If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.


"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chapter IV.7



Landfall


Remembering to Forget

“The buffalo all died
years ago,”
he said
as the staccato’d drum beat
a picture of what no longer was,
“now we dance
to remember
lest their names,
their memory
be forgotten.”

03JUL01 11 klicks N of Hans Flat
Wendy,
Tomorrow I enter the Maze district of Canyonlands and I’m feeling a little like Theseus but without an Ariadne to hold the string. I haven’t set out on this trip to look for a Minotaur but it seems that you find them in the damnedest places, whether you’re looking for them or not.

It’s beautiful out right now— a full moon with some clouds and a slight breeze. I had to hole up about eleven klicks short of my goal today as the lightening was getting pretty bad south of me, where I am headed; and of all the disasters I’m prepared for, getting hit by lightening isn’t one of them.

A year ago Tom, Rob, Ruby and I were driving the White Rim Trail. They were supposed to have made this trip but chickened out. Rob doesn’t think I’m coming back, being unsupervised and all, but what the hell does Rob know?


04JUL01 Doll House
Got to the ranger station this AM and the rangers says, “Happy 4th of July.” Had totally forgotten. It seems like only a year ago that we were going to the Pepsi 400. No sangria here— just merlot and Anejo, don’t worry, not mixing them. In fact, I’m so dehydrated right now that I’m not drinking at all.

Today was hellacious— approximately forty-two miles from the ranger station to the Doll House. It took me over six hours in the 100°+ heat…some extreme driving. This is different than the Island in the Sky/White Rim Trail. There really isn’t the same sense of hugeness and grandeur here that there is there, not really the same vistas. That though is made up for in spades by the total sense of isolation and desolation. If anything goes wrong out here you’re screwed and that realization sinks in continuously the further you get from the ranger station. It is desolate!

Balzac wrote or said, “In the desert there is all and there is nothing. God is there and man is not.” This may best sum up how you feel when you’re out here alone. Somehow you just don’t seem to fit, or matter— like you’re an alien, something that doesn’t belong. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Out here it’s like you’re both and neither. It’s hard for me to put my finger or the right word or the feeling. There is just that low level sense of immense and menace; like you are trespassing and that no matter how much gear you bring, how prepared you are, the desert can bring you to your knees and humble you, easily, within minutes, if it so desires.

Maybe that’s it— an incredible sense of awe and smallness in the presence of something so huge and powerful that it can’t even necessarily be comprehended all at once, if at all. And it is all the more so because it is doing absolutely nothing; it is not what it does, but what it is. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes are incredible fury and motion, nature’s power and brute force inspiring fear, awe, and occasionally death in those that witness such things personally; but they arise and subside. The desert though, it doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t move, or make a sound; you are reminded of it almost by negation, by the emptiness and silence; yet you can die just by being here, not because of what it does, but because of what it is…or isn’t. The desert’s power is great, and sublime, its movements not discernable to a human lifetime, or two or three even.

I was talking to the ranger on my way out. He told me that there was this guy who left Maze Overlook to hike down to the Doll House and back— a good distance. He had only two quarts of water, no map, and no compass. However, he was a self-proclaimed “athlete” so he had that going for him. He got lost, somehow missing the road (if you can call it that) to the Doll House and ended up south of there in the Ernies. The guy ran out of water while he was still in the Maze.

Lost and dying of thirst, the guy gave up and lay down to die. He woke up after the sun had set— there was a full moon— and decided to give it a final go. Somehow he managed to climb down the cliff wall in the dark, some 1,200 feet in elevation, to get to the Colorado River. The full moon is like the sun here and he could see the river from about an 1/8th of a mile away but passed out before he could stumble the distance. He came to later and managed to crawl the remaining distance to the river.

The idiot was going to refill his water bottles and try to retrace his steps back to his car at the Maze Overlook. He didn’t know that rafting trips routinely come down the river and it didn’t occur to him to just float out till he hit civilization downstream. He ended up being rescued by a rafting group who he initially though was a hallucination. He hollered at them at the last minute and they were able to turn around and take him out with them.


By all rights the guy should be dead. Not because nature reared up with ferocity like a hurricane or an earthquake and killed him but because he did not respect where he was. The desert didn’t do anything to him at all, it merely was what it is and always has been. He put himself in that isness that is the desert and came up wanting. He persevered though, and got lucky. Maybe he learned something about himself and life.

Anyway, I hope I don’t sound like I’ve got some fixation on death here ‘cause that’s really not it at all. I do think however, that out here, there is a greater sense of your mortality and the fragility of life. It’s not the type of awareness that bludgeons you to death, but makes you more aware of it by looking at life— it is so hardy yet so fragile here.

Personally, I think we have become too far removed from death. It is a false illusion that allows us to piss away our lives because there will always be time tomorrow— right? In old days, you lived a good life if you lived bravely and valiantly. Nowadays it seems that how you lived…or died, matters less than how much crap you have amassed and leave behind. The desert, it doesn’t give a fuck about quantity…only quality.

At Chimney Rock I got a hole in my rear, driver’s side rear tire— rock punched clean through the steel belting (stupid BFG All Terrain T/As) I patched it up and reinflated the damn thing with my compressor, invaluable out here. With three days to go, I didn’t feel like breaking out the spare just yet.

*****

I was ready to turn around and go home less than half way in this morning. Seems like this always happens when I’m on these trips alone— you look forward to it forever and when you get here you’re like, what the hell am I doing here, this is fucking crazy!?

It’s just about too dark to write anymore. This is my favorite part of the day here. Things start to cool off, the sun sets, you get as clean as you can, and then sit around eating dinner, drinking and listening to music as the moon comes up.

I got into my campsite at the Doll House about 1500. I took a short nap and then hiked down to Spanish Bottom where I could get in the Colorado River and cool off. It was only 1.2 miles each way but the killer here is the 1,200 feet of elevation change. My knees felt like rubber when I got down to the river. It took me just an hour to get down the 1.2 miles and to my credit it only took me one and a half hours coming back up.

By way of comparison, for the 2.5-mile roundtrip, I took five quarts of water and had the option of filling all five quarts back up in the river at the halfway point. But then again, I’m not an “athlete” or at least smarter than one.

I sat in the river for an hour, just cooling off. It you sat there real still, little minnows would come up and nibble on your legs. It tickled like hell. A group of four rafts came floating by as I was sitting in the river, just my head and boonie hat sticking up. I waved at the guide in the first raft. His passengers stared at me till they were out of sight like I was the strangest thing they’d ever seen. It makes me happy that there are still parts of this country you can’t get to unless you have the will. Rob had complained about it being hot this time of year. Yeah, I replied, but it means that I won’t have to see people. I don’t drive all the way to Moab to see people. I could do that in Denver. People suck. Really.

I waited till the sun dropped below the canyon rim before heading back up. You cannot believe how hot it still was. By the time I got back to camp, I was exhausted and too dehydrated to even consider having wine with dinner. However, there were no people. You pick your poisons I guess.


05JUL01 Panoramic Point
Up at Panoramic Point now— quite the view. The sun has or is about to set— I could tell you for sure if I wasn’t too lazy to get up and check my GPS. You can see just about everything from up here and it’s beautiful the way the canyons below seem to fill up with blue smoke when the sun goes down— everything kinda fading into one hazy outline.

I woke up early this morning feeling very much rested after yesterday whereupon I came down with symptoms of food poisoning, stomach flu or Giardia. I had wanted to get an early start toward the Maze Overlook to beat the heat down in the canyons but the first two hours driving out were a living hell. I was originally supposed to stay tonight at Maze Overlook but decided to head to Panoramic Overlook to be closer to getting out in a hurry if I had to.


08JUL01
I got back home Friday night, though I had to ask someone what day it was, the desert will do that to ya. I it has been raining here like a hurricane— no joke and the power’s been out for an hour. Suddenly, the few candles I have don’t seem like enough.


Dream- The Teacher
I’m back in high school; sitting just a little to the rear of the middle of the room. Sitting to the left of me is a girl who understands me (she may be the only one) and cares about me a great deal because of that understanding. The teacher looks like the blond female in Boston Public.

The teacher is off to the right-front of where my desk is and people are getting up to hand in their homework before the cut-off time which is only a minute or so away. She says something and I yell out a smart-ass, but intelligent, reply which makes the class laugh. I have my homework sitting right in front of me but have no intention of handing it in— I have a bit of a rebellious streak and am angry about something but try to keep it to myself.

The teacher rebuts my remarks as she walks towards me. The girl to my left takes my homework and walks it up to the teacher’s desk for me while the teacher’s back is turned, even though it is technically too late to hand it in.

The teacher asks if I would like to say anything to her. Me and a black girl to my right try to make sure that the teacher does not turn around and see the other girl sneaking back to her desk. I tell the teacher that I would like to give my answer in private.

We walk into an empty room next door. I tell the teacher that I am sorry, that I know I’ve been a smart-ass and I don’t mean to be, that I’m just very unhappy. I am being sincere and honest. I ask her not to get the girl with my homework in trouble because she was just trying to help me.

We go back into the classroom, I sit down and the teacher goes to her desk and gets her ruler. She walks back towards me and then tells the girl to my left to put her hand out. I try to protest, that it’s my fault, but the teacher tells the girl again to put her hand out.

She does, but as the teacher winds up to hit her I stick my left hand out over hers at the last second. It hurts like hell but I don’t yell out— it actually turns out that she broke my hand but she doesn’t know this.

The next day I’m about thirty seconds late getting into class. I apologize as I take my seat but it falls on the deaf ears of the teacher. She walks up to my desk with her ruler and tells me to stand up and put out my left hand. I pull it out from behind my back where I’d been hiding it because it now has a white cast on it from being broken by her the day before.

The teacher is shocked when she realizes what she has done and what she is about to do.

I am madder than hell. The teacher tries to waffle out of whacking me, saying that she doesn’t need to hit me. She is realizing that I really tried to talk to her and she totally misjudged me, let me down.

I almost shout at her, “No! Justice must be done!” — her own words from the day before.

She taps me lightly and I yell at her to goddamned hit me so I can learn my lesson. The room is watching tensely. She hits me as hard as she did the previous day and I drop, just barely catching myself on my desk and standing back up before sitting down. I can hardly see my eyes are watering so hard from the pain.


14SEP01
My grandfather died Monday (9/10) morning. I think he died peacefully. My sister called me that evening to tell me. She was crying when I answered the phone and immediately I knew what had happened.

I felt bad because I didn’t cry. Honestly. I didn’t know how to feel. I knew it was coming but somehow that didn’t matter. I was sure that I sounded like an uncaring asshole, but the fact of it is—I had seen him only once in the last fourteen or so years. And even then, he didn’t recognize me. For all intents and purposes my sister might as well of called me up and told me that some Somalian had died.

I had meant to write of him that night, but by the time I got done working it was late and I’d only had one drink. Tomorrow, I figured. Little did I know that Rob would be calling me at 0750 telling me that our world had ended as we knew it.

*****

Grandpa died in his sleep. As far as I know, be believed he lived a good life. I don’t feel sorry for him. I want to celebrate him. The only way I know to do that is do what I’ve been doing all along— live the best life I know possible.

*****

There was a homeless man with a bicycle collecting cans in NY yesterday or today. He had an American flag stretched over the side of his bicycle. A photographer saw him and asked if he/she could take a picture. The man replied that he didn’t mind as he stepped out of the frame of the picture. The photographer said that he could be in the picture, to which the homeless man replied,

“No, that’s all right. I may be homeless, but I am an American.”

That to me is the greatest story. A man of no means who had nothing but his pride in his country and how he was connected to it. That man has nothing— but he has everything.


Her Saddest Dress

I will wear
my saddest dress
she said,
for the nights have become too long
too deep
and the days—
unbearably bright.
I will wear
my blackest dress
she said,
because people are incapable of seeing
the depths of my sorrow
that my words cannot
bridge the chasm
and happiness has become so commercial
and irresponsible.
I cannot cry
for the world’s woes
she said,
but
I can dress for the occasion—
and so I will
put on my saddest
dress
and wear it with all the slow, quiet, and profound dignity
of a dirge on a rainy autumn evening.


Wall of Shame- EP Notables and Unmentionables
I guess I should interject here that somehow, through no fault of my own, around this time I became a consultant/contractor in things security related; a bodyguard (Executive Protection) in the vernacular of the image-unconscious and those trying to impress drunken girls at the bar late in the evening. I didn’t set out to do this per se, though sometimes your career comes looking for you I guess. Should this be something you are thinking about doing, contact me and I will give you at least a million good reasons why it’s a bad idea— Kevin Costner wasn’t anywhere near the mark, just like he wasn’t in that fucking abomination of a goddamned lie of a movie Dances with Wolves. Let’s just remember that one of the first uses of WMD in the western hemisphere was by the US government against the American Indians.

That said, it’s a strange world that is probably little different than anything else, aside from the chance of people trying to kill you or your principle. The following, from two details that summer, should give you an idea of just how badly things can go wrong and just how easy it is to get on the long list— you don’t want to be on the long list, trust me. How do you know if you fucked up? The last question you will be asked is, “Aisle or window.” How do you know if you really fucked up? If they send you home on a bus. It happens.

Kissing the principle’s wife goodbye at the airport, in front of the principle.

Calling in to the CP that you are being tailed from your arrival at the airport.

Being chased by your partner, who is trying to get your attention, not recognizing him or his car, attempting to evade him, and reporting him to the CP as the completely opposite ethnicity.

Porn mags lying on the backseat of your car when you’re on residence watch at the CEO’s house.

Same car/guy smelling like about a dozen cats pissed in it…oh wait, there really is an explanation for this one.

Any incident which eventually becomes known and referred to as “The Piss Bottle Incident” or requires you to take your pants off and put your feet on the dash so you can blow the vent on your salty nuts.

Watching DVDs on residence watch post at night— hard on the night vision.

Running your battery dead in the car watching DVDs on residence watch post.

Having your surveillance burned by your own team member.

The “Big Roose”.

Showing up for work as if nothing’s happened after you’ve already been kicked off the detail.

“I was with “THE AGENCY”…” Sure you were buddy.

Professional dress that looks like you just got attacked by “Jack Tripper’s” closet.

Buying personal Christmas gifts for the principle and his family while part of a 20+ man detail.

“Coolbeanz”.

Starting off ANY conversation with, “I’ve been doing this since…or for X number of years.” Nobody gives a fuck, really. If you were actually that good, you wouldn’t have to point it out…or probably even be on this detail.

A strong “off-site” presence, i.e., in a hotel somewhere.

Ordering a meal for yourself and not the rest of the team, leaving your post unrelieved to eat it, all at the principle’s business party. Nothing like looking out for old number one. Hey buddy, help me help myself.

“Get yourself some breakfast and a late checkout…”

“You’re going to need these files, there in here…but don’t touch them!”

Having the night watch in the CP and hearing one of your residence watch agents on the AM radio talking to Art Bell about the viability of aliens.

Downloading porn no the company computer in the CP.

Leaving your penis-pump in the hotel room after you’ve been kicked off the detail.

The, interim, detail leader throwing his car keys under the rental car at some park because he didn’t feel like jogging with them and then they “disappeared”; leaving the detail down a vehicle.


02NOV01
I sat outside the Boys and Girls Club in the north parking lot. I sat in the backseat of the minivan with my binos; waiting for Romeo…or Sierra…or Tango…or anything— strange protection detail.

I watched a girl with short blond hair play some made up version of soccer with these kids and a golden retriever. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I thought about her in the following days I felt like I knew her. It wasn’t so much her looks that struck me, but the way she had interacted with the kids and the dog— she understood them…in a way I did not. She would understand me. And I’m afraid of wanting a “mother” to take care of me.

The woman who understands children and dogs will understand me.


Kool-Aid and the Unpardonable Sin, pt II
You sat at the little table in the kitchen— invisible. Your dad sat across from you, staring through you, jaw clenching and unclenching, eyes hard and burning.

Little of the mess had been cleaned up from the night before and you wished desperately you could do something about it.

You stared absentmindedly at the cup sitting on the edge of the table where your mother had so carefully set it down last night after drinking from it. You thought you could just faintly catch the waft of almonds and your nose wrinkled up

Your father snarled into the phone and you looked up quickly, afraid.

“What do you mean you’re going to need to keep her another night or two? She seemed fine to me when I was there earlier…yes, but….yes, but…I’m sure she’d be much more comfortable in her own home…well, I am her husband and I think…”

His voice faded back into the background as you tuned it out, but subconsciously monitored it. And suddenly, it all made perfect sense to you, crystal clear, scarily so— just where you fit in around here and what you meant, how you were perceived. Later on, you would describe the situation as FUBAR and, “utter bullshit,” though you were sure that, at that age, you couldn’t have known those words or even the concepts associated with them. Yet, you saw it all too clearly.

Your father, still on the phone, in parts arguing and manipulating, didn’t notice as you slowly reached across the table and slid the half-empty cup back towards you. He had just launched into, “And another thing…” when his mouth froze, eyes suddenly focused on you, and then the cup, half way to your lips. You froze, frightened, the deer in the headlights. Your brain screamed for you to down the drink but your body wouldn’t move.

“Oh no!” coming back to himself. “No, no, no! This isn’t going to be about you too!” His mouth kept moving but no more words came out.

Your mother came home that night, against the wishes of the doctors, you would later learn, and quietly made dinner. She was no longer a sense of safety for you though and you stayed in your room, curled up with your bear, hiding on the floor between the wall and your bed.

Your one chance at escape was gone and so you waited for the days to slowly, but too slowly, slip away.


Rendezvous

“I won’t see you
in the spring
or meet you in the summer…,”
he said.
“but in the fall…
when the long, lazy Indian summer days
give way to
slow drumming rain
on roof and window,
when lonely waves crash
onto empty beaches
beneath low, hurried gray skies,
and dirtied windowpanes
smudge the last, long rays
of setting autumn melancholy
across your napping, freckled smile;
then…
hidden in the safety of yesterday,
bounded by the insinuation of tomorrow
in a sly smirk,
and cloaked in the deepest, darkest night
will I see you again—
the face in my dreams,
that wistful look that has haunted me so,
drawn me across the waves
from out of the storm
and held me steady
in the midst
of my uncertainty
and doubt.”


Dream- Dis-ease
I’m back in the service, though which one I can’t say for sure— an officer

We’re at some base on an island somewhere but we’re getting ready to evacuate it. I am part of the rear-guard.

There is a female medical officer here also who I sense that I have some connection to but I’m not sure what it is. She is concerned about me ‘cause she knows I don’t say much but keep it inside instead.

She’s doing some kind of last minute medical screening of these young enlisted women, the service doesn’t trust them, which is why they’re being screened. One of them had removed a fertilized egg from a cat with an eyedropper and interested it into herself so that she would demonstrate the signs of pregnancy and be discharged.

There is something wrong with me, but I don’t know what it is. The medical officer also knows that something is wrong with me and although she isn’t sure what it is either, believes it to be life-threatening. She knows a medical procedure that will be able to determine what, if anything is wrong with me; it is highly dangerous though.

While she is preparing for the procedure I wander around the old, now-empty houses on the island, mentally preparing myself for what lies ahead— kinda like a samurai.

As I’m walking down the hill to her lab I can see the ocean over the tops of the palm trees. It is a deep, clear azure and the sun is setting. There is a little white dog that someone has left behind in the hurry to evacuate the place, a poodle I think. I wonder what will become of him. It makes me melancholic.

The officer straps me into the machine that will figure out what’s going on with me. The concern and care in her eyes is so strong that I can almost feel it protecting me from whatever is inside trying to kill me.

The kinda weird thing is that she knows that she’ll do everything possible to not let me die, but if I do, even though it will make her terribly sad, she’ll be happy that I’m not hurting anymore.

I wish like hell that I knew how to cure myself so that her eyes would sparkle and smile instead of trying to keep me from drowning. She understands this.

She kisses me on the forehead and squeezes me hand as she twists the wheel that starts the anesthesia flowing into my IV. Everything goes dark.

When I wake up, she’s cradling my head in her lap. I’m very weak. She is smiling at me.


15DEC01
It’s funny in a way, I guess, ironic for sure. All these years— the friend I’ve tried to be, the demons I’ve tried to keep at bay…I’ve found myself in such a place where I’ve lied so well to everyone that no one knows who I am. And on top of that, nobody needs me here (except for the Possum, but she’s got no thumbs)— everyone already has someone looking out for them. And none of them live a crazy life like I do, none of them understand, nobody knows.


07DEC02
Got home late Wednesday night. Spent the last three days recovering from a three-week cold and getting my affairs in order and my place cleaned up, should be finished by Monday at the latest. Haven’t been pushing too hard, playing a lot of Xbox. The place is starting to come together and it feels really fucking good to be home.

I rolled out of here something like 14MAY02 and have been home twice since for a total of six days— two in JUN and four in NOV.

I’ve been listening to all the CDs I couldn’t take with me and drinking, god I’ve missed the music, and just being in my place, my space.

Spent Thanksgiving in Jax with the family. Normally my favorite holiday but this year I wasn’t that interested/involved and spent most of my time lying on the floor channel surfing for a show/movie that would take me away for an hour or two. I was feeling pretty bad about my lack of involvement with the family unit when it occurred to me, after some though, I am just goddamned worn out. In seven months I worked approximately 2,100 hours and attended some 300 hours of training. No fucking wonder I’m sick and tired. I’m beat and need a break.


Danballah

“I don’t know what happened,”
he said,
“can’t explain it,
this feeling of something missing,”
as he stood perplexed
at the crossroads.
But in truth
the umbra of his soul
had long ago departed
for sunnier climes
and he now spent his days
stumbling through a shadow
that would not end
nor be explained.


03JAN03
Spent Christmas by myself this year— by choice. Had been working so much the last six months I was just burnt out and not in the holiday spirit at all. Didn’t want to dampen the spirits of the family.

But it occurred to me again— first time was that first Christmas I spent in Denver I think— that there are people who don’t have anyone thinking about them or missing them. Certainly there are those who are estranged from friends and loved ones; but there are people who have no one. If they died tonight no one would miss them, no one would know they were gone, no one would care.

How do you go from day to day without the support net of knowing that there is someone out there whose heart you fill a special place in? How do you keep on living? Why would you even want to?

I don’t know. That’s what I was thinking about and it made me terribly sad.

*****

Two or three weeks ago, Shane took me to some party at a friend of his. During the drive back Shane is talking about how he is just enjoying himself meeting women and having a good, though not necessarily intimate time.

I asked him, “How can you trust your heart?”

And what I meant by that was— when you are so lonely…let me rephrase that, when you have been lonely long enough (even though you are probably more well-adapted to being alone than most people and enjoy your space) that you are not interested in “dating” people for fun, but meeting someone of a similar nature/attraction/compatibility and cutting out the bullshit, how do you differentiate between what your eyes find favorable and hope fits the bill and what you are really looking for?

I am not interested in sport dating a number of women. First off, my professional life isn’t really conducive to it, and second, I’m just not interested. For some people it is the chase— I fear that I have lost that romantic part of myself. For reasons that I am not sure of (or am I?) I want to meet a dame who can’t stand me, who I keep running into through no fault of my own, who becomes my friend and ultimately we fall in love.

So how do I converge what I have just said with what I have written? My eyes/heart would have chasing after every third or so woman and I don’t have the time nor inclination, or wisdom for such things. Sadly, I get the feeling that I want to find my soul mate much as one shops for cars or a good suit and not as one who is wildly gripped by the fist of love.

I have always fancied myself a bit of a romantic but it definitely seems to me that that part of me was cut out of my psyche some time ago.


Evil Heart

And my heart
lies in wait
for me
round every corner
— evil trickster.
How can you tell
the heart
no?

Dream— Losing my Self
It is WWII again, only different. This time the Japanese fleet was attacking the east coast, up around New York or somewhere. They had a huge fleet with four carriers. The US, through its isolationist policy, did not have anything that could effectively counter their naval threat. Things were looking very grim for the US and the only thing standing between us and a Japanese invasion is three or four squadrons of outdated dive-bombers (Dauntless). As the Japanese fleet neared the coast, the squadrons took to the sky to meet the foe. At altitude, the sky is such beautiful shades of light and deep blue with white tinges from scattered clouds that compliments the deep blue-green of the ocean. These colors are as close as you could possibly come to Aristotle’s “perfect image”. It damn near made you want to cry.

The squadrons of dive-bombers, in formation, bank and roll over onto their targets; they are all killed to the last man. Somehow though, they manage to annihilate the Japanese fleet— their sacrifice is supreme.

Scene shift—

I’m following someone I know very well, intimately— someone I believe to be a higher (or deeper) Self— down this kinda astral-like lane. It actually looks like we’re under the ocean. Again, the colors are just beautiful, beyond words. As I’m’ following him we’re going deeper and deeper and we’re jumping over these chasms; from coral reef to coral reef and everything is slowed down and fluid, like we’re underwater. We’re talking about stuff as we go, but I’m not sure exactly what about. I said something like, “I wish I could’ve done more.”

And he says that there was nothing nobler than their deaths/sacrifice (meaning the men of the dive-bomber squadrons). It doesn’t make me feel any better though. It’s getting deeper as we go and darker and colder, the pressure is also growing as is the distance between the coral reefs/chasms.

I stop but my Self doesn’t. I yell out, “I can’t go anymore. I’m turning back.” He yells something in reply but I don’t remember what. As I turn around I can see myself in this pane, as if through a huge window. I’m standing in a hotel lobby with red carpet; behind me a bellhop is getting my luggage together— I’m checking out. As my other Self continues on and deeper I can feel him growing heavier and heavier and his hand is slipping out of mine. I think he calls out to me, asking me not to let go, but as he does so I can’t hold onto him and his hand slips from my fingers and he’s gone. I can see the other me, in the hotel, struggling and trying to keep a poker face— not letting the desk lady see the horror that I’m feeling.


Betwixt

He slogged through
the isthmuses
of his mind
just as leery of
the dry beckoning
land
as he was of the
deep-blue unplumbed depths
of the Sea
to his left.


04APR03
Shane,
Somewhere, off in the distance, unseen but still felt is that uneasiness, that grokking, that sense that you could be a better man, a better person— only admitted to in the deepest throes of a three-day rum binge or particularly dark nights.

Here’s to trying to bridge today and tomorrow, to the restless soul, and occasionally busting rotten wine-heads in da mout.

Happy Birthday you bastard,


01JUN03
Two weeks ago or so, it hits me all of a sudden, that I am not happy right now. It finally sunk in how much of a personal life I have sacrificed in pursuit of my professional one. And not that that sacrifice is totally unwarranted, only that it now has become glaringly obvious during this slump in work.

I have good friends here in CO but I don’t have the full compliment of the ones I need and none of the ones I should have with only a partial allotment. It’s not only that though, I have lost touch with the mystery of life— which is no one’s fault by my own. I am not living the life I envisioned myself in, this spot/position.


Dream— Manipulative Girl and Girl on Crutches
This dream just jerked me awake in terror in the middle of the night, somewhere around 0200 I think. There’s a lot here, though I’m not totally sure how it starts.

This guy, girl (who has the flavor of Gwen) and I are out in this park on our way to play some baseball. There is one backstop open off to the right. I’m pitching and fielding, this (strange) guy is hitting and Gwen is watching. Off to the left-ish is another backstop/diamond and there is an actual game going on there. Unfortunately, the two fields overlap somewhat and there is some animosity on the part of the other team because we are not actually playing a real game, yet taking up some of their field.

A line drive flies out into left field close enough to almost hit me. I start to stick up my glove out to catch it but pull back at the last second. The left fielder is pissed as hell and gives me a dirty look; I’m not sure if it’s ‘cause of where I’m at or because I didn’t interfere and catch the ball.

Scene shift—

The girl who has the flavor of Gwen is up on the first landing of one of these old, iron fire escapes with the guy who was hitting balls earlier— reminds me of a cat who was sent to CO’s mast at NMITC for impersonating an FBI agent, I forget his name. Anyway, I’m hanging like you do from the monkey bars and right above me is my very good friend who kinda looks like the Raul, a kid from grade school.

I am just dumb-happy, obliviously swinging/hanging from the rungs of this fire escape. Gwen-flavored girl and this other kid are behind and above me where I can’t see them; Raul is in front, above, and to the left of me. To his left is a huge bunch of concrete stairs/steps and he is making preparations to attempt to leap down to them. I see him but what he’s about to do doesn’t sink in.

He turns to me and says, “Dude, please stop me! Don’t let me jump! I can’t stop myself!”

I have no clue what he’s talking about. I follow his gaze and look behind myself. Right now I am dumb as shit—the stereotypical “big, dumb guy.” Behind us on the landing, the other guy is standing outside the railing facing back towards us; Gwen-flavored girl is standing facing him. In slow motion, she pushes him and watches him fall eight feet or so to the black asphalt alley below, where he lands safely.

At this point it finally sinks in exactly what is going on. Raul used to be Gwen-flavored girl’s boyfriend but this girl uses people (up), like toys, to make herself feel good. She knows that she can manipulate any man to her will and they are simply toys to be played with and then discarded when they are broken for something new. She is so capricious, so cruel, so pitiless that it makes you cringe.

The kid doesn’t merely jump from the landing; the girl actually pushes him— with the biggest fucking smile on her face. In this one, split-second, I totally realize what is going on.

She had been dating Raul but it had gotten old for her; of course Raul has given himself totally to her (which just fed her “control” ego). Now she is looking for someone new— testing this other kids’ bravery and ability to be controlled by her. She knows that she can’t lose because neither this guy nor Raul will say no and one of them will be hurt trying to outdo the other to impress her. She is like the cruel cat that plays with its victim before biting its head off.

So this kid lands safely in the alley and Raul is pleading with me to stop him because he realizes the web he’s caught in, and yet he knows he’s powerless to stop himself. Before I can stop him, he leaps down this flight of stairs in an effort to outdo the other kid and thereby win back the attention of the Gwen-flavored girl.

Raul clears the stairs and lands at the bottom of them, just as he’d hoped. However, he snaps both shins/ankles in the process. He’s lying at the bottom of these stairs in this huge puddle of blood, more than there should be, not moving. I run down to him screaming. There is this guy riding his motorcycle in the street that sees Raul and almost crashes it, in shock, while trying to call an emergency unit.

I don’t help Raul but run back up the stairs screaming at onlookers to call for help. A small series of onlookers has gathered around but not a single one tries to help Raul. I run back down towards him. To my right is a set of concrete steps going down. Standing on top of them is a girl on crutches. I am madder than hell that not a single person has the compassion to help Raul. As I run past the girl on crutches I give her a horrific shove and she falls down the steps to the bottom where her head makes a sound like a ripe melon being hit with a bat. Blood pours out in all directions from her fractured head and I know she is dead. I feel horrible because I know that I was wrong to be angry at her— there was nothing she could do but still I try to justify what I’ve done…

And that’s all I remember. I woke up screaming, but I’m not sure if it’s because what the Gwen-flavored girl did or because of what I did.


Be-Going

I’m trapped somewhere
tonight.
Somewhere between
where I am
where I was
and I don’t know how
to make my way
to either.
It’s a strange life
I’ve lived
and the Ocean
doesn’t always smile.
All I’ve ever wanted
was to live
in that moment
that you knew
you could never hang onto, prolong
the friends, the places
the times
how can you
hang on?
No-body wants
to be-come
only to-be—
as if life were
a black and white photo
a moment
never to-be lost
never to-be outgrown.
The future would be
so much more
promising
if not haunted
by the memory
of the past.
To transcend time
(and screw space)
to bring those thousand
precious moments together
into the One
grand party—
my god!
Then how we would dance.

Dream— How I Became the Trapped Genie
There were people dancing around in this great big dirt square— kinda country-like. A big fair-type thing was going on and this was where the people were coming to dance. The dance was very structured with all kinds of intricate steps; seemed that mostly older folks were dancing.

Then the music changed and the old guy who was kinda DJing the thing goes, “Oh no, when they play this kind of music/song Rock shows up.” Sure enough, almost immediately this car that looks more like a big boulder than a car screeches up and this guy who looks like he believes he is cool swaggers out.

I was kinda excited myself when the music changed because it was music that I would dance to— the kinda music you could get a good pit going with. As it turns out, this is exactly Rock’s thing, only he likes to throw people around as well— he grabs me and throws me over his shoulder. I land on my back. Not to be outdone/intimidated by this guy, I get up and grab him in the front and flip him over my shoulder/back. ((Note- Very similar to the Polynesian myth of Maui competing with Mahu-ika in a tossing contest for possession of fire as told in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, pg. 182-5)

After that, I kinda wandered away from the whole dance thing and things in the dream start to shift and change in subtle ways so it’s still the same dream but the focus has changed though there is still a logical continuity, thread that holds them together that I will never be able to explain.

It’s still some type of fair on these acres of flat land and now I’m more or less walking NW through parking lots and I wind up somehow in a car dealer’s lot. For some reason I’m curious about what kind of trade-in value Mr. Jeep has (hit 70,000 miles on the odometer on Sunday) so I wind up talking to this sales man. I’m describing the Jeep to him but he wants to go see it. All of a sudden I’m protective of Mr. Jeep, I don’t want this shyster to see him and I tell him that I’m parked waaay to the south (even though I’m not) in an effort to discourage him. He says he doesn’t mind the distance, that he really wants to see this Jeep. I think about taking him to this other parking lot and just showing him the first Jeep I see; but I think, what if he wants to get inside?

I end up taking him to see my real Jeep and he walks around it, all hmmms…and such. He never does ask to get inside. So we’re walking back through this swamp and he is just as happy about my Jeep as he can be. He tells me, “Don’t worry if you don’t have enough money, if you’re several thousand short they’ll hook you up.”

Anyway, on our way back to the dealership we’re getting into an area that I had previously avoided, the starting of the swampy area, because I could not see a way out of it— almost a one-way labyrinth you could say (see House of Leaves). The salesman seems totally unawares of what we’re getting into.

I end up leading us through this maze. We work our way from hummock to hummock in the swamp, winding this way and that— the only way really; and for some reason you cannot turn back. Finally I lead us out of the swamp, climbing out of it onto a scree of big boulders which eventually leads us to this large, walled compound that looks like its right out of Arabian Nights. It’s kinda like we’re trying to get from where we’re at back to the dealership by cutting through this Arabian site; kinda like taking the shortcut home by cutting through your neighbor’s back yards/fences.

There are several openings through this fence-like thing but at closer scrutiny, only one of them is big enough to pass through. This happens at least twice more. All the time you can see exactly where you’re trying to get to, which keeps you going, but it’s actually only keeping your hopes up and off guard., drawing you deeper into the trap.

These openings that the salesman and I can squeeze through are actually leading/funneling us— they were designed with the purpose to lead us into the killing zone. As I crawl through the last fence-type opening I emerge into a wide, dirt space; the wall still in front of me, but some distance away, opens up and these knights on horses come charging out with lances leveled. I don’t know how many there were, seven or thirteen seems to stick in my head. Immediately I see that if I dash straight to my left, I can make it to where I can get out of this fucking place before the knights get to me. I start running, yelling at the salesman to do likewise. Several strides later though, I know he has been too slow getting through the opening and that even though he is sprinting after me he will not make it.

As I’m running towards safety, another wall, now in front of me, drops and about six knights with lances come charging out. Christ, I think, now I’m fucked! Somehow I manage to slip between the lances of the six knights in front of me. One wheels his mount back to recharge and I somehow manage to wrest his lance away from him, killing him, and holding the tip to the throat of the leader.

Here, everything paused and a powerful genie appears saying that since I have slain/bested him he is now released from the confines of this place and I have supplanted him, taken his place and that I will be trapped there forever unless I can lure someone in who is capable of killing me to free me. I will lure as many as I possibly can, killing most, hoping that one can kill me and free me.

Pilgrim’s Illumination

I am on the way
we are on the way
I am the way
there is no way
I are we
Irie!


Dream— Buffy the Vampyre Slayer
I am fighting this battle against bad people and I am getting my ass kicked, not that I am a bad fighter but I’m in over my head. I am following Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is wading through her foes easily. I am in love with her and am following behind her trying to get ahead of her so I can do my knightly duty and protect her from evil.

The fact is, that while she is easily fighting our foes, I am fighting for my life and getting my ass kicked in the process. Eventually, she realizes what is happening and comes back for me— saving me in the process. She then feels really guilty for not understanding how I feel about her and for leaving me almost to die.

She is love with me and so much more because I followed her into a place I could/would never go on my own to try to protect her. She is at once my protector and nursing me back to health.

She is a headstrong, independent woman who respects that I— foolhardily— followed her into her nightmare in order to be there for her. I can’t save her, I know this, but I’m willing to die trying anyway. Ultimately, she has to save me from myself but is touched by my concern because my heart is in the right place.


Muse

Whatever spirit moved me
to put these words to paper
has moved on
like a breath escaping a body…
and I will write of it
no longer.


Bitter/Sweet Tears

Sitting in the lazy warmth
of a late afternoon sun
my tears don’t seem to taste as bitter
or as sweet
as they once did—
and all that’s left
is the dull ache
of a rest without peace
and days long past-
which feels just about right
I guess

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