills Parkway at dawn, no cops in evidence, radio up full gain, the bass socking me, rocking me, pushing the envelope. A sky full of promise and I'm running down a dream.
Tantra Lake, that's the name of this place, no kidding. There's an enormous belly laugh in that somewhere, but you had to be here to get it. Had to be here for all of it. The Buddhist invasion 25 years ago. I was part of that. These mountains I only look at today. Magnificent as the clouds last night, backlit by a half moon. When the wind is high, it's hard to tell stars from satellites. Something about relative motion.
I'm moving on, as they say, as the helpful books all suggest. Just put it behind you. Get on with your life. Seems like good enough advice, well meaning. Except that my whole life is behind me and whatever's ahead can look a lot like karmic back-pressure. A half-serious theory I've toyed with. The future pushes back into the present, affects things. Too often, infects things. As does, more understandably, the past. Skipping the meds this morning, for a while anyway. No pills gonna cure my ills...
So Tantra Lake. It's a 300-unit apartment complex that's been around for 30 years or so. There's a big pond in the middle with a fountain and all kinds of waterfowl. It's a stopover on the migratory flyway for mallards and wood ducks and Canada geese, lots of them. There's also a pair of swans, Romeo and Juliet, that have lived here forever it seems. Out of time. They eat from my hand, swim across the pond when they see me. Have I brought them bread? I look at them, talk to them, see the intelligence in their eyes, amazed at how real they are.
Some devoloper recently bought the whole setup here and there's a major condo conversion going on. Major. Everything around me is changing. It's kinda cool. This place I've been living for nearly three years is being transformed every day. I walk outside and the building facing me across the parking lot is not the same building that was there last year, last month, last week. New exterior designs, new colors, new landscaping, workmen putting up scaffolding, wrapping whole buildings in plastic sheeting. I found my downstairs phone on the floor one day. Knocked off the wall by some guy's hammering, it flew halfway across the kitchen. Someone's sawing through the wall I'm propped up against, still in bed at three in the afternoon, talking to my angel. Her demon lover not a figure of speech. I got lucky, babe. But that was much later.
I'm moving then, but only about 1000 feet. Into one of the units that's just been renovated. New carpets, new paint, black marble counter tops in the kitchen, ceramic tile in the bathrooms and around the upstairs tub. Sparkling white new appliances. I don't usually even notice this kind of stuff. But it's like a new car. Everything feels different for a couple weeks. Maybe a month or two before it all fades into background again. So I'm marveling at my new refrigerator for a while. At my cherry cabinets, washing machine, microwave. With everything different and new, the odd thing is that the layout is exactly the same as the apartment I'm sitting in now, writing this, putting off the packing and hauling and reinstalling I should be working on. But it seems more important to say goodbye to this place. Acknowledge what happened here, honor it in some way. This is the only way I know. To try to say what it was, how it was, even if it's over. And it is. Roger that. Over and out.
Back behind these buildings it's all Open Space, land that's been set aside by the City Fathers in their great wisdom for future generations to enjoy the benefits of Nature. Capitalized. Upon. By the smug bastards who populate this lovely berg. I'm becoming a Citizen, paying property tax, how weird. Not buying in, though. Not joining the club. "If you don't like it here," she said, "why do you stay?" We were coming to the end. She was letting me know I could go now. I stay, motherfucker, because it's this way all over. I stay because I want to rub your noses in your snotty exclusivity. You'd like me to disappear? Yeah, I understand that. Make me.
But that's just leftover attitude. I know. I know more than I want to. Always have. And unless something unimaginable happens, always will. Because it's imagining that gets me through. The night. The days without reason or purpose or direction. I imagine you. I imagine us. Burying something in that wild strip of land to the east. We did that, and it wasn't just something. Wasn't just oh by the way. A ritual you said. Some way to bless our love, exorcize the demons of our past. You brought something to put into the hole I dug back there. I brought something I wrote. About our child who would be 21 this year. I think of her as Pleasure, the daughter of Eros and Psyche, conceived at the end, after all was lost, and only then true love discovered. You told me back then, not when we performed this rite, but earlier, much earlier, how good it felt to be pregnant. How you could feel new life surging though your body. Knowing I would never feel this. Knowing that the date was fixed for the abortion. It felt so wonderful you said.
So we put all that into the ground and covered it with rocks and earth. Blessed it with our tears, what we could recall of tears. Calling on what we could recall. Which wasn't much, as it turned out. Walking across the parking lot some days later, you said we were dating. It was a casual, offhand remark. I stopped. I asked you, is that how you think of us? That we're dating? "What would you call it?" she said. A change of voice here. You to she. Something flipped. Something inside me turned off. You were no longer there. She was. Suddenly and once more a stranger.
The Dating Game, sure. "Well, Bill, the sex was good, but he was so intense, you know? Always thinking about something. The guy just wouldn't shut up."
She really did say part of that, when I'd call her, years later, years before, in the time between, to say I still loved her. "Well," she would say, "the sex was good." And I wouldn't know what to say then. So three years ago, when we tried again, I was thinking how strange it was, what she said that day. I was thinking how many times, on a date, have you buried your own child?
[to be continued....]
12:33 PM | link |
Monday, March 10, 2003
Baby Grand Blues 2
A year later. Almost a year since I last saw her. We were in bed, had just made love. She was shouting into my face. Why, I said. Why are you so angry? I'm agreeing with you about almost everything. Almost. That was the problem.
"I'm protecting my boundary," she said, "for lack of better words."
I've been looking for better words ever since.
She'd been asking me if I took it personally when the valet parking guy wasn't anywhere around and I got uptight that my car was parked around the corner out of sight with the keys still in it. No one steals cars in Boulder. They're all too nice. But I haven't always lived here. Some places the car would be gone by the time I got back, up on blocks in some chop shop getting a new color. Did you feel like a victim, she asked.
I knew where this was going. Got pissed. Said yeah, I had a psychotic break. My paranoid schizophrenia got the best of me.
"Why do you always twist my words?" she said. I thought of telling her about R.D. Laing's Knots, Gregory Bateson's breakthrough ideas about the double bind. You never say you love me anymore. I love you. Oh, you're just saying that. Fucked if you do, fucked if you don't. But it didn't seem the right time. Between knots and binds, the right time would never come. Do you want me to leave, I asked. She said, do whatever you want to, Chris. I left. I didn't know in that time-lapsed moment that I'd never be coming back. I didn't know much of anything.
Later I replayed that scene in my head till I was almost crazy. No, for once, not almost. What could I have done differently that might have stopped it? What could I have said? A victim? Who me? Of course not, baby. And no, I don't feel like you're holding a knife to my heart, that any move I make it will go in, find the place that will cut off my life with you, end it right here, for good. For good or ill, better words escaped me.
When her father divorced her mother, she once told me, her mother had said to her, "You destroyed my marriage." I wondered why she was telling me this. It was back when she still trusted me. I thought. Up until Switzerland, I think now, though it had started much earlier. Twenty-some years ago in fact. Fact, what there is of it in love. What there is of it ever. But it was lovely there then, the coffee delicious as we sat together looking out over Zurich See. We were as close as it gets. Close as we ever got.
I'd brought my new digital camera along. New then. So much was still new then. I wanted to take pictures of her naked. It seemed an ideal time to ask. An ideal place, away from everything familiar. New ground, new territory. I was in Zurich to speak about risk assessment. I could give a different talk today. Learning experiences. What would we do without them? Live happily ever after. That was my plan. You laugh. I think of Elvis Costello asking what's so funny about peace, love and understanding. All the jokes about Rodney King, poor naive bastard, kicked and beaten and wondering why we can't all get along. Didn't get the message the first time, I guess. Some people never learn. Sometimes, she said, things just don't work out.
She wasn't comfortable with the idea of photos, but she let me take some. Then she wanted to see them. Sure, no problem. I thought she looked beautiful naked. Which is why... do I need to explain this? It was exciting what we were doing. Letting each other see. If you show for me, said Peter Gabriel, I will show for you. Or was it chauffer? We all hear what we want to hear. The art so often in the ambiguity.
She didn't like the pictures I'd taken. Didn't like how she looked in the flash light. Understandable, I thought. Some of them were pretty awful. But not all. Some I would have treasured. To remember her that way. She made me delete all but a handful. I could have argued it, started to, thought better of it. No, not better. More like a pick-your-battles kind of thing. Risk assessment. But why were we turning toward battle? The joy was out of it. I deleted anything that showed her truly naked. Funny about that. Not that you see me laughing.
It wasn't really about how she looked. That was just the see-through premise. "What if you got angry at me later," she said. "What if you put these on the web?"
Oh. Uh-huh. I see. I was wishing I didn't. How many times had I wished I didn't. When I did, when I said what I heard, she would say I was twisting her words. No win. Not that I ever wanted to. I love you, baby. Don't do me like... you ended up doing. Do you know what that means now? Or are you still drawing a blank? None so blind. As I was then. I wish I'd said you got lucky, babe. I didn't. Thought it would've sounded too petty.
"The web?" I said. "Why would I do that? Why would you even think that?"
When we first started talking by email, she said I pray we don't break each other's hearts. I want to do a new pattern with you this time. Because we'd done an old pattern, long ago. I called her up one night in 1981, offered to come over and show her the cool gun I'd just bought. Knowing she'd call the cops, have to get out. Be on those same streets I was wandering homeless, insane. There was no gun. I wondered this time, afterwards: in a new pattern, would there be? I thought about it. Had to get out of bed at three one morning about eight months ago, turn on all the lights, shake myself, make coffee. To stop thinking about it. A new pattern, yeah. It took everything I had to stick to the old one. She'll never know how close she came. Close as it gets.
In a stash of photos I later downloaded -- pornography; we could get into that one later maybe; what it means, how it feels from the inside -- I found two pictures that look a lot like her. At first I thought it was just a resemblance. I was forgetting by that time what she looked like. But the more I looked at them, the less sure I became about being unsure. The bed and the windowsill matched the configuration of her bedroom. Exactly. Could be coincidence, of course. Of course. Except that there are none. Not really. Not ever. Were those pictures really of her? Maybe not. Had this happened before? Maybe so. I want to do a new pattern she said. What was she afraid of? What was she thinking would make me that angry? Questions of a thousand dreams. At the end, she said she could never trust me. Of course. Of course not.
Much later I realized why she told me what her mother said about wrecking the marriage. No shame. She was looking for sympathy. And underneath that, she was bragging. Whatever she'd done in her life, she was proud of it. Nothing has changed. She still is. "He sees me," she told her friends, amazed at the beginning. She wanted me to see her. See her power. It would be a long time before I understood what I was meant to see. And meant not to.
[to be continued....]
4:41 PM | link |
Sunday, March 09, 2003
Baby Grand Blues
Where do you begin?
I look up into the night sky and ask myself. I wonder seeing you, whoever you are, with your two year old kid at the pasta joint. So beautiful. I wanted to ask you. Too late now. So many of us out here. Perhaps we'll bump into each other again. What are the chances? I'm waiting to see. I'm playing the odds. It happened once. Once upon a time...
"It's real simple, Chris," she would say. Said it more than once. On several occasions. I wish I could remember the context. Doesn't matter, though. None of it matters anymore. Except that I understand now what was going on. Understand better anyway.
It was never simple. And although I've forgotten the various contexts, the way I know this was the contempt dripping in her voice when she said it. Contempt. And the flash of anger for just a second, like unexpected lightning on a summer night. So beautiful. And then the ice. The anger she always tried so hard not to show. I took it.
I took it because that's what I'm best at. That and writing. That and trying to understand: where do you begin?
I took it because I thought I could change it. Turn it into love. Albedo, nigredo, mysterium coniunctionis. In the white foliated earth, transmute fear into trust. Defense into welcome. As it turns out, this is harder than it looks.
One day we were talking. I forget about what, but I said something about a Tom Petty song. Don't do me like that. And she was suddenly interested. She wasn't always. Often I wasn't sure if she was even listening. "What does that mean?" she said. In retrospect, retrospect being all that's left at this point, I know why she wanted to know. Does it show? Can they tell? Am I that transparent? Trans parent. Yeah, good word. Deep fathom five. Thy father lies. Long story.
You know I love you, baby. Don't do me like that.
"My mother had no inner life," she said. Telling. Telling me how it was for her. Not meaning to, but I'm a good listener, even though I often seem preoccupied. As if I'm somewhere else. I felt that way a lot around her. With her and yet not really there. For the longest time, I thought it was me.
She was sad for her mother, a trophy wife who always sought to please. A victim of circumstances. Or so it was supposed to seem. Why would anyone sacrifice so much? Concerned with appearances. The right clothes, the right delightful laugh. The soft spotlight centered always on herself. That's why.
And her mother, who had no inner life, raised her to know these things. How it worked. How to make it work. JonBenet Ramsey. At an earlier time. In another place. A mirror for Mommy. Say hello to the nice people, Honey. Spin and twirl little girl. A flash of anger, and I took it. Both barrels.
[to be continued....]
10:16 AM | link |
Just Want to Say...
...that I was only thinking out loud there. I mean, about blind people. I hold no animus. Anima, well... different story. Altogether. Working on it. Working it out here in the background this morning. So much happens in the background. Had you noticed that? But back to the present subject, some of my best friends were blind. Maybe that's why we lost track of each other. Those white canes will only get you so far. It's like the Bible says: "There are none so blind as those who cannot see." Or wait... is it "will not see"? And I'm in the ubiquitous background wondering: is there a difference?
9:21 AM | link |
Saturday, March 08, 2003
Chris Locke Henceforth to be "C-Lo"
This was RB's idea. I've stopped trying to fight him. Seems he's no more insane than I am these days, so who am I to claim any moral or intellectual high ground? He also wants me to get a tit job and wear a dress. OK. I am going with the flow over here. Living in the fucking moment, to coin a phrase. He also said that all your moms called and said they weren't too happy about the way things have turned out. Don't look at me. RB was on the switchboard that day. He did say they sounded really pissed, though. Oh yeah, and your dads have all disowned you. Except if you're blind. Everyone feels sorry for blind people. I know I do. Poor little dears, bumping into shit all the time. I bet they're sick of all this smarmy sympathy though, and if you took one of them by the arm to get across the street, she'd have her German Shepherd savage you. I know I would. In fact, in Cuba, I was a German Shepherd...
11:25 PM | link |
and I bought a condo.
RB becomes a Citizen. Fuck eh?
11:05 PM | link |
I think I'll have another cigarette.
11:02 PM | link |
Friday, March 07, 2003
Man, what with all these Southeast Asian drug deals and international terrorism commitments, who's got time to blog anymore? Whew! However, I expect to be a little more freed up after my next shipment arrives and the smallpox release has been completed. After that, I promise, there will be more social com... edy posted here. If there's anyone left to read it. Y'all got your duct tape in place though, right? So you should be OK. I'm only going after the evildoers.
best of luck,
12:51 PM | link |
"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
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at a major industry conference,
chris locke once again captures the real story.