it can’t take everything

September 25, 2015

there were moments when things made a bit more sense.
a memory of this came with a song the other day.
at a time; my wife and kids and I all enjoyed it together,
one of our momentary family anthems – a peaceful song
and proof that there was this day with enjoyment.
with the memory came a longing for that different day
just so that I could appreciate its happening.

at the core there is a constant reaching…
slow stretch of fingertips
to brush beauty.
its hard to yearn and strive
and keep open;
not to snap shut and turn on something
you can grasp two-handed and throttle
or more often give up in indolence or easy dissent
sinking back into the default of exhaustion.

…but beauty flowing like wisps of smoke
gathering in my hands, winding around my fingers…
what about the dream of you I had once
– all those I love with that ache of longing –
standing together talking, holding their stars.
or the easy afterglow of the Unfair Advantage
or the occasional day alone in wilderness.
I know that I have inhaled beauty
and that can’t be taken from me.

at work…
6 deer stepped across the parking lot.
young bucks; their antlers: big and new and awkward
impeding their quick disappearance
into the thin copse of trees at the edge.
then walking in the community garden
I saw a pumpkin on the dying vine
still small and half buried
but so orange.
is that what it is like inside
the sense of returning?
a few unwithered vines still reaching…
to soon to tell
need more rain.
I hope when it comes I will dance in it with my children.


no groan-ups allowed

November 9, 2014

i think money is better than work
work sucks
money is great
and the two dont seem to have a whole lot to do with each other
so, there you go
debt is easy and depressing and impossible and probable
even though we are careful
and i am a skilled little sexton
i am also a depressed and anxious one
without the possibility of ambition
there is just no money or romance
in exhausting yourself physically
and hurting and being afraid
both financially and of getting older.
it takes years to become a journeyman
or master craftsman and make money as a true tradesman
might as well be a doctor
or learn Japanese
plus most guys slave for someone else
take their paycheck and go (like me for example)
they dont give a shit about what theyre doing
and theyre still all better at it than me
but here i am
stuck and whinging (i like that word –
though its so close to whining its almost pointless to know it)
and winging it – constantly anxious
because i never really feel like i know what im doing
no one has ever taught me any of this stuff
i just kind of had to figure it out
and so i still feel like im doing it all wrong
plus i spend half my time just moving heavy things
my life is a waste
oh by the way
i have a depression problem and am not a reliable narrator
ignore my bullsnit – thats right i said bullsnit – for no reason
if it wasnt for my now crippling anxiety
i would go back to school for a therapy license of some sort
it would be much less stressful in the long run i think
and definitely better money
and everybody wants a depressed, anxious therapist.
i still live in the same place and do the same nothing and my stomach hurts everyday and i keep getting worse as i get older and i am afraid of this and im trying new meds and they always fuck with me but my marriage is exceptional and i get better looking every year. i am so stressed and paranoid but i listen to a lot of good stuff (pod-casts books music etc) to unsuccessfully distract my self from that. being a parent sucks but i like my kids as friends though the anxiety and depression gets in the way of that a lot but i am a gentle man so my kids love me a ton and thats pretty good and im no good at writing anymore cause this is an attempt to be funny

sorry now im tireder and dont want to write anymore
i want to go on a beautiful hike
i dont want to discourage anyone or be a downer
i dont really know anything cause im just a sexton:
a holy handyman a cloistered custodian a justified janitor
a sanctified super – high maintenance
thats me
your friend

aaackkk. its very 1st world educated middle class
to feel this miserable and poor while having so much – its disgusting.
place ourselves before the world… we are not poor
but i wish so hard that i could give my family more.
money is stupid
besides what do i really sacrifice to provide better?…
not enough, i just drink really gross cheap ass-beer,
thats what it is = ass-beer.
my Unfair Advantage still believes that i write songs that are good enough to bring in a bit of cash
i dont know (i doubt it) and cant get my act (in every way) together enough to find out anyway
a best friend once said that i had “production-anxiety” and was so right
i think about that phrase all the time and it constantly almost changes my life and the way i do things
maybe today it will
maybe today it will
maybe today is different

lately i’ve been such a mess that i want to ask people for prayers
i want santa god to help me out
anything to escape me
but there is no way out
not even suicide
couldnt do that to my people
and death is scarier than life anyway
too much of a wuss to live successfully or die properly
or believe anything or to have hope
hip hope hooray
wow, i am being such a downer
such a whinger
such a groan-up
i will stop now

go and do likewise

September 29, 2014

a neighbor, a friend
one who shows mercy.
the inconvenienced, the kind;
you are these for reading.

one of the unspoken rights of friendship is standing permission to inconvenience each other without the fear of reprisal, rejection, resentment or disconnect.

but my Samaritan instincts are lacking
and i need time when someone asks something of me;
to get over my petulance and my tiny self.
yet time is often exactly what can’t be granted –
that being the nature of needing a sudden favor.
(oh me, to suffer inconvenience, to interrupt my privilege)
the thing is
an unplanned conversation can take as long
and possibly be as inconvenient as a sudden favor,
but a good talk happens all the time and goes mostly unnoticed.
but when its an actual physical favor;
why do i want recognition for having been inconvenienced?
shouldn’t one just feel good for being good?
unless you’re talking to me at night…
no one will feel good about that
cause i wont let you go to sleep
though your eyes will be drooping
and you can no longer focus or pay attention
and you will feel like weeping unless i go away…
still i will be talking and talking and failing to say anything.
sort of like… say… me blogging
the recognition in such cases should be me going away.

usually you can’t really know how
the other person is put out when you ask a favor
(or have a conversation)
even if they let it be known that its not good timing for them.

im thinking about a time i asked someone for a ride suddenly
or another
when i was with someone who had to borrow an old unused truck.
small things, but there was hesitation before agreement
and i cannot possibly know what it really cost to grant the favor,
what happened during that moment’s hesitation,
they may not be able to articulate it themselves.
but people are so good.

no matter how small the favor
the only possible response is gratitude.

one thing that none of us need
and none of us need be
is a scorekeeper.

forgiveness and gratitude walk around hand in hand
under the auspices of mercy
who in turn is acting for love.

and i am an incredibly clumsy friend.
though i love and i am so loved.
i have seen so many gracious, generous people;
friends, neighbors – inconvenienced and kind.
who am i that my time should be so precious?
my friends are wonderful
and my neighbors have been pointed out to me
by a very reliable source;
i just want to be humble
and go and do likewise.

the sexton vs. the plumber

August 21, 2014

warning: the following prominently features a dream sequence,
and is a bit long for the small story it has to tell…

i do not often remember my dreams.
a lot of times i’ll wake up with some snippet of melody
or a single strange phrase, like: lunch-meat tunnel
bouncing around endlessly in my head
but i won’t remember the story that goes along with them.
i’m glad cause they are always stressful.
(here is an example of one i did remember).
even if i dream about flying
exhilaration will mutate into a terror
of not knowing how to land without certain death.
ahhhh sleep, i’m so good at it in every way you can fail.

i’ve got a friend who is an excellent plumber
and an even better man.
we don’t really hang out on purpose
but whenever we encounter each other
(i think) we are both genuinely pleased.
he is stalwart generous confident capable clever funny,
he often volunteers at the church with labor and advice
+ i know that if he can’t or doesn’t want to help
he will tell me – and that is very freeing.
yet, we are ideological opposites;
but these things that many people would consider core
and necessary to even having a civil interaction
have no effect on the mutual enjoyment of our friendship.
once when watching our kids play the conversation
turned to discipline and after a bit he laughs and says:
“oh yah, i forget you guys are dirty hippies.”
it was a fun talk (really) and as a closing statement
delivered totally straight-faced (but with an eye twinkle)
he says: “doesn’t matter, i know i’m a better dad than you”.
i have been open with him and i trust him
and, you see, all that…
and the fact that i recently learned he is a competitive marksman
is probably why…
in the dream: he is who i called
when my family was taken hostage.

in the hazy way of dream remembering –
i don’t know the who or why; only the what…
it was an intense and desperate situation:
my family was in extreme danger from a group of horrible some-ones.
these others broke in and violently took my wife and children.
the threat to my family of every possible bad thing was implicit.
my life was also threatened but i was alone, powerless
and didn’t have access to wherever they were being held.
so i called the plumber:
“man, you gotta help…
please promise you will do whatever it takes to protect my family.”
in an instant he was there and i was running to meet him
everything in slow motion.
he stepped out of his truck
while fluidly bringing his rifle to his shoulder
and shot twice:
the first bullet slammed into my right shoulder
jerking me to the side,
the second tore through my gut
throwing me backwards off my feet.
the pain was incredible
but worse, was the shock of betrayal
as the bullets ripped through my body;
the thought: no, he’s… with them, how could he do this?
he walked slowly up to where i was lying on the ground
calm and earnest, pointing a pistol to my head, he said quietly:
“this is in the best interest of your family”
and i knew he wasn’t with them
and i knew he was right.

the final shot was ringing in my head when i woke up
leaping through the air, out of the bed, into the wall.
my shoulder hurt for several days.

the thing is – if i tell the plumber
i know what his response will be:
“man, that’s not realistic.
you would have been dead after the first shot.”


August 14, 2014

sometimes something happens
and i look up and realize
that i have no idea whats going on.
i mean: everybody everywhere everything
including myself – no idea
and i am shocked.
this always makes me feel like such an idiot
no… an asshole really = just incredibly selfish.
everything comes flooding in
overwhelming me with my own self-centeredness;
an unwanted emotional enema,
which is terribly ironic because
i think i am desperately trying to maintain my connections
and not fade out of my obligations
but i know that i am depressed
and avoiding really thinking about things.
i think i see that this is happening
but its hard to see your own undersides and
the main reason i dont know what is happening
is that i have crawled inside myself
for what i think is self-preservation
but is actually impeding my efforts at relieving
some perceived fragile mental imbalance…
what? and there it is: (colon)
i find im full of shit.
insincere and not making any sense at all
even to myself
how am i supposed to write about not knowing anything?
i am a fossil aquifer.
there used to be all this fresh water
full of fruitful promise
but it was apparently a non-renewable resource
impenetrable from any outside participating precipitation.
i didnt know and pumped it all out
faster than it could ever be replenished;
the water dried up and the ground gave way
creating that big hole in the ground,
a depression (ha – how droll)
maybe nobody will notice.
(i think) i keep hoping some new reserve will be found
a hidden pocket untapped (quickly depleted)
or better yet – magic…
a spring that will serve as a source to replenish,
but the sources that i havent
polluted, poisoned, hurt, dammed, diverted, neglected…
when their waters do get through
they find a black hole
endlessly sucking
never being filled.
i still have hope
i still keep drilling, keep searching
but i only end up with holes.

excreting non-sequitur

August 4, 2014

barely human barely sane barely functional barely alive barely a father barely a husband barely a friend barely a brother barley water

i was driving down a side road in a solidly middle class urban neighborhood
and a peacock wandered across the road.
as i sat in my car watching it
a lady leaving her house a couple of doors down
stopped her car rolled down her window and asked if it was mine,
i guess i could have gotten a free peacock that day.

if there is a God
i am completely convinced of his providence
and utterly bewildered by his disinterest

when i was around 8
i was riding my bike
and a woman ran into me with her much larger bike
it knocked me off my bike and sent me sliding across the pavement
(this was pre-helmets; mind you)
she stopped and as she loomed over me
hands remaining on her handle bars, straddling her bike of apathy
she looked down and said, “are you alright”
i lay there bleeding from facial road rash
feeling a bit confused from being suddenly thrown to the ground
and bounced around a bit
and i thought as i looked up at her
adults are idiots. they’re no smarter than us kids
i felt so indignant (of course i’m not alright)
its the first time i remember feeling like
i didn’t have to listen to these people.

if i could choose the way i am to be judged by others;
i would choose to be judged by the company i keep,
by the quality and character of my friends.

cause i can even make complimenting my friends about me

i was ringing out a mop
and as i picked it up out of the bucket
the mop handle crashed into the open, hanging light fixture
knocking out the two four-foot fluorescent light bulbs
which in turn and in quick succession
bounced off of my head
the very short stubble there
providing just enough cushion to keep them from breaking.
in what seemed like slow motion
i dropped the mop handle
and reached out catching a bulb in either hand
i felt like such a ninja
but i was the clumsy idiot who knocked the bulbs
out of the fixture with the mop in the first place
not a ninja, just a sexton

barely moments barely thoughts barely worth mentioning life.

paradox and palindrome

July 30, 2014

my firstborn’s initials are HRB
and because we call the middle kid by her initials –
EZB (Easy Bee)
i thought i would use fair practice for initials (FPFI)
and so i started calling her Herb
and then Herbert – she hates this.

HeRB has a strange artistic integrity,
an intensity that commands/inspires respect
though she can have trouble granting it.
she is older than she needs to be
and yet liable to break her self down
to near emotional infancy in a moment.
she can be generous to a point that makes me nervous;
and i want to tell her that she can’t give so much
but she doesn’t hesitate or regret,
she anticipates. (positive and negative)
she does not make it easy to romanticize parenting.
she does desire to please
but is not so eager to do so
that she will allow it to interfere
with whatever story her mind has her living in.
she loves with all her heart
she is passionate, earnest and fragile
she is her own and
has a hundred worlds spinning all around her at once
awaiting her pleasure and continued creation.
she dances in my deepest heart
captures, captivates, fascinates, infuriates
she is definitely not just a little kid anymore;
i delight in her friendship.
i think we will always be friends,
i have joy in that.

she is so much more than I could ever say
so far beyond my powers of articulation or reason
she is exasperating
she is beautiful
she is 7
she is my daughter
i am glad.

a lightbulb without electricity
just sits there
if i werent so well loved
i wouldnt be

and yet i still think that i prefer the dark.
where’s the switch
i want to burn
bright, useful.
i flicker at best
regardless of how steady and strong
the flow that reaches me
dim damn done.

you listen to me
as i talk about me
the fictional me
the me that i miss
because its missing
the me that i wish to be
with my endless failed attempt
to do what i meant

and you’ll listen to me
as i talk about me
so frustrated with my own inaccuracy
manic need and contempt for my self-expression
with no reasonable end to this attempt at articulation
and a frantic desire for the death of my own opinion
as i dig myself down down down
well past the end of the day
but if i stop you might get up and go away

you listen to me
and it is an act of absolute love
selfless and patient and above all that
it must be exhausting
your eyes are drooping and you need sleep
but i keep going
its so annoying im driving my self crazy
im not only stupid and lazy
but apparently i cant help this thing
that i always do
all of this
just cause i sat down to listen to you

the best thing

March 24, 2014

sometimes when i come home,
after greeting the kids
and hearing what ever random things
they want to yell at me all at the same time
and seeing whatever random thing
they are so excited about in that moment
that they can’t contain themselves –
but will immediately never think of again,
i turn and find my wife waiting;
and i step into the hug that she is bringing me,
my arms under, hers over
my head nestling in that softest spot
between the collarbone and the jaw
burrowing into her neck.
i don’t mean to
but my body heaves
and i sob…
it just quietly bursts
for a moment of relief.
when the depression has taken everything,
when the days anxiety has left just a shell
with a tiny single pixie dust glimmer left of me,
when despair seems that it will overtake me
and smash me down into an unsolvable rubiks cube
with the mass of a collapsed sun (a black hole of bullshit)…
that moment in her arms
is enough.