A Case of the Spins

Pressure in the ears: It’s been coming and going with a vengeance for a year. It isn’t actual pain but it is worrisome.

Two nights ago the sun left the sign of Leo. I was advised astrologically to go out and get my party on. The moon was in Leo in addition. The moment was primed before we launched into the business of a Virgo sun.

I wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to stay home. It gave me pleasure to think the added rest would keep my head on straight for the coming week. It was like I was already in Virgo.

So, yesterday comes. In the evening I head to the little town of Norfolk where I pick up our tank of water. There is a little pizza/ sub/ takeout place right next to the superette that I’m going to. There is a nice Mexican restaurant across the street. The smells of the food with a golden evening sun hitting the street causes me to envision driving on through to Potsdam and gorging myself on bad food and good beer underneath sidewalk umbrellas and trying my luck at finding a conversation for a change. Of course, this is a fantasy for the future. But judging by all of the traffic other people have the same idea. So Virgo comes in with a bang? Huh…

In the end, I was perfectly content to go home and cook frozen fries and chicken nuggets in the oven. I found my bad food. I sat on the back patio and had a long instant messaged conversation with a friend. I found my conversation. I found the sun. I was sitting under it. This patio was more comfortable than any downtown could be.

I’ve been trying to stay off allergy medicine. I become dependent on it to sleep and I would rather be operating au natural. It’s been an odd balancing act of gauging whether I need it or not. (Buying some daytime crap is not feasible at the moment.)

My right eye feels weak. I could feel a fuzzing point extending behind my eyeball when I was meditating a few days ago. I’m sure the optometrist that screwed me over last year has something to do with that. I’m wearing my glasses from like ten years ago because the ones I bought a year ago give me wicked headaches.

I awoke this morning with the spins. Every time I shifted or tossed my inner head continued to roll like it was on an amusement ride, while my actual head had stopped several moments before. There was lots of tossing, there was lots of rolling. Finally, I got up. This has happened to me before, not in awhile though. It sounds like it is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It happens when my body is horizontal – luckily. My mother has an extreme form of vertigo that seizes when she is upright.

My Gramma said this morning that it could be allergies.

I had a lazy morning, a lazy afternoon. Then, I went out to mow the lawn. It was funky. I’ve mowed this lawn… oh, I don’t know, approaching like fifty times or something. I always mow in the same patterns, but I was a bit out-of-wack today. It didn’t help that I at first I was avoiding a tree that I hadn’t realized had fallen. It didn’t help that the blade needs to be sharpened on the mower and I had to go over several spots twice. There are many stumps and such to avoid in the back and today it just felt like there were twice as many. There were the same number there always is.

I went running tonight. It was a great run! I ran about three miles at a fast pace. My heart, my will, and my legs could all go strong, even stronger. My lungs were the only complainers. Really, they weren’t bad at all either. I was super happy that medicine or no medicine I would sleep really well.

When I got in the shower I bent over and I was knocked with another head spin. I’ll sometimes get lightheaded when I change a position I’ve been holding for a long time. However, this was a full out spin. I would have lost my balance had I had two more moments of dizziness. It was sort of fun. I will be alarmed if it lasts longer than a day, though.

I do sound like a Virgoan. They are obsessive about their physical health and are often prone to become hypochondriacs. I don’t normally have a list of ailments.

I made it. I was trying to give you one disoriented and unedited post before the Benadryl knock-off knocks me the fuh out. It’s tough. I don’t like this no editing thing (little editing, truth be told). There aren’t any fun words I made up so it’s not really disorienting. I could have used words like topsy turvy and pell mell.

I’ve been writing (and reading) lots, lately. Much more than the usual. This is great. Things have been irregular.

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Spiritualized Nano Technology

Do you believe in the concept of a spiritual I-Pod?

I was taking a walk beside the Raquette River on the Clarkson University trail. The first song I noticed was this song. I listened to the mixed paint of different season swirling and I wondered during which season I should place this song at the end of a blog. This was a hypothetical blog in the time setting of the future.

My step dad loved Deep Purple. I think of his smile. I think of how full of life he was.

I’m not yet ready to relinquish summer. The approach of September is like an upcoming catastrophe, an impending crash.

The next song hit hard. Hard. We are talking the ecstatic burn in the ducts with the relief of relinquish. Last night as I meditating in bed I was moved to express my love for the trees outside my window. These trees in this wood heard my proclamation. I can see they are welcoming and receptive, as only those who know they are loved. I am moved to reiterate by a new up-swell of emotion. I don’t know if this song was given to me by the trees. I don’t know if the trees were telling me I could bury my secrets in their skins. I don’t know, but being under a canopy of greens, spotted with enough sunlight through this cathedral ceiling, amplified the entirety of this song. I had to listen to it twice.

And how exceptional the revolving kaleidoscope of influence! Live your life, walk through your life and you will never have the same experience twice. The authors you read, the art you consume, and the music you hear will always be coloring your mindscape. It will pepper you with it’s changing perspectives. When I start to feel all expressions of self-creation are futile, I remind myself of this singular fact. One can never say how much their prose, pictures, or play is affecting someone else’s filter on life. So put it out there.

Also, you grow sickness if you repress your creative self-expression.

Radiohead songs play but they are poignant only in the way that they are always poignant. Radiohead will wind back into this story to sucker punch and make me repeal that statement. Just wait.

When the trail is about to loop back upon itself, comes the option of skirting two boulders to cross to the lane. These perfect manicured grounds remind me of how we felt as English children. The Manor lawns were flooded with sunshine and the spongy green between our toes harbored us in a living fantasy. I almost didn’t go into Bayside Cemetery.


The last time I did it was symbolic of an ending. I can not dwell in that ending any longer. The snake has already shed her skin. I am already into something new. It was hard to see because I still feel like I am moving slow. I still look out at the world from my own little window. As I turned the path to head toward the water and avoiding the other path that cuts through the core of the cemetery, this was the song.

The thrill of the breath, that is the true gift. All of the things we preoccupy ourselves with, the chase- the hunt- are just distractions. The dead miss the thrill of breath. The dead miss that distinct state of being called ALIVE.

I was into the thick of it. I was at the core of the cemetery when one of my favorite Hip songs came on. Fitting that a song close to my core would now play in the thick of it. “this war isn’t for children,” dropped harder on me than it ever dropped. War isn’t for me and my child is still intact. Again, a tear swells to the threshold. The moon is making it’s rounds through Cancer and I am revering emotion.

The path starts to wind away from the water. It heads into the strange part of the woods. The trees become taller with damp and disintegrating graves over the dirt ground beneath. It isn’t kept up. I decide to stay with the shine and the water today and I turn back to tread what I have already. I’ve been thinking of the lightness of death, of a continual energy. When this song begins to talk of “heavy love” I’m thinking of how heavy the gravestones are and how each one was an individual. I have to stop to stare at the beauty. The total sun strikes the hill contrasting against the shadows of the trees. That contrast cannot be described but it ignites a glittering inside of me. I think on the beauty of the human race. I think of how beautiful it is to be tragically flawed. I think of the beautiful confusion caused by all of these separate acting entities. All of these heavy gravestones experienced degrees of love and degrees of confusion.

I feel a heaviness embody me. I think it could be my grandfather’s presence telling me solidly that he is here. I question if I can trust that heaviness or if it is just a thought and an idea mixing with a sensation? I have striven to come to terms with his death. It was evasive. Everyone likes to believe he is still alive somewhere, a D.B. Cooper of our family. Maybe this is my own block. It’s why I can’t feel the radiating light within my breast for him, like I can from the other deaths. Maybe it was too heavy of a blow to face. I’ve begun to talk to him and I believe he responds through the rustling of the trees. A significant breeze will stir in approval when I’ve invited him to my inner monologues. His energy is different though. I can’t describe. I can’t figure out why. Did he take to the earth instead of the skies? Did he choose immediate reincarnation rather than disperse to spirit? Did he choose to be the sole angel over my brother’s shoulder?

I split from the river and head uphill through the nucleus of the cemetery. Maybe the next song would not seem to be a cheerful one. Yet, it brings me back a few years to a time of more optimism. Then, the exhilarating splay of islands opened out before me on the St. Lawrence. I was transporting in sleep, not by flying but in a boat. This Canadian myth above my head is thick dreamland for me. If I follow that canal north there is a strange city where I am relishing a pre-adolescent life. Freedom, style, streetsmarts are mine. Such strange places are dreams that we cannot relate. There are ginormous wooden halls beside the water. Everything is beyond large. The buildings are jubilant and obtuse. The St. Lawrence is an inlet from the ocean that’s wild deep can toss my heart to believe. In this life that exhilaration fades to nothing. In this life that wonder and scale will diminish until it is locked into a reality where your eyes hurt from reading fine print.

Still, I think what the dead envy is an endless hope, an endless expansion. My hope has been dried up for awhile. Maybe it is Saturn parading it’s reality. The fine-tuning and the toning-down. I can’t say I miss my hope because it always turned out to be empty. Saturn doesn’t mislead. My head is out of the clouds but I dare say I’ve lost my vision.

To rejoin that lane that leads out of this place, I head into the graves that flank the side of the hill. I kid you not, this song starts.

It’s a cliche for a graveyard walk, but the spookiness is out of place on this sunny day. Maybe my IPod has a sense of humor. The phrase “Cinematic Eclipse” enters my head. I ponder it. The covering up of something cinematic? That doesn’t work for a sun-drenched hillside of headstones. Then, my perspective shifts and I recall what the phrase intends. It is a perfectly displayed eclipse.

I don’t know why it’s relevant to my story or to this place in time but every once in awhile a phrase will just pop into my head. I will question what spurred it forth. I will examine the relation.

I’ve never thought cemeteries were spooky. I take my most peaceful walks through them. There is, however, an unnatural nature to the decay of an unkempt cemetery. It can be dark, damp and unpleasant with a smell of thinly-trailing mildew moss. It can be picker plants hugging the low earth and buzzing with a fever that radiates. Small spirals next to the peel of washed-out grey cedar bark are in those neglected corners.

The cemeteries beside Lake Champlain make me feel like I am a Victorian line-illustration. I feel as though I am a child with chubby cheeks or a mild and gay damsel in pastoral pastel in the faded yellow light of an antique postcard.

It is upon me now how sad that I have not come to visit these graves. Each of these stones represents a person. Graves need to be fawned over. But they almost answer me… or they do answer, saying I have come to visit them and I did visit them.

I wonder at the origin of thought. I wonder where thought is coming from when so many things seem to answer me. Could be only that someone seems to answer because I’m always putting to question and searching for a meaning. They say to trust your feelings. I try. What about trusting thought when it seems to rush from an invisible well-spring? Anger, elation, sadness – I know those are all coming from me. Even if they were caused by someone else, emotion is my reaction. What I don’t understand is if all of my thoughts are my own or if things are entering my mind because I’m communicating with someone or something else.

OK Descartes, give it a rest.

People can also choose to brainwash themselves. The mind is more susceptible than the emotions. I read a book about The Art of Allowing awhile back. Esther Hicks channels a ghost named Abraham. She says (or he said) that in order to manifest, the thoughts and the emotions have to be aligned. So you can change your thoughts, you can focus on what you want. Where everyone fails is when they try to align the emotions. They need to believe. They need to feel it.

When I’m in a car I will think about another car slamming into the side of me. I can hear the noise and I can feel the violent jolt. When I am running or walking beside the road I keep thinking about what it would be like to be struck by a fast moving vehicle. These sensations are almost real.

OK Descartes, set it down.

This past week I’ve had a blog sketch in my mind. I probably would never have posted it. I will talk of it now only to remark on a superficial annoyance, a game of logic that covers an emotion that goes much deeper. This hypothetical blog would have been something to the manner of this:

With a spine of iron, my brother, my blood, he was able to overcome. He shattered his hip when he fell from a speeding skateboard as a preteen. Years of surgery and disability ensued. He never looked back once as he rose in the ranks of education and the military. My mother has had a handful of honest moments where she will offer an astounding sweetness. She once said, “Despite my brother and I being given every excuse to screw up, we never did. (She) was amazed by and proud of us both.”

He has been able to obtain a refreshing security and upward mobility my family of virtual peasants adulate. Everyone is very impressed with him. Everyone is very impressed with his money. Everyone is very proud of him. I am very proud of him and I have always loved him. To be fair, so has all of my family.

My brother is strong. My brother is a caretaker. He is mature. He is responsible. He has always been. In this world, that leaves you with admiration. In my world of “Females that aren’t quite able to get it together”, that is integrity.

The definition of integrity is honesty and moral uprightness.

Now, I have tried and tried, striven for years in unappreciated job after unappreciated job. Though I’ve given my all again and again, acting with all my intrinsic integrity, I have found myself depleted, cynical, and unstable. I’ve lived off the good graces of my grandmother for the last two summers, waiting for Unemployment or bank loans to come through. I’m sure they all suspect I’m lazy. When, in fact, it is more that I have gone soft. My mother and my grandmother never seem to acknowledge all the toil I put in for all of those years. No one has any idea how hard I’ve struggled. They just expect it to continue though they themselves do not have first hand knowledge of the headaches, frustrations, and injustices of the service industry… of the service mill, rather.

I am unable to stand straight and tall on my own. I’ve been stripped of pride, but what of integrity?

I’ve gained an arrogance where I only desire to work for local businesses (no fast foods, no Walmarts, no strip mining). So far, I’ve been pretty lucky regarding this. It is in alignment with my principle’s, my ideals. These principle’s and ideals keep me in my cocoon. I am not paid to be a military strategist. I am not a mercenary. If I was to kill someone, it would be of my own accord – not under the orders of the capitalist greed machine , the machine that keeps me in my place.

You play so well by the rules and I am still skulking that the rules are not fair.

Ideals and commandments will keep me to my prison!

And who is here to help me reach my aspirations? It all must be done by myself alone. While the toothless have their hands held while filling out applications for every type of assistance, the competent are met with overwhelming, disabling amounts of responsibility. That is the way in this country.

So who has integrity? Certainly my type of integrity is not appreciated. I don’t condemn my brother’s choices. I just play the part of once-more-jilted middle child. I am not held in the same regard. My choices are quicker to be deemed failure.

All of this I was going to say and I would post some such video as “Jackson Cannery” by Ben Folds Five, but I didn’t make that post. Instead this is what happened:

Up the lane and back to the two boulders that try in vain to block the trail. As the first “ahh, ahh, ahh, ahhh’s” cascade down, a little girl decked in the mandatory egghead helmet coasts on a bike through my line of vision. The purity and syncopation of the moment cannot escape me and I smile at a childhood that doesn’t assume anything.

On the first trip through, this forest assured me that it would hold my sins until I was ready to confess. It would wait patiently until I was ready to divulge my secrets.

I am so tired from sun and thought as I enter the forest. This song is a lullaby. The lyrics have always been heavy striking and now they lose their flatness. I could easily be stepping over breathing bodies. The reality is scarcely further than the end of my extremities. I would be moving through in this same body with a mere shifting of time. The bassline and background crooning have always been powerful. Now, I notice the pretty mercy of the underlying piano.

Think of how glorious one must enter death on the battlefield. The gravest ill has been committed over nothing more than greed, hate or pride. And out of this, a re-entry into pure love.

There is something that should lie silent, that should not be spoken. My brother feels like he is already gone. Once again, my brother has detached himself. Having a conversation with him, he is a glossed-over shell. Things are “good.” We chatter too much about a pond he built and fish that he will stock. He expresses little interest in me. I push on, feeling crass that I offer information anyhow. He won’t talk. This isn’t talking. Does he want to find his way back? Does he want to rejoin the open world of conversation? Does he want to rejoin the world of past and family? Does he want to enjoy our niece together? Would God give us such a chance?

He may be deployed again. He may be preparing to die again. The secret that I don’t want to talk about is that lately I’ve been feeling like he is already dead.

His funeral would break us all.

There Fiona! There trees! There Readership! There Profundity! Now you have plucked the secret like several chickens in the yard!

Radiohead is not ready to relent.

I wonder if we will ever be able to have a spiritual conversation, if I will ever be able to offer him solace or counsel. We both understand the delicacy of a breach. So often the grace is left to silence.

“It’s too much, too bright, too powerful, too much,” the song crescendos to an end. Then just to flip the switch and lighten the mood, cut to this.

Fiona is a genius I reaffirm. This fact never seems to stay with me. I always rediscover it. She is like the high beam of a lighthouse, fading out then blinding. However, that song has left my tired ears ringing with the saccharin shakes. The Spiritual Nano Technology answers with the perfect song. Now this not only lightens the mood. It resets and relieves. Jane’s Addiction reminds me of enjoying youth. Perry Farrell’s high voice is like the sanctuary of on one’s own teenage bedroom or forest spot.

My brother would approve of this song. It was his BMG Album of the Month Membership that set me into a more serious love affair with music. Sometimes when I hear classic 90’s albums it makes me think of the brief teenage camaraderie we shared.

I see a tree that has been wrecked. Whether by nature or man, the dismembered section of the tree has been removed. The roots, the stump, the stalk still remain. There are shards, and splinters of different sizes uprising at different levels, as a geode would grow crystals. It is very striking. I study it. If it were marble or glass it would be revered as sculpture or a monument. I prefer wood.

So if you love wood, work with wood! Stay with wood! So you want to write! Then write! If you want to draw and log your dreams, draw and log your dreams!

I think back to thoughts of marketing and ad nausea. You hate something that a mirror is reflecting back to you. I abhor the superficial only because I have stayed superficial. I have not launched headlong and wholehearted into some type of study, some type of ends.

I want my camera to document this remarkable half-tree. I realize I need to up my game. I need to start traveling with a camera again. This Classic Irish Rock Ballad begins. What I assume to be a college boy and his dog clip by me. He pulls the pretty spaniel along not letting her linger and sniff. He is either in a hurry to get somewhere or trying to avoid me catching up to him. I say “boy” because his hair is trimmed close to his head and though his shoulders are broad, he is of slighter stature. His shape, for some reason, reminds me of shirtless men at the beach during WWI. His dress boots are shined. His denim is new navy and crisp. His shirt is tight. Even his little white dog with the reddish spots and puffy ears is stylish. I find myself admiring him for cultivating his image, for wanting to be seen in a certain light, for rushing toward downtown. There would be times when the trendiness might turn me off. Lately though, I’ve realized presenting ourselves is all part of it. I have been wrong in thinking it is insincere to do so. Again, I wish I had a camera to snap a picture of this well-dressed boy and his dog disappearing down the path.

Before I took this walk, envy would have trumped me again. Instead, the place where I used to work struck me as pretentious. Still it pangs a bit thinking had I been more diligent, less this, more that, that I would be sitting where she is now. She seemed unversed and unseasoned upon first impression – green. Today she had her hair pulled back and she was jawing about kilns and gallery shows. I recognize these self-important lengthy musings called “meetings.” I did go to drama school. Hell, I’ll be paying the $40,000 back for the rest of my life so I could hear myself talk for seven semesters.

More important, I feel my envy slide away. I know I don’t belong in that office. I am not meant to be an administrator. Could I learn how to write grants? Yes. Am I meant to? No. I am something different. I wander graveyards in the middle of sunny summer days. I spend the four days after crafting my experience out of words.

It just burns I have to keep telling this girl my name. So much can change in a year. So much will change in a year.

No, my path is different. I am an explorer. I am a recorder. I am happiest doing my own thing, matching music to experience. So be it. I wouldn’t trade it.

The Spiritual IPOD tells me I am a beautiful thing and it would be a beautiful thing to see me continuing. I am no longer in a winter graveyard. The snow and gray that would shield my tenderhearted frame is gone. I am already gone.

Do you believe in the concept of a Spiritual IPod? Sure, I pressed skip a couple of times, but still…

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The energies that run through my body

Always where to start and how to start.  Do I start at the end and move backward or do I start at the beginning and move to the present day?

Perhaps my handful of readers are getting sick of my existential crisis?  I do warn I intend to crack into it again.  However, I will counterbalance it with the positive spin and the whole time I write I’ll listen to Pure Bathing Culture.  It’s sweet, light, spacey, perfectly reminiscent of the coast.   I want to see the coast again.  I want to let the forlorn crash of waves intoxicate me.  My last name means “seafarer” in gaelic.  

I want to travel these days but I am feeling so damned lackluster.  I should be grateful I have finally gotten the garage sale underway.  I will have the garage cleaned and scraped and painted.  All of these projects hanging on I will tie to a close.  Maybe once I have unloaded all the old energies in these old objects I will feel lighter.

 I will feel lighter and I can’t wait.  I must focus on this.  I must just get through this patch. There will be time for travel in the future.  Not the type of travel that involves stressful transport of family member’s.  The problem of my apathy;  I have it.  It is undeniable.  I can barely muster the energy to look into the application process of a decent job and forget about the barely containable scorn for the shitty ones.

(You’ll have to forgive my language.  One of my friend’s on Facebook just commented how they feel blogger’s discredit themselves when they swear in their posts.  She may have been only referring to autism blogs but still I’m in the mood this morning to let it bother me.  What else can I be?  All apologies.)

I won’t whine about the job climate again.  I know it is unattractive.  I know it showcases me as weak.  I know, particularly during Jupiter crossing my Mid-heaven), that I should be presenting myself as confident and capable and very capable.  I should present myself like I don’t have time to whine about the current state of affairs.  Alas, I am a writer.  Alas, forgive my limitless indulgence of self-expression.  I could unburden you if only I still had a shrink.

To stop participating in the world is not an option.  Often, I feel ready to break.  I have relied on my family to support my attitude problem.  I know.  Take responsibility.  It is empowering.

I am capable of having my own life, there are just so many pieces to gather.  It is just that it takes so, so much time.

While I have reveled in the freedom this summer (the glorious freedom), it has been far from stress free.  Unemployment has made it as difficult as possible to collect any money.  I still am awaiting a paper from my put-upon former colleague so I can submit again.  My computer got a virus while I was trying to download printer software.  One step forward, four steps back.    

Saturn transiting my first house will make me feel like nothing is ever good enough.  Apparently, with this transit I am also restructuring my life for the next thirty years.  It has stripped me of all except what is very important.  I do not have the energy for anything extraneous. I have to remind myself of Saturn.  I have to be gentle with myself every time I become frustrated.  I have to remind myself that I really have come along way this year, and in the last few years.  Yes, definitely!  I have to remind myself that though I am frustrated I am still on the right track and I am still moving forward.  My health is my wealth… so deal with the rising tension.  Keep running, keep eating right, try to meditate at night. 

I’ve been trying to research freelance writing work.  Yet, I’m finding hints of another poly-saturated market.  Everywhere I turn, someone wants to sell me something.  The gristle has to be cut through to find the meat.  Yes, there are many freebies out there and I am grateful.  I understand people have to make money.  I will say that consuming all of the marketing weighs heavy on this psyche.  For some reason, I have a lowered immunity.  And, of course, my computer issues have sidestepped me from the headlong research I need to plunge myself into.  But, it will happen.  

The research on publishing or self-publishing.  The research on freelancing.  The library job I should be applying for at this very moment.  The household projects.  Da.  Dah da.  Dah da.  It is overwhelming. It will all happen.

EVERYTHING is going to work itself out!

And yes!  Let us think positive!  This is what I know and knowing is half the battle.  I know how I need to keep my body pure.  I know how I want to feel and want to nourish it only with fresh whole food.  I know the empowerment and high of exercise. I know when it all comes down to it, I want to write.  I am a writer, regardless of how well I write.  Regardless of how I compare.  Comparing is so exhausting.  

“The neighbor just got hired at Home Depot.  Funny how everyone can get a job there,” my grandmother harasses.  “I tried to apply there and the computer sent me through a stupid questionnaire about consumer products and redirected me to apply to some job site.  I could not find a direct link and I gave up,” I sort of said.  I was too frustrated to explain the mumbo jumbo and most of it I know my grandmother just hears as an excuse.  It is true, though.  You can’t even apply for a job today without the hounds being loosed.  My grandmother likes to mention how “hard” people “work” to me.  Those two words always cut through me.  She tells of how this one and that one have gotten jobs and how much they love them. “Good for them!” I always exclaim with varied degrees of annoyance.  But you see, she’s right.  I don’t want it bad enough to jump through all of the friggen hoops.

I dealt with a truly debilitating depression in late high school and early college.  I am far past the suicidal thoughts I wrestled with on a daily basis.  Yet, I wonder if this can’t be a milder form of depression or is it just being called getting old and cynical?

Now I feel that old exhaustion set in from my Depressive Years when I think about the retelling of the past two weeks. Mayhaps I will work backward.

Last night I slept like crap.  That is OK.  Sometimes it happens.

The night before though…  I awoke at 4 o’clock in the morning from an extensive dream.  As I lay in half-sleep for the next couple hours I indulged the story line.  By the time I was ready to get up for coffee, I had almost an entire horror novella conceived.  I have always read and watched the horror genre.  Yet, I have never attempted to write it.  For hours yesterday I pounded the keys and the book lies in skeletal form on my hard drive.

She moves in mysterious ways.

This had been a patch of oasis after a cold, rainy weekend sitting in the garage, waiting for customers to come.  I did make great strides in the dinosaur book “Don Quixote” that I’ve been trying to complete.  That is something.  Though, it wouldn’t impress my grandmother.  Not much does.  I suppose we both take one another for granted because we have to.

To move further backward to the beginning of last week I must relate a wonderful sensation that gently moved through me.  It was of particular note because it’s not my normal state.  I knew in my mind how my body should feel.  I was stressed.  I knew I should have tension tight in my shoulders, in my neck and my head (like I always do when stressed).  However, my body was as peaceful as water.  It was letting all energy just pass through and physically I was holding onto nothing.  It felt sublime and I relished it.  I knew it was unusual and I knew it wouldn’t last.

On the final night of it’s occurrence I dreamed I was at a clinic.  Heather, a Reiki Specialist and Channeler from Portland that I had contacted last year for healing, was one of the practitioners that was overseeing my care in the dream.  There were two middle aged men whom I did not recognize and weren’t impressive in appearance also attending. The clinic had an impersonal and make-shift vibe to it.  As I was moved from room to room undergoing various vague evaluations, what did impress me is that they were taking critical issue with my well-being.  It more than impressed me.  I was astonished that they cared so deeply.  It made me feel important and vital.  Something is boiling and is amiss but it isn’t exactly based in the physical and they were addressing it.  They were performing a systematic overhaul of my system, attending an existential trauma.

The tension came back the next day but so did a burst of energy and motivation.

I must always focus on the positive.  I have learned this already.  My niece came up for a summer visit during the past week.  I was able to spend some precious time with her and remember how very much I care for her.  I was rather taken with just how much she is like me.  It is rather remarkable.  I guess it’s harder to notice when you see someone on a daily or weekly basis, but now it’s been months since we’ve seen one another.  She will be seven soon and she is crafting her own books.  She likes to tell stories.  She likes to format and piece together. ( I don’t think you can hear the pride in my voice.)  I have always been her playmate, really the only adult that indulges her inexhaustible imagination.  Sometimes I can actually astound her with some of the stuff I string together and I love the look on her face as she stops her chatter and studies me.  To captivate her young mind is truly satisfying.  

Under no steering of mine, she came up with a game while she was here.  She sent me out around the yard to pick all the plants I could find.  I was to return to her and add them to her big bucket of water.  We went out together and pretended that we had so sneak without being seen to harvest some special flowers.  The kid was pretending to be an herbalist, or a witch!  

It stresses me out when she leaves for my sister’s ex-boyfriend’s house.  It stresses me out more than you would know or more than I will relate.  I called to see if she was OK.  She was doing good.  I have to trust other people.  I have to trust the universe.  I have to invest in good karma and look out for any random kids that pass my path because I can only pray that someone else will do the same for Cordelia.  

I realize all I can be is “Aunt B.”  It is one of my very favorite roles so there is nothing negative here.  It is ALL good. 

Always remember the sweetness and push through the rest.

Everything is going to work itself out and I will regain that placid suppleness of body.  For right now, all I want to focus on is making a nice dinner.

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Lukewarm Lion Hearted

The hardwood floor speaks volumes as to what a camp is. There is the smell of pine wax still trace from the season’s commencement. Maybe the toilet runs. Maybe there are sinks with grime and dirty window sills but a camp is so free of clutter that inattention is forgiven with the wipe of sparseness. The definitive absence of “homemaking.” The positive pathway of retreat. I don’t, however,have a camp to disappear to for a few days until I find myself on the other side of this overwhelming erratica. There is no couch in the middle of the hardwood floor in the middle of the woods to exile myself in a Kush coma.

We may not be as cognizant of the natural rhythms as the animals are, but we are ingrained in them just the same. They are ingrained in us. Round and around spirals a hawk inward and downward. Always contracting and then expanding back outward. The inhale and the exhale of a body or a body of water.

There is spiraling downward, compacting into a black bulls-eye; A black womb, A black period. . . Lying like the curled fetus we seek oblivion.

One can’t erase themselves and true oblivion can never be met. (Not with the drugs I’m willing to take.) The weed and alcohol botch-job binges will only partially conceal churning unease. The marijuana can only offer sporadic and undependable bouts of tearful reveries and audio amazement. The brief elation is rarely worth the miserable side-affects of insomnia and flaring and flaking patches of skin that The Spirits evoke. So it’s not a big sacrifice on my part, when I say I’ve been clean and sober for most of the summer. I’ve tested the tools to mute and subdue. And they don’t work.

Roger Daltrey calls it “getting in tune to the straight and narrow.” I can get behind that when Roger Daltrey says it. I can get behind that more than when Huey Lewis tells me, “It’s hip to be square.”

I don’t care about hipness anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am still punchy with fashion. I am still obsessed with “the darkness.”

While I fantasize surrender, I penetrate into a thicket of brambles and thorns. The heat of the scratch, once more, left by the insistent snag and tug refusing to relinquish my shirt and my skin. Me with the violent lash to get free. When the berries dreamed themselves into existence, they were the most defensive of all. They disdained of those not worthy of their sweetness, and so they grew thorns.

I’m finding myself, yet again, coasting across an Adirondack lake in a kayak. As if to slip things back into focus. We tread like an army of circus hamsters until I find myself alone again, once more, on the middle of a lake. To be kayaking a handful of times in the span of a month – even my solaces are unexpected. Oh Uranus! I feel your waves. I expected erratic spikes… but this is a continual breaking of the unusual upon the shores of the country of me. Why would I ever expect anything as specific as an erratic spike from Uranus?

So I appreciate my alternatives. I don’t have a camp deep in the woods to disappear to for a couple days while I slough off that feeling that one doesn’t put their finger upon. I wander the woods until I’m all but lost and when I come home my friend contacts me. “Come over for porch night.”

Many times I recluse myself. I am concerned with conserving gas and time. Many times our other friend is detained by other obligations. Tonight is different. We are all due for the reconvening. Tonight it is a call to arms and at 8 o’clock our little get together is in swing.

Creative conversations can be calamitous. My friend and I had been messaging back and forth. Cassie has an idea for a photo series. She asked me if I had any input. I imparted knowledge but left the creative ideas to her, for the true joy lies in finding those yourself. The other night though, I began to ruminate. Now that we are on the front porch I forge ahead under the belief that brainstorming is good for everyone. An idea is not copyrighted, the execution is. I’ve blurted the idea with little caress or segue. Perhaps because I am among friends, I intuit their thoughts. My subtle misstep trumpets through my head. Cautioned by Mars in the Ascendant, the horoscopes have warned to not come across as abrasive.

I am quiet and I wonder if I should be drinking this very decent Lemon flavored beer Jenn is sharing with me. Mars is barraging without tact and an unwelcome and foreign envy is swelling.

Jenn asks me what I am thinking about and in so many shrugs, gesticulations and a vague spatter of words, I elude that I will eventually spill it.

We always end up converging in the kitchen in this house. It is box shaped, walled with counters and tall dark wood cupboards to lean against. This kitchen makes me feel my Irish roots. It belonged to Jenn’s grandparents, Catholics… and I believe Irish. Probably makes me feel the Irish roots because we’ve had a joyous, rambunctious romp of it on St. Pat’s day here in this room, once or twice. Probably reminds me of my Irish roots because there is a switch plate with St. Joseph carrying the infant Jesus on his shoulder. It has a poem or saying like all Irish Switch Plates do.

Tonight Cassie is positively radiant. She has hair and eyes the color of rich coffee beans that Jenn and I always lap up. Her tattoos are all at once graceful, artistic and visible. On this eve, her depth is counterbalanced by a chic purple blouse. The purple shirt is on slow burn. It can flash and flicker. With the conversation lending itself to an easy transition, I admit my envy to the close friends in this close-knit Irish kitchen.

My admission causes her to take a fuller pull from her drink and then another. Even the way she is handling this is attractive. Agitation flickers over her face, because this envy seems to be a reoccurring theme recently. It seems to open her up like a dam. She rushes me with a delightful cadence of opportunities, contacts and possibilities.

My skeptical searching eyes question Jenn . What starts as her reaffirmation trails off hollowly. I know that she holds Cassie’s talent in such high esteem that I can hear a firm core belief that Jenn doesn’t sound. “You’re talented, but not talented like Cassie is talented.” I’m not upset… not with Jenn. She has told me she loves the way I write. I shouldn’t have put that to her, it wasn’t fair. I confronted her with this, asked for the reassurance and she has just known me so long through my exhibition of self-doubt that I have carved out my own image. Jenn is a double Libran. Of course she is more impressed by visual art than words on a page. Maybe I shouldn’t believe I can read Jenn’s thoughts.

I’m upset with myself. This doubt has become tired and stagnant. It’s not mine anymore. I have outgrown it. It will become a stranger. Yet, still it lingers. There are only things to embrace with full-heart faith. Only I know exactly what I’m packing.

O Holy Night of Leo! I am being ridiculous and childish. My Leo Moon is being magnified by Jupiter. The need for praise, validation, the ego-stoke; well, a Leo would never ask for it. That is below their dignity. They melt like butter when genuine flattery is flung their way.

I am not a Sun Sign Leo. Sun Sign Leo’s can’t help but be the center of attention, the influx of creativity, the endearing vanity, the warmth and the contagious joy. I am a Moon sign Leo. Leo rules my emotional state. Leo doesn’t rule my actions, it rules my reactions. Those closest to you are those closest to your Moon sign. Your acquaintance will not know your moon sign but your significant other will.

The sulking and brooding of a Scorpio ascendant; I possess. The fast-flying careless flippancy of a Sag sun; I possess. And the need to be exalted and adored with a Leo Moon; I possess. However interior this motivation, however closeted, it is there.

I am envious of the Aquarian detachment. I only have asteroids gracing the Aquarius constellation.
I am envious of the Taurean nearsightedness. They see the world in immediate tangible status and sensation – the five-sense filter. My Chiron placement is Taurus. Chiron – the wounded healer.

Time for some therapy of the senses.

Ultimately, I do know it is ridiculous to compare myself with anyone else. Still, I wonder what is up. Cassie is also a Scorpio Rising. She is already riding Jupiter through her career sector. For me, it feels like a drop of rain here and a drop of rain there. I can only doubt and wonder if it will start to pour. Also, we both have the Mars placement in Scorpio giving us added energy. Cassie is lit up. Me, on the other hand, I feel like that kid going downhill on a bicycle. When I try to get my feet back on the pedals to slow the bike, I am met with the jarring of hard revolving thuds. There is way too much going on and it is moving way too fast. The day I have enough energy to feel like I’m on top of this will be a triumphant day indeed.

Now Jenn has fallen silent. Maybe she is feeling left out… with our plans to climb into windows of dilapidated buildings, to photo journal and submit an article for publication.

Creativity is the decorum encrusted wall that has been erected, the edifice or artifice dangling and angling outward. Creativity is the raw and exposed core, the artist in their most vulnerable- the exposed underbelly. Ethos or no, creativity creates its own definition.

Creativity is even destruction. I will hand you a paradox. Both are merely forms of altering reality. Creativity will add. Destruction will take away. Mathematics and nothing more than equations. We are just practicing our abilities to affect the world around us. All witches and ever-striving alchemists. Realize that the gold is streaming down among us from the sun.

I realize my writing has a motion, probably because most of it is composed during walking. I like to think it catches one and propels them into the Wheel of Fortune. Once you are caught the momentum carries ever forward. I like to think I am taking one ever deeper, too. Examining and becoming lost in the layers with ever the thought to strike at bone.

And writing… how is that art? I look at the paragraphs on the page. I like small paragraphs. They work better in my brain. They are more visually appealing.

I realize I am obstructing my perceptions by trying to mesh themes together. Objectivity is lost and this I must approach with easy acceptance.

At the mirror, I look beautiful today. My skin was meant to be tan, blending with my auburn braids, the milk chocolate eyes, the brown frame of my specs. They work together against The grey t-shirt and the stark white Nike’s. The blend is right and fresh between the tree-hugger and hip-hopper.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder is what they say.

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The saga continues…

A rainy day-
best to.
putt some words down.

Be/ Cauz
i’ve been avoiding it,
You see.

I had an article composed in my head a week ago. I let it sit and sit. I wasn’t ready to take my thoughts to the keyboard. I wasn’t ready for the blaring white of the screen. I wasn’t ready for the one-way conversation. I wasn’t ready for the confessional.

All of the cliches were created by someone other than me. I just can’t escape them.

Now, I guess I’m ready. So I’ll be trying to combine two different stories and we will see how that goes. Shall we? If we’re lucky it will be as rickety and disjointed as a pill-riddled debutante.

the original – P o s t
was to begin
an except from Aleister Crowley about serpents
and whyy?
You will see.

It has come to my attention that I have many things to work on. I thought I had pretty much done away with self-destruction when I did away with reckless inebriation and Random (with a capital R) “hooking-up.”

My inner core told me that today would be the day. I must trust. If I am to be more than an old jar of stale piss left in the sunlight. The glass that is no longer translucent, but spider-veined with white cloudy wisps in the finest of threads.

Leaving my list of New-Year’s Goals on the wall without review, I hiked back to the restricted section of the State Forest. I thought of how my blog post would begin, “Just to prove to you that I am bored with life, just to prove how under-stimulated by job applications and on-line courses. Just to prove to you that I’m not really all there, I have decided to trek through the posted part of the woods. These backwoods that are guarded by a sketchy dude in a white pick-up truck, the backwoods manned by the two cultivators, the two harvesters, the two ATV riders – the criminals.”

It’s still morning. The guards don’t do mornings I have come to realize.

Back at the sand dunes and reservoir, wishing I had a camera because I can’t describe this by word. Amazing how one can fancy themselves a writer when words fail them so often. I’ll try; I feel like I am in a foreign and exotic land. There are numerous spreads of smaller mountains made of sand – an Arabia in the deep forests of the northeast. An Arabia with a plethora of rippling water being persuaded by a wind that doesn’t feel northeastern. It feels like a paradise wind. I need to photograph this because no on will understand, but I didn’t bring a camera. It’s getting late and I want to find a different way to go out than I came in.

I hear the distant and mysterious churning of machinery that I heard the first time I came here. I don’t have the courage or the time to follow the sound around that distant curb of forest.

I end up traipsing an inadvertent circle through marsh lands. I almost step on an enormous black snake with an orange lines down it’s sides. It is coiled under my very feet. It rustles in distress. I scream in surprise.

When I find myself back at the sand dunes, I decide I need to go back on the forbidden trail to get out of here. It is getting later in the afternoon and I have a feeling the “49 Club” will be here to check on things soon. Out of the 10 or so posted signs only one bares a name. It is deep upon the trail, probably because it is not legitimate. It is the 49 Club.

I find a florescent yellow mushroom radiating on the forest floor. I pick it but it will soon become crushed in my pocket. Both the huge snake and the neon mushroom are not nearly as potent as they appeared after later Google searches.

Still, I’m hella lucky I didn’t step directly upon that snake and get bitten!

Again, I veer to the left trying to bypass Lyle n’ Drew’s Amateur Drug Lord Trail. I end up lost thrashing through thickets and marshland.

“What am I doing?” loudly resounds through my brain.

Oddly, my higher self keeps stepping in to tell me to enjoy this. Enjoy being lost in marshland under the heat of the summer sun.

Again, I end up back on their trail (off to the side of it to hide my footprints).

And what to my wondering ears do I hear! Someone approacheth!

I fly ahead and to the left to take cover, to cling to the side of an incline. My stomach, my head flat. He sounds like he is riding a contraption or an invention rather than a vehicle. It’s rubber-band motor, it’s paltry tin-can chit chit is cut out. He has come to a stop very near me. My heart pounds. I remind myself to not be outside myself. I must pray – in this moment, about this moment. I am a real character, I am not only enacting a story. Why did he stop? Did he see my track? Did he think he heard something? Did he know me and my hot pink shirt were there but didn’t feel like a confrontation… I pray he will go.

I listen to the motor fade further down the path and I hope I am close to the road. I run so fast out of there! I can’t remember the last time I had a reason to run this fast and even though I am terrified, it is fun. Out of the forest and onto the gravel, I am safe now. Not safe from suspicion or questioning, but I am no longer trespassing.

Further down the road, another guy pulls out of the state forest on a dirt bike. Luckily he doesn’t glance back toward me because I am too close to his entrance to Ganga!Land! I realize I am lucky once more and I dip back into the forest that lines the road. I need to get away from their entrance before they suspect something. I get closer to my turn-off and abandon my cover to tread the road once more.

This is how bored grown-ups play when school is out for summer?

I want to resume a sporty run that I had began the morning with, run back to my car in my regular guise of fitness and nature lover. My inner self speaks again. Hold still inside yourself. Keep your body and your mind calm. This I do. I push the reoccurring thought that my tires will be slashed when I get to my car away again and again.

They aren’t and I drive out of there peacefully and ravenously hungry.

I am too cranked up for the rest of the day. It was a close call. As I lie in bed that evening, I should use some technique to calm myself but I am so wound I can’t even push anxiety aside to approach technique. My legs burn with scratches from all of the thrashing about. And something else is here, something else I didn’t anticipate. I feel guilty. I am not innocent of trespass. I also start to dwell on another sin. I became persuaded by a co-worker to take a couple of boxes of wine away from a function we were working a couple years back. I knew I was going down anyway. I didn’t care about the wine. It was more of an f’you to the place laying me off – to the universe I suppose. There are so many circumstances in that story though that for now I don’t feel like relating. Nonetheless, when viewed in black and white, I stole. How is it for soldiers who kill and maim and brokers who cheat and steal, when I can hardly endure a torturous night recalling trespass and cheap wine no one was supposed to miss?

My adventure is food for thought. I had an inner calling to do it. I trusted and I followed. I was very lucky more than once… I was charmed as I suspected I would be. It is good to test this inner calling at times. However, there is something more to examine.

This whole thing wreaks of desperation. Underneath the mock desperation of a forced adventure, there is a real desperation. A desperation to make the world more than what it is.

It’s not a nice world. We don’t have fulfilling, exciting jobs. I haven’t realized my calling yet, how to disperse the light that shines within me. All of the gurus and self-help books and audios will tell me I am failing at belief. They will keep telling me that perhaps until I am past retirement age. They will keep saying, “If reality sucks it is of your own creation. If your life sucks, you created it. If you haven’t found your way out that is your weakness.” If things keep on, I’ll be in a workhouse when I’m ninety. The old are more compliant… more reticent.

You see, I can let this take hold. I can let it seize me, break a sweat on my forehead. Or I can battle it back. I can say, “I control my thoughts and my thoughts control my reality and things are getting better all of the time.”

Don’t panic.

So I try to quiet this agitation that rises within, the uncertainty that stirs, the cautionary voice that says the train is leaving and I don’t know where I’m going.

(All along my birthday horoscope from one of my hardcovers haunts me. It says I was born to wrestle with the world and so often I pin it to the mat.)

For Christ’s sake, I DON”T WANT TO WRESTLE!

I have started to listen to the positive affirmations and they are like a raft to grab hold of when lost in a tempest.

Another summer of unemployment. To think I am above the lofty prospects of McDonald’s or Pondergrossa! I couldn’t land a job as an Aldi’s cashier. I couldn’t keep eye contact for the two-minute-stand-up-interview. Maybe she can tell that I don’t want in. I really don’t want this job. Kissing my sweet freedom goodbye is too much. It’s getting impossible to fake it and that scares the shit out of me. I couldn’t land a cashier job among the cattle-call of trailer-park mom’s and the Juggalo with a couple of minor convictions. It’s like I have no choice. There is no going backward anymore.

Deep breath. Maybe that is a good thing.

Sure, school will start up again and I will find a way to do that for another year.

I must always remind myself there are so many reasons to be grateful. I am smart. I am perceptive. I am funny. People like me. I have a breadth of experience. I have a great heart and a gift of gentility. I have learned to prioritize my health and take care of myself. I am probably the healthiest I have been in my entire life now that I don’t have the grain bag strapped across my mouth. I’m grateful I’m not droning away my hours at some irrelevant job this summer. I have time to paint the garage and put on a yard sale. I am busy everyday. Today, I wrote all day and that is important. I don’t know how to measure it or what to measure it against but I do know that it is important. My grandmother said she couldn’t afford her medicine to make me feel guilty. Then she said she had thought she had more and that is why she didn’t get it. Then, she said she found a few more pills. She is a drama queen. I know that. We all know that. There is no new crisis here. I have been in far worse places than this more than once and have come out with nothing more than a stiff neck.

Atop of Azure Mountain
the air has the cool clip of September.
It is only the end of July.

I tell my friend who photographs the top of the mountain how I can feel Halloween in the air. How strange that is! How I can feel O c t o b e r. How I can feel “Sleepy Hollow”.

How fascinating that we are all looking through different lenses and filters. How fascinating that we are all operating in separate vessels. My friend is concerned with framing, composition and color. Once again, I am fixated on currents of air and the sweet sinking that has no words.

I must press myself to be articulate and press myself more. “Halloween” is not a specific descriptor.

At first she agrees, but in the manner of a “yeah, whatever.” When I press it, she says there is just a chill in the air. I don’t tell her how I’ve been waiting for a couple of days for death to dissipate. And how even now, it feels too heavy to discuss the prevalent residual that hangs over a region after a horrific car accident claims lives on a sunny weekend. We rode part of that highway to get to this mountain.

It’s getting so every summer is broken up by one horrific accident. Yes, there has been drownings – teens swept away in the rivers. Yes, there have been children shaken to death by angry step parents. But the thick black smoke, the crunched metal, the final moment of denial… nothing hits that home like the family car crash on summer fun weekend.

The cloud cover responds by ushering the sun away, leaving our minds and hearts discombobulated and uncertain. The rain will start and who knows when it will end. A cold front has moved in. The tragedy isn’t death. There is another side. I don’t doubt it. The tragedy is the disconcert caused by the sudden abrupt jolt that slams into a moving trajectory, a moving projectile. I bet they didn’t see that one coming and their souls are still afoot two days after. They are upset and experiencing temporary displacement. They have loose ends to tie up. There is shock to be absorbed. There is grief to be witnessed. There are people to say goodbye to.

I can only imagine that we all feel like part of our insides have seared… not because we know the dearly (and quickly) departed. It is because we are from the same region, because we have raced down that same highway on summer days past.

I’m fighting back this weekend. I’m fighting back in what I hope is a healthy and positive way against the uncertainty and the doubt. I hiked Azure with people I love last night. Today, I will attend a Medicinal Herb workshop. While I’m at the Nature Center, I will make a day of it. I will run the trails. To top it off, I’ll visit last years beloved beach for the first this summer.

The workshop is good. It is good in the best way, not because I am enjoying it immensely and absorbing everything like a sponge. Good because it gives me the means to evaluate myself in a way I haven’t for a bit. Two attendees are students from St. Lawrence University. They are almost comical in their precociousness. They are active participants in their own education, asking pertinent questions. Whenever I meet these, I’m left to wonder what I might have been had I been conceived and reared conscientiously and with intention, not as a by product (the living steam of someone else’s confusion). One has dark soulful eyes and keeps notes of herbs in a journal. The other has this hilarious broken speech pattern… not unlike Woody Allen. She sputters and trips over her own words at remarkable speed. She’s rather fascinating. I wonder if she comes from a family of neurotic Jews or if she was just given a cultured upbringing in a lovely downtown apartment with the freedom to not be judged by a speech impediment. Maybe her two sisters and her parents speak perfectly and she learned to think faster to overcompensate for a stutter and an ingrown feeling of inadequacy. I don’t resent these students, but they remind me of how I felt before I had been clobbered by the world. These I don’t believe will be clobbered. They have bright futures like they have bright pasts. They have more money and those around them will afford them more patience. I am not resentful. I am just sad… and depressed.

I guess, by the time you’ve reached 35 you start to feel as if you have lead multiple lives. Childhood begins to feel like a rambling fable. I wonder at the ego and entitlement of my college years. Where I once acted, gave presentations and verbally dissected classmates’ creative writing, now I am struggling to speak aloud at a workshop. I fell quiet for so long that I have lost my voice.

But I do speak aloud in this class. I sound my voice solidly if only to ask clarifying questions. Celebrate the small victories. Celebrate coming back to life.

I have a friend here too and that I am also thankful for. I have worked and volunteered with her before so I am able to exchange smiles, reactions and small talk. Then I find out she has been asked back for some shifts at our old employment. It’s hard not to let this ad to my depression. Of course she would be asked back to the Arts Council. She is an artist! There are these awesome silver bracelets and bangles that cover both of her arms… and she made them! She volunteers at the Nature Center that doesn’t pay because she wants to teach children art classes.

And what do I have to offer? An endearing lack of self-confidence and self-doubt? A wasted opportunity?

OK… here is the pity party. Shut up.

Though I do not volunteer to cut herbs or have a poultice administered to me during the hands-on portion of the workshop, I do make myself chit chat a bit afterward. Even though my mood would otherwise mark me introverted and despondent, I honor the new Sun and Jupiter placements in Leo.

I ask about the beach and Woody Allen’s niece pipes in with information. Though she stands beside me, she keeps her body turned outward and avoids eye contact. Why? Perhaps being a bright and privileged student she has come across my type before. The sad type that hold resentment or blame in their eyes. The locals who became stuck. I am glad she doesn’t look at me. I may have zapped her with an embarrassing stare of flirtation before I could catch myself.

My chatterings to Tanya about exiting hermit-mode because it is in the stars sound odd and maybe slightly misplaced or forced. Yet, I realize everyone at this workshop is sort of awkward. The instructors are overhearing me with passive interest and are quick to answer when I thank them.

The two older ladies that have attended the workshop run over a concrete divider as they depart the parking lot in their tiny Geo of a car. In their zealousness to wave goodbye to us they tromp over the damned thing. It doesn’t break their stride. They barely react. It is pretty funny.

If I am to choose a re-entry point back into society I couldn’t choose better than herbalists and healers. I need to remember that things are way better than they seem at the moment. The energies foretell it.

Mars has moved into my ascendant and I am advised of over-exertion and cautioned for accidents occur during these times. If I exacerbate my knee, or break a tooth while tripping on a tangle it will be due to the fact I just put my library of Chemical Brothers music on my I-Pod. I get this trippy-trancy techno popping in my ear. The repetition of sound alters just before I am ready to press skip and I feel my mind and my body are being strengthened through adversity. Keep moving. The build and the intensity will flip.

At the top of the loop at Robert Moses State Park, there is a grove of very large trees. One almost feels they have been transported out west underneath this canopy. One of the tall hardwoods stands out into the trail, strong and obvious. I place my palm on the trunk then I press my forehead to the backside of my hand. I ask for the tree’s permission to commune. I really bliss out when hugging trees. I start to feel this tree up. My hands graze up and down sending ecstatic tingles of sensuality through my hands. Trees always remind me to be a creature of the five senses. Remember to uses your tools to tune in it tells me. The tree doesn’t tell me but it makes me feel that it is a conductor – a long line between heaven and earth. It is reaching high into the ether. Reaching and it is so grounded with roots sunk and twisting into the earth. Immovable as time immemorial, coming from the truest core of humanity grasp into the blue sky for god knows what. This tree and others remind me that I haven’t released my basest form of creation. It tells me that to create a human life is the truest essence of experience for a human.

This tree has something to show me, also. An eye flashes and I can only surmise it its the third eye (or the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings). The tree shows me that the forest is a whole new magic land at night. This tree likes the night much better and it is sharing that with me. Creatures wander freely over the soft blanket of fallen needles when it is cool and calm. The tree shows me a dilapidated stone wall that has crumbled to form a porthole through an overgrowth, somewhere in stage between garden and forest. The colors I am shown are wonderful, monochrome and dark. Black with deep blue images. Black with green images. Night vision. Not artificial night vision, real night vision.

I watched a Soulgarden video this week in which Christopher Witecki talked of my Pluto in Libra generation. We are called fireflies (generation X). The fireflies natural domain is the night. We work with the butterfly generation (I believe it was the Boomers), whose canvas is the daylight. The fireflies are healing the karma of wounded relationships. I am happy to learn I rule the night, at least in some frame of reference.

I must leave a gift to the tree for imparting its wisdom. I don’t have an herb mixture to drop at the base. I take the earbuds and place them to encompass the trunk of the tree with my techno music. I hold the sound to the tree for a couple of minutes. Points for creativity.

It is a cloudy, half-formed, day at the beach. It is a hopeless and uneventful day at the beach. I’m glad I have my headphones so I can drown out the asinine conversations around me.

I take my headphones off to go into the water and so I can hear them. They have noticed me… the pedestrians. I feel like they are auditioning for me. Their empty words are meandering toward one another, but their focuses are upon my attentions. I know this game because I’ve been there. I’ve lived this meaningless audition more than once.

“What exactly are you auditioning for?” I would ask the man if we were in a black box theatre as quiet as chalk and echo. “I knew exactly who you were the moment I set eyes on you. You are old enough to have adopted the resigned bulk of complacency from your neck to the bottom of your trunks and young enough to have that sparkle of vanity arise. You are sorta forty. You sorta have a son with a local girl who you sorta have a relationship with. It’s complicated. You sorta try to be a good father yet when you answer your son it is in a patronizing and empty tone that he is too small to have words for. You have no more of a clue why you are auditioning than I do for a woman with her nose stuck in a Nathaniel Hawthorne book (not that you’ve noticed that). A woman who tries her best to pretend you don’t exist.”

He has done nothing inappropriate. He is talking to his girlfriend/babymama. We haven’t even so much as glanced at each other. It is just a feeling. It is the ability to feel words being projected toward oneself. I’m merely offended by their proximity.

Somebody’s a cynical bitch today.

On my way out, I see two black squirrels. That can’t be normal.

I laugh at the newscaster’s headline. “A tree explodes…” I laugh because there were five fires in one small city all on the same day. I count them incredulous and laugh like I’ve lost it. It feels good. The laugh of abandon. The world has gone crazy and I will laugh because it is all one big joke.

How long will some still claim that global warming doesn’t exist? There are freak tornadoes spattering the countryside. There are entire houses blowing out entire electrical systems because they have been struck by lightening! A tree exploded! The next headline will be, “Man is electrocuted and is able to shoot electricity from his fingertips!” A new X-man joins the force!

Now HAARP is an acronym for an insurance company or loan program on the local AM radio. Keep the sheep enclosed and keep the sheep confused. This society has long surpassed saturation point. The muted subways and airports of Canada offer a expressionless refuge. To no longer be barraged and psychically harassed by advertisement. I need your attention! I need your attention! I need your attention! I will sucker punch your mind! all so I can tell you about another car you don’t want and can’t afford or some fuckeningly sickening sweet garbage syrup to ingest.

To be heralded for my acute character profile constructions and keen observations of the human psyche. I’m always coming up a bit short.

Bukowski hated every minute of his Post Office career. Hunter S. Thompson tried to keep miserable job after miserable job, all the while people believing he was some form of autistic or moron. Keep going. It isn’t over yet. Far from it. Paint the neighbors porch.

Everything is alright. Everything is great. I can honestly say I believe that. I do, however, have to keep reminding myself what it is that I believe.

10. Ah! But I rejoice in Thee, O Thou my God;
Thou ambrosia-yielding rose of the World;
Thou vaulted dome of effulgent light;
Thou valley of venomous vipers:
Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou dazzling robe of the soft
rain clouds;
O Thou lion-voiced up-rearing of the goaded storm!
I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till my rapture
like unto a two-edged sword, traceth a sigil of fire and
blasteth the banded sorcerers, in the Glory
and Splendour of Thy Name.

– except from the Pathworkings of Aleister Crowley

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Always a Fool

On a back road I keep seeing a tiny brown hare hanging to the sides. It waits until I am so close and regards me with that dark stark stare. Curiosity wins over fear in infant animals. If you could bottle that pure curiosity that wins over fear, that trembles in the heart but spikes the mind wide open… When I am less than ten feet away, he leaps over the high grass and into the forest.

I learned to distinguish a hare from a rabbit a couple of years ago. Then, there was a hare hanging out in our yard regularly. Hares are thinner, scragglier, with longer legs and ears. Rabbits are skittish. Hares are bolder. This one stared at me and kept coming into our yard like he had a message to deliver. One morning I awoke at dusk and happened to glance out the dining room window. With the dew still heavy, the green still lush, and the flowers salivating color, the hare crouched five feet from the house with a brazen stare planted on me. Talk about surreal. It looked as if he had come to summons me.

In hindsight, I think he was summonsing our cat Misty. I had to have her euthanized later that year when her struggle with diabetes became too hard to watch and too hard to manage.

I know the hares’ narrowed and deliberate stare means something. That guy doesn’t visit anymore. Perhaps, he and Misty scampered off in a world of glittering morning dew in those fleeting moments of hyper-color before daybreak. They made off over the soft grass toward that paradoxically hazy and bright yellow light. I hope so because otherwise, it is just heartache with the sole solace of a rolling river on the way back from the vet’s office.

Now I see the baby hare.

Hares symbolize many things; diligence, sensitivity and artistry, trickery and fraud, even selfishness. What draws my attention most is the way in which it moves and what that signifies.

The hare moves in leaps and bounds. It changes it’s scenery with one mighty stretch of it’s hind quarters. One can expect the same movement in their own life if one is looking for a sign.

Early this spring I kept seeing snakes, but I shrugged it off. “There are always snakes around here in the springtime,” I said to myself.

It listens. It answers.

In the damp corner of the garage under the stepladder a shed snake skin was found. A couple weeks later I found another. This offering was left near the bed of audaciously beautiful bloomed tiger lilies my grandfather had planted. The skin was so entirely intact that I could make out the face of the serpent.

I’ve never in my life come across shed snake skins until this spring.

Snakes herald transformation, of course. A snake shedding skin is like the person who sloughs off the accumulated past and an acquired image to transform into something new, revitalized.

This isn’t the first year the hare and snake have come to me, (both symbols of change). Last year, the change that came was more to do with the decisions of others that affected my life. My sister and my niece moved away. This year, I believe it foretells of my own transformation, my own growth.

When I want to discount animal symbology, when I become Doubting-Thomas, the animals approach from a new angle. They make sure I’m still measuring relevance. The animals make sure I am still paying attention.

Flash to the semi-immediate past. I’m running down this perfect side road. It’s flat. It’s suburban with little traffic. My road has dump trucks and tractor trailers hauling ass. All is well on this road, accepting that there is a section of a few patchy houses. One of these, is home to a Rottweiler. Most of the time, the Rottweiler stays in the house.

The first time her and her other big-but-less-aggressive cousin charged me, I froze. I stood there letting this beast growl, bark and nip at me from less than an inch away. The owner screams at them, to no avail. He says to me, “It’s O.K, sweetie.” Finally, I pass.

This week the dog happens to be on the loose again. She is a bully. With an animal like that, it forces the issue of dominance. I had failed to establish dominance the first time. The esteemed owner is shouting from the porch once more. The dog is nipping at me and when I turn square to it. I stare it down. I envision throttling the throat. I will choke her and slam her onto her side. I don’t care if she has teeth. Bring it! That is exactly where I am going for the second she moves in for me. I don’t know if it can read my mind or if it can just tell I’m pissed. Her doubtful eyes trail away from mine and she ceases her confrontation.

I keep running.

On the way back through, the whole family is congregated around their front yard picnic table. They are feeding treats to their dogs. I slow to a saunter, approaching slow, making sure they are aware of my presence and have their animals secure.

I yell, “I have mace in my pocket! The next time your dog harasses me, I will use it!” My voice wavers. “What did she say?” one of them asks the other. I wish I had kept stillness and calm in my voice.

“OK” the man reassures again in his ridiculously nonchalant and non-committal voice. “She won’t.”

I do have a can of mace that I put in my pocket some of the time. I will use it. I will spray it into this animals eyes and I will stare at it so it remembers me and associates me with dominance.

Do I think it’s wise or even necessary? No.

Here I am, supposedly an animal lover. I have even started to joke with myself that I am becoming a “Beastmaster”.

Dogs don’t operate on principle’s of dignity. “Leave me be and so I do unto you” will not fly. It’s not like the playground. If you ignore them, they don’t go away. You can’t really ignore a dog.

Dogs are like children. Remain calm. They feed off energy. When you lose your cool, they gain the upper hand and they will test you.

The man acts like it’s not a big deal, and ultimately somewhere deep inside I know that is the correct way to deal with this situation. (Since the obvious solution of keeping a hostile animal tied up has been discarded.) The situation is best if not to be escalated.

It’s like guns. I always thought guns don’t stop violence. Guns escalate violence.

But Mars is in Libra. It seems particularly restless the last couple weeks before it changes sign. It rears in the bucking chute.

With Mars in Libra, I’m a Texan in the desert; I have an arsenal in the cellar.

Clint Eastwood says, “Make my day,” with a straight mouth and eyes that have been tested. Testing him again is your choice. Sand breezes over dead bodies with unmentionable ease in the desert.

And the heat is boiling and warping our brains. The heat twists the dogs’ brain. Its poison has gone to mine.

We delight in it. It’s a fever; the hot fever of summer.

The main issue with this dog is the fact that I run because it is one area where I am feeling freedom and empowerment. Someone or something has to have a problem with that?

I’ve spoken of Mars moving through my twelfth house but I haven’t defined Mars in Libra, the sign it is transiting. Mars is the warrior god of action. Placing Mars in the sign of harmony, beauty, balance, equality and negotiation leads to frustration. The warrior is being asked to play nice or imagine a boxer who is warming up for a fight being confined to sit in a library. Due to retrograde motion Mars has been transiting Libra for the last seven months. Mars normally moves through a sign in two months. Mars has read so many books it is ready to puke.

Your actions have been thwarted somewhere in your chart. You will need to know where Libra lies in your personal natal chart to confirm I don’t make this shit up. Nor does anyone else.

I was meditating the other night. The word Quetzalcoatl entered my mind and stuck there. When I awoke, I looked up the word. Quetzalcoatl is a mythological beast of Aztec descent. It is a massive feathered serpent with wings. Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. (I lifted that straight out of the informatron of Wikipedia.) Quetzalcoatl rules the enlightenment of society through gardening, architecture and astrology.

Bingo. Bingo. Bingo.

Cassie read my tarot cards. Repeatedly, I was dealt swords. Swords is the suit of air. Air symbolizes mental activity. My reading referred to the mind games I play with myself. It referred to my lack of self confidence.

With Mars moving houses, I think I want to undergo some type of physical transformation. I want to cut my wholesome image with edge. I have a friend that could ink me. Maybe I’ll get a nice big feathered-winged serpent tattooed below my right collar bone. Maybe it’s finally time to deface this creamy white canvas with something other than bug bites, eczema and tan lines.

And the next time the Rottweiler charges, I will tear open my shirt and reveal Quetzalcoatl. The dog will stop dead-in-its-tracks and whimper. It will turn away and trot back to it’s house. The winged serpent has achieved victory!

Or maybe I’ll just get a feathered mullet. Order that shit feathered either way with a side of kick-in-the-teeth.

I went camping. Up in Mountain Pond, my friends and I met an older man with a long white beard hiking along with a walking staff fashioned out of wood and the size of Gandalf’s. He offers us all the wood that is left at his campsite. He tells us he is dying of cancer.

There is something holding stationary about this weekend. It holds the sadness of the end of an era, a time to mourn before passing. I think of my aunt’s small nephew who has just succumb to cancer this week. I think of my former supervisor. She is my age and she is fighting cancer. I don’t want to watch the bubbliest person I know die over Facebook. I think of this old man who is wandering the woods where he grew up. He knows he doesn’t have much time. His wife knows he doesn’t have much time. This weekend is the quietest kind, oozing in it’s own twilight. Freeze-framing and holding so you can feel the funeral procession through the woods.

Cover me with your delicious tears. Blanket me under cathedrals of protoplasmic leaves. The fool walks blindly off the side of a cliff dazzled by a hazy yellow sky.

Jen tells me she hasn’t heard a loon call since she was a child. She identifies the sound for me. Her intent for this adventure is to capture that loon in picture.

Sitting in the cradle of a kayak my Cancerian friend let me take out, I am struck by the symbolism. Jupiter is spending it’s last weekend in Cancer. (Oh, it will be back but not for twelve years.) I am traversing (Jupiter rules travel) across the pond. I move over this body that signifies emotion. From the surface, we can’t perceive the depths. Cancer will nurture you. She will hold you close. She is your mother and she wants you to remember your childhood. She will keep you isolated in the middle of a pond. A good parent knows a child needs time to grow, unhindered. She gives me time to examine. She has patience when my thoughts and emotions amble and twist lazily. She knows I am dazzled by the sun.

Though there is somberness in the air this weekend, time around the campfire with good people is still sweet. We photograph the majesty of a Supermoon full and floating in the mosquito air and indigo night of summer.

At midnight my friends have to go home. After much soothing and cajoling, their baby refuses to fall asleep in a tent. They pack up. I listen to them go. The camping grounds are quiet this weekend. I choose to go it alone in the wilderness with no persons for miles.

It’s not like I’ve been sleeping. I rarely sleep well away from home. I was meditating. Then, I was listening to my headphones. Now, I get up out of the tent. I poke at the fire. I throw on more wood. I build the flames high. I try to scry into the fire. However, I don’t remember the technique and I let it go.

I do a full moon ritual every month. I should attempt one on this night but bringing my tools wasn’t practical. I didn’t expect to have perfect conditions, either. I could find paper and write my wishes. I could burn them over an open-fire, as opposed to the candle I normally use. I sit in my low-riding beach chair and I don’t have it in me. My only prayer is for the three souls dead or dying. My only wish is for their peace.

I shake my fitful sleep. I emerge from my tent proud of myself because the sun has not risen over the treeline yet. I begin to pack. Somewhere within the timeline of packing, I break to throw an offering into the fire.

The fire is down low to ember; solid ember without ash, but ember. I have brought a mixture of lavender and sage. Shamans leave an offering after they seek the wisdom of nature. It has been perfectly quiet. When I offer my herbs to the fire, a loon sounds. I cast a second handful and the loon responds again. I know three is a charm. I know I will cast one more time, but doubt and disappointment have already hit their mark. I hesitate. I break from the rhythm the loon and I have established. In the space, I question the incidence of coincidence. The loon calls a last time. Did I imagine the break in timber? Had the loon become unsure because I was supposed to be the leader? I throw the last handful to simmer in the embers. The silence reinstates itself.

Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery Inc. states: The Native Symbol or Totem the Loon: A solitary bird of the wilderness, the Loon symbolizes tranquility, serenity and the reawakening of old hopes, wishes and dreams. The Loon relies on water and water is a symbol for dreams and multiple levels of consciousness, therefore Loons teach us to pay attention to our dreams, wishes and hopes. A Legend says that to see a Loon is a symbol of a dream come true or an answered wish.

When I start to slip, Nature reminds me to watch for symbology. Nature reminds me that I am not the only one involved in the ritual. Sometimes you have dance partners that you don’t even realize are watching.

It is peaceful packing up, running on the trail and dipping in the pond all by my lonesome.

As I am running I think to two nights before. A bunch of us were at an art show. Amazingly, it was housed in this dilapidated old hotel that is the heart-center of the town. How it was not condemn was beyond me. I got to see so many friends and I got to wander an old building. It was one of those nights when the universe suggests that there is a story line. We are not wandering aimlessly to death.

The friend that would do a Quetzalcoatl tattoo divulged he went to see a physic. She told him his third eye is blocked. I walk these woods and I feel limited, I feel profoundly human. I suppose when you are stuck in the sadness and the heart chakra it is not easy to jump two chakras or how many dimensions?

His wife and I travel to see the psychic several days later. The psychic was not in.

The nostalgia of cancer… the home, wanting to stay close. Furthest from wanting to make a name in the world. I have let the garden that my grandfather devised and tended nurture me. And I live in the sadness of a closing time. This is the only place that has been constant throughout my life. The lawn I now ride the mower across used to have a big pool. There was so much liveliness. Kids, music, adults high and drunk and some pretty cool grandparents. Those picnics… Maybe I get just a bit of my coolness from the fact in my formative years I had a teenage uncle. His apartment was plastered with Kiss, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd… That is what I remember. That was the eighties. Now, there is no pool but a pond made of heavy stone and a waterfall currently unoperable. My grandfather created a backyard paradise with a backhoe. He couldn’t have known I would need it to sooth my soul; I would need it to regain my strength; I would need it to receive the message of the serpent under the steel whirling of the windmill. A symbol of steampunk… who knew my good, simple, decent grandfather possessed the gift of foresight? of prophecy?

Regardless of the annoyances and shortcomings, I share a near complete comfort and a true tenderness with my grandmother. When I moved in she said it was an answer to her prayers but she has told me I am free to go. I was supposed to stay for months, but months turned to years. It makes me sad because this is it. She is eighty-two. If I leave here, there will not be another go-round. I am always a fool to take even one moment for granted.

I must let go of my HOME in one way or another. Leo happens to be at the tip-top of this girls chart. Off I go, out into the world to seek my fortune.

Only a fool wouldn’t welcome Leo with open-arms. Jupiter moves to Leo as I work these closing paragraphs. Leo is all things I hold dear. Leo is fun, creativity, art, and theatre. Leo is the playful side of children and romance.

It was really hard to pick a video. There were so many appropriate for this post. Yet, I picked only one because punctuation is found in succinctness.

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God Owes You a Mercedes

Dream of jumping off the ledge…

Michelle Knight said, “Do five things you would never do, Scorpio.”  So, I put myself in situations that took me out of my element.  I’m not sure they were things I would never do.  After all, I did do them.  Maybe I should have went into the middle of an accountant’s office and demanded a job.  That is something I would never do.

I used to do crazy shit.  Shit that would rack my nerves and itch my stomach.  I would do it just to prove something to the God above.  These days I interpret more loosely.  However, I do take it upon myself to perform these five feats of abnormality.

Here start the five feats of abnormality.

#1. – Meeting Cassidy – I met a nice lady at a place I was volunteering.  We talked.  She said she and her husband had tried to go Gluten-free and they didn’t feel a difference.  She had a bag of Rice Flours, Potato Starch and Xanthan Gum to sell.  The day I contact her to purchase the stuff she is still on the road from her open-air market vending.  She says her son is home though.

It is a perfectly beautiful day.   The sun is bathing everything golden and it’s not oppressively hot.  They have a really quaint home.  I ring the bell.  I knock on the door.  I wait.  Nothing.  On a last second whim, I decide to walk back by the garage and call into the backyard.  Sure enough someone answers.  Here is the son; tall, dark and handsome.   He holds up the cat he was walking and tells me it’s name but doesn’t mention his own.  He blunders words and speaks slowly and I find it oddly soothing. When I mention his mother he seems disappointed.  It makes him feel like a youngster.  I can’t tell if he’s twenty or thirty.  

He retrieves the bag from the house.  I hand him the money and I feel like I’ve gotten an exceptional deal being that meeting him was included.  We chat about the weather.  He says it’s nice because he was able to bring his weights out into the sun to lift.  I tell him I am on my way to the trails to run.  Huh!  This is good old-fashioned flirting!   This is such a welcome experience.  My nerves aren’t jumping at some social occasion as I try to not feel intimidated or weary of the people around me.  I don’t wonder if they are questioning my sexuality and my mind isn’t boggled by the confusion of who it is I can or should desire.  

We are in a peaceful suburbia in the middle of the afternoon.  It is just us. There is a glimpse of an impressive garden out back.  My mind cuts to scenes of mounting him on a reclining lawn chair in the backyard while his nice family from his good home is gone.  It’s the stuff that romance novels are made of. When I ask his name he says it’s Cassidy.  Upon later Facebook research, I come to discover it appears he is home from college for the summer.  Ha!  How old does one have to be to be considered a Cougar?

I run through Robert Moses State Park hopped up on from my encounter.  As I slow to a walk, the sun enraptures me. The same sun the ancient Egyptians praised is my sun.  I stare at it and wonder if it still shines as brightly as it did when it was known as Ra.   The sun seems dimmer now than when I tried to stare at it as a child.  Have I mastered staring into the sun?

Under this sun and walking through this forest my waking dreams alight.  I want to go to furniture and permaculture school. I want to build the traveling coach theatre with wood and paint dyes.  Words like Quality and Craftsmanship; they are only words to the man reciting with low-gruff-grumbled voice for the Chevy and Ford commercials. I know what it means! Respect the rings of the aged wood. Run my hand over the smoothness. Smell the sawdust all around. I know how it feels under my hands and in my heart.

I want a whole band of actors for the fables I have adapted. We will remind them that the world is enchanted.  The jaded; it only sleeps in their hearts. The children; they have been searching wide-eyed for it, wondering where the hell it is. I want to make everything with my own two hands and all of my heart.  And I always, always want to be out in the sun. My whole soul sings of the Fable Theatre when I walk these particular trails.

That is the waking dream.

The music in my car is always somewhere between functioning and on the fritz. On the way home the radio turns itself on.  With no exposition, Janis Joplin dolefully asks the Lord to buy her a Mercedes Benz.

Here is a sleeping dream.

I have a big, white-walled bedroom dim with the early light of day only half-heartedly asserting itself through curtains.  The room is nearly empty apart from a bed with a red comforter tangled like swaddling clothes.  Opposite the bed there is a big bureau and a mirror.  I am luxuriating in sensuality, lying masturbating in the quiet sacredness of early morning.  I stop, knowing my mother is on the other side of the wall and it is only a matter of minutes before she is hard on my case with her special “get a job” wrath.

I leave the room and go outside.  I walk through a field and down to a red rock ledge that overlooks a vast body of water.  The sky hangs moody in shades of burnt sienna, sand, and haze. Looking out at the water, I am possessed with an overwhelming compulsion to jump from this ledge.  Then, I ponder how sensual it will feel to strip and jump in naked.  Under the water growth pushes toward the surface.  Fear of shallowness hits me. I think of how my legs would compact, how they would withstand an impact.  I am very high up.  Looking down, I realize if I do jump I will have to propel myself outward. The rock I am on gradually outcrops on it’s slope to the water.  It is now that I realize I am not inside the amply spacious grotto I thought I had climbed into.  I am sitting on a narrow shelf.  My back is pressed to the rock. My feet dangle. There is no way I can shed my clothes here.  My climb back to solid earth will be precarious.  I cling and scale the rock.  When I am back upright I feel dogged and disappointed as I walk back home.

If that isn’t a dream to herald in the New Moon in Cancer, I don’t know what would be.  Placid water, a mother, a question of security in a calm womb with no sound but the coast.

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down,” said Ray Bradbury.  I don’t need an interpretation of this dream.

Feat of Abnormality #2.  -The Softball Game with a Chance Meeting-  My grandmother and I went to watch my uncle play softball in the Oldtimers League.  Normally, I wouldn’t do this.  I went to one last summer and had a horrid time.  This time it’s fine.  The game is passively enjoyable and these guys yelling at one another are pretty funny.  On our way home, Gram and I stop at the store for chocolate-vanilla twists and $1 cash-in lotto tickets.  I run into new friends who are a connection to the health store I have made a resume up for.  I am encouraged to follow-up, once more.  These friends have been surrounded by serendipity even before today.

#3. -The Sustainable Living Venture’s Tree Workshop- I went out to a workshop in the woods where I stood with a group of random people and listened to this older dude with a giant belly and suspenders crack jokes that only I laughed at during a portable saw demo. Then our group hiked back to get our tree identification on. When it started to rain, me and this black boy ran back to our starting point. I felt a certain youth and hope in my heart.

#4 -Phone Call to the Other Half of the Family- My father’s mother normally drills me. “So what’s goin’ on?” she’ll say. I kind of like the way she says it; in a pushy way like big things should be happening. We do this every few months. Back and forth. How is this one doing? What is that one up to? This uncle has a new job. That cousin has PTSD. This time I poke back. I ask if my aunt at her farm would have a job for me. I ask about my other aunt who runs a liquor store and about her right-hand man. There are no leads. I didn’t figure there would be. However, I did ask. I must celebrate my small victories.

If I don’t notice and mention the small things, will I notice how the big things come about?  So many small things make up a life.  The recording of all of it could really drive one up a wall.  You could emerge from a white room with deranged eyes and hair pulled out after a day of such recordings…  Or you could hold up day after day of it until finally one day you snap.  

God is a lunatic.  She records everything you do.  He has it imprinted in the film of time.  She keeps slapping you with it in the face over and over.

And you want to slip the leash of time!  You gorgeous bastard!

God is watching all you do the child whispers and God owes you a Mercedes.

Laugh to the heavens and demand your Mercedes.

#5. Ye Olde School in Brushton has been Converted to a Mini-Mall (The Fifth and Final Feat of Abnormality)- The large brick brownstone looks exactly like the elementary school a child from the eighties would have attended, with the seventies still heavy on the air and Sesame St. on morning breath. I did attend it. Now, I go back to wander the building. They have converted the two bottom floors to various businesses or vacancies awaiting businesses. The top floor is apartments. The gymnasium is the heart of the school and all the other rooms gather around it and shelter it. The size of half of the school, it is bigger than I remember it. Look at the height of those ceilings! In the basement, I peer in at the former music room. It was the only room with a ramp coming down the side of a wall. One-dimensional memories of sitting in circles, book clubs, and painting backdrops come to my mind. Already existent like a solid block, no need to relive or envision them.

It’s the stairwell! It’s the back stairwell where I entered school from the bus in the morning. The roof in the stairwell is so high and even more so from the exaggeration of a narrow space. And the window… the window echoes this elongated dimension. The railings are black wrought iron! A new artificially bright cheery paint could never remiss a stairwell that I haunt in my dreams.

The buildings in the small, seemingly inconsequential, town of Brushton hurl hypnotizing lights at me.  Look at the shape of that roof, a small slanted offset triangle at the peak! Look at the replicated tiny window at the very top floor of that haunted building! Can anyone stand up there?  That can’t be a full story. It taunts me with its own secrets. This other one has a freemasonry symbol at the pinnacle.  And this one is a long building made of cinder block. The building is too long! It’s so long!  There is a pristine perfectly whitewashed Baptist church beside the school! It is straight out of the deep South. Does anyone realize we are walking in remnants of dreams?  Because some of this is the same! Some of this is the same. The space between worlds is only the space in my head?  My heart knows it is more real than anything!

Then, the buildings stand there innocently, quiet and still. As if they hadn’t just done that to me!

Next, I go to my friend. We work on our artwork and she anchors me back to a tangible world. How well this picture came out that I’ve been working on and I think I could actually be a professional artist. I could rent a studio in Ye Olde School Mini-Mall.

Wandering around that school like a ghost.  So many years ago it was filled with children.  What type of freak goes back to live amid the skeleton structure of the past?  Who wishes to manifest their waking dream in the halls and rooms of sleeping dream? Who wishes to make themselves a ghost? I mean, the building is real. It is physical but it looks and feels like I’m sleeping. You’d think the constant aroma of dried paint and vinegar would make it real but it only sets it apart from the rest of the world more definitely.  

Do you want to drive yourself crazy?

I don’t want to be insane.  Insanity has been romanticized by Hollywood adaptations; Jack Nicholsons and Brad Pitts with wild eyes and fast-flying, jumbled words.  Somehow the eccentric artist has been linked to the madman.  Real insanity is very scary.  It is tragic.  It is sad.

I want to be in sanity, but it would be really nice to lose myself.  To forget about mealtimes and to look at the creation surrounding me with the eyes of the newborn for it’d been created with the blind eyes of frenzy. To watch the calliope of cartoon characters descending down the walls of the stairwells in my elementary school. All old cement and wrought iron with my imagining having a party over their dulled-out yellow lead paint.

There is a system underground. There is a cart moving along a track almost like a mine shaft. However, the walls are dulled out yellow… dimmed or flickering florescent lights run the tunnels. And there are piles littered about; papers, old mattresses and broken furniture. If I follow the tunnels, if I make my way through series upon series of dark rooms packed with old smelling foams and rubbers… If I go far enough I end up in the left upstairs portion of my long ago house. We moved to that over-sized old farmhouse when I was thirteen. My mom kept this quarter of the house closed off. I think I know why. Inexplicably, it makes me feel Charles Manson. Not that he was ever in this house literally, but he was in attics just like this. Streaks of sun lighting up the dust through a dirty window. I ended up there once in my dreams; back to this attic. And in the little room off to the side there was a metal crib. It had one of those odd plasticized-looking giraffes with make-up on painted at the foot. Why did they make the animal toys from the fifties look like they were caked in makeup? There are more old toys in this room. I can’t say they are sinister but I can smell their past. I know it is a room from another time. So much crap has been discarded and abandon in these passages and in these chambers.

It seems like I must be able to find my way back there.

That was a sleeping dream. Here is another. This is the dream that brought me back to check out my elementary school 24 years later.

I dreamed there was an orphanage on the top floor of my old elementary school. I was in a main room, a lobby. Off the main room there was a dark room of sedate babies. The babies are napping or lying in the dark perfectly quiet. They say if young children are not interacted with enough, if their cries and other ploys for needed attention are ignored enough, they become unresponsive, catatonic, withdrawn past rehabilitation. There is one cry; loud, strong and demanding. It is the cry of a baby boy. The baby knows I am there. He needs attention and he demands it. I feel for him deeply. I leave the orphanage. I know if I go back, if I don’t abandon this child, I will never be able to leave this orphanage. I will have to give all of myself to it.

Fear of commitment much?

One more dream.

I dreamed I was in high school again. I’ve dreamed of this high school before. It is strictly fictional. It is in a mini-mall. It’s not like the converted mini-mall my elementary school is in. This high school is in a typical mini-mall with storefronts sided with cedar shake, a fountain, pavilions of circulatory brick and fake foliage. I’m late for class. I have a ridiculous large messy stack of books in my arms and I can’t remember the combination to my locker. I set my stack down and two guys riffle through and make off with my math books. Though I am not prepared and I hardly attend this class, I go in anyhow. I am surprised I am welcomed like I’m not a delinquent. I thought I was attending Social Studies but this turns out to be an English class. My English teacher from high school, Mrs. Cappellio is here. I always liked her. I sit next to a pal whom I can joke around with. She is fun, pretty and popular. She is smart but not serious. (I didn’t have a friend quite like her in waking world high school.) We are given a worksheet. Though I am feeling punchy and distracted, an idea comes to mind. The assignment is to come up with a character from the past and compose a postcard they would write. I use the flowery speech and evoke the almighty creator in a letter home to a man’s sweetheart. He says the Savior is testing their endurance and they shall be rewarded for their faith once happier times are upon them once more.

I have my legs stretched out resting on the chair in the front of me. My back slouches halfway down the seat. I casually chat with the friend beside me. Mrs. Cappellio comes to stand near me and asks to see my progress. I have my work slanted toward me, very close to my chest. I hold it out for her to see. I have filled half of the page. I have written in ideas and complimented it with relevant doodles; the product of a seriously creative mind. She approves. She will enjoy reading my comedy after the dull half-assed attempts of the other students. As I continue composing, I become aware of my stature. I sit up in the desk and I hunch over my paper diligently. It is not as comfortable, but it is correct. The man in my letter writes, “When you come to see me alas after being parted over such long time, you may not know your littlest one for scarce is there a tooth left in my head. The first being lost upon that horse, I came to lose these teeth by walking into a pole.” He ambles on about remembrances of her gingham dress at a picnic.

I woke up feeling good. I was reminded of how it felt to have my ideas come to life, how good it felt to excel, a place where I was gifted. I was always the kid with the funny and playful creativity. I was mentally alive.

There has been too many thankless jobs filled with repetition. It’s not that I haven’t learned valuable skills from them or made great friends there.

How am I going to reach God?  I have been given my life to figure it out.  Make all of my art until God notices, love all of my lepers until God notices.  God will notice if I work under God’s sun. I am God; within and without me.

I think it’s good that I can hear the trees, the water, and the sun louder than I can hear any human voice.  I think this is a good thing.  And I smile full and wide.

I can tell you one thing. The trees know. There was a moment earlier in the week when I was driving toward the top of my grandmother’s road. It is hilly here and I’ve had dreams that concentrate on a certain section up there. The houses aren’t quite right. The fields aren’t quite right. Their placements and shapes are off in significant ways from the dream world. Then I look at the trees. These are the trees that exist in dreams! They are the same! Exactly! They are true to form! I started to laugh more fully than I have in years because their secret had dawned on me!

If I ever get my Mercedes, I’ll be sure to pump “West End Blues” on the system. Right now a deep tissue massage is what’s in order.

Steadied, measured.  Steadied, measured.  Elongated and Stretched.

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I came back from the trip and slept blissfully in my own bed for twelve hours straight.  I was dead to the world.

I had to take a hike into the State Forest on Memorial Day.  I had to.  I needed the communion of trees to cleanse my palate after two days with friends to, from, and at a concert.  It drained me.  Five different life stories trying to operate as one unit.  Soldiers are good at such things.  Artists, hippies, whatever we are, trying to function….  I dunno.

I feel very scattered right now.  I’m not even sure what I should make this post about.  Change?  Loneliness?  Attitude?  Anger?  Belief?

There was something about ……..  I guess I sensed depth there.  I was baring my soul by the third or fourth encounter.  I’m not the type to bare my soul.  There are things that people have known me for years and years and years don’t even know about me.

The more confused I am the more I must walk, so deep deep past the Posted Private Property Signs.  What?  You can’t post private property in a state park, can you?

I like to trespass.

Life should be numerous mysteries to explore.  I want to immerse myself into the mysteries without disruption but I am always called away.

I pick the trails by watching the wind hit the trees.  The trees speak and tell me which way I should go. Signs and signs.  Finally one has a name.  Posted by the 49 Club.  Climbing up and over dramatic steeps and down the other side.  Someone wants these sand dunes left alone. I hike and hike to find the trees open onto an overlook of a beautiful reservoir.

This is where I had the communication with the wind.  I sat atop the hill and the breeze was so strong that there were no mosquitoes to speak of.  I didn’t think I would find a place to meditate today without being attacked.  And here it is.  And I ask if someone is there for me.  I ask if any guides or entities are near, if God can hear me.  The wind rises profoundly in response.  It answers me again later, even stronger… but I can’t remember what the question was.

I thought it was rich assholes or sinister environmental offenders or rednecks posting illegal signs to have their own private four-wheeler trails.  After seeing discarded plant dishes I think I may have figured it out.

1.  So you are growing on state land and you don’t want anyone stumbling upon your crop and helping themselves.  It is probably more important not to call attention to the authorities by posting on a public land.  2.  Get rid of the evidence.  Don’t leave it in plain site.  Bring it back out of the woods or bury it.  It wasn’t even taken off a main trail.

Sometimes I wonder how dumb people really are.  Sometimes I wonder how deep the conspiracy goes.  Maybe someone is misleading me with those plant trays.  Maybe I think I have it figured out but I have been deliberately directed off-course.

Head games.  Pa. Pa. Pa Paranoia.  Will destroy ya.

It pisses me off that these growers attempt to restrict the greatest sacredness in reality to me, but I probably hate the powers that be more than they do.  It is absolutely ridiculous to forbid something naturally growing upon the earth.  People have no business regulating such things.  But there is profit in it and where there is profit to be had in the United States of ‘Merica…

For now, I decide to leave it alone.  I will hike other areas of the park.  There is much more to explore.  More intrigue awaits.

But now, I know there is a Mecca in the heart of the forest.  Someone found it long before me.

I am reminded of that summer in Burlington when I was reading the Black Hole graphic series by Charles Burns.  The strips depicted teenagers transforming throughout.  They developed ghastly anomalies.  One grew a tail.  One had bat-like wing structures sprout from her forehead.  One had bulbous goiters collar her neck. One had the skin shrink around his mouth so he was baring the gums and teeth of a decaying corpse.  No two disfigurements were alike.  And they went into the forest to hide.

This series haunted my head, the lake and the land.  It haunted the part of me that conjoins with the land in the cold damp mineral caverns.  The part that is in the murk and the mist.  The part that is very deep in the water.  So deep that you feel the immense dark strangeness.  There is fear of the unknown, but the exhilaration of engulfing oneself when it warps you like nothing you’ve experienced.  Lake Champlain changed me.  I will never be the same.  It cracked me and poured mysticism into my fault lines.  Sometimes I wonder if I will ever make it back to that land.

I was living on the great hill of the South End overlooking Lake Champlain, at the time.  Lake Champlain is enchanted.  My boyfriend and I mentioned the Lady of the Lake in various conversations.    The peninsula, Lone Rock Point, to the right of North Beach is wooded.  It is enchanted, also.  I wandered it at twilight one night.  I came upon a quaint little cottage and I wondered if it were some type of caretaker cottage.  I would like to be such a sentinel at this time and place.  There is this towering and huge brick building with the elongated windows seen through the trees at the point of the rock.  It is a school that overlooks the lake and it captures the imagination from my vantage point down on the road.

If I don’t get swept up, I could stay all summer exploring this forest, the state forest off my grandmother’s road.  I feel it’s tendrils already wrapping around me.  The mystery must be exhumed.  I am not listening close enough.  My ear is not close enough to the ground.

Pull me down, I pray you.

When I get off the trails and a ways down the dirt road I see a four-wheeler headed toward me.  He’s a younger guy, looks like he could be one of my friends.  He has a black lab trotting at his side.  When I realize the dog isn’t on a leash, I become cautious.  In my whole life I’ve never had a fear of dogs.  However, jogging the other day I had to come to a stop as these two big dogs growled and barked only feet away from me.  Their owner could not call them off. I felt victimized and now I’m feeling suspect.  This dog is friendly and sweet and the guy on the four-wheeler assures me she is OK.  He has a girl clinging to his back.  I don’t check her out, but she seems pretty young.

I wonder if this is our culprit.  Or one of them.  It makes sense.

3. Don’t bring teenage girls to your operation to pop their cherries or gloat.  Teenage girls may not use discretion.

I understand why someone would begin such an operation.  Older and older and nothing to show.  Fed the Kanye videos but stuck in the trailers.

I’m not in the mood lately.  Or rather, my moods have been swinging dramatically between heartfelt gratuity, moments of inner tranquility to spiking, disruptive anger and dark bitterness.




The mood swings.  The balance of positive and negative thought and emotion.  Contrast.  Life is what it is.  It is what it is.  It keeps me interested and fed.

My second cousin [whom my grandmother enjoys martyring herself for], is a whining, walking plea for sympathy.  She’s parked her ass in our living room for the first half of Memorial Day.  I am outraged to find her still there when I return from my lengthy commune with the woods.

She has Fibromyalgia which is short for developing a heroin addiction at seventeen and being addicted to painkillers ever since.

As much as I can conceive we are all part of one whole, I may always feel injustice and self-righteousness.  I may always feel like I am the one picking up the slack for a world full of jackasses and parasites.

I’ve been the jackass before.  At my lowest, I actually tried to become an alcoholic. I can thank my physical constitution that it wouldn’t stick.

Most of all, I am grateful I am not her.  I am grateful her lessons were not mine to work through in this lifetime.  We are from the same f’ed up extended family, but I thank God I am not a product of her nuclear family.  There is nothing pretty about it.

It makes sense.  I came of age with Kurt Cobain’s shrill and fragile rage.  When the young heard it we all listened because he seemed to be the only one voicing something real. It is only right that my writing should come of age with angst.

My heart is positive.  Really.  I am so happy to be alive.  It feels really, really, really good.  I love my mind and how we play together all of the time.  I love my body more and more. I love the sensations it produces.  I love the way my naked curves still possess the sacred film of sleep in the early morning.   I love my soul so much that to lose it, to dissipate out of it…  I can’t imagine it.  I can’t imagine the loss of my identity.  I truly love myself.

And when I can reach the magic of my dreams where I dip and shoot up on currents of air… when I can stay with the magic of my dreams I am incredibly excited for the future.  I realize I can really LOVE people and I don’t love them because they are perfect.  I love them because they are special.  I chose them or they have been chosen to be in my karmic family.

My uncle once told my mother to get away from my biological father after he dropped to his knees in front of them and banged his head repeatedly against the floor.

I was thinking of this when I began to beat myself with my palm on my forehead sometime last week.  I was frustrated with my grandmother and while her back was turned I began to whack myself over and over.

I guess the anger is inherited. I had a moment when my body went limp because I thought my brother, who was at my back, was going to kill me.  To be fair, I had just flung a coffee mug at his temple.  Oh, those younger years…

But it is so easy to forgive my brother his white hot temper that does not crackle.  It only snaps.  Because that anger was never ours.  It was displaced anger that people shoved onto us because they didn’t know what to do with it.  I can remember my mom shouting at him that he was “just like his father.”  Then my brother shouts at me years later that I am “just like my mother.”

It was the worst thing he could say to me, just as it had been the worst thing my mom could have said to him.  But it fueled me.  I made sure I wasn’t just like her.  It took years of action to disprove that condemnation.  I never said a word to him.  But with every single car payment I sent him, he realized I was like myself.  He is still realizing I am myself.

I know the power of forgiveness. Rather, the surrender of forgiveness.  I truly adhere to the old adage that “To err is human and to forgive is divine.”  I know that holding onto things really only affects me.  But they are part of me and I feel I need to address the wrongs.  I would like some acknowledgement from my mother.

When my eyes turn to question her, I would like her to not avoid me with a glazed-over, wide-eyed stupidity.  Did I learn that from her or did she learn that from me?  It is hard to say.

I get it, I do.  We are all perfecting our own existence.  We are all doing the best we can.  Stay positive.  There are no absolutes.  I get it.

So much shit to be exhumed.

It reminds me of high school.  Tagging along on someone else’s mission.  Joining someone else’s story.  My friend is only itching to find her boyfriend because she is jonesing for a cigarette.  I could be anyone to her… because part of me is always absent in these situations.  It always has been.   I’ve left my heart in the forest.  Maybe that is what is missing.  Or maybe it’s obvious that I’m not where the good time is at.

But I have finally gotten comfortable with myself.  I am present at this time.  I am enjoying walking on the promenade beside her.  That is enough for me, but she needs something else.  My friend says, “We’ve got to find some more people!  All I have is Brooke.”

I say, “Gee, that makes me feel really adequate.”

“It’s these little things.  They can pull you under.  Live your life filled with joy and thunder.”  Michael Stipe said that.



On the way home we stop at a Denny’s for lunch.  The boyfriend we spent last night looking for is eyeing me intensely as I am trying to tell my other friend about raw honey.  Except I don’t have my details straight.  Heat should not be used for extraction.  It will kill the cultures… or whatever.  I’m trying to make a bigger point, though.  I’m trying to say that not only do you have to worry about getting raw honey, you have to make sure they are using the right process.  I’m trying to say that once you become conscious of what you are ingesting, a whole multitude of factors come into play that weren’t there before.  It’s pandora’s box.

He knows something about honey.  He can be the argumentative type  and I can see he is rearing to argue.  I say, “Dude, I know what I’m talking about.  I went to a workshop.”  In retrospect, that makes me sound like a total tool and this is when his girlfriend got up to use the bathroom.

I wasn’t trying to climb upon a soapbox.  I’m just trying to have a conversation with a friend.

This seems to be a repetitive occurrence in my life.  Me, excited about what I am talking about, trying to make a expansive comment about what I’ve learned, generalizing my facts because I don’t remember.  Some male, just waiting to discredit everything I’m saying by calling into question what I see as a minor detail in the grand scheme of the conversation.

I value detail.  I do.  I respect those that can remember it immensely.  But I hate it when I feel like someone is just watching me, waiting for me to screw up.  Someone is waiting to pounce.

I apologized days later to my friend and I asked her to apologize to her boyfriend for me.  So eloquently she said, “It is water under the bridge,” and I think of the rushing water under the bridge the day I performed the Egyptian spell.

And I wonder why it is so easy to forgive our friends when we hold our parents in Supreme Court.  Do we all wish to cross-examine our mother’s until they crumble?  Do we all let our friends offenses glide soundlessly away underneath a bridge?

Actually, my mother hasn’t gotten nearly what she deserves in terms of vindication.  I have a way of not committing her offenses to my memory.  I let them slide away, too.  There has just been so many that it is no longer about what she has done wrong, but the person that she is.

Most of my comedic heroes are neurotic Jewish men – Woody Allen, Larry David, Mark Maron, my ex-boyfriend.  They seem to be revolted by and ostracizing everyone but themselves.  I love it.  I’m comfortable here.  But.  I don’t want to be the cynic who sits in my corner booth studying everyone and thinking the worst, making the snide comments because that is where my comfort zone lies.

If I always believe the worst, I can’t find my dreams in a pile of smoke-billowing- fuselage bashed into the ground.

My mother taught me disappointment.

Maybe I can just state that my mother taught me how to dream boldly and expansively, to fill my heart with hope.  However, the lesson of reality and dishonesty was so hurtful.  My mother taught me what not to become.  I tell her I forgive you.  I tell her on the airfield beside my grandmother’s home in the middle of the night as I learn to fly.

And this is beautiful.  It is where we both want to be.  Yet, I know it is only a matter of time before she snaps at me rashly that my niece and I are being too loud in a pizza joint or threatens to leave me without a ride home from Virginia because I am being too loud in my brother’s house.  My eyes challenge her and she knows that is all she has to use.  A ride home.  The next day she acts like I’m her best friend.

I am the scapegoat.  My mother doesn’t dare hiss at my brother.  My mother doesn’t dare hiss at my sister, either.  My sister is the side-stepping, sensitive crab.  Her shell protects an inner vulnerability.  When she is upset, her suppressed voice wavers verging on a plunge into breakdown.  My mother and I have been afraid of breaking my sister for years.

I will sacrifice this scapegoat on the alter.  I will draw the blood over my face and head.  I will pin my mother to the wall by her neck.  I will make her stare me in the eye as I am anointed in blood.

The friend whom I was talking honey with asks me about my overall concert experience a couple mornings later in the teacher’s room.  She is a dear friend, a long standing friend.

I tell her I don’t know why I have to repeatedly learn this lesson.  Being a fifth wheel doesn’t work for me (though it happened inadvertently this time).  I tell her how I thought I had this deep connection with this other friend but I was wrong.  That is O.K.  Like all persons, she was just holding a mirror up so I could see myself.  What I want is connection… and superficial won’t do.  I miss companionship and having that person at the end of the day to cave to.  It’s time for someone who really gets me.

Jenn understands this at the most intrinsic level.  She is a sun Libra with a Libra Ascendant.  I have expressed my loneliness to the queen of balance and relationship.  She is quiet and graceful and empathetic.  I have told the right person.

Phantoms already inhabit my mind.  Her eyes will make my heart sink and her smile so I can’t pull my eyes away.  Or he will be all consuming.  Whomever this person is, I want them to completely devastate me.

What am I saying?  Remember to love your pretend indifference, Brooke.  But oh how quick I turn into putty.  I can’t callous my heart but I can hide away for years.

I don’t know what it is I’m going for.  Is writing a catharsis?  Am I exorcising the demons? Am I examining my shadow as I come to know myself even more?

Or am I being negative, manifesting my dark energy?  I acknowledge that I protect myself with a wall of cynicism.  Should I break the patterns to head past my beloved anger and sadness?  Do I use it for awareness and transformation of honesty and truth, or as a source for a comforting rant?  Is this just another way to blow off steam, a different form of violence? Words hurt, too.

What is of more value?  Discretion and trust.  Or full disclosure because I BELIEVE honesty and truth should conquer all.  Truth does conquer all because truth just IS. What is of more value?  Discretion and trust.  Or full disclosure because I BELIEVE honesty and truth should conquer all.  Truth does conquer all because truth just IS.

I understand the Law of Attraction but it always ends up feeling like suspended animation to me.  It ends feeling like fluff.  The substance has to be there, and it’s not.  I need the pain, and the blood and guts.  It is like the moment when Wile E Coyote realizes he will fall but he is suspended midair.

In some dreams, I am learning to fly.  It’s more like sailing on air currents.  I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the airfield aside my grandmother’s place in the dark of night.  There is no room for doubt when you are learning to fly.  You have to practice the continuity of intention.  In some dreams I have it mastered.  In the latest, I’m trying to figure out exactly how it works.

I understand the Law of Attraction.  Not too long ago I was sleeping when all of my chakras began to spin.  Every vortex revolved counterclockwise to the two it was near.  I understood I could manifest anything I wanted at this moment.  I did not have the courage because I knew I would have it.  I did not manifest because I did not know what I wanted.

The Law of Attraction is witchcraft.  Both manifest intention.  The only difference is one uses folklore tools.  I prefer to have the materials to reinforce the intentions.  It makes it real.  It plants it in the physical. Years ago, I climbed across the flowing river to a rock in the center with a burnt candle and a drawing of the Eye of Horus.  I spoke an Egyptian spell and I sent it down the river.  How dark the sky was that day, though it did not rain!  The blacks and grays are etched much deeper like an Instagram shot.  No one but me and the magic know that day and I can’t take you there.

I have sage plants growing in patio containers in the backyard.

Stacks of clothes.  Stacks of books.  Detoxing from the weekend.  A reverberating in my mind.  He sang, “Why can’t we be friends?” just before he left.  But a thick shell has formed around me, a psychic shell.

Three or four possibilities churning around in my noggin for the summer.  I must see a man about a horse.

Not sure how to manifest the dreams of the mystic.  If they aren’t elusive are they mystical still?  How do I make the dreams come true when the dreams are of wandering in the woods and learning to ride currents of air?  How does one support such endeavors.

Oh God!  May I keep my heart open, but Oh God may I keep my mind open even more!

The devil has immense wings!  The devil has powerful legs and cloven hooves.

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The Chapter Entitled Don Draper

I was driving to work the other day.  I was contemplating, as I am known to do.  I was thinking about how the character Don Draper from the series Madmen compares to me.

He is a womanizer.  I am not a man, let alone a womanizer.  I suppose I could be a female womanizer.  That would be like the character Shane in The L Word.  Women don’t throw themselves at me, though.  I’m not smooth.  I’m awkward.  I don’t hold an influential and creative high-profile job.  The line between sobriety and alcoholism is not blurred for me.

These are the poisons that the out-of-work actor faces as she compares her life to an AMC drama.  And why did The L Word have to make the art world look so fucking sexy?

“Those fairy tales that drugged us.”

He really does so very little with his expressions; an idiosyncratic wince or squint and one or two well-plotted smiles per episode.  Yet, he is completely compelling to watch.  I stare.  He has the gravitas of the old time actor who moves with a totally clueless sense of self-possession.  All eyes are on him though he seems quite impervious.  Gravitas and polish.  Yet, utter self-absorption.

I must think quite highly of myself if I believe myself to be as charismatic as Jon Hamm.  I don’t believe myself to be.  So let me explain where the resonance takes place.

Perhaps it is the self-absorption that I so thoroughly identify with.  With a natal chart featuring every single planet on the western hemisphere (aside from a bucket-handle Chiron in Taurus) my life is surely about my own grappling and grasping.  I am internal not external.  My focus is on myself and not others.  Even now.  Listen as I psychoanalyze myself.

My friend told me last week that I was aloof .  She said she didn’t mean it critically.  She was complimenting my confidence, carefree attitude and comfort with myself.  I countered that I am shy in social situations and I am probably being perceived as aloof.  I said,  “I’m not good at small talk or pretending to be into something I’m not, and I guess that IS aloof.”  She said, “Def aloof.”

Furthermore, it is through the world of Madmen that I identify with this self-encapsulated individual.  The series seems to resolve little as it stacks layer upon layer higher.  Draper moves through his life never knowing what will happen next, who will be there when he turns a corner and who is approaching from a blind spot.  He must retreat to an interior office to ruminate in a tumbler of Canadian Club with brooding, unflinching stares.  Yes, if we are to avoid madness we must retreat in solitude to analyze these layers.  And what are the layers made of?  Sift through the very fibers.  Things cannot be piled and piled with no self-reflection.  You will go insane.  A wounded animal must drag themselves underneath a dark corner and let the medicines of their own tongue heal the post-ensnared leg.

We are all writing our own mythologies.  Like our favorite scripts and storyboards, our lives have heroes, unlikely allies, and evil witch queens.  We must prey and speculate, search for the omens.  If you don’t read the skies, if you’ve never read Shakespeare, you don’t have a mythology.  If you can’t measure the weight in the air around you.  You will have an autobiography.

It’s ironic that I cannot pinpoint my favorite Madmen episode.  The irony lies in the fact that the episode about being elusive is eluding me.  I think it is in Season 6.  Don comes back from L.A. or is it Hawaii?    He is still in the throes of this spell his business vacation has bewildered him with.  He makes a pitch.  Is it to Sheraton Hotels?  His presentation includes a picture of a dark rolling ocean with deep ominous skies above.  His catch phrase was something about being able to disappear.  Those watching are transfixed but the pitch is rejected.  His partners howl he should be selling happy family vacations not suicides.  It was here, this episode, where I came to terms that in my own way I am Don Draper.

Don not only locks himself into offices to drink.  (They all do that.)  He also leaves the office in the middle of the day to brood in  movie houses.  He lets cinema lull him.  He extracts slogan from the moving poetry of film.  He thinks about people’s desire and motivation.

Let me explain the character Don Draper.  Don Draper used to be Dick Whitman.  Dick Whitman was a poor orphan who grew up in a whorehouse, hated by an uncle and aunt.  From this point, he joins the army.  In the desperation of combat he loses his comrade. He steals the dog tags off the corpse and assumes the identity of Don Draper.   With the dead man’s identity he is able to obtain the position of Creative Director in a New York City advertisement agency.  Here we have a character hiding from a past.  He is an actor.  He fakes it and he fakes it good.

I have a theory that the character Don Draper is a Scorpio Rising, like me.  Mystique and exuded sexuality.  There is the face of Draper.  What is more is that a Scorpio Ascendant places Leo on the midheaven.  The midheaven of a chart or the 10th House can be looked to for ones career aspirations.  With the playful and gregarious lion on the Midheaven one is likely to be a creative director or an actor.

In July, Jupiter will move into Leo.  If you have any placements here, the Grand Benefactor will shed his grace on your alignments.  My Moon and Jupiter placements are conjunct at 7 degrees on my midheaven.  Unless I am interpreting wrong, this denotes career success.

I don’t feel I have ever achieved this success.  However, with this transit occurring along with a Partial Solar Eclipse on the exact degree of my Ascendant sign on October 23rd, the astrology tells of a much more active second half to the year.

I will tell you a secret.  When I come to a crossroads and have a decision to make, I don’t always go with the wisest or most obvious choice.  I don’t because I think of my life as a book.  I detach and look at myself as a character.  I ask myself what would be the most interesting thing this character could do next?  What would be the most colorful thing?  If you want to make your life into art, you can.

When you put on Pink Floyd’s Division Bell on the way home from your friends and it matches all of your turns and significant spots like a soundtrack to the highway, you are experiencing synchronicity.

I am experiencing synchronicity.


Maybe I’ll close with the words of Conor Oberst.  “We need a record of our failures if we must document our love.”


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Learn to Swim

When she knows I have laundry to do, she will load the washer with her clothes and not turn it on.  This is her passive- aggressive way to get me to do her laundry.  If she were not my grandmother, I would take the clothes and throw them back into the hamper and replace them with my own.  I never had children or got married for a reason.  People should do their own laundry.  And really, it’s not even that I mind doing laundry.  That is the thing.  It is the fact that I’m being taken advantage of, being taken for granted.  When I refer to my grandmother as “bitch” and “cunt” in my inner monologue, it is time to move on.

Tool pulsing in my ear. Time to: start pushing my body.  Run down into the forest.   Envisions the vomit and blood from my mouth.  Turn it up to eleven.  Eleven.  Where did the life go?  Where did the life go.

We get on well enough.  I love the quiet dim and calm of my bedroom.  Then, there is the incessant barrage of Judge Judy, Let’s Make a Deal, The Price is Right, the superficial chatter of the saccharin morning shows from the living room.  The nightly caterwauling of the talent shows.

I want to live alone.  I will not have television.  I will slouch and trance at artsy movies played on the DVD player.

I want to live alone.  I want to be able to cross the threshold of my place and scream out, “Sanctuary!” into the quiet neighborhood behind me and slam the door.  Things could be worse.  I could be being burning at the stake, accused of witchcraft.  Things could be worse.

I want to live alone but the government has the “working” class unnecessarily clusterfucked together, as if there weren’t empty houses everywhere.  As I was growing, never did I think having my own apartment would require gaining an ulcer.  Play by the rules.  Pay for your apartment, buy your four hours of peace every evening.  Optimism!  Chin up!  Smile!

It must be me, right?  I didn’t obtain the American Dream, and that’s on me, right?

I’ve begun my descent deeper into the forest.  When I look at the yellow State Forest sign I think that would be a good name for a band.  I am always thinking of good band names.  Although, I have recently come to terms with the fact that my voice is not that great.  Sure I’d have the chutzpah and mystique to front a band, but it is a pipe dream.  It’s OK to acknowledge a pipe dream.  It can be liberating.

I hate Dr. Phil.  I hate his doofus face pretending he is a voice of reason.  Pretending to care for these attention whores.  He marauds his Botox wife around like they are the royalty of filth mentality.  He exploits the taboos.  Nothing is sacred.  He is better than them all.  He will talk some sense into them.  Yet, he is making his living off their behavior.  I never disliked Jerry Springer.  He never called himself Dr.

As I turn onto the trail, I look at the piles of garbage discarded by humans and torn open by animals.  I guess buying a sixpack is more important than disposing of your family’s garbage properly.  I try to view it with an artistic eye.  Could this be photographed to make some deep commentary on life?  No, this is just a scumbag.  Impressive.  I wonder why this person didn’t just take the bag to the center of town and tear it open on the public square. What a fucking coward.

Maynard whispers with mounting contempt, “Learn to swim.  Learn to swim.  Learn to swim.”

The vibrant green of the pines is prevalent and is resonating with my heart chakra.  However, the collective conscious hive mind wants to steal from me.

Like nature herself, the artist is made to be desecrated and defiled.  We live in a consumer society.  Things must be consumed.  Things must be produced.  Things must be produced in timely successive increments.  There is no time for this forest.  There is no time for this soul.  This soul should be selling it’s secrets on daytime television for a one-time fee.  #cynicism#sarcasm

“Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too,” Will Smith said.

I push my forehead into the sand dune and my third eye burrows downward.  I can physically feel a reverberating psychedelic sensation.  I wonder why my third eye is pulsating into the earth. I thought the globe would be fortifying me today.  I thought she would burrow her energy into my Pineal Gland.  I have forgotten she is the grand receptor.

With my head still pressed downward, I can only feel my awareness permeate in an underground block of twenty feet by twenty feet by twenty feet.  I feel how profoundly limited I am.  I wonder what stage of spiritual enlightenment you are at when you realize how profoundly limited the dimensions of your conscious awareness is.

I stand with arms outstretched in the sandpit clearing.  I can drink in the height of the distant pines.  I can draw power.  I run with arms outstretched in a wide circle.  My run is flatfooted due to my hiking boots sans arch support.   My upper body is rippleless.  I feel I possess the low crouched stride of a Native.

I know I either look like a super dork or like I’m super cool.  My windpants and sweatshirt are bright purple.  My raincoat is florescent yellow.  My green toque has a pom pom on top, for godsake.  Funny though, as I have become more comfortable with myself I feel I have friends who would accept this side of me.

The leaders did not see me fit for their druid colony because I chose to wear a track jacket to our meeting.  They didn’t realize I was testing them.  They failed.  Or rather, it was not a good fit period.  Funny how fashion conscious the spiritual are.  If you want to join our cult you have to look like our cult.

I start running back down the trail to the access road.  It feels good to alter my state in this manner.  The trees crowd my path to the left and right.  Their encouragement is silent but their heights are inspiring.  They let my thoughts snake through and ricochet off their solid trunks.  Their comfort and presence is complete.  Only this vast space can hear me think.  My thoughts are so loud it takes an entire forest to drown them so the next thoughts can formulate.  I hit the high.  How do I stay up here?  How do I stay up here?

I keep running through the initial high to hit the first wave of fatigue.  I realize the push through the fatigue is part of the high.  The push is part of the high.  The push is part of the high.  Maybe I will take up running.  I need to alter my state.  I need to punish myself where no one sees but the trees.  There is something I need to break through.  If I cannot do it figuratively, I will do it literally.

The potency of spring is in full-tilt.  Rushing rivulets and temporary streams are crossing the access road, and waterfalling down the other side.  I want to lay my head by the lushest one and let it’s purity roar me to sleep.  A recording could never match.

Before this week started, I had asked God to grant me mercy.  I prayed to keep my heart light.  Up until Friday, I thought “Someone up there really has my back.”  I was not called to work on two of the five days.  Mannnnn, I needed those days.

I find it amazing the instruments the Source uses.  This week someone told me exactly what I needed to hear.  I was substitute teaching in a room with another teacher.  It was a relaxed day with ample free time.  Somehow, the fact that I am considering moving this summer came up.  I cycled through the places I could go, places where I had friends or family members.  I concluded,”But really, I could go anywhere.”  She said, “You Should.”

I told her about my mother’s upcoming operation to remove a growth from her ear canal.  Mrs. Kelly said with nonchalance, “That isn’t something to be worried about.  I had a co-worker who had the same thing.  The operation isn’t difficult.”  I felt good. She seemed like an Oracle, the mouthpiece of God telling me what I need to hear.

My friends have been my saving grace lately.  I think about the good times we had this week.  I think about Yoga with Helene.  I realize how jacked-up and defensive I am before the session.  With the rain sounding on the tin outside the window, she talked me down.  She talked me way down.

My friends and I go for coffee afterward.  There is razzing and witty banter.  I act like I am supremely distraught because Cassie never wished me “Happy Birthday” on my Facebook wall back in December.  I say in a shaking voice, “Just thinking about it now is making me upset.”  She returns that she’ll find a napkin and write “Happy Birthday” on it.

Yeah, these moments are precious.  These moments are craved, too few.  Humorous sarcasm isn’t really an acceptable mode of communication in my daily spheres.  Here we unload.  Here we remember how to laugh.  These are the people I have found.  Or they have found me.

There was a moment in the yoga studio when I was feeling inadequate.  Helene was talking to the three of us.  My friends talked like serious professionals with serious roles in the world, and they are.  One friend is an 8th-grade English Teacher.  The other has started her own freelance photography business.  I have nothing to tell Helene about my career.  I have no benefits.  I have no retirement. I have flexibility.  I am completely expendable.  Believe it or not, I take a certain comfort in this fact.

“But the Grand Cardinal Cross is supposed to be dissipating”, I argue as another week starts up.

If we didn’t have family, there would be no one to take us for granted.  My sister will visit this week, with my niece.  And I’m not sure how much I will see of either of them.  My sister hasn’t let my mother, my grandmother or myself in on her plans.  My sister’s friends and her pride and independence are her priorities.  My niece has to fit into that equation.  And I am just an aunt.  Another way to be treated with inconsideration.

I am not ready for a new week of school.  I have not recovered from State Test Friday.  Those seventh graders had a whole lot of attitude and angst after that math test and they unloaded it on me.  I am not the Earth.  I cannot absorb it all.  I cannot even recover from the psychic scars in two days.

Maybe I should stop caring.  Maybe I should stop trying to control the class, stop trying to administer tests to the class.  Maybe I should buy an IPhone to play games on and collapse at the desk, ignoring the kids.  I’ve seen other substitutes do it.  It isn’t worth the fight.  Kids are exhausting.  School days are exhausting.

I’m not always this way.  The coat of misanthrope gets heavy to wear after awhile.  I mean, someday I do want to reside where there is a dense barrier of trees between me and the nearest human soul.  Or maybe on a lonely seaside.  I want to put this off until fifty or sixty, though.

I believe in compassion.  I believe compassion is more powerful than it’s counterpart.

And I suppose, at the end of it all, I owe everyone an apology.  Here, I have been so judgmental.

Am I being sarcastic?  I’ll let you decide.


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