Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Open Secret

If only to give you an idea of what an enormous sucker I am... today marks the day that the boy tried his first taste of banana, three years ago. I put it in my phone, each year it repeats. Not the banana, but a note about the banana. An heirloom made of family bytes.

I know. I know how lame this sounds, openly admitting such a thing. It is what parents do. They wish to preserve memories, and more. They will sacrifice pride for what resonates with them. They will sacrifice more for more, or even less for less. They will sacrifice, because it seemingly proves something.

Time: you can't even save parts of it. Pictures help, they fade and disappear. Drives crash. All that makes us "us" is ultimately lost. Only idiots and idealists believe otherwise. If the soul is eternal then I don't want one.

I want two.

A friend recently had a beloved dog pass away. That was her takeaway from it all, basically. There is no better place, where self meets some otherness in mute heavenly wonder.

You'll wind up there with yourself in tow. It is utter meaninglessness, grasped clumsily by imaginative mammals, fought for and against. Death rots and love hurts, and rape is never very far off.  All pain is a warning concerning death. Joy traps us in a moment which should remind us, but it doesn't. But joy is joy, and time touches it less and more, depending on your reaction to it.

Each of us is very lucky to not be dying or suffering tremendously at this very moment. Yet where is there much happiness within the cosmic glow of such luck?

CS mentioned something recently about having a distaste for mundane photographs. One can hardly help themselves when they have a child, though. Very little seems mundane about the boy, to me. He is a marvel that grows in marvelousness by leaps and bounds and leaps again. Every time I see him he has added to his wonder. All of life is having a giggling fit when we are doing nothing at all.

That is the way of things.

Time used to be a paradox. Few things help you negotiate that logically unacceptable proposition more than something that gives you access to the past and the future all at once; the present is a way of longing for, fearing against.

Children, they really are our future.... 

For some, it is the only answer to the lonely riddle. For others, druthers.

You can go back far off in time, disconcertingly most of all in pictures. You can not go much farther, also; though it might not seem that way at all.

Time is the truth that can lie about itself. It will tell you whatever you wish to feel about it, but most of all what you do not ever wish to.

You are just trucking through the cosmic dust that is your imaginary piecemeal religion. It's in all of your songs... this half or full or untrue message of moment. Time is incomplete. We sense it in ways.

There is no fixing the senses, the wants - the senses that want and wish.

Don't let your demons overtake your passions for very long. That is how time slows down to the point of punishment.

Be wary. Be eventual.
Never marry. Have kid.

I did.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Sexual Olympics

(Eric Heiden, 5 time Olympic gold medalist)

On mornings when I get enough sleep I tend to drink too much coffee. That is what I did this morning. On the drive into the city I chatted with my usual easterners. We all agreed on what we agree about. CS thinks that I am courageous, like Bruce Jenner. 

A few friends have asked me if I am going to write about Jenner. There is not much to say from my perspective that has not already been said. In discussing or writing about such a thing one always risks more than one gains. If you lack sufficient sympathy then you have wronged the world, even if what you are saying is deeply sympathetic, but only using your own words to express it. Or not, if you simply assess the situation through analysis then you have likewise crimed someone. 

It is called an individual choice and it certainly is that, but it is another thing also, at least one other thing. Culture functions as a series of dynamic exchanges and the continued assertion that gender and sexuality are choices, some made at birth and some not, has its eventual impact. This is not a criticism of that culture, only an acknowledgement of it. 

If I had not included that last sentence it would seem to suggest its opposite to some. It doesn't.

Before the availability of reassignment procedures this issue was not nearly as prevalent. There were fewer sexual and gender options, so people made their choices among those options. The collective mind slowly expands to accept these new choices and decisions, as well as the resulting outcomes. Invariably, there will arrive some who wish to expand these limits further. On and on this process goes. It is described very well by darwinians and sociobiologists alike. It is a by-product luxury of such a diverse pool of individuals functioning together as a species.  

I say this disinterestedly. Truly. Some will misunderstand the use of the word. 

So, it is a thing that can not be adequately discussed, nor discussed fully. It can only be agreed upon that sympathy for the courageous is the expected response; the demanded response. There is, of course, some truth in this, though to the exclusion of the full use of the mind. Freedom allows for a spectrum of opinions and anybody who would disagree might only see the rainbow as representing a completeness of the visible range, where others see it as a very thin portion among all of the frequencies that make up the electromagnetic range.

Some will find in these words cause for offense. It will seem that I am assessing a thing in which I have no rights. My response would be that I am speaking from my transgender mind. It is the opinion of a woman that is trapped inside of a man, and that man might not even be me, though he was born inside of me, sadly. It could even be the man that I am trying to escape, to realize my full potential as a group of individuals then at least one of us must go. It is my choice to decide how many people I am and I expect applause for my feminine courage, not derision, nor the scrutiny of masculine analysis. 

Who among you has the right to tell me otherwise?


Monday, April 27, 2015

I hear the train a' comin'

I have nothing to offer today, and even less yesterday. The lack of sleep is destroying me.

We took Rhys and his buddy, Jordan, to a model train station museum. We thought that they would love it but they bored of it quickly, as they could not directly interact.

Lesson learned.

When we first walked in there was a walkway through the museum and then there were the faux landscapes that seemed train-heavy and unnatural. The various members of this museum, the ones that worked directly with the trains - the ones wearing engineer hats and denim overalls - were on platforms with spaces cut out into the landscapes so that they could gain access to the trains and all that surrounded them.

Whomever designed this did so rather poorly, in my estimation. The platform that the working class stood on was about two feet lower in elevation than the platform that the spectators walked on. So, when I first walked in I was given the impression of a strict midget-only hiring policy. The interesting thing about this was that it took me a few minutes to realize their error (or was it mine), because they all seemed unusual in other ways, not just their uniform paucity in height.

 Now, I recognize how evil what I'm saying is, but that has never stopped me before.


These guys were weirdos, useless in the real world and you could quickly tell. They all had that disaffected look of men that never quite launched in life. They retreated into a hobby so as to avoid the pains of rejection. Yet they all seemed quite content to be doing what they were doing. I expected them, at any moment, to mobilize and go on some sort of a quest. They were the type men that refer to their car as their steed.

I wanted to ask Rhys if it seemed novel to him, but knew better than to draw his attention into the perversion that is my normal waking mind.

He was attracted to a spot in the glass where there was a cutout where you could see a bridged ravine in which there was an almost diorama scene of a previous train accident. The cars were all slid down into the slot of the canyon in the position of past chaos. He asked what had happened and I told him there had been an accident. He drew everybody's attention that he could gather to the carnage, explaining that there had been an accident!

He did not want this point of fact to go unnoticed by passers by. Nor I with him. It had become of such great temporary importance that he pointed and explained, over and over, there was an accident....


Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Winner Of My Discontent

Resentment has landed where I suspected it might; difficult to avoid, nearly impossible to escape. It is a whirlpool made of snakes. Nobody, I do not believe, desires it much. It ensnares one as they attempt to afflict another. It teaches lessons about the nature of love, what love means, how it happens, and how it ends. It's as natural as any other emotion, only far more corrosive, as it occupies the empty spaces remaining, filling in the raw heart where better impulses once roamed. It is a weapon used against self, an acid that rises just to prove itself.

This, and this only.

I didn't sleep a single minute last night. Not one. I recited one half of many conversations to myself, again and again. They were not resentful, but rather filled with the fresh remorse of having let some go.

A return to love, of sorts, though of a vastly different shape.


Friday, April 24, 2015

The first day of the last day of the rest of my life

A little more than a year ago I remember writing a post in which I stated, "I awoke in the darkness and felt free." It had to do with the ending of my relationship. 

What changed? Why the anguish now? I suppose there are a couple reasons.

I awoke today and felt rested, which leaves one being closer to feeling free. Without sleep, all is lost. I feel much better than yesterday. If I can make it to the gym this morning then I'll feel like Rocky ascending the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Later this morning Rachel and I will go sign our divorce papers. It won't be finalized at that moment, but it will be the act that puts finalization into process. There will be a new custody agreement also. The boy will have two equal parents, at least in terms of custody. It is for the best for the boy. We know this. It is all that can be done once the relationship fails, to try to do what is right for the child. Not so many are lucky enough to accomplish such a thing. I know. I have heard the horror stories. I know that in some ways we are lucky, though it doesn't often feel that way.

The boy and I spent the night together last night. It was the first I had seen him in more than a week. We had a pretty good time. We put on our swimming shorts and tried to take a dip in the pool, but it was still too cold. We stood on the first few steps with our colored noodle floats and laughed about going in deeper, which the boy did, though not entirely.

At one point he exited the pool, dropped his swimming shorts on the pool deck so that he was naked, announced that he had to go potty and squatted as if to create his own exit.... I leapt into action. I explained that we could go home and use the potty there, that it wasn't very far away, which is what we did. Once there, the volume of product the boy produced made me giggle, thinking that it was within a second or two of existing fresh on the communal pool deck.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

On Returning

(This post is unrelated to Wire)

It makes no sense. Something's wrong with me. I spent the better part of yesterday coming home from NYC, a long subway ride leading up to a much longer flight and then a bus ride to long term parking and then the hour+ drive home. I get here and go straight to sleep. Three hours later, wide awake.

I only wished to return to the gym this morning, but no... My body is determined to ruin me. 

I slept pretty well in NYC. More than six hours most nights. I get here and I'm restless. It's maddening. As I was falling asleep last night, exhausted from a full day of traveling I even considered setting my alarm, something I never need to do. It's just stupid. It drives me nuts. Truly, it keeps me from sanity. My wits are always just beyond my grasp.

Home again... I will pick the boy up from school today and we'll have some time together. It is what I look forward to most. 

My life is difficult and painful right now. If you've been reading here at all you would know. That same life seems simple and complete when I'm with the boy. It's something that I need to be careful of. CS has warned me of the dangers of single parenting. The child becomes the most important, or perhaps only, thing in your life and you weight the relationship too heavily with your own needs and expectations. I can feel it happening, and worry about it, but am not quite sure what to do.

Travel, I guess. Give myself other things to do for a while until some sense of self returns and replaces the empty sense of heartache and loneliness. Yes, heartache and loneliness, that's what I am feeling right now, alone in the middle of the night there is only the ghost of failed love.

It will pass, of course, but it's a mother-fucker when you awake to it and that is all that there seems to be, without cessation. You stare into it and expect an answer, none arrives. There is just the witless emptiness mocking the witless emptiness within you.

I need a girlfriend, or a cat, or a girlfriend with a single cat. I don't mean a cat that is available. I mean having only one feline, etc. Though I don't feel like flirting much right now. The entire time in NYC I was staring at women, intently, trying to detect if any blood was rushing to my testicles but there was nothing. That's how you know if you like somebody. You can feel it starting in the genitals as a tingling sensation. Tender love, it's how you know.

I just went to check the mail after having been gone a week and the mailbox was packed with letters from debt collectors for the previous resident. It's mostly all I ever get, though a friend from Holland did ask for my address recently so some genuine correspondence might arrive soon. That will be a novelty. I'll need to buy a fountain pen to write him back.

Ah well, certainly people don't come here to explore the misery of another. It will pass. It always does. I'll read some Celine tonight to take my mind off of things.

I was able to catch up with some friends in NYC, thankfully. A family there is relocating to Hong Kong which will give me a reason to take the twelve hour flight from San Francisco. 

Soon, I hope.

I have considered selling all of my stock and traveling for a little while. I don't think that I would regret it very much. I could even take the boy with me on some trips. I like having the imaginary money floating around out there though and would probably miss it when it was gone, watching it rise and fall with the world market. The thought of sitting still and doing nothing, waiting for nothing, exacts its toll on me also.

I just searched for my copy of Waiting for Godot and found it next to Murphy. Perhaps Beckett is a safer bet to read right now, to keep my mind light and airy, free from concerns.

What, oh what, will arrive to haunt me next.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Was Town

(Preparing for her baby cousin's baptism)

Last day in the city. Then to another city, and then a town, what was to be "Our Town":

I want you to try and remember what it was like to have been very young. And particularly the days when you were first in love; when you were like a person sleepwalking, and you didn't quite see the street you were in, and didn't quite hear everything that was said to you.
You're just a little bit crazy. Will you remember that, please?

I remember that, perhaps most of all.

I also remember feeling silly the first time I referred to San Francisco as "the city." It's not. It is something, and I like it for being that, but it's not The City.

The quotation above is from Thornton Wilder, Our Town. If you have never read it then don't blame Common Core Standards.

This time next year I hope to bring Rhys with me. There's a good chance that he won't remember any of it as he grows up, but few of my friends here have ever been able to get to know him at all. It doesn't seem right. I know most all of their kids.

There is one child here, India, who was a little bit too young for me to connect with the last time that I was here, but this time she and I became good friends. She spent much time showing me the proper way to brush her pet stuffed dog, Pugsley, and then the other one, Spot. I read to her and her brother a bedtime story and they both went right to sleep, a feat that was marveled at by all witnesses. Such is the certainty of my parental prowess.

India is only a few months older than my son, so perhaps they will have a chance to become friends this time next year. I hope so. Watching kids play together creates within the viewer something like youth. There is a sparkle of life contained therein that is magnified even further by participation. Play is hopeful by nature, a commodity increased through regular practice.

At previous points in my life I might have thought that only an idiot could derive pleasure from such things, but I was wrong. Kids are more than just fun, significant lessons can be learned by interacting with them. Most of them know how to live life better than I do, and a few of them even seem better at making decisions. The seven year old boy, Luca, beat me at checkers last night. It is refreshing to interact with a nearly unfiltered mind. It's almost like a drug, if a drug could be so innocent.

Some will not like me saying that, I know. Though the reason I started doing drugs was to gain different experience, to see the world from a different perspective, to feel differently. It was all quite innocent. I think of those days fondly and often.

Sometimes it's important for me to remember that, like the quote above concerning the dizzying illusory spell of first love, the disorienting young stirrings of what might one day become your absolute undoing.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Comfort food, etc.

What a mess it is, love, particularly at the end, or just thereafter.

I enjoy vacations of course, like anybody, but without exercise I quickly lose my centeredness. I begin to spin. Little things, or perhaps larger things, will cause me a barely manageable anxiety. The humidity in NYC is enough to drive someone mad. Once you acclimate to Northern California then everywhere else feels preposterously humid. It all seems so unnecessary. 

Is Sonoma considered Northern California? I'm not sure. It seems more Central. I have asked this many times and no one seems to care, or know.

I am currently having to deal with things for which I had not prepared myself. I should have readied, but I didn't. When a pattern is that deeply ingrained in your partner then you should not ignore it, but instead learn to rely on it. You can count on it.

I don't mean my partner. That sounds silly, now. We were never really partners, we stalled long before ever achieving anything like equality. 

I often hear believers say things like, "Well, you have to let go and give it to God." This is sound advice whether you believe in a God or not. Unless you let go too much, of course. Then, people will tell you that you've got it all wrong. It's somewhere between what you have control over and what you do not. It's not an idea that holds up very well under scrutiny, or even in application, because it assumes far too much about the relinquisher, which in this case is me.

I worry too much, it causes suffering. There is some relief in letting things go, whenever possible. 

Right now, I feel as if I can't breathe, like the wind has been knocked out of me by a ghost.

It's little things, like hearing your son tell you about the bike ride that he went on with his friend, the daughter of the new guy. You picture them all riding together, as if somebody poured mineral water on them and they became a family. Just like that, your son has a new father figure. He sprang naturally out of the ground in the last few weeks, and that is just the story that you're expected to accept. It's quite convenient, how none of it really matters.

That's the thing that I guess I hadn't prepared for. Nobody's "wrong" in doing what they're doing. Life moves on and kids are quite resilient, or so I am often reminded. Except if it's something I've done, then he might be damaged for good. Too many cookies perhaps causes lifelong devastation, or accidentally saying "fuck" in a sentence.... but a new father is the most wonderful thing in the world for the boy, should cause no confusion whatsoever in his little heart. 

Every child should have at least two of them, maybe more.

I know that, ultimately, the more people in the world that love my son then the better he will be, the greater capacity for love that he will also have. So, that's what you hope for; more love, not less. Even when it stings. I know this to be true and would not ever argue against it, but that doesn't help very much right now. Knowing things doesn't help anything.

In another couple months, when I've regained my breath, I'll start looking around for the boy to have a nice, new, second Mommy.

I wouldn't mind increasing my capacity to love, either. 

For now, I have returned to salmon on a sesame bagel in the mornings. 

Comfort food, etc.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Like a Bridge Over Double Whatever

Taking days off from work is a glorious feeling, truly. I like my job, but still... it is something that I must do, and an occasional relief from responsibilities should be a requirement also. I will encourage my buddy to go get pork noodles with me from Ippudo today. It is raining, but the restaurant is close and the beer on draft is very cold.

Unsurprisingly, I miss my son. Talking with him on Facetime is not the same. I have been walking around asking myself if I would move back to NYC and the answer comes back a resounding Yes! Though, when I consider what my relationship with the boy might become, strained and difficult to connect, then the plan starts to crumble. Several people have reminded me that I must focus on my happiness first, as it is better for me to be a happy dad than merely a present dad.

It is a lot to think about. Escape is easy to consider when everything you hoped for in life has collapsed around you.

I wish that I would not have written so candidly about the feelings of others towards Rachel yesterday. It serves no purpose. Divorce is difficult. I must remind myself that others would encourage Rachel that she has done the right thing and all of this is the best thing for her, if I were not present in the conversation. It is the way people are. They try to be helpful. In the falling apart they sometimes forget that there is still love for the other person. You care, and to some degree that other person still represents you, as part of the choices you have made about life and that you found them worthy of love for many years, perhaps even years to come, though in a modified capacity, diminished to its purely abstract form.

Renouncing Satan did very little to help me this morning. The forecast says that it will rain all day. Weather is perhaps oblivious to my renunciations. Or, perhaps he is just striking back.

A friend wrote yesterday, prepping me for my Washington trip, reminding me of his wife's Irish-Catholocism. I assured him that I can fit right in. I am not one who would demonstrate the paucity of evidence for the existence of God, not at dinner.

When he and his wife came to visit Rachel and I in NYC we went to Holy Basil (since closed) for dinner and afterwards I demonstrated my belief in the power of spirituality by singing along with Art Garfunkel at the top of my lungs, and at the peak of my register. She found it to be "quirky but cute." Most people I just frighten with my unrelenting enthusiasms.

If you need a friend, I'm sailing right behind. 
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind....


Sunday, April 19, 2015


Ugh. I haven't done very much since getting to NYC. It has been nice visiting with friends, but now I'll need to self-motivate. I'm not sure which direction to go. Sunday is a good day for the Moma or The Met. The new Whitney is not yet open and I have never cared for that museum much anyway. I've always felt that they should open a satellite branch in Houston, just for fun. The Whitney Houston.

Last night, I slept responsibly. Somewhere around 3am I was almost talked into going out to a nightclub, but I couldn't do it. It's in Brooklyn and I was within twenty yards of my bed. Now, my friend texts from some after-party, wanting me to come meet him. I just don't have it in me any more. I must be growing up. I had no idea that this is what it would feel like. It is marked by the absence of activity rather than by the replacement of impulses, or behavior.

Last night, as part of a post baptism ceremony party I chatted with a few men that are nearly my age, all likewise with children. We discussed the joys and trials of fatherhood. At least one of them was jealous of my situation with Rachel, already being on the other side of the failed marriage. Over the hump, as it were. The idea of having the boy half of the time seemed very appealing to him. Or rather, having complete freedom half the time was the appealing part. Either way, he recognized the charm in the arrangement. A mother among the group also indicated that she would be happy with having a week on and week off with her kids.

We all sincerely agreed how much we loved our children. I write this with no hint of irony. 

The priest who performed the baptism was there. He encouraged each of us to "Renounce Satan!" which I gladly did, several times. Spitting on the ground with each fresh renunciation of the dark one. I even renounced him again this morning, first thing when I awoke, and thanked Jesus again for his death, which was somehow also a victory over death. It doesn't have to make any sense. The best things in life, like love, usually don't.

I was encouraged by all that I would fall in love again sometime, when the time was right. None of them had any further need to conceal their mistrust of Rachel. The levees had been breached and the floods arrived. Some were not quite as hateful, but the consensus was clear: she is superficial and conniving, a person who used me, one who was never nearly as committed to me as I was to her, purely self-motivated and without any generosity of spirit. I sat and listened to all of this and could see parts of why they feel the way that they do. Some truths only appear in glimpses. I reminded each of them that she is a good mother to our child and that is all that really matters to me at this point. That fact didn't slow them down very much.

It is difficult to hear, while somehow still being an inviting thing, that your ex is not as liked as you and that you were the victim of her, not the other way around as she so often tells the story. At some level you know it to be a truth, yet there is something else mixed in with this feeling, the lingering memory of love and affection, and even trust. It is not so easy to convert that to a schema of purely guileful behavior. Cunning is a component of some people's love. It is best not to overthink it. It is a mechanism that develops out of situational need, and she has had much of that. In some ways divorce was inevitable. 

I tired of hearing about the evil Rachel, and it didn't take all night. One of her more vocal detractors was silenced when she again repeated the claim of Rachel's shallowness and superficiality and I responded, "Hm, I wonder if she ever knew you didn't like her. It never seemed that way to me."  


Saturday, April 18, 2015

It takes a village of penguins

It is all coming back to me, or seems to be. The sound of two taxis honking between themselves in motion. In this, I hear the sound of something like my name. The commotion of the city is oddly comforting. I miss being here much more this time than I did on my last visit. I want to move back.

"The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding." - John Updike

I met up with a couple old friends last night. We wandered the East Village, noting how much things have changed, and what remained. It was a mistake to lose my apartment here. Only two good things have come out of the leap I took: the boy and the job. Perhaps that will prove to be enough. Or, maybe another benefit will emerge. The weather is nice in California, and the surrounding land is beautiful. There is that.

The company I work for has recently opened a New York sales office, in the flatiron district. It is something for me to think about.

Earlier yesterday, I went to the Grand Central Oyster Bar, to meet another friend, an expert in municipal bonds. We sat and chatted about what to do with all of my money. He dissuaded me from municipal bonds, explaining that they're not a very sexy investment. I'll have to take his word for it.

Grand Central was impressive, as always. The subway ride up and back from Union Square was familiar, crowded on a Friday, as always. The people did not seem to bother me, as they might when I lived here. Everything is a recurring novelty, for me.

Today, there will be an infant baptism.  Before that, salmon and cream cheese on a bagel.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Death, without decay

I keep having a recurring dream. It is about a cat, my cat, that's dying. Last night, in the dream, the other cats turned on him. I had to pull them off. They were going to kill. It was distressing in a way that is difficult to convey in waking words. The cats seem possessed with demonic energy to do my dream cat in. They were making their guttural threats, circling in intent.

It's not as if I'm not already going through enough in my active hours, now my subconscious is turning on me. I awoke restless, in a deeply troubled state.  The image of the frightened cat is etched within me. The mind is its own dark conjurer and sorcerer of self.

There have been too many endings in my life, of late. I must improve the nature of my dreams. Somehow, soon.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Freedom, from a safe distance

(A view from the top)

Salmon and cream cheese on a sesame bagel again this morning. $15, with large coffee. I don't even like bagels all that much, but that is of no concern when in the place where they are made so well. It makes no sense, like pizza, why can no other city make it right? There are only so many ingredients, but still... There are some things that are ruined for you once you've lived in NYC. It just seems so pathetic elsewhere, done so poorly as to be not just a waste of time, but also an insult merged with the loss.

There has never been such a thing as Chicago pizza. It is something different and they merely used the same name because they lack any flair or hint of originality. 

Perhaps Ippudo for lunch today. The Akamaru or Shiromaru Chashu Ramen and a cold Kirin Ichiban draft. The heavens swim in pork belly broth.

I miss living here. It was a big mistake to move. I suspected as much at the time, but was persuaded anyway. Such is the...

I spoke on video chat with the boy this morning and he and I agreed that next year he would come to NYC with me. The idea both excites and frightens me a little bit. He and I still need to put a few smaller trips under our belts first. This summer I hope to take him camping up the northern coast. I will teach him the joys of tenting, awaking in the wild. 

Dad stuff.

The word still affects me, Dad. I look at it and don't quite equate it to myself. It is always another, older fellow, one now gone.

Perhaps it is because the boy still calls me Daddy, and not the other, Dad

There are always things to miss, even in the future.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

NYC, Day One

(I lost my glasses, though I have seen all that I wish to see.)

Ah, New York City.... The red-eye flights are awful, but with a little nap when I arrived this morning, now I'm back in business. Around the corner, I went and got a coffee and a salmon bagel with cream cheese. It really is true, California does not compare in that regard. 

Cost: $15.

I should have taken more days off than I did. It's a working vacation, which was a silly thing to do. Though, I lucked out again this time as I had last year and the weather has just turned nice. I lie here in the sun on the couch at my friend's apartment. It does not feel like working at all.

I have had to leave my time on my computer to PST, so that I can keep abreast of my meetings without having to perform perpetual subtraction. Simple as it is, it becomes annoying, particularly with the day here near 11th and Broadway just floating by without a clock in the sky.

Today is tax day, and mine and Rachel's anniversary. I thought of texting her a joke about it, but it would be pointless. I knew something was wrong six years ago when we suddenly decided to elope and she would not tell her parents. She refused to be honest with them about it. 

All of the warning flags were always there, for both of us.

But, enough of all that. She has indicated that she is in a "significant relationship" that just recently started, and her new boyfriend / fiancé / future husband will be a great dad to my son one day. 

Sort of. She didn't say all of that, not in a single sentence anyway. She says she's being "very responsible." I don't quite see how that's possible given the time frame, but who am I to question the decisions of a mother. She is determined for scrutiny of that kind to remain a one-way street for all eternity. 

But, enough of all that... I really do wish her happiness. I just wish that it wasn't coming at such a great cost to my own.

I have been warned not to discuss her while visiting NYC. Nobody here likes her very much. It is part of why we moved. I expect that she'll leave Sonoma, or even California, right about the time that Rhys needs me the most. I am trying not to become angry in advance of what I suspect will happen. There is enough disappointment to be had in the present.

One of the most powerful attributes of love is how it allows its victim to ignore or avoid the obvious. It's part of why the world feels as if it is born anew when you fall in, because your eventual undoing is transformed instead into something wonderful. Your downfall is made temporarily invisible by the nearly effortless will of the heart. The familiar becomes the familial. 

Love is a foolish enterprise, and I remain an ever ambitious entrepreneur. 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Let's Get Lost

Last night, watching a movie with a friend about the troubled and talented Chet Baker. It was painful to endure; the seemingly unrelenting and unforgiving misfortune of others. He ages about 60 years in an hour and a half. A true talent, fallen from a hotel window in Amsterdam to his death, though he had died in spirit several years before. There are interviews in which he rambles, half asleep from smack, unable to string meaningful words together, much less full phrases or sentences. Incomplete notes blown into a wandering darkness. Thoughts seem to elude him the way that his talents once gripped him.

It is not all sadness and loss. There is a scene in the beginning of the film in which they are all stumbling along a beach at night, he and his friends, filled with drunken enthusiasm for themselves. They all seemed happy enough.

The beach and images of the beach are the loneliest. They evoke within me a sense of vulnerability for lost times. There is a tenderness to the images of isolation, of distance across and proximity to the great voids of life. The universal shrug in response to all that stands in front of it, doomed. There is something beyond the shore of the abyss, and it could easily be you.

I was reminded of a time, long ago, in which I sat and made designs that emulated swirls from pebbles and shells on the beach. It was all that I did for a floating afternoon, and it was just enough.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Bitter yet?

I don't have anything left in me. 

I tried to have a small dinner party last night, so that Rachel wouldn't feel excluded from our friend who has come to visit. 

She decided this was the best time to tell me who she's seeing now. We were chatting in the backyard.

The also-separated father of one of Rhys' friends. He had been to our house, for Rhys' birthday party. 

They have play-dates as often as they can. Rachel simply raves about what good friends the two kids are. 

If you can believe that. 

If you can believe that, then the story seems nearly perfect.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

An Aide-Mémoire

Looking  through old pictures. The boy sure does grow up fast. He and his buddy (pictured below), also. They are both rocketing into the lives they will be living. I have thousands of pictures of the boy and his mother, so few of he and I. That is a result of me always being the one behind the camera, of course. I am not the kind to set up a tripod very often, running to jump in front of it and pose, like an smiling idiot. The tripod that I have can not adequately hold the weight of my new camera. Such is life. There are always wants.

The boy will likely never have a lasting memory of us being a family together. Perhaps one day, with any luck, I won't either. That is what she and I have decided. Best to end it all now, completely, before it negatively impacts anybody else. We were both the perfect people to have a baby together until we did, or so we thought. It is difficult to believe now that all the things that were said were anything other than willful lies. Divorce is a mother fucker. 

I mean, it would be simply splendid if it weren't for the boy.

The Alabama Shakes were better than I had thought they would be. Great, in fact. Powerful music, played flawlessly and with much enthusiasm. More range live than is reflected or contained on their album. It was a sold out show. People lying in the grass all the way to the top of William Randolph Hearst's Greek amphitheater. A beautiful night, in all. I needed it, to get away. 

I greatly look forward to NYC this week. Then, I look forward to getting away again, and then again.

It is what is needed, reminders of a life outside of this life. A prompt to schedule forgetfulness.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Post Sibling Day

(Skippy, Pat, Ginger, Me)

I lie here in bed, almost dreading going into the city. Well, not the city, but Oakland which barely qualifies as a city, more of a municipal police zone.

I attempted an experiment, to see how it would feel. I drained a substantial amount of blood from my body into a bathtub filled with hot water. Once I had lost enough blood that I started to feel disoriented I stopped the bleeding with a homemade tourniquet. A thing that was once the cure is now a sickness. Times change, I suppose. Still, we must get the bad blood out somehow.

It started as an accident, then I followed through out of curiosity. I was cutting onions for dinner, and doing so far too quickly; grilled chicken, asparagus, with sautéed onions and mushrooms. A couple glasses of Cote du Rhone. A handful of Xanax and then a hot bath. I somehow managed to finish preparing dinner, and even eating some of it. Blood rushed from my body over everything that I came near. I told myself that things would be forgotten first, then found. It felt ritualistic.

The tub seemed to fill with blood very quickly. That's because blood is thicker than water, and hot water will cause dispersion and impede coagulation. It was a novelty how this mistake, a slip of the hand, led to this. This sudden urge to find out how something might feel. What to expect toward the end of expectations. I wanted to know what the last thing would look and feel like. I could feel my heartbeat through my entire body.

If you've never sat in a tub filled with your own blood you'll find that you might want a shower afterwards. The smell at first seems wetly metallic, but then it almost seems sickly sweet as if it was fruity or ripened. It was everywhere and never got the chance to dry. The water kept if from hardening, and decaying further. From within the filled tub it gushed freely, creating red blossoms of underwater inflorescence. I watched these flowers form and disappear. When I pulled the wound from the water it tasted just as one would expect, sweet and burnished, almost stannic, like foreign wine from an old copper cup.


Friday, April 10, 2015


I have myopia; not its tremulous opposite. 

This fact usually pleases me, as much as it might.

Though, every now and then...

Somebody stands in my bathroom as we prepare to depart:

What are you doing? Those aren't eye drops, that's nasal spray. 

Now, you understand, you see.

The nose is the most direct path to the brain, we're told. Vacillators being just what they are. Eye drops are mostly lubricants, relieving pain over time. The curious strain of lids blinking. The friction of watching things like love arrive and depart. 

At some point, every person must decide how much nonsense it becomes worth to swallow.

If the eyes are the window to the soul... then eye drops are barely religious, more ritual than relief.

They make us seem. 


Let the lamp affix its nasal beam.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Let us follow him with lettuce, and cabbage

Time approaches, recedes. 

This weekend, a friend comes to town. I will drive in to Berkeley / SF to meet him. We might go see a rock-soul revival band. The Alabama Shakes at the Greek Theater. I haven't bought a ticket yet. They are expensive, at least to my waning financials. $100. Who cares though, really. Didn't I just cite the title of a study here recently which claimed that people who spend money on experiences are generally happier than people that spend money on things.

Didn't I?

Then, hopefully a day with the boy before I depart for NYC. I will attend a Greek baby baptisma. I will try not to discuss the pagan significance of sacraments and induction. 


Speaking of, I think they should induct Pete Rose into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If anybody within the realm of that circus had any sense then they would, just to prove that they still have some shred of rock credibility left in them.

Because what can be more rock-n-roll than having an issue with compulsive behavior(s), and honoring it.

What?, I ask.

Honorary Inductee: Charlie Hustle. 

Or, maybe they should induct him as Charlie's Hustles. The words induct and indict are funly similar.

His alias sounds as if he was a drug dealer to the stars. Charlie's Hustles: When it absolutely, positively has to stay up overnight... When I lived in the East Village there was also a guy there known as Charlie Hustle, though for different reasons, I suspect.

Lots of Greek so far in this post. I will miss Greek Easter this Sunday in NYC, and the delicious leg of lamb that pleases God with it. My visiting buddy, Pete, and I have agreed to have a Sunday roast anyway. He is English, so it is what we should do, though we might not do lamb, etc.

Our lamb has conquered, let us follow him. 

It makes no mention of eating him, though we know that to be a component of transubstantiation, a bit of Catholic wizardry. 

Our lamb has conquered... That's Moravian! If I ever was going to convert to Christianity then I would adopt one of the odd Eastern European sects. Bohemia, unite!

I have an expatriate friend relocating from Prague to SF soon. I greatly look forward to it. Since moving here, for the nearly exclusive purpose of satisfying the dreams of another, I have felt more physically, emotionally and geographically isolated than ever before in my life. 

Now, I am happiest when caring for my son, but get bored and lonely when he is not with me. This is not the life that I would have chosen, at all. Well, perhaps half of it is. It is a consequence of trying to make another person happy. Big mistake, that. 

Having social time is a luxury for some and a requirement for others. I am among the latter group. I am given over to dark moods when left alone for any period of time. So, I find temporary happiness and solace in chatting with others. 

The impact of loneliness on another is difficult to assess. This is particularly true when the assessors are not isolated, nor necessarily lonely. They know about it most of all. You can guarantee that the authorities on anguish don't allow themselves to endure very much of it. That is what makes them such experts, and in a small town the experts are always everywhere. 

There is a greater concentration of expertise the more distance you put between people. It is known as the inverse prowess of the vacuum ratio. People come from miles around just to be near it, to drink in its warmth.

There's no love quite like country love.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A night flight to Bagan

Always, I wait too long, then it is too late. My mind races to the day, and I can not catch it.

Writing is done best in the mornings, though I have been awake all night, waiting for it, waiting for the day to force me from bed, to coax me along with collective action. I want more, when I have tired of lying in bed.

My sensibilities are in slivers, shards. This lack of sleep is taking its toll, again. Every morning I ask if I should drink that half pot of coffee. It makes me nervous, queazy, as if inner glass lacerations are opening and re-opening. My father's death changed me. Something within has become detached, lost. I clutch at things, yet can not grasp.

I want more of something, suddenly. 
What will ruin me will ruin me. 
It's foolish to believe, to think that anyone ever escapes it.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. 

And why wouldn't it be.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Put on your stockings baby, cause the night's gettin' cold"

San Fran in the early morning hours. I awoke to the rain in darkness. I came in to the city last night for a dinner party. We stayed up late chatting, very late for me. We tried to find a place where a friend was making her djing debut, but we had no luck. We found a closed door and an empty sidewalk. I have no idea what might have happened, either we arrived far too late or I had somehow misunderstood the nature of the location. It would not be the first time, for either.

After we ate our spaghetti and meatball dinner we listened to Bruce Springsteen's lo-fi masterpiece. They swore that they would hate it, now I have to send it to them. We played it almost from beginning to end.

On the drive into the office all of the SF crazies were out in the sadness of the early morning rain, swatting at windmills, tussling with space spooks. All that it takes is the one extra component of the rain and then the desperation becomes much more tangible. So little can be done.

Speaking of sadness... the neighborhood kids love me, because I talk to them. They are attention starved. They often ask if they can come in to my apartment and play with Rhys. There are a couple of them whose families, I do not believe, allow them inside until it is time to go inside to go to sleep. They go straight from the communal courtyard to their rooms with who knows how little conversation or interaction with their parents.

Once, when getting ready to wind down with the boy I explained that we were going to go inside and take our baths, and then I wanted to read the boy some stories. I could see the swooning in their eyes.

You read to him?


I bought a vinyl copy of the album for a friend not so long ago and mailed it to him at the address that I had. I don't believe that it ever arrived. Somehow fitting that it would get lost. It suits the narrative.

Congregation gathers down by the riverside 
Preacher stands with his bible, groom stands waitin' for his bride 
Congregation gone and the sun sets behind a weepin' willow tree 
Groom stands alone and watches the river rush on so effortlessly 

Wonderin' where can his baby be... still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe


Monday, April 6, 2015

"Oh, you've got grey eyes"

Can not wait to go home and read a few pamphlets. They have all piled up on me, again. Tracts, solicitations of hope; slivers, where wood is needed most; faith, shadows, hints, suggestions; gloom amidst the muddy roots of pleasure; gnarled wellsprings, ifit springs at all. It generates susceptibility; gods, ideas, exercise, yoga, et al. There is a dourness to life that the very best among us sweat of, time being no cause for warrior.

Few things are as undramatic as a library. This library never extinguished that fire. Nothing really mattress, anyone kamikaze. 

I would drink a bottle of wine, but don't wish to sit in bed; would have already left were it not for this book that I want to read, just arrived; to check my email, to nod once more without moving a pillow, to blink and close the world.

Few ever really works on their drug problems, they play on them, if at all. 

The only unpayable debt is the sense of guiltiness; it is the one unforgivable skin, to believe that you can not be fore given skinned. 


Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Don Father

Apparently, I couldn't stop myself... I awoke around 1:45 am and didn't immediately go back to sleep. A little Mad Men might help, I thought. I watched five more episodes of the dreaded season seven. Don Draper has become the Richard Nixon of advertising, and they're going to kick him around for a little while more. Nobody seems to want him there any longer, except maybe Roger Sterling, the closet sentimentalist and self-preservationist. 

Draper was a self-defined man, all the way up until he cracked a little; letting the definitions of others seep in, then those definitions soaked him. I mean, he had made some mistakes. He had violated the advertising code, to never allow a meeting with a client to veer into unpleasant territory. At a conference with Hershey's he spoke candidly and honestly about himself. That was all it took. There is one thing that will not be tolerated in advertising and marketing: honesty.

They let him come back to the firm, but with strict conditions. Just as he looks as if he's going to crack from one of those conditions he seems to pull it all back together. We'll see where it goes, what type of final characterization they'll provide for him. 

For several episodes now he seems as if he needs a shower. His hair appears greasy and uncombed. To my memory, they have never shown him exercise, nor engage in any activity that might suggest an improvement in health. His complexion tells the tale. 

He has won back some trust and warmth from his daughter, Sally, after the girl caught him fucking the neighbor. He does so, oddly, by suggesting that they dine and dash, after he explains that he hasn't been in the office and he was ashamed to tell her. 

Honesty and trust are very slippery themes here, and everybody seems to have a different capacity and tolerance for and against them.



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sean's Easter Fireside Chat

A weekend with the boy. Easter egg hunts and fish dinners. I hadn't planned on Easter fish, but I am hosting tonight with an all vegetarian crew. I think they're all vegetarians. Pescetarians, I should say. Nothing that walks, or can acknowledge that they're being eaten, which is why I love bacon.

How do most vegetarians feel about oysters? They're like the mushrooms of the sea, somewhere between animal and something else. If I remember, they don't have central nervous systems. So, no pain. As far as the "reduction of suffering argument" goes then few should have moral qualms with oysters. But, we're going to have salmon or tuna tonight. I haven't decided yet. Trying to feed oysters to vegetarians seems almost cruel. I'm not sure why I feel that way though, I guess it's the "I just don't like the texture of meat" cliche extended past beef and bacon.

I have a patio table and chairs now, so we can bask in the vibrant ambiance of the barrio.

I have been going over my finances and it looks as if I might need to return to reading books for entertainment. A few of my speculative investments have floundered or failed. Other than a handful of years between being a performance and recording artist and a technician I have usually been able to make money. Not a lot of money, but I have done just better than surviving, with just better being all that I really needed. It has always left me wanting a few things, though always feeling that I had what I required to be happy. 

(Self-describing as a "performance and recording artist" is such a twat thing to do, but it made me giggle a bit. So, why not... I've started using brackets again, also, haters.)

I read the title to an online article last week (I never bother reading the actual article, it will ruin my opinion of it) which stated that people who spend money on experiences are generally happier than people who spend money on things. I believe this is true, though I'm also willing to bet this is a cause of a personality type and not the result of just choosing to spend money to travel, though I doubt the article made that claim. It seemed like an ad, a "suggested post."

It's not as if you could get some old pile of complaints to empty their carefully guarded retirement account, to pack up the wife and travel somewhere, and expect an auto-epiphany to be the result. They'd bitch, bemoan, and regret concerning the "loss," especially when they returned back home to their favorite chair.

I have rededicated myself to the idea of travel, with or without the article. I think by later this year I would even be able to travel with the boy. He and I are becoming quite the team. A year ago everybody told me that it would happen, but caring for him was still a struggle. Yesterday, I noticed some diapers that were still in the bathroom drawers, from boxes I had moved from my last place. The site of them seemed silly and from so long ago. But now, he sleeps mostly in his bedroom, has never wet his own bed, and only mine once. That's a pretty good track record for a kid that has been through all that he has, and he's only 3.25 years old, a fact that surprises everyone who's told of it. The kid's a bruiser, no question about it. He'll be taller than me by Autumn.

Speaking of the death of things, I started season seven of Mad Men. Oh Jesus, the cracks are really starting to chasm, the creeks have become canyons. They're all having to address their own destructive behaviors. I'll have to stop watching. It breaks my heart, but I can't stare into this part, the well-lit abyss. 

It's like most films that feign to explore drug use, they're fun to watch right up until about the halfway point, once the morality play begins. You know when it's happening, you feel the arc cresting and beginning its drop. That's the best time to just start it over at the beginning. Most drug films are just horror films with a chemical killer, nearly invisible yet always lurking. These films offer the same private titillating glances in to murder.

You can hear the voices in the theater, Oh no, girl, don't go behind that door...

I used to silently make fun of people who used the word behavior in the plural. I have grown up, some, since then. The word already suggests a set of actions, a plural manner of being.

It need not be pluralizeds.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Bad Man

(I should not have used this image for this post.)

No, I was only kidding yesterday. I have well over thirty unique articles of underwear, each from a different country, all seemingly designed for a slightly different gender. Do not worry. If I run out I can always buy more. They're making new nations every day, just for me! 

For many years I didn't wear underwear. It seemed to make life easier. It was Rachel's suggestion that I start, if memory serves. I seem to remember her buying me some. That was the form in which the suggestion arrived, as a gift. Do you see where that got me?

Mad Men is still driving me crazy through the darkest hours. Last night, Don Draper is being told by the neighbor's wife that their mildly sadomasochistic affair is coming to an end.

He: It's easy to give up something when you're satisfied.

Her: It's easy to give up something when you're ashamed. 

I'll need to take some time off from my gluttonous consumption, maybe a few months, but my plan now is to watch each season again. CS has rightfully called it a masterpiece. 

Bobby Kennedy was killed last night again, also. 

The past is beginning to make me feel old. Not necessarily "my past" but specifically the past of Mad Men. They make periodic references and I know all of them. I recognize that other people might not. Dorothea Lange was from last night.

The reference to Lange reminded me of a book that I have by Margaret Bourke-White. It occurred to me that few of my friends would know who these women were. For whatever reason that, coupled with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, made me feel old. Even though these people lived and accomplished what they did long before I became aware of them. It is my time's relation to their time that did it.

Does that make any sense?

Never mind. I am no fan of purely sensible things. It was just a late-night observation.

In the mornings, I never measure out coffee when making it. I just eyeball it. Maybe that's my problem and explains the deep erraticism in my nature. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mood-Based Egg Templates

I am a man obsessed. 

Anyone that doesn't watch each season of Mad Men, at least twice in succession, and then document their experiences in writing or in some other quasi-expressive endeavor, is not living to my standards.

(Do you italicize a tv series?)

This show is the only thing that has ever made me want to read John Cheever. Even when Rhys is here, I am up late into the night, gorging myself on episodes like a man with a genuine problem.

From the episode last night, in which the news of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination was made known. Roger Sterling walks into Don Draper's office and says only this:

The man knew how to talk. I don't know why I thought that would save him. I thought it would solve the whole thing.

Well, if any regular readers here will recall, I had ordered some kitchen wares from the local hoodlums, ostensibly to finance some school trip down the coast to Monterey. The boxed booty finally came (see pic above); a pot holder (not shown), a silly hippo cutting board, and templates to cook eggs based entirely on mood. I wondered if the stuff would ever arrive. I thought the little gypsies had taken me. I couldn't even tell which one had peddled these expensive domestic fictions. The all look alike. They're ethnic, or something. The kids, I mean.

To speak of domestic fictions...

I have begun washing my own clothes again, also. 

(I know, I am a pig of several sorts.)

But, it's true, and a very strange thing has struck me during the process. I will go a month or more without washing clothes. I own that many t-shirtsm and jeans, and well.... I was warned not to wash the jeans. 


As I am trying to rack the t-shirts straight out of the dryer while they are still warm I become quite impressed with my survival abilities. I have the timing on this thing down now. It really is all about the rhythm. That is, unless you've given up and just don't care any more. Then, your clothes just become a soft lumpen mess from which you draw and prepare each day's new outfit. 

I will rush no less than twenty newly racked shirts into the closet and then almost as many gym shirts. The latter I will simply stack one on top of the other and then use them again in inverse order. The socks can wait until they find their lost partners among the ruins of Washington Hill. 

Nothing says love like socks does.

It's when I get to my underwear count that the math on this monthly strategy starts to crumble. It makes no sense, at all. It just can not be possible. There appears to be an administrative error, or two, at least. I count the other articles, I carefully count the crusties again. I do the math... the very specific division between undies and days passed. I immediately suspect a thief. Though, who would steal my underwear...? That activity works best the other way around, I've found.

I think back carefully to the last time I washed clothes, and what my life was like then. I try to remember a time that I washed only underwear between that time and this time. I search my memory for such an odd washing session. The numbers just don't add up, or divide, or anything. There are no memories to backup up an illicit undies washing session.

Disgust is the only available response. I inspect all of them with a newfound scrutiny, searching for any errant indicators, wayward blemishes. I am hoping to find one pair that I can throw out, blaming everything on that weird two-week period in my life, only a few days previous. 

Nope, they all seem reasonably clean, and I wear (mostly) men's white cotton boxer-briefs. This type of underwear is closely related to the eternal grade school tattle-tale. If you had ever acted inappropriately and perhaps deserving of a demerit, for even a single indiscreet second, then this underwear would announce that fact loudly and proudly to the whatever world would listen. Muffled on one side, present danger on the other.

Nothing there, I swear, which also makes very little sense. The only explanation is that I have soiled a pair of underwear so completely and over such an unexpectedly long period of time, then forgotten having done so, and there is somebody that sneaks into my apartment (hopefully a young woman) and steals them from me for who knows what foul personal pleasures. It is conceivable that, when finished with her own perversions, she is washing them and returning them back into the stack, to be used again by me. Maybe she sneaks off into the night with the next pair, for a month of private joys and longing. It is impossible to say with any certainty.

This month, I will be on better guard against such a thing. 

You have my word.