Sunday, November 29, 2015

I'm not here to forget you, I'm here to recall...

Red Bird Return - Excerpt from a Draft at 10,000 words.

Andy got up to pee around dawn and, without his glasses, noticed a red smudge on the platform feeder outside. It was a male Northern Cardinal. This was the first sighting since late August when he'd boarded this roller-coaster with Sunny and stopped refilling the feeder. He had noticed the absence of the cardinals many times since then. He felt keenly the shame of his neglect. It was as though by not feeding the Cardinals he'd failed in his proper observance of, and service to, the magic of this place made manifest in a bounty of colorful birds. Andy felt relief at the red bird's return, and he vowed to feed him and his mate through the coming winter. 

Returning to bed, he used the Cardinal's reappearance to make the case that the magic is not Sunny-dependent. The bird's return in her absence in fact demonstrated that the magic had nothing to do with Sunny at all. Andy's argument was intended to make him feel stronger, to bolster his resolve, but it only made him sadder. He remembered when the arrival of birds meant something to them here together, how they watched in delight from the bed like children, how it felt, at least to him, like this moment was meant only for them and that they were meant only for each other. Andy checked his phone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Alone Alone


Love has decided not to go your way today. If you want a taste, you'll have to pay . Did you think it would welcome you with open arms? Provide you with a home? Nope, just another bill to pay.

The world has gone a step madder it seems (listen to it howl), and mine is just a tiny contribution. My garden is untended (I can't claim to be on top of things). It's a tangled jungle teeming with vermin, harboring viruses (against which mankind has no immunity), sheltering terrible predators and fearsome cannibals devoid of  mercy or compassion. I'm listening to the Earth's ragged breathing. My head is on the ground.

I'm braced for something.  Aren't you?
Why? Who wants us this way? (Manufacturers of dread).

Most of what I take in is toxic. Most of what I think, I inflict upon myself. So what am I capable of generating? Yesterday I caught myself in corrosive thoughts, and an internal voice intervened :


I took heed and have been listening to the ugly music in my head ever since. There's work to do.
The world burns while I am here struggling with my own body and mind. All these years and I am still just trying to clean my room.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I'll talk to your eyes, that I love so much...

Thwarted Belongingness

Habituation is a term used in the field of suicidology. It is the gradual process of overcoming the fear of pain and death - a necessary condition for suicide - by repeated exposure. The theory says that a higher pain tolerance and lower fear of death, acquired through practice, are conditions that increase the likelihood of a completed suicide. This makes intuitive sense.

There is something generalizable here to rejection in a romantic relationship. Repeated exposure to  the threat of the loss of love gradually increases the Rejected's ability to accept the ultimate loss. The loss of love, or of the Beloved, is as abhorent as self-inflicted death.  Acceptance of that loss is equally unnatural. However, perhaps not logically or emotionally, but physically- the perceived loss is accomodated. The body comes to believe. The pain becomes less exquisite. The connection, rooted in the heart, is severed or uprooted. There is a numbness where there had so recently been every variety of sensation. All music stops.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Is Heaven Just In My Mind?

Lows and Highs - Excerpt from a Draft

Morning arrives. Andy wakes and faces the day. He marvels for a moment at the difference in his physical being. He can feel his feet on the floor, the pulse of his heart in his body, the air temperature on his skin. The internal hollowed-out feeling he'd known for most of the last two weeks has gone away completely. He feels solid. Real. Why?

I miss you...

Three words double-thumb-typed, transmitted, and displayed on a tiny screen had the effect of an Automated External Defibrillator on his diseased heart. He finds himself once again returned to life. This new lease comes with sobriety and awareness, this time,  rather than bliss and soaring strings. She likes you again, he thinks, but for today. Nothing is promised. She doesn't stay.

Facebook delivers a quote on love from acclaimed Hollywood Buddhist, Richard Gere, who, come to think of it, has been out of the limelight these last several years or, more likely, Andy simply hasn't been paying attention. The officer and gentleman reportedly said,

Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in the world that covers up all the pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt.”

Andy hands it to Mr. Gere - when he’s right, he’s right. We’ve both got small brown eyes and the softening of the features that comes upon men in middle age. How has it gone for you, Richie? Have you managed it with style and grace? 

Loneliness, rejection, loss and envy - love side-effects, nocebos, voodoo, and allergic reactions. You picked four real deadlies, there Dickie, and I've tasted them all.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Self Help - An installment from a draft of the first five thousand words of an attempt at a novel

The telephone rings. It’s a police department looking for help for their first responders exposed to the death of a child in a car accident. One of them can’t stop cleaning his house since he left the scene. The sights, sounds, smells play in a loop. Andrew gathers the relevant information, makes a call, establishes the proper connections and is finished with his work.

She doesn’t want you, he tells himself, swallow it. And then he starts into the hating - all the ways she took him for granted, stepped in his face, thought he wasn’t good enough for her. But he loves her, and he can’t stay here long. Soon he’ll start making excuses for her. Rationalizing. 

The dead kid incident, and the burden now carried by those involved in trying to save him, should provide some perspective, but they don’t. It’s a private room.

Finally, the work day ends. Andrew goes to the gym, changes clothes in his car. It’s time for his last individual session with Coach Maria. Her dark eyes, patience and encouragement have helped a little. She tries to teach him overhead squats, and several clean variations that are just not in his neuromuscular arsenal. She smiles patiently and tells him he’s not a total train wreck. He is further humbled. 

The work makes him sweat and focus and fight for breath and balance. For the first time all day he is not thinking about her, and he can breathe.

The Workout of the Day is called Fight Gone Bad . It's  three five minute rounds of five exercises done for a minute each - wall balls, push press, box jumps, sumo-deadlift high-pulls and rowing for calories. The name, Coach Maria tells him, came from a boxer who undertook the workout and got his ass kicked. He paces himself and manages not to collapse through the first two rounds. On the rower, during the final minute, he closes his eyes and finds himself getting into the loud metal song playing overhead, he pulls with everything he has until Coach Maria calls time

She says good job, and he starts to cry uncontrollably. His chest is heaving, his eyes are closed, and he’s pouring sweat so he just turns his face away from the coach and gets a grip thinking she probably didn't notice. She thinks maybe the workout was too much for him and asks if he’s okay. He tells her he needed it, will be back tomorrow, and leaves the gym quickly. 

Driving home, his sweat dries. Motion helps a little. He thinks of the firefighter cleaning and cleaning trying not to see again what he has already seen. He thinks of her being gone from him. He is empty. At home, he eats, showers, lays in his bed. Sleep won’t come.


I can’t sleep again. Your silence, now, seems cruel. Is it necessary? Maybe it is, because if you weren’t silent, what would you say? Probably something I wouldn’t want to hear. 

Everything hurts. I think something in me is dying. I cry lately - daily. That’s new. I’m starting to spill my guts to people about you - my boss, my chiropractor, a grandmother on Halloween. They seem to think you’re doing me a favor by leaving me alone. My chiropractor says it’s trauma that you’re putting me through. A therapist I know says, where there’s passion, there’s almost always pathology. I am most certainly sick with this.

Sunny, I remember the sweetness of the moment when I watched you see a hummingbird for the first time, It was at the feeder on my kitchen window. I see it now like it’s happening again. I see you and the hummingbird staring, riveted, at each other not more than two feet apart. The undisguised, spontaneous delight and wonder in your face just broke me, I felt as though I’d seen an angel. If my time with you was reduced to only that moment, I’d have no choice but to love you forever. And that was only our beginning. 

When someone is detoxing - dope sick - you tell that person confidently that this end-of-the world, absolute-shit feeling will pass, and that all the poor bastard really has to do is keep going on his way through it. That’s trite and totally unhelpful in my situation too, but it’s essentially true. I will pass through. I will pass through this pain, this love, this world, this life. But I want to stay here, Sunny, with you.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

I... I... I...

National Novel Writing Month

I'm dropping the fortune cookie writing prompts for now and taking up the National Novel Writing Month challenge in November. The goal is 50,000 words by the end of the month. I'll post something right around each 5,000 word mark. I tried this in years past and dried up pretty fast.