Posts Tagged ‘ The Way of Things’

The Nonsense of Incubation

Posted on December 27, 2009



The room in which you sit is almost barren.

It is filled to the brim with games and memories and knick-knacks and words and ghosts and ribbons won at state-fairs long ago.

This room is miniscule in size and rather amorphous in its shape.

It is roughly the size of a high-school gymnasium and was clearly designed by one of those early, radical Cubists.

There is no way out of this room.

There are three doors. One leads to the closet. One leads to a hallway.

And the one with the daunting metal lock on it leads to the outside.

There is also a small window that floats far, far above your head.

There is no glass in this window and so you’ve become well acquainted with the feral whims of Mother Nature and the robust fury of her elements.

You should relocate.

You should switch up the view and explore life against another wall. But you don’t.

You think, “Maybe tomorrow…”

Which is the very same thought you had yesterday.

You sit Indian-style atop a wooden futon and devour a crust-free cucumber and cream cheese sandwich, which has been cut into four efficient triangles.

All the while, blueberry-sized bits of gravel are being dispatched through the pane-less opening near the ceiling.

They seem to be launched with force, perhaps by a hellion with a slingshot.

They pelt you hard in the abdomen.

You feel like this assault should be painful or at least evocative, somehow.

Shouldn’t you be moved to build a ladder out of all the useless chattel in your midst?

Might this ladder and the act of creating it, aid in the possibility of eradicating the omni-present torpor that plagues you?

“There is sense in the thing…” you think. Still, you are dubious.

“Say I do build this ladder and climb its rungs…then what?”

“Am I meant to cover the opening or am I expected to crawl through it?”

Such lyrical questions deserve shrieking, passionate answers…

And since you’ve nothing of that ilk prepared, you opt instead to focus on the refreshing and delicious cucumber crunching between your teeth at present.

You decide that while pickling a cucumber seems to be a relatively straightforward and rewarding process; turning a pickle back to a cucumber would likely be a challenging feat, steeped in disappointment. Indeed.

Satisfied that you’ve effectively banished all notions of ladders, and bridges, and tunnels, and viaducts and have successfully reverted to benign acceptance for the moment; you place the plate on which your sandwich had lived inside the dumbwaiter and ring a bell for service.

(The room also has a dumbwaiter. You’d once considered it a ‘way out,’ but that was before you knew better.)

‘Smarting’ has ceded to ‘throbbing’ and the red, gravel-induced welts which adorn your abdomen are beginning to become blood-filled blisters.

Still you reason, “I’ll mobilize when I am moved to.”

You languidly reach for a nearby stack of books and ashes and who-knows-what-else. You’ve been meaning to organize these piles for some time now…

There is a newspaper near the top, dated sometime-before-today. You typically shun the news, but you rationalize that its contents are no longer news precisely, rather history.

You skim the letters which form words, until your eyes focus on a small sidebar below the fold.

The headline reads:

“A Tale of Nothing Much”

There was once a moderately happy couple who indulged a moderately lengthy courtship, before marrying in a moderately fancy wedding. They were wed for a moderate amount of time before they divorced. They split their moderate assets evenly and drove away from the situation in their respective mid-range vehicles, each moderately unscathed. They went on to loathe one another only a moderate amount.

“The whole thing seems rather unremarkable…” you muse and then toss the paper aside.

“Enough organization for now,” you decide.

A cicada has penetrated the aperture in the wall, and now buzzes near your ears and forehead.

You swat at it mildly and then close your eyes in attempt to pretend that it isn’t there.

You figure it’ll leave soon.

You would leave if there were a way out.

But there isn’t.

You remove a necklace which holds a weighty key from around your neck, and place it atop the metal toolbox on the floor next to the futon.

You need a nap.

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Shifting Paradigms

Posted on December 26, 2009

The Chasm

The Chasm

Things are happening. Changing.

The paradigms are shifting.

These movements are at once very fast and yet almost imperceptible to the naked eye.

As they should be. As they must be.

After all, there are those among us who are ill-prepared for the revolution.


The word, even in its simple, written form, clatters and crashes and splatters itself across the tablet.

I am filled with revolt.

Forever in the process of ‘coming around’, ‘rethinking’, and ‘retooling.’

Coup d’whatever-the-eff-I-am-currently-railing-against…

And lately, I’ve been trying to overthrow the very pattern itself…

After all, it can be ever so tiresome living in this constant state of upheaval…

Fear not, I am stating this simply as a means of explanation for my experimentation.

I have not permanently abandoned my characteristic esprit de guerre.

I am merely playing. I am dipping an explorational toe into the other side…

The more innate side of the affair, if you will…

And so I experimentally ask, “What of the natural breaks?”

Why don’t we ever give them the opportunity to show us what they’re made of?

What if we gave wild revolution the day off, and let the proverbial chinks in the armor appear when they might?

What if, just for kicks, we were to trust that natural selection will create the appropriate clumps and deposit all of life’s little idiosyncrasies into their proper categories; thus allowing for a natural situational breaking point to occur?

And now, imagine if such things were possible without any input from us whatsoever…

And so, with my ego shivering and fearful in the corner, I boldly posit this notion…

What if we really can have it all?

Why must the momentous overhaul of revolution always be accompanied by

unnatural, cataclysmic, golf-ball-sized-hail fallout?


Please pay no mind to my ego as it drowns in possibility.

So now, let’s suppose that we’ve succeeded in ceasing our attempts to cause the effect, and now we’re allowing the natural breakpoints to do our dirty work for us, and though we find ourselves slightly under-whelmed, we are sort of comfortably numb in the way that the simple-minded people might be…

And now we fill the space formerly occupied by the boisterous battle by breaking bread with the enemy, an act that was never possible back when we were annihilating everything in our paths in the name of “Revolution!”

“This is quaint,” I decide, “in some progressively, passive-aggressive way, anyhow…”

Still, it occurs to me that the shock value of my newfound placidity will, at some juncture, wear thin.

At which point, the battle will return. As it must.


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Angels and Air-Waves

Posted on May 21, 2009

It's not for everyone...

It's not for everyone...

Oregon floats across the back lawn and places a plate of hot sausage and sweet mustard before Alaska and Santa Cruz.
Proper gratitudes are distractedly expressed, but eyes do not shift from the horizon. Oregon is not offended.
He understands that no matter how delicious the offering, or how considerate he’d been in slicing it and sticking toothpicks in the individual pieces, in this moment, our attention is spoken for.
The day is waning and the sun bids its spectacular adieu.
And we watch, smitten.
Just as we did yesterday. And the day before. As we will again, tomorrow.
Sunset on Maui is like Christmas everywhere else on Earth.
Peaceful. Joyous. A little hard for those who are missing someone they love…

I consider the Sun’s imminent journey, as she moves towards the East.
Soon, she will splay her beams through the windows of the Boat.
The one on the cliff, nearly 6,000 miles from here.
The one from which I had witnessed her arrival (too) often.
I would greet her with sadness and anger; frustrated that she dare return so quickly.
Not because the nights were peaceful and kind, but because I usually wasn’t done fighting.
Fighting the darkness.
Fighting the ghosts and the dreams and the inexorable cacophony in my mind.
I’d curse her for officially capping another night and calling the game in its favour.
Things are different now.
She forgives my previous ire and I, in turn, regard her with an almost religious reverence.
We are on the same side now…

The conch billows as she takes her final bow, signifying that we may continue, as we were.
Oregon kicks up first.
He addresses Santa Cruz, the 26-year-old carpenter with an affinity for reminding everyone that he and Jesus share a profession.
Oregon asks ‘how the fish are biting.’
The locals snicker and the nomads look off into the distance; trying to blend.
Santa Cruz is in town installing new cabinets and carpet in 402.
But he’d ordered the wrong materials and was now waiting for the freighter to arrive with the replacements.
He expected to take delivery any moment between last Tuesday and three Thursday’s from tomorrow.
So, he’d taken up fishing…much to the chagrin of the locals.
Localism is big on Maui.
We nomads are at first eyed suspiciously, and then tested arduously.
Those who pass muster are welcomed to the ‘rock’ with fresh catch and cold beer.
But Santa Cruz was having a tough time of it.
And his plot to catch his ‘own damn fish, because how hard could it be?” hadn’t exactly made him popular.
Not with the locals, anyway.
The nomads liked him okay.
I even offered to make him a sandwich last week, after watching him hold his pole over the seawall for three straight hours, to no avail.
He had managed to hook an eel, but he’d thrown it back.
Anyway, we nomads had to stick together.
Which makes Oregon’s not-at-all-innocuous statement, terribly awkward.
Oregon is the newest of the nomads and he hadn’t even landed yet when Santa Cruz lost his first pole to a wise-ass fish who’d been attempting to make off with the squid bait, but had ended up making off with the entire rig.
I don’t trust Oregon.
Sausage or not, Oregon’s not even been in town a week and his priorities are all skewed. His haughty attitude and derisive tone scream “power play.”
In my estimation, Oregon is attempting to circumvent the nomadic hierarchy altogether.
He’s hoping to make his bones on poor, hungry Santa Cruz and impress the locals.

I make a mental note to never trust a man wearing an ill-fitting, red IZOD shirt circa 1982. Especially if said man has a gut so swollen that the tiny alligator logo, which is supposed to be situated just above his pectoral muscle, now sits squarely atop his shoulder, as the weary material oddly stretches and strains amidst his girth.

I snap back to reality as Santa Cruz eats the last of Oregon’s sacrificial offering and chides him about his supreme Donald Trump comb-over.
Aw, Santa Cruz…you may be a shade arrogant with all that “Jesus was a carpenter” stuff, but I like you. You always hold your own.

Oregon stands to leave.
He smiles tightly and begins to move away, pausing just long enough to pat Santa Cruz on the head and say, “Goodnight Little Buddy.”
I immediately think, “Goodnight Skipper” and collapse in laughter as it hits me that Oregon looks exactly like Alan Hale, who played The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island.
I expect that everyone will have been gobsmacked with the same thought, and am surprised that no one else has reacted.
But before I can share this observation with the group, Alaska (who’s been uncharacteristically quiet, most probably due to his late-night debauchery with the man from New York, the previous evening) speaks, “Isn’t that guy’s name Dick?”
We collectively shrug. We know one another only by our ‘home ports.’
Where you actually started and where you’ll end up is really immaterial.
The past means little here. It merely provides a suitable moniker.
This moment…
That’s all that matters.
And while I didn’t make these rules, I am atypically happy to follow them.
Which is why we are flummoxed when Alaska broaches the idea that Oregon has a legal pseudonym.
He continues, “It is. That dude’s name is Dick. I heard him introduce himself to Nachos earlier.”
“Nachos” is a local, whose liver is currently petitioning for emancipation, as it is sick of dealing with the ostentatious amount of straight Vodka that Nachos insists on introducing to it each night.
Nachos also has an affinity for bragging about his status as kingpin at the dive bar down the block, of the same name.
In that moment, Santa Cruz sees that familiar glint in Alaska’s eye… he sees it coming down the line and he swings, “Dude, we just ate Dick’s sausage.”
They revel in their wit and I smile to myself.
I focus on the sound of the surf as it slams into the rocks.
I allow the thunderous din of the sea to seep through my entire being.
It settles in my pores and drowns my thoughts until all that is left is but one quiet, peaceful yet persistent reflection.
It is delivered to me via hovering sea-angels who reside in the salt-air.
They whisper, “I am so happy to be a nomad.”

I am sitting on the lanai naked.
That’s not true. It was a lie. I said it for impact.
I have shorts on.
And a scarf.
Which covers all of the necessary parts, between my shoulders and hips.
As long as the wind doesn’t shift, anyway.
Even if it did, I wouldn’t care.
It’s just past midnight and I am alone.
On the lanai, stars provide the only light. And the only other life forms in the vicinity are geckos and tree frogs. Even the mosquitos seem to have taken the night off.

I listen to the waves. I’ve been obsessed with them for the past three days.
I’ve actually been obsessed with them always, but I am finding their current rage intoxicating.
I’m trying to figure them out. I am seeking a pattern.
Except that I’m not. Not, really.
Because I know better.
I know that this water will boil and move and swell and retreat as it chooses, when it chooses.
It would never allow its whims and passions to be charted or graphed.
For the past three days, the surf has been monstrous.
And loud. It clearly needed attention. It was feeling taken for granted
If I close my eyes, it’s easy to imagine that I am in a war zone where the blast of exploding bombs is relentless and the sizzle of detonating missiles, unremitting.
Which is an ironic thought process, considering that reality couldn’t be further from that scenario.
Or could it?
While this place does possess a distinct feeling of otherworldly tranquility, it also harbors a strong undercurrent of tumult.
It bears the scars of the millions of nomads who have landed here throughout time, looking to shed their previous skins…
Their previous sins…
The Island lovingly assimilates both sin and sinner unto itself, as it gently heals.
Or conceals…
Depending on your perception, I suppose…

But back to the water (it can always be traced back to the water)…
And his anger.
Because he is…angry.
And sad.
Which is, perhaps, why I desire to love him so fully.
I wish him to know that I furtively adore him, even at his most chaotic.
I wish him to know that I shall always love and accept him, even when there is no logical reason behind all the rumpus.
I seek to definitively prove that I am not a ‘fair-wave friend’ of the Water.
And so, several times each day, no matter the wind, no matter the storm…I immerse myself in his depths.
I want only to be of him.
To know and understand…
To see my truest self reflected back from within his unfathomable depths

And I crave his animosity.
It could appear a touch masochistic to some, so I only reveal this affair to those I feel are capable of grasping the true beauty in the thing.
In truth, I become excited as he writhes and thrashes about me
I find it exhilarating when he flings me round, as a four-year might fling his toys, mid-tantrum. I am enraptured by his beauty and obsessed with his anguish.
This should in no way imply that he is insensitive.
He is anything but…
Sure, he’s been known to hurl obscenities at those who are cavalier in his presence.
And yes, he did, in fact, nearly slice my ear in two today, just to remind me that I was not listening well…
And that I was again indulging this silly idea that I might be in charge…
He was right, though.
And I am grateful.
I do need to be kept on my toes.
And he reminds me…

“The lyricism of marginality may find inspiration in the image of the ”outlaw,” the great social nomad, who prowls on the confines of a docile, frightened order.” Michel Foucault

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Judge, Jury and the False Idealism of The Fairer Sex

Posted on January 11, 2009

The Fairer Sex? Hmph...

The Fairer Sex? Hmph...

Without getting into unnecessary and apparently falsified details, there was something of an alarming threat directed at my City earlier this week. I was informed by multiple unconnected yet reasonably reliable sources. I was asked to tell “only who I must.”

I did.

When I’d completed my best impression of Paul Revere meets Chicken Little, I consulted my gut regarding the validity of the “imminent danger.”
I was feeling something, but it wasn’t exactly registering as fear.
Not in the global sense, anyway. That familiar “terror chill” that I’d previously experienced when hazardous situations were at hand, wasn’t kicking up.
But something was stressing me…and I sensed that it might be more centralized than I’d been preparing for.

Before first light had officially broken, the tempest descended.
He presents himself as the exceedingly boisterous, unbidden party guest. The type whom no one who had actually been invited to the gathering will admit to bringing along.
He is at first quiet and soft, then suddenly shocking and reckless. He is pleasant and dignified then abrupt and wretched. He is unapologetically hypocritical. He is maddeningly hypothetical.

Dickens once said “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
And that is all I shall say on that.

I look to the sky. I mull the mysteries of Birds, Aero-planes, and other Wing-ed Objects…

The Boat is located on the water. Exactly where the flight patterns of all three major NYC airports intersect. Each day I observe aircrafts on their final approach. Sometimes, they are so near that I imagine that I can actually see the little kid with his face mashed against the window peering out at the cityscape below.

When they clouds hang low over they the metropolis (as they often do), the light from the descending jets illuminate the night sky long before the airplane itself is visible. The glow cuts the darkness and my mind drifts to the hundreds of souls on board. I contemplate the idea that each individual is anticipating. Some high on the possibilities which await. Some wishing they could just keep circling.
Everyone with a story. Everyone with a plan.

“I am a citizen of the world, and I have met, in my time, with so many different sorts of virtue, that I am puzzled, in my old age, to say which is the right sort and which is the wrong.” ~Wilkie Collins “The Woman in White”

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“Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.” - Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Posted on November 21, 2008

Kiss the way we were goodbye...

“With longing I recall yearning for a caress. Hollow and empty, unsheltered by the pain of the rest. Not without justification, torn down for my compassion. Free formed in emptiness” ~ Shadows Fall (from 1997’s Somber Eyes to the Sky, “Nurture”)

“Daniel my brother, you are older than me. Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal? Your eyes have died but you see more than I…” ~ Elton John (from 1972’s Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player “Daniel”)

The year is 1979. Carter is president, Kramer vs. Kramer has won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and a brown-eyed baby girl is born to a young, married couple in Southern California. She is instantly adored. She readily smiles and giggles and seems to relish the attention bestowed upon her by family and strangers alike. She is healthy and rarely shows signs of discontent, except when she is expected to sleep, which (much to her parents dismay) doesn’t always come easily to the baby.

The year is 1986. Reagan is president, Platoon has won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and a blue-eyed baby boy is born to the mother of the brown-eyed girl and her second husband, in New Jersey. He is instantly revered. He is a strikingly beautiful child with eyes so wide and clear that they appear to occupy ¾ of his tiny head. He cries often and doesn’t appreciate when his mother focuses her attention on anything or anyone but him. He is colicky from the start, and suffers from frequent ear infections, and sleeplessness.

The children are raised together but are completely unequal. The brown-eyed girl excels in the arts, and the blue-eyed boy is a gifted athlete. The girl is highly attached to their mother, and her brother shares a special bond with both parents. The girl has fear surrounding loss. She rarely sees her biological father and feels as though her stepfather simply does not love her in the manner that he loves his natural son. She cries easily and is deemed “sensitive”. She has an “irrational” fear of the wind. Still, she smiles and laughs, though frequently she does so for the benefit of those around her. The fussy baby-boy has turned into a temperamental child. He rarely cries but has found that yelling will often ensure satisfaction of all that he desires.

The year is 2001. The brown-eyed girl cannot cry (perhaps for the first time in history). She sits at the funeral quietly, and glimpses her brother sneaking out the back door with a boy she has never seen before. She is 20 years old, and wishes that she could numb this pain. Her mother took a Xanax on the way to the service and the blue-eyed boy reeks of marijuana. She wishes she hadn’t been so mean to her father during the divorce, she wishes she had spoken with him since, she wishes that he hadn’t looked that awful gray color which she deemed the “mark of death”, when she visited him in the hospital. She’d erroneously assumed that there would be time to rectify… She was 4 when her mother married him. 18 when they split. She had spent more time with him than any of his other children. And she cannot cry.

The year is 2008. She hangs up the phone and sips her wine, while saying a quiet prayer for the blue-eyed boy. Talking to her mother can be trying. She steps on to the balcony and lights a cigarette, an act which still does not feel totally organic. She had her first cigarette at age 25 and is a “casual” or stress induced smoker. No more than 4 a day. Never more than 4 per day. That is the rule. She loves rules. More accurately, she loves to break them. She thrives on the challenge. Nothing challenges her.

She sifts through her mental rubble and breathes in the evening. She breathes in the evening and sifts through her mental rubble. Again. and again.

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