hard core

you know what is hard core: removing all of the artifices and chemicals you use to cover up your true self, and facing it.

taking lots of pills, doing extreme sports, traveling non-stop for years, seeing every band that comes to town, covering your body in tattoos, sleeping around every night, going to church five times a week–nothing is as hard core as stopping everything, and sitting alone with your thoughts, chemical-free, for thirty minutes.

nothing says you did something outstanding quite like getting to know all that junk you buried deep inside every year, pulling it out, expelling it, facing it down, removing it for good, walking away from everything that comprises the artificial you you’ve built.

and, absolutely nobody will be impressed with you, either. because nobody will know you by the time you’re finished, and nobody gives a shit that you cleared yourself of all your baggage and crap. but if you were doing it for anybody but yourself, you would never be finished.

composure from the perfect nap

somehow, the 7pm feeling of composure from the perfect nap deserted me. as my head hit the pillow, i checked the alarm clock–6pm. as my head lifted off the pillow, i checked the alarm clock–7pm. most evening naps in the early autumn days leave me disoriented and crabby for at least half an hour.

all day long, i worked and waited for 6pm to come. i left maria’s house last night at 2 am, with things between us having moved maybe just a teeny bit along. the glacial progress of this relationship seems inexplicable to me. we sat together on her floor and watched internet tv for an hour or more. why didn’t i reach over and rub her back, pet her head, plant a smooch on her face or slip a hand down to her inner thigh? she seems ready for that when we kiss goodnight, but otherwise, she seems ready for distance to be kept.

maybe i am not ready, but i think i am. i am no longer lonely and grieving the loss of lucy, so i am now ready to attempt another relationship.

i woke up this morning at 7 am, and flirted with the notion of calling in sick to work, or sending a note, saying i was running late with a dipshit excuse. but, i was wide awake, in spite of the fact that i knew for certain i would be dragging at some point during the day. i didn’t drag, i just spaced out a couple of times, and found myself getting a little irritated with tracy jeans, our director of random and ill-fitting fundraisers. i find myself getting more than a little irritated with her regularly. she is one of those people who work in a capacity where executive decision making is required–the projects she sends down the pipe to her ragtag team of marketing servants are totally hers–but she always comes with an attitude of “what should i do?” then won’t follow through with anything we veterans of marketing tell her to do, but continues to act like she wants us to make decisions for her. it’s all very confusing. part of the problem is that she is so young, and has no business whatsoever managing the kinds of projects she does–so, she’s basically clueless on when to take a leadership role in any given situation and when to let people who are serving her just do their thing.

i suppose it is utterly impossible to work in any environment without having at least one person whose professional communication style clashes with yours. i crave directness, fairness, but open-mindedness–but, ultimately decisiveness from people who manage the stuff i work on. as long as i can see good leadership coming from your end, i don’t mind being led by you. i have no desire to lead anyone, but when i find myself being managed by someone with poor management skills, i resent whoever in charge thought it would be a good idea to hire this or that person that they yanked from a social network of theirs–whose resume would otherwise have been discarded upon first glance.

however, with all of that said, i must also add that the day went surprisingly well for less than five hours of sleep. mondays are typically days where everyone zombies their way through from having yet to adjust to workweek sleep schedules, so you can get away with firing on half your cylinders on a monday, and nobody is any the wiser.

waking up from my nap at 7pm, i discovered my roommate in the kitchen cooking something, and found myself hearing his take on the bailout. at 41, he has developed a greater interest in current affairs, but it sounds so sophomoric and free of any deep and careful analysis that it can alternately irritate me and slide off my back in one sitting. i told my roommate how my boss would be affected by the stock market plummeting, and dennis, my roommate, was ecstatic, sneering that people who take risks in the stock market get what they deserve–dennis lives from cashed paycheck to cashed paycheck and has no retirement whatsoever, and imagines himself immune to the fallout from all of this. if he was in his twenties, his careless philosophy about what is happening would be understandable, even expected, but coming from a guy who will likely find himself living in a state-run nursing home within the next thirty years, its more than a little annoying. his self-centered attitude spills over into recent events in his life where he left his friend’s golf clubs in the back seat of his car for weeks, and then someone broke into his car (which is really easy to break into as it’s a total piece of crap) and stole them. he was mad about that, but claimed no responsibility whatsoever for what happened. two days later, he drives up to a 7-11, and leaves his window rolled down, and his cell phone on the armrest next to the driver’s seat and someone steals it, of course. he proceeds to bitch about how you can’t trust anyone anymore, as if leaving an electronic gadget in plain sight inside your car with the windows rolled down was something you only recently could get away with in this sleepy town where everyone leaves their doors unlocked. his bitching and protesting about all of it was so shrill that i could tell he was feeling responsibility for what happened inside, but unwilling or unable to claim it vocally.

hearing him go on like he does about things has really made me see firsthand how lucy must have felt during some of those years when i would bitch about the state of the world or anything else that was always happening to me but never my fault or never my problem to solve. for this, i am grateful to have him around.

then, i made the mistake of checking my work email before attempting to write, and that sent me on forty-five minute’s worth of work to fix a problem on the organization website.

so, by the time i got to this moment where i am sitting plunking on the keyboard my thoughts into notepad, to be copied and pasted as is into wordpress, i pretty much felt like my brain had been vexed and taxed beyond any measure of composure that it started with when i woke up from my nap. oh, and i masturbated again as well, allowing much of my vitality that could have been poured into a masterful blog to be squirted out for the sake of a cheap, bursting high.

small miracles

i didn’t expect much from yesterday evening, calling maria up after a brief nap i took when i got back from my dad’s.

i hadn’t seen my dad in a month–last sunday, when i’d said i could come over, he’d made plans to visit his lady friend without telling me. this week, he was all kind of sad about the oldest cat ruth being gone, and since she was blind and not eating much, after four days we’d called her dead. his latest lady friend has lupus, which killed one of his uncles, and i think he was maybe feeling kind of sad about the fact that any woman he dates at this point is probably going to have something in the near future that old people get and die from.

but, the conversation was pleasant and normal–the usual turns it took with him telling me stories i’d heard a million times, like how great the hospital food in smithville is, but the medical service is bad, whereas in the big austin hospital, it’s just the opposite–or the story about how his latest lady friend traded a horse for a laptop. i don’t mind, though, he always seems more animated talking about certain things, even if he’s repeating himself, and rarely seems all that interested in anything i have to say about what’s going on in my life.

i re-emphasized at one point in our conversation how important it was going to be for me to move on and try something new next year, and he immediately started with all of his overly cautious prattle about how bad the economy will be, and i’ll inevitably end up flipping burgers if i leave austin. this got me more than a little peeved, as i have been cautious about not making a dumb move for almost ten years now, and really can’t stand being the resident web bitch anymore.

he got all defensive about how he was just giving cautionary advice, but i’ve seen and heard him create scenarios of doom way too many times when other dads might have just said go for it, shut up, son, and pursue your dreams. right before that, he’d mentioned how he was reluctant to take his dog over to the new lady friend’s house, because she had expensive horses, and his dog might spook the horse, and the horse might break a leg, and he might have to pay for it.

inside, i was rolling my eyes. i was mostly upset with him, because i’ve seen how his tendency toward being supercautious has found its way into so many aspects of my own life–how scared i’ve been at times of my own shadow for fear it would bite me or drag my soul off to hell. metaphorically speaking, of course.

so, maria had called me last week after two weeks of nothing, and we decided we would do something together sat. i called her after getting home from my dad’s and napping, and she showed up a little later, ready to go for a jog. i cautioned her about the signs in front of my parking lot for towing acl festival goers, and worried a bit that her strange truck might prompt someone to call the apt mgmt. then, i realized i was being like my old man, and shut up.

we had curra’s, and the waitress took forever to bring the check, and i ordered the el presidente rita, so i was kind of sleepy from not having drank any alcohol since two fridays ago at my first happy hour with my boss. maria made some coffee back at her place, but i was starting to fall asleep on her floor where we talked some more.

she drove me back home, and our goodbye kiss was rather open-mouthed and moist, and suddenly, i wasn’t so tired, and invited her to walk with my dog on our bedtime pee stroll. maria seemed receptive to my arm around her, and as we stood there in front of her truck saying our last goodbyes, i could see that it wouldn’t hurt to try to make this relationship go somewhere, even with all of maria’s chaos and her two kids.

we kissed some more, and i began to feel like my heart, which had been mostly closed off to her–not because of anything she said or did, but because of the enormous wall i built up around it following the torture my heart had received from the psychotic lucy for so many years–was now opening up, making me feel warm and open from head to heart to cock, and receptive to the idea of letting maria in in the way that i need to in order for things to move forward.

it was 1:30 am when i fell asleep. the latest i’ve stayed up in weeks has been 11:30.

my dad called me at 7 am this morning, and i thought for certain i was about to hear some more of the bad news that seems to just keep coming. instead, he’d called to let me know that gramma calico, one of the older texas cats who’d taken to spending nights outside again recently, had shown up with the sixteen-year-old ruth at his door this morning.

my dad said he was starting to believe in miracles.

stealing for the future

the first thing that pops into your head in the morning is never a concern for the well being of the planet. you don’t say under your breath, oh God, thank you for keeping mankind safe on this planet for another day, thank you for preventing all the crazies in the world with nukes and plagues from doing us in.

you probably don’t think much about expressing gratitude that your so-called close friends and family are still alive, and what’s more, you likely don’t even give thanks for being alive another day yourself.

the first thing that pops into your head most days is an aching, furtive attempt to reinsert yourself into that beautiful dream you were having that is now less-remembered than half of your childhood. then, you express anger at being awake with a full bladder, dry mouth, and head full of worries about what you need to do for the rest of the work week–or stress over all the obligations you will have to fulfill on your days off.

you don’t find yourself in the bathroom taking care of the call of nature with thankfulness that all of your plumbing works. you don’t thank anyone for the fact that the power still works, the place isn’t robbed, the economy hasn’t gotten so bad that you can’t fix coffee and have a breakfast bar. you don’t help the dog to her call of nature with gratefulness for her health, for her companionship.

you don’t thank any driver who lets you in when you need to merge, and you certainly don’t look out for other drivers who need you to let them in. you don’t say any sort of prayer for your fellow motorists to have a great day, and accomplish whatever it is that they are setting out to accomplish.

you aren’t ecstatic to arrive at work without having gotten in an accident. you don’t seem happy to know your coworkers are healthy and alive.

what you do do, is get this far thinking only about what you can steal from the universe today. you are a tried and true thief. when you converse with the people you work with, you hold up the veneer of the smile and ask them how their mornings are going, but inside, you are calculating impatiently for moments where you can put forth little flatteries that will enable you to use them later, and little boasts that those above you will hear to know how great you are. your contempt for everyone around you is barely manageable some days, as you see each person you encounter as being nothing more than a fool with either something you need to steal or a fool standing in your way of more to steal from this universe.

you might be stealing power and dignity, patronizing other people deftly enough just to put them off kilter and make them feel at unease and touch upon old wounds where self esteem was sorely lacking. you might be eyeing members of the opposite sex to use them for money, power and…sex. you might be trying to angle for a promotion, or angle for a new connection to make a deal. you might just like the feeling of using another human being, of having another person doing something for you, that you are simply stealing humanity from humanity because it feels good…because you are evil.

when you are awake, whether you realize it or not, you preface each glance your eyes take, each step your feet make, each decision, each thought, with a basic question: “how will this serve ME?”

then, you turn forty or fifty, and you begin to seek a spirituality of sorts, looking for some type of guru who will make you feel good about all of your thievery, and never make you have to think long and hard about changing anything about yourself, and never make you uncomfortable.

you might start a charitable foundation, and give to it, and take tax breaks, and steal from it. it just feels so good to steal, but now you are seeing your mortality, seeing the world as it will be without you in it, and you are stealing from the future–taking from yet unborn members of humanity, and their days in the sun, with dull memoirs that they will be forced to read because you have left your stamp of alleged importance upon everything you touched. every single time a member of a future generation says your name, you will be stealing posthumously just a little more, as if all you had while alive was not enough.

then, five or six generations later, your name will be forgotten, all organizations named after you now defunct or merged with others that bear the names of different men and women. the same with all of the landmarks and buildings you donated money to so they would carry your name. people have decided to rename them all with newer dead rich people. and everything you owned will have long ago been redistributed or sent off to the dump. your tombstone will be in disrepair as nobody else is allowed to be buried in your part of the cemetary, so nobody visits it, so nobody maintains it.

on this day, your wealth is staggering, your name is inside the brain of over half the planet’s population. only twelve people will ever really know you, though, and only three of them will have ever actually liked you–one of them will say she loved you, but this is arguable. on the day you die, only one person who came and went through your life truly loved you, truly knew you–and it wasn’t you.

bifurcation

bifurcation into two possible states, give or take. at any moment, the decision is yours. something bigger than you grows inside of you when you give. those who stay in the take state will never be satisfied. you could give them a trillion dollars, and it will not be enough. those in the give state can operate on next to nothing. evolution dropped us off at the moment we all became civilized (thieves). news flash, you are not evolving. you stopped evolving the day you adopted coinage over barter to obtain what you needed. evolution happened because members of our species sacrificed themselves, mostly our mothers, to help us survive and advance the gene pool. we who hunted only took what we needed, and this resourcefulness allowed us to spread out across the earth. the thieves in manhattan and washington are not one iota more evolved than the aborigine in australia. coinage and credit will mark the end of our race. we are all thieves, but the thief who takes only enough to survive is of the earth, the thief who takes as much as he can steal is of the devil.

a brief history of my writing

a brief history of my attempts to become a legitimate writer:

1. Childhood poetry and novel about running away from home.
2. Angsty high school poetry.
3. College novels, philosophy and stream of consciousness experiments
4. Post collegiate stream of consciousness experiments.
5. A couple of novels.
6. Songwriting and lame, family-friendly blogging under my own name, attempts to sound educated and orginal.
7. Edgier blogging, political ranting.
8. More disciplined journal-writing, personal essays that employ stream of consciousness as a stylistic motif.
9. The final year of the writer, applying at times a retrospective, at times a careless and crude way with words just to properly kill the writer for good.

within #4 i find myself ten years ago, back home from college, highly advanced in going places with my mind, but like a ten year old boy when it comes to matters of women and being social. aside from my texts being rife with spelling errors and misused words, my writing and thinking skills seem to be more developed than they probably were after i threw it all away and didn’t really start the process of self-examination + writing five years ago.

in the span of reading a single sentence i wrote back then, i go from rolling my eyes in despair at how unprepared i was to leave the surrogate womb of my college apartment, the campus library, gym and predictable classes–to rolling my eyes in despair at how advanced i was spiritually, both in insights and in control of my consciousness–rolling my eyes in despair for the latter because i wonder if the ten years that followed me throwing all that away have been wasted years spent writing and thinking nothing original.

it’s sad business coming to terms with the fact that this writer in me must die, and only brief passages he recorded will ever be used (by only him) to edify the mind and advance the soul from its muck. personal satisfaction only comes from being a useful human on this earth, and one good father or mother in this world is a million times more useful to the human race and the Lord than twenty good writers, because what’s truly remembered, and what’s truly forgotten will one day be the opposite of what we foolish humans think they will be. all the pathetic attempts made by man to record and leave his mark on this earth will be wiped away, with the exception of his own seed and any oral histories and wisdom he is able to pass to his children. this is part of what it means for the last to be first and the first to be last. all of us men who forsook our calling to be good fathers for the sake of being noticed by other men–we will all be lost and forgotten forever, while every man who took the time to produce a child and raise him or her right will truly see his immortality.

that’s why the writer must die.

clinging

your mind could cling to just about anything, or nothing at all.

your mind would cling to unhappy environments, unhappy states of being, unhappy people–just because it wanted to build a home, a shell, a fortress unassailable by Time.

your mind clinged to states of being that never found satisfaction:
getting worked up about political problems, and clinging to the very state of being worked up, rather than seeking solutions.
aching and longing for a relationship, and clinging to the very state of yearning, rather than taking proper steps to find a partner.
begging them to let you become a struggling salesman, and clinging to the stage of struggling to make a successful sale, opting not to follow up your calls too much and complaining about how you could never get through to anyone.

you found yourself at times the unwitting recipient of getting satisfaction from these states, and hated it:
getting a top spot on a political campaign, and finding it to be not nearly as comfortable as sitting on the sidelines reading political magazines and blogs and ranting to anyone who’d listen.
finding a sweet, loving relationship with a beautiful woman, and looking for every excuse imaginable to sabotage the relationship, because the post-coital duldrums weren’t nearly as satisfying as the lonely man blues.
growing fearful by the minute when a sale looked as if it were going to close–just how comfortable was success really going to be?

you found yourself manufacturing discontent so that you could have a laundry list of things to complain about and cling to.

looking in each person’s eyes for contempt when all they really had was self-absorption.
taking anything someone said to you as a cue that they were out to do you in somehow when all they really had was self-absorption.
finding the world cast in a web of great conspiracy, each person part of a giant cabal of spirits come together to hold you in your place, in this body, in this realm, at your sad little desk job–when all they really had was varying degrees of ego, of clinging to themselves.