“Everybody wants to be somebody’s somethin’
Ain’t nobody wants to be blue
Ain’t nobody anywhere ever loved nothin’
Half as much as I love you
Somebody somewhere said “love is a prison”
But no one really wants to be free
I’d have to be crazy to ever think someone
Could love a nobody like me”
– Steve Earle –
I heard it said that true love is when you love someone despite of their faults. But brother that just sounds kind of snooty and condescending. I think maybe true love is when you love someone for their faults. For the flaws and defects. Because it’s that what makes them human, makes them unique and makes them yours. Ever stood close enough to a face to see the creases and pores, the texture of the skin. It’s in these tiny places that secrets are best told, when you reach up a hand and gently touch their cheek and draw them to you. And in that kiss, there’s a secret place.
Man there’s so many fools out there. And not the good kind. Yeah there’s a good kind of fool. One that will do whatever it takes to give love back. And one that knows that pushing the dark is the only way to find the light. But the bad kind is the ones out there with their plastic thin eyes, looking for the window dressing and tinkling lights. Who don’t see beauty, they only see shape. They look for the perfect number, the perfect ride, the perfect badge. Brother they spend so much time searching for the trophy. And goddamn if their might be a person attached.
It’s been my experience that there’s a lot of men out there who view women as nothing more than a life support system for tits and ass. Women are an unfortunate attachment to the orifices that best satisfy their frictional needs to reach orgasm. Harsh isn’t it. But it’s true. And believe ol’ hoss I have traveled in rarefied circles and it’s the same in factories as in circles of the “enlightened and educated”. They just call the game a different name.
And women, well if I had a dollar for every time I heard “I am not a material type” or “I just want a guy who cares and can make me laugh” I’d be a rich motherfucker. And if I had two dollars for every one of them girls that turned out to be full of shit. Well Bill Gates would have nothing on me…Except maybe a real fine haircut. Women seem to be caught up in the accoutrement, the accessory and pret-a-porte of the man they want around. They want to parade the man out and show him off and have him win a blue ribbon like some prize pony in a 4H show. And as for not being material…Uh huh…And I see women cruising the library and soup line all the time. It’s just the hottest meeting place ever.Women are petty and filled with a weird sense of entitlement. It’s kind of sad.
Now I know right about now you’re saying “Hey asshole that ain’t me! Or my friends, family and business associates” And to that I say BULLSHIT! It just is the truth, it is as it ever has been. Like the cavemen, the man needed to drag home the biggest bounty to mount the hottest cavewoman. I read Clan of the Cave Bear….I know man! I say this sort of as a joke but maybe it is the truth, maybe the wiring is done that way and it’s set in the circuits and veins. It’s how the animal is built.
But ain’t we suppose to be enlightened? Ain’t we suppose to be evolved?
I know there are exceptions. But really the fact is that these are few and far between. And they ain’t found hanging around coffee shops and martini bars trying to get the television poses just right and act like the perfect ensemble cast. The group that is just so refreshing and witty. Without having a clue you’re just sheep. Nah man, the real exceptions the true and fine hearts are lonely and lonesome. They spend too much time alone and too much time healing broken hearts because they’ve tried so god-damned hard to find that other one, the one that sees them, the one that values them and doesn’t have a grocery list or flag to wave. And they’re so sore that sometimes they are fooled by the kindness and soft words of wolves in sheep’s designer clothing. They believe in “Maybe this time…”
And they hurt for it, but they plug on. And in the rare case they find another of their kind. You don’t hear from them or even know them. You know why? Because they don’t need you, they don’t need me or anyone. They got each other and the world is just big enough for them. And at night when they curl up into each other and sleep, it’s the sleep of them that have traveled a long, long mile and finally found home.
Me? I don’t know what I am or where I fit. I do know that I have known girls who when they smiled at me I felt like I won something and I didn’t know what or how. And so whatever it was I did to make ’em smile like that I swore to remember because I always wanted to see it again. I’ve known women who are not typical anything. Different physically and different intellectually and emotionally. And I have loved them like mad. Like the last of the hardcore troubadours. But it has gone bad, either by my hand and my stupid lost little man trip. Or they turned out to be just like the rest. Just another off the rack and predictable life form. But mostly not. In fact I am fucking grateful. I have known and do know some incredible women. And I have had some incredible loves. They just seem to fall away. And it makes me sad. But I guess it’s just like any old cowboy…They sing a sad, sad song. And every rose…
Holy fuck! I am quoting Poison lyrics. It’s time to close this down. That’s a sign of brain damage you know. Quoting hair metal power-ballads. Maybe I am having an aneurysm?
Alright then, get my bandanna…I’m done.
Hey, hello, how are ya?
I am currently sitting beside the window of my new apartment, it overlooks my mid-sized city and it’s night-time and it is actually quite pretty. The lights, and the sky. It’s a welcome change after many months of stifling and struggling.
So what is going on? What’s the swing of my dangle? Well I’ll tell ya ol’ hoss.
I was turning and tumbling and bouncing and reaching and time, the gods and fates had some surprises for me.
First and foremost a woman. A good woman, one of good character and intelligence. One who is clever and attractive. A woman who can match me intellectually and mentally. She showed up mostly by a series of turns of time and luck. A coffee date and a couple of dinners later and we were looking at the inside of a new relationship…So call me the fool. I swore off and swore up and down, no more of the fairer sex and certainly no more of relationships love and the politics of distance. But if I can attest to anything it’s that life will always make a liar of me.
But maybe this time it’s okay. Maybe I may be falling into a good thing. I know that I am sitting with the strange realization that I do feel some really strong things for her.
Currently she is away on a well deserved vacation and I am missing her fiercely. I want to share my time and self with her. And maybe I want to just sit and stare out the window with her. She is the yin to my yang and around her I feel balanced and capable. I like that feeling. My unease is less and the world may not be so scary.
My daughter is a wonder and a scary ride. I am left in awe and even in fear. I cannot imagine my life without her and it would kill me to ever be away from her too long. But lately I have sort of been wishing I could slow her aging a bit. I wish I could take more time to have her stay my baby. To absorb and delight in her learning. But she has other plans too…She is growing so fast and she is becoming so clever and sometimes she reminds me so much of myself and of my father. Her wilfulness, her wit and her tendency to test the boundaries of everything and anything. She’s a firecracker and she’s smart. A scary combination, at least for her old man. For the world, I give you warning now. Watch out, she’s going to put you all on your ear…I swear by this. And I’ll be so damn proud. So proud. SHe’s my hero you know? It’s true. She is what I want to be. Isn’t that a kicker?
The world. I don’t like it much. I find it just as abrasive and contradicting and I find myself confused as ever. But I am making my stand now. I am on my own feet and from here you ain’t getting any quarter. I’ll fight this time. And I figure I might not do it alone.
“Change is like going through a plate-glass window, you’ll probably make it through. But it may leave some scars.”
– J.R. Romanovitch –
More true than ever.
BTW….The short story Too Bad…I got to re-write the second part. I didn’t like how it fell down. I’ll get to it I promise.
So again I am at odds with God. It seems that he wants things his way and I want them mine. So at our crossroads I think we again have to agree I’ll respect his boundaries and he’ll respect mine. I won’t be a deity and he won’t be a dumb and ugly lonely man with a head full of words.
It squares us good and right.
Saying goodbye to my little girl is getting so hard. Living apart from her is harder. And she feels it too, but understands it even less than I. She cries and says she doesn’t want to go. And tonight she even apologized. I think she feels being sent back to her mom is a punishment or the result of some unknown transgression. It’s a kick it the gut. And It hurts so bad. She shouldn’t have to experience this like this. It’s not unique, there are millions of kids in broken homes. But this is my girl and she wants to be with me.
My daughter’s mother is an excellent provider and cares very much for her, she is a good mother and does not harm or abuse her. There is no real complaint about her specifically I could make. I don’t want to give that impression. She’s a good mother. A very good one. I am grateful I have that to ease my mind. But in some strange way I have a deep and spiritual bond with my baby. It’s almost supernatural. I think many parents experience a deep bond with one of their children in this way, a certain understanding. Like there is a connection made from secret words. I had it with my dad. As much as he could be mean and a son of a bitch, we were closer than anyone else on earth. I knew him better.
Maybe that’s why it hurts so much when I think about his death, he died of a drug overdose 11 weeks after Ruby was born. He ran when I needed him most. I want so bad to have him back sometimes. To talk to, to help me through these Sunday nights. To show him that I am a good daddy. That despite all our fuck ups and fall downs, Ruby is going to be perfect, Ruby will know more love then either me or my dad could imagine.
Maybe most of all that’s why I cannot leave her behind. Because I don’t ever want her to reach for a hand that is gone. The suicide urges, the running itches and that long road out there. It’s never as strong as the connection, the love and the commitment to be there for the entire journey.
You know I have felt the lonesome pretty heavy these past few days. The wish to be close to just one person, to love and be loves. A paradox for such a creature as me. I survive better alone. But man it sure is not a bad thing to have a running partner, an aider and an abettor, Bonnie and Clyde. And maybe it is selfish but it sure would make these tough nights a little easier to ride out if there was someone there to talk to, to be close to. To be intimate with. Not a sexual thing, but an emotional thing. To know someone and know that they know you and they will hold you up and you’ll do the same. Sharing experience and joy and sad with someone. There’s a certain buzz I always get from saying “Hey! Did ya see that?”. Knowing that they did and you’ve shared an experience together and you’ve grown in the living together. And to just sit softly beside her, to rest easy in that closeness. The tears maybe don’t hurt so bad. And the rain means something else. It’s not bad weather, it’s rebirth and the magic of life and God’s touch.
I am a HUGE Van Morrison fan and the line “And I wonder if I’ll ever remember the pain?” from Sweet Thing makes me think of love and intimacy in this way. From the same song “Just to dig it all and not to wonder, well that’s just right.” Tells of what it can be, what it can do to really fall into someone who accepts you. See the little man from Belfast has it. He knows the secret most don’t. The secret that comes from a hand slipped into an empty hand that says in a gentle whisper “I’m here, I’m here and you’ll not walk alone”
Sunday nights. And the loneliness of the long distance runner. It’s like the drag on the 12th mile, waiting for my second wind. Waiting for the love at the other end.
“One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greeds.”
– Don Robinson –
It’s so easy to feel disillusioned for me. To be jaded and to feel a deep hurt and disappointment in the world. I’ve seen so much and done so much, the whole experience of life leaves me cold. And somehow this makes me sad, I want to live in the rarified air and believe in miracles and the myth of love. But it seems impossible most days.
Love seems to be a temporary state. Something you enter with some strange exit plan. So many people out there want only the falling in and out. The thrill of new love or the tangible tragedy of heartbreak. The in-between days and the living in the steadfast is not worth the work. There’s no real sympathies there, there is no sparkle and fire. It’s not reward of drama and epic events. It’s like Hollywood has written the code of ethic and morals for a whole age.
Where are the hard and true? those tempered in steel that can cut through time? The animal that lives in the hard commitment seems to have gone extinct.
As soon as a person can utter “I’m bored” or maybe “I’m not happy” it’s perfectly acceptable to call it a day. I get most angry at these types. I feel like screaming “Hey peaches, no one else is responsible for your happiness, no one else is suppose to make you happy and blaming a waning love for your unfulfilled feeling and unhappiness is weak. And holy hell! Who told you that it’s the reponsibility of your partner to assure you that you are eternally entertained! You retard! Life is not a shitty vampire book or a feminine hygiene commercial! It’s tough and you share the load and responsibility for whatever it is your life becomes” Come on kids, think it through just once. Make your own happiness. And here’s a huge shocker. Life isn’t always exciting, life isn’t a series of episodes you can breathlessly recount to your equally vapid friends. It’s life, it ain’t easy and it ain’t always good or bad. Some days it’s just life. nothing more, nothing less. There’s your guarantee.
Damn the entitled!
Same with work. I see a whole bunch of people walking in wanting to be well-respected and be the one in charge. To have the respectable career. To be some great and billowing title. Hell those crappy 10 month career colleges thrive on that (here’s a secret from 25 years of work experience, NOBODY is ever as successful after one of those programs as they tell you…mostly they’re laughable at best). There is a whole mess of people who want to be the chief and general. But no one wants to earn their stripes, no one wants to run the marathon, they all want the big next thing. Hey man! Here’s maybe one of the reasons our economy and society is so fucked. We got whole generations of people who don’t want to get dirty. Who don’t want to do the work. They want the reward but make no effort.
It used to be that you needed to make your bones, you earned your way in and you worked your up. Your hated your boss and dreaded the alarm clock, but over time you got good at your gig and moved on and up a solid and experienced worker. Not fucking walking in the door on Monday and by Friday making plans for when you take over this shit heap.
And in life general. People are just a mess. I had a serious conversation with a guy this week where he said he never coddles his daughter, he never kisses her boo bos and never lets her cry. He said he was making her tough as any boy. Now maybe that’s so, but since when so we need our little girls to not be little girls no more? And besides that. It made me sad, to know that this guy was robbing his little girl the feeling of safety and calm that a gentle and giving heart can have. And he was robbing himself of one of the best moments of fatherhood, that is being the one thing that makes it okay. Being the cure for an ache and a hurt. Being a magic answer. It’s almost amazing to watch my little girl go from crying and scared to calm and safe just from daddy kissing here owie…Maybe she won’t be tough, but she’ll always have daddy to make it better. Even when it’s just a kiss on a skinned knee. Metaphorically and literally.
Here’s my wish and prayer for you all. That no matter what the world is and who you are, that you see the beauty in it. Just that little flash in the darkness. Look up and see the pretty light between the branches of a tree, look out and see the movement of life where it looks like there is none or to feel the excitment of seeing that living means more than just the epic. It can be a bird landing or an ornately carved piece of granite or even the scribbles of some little kid who tells you it’s you and them making snow angels. That’s the reward, the gift.
Because from there you can find God, you can find strength and you can find love. And brother don’t we need more love now? The world needs all of us to jump right in and be there. And we need to do it heart first.
Lately I’ve been looking at truths. Turning them over in my hands, breaking them apart by throwing them against the wall and listening when they speak. I’ve fed them into the broken machine and heard whirring whine of the gears as they’re either taken in or spewed out in red-hot sparks and shards of another stripped gear.
And I have come to some sort of conclusion and compromise with myself, the world and that Old Man in the sky. It’s a sort of comfort I suppose. A way to ease my hurt and cool my hate. I can breathe a little better and I have stopped feeling the heavy iron press on my chest. The death dance I was doing so desperately is slowing and the taste of gun oil in my mouth as I chewed the barrel of suicide is softened.
The world for you, for your lives is just that. Yours. And that’s okay man. It’s alright, copacetic and cool. You all can breathe in this atmosphere, you can work in the existence of living organic things. But I have begun to accept that I am the animal/machine. No not begun, because mister it’s been a long walk to get here. I have come to accept is more like it. I am not like most of you. In fact there a re few like me. Nah man this ain’t a case of fatal uniqueness. It’s truth. I’ve been born too aware, lived too hard and seen too much to call myself among the living. I am not special or some mysterious stranger. The enigma that is only solved in the final scene. In fact if you were to call what I am seeing myself as, as special I’d call you a bonehead. Then inform you that this is not a badge or some banner. It’s a bitch, a real ugly thing and I’d not wish it on anyone.
Me I’m just me. I am that which I am. And what that means is that I have no more desire to search out closeness. I meet people and sure do like some of ’em. I am fond of others and fascinated by even more. But I have resolved I just don’t need or fit into a close relationship with anyone. I am no good at driving the train of friendship and connection. And maybe the world is better off for me knowing this. I fuck up an awful lot. I try real hard to be like you, like them. But I say the wrong thing or look the wrong way or my scars and bones just are too ugly. Then it’s all just bad feelings and disappointment all around. I find myself full of self-loathing and a feeling of rejection and failure. See because I do want to know you, I want to connect. But I just can’t. Not anymore. There was a time I could. But that was another lifetime. That was when the animal/machine was a posture and not a real thing.
Now there leaves me another truth. I am not going to ever love another human being again. Platonic, intimately or even in some strange charitable faith like way. Except of course my daughter and I’ll explain that later. Aside from the occasional pang of lust and attraction to a physical thing. I have come to understand that I cannot ever attempt a relationship of any romantic kind again. I cannot foist unto some poor unsuspecting woman the years of hurt, mistrust and wounds. And I can’t see myself separating myself from all that I have been and all I have seen and moving into to some happy picture of a silhouette on a beach at dusk. So it’s just fair that I call it done. I don’t think I want to share me anymore either, not like that. I cannot escape this underlying sense that it will all just explode again and I’ll be lost all over once more. Even a slow-witted fighter learns after enough beatings that the ring ain’t no place to be if you don’t know how to fight.
Now don’t read this as feeling sorry for myself. I am not, I am relieved actually. And to be honest if you think I am feeling sorry for myself you are probably not understanding or I ain’t telling it right. Like I said, these are my truths. I am just writing them down.
Faith is another thing that has shaken down for me. God is there, I believe this. Jesus was all the things they say. But I sort of veer off from that point. My beliefs here are my business really, I owe no explanation or apology. And I really don’t need a lecture in scripture, dogma and rhetoric. But here’s my deal with God. I made it on Christmas night as I watched my little girl sleeping. I knelt on the floor beside the bed and cried and then prayed “God you got your ways, I got mine and somehow I don’t see them meeting at any time soon. So let’s make a deal okay. I’ll walk your line, I won’t hurt no one, won’t take no one and I won’t do anything that might turn someone’s toe. I’ll work a shitty job, live in a little apartment and ask nothing more from this life than what I can get myself. You just do me one little bit, you promise me, you make it so that my baby is never too far away. Don’t you take her from me. Don’t let her hurt or be hurt. Don’t make her lose her place in my life and I’ll carry off her part on my shoulders. I won’t do anything to make my life go away if you just make it so I can always be there for her. Amen.” And with that I think maybe I’m done with prayer for the most part. See that big Old Man up there, I think he shook on it with me. So we are square.
And so I guess what this all means is I will end up being that grumpy old man sitting on his porch with a grumpy old dog. Watching you go by and not taking too much count for you. It’s your world now, I had my cut and I liked it. But I’ve grown old and need nothing more. Just to have my daughter grow up well and strong and wise. Maybe she’ll come by once in a while with some pinhead boyfriend who couldn’t find his ass with a map and a compass. And she’ll fuss over me and be the only open window I keep. I’ll be proud and love her completely. She’ll still call me Daddy and tell me I should get out more and meet more people. I’ll agree because it makes her happy. And then she’ll go and I’ll hang between then and the next time she comes around, pinhead in tow and maybe a book she read she wants to share. To me that’ll be just fine. It’s enough now.
Your world is just that. And I’ll leave you to it. I just don’t fit and I can’t. No more than a 5’2″ 87 year old Asian woman can play in the NBA or a 320 lbs middle-aged man can be a prima ballerina. This isn’t being cruel or subjective man. It’s just truth. I can’t be one of you because I am not built that way. Occasional loneliness aside…It’s just truth.
I guess this is a strange way to speak, but I can never be sure what the future holds. And I’ve been writing you letters and notes since before you were born. You’re mother has a couple. She once told me she’d protect them with her life. They were written in a place of great expectation and welcome. Maybe more is said by the little tear stains on them than anything I might have written. Those are tears of absolute fright and complete and unbridled joy. It certainly was an incredible time. Waiting for you and then getting to know you. I had so many things to say and so much I wanted to do, there was so much I wanted to share with you.
But things changed I guess. It wasn’t very long after you came that I saw you were going to have to grow up with your mother and father apart. And for this I have and still felt so much guilt, so much remorse. I have this heavy feeling that I failed you, that I failed your mother and I did what I swore I’d never do. I swore up and down I would never have a child and raise them in a broken home. And there you are and here I am. Boy your Daddy sure blew it. sometimes the plans we make are the heaviest stones we hang about our neck. And I doubt I’ll ever feel entirely alright about the events after your birth. But I will always swear that your mother is a loving Mommy and wants only the best for you. She does a good job and should always have your respect for making choices and decisions that probably were none easier for her than they were for me when I made my choices. Neither she or I did the easiest thing. Life just puts crossroads in front of you and you need to choose one way or a another. And this was a choice I made and the whole time I walked my path I kept an eye on the other hoping and praying that I didn’t choose wrong. I am sorry this has affected you, I never meant to set you up or to make your life harder. And if these choices did that I beg you to see how hard it was for me and that you know if there was another way I’d have done it, I would have done anything. For you, I would always do anything.
I write this to the you of tomorrows far away. So that the past has a voice just for you. I would give anything to know just who my father was when I was 2 years old. Though now a couple years after his death I sometimes wish I knew him in those last lonely hours before he left us. It hurts to say goodbye before you’ve finished the conversation, before the road has been traveled. And I know that you feel it too. You talk about Grandpa sometimes as though he is right here. You even tell me about seeing him. Maybe that is good, it makes me feel a little better that if I can’t be there then he is. And he is watching over you. And I swear baby he loved you.He adored you and was so thrilled with you. His last words to you were “I love you baby, I’ll see you again soon.” You’re never going to be alone. Take some comfort in that.
As for me. I go with you everywhere. You are on my mind constantly. And when my days come along for my time with you I get excited and so anxious to see you. I barely sleep the night before. It’s like Christmas every time you come see me. I never turn down a chance to be with you unless it’s nearly impossible to move mountains and stars. And the best feeling I have ever had in my whole life is that first hug you always give me. As I approach you reach up for me and when I pick you up you wrap your arms around my neck and pull into me with all your might and all your heart and I know how much you miss me too. Because I miss you so much when you are apart from me. I feel only half awake. Like this part of me that is alive has gone to sleep. It’s only awake when you are there to shine on it. You show me things in me I have never known and never suspected even existed.
I know there’s a chance that as the years pass you’ll hear things about me. Things I wish you didn’t have to. And things that in some cases were told to hurt me and not you. So don’t let it get too deep in there. Just know the truth, for a long time I was a very lost person. I did bad things and hurt people. I was caught in a self-induced fog and lived my life like a terminal patient. I never expected to live very long and I had no reason to try. The world was a hard and cold place for me. I’ve done my wrong honey. I regret it all. I am sorry for all the hurt I caused, I am sorry to people you’ll never even know exist. But were part of my life before you. I ache in a very deep part of me for the life I lived.
I have tried very hard to change, but like any real change, it’s been hard. It’s been a little forward and then a little backward. Some days I am right back in that old skin. And I am lost again. But some days I am better. Some days I feel different. Some days I have hope, hope for me and hope for you. That is tough, I am so afraid of making any investment in dreams and the possibility of a joyful life. Because to me if you believe in hope it feels like setting myself up for disappointment. I have lost much and saw so much that has left me anxious and distant from most things that I just get to feeling that nothing ever stays, nothing ever sticks. But this is me, this is my mud puddle and I wallow in it. Don’t you ever think you need to jump on in. Or live afraid. You’re already the bravest and most courageous person I have ever known.
So here’s what you need to know about me. I love you, not just the words but with all my being. When you are with me I am filled with that love. And we dance and sing and we don’t care no nothing about what anyone thinks. When you get sleepy I still cradle you in my arms on my lap and sing quietly to you and rock you. Songs you may someday come to love yourself. When you get happy and bouncy I play with you, lifting you in the air and making you giggle. I love kissing you as I lower you down and hearing you say “Again! Again! Daddy!” as though you trust me absolutely. We roll on the floor and we go to the park. Sometimes we don’t do nothing but hang out and just be. Then when you get sleepy and grumpy I find out I have patience in me I didn’t know existed. I still have to try hard to not get frustrated. But I seldom do. And if I do I am always careful not to let myself get angry. You teach me much at these times. And then my favorite thing. I watch you sleep, you are so perfect, so beautiful and I gently touch your hair and look at your little fingers and kiss your forehead. And I let you feel me even in your sleep. I want you to know even there you are safe with me and nothing bad can come. Daddy is there and he’ll never go away.
So here we are. A father and a daughter. I know that what we have is rarer and more special than even most parents. It’s a special bond and a spiritual one. We are like two peas in a pod. And you are the best part of me. Thank you for coming to me, thank you for giving me the great honor of being your daddy.