Rant without words…

I write this at the time I usually wake up… having not slept the last few hours or so.
And I thought about what to say…
About feeling sad about something I can do nothing to fix.
About feeling angry at things that I am not really angry about.
About the dog sleeping on the kitchen floor
Or the cat purring near the top of the bed
And I listen to the sounds of the night
The quiet snow muffled sounds of a dog barking far off
And the fishtank
and my wife sleeping.

And I am awake.

Writing to the entropy

I’m not too sure how this works, but someone told me that everything is thermodynamics… the laws of thermodynamics… that somehow that is the basic set of laws that everything must follow.. and I nod, because I was thinking about contemporary poetry and writing it and trying to determine if what I write is any good. ?

And I guess thermodynamics is just as good a set of rules as anything… as much as the principles of a sonnet or parameters of haiku. It is about language and ideas… I think.

As far as purpose… I’m told that art is about expressing ideas and emotions and connecting with the ideas and emotions of others. Evoking emotions… provoking some kind of critical thinking…

All while respecting the conservation of matter and energy and the science that says that things fall apart. More than the rhythm of language… or rhyme schemes that were both falling out of favor a century ago.

Ambiance and melting permafrost.

The bottle was opened and for the most part used… most of the magic was gone
But there was enough on the bottom, and the fumes were good for a few spells.
It was powerful… the distillation of a thousand days of ancient sunlight
And it gave us power, and plastic, and colorful dyes, and control over speed and time and distance… and all the miracles of a modern world.

I don’t know who left it up on the counter top
And we all know that these stories with magic always have a twist
There is always some irony that functions to say that even magic isn’t free.

So should we be surprised when the cat just jumps on the counter and makes a beeline for the bottle?
The bottle with the magic in it.
And should we act shocked when the cat turns his head ever so slightly and edges up to the iridescent green glass
And lifts a paw?
Or when finally he pushes the bottle off the edge?
Or when it does a half turn in the air, and lands on the floor with a crash?

The bottle may have been magic, but the laws of thermodynamics are a bitch…
A bigger bitch than karma… with twice the attitude.
It was too late to unbreak the bottle
Or stop the room from changing
Or stop the cat from being a cat
Or change the laws of thermodynamics.

And you know the rest.
The part about melting permafrost and zombie pathogens released from a dozen millennia of sleep.

And so nothing is ever free.
And things fall apart
And cats will always knock things down.
Energy is neither created nor lost
It just moves downward like that magic bottle
From higher energy states like light
To infrared energy… heat
And so the room got warmer.
And the zombie germs were freed upon an earth with no immunity.

I tipped my head back and thought back to a memory that was written before I was born.
There was an art film… a hippy thing with scratches and flawed bright colors
And sound by Brother Joe, who also provided the music.

A blonde young woman in a gingham two piece ran with a whippet on a leash
Bouncing her technicolor being of reds and whites and yellows until it bled together
And then there was a flash
Because there is nothing that is free
And the energy released in that moment was neither created nor destroyed
And the matter recorded on the screen was merely transformed
And the young woman and the dog were gone before the blast wave hit
Leaving nothing but their shadows burned into concrete
As Brother Joe sang us out with a folksy twang
In the key of G.

 

Taking responsibility for grief

There are people out there that really do think they know what is best for you. And they try to control conversations because they believe that certain things will trigger you and they don’t want you hurt… when what really triggers me is being treated like an emotionally damaged child.

I lash out at such behavior. I find it condescending. I find it patronizing. I don’t find it helpful. But every single one of these people thinks in their heart (I think) that they are being helpful and kind by watching out for me in ways they determined I need.

They aren’t being assholes. But it comes off that way to me. They don’t understand why what they say comes off as dismissive to me. Why I should feel bothered at all by their attempts to be sensitive. It’s the equivalent of a pat on the head… a paternalistic, condescending gesture… not meant as an insult, but as a comfort. And the patter never understand why the patee would slap his hand away.

Then of course they are mystified by my ire towards them. They don’t think I should feel hurt, so that is puzzling to them. And now they want me to apologize for hurting their feelings… which I am very slow to do, because they aren’t going to stop talking down to me. Not now. Not tomorrow… really never.

And I can never explain to them how that makes me feel in a way they will understand.

I had one friend do this and it really rankled my hackles. He gave some half hearted apology, insisting that the did nothing wrong and that I shouldn’t feel how I feel. So I asked him about our friendship and he gave some flip answer and said I should move on.

That was years ago. And last night I rehashed the whole argument with him online. With the exact same result. He really does believe that I shouldn’t feel how I feel and that his controlling of topics of conversation to avoid triggers in my life that he has identified is not only perfectly okay, it is a sign of caring. This didn’t make me happy.

But this really is my grief, my emotions, and my shit… not theirs. Intentions do matter. And I should stop treating them in the same insensitive way that they treat me. I should not repay condescending bullshit with condescending bullshit. I am in many ways emotionally crippled… and although I seek empathy from those around me, there are people that don’t know how I am feeling, or understand what this is… there are those with significant deficits in emotional intelligence that don’t understand feelings. So intentions do matter. And they judge themselves, as we all do, by their intentions… not by the feelings their behavior triggers.

And that isn’t their problem. My feelings are not their problem. And expecting people to be something that they are not is not their problem.

So I will apologize for my response to them over the year. For treating them like I feel treated. For making them feel how they make me feel. Because in the end I am still sad, and depressed, and they don’t need to join me in that. They didn’t create that nor did they intend to amplify those feelings. And really that needs to be enough.

What missing you feels like today.

I have stopped carrying the pills that stop my panic attacks… because they have become more mild and manageable. So I think that is progress. Like after climbing stair after stair after stair, I have made it to the landing between floors and have stopped for a breath.

I have fewer hard moments. Fewer times where I am stuck and paralyzed and so sad I just don’t want to do anything…. anything…
Because mostly things are at least okay.
Sometimes they are even better than okay.

And painting has reached a new level I think… with sad robots.
No one really knows that they are all about you.  Like a code that is easily broken.

Sometime missing you feels heavy and it makes it difficult to move.
Like lead. Like an opiate. Like mud.
Sometimes it just feels so empty, like I have been hollowed out.
Like an egg shell with its contents blown out.
Like arms reaching out for a hug that isn’t there.
Sometimes it feels a lot like anger, and although I joke about bar fighting, sometime I want to punch something or someone… and I don’t care if they hit back.
Sometimes it feels like hunger
Like longing for a flavor I can’t remember.
Like wanting to go somewhere that is long gone
Or to see a picture that has long faded
Sometimes like a fatigue that has no name.
Like lying down and staring through the walls at something I cannot see.
Like hearing music in the silence

Sadness is truth.

Sometimes I still just want to die. (and that isn’t easy to say… given the circumstances…)
Shouting “hello” and waiting for an echo that never returns…
Sometimes I just want to go back and save you.
And other time I just want to go back and hang out and hear your laugh again… and leave the moment with one last hug.

The Ineffable Silent Feeling of being a grieving parent.

I strain to put into words what cannot be put into words. That set of feelings that is indescribable except to those who have suffered a similar loss. I try. No matter how eloquent my words might be, I know they will fall short.

But I think there is some general expectation that I function well. That I work. That I eat and sleep and act normally. That I am productive, cordial, civil… that I maintain relationships and schedules and hygiene. That I pay attention when others speak and that I am able to hold a normal conversation.

And most days… after six years of mourning… I can do that.

So I feel compelled to try to explain… to you, to others, to myself… how I feel.  Maybe it is something I have to “get out”… to heal. Maybe it is an excuse for why I act the way I do sometimes.  Maybe I have to tell myself something so that I don’t feel empty. Maybe I think it will help someone somewhere deal with loss.

Painting is easier.

The unchanging fact of my every day life can be summed up in four short words: My son is dead. Nothing I do or say or read or pray… changes that. He is dead… for six years now, by his own hand. He will be dead tomorrow. He will remain dead. And that leaves me feeling hollow. I could feel sad or angry or confused. But those four words are independent of how I feel. There is a pain… physical pain. Emotional pain. Pain deep down in the fiber of my being. The longing doesn’t go away. That sense of loss is alway there… Time goes on… Life goes on.

I have been

I have driven over every curve of California’s coastal highway
I have read great literature and seen great art
I have tasted food in the finest restaurants
I have slept under the moon in the wilderness.
I have watched a musical on broadway
I have been across the ocean and stood on lava beaches
I have dipped my toes in two great oceans
I have been on stage performing for thousands
I have stood at the tops of mountains
I have walked the width from rim to rim of the Grand Canyon
Twice I have held my newborn child in my hand.
I have heard the thunder and felt the shock of a bolt striking the ground.
I have been burned, stabbed and spit on.
I have married the woman of my dreams
And I have held the ashes of my youngest child.