Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New things, new times.


6 days. 6 days!
In 6 days I finally get to hold my lover, rub her messy haired head, and kiss her face! It's real, and I am so eternally grateful for this past few months.
Cheers to change, shifts, intention, decisions, and the faith of a mustard seed.

Thank you, I love you!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Moving, Shaking, Stirring, Whirring!

I sit amongst packed boxes in a room that is becoming less of my space and more of a shell to fill for another. I see my roomie and good friend Shawn Luco off for the last time as a room-mate and I think of the things that will be a series of final acts before I leave this house I have made my home for the past 12 years, and the weight sits heavily in my heart.
This is no flighty prance from one place to another. This is a major shift in reality.
I sort through years of collected possessions and pieces of history, papers, trinkets, and relics worn brittle and dusty with age. Part of me wonders why in the hell I keep all of this crap while part of me is mourning long-held memories…..love notes from girlfriends, bad pictures I thought were cool at the time, beer coasters from a great night out in another country, foreign coins, horrible hand written drunken diatribes, broken promises on the backs of notepads, power plugs twisted beyond use, years of collected published writing the world will never see again. It’s crazy the things we keep! They are the things we pretend that make us more “us” but when you really look at them they are just dusty old fossils that make us sneeze and perhaps a bit annoyed because they’ve been taking up so much space for so long and no longer have a place except in memory.
Some would say that I am an extremist in how few possessions I actually have and I suppose that is true, especially as I grow older and more aware of what is important for me. But still, this mess has proven difficult to go through, and maybe it’s because of 12 years spent sitting and collecting. Apart from the great books, albums, and clothing I still wear……who needs a play-dough happy face crafted by a kid I lived with over 16 years ago, aside from some shred of my ego that still wants to hold on to the past?
Memories will last for a lifetime or until I’m an old grey shell drooling into a paper cup and pooping in my adult diapers.
But believe me, while I have made residence here at 1802 Franklin the memories collected have been the richest I have experienced so far, and none of them carry dust or are in need of being filed away in a box for Value Village.

The beginning was a breeze with some road bumps. The couple, Christine and Brett who lived upstairs were reclusive gems who I grew to adore and were the first complete strangers who I actually felt comfortable with under a shared roof, as little as I got to know them. Frustration came with the hip-hop guy Dov, who lived across the hall from me and would shuffle around with his McDonalds food and shitty girlfriend in tow, later leaving his McDonalds trash on the table and a listless feeling all around. Before him was Neale the graffiti artist who’d make his living taking odd jobs while disappearing for weeks on end making spray can art across the country, only to appear near rent day to pay up and then disappear again for a few more weeks.
And then there was Ben. Sweet Ben-jammin, who was in a hip-hop crew with Dov and a few others. Ben was my favorite back in the beginning because even though he was a na├»ve young kid, he had big ideas and a big heart. I will never forget the day he phoned the house on the afternoon of September 11, 2001 and told me that he thought it was the Chinese who did it. I thought he was a jerk for suggesting that but to this day I’ll never forget his scared self just needing to talk to someone, however misguided he may have been.
Later on the house shifted into what became a home. After a month on my own I awaited new strangers who would fill this space, and fill it they did. Out of nowhere these three strong-willed, earth centered women came in and gave this house a light it hadn’t seen in years. Elise, Susanna, and Anastasia are given full credit for truly planting the seeds for what this place is now. I lived in a run down and grey looking space that I kept clean for a month and then they moved in and ran with it, painted happy hippy colors all over the place and started something even more beautiful.

There was Elise with her biking everywhere, low impact pre-hipster ways, Sue and her down to earth, digging in the ground garden ways, and Anastasia with her light heart, easy laugh, and big beautiful face….those ladies and a wild German Sheppard with gay hippy neck beads made this house a home. However much I was resistant to shifting I will forever be grateful for their modes of change and for pulling me out of my shell, even if for a little bit at a time.
Then came Sean, who was an odd character that I have yet to fully understand completely. He took over the room across from me, and was the always moving kinetic fellow who delivered piss samples to science labs and biked all over the place. He was the guy who was destined to do really good things in life and to this day I am amazed that not only he is still here, he has done amazing things in life, namely building a lot of shit I could never wrap my head around even if I tried as well as making a good living with a great partner in crime. Come end times and if I were to choose who to survive with, Clancy is the man!
And lets give a good long moment to Timothy Wisdom. I won’t take credit from anyone else here past or present but Tim is HUGE in this home. Tim the DJ, the scientist, the mathematical equinox, has brought SO very much to this space! I would have never experienced a true party had it not been for him. The music that he laid out on the table and the friends he brought to dance, celebrate, and lay down their weary head between these 4 walls is the stuff of legend. In fact, words don’t even give it legs. If you were near to here during that 5-7 year stretch then you know. All I can say is that if you grew up watching those 80’s movies where the house party is wall to wall deep with people and the music is loud, then you have just a tiny idea, only our parties were WAY sexier and really did go until the break of dawn.
From that party stage came Lucia, who dated Timothy and later married him for a brief spell. Lucia was a wonderful grounding force, a source of much folly, and the bringer of my favorite cat in the world, Tiga. Some of my most blessed moments were hearing Lucia laughing in the kitchen as well as sharing summer picnic table hang-outs with the captain chicken-heart kitty. I miss them both a lot.
And here we come to modern days, where the breed who live under this roof have been solid for years. Clancy’s partner Erica, who gardens, bakes, and can always be found with an easy laugh and dirt on her knees or under her nails. Or Martine, who flows like water and has the cutest giggle I’ve ever heard. I love her rock collecting, sage burning, blossoming spirit! Or Luco, who can throw a mean disk, grill a good BBQ, and has brought an awesome assortment of new friends to the mix.
These people. I love them all so SO much. I love how they challenge me and help me to grow. I love how they make me want to retreat and come out of my shell at the same time. I love their friends and their lives. I love how they have accepted me and my fucked up, non-committal, comedic, raunchy joke laden, just passing through lifestyle.
I love how I can come home and count on Erica to be making or baking or garden-growing a spread of food. I love how I can come home and find Clancy fixing or building or tinkering with something. I love how I can rely on a good laugh with Tim when we’re feeling up to conversing and hanging out. I love how much Luco and I love each other. I love how his sweet partner Martine brings stability and good nature to this old woody dusty home.
I love them. I love this space. I love my extended family. And I will miss them terribly.

The crippling nature of this shift is becoming more real by the day and in many ways I just want to put all of my shit back in place and close my door, but I know it’s time.

As hard as it may be, I know it is time.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all, past and present.

I love you. Always!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In this moment of this breath


I can see lots of flowery type things from my window right now.
I can see a crow stalking up the sidewalk and then across the road. It searches for scraps, bugs or whatever and then it takes flight. Guy on a mini motorbike drives by. A fly buzzes in my bedroom window. A kid and dad on bikes pass by. The sun is in my eyes.
A junky cackles away somewhere up the road. Seagulls go nuts over yonder for fish bits from the docks. A mom and daughter on bikes pass by, possibly related to the son and Dad on bikes from a minute ago. My roommates chatter. The sun is in my eyes.
An angry hooker with crossed arms walks by. A fly buzzes. Grass and flowers and life are outside my window.

There are still lots of cars driving past, looking for some kind of emotional soother. But not as many as i remember from my early days here over ten years ago.

A seagull with a puffed up chest proudly struts across the road in search for scraps. Plays it cool when it doesn't find any.

Bikes. Lots more bikes, and not of the stolen street working variety. More like the now united biking family who just rode by again or the few hip folk and commuters I often see riding past most days.

But still, there is this street level and its little demons and slaves who work openly right out in front of my bedroom window. The grizzled old hard livers still stumble down the sidewalk and the packs of jet fueled punker kids still holler 'fuck' into the night.

The sun is in my eyes. The sky is gorgeous.

That tree in our front yard is pretty rad. It could be healthier but look what it has to work with; chicken factories, junkies, hookers, discarded debris, people passing out against it, air soot. Noise.
A swinging arm as he walks Italian-looking guy strides up the road, chattering loudly into his cell phone. Business deals, probably.
Car alarms go off, traffic rolls by, and a Bob Dylan tune rings in the other part of the house where some roommates and company hang out.

The sun is hidden behind a bank of clouds now, but the mountains are pretty awesome.
A smoking guy in a cowboy hat who can probably walk speeds past on a mobility scooter.
The big red cargo cranes at the dock are a stark contrast to the mountains, but the mountains are beautiful.
Two hot women on bikes fly by.
The sun is no longer in my eyes and warming my face, but from my window I can count six wild growing flowers and another five human planted.
It's getting darker now and the clouds look like bluey mottled puffballs. Ski run lights on the mountain give a lonely glimmer.
A guy in sandals stops to admire the flowers, or maybe he's tripping out.

This is my home, my view, my moment, and I am grateful.
N

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Confessions from the alter of a city dweller

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 Attention human beings, if you’re in a supermarket perusing the cut flower section and some old feller comes up to you and makes small talk about how beautiful the flowers are, capping off his apparently one sided conversation with, “You can smell them from here….it doesn’t matter how old you are, the smell of flowers makes you feel good inside. Deep inside your body.” I ask you to please give them your presence, if even for a moment of your time.
Maybe you'd even best stop and pay attention for more than a fleeting second or two. Give him or her a bit of your time because those old fellers may have wisdom that extends far beyond your silly guarded city walls, and who knows, perhaps giving a moment of recognition to that old withered soul saying simple profound things may make their last days on earth less lonely, and your moment more worthy.
I’m not saying that you should take every needy and probably mentally defunct person out to lunch. You don’t have to invite them into your house and have a PJ sleepover ending with a handful of quarters and a slap on the ass out the door….but for God’s sake, we’re not living in a country that stifles emotion. We're so lucky that we live in a place that allows for basic human recognition, so why not utilize it instead of working within our socially bereft forms of non-communication?
Instead of being a silly awkward gorky teen-adult, try looking that person square in the eyes and saying quite simply, "Yeah, I hear you!" if you're shy. Or maybe even thanking them for their wisdom, if you're bold enough. Maybe even grabbing them by the hand or place a hand on their shoulder to acknowledge them instead of pretending that their voice is a distant fart in the aisle next over that is easily ignored. Because no matter how grizzled and “gross” that human may appear to you, they ARE you! They share your air, they share your thoughts (no matter how old world they may be), and they share your fears and neurotic fantasies. 

One day YOU will be that crazy old fucker in the produce department, making random 'in need of human contact' comments to strangers, and won't it feel totally barren and lonely when that shitty snob guarded person ignores you?
I took a walk around my city this evening and my most magical moments came when I looked at the sky and saw darkened rain clouds with birds soaring across without a care. And the deep intake breath of fresh sea to city air. And my peace with every step. And the overheard one-sided conversations that I'd wished I could have played out differently had I been in the other persons sneakers.  
Everything else was heads cast downward, guarded eye contact, and manic text conversations.

Christ, some fruit looped old gal even clutched her purse to her chest as I walked by, because we live in a neighborhood where the last three dollars to your name might not be safe, no matter how young, old, or retarded you are. She'd have probably died of a heart attack had I asked her for directions.
This is the world we live in.
And unless you’re on some island living an idyllic life where everyone knows your name, this guarded city life is the reality of things, lest you have your eyes wide open. 
Our walls are way up, and we’ve lost sight of of what’s important, such as wisdom, experience, storytelling, touch, love…..LOVE! It hurts me to think that some of us will cast aside a human who has decades of experience on us, just because our stupid ego tells us that we “should” feel uncomfortable at another person randomly talking to us and their "unattractive" qualities.
It hurts. And it brings a white hot ball of emotion to the throat.
 But I have hope. I really do. And I'll never stop.
Just some things to think about.....
Thank you. I love you.
N

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adventures of a part time insomniac

Midnight, the sleepy starts to settle in and the words on the page of my book are beginning to bleed into one another, signalling that it's time to call it a night. I'm glad for this because the night before was a bit restless and my addled brain needs some healing. "This is gonna be good" I tell myself as i pull the plug on the string of lights that surround the room of my lovers apartment. "Tomorrow I'm going to be wide awake, alert, and excited about getting some good work done."
I love sleep. I love the mystery of dreaming and telling my lady about the weird places I went to during that 6-8 hours of alpha-state. I love waking next to her and falling in love all over again, feeling happy that my body and mind are refreshed and all is right with the world. 
"This is gonna be good" I tell myself as i lay next to my love, placing one hand over my heart and one on my belly, beginning the process of slowing my breathing, giving thanks, and cycling through my day before submitting to rest.

1AM: Something isn't quite right. I'm relaxed and should easily be drifting but the second I make the conscious decision to give myself up to sleep I am suddenly wide awake, feeling as though I'd recently popped an E-pill, but minus the touchy feeling love and need to dance. Well, that's odd, however I can be a bit of a night owl at times so maybe I just need to keep breathing and think of rolling hills and naked maidens splashing around in waterfalls.

2:15AM: Well, here I am still awake. Starting to over-think and toss away hope that tomorrow will be awesome. Although I have dealt with 5 hours of sleep before and I've done alright on even less, so it's not a huge deal. But I'd really enjoy passing out. 
The waves of exhaustion tell me that it could be close, but the fireworks going off behind my eyes tell me differently. I'm a fan of light shows but this Pink Floyd laser show crap can take a hike.

3:00AM: Hi, I'm wide awake and starting to get pissed. I get up and have a wander around the small apartment, taking myself through a few rounds of Surya Namaskar in the kitchen because I know that to be calming to the mind and it's proven helpful at times like this. After a short meditation and a piss I crawl back into bed and hope for the best.

4:30AM: Eyes burning, mind racing, delirium beginning to pry rational thought and frustration apart. I'm thinking strange thoughts such as what it would be like if man survived on dirt alone and if the dirt was enriched with nutrients, could man maintain some semblance of health. I shake my thoughts clear and listen to the sounds of my lover sleeping beside me. It is oddly soothing and i prop myself up to have a look at her. In the shadowed wilderness of bed covers and pillows I can see her clearly and she is beautiful. Always. My love for her is vast and even though I am frustrated at this lack of sleeping situation, I take heart that she is here, safe, and riding on some dreamy cloud. 
Also, I have noticed that the constant din of traffic on 12th avenue does in fact let up for very brief periods of time, but only for about half an hour and then it's constant again.
I drift off for the briefest moment until my body decides it's time to have an allergic reaction to something. This continues for a while.

5:30AM: Oh, thank Christ I have the chorus to "Enid" by Barenaked Ladies running through my head over and over again. I fuckin' hate that song even more now and I wonder if it's possible to sue Steven Page for inadvertent cruel and unusual punishment. Probably not. Maybe in America? Hmmm. I wonder what Honey BooBoo is doing right now?! Did Jesus get mad when he couldn't sleep? I bet my third grade teacher Ms. Halfknights still looks pretty good for an old gal. I miss my first puppy, Bandit. I'd probably be a sexy broad. I shouldn't have eaten those nachos at 10:30. What if i realized that I'm gay, who would i come out to first? "Enid we never really knew each other anyway" 
OH GOD!!!!! WHY??

6:30-8:00AM: Somewhere in between these hours my crazed brain finally releases and I pass out for a sweat drenched fitful sleep. More of a nap at this point. In this period of time I dream of wandering through various rooms of a house in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. Great. Thanks mind. That's rich.

The alarm cuts through my long awaited and short lived nap. My eyeballs feel like hot coals in snow and my emotional state is fragile. I want to cry and if I could remove my brain and thrash it until it's a bloody mess, i would with glee. My lady turns over and our eyes meet. She's still there and she loves me so. I feel like raw tuna but my heart grows three sizes and I muster the strength to shower her with kisses. 
It's really not so bad. I've been here before and truth be told I've gone through much much worse. It sucks but life goes on. Exhaustion can just mean that your day is slightly altered and you have an excuse to take it easy. You can't change what already is and so you can only make the best of it. 
When you're in the throes of insomnia it can feel like the loneliest place in the world and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I've had periods where I've slept maybe eight hours in a seven day stretch. You learn a lot about the frailty of the mind when you haven't been able to refresh it for days. I am thankful those days are behind me and I am thankful that on the now rare occasion when this happens that I am able to handle it with at least a little bit of grace instead of losing my shit completely.

It is six in the evening and I am tired as hell, but I have my health, happiness, love, and the ability to laugh at it all. "Enid" is but a humorous afterthought and in a few hours I will most definitely pass out. Tomorrow is a new day.
One night of no sleep ain't worth tossing out the good stuff.

Love,
N

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Great Slumber


 My God! Stepping into these corridors again is like revisiting an old dusty book found in the attic of my parents townhouse crawlspace. The pages are browned with age and smell slightly of mildew, the spine is ready to crumble and i was nearly ready to give it up to the landfill, or at least place it back up in that crawlspace where time would continue to have its way. "Maybe it's best to just burn the whole damned house down," I said to myself, "Maybe I'll just secretly throw away the baby and nobody will notice the missing stale bathwater." I reasoned. 
 However, much like that scab you can't stop picking, or much like the accident you can't turn away from, or much like the drug you can't fully turn your back on.....i kept looking. Guilt and shame would cloud me and i would put it away with the faint promise that "one day" I'll get down to the act of mending, never fully committing, never really meaning it, always forgetting. Conveniently.

Conveniently I always found other things to occupy my time, making excuses for my lack of attention, finding reasons not to try. Or simply clouding myself over past the point. 
Because who wants to try when they're stoned or hung over or rushing out the door or working on a host of other projects? Who can try when love simply isn't present? Who can offer anything worthy when self worth isn't being offered to oneself?
I know I can't. And so i didn't.

But I am done with that stinky thinking. I am done with the guilt and shame spiral. I am done with clouds of doubt and the negative influences that create them in the first place.
I am through. Emerging. Coming out the other side, born anew.

I come to you today with a song on my lips and peace on my tongue. These are not the words of self actualized hippy all-goodness, in fact i have actualized nothing. I have simply emerged, casting off my self-tempered chains. Running instead of crawling, climbing with strength instead of clawing in fear. Smiling when i wobble, laughing when i fall.

This path, this life has shown me everything. Along the way i have learned many a thing. In the end I know nothing.
This path, this life is full of surprise beginnings, middles and all things in between. While we think our vessel is filling, we are actually being tossed against the floor of threshing, separating and preparing us for our surprise empty handed ending.
And empty handed we go. Arms outstretched, mind released, chains free. Holding onto nothing.

I come to you today having crawled over coals and through fire, having died a thousand tiny deaths and about to die a thousand more. Though I have not lived the life of a rich man or a particularly holy one, I can safely say that I have tried to live well, and I will continue to live well for as long as my ticket is valid. I will shed every bit of chaff and I will bear every ounce of my being.....for there is no time left for excuses. There is no time left for clouds of doubt. There is no time left for stories tumbling from a fumbling parched tongue.

I am here. I am free. And I am empty.
In this place I have everything to give.
This i promise, today and always. In All Ways.

Thank you, I love you!
N