Tuesday
Jan152013

The End Of My January Myth: Art Opening

Stare at endings. And I don’t mean look at them real hard because that’s too conscious and willful. Staring is a different kind of thing where you sort of disappear so the thing you’re staring at can relax and be what it is. So endings. All kinds. Stare at them. Stare at them long enough and something happens. They don’t stay put. They—I don’t know—jostle or something. It’s like they wiggle. You know? They do a little dance. And when endings start dancing, that’s when you begin to move into the quirky little understanding that the end is ending. Yes. Endings end. Everything ends and then? Well there’s only one thing left to do, silly. Begin again.

I’m not going to write about mourning and grief this January. This is the year when I let my dead friends die. No time for the past. No time to dream of spring. The January thaw is fertile.

Dan Parker was with Chris Delaney the night he was struck by a car and killed, January 16, 1986. Dan Parker is an artist.

Wednesday
Jan092013

Amends

My first resolution for 2013 is to have done with procrastination and all the ill effects that spring therefrom.

*

Yeah. January 9thth. Okay, yes, fine.

*

In addition, 2013, for me, will be about making amends with an emphasis on mending. I’ve recently stumbled into some revelations regarding resentment and fear that essentially understands these experiences as the very events, the sneaky culprits, that construct and perpetuate the self as a self over and against the world (from which of course selfishness quickly follows). What? I know I know. It sounds so high flying and fucked up, and yet? There it is.

When things get too abstract, I begin to starve for images. So, remember that gash on your finger? Such a nasty cut. Here, when I talk about making amends, when I think about mending, I imagine the slow and subtle way a wound heals. When’s the last time you slowed down long enough to think about how crazy and fucked up it is that your body—it just—it… the thing HEALS itself. You swear and drop the knife. Stop the blood. Swear some more. And a few weeks later, the wound—it’s gone. There’s nothing.

And it had nothing to do with you or your will. Your body, slowly, quietly, left to its own devices, mends. And what is mending but restoration? Indeed. What is mending but the slow and wondrous dissolution of mistaken separation? The broken skin isn’t sorry. It doesn’t apologize. It merely returns to its original condition of being unslit.

2013. I resolve to dissolve into being unslit.

To make amends is to lose one’s self in the indiscriminate place between the waves and the shore, where no clear separation is defined—the shore, waves, the shore, waves, this ever mending place of rich exchange between give and take. To be unslit is to ride the wind through trees and leaves and the flowing brown hair of wise women with multi-colored eyes. Go with the blow. Forget what you know. Everything! Forget it all. Until your thoughts are clouds and your dreams are fish and you’re not that, the other thing, and you’re definitely not this.

What will emerge—can you imagine?—when the wound heals, when all is mended, after the slow and wondrous dissolution of all mistaken separation? Who are you and what’s a world in the healed predicament of original unslittedness?

I sure as fuck don’t know. But forgive me or not, here I come.

Wednesday
Dec192012

A Day In The Life Of The World's Greatest Dad Blogger, 2012

The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World rises, stretches, and yawns, immersed in recollections of his children, fond memories feeling their way into narrative. The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World puts his pants on like everyone else, one leg at a time. However, plans to put his pants on two legs at a time are in the works. That will be something.

The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World watches his children play and weeps. He is reflecting on their innocence. There is the smell of diesel fuel. There is the knowledge of their inevitable adulthood and its vast array of emotional and mood disorders. The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World is weeping because he feels things very deeply. He feels things #1.

The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World charges a million dollars per text link. The companies offer zero dollars and great opportunities for his readers. The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World says “Okay, fine, a thousand”. They counter with free. The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World promises his readers that he’ll always keep it real and never sell out. Maybe for a thousand.

The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World rests his chin on his fist and ponders the future of Dad Blogging. His brow is furrowed. His temples are quivering. All eyes are on him. The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World better lose himself in the moment, he better own it, he better never let it go.

The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World responds to requests for advice regarding how to more deftly Dad Blog. First, he is silent, squinting into sun flare. The children, he begins, haltingly, They happen. The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World is an enigma. Or perhaps just confused. Let the children children like verbs. Let them happen and watch yourself watching them happen and how you happen together. He stops. It’s stupid, he says, Just play and write until they’re the same thing.

The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World wonders if he’ll ever win a Bloggie. Or will he push things to the next level and publish a novel with a small, insignificant press? Would that be enough? Or would he then yearn for that oh so elusive Lancasterian 7 figures? Would his life ever be a poem? Would he find a gentle love that simmered slowly and settled gently like a bare footprint in mud? Would his body and mind ever fall away without and within the simple shining forth in the light of that which thus comes? The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World has a lot on his mind.

The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World listens to his children argue in the backseat. They’re growing up in an educational system that correlates being right with Truth. People still watch game shows. The Greatest Dad Blogger In The World is not drunk. Many small animals celebrate in forests all around the world. Today, no one has yet been eaten by wolves.

Saturday
Dec152012

Step 4

Pen to paper, I dug deep into my resentments, my fears, and the kinks in my sexual past. 

After the pages are covered with all the things you thought you thought, it’s good to allow your periods, those mistaken points of certain punctuation, to grow like flowers into question marks. Don’t know yourself. If you do, wonder why, wonder more, until you are once again unfathomable.

Look in the mirror and smile. Be kind to strangers.

When you wake in the morning, be confused about where you are. Wonder what an are is. What’s a you in an are? Are you sure? Be wary of certainty. It seems to me that the fundamental mistake lurking behind all pulled triggers and whizzing bullets is someone who’s too damn sure of something.

Emotion evokes velocity. Slow it down with wonder. Ask searching and fearless questions.

*

When I was a little kid, my nana denied me some candy so I stormed outside and stomped on her flowers. My mom tells me I used to explode and inexplicably destroy my favorite things. I was an angry boy and I’m an angry man. I have peeled the faces off my resentments to discover a blind rage that merely rages as if raging, being a fire, is what being is. I hope there’s more. Other people say there is. The only way I’ve found to tame myself is to ask myself questions, to tend my fire with care, and wonder if, somehow, deep inside it, there’s something beautiful that might one day grow.

*

A package came the other day. It was filled with books and candy, all wrapped in wonderful notes, and a little kit to grow some flowers. Something alive. It occurred to me that no one had given me an alive anything ever. Eagerly, with my daughter, I planted the bulb in the dark wet soil and put it on my windowsill. I return to it frequently, wonder what’s going on, and imagine that life is good. This is how to wait for flowers.

Wednesday
Dec052012

There Are Different Ways To Jump

“I’m glad you didn’t jump.”

“Excuse me?”

“Three months ago, you sat over there, just a mess, and all you said was that you kept driving to the Hoover Dam bridge.”

“Ah.”

“I bet you’d be the last person ever to guess what you did tonight, so I’m going to go ahead and tell you, okay?”

“What I did? Tonight?”

“You smiled for 90 minutes straight. Keep coming.”

*

The self is a maze with no exits. Forget it.

Saturday
Nov172012

Heat Rises

When you are an old woman and I am a ghost, do me a favor? Remember today as a metaphor for rising. Let the details fade until the bones remain. Love. Perspective. Rising, for a time, above it all. Tuck it away for now. Forget it. Let it keep you afloat from beneath the surface of awareness. But when you need it, during those times when you absolutely must see like a bird, sift through and peel back the folds of your memory and remember today. I will be there, tending a small fire in the dungeon of your heart and haunting you with thoughts that lift.

For the past couple weeks, every time you saw a double-decker bus you would point and scream AWW MAN DAD LOOK A DOUBLE-DECKER BUS IT’S A DOUBLE-DECKER BUS so, today, when your mom and brother had other plans, we went for a walk until we came to a bus stop. Your big smile knew. I bought the tickets. You danced on the sidewalk for an audience of passing cars.

 

We sat in the front row on the second level, nearly smashing street lights with our heads, towering over traffic and people on bikes, king and queen of the world, road Gods. "Where are we going, Daddy?" you asked and I didn't know. "Let's just ride around," I said, "and maybe find a place to eat breakfast. Or we can just ride the whole route and come back." I had managed to stay sober for 90 days. The clouds were beginning to break up in a way that teased me with promise and folly. I didn't know where I was going and had begun to find strange comfort in my ignorance. I didn't want to know. I would ride the bus and see where it went.

It went here.

We got off at the stop by THE WORLD'S LARGEST GIFT SHOP to walk the strip and look for breakfast, accosted by bums. And something in the way we both stopped to gaze up The Stratosphere, the amount of time we just stood there, gawking, wondering, awe dumb, answered the question about where we were going. We never needed to decide; we were chosen. If I could look in your eyes, command your attention, and be granted the power to teach you something indelible, I would tell you The next thing to do is always right there. Tuck that away too. Let it haunt you in times of trouble. Sometimes, the next thing is so right there, so close, that you can't even see it. Even with Paul McCartney in your face crooning Let It Be, you'll worry yourself to death about where you're going and miss the show. The world is your teacher. Your mind is snakes and apples.

Your ears were popping during the 900 foot elevator ascent and I was thinking about things like helium balloons and double-decker buses. Earlier in the week, your brother and I spent a day jumping on trampolines and there seemed to be a theme screaming through us.

The initial view from the top thrilled you with big eyes and a wide open mouth, which thrilled me too because we are much the same stuff. I love to watch you look. You gravitated toward the high powered binoculars and screamed things like CIRCUS CIRCUS, LOOK AT THAT PARKING LOT, A MAN IN A WHEELCHAIR WITH ONLY ONE FOOT, exploring the details of far-away. I imagined being one of the ant-sized men on the sidewalk below, watching myself from a radically new perspective. Down there, submerged in myself, I often forget to spend a half hour with a book of Paul Klee prints, to see myself from the eye of the crow, to spin what I think from above (and below). Art, generally. Otherwise. There's a perspective, a lofty one that can, even from inside the maze of city streets, remember the mountain, its peak, and the endless blue reverie beyond the clouds.

 

When you are an old woman and I am a ghost, remember the day we held hands at the bus stop, waiting for what would take us to where we didn't know. Dwell on what it means to be on a bus, between places, the games we played, our conversations. Think about highs and lows and the way each sees the other. Art, generally. And try to see through the details of today to find a metaphor for rising.

*

Beneath the artifice lies the knowledge that you won't always be a little girl so I write these things for an unknown woman. I can't fathom your experience of me or whether or not today will matter to you in the way it rattled my bones. But you should know, something in me insists this find expression, that there was a day when you were 8 and we sat at a bus stop and I loved you so much I thought my chest was caving in. You should know that there were days when you were just a kid that I struggled with things inside my head that wanted to kill me and you saved my life on the second level of a double-decker bus. You should know that riding in elevators means more than riding in elevators.

Friday
Nov092012

After Looking Through The Things I Thought This Year And Wrote In The Big Black Notebook She Gave Me

My ultimate blessing is a sometimes stumbling into a curious seeing things differently, an escape from the tenacious tyranny of how things supposedly are. I can’t stand a smug realist. Paint them blue and put them all on purple horses. Slap duct tape on their mouths. Stifle their of courses.

When’s the last time you honestly remembered the ignorant galaxies of things you don’t know? How deep into your fallacies are you prepared to go? Open your eyes to the surprise in lies.

There’s a place beyond ambition wholly composed of enchantment. I would take you there if you were still able to say maybe, forgetting time, forgetting money, forgetting everything you know. Where everything rhymes, it tastes like honey, not knowing is how you grow. Gelassenheit.  Look it up.

Torture. Long-suffering patience. Work. Only against the infinite black sky do we behold the silver moon. Hold my hand. Hold it. There’s silver in the lead mine. Subjectivity beyond the subject. I swear it’s true. It’s right outside the door. Shhh. Hush. Listen. Resonance. Not reflections. The light by which we see. This is the way from casualty to casual.

Can you imagine?

After all the scorching and cursing and rotting, we can walk lightly on the world, leaving bare hints of subtle footprints. Not identified with the myth of experience. Fictions again. Exhale. Sigh. Persevere in nothing. Live without why. There’s a bigger kind of life on the other side of die.

Thursday
Nov082012

Some Promises

Lost my daughter today.

Took my son to the doctor and she was supposed to attend the after school program but she forgot and rode the bus to her mom’s house. Lost her key last week. It was dark and a little bit rainy when I found her outside. Her yellow hair flowed out of her black hoodie and my bottom lip did that quiver thing. She wasn’t crying. She had to pee. I imagined 1000 bad things that could’ve happened; yet there she was. She told me she had teriyaki chicken for lunch. I don’t know what’s so wrong with everything. I remember my childhood closet. I used to climb back in there and try to get comfortable—football helmet in my back, Lego. The people at work try to talk to me but I look at the ground a lot. In the car sometimes I sing. When someone knocks on my neighbor’s door, I imagine it’s me knocking on mine. “Hello, Jon,” I would say, “Come in,” but “No,” I’d tell myself, “You come out. Let’s go for a walk.” Some promises are kept. The world is full of gods. Strangers are my best friends. There’s financing available for qualified buyers. Everything depends.

I found my daughter. She was waiting outside.