Back and forth we go,
In this tug of war.
Should we call it war?
Let's lie, call it love.
You know, or should have...
we are post truth now.
When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Renaissance Man
I want to be something
the world no longer has room for.
Everyone is a specialist these days. Ten years worth of school deep and barely a pinhead wide. I remember a fifth grade teacher telling me they didn't specialize in math...(forgive me teachers I probably don't know what I'm talking about, not my specialty after all) what?! I'm mean there used to be a day where if you couldnt do grade school math you hid in shame. Now it's like a badge of honor...not my specialty! Sheesh! anyway...
About me... I like writing,
I'm pretty nerdish about Photoshop. I love it. I see a lovely sunset and reach for my camera, like most. But I'm also wondering if I could recreate this in Photoshop using curves and the blend-if filter. Should I make my own clouds or just find a picture? Short on time, picture it is. I've had fun doing a bit of freelance design. Having a client or few adds structure to life.
I find odd satisfaction in writing excel equations to do complex calculations and visualisations at the press of a button. Business use, personal use, all good. I like this game called Eve Online, "excel could help," I thought... "It's just a game play it or move on," I say to myself. Now that I've spent as much time on the spreadsheet as the game...at least I scratched the itch.
For some reason wife waved around my resume and talk up a good game. So now I work part time with kids while working on my business (I guess I needed the money). It's kinda like a substitute teaching job in these times. I kinda like it, glad I'm only part time though. Learning how to adapt to a child's view, challenging, it's been so long. The practice of communicating with and convincing them, so worth it. Idk whos the lucky one, me or my 4 year old daughter.
Speaking of...the intersection of kids and photoshop. I've been doing alot of drawing and sketching lately. It's really fun. We painted fall trees and falling leaves. I helped one kid draw a newt, another a dog, another a tree frog and on and on...
During these odd Covid times, I've seen my son alot more than I usually would (silver linings). I think I'll turn him into a mathematician yet. He's currently slogging through geometry, I didn't care for it in highschool, but it makes so much sense now. I still don't care for statistics or accounting (practical uses clearly, but somehow so theoretical), but physics I get. Fluid mechanics? Yes please!
I like being a dad. I think my kids are the best (No shade if you think yours are). Shaping little minds is an awesome responsibility. My 2 cents... health is the foundation of intellect. Without health, nothing lasts for long.
Speaking of I need to get back to running. I always said the best part of being in the Army is being paid to get in shape. Beats paying a trainer.
I liked working with my hands in the Army, small engine work mostly. Now I'm into learning carpentry, also a self proclaimed handy-man.
I probably should have put this at the top, but I desperately want to be a better husband. My wife deserves it. This is probably the most challenging role I've taken on in my life, I'm still not sure what I was thinking. Life balances though, I've probably gotten more out than I put in. I owe. Thanks babe.
This list is getting long so I'll wrap it up, I could go for days though just so you know. Idk how I'll balance it all but I will. The pragmatist in me says pick one thing, make a success then you can spend time pursuing whatever you want. The pessimist says hurry up and chose time is short. The optimist says enjoy life, there is time enough. Perhaps one day I'll grow up to be a Renaissance Man after all.
Grey skies from horizon to horizon
Tower like impregnable walls
I can’t find the itch
Chaffing in the attempt
The black pit of my mind
Craves a bit of red or blue
This terrible constriction
Eyes hazing, memory fails
Exhaling murky discontentment
In labored whispers
Scrolling through the past,
I am overwhelmed by undue attention;
I remember thinking
it wasn’t enough at the time.
Now I appreciate all those who critiqued,
engaged and supported
What is it about the present
that makes one nostalgic for the past,
hopeful for the future,
yet obscures it's own value?
I suppose all I can do is offer my gratitude,
I understood then, what I know now.
Yesterday was wasted on a petulant child.
Today would have been better, but alas...
more of those who engaged
were still writing and sharing.
I’d love to see your work,
why didn’t I take more time then?
For those who are still here,
after all this time (amazing!),
my only wish is that you remain.
A Place Our Own
When we first meet,
I must place you, make you
Knowing you, however,
is to not place you;
it is to find you
and make a place our own.
Will You Drive-Thru My Funeral?
“You ever been to a drive-thru funeral?”
I looked up with a quizzical expression as Lil’ Jon crept up behind my right ear: “What!!?!”
You never heard of a drive-thru funeral?”
Turning Lil’ Jon’s volume down, I managed a befuddled “What!?”
“Let me explain: You drive into a viewing room, it’s private, you can be drunk, high, whatever; the curtain comes up, you get three minutes to say goodbye, the curtain drops and you go home.”
I simply stared… even Lil’ Jon was quiet.
In the day or so since that conversation, I thought about what funerals mean – to our society and to me as an individual. I never cared for funerals as a young person, and studiously avoided any that I could. As I grew older I began to understand the importance of community and ritual, even funerals.
Generally, I find funerals to be a reminder of not only physical mortality but also that of memory and the importance of a legacy. Funerals provide a space where for a brief moment the individual is subordinate to the family; everyone is expected to share in the pain and support as they can. For a time, a community forms and where bonds are frayed or missing, loss is a bonding agent. The slights and grievances of the individual give way to communal grief.
The drive-thru funeral ruins it all. Well ok, to be fair, it’s probably just a logical continuation of our society’s current trajectory. However, I feel like a line has been crossed. The drive-thru funeral…doesn’t anyone feel like that is impersonal and commercial? Three minutes to pay your respects to a person you loved? I hope you got started crying beforehand; there won’t be much time for waterworks once you’ve arrived. I wonder if tissues are complimentary?
It seems to me that that other than privacy in grieving, convenience is the most attractive factor. To be honest, I don’t enjoy having to spend hours (and always the most inconvenient ones at that) in such a dreary way. But…it can be cathartic; maybe even comforting to know that you aren’t alone in your pain and gratifying to know that others loved this person just as you did. Despite the inconvenience, the time spent is important. This act of solidarity is the beginning of community, setting aside your needs or wants for a short time to be part of a family.
I realize that some may find this development attractive; there must be some who would rather grieve in private. I still feel like this is a step backward. Funerals have always been about the family’s loss. Now the individual’s suffering is pitted against communal grief instead of joining it. A big part of a funeral is recognizing that it’s not all about you. There are others who have lost as well; facing their grief in the midst of your own provides a bit of perspective and (under optimal conditions) a support system. This focus on the individual comfort undermines family cohesiveness, by having one less outlet for family solidarity.
With all this being said, maybe I’m making too big a deal of all this. Surely family can arrange some other time for commiseration and shows of solidarity. Everyone will still show up for dinner won’t they? In the back of my mind there’s a nagging thought: If you can’t be inconvenienced for a funeral, if three minutes are all you have; why bother at all? Maybe we should just YouTube the wake and watch the spreading of the ashes.
"Power comes from lying,
lying big and gettin' the whole world to play along.
Once you got everybody agreeing
with what they know in their hearts ain't true;
You've got 'em by the balls." - "Senator Roarke", Sin City
Sin City politician
Soul bleeds black
Lies are power
Prose only books
On the list
So much to do
You know the rest
Stretching my wings, I'm ready.
A world of pain is but a short drop away.
I believe I can fly.
It's cramped in here and I can't see.
I've had a taste of freedom.
Now I'm cutting the cord.
I'm a slave, on a plantation.
The time to leave is long overdue.
"Is this the end? How could you give up now? It’s not too late, you’re still breathing. Don't turn away...Aalia."
Sunlight reincarnated, beautiful, charming, sensitive to truth and insatiably curious, she was the world to me. Her belief, her faith were palpable. She was the one; I was smitten from the start.
She believed her parents knew everything, her questions were overwhelming at times; one “Why?” followed another with no end in sight. Daddy snapped when he had enough, "I don't know!" The spark in her eyes dimmed just a bit. He didn’t have to be so mean.
December was magical. The snow fell in hushed whispers as we snuck down the stairs, late on Christmas eve. Aalia was confused, I was angry, when we caught mommy placing presents under the tree. Why would she lie? Mommy muttered something about Santa and an emergency. Apparently he sent Rudolph to give presents to mommy... "Liar."
We thought we were special, grandpa told us so. He said we had potential, an honest way of looking at things. We were free of expectation. He told Aalia to never leave my side. Together, we had just what world needed. The world didn't seem to agree. Grandma said they were just jealous.
I remember when Aalia thought the president was the smartest man in the world... HaHaHahahaah! “Times change; people change,” Dad said, “heroes aren’t real; they never were.” He told us to stop watching so much TV.
The day she learned she wasn't safe alone was- I wanted to protect her, I tried. What was the reason? Why are people so hateful? Where were our friends when we needed them? Who can we trust? When will this be okay? We cried for weeks, her heart was slow to heal. We learned, as we have thus far, the hard way. Aalia I'm so sorry.
Sometime later we realized that sex and love weren't always a pair. In fact, they spent more time apart than together. Friends called us old fashioned; I thought they were cynical. She thinks about him sometimes and the possibilities. I hope he dies, tragically, and alone.
The year Aalia graduated was bittersweet. We were hopeful for the future, proud of what we had become and defiant. We had conquered! We soon realized that some, many, would not accept us, love us or even give us a chance. They did not share in our celebration, nor did they care about who we could be. The sheer frustration was maddening; I nearly lost her that year.
Aalia's a fighter. We’ve been through worse and bounced back every time. But not today. Today I am draped over her shoulders like a worn shawl, begging her to hold on. I pour all the love and life I can muster, into her heart. She speaks of an ache and exhaustion that cuts through the marrow. Her words echo in the room:
"Choice is all we had
Freedom is a beautiful lie
Death is what remains"
I wonder if she believes in angels anym-