Feeding The Lion

Unknown

For Haley and Taylor.

Soundtrack “It’s For You” by Pat Matheny

So ya wanna be a writer. Writing takes enormous courage, at least for those who dare to stand in the center-ring and call themselves the master of ceremonies. When I say master of ceremonies, I mean standing in the center-ring with a chair in one hand and a whip in the other—–cracking that whip as you attempt to tame language, coaxing those unruly words to jump through rings of fire. It’s being honest and pure——it’s as insufferable as siphoning ink from an anemic soul. To go to such places you must first face down who you are or who you thought you were–you must be prepared to shine a light on your blind spots and shake hands with your darkest shadows. What’s in there? What’s way deep down inside me, that thing I’ve carried with me from the womb, that shameless thing that’s a part of me like a birth mark in the shape of original sin. If you can go that far down then you’ve earned the privilege to call yourself the zoo keeper of words. You have fed the lion, but you have not tamed him. Beauty, danger and fear are the bars that cage our confessions. A long lost friend once told me “Where the beauty of the soul is, there’s always danger.”

The next step is to put your head in that lions mouth. Choose honesty over insecurity. Allow space for venerability, don’t be anonymous——be outrageous, be original not a trend chaser, be forthright rather than pious and vain——take no-ones word other than your own, search everywhere for yourself and then let it all go, unleash your restrained emotions and when all the stiff mannequins misunderstand you, tell them to fuck off———it’ll be scary, but it’ll make you feel awake and alive—–trust that it will be worth it. Your words are your weapons, surrender is your shield. Make shit happen, even if you have to make shit up as you go along, walk the high-wire, be a fire eater, play the clown, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s how you’ll learn to orchestrate your circus. Be persistent, have tenacity, be a seeker. Be good to yourself, be kind to others, smile, even when you don’t feel like it—-take the body and the mind will follow. .

Life is a beautiful thing——-people like you make this so.

 

The Titanic Swim Team

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Soundtrack “Cascada” by Jesse Cook

This life, man how it pisses me off, locked in, locked out——-passing me by, I don’t know——— I walk around with this old skeleton key, and every lock I slip it into refuses to give way. Lovers, friends, careers, hopes and dreams—even god, they all seem dead-bolted and out of reach. I wanted it all so bad, I wanted everything, I wanted to know something or someone in a better way, a closer way, cause I’m afraid that someday it’ll be to late——-I can’t find my way in——or is it my way out that leaves me feeling orphaned. Another rainy hungover Sunday, cold black coffee, black and blue marks, questions marks, exclamation marks—-moving on, moving out, falling down, falling apart—-how many overs make an end?

I admire but a few professions. The boxer, the standup comedian and the poet. They perform naked, no props, no cue cards, turning the disconnected nothingness of life into form and art. They allow us to take mundane moments and eye them up close as we tumble them over in our hands, like “curiosities” or “what nots” at a rummage sale——It’s a fine line between junk and treasure, truth and consequence, fate and happenstance, synchronicity and chaos———— the “you’s and me’s” and “what use to be’s”——-I wish you could see yourself through my eyes, because beauty is not so much what’s reflected in a mirror—–it’s what lies behind the reflection.

And baby, how I wish I could call you up and ask you to come over, but that number you once pressed into the palm of my heart at 2:00 am under a flickering failing streetlamp is now disconnected, no forwarding address, you’ve gone underground, unlisted, unavailable, I’m just another one of your gypsy memories——- I wish I were more like you, an emotional hitchhiker, leap frogging my way from here to there at another’s expense.

A prize fighter knows the score. He’ll take the hardest punch you can muster and then throw one back at you just as hard, until someone is so busted up that they can’t answer the bell. His only way out of this is through you. You think you’re tough, then bring it on brah! Sweat, spit, tears, Vaseline and the taste of blood fill his split lipped mouth. Rights, lefts, upper cuts, jabs, body shots——with back against the ropes, the jeers of the crowd fade until all he hears is the sound of his own labored breath——-  and from deep down there comes the throb of blood surging through his veins. Don’t get pissed or take it personally if he fucks you up, cause mister, he comes from a neighborhood where there’s only one bone for every five dogs——-

Oh my god, listen to how that comedian weaves rhythm and tempo into a syncopated groove like a jazz tenor player creating tension and release as he steers his ship between awkward truth and twisted absurdity. His riffs cut through tendons and bones with the deftness of a surgeon wielding a chainsaw——-daring those out there in the safe darkness of audience to laugh till it hurts, until tears stream down their cheeks. Killing them softly as he makes them contort and grimace with the intensity of an epileptic orgasm——cause the better part of foreplay is always laughter, and right beneath that G spot lies her funny bone. And I never doubted that Charlie Chaplin had more groupies than Gene Simmons and Elvis combined. If you can get her to laugh, the world is your oyster. Or, if you can get her to laugh, her oyster is your world——-“Drummer!——Rim shot please!”

Then there’s the melancholy poet bending words like forged metal into swords that cut to the marrow as he dissects cumbersome words such as love, and truth, and beauty, doing his best to make you cry until you laugh, cause even the saddest of life conditions eventually reaches a point of hilarity——life——- at its best is a tragic comedy, at its worst, an epitaph marred by graffiti and eraser marks——-

I’ll add one more profession to my list. Magician. He suspends reality as he toys with your sense of certainty. How did that rabbit get into that top-hat? How did his beautiful assistant disappear into thin air? He snaps his finger and a white dove appears, the ace of hearts appears at the top of the deck at his command——his cane becomes a bouquet of flowers. We’re becoming children again, believing in the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Life is magic, like the color blue, like the sky blue, like love at first sight, like the purity of children, like ocean sunsets and mountain thunderstorms————like free candy on Halloween….

But adults lose their sense of wonder. Hope and dreams are the currency of youth. Age causes the investment to become devalued by routine and complacency——somehow discounting the small miracles that appear daily——Why? I don’t know, but it scares me when I see those my age stiffen with rust like the Tin Man——If they only had a heart rather than a brain stuffed with straw. Maybe under it all, they’re concealing a cowardly lion. Fear is the lock we must all learn to pick. It takes a titanic amount of courage to swim through this life, cause an ocean of frozen tears can sink the mightiest of ships.

I argue with god, but I’m not sure if it’s him that I‘m taking to task or just one of the cast of voices that loiter in my head. They mumble to me like homeless bums hiding in the shadows of a urine stenched alley. The chorus of voices implore me to watch my cities burn, to stop rattling the chains across my doors——to give up on you, to give up on me——-to severe all connections with an innocence lost.

I”m looking for love by brail, cause love can’t be seen, it’s only felt—-like music. Every word you speak has the power of a million waves, wearing away my walls and causing my granite facade to cave-in like castles made of sand. And did I tell you that I still love you, it’s not a choice, it’s an addiction, stronger than herion, more like oxogen than a drug, something that comes to me in gasps, and at night I suffocate in my bed. And if your phone rings at 3:00 am, it could be me, just wanting to hear the sound of your voice one more time. The right key turning the right lock is a once in a life time chance, like Sir Lancelot pulling a sword from a stone to become king—-but you cut my hair and broke my crown—–

Make no mistake, this is a world where the keys you’ve been given seldom match the locks that you find yourself stranded behind. It’s a place of paddle locks, deadbolts and door chains with squinty eyed peepholes. If ya want in, if what ya need is behind that door, if that’s where your dream lies, where you passion leads you, then you’re gonna have to kick that fucker in, your gonna have to bust it down, you’re gonna have to throw yourself against it, again and again, with all you might——until you get in, or get out, or get through————until you are allowed passage to that place where you know that you were meant to be, that place where you belong.

Bad Decisions

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Soundtrack by Coldplay “Sky Full Of Stars”.

Stories and dreams. We all have them, but having someone to tell them to is as close as some of us may ever get to giving them form. Putting such flimsy notions into words and trusting someone with them is such a dangerous propositions. We’ve all been misunderstood and laughed at——-betrayed when least expected, hurt by those most trusted. So we retreat further into adulthood, into becoming conventional and bland. But I never felt that way towards you, cause you allowed me to believe in glory and grace——in fact, you encouraged my groping wishes to wake and be given life, with you I could be an astronaut, free to explore my outer and inner space. I could be a Zen warrior, or a pale version of a cool-ass bluesman, you gave me the swagger of a pirate, the bravado of a rodeo clown——with you, I became wide open and fearless, featureless….. liberated and limitless…….You offered a love that never expires, a timeless space where there is no room for regret or remorse….

They say that the starlight we see is millions of light years old and in fact, some of those stars we hold as real have long ago flamed out. They implode or explode or wink off into the blackness like a dream or story that never reaches its surface. As stars bleed light, so it is for the lonely who hemorrhage hope. You and I float hand in hand above this blue marble, wearing nothing but our smiles— and it’s all so beautiful from a distance.

Where you’re from, isn’t who ya are, but it shapes what you become.  And when we were young, all we wanted to do was get out of this place that we thought made us lonely and small (but we didn’t even know what loneliness could feel like—— as foolish as comparing a paper cut to a severed soul) and now we can only go back there in memory or dreams====and if you can still share a memory or a dream with someone——then you can understand that it’s not so bad losing this battle with time.

And don’t let them tell you that time is a river, no——-, it’s like that glassed in machine on the boardwalk where taffy is stretched, pulled and folded back into itself——It will pull the caps off your teeth, stick to the roof of your mouth like peanut butter, it will adhere to the sole of your shoe, eventually becoming a wad of molasses covered in dirt, making you limp, causing each step forward to feel more like a stumble……

I’d once heard it said that “Bad decisions make for great stories”. To me, that’s the most Christian thing ever spoken. Truer than any condemning bible quote, more real than any evangelic sermon intended to save my other gummed up soul. We’re here to make mistakes, to fuck up, to work it out and fuck it up all over again. So don’t feel so bad, it’s what were here to do—–

You’re the worst decision I ever made, but god we have such great stories to share————-

Souvenirs—Personal Ad

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Wanted—A buddy/pal/partner—or a BFFN (best friend for now)

I don’t care about your political views, religious beliefs, tax bracket, sexual orientation, profession, race, gender, visual appearance (picture not required) physical condition (disabilities are a plus) IQ, marital status, your merits or accomplishments, educational background, your favorite sports, interests or nationality——

ONE STRICT REQUIREMENT: YOU MUST BE OLD, VERY OLD, IN-FACT—THE OLDER THE BETTER!

The following traits, suggestions and activities are not mandatory, but preferred:

  • You must not be computer, iPad or smart phone savvy. Preferably, modern technology leaves you hankering back to the good ole days when shaking hands, looking someone in the eye and sharing time and thoughts were a valued pastime (prior to the advent of multitasking and trying to do a bunch of meaningless bullshit at once).  Please do not confuse emailing, Facebook postings, texting and voice mailing with the art of communication.  Yes, it’s an art, not an exercise in technical maneuvering.  Communication requires a commitment of time, patience and compassion—-as does companionship.
  • I don’t want to have sex with you.  At this stage of the game I don’t even like looking at my own naked body in the mirror.  I don’t mind hugs or holding hands regardless of your gender–tenderness is good.
  • I am attracted to anarchist, recluses, eccentric’s and those possessing a sense of rugged individualism—-in other words, I prefer those who are off the social grid e.g. “I wouldn’t belong to a club that would have me as a member” Will Rodgers.
  • If you express your political and spiritual beliefs by displaying them on bumper-stickers, please do not apply.  If you believe the world is flat and that global warming is a farce, you need not apply (I will not suffer a fool).
  • I don’t care if you are vegan or prefer a super-sized McDonald’s meal, but—being a fan of ice cream and all things sweet is a huge plus.
  • Must enjoy taking slow inconsequential walks while idly commenting about the weather and other such insignificant topics. After all these years, watching the seasons change is still a divine experience worth observing and discussing.
  • Must possess a silly, ridiculous and absurd sense of humor.  This includes busting out in spontaneous giggles (best reserved for solemn occasions such as funerals, medical waiting rooms and fine dinning venues). Immaturity, lack of social etiquette and refusing to act age appropriate is a total bonus—-at this stage of the game, who gives a rats ass what anyone else might think of you.  Must possess the capacity to laugh at oneself and be comfortable in your own wrinkled, saggy, age spotted skin.
  • Must not be afraid of silence.  Especially while watching children play or when enjoying a sunrise or sunset.
  • Preferably you enjoy petting cats, dogs or any other animal that understands unconditional love—-oh yeah, this may include feeding birds.
  • Wearing clothing that is colorful, out of style and mismatched is much approved and appreciated.  This includes, wild hats, large print moo moo’s, suspenders, onesie’s, bow-ties, snuggies, overalls, fancy shaw’s, jumpsuits, afghans, scarfs, sequins, cat-eye glasses, squealing hearing aids and all things comfortable, expressive and fun.
  • Music, music and more music.  Turn off the depressing 24 hr news and all the crap that passes for entertainment on the TV.  Shut out all the clutter and noise that fills this manic modern world.  There is nothing better than spinning an old vinyl record from back in the day. Better yet, breakout the piano and the tambourine and start singing and dancing your ass off.  It’s great exercise and nourishes one’s soul.
  • After a long walk a group nap is always an enjoyable activity of choice—BYOB—Bring your own blanket.
  • Feel the sun on your face, walk in the rain, catch a snowflake on your tongue. No matter the season, there are always new and interesting things to do.  Life is never boring, there are only boring people. 

Aging requires that we all become more Zen like.  God has a funny way of teaching us these simple lessons.  The key tenet of Buddha’s teachings is this “Attachment leads to suffering”.  Aging demands that we let go of everything——when you get old, you need less and less material crap.  A game of dominos with a friend or a Sunday drive to visit family is more treasured than winning the lottery.

No need for fancy cars, boats or planes (can’t operate them anymore and there is no place you really need to go) no reason to own a big house (to much to keep up and no one to share it with) no storage sheds, garages or spare bedrooms full of possessions (just a bunch of crap to dust and worry about losing) no job title or profession (don’t have that to hang your identify on now (it’s just you hiding beneath wrinkled skin and brittle bones) no more vanity (can’t make it on outward appearance, fashion or putting on airs, its all about letting that little inward light shine) no need for pridefulness (age will humble your ass, and force you to realize that you were never as important, smart or pretty as you once thought you were).

You no longer have anything to win or lose, nothing to conceal, to protect, to defend, to covet, to prove, to own, to desire, to lust after, to judge or hate, to atone for, to forgive, to worship, or to define————– and in this state of mind you will discover an all-consuming peace.

You will learn to accept and enjoy living in the present moment.  This is mainly due to the fact that your long term and short-term memory is shot to hell—-your entire past is a blank slate.  The future is at best tenuous, you’re surprised and pleased to have woken up this morning to find yourself currently alive and still breathing—your future is a mirage.  All you have is this precious fleeting moment.

Companionship is based on how you are being treated—right now.  You have no grudges, no obligations or biases; in fact, you have no memory of the faces and names of past friends and lovers.  Every one you meet, even old friends, once again become new friends.  If someone is being kind to you, then you will respond with kindness or visa versa.  And, at some point you won’t even remember your own name, or your own face in mirror.  Finally, with no motives, hidden agendas or selfish intentions, you are now free to love yourself and all others unconditionally.

If this request for friendship connects with you, I would love the opportunity to make your acquaintance.  I can be found most afternoons sitting on a bench at Kiva Beach.  I’ll be the guy wearing plaid shorts, stripe shirt, a white bucket hat (Gilligan style) with black socks and brown sandals—-

I can often be heard whistling a little tune that goes like this——

“Row, row, row your boat—Gently down the stream—Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily—–Life is but a dream”.  Ain’t that the truth.

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