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Entries from April 1, 2009 - April 30, 2009

Thursday
Apr302009

Thank You

I was bored so I started thinking about how the environmental crisis would never be solved by mere practice alone because it needed to be accompanied by a revolution in consciousness but I wasn’t sure if the revolution in consciousness would alter behavior or if changing behavior first would usher in the revolution in consciousness. Then Lucy started guzzling a glass of water. Lucy performs everyday acts with an intensity that tends to attract my attention. She just tipped her head back and gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp. She’s got guzzling in her genes. Then she went and did that magic little kid thing where they perform a sweetly simplistic act all shot through with profundity and ancient wisdom.

She pulled the tiny purple cup from her lips and made that exaggerated “Ahhhh” refreshed noise. She held it 12 inches away from her face and admired it with sparkling eyes and a delighted smile. She made me smile. I think the cup smiled too. See. Lucy’s smile was not limited by the bounds of her face. Rather, she created an atmosphere that smiled. Everything in her orbit smiled in the smiling. She set the cup on the kitchen table, leaned into it, and said earnestly:

“Thank You, Cup.”

The animistic world, wherein all objects have souls or are part of one big world soul, has long been replaced by a world full of stupid dead objects. We live in this world of unlively things as a result of the scientific vision of the world somehow achieving the status of “reality”. Instead of a vision among visions, the scientific view elbowed its way into being the way things really are. But there’s a price to pay for being so damn right.

We could stand to learn a few things from pagans and children—simple things like the relation to the world that results from a stance of pure gratitude. The cup is that which contains the source of our thirst’s quenching. And for this Lucy was grateful and found the cup worthy of speech and good manners. Soon, for Lucy, the cup will be stripped of its personified traits and be replaced by a hunk of dead plastic. We’ll call that growing up. Development. She’ll have achieved a more complex level of maturity and she’ll score higher in terms of reality testing.

But imagine what kind of world we’d live in if we were all so grateful for cups. What if we all thanked the chair for so dutifully embracing us after a long day on our feet? The kitchen table deserves your praise! It is not only that which holds your dinner aloft. But it is also binds your family around it. What would happen to these various environmental crises if our notion of what is to be respected extended past a small handful of people? How would the world look? How would we act? Perhaps sorting and taking out the recycling wouldn’t be such a chore or a hassle. It might suddenly be the least we could do. To excitedly walk these things out to the curb toward the next chapter of their service. Thank you.

Sunday
Apr262009

Mountain Girl Silver

It was one of those evenings when all the planets lined up in perfect relation to the stars and the moon swam through my wife's hair and the same force that dictates the ocean's tides and keeps the sun held fast to its burning and perpetuates the beating hearts of all the wildest animals - that very same force coaxed my feelings out from their most secret chambers and compelled their expression. My feelings dripped from me like sweat from a very sweaty man. They must needs be spoken.

BHJ: Jenna. What beauty is this? Is yours a face or is it but a dream reflected off the silver glass of a mountain lake? Your hair my dear is the yellowest hay, too fine and wonderful for the mouths of stupid horses. Neigh. It is a bird's nest of gold. But so fine and soft that one would never know it's actually precious metal. Rather, it feels like hair. Your hair is soft like hair. It's a golden tautology. Your lips are two spilled puddles of red wine that call for me to drink them, to lap them up with alcoholic enthusiasm. For some the essence of the mouth lies in its capacity for speaking or eating or breathing - but for you these are merely secondary, tertiary, and fourthiary. For your mouth, my Jenna, was made to kiss. (And to say dirty hot things but I guess that would be speaking.) It's primary function revolves around the business of making out. And good God your regal nose of Italian stock! Lodged (daintily) between the two deepest seas ever discovered upon the face of a woman. Who would dare try to speak with any substance about the mystery of your eyes? Here a moment clear blue. A murky grey the next. They shift like your mind, woman, when we're trying to find a place to eat. But to speak of your face in parts like an 8th grader dissecting a frog is a crime against the wholeness of your face. For it is only when your face is apprehended in its totality that a man swoons and gasps and wonders by what ghost he is haunted. Fireworks explode overhead. That little boy soprano choir sings. Angels smile and people do not bristle at the knock of strangers at the door. All for your face, Jenna. Your face restores my faith in the sacred power of prayer. And even moreso when your face sits upon your neck around which is wrapped a necklace from Mountain Girl Silver.

JENNA: Aw dude is this a fucking commercial?

BHJ:

JENNA: Answer me. Are you in the middle of a fucking commercial?

BHJ: Yes?

JENNA: So this necklace - this beautiful silver necklace which would be perfect for Mother's Day because of how each of your children's names are stamped on their own silver medallions - KNOCK IT OFF! Stop writing your pitch in my mouth, sell out.

BHJ: Sorry. Go ahead.

JENNA: So my birthday necklace was free? In exchange for a blog post?

BHJ: No, not free. Complimentary. And I just offered to write a blog post because it was such a nice gesture. Jesus Jenna. Just because something's complimentary doesn't mean it's not high quality personalized silver jewelry made the Mountain Girl Silver way.

JENNA: I know. You're right. You're always right, dear. And it's so obvious that you're writing my dialogue. I have never been right. You are always right. My necklace is simple, unique, and beautiful. I wear it everyday, along with the engraved silver bracelet that you actually used money to buy from Erika at Mountain Girl Silver.

BHJ (grinning): Yes, you are right. I did purchase that bracelet. And I did so because of Erika's high quality, engraved silver product.

JENNA: You are the greatest husband in the history of husbandry. I love my necklace and my bracelet from Mountain Girl Silver. And you. I love you the most. All I want to do is gaze at you and be guided by the North Star of your unfailing rightliness.

BHJ: Thank you, Jenna. Thank you so much for saying all these things and allowing me to document them in their genuine entirety on my blog.

JENNA: You're welcome, honey. We should make out. Just say the word when you want to have sex with me. Because you're the boss and I am merely an instrument of your whim.

BHJ: What a great idea, Jenna. Let's have sex. Right after we click the link above and explore the many options for high quality engraved silver product from Mountain Girl Silver.

Thursday
Apr232009

Nothing

I chanced to see Lucy and Jackson playing in the backyard. Not together. The only thing they do well together is torture me. They torture each other and their Mother as well. But I am especially aware of the ways they torture me. They're good. Anyway, I saw them in the backyard and I was drawn to the way they inhabit the center of such different worlds.

Jackson’s tendency is to challenge himself within the bounds of any old set of arbitrary limits that happen to cross his mind. He’ll just grab a sword or some shit and decide that the fate of the world hinges upon hitting a particular tree with it. But you have to be at least 10 feet away. And you have to scream “Back from whence you came, wretch!” when you throw it. When the tree hitting is a success, you have to make any number of potentially climactic noises that seem like they might sound climactic when you’re just about to articulate them but usually end up sounding flat and weird. So Jackson will get caught in a goofy loop of the same fantastic activity that forces you to ask “How is that fun?”. I’m not kidding. You wouldn’t even think it first. You’d just catch yourself muttering “How is that fun?”. But it’s nice when you’re trying to get something done.

Lucy, perhaps a victim of relentless cultural forces or maybe enacting forms that exist in the deep structures of her girly mind, is always about some beautiful pink business. Her fantastic narratives have no beginning or end but they always tend to circle around how everybody’s looking. There’s haircuts and lots of trips—“Let’s go on a trip!”—and an infinite parade of dresses. Every new idea arises with a dress.

I wondered about the way my son wages battle and my daughter applies lipstick. I began to question the way they emerge into their roles and selves. But then that wonder gave way to a strange awareness of my kids that lacked any assessment or judgment. This happens when I’m by myself and no one is talking to me. The world loses its context of politics and morality and it just kinda shines forth in all its weird variation. They really are impossibly alive creatures. Their vivid, spontaneous presence arises out of a deep immersion in their constant potential for not being. I imagined death nipping at their heels. I imagined them playing against this background of death and teasing it, flaunting the color and activity of their lives in death’s face.

I remember feeling the pressure to be grateful in 12 Step meetings. There was a constant attempt to manufacture gratitude out of the mere fact of not being drunk or dead. And it dawned on me during these quiet observations of my children that I am not grateful. I am defiant.

Then Jenna said “What’re you thinking about?” and the words erected a host of philosophical assumptions that sucked me back into my own fantasy.

“Nothing.”

Tuesday
Apr212009

Book Like Thing

If you're a regular reader of The Wind In Your Vagina, you will have noted: "Hrmm. Black Hockey Jesus hasn't posted in 6 days." Now I recognize that the lot of you don't come around every day nor do you keep tabs on how frequently I post. Well, right now, I'm talking to the people who do. So if you don't, you're pretty much just eavesdropping and calling me narcissistic. Excuse me but if I'm so narcissistic, why are you eavesdropping on a conversation I'm having with my regular readers? You just crave the ramblings of a narcissist? That's a touch weirder than narcissism itself, no? If you're fascinated by a person who's inordinately fascinated with himself, what does that make you? It probably indicates some kind of self-esteem issue. It's like you can't muster the strength to be inordinately fascinated with yourself because your Dad was super mean to you (he was bitter; he didn't really want kids in the first place), so you're fascinated by people who ARE inordinately fascinated by themselves and you kinda dwell vicariously in their self fascination. But you make believe you're them. That you're super fascinating.

Weirdo.

Anyway, to the people who have noticed that I haven't posted in 6 days, I fear your attribution theories. Do you think I'm lazy? Getting fat? Washed up? I had this one bitch reader, Jill, who said back in July: "Gee. I can't wait to read the next flavor of the month". Perhaps you suspect my month is up. Well that, my friend, is a rash and hasty assessment. Don't be a slut like Jill.

Actually, the blog has a competitor for my affections and she's something kinda bookish. I can say that because she just rounded 20 pages and that's as long as my longest college paper, so I'm in uncharted book realm like area. And as I was pining between continuing to write the bookish book like thing and wanting to write something for the blog, I wondered: Isn't my house big enough for both the book like thing and the blog? These are modern open minded times. But how now? I can't spill the beans about the book on the blog (how's that for balliteration?). And then it hit me. When my kids aren't doing anything particularly beautiful or stupid for me to write about, I'll just tell you what's happening with the characters in the book like thing. Let's give it a whirl.

Right now there's 4 people eating chow mein and they're bored. They wish their lives were filled with magic and wonder but they're essentially just bored. This guy named Russell is eating his chow mein and kinda leering at this girl Shelly and he thinks: Man, I would totally tap that ass.

[agents and/or publishers. email address = blackhockeyjesus@yahoo.com]

"Hey Shelly." Russell said, "You look like you really dig those noodles." What the hell? I didn't write that. I mean. Russell didn't say that in my book like thing.

There's no rationally grounded explanation for this.

It's almost as if there's some weird rift and exchange between textual spaces. I began to describe the action taking place in my bookish project and the action jostled into life on the blog. This leads to many fascinating questions about the relationships between texts, writers, readers, and the nature of imagination but there's no time for that now! Russell! Shut the hell up and save it for the book.

"But I like the blog. There's actually readers here."

Russell. Get off my fucking blog! I stared at your document for 2 hours this morning and you didn't do shit. So don't go acting like you're full of life and things to do and say, you jerk.

"Can't I just say 'Hi'?"

Dammit Russell.

"Just a quick 'Hello'."

Well make it quick then. You're pissing me off, Russell.

"Hello out there. I'm a character in a story by Black Hockey Jesus and, Black Hockey Jesus willing, I'm hoping to get a little piece of that Shelly."

That's quite enough, Russell. You have said enough.

Wednesday
Apr152009

Tangles

I’m brushing all the nasty clumps of tangle out of Lucy’s hair and she’s doing what she always does. Crying. Like a little girl. And I have to bite my tongue and not say things like “Oh stop crying like a little girl!” because A). She is a little girl and B). Far be it from me to perpetuate gender stereotypes about females and tearful emotion. For example, it’s not like my wife ever starts crying out of the blue due to one of my many and varied insensitivities. Well yeah she does but that doesn’t mean I can generalize about an entire gender. It’s not like what happens in my house equals science.

So I keep brushing and she keeps whining and I keep biting my tongue and not perpetuating oppression. And my mind cracks open.

Do you know? Does your mind ever crack open like that in the middle of an activity? Yes? No? Keep reading.

My mind cracks open. And what I mean is that the concrete activity of brushing out tangles in my daughter’s hair begins to seep into other meanings. I start to wonder: “How many tangles will I need to brush out of your life, Lucy Blue?” It’s pretty weird. I am there, brushing. But I’m also gone, imagining. I travel through a series of make-believe tangles: bad grades, broken hearts, suspensions for smoking in the bathroom, teenage pregnancy, addiction, helping her hide the body.

And so, yeah, I’m sitting there brushing my daughter’s hair but I’m seeing her in my cracked open mind saying “I killed him, Daddy. I know it was wrong but he was ripe for killing.” and me saying “Lucy. Grab a blanket and a shovel and some gas.” But I’m also questioning this entire process—not the murder—the whole process of brushing out tangles and imagining metaphorical tangles. So my mind is cracked open even further because I’m concretely brushing, imagining metaphorical tangles, and questioning this quirky little process of mind. Which cracked my mind open further yet because all this reminded me of something.

When I was in college I took a class with Diane Wakoski and she told me I had a lovely mind that effortlessly saw the world in metaphors. For a second I thought she might be trying to fuck me and I was doing all this calculating about fucking Diane Wakoski. OK. Fucking a famous poet. Major bonus. But she’s older than my Mom and that makes me feel wonky. Plus Diane Wakoski wears these crazy glasses that are perfect circles as big as moons so I said in my head “No. The glasses are the dealbreaker.” but then she continued. She told me that I needed to stop expressing my head full of lovely metaphors so tritely. Then I stopped thinking about fucking her. I wanted to smash her big dumb glasses.

All this while brushing out tangles and listening to Lucy whine. Dreaming up metaphorical tangles and remembering Diane Wakoski and I say to myself “Man. You would make a crappy Zen monk” because Zen monks are supposed to focus and be here now and just brush the hair. There is only the hair brushing. One must be mindful of the hair as it is brushed and be one with the untangling. But then it hits me. I am here now. And now is made of more than just the brushing. Now is one big mess of relational meaning and memory and feeling all bound up with what is supposedly really happening.

Now is a tangle of mind.

Monday
Apr132009

40

My wife is 40 today.

And there are scores of old jokes to tell about being over the hill and canes and nursing homes and the slow decay of vision and memory.

But my wife is not a clear window that is easily gazed through. You have to squint and even then she is not so easy to see. In this way she is like the world. Heraclitus, a presocratic philosopher, said that nature likes to hide. Jenna hides and makes me seek her and being married to her means existing inside a perpetual wondering. What I mean to say is that she might outwardly laugh at the jokes I make about her age while secretly harboring hurt feelings. I would never know for sure. I would wonder. And do you know the beautiful thing about wonder? Wonder is the sister of awe.

But I will not risk a blog post cracking jokes.

And besides I’m not really occupied by the humor of my wife turning 40. I’m thinking about time. I’m thinking about the dead German philosopher who said Being IS Time. And I’m thinking about the way this understanding of Being relates to the way prisoners speak about their time in prison. Prisoners do their time. They do time.

(And no I’m not saying marriage is a prison. Now stop it. I said I’m not cracking a bunch of jokes.)

What puts me in this thought about time is not the idea that Jenna is 40. Rather, I’m oddly astonished by the strange little fact of Jenna passing through her 30s with me. I’m dwelling on that. I don’t know why. I’m not the clearest window either. But I met Jenna when she was 28. She did her 30s with me. We did her 30s. And I’ve been asking myself and seeking ways to adequately express how Jenna and I do time. What does it mean to do so much time with someone?

The images that come to mind have to do with grooves and roots. All these days wear grooves into you. And the people you do time with are part of those grooves. You’re all in this big groove that you might call Being, which is made of Time, and there comes a time where you slip into a lack of distinctions. I don’t mean to be so abstract. I’m not trying to be difficult. It’s the simplest, closest thing really. As a result of doing our time, Jenna has become part of that thing I actually mean when I say the word “I”. She’s my fingerprints. Those swirling grooves that make me who I am.

I was thinking these things when my eyes landed on a tree and I noted how you could see the tree and you could see the ground but you couldn’t see the roots. I thought that perhaps these simple facts might help express the way Jenna and I do time. The roots are not so clear. They’re hidden. Nature likes to hide.

Happy Birthday, Jenna. No one would ever look at you and see 40. They would only see a sky gone crazy with stars.

Wednesday
Apr082009

Mad

The house is a mess again. All the plants are droopy and the flowers have wilted. Dishes in the sink. Laundry never ends. The cover on the back of the remote is gone and one battery is missing. We push against it, all this undoing. That's what the days are made of.

I dropped a glass of orange juice on the tile. The morning rang out with the sound of things coming apart.

Goodnight, Maddie Alice Spohr.

Heather and Mike have asked that you please don’t send flowers. You can contribute to the March of Dimes in memory of Madeline Alice Spohr.

Sunday
Apr052009

Seed Song

So I was plunking away at learning this song on the acoustic when Jackson said "Why don't I power you up and I'll throw some drums on that?" and I said "Because this is just a mellow little Mountain Goats guitar song with no drums." and he said "But it doesn't have to be." and I'm pretty sure that's why I love him.

(and yes he's yawning in the middle but watch him get on that high hat at the end; that's another reason I love him)

EDIT: FUCK YOU, MR. EVERETT