Dad

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The second person that I remember loving was my dad. I knew what it was long before I had the words to describe it. His long, curly hair, bell bottomed legs, too small t-shirt. He was cool and handsome. He was always angry and mostly drunk. And I loved him more than anything. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to carry his six packs and collect his baseball bat the second it swung from his hands wildly with a crack. The only men that have ever owned me are just like him, bluster and emotion.  Glass castle kings, court jesters.

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There were as many holes punched in the walls of my childhood home as there were beautiful moments of rock and roll in the big old Chevy. He is the person that taught me to hold up the facade by any means necessary.  He is the man who built a wall of anger around my life. But I love him.  Because of him I know how to see past the facade and beyond the anger. I know that was never his intention, the sending of me in the exact opposite direction. But I reckon that a lesson learned is a still a lesson learned regardless of how you get it.

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My father is a reckless mix of heart and fear, his every cell is laced with unmet desires and blurry visions of former greatness. My grandest dream is to rise fully and completely from that legacy. Knowing in my chest that he did what he could with what little he was taught and forgiving him for not aiming higher. Knowing that as damaged as he was, there was always a roof over my head and food on my plate. There will always be countless kids who have had it worse. There will be kids who have it better and still see nothing but struggle. This is my life and I worship every stinking second that builds these years. The good ones, the bad ones, the whole lovely mess of it all.

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Father’s day, for me, as it is for many, is a day to see how far I have come.  I am who I am because of and despite the earth that grew me. I will never be able to go back and have the childhood that I think I deserved. But it is certainly far from over. I get to be the adult my universe deserves. And if I don’t, that ones on me.

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 *All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  
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My Little, Young, Old Lady

I do not understand the casually savage lottery of death.  I cannot craft even a sentence that eases the pain or navigates the logic of life extinguished.  Words sound wrong.  They all seem hollow and contrived.  I find no tools to build anything that will protect you or comfort.  The one skill that I possess does nothing here.  Sadly, it seems that there is no poetry in dying.  There are no balms, no ladders to serenity, no roads back.  If I could only decipher this, maybe then would there be the right words there, the ones that heal.  I cannot.  There is no wisdom in this.  Though I try to find some.  For now, there is none.

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What I have for you is this.  I can tell you what I know.

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When we met I knew that our love would live.  It would not be something of stone and history, it would be lush, forever growing, alive.  A redwood, a city of light, something undilutable by time or water.  You are one of those people that offer up such perfect kindness in the presence of dark, a whisper that quiets all of the constant yelling.  You are like an antique, well made, ageless, your manners harkening back to a gentler time.  I would always feel a loving tinge of jealousy when you spoke of your Berenstein Bear family and the tender factory of love that grew you.  The wonder of that life, your life, holds me now.  I can feel it running up and down my spine, gratitude and joy for having met this father of yours.  This most caring and smart man who taught you to be a humane creature in a strange and cruel world.  I feel supremely blessed to have had a few moments to bring to life all of the lovely things you have shared about him.

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You told me once that I am your pit bull, that I fight when you won’t.  And I will.  I will always rally to protect the kindness in you.  I will clear out the dance floor so that you will have room to do the jitter bug (or whatever old folk dance you do).  But right now, you have to fight.   You have to stand up tall, put up your fists, and fight.  Fight to remember all of the things,  good, gooder, and best.  Fight to keep the dark at your back.  Fight the undefinable insanity of death.  Even when taking a breath seems impossible.  Even if every second burns your skin and blinds your eyes.  There are no words and there never will be.  And that means that in order to survive you need your heart and the quiet strength of the people who made you.  They are inside of you, they are outside of you, and they will be the might behind your every movement, forever.

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If I could take this from you, I would.  I could find a way to fill all of the cracks in your heart with gold, you would be exploding with light.  But I cannot.  What I can do is close my eyes, hold your grace in my body, and spend every moment in the kind, warm place that you have shown me.  And for this I am grateful.

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Heavy The Head

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“I want the truth, even if it wasn’t what I had thought it was.  Even if it wasn’t what I wanted it to be.”  Kee Aliens

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On this road to clarity and happiness, every omen, every tea leaf, has been thoroughly frisked for meaning.  All of the stones are up turned and words that alone meant nothing, examined.  I have made life into some sort of fruitless archeological dig.  I have felt that if I kept visiting every oracle that the great truth of my life will be revealed.  But it isn’t.  Only the untruths are showing themselves.

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I have learned that what feels and looks like love is most likely a carnival.  The loveliest of smoke, the cruelest of mirrors.  And without reserve, I will always buy the ticket.  The show is forever worth it.  I have found that most of my words, the ones said and the ones said to me, are no armor against life’s bullshit.   I cannot talk or think my way out of a world that has no language.  I have seen with my own eyes how a highway dead ends and a wooded path that can take you to the Emerald City.  Nothing makes sense and nothing ever will.

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My journey home, a trip taken in desperation, brought me a precious couple of gems.  One of them I was given by an old friend whom I respect without limit.  He said to me that love is not a debt paid or time owed.  Nobody has any obligation to love you romantically longer than they do.  We insert ego into something that must remain untethered to be real.  This is something that I have always felt but never admitted to.  Romance is romance, not a promise of permanence….

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The second jewel was this:  When a snake bites, the only cure is to suck out the poison.  And I am a snake that bites my own tail.  And I am the antidote to the wound that I inflict, on myself, on others.  I have been tearing myself apart all these years.  I produce a false shine and turn on myself with the slightest sign of failure.  There is nothing real in that action.  That hunt only brings in bad meat and a broken heart.  And so, back to the drawing board.  Another reinvention.  This one, hopefully, a clearer version of myself.  Something with a little peace and quiet.

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And the crowning jewel, the icing, the prize, the kings ransom…..love is all there is.  Old words.  Ancient sentiment.  But fresh and true none the less.  My weaponry in this battle is greased with love.  Love for myself.  Love for my friends.  Love for those that storm the fields against me.  It hurts, to be this open.  It hurts, to have loved and lost.  It hurts, to forge into the darkness with no light.  And I am afraid.  And I will be brave.

This, I swear.

This last turn about the sun….what a ride.  What a strange walk in a stranger land, following the trail of the darkest, most dangerous version of love.  I can’t see the future, I am not even sure that it’s there.  I don’t know if I am broken or whole.  I am old and salty, naive and busted wide.  I guess I wasn’t specific enough about what I wanted.  Strong, wise, heat, bows and arrows, skin and sweat, balls, guts, truth.  I should have been vividly more specific.  I should have used those words.  And since I didn’t then, I will now.  You will not find me next year buried under casual carelessness, at the mercy of a broken wild thing.  Please consider this me, going on record.

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I want bravery.  In myself, in him.  We will look at each other and never turn away.  No matter the ugly, no matter the fear.  We do this and are rewarded with all of the beauty that the eye and heart can hold.  We do this and broom the dirt of sadness right out the fucking door.  We fight together and laugh at our enemies because no one thing can defeat our army of two.

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There is no need for you to love hip hop or know every word to every D’angelo song.  I only need you to love me like a G, a warrior.  To know every scar, every mole, every curve on my body and be able to sing it.  To know my heart, know my mind, and roam it’s peaks and valleys with the spirit of a pioneer.  I don’t care if you can field dress a deer,  just as long as you can feed me.  I don’t care if you can build me a house, just as long as you promise to always keep me warm.  I don’t need a man who acts like a gangster, I need one that is a gangster.  Quiet, strong, like wood, like stone.

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I need him to care enough about me to care enough about himself.  The body, a temple.  The mind, an ever expanding landscape that we travel together, that he is brave enough to wander alone.  I want books on his shelf, food in his cupboard.  Clean sheets on our bed, blankets soft and warm.  Seven pillows.  Age will change us but our bodies and minds will remain strong.  I want a fella that is tough enough to fight beside me, for as long as we both shall live.

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Push me, force me, dangle me off a cliff.  I want to be uncomfortable.  When you do this it shows me that you think I can be more and do better.  I never want to grow soft or bored.  In return, I will do this for you.  I will twist you up and spin you until up is down.  And if you crash, I will dust you off and tell you how lovely you are.  And then help you try again.  Because together we are unbreakable.

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Fuck me.  Make love to me.  I want to know every part of you.  And you will know everything.  I will keep no secret.

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Don’t ever leave me.  If I give you my heart, I promise that there will be no greater love.  There is nothing else out there better.  I will grow and change, you will have a thousand dimensions all in one.  And if I fail you, there will still be no greater love.  Do not turn your back on me.  I will break.  No real man ever wants to see a woman break.  If I give you my heart, you are it’s keeper.  It will be your job to protect me, even if it’s from you.  If I trust you, do not break that pact.  For me to love, for me to trust, is my deepest battle.  And if I win that battle and give myself to you, then you must stay.  And if you don’t want to stay then leave me where you found me.  Leave my heart whole.  There is someone out there that wants me whole, so let me be.

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And this, I swear.

These Dreams

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Spare a little candle
Save some light for me
figures up ahead
Moving in the trees
White skin in linen
Perfume on my wrist
And the full moon that hangs over
these dreams in the mist

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Darkness on the edge
Shadows where I stand
I search for the time
On a watch with no hands
I want to see you clearly
Come closer than this
But all I remember
Are the dreams in the mist

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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away
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Is it cloak ‘n dagger
Could it be spring or fall
I walk without a cut
Through a stained glass wall
Weaker in my eyesight
The candle in my grip
And words that have no form
Are falling from my lips
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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away
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There’s something out there
I can’t resist
I need to hide away from the pain
There’s something out there
I can’t resist
The sweetest song is silence
That I’ve ever heard
Funny how your feet
In dreams never touch the earth
In a wood full of princes

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Freedom is a kiss
But the prince hides his face
From dreams in the mist

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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away
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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

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Let It Burn.

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In my bed, a bed that never saw your body, never drank our sweat, or felt you rise at dawn.  In my bed a fire lit.  It started in my belly and stayed there.  It burnt my guts.  It took my heart.  Nightmares, tears, panic, all of the things that came from your disappearance, fuel.  All of it, fuel.  I burned until the only thing left was ash.

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The odd thing about nothingness is that it never truly is nothingness.  Buried within is always more.  More pain.  More hope.  More.  While the fire emptied me out, some strange well filled me.  I wonder about it now.  I’m a pile of ash and still I breath.

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That bed, the furnace with my dreams of love a smoldering collection of wood and smoke warming every inch of my life.  I seek sleep in it now and it feels like a war.  A thing that is winning and losing, together.   I lay in it, tossing,turning, allowing myself to think of you, willing myself to forget.  But I never truly want to forget.  We can paint over it, we can turn it away when it begs to crawl between the sheets, we can put a million miles between this day and that,  but the burnt earth will never forget.  The scars of this fire will be seen by every man and woman that passes through our scorched worlds.

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A friend told me today that he a had moment in life where he opened his eyes to a room filled with flames.  In his left hand was a match, in the right, a gas can.  In that moment you can do only one thing.  Let the mother fucker burn.  All of it, down to the ground.  You with it.  We hold onto some moments with a religious fever.   And to watch them burn is a baptism.  Sacrosanct reckoning.

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A dunk in the river, a dab of holy water, none of it compares to the righteousness of fire.  And so I am grateful.  I am reverent of this bed that now holds the bones of a new woman.  To me it is a nest.  And I am a phoenix.  The pillows are seeds and the blankets are feathers.  And I will be a phoenix.  I will be hot to the touch.  My hurt will be the wings that keep my soul open, wings spread wide, despite fear, despite the weakness of this new skin.

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It is easy to look back at lost love and regret, hate.  I will never do that.  In my chest is a small, wood cabin that exists only for that love.  It is where I keep forgiveness, respect, and true love.  As my body ages, this house will not.  There is a bow with arrows on the wall, a red hot stove, and a bed with sheets that are always turnt down, waiting.  It is fire resistant.  All great things are both fed by heat and strong enough to withstand the match.

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This one’s for you Gyspy.

This is what I think when I think of love.

This is what I thought of when I thought of love.

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As a child it was a bird that landed in the window and flew away when I reached out to touch it.  It never stayed long.  I learned that to look at it was to scare it away.  To move towards it was to force it into flight.

I taught myself to view it from the corner of my eye.  And we lived in harmony this way.  And when I tired of that I would rush at it, flapping my arms, daring it to leave.  The fear of something is almost always worse than it actually occurring.  And sometimes this was true.  Is true.

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If my windowsill felt empty, it was only because I couldn’t stop looking at it.  Even in the dark I knew that there was nothing there.   And that space was so big and me so small.

When I think of love now I think of warmth like tropic salt water.  I think of immersing myself under the waves and feeling calm within a thundering wash.  I long for love to be the harbor, even though I am the storm.  I can’t be protected from the weather that is inside of me.  And in this place lives a tiny child who runs at the bird to scare it away and dies as she watches it soar.  A thing for others but not for her.

This is what I do when I let it all go.

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I know that out there in that vast space around me is a love that stays.  A love that forgives, forgets, and saves.  I know that out there I will find a love that holds me close and leads me towards my fears, not away.  That love will shine a light on my demons and expose them as dust bunnies and shadows.  And in return I promise love that I will always keep the light on.  The door will always stay wide to the wind.  And though I will never be whole, I will always be ready to try.

This is what I say to love when in sits in the windowsill, wings spread.

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I am sorry.  I never meant to chase you away.  I was taught that when I reached for you that you would leave.  And because of that I sat still, grew scared, and then lunged.  Thinking maybe this would be the time I could hold you in my arms.  I was wrong.  I need you know to know that your beauty has forever changed me and I will stare at my window and see your shape and hear your sound for as long as I live.  In my heart I know how lucky I am to have been so close to you and I am grateful beyond words.  I believe in you and admire your flight; it felt so wonderful to see the world from your perch, even if only for a moment.  You taught me to be brave and true.  You taught me that love is not something you can hold.  It is something that holds you, flies when it likes, and visits you when you least expect it.

This is what I think of when I think of love.

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I long for the day when I can sit in the same room with love and it stays.  It hears me cry and rage, and it stays.  It says to me that I will never leave you; I will never give you a minute of loneliness.  I will be by your side no matter how scared you get.  I don’t need to fly away because I am yours and you need me.  You are mine and I need you.

This is what I think of when I think of love.

Jerome Witkin-Native American-1974

Bread Crumbs For You, A Way Home For Me.

I am doing a little side project on my blog, starting today. It will be highly personal and probably extremely uninteresting to most of you. I will not publicize it, so if you want to read it that is up to you. It will be under the Bread Crumbs page in the drop down menu. If you are using a mobile, it will be under the menu bar and hopefully in some sort of order.  I will be writing one story a day about my life. I am trying to find my way home and this is the only way I know how. This link will be the only time I will offer it publicly, but I will add to it everyday and I am grateful to have such wonderful people to share it with.

Be easy, baby.

Be easy, baby.  We have all the time in the world.  There will be days to thunder.  There will be nights to rage.  We will have demons to slay and love to make.  Not today.  Today is for reverence and alters.  Today is for starting from scratch, today we rewrite the wrongs and forgive ourselves for everything.  All accounts are settled.  And when this day ends, as it inevitably does, all memory is crystal, perfect and pure.  Time is a gift and I give it to you.

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Be easy baby, you are finally home.  From dirt and wood we will build a place where happiness will live, the sweetest dreams moving from sleep to reality.  A garden of food, an orchard of green.  Rolling salt water to the west, forests of moss and game to the east.  This land will be sanctuary to family, friends, souls in search of rest.  Our door always open to remind us that good comes in and evil runs out.  This land will be fortress against the enemy, a dragon in the mote, archers at the ready.  You are home and I am standing on the stoop watching you walk in.

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Be easy baby, this love is the kind that stays.  This love greets you at the door, jumps in your arms.  It walks beside you in the light and in front of you in battle.  Holds you up when you are too weary to keep it all going.  My love erects a thousand little monuments and leaves them all over the world so that you never feel alone.  What came before was only a stone for stepping.  What lived before was the man on a journey only he could undertake.  This is the love that stays, even when the fear lays you low.  Even when the only feet on the earth are yours.

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Be easy, baby.  Be easy.  There will be a million fights in this life and only one true victory.  Love.  The fire in the hearth.  The gravel road that leads home.  The pillow, the blanket, the body curled with yours.  The moon on the water.   The music that weaves in and out of a perfect story.  Love.  It’s just that easy.

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The Heart Is A Hunter

Many years ago I read (devoured) Carson Mculler’s The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.  The book itself was lovely, harsh, dark, like a trip into someone elses sadness.  I forgot the finer details of this book long ago.  What sticks with me still is the title.  The heart, the hunter, and the loneliness built into both.  The most effective hunter is one who holds the bow calmly, sharing breath with the prey, relaxing into the quiet, and then releasing the arrow like a whisper.  There is no room for desperation or need in this act.  It must be considered a personal right.  There is no place for guilt or regret.  All debts will eventually be collected.  You must become a part of the circle of life, you must know that at some point you will be the hunted.

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The day will come when you reach up to grab an apple off the neighbors tree, your belly still warm from the breakfast you ate, and in the sights of the predator, you will be.  She will stare at you from the feathered end of her arrow and watch as your arm extends, your pulse slow in your neck, the heart of you exposed.  Without knowing, yet somehow aware, the arrow joins the hunter with the hunted and the circle closes.  There is beauty in this, as there is in all things natural and deadly.

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I have been both predator and prey, huntress, and cowering opossum.  I have begged the universe for a sign that my heart will not always be lonely.  Whiskey nights filled with nameless animals gave way to cold mornings and unkindness.  Acceptance, fear, pain.  Critical parts of the hunt, all.

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Nothing prepared me for the day when I squinted down the shaft of my arrow and saw a hunter staring back at me, bow drawn tight, aim true, breath slow.  You taught me never to flinch, speed is my greatest ally.  And so I let go.  Without hesitation we release a mortal blow, the air ripples, and flat on our backs we sail into the mystic.

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Even the loneliest hearts harbor hope.  Even the deepest of wounds carry the dream of wholeness.  There is no protection against pain and there is no escaping fear.  All that I can do is believe that if someone like you exists in this bankrupt world, everything will be just fine.  We will do everything and hide from nothing.  We will hunt and be hunted.  You will be Romeo and I will be Juliette.

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For Travis.