My Best Mistakes

The soundtrack “Secret O’ Life” by James Taylor.

I climb into my faithful old Tacoma pickup and head west. You can tell a lot about a man by the truck he drives. The cab smells of rag weed, muddy boots and fresh orange peels. I drive past the fields, the farms and the redundant strip malls.  I eye pretty small town girls with odd names like Galenda or Karla.  Their perfume scented skin I won’t stick around to touch.  These places and girls belonged to other boys with their Friday night hot spots and their Sunday morning houses of worship,——— a community of suburban anchored hearts. I’ve tried to fit into such places, but never could. 

I drive til I come to the ocean.  I check into a cheap motel that wears the odors of mold and a thousand forgotten summer vacations. I wonder how many have made love on this tolerant mattress, or how many have cried themselves to sleep within the walls of this soul suffocating room. The walls are knotty pine with a bathroom sink that drip, drip, drips.  Outside my gray skied window the pavement smells of early morning rain, the sun rises with a memory of how small her hands looked when she touched me.  Once again I find myself at the edge of this sad stained continent. There’s a damp coldness blowing off the water that chills me to the bone. January is my favorite month to revisit this rundown seaside town. The boardwalk is empty and quiet except for the rusty Farris Wheel squeaking and moaning under the strain of a gusting wind. I pull my knit cap tightly over my numb ears.

All my once hip friends are now vengeful Republicans, need I say more?  Out of nowhere I find myself singing “Into the Mystic”——I take a shot of Jameson with a beer back.  “And when that fog horn blows you know I’ll be coming home——-I wanna hear it, I don’t have to fear it”. 

The bed-stand clock glows with its red digital numbers, the sound from the dripping faucet warns me of time passing by.  How do I carry on?  Where do I go from here?  Am I too old to start over again? Have I squandered too many chances.  I’ve moved to new cites, I’ve found new jobs and I’ve broken promises to the few who might of cared for me. I’ve never been one to reinvent myself or attempt to tame my faults or bad habits——I’m all that’s left of my best mistakes. 

I sit on a carved up and pigeon stained bench at the end of the pier. A wrinkled asian man is standing as still as a statue as he waits for a fish to bite his line——I suppose we’re all waiting at the other end of one kind of fishing line or another.  A young kid with chin stubble and unkempt hair takes a seat next to me.  He asks if I have a light.  He helps me cup a flickering flame from my Bic lighter. He squints as he stares intensely out at the foggy horizon. I know that look, I know this kid. He speaks “You got a wife?”  “Yeah, I’ve had a couple of them.” He continues his interrogation “You got a job?”  “Yeah, I’ve had a few those too.”  “Did you get everything you wanted?”  “Like most, I suppose I got what I deserved and a few things I didn’t expect.  Sometimes it isn’t what you get, but more importantly, it’s being happy with what you’ve been given——-gratitude is the scale on which to weigh a balanced life.”

An older me talking to a younger me, what a gift. “Take good care of yourself dude.”  I grab his cigarette, then take a hit off it before stomping it out.  “Look after your health kid, you’ll wish you did when you get older——-and yes, we all do get older, that is, if you’re lucky.”  He pushes his shaggy hair back “Do you ever think about your parents?” “Everyday I do. You won’t understand the sacrifices your parents made for you until you become one yourself. You’ll look at your children and be amazed at how parts of you became their flesh and blood. The best of times will be the time spent with your kids.  Remember to give your weary parents the love and respect they deserve.  The kids grow up too fast and our parents grow old and frail too soon. Once they’ve passed on, they’re gone for good.  Time moves in one direction, forward. Regret is the child of missed opportunities.”

“Many acquaintances will come and go, but few will be elevated to the position of trusted friend. Choose your friends carefully, because they’re the only ones who’ll enjoy your ridiculous humor, tolerate your irritating idiosyncrasies and stand up for you when this world leaves you feeling insignificant, irrelevant and unworthy of love. They’ll embark on crazy adventures with you and provide you with the sweetest of memories. Your friends and family are your tribe and their unconditional love is the only thing that will sustain you through the good times as well as the bad.”

“I know that at your age you won’t believe me, but this life is tragically short.  Don’t squander the time you’ve been given being bored or angry.  Monies a fleeting vapor, a job that doesn’t suite you is a snare, pleasure without sacrifice is quickly forgotten.  Look for true love and nothing less.  You’ll know it’s true love because she’ll bring out the best in you.  She’ll make you feel things you never felt and it will cause you to do things like hold her hand when she’s frightened. She’ll bear your children and cook you your favorite meals. For her, you’ll fix the things that break, mow the lawn on hot July afternoons and snowplow the driveway on cold January mornings.  All these seemingly insignificant small things will comprise a full life.  Keep your priorities straight and you’ll enjoy each day as it unfolds.”

The kid offers up a grin.  “When I grow up, I wanna be like you.” “Take your time kid, being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to being.” I climb in my truck and head back home as I give a glance in my rear view mirror.

Tao

Sound track “Beloved” Jesse Cook

After a million miles
It’s still running through you
A blinding light deafening a sky of jealous stars
We knew a round love in this world of flat earth-ers

Backyard tire swing, like a pendulum of gone by days
Pool chlorine mixed with honey suckles, the smell of summer
July laid out before us like a thousand unused Saturdays

Your cities are lonely
A careless milky-way evicted from time and space
Other people’s suns drenched in nothingness
Other worlds out of reach
Physics, another flawed human endeavor
Didn’t you know that the numbers never added up

Where’s the revolutionaries
Where’s our freedom fighters
An entire population of fools staring at smartphones
A generation of selfies, ego sponges

Angry, ignorant tweets, dissonant wind chimes
Where’s this generation’s John Lennon and George Carlin
Who’ll shame these fuckers
Hypocrisy is the breaking news
Truth has become negotiable
Climate change compromising happy endings

I’m the soundtrack of pissed off
Is everyone else drunk or high on recreational weed
Democracy a chess piece for the rich
Check mate, ponds against kings

Living in virtual bubbles
No longer “We hold these truths to be self-evident”
No more “We the people”
Wall street thieves and politicians
Who can tell the difference
Divisiveness is the cost of doing business with the greedy

Your birth was not an accident
Don’t let this one precious life play out like a sitcom laugh track
Be angry, fight complacency, believe in your power
To be about it, is the way

Beauty Out Of Cruelty

Soundtrack “Stop” by Joe Bonamassa.

 

th

It takes space to give a person or a thing a fresh perspective.  Time tastes like expensive bourbon—–at first a cozy burn in my belly, then a flushed buzz across my reddened face, followed by a grimace and a wince.  Yesterday and tomorrow remain the same and open to interpretation. Everyone changes, some for the better, others for the worse.  I’ve always contended that to be understood is to be loved.  But, you can’t understand someone until you let go of your relationship with their relationship. There is often much truth in what appears to be a bizarre contraction.

People are complicated, relationships are messy, normality is a mirage—-we’re all blind to our disfunctions. One man’s crazy is another man’s fetish. I wonder what parts of me are living in you? And, what parts of you will always be withheld from me?  Cause if I’m gonna love you, I gotta touch, taste and feel all of you. I’ve walked around in you, I awoke inside you; what a beautiful world. There’s much hidden in the fog of what we desire verses what we get and who we wanna be verses what we’ve become. I wonder how you’d privately describe me to your girlfriends. Woman talk about men as if they were capital.  They estimate their earning power and their value on the free market.  “He buys me whatever I want. You ought to see his portfolio.” Men talk about women as if they were property, as if they were a new sports car.  “Look at what I own, look how shiney and pretty she is. She does whatever I ask her to do, and I mean anything.” I swear I’ve felt you walk through me, what a strange world in which to lose yourself. The record skips at the same old place every time, our steps go in circles, yet as hard as I try, I still step on your toes—–

Out of thin air we found one another, our chemistry volatile. Desire is like a rubber band.  If never stretched it will become brittle and one day break when most needed.  Or, if stretched beyond what it’s capable of handling, it will abruptly snap.  What we expected isn’t what we hoped for.  What we get is karma and karma reminds us of what we deserve—–So, you better stop.

I have this ex-lover I carry around with me like a faded legend. I have these movie reels of us taking up space in my head. In one we’re in a stark white room and we’re both wanting to be touched by the other, but instead we keep poking our fingers into one another’s soft spots.  And then there’s the reel of us driving down a flat endless desert road and were fighting over the steering wheel.  The brakes fail us as we careened out of control.  The horizon becomes a cliff we fly over into oblivion. I’ve been told that oblivion is where new stars are born from the explosions within dying stars. Now, isn’t that the way of nature, creating beauty out of cruelty, birthing new beginnings from our finalities.  

Laughter is the orgasm of the soul….God smiles knowing the punchline lies within us all……… 

 

 

A Tall Cool Glass Of Water

th

Soundtrack “Sailing The Wind” by Loggins and Messina.

She is with me, even though she doesn’t know it. The oppressive southern humidity causes my shirt to cling to my sweaty back. The drapes billow in the late afternoon breeze as a honeysuckle scented zephyr washes over me like a tall cool glass of water. In the distance a Southern Pacific moans its farewell. I feel myself melting into the over stuffed leather chair in the dimly lit living room. It doesn’t feel like a living room, it’s a gateway into my growing hollowness. How many chances in one lifetime does one get to know love, to feel love——to be loved—–to give love? Love doesn’t seek meaning or purpose, it seeks only itself. If you aren’t quiet and still, you will miss it. If you doubt it—- when you are touched by it——-then it will orphan you.

She’s in me, even though she’s no longer aware of it. She’s in each breath I take. She’s invasive, giving me life as her memories softly kill me. Such a cruel contradiction. Love is a living thing, it can nourish you—–or it may desert you. It’s a monster, a ragged angel with broken wings. It’ll shake you, scare you—–surprise you, make you believe in miracles and allow you to indulge such sweet misery. And as quickly as she comes on to you, she’ll mysteriously abandon you.

She’s leaving me, I know it now. The living room is shrinking. I feel her silhouette in the days dying sun. I smell her skin, taste her mouth. My voice sounds like that of a stranger. I hear myself whisper——- “Stay, god please stay.” She is going on without me. She no longer gives a fuck. I’m overthinking everything, I’m over feeling everything. I no longer have a place to go. I forget what it’s like to be me without her. A honeysuckle scented zephyr washes over me like a tall cool glass of water.

 

 

Toupee Trump-Fake Hair to Fake News (you can’t comb over the truth)

th

I’ve heard the quote by Michelle Obama “When they go low, we go high”. That may hold true in many circumstances, but when dealing with a bully, sometimes the best response is a punch in the nose. Trump is a bully and bullies maintain their power through fear and intimidation. With impunity he makes fun of others and uses immature tactics such as name calling. He threatens to unleash his wrath on those who challange or disagree with him. His own republican party is afraid to confront him. In fact, there’s no longer a republican party, it’s now the Trump party. A party that embraces divisiveness, hatred and trades in the currency of lies. If you choose not to be a victim, then you need to stand up to this bully and fight back.

A bully strolls about the playground taking cuts in line, taking other’s lunches and bragging about their greatness. They create a reputation that allows them to act as if they are above rules and laws. They demand complete loyalty and respect from others and expect their circle of minions to do their dirty work.  When they are in the wrong they refuse to apologize. They place blame on others and never accept personal responsibility for their flaws and faults.

It’s time that someone figuratively give Trump a punch in the nose. The funny thing about bullies is they depend on people being docile and not standing up to them. It’s similar to dealing with bullies in a prison setting. If you don’t stand up for yourself the prison bullies will be eating your lunch, taking your canteen money and calling you their bitch……(doesn’t that sounds like something Trump would say).

Once someone fights back at a bully and gives them a figurative bloody nose, others begin to realize that he is not superhuman or invincible. Bullies can be humbled, hurt and defeated like everyone else. In fact, bullies are usually quiet thin skinned and easily befuddled.  A bully does not respond to reason or logic, the only way to defeat a bully is to go toe to toe and give them a taste of their own medicine.

I am by no means advocating physical violence against Trump or his followers. But I’m advocating a need to stand up to those who are bullies and misusing their power. When a bully chooses to fight dirty, you have two choices. You can remain civil and mannerly while getting your ass kicked, or you can take your gloves off too.  If someone decides to hit below the belt, then I say bring it on!  If a baker reserves the right to deny services to a gay couple, then why shouldn’t a restauranteur reserve the right to deny service to Sara Sanders.  How did it feel for her to be treated like a minority, like a refuge, like someone with no money, power or privilege.  When Trumpers are given a taste of their own medicine, they ironically play the victim card. I say give Trump and his buddies a taste of their own medicine.

My first punch is to make up a moniker for Trump, just as he has so often done to others (do unto others as they do unto you). I will refer to him as “Truth-less Trump”. This suits him well due to his aversion to the truth. Or, how about “Doofus Don”. This pseudonym refers to his immature tendencies of mugging for the camera and his childish need to be the center of attention. Then there’s “Toupee Trump”, fake hair to go along with his fake news.

My second punch is to not allow him to dominate or manipulate the conversation. When he starts blathering on and not allowing others to speak or attempts to change the topic, interviewers need to demand that he answer the specific question. When he tells falsehoods or lies, he needs to be challenged to provide facts and legitimate reference to support his claims. He is a master purveyor of “fake news” and propaganda. The truth is kryptonite to cereal liars.

My third punch is to hold Truth-less Trump and his minions to the precepts of our democracy. There needs to be a relentless campaign that exposes all of the instances that Truth-less Trump and his administration have manipulated the truth and abused their power. This includes the times that Truth-less Trump and his administration have lied, falsified facts, misused taxpayers money, paid hush money to a porn star, used crude and inappropriate language, incited violence and promoted racism, sexism and fanned the flames of divisiveness.  His past and ongoing flagrant lies need to be delineated and repeatedly exposed. Truth-less Trump uses this technique of  relentlessly repeating his lies and falsehoods in tweets knowing that if he repeats something enough times his mindless followers will accept it as the truth. In the month of May 2018, Truth-less Trump has used the term “witch-hunt” 15 times on his tweeter account (reference Times@realtrump). Fox News is his ally in repeating, spreading and promoting his propaganda.

Trump has used his platform as president to humiliate others, to degrade private businesses and mock anything or anyone he does not like.  He make Don Rickles look like a motivational speaker.

Don’t be lulled into complacency or become immune to Truth-less Trumps incessant barrage of bullshit.  Democracy is fragile and we need to fight to keep it intact.  The rich and powerful have always tried to destroy democracy or manipulate it to serve their selfish goals.  Democracy has faith in the goodness of the majority.  It is a political system that believes that there are more good then bad folks, that there are more wise individuals then fools, that there are more compassionate people than self centered individuals and that truth will always prevail over lies.

Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution are scared.  Many have died to protect the civil liberties and freedoms we enjoy today.  I encourage you to vote for those who will restore our civil liberties and protect our democracy from the corrupt and mean spirited.  I say, “When they go low they’d better be ducking, cause I got a right hook they aren’t expecting”.