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    Run For Your Life, Black Hockey Jesus!


    I couldn’t run Friday. The streak is over. Let’s blame Jimmy.

    Wednesday, Jimmy and I did a workout that included, in addition to a ton of other sweaty ridiculosity, TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (225) jumping lunges. Thursday, I’m a little limpy. But then Friday, I had this thing Jimmy called delayed something muscular onset or something and it felt like someone took a butcher knife and cut off my ass. Not hyperbole. I checked my ass in the mirror to see if my skeleton was sticking out. You think I’m lying but I’m not. Have someone shoot you in the ass with a bow and arrow. There. Now your ass feels like my ass.

    So after 525 days* of running, I took the day off. Besides, I'm training for a 50K run in August and Jimmy thinks the daily running is detrimental. Apparently, he has other muscle groups to destroy in preparation for the 31 mile trek.

    *Give or take. There’s a couple weeks in there where I completely blacked out and you’d have to ask Jeremy or Vanessa if I ran or not. One time I came to in their hot tub wearing running clothes.


    I read this story about a guy taking painkillers after a surgery. He had one drink and died. Last fall (Fall! Get it? Look alive look alive), I tossed 3 percocets in a vodka and Red Bull like they were ice cubes. I woke up in the backseat of a car in the parking garage of Circus Circus.

    I’ve been alive 14,380 days and I’m a gaggle of cats wearing bulletproof vests.


    I know a lot of dead people. My roommate, Billy—he was eaten by a shark. However, some of our friends think he faked his own death to evade gambling debt. Crazy story either way. I had another roommate, Chad, who struggled like crazy to come to terms with shooting and killing a rival gang member, though he later told us the whole story was a lie. He shot himself in the head a couple years ago. According to some AA analysts, Chad was not entirely ready to have God remove all his defects of character.

    I’ve had some good runs in AA. I was sober from age 19-27 and 30-38. When you hang around AA that long, you’re bound to live a life haunted by ghosts. You get a lot of calls that start with “Did you hear about…?” Hung himself. OD’d. Just… disappeared.

    After limping through 10K this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror, naked, healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. Thought about where I’d been. Smiled at my 40s knocking at the door and the sense that good things are on their way. I’m gonna live, live it to death. What’cha got, 14,381?

    Days run in a row: 1

    Days sober: 35


    Falling Sober

    Without getting too technical – yawn – my trainer, Jimmy, is messing with the way I run. In addition to landing on the middle of my foot and shortening my stride with quicker leg turnover, he also has me falling forward. Way way forward.

    “Gravity dude. If you want to run faster, just fall forward and have faith in your legs. They’ll catch you.”

    I love to get drunk and super high on drugs. The reason I love to get drunk and super high on drugs is because alcohol and drugs round the edges of the world. They’re like ontological sandpaper. Alcohol and drugs turn the knife’s blade into the splashing wave between a woman’s waist and hip.

    The world, man. It’s not some hard and fast thing. Physicists know it’s empty. Monks know it flows. Poets know it’s the water in the belly of a fish. And yet we live in a reified world of rigid angles and hard edges. We knock on wood and it makes me anxious. It makes me thirsty for waves and curves and the wisdom of circles.

    But for reasons that would bore you – yawn – I’ve left all that behind. I’m sober. I’m sober and I’m leaning way way forward when I run, finding faith in my legs. But, beyond faith, I continue to imagine the empty flowing world in the belly of the fish and, even if I lean too far, even if I fall, I know in my heart that I’ll hit the sidewalk with a splash.


    NOTE: My brief one sentence sobriety updates have become quite a party. Leave an email address in the comments or shoot an email to if you want to join the fun.


    A Half Eaten Pear

    You left a half eaten pear on the nightstand and, in the morning, it was beginning to brown with decay, like our stay. You looked out the window. The sun on your moonlight face lit the inexplicable way that you shine in the world while I considered the fate of half eaten pears. Half a pear a part of you, playing its role in stoking the fire. The other left to rot. We linger awhile, held in the delicate crease between coming and going.

    Outside, people are crying because love keeps falling apart and their doctors found cancerous tumors on their lungs, next to their hearts, and they all are dressing for funerals, wondering in vague ways why they continue to do the things they do. All the kids lost all their mothers in all the grocery stores. All the farmers lost their crops. The cops handcuff confused and crying hopeless people. Everywhere, there are wails and shrieks. Endless grief. Unsuspecting animals dart into the street.

    But inside, you and I are kissing, soft and slow, abiding in the faith that the gentleness of kissing will somehow save the world. Soon, it will be time to go.


    At The Beginning Of 'Year Of The Horse', Neil Young Says "IT'S ALL ONE SONG!" Before Launching Into 'When You Dance I Can Really Love'

    So I’m listening to You’re In Maya by The Mountain Goats and bobbing my head accordingly, minding my own business—mind you—and checking out Twitter.

    That’s the normal part.

    But here’s where shit gets weird so pay attention. (To be honest with you, I think shit is probably weird all the time and it only seems normal when we’re not paying attention. But that’s an idea that just popped in my head and it’s a digression I don’t want to pursue right now because I’m telling you something else.)

    So ears… listening. Eyes… reading. Got it? Check this out:

    John Darnielle howls: There was nowhere I needed to go / And nowhere I wanted to be / And my window at 253 N Broadway looked out on nothing / And NOTHING looked right back at me / SING IT! and this guy tweets “Learned how to play ‘simple twist of fate’ tonight, currently my favourite dylan song” and my mind reels to the lyrics He told himself he didn’t care pushed the window open wide / Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate and—I know, fucking A, I know—it’s like I’m this collision of synchronous meaning and there’s nothing to do but sit there feeling dazed and stupid. But in a cool way.

    I was like wait wait wait—nothing—emptiness—windows—what?

    So I did what you do at moments such as this. I got up to go look out the fucking window. Clearly. If you don’t, at this point, get up and go find a window, you’re obviously a stupid chain smoking nihilist.

    So I get to the window just in time to see my daughter stop walking up the sidewalk. Something caught her attention and—bam—she just stopped. Kids are crazy like that. My daughter will stop in the middle of the grocery store and sing songs to fairies and shit. But this time it was a flower that got her. A red flower. And she bent over, stuck her nose right in that thing, and sniffed long and hard.

    And I swear to God I thought: What kind of stop to smell the flowers daddy blogging bullshit is this?

    Are you kidding me? I went to that window to feel emptiness and to stare down nothing, to actually be—myself—a thrown open window through which nothing looks at nothing and nothing looks back but instead there’s my yellow haired daughter smelling a red flower and fucking up all my nothingness with her meddling somethingness.

    But then she walked off. She was gone. I stood there a long time, staring out the window, looking at the red flower for quite awhile until the little thing smiled at me. I was like wait wait wait—nothing—something—what?



    Sometimes, when you haven’t written for awhile and you can’t think of anything else to write about, you have to address the buttholes. So this post, I promise, isn’t directed at 99% of you. It’s for the buttholes. But you’re welcome to read along because, let’s be honest, it’s fun to make fun of buttholes.

    The buttholes are sending me emails and leaving me comments—even setting up Twitter accounts to @ me and say mean things. But before I address the content of their attacks, I want to ask these people directly: Have you ever paused to wonder why no one sends you terrible emails, leaves mean comments, or attacks you on Twitter?

    I’ll tell you why. It’s simple. It’s because you’re a butthole.

    No one wants to praise you or condemn you because you don’t matter enough to appear on anyone’s radar. It’s sad, really. It arouses my compassionate mind. You poor, poor buttholes. Your impact on the world is so slight. You’re just inconsequential clouds who get deleted before your rain even hits the sidewalk. Delete delete block.

    Poor, poor buttholes

    No friends, no lives, no souls


    So here’s the gist from the butthole gallery: Ha ha you struggle with alcohol. Guess you’re no better than obese people now, loser. You lush. My parents drank and I hate them. Your kids are going to hate you… FOREVER (VER VEr Ver ver).

    Okay. First of all, buttholes, stop blaming your pathetic lives on your drunk parents. The First Step toward maybe not being a butthole is admitting that you’re a complete butthole. Think about it. You derive pleasure from taunting a man with substance abuse problems who writes an internet blog. Look in the mirror, butthole.

    Second, I have never said I was better, in a comprehensive way, than obese people. Am I healthier? Answer the question, butthole. Am I better looking than obese people in terms of our current cultural constructs of beauty? Answer the question, butthole. But to say those things is not to say that I’m BETTER than someone. If an obese person hears it that way, that’s their self-esteem issue, which may or may not be linked to—dare I say it?—their fucking obesity. Or their pathetic upbringings (cf. buttholes).

    Listen. I could beat ANY 400 pound human being in a 10K race. But let’s be specific. That’s me saying I’m a better runner; not just BETTER. That same person might kick my ass in cribbage, be better at calculus, know more about dinosaurs, or earn 7 figures writing slapstick for Republicans.

    I never said I was better than obese people. All I said was that there are changes that courageous obese people could make to improve their lives rather than faking a posture of acceptance.

    Which brings me to my struggle with the booze. Should I just ACCEPT it and carry on, drinking  and drinking until everything that matters is gone? NO. Should I whine about my parents? NO. Should I whine about the cultural context that endorses and perpetuates addictive behavior? NO.

    Why not? Because I’m not a victimized whiny butthole.

    My name is Black Hockey Jesus and I’m and alcoholic and I haven’t had a drink in 10 days. My kids love me like flowers love the rain. So keep bringing the noise, buttholes. It only makes me laugh louder and pours gas on the fire in my head while you rub two sticks together in cowardly emails and anonymous blog comments.


    NOTE: Inspired in part to quit drinking by the relentless badgering of Maggie Dammit, I started sending her what might be called daily updates of my progress, but they’re more like one sentence declarations that seek to jam your rational systems and fill you with awe and wonder. A short list of recipients is growing and it’s had the surprising side effect of keeping me accountable. I’ve dodged a couple weak moments by remembering that a small handful of people would wonder where my daily update is. If you’re interested in receiving my daily sober affirmation like thing, leave your email in the comments or shoot me a request to . The more the merrier. I’ll even send them to buttholes. ~bhj



    Ghosts In My Mailbox

    I got an email from his brother yesterday. He asked for my address, said he had something that might interest me.

    A letter! I hoped. Probably not, though. Maybe a painting or a drawing or a poem. The only picture of us ever taken, his hand blocking his irritated face. Or a book, with notes scrawled in the margins, little signs that point the way.

    I can’t beat it. I imagine the letter saying. Remember. Go see the Atlantic Ocean during a winter storm. Learn another language. Consult the I Ching. Take it slow.

    I smiled.

    Speak calmly with your demons. Don’t provoke them. The most radical act you can perform in terms of being contrary to the destructive processes of this decadent culture is to sit still on a cushion. Give money to bums. Talk to animals. Listen to children. Keep only a few intimate friends.

    Be Otherwise.

    Say “Or” to everything, to all your absolutes. Never believe yourself. Ask good questions. Go outside every single morning. Read. Write. Drink good tea. If you get lonely, read Edward Abbey.

    I couldn’t beat it. But you can. So, damn it, leave it alone. Hey, you, take it slow.


    What does it mean to say “I” imagined that letter? Like my dead buddy Skip advises, we should take it slow. When I tell you that I wrote something, what I mean to say is that a bunch of words came to me. It’s a huge distinction. Think about it. Are you thinking? Are you thinking thoughts or are thoughts occurring to you? Are thoughts thinking you? Slow down. Let’s not leap to conclusions. Conclusions are a yawn.


    My buddy Skip killed himself 5 years ago but he just won’t die. And I like it that way. He comes to me in dreams, thoughts, fantasies, ideas, reflections, reveries, memories—all these psychic presences have their own autonomous reality. They just happen. As real as the fantasy of me.

    He’s smiling this very moment. I can see him. He fancies himself clever, being dead and yet still able to make even you wonder what messages lurk in the future of my mail.


    "And When Someone Asks Me 'John, Are You Okay?' / I Don't Know What To Say"

    Nothing to add to this. Just watch Darnielle's right hand and have a good weekend. ~bhj



    “For what is despair but stasis in the presence of loss?” —SM

    The next time you leave the house, ask yourself: How do I go from inside to out? Watch what happens with a careful eye. So enclosed and then through and then wide open sky. There’s no time to bicker about God, absolutes, or the right thing to do. Who could possibly care when there are doors to walk through? We have so much to learn from emergence.

    Coming and going, generally. Yeah. And those interesting spaces between. Seamless? Infinite? Oh, these words. If I could only wash my hands of them.

    Thirteen nights, comings, and thirteen mornings, goings. But, God, how I willed those mornings to stay, for rooms without doors. But gone was always coming. You were walking out the door before you walked in. We are always already these piles of forgetful bones.

    And so now, 6 billion times a day, as moments arise with love letters and fall with suicide notes, it occurs to me that love cannot possibly be this silly wail of huddled clinging. The only way to truly love you, to love it all, is to embrace and appreciate loss. To fling the door open, walk through, and wrap my arms around the empty sky in which you so recently perfectly fit.


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