Saturday, December 31, 2011

Basal cell carcinoma

I've had a sore on my left ankle now for several months that won't heal.  For most of that time I didn't even notice it, but every now and then I'd see it and wonder, 'WTF... why hasn't that healed yet?' and then forget about it again.  Then the other night it hit me... skin cancer.  I did some net research and the images I found for a certain type of cancer, called basal cell carcinoma, look very much like the lesion on my ankle.  From what I've gathered so far, 90% of these types of cases don't metastasize to other parts of the body, so I'm not too worried at the moment.  The main concern seems to be removing it so it doesn't leave a scar.  My mom works at a hospital, and she said I could come down and get it removed, and that the lab costs would be covered.

I suppose I'll have to make some time for that.  I'll probably have to miss church one of these upcoming weekends.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Persistant visits to this blog

My blog has a stat counter that tracks visitor statistics by counting the number of visits each day, what page they visited, whether or not they're returning visitors, etc.  I usually get about 5 hits a day from all over the world from people using Google searches, which shouldn't seem weird in and of itself... but what IS weird is that almost every single one of those visits to this blog is to one particular entry - my write up about the star of Bethlehem as an astronomical phenomenon.  This page:

Every single day, almost every visit to my blog is to that page.  Visits average about 5 a day, over the course of a month, and they go back 6 months, to when I first started watching the stat counter. Some days it's as many as 20 different page views of just that one page.  My stat counter page is filled from top to bottom with visits to my star of Bethlehem blog entry.  It's weird.

The stat counter even shows the Google search terms the visitors used - things like 'bright star of Bethlehem', 'Bethlehem night sky', 'shining star over the manger at Bethlehem', 'pictures of the night sky in Bethlehem', 'star of Bethlehem', 'Bible star', and  'Bethlehem supernova', to name a few.  It's the only traffic my page gets, except for a few rare visits that don't show any referring Google searches.

A letter to myself

I imagine that it's tiring to hear somebody complain about the same old thing over and over again, especially when it's a broken heart. I should have gotten over it already by now. I think I should have... I always have before. I'm tired of it, just tired and weary of it and ready for it to go away. I'm only saying this to you right now because so often I just feel like I need to say something to somebody, and I right now at this moment, alone and wide awake in the small hours, I appreciate you being someone in my life who I feel like I can push a few words toward without the immediacy of actually bothering you. I'm kind of cheating really, because I hate bothering people with my problems, and I loath the idea of being a burden and an annoyance and a nuisance because of the things in my life which are actually such petty little issues and items; things which shouldn't even be worth all of this fuss but for some reason insist on being so painful, and pain is a hard thing to ignore.

If only I knew how to just deal with life like a normal person... I say that, and I immediately realize the folly of that concept, because I'm aware, at least superficially, that I'm not unique, and that other people have problems, and that 'normal' isn't something that exists on the other side of a threshold which I'm barred from crossing. Somehow though, over the past 40 years, my perception has developed so that I'm blind to almost everything except for the idea of 'self'. And as a result of being so selfish and all about me and so oblivious of other people and lacking compassion and just being a selfish jerk, I feel the need to reach out when I'm feeling all of my own personal pain. And at a moment like this... the selfish action of pushing a few words in your direction will help to make things ok for a little while, I suppose.

But with all of that said, I still have an idea that a lot of this way of thinking that I'm describing shouldn't have to be the case, or isn't the case. Maybe I'm only being a jerk to myself. I don't know. I don't know much of anything about most things, and because of that I'm afraid of almost all of the things that have to do with any of those things, which is just about everything.

'Stink think', as you've put it, is second nature to me and has been for as long as I can remember, and it's a hard habit to break. I guess I had a crappy childhood and my brain was programmed pretty brutally back then. Poor me, right? But the result in my adult mind is that I see failure as the most likely result of any attempt to actually take part in life in a way that matters. I never noticed that before now... that is, before the last couple of years; before I met Leah and discovered Orthodoxy, because failure wasn't something I ever actually contemplated as a possible thing that resulted from an action. It was just something that WAS, and it was natural, and I didn't really know that, because I had never tried at anything before; not really, and not at anything that I really believed mattered. And this matters... all of this that I've become involved with. I realize now that nothing matters but this.

But constantly imagining myself in this new place, at church with normal people, and especially in the position of... doing something in front of the choir that other people kind of notice, and that might actually mean something to a lot of people, and make a difference in the quality of their experience at church... this seems debilitating to me most of the time, and when I push through that feeling and actually DO, it's almost painful enough that I want to yank myself back, like the reflex of jerking your hand away from a hot frying pan. And that reflex makes things even harder, because it's something I have to fight, and it makes every resulting action clumsy and sometimes ugly, and a lot of the time wrong, and the resulting chaos is hard to turn back into order. All because of that stupid reflex.

And the cause of that reflex... waking up, getting out of bed, focusing my consciousness towards the activity of getting ready and stepping out of the door and pointing myself towards the direction of the church and actually making my legs take those steps down that same familiar path that I've walked a hundred times, to face my fears head on - that seemed a lot easier when Leah was with me. Everything seemed easier then. Life was easier and more hopeful. Things that seem impossible now felt possible then. I felt like anything was possible then, back when things were good with us, for that short while throughout most of 2009. And I don't understand why that should be wrong, but now I feel like I was cheating back then, and that doesn't seem fair... that the only time in my entire life that I had ever felt hopeful about a secure and happy future, an unbelievably awesome fairy tale life where I'd actually found a way to believe in God, and it was all because of this beautiful woman who loved me, and that there was this life waiting for us together in the church, and maybe even a family... it didn't seem fair for all of that to turn out to be against the rules, moot, null and void. Cheating.

I think this problem I have, this persistent sadness, exists in direct relation to my persistence with the church. Surely there's a breaking point somewhere or at some point, that the sadness will have to give up, the fear and pain will burn up and turn to smoke and dissipate, and the new life will begin?

I think maybe that getting over Leah is so hard because... it's kind of, like... the admittance fee for salvation. I never would have known the church without Leah, and Leah was the reason why I started going to church. Then, when the church became 'just' important enough to me that I wouldn't fall away from it and collapse completely without Leah, she was taken away from me. That was the payment. That's a crude way to put it, and not altogether accurate... but it makes sense that I would have to give up one item of priceless value for another. However, the funny thing is that I don't even understand the value of what I got in return, and what a bargain it was... an actual CHANCE at Love and eternal life, vs. this selfish desire for the illusion of personal happiness for a few decades... maybe.

When I back up and try to look at myself objectively and not through a lens of self loathing, I marvel that I haven't given up yet. And sometimes, just occasionally... like right now... I realize that the even bigger marvel is that none of the credit for the persistence I've shown is even mine at all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

An odd thing that happened the other night.

The other night after work I was looking for my flashlight so I could walk around and read, per my modus operandi.  After several minutes of fitful searching, I couldn't find it.  The only other possibility I could think of was that I had left it at work, so I walked to the store to see if it would turn up.  Stephen and Saqib and I searched all around the registers, and I searched the cooler because I use it in there when I'm counting in inventory in preparation for ordering, but it was nowhere to be found.  I finally decided to give it up as lost and to head on home.  On my way out I stopped to shoot the breeze with Stephen and Saqib for a few minutes, and as I was standing there near the counter, a couple of regular customers - a guy and a chick - stumbled in, whoo-hooing and laughing, obviously somewhat drunk.  Upon espying us, the two of them immediately tottered over and greeted us loudly and with celebratory enthusiasm.  Then the girl - I think her name is Theresa - turned to her friend, and this is what happened:

Girl - Oh!  Well, now's my chance... I've always wanted to do this, and now I think I'm just drunk enough to actually do it!

Friend - What's that?

Girl - I gotta run my fingers through his hair!

Stephen and I exchanged a kind of WTF look.  Both of us have long hair, but I'm sure that neither of us knew who she was talking about.

Me - Who's hair, mine or his (referring to Stephen)?

Girl - (She turns to me) So, can I?  Can I run my fingers through your hair?

Without waiting for my permission or any kind of response, she immediately started to luxuriously stroke my ponytail with her palms, and to slowly run her fingers through the length of it.  As she was doing this, she emitted little sighs of pleasure and squeals of glee.  I was a too surprised and shocked to do anything else except to just stand there as this girl 'oohed' and aahed' while stroking and petting my hair, like it was some kind of royal fabric of utmost quality.  Finally she stopped and performed a wobbly little pirouette while laughing out loud delightedly, and threw her arms around me.  She hung onto me for an inordinately long time, until finally she unlocked her arms from around my neck, slid them slowly across my shoulders as she pulled away, and gave me a very light push against the chest with the palms of her hands to complete the separation.  Then she laughed again and turned away from me quickly, possibly a little bit embarrassed.  After buying some beers, she and her friend left, laughing loudly and cutting up on the way out.

I have to admit to having been taken completely by surprise there.  I'd been seeing that particular girl come into the store for years, and although we had chatted a little and exchanged a few pleasantries, we'd never actually 'talked' to any real extent, and I'd never interacted with her in any way other than as a customer.  To me she was just another face, albeit a quite pretty one, who I recognized as one of the regular customers at the 7-Eleven where I work.  Turns out that all this time she was harboring this secret desire to run her fingers through my hair.  Huh.  Just... huh.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

There's a brighter side to this...

Turn away don't be a fool,
I'm a wreck when I look mighty.
In euphoria I'm bruised,
When I'm confused I strike like lightning.
In complacence I am small,
Through oblivion I'm charged.

Turn away I'm not the one,
When bathed in sunlight I'm under duress.
I seem all polish and reward,
But when I'm confidant I'm hopeless.
I'm just like everybody else,
Right before they fall apart.

So follow my way,
when I'm not leading anyone.
I'm open and frayed,
When you can see that I'm undone.
Out on my way,
I'm only pure when I get lost.
And I'm only needing I'm finding that you're not.

So follow my my way,
when I am useless to your cause.
When I derail,
I'm calm in the patience of remorse.
I've lost my way,
Out on my empty open nerves.
When all I know is that I don't know where we are.

When all I know is that I don't know,
Through oblivion I charge.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Random encounter

I was walking to the church last night at about 7:00 to meet up with Dax to discuss the intricacies of choir directing, and I had my flashlight and e-book, reading, as usual.  It was dark, and a car passed me and turned on the intersecting street, then turned around, and I heard this:

"Hey, are you the guy who works at 7 Eleven?"


"You're awesome!"

What?  I looked into the car, and there was a young girl driving, with a guy in the passenger seat.  She looked vaguely familiar.  I approached.

"Uh... thanks."

"I go there a lot, but you might not recognize me.  I'm brunette now."

"Oh, no... yeah.  I recognize you."

"So what are you doing?"

I almost said that I was on my way to the church and all that, but I've found that when I'm honest like that, about church and all, that it puts people off.  So I said that I was just out doing my thing, walking and reading, like I always do.

"Oh, that's cool."  She smiled real big.  "What's your name?"

Without hesitating, I said, "Elias..." and then I regretted it.

"Oh yeah?  Cool.  How'd you get that name?"

Shit.  I'll have to lie now.  "I dunno... my mom liked the name Eli, so Elias it was, I guess."

"Cool!  My name's..." and damned if I forgot her name.  The guy introduced himself, and I forgot his name too.

"Ok, nice metting ya'll, and thanks."

She smiled real big.  "Yeah, see ya!" and drove off.

I felt like complete shit after that.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Figuring this out

It's amazing how much I miss her.  I'm amazed at it - the empty feeling I get when I think of her.  The pain is fading; has been for a good long while, as pain always does with these things... but as the pain diminishes, the feeling of missing her grows.  I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing.  If I were to stop going to church, forget about being Orthodox, and just pretend that the last two years never happened, I'm sure all of these feelings concerning her would fade pretty quickly.  It's funny how all of this is tied to the church.  It's like, that's why this is important, or something.  Figuring this out.  Because of the church.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rats in the mattress

This morning at about 6:30 I awoke to something brushing against my fingertips.  The mattress I sleep on is shoved up next to the wall, and my fingers were kind of hanging down in the little crack between the wall and the mattress.  I sat up quickly, sure it was another one of those 'waterbugs', as my brother calls them, but to me they're just giant roaches.  They attack me sometimes when I sleep, but since it's been cold, they've been inactive.  I know - horrible, gross, filthy, creepy, crawly - but I'm used to 'em.  Anywho, I sat up and saw, in the dim light, what had to be the biggest roach I'd ever seen.  At least four inches long.  But it was dark, and only a little morning light was coming through the windows, and what I'd first thought was an enormous bug LEAPED from the little crevice, landing behind this little drawered block I use for a night stand.  I stared for about a minute, and suddenly, WHOOSH, the thing shot across the floor and into the closet.  I jumped up and turned on the light and looked in the closet, but it had high tailed it to some other cranny or crevice.  I'm pretty sure it was a mouse now, and not a giant roach.  Fun, huh?

When I went back to sleep, I dreamed that I lifted up my mattress and there was a hole chewed in the side, and that it was infested with rats.  I followed a trail of mattress fluff to a hole in the wall.  Then I heard a voice saying, 'rats in the mattress,' over and over.  More fun, yeah?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm fairly sure I'll have to go live at a monastery before I can bring myself under control.  I don't think I'm strong enough to be Orthodox in an uncontrolled environment; relying only on myself.  I don't know how to give control to God.  Maybe the way to do that is in a monastery.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stuff lately

Where do I start?  I always feel like I need to say a million things before I blog - everything that I've experienced or thought within the last few days or weeks that are my life.  Why do I feel this urge to say it all?  If not to say it out loud, then to put it somewhere in a form that can be communicated?  I don't know, but it's a natural urge.  I want other people to feel what I feel, I guess.  I suppose it's part of not wanting to be alone.  Is that normal?

Anywho.  A month now without electricity.  Water got cut off next, and most recently; gas.  Now my abode provides shelter and nothing else.  Well, that's not quite true... it provides the whole 'home' thing.  It's the place where I go to sleep and feel secure; the place that isn't a concrete bed or a ceiling made out of a metal drainage grate.  It's where the doggies are, and the candles, and the chair where I curl up and read my e-book at night with my pen light, wrapped up in a sleeping bag, with a beer on the lamp table.  It's my cave, and my cave provides the bare necessities of shelter and security.  That's all I ever wanted, really.

Tonight after work I needed water.  The doggies needed water, the commode needed water for flushing, the cup needed water for teeth brushing, and the jug on the counter needed water; just because.  Don't even ask me about showering.  So, I walked around the neighborhood, shining my flashlight on the houses as I passed, trying to spot a convenient outside faucet.  I finally came upon one a couple of blocks up the road.  I know Matt would have balked at the idea of just walking up and filling the gallon jugs at somebody else's outside faucet; but heck, is that really stealing?  I guess; technically... but I don't think the idea of stealing would be the real issue.  It's the idea of invading somebody's personal space; of creeping up on their personal property and just taking liberty with it.  And water is a pretty personal thing, I guess...

Anywho, Matt has been gone for about a week now; working in Oklahoma, so as long as I'm alone, I get to break the rules.  It took me two trips, walking up and down a few blocks, to acquire four gallons of illicit water.  I didn't get caught, the commode got flushed, the doggies got a drink, I can brush my teeth tomorrow, and the gallon jug got filled and is now sitting on the counter.  All is well.

Let's see, what else... oh yeah.  I fell flat on my face the other night.  No, I wasn't walking with my face buried in my e-book; I was actually carrying groceries home.  It was night time, I was taking a shortcut, and a branch was lying in the middle of the path.  I hit that thing and went from 90 degrees to FLAT in about a half a second.  It hurt.  Oh boy, did it hurt.  Nothing hurts worse than surprise, unexpected, undeserved pain.  My gallon jug of water that I had just bought (yeah, I actually bought that one) popped its lid, and about a third of it spilled out before I could gather myself and set it upright again.  My Arizona Tea and my 16 oz Budweiser went rolling in two different directions, but luckily they didn't bust open... but I had a short, scrambly time finding them in the dark and brambles.  My sesame tofu flew open and about half of the rice spilled out, but that's ok because I usually give most of the rice to the dogs.  Well... it was ok for me, I guess... but the dogs probably would have begged to differ.  The loaf of bread didn't really break my fall at all; it just got squashed under my chest.  It was my fist that did most of the squashing, actually; as I had been gripping the bag, and when I fell, my chest landed on my fist, which landed on the bread I'd been carrying, which squashed the heck out of it.  It made a nice imprint of my fist, though.  I was actually inspired by that to buy some Sculpee the next day, to try and sculpt something.  I bought some, but I haven't sculpted anything yet.

So.  Everything was salvageable, but my hand hurt like a mother for a couple of days after.  And it still hurts, actually.  Ow.  And so does my back, come to think of it.  Do those Doans backache pills really work?  Why are they only for the back, anyway?  Tylenol ain't just for the back.  What is it about Doans?  I've always wondered.

Anywho... let's see, what else?  I've gone through a gazillion candles during the last month.  I'm about to walk to Wal-Mart to buy some more, as a matter of fact, as soon as I'm finished with this blog post.  The big thick short ones last the longest, but the tall thin ones are brighter, and cheaper.  I bought two oil lanterns at the dollar store the other day, but when I light them, they sputter and go crazy, until they finally go out after about ten minutes - like they've just died after a prolonged heart attack.  I'm fairly perturbed about it; having wasted the money on them... but I think I'll look for some of the regular lamps tonight.  You know; the kind with the glass chimneys that don't have the handles.  The kind that are stationary and aren't made out of tin.  I'ma get one or two tonight.  I won 50 bucks on a scratch off at work today, so I have some extra money.  Not enough to make a dent in the bills situation, but enough to get an oil lamp and maybe get some fast friendly food for the fast that started today.  Tortillas and bananas, and peanut butter and... hummus.  And tomorrow some kind of frozen food by Amy's from the Drug Emporium.  They always have that  Amy's brand, which is awesome and good for fasting.  And some sesame tofu tomorrow too, maybe, from Mr. Chopstix.

Anything else?  Hmmm.  I know there's a crapload of things I want to say, but I can't think of them now, and I don't blog so much anymore, so It's like... I have to think of everything all at once when I do decide to blog, and I can never remember everything I wanted to blog about.  Oh well.  I guess the only other thing I felt like observing that I can think of right this minute is how I feel really close to strangers sometimes, when I'm out walking at night with my book and flashlight and happen to pass them by, as they're sitting on their front porches or walking on the other side of the road.  I'll think about how they are completely encapsulated in their own skulls, just like me, and how they're looking out on the world, all alone in their own heads, just like me, and how there are about 7 billion of us, all on this planet together, but all so alone, and it makes me feel less alone somehow; knowing that we're all in this together.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's like, you know... stuff.

It's like, you know... this thing I've been trying to like, you know... do, for the past two years and stuff, is like... way hard and stuff, and like... you know, it's this God thing, this... you know, religion thing, and I'm not, like... you know, used to it and stuff, and like... I'm not very, like... good at it yet and stuff, and... you know, I don't, like... do what I'm supposed to do so that, like, I can be a good person and stuff, and so I'm kind of, like... you know, sort of bad at it and stuff, but it's like... still, though... it seems like I always, like... have this music going through my head and stuff, of like... the liturgy and stuff, and I, like... hear all of this music in my head all the time now, like... this church music that we sing, and these prayers, and these parts of the Bible, like... Psalms and stuff, and things that are becoming recognizable to me when I read the Bible, and I'm like... WHOA!  That's what we sing at church!  And it's like... it's starting to become ingrained into my thought patterns, so that a lot of the time, you know... when I actually consciously take notice, I'll realize that the song going through my head is Psalm 103 by Kedrov Jr., or the Trisagion prayer, or the 'Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal' before the Epistle reading.  I've, like... sort of... hmmm.

I've noticed lately that I'll wake up with these prayers already going through my head, and that they're a background hum that constantly runs through my mind, comparable to the sound of my fan at night, which soothes me to sleep.  For almost three years now I've been going to church at St. Maximus, and I've been singing in the choir for two years, and I've been baptized for a year and a half.  Has all that time really gone by?  Am I really this invested in Orthodoxy?  Is this really, like... you know, REAL?  Sometimes I wonder, because every now and then in seems as if all of this which has happened to me is a dream.  It's like the sort of dream you have when you're actually sleeping, and also like the kind of dream which means the good things that you imagine might be possible if everything went your way.  You know, hopes and dreams.  Two types of dreams... the abstract and unreal, mixed with the longing for what is possible... and both are happening at the same time.

Then the reality of being awake and realizing that time is inexorably continuing to pass by slaps me around, which is enough to cause me considerable despair when I confront myself and realize that, in all truthfulness, I've only been going through the motions for the past three years and I haven't even begun to repent, and that when I call myself an Orthodox Christian it's out of pride, and that I'm such a sham and a faker and a self serving creature, unworthy of anything, ANYTHING good in this life, or after.  However, even so... I believe, tentatively, that these prayers of the past three years are becoming a natural part of my subconscious activity... I hope.  I hope that this is just the beginning, and not the end.  That it starts with a change in my thoughts at a subconscious level, and that a change in my actions will follow.  Because I'm such a wretched sinner, and it really sucks to think that I'll always be this way.  But maybe it just takes time to become somebody different, and to repent.  Maybe a change in thought is required first in order for right action to follow, and when that happens, maybe... eventually... maybe I won't fall so short of the mark anymore.  At least, not as much.  I think that's about the most that I can hope for.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stomach pain... again

I was sick with the stabbing pains in the stomach again Tuesday.  Then I was ok Wednesday, and today I felt sick and nauseous.  Maybe it was the redline energy drink.  But I puked up blood, and that worried me a little.  I don't have an ulcer, so I don't know why I'd be puking up blood.

My dad is in the hospital because of complications due to diverticulitus, which he has had to deal with for most of his adult life.  I've always assumed that the stomach pains I get sometimes are also due to diverticulitus, but I've never had it confirmed.  I don't think puking up blood is a side effect. 

I guess I'll just see what happens.  I feel ok now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A dream - a triptych

She had a baby in her lap and she was flying a plane down the highway.  I don't know who they were, if they were actually anyone at all, but my love for them gave them substance and made them real, and I wanted them to escape.  I sat there with them, quietly urging them on, but I was a ghost and they knew I was really very far away from them.  Then the others came and told her to stop, to land the plane, to quit running, and to give up.  She said that he had told her to keep flying, no matter what, and to stick low to the road, and that everything would be ok.  The others were persistent though, and they said that if she wouldn't stop, they meant to make her stop.  I shouted silently at her to go, go go!  Pull up!  And she pulled up, but she didn't give it any throttle, and the plane jerked up abruptly, and blue sky dominated the front windshield.  The plane stalled and the nose began to drop, and I told her to let off of the throttle and when the ground was visible again, to give it half throttle and to pull up gently on the yoke until the plane leveled out, and then to gently increase the throttle until it was full.  The ground rushed up and she gave it too much throttle and yanked back on the yoke, and we rocketed towards the sky, climbing higher and higher, until I knew that we would stall again and this time we wouldn't be able to recover.  When we finally lost all lift, the plane floated for a few seconds in mid-air, and for a while there was no weight, and it was quiet and peaceful.  Then we fell and began to spin violently, and the doors blew open and we were sucked out and we were all falling, falling, and we could see the plane tumbling below us.  I thought, they have to get back on the plane and do like I said, half throttle and gently pull up... but I knew it was impossible, and that they would keep falling and when they hit the ground everything I loved would die.  I watched as they fell, and I saw a parachute erupt, and she had the baby wrapped tightly in her arms, and I thanked God.  As they floated down I prayed... don't let go of her, don't let go of her, please, just don't let go, keep her in your arms and you'll both be ok, and they disappeared into fog.

When my thoughts congealed again I was sitting at the breakfast table with Kathy in the thin fog.  "So, are you ever going to speak with my daughter again?" she asked me.  "Speak with who?" I replied.  "I don't understand.  What did you say?"  The fog made everything indistinct and seemed to take the 'oomph' out of the moment.  It soaked into everything, diluting reality, leaving behind an essence of absurdity with only vague outlines to describe objects and people and the passing of time.  I thought the effect was funny, and I laughed because I didn't know why.  I looked at Emma, and she said, "You two are silly.  You love each other, but you're both too silly to understand what that means.  Stop being so silly.  You're not playing a game, and love isn't a prize you can win."  I couldn't help it though.  I knew that if I opened a dictionary, the definition of every word I looked up would be 'absurd'.  I laughed because there wasn't anything else to do, and then I looked up, and through the fog I could dimly see Leah sitting across from me on a tall stool, and her legs were covered with tattoos, and she was looking down on me with this nonchalant grin.  Then things didn't seem funny anymore, and I suddenly understood what sadness meant.

After that I wanted to go home to my apartment.  Ed drove me there, and I got out of the truck, and on the way up the stairs, Nick confronted me.  He stood before me and he laughed at me and pushed me, and said that he wanted to fight.  I tried to go around him, but he wouldn't let me.  I ran away from him, and he kept jumping in front of me, and pushing me, and trying to get me to fight him.  I sort of remembered that we had once been friends... it was a dim memory, but I grabbed onto it, and I tried to tell him that we were friends, but he just laughed and pushed me again.  He wouldn't let me go.  He wanted to fight.  He pushed me and wouldn't let me go and wanted to fight.  He pushed and he wouldn't and he wanted, and I became afraid when I realized that it would never end.
Sometimes I wonder if people are surprised that I'm still going to church at St. Maximus, after everything. I wonder what they think of this strange creature that got dragged into their church that continues to linger long after the fact. I wonder what people think. It's weird... I'm still there, and I'm alone and I'm afraid, but that's who I am.  I wonder what's going to happen.  I wonder about a lot of things.  I wish I could fast forward my life sometimes, so I could hurry up and see where things lead.   I had a dream last night that made me very sad. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A front and a back, with lots of stuff in the middle.

I didn't go to that rock-n-roll party a couple of weekends ago that Matt and Olivia and Stephen invited me to. The car needs to be inspected, and I didn't want to drive it all the way to Argyle and risk getting pulled over. They offered to come get me, but I didn't want anyone to have to hassle with driving me home later. I hear there was a lot of drinking, so that worked out for the best.

Plus, I'm a homebody now. I think that my party days pretty much happened all throughout my 20's. It's funny though, I don't feel 'old'... I look at other people who are my age, and they seem like grown ups to me. Middle aged. Like my dad when I was a kid. When I look at myself, both in the mirror and when I'm reflecting on my life, I still see a 20 year old kid who doesn't know jack shit and who never really grew up. It's weird how I'm constantly comparing myself to everyone... it seems like they all have done more with their lives than I have. That gets me down sometimes, that I don't have a lot to show for almost half a century of existence; according to the standards and norms set by society, anyway. But then I think about how corporeal life on Earth is so short and fleeting - and compared to eternity, it's practically nonexistent - and I wonder why I place any importance at all in what is expected of me in western society. Still, it's hard to avoid recognizing the standards of success we were brought up believing to be important. For instance - in order to support a family in this day and age, certain things are required - such as a degree, a high paying job, good credit, a permanent place to live, reliable transportation, etc. Otherwise, it's just kind of impossible to be a provider for a family. Take transportation, for instance. The concept of the car. I don't want it. It's expensive and risky and just another thing to worry about that makes my head and stomach hurt and it sucks. Walking is much healthier, and there's so much more time to read. And if it's too far to walk, there's the bus. You can read on the bus too, you know. A book makes getting from point A to point B so much more pleasant. The car is more of a status symbol than a necessity, I think, but even so... for some reason it matters a lot to just about everybody that a means for transporting the family from point A to point B in a mechanical and expensive fashion, which negates the possility of reading at the same time, should be provided. Oh, and the idea that a woman could provide any or all of these necessities is just out of the question, retard. Why? I don't frikin know why! That's just the way it is. Don't ask stupid questions.

So here's the gist. In this society, starting a family is most likely out of the question. That kind of sucks; that money and social status are the prerequisites for propogating your genes responsibly. Since there isn't enough intrinsic value in the things I do have to offer, the whole enterprise would be destined to end in tears for everybody. It is funny, though... how at one time it had seemed as if none of that mattered, and that love was the only thing that was needed for anything to be possible. I wonder. I actually think that might be true, but it's hard to get people to believe in that kind of truth. Kind of like... it's hard to get people to believe in God. So even though a thing might be true, the truth isn't always enough.

And think of the kids I'm so dead set on bringing into this world if I had my way. Think of the kids, man! The tears of the children. My own tears as a child... huh. I remember now why I never cared about starting a family before. When I think back on my childhood, I remember a drunken father, a crying mother, a broken home and a shattered life. Granted, there isn't a lot of life to shatter when you're only eleven years old, but to an eleven year old, not a lot of life happens to be all the life you've ever lived, ever. I remember always being scared and uncertain and unhappy when I was a child. I remember feeling like I would never see my mother again simply because she had gone to work. I remember being afraid to make any noise when I peed because it might wake my dad and rouse his wrath. I remember the constant threat of getting the shit slapped out of me, and as a result, growing up thinking that 'slap' was a cuss word. I remember freezing in bed because we lived in such a ramshackle house with just the one wood burning stove in the living room, and my mom layering me with coats on top of my covers so that I would be warm. I remember lying awake with insomnia when I was eleven because of my constant state of anxiety and fear and uncertainty, and taking aspirin, hoping and praying that it would put me to sleep. I remember being so shy that I felt I was unable to know anybody, ever. I remember thinking that I was sick and defective, and that I needed a cure for being me. Finally, I remember realizing one day that an injustice had occurred, and that I'd been robbed of a normal childhood, and that I would be a good father some day, and that I would never put my kids through what I'd been through.

And finally, I remember considering all of those things and thinking to myself, 'Why would I want to even risk creating a new life and putting it through all of that, and damaging it and hurting it and ruining it?' And I realize now that it's not just an accident that my life happens to be what it is. Growing up after my mom and dad divorced, I swore that I would never be responsible for putting another round of innocent children through the meat grinder.  As a result of that pledge, I've been following a subconscious directive ever since then.  I now realize that I've set myself up for all of this so that I could make damn sure that a wife and kids would never be a possibility for me, thus sparing the innocent.

It's actually kind of funny, in a morbid, ironic way. For most of my adolescent and adult life, the idea of family - mom, dad, kids, brothers, sisters - was an ugly, painful, cancerous thing, and my childhood was it's abortion. I spent most of my time as an adult just not giving a shit at all about anything regarding myself. I was resigned to, if not exactly content with, the fact that I would never be anything that mattered to anyone, other than my immediate family. And we all share a certain dysfunction, so we can't really do any damage to each other that hasn't already been done. But to introduce a new life into the mix? An innocent life? The idea was unacceptable. It was too risky, and I couldn't be responsible for infecting a new round of helpless children with the virus of my unhappy childhood. So, I resigned myself to simply continuing to exist until my body ran out of life, and I had accepted that, and I never really thought about it overly much, until recently.

So why would I want things to be different now? Just because I became Orthodox? Why should that matter, considering my original reasons for not wanting to start a family? Do I not care now if I bring children into the world, and that they would be made to suffer? Somehow, by becoming Orthodox, I must have also become more selfish. I'm only thinking of myself and my own loneliness. Who's gonna take care of Ash when he's a lonely old drooling retard? No, that's not the reason why I want a family. I deserve to be a lonely old drooling retard, and that's just fine with me. So maybe continuity has something to do with it? The Davis line will end if I don't continue it. It's up to me, and me alone, to provide the progeny. My brother had his chance when he was married, and he didn't do it then. My sister? No... I think she's not able to have kids. Something got damaged in her when she was fifteen. I don't know what, but I remember her being in agony because of it, so I don't think she's able to have kids anyway... and besides, her kids wouldn't be named Davis. So, is that it? the continuity of the Davis line? Hmmm... well, that's part of it, admittedly, but it doesn't seem like the entire thing. I think that it probably just comes down to plain old selfishness. I want to be normal. I want to fit in at church. I want something in my life that matters. I want, I want, I want! Me me me! But why? Why do I want? What is it about becoming Orthodox that makes me want anything more in my life now than the bare minimum required for sustained existence? Why do I want more now? What do I get out of starting a family? What reason is there for wanting this thing now, when I never did before, and at the possible expense of and detriment to others, which is what I was trying to avoid to begin with by NOT wanting it? There are so many possible reasons...

Maybe it's not as complicated as I'm making it. Maybe it's not so much about being just a selfish bastard. Maybe it's simply because now I actually care about things in a way that I don't quite understand yet. All in all, I think whatever the outcome happens to be, that the ongoing process of all this leans more towards hope than despair.

Wow, I really digressed there. I think my original intent when I started writing was merely to say that last Saturday evening I went to The Main Event in Lewisville with Matt and Olivia. It's an arcade/bowling alley/pool hall/bar/restaurant. We had a couple of beers and played video games, and the thing where you roll the ball up the slope to land it in a hole, and the basketball thing where you try to make hoops, and target shooting, and air hockey, and pool.  At one point I had set my phone down on a drink table to play Galaga, and when I was finished, I turned around to pick it up and the damn thing was gone and that was that. Since then I'd pretty much given it up on any possibility of ever getting it back, but then I found out yesterday that someone had turned it in to the front desk. Yeesh... why won't people just leave other peoples' shit alone? Why does everybody feel compelled to pick up stuff that doesn't belong to them in public places, regardless of whether it's to turn it in to a central location or something, or to just flat out muck it?  If Mr. Rogers had just kept his grubby little do-gooder hands off of my phone, I would have picked it up from the same place I'd set it down ten minutes before, and as a result I would have my phone right now.  Instead, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schmoe felt it was their personal responsibility as good citizens to insert themselves into my life and create a situation which thusly formed a royal pain in my ass. Olivia did point out that if whoever-the-heck hadn't picked up my phone and turned it in, that somebody might have actually stolen it. Ok, she has a point, and I suppose I should take that into account as their motivation... however, unless somebody just wanted to be randomly vicious for the thrill of it, nobody in their right mind would want to steal my phone, because it's a turd.  However, it's my turd, and I'd appreciate it if people would just let my turds be and leave them lie where they lay.

Anyway. Then we came back to Denton, and on the way back, I found a bottle of Sky Vodka in the back seat. I announced this find to Olivia and Matt, and they were befuddled as to where it came from. This surprised me. How was it that there was a bottle of Sky Vodka in the back seat, but nobody knew about it? I don't know, and neither did they. So, I took a giant swig out of it.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Oh please let it rain today.
This city is so filthy, like my mind in ways.
Oh, there was a time, like a clean, new taste.
Smiling eyes before me, inches from my face.

Sin to sell, buying just a need.
Just who planted all the devils seeds?
And what the truth, the truth that lies at home.
It's on the inside, and I can't get it off.

What's clean is pure, but hey,
I'm white on the outside, though I stray.
What she don't know today
Might kill us both tomorrow, bring it back someway.

Bring it back, bring it back.
Back to the clean form, to the pure form.

Wash my love.
Wash my love.
Wash my love.
Wash my love.
Wash my love.
Wash my love.
Wash my love.
Wash my love.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mucho joyo

My friend Les tracked me down and called me a few weeks ago.  Les was one of my buddies from the old East Texas and Austin days, from '91 through '94.  We used to do so much drinking and partying back in those days, along with an inordinately stupid amount of ecstasy and cocaine, with acid and mushrooms thrown in for variety.  We lived in the Austin sub-culture of weirdos back then, along with Clint and my sister and her boyfriend.  We were all roommates, and Les and I were just about as close as two friends can be.  We were brothers back then, and we were also just stupid kids, trying to figure out what life was about, trying to enjoy our youth while we had it.  Les' behavior bordered on self destructive a lot of the time when we were roommates together in Austin, and he did the most drugs out of all of us.  It was an attempt to bury the pain of his guilt, I think.

When Les was was 15 he shot his best friend in the face with a shotgun and killed him.  It was an accident.  They were both getting ready to go camping, and Les decided play a joke on his friend by scaring him with the shotgun that they were taking with them.  Les snuck up behind his friend and tapped him on the shoulder, and when he turned around, Les pointed the shotgun at his face and pulled the trigger.  Les had meant to 'get him back', as his friend had just pulled the same joke on Les a few minutes before with the unloaded gun, and Les had assumed that it was still unloaded. He didn't know that his friend had since loaded the shotgun. 

Les was put on probabtion for second degree manslaughter, and he spent several years in prison for not showing up to meetings with his probation officer.  I think he purposefully put himself through the prison system as an attempt at atonement.  He rarely ever talked about what happened, but he confided in me once about it when we were tripping on ecstasy back in '94 at a dance club in Austin, and he described the entire incident to me in detail.  When he had finished relating it all to me, he said, "And you know what, man?  I'm not sorry for it.  Not one bit."  I knew that was just wishful thinking though, and the drugs talking. 

Les used to keep a .22 rifle in the trunk of his car, and one afternoon at his house, when we were getting ready to go somewhere or do something, he was rummaging through his trunk and he pulled out out the rifle.  He put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger, and when it clicked, he laughed.  I laughed too, thinking that it had been a joke that he'd planned, and then he said, "Hell man, I didn't know if the damn thing was loaded."  Then he laughed again and put the rifle back in the trunk, and we went on with what we were doing and nobody mentioned it again.

Right before Les went to prison for the second time, he told me that he had decided to kill himself, but Johnny Law had caught up with him before he could formulate a plan.  I guess that saved his life.  Now he's living in Vermont and is married with a four year old boy.  I never imagined that Les would wind up married and with a kid, and it came as a complete surprise when he told me about it.  I think he's achieved some measure of peace in his life now.  He says he's a practicing Buddhist. 

When he called, he asked me how I was doing, and I don't know why, but I started spilling my guts about how unhappy I am.  I was surprised that I was saying all of that to him, as I usually keep my feelings buried down deep and don't express them to anyone.  Maybe it was because I've gotten used to confessing my despair to Fr. Justin... heck, I even spouted it all over facebook several weeks ago, after which I was terribly embarrassed and wished that I could have just erased that from happening.  Anyway, as we were talking it all came tumbling out, and I thought, 'Way to go, Ash.  You haven't seen or spoken to Les in six years, and the first thing you do is start unloading all this crap on him about how your life sucks.'

I felt embarrassed again.  Somehow I felt as though I didn't deserve to be feeling bad around Les, and that it was a selfish, ugly thing and a horrible indulgence that I had no right to.  I felt embarrassed confessing to him that I had 'joined the Orthodox Christians', as I put it to Les.  Back in our drug addled party days, we had been brothers in atheism, and I felt as if I were betraying our friendship of old.  I felt stupid, and slow, like a slug, and ugly, for trying explain to Les my effort to find comfort clinging desperately to a fairy tale.  That's not how it is, but it's how I felt at the time.  Just wretched and miserable about my Christianity.  It's funny how certain people unnerve me for different reasons and in different ways.  All of that was my own failing and weakness though, because Les doesn't see me that way.  He said, "Oh, the Russian Orthodox?  Yeah, I know them.  Buddhists have a lot in common with those desert monks." 

Les has changed a lot.  He doesn't do drugs anymore, and he seems a lot happier just from talking to him, and I still can't get over the fact that he has a wife and a kid now.  When he described to me how they met and decided to get married, I said, "You make it sound so easy."  And he did make it sound so easy, like it just fell in his lap.  It's funny how marriage and family is something I never cared about, or even wanted remotely, until recently.  I wonder why I feel so differently about it now.  Sometimes I think it's because God is trying to temper me with the pain of being alone, so that I can prepare for a monastic life.  Maybe it's also because I'm not worthy of anything good right now, and the only way to get me to actually make the effort to become a better, more worthy person is by luring me down the narrow, righteous path with the idea of marriage as the reward, much like how God used the girl to lead me to the Church.  I didn't get the girl, but I got the Church, and I won't get married, but I'll get salvation?  It's a hard possibility to accept, but it might be the truth of things.  Then again, I'm not really trying right now, so what business do I have to actually want companionship and love and a familiy, when I'd probably just screw it all up with my unworthy state of perpetual sin?  I don't know.  I'm too hard on myself a lot of the time. 

Anyway.  Since Les and I have been back in touch, he's left several little encouraging messages on my facebook page, things like 'I love you brother' and 'Mucho joyo, my lovely man'.  He's the best friend anyone could ever ask for, and I miss him.

He also happens to be an amazing poet.  He wrote this for me the other day.

as it happens just like so
this and that are these alone
a whytherefor with where to go
when as it is you never know
so we only as if though
in the least and for the most
in this very all along
altogether and so on
as such in such into so forth
however much and furthermore
with none the less in as of yet
like somenothing to forget
until maybe eventhough
an if and when if not also
where there and then somewhen will come
after awhile into the from
since all there is no matter how
is as it is as of now
and afterwords as from before
an after all with something more
or less

the of All ings
the very meaning of the dream

Friday, October 7, 2011


I'm back to paying all of the bills again, and it's been worrying me to death.  I'm late with the rent this month and won't have the other half until I get paid next week, and even then I won't have all of it.  I just talked to the landlord, and he said he was letting everybody slide with late fees because the economy is so dire and everyone is having such hard financial times.  He said not to worry about it.  That's a heckuva relief.   

Fr. Justin gave me something to read by St. Theophan the Recluse - that we are where God wants us and no more is required of us.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tidbits of late

 The other day I was outside sweeping the front of the store near the entrance.  I had a cigarette sitting in the ash tray on top of the trash can.  A young guy, looked like a college kid, walked up and stopped, looked at my cigarette, and picked it up and walked off.  I said, "Hey, that was my..." he stopped and looked at me.  "...cigarette, but I guess you can have it."  He turned and walked away.

The UNT paper did a write up about the photos of shoplifters from the security cameras that Chiy posts on the windows.  The gist of it was how the photos are a deterrent, because it's embarrassing to have your photo posted there for everyone to see, of you stealing something paltry like a beer or a candy bar.  They came in and interviewed me, and I told them about how I've chased shoplifters.  Most recently, a guy who picked up a 24 pack of water that was sitting outside and waltzed off with it.  I chased him down to Fry St. and he took off into the small field on the corner of Oak and Fry, then disappeared into the bushes.  He dropped the water and I picked it up.  I also told them about how I chased one guy who just walked off without paying for the cigarettes I'd just given him, another who stole a candy bar and threw it under a car when he saw me running after him, and a gas drive off, back when we used to set the pumps before people payed.  They got a real kick out of that and wrote it up in their article.

Last night I did a pencil rubbing of the raised dinosaur logo on the front of my Jurassic Park novel.  I showed it to this girl who came in and told her that I hadn't done a pencil rubbing since I was a kid.  We talked about how the book was far better than the movie, but the movie was still fun.  She stood there with the pencil rubbing in her hand and was quiet for a few seconds, and said, "Is this mine?"  I told her that it was, and she said she was going to hang it on her refrigerator.

The guy who I yelled at a couple of months ago finally came back in the other day.  I'd been hoping he would, because I've felt terrible about it ever since.  When he came up to my register, I told him how sorry I was and how awful I've been feeling.  He apologized too (we were both rude bastards that day) and we shook hands.

Last night Olivia told me that I had to come to the rock star dress up party.  It's on a Friday now, next Friday, so I guess I don't have any excuse not to go.  I'll have to ask Matt for the car, though.

Ellie came into the store yesterday for the first time in ages.  Yesterday she had art supplies with her, and I asked her if she was taking art classes.  She said yeah, that she was taking design.  I told her that I had an art degree, and that she'd better watch out or she'd wind up working at 7-Eleven. 

Another guy came in and bought a can of Barbasol shaving cream.  I told him that he'd better be careful with it, because it might have dinosaur embryos inside.  I advised him that he should stick it in the freezer immediately when he got home.  He looked at me like I was retarded.  I guess he never saw Jurassic Park.

My e-book reader came in today!  I haven't been this excited in years!  It came with a King James Study Bible, another Holman Bible, and some Bible studies.  Wow.  And some other books... The Fishing Trip - A Ghost Story, Full Blooded Fantasy, The Zen Experience, and several titles in what look like German and French.  One by Peter De Vries. That's gotta be a joke or something (if you've read Dune, you'll understand). 

It's a little smaller than a paperback, and about half an inch wide.  The text looks like it's printed on the screen, as opposed to the constituent glowing pixels of an LCD screen.  I loves it :) 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

And the angel said to him...

Getting me an e-book reader, FINALLY

Whew!  I just ordered an e-book reader, a Sony pocket reader.

Yee Haw

I looked at all kinds of different ones - I-Pad, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Papyrus, Libre, etc. - and most of them come with all of these bells and whistles, like Wi-Fi internet, extensive online marketplace stores, ability to play mp3's and avi's, Android 2.4 with Flash support, color LCD screens, and all the stuff that comes with a tablet PC or an I-Pad.  I don't remember any of the paperbacks I've read ever doing any of that stuff, so the one I ordered is bare bones, as far as e-book readers go.  It's about the size of an actual book, it's got a 5 inch E-Ink screen, it's black and white, and it doesn't connect to any internet.  But that's what I want, and the battery will last for months on one charge.  It will also hold about 350 books.

Most of those other e-book readers, like the Kindle and the Nook, cost anywhere from 150 to 350 bucks, so I'm happy that I only paid 72 bucks for this one.

I can't wait!  Estimated delivery date is the 28th.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ow, again.

The super garlic pills Chey gave me were working for my toothaches, so I stopped taking them and now the pain is right back where it was before.  It's a full blown headache now, and it feels like my skull is gonna crack open.  I thought I'd be able to deal with it at vigil, but singing was making it hurt even worse and I had to leave early tonight.  So, it's back on the super garlic.  I'm amazed at how well it worked - I just stopped taking it too soon.

I'm going to lie down now and see if this cocktail of ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen, and aspirin will do anything.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here's what happened tonight right after work

Tonight Matt (the guy I work with) brought me a care package when he arrived to pick up Olivia at the end of the shift (he and Olivia and Stephen are all roommates) - Season 1 and 2 of Metalocalypse; an animated series about science fiction death metal headbangers, a book; 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac, and one other item.  Lately Matt has been letting me borrow some of his books now and then, which I think is super cool.  I've never seen Metalocalypse or read the Jack Kerouac book, so I'll have something to do tomorrow on my day off.  I might even walk around tonight and read it.  It's a nice night... just perfect for Book Walking, actually.

So anywho, about the other item.  For the past week I've been playing music on my mp3 player at work, and Tuesday, when I came out of the cooler after stocking it, Olivia had it pressed up to her ear while she was fronting and facing and making coffee and sweeping and mopping.  She kept it for most of the day, listening to my music selection and every now and then commenting on a specific song.  So tonight, along with the DVD's and the book, Matt had also brought a little pair of portable speakers for hooking up to an mp3 player, brand new and still in the plastic packaging.  Olivia grabbed it and handed it to me and said, "Here, I bought you a present!  I forgot to take it with me to work today, so I had Matt bring it with him tonight.  These should work better than that styrofoam cup you've had taped to your mp3 player for the past week." 

She had bought me a pair of external speakers for my little mp3 player.  I was just completely taken aback.  It always takes me by complete surprise when somebody does something so nice for me, completely out of the blue.  Olivia is a real sweetie.  After I got over the awesomeness of the moment, I thanked her and gave her a hug and thanked her again and went on about how thoughtful it was and what a sweetie she was, and gave her another hug.  Then I found a pair of scissors and opened the package, put some batteries in it, and hooked it up to my mp3 player.  I started it playing, and we all gathered around (me and Stephen and Matt and Shaq and Olivia) and listened to my new little speakers.


Today I was checking this girl and she started fussing with the front of her shirt, as if she had something in there that she was trying to procure... a wallet?  Money?  A debit card?  Cigarettes?  A gun?  Just scratching her boobs, plain and simple?  The t-shirt she was wearing was casual and loose, and as she fussed around with it, she actually pulled her boob right out and let it sit there for several seconds, fully exposed, plain as day, like a single solitary secret searchlight just staring right at me as she dug around more deeply in the depths of her shirt for whatever it was that was eluding her.  As far as I know, she never found it, whatever it was.  Maybe she was just airing those things out.  Maybe she was giving me a sneak peek, like the episode with that other girl several months ago.  It's a weird thing about 7-Eleven... a surprising amount of nudity tends to occur there.

Early morning liturgy

Dax texted me last night while I was at work, asking me if I could come in at 7:00 this morning and read for the liturgy.  I really should start doing that on my own... anywho.  So I got up early and walked to the church at about 6:30.  It was a pleasant walk.  Nobody was out and about yet, and the streets were quiet and still.  It was nice and cool outside, and the sun hadn't come up yet, so when I got to the church the atmosphere was the way I like it - dark and candlelit and silent.  After I received a blessing from Fr. Justin, I waited in the choir nook until it was time to start reading the hours.  Just before that, Fr. Justin and I briefly went over the two troparia and the kontakion for the hours, and also the epistle for the prokeimenon reading.  Hopes were high that I wouldn't mangle anything this time.

By the time I had finished reading the hours, Louise and I were the only parishioners who had shown up, so I was a one man choir this morning.  As I was reading, I was actually kind of hoping that no other choir members would appear, as I wanted to experience what it was like to sing the entire liturgy by myself.  Well, I got my wish, and my voice held out fine through the whole thing because I sang the melody instead of tenor.  That was a relief, because to me, singing tenor for an hour is the same as trying to lift weights with my voice.  Also, since I was the only person singing, my goof ups didn't result in the usual exponential cascade of chaos among the other choir members.

I did get ahead of myself a couple of times, and Fr. Justin had to get me started on a couple of the tones, and  I was late walking up to the altar before the epistle reading, and I got flustered at the beginning and couldn't find the right page, and I only read half of the first line of the prokeimenon, and I read the wrong 'alleluia' at the end of it, and I forgot what I was doing during the middle of one of the litanies, but other than those nitpicks, things went fairly smoothly.

Afterward I went to CopyPro and printed up all of the tones onto little 4 x 5 note cards.  I know all of the tones by ear and I can sing them when either Dax or Fr. Justin starts off with the melody, but trying to memorize which tone is which puts a dangerous strain on my left brain.  Plus, the tones are referred to by number, and as far as I'm concerned, that's math.  Math is also dangerous to my brain.

I'm going to make a little book out of them and carry them with me everywhere, and hopefully they'll sink in eventually.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Semi-random thoughts about memory

I can remember each phase of my life that I've considered happy - when it started, how long it lasted, and when it ended.  There have been six so far: 

1. The high school band marching seasons of '87 and '88 (state marching band competitions).

2. The spring and summer of '93 (constant partying with my sister and friends) and on through the entire year of '94 (my first year in Austin on my own and living with roommates).

3. The spring of '96 to the spring of '97 (my friendship and relationship with Lorraine).

4. The summer of 2000 (my first semester at the Art Institute).

5. The fall of 2001 through the summer of 2002 (when Laura was living with me).

6. The spring of 2008 until the autumn of 2009 (a year into my life reboot after giving up poppy seeds and pain pills, then beginning my job at 7-Eleven, and my relationship with Leah, before things started to decay in earnest). 

Everything before, in and around, and after those specific phases ranged from ho-hum (most of the time), moderately depressing (frequently), or just downright horrible (rare, but awful... things such as heartache, my mom and dads divorce, feelings of extreme isolation, and full blown addiction).

It's interesting to note that the best period of my life, the spring of '08 through the fall of '09, occurred immediately after the worst, which began in early 2003 and lasted until the middle of 2007 - four solid years of constant drug use almost every day, feelings of hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts.  During that time, I believed that my life was pretty much over, and that the only thing I had to live for or look forward to was getting high the next day.  I may think that things are bad now, but I still marvel that my life is what it is, compared to what it was then.

Memory is a weird thing, especially when it's triggered by an association, such as a smell or a sound.  Mostly it's smells and sounds which trigger specific memories in me, and usually they are nostalgic memories of a past time in my life which was important in some way; sometimes bad and sometimes good.  It's remarkable when these associations take me by surprise, which is what happened today.

Recently I found an old mp3 player that had been lost since 2007, so I loaded some music onto it to listen to while I was in the cooler today at work.  I was digging through my old spare hard drive and came across an MC Chris album which I haven't listened to in a long time, since early 2009.  At the time I had really enjoyed it because it was so funny, so I thought, why not? and I loaded it onto the mp3 player. 

Today when I was in the cooler, I put on my headphones and started with Soundgarden.  That went by, and Asia was next.  Then MC Chris started, and when it did, I was immediately hit with a powerful rush of memories.  Oh wow, those days, when I first worked at 7-Eleven, it all came rushing back to me with the first few beats of the first song on that album.  Leah was a brand new friend, and the emotion that accompanies the memory of those days was omniscient.  Along with that feeling I also remembered that I'd used to like to tease her by playing and singing along with an MC Chris song called Fett's Vette (that song isn't on the album I was listening to, but that playful teasing was the first specific memory that erupted into my brain).  I had to stop for a moment as the emotions of nostalgia washed over me - it was so fun back then, and Leah and I had just begun to think of each other as more than friends, and the idea of church was a new and curious thing to me, and I was ignorant and happy, and all that mattered was the moment, and the moment was full of promise.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Now I remember clearly why I started taking pain pills to begin with, back in '99.  Tooth.  Hurts.  Teeth actually.  Two of them.  They hurt almost all the time now.  Acetaminophen and ibuprofen help, as well as aspirin and naproxen sodium, but only for up to an hour or two, and sometimes not at all.  Oragel actually provides some relief, but only for up to half an hour at the most.  I've been going through a tube of oragel every two days, and it's getting expensive, at almost ten bucks a tube.  Dental work will be pricey too... Oh well.  At least I'm not stuck on a deserted island.  I was kind of wishing the other day that I had an ice skate handy, though... 

I've got a little money saved, and hope to have a thousand dollars in a few months.  I was planning on saving up for a new place, but I need to get something done about my teeth.  I was also thinking about buying some dental insurance and using that to cover about half of the cost of some dental work, and paying the rest out over time.  I've done that before.  I'll need major work... at least two extractions, I think, and maybe one crown and several fillings.  Maybe a root canal.  I dunno if I'm going to worry about bridge work after the extractions.  I've had it done before, but heck, I'm thinking that I can get some sculpey and just make my own tooth.  Why not?  I don't need no stinkin' dentist to charge me thousands of dollars for a couple of replacement teeth, when it would be more fun and would cost me practically nothing to make my own.  I could make fangs, even.  Or I could embed jewels in them, or coat them with a shiny black glaze, or tie dye them, or whatever the heck I wanted to do with them.  Getting them to stay in place will be the trick... what's that stuff they use for dentures?  Maybe a piece of bubble gum?  Or I could just make them so that they fit tightly, with some kind of texture that holds them against my other teeth, like rubber or something.  I'll figure it out, I'm smart.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Part of the day

I went to the Howdy Doody about an hour ago, and the inside of the car was warm.  I drove around for a bit after that and turned on the AC, but it was blowing out hot air.  Matt had turned up the heat.  It's been a little cooler lately, and yesterday it was almost chilly when I took my walk.  Matt is working long days again, and he walks to the bus station which takes him into Dallas to the job site.  When he was telling me about his new job the other night, I mentioned the park and ride, that he could just drive the car to the bus station, but he said he would just leave it at home so I could use it. 

When I got back I started watching a BBC documentary about Hiroshima.  It consisted of interviews with the crew of the Enola Gay, and an assortment of Japanese survivors.  When I'm by myself, I tend to get pretty emotional about things, and the stories of those people choked me up.  Then I heard thunder outside, so I got up to take a look at the weather.  It had clouded over since I got back, and it was sprinkling.  I saw that the neighbor across the street had also decided to check out the weather, as he was standing on his front porch and taking it in.  I moved out to the old Escort and leaned against the back of it and let the rain sprinkle on me.  I looked around at things... to see if there were any other people, I think, and also to just take in the moment, because I love this kind of weather.  A few cars drove past and I wondered what they were up to on this day, in this weather.  A few houses down somebody got into their car and started it and left.  Somebody else rode by on a bike and hollered at the guy on the porch across the street. 

I looked at the trees directly in front of me, in the yard of the house across the street, and realized that I'd never properly noticed them before.  One is a tall and of the pine variety, with very few branches until about two thirds of the way up, where they all suddenly seem to sprout.  They looked like they were reaching out for the rain, all those spiky pine needles, thrust in every direction to catch the drops as they fell.  Another tree beside it is of the deciduous variety, and a little bit shorter.  A bush a few houses down on the left had pink flowers on it.  In the yard of my neighbor to the immediate left, there is a tree which leans toward the north somewhat.  I focused on the branches and imagined them without leaves, and then marveled at how much form those thin little wisps give to the tree. 

There are so many things in life that I never even notice, little wondrous things.  Before this minute, I couldn't have told anyone about that pine tree across the street.  I didn't even know it existed, but I've lived in close proximity with it for the past four years.  Four years of not even noticing another living thing that I shared air and rain and space with.  I marveled in a form of quiet fascination and dismay at my own ego and self centeredness.

Later I was back in the house and it was dark because of the storm that moved in.  In the hallway, it was silent.  The air conditioners are all turned off today.  It was just dark, and silent, and then the thunder rolled again, gently, and muffled.  Nothing moved, and all was silent except for fading sound of the distant thunder.  In the still half-light of the hall, I realized at that moment that peace isn't something you ever attain, it's just something you experience now and then.

Unused Audio Commentary By Howard Zinn And Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002 For The Fellowship Of The Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition) Dvd. Part One.

By Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell

If anyone reads this and can't continue life without more of it, here are links to the rest of it.  It continues in part two of The Fellowship of the Ring, and then The Return of the King in four parts.  I guess they never did The Two Towers.


Chomsky: The film opens with Galadriel speaking. “The world has changed,” she tells us, “I can feel it in the water.” She’s actually stealing a line from the non-human Treebeard. He says this to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers, the novel. Already we can see who is going to be privileged by this narrative and who is not.

Zinn: Of course. “The world has changed.” I would argue that the main thing one learns when one watches this film is that the world hasn’t changed. Not at all.

Chomsky: We should examine carefully what’s being established here in the prologue. For one, the point is clearly made that the “master ring,” the so-called “one ring to rule them all,” is actually a rather elaborate justification for preemptive war on Mordor.

Zinn: I think that’s correct. Tolkien makes no attempt to hide the fact that rings are wielded by every other ethnic enclave in Middle Earth. The Dwarves have seven rings, the Elves have three. The race of Man has nine rings, for God’s sake. There are at least 19 rings floating around out there in Middle Earth, and yet Sauron’s ring is supposedly so terrible that no one can be allowed to wield it. Why?

Chomsky: Notice too that the “war” being waged here is, evidently, in the land of Mordor itself — at the very base of Mount Doom. These terrible armies of Sauron, these dreadful demonized Orcs, have not proved very successful at conquering the neighboring realms — if that is even what Sauron was seeking to do. It seems fairly far-fetched.

Zinn: And observe the map device here — how the map is itself completely Gondor-centric. Rohan and Gondor are treated as though they are the literal center of Middle Earth. Obviously this is because they have men living there. What of places such as Anfalas and Forlindon or Near Harad? One never really hears anything about places like that. And this so-called map casually reveals other places — the Lost Realm, the Northern Waste (lost to whom? wasted how? I ask) — but tells us nothing about them. It is as though the people who live in these places are despicable, and unworthy of mention. Who is producing this tale? What is their agenda? What are their interests and how are those interests being served by this portrayal? Questions we need to ask repeatedly.

Chomsky: And here comes Bilbo Baggins. Now, this is, to my mind, where the story begins to reveal its deeper truths. In the books we learn that Saruman was spying on Gandalf for years. And he wondered why Gandalf was traveling so incessantly to the Shire. As Tolkien later establishes, the Shire’s surfeit of pipe-weed is one of the major reasons for Gandalf’s continued visits.

Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?

Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

Zinn: This is absolutely established in the books. Pipe-weed is something all the Hobbits abuse. Gandalf is smoking it constantly. You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire’s pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor’s unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say.

Chomsky: But without the pipe-weed, Middle Earth would fall apart. Saruman is trying to break up Gandalf’s pipe-weed ring. He’s trying to divert it.

Zinn: Well, you know, it would be manifestly difficult to believe in magic rings unless everyone was high on pipe-weed. So it is in Gandalf’s interest to keep Middle Earth hooked.

Chomsky: How do you think these wizards build gigantic towers and mighty fortresses? Where do they get the money? Keep in mind that I do not especially regard anyone, Saruman included, as an agent for progressivism. But obviously the pipe-weed operation that exists is the dominant influence in Middle Earth. It’s not some ludicrous magical ring.

Zinn: You’ve mentioned in the past the various flavors of pipe-weed that Hobbits have cultivated: Gold Leaf, Old Toby, etc.

Chomsky: Nothing better illustrates the sophistication of the smuggling ring than the fact that there are different brand names associated with the pipe-weed. Ah, here we have Gandalf smoking a pipe in his wagon — the first of many clues that link us to the hidden undercurrents of power.

Zinn: Gandalf is deeply implicated. That’s true. And of course the ring lore begins with him. He’s the one who leaks this news of the supposed evil ring.

Chomsky: Now here, just before Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday party, we can see some of the symptoms of addiction. We are supposed to attribute Bilbo’s tiredness, his sensation of feeling like too little butter spread out on a piece of bread, to this magical ring he supposedly has. It’s clear something else may be at work, here.

Zinn: And soon Gandalf is delighting the Hobbits with his magic. Sauron’s magic is somehow terrible but Gandalf’s, you’ll notice, is wonderful.

Chomsky: And note how Gandalf’s magic is based on gunpowder, on explosions.

Zinn: Right.

Chomsky: And it is interesting, too, that Gandalf’s so-called magic is technological, and yet somehow technology seems to be what condemns Saruman’s enterprises, as well as those of the Orcs.

Zinn: Exactly.

Chomsky: But we will address that later. Here we have Pippin and Merry stealing a bunch of fireworks and setting them off. This might be closer to the true heart of the Hobbits.

Zinn: You mean the Hobbits’ natural inclination?

Chomsky: I think the Hobbits are criminals, essentially.

Zinn: It also seems incredibly irresponsible for Gandalf to have a firework that powerful just sitting in the back of his wagon.

Chomsky: More of his smoke and mirrors, yes? Gandalf conjures the dragon Smaug to scare the people.

Zinn: One can always delight the little people with explosions.

Chomsky: As long as they’re blowing up somewhere else. Now we come to Bilbo’s disappearance. Again, we have to question the validity of the ring, and the magic powers attributed to it. Did Bilbo Baggins really disappear at his party, or is this some kind of mass hallucination attributable to a group of intoxicated Hobbits? When forced to consider so-called magic compared to the hallucinatory properties of a known narcotic, Occam’s Razor would indicate the latter as a far more plausible explanation.

Zinn: I also think it is a spectacular display of bad manners to disappear at your own birthday party. And here, for the first time, Gandalf speaks to Bilbo about magic rings. Still, it is never clearly established why this one ring is so powerful. Everything used to justify that belief is legendary.

Chomsky: Gandalf is clearly wondering if it’s time to invoke his plan for the supposed revelation concerning the secret magic ring. Why now? Well, I think it’s because the people in Mordor — the Orcs, I’m speaking of — are starting to obtain some power, are starting to ask a little bit more from Middle Earth than Middle Earth has ever seen fit to give to them. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to expect something back from Middle Earth. Of course, if that happened, the entire economy would be disrupted.

Zinn: The pipe-weed-based economy.

Chomsky: And, as you pointed out earlier, the military-industrial-complex that exists in Gondor. This constant state of alertness. This constant state of fear. And here Gandalf reveals his true nature.

Zinn: Indeed. Gandalf darkens the room and yells at poor Bilbo for rightfully accusing him of trying to steal his ring. It is abundantly obvious that Gandalf wants to steal the ring. But if he is caught with the ring himself, his pretext will dissolve. He needs to throw as much plausible deniability into his scheme as possible, which is why, later, he has Frodo carry the ring for him.

Chomsky: Gandalf knows the ring is powerless. It’s interesting that he attaches so much importance to it and yet will not pick it up himself. This is because he knows that merely possessing the worthless ring will not help his cause. It’s important to keep others thinking that it can. If Gandalf held the ring, he might be asked to do something with it. But its magic is nonexistent.

Zinn: Well, power needs to have its proxies. That way the damage is always deniable. As long as the Hobbits have the ring, no one will ever question the plot Gandalf has hatched. So here is the big scary ring, and all that happens when Gandalf moves to touch it is that he sees a big flaming eye. And notice it is a… different kind of eye — not like our eye.

Chomsky: Almost a cat-like eye.

Zinn: It’s on fire. Somehow being an on-fire eye is this terrible thing in the minds of those in Middle Earth. I think this is a way of telling others in Middle Earth to be ashamed of their eyes. And of course you see the Orcs’ eyes are all messed up, too. They’re this terrible color. And what does Gandalf tell Frodo about the ring? “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”

Chomsky: “Let’s leave the most powerful object in all of Middle Earth with a weak little Hobbit, a race known for its chattering and intoxication, and tell him to keep it a secret.”

Zinn: Right. And here we receive our first glimpse of the supposedly dreadful Mordor, which actually looks like a fairly functioning place.

Chomsky: This type of city is most likely the best the Orcs can do if all they have are cliffs to grow on. It’s very impressive, in that sense.

Zinn: Especially considering the economic sanctions no doubt faced by Mordor. They must be dreadful. We see now that the Black Riders have been released, and they’re going after Frodo. The Black Riders. Of course they’re black. Everything evil is always black. And later Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White. Have you noticed that?

Chomsky: The most simplistic color symbolism.

Zinn: And the writing on the ring, we learn here, is Orcish — the so-called “black speech.” Orcish is evidently some spoliation of the language spoken in Rohan. This is what Tolkien says.

Chomsky: From what I understand, Orcish is a patois that the Orcs developed during their enslavement by Rohan, before they rebelled and left.

Zinn: Well, supposedly the Orcs were first bred by “the dark power of the north in the elder days.” Tolkien says that “Orc” comes from the Mannish word tark, which means “man of Gondor.”

Chomsky: Shameless really.

Zinn: Gandalf mentions the evil stirring in Mordor. That’s all he has to say. “It’s evil.” He doesn’t elaborate on what’s going on in Mordor, what the people are going through. They’re evil because they’re there.

Chomsky: I think the fact that we never actually see the enemy is quite damning. Then again, Gandalf is the greatest storyteller of all. He weaves the tales that strand Middle Earth in this state of perpetual conflict.

Zinn: He is celebrated on one hand as a great statesman, a wise man, and viewed by the people who understand the role that he actually plays as a dangerous lunatic and a war criminal. And you will notice that Gandalf’s war pitch hits its highest note when the Black Riders arrive in Hobbiton. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Chomsky: This is the Triumph of the Will.

Zinn: And now Frodo and Sam are joined by Merry and Pippin, as they finally escape the Shire. They’re being chased by the Black Riders. Again, if these Black Riders are so fearsome, and they can smell the ring so lividly, why don’t they ever seem able to find the Hobbits when they’re standing right next to them?

Chomsky: Well, they’re on horseback.

Zinn: Right.

Chomsky: This episode in Bree should cause us to ask, too, how much Frodo knows about the conspiracy. He seems to be piecing it together a little bit. I think at first he’s an unwitting participant, fooled by Gandalf’s propaganda.

Zinn: I’m much more suspicious of Frodo than you are. I’ve always viewed him as one of the most malevolent actors in this drama, precisely because of how he abets people like Gandalf. He uses a fake name, Mr. Underhill, just as Gandalf goes by several names: Mithrandir, the Grey Pilgrim, the White Rider. Strider is also Aragorn, is also Estel, is also Elessar, is also Dunadan. He has all these identities.

Chomsky: We call those aliases today.

Zinn: But is Sauron ever anything but Sauron? Is Saruman ever anything but Saruman?

Chomsky: And now, with Frodo in the midst of a hallucinogenic, paranoid state, we meet Strider.

Zinn: Note that the first thing he starts talking about is the ring. “That is no trinket you carry.” A very telling irony, that. It is the kind of irony that Shakespeare would use. It is something Iago might say. And did you hear that? “Sauron the Deceiver.” That is what Strider, the ranger with multiple names, calls Sauron. A ranger. I believe today we call them serial killers.

Chomsky: Or drug smugglers.

Zinn: And notice how Strider characterizes the Black Riders. “Neither living nor dead.” Why, that’s a really useful enemy to have.

Chomsky: Yes. In this way you can never verify their existence, and yet they’re horribly terrifying. We should not overlook the fact that Middle Earth is in a cold war at this moment, locked in perpetual conflict. Strider’s rhetoric serves to keep fear alive.

Zinn: You’ve spoken to me before about Mordor’s lack of access to the mineral wealth that the Dwarves control.

Chomsky: If we’re going to get into the socio-economic reasons why certain structures develop in certain cultures… it’s mainly geographical. We have Orcs in Mordor — trapped, with no mineral resources — hemmed in by the Ash Mountains, where the “free peoples” of Middle Earth can put a city, like Osgiliath, and effectively keep the border closed.

Zinn: Don’t forget the Black Gate. The Black Gate, which, as Tolkien points out, was built by Gondor. And now we jump to the Orcs chopping down the trees in Isengard.

Chomsky: A terrible thing the Orcs do here, isn’t it? They destroy nature. But again, what have we seen, time and time again?

Zinn: The Orcs have no resources. They’re desperate.

Chomsky: Desperate people driven to do desperate things.

Zinn: Desperate to compete with the economic powerhouses of Rohan and Gondor.

Chomsky: Who really knows their motive? Maybe this is a means to an end. And while that might not be the best philosophy in the world, it makes the race of Man in no way superior. They’re going to great lengths to hold onto their power. Two cultures locked in conflict over power, with one culture clearly suffering a great deal. I think sharing power and resources would have been the wisest approach, but Rohan and Gondor have shown no interest in doing so. Sometimes, revolution must be —

Zinn: Mistakes are often —

Chomsky: Blood must be shed. I forget what Thomas Jefferson —

Zinn: He said that blood was the —

Chomsky: The blood of tyrants —

Zinn: The blood of tyrants —

Chomsky: — waters the tree of —

Zinn: — revolution.

Chomsky: — freedom. Or revolution. Something like that.

Zinn: I think that’s actually very, very close.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Song lyrics

First things first.  I passed an old lady today when I was out walking, with her head buried in a book, just like I'm always doing.  But I didn't have my book with me!  I had decided to just listen to music today as I walked.  Dammit!  That would have been perfect, to pass a fellow Book Walker.  I imagine that we would have nodded casually to each other, both of us content in our own knowledge of the secret to paradise on Earth.

So anywho.  As I said a few sentences ago, I was out walking today and listening to an old mp3 player, one that had been lost for about 4 years.  I found it when I was digging through the dark depths of the corners of my room the other day, looking for something or another.  It has a bunch of old Pearl Jam songs on it that I haven't heard in years, along with a bunch of other music I had been really into at the time.  I'm not supposed to post song lyrics here according to my own rule, but these ones are important in that I identify strongly with them. And after all, it's all about me, isn't it?  No?  It isn't?  Well, I can pretend.

These are all Pearl Jam songs.  This first one pretty much speaks for itself.  And for me, too.


I wish I was a neutron bomb for once I could go off
I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on
I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on
The Christmas tree I wish I was the star that went on top
I wish I was the evidence I wish I was the grounds
For 50 million hands upraised and open toward the sky

I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me
I wish I was as fortunate as fortunate as me
I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good
I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camaro's hood

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun
I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down
I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up
I wish I wish I wish I wish I guess it never stops.


I didn't realize this one was about suicide until today.  The guy in the song pretty much describes me, all except the part at the end when he checks out.  I've spent far too much time in my life thinking about it, though.  And I've actually done the sitting in the car bit, listening to the radio, and watching people as they arrive home and pull up to their houses at the end of the day.

"Sleight of Hand"

Routine was the theme. He'd wake up, wash, and pour himself into uniform.
Something he hadn't imagined being.
As the merging traffic passed, he found himself staring down at his own hands.
Not remembering the change. Not recalling the plan. Was it?

He was okay, but wondering about wandering.
Was it age, by consequence, or was he moved by sleight of hand?

Mondays were made to fall. Lost on a road he knew by heart.
It was like a book he read in his sleep. Endlessly.
Sometimes he hid in the radio, watching others pull into their homes.
While he was drifting.

On a line of his own. Off the line of the side. By the by.
As dirt turned to sand. As if moved by sleight of hand.

When he reached the shore of his clip on world, he resurfaced to the norm.
Organized his few things. His coat and keys.
And he knew realizations would have to wait.
Till he had more time. More time.

A time to dream to himself. He waves goodbye to his self.
I'll see you on the other side.
Another man moved by slight of hand.


This one is about addiction.  When you're high, truly, nothing is as it seems.  It's a big, beautiful lie.

"Nothing as it Seems"

Don't feel like home. He's a little out.
And all these words alone, it's nothing like your poem.
Putting in. Inputting in. Don't feel like methadone.
A scratching voice all alone.  It's nothing like your baritone.

It's nothing as it seems. The little that he needs, it's home.
The little that he sees is nothing, he concedes. It's home.

One uninvited chromosome. A blanket like the ozone.

It's nothing as it seems. All that he needs, it's home.
The little that he frees is nothing, he believes.

Saving up a sunny day. Something maybe two tone.
Anything of his own. A chip off the corner stone.
Who's kidding? Rainy day. A one way ticket headstone.
Occupations overthrown. A whisper through a megaphone.

It's nothing as it seems. The little that he needs, it's home.
The little that he sees is nothing he conceives. It's home.
And all that he frees, a little bittersweet... it's home.
It's nothing as it seems. The little that you see, it's home.


And this one is about love and pain in relationships, with a lot of dysfunction thrown in.  Mostly I identify with the pleading pain.  The implied violence, abuse and control drama is something I've seen a lot of in other relationships.


Oh please don't go out on me,
Don't go on me now
Never acted up before,
Don't go on me now
I swear I never took it for granted,
Just thought of it now
Suppose I abused you,
Just passing it on

Once passive, servile,
Now you're getting sharp
Moving oh so swiftly,
With such disarm
I pulled the covers over head,
Should've pulled the alarm
Turned to my nemesis,
A fool not a fucking god

Don't go on me

Go...  fuck...  blood...  touch...  burn... 
Oh...  time...  tunnel vision... search...  turn...

Please, please, please...
Don't go on me
Don't you want me...
Don't go on me
Don't go on me

I'll add more as I think of them.