Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Am Bisexual

I am confused, but I am pretty sure I am bisexual, if not fully gay. Maybe most of you already knew this, but in case there has been doubt, I must be clear about my feelings. I feel guilty for sharing, but I have no choice if I want to survive. I have kept my sexuality hidden for a very long time, so long that and I often feel as if I am dying, or that I am already dead. There has been a part of me that I have hated my entire life, that has been poisoned, that has in turn destroyed every attempt I have made at having an intimate relationship.

I cannot continue refusing to be open about who I am, at least as far as I am able. It saddens me that my sharing will hurt so many of you, but I simply do not know what else to do. Please forgive me for the pain my words may bring, but I want to live, and to do that, I must be honest.

At several times in my life, I have wondered about my sexuality and considered being open about my feelings. Each time I would freeze up. Each time the same questions would come: Was I just saying that I was bisexual for effect? Was I simply rebelling for the sake of rebellion? Was I just trying to be trendy? Was I trying to please someone, lure them into liking me? Being willing to do whatever sexual act so that someone would love me?

I cannot answer these questions. Perhaps the answer to all of them is yes. At this moment, I feel like I am somewhere else writing about someone else. Maybe I am not far from another hospitalization. I don't know. I hope not.

I have loved and do love women but having sex has always been a challenge, a challenge that I most often overcame through the use of drugs. I do know that there are several men that I would like to kiss; not just a brush of the lips, but a passion-filled, open-mouthed, romantic kiss. Would there ever be more than that? That, I do not know.

For some reason, the world of relaxed and loving sex has been closed to me for my entire life. How and when the lock was put on the gate to sexual pleasure I do not know. I hope that someday it will be opened. I pray that it will be. But I am pretty sure that it cannot open unless I am as honest as possible. If I cannot find a path to the warmth of intimacy, I can live a life of celibacy. I have a lot of practice. But even if I am celibate, I must admit my feelings and desires openly. Otherwise, I will live a life of lies and darkness.

Somewhere in my mind a voice screams at me to not post this letter. It says, “How can you be so selfish? Why do you want to hurt those that love you? You should be ashamed of yourself.” I am ashamed. I do feel selfish. I do not want to hurt those that love me. That is at the root of my problem. I feel as if all of my life I have been asked to kill a part of myself in order to avoid hurting those I love. When I think on this dilemma, my despair can become so great that I consider ending things.

Today, I will use the strength I learned from my Father to push myself away from that precipice. I use his strength and courage to share the truth, even though sharing it must hurt him and the rest of my family. Sharing in order to survive is better than the alternative. I am your son, Holland Hankins, and I love both men and women. I am your brother, Keith Hankins, and I am bisexual. I am your brother, Michael Hankins, and I love who I love.

Where things go from here I do not know. Maybe I will find it easier to be who I am. Perhaps some of you will read my note and spare me the pain of having to tell each of you individually. If you do read it, let me know. And, if you can find it in your heart to love me as I am, let me know that too.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Antony and the Johnsons

The following was written while listening to Antony and the Johnsons. It is not their fault.

You sing to me of fading light and weeping. A Jewish ghetto clarinet weaves through your words, transforming persecution's pain into tragic beauty that beats out a dance of joyous love. Quavering voice of ecstasy, you dream transcendentally of times that never are before you descend to earthy desire.

If you want me. If you need me. If you love me. Grip my heart with romance's voice incarnate - carry me where you want me to go. I can be what you wish me to be. I can be what I barely see from the grave of leaves fallen from that hated oak whose shade has kept me from the sun. Together, we will march into the day. Chanticleers drinking dubonnet, in a duet of desire.

Pounding rhythm. Staccato words. Pause for drama to enter. Follow this with booming orchestra. Repeat. And repeat yet again. The sense of your words overcome by the magic of your sound. Brave singer. My love. My love. Please be the one to reach within and release that which lives behind copses none have ever breached.

Sea sounds flow from your crystalline piano. You weep at the window. Somewhere in the distance I hear low thunder. Rising over it your Gothic voice rends the castle's curtains with its polished black nails to let in the blue light between day and night. Below, the ocean's waves crash on beaches of slate. Your tears fluoresce and fade, leaving me to wonder if they ever were there.

Waltz over a black river, but not the Styx. Find me a path past this sadness by diving deeper into it. Dive in and taste the bitter wave, savoring each bilious gulp. Then. Then. Oh yes, then soaring up with an angels' joy transform anthracite into diamond. Make the blackness gleam so brightly that it pushes all darkness away.

Enough of tears. Enough of romance. So much emotion, so much self absorbtion, so much dreaming and longing. Silliness. Rapture is a lie. Hope but a mermaid waiting to die on reality's rocky shore. How dare you sing and play such a dangerous game.

Now there's something different. Violin and growls. Your heart is broken. Good. Damn you. Break it again. Weak willed, you must be the pansy to the roughneck's anger. You are but a flower crushed beneath a heavy heeled boot. Your false promise of glory revealed in all its plainness – a bog not a boon. Still, much as I try I cannot shake the haunting wail you leave behind.

Very well then. Goodbye to manliness. You do hold my heart in your hands. Let the rapture in. Let us begin again, passion's dance. Life holds up. Love bears up our souls, even though they do not exist. The feelings rouse us. Amazement breaks forth to live again.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Disco Jibber Jabber

Sometimes I write jibberish to clear my head. Today's entry was written while listening to the group LMFAO. It is not the group's fault if none of this makes sense or is offensive. I accept full responsibility. Peace

Written While Listening to LFMAO's Album: Sorry For Party Rocking
Can't beat the thought out of your mind into mine. Wonder where you sitting on this back-beat rhythm we talking 'bout today? Would say I'm sorry, but that would only make you worry. Leading off to singing. Can you hear my song a ring ding dinging? What the funk? You can't be drunk again, can you? Yes. You be one of them kind. Left so far behind, they can't find a way to the here in now anyhow. So what? So fucking what? Never left and never will. You sing the song and I dance the beat.
Light shines in, tearing a hole within. You lose your mind, even though you never had one to find. So leave it then. Let the hand guide you to the soft within. You're hard without no doubt. Suck. Lick. Bounce. Bite. Swing low and rise up again. Shake that head and leave it beside the bed. Drive it in. Find out then, how deep it takes to make you weep. And yeah, oh yeah. Go on and smile for a mile on that road we never been on before.
I smell the slick on your skin. Who can say what might begin? Scenes in my head toss me into your bed. I slide in the dark. Lookin' for a place to park. This heart. Silly jibber jabber, I reach out and grab ya'. The red on your lip, the nip of your tit - bounce and grip me in swivel ass disco. I slide to the slit and drive to the hilt. Then we feel it. Undulation situation. Sweaty butterfly, you stutter to your flutter the moment I drain away. Lightening wired we move past tired. The beat inside will not be denied. We grind the sheets with a disco beat till the DJ has nothing left to say.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Red Poppy Boogy

The Red Poppy Boogy

The Serenity Mint leaves just a hint,
Of a time both near and far.
When this gray Granddaddy,
Knew how to be happy
Chasing fireflies with a jar.
So, smoke the smoke and write the line.
Please, Mother Nature, just a little more time.
The Red Poppy Boogy makes me sway and dance.
Makes me toss these blues for one last chance,
For a freedom that's all mine.
So I asked Jake to breakfast,
To see how time's passed;
Between me and place long gone,
A something I lost that seventies September,
A shadow of a place called home.
So, smoke the smoke and write the line.
Please, Mother Nature, just a little more time.
The Red Poppy Boogy makes me sway and dance.
Makes me toss these blues for one last chance,
For a freedom that's all mine.
Do these lights really shine?
Or are they just moonbeams?
Do they lead to a new time?
Or just yesterday's dreams?
So, smoke the smoke and write the line.
Please, Mother Nature, just a little more time.
The Red Poppy Boogy makes me sway and dance.
Makes me toss these blues for one last chance,
For a freedom that's all mine.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Pomposity

Si, Se Puede

I had a wonderful day with my daughter yesterday. I have hurt her many times by referring to her as my “adopted” daughter. She offered to change her name to mine at one point. I did not respond to her. It is only now that I see how much this must have hurt her. Such is the way of Fatherhood I guess. Such is the way of being human. At least that is how it has been for me.

I think part of the problem has to do with the idea of “ownership” (a concept wonderfully explored in the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes by the way). Whenever I refer to someone as “my” this, or “my” that I can easily fall prey to the belief that I have some special title or right over them. When carried to the extreme, I can quickly see myself as having a right to tell them what they “should” or “should not” do. When I think like this, I must be careful, I risk hurting those I claim to love. As I reflect on it, I have often been about as careful as a tap dancing elephant.

MY daughter, MY wife, MY country, MY life; in each case, the word MY both comforts and frightens me. I am comforted by the security of ownership, the idea that I can claim to special care and comfort via legal property rights. On the other hand, I am driven to the brink of insanity by the thought that I must somehow control and direct the person or thing owned, or that I, I alone, am responsible for their care and well being. Clearly, I do not own the one called my daughter, or the one I once called my wife and I certainly do not own the ground upon which I walk. This last is a particularly ridiculous idea to me, since the ground is billions of years old, and I will only be here a few seconds by comparison.

Sometimes I am not plagued by this dilemma of “ownership”. I sense that none of us “own” anything, that all of us are part of one incredibly complex and beautiful whole, and that I have been granted the gift of being here but for a short time to enjoy life and all that it has ofter. I remember to show gratitude and respect, ever seeking to understand my life as being be a part of, rather than apart from the nature's wonders. I rejoice in the gift of life and know that nature neither understands nor obeys humans' claim of dominion. I can wryly point to a hurricane's refusal to respect property lines as but one example of nature's blindness to our laws.

At other times, I am blind to any adverse consequences of believing that I own something or someone. I am not speaking of the issue of slavery, that dark stain and its insidious stepchildren - racism and bigotry are no longer welcome in my mind (although they have lived there in the past, and still beg for guest appearances on the stage of my thoughts). No matter how hard I try, I have and often still do fall prey to those little everyday dreams of ownership: my father “owes” me perpetual financial support; my daughter owes me perpetual respect no matter what I do; my wife or loved one, “owes” me love despite my refusal, or inability to act in a lovable fashion; on, and on, and on.

I experience great relief when I am able to lay down the weight of ownership, if only for a short time. I do love my toys. I do love to travel. But these can become burdensome and wearing to the point of destroying me if I turn them into an expectation about what I am “owed” or what is “owed” by me. Sometimes I despair...ah, hell, let me be honest, I often despair at the greed and chains of ownership I have picked up over the years. I despair at the expectations (I imagine?) others sometimes have of me, before they will grant me their friendship and love. There are days when the world seems to scream at me, telling me it owns me, that it owns my very life and how I must live it - “care for me and prevent me from harm or you are a failure”, “do not be bisexual – you are evil”, “believe in my god or go to hell”, “give me sex and money or 'dance'/do these things for me or I will not love you” and then, there is the most hurtful and difficult ownership demand of all, “hate these people and kill them or, I will hate and kill you.”

Yesterday, at lunch, around 2 pm in Chili's I wept like a child from the pain of all this fear and hatred, at what it is doing to me, at what it had done to my daughter, at what it will do to my granddaughter and grandson. I remembered that I was supposed to “be a man” and not weep and the tears came faster still. I reflected on the fact that my daughter and I likely were sexually abused as children. This came about in no small part, because of the idea that parents own their children, that they have a right to treat them however they see fit even if this means telling the child they are born “evil”, that they have no right to their own sexuality, that they are, in fact, nothing more than the extension of their parent's dreams – be a football player, be a ballerina, be this, be what I could not be so that I may live on in you after I die. Immortality, that is what in the end I seek with my ownership obsession. Immortality through my children, my legacy, my namesakes. I give more thought to my lineage than I do my children. How sad.

I share about child abuse, not to harm anyone. I do not blame anyone. What was done was done out of ignorance. But, I must face and admit to myself that it was done, or else I will never be able to move past it. I must say it publicly for the sake of those who do not dare speak of it. I must say it for the sake of my grandchildren, even if speaking of these things hurts many people whom I love dearly.

There are moments, like the one I feel as I write this, that I do not know if I can go on, that I am torn between too many choices. That the world insists that I hate and judge others (and myself) in order to even deserve to exist, do I: Hurt one group of people I love deeply in order to perhaps stop future pain on the part of my grandchildren?, Hurt my straight friends by supporting myself and my gay friends?, Hurt friends of a particular faith by not participating in it with them?, Hurt people in general by using too many resources?, Hurt atheists, and be denied membership for not being a “true” atheist and attacking my religious friends?, Sully the clarity of science by clinging to my love of poetic expression? Hurt the world by not making maximum use of the talent given to me?

I do not have the answer. I swear I do not. If someone tells me I must have the faith that one will come, that there is an unseen being taking care of me, I believe the end will surely come very quickly. I have been down that path many, many times. It leads to the hospital more surely than any other. But I should not be so hasty, perhaps, just perhaps, that is where I belong. Maybe with enough Thorazine, Melaril and Haldol the questions will disappear. Perhaps, I will meet a kind nurse there. Someone who will give me a book and pencil to write and draw with. Someone who will... But screw that, I will do all in my power to stay out of the hospital, I will not give those who hate me, or simply cannot follow me on my writing and talking tirades, any more satisfaction. May the haters and greedy ones be hospitalized, it is their turn. Whoops. There I go, being hateful and judgmental again.

As I said, I do not have the answer. Perhaps, with kindness, one will come. If a network, or group of people is coordinating and trying to help, perhaps they will have the decency to say so. Perhaps, if there is a supreme being, he will have the courtesy to undertake a press tour to introduce himself, and not hide like some wizard behind a curtain. I will play the Tin Man, if the curtain may be pulled.

For now, I will breathe. For now, I will sit and watch the patterns on my wall, television (even the cartoons), is too annoying these days. For now, in the words of Cesar Chavez, a real native American, “Si. Si, se puede.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Gay Tiger

The Gay Tiger

by Dale S. Hankins

I am gay. I am bi. I am hetero. I am me. I claim the right to use my sex as I see fit. I claim the right to be kind in the face of anyone's hatred of me. I claim the right to consider others feelings without being ruled by them. I claim the right to be free.

Others may restrict my actions, may take from me my freedom, may take from me the breath I now breathe. They cannot take my passion. They cannot take away my thoughts. They cannot take my imagination without killing the mind where it lives. And then what? They will be staring at my death. I will be here no longer. I will be free while they remain waiting for their wolves to tear the flesh from their bones.

Some say my hopes are but illusion. Perhaps that is true. Very well, then. I will elucidate the illusion. I will inhabit the dream. Follow me. Step outside. I am the girl, and the boy. I am the original dance between the two.

Always it has been so. Always. Always. I was caught between in the to and fro of sex before I was born, before I could see. I have no choice but to accept it. I must also accept the gift of talent given to me. To refuse the cups offered me is to die. I will sip and become both man and woman. I will believe what some have said – that I write with great beauty, that my art is inspiring, that it can be wonderful to be near me. I have turned away from these thoughts in the past, turned away from them, not wanting to harm or hurt anyone with the light some said they saw in my eyes, not wanting to see either jealousy or competition arise.

But what if the wings themselves are ilusion? Doubt within doubt surrounds me.

Some friends will hate me for making the changes I need to make. Many who are not friends already hate me simply for being who I am. I fear their hatred, but what am I to do? Shall I continue trying to be who they would have me be? Or, will I stand away from them as I grow new wings?

Why is there this pulling in my heart? Why is there this longing for being something I have never been? Silly questions these. These are the times when I must choose. I live and try something new, or I die.

I try to put the bi-sexual nature of me out of my mind. I put it on a shelf and stop thinking about it, just as I did for years, ever since I was teased for singing and for liking the color purple. But it will not stay put anymore.

At times I hate myself for even thinking of having sex. I am horribly embarrassed to bring it up in conversation, hiding my shyness with false bravado. Please save me from this. Please. Please.

I would pray, but there is no one there. And, if the God of the people of the book is there, he hates me for being who I am. I hope that life will find a path for me through this vale of tears. But, if it cannot, I will kiss the final breath that gives me release from the pain of feeling hated and ashamed for existing. Life is precious. Life is beautiful. I would keep it if I am able. But I cannot keep it unless I find a way to live honestly as who I am.

Others already are angry and upset with my behavior. I am feeling and being scandalous in their eyes. In mine, I simply am trying to survive. Take all of my money. Take all of my possessions. Take my life, if you must, but recognize I am just trying to find a way to live.

A year or more ago I wrote of a dream that I would find a people who accepted me and took me in. I wrote it looking out at the sun, coming up over the meadow that I no longer have the right to see. The sun filled me with hope that my dream, my dream, of writing for my life and finding beauty there would come true; that I would find a people that fully accepted me and loved me. The writing frightened me. I put it away and I can no longer find it. It saddens me that this is so.

Never mind. Never, never mind. I will stand again. I stand and sing these pages this morning.

When I share this with someone, they will caution me to moderate the heart that beats wildly within me. I will try to oblidge. I will fail. The tiger is unleashed. He will be caged no longer. His stripes will be seen, or he will tear apart me and my world.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Train Of I Don't Know

Felt blue. So I wrote.

The Train Of I Don't Know

Help me. I don't know if I can last much longer,” Branson said.

Susan looked at him cautiously. “Help you with what babe?”

He lay back on the bed. “I don't know. I really don't.”

What is it?” She said.

I just can't find...”

She moved closer and took his hand in hers. “Find what?”

Find a way to make love without being high.”

So,” she laughed, “Get high, who cares? Who's watching?”

I am,” he said. “I'm always watching.”

They were in a tiny room on the sixth floor of the Hotel Lennox, in Paris. The aroma of fresh bagets floated up from the street, up past curtains fluttering in the summer breeze. Sweat dripped from a nipple to her thigh. It ran in a river down his chest. There was little about the scene to indicate the trauma inside Branson's head.

She pushed him back on the bed. He closed his eyes, an automaton. Not wanting to be here, he thought back to when he had read the symptoms of child abuse.

  1. Difficulty with becoming aroused and feeling sensations – Check.

  2. Sex feels like an obligation – Check.

  3. Sexual thoughts and images that are disturbing – Check.

  4. Inappropriate sexual behaviors or sexual compulsivness – Check.

  5. Vaginal pain – a big NA on that one.

  6. Inability to achieve orgasm or other orgasmic difficulties – Check, often.

  7. Erections problems or ejaculatory difficulty – Check, sometimes.

  8. Feeling dissociated while having sex – Check.

  9. Detachment or emotional distance while having sex – Check.

  10. Being afraid of sex or avoiding sex – Check.

  11. Guilt, fear, anger, disgust or other negative feelings when being touched – a big double check on that one.

Sarah slid over with a spliff the size of a carrot. He took a big hit, held it in.

Little puffs of smoke rose up as he said, “That's better. Thanks babe.”

He held the smoke in until his lungs felt raw. He exhaled and looked at his face in the mirrored doors by the bed. Blood red eyes, pudgy, cellulite dimples on his ass, pretty disgusting all right. But he was hard as iron once again.

Sarah smiled as he entered her. The heat of him melted her plans of playing coy. She raised her legs as high as possible, while he rocked back and forth. After a few moments, he stood on his knees. He turned her over and lifted her ass, exposing the peach slit between the cheeks. He rubbed hs penis against the warm moistness of her before thrusting deep.

She pushed back against him. “Faster, faster. Oh yes, fuck me babe. Fuck me.”

The slap of his thighs against her ass drove him to madness. He thrust ever faster until he collapsed on top of her, pushing her down into the sheets. She came moments after he released himself between her legs.

That didn't seem like someone who has a problem with sex,” she said.

But, that wasn't me. It was the smoke.”

So, you sayin' that wasn't your dick inside of me?”

He slapped her ass and fell forward next to her. He laughed.

Yes, it was my dick. But it was a pothead dick.”

I like your pothead dick.”

But, you know I'm not supposed to smoke pot.”

She rolled over and put her arm over her eyes.

Not that shit again. You know, you really must like being miserable. You do it so well.”

He bit off a fingernail. “I just don't want to go back to the hospital. I think I might have to if can't get past this sex thing. And it looks like the only way past the sex thing is to smoke pot. Maybe it would be best if I went back in. At least in there, I won't hurt anyone any more.”

Fuck.” She said and leaped off the bed.

She was dressed by the time he got out of the other side of the bed. She had her sandals in her hand. They were the one's with the plastic pink roses. The one's they had bought last year at Corpus Christi. A little taco vendor had set up a booth next to the hotel. His wife sold the shoes. She cut plastic bags into roses and stapled them to sandals she wove out of palmetto.

There you go again,” she said. “Drifting off to wherever it is that you go. How do you do it? Just three minutes ago, we were fucking like rabbits. Now you're where? Saturn? Pluto? Somewhere else anyway. Somewhere, where I can't reach you.”

He sat slack jawed. A bit of drool rolled from the corner of his mouth.

She set her lips into a thin line. “Okay. That's it. That's it. I've had it.”

The door startled him awake from his stupor. He was devastated. At least somewhere within himself he felt something that knew it should be devastated.

He got up and went to the bathroom. In the mirror, he saw the murderer. The one who had killed every chance at happiness he had ever had. How the murderer came to be. What created this Moosbrugger of joy that lived in his mind, what caused it to evolve and become evermore powerful, he could not tell. It was an ancient beast. Placed there before he had words to name it.

He no longer wanted to blame anyone for its existence. He no longer wanted to chastise himself about it. He simply wanted to be free of it. As the reality of Sarah's departure settled in, death was the only freedom he could imagine. He could hear people's assessment of his farewell performance.

What a coward.”

What a selfish bastard.”

He did not care. They did not have to find their way past the mine field inside his brain – a place hiding so many unseen dangers that he did not dare take a step beyond where he now stood. Frozen, he could hear a train coming. He felt it's approach. The train of fate, that would carry him to a land of eternal winter. It was a land of his own making perhaps. He accepted that. Still, knowing he might be the self-named Yahweh of his empty world did nothing to alter his despair. The train cared nothing for despair, or joy. It was not merciless, it was not filled with mercy. It was simply a train. Set on its journey by forces that he could not name. It was the train of “I Don't Know” driven by the engineer of where the fuck are we? He might seek guidance on how to avoid the train. He might learn the secrets of its wisdom. He could practice train dodging, train racing and train detection to prevent being struck by it, but it would hit him nonetheless. He heard the certainty of its approach in every scream from its damnable whistle.

How could it not hit me?”, he thought. “Why can't people see that the train isn't something I chose? Who are they to say I must continue a life that is nothing but suffering, while I wait for the train? Why do they continue to blame me? If they think I am a coward, if they seem me as selfish and self-centered, then why don't they help me to die? Why not save themselves the trouble of continually arguing with a shit like me?”

Outside the door, down the hallway so he would not hear, Sarah bent over and cried silently. She felt as if she was going to throw up. What was she going to do? She hated this. Hated, hated, hated it. She almost made it her car, before the string linking her soul to his pulled her back up the stairs. She banged on the door. Nothing. Banged harder. Still nothing. She stood back and kicked near the handle. The door jab brook.

He lay on the couch. The joint was still in his hand. Motionless. He seemed dead, but she could see his breath lifting his ribs.

Thank God, baby,” she said. “I felt so bad. I thought you were going to kill yourself.”

He took another hit. He blew the smoke in her direction and sighed.

She snuggled next to him, seeking warmth. She felt the coldness within him still. But she couldn't leave. She just couldn't.

I am so glad you didn't die honey,” she said. “So, so, glad you didn't hurt yourself or kill yourself.”

Another hit, and he coughed. “No need to worry baby. I'm okay. The killing was done a long time ago. So long ago I don't even remember when it was.”

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Photographs Not Taken

Photographs Not Taken

The same old fears and prejudices threaten to overwhelm my brain. Their grooves in my thoughts are well worn, and their pain is all to familiar. Let me lay them down for a moment and see if I can find a new thought...

Hopefully, I made a new friend tonight. A woman. A young woman.

I was nervous about going to meet her. The day before, I was filled with anxiety and felt a host of familiar questions. Questions that I have felt from the very first time I ever went to meet a woman outside of work. How should I act? What should I feel? How can I be honest about sexual attraction yet sensitive to her feelings? How do I not “miss” an opportunity for sharing pleasure, without being crude?

These thoughts are not helpful, if I want to retain my self respect, if I want to continue a path of being kind and being a “gentle” man. I tend to hide these thoughts. I push them aside, bury them. Once, I did so out of shame. Much of that is gone now, but my old shyness and fear of rejection remain. And, there still is the persistent desire to make love to the beauty of youth all men seem to carry with them to their graves.

I know I come by this desire honestly. I do not create them within myself. I can, with help and practice, moderate them a bit. As it turns out, I was able to do so this afternoon with my young friend.

I had prepared for the meeting as if it were a “date” rather than getting together for me to take photographs of her. We first met through my photography and I had asked to take more photos. My mind translated the word, photographs, into much more than images of light on paper. I carefully showered and dressed in one of my few non t-shirt shirts and a pair of slacks.

I am embarassed to confess this, but I even stopped by Hy-Vee, the local grocery store, to pick up some condoms. I got the fire and ice brand that I have seen advertised on TV. You know the ad, the one where the young couple, fresh from lovemaking, run in and buy before madly rushing out again, presumably to have yet more exciting and unrestrained sex.

Earlier that day, I had stopped by the local camera store to buy film for my adventure. I bought 14 rolls, maybe a little excessive for a single session but I felt it best to be prepared. I bought both black and white and color. I imagined myself taking pictures of “body” scapes, the name I used back in the 70's for photographs of the curves and lines of the nude human body. Such sessions more than once ended in hot sex. Dishonest of me perhaps, but my “partners in crime” seemed to enjoy the session as much as I did.

Well primped, equipped for sexual safety, and armed with enough film for a photo session with a female soccer team I arrived at my destination -- at precisely two minutes after the appointed time. My friend stood at the counter ordering tea. She was as radiant as I remembered. I also, ordered tea, peppermint. I ordered peppermint mostly because another young woman had suggested it to me earlier in the day.

As we waited for the tea next to my friend (let's call her Laura), I made my opening gambit.

“Laura, have you heard of Yerba Mate?”

Her brow furrowed. “No, I haven't. What is it?”

I launched into an explanation of Yerba Mate, something that I had seen a friend of mine Adam Weinstein, use as pickup line. I thought my lecture was enthralling. I ended with a half hearted invitation to go to the Red Poppy and sample one of their blends after we finished our photo “shoot”. She replied that later, she had to go cut her friend's hair.

I took a breath and relaxed. The pressure was off. There was no need to continue the pursuit of fantasies. I would have to make do with what stood in front of me, for however long it might be there.

Laura is short but has added thirty pounds of lean muscle in the past year. She is a sight for these tired old eyes, and, I dare say anyone else with an eye for the atheletic female form. Her eyes, are vibrant as I mentioned earlier, her breasts are firm, and her arms and legs have the look of a ju-jitsu artist ready to throw you to the ground. All of this is covered with creamy skin dotted with freckles of cinnamon. Sigh...

I suggested we sit and get to know one another better, shuffling the idea of photo shoot aside for another day. I had totally forgotten to bring my cameras inside anyway. (Now, that I reflect on it, she probably thinks the whole thing was a set up since I came in without them, oh well.)

We ended up sitting outside making our tea last as long as possible. We spoke of many topics. I waxed eloquent on some of my latest theories of how to depict the process of hypomania via mathematical formulas. She shared about her art and art studio.

I suggested that taking pictures at her studio would be better than just taking posed photographs. Several times I became confused, I felt I was getting mixed messages about Laura's feelings. I am sure that I was being confusing as well. My sexual feelings continued to arise and I imagined that she felt some attraction to me. I brushed these thoughts aside. I tried to remain focused on her words, but again and again, my eyes were drawn to hers with an intensity that I could not shake.

“Down that path lies madness,” I said to myself.

“Even if it were true, you need to consider the fact that she is just getting out of a difficult relationship. Think of her feelings rather than your lust.”

We talked for longer than she had planned, or at least that is what she announced as we finally rose to leave. I told her that I would wait for her to contact me and that she was safe. Stupid. Who tells a young woman that she is safe, other than someone who has anything other than “non-safe” sexual desires for a young woman? I waxed on about the fact that even though I might be interested in her, I was too shy to be a serious risk.

Finally, my imagined date, my evening of tea, my photo shoot without photos, ended. I followed Laur for a few steps even though my car was in the opposite direction. I stopped in at the Motley Cow (where I had a great meal by the way). Laura walked on to see her friend. The one in urgent need of a hair cut.

I analyzed and reanalyzed the evening in my mind. I became certain that I ruined any potential for future contact by my repeated reference to nude photographs. Only time will tell. If she reads this I hope she will know that I truly enjoyed the evening even if we never see one another again (how sad for me if that is true). After all, it allowed me to create this little piece and get outside of the darkness that often inhabits my mind. For that, I thank her and that which created her.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Listening to The Teddy Bears

Listening to Devil's Music by Teddybears

The following was written while listening to the album, “Devil's Music” by the Teddybears. It was the first time I had heard this group. The album has a lot to offer: wordplay, unusual and exciting instrument combinations. I particularly like the moog syntehsizer that scampers through some of the songs. Highly recommended – 4 out of 5 stars. Give it a listen. Of course, the group is in no way responsible for their effect on me or the words it produced.

Gravel. Metal voice without the spark.

Kicking it in though. Kicking it in. The drumbeat is enough to carry me. Enough for now. Little sisters dancing in a row. Come to sing at the evening show. Can you dig it? Can you be it?

Who knows what there is to see inside of me. Let it all fall out into the street. Pretty neat at your stomping feet. Don't give a shit. Don't give a damn. Me be the man. The man in me is enough for rolling this rock. Sisyphus dances. Rolling it up and watching it fall down, and rolling it up again. Prometheus cries as his liver is torn, punished for bringing fire to man, he leaves himself open to the pain yet again. No matter.

And then there is the children's laughter.

The moog soars behind the band. I hear the haters tell me to keep my mouth shut. Who knows how to do that? If you cannot take it, then don't shake the tree. Let the tree stand away from the crowd. Let the tree be.

Mamma hasn't heard. Mamma is in the dirt. Her ears are maggots worming their way through my brain. Let her buy her own house. Let her find it out, that in the end she is alone as she was alone with me.

No real anger on this score anymore, but no denial either. No place for silly fears and wishes. Not nihilist, but somewhere past that, to a place where even the effort of determining if nihilist is the place to exist. I find a room where I cannot see how dark it is in the dark.

More moogy in the music. Let's get down to the boogy. Woogying. Noogeying. Rub the head until it is raw. If they want it in the street then put it there. If they want it in the window, show it free from care. An ecstasy so far beyond fucking that they will never feel it. They can never know the electricity of it. The buggering they call elite is in the end just booty groovin'. Their disco lights are flashing to silly little tunes in the hashish of their minds.

Bottom flashing. Slapping that ass. In harmony. Booty. Silly rabbit. Silly girl. Trix are to be hid.

Drums be doin' the saggy. Baggy. Maggy. Waggy. No censor, only sensor. Let us dance the schizo-walz. Make the peace with the old man who selling burgers at the perpetual wake for a dream long gone.

He still asks for what he doesn't even know. If I am terminally unique. I don't give a damn. Terminate me. Take it and bite it, go ahead ignite it. Eat my bones, tear my flesh. I will enjoy it. I will relish the loss of the self pride you accuse me of silly, silly, and sillier still. Can you understand me? Can you even hear?

Marching. Marching. Religion. Superstition. Look it in the eye. Look beyond the patient recitation of obfuscation in the hope of redemption. Redemption of what? Redemption from what? Tell the tales of fairies. I do not deny you the privilege any more than I deny a child the freedom to believe in St. Nicholas.

S'okay. S'okay. I am not superior to any. I am not less than any. I do think and I do live. You are the one who thinks my thinking weird. You write the songs accusing me of anger and fear, so how is it that you become the thing you claim not to be?

At least let us be honest. At least let us start there. Neither of us know. Do not claim the holiness of a book. Do not claim the deity of a story. Do not claim it, unless you wish to hold it to the same scrutiny that you push upon me. Unless you are willing to challenge yourself what are you offering? I can easily castigate myself into the grave. Guilt and shame are easy commodities to purchase. They cost nothing. They are firmly wedged in my brain. I do not need the free helping you want to give.

Perhaps you have evidence of your majestic entity, that is unknowable and of universal power. Very well, please share. Do not leave me hanging here wishing for something you claim to have.

How cruel of you to turn away when I laugh, or claim you boast to be more than you can evidence within yourself? How hard hearted of you to say I am evil, without bothering to show me how. You quote words written so far in the past that you cannot even point to the dust from whence they came?

Heard the cat. This is the that of that. Cats do not get herded. They will not allow themselves to belong to a tribe. A dominant male is needed to calm the kitties. They may then follow at their own pace, but a herd they will never be.

Do my words anger? Do they cause dismay? How silly if this is so. They are but words, after all. Any fear or anger they cause as you read them was within you before they arrived. Hear them or not. Ignore them or not. I am not the words. The words are not me. My words and ideas are naught but leaves falling down to be burned in the kalpa fire. As soon as they form an idea, burn it. Burn it away so that making my words a reality does not become a prison for me.

Riffing away. Rigging a new sail. Please. Please. Let's see if we can sail to a new island. Cardiac arrest or no. Pitiful at best, we can perhaps remain afloat until new land is sighted. Let other toss grenades our way. Let them fire the cannon of hatred and prejudice. We will laugh at the emptiness they have drawn around themselves. It is the same emptiness we imagine for ourselves, we must admit to that possibility or become the thing from which we would be free.

Step and dance. Stay in the head today. Save the bottom for another time. Take it down. Be ready for moving to a new town. Leave behind all the things that hide in the storage bin. Hit the broad highway. Austrailia, Nigeria, London, Paris, LA and the big Apple. All await another bite.

I fear though. How often I fear. How long I fear. I want to hurt not. I want not to be hurt. Lost to dancing. Lost to feeling. Will it tear me apart as it has before? Can I risk the light behind the Green Door? The world seems harder than ever. The desire seems more empty than ever. Ever must it be. Let me hope it may not be so for me, once before the final shade let me lie in soft arms. Let me feel the tender kiss on my brow. Let me know as I have never known that the one bestowing the love is not inside my head trying to beat me and leave me alone in the dark as always. Always it has been so. At least it seems as if this is the place I find myself, and I do not know how to leave the seeming behind.

Temptation surrounds me. Groin ignites with dreams. Toes wiggle. Lips of pomengranate. Boy hair and earth mother breasts she sits across from me. At least I can look. I need not go further than that for now. I dream. I dream. It hurts to dream, but it hurts even more not to do it. Push, push, push to be honest. Be the gene, that drives the whole scene. We wriggle and writhe claiming to be more than the biology. We are not the authors. We did not create the lips, the eyes, the breasts. We did no create the desire to touch. How awful then to be denied the freedom and power to access the joy that seems allowed to others. Let me end this crying. Let me end this self pity. Play the organ one last chord. Find a lost chord or a new one, I will carry it with me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Listening to Adele "21"

Wrote this today at the Bluebird. Completed it at 9:14 AM, 7-5-2011 It was written while listening to the album "21" by the singer Adele. I did not edit it. Sometimes I write just to let my feelings flow.

Listening to Adele “21”

Faded rumors lost in the deep. Never minding. No one else's soul mine to keep. No one to own. None to be owned by. All good. All good. All is had by those who will have it. No more secrets. No more silly games. In the light of the sun, the sun's day.

Fly on the window. The window on the world. Head in the clouds? Maybe. Maybe so. How to move it elsewhere? It is my head. I would find a place for it to rest. I would find a place that is the best for the one who rests and the one who provides the sanctuary. How to see it, after so many years of being blind? Might it be in front of me? Just beyond my sight? Might it be lost in the silkiness of the night? The duskiness of your voice makes me wish it were you. But I have fooled and been fooled enough to be filled with so much doubt that I have learned to take my peace among the leaves of trees and lines upon the page.

Must it always be a battle? Can I move past the challenge of controlling to be controlled? Let the hair go free. Comb it now in front of me. Walk slowly that I can see the beauty that flows from you. I will let that be enough. I will no longer try to wrest from someone that which they will not freely give. Who needs to steal beauty? Who can do it? The flowers share it freely. I am not a flower, but I can see the wonder within them. I can drink this glass of water and know that it unites me with all that has been or ever will be. Will you join me, can you, will you, join me in the dance?

This morning colors flowed onto the page. I loved them. I love every woman I have ever been with. Truly I do. I did not know how to stay with them. I did not know how to be what they wanted me to be. But still I loved them, even though some were kinder to my touch than others. Some caused passion to rise within me more readily than others. Some were sad at my leaving. Some were glad to see me go. I cannot judge this. I cannot read their minds. They cannot read mine. I have to trust that most of the time I have tried to be kind. At least now, at long last, when I feel awake most of the time.

Today I walked under a tree and brushed its leaves. I breathed the air as if for the first time. But, I know that all this can quickly turn to darkness, as soon as I become greedy for it. As soon as I try to crush it with the lie of ownership, it will wilt and fade. Best to enjoy the love in front of me. Even if it's only the fly that brushes my arm. In that brush I can feel the majesty of life itself come down to me.

Now, I look at the water glass and the bottom shines more brightly than the sun itself. Somehow the water takes the light and transforms it to make it into another element. Water, glass and sun. Me, air and the one. The one that lives within me. The one that has no name. The one that cannot be named. Let others try to name it. Let them waste their breath. Let them make the knowing into a test. Silly minds. Silly like mine can be at times. But not now. Right now. The bliss lives here. It cannot be touched by anyone else's darkness. The gates of others' hell have no power here. Mine are the fingers that reach out and bring the joy to me.

Listening to your voice, my dear singer. The voice of an angel come to me. Thank you. Thank you.

Seems like a dream as I hear the warmth in your song. If I find the love that lives in your song, I pray that I am strong enough to feel it bravely and without shame. Someone will have to help. Even thought the joy flows in me and is a private place there, I know that it is stronger with another. At least I hope that it is so. I have thought to find it. Let it go. Let it go. I will no longer drink, smoke, or chase it away. Still there is something broken within me. I seek the help of Doctors, I seek the help of the Earth Mother, let the sun shine. Let the clouds flow. Someday I hope to know that which moves them.

I have left as a fool, and been left as one too. There seems no answer to this dance. Each of us seems twisted in a rope of fate. I once thought I could give everything to another. I once thought someone could give me everything. Yet another veil, hiding the life and causing pain where none was needed. How to let this go?

I see many moving in the reflection of this window. Cars, people, moving, moving to their own rhythm. Do they want freedom from their sin? Who am I to judge it for them? Who can forgive them for doing something that they don't even know they have done? Better to look at the flowers.

Clear out of the window is the color purple. Many blossoms. Purple and more purple still. There is a faded daisy, but most of them are purple. Please hold to this and do not worry about sin, forgiveness, and pain. Time to dance. The birds know it. The flowers know it. Let us follow them. Someday they will fade. But today they bloom still.

Your voice dear singer has the power of life within it. Please let it celebrate and not mourn for something that may not exist. You need not own someone. You need not belong to someone. You have the power of the Mother within you. Share it. Lift us up. Lift us higher. Teach us to sing. Not to mourn.

If not my arms, the arms of someone who makes you laugh and can show you love will find you. Like me you must let go of the faded colors of old drapes. Let in the light. Cast out the night. But do not settle. Wait until the gift rises up to meet you. It may not come, but better to wait, better to risk flying like Icarus, too close to the sun, than to descend into Hades in perpetual search for Persephone. Life shor and live bright rather than in the shadow of eternal gray. Be the happy child. Be the one who leads us home. A voice such as yours has the power to create a path clear and shining.

A final moment of dreaming before I go. I feel my fingertips ignite, as they brush against your skin. They slide down your spine to find the crease between butt and thigh. Rising up again they tickle along your side, over your ribs to find a nipple and trace its tiny circle, caressing each tiny bump and silky bit of you. My lips follow the path blazed by fingertips. Finally, tongue finds its way to the place of honey and joy.

There was a time when I could act out my dream of love. It was a time of a little fear, a time, a brief time, when I was able to soar with smoke and not be consumed by it. I think that I can find it without the smoke today. I will continue looking. I will remember the feeling of loving, even if the remembering hurts, sometimes more than I can bear. Memory of love. Memory of lovemaking. Memory of pain and parting. Turn to love before me. Turn again, and again if necessary. How else to find the color purple and live again within the flower?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hole In The Head

Capana, Iowa City, 6-28-2011 12:31, Listening to Selena Gomez

Must write. Let them kill me. Let them put me in prison. It is prison to be without it. It is like being inside a drum when the noise gets so loud that it destroys what little sense is left in my head. I breathe in the perfume of a thousand women that have moved in out of these doors. My fingers quiver. Missed my beta blocker. Truly am insane. Let that go as well. Let it go. Let it all be gone but leave me the words.

Silly talking not needed. Let's go. Let's dance. Skin to skin. Lips on hips. Tongue caressing with searing heat.

Join it. Do it. Feel it. Can you turn back again to a place you once lived it? Can you find where you lost it in the cold and turn back up the heat? I hope it can happen. Perhaps, I can kindle it here and now and it will reach the places that need it.

Who cares if there is a response? In the end, aren't most of us caught in the whiplash of the shadows that once were our love. They will have to do it seems. They will not be one I want, but they will warm me for a time in the night. In the morning, the words will come again. I will not lose them. How could I? Without them, I cannot feel anything at all.

I will learn the blues. I will learn the art. I can do these things. They are easy. They are all things that once I knew. Things that became more alive because of you. They will be poorer if you cannot be here, but, I do know how to breathe. You are inside me. With me forever. How many times must I weep for you to know this? You have a dilemma. I have a broken heart. Yours may be analyzed. Mine cannot heal.

End of me? Maybe. End of my life, perhaps.

Once a zombie. Now awake. But where are you?

Massages with tender touch, chocolate daisies and, remembered birthdays, are they ever enough? Does love that lives on these ever last? I truly do not know.

I would run to romantic love if I could find it. Its comfort and peace. But there is a hole in my head, a literal physical fracture, that has lost the ability to respond to ideas of heart, love and loyalty that seem to be accessible to most other people. A modern day mutation of Phineas Gage, this horse is so tired, it can barely walk. But it does that much at least, in the hope that it may find a stall somewhere.

Listening to these songs brings no physical healing to the brain. Emotions run where they will. It seems I cannot find a way to move my feeling to a place that is helpful to anyone. So. Rest from the music for now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Preacher's Lament

The Preacher's Lament

Dale S. Hankins

And then the preacher approached the stage and started to sing:

The senses cannot see, cannot find the place between the sheets of the mind, when there is so little space for time and peace of mind. Let us stand then. Let us scream against the fear. Let us burn it down. Not to the ground but below where the ground has been before, below where it has ever been. Desperation of a declaration. Let our love stand, to be seen. Naked, in full sight, cloaked only light. Free. Free. Flag waving in the wind even though there is no need for flag or wind.”

The crowd remains after the burst and then, then we see the little ones. See the neighbor ones the ones so long in fear; the ones who can now walk freely in the breeze. They are freed because the preacher has felt the last of the binding, the last of the whipping for being himself. He does in truth sing a song of himself, to himself for himself. What other song would he sing? Singing someone else's song means his death.

Later, the preacher stands in the coffee shop, drinking pot after pot, of ruby tea. Outside the window, he sees a beauty of red above and red below. A tasty peach that IS beyond his reach. But peaches no longer bind the one who has entered the land of the preachers. They can be tasted, but are not needed.

And then another comes--the one in the paisley dress comes to stand behind the blue and orange madras shirt leaving the dog tied to the tree standing in the sun. The dog does not care. It pants and is free. The madras dances, bends, flexes and finds itself back inside. People swarm along the pavement, in front of the maddest preacher the world has seen in this land or any other.

The dog lies in the circle of a lake at the foot of the tree. Resting finally, not worrying about the passers by. The dog of all the preacher's past and bits of his future. Wrapped in a golden cloak, wearing a purple leash that binds it to the tree.

Can the preacher untie the dog? Does he even know of dogs and dog like things today?

He has truly touche the sky of the mind finding places. Empty places and places full of pain and places where pain is a meaningless word. He did not choose the pain, the dream or the dog. They were just there.

Once the preacher feared what the others would think. He wished them no harm. He wanted to help. He could not find them. He could not touch them. All was seen through the glass of the window. A window he has not put in place. A window that he could perhaps shatter, but in so doing would he not bring down himself and those he treasures most?

Let it stand then. Let it stand for now. The window that keeps his feet in this world, the only world he knows. He can still find breezes here. He can still find friends. At least he hopes.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

I've been visiting my father, who is recovering from the removal of his spleen. I thought he was near death. Thankfully, this turned out not to be the case. I know that he will die someday, just as I will. No sense spending each day worrying about death, and what might happen if I do.

Life is beautiful for me today. I will enjoy the gift. Who am I to deny it? One of the greatest gifts to me is the joy I get from writing. I used the gift this morning. Here's what came out.

We Are The All

I've been the abuser. I've been the abused, the double time looser—the one none would choose. I've been the greater, and the lesser one too. I've been the slave and the slave maker too.

Oh, I've been the all, and all, and all, and all. I've been the all.

Whatever I was, it looked a lot like you. I once was a king and the king maker's tool. We've carried the murder, deep in my soul. We've seen through the gunpowder's haze. We're children of the instant, the ancients of days.

Yes, we're the all, and all, and all and all. We are all.

We can lock ourselves up in a prison of fear. We can make ourselves worry the world's end is near. We can judge one another, finding fault after fault. Or, we can stand up for kindness and walk the walk.

Yes, we're the all, and all, and all and all. We are the all.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blog Post Recipients

For now, I am going to stop sending my posts via email. I can't shake the fact that doing so, makes me feel like I am proselytizing or selling something. It's not that I am ashamed of what I write, or that I do not want anyone to read it. I have never bought the idea of writing without ever hoping that someone, at least one other person, would read what I write. I'm not sure I trust anyone who makes that claim. However, it is clearer and clearer to me, that I do not like trying to convince anyone, that my writing should be taken seriously. I hope people enjoy my stuff. I am thrilled when they do. But, it should be by their own choice. I love all of you, you brave few, you caring souls.

Please stop by whenever you want to find out what is rambling around inside my skull. I hope you come often. It feels like rusty steel wool up there sometimes, and it can get a little lonely.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I got a letter from a friend who has doubts about whether to continue writing and sharing her thoughts. The following is my response.

Letter To A Fellow Writer


Sorry to hear you are in that dark place. You are not alone, but as has often been said, we ARE all unique, and we are ALL the same. I think it's a yes/and, not an either/or proposition.

When I first started writing again, after years of being afraid to do so, I found that it gave me my only relief, from the voices in my head. It was, and remains, an act of survival, my way of spitting in death's eye. No one benefits if I return to a world of insanity the realm of secret shame. At least a few people may benefit, if I manage to hang around. If I want to be alive, writing is not an option, anymore than breathing is an option.

I think Alice Walker, (The Color Purple), said it best:
"Some people say, they live to write. I write to live."

Who knows what others think of my writing? Some folks hate it, a few like it, and, sadly (boo-hoo), most people don't know about my writing, and would not even care if they did. So be it. I will write anyhow. I will write to live, and for those who love me.

When I write with other people in mind, I don't like what I write. When I write to clear the dirty little shelves, in the back of my mind, it feels like I am taking dictation--floating free of space and time. I am awake. I am alive. The experience is the perfect counterbalance, to the stifling fear that can come, when I lose focus, when I mistake others' opinions as reality.

In one sense, I think writing is the most selfish, prideful thing I do. Yet, I know that honest writing touches people deeply. Several people have told me, they loved my book. One, would have been enough.

I find that it helps, if I detach from how I think people will react to what I write. I wrote the following, in the introduction to my book, to help clarify my dilemma to myself others:

"This book is true, yet it is fiction. It is an honest account of my perception of events. However, my perception is colored by my bipolar illness. I have had many instances of auditory and visual hallucinations. At times, these are so strong that they are just as tangible as the so-called real world.

This conflict between my hallucinatory (or so I am told) world and the real world is at the heart of my dilemma or illness. It raises a fundamental question. Should I share my life as I perceive it, or should I only share the version that fits others’ perceptions? If I share what I perceive, my book is fiction in the “real” world. If I share only what others perceive, then my sharing is a fiction to me. I have chosen to be true to my perceptions. Therefore, my book is fictional for all readers other than me and I have classified it as fiction rather than autobiography."

Please DO continue writing. I, and your other friends, want to hear your story. Screw the voices in your head, tell them to shut the fuck up, and let the rest of us hear what you have to say. Who gave the voices license to deny us? Write to us, your friends. Imagine our faces before you as you stare at the page, or screen. We are more real, much more connected to reality, than the negative chatter in your head.

So, to paraphrase the old 60's phrase: “Power to the people (you), power to the people (you), right (write) on.”

Friday, May 06, 2011

AMAZING Formatting Djinn

For some strange reason the formatting has gone haywire on my site. In my last post, "Letter To An Old Friend" the system highlighted several paragraphs with particularly large type. I do not know how or why that happened. Perhaps more will be revealed...

Letter To An Old Friend

Today, I was on an online chat site, ranting about politics, with an old friend from high school. The argument got a bit heated. My friend sent me a message, saying that he sometimes wondered, if it was a good thing, that we had reconnected, after so many years. He said, he felt like it we had changed too much and that maybe we never really were close friends and that he felt like our old dreams of peace and love from the '70's were lies. I apologized. He apologized. The exchange left me unsettled: I was struck by how easy it is to hurt others via little black dots on a screen. I wrote one last time...

I did not find any of your comments offensive - they may have raised my blood pressure a notch or two - but that simply because you could not see the wondrous light of my wisdom and wit. But I will remove them since you asked.

I fully understand your feelings about the lack of love and understanding today. I have times when I feel as if there simply is no kindness left in anyone, that I truly live in a "dog eat dog" world. Those are dark times for me.

Then, I see someone do an act of kindness, sometimes a very small one. Like my friend who sings even though he has cerebral palsy. That is enough for me to try to act with a bit of kindness of my own. Enough to stop "eating dog", at least for a little while. LOL

I have been near death several times; drugs, alcohol, cancer and mental illness have given me an "interesting", if not always merry, ride through life. I have seen your site, and it's clear you like the west and have found yourself there. I like the name you gave your gun, "The Thumper". You are quite the poet. You look like you stepped out of the old west in a lot of your photos. I am happy to see you enjoying your life.

I am growing my hair long again, just because I can, and because I like seeing people's reactions. I an fascinated by how a few inches of hair can make people think you have changed into something different. Sometimes people point and laugh at the “old long hair”. Sometimes they curse under their breath as they walk by. Tomorrow, I may shave it all off for the same reason - just to see the shock on people's faces, to hear them mutter "damn skinhead" when they walk by. I like having the confidence to try out new things today, without fear, just for the heck of it.

I don't know what I would do if things "went south". I don't know if I would end up as a prisoner, or dead. I hope I don't have to find out any time soon. Until then, I will do what I can, to spread a bit of that peace and love, we used to hope for, all those years ago. I have found many others eager to share my hope. Some days, we have a veritable peace and love fest, back here in good old, Iowa City.

This may sound terribly naive. Perhaps it is, but, like you, I feel stronger than I ever have. I feel strong enough today, that I will gladly die rather than return to a diet of dog. I chose not to live in that world, when I chose to continue living. I will not return.

I work very hard to have kindness be my goal each morning. Today, at least some of the time, I have enough strength to avoid picking up other people's hatred. I am seldom successful at sustaining my quest, for more than a few hours at a time - as you can easily tell from my cantankerousness on FB. However, I do make time to listen to a friend's troubles, give someone a ride, buy someone a cup of coffee, or something like that - at least once every (well, almost every) day. It is enough. My tiny acts are my personal evidence that love and kindness have not "perished from the earth."

Gaggggggg! What a load of Hallmark BS! LOL

Yet, strange as it sounds, focusing on kindness is the only way I survive each day. I tried living a life based on fear and judgment, (the dog eat dog world) rather than love and kindness - it nearly killed me. I may someday die because of my "naivete" , who can say? People have tricked me, stolen from me, lied to me, injured me, blah de blah de blah, blah, blah. I guess that is what people do sometimes, but not all the time.

I will stand in front of any bullet aimed at my grandchildren, I know that much; but I don't know if I could take another life, and live with that. I have a lot of friends who were in Vietnam, none of them can get the faces of those they killed out of their minds. They sleep with them every night. I do not know how they do that.

I may have fewer days if I try to live with a goal of love and kindness, but I am pretty sure that I would have even fewer days, if I lived in the dark world of fear and judgment.

I am not a saint, far from it. Who wants to be a f&*king saint anyway? Still, I know which direction I need to point my life, if I am to have any hope of happiness. Kindness is my north pole. Not the magical kindness I read about in fairy tales, not the type that I once idealized as an amateur philosopher, but the gritty "in your face" kindness that is rooted in the DNA of me, that lets me know I can have the strength to try and be kind even in the worst of times.

You know by now, that I am not religious, that I do not believe in supernatural beings or powers, but sometimes I wonder if the human who wrote the lines "love your enemies" and "judge not, lest ye be judged" was simply describing a natural law, not admonishing people to be good in order to get into “heaven”. If, I meet hatred with hatred, do I not “die” inside? If, I judge others, do I not take my “judging skills” home with me? Do I not use those skills in the dark and end up judging myself? When I live a life of hatred and judgment am I even truly alive? I dunno. To me, it seems such laws are a part of my DNA, not something I do to be a "good person" but something I must do if I want to “feel alive” (e.g., feel the sun, smell a flower, give and get a hug, etc.) and have any pleasure in life.

I too, have grown cynical, as I have aged, but the smiles of my loved ones, the laughter of my children and grand children, the hugs of my friends: all of these things, remind me that love exists, just as strongly, and probably more deeply, than ever, in these trying times.

When I see you, with your family and friends, you still seem like the man I knew so long ago. The smile is still there, the deep compassion in your eyes is still there. Know that I am smiling back, when I look at those pictures. At least one person, still sees the love within you.

Love life, and live it large...

(Remember, if you're vertical, and taking nourishment, you're okay.)


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Here's how...

Trump, Bachman, Huckabee rush out as early spoilers. They incite the base of the Republican party with anti-Obama rhetoric and the birther issue. Palin, Huckabee and Trump may not run leaving the Tea Party plank wide open for Bachman. PALIN WILL NOT RUN - Unions and Democratic base will show up at every rally, as they did in Wisconsin this week, and boo her off the stage. Her one time supporters will move to Bachman and/or Huckabee. The Republican establishment and the Karl Rove machine become increasingly frantic.

IOWA goes to Bachman or Huckabee. They play up religious themes (gay marriage, abortion) and birtherism. Trump does surprisingly well for a well known libertine. His "star" appeal and his newfound admiration for "birthers" will play well in Iowa. Romney and Pawlenty are ghosts. Paul gets his standard showing, nabbing any young Republicans who vote in the primaries.

NEVADA goes to Trump if he runs - he sucks all the air out of Las Vegas and plays well with Hispanics due to his fairly liberal past on immigration. If Trump doesn't run, Romney and Pawlenty have a shot. Romney will win if Trump doesn't run. Even Mormons like to gamble sometimes, and Nevada has a lot of Mormons living there.

NEW HAMPSHIRE is Romney's last hope of a candidacy. Look for him to put all his money here and do well or even win. Bachman (or Huckabee) begin to fade. Trump once again is the wild card - if he stays in - he will place or show ahead of Bachman/Huckabee in the horse race but not likely win. Pawlenty comes in a distant third or fourth and commits seppuku for the sake of the GOP.

SOUTH CAROLINA likely goes to Romney by default. Bachman/Huckabee finally lose steam asthe Tea Party plank finally takes a hard look at their polling against Obama. Paul could stage a surprising showing here as the last hope of the most desperate Tea Party groups.

Result of January primaries - FIASCO! Romney cannot convincingly argue against Obamacare and he will have to say some harsh things against the Tea Party folk in order to gain ground with independents. Bruised and battered from a three ring circus of January primaries - Romney looks like he may just be able to win the nomination.

Rove tells Republican power brokers that he cannot come up with a winning scenario for Romney no matter how the polls are sliced and diced. Romney will do better than Obama with religious conservatives, creationists, right wing white groups and Wall Street. But he will take only a tiny percentage of Blacks, Hispanics, and independents. Of course he will not get ANY support from unions and the liberal base who will flee from the "nasty milliionaire businessman" to Obama's welcoming arms.

The alarm will be raised (phones probably already are ringing) among the the Republican big donor community. Blue Blood Republicans will hold secret meetings at Point Vesuvius (aka Walker's Point, aka the Bush Compound in Maine). Koch brothers have a seat at the table as does Wall Street led by a contingent of Goldman Sachs alumni. The goal - launch a volcanic barrage to reinstate the Bush royalty.

While it is true that George II tarnished the Bush family image, Bush remains a gold standard Coat of Arms among Republican oligarchs. Remember that Obama awarded the Freedom Medal to George I in February. This will help Rove, backed by Koch and Sachs money among others, to remind the public that George I is still KING of the Bush clan. George I will help take back the crown from his wayward son George II and pass it on to Jeb, thus assuring the continued hegemony of the Reagan-Bush trickle down/supply side wing of the Republican Party.

Jeb and Romney will be called to a "come to Jesus" summit. Romney will be told that Jeb represents the better hope for defeating Obama because:
- He has an amiable style, that wears well with independents. It is hard not to like him as a person.
- He is VERY Catholic, Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, which will keep the Christian Right more firmly in line than someone who is a Mormon.
- He is married to a Hispanic, and has very good numbers with them (being Catholic doesn't hurt).
- He OWNS FLORIDA, especially the Cuban population which OWNS Miami Dade, a key democratic stronghold. Jeb has worked for a multimillionaire Cuban real estate firm.
- He has always been a strong supporter of Israel and is well liked in the Jewish community.
- His father and the Rove machine have enough dirt on every member of the Republican leadership (including new Tea Party leaders) to keep them firmly in line.

Romney will be asked to continue in the primaries to make sure Bachman/Huckabee/Trump remain dead and that no one else like Rand Paul is taken too seriously. Jeb will begin to be casually mentioned by the media as an alternative. Jeb's "stealth campaign" may start as early as late summer or fall of 2011. He will refuse comment and remain out of the public eye at least until the really big primaries in Texas and Florida. It's interesting that no primary date has been set for Florida and that many states are still discussing the dates. Perhaps it is normal to be 8 months away from the first primary without knowing the timing of all caucuses. Or perhaps Republicans are leaving themselves some wiggle room for a last minute candidacy by Jeb or someone like him. Here's the current schedule:

Rumors will be started (perhaps even using clips from the Oliver Stone movie "W") that Jeb was the first pick for the successor to the Reagan-Bush crown. They will say things like, "George II jumped the gun. Now it is time to put things right. The nation is in great peril - time to return to the first draft pick."

The pitch will be simple.

"Don't you want to return to the good old days of the Regan-Bush years? A time when Republicans were truly Republicans? George I was right there with Ronald. True, George II may have been a little bit of a disappointment, but look at has happened since he left. Didn't things get even worse? Isn't it time to return leadership to a True Republican like Jeb Bush? Socially conservative but not a fanatic, and fiscally conservative - his friends own the companies that can "drill baby drill" and he is comes from a financially elite family of "job creators" who were there when "trickle down" economics first began to drip.

I think Jeb could give Obama fits. Sooner or later Rove and company will figure this out as well. They probably already have. Rove has already begun trashing Trump. Rove, and the power brokers of the Grand Old Party, support none of the current contenders. Yet they have not offered alternative. Why?

Is it because it is too early to bring Jeb in? That they have to wait until rank and file Republicans get sick of the current Tea Party darlings? Are they waiting to launch a late campaign for Jeb or even have him emerge as a last minute superman at the convention?

Who knows the answer? Certainly not me. After all, I am a nut case. I have the papers to prove it.