The Better Kind of Morning

Circa 2013 …

We met as the sun came up over Nashville.

I had just finished my overnight shift
at the Seven-Eleven,
and she had just finished an overnight
at the hospital.

We had seen each other for years
in grocery and liquor stores
but had never been introduced.

I was stoned and asked her if she
smoked pot and she said she did.
I asked if she would like to smoke
and she said, “Sure”.

My apartment was cold so I grabbed
a blanket and we sat under it while
she rolled a blunt on a dinner plate.

By the roach she leaned into me.
She felt warm and calm. I felt similar.

When we finished the blunt I was
very stoned, and when I asked her
if she wanted to sleep, perhaps
wearing a pair of my shorts, in my
bed, she said,
“I thought you would never ask”.

Weeks earlier I had put towels over the windows
to prevent sun from entering during the day.
I usually slept with my head between two pillows,
another to my chest, another at my side.

She woke up at 5PM to piss and got back into bed.
I was grateful she didn’t leave and fell easily back
asleep, until waking again at 8PM
to make dippy eggs.

After we finished eating she went to the couch, picked up a magazine,
and began reading. I joined her and we read in silence until 10:30PM.

She put down her third magazine and leaned into me without looking
and asked if I wanted to smoke some pot and I said, “Sure” and she went
to my room, grabbed the weed and papers and a book and crawled under
the blankets of my bed and started rolling. I followed and put on music.

Halfway through the joint she said she was tired and I agreed. She put out
the joint and I turned off the light and we fell asleep. This pattern continued

for several weeks. We had both been fired
and the rent was now late.

Our skin was nearly translucent.
Our eyes were red and severely drooping.
All of the fish were floating.

Even the dealer couldn’t look at us,
slipping transactions beneath the door.

She told me that she had seen me die once
and the next morning she actually did die.

Several weeks later, upon arrival,
two EMT’s threw up from the smell.

I sat in the corner barely breathing,
neither innocent nor guilty.

Two police officers, wearing gas masks,
entered the room and pulled the towels
from the window.

The light burned my skin and I welcomed my final breath.

Yes

My brain is exploding
inside a luminous
cavern,

dead keys beside me,
there is a night
like dayshine that eats
at the very
feathers of my heart.

On such a night where
word does strike sooner,
the sounds become nothing
until they become
sounds that
become
nothing
again.

It is nights like tonight
where I reflect on what I have learned and
the peace I have found,
and to finally now speak about it with peace
and total fire you must understand

this is the time
where I am trying to tell you
what I have not quite yet figured out
how to say,

and this is the time
where we need to learn what being
‘happy’ means,
but more importantly learn to believe
‘happy’
is possible.

I have traded in the goods for the
farm land,

I have seen our world and
I am not afraid
to face it.

There is a pasture full
of dog farts.

Sometimes it isn’t funny but sometimes it has to be.

Day after day after day after day
and here we are
alone.

Manifesto

I want to post this, because at the time, it clearly meant so much to me.  Looking back … it’s alright.  It’s not bad, but man, it was something.  This was the operating structure of The Filtered Press – or something like that.  Back when businesses had a “Mission Statement”, this was mine.  Just for a point of a reference, Google’s was “Don’t Be Evil”.  So, we are all beginning to see how that turned out.

All that being said, I still agree with most of most of mine, I think.  To be honest, I am not even re-reading it before copy-pasting it here again.  I think it’s important to share as is and hopefully (likely) I will regret it and revisit soon.

Manifesto:

The last of the strawberries have long vanished the vine. The air has gone from balmy to brisk and the slime between eyes and screens has turned crusty. Perhaps wireless waves short-circuited brainwaves. One cannot be sure when the upstairs fog set in, but there is now a haziness that hangs like vapid negligence in our communal electricity.

Technology, as many stick-in-the-mud-skeptics have predicted for years, (while I have hated them for saying it, favoring ingenuity in any form to industrial stagnancy), has replaced, or at least severely distracted, the formation and purpose of self-assured thought.

Commercial products whose basic components were originally formed through genuine curiosity, practical improvement and thirst for innovation have been perverted to seek complacency and comfort, and society is quickly adopting the side effects of this goal.

Green faces of presidents past are the fetter that binds our feet to the concrete and our hands to the assembly line, allowing us to stretch but never fly. Meanwhile politics are a cacophony of spectacle, strategically disguised in celebrity endorsement, back-room sex, and corporate ideology to keep the cycle in motion.

The quest for holistic understanding has left us perpetually unsatisfied. To enlighten fully, one must devoid all concepts of status and importance, giving equal value to every perception and thereby deflating the purpose of any purpose, resulting in the circular logic of hypocritical self doubt.

Confidence cannot be found when an opinion cannot be formed, and an opinion cannot be formed when an idea is relative only to itself. Upon realizing any solution is futile, a goldfish will no longer question his bowl, accepting his relativity to the scope of his glass walls. A goldfish will never feel significant. But in his blissful ignorance, he will cheerfully chase bubbles until he is flushed.

Long has the intellectual been shunned and forcefully but (knowingly) closeted, but today he is all but ridiculed, existing in pockets where bureaucratic red tape blocks light and closes the stratosphere to any far-reaching ambition.

Unrest sits like vomit in the throat. The war has begun and the casualties will necessarily be substantial. The unprepared will expire like gassed roaches, lying on broken backbones, eyes stuck open, eternally void and waiting in vain to be beamed back to the mothership.

Gas masks have been hidden in books for those who seek; the cannons of resistance loaded with purposeful introspection and repressed hope. Armor has been braided from the unassuming yarn of sincerity and love. The blood of our animal is the blood of our life, flowing through the only tool we ever needed. In orchards, apples, unattainable by machine, have become ripe for the picking, with skilled hands eager to turn them to cider.

Fishing for Walleye

Six hours later Japhy and I pulled into our first stop of the trip, Port Clinton, Ohio – more commonly known as the Walleye Capital of The World. We were sweating because the Jeep didn’t have any air conditioning and the humidity was likely around 100%. A brief drive-through of the town revealed businesses closed for the season, boats wrapped in white plastic, a few cars going in and out of some sort of factory, and that was it. We pulled over to the side of the road near the shore. I put the leash on the dog and we walked down some rocks to the water, which was cold. A few boats were anchored a few hundred feet out and people waded in the water on either side. The view was completely average. To the right there was a very small rocky peninsula, more like a jut out, with houses on the other side. To the left, across the water, was the nuclear power plant from The Simpsons.

With nothing better to do we decided to get an early lunch at one of the few open restaurants. We picked a place called “Shoreliner”, walked in and sat at the bar. An unfriendly barmaid with a great ass but a poor attitude took our order and brought us menus. I decided to be adventurous and try a crab cake. As we waited for our food we watched several TVs. On one TV the local news was showing highlights for the upcoming Buckeye’s game. Japhy starts to tell me something about the Buckeyes, but as soon as he says “Buck-“ the old man next to us screams “I love the Buckeyes!” To be friendly Japhy says, “Me too” and starts to go back to our conversation. But the man started again, “What brings you boys to Port Clinton?” Japhy replied, honestly, “We come looking for the biggest walleye these waters will give us.” The man swallowed his beer, set it down, and rubbed his hands together. His eyes were black. “Boys, you done come to right place.”

So we’re out on his boat, “ONE EYED WALLEY”. A sixteen footer with pole holds down to the hull. We were using live minnows for bait, because as our new friend Lowell explained it, “Catching a walleye is like catching women; ya don’t want to throw just anything out there; ya want to give ‘em something alive, something to munch on. It’s more than bait, it’s a meal. “ Everyone kept casting out and reeling in with no luck. But Lowell kept telling us, “Oh you’ll catch one, this is the walleye capital of the world. Just be patient. Rest assured you’re getting one”. This picked up our spirits and we kept fishing for another four hours. At this point we were all pretty fatigued, except for Lowell who was as intent as ever, his pony tail flopping in the win, tan shoulders glistening. We were almost out of minnows and all of our failed attempts, about two hundred, were now floating around our boat. Japhy put his pole in the holder and sat down. Just as he was about to bite the head off of a minnow for sustenance, his pole dipped. Lowell jumped up: “HEY! YOUR POLE! THIS IS IT BOYS! A WALLEYE!”. Japhy started reeling and after a few good cranks the walleye jumped out of the water in a magnificent fashion, thrashing side to side and showing his teeth. Japhy kept reeling and Lowell prepared a net. I stood there offering any sort of support I could offer.

When Japhy finally landed the fish we were all stunned. Lowell was speechless. Finally, after a few minutes of silence with the walleye flopping right there on the deck, Lowell spoke: “I ain’t never seen one that big before.” We weren’t sure on measurements yet, but we knew it was legal to keep because it met Ottawa County’s field-book requirements; it was larger than the largest goose we could see on the shore. It was nearly dark so we boated back to shore with our catch in a very large bucket. We tied “ONE EYED WALLEY” to the dock, grabbed the walleye, and followed Lowell to the home of Rick Bennington, President of Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce. He was apparently the only one with an official measuring tool, as well as the keeper of information on standing records. A retired guy, he opened the door in slippers and a robe. As soon as he saw the fish his breathing became more rapid and he reached for a unique looking tool from an inside robe pocket.

The device was sort of like measuring tape, but instead of numbers there was a series of cuneiform type drawings. Lowell explained this is an Ottawa County form of measurement, exclusively, and did not offer any further information. There were marker lines and dates written on the other side, and their frequency dwindled as Lowell pulled out the tape. Soon there weren’t any marks as all and the rusty machine began to scrape and break free of rust. It was clear we maxed out the tape. Japhy not only caught a walleye, he caught the biggest walleye Lake Eerie. Rick Bennington, The President of Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Shook his head in disbelief. “I never thought I’d see the day” he said, and took two keys off of a large keyring pulled from another robe pocket. He handed them to Japhy. “Congratulations. These are for you–two keys to the city. And now, by default, you are the new President of Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce. And your friend is now Port Clinton Stenographer. These roles are effectively immediately, and are to remain intact until someone catches a larger walleye”.

Thoughts on Resurrection

Resurrection is a tough one to think about.  Seems like it could be a positive … not sure if it usually is.  That alone makes resurrection an idealized concept without necessitating resolution or explanation.  So who cares? If I think about those ‘best days’, the ones I should wish I could bring back, and realize I never could, or perhaps ideas of days never seen, I end up thinking … so what?

But at the same time, are any of those ideas ever really up to us, as the individual?  Was there ever really a choice?  These thoughts and memories and human interactions come in a kaleidoscope; patterns without warning, dropped into frame instantly, with only the slightest movement.

So who cares.  Do you want a Psychology 101 / Mushroom 101 class on how there is no beginning and there is no end?  How we couldn’t possibly resurrect from something that never existed in the first place?  I didn’t really think so.  Besides, that’s a lot of negative statements in one thought, and I’ve been told that’s bad.

But anyway, here’s the backstory in a few sentences: I had a blog called The Filtered Press for a few years.  That name started after my college roommate and forever dear friend, Fred, and I, started the “Literary Lampoon” section in our college newspaper and needed an outlet for all the content we were creating at the time.  I think Fred came up with the name, and I always liked it.  It felt like a pair of shoes you could run a few miles in.  I’ll never forget those days of made up writing exercises, scribbling on a wall-sized whiteboard, and just writing like madmen, coming up with whatever we could, for the sake of making it happen on the page.  Just fucking writing.  That shit continued for a number of years, maybe never stopped, and I’d like to think that’s what brought be me here now, resurrected or otherwise, writing to write again.

Like anything, every emotion and interest goes in waves.  I feel bad for some of those that have left and I feel worse for some of those that have stayed too long.

In any case, I am going to try to get the words back again.  I don’t know what that means now and I certainly don’t know where that will end.

Next I think I want to share a story I wrote in 2013, based on a drive I took with a friend and my dog Bronson out to Colorado.  After that … that’s for after that.  That’s the thing about waking up.  It’s tough to remember where you were went you went to sleep.