Sunday, September 13, 2015

Found Object

It's always a lie. It's never what it purports to be. It's only about one thing. And it's not the truth. 
The truth is elastic. It sits on a shaken foundation. The structure is still standing, but it's not altogether safe. It resembles the past, but it makes no sense. Inanimate objects have meaning you are not cognizant of. Mundane items like cotton swabs have a use you never contemplated. 
Things disappear. 
This spoon was not deposited under this tree by someone who had just had cereal, or perhaps a dessert of tasty pudding. It was discarded by someone attempting to hide their true nature. 
Who is at fault here? Who is being harmed? 
What is a wasted life?
We hear about the sanctity of life, that all life is precious, while the evidence presented to us indicates that life is cheap, easily thrown away, and taken for a joke. 
Life is serious, but not that serious. You are not important. The only inherent value you have is what you can give other people.
And the only value they have is what they give you.
That is how it works. 
Stop blaming them for everything that has gone so wrong in your life. 
Stop blaming them for everything you've done, because you did it.
The sun is shining outside. 
Even in the darkness. 
You need very little else.  
Only your greed makes you hungry. 
You have all you need. 
So, decide. Do you want to live, or do you want to die?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Weeds

Nothing Lasts Forever
You knew it wasn't over, but you pretended like it was. 
It comes on like a cold, a summer cold. And you cannot escape it. The heat makes the chill worse. 
I'm tired of thinking about it, but I can't stop thinking about it.
The resolution is coming, but it may never be resolved the way you want it to.
Or thought it would be.
Life finds a way. It may not be a nice way. You may not like it. 
In fact, I know you won't. 
Because it's awful.
But it goes on, regardless of what you think.
How do you overcome it? 
You may not. It's part of your life now, you live with it. It's there.
Right there. All the time. Casting a shadow. You walk faster, get into the light and leave it behind. But you have to rest sometime, and it catches up.
So, live with it. Look at it. But don't dwell on it. Keep moving. You may never outrun it, but you will make sure that it doesn't cast a shadow over you. 
And take over your life. Remember, it's just a part of your life. We all make mistakes. 
Don't let mistakes make you.

Friday, August 07, 2015

What Do Happy Means


I shouldn't feel the way I do. So lost. Your mind plays tricks on you. It does. 
You're safe. You're safer than you've ever been. But the primate inside is ever alert for danger. And the rules have changed. They are always changing.  Now there are no rules. 
Life is now a series of gangs. Of territory. Of terror. 
You can justify any behavior, all you need is the approval of your group.
No matter how opened up the world appears, the horizons are smaller than they have ever seemed. No matter. It's human nature to exclude. To fear the unknown. To attack the other. To build walls. To viciously obliterate the opposition. To dehumanize your opponent. To have an opponent. To regard your fellow man in opposing terms. 
To break things, kill things, wreak havoc. 
The utter joy at killing things for no reason. Not to eat. Just for a trophy.
Just for the experience. 
Just for the picture.
It's not a great leap from animals to humans. To not feel remorse.
To do the moral/mental gymnastics to justify your actions.
Just a thug. Just an animal. Just a lion. A giraffe. A human. Whatever.
You are who I say you are, not who you say you are.
So you deserve to die. 
I hold the power in my hands, and you wait to have me change the course of your life.
And the lives of all who surround you.
It's a mental failing, of course. You didn't measure up.
Or you wouldn't have been in my sights.
As long as you are out of sight, and silent.
We have no problem.
You cannot reach some people. They are remote. 
They kill from above. 
And, they feel justified. No moral gymnastics for them.
Just the self-satisfied feeling of a job well done.
Without any consideration of whether it's a job worth doing.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Double Five On The Dime

Grapple 1
I don't have it bad.
I've spent a lot of my life worrying, and while some concerns were valid, others were misplaced.
That's just the past. It's gone.
But you don't just throw it away. You learn from it. You deconstruct, and reconstruct, and rebuild.
I'm 55 years old this week..
That is no big deal, of course. People have been turning 55 for centuries. 
I'm not special.
So why am I writing this?
Because I can. 
And I'm done apologizing. For that, at least.
I, like all those millions of people who have reached self-dedicated milestones before me, have been taking stock, trying to remember where I've been, what I've done, what I've seen, what I've learned, and what I can do going forward.
I am grateful for things. The light through the trees. The moonlight in the dark
 The roof over my head. It sounds so trite. But there is a baseline for being.
I'm alive. I can walk around and I see people I know who are glad to see me.
For whatever reason. 
I'm thankful for that. I am. It's not trite. 
But, there I am apologizing again.
And I promised I wouldn't. I tried, and failed, again.
But, really, what does it matter?
Who gets my apology?
What good will it do?
The endless list of grievance, of angers, of resentment, it doesn't matter at all. Things happen, or don't happen, for no reason, sometimes.
Sometimes things happen for a reason you cause. And you can accept credit, or issue an apology.
Your choice?
You have a choice?
What is choice?
Do I ask too many questions?
Some things defy answers
And some things don't need answers.
Some things just need questions.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mood Poisoning

 I will myself to go. The switch turns on and off. I don't control it. I don't think?
 Maybe I do. Maybe I am comfortable with this mindset. Conditioned to fail. Staring into space. 
That's a theme I return to repeatedly in my life. No way to overcome it? 
I don't know.
So who does know? I don't believe in a supreme being. I don't believe in a human-centered universe.
I look for the things that will supply some meaning. Humans love to look for patterns.
For proof. For structure. They want the heavenly father, the stern taskmaster, the happily ever after, the afterlife.So what?
 I don't expect anything else to come. I think you just go out like a TV set. The rest of the programming is still being broadcast, but you don't receive it. 
You have today. That is it. Plan ahead if you want. It occupies your time. It's about as meaningful as a board game. Life is capricious. You get to start over. You are not alone.
But you are. You can be. You don't want to be, but you can be.
I am on no high perch.
But maybe the Dyer/Carnegie/"Power Of Positive Thinking" mindset is right.
Be the change you want to be.
Don't be a downer. 
You only hurt yourself.
It's so liberating to know that you don't matter to others, so you may as well go full bore into your own self interests. You don't want to destroy your neighbor, but if HE gets in the way, well, bowl him over. 
Glengarry Glen Ross is not a work of fiction, it's how things are today.
Always be selling, you don't even have to be closing. If you can't close the deal in a short time, move on to the next mark. 
We are all marks. 
We are here for our self aggrandizement, and that is your purpose in life. 
Be a mark.
I want to be smarter.  I don't think it will happen in this lifetime.
But, I'll keep trying.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Horse Race

Photo by Robyn M. Jones

I went to the horse races on the Fourth of July. I didn't know a single person there, except for the ladies I went with. I didn't know a single horse either. It was great to go see them, go smell them. 
And watch them run. 
I wonder what they are thinking. I think they like to run. I've always thought that horses probably tolerated us, to a certain extent. They struck me as being kind of high strung. More like cats than dogs. The racing horses are beautiful, shaped differently than the cow-horses I grew up around. I can see how it gets to people. How it insinuates itself into you. 
I like horses a hell of a lot more than I like motorized transport.
I bet it's just as expensive, though. 
A lot of rural people there. A lot of NRA sympathies. A few 4H badges.
I really enjoyed it. 
Even threw down a few dollars betting on horses to win. Two bucks. It's nothing.
The grandstands are old. They are next to the Fairgrounds. I made a mental note to attend the State Fair early, so I could check out all the animals. 
And the 4H badges. 
And the NRA sympathies.
And the smell of animals.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Before The Fireworks

This is a distant memory. Circa 1998
Things happen. 
So much happens it's hard to remember what order they happened in.
For me, the last 9 years have made everything before it hazy. Stupid Hallmark Holidays like Father's Day have been imbued with such bad memories for me, I don't want anything to do with it. Sure, I was a father. I largely failed at it. 
I remember the boys in this photo, taken on the 4th of July at a cousin's house. The one on the left has not gone off the rails at this point. Although he was always a willful, difficult and intelligent child. Puberty has not happened. The lying, long silences, drug abuse, jail time and violence are coming, but for this moment, with innocent anticipation of cheap fireworks imminent, no one knows it.
The one on the right, he's going to have his problems too, but they are the normal problems, benign problems. He will make mistakes. But none of his mistakes will involve parole and probation, or cardiac arrest and an ambulance ride. So, for that I'm grateful.
My own father is gone now, he's been gone for over 10 years. I've forgiven him for his failures, even though I haven't forgiven myself for mine. It's a long process. 
I still miss him, and think of him often. And I see flashes of him in the mirror every morning. The fear. The fatigue. The lifetime of work. All done voluntarily, I might add. 
It's how I was brought up. I fall far short. I don't work nearly as hard, can't do nearly as many things. And my sons were brought up differently. This is where the mistakes were made. I should have made them do things. Made them learn how to do things. Made them fail. Taught them not to fear failure. That is my biggest failing. 
You can talk about what a "man" should do. How a "man" should handle things. You can talk about things all you want. 
It's what you have done that is the measure of you. And will people see your works as a good thing or bad thing? What you say is a pale echo of what you have done. 
Or, didn't do.
Of all the things taken away, or given away, or lost, lighthearted laughter is something I miss the most. 
What am I supposed to do? I probably have 30 years left. Probably.
I don't want to live. I don't want to die.
My stubborn sense of history has gotten me this far.
But now I lack the confidence, the underlying conviction, that I'm right and alright. 
That things will be fine. 
Am I supposed to pretend that things are great, that reality will conform to my wishful thinking?
That's what all the self -helpers and 12-steppers tell me to do.
I have felt the unease my entire life. Even before I was aware.
I can't help but feel that we are going down the wrong road.
So, that leaves me with the conundrum. I still have to live.
I have no choice in the matter.I have to fight the quandary.
I don't want to put the book down.
I want to see what happens next.
So that's it, then. I'm disengaging from the pettiness. 
I'm looking for things that matter, when I believe that nothing matters.
It's going to be. It has to.
See you around.

How Did We Get From There To Here

When did it happen? Where did it go wrong? We have tortured ourselves with these questions. We made a lot of mistakes. We did a lot of things wrong. He was difficult. Difficult people made him. But, we were all in. Everyone was. Perhaps, over invested, which makes the present even more hard to bear.
It's hard to believe you are bad.You grew up under our sight, if not our supervision.But it's hard to believe you took what you were given, and made what you did from it.
And now we live suffused with sadness. That we created this. And we are not hard enough to turn our back and walk away.But, we can't give anymore. We have nothing left, and it doesn't help anyway.You have to do it yourself.
It's just a bill. It doesn't have any meaning. Someone calling on the phone with a complaint and an offer. Someone far away, who is capitalizing on a decision that was made in faith, bad or not.Someone who has no idea what you went through to give it up.
I suppose it's all meaningless.People who make their own reality don't give in to reality,may never give in to circumstances beyond their control. The lottery may bless you with a sympathetic judge who will make your dreams come true at best, and at the very worst, you will star in a psycho drama that will add meaning to your life.
Some people have angels on their shoulders. You search for a meaning. But it often eludes you.So we cope, we medicate, we try to maintain. But the undercurrent is always there. 
If I never see another courtroom in my life, that will be fine with me.