time is running out

25 February 2013 § Leave a comment

The weekend had offered more than we could handle: workshops on sacred sexuality; the New Warrior training with the ManKind project; the FisherPoets Gathering in Astoria; Fire Conclave practice; further recovery from the worst flu either of us had ever experienced. And I suppose I could have worked.

We’d been out of commission for two weeks, during which Heather took a road trip to California, and I shifted between the futon and the desk to edit my novel. The day after Heather returned, a dear friend stopped through Portland for a day, and work threatened our visit. I found him sitting in a Burger King on Hawthorne at ten at night, vagrants outside searching the trash cans for aluminum and cigarette butts. It wasn’t the first, or even the thousandth, place I’d expect to find Hargobind the Sikh yoga teacher who liked to discuss the intricacies of love and relationships over tea in the deserts of New Mexico. We all went for pizza instead.

Twenty four hours later, Heather and I sat in squeaky floor chairs in the old Masonic hall on 17th. A British woman rambled on about the secret sanctum (“do you know where that is, ladies?” she asked, giggling) and how it was impossible to reach Christhood if you’re not a priest or priestess. Occasionally her partner said something about embodying the masculine sexual expression, to which she rambled in response. Twenty minutes in, thirty-five of forty people were dozing off. I pretended to stretch and took a nap. Heather and I passed notes, which was okay because we sat in the back and weren’t bothering anyone. “Let’s go spin fire,” I wrote.

In the hallway dozens of photographs of prom queens decorated the walls. Names like Edna, Gertrude, and Esther matched the years in the captions: 1933, 1956, and through the ages. Sally smiled most recently, in 1994. Her teased blond hair glowed like 80s glam rock. The girls’ grandfathers’ photos adorned the opposite wall. I felt as if I was looking at a brick wall – rows of grumpy old white men in small glasses and corny suits hiding secrets in their kerchief pockets. I’m not sure they would approve of the candlelit woo-woo rambles in the other room. We left before the dead had their say in the matter.

From their we found the Watershed, an artist studio where some Fire Conclave people meet to trade spin tricks and show off their social awkwardness. The Conclave is a collective of jugglers, fire spinners (which includes staff, poi (think tennis balls on the end of a chain, one in each hand), hula hoops, bull whips, swords, and anything else you might want to set on fire and spin into shapes), and other circus arts performers who attenuate the flames at Burning Man, and make the world a beautiful place for acid trippers and children alike.

The next night, we’re sitting in Clemente’s, a restaurant in Astoria, Oregon, listening to FisherPoets read nostalgic passages of their seasons on the sea. Like the writers on the stages, we’ve got stories to tell, though we haven’t let thirty summers pass before we care to tell them. Though I’m ten feet away from the painted podium I can’t hear for shit; the sound man seems to have gone AWOL, and I check the PA system for syphilis. If only it was that good.

Later, a sexy fisherpoet named Tele (Norwegian for ‘tundra’), a Mat-Su valley girl who trolls out of Sitka, caught Heather’s eye, and we spent the next two hours tailing her words til she asked for our digits. Her musings on Home were as nomadic as mine, and after she read her essay I wondered what the hell I had to say anymore. Inspiration’s a bitch sometimes – she says ‘thanks for your attention, now go think something else.’ Like what? I need to find a day job, because this fishing thing is working out too well for me? I haven’t been doing it long enough to know anyone who’s drowned yet. (Though the skipper of the F/V Ark Angel was killed in a motorbike wreck in Thailand recently – does that count?)

I performed a piece for a poetry contest that ended the festival, and got a response from a 100+ person crowd any slam poet would likely cream his pants for. A twelve year old named Chloe took the contest, though, which might get her to take up poetry, or fishing. But I’m not sure how much money will be in either by the time she’s old enough to drink, a likely addiction of both professions. We took to the dance floor, then the road, and then bed, grooving to hip-hop beats and hopes that tomorrow we’d suddenly have more money in our pockets, more happiness in tow, and some resonance to flee with toward the fishing grounds.

Funny how we glide through experiences with the enthusiasm of travelers, adventurers, inventors, and our younger selves, asking the universe with sidelong glances how it could get any better than this before the madness slows, the highs and lows equalize, and we’re walking through the slurgi like companions of the day-to-day. With illnesses our bodies scream for attention – you’ve stressed me out, and now you’re gonna pay. Stare at the wall for a few days, slurp soup and eat vitamin C like candy, and I’ll think about letting you run through the hills, climb rocks, or see the sunset without seeing stars. Wait a minute. Your ambition is not as important as you think. Breathe in. Express. Breathe out again. Repeat.

And isn’t it funny how as soon as they let us loose again, were off for more adventures, impatient for experience. Connection, pizza, sex, fire, poetry. In two months I migrate to Alaska once again – for fishing, for writing, to bring in the abundance. The year is almost over, and it seems it’s just begun.

literacy rate: rare.

18 February 2013 § Leave a comment

For weeks, nigh months, I’ve felt an intellectual drought. It has felt at times that out of a want to be clean, I’ve stepped into the bathtub, and, not knowing what to do once I got there, drowned.

It never occurred to me before to be ashamed, or embarrassed, of suicidal thoughts. Thank god, too, because that could have added a whole schema of complications that I was not prepared to cope with.

For days I’ve been sleeping with books. Thinking, if I spend enough time around them, maybe I’ll want to read more than a few pages. At home, true immersion rarely happens. You know, that Imustkeepreadingthisnomatterwhathappens feeling of being spun into a climbing rope long enough to rappel from your first LSD trip. I had that with The Chronology of Water recently. I wanted to make love to Lidia’s words so often I’m surprised Heather didn’t become concerned. Maybe she did. 

The point is, three pages of Wendell Berry and I’m at capacity for well-articulated thought. Inevitably, I get caught up in stories at friends houses, at parties, in hat shops where books are exclusively decoration. And just before I’m due for an appointment. In fact, that’s usually when I’m most productive: when I’m supposed to be somewhere else. For example; just three minutes ago I told Jordan I’d head to the climbing gym to meet him. I hung up, sat down, and started writing.

Something is seriously wrong here.

how I do math.

16 February 2013 § Leave a comment

This morning I had a breakfast date with my bank accounts. We don’t meet often. Sweet granola crunched into my molars, innocent cashews and cranberries whispering ‘we’re healthy’ as the sugar rushed through my veins at speed. The accounts had tea instead. Awkward silence.

“So we should talk,” we said, in unison.

“Where to start?” I asked.

“Let’s begin at zero,” the older one quipped. I checked him over. His eyes struck me as indomitable, which translated in my mind to trial and hardship. I knew the peaks and valleys to which he’d been in the fast few years: my glaciers had carved them. The walls came tearing down after that. He wore too-big clothes, like he was trying to be someone he wasn’t. Sunglasses and a beanie. What? That’s not professional. Who was he trying to impress? Me?

My own clothes were questionable. Designer jeans from Goodwill, a $50 hat from New York City bought years ago and never worn til now, a necklace pendant made of horsebone; a trinket to remind myself that the wide world is not that far away. That I never had to Stay for very long. I thought of an excited puppy, who wants to listen so bad he jumps up for more attention to fetch the next adventure. Who did I want to impress? Everyone?

I laid my hands on the table to make my case. “Look, guys, I’ve got a few important things I’m working with that are time-sensitive. I’m all about stuff happening exactly when it’s supposed to, and the time is now. What can you do for me?”

The younger of the two chipped in. “I’m coming up in the world and feeling good, my friend. What do you need?” Next to him, the gaunt old list sipped his tea.

“I’m looking for access. It helps me to feel important. Wanted. Worthy. For example, Burning Man tickets just went on sale. All my friends are doing yoga over their computer screens to get at ’em, and I had to shove that pretty little $380 ticket into a crevasse to put it out of my mind until I talked to you.” I paused. There was more, but I didn’t want to seem like all I wanted was more, more, more – though it was true. I needed to climb, to keep me sane; food, because not eating is, well, bad; I didn’t want to worry about rent anymore. Couldn’t I just get by on my pending merit of being a good person? Please?

Numbers filed, sorted, calculated, added and divided longways into my debt, on the short side of my gas tank and monthly rent, and reached out for my will to simply have Enough. They curtained me in green matrix text, offering heaven and its bliss for a price. I hit the AC button. “Don’t tempt me, mathematicians, you know I work with words. Enough is not Everything; it is efficient sufficiency. I have found the world that I desire, I simply wish to move about it freely.”

“Then I suggest,” said the elder of the two, “you replenish us with some of your voracity for life. We can help you only as much as you help yourself. There are no magic tricks in math, wordsmith. If you wish to get your Burn ticket now, you may, but at the cost of starting at absolute zero tomorrow. As in the rest of of your privileged life, the choice is yours alone.”

wondering around the pantry

14 February 2013 § Leave a comment

A wet afternoon breeze swirls through the fluorescent room. Cools the face of the man standing in the pantry. He leans over the half-door out of his box office and offers food to whomever walks through the heavy glass doors. We are in the foyer of a church in downtown Portland. The rough brick walls, tile floor, and industrial door handles recall the interior design of a prison. Across from the food closet, backpacks and sleeping bags and coffee-stained paper cups sit on the floor. The breeze carries aromas of body odor and patchouli through the room.

“Hey, you got any free food?”

The inquirer jams his foot in the door and pokes his face through the crack. Neither in or out, he looks expectantly at Tom, the curly-haired man in the closet. “Come on in,” Tom replies.

“We’ve got food bags,” he says, “and there’s more under the counter. Help yourself to one. How are you today?”

The man rustles through the paper bags. He doesn’t reply. Sniffs the food. “This all you got,” he says.

It’s not a question.

Type ‘food pantry portland’ into Google, and more than sixty resources come up. Churches, shelters, state-funded soup kitchens, volunteer-run sandwich lines. Some provide food all day, every day; others for two hours once every other week. Saint André Bessette  in downtown Portland (601 W Burnside) provides a food pantry Monday through Thursday, 1:00 to 2:30 pm, and a variety of other services throughout the week, such as prescription vouchers, art classes, foot care, haircuts, and clothes. They provide things that keep hope alive – community, phones, vision assistance.

“We get more than 180 people coming in every day for morning services,” says Tom Nass, a volunteer for Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He works in the Saint André pantry, a closet sized-room packed with paper bags full of donated food. He’s built like a football player, and his smile reaches either side of the door frame. Above his head, a colorful stained glass light fixture depicts Peace and Charity as tenets of lives well lived. Nass committed to a year of volunteering with the Corps. Four months in, he says he loves it.

Nass says his hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – a city of similar size to Portland – has “way fewer” resources available to the homeless. And midwest winters make Oregon a welcome vacation: on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, Tom is wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The startling contrast between the volunteer and those coming in parkas and raincoats looking for food boxes makes me wonder if they understand each other.

The abundance of resources can be counterproductive, according to Nass. “It enables the mentality of complacency in the homeless. They have everything they need – food, shelter in some senses, and many just stay in the same spot for weeks.” Some store their stuff in the Saint Andre Bessette foyer, others in more creative places. Portland fenced off the undersides of bridges years ago, popular sleeping spots worldwide for protection from the elements.

From one perspective, prohibiting under-the-bridge living closed up the holes and encouraged those in hiding to live out in the open, in the streets, parks, and squares. Equal opportunity for all.

With copious resource support from the community, I wonder what motivation is there to “clean up” and get “back on one’s feet”? At first glance, the tanked job economy barely allows for those already with jobs to get by. And the tried and failed tactic of yelling “get a job” to everyone with a cardboard sign has not only long been a source of shame, but creates an increasingly negative association with an already malignant stereotype.

As the man walks out empty handed with a scowl and Tom Nass closes up shop, I wonder if this could all be done better. If the food handed out at pantries and food banks was higher quality. If there were more semi-permanent-to-temporary housing situations available, like Transition Projects. If police, journalists, health care providers, the rich, the homeless, the overprivileged white people of the world – everyone – were kinder and more compassionate.

If, or when?

fly.music.fly

6 February 2013 § Leave a comment

On forgiving days I remember musical instruments stacked near the front door waiting to be thrown away, and thinking I know he hates me but will he teach me how to drum, or how to pluck the bass strings wide as my pinky. Music beat me from the inside, pounded at my ribcage wanting out. It wasn’t so different from him, really, but I couldn’t see the bruises on my insides.

The man who lived with us acted in more than one way like an overgrown baby. He wore diapers and had a beard and played Doom on Windows 3.1. He liked guns and spanked me with a faded red ping pong paddle when I didn’t do what he said. On Saturday mornings, while my mom slept after her night shift, he made hot dogs with my little brother, and told stories about his motorcycling days. Travel stories leaden with broken headlights at night and semi-truck collisions and friends’ midnight roadside funerals.

I wasn’t allowed to get dressed until dusk because the bleach and ammonia he charged me with which to clean the floors might ruin them – and I didn’t want, he said, to make them as dirty as I was. So I sat on the floor with my ammonia rags, and wiped the same cookie-sheet-sized spot for hours. “That’s okay,” he said when my four-year-old brother pointed out that I wasn’t moving very much, “he’ll clean another spot tomorrow.”

In between my bleaching shifts – that is to say, in the ten minutes before bedtime – I trekked to the living room, and stared at the dormant instruments in the dining room. Because I was “dirty,” I wasn’t allowed in the dining room. Ever.

I didn’t care about his rules, but I did care about night time, when my mom was gone. I cared about the black leather belt he tied around my feet before pulled my pants off. He lifted me up by it with his big biker arm and made me yell out loud the Smacks up to ten, twenty six, or fifty one.

Sometimes I skipped numbers. I wanted to confuse him. I wanted to kick him in the face. I wanted to shoot him with the gun with which he shot his dog Buck right in front of me. He had asked if I wanted to dig the grave. My rebellion earned me darker bruises, higher numbers. My third grade teacher Mrs. Sap sometimes asked why I insisted on standing up during class. I told her that I just wanted to stretch my legs.

One time, when I thought he was sleeping, I walked into the dining room. A blue and gray audio mixer rested on the dinner table. I’d formed the faders into a tidal wave. Cables sprawled from it and went everywhere, like Medusa’s serpentine dreadlocks. Microphones attached to black stands whose arms stretched farther than mine reached out to inquire about what I had to say. No one had asked me for my voice before. The curious mics waited for me to speak. I put my lips to one, barely able to stand for the shaking in my knees. I whispered to see if it would reply. It didn’t. I tapped on it. “Is this thing on?”

And guitars. So many guitars. Hanging from the walls, leaned against each other, strings still. Waiting to be moved. Under the table, bolted into a giant black box were horizontal boxes that featured lights and numbers and knobs. Pretty lights and words I didn’t understand. Compressor. Noise Gate. Reverb. Unity. Phantom Power.

Phantom Power.

Bill Major’s baritone mumbles rumbled like an earthquake through the cardboard french doors of my mom’s master bedroom. The sound of his footsteps rattled the metal wires that gave the snare drum its snap. The snap that sounded like ping pong paddles and the screams of my nerves as the dwarves from my brain ran with fear and messages of danger down their escalators, my limbs, to my feet.

He must have noticed the tidal wave that I’d created. As my mom set our plates in front of us for dinner, he offered with a smile to teach me about the mixer. “Can I play bass too?” I asked, excitement seething. “Absolutely,” he said.

That night, I blacked out from the pain, and the scent of ammonia in my cleaning bucket burned my throat. I wished to God to never think about music again.

At my intake interview for Charter Psychiatric Hospital a few days later, I refused the chair. The interviewer offered me a stuffed panda bear if I would sit. My mom normally insisted obedience from me, but that time she didn’t push the subject. The therapist took notes.

A year later, my foster brother Brian first put on his new copy of Jar of Flies. I was nine. His CD player sat on top of the dresser we shared; he had the top four drawers, mine the bottom three. We shared a room because my foster (his adopted) parents couldn’t fit all their compassion under one roof and provide it privacy.

When he dropped to do his bedtime pushups, the little boombox rumbled bass through our neatly-folded clothes at night. I sat on my desk doing the homework I’d told the Powers That Were I finished hours ago.

By day, Brian taught karate and opened doors for girls. Every morning he made his bed militarytight and bounced a quarter off mine at my request. He sat at a desk to write and listened to Pearl Jam and Green Day. 19 and just learning to drive stick. Sometimes he let me shift. Feel the car, he’d tell me, you’re one with it. Undoubtedly something he’d heard that day from Don, our adopted/foster dad. Not that I cared.

When I wrote, I pushed the pencil into the paper so hard it crumbled onto the page. The graphite spear tore into the paper, my anger its momentum. At school I sharpened pencils as an excuse to not write. When I’d overused the sharpener, and Mrs. Mirabel handed me a pen instead, I inked pages like the tattoos I wanted on my skin. My nerve dwarves via their fast elevators brought rage and sadness and fear through me to my fingertips, and the pen translated them into my silent voice.

Alice in Chains faded into my consciousness about the time I’d stabbed enough holes in my homework that I had to start over. Brian did his pushups. I couldn’t move from the bed. I’d never heard a man cry like that stereo did. Harmonicas and violins and pain. I didn’t understand the words, but I felt their edges. On the cover of the EP, a boy’s eyes stared at me through a jar of flies. I thought it was a mirror, and I saw myself for the first time in a glow of orange and pink and dying insects. Now, in my late twenties, when I walk into record shops, I look for Jar of Flies to feel that sense of peace again.

In the way that teenagers swear that songs were written just for them, then transform radio hits into anthems of adolescent suffering, I listened to Alice in Chains at nine, ten, eleven years old, oblivious to their myriad references to heroin, and pounded my fists on my knees and stomach and chest to the rhythm of I stay away, no excuses, don’t follow, bleed the freak and grind your angry chair down in a hole. I tried to tell my music inside that I heard it, and how could I get it out? And if I could, would I?

The stacks of instruments lay comatose near the door for years. Some were given away, or sold. Music sounded to me a beautiful and foreign language spoken by people I would never love. When I tried to speak it, my mother ordered me to turn the volume down. Lower the noise. Lower your voice. You have no voice. I drew triangles from the circle of fifths, and turned sixteenth notes on their puny heads. I tapped my foot from 4/4 time into Idon’tgivea/fuck, and practiced scales until my calluses turned my fingertips into stoic statues incapable of feeling. When I finally failed at playing with others, I went to school to learn how to engineer audio. To manipulate it to my desires. I wanted to know how to listen to others, and which way to turn the knobs to mimic the music pounding inside their chests.

From music I learned that musicians were different from people who played instruments. From music I learned that I could not play the music of my dead best friend. I could write the discombobulated history of my family with one masochistic scratch of my pen across my wrist, but I could not erase the scars.

Instead I followed the outlines of my leftover bruises until they reached the sea. Voiceless and broken open, I stepped aboard a vessel in Alaska, started nourishing myself properly, and only when I’ve lost my direction do I look backward.

Music teases me. I play with the idea of working my way inside her again. We live in each others penumbras, know the other like old lovers, and keep our eyes keen for when the sunmelody sings new curves upon us, ears open and still ringing, for the last time will never be like the next, no matter how I misplace my memories. And as soon as I remind myself that I’ve moved on, that I’ve found new loves that meet me better, she’s there to reject me out of hand, like it was her idea all along.

It’s a game, and I swing on this idea that the rules are ever-changing, like the tide and guitar strings and the flies in my jar, who die and come alive and die again, as I wish to remember them.

i can do this better.

3 February 2013 § Leave a comment

My god, how the blank screen scares me!

Cursor. Cursor.

Go.

I don’t think of myself as an easily surpriseable person. Even the madness of Burner parties, like last night, with all the white clothing and black lights, grating house music, and the dance floor that more resembled a hallway through which drunk people stumbled, rarely leave me breathless. And afterward, walking the puke-strewn streets showed me things that were in my consciousness already, but that I normally ignore. People in white-rimmed sunglasses (automatically untrustworthy), $200 jeans and fuck-me pumps fascinate me with their slobbery tears that wash the vomit from their chins.

I live in a bubble of positivity and personal growth. When my shadows creep in, I acknowledge them with a sincere hello, and only if I’m feeling particularly delicate that day will I indulge them and shut out the world. Otherwise, it scares me how much that I ignore. Like the philosophy of the law of attraction: that which is like unto itself is drawn.

So, if I think a certain way and get my money in a certain way and celebrate and eat and drink and fuck in a certain way, that which is like unto my ways of being are drawn. A community welcomes me, and I welcome them. It’s like I arrived at the top of a proverbial mountain, into the 1% of people with whom I resonate, and there we stay, feeding each other things that make us feel good, and when problems arise, dealing with them how we do, with things like active listening, non-violent communication, and energy work. There is no right or wrong here – other bubble communities operate in a similar fashion: they absorb what information serves them, and filters out the rest. Some take in more or less than others. Again, there’s no wrong way, no insufficient amount.

That is, until we start doing things that affect those outside the bubble. Therefore, if I live in my own bubble, I’d better be a goddamned solitary person, because it does not serve me to harm others.

I am guilty of shirking this responsibility too often in favor of a given moment. I have played games with the trust of others in hopes that their love for me would eclipse whatever hurt I inflicted upon them. Games to which there have not been rules.

Listen. Can you hear the pieces cracking apart?

We’ve wedged dreams and hallucinations into most of our volatile parts, and then afterward denied the earthquakes and eruptions when they sent us news of our collapse. One study sought to prove that a gun shot near one’s head would surprise anyone. When the researchers visited Tibetan monks in mediation and shot a gun next to their heads, the mini-Buddhas didn’t flinch. They just noticed a noise that they couldn’t control: “so that just happened; move on; keep calm, carry on.”

Do the monks in their bubble ignore the world? Are they not surprised? If one learns that he is not a good or honest person, must he then pursue that path? And if he finds that true, are then the good things he has done dishonest? What about the other way around?

Here’s an opportunity to deal with hardship better than I have in the past. What do I do with it, and what does the other side look like?

feeling up portland.

3 February 2013 § 1 Comment

Bar Star District, Portland, 2 am.

We’re standing in front of the Shanghai Tunnel restaurant, which just closed, in search of post-black light party food. We are four, dressed entirely in white, two women, two men. I am wearing a white jalabya and shal. Muslim prayer garments. I am not Muslim, yet I pray.

Across the pedestrianized street, a man with a megaphone insists that everyone present “be somewhere else,” for the bars are shutting down, and it is time to go. Police cars grace every block. Tickets are issued, and drunk people are yelling. To our right, incoherent insults fly over the shoulder of a small man with a beard. On our left, two very large black men turn heads, and then bodies, toward the source. In three steps they have gained enough momentum to not be stopped by streetcar or police lights, let alone small white people. We are leaving now.

I have been the target of such anger, and been projected upon by those who did not know what to do with their feelings.

Fact: there are a greater number of negative feelings in human emotion than positive.

Many people do not know how to articulate negativity. Like sub-genres of music undeserving of the stereotypes associated with their more popular counterparts, feelings like sadness and fear can be translated easily into hate and violence. So can excessive levels of lead in one’s blood.

We walk briskly, brushing by homeless men digging in trash cans and scantily dressed women crying their sorrows on the shoulders of men who do not respect them. I am wearing sunglasses because here, I’d rather be anonymous. I do not recognize the looks I’m receiving from people in the Voodoo Doughnuts line. A police officer holds my gaze for three eternal seconds until somebody in high heels pukes at his feet.

I am impressed by Portland’s ugliness. She is rolling on her back, scarred belly exposed, wanting attention. Begging to be loved, like the woman crying to the man wearing his erection and history of sexual abuse on his sleeve. He’s saying all the right things while his hand on her ass is in the driver’s seat, popping the clutch.

The others in my group decide this place is not a Yes, and that we should go home. Marai, our Egyptian friend, offers to make traditional North African food when we arrive. “This is a yes,” he says when he finds something interesting. “And everything is interesting when you have no expectations, because you cannot be disappointed.”

As my troupe crossed Burnside, a brown-skinned man in an Escalade stuck his head out of the window, looked me directly in the eye, and said “Osama? I didn’t know you were in town, buddy!”

Really, Portland?

My new friend can teach me much, for my disappointment in humanity is huge right now. I have no trust in it. I expected better, I expected more.  It baffles me that people spend as much time, energy, and money on things that make them angry and numb. Alcohol and self-hatred. I am confused by the lack of learning, and by the stagnancy so many live by. If reaching out in a certain direction ends with your hand stuck in the mouth of a hungry shark, why look that way again? And again, and again? Does the Unknown not contain the possibility of Better? Are we all aware that there is Better?

And what is that Better? Holding on to what we have because the good moments are great, though the bad moments hurt like broken bricks and dry ice dropped from a second-story window?

My compassion eclipses my judgement. I do not exclude myself from those who hold their hope over violent flames waiting for it to freeze. I enable suffering in myself and those I love. I manufacture conflict from expectation, and am hurt when others do the same to me. Sometimes, right when I think that I’ve got myself together, someone shows me all the context that I’ve missed, and how I’ve betrayed them. As much as I’d like to think of how I’ve refined myself to get along best with me, the alphabet streets do not ask for my permission to hide beneath misdirection, to express their pain, or to inflict others with it. I simply wish that they wouldn’t.

Where Am I?

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