I Love You

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Excerpt from my journey to Big Sur.

It’s a story that comes for me and I promise to remember, but don’t. I tend to forget when I most need to remember. Tip of the tongue stuff, it is in there somewhere stuff. Flotsam, jetsam, win some, lose some stuff.

Slow down and try to find the story, but like wind and smoke, grasping at it disseminates the sentences until they are just letters. So I sit here and wait in the space where sometimes words from before come back.

Stranded between wanting to get lost and being lost, one leg on each side. Split simply up the middle. And I can feel it coming, the story that I am trying to remember. Swimming into vision, corner eyed and colored.

Why do the people of the spiritual, mental, whatever improvement world seem so cartoonish to me? I am probably afraid to be like them, I know that I want to be like them.  When you are sorting out the parts of yourself there is surely a time of masquerade. Trying on the faces of the bodies that are enlightened and evolved or appear to be. I want to look and sound like them, maybe be them.

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And I get distracted from the story again. I take pictures, think about emails and texts and tomorrows list of to-do’s and life’s list of to-do’s. Anything else until there is nothing else to think about but not do.

Here is the now: Pacific Ocean din ceaselessly rhythmatic, a hush sound that builds and crashes, drawing in like a shallow breath and out again, over and over. The damp, a sheen on me a sheen on everything. Fecund earth rotting and growing, dying and rotting. Even the dead bits sprout life. Pine needle earth stamped flat by sandal footed contemplative pacing. The stone bench under by back making it stiff and ache. I shift around for comfort knowing full well that I will still struggle to stand up. So I put it off, the standing up.

I know there is honesty in places like this. Like me it’s part real, part try, part tall tale. I keep thinking that if I keep writing dribble that the story will sneak out of my hands without me noticing and I come to having bled all over the place. Words like a massacre on the paper. But what is there for real are just the ordinary, neighborly, non-criminal words of a girl who knows so little about her own self that she still uses a thesaurus to paint and a dump truck to move a pebble.

That is the story.

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In lieu of forgetting.

All the things, he had them. And it was real, I know it was. It was real because I felt it and still feel it, so long gone. For so many months the only reality that I wanted was forgetting. And since there will never be forgetting there will have to be remembering.

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In such a short time everything that happened changed me so completely, in many ways I was weakened but also altered into something new, like a forging in fire. It wasn’t romantic as all that however. It has been made perfect by time and the mystery of the whys and how comes. But it wasn’t romantic. I wanted it to be and so it was. I guess I could have done that with anybody if the moon was just right and the perfect music played. If he had stuck perhaps the love thing would have faded, not perhaps, probably.

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That love thing running like a horse away from the stable into the field, feeling freedom and the dust churned up by pounding hoofs. And somehow I still need to remember, despite the hard stop, despite the wickedness of it all.

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If I stand in the face of it and make it look at me while I look at it, maybe the pull will soften and I can imagine myself giving in to some one new.  Maybe but maybe not. Memories like a stampede and time like the slowest clouds moving in the hottest sky. Fuck it.

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*All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  

For A Living

Let me preface this with one thought, something I feel fairly certain is truth;  we will all die at some point. Very few people get to choose how they go and those that get that choice usually make it based on three factors, pain, fear or hopelessness.  So the rest of us do not know when we will go.  We do not want to go.  We choose life, that is why we still live it.  There are a million ways out of this mortal coil, today I address one. If you can go your entire life without losing someone to adventure then good for you, one less heartbreak and I want that for us all. And yet… you won’t be exempt from loss and the book of death will still read like latin, indecipherable and mercilessly difficult, but “natural, it will be natural”. If the chatter around the deaths in the ‘extreme’ sport world this past week are any indication, somehow folks feel that dying one way makes more sense than another.  To suggest that implies that death is preventable.  It most certainly is not.  I can’t know what it is like for those that have left us. I can, if necessary, talk about what it is like for those left behind.  But I don’t need to.  Our culture belabors the act of grieving far more than the act of appreciating the possibilities of life.

What I suggest now, today while I still breath, is wouldn’t we all would hope to see family and friends go full tilt boogie sucking the marrow out the bone called life?  I would rather watch my lover stretch his wings into the great wide empty than see him wear a hole in the couch.  That is the great mind fuck of life, longevity does not equal quality.  Nor does a premature ending mean greatness.  Our belief system asks faith of us but refuses to accept when we give ourselves to the idea of a bigger picture. It will never make sense to most people why a person would put themselves in danger for fun.  Here’s the thing; that is none of your business.  I am speaking to the mouth pieces that spill unquantified opinions into the ether.  You don’t need to understand why.  What you need to be asking yourself is why not.  Why not live without fear?  Why not show your children that boundaries are meant to be stretched, tested, redefined?  Why not feel the wind in your hair?  Why not?  Not everyone needs to put on a squirrel suit to do this but wouldn’t we all be better served by a life lived with adventure in mind?  That can mean many things.  And fear will be a part of that but we have to push through into the glory of living.  Because the alternative is boring.  We don’t go in to this wanting to die or being careless about our bodies, it is the holy grail we seek, a happy life that makes us proud and satisfied.  If I can live to be 80 with the heart and soul I have now, I will be a legend.  If I die to tomorrow maybe I will be a legend still.  What I do know for sure is that if I die doing what excites me please don’t suggest that it was too soon or pointless.  If my death is pointless then so was my life

. Do not salt the wounds of those left behind by implying that there was any other way.  Go live your life like it matters.  It does.

Bali Hi: Part 2- Temples Everywhere

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At the base of what looked like a blue run on the Tetons but what is the second highest mountain in Bali there sits a cluster of temples. It is a tourist attraction and I know that because of the passenger vans that released a bevy of snow white confused german people into the forrest.  Bali seems to know when I am just about to break from the soupy heat. It sent us a booming deluge that pushed everyone under awnings. But it felt so good..it seemed like a purification. God knows I could use one of those…We didn’t even make it past the first set of alters before a solid three inches of water covered everything. You shouldn’t read in to every thing that happens, most of it just happens and that’s it, that’s all. Yet in this merciless rain I saw how everything is a temple, even a semi dry spot by a garbage can in a courtyard littered with incense sticks and rice. In that rain I could feel the gods guiding me to some strange truth.

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In western faith the faces of God and the holies around him are always placid and peaceful. Here they are mischievous, revengeful, indifferent.  They need an offering every single day. Much like life.  Whether you want to be reverent or not, there is little room to avoid the temples and the gods that guard them. Temples and metaphors, forever and ever.

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When I took off on this trip I made a promise to myself that I would put myself in the face of fear. All of the little things that stop me from experiencing life, I want to confront and squash them. Turns out that scootering is one of those fears. All I can imagine is road rash and head ons. Three days of scootering and I am a fucking fiend! Don’t be surprised if you see me on a Scoopy rip tearing through Jackson Hole. Anyhow I, as per usual, digress. On an evening scooter with thunder clouds putting a rush on things we dipped in the Echo Beach parking lot to see the end of a cremation ceremony. It’s not morbid as all of that, this was the part where they call the soul back home with music. And then the rain came. Hard and sudden. Following the procession of cars and scooters, music playing the entire time…cymbals and flutes, drums, we laughed and smiled. And they laughed and smiled with us, maybe at us, but either way, moral was high. I do believe that we called that soul all the way home.

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Every day I feel another layer peeled away, on me and on this place. There is so much here. And the food…jesus christ the food. More on that next time.

*All Images are property of Mustang Josi.  That’s me. 

Bali High: Part 1

An island of incense and quiet people. A loud city with quiet people. There is so much heat and wet, I am sweaty sunburnt and mosquito bite rich. We went to the beach today for some tourist time and I see that burning man cool is king here still. If not cool then sunburnt sweaty and fanny pack rich. There is little in between.

In tropical heat you cannot move fast unless you are on a motor bike and there is wind in your hair. The moment you slow down every thing closes in and you must stay in a second gear kind of speed and accept the blanket of warmth that adds pounds to your step. But there is so much beauty when you slow down. The kind that they try to emulate for the tourists in places that don’t have such a natural love of color and life. The thickly aromated flowers that creep up through ruins and never finished surf shacks. Vegetation that will not be stopped by any blade, only slowed.  Colors softened by rain and sun.  It is perfect. I love the kind of place where a dirt road empties out into a post card beach and every one is moving with leisure.

The Hindu religion permeates everything on this island. Offerings of food, incense and flower petals sit on/in just about every stoop and cranny. I have always loved belief systems that gravitate around Gods that act on feelings, Gods that can be truly angered. And by that token, truly appeased. When we arrived after many hours of travel and tumult, we found the alter that was is the far corner of the property and knelt at it.  This gorgeous place and the kind people in it needed to be recognized.  And so in our own way we gave an offering of our thank yous and promises to enjoy every moment that we have on this tranquil and exciting island.

Like everywhere I go I fall in love with everything. I imagine myself abandoning my life and giving in to this one. I could do that too, I could live here and be completely happy.

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Stay tuned for more on this trip. Pictures in the next entry I promise.

To The Wheels My Love

With piranha teeth
I’ve been dreaming of you
And the taste of your love, so sweet
Honest, it’s true
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my heart flows sleep
And the dark, heavy rain
Where the gravedigger’s song is sung
You’ve been torturing me
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Tout est noir, mon amour
Tout est blanc
Je t’aime, mon amour
Comme j’aime la nuit
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Love, is the medicine good?
Is the crow flying eight miles high
Over wire and wood?
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Shovel down six feet
With a head heavy pain
The magnolia blooms so sweet
And it fades just the same
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To the stars, my love
To the sea
To the wheels, my love
‘Til they roll all over me
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Oh love, I’ve been thinking of you
With razor white teeth, so sharp
Honest, it’s true
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In my blood flows sleep
And the dark heavy rain
The magnolia blooms so sweet
Only torturing me
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To the stars, my love
To the sea
To the wheels, my love
‘Til they roll all over me
“The Gravediggers Song”  Mark Lanegan
*All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  

Kingdom Come

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I often think about where you go when you leave. Are you forever walking away, leaving me with a memory of your face and the imprint of your back, descending eternally into the distance. Perhaps there is a town somewhere in city I have never heard of. And you live there. In my worries you are in a box and it is dark, time moves but you don’t. When I let myself wonder, the weight presses my shoulders forward and my gut in on itself. Sometimes there isn’t the strength to push back and the ideas rush at me with the down pour staccato of my life in rewind. The woods and the boy with the bow and arrow aiming with the kill shot. The best friend growing pale and cold beside the ocean, alone. The dad, deeply drunk, and holes in the walls. Dead black boys and city riots, hearts on fire with hate. Men in desert fabric holding dull weapons, swinging at necks in the name of god. When I close my eyes I see these things.

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I think about a brother, I try to stop the clock in my mind and build a stillness. But I cannot. And these things stack. These notches busted into me with the ax of experience. Even from the vantage point of time and new chapters I still cannot figure out where you go when you leave. You are in the heart of another girl. You are in your apartment watching tv, alone. You are dead. You are looting, fighting, giving up, giving in. You are disintegrating in the dust. Maybe it doesn’t really matter. Gone can mean so many different things but still be the same thing.

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Knowing that the grand design of life has avenues beyond what I can see. Straight lines away from the unknown and into a deeper understanding of what we are here for. Things that I won’t see until I round a corner and step onto the gravel of that new day…this possibility puts some guts back into my body. And for the first time in this life, I find myself hoping that there is a God. And that there is someone bigger than me who wants goodness for us.

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Since I do not know where you are I will imagine this. Trees for miles that end at a bottomless sea. Animals to ride, animals to eat. Forgiveness and charity for you, from you. Friendships so deep that you will never know the end. Love so passionate, a heart blue with flames. You will never be afraid and in your mind will be all of the knowledge that we seek so tirelessly. And you will look at us with patient eyes because I may not know where you are, but you know exactly where I am.

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*All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  

Dad

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The second person that I remember loving was my dad. I knew what it was long before I had the words to describe it. His long, curly hair, bell bottomed legs, too small t-shirt. He was cool and handsome. He was always angry and mostly drunk. And I loved him more than anything. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to carry his six packs and collect his baseball bat the second it swung from his hands wildly with a crack. The only men that have ever owned me are just like him, bluster and emotion.  Glass castle kings, court jesters.

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There were as many holes punched in the walls of my childhood home as there were beautiful moments of rock and roll in the big old Chevy. He is the person that taught me to hold up the facade by any means necessary.  He is the man who built a wall of anger around my life. But I love him.  Because of him I know how to see past the facade and beyond the anger. I know that was never his intention, the sending of me in the exact opposite direction. But I reckon that a lesson learned is a still a lesson learned regardless of how you get it.

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My father is a reckless mix of heart and fear, his every cell is laced with unmet desires and blurry visions of former greatness. My grandest dream is to rise fully and completely from that legacy. Knowing in my chest that he did what he could with what little he was taught and forgiving him for not aiming higher. Knowing that as damaged as he was, there was always a roof over my head and food on my plate. There will always be countless kids who have had it worse. There will be kids who have it better and still see nothing but struggle. This is my life and I worship every stinking second that builds these years. The good ones, the bad ones, the whole lovely mess of it all.

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Father’s day, for me, as it is for many, is a day to see how far I have come.  I am who I am because of and despite the earth that grew me. I will never be able to go back and have the childhood that I think I deserved. But it is certainly far from over. I get to be the adult my universe deserves. And if I don’t, that ones on me.

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 *All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  

My Little, Young, Old Lady

I do not understand the casually savage lottery of death.  I cannot craft even a sentence that eases the pain or navigates the logic of life extinguished.  Words sound wrong.  They all seem hollow and contrived.  I find no tools to build anything that will protect you or comfort.  The one skill that I possess does nothing here.  Sadly, it seems that there is no poetry in dying.  There are no balms, no ladders to serenity, no roads back.  If I could only decipher this, maybe then would there be the right words there, the ones that heal.  I cannot.  There is no wisdom in this.  Though I try to find some.  For now, there is none.

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What I have for you is this.  I can tell you what I know.

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When we met I knew that our love would live.  It would not be something of stone and history, it would be lush, forever growing, alive.  A redwood, a city of light, something undilutable by time or water.  You are one of those people that offer up such perfect kindness in the presence of dark, a whisper that quiets all of the constant yelling.  You are like an antique, well made, ageless, your manners harkening back to a gentler time.  I would always feel a loving tinge of jealousy when you spoke of your Berenstein Bear family and the tender factory of love that grew you.  The wonder of that life, your life, holds me now.  I can feel it running up and down my spine, gratitude and joy for having met this father of yours.  This most caring and smart man who taught you to be a humane creature in a strange and cruel world.  I feel supremely blessed to have had a few moments to bring to life all of the lovely things you have shared about him.

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You told me once that I am your pit bull, that I fight when you won’t.  And I will.  I will always rally to protect the kindness in you.  I will clear out the dance floor so that you will have room to do the jitter bug (or whatever old folk dance you do).  But right now, you have to fight.   You have to stand up tall, put up your fists, and fight.  Fight to remember all of the things,  good, gooder, and best.  Fight to keep the dark at your back.  Fight the undefinable insanity of death.  Even when taking a breath seems impossible.  Even if every second burns your skin and blinds your eyes.  There are no words and there never will be.  And that means that in order to survive you need your heart and the quiet strength of the people who made you.  They are inside of you, they are outside of you, and they will be the might behind your every movement, forever.

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If I could take this from you, I would.  I could find a way to fill all of the cracks in your heart with gold, you would be exploding with light.  But I cannot.  What I can do is close my eyes, hold your grace in my body, and spend every moment in the kind, warm place that you have shown me.  And for this I am grateful.

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Heavy The Head

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“I want the truth, even if it wasn’t what I had thought it was.  Even if it wasn’t what I wanted it to be.”  Kee Aliens

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On this road to clarity and happiness, every omen, every tea leaf, has been thoroughly frisked for meaning.  All of the stones are up turned and words that alone meant nothing, examined.  I have made life into some sort of fruitless archeological dig.  I have felt that if I kept visiting every oracle that the great truth of my life will be revealed.  But it isn’t.  Only the untruths are showing themselves.

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I have learned that what feels and looks like love is most likely a carnival.  The loveliest of smoke, the cruelest of mirrors.  And without reserve, I will always buy the ticket.  The show is forever worth it.  I have found that most of my words, the ones said and the ones said to me, are no armor against life’s bullshit.   I cannot talk or think my way out of a world that has no language.  I have seen with my own eyes how a highway dead ends and a wooded path that can take you to the Emerald City.  Nothing makes sense and nothing ever will.

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My journey home, a trip taken in desperation, brought me a precious couple of gems.  One of them I was given by an old friend whom I respect without limit.  He said to me that love is not a debt paid or time owed.  Nobody has any obligation to love you romantically longer than they do.  We insert ego into something that must remain untethered to be real.  This is something that I have always felt but never admitted to.  Romance is romance, not a promise of permanence….

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The second jewel was this:  When a snake bites, the only cure is to suck out the poison.  And I am a snake that bites my own tail.  And I am the antidote to the wound that I inflict, on myself, on others.  I have been tearing myself apart all these years.  I produce a false shine and turn on myself with the slightest sign of failure.  There is nothing real in that action.  That hunt only brings in bad meat and a broken heart.  And so, back to the drawing board.  Another reinvention.  This one, hopefully, a clearer version of myself.  Something with a little peace and quiet.

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And the crowning jewel, the icing, the prize, the kings ransom…..love is all there is.  Old words.  Ancient sentiment.  But fresh and true none the less.  My weaponry in this battle is greased with love.  Love for myself.  Love for my friends.  Love for those that storm the fields against me.  It hurts, to be this open.  It hurts, to have loved and lost.  It hurts, to forge into the darkness with no light.  And I am afraid.  And I will be brave.