Got to Be the Way It Is

Our friend Brandon died this week of a brain tumor.

Brandon was the shit. He was funny, smart, active – a trusted friend, a caring husband, a great dad, a thoughtful person, just the guy you knew would always be in your corner. Even if he was across the country, he would be the first person to encourage, throw out a joke, just A. Great. Guy.

And let me tell you about the love he shared with his wife. When I met Brandon and Ericka, I just thought they were both so cool. Young, vibrant, full of laughter and inside jokes and just, the way they were together made my heart sing. There is a quote from my favorite book ever – Beloved by the great Toni Morrison:

“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

This is how I thought of B & E. Just, friends of each others’ minds.

Last night I went into my backyard and looked up at a hanging, shrouded sliver of a moon, surrounded by specks of pinhole white. I didn’t know what to scream into the night, only that I wanted to. That I wanted to just launch myself like a rocket straight to space – to leave this planet and everything that is hurting right now, if only for a few hours. To just let it slip away. Nothing this year makes sense, and Brandon was always looking for that. To make it make sense. I want to do that. I need to do it. I don’t know how. There’s no amount of sense I can make out of his death, not right now.

I know this, though: I will strive to be like him. I will always try. I will be that corner person for others. And I will be there for his family and the family he had in our little group. I will show up for my friends. I will show up, period. I won’t wait.

If you are reading this today, know that you too can be there for someone who needs you.

That you too can always try.

That you can touch the stars, and the stars are infinite.

Dogs, Man.

Dogs are the best part of us.  We love dogs with our whole hearts – we give them the unconditional love and support we as humans wish we had, and wish we could give to other humans.  But in my many years of living, I have found that no love is like the love we have for this wide-eyed, cold-nosed, beyond loyal companion.  And I am a cat person.  Don’t mistake – I love my cats very, very much and of course have in the past lost my mind when they died, and will lose my mind again when the two I have now shuffle off their mortal coil.  But dogs, man.  It’s a level of love that is just…different.  At least for me.  They comfort.  They WANT to comfort.  They are just…like looking at the better part of your soul, without judgment, without any kind of expectation.  Well, maybe the expectation of treats.

I’m thinking about a lot of awesome canine friends today, and just thought this was a good enough space to put down these thoughts.  So for Nutters, DJ, Maggie, Quest, Bailey, Belle, Sarge, Snuffy, Wallace, and Reggie – especially Reggie – I hope you get all the cheeseburgers and whatever else your beautiful dog heart ever desired in this life.  Because we sure as fuck don’t really deserve you.

Hug your friends, human and otherwise.



I am instantly thrown onto the rough, concrete seawall.  It is dark.  The waves are crashing over me.  I am soaked through, I can’t move, my clothes are heavy and wet.  The sea rages.

I stop and breathe, and tell myself:  Wait.  Start at the beginning place.  Start at the tree.  Your tree.  Breathe.  Tree is there, I feel it.  I am still wet from the waves, though.  I go into the tree-heart.  I fall so long, so long only to be…dumped back exactly where I was when I started.  The seawall.  The waves.  The crashing.  The dark night.

Except now, I am actually paralyzed.  I can’t move; I can only crawl along the seawall.  There is no railing.  Never in my life have I felt so heavy and unable to pick myself up.  The waves are relentless.  The concrete underneath my hands has turned into jagged stones, they are cutting my hands now.  I am bleeding.  I am crying.  Why is this so hard.  All I want to do is to get to the end of the wall, where the twin torches burn, where I might be able to see one last good thing.  I think I see a wooden boat, old – creaky – burnished wood glinting under the moon, tied to the end of the wall, waiting.  I keep crawling but I am going nowhere.  I have giant pendants of various natural stones around my neck and they weigh more than I can carry.  One is deep indigo, shaped like a long tooth or a cornicello.  It glows and I don’t know why.  I cry again and ask the sky:


A voice – deep, resonant, and without gender replies,

“Child, but you can.  Rise.  Can’t you see?  Rise.”

I keep trying.  It is impossible.  I keep asking the voice over and over again and the voice – sometimes masculine, sometimes husky feminine, keeps telling me I can get up, if only I would, pet.  If only I would, lamb.

A huge wave crashes over me, I am soaked through to the bone and a thought comes through so forcefully that I sob:  I am afraid.  I am petrified, I am so scared.  I am scared that a wave, as soon as I stand, will wash me over.  There is no railing.  The water is deep, wild, black.  I am as afraid as I have ever been.  And almost as instantly as I heave a sob and realize how scared I am, I recognize the voice.  The lilt is there, the West Texas drawl.  It is Mrs. Lamb.  She had already given me a hint.  I break out in even more crying and ask why I can’t see her.  Why she is just a voice.  And she tells me if I stand up, she will come.  She says:

“The sea will calm when you stand.  This ocean calms and storms for you alone.”

I stand up.  I am unsure, wobbly.  I  take a few steps.  They seem like shuffles, I can’t look around, I keep putting my wet boots one in front of the other.  They look like a child’s boots.  She says:

“The sea apologizes to no one for its actions.  You are as powerful as this sea.  You crash and rage and calm all because you have that same power.  The sea never says, ‘I’ll fix it’ or ‘I’ll change.’  There is no living your life and ‘fitting in’ the ocean.  You are either part of it, or you are not.  Which will you choose?  Will you walk to the torches?”

“You said you’d come.”


I walk, slowly, then stronger, and the sea calms.  The waves are almost motionless – soft, kitten-licks of white crests coming over the black rocks below.  I walk.  I am there.  She is there.  We each take a torch.  We cross them.  She says:

“When you feel that fear – at any time – look into your heart.  Connect your heart to your mind’s eye.  Connect with thumbs to your heart, and index fingers to your third eye.  You make that connection.  You say, ‘I am the sea.’  This is how you will find the strength to walk out of that place.”

I ask her for a chair.  A chair appears, on the end of the wall, between the torches.  They burn, but the night is gone.  The sun is coming up, faintly.  I sit in the chair, resting.  She stands behind me.  I say,

“There was a boat.”

I can hear the soft, low chuckle behind me.  She says:

“You thought you needed one.”

She is gone.  I am alone.  I drift in and out, watching the waves.  I get up after awhile, take a torch, and use it as a staff to walk back up the wall, to the neath-tree, to go home.  The staff is my stang.  It is three-pronged, and burning bright.  My clothes are dry.  The green pyramid that was a pendant around my neck is now gone, given as a gift to my teacher and mentor.  I ascend the steep stairs back up inside the tree, and when I get to the edge of the tree-heart, my three crows sit waiting.  One has a worm in her mouth.

I am awake.


Ooo La La, Look Who’s Fancy Now!

Thanks to the artsy lady over at Crescent Over the Crossroad and the presider over the Hex Rated site who can make shit look way better than I can.  I AM NOT BELITTLING MYSELF – I know my strengths.  Making things look cool is not my bag, but it is hers for sure.  Anyway, this is nicer to look at, the font has serifs (FUCK YES), and no one has to read that tiny, tiny print anymore.  AND SNAKES!!!

Anyway, stay tuned for more.  I plan on…continuing.

May the 4th Be With the MFing Resistance

I am not sure how much more we can all take, those of us that want and expect decency to prevail in this Upside-Down we are in right now.  It’s all so gradual, right?  I mean, everything that’s happening may not have really touched you or a person you love yet.  You have health insurance from your employer.  You are in good health.  You are not an immigrant.  You are not a Muslim.  Or brown, for that matter.  Or a woman.

But there’s going to be a time when a category rolls around that hits you.  Because they are gunning for everyone that is not rich and white and male.

The Republicans of the House of Representatives, save 20, voted to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act today.  They have passed the American Health Care Act, which will leave millions of people without access to medical insurance coverage.  It also guts Medicaid.  While this bill would still have to go to the Senate, to committee, back to the House, blah blah blah before it passes, the point is:  Republicans cracked open a few cold ones to celebrate making dying for millions of people a more affordable option than paying for health care.

So I hope that goes down realllly smooth for ya, fuckers.  Come on back home to your constituents.  We are waiting for you.  If you want a class war, you might just get it.  The poor, the elderly, the women, the immigrants, we are all waiting for you.  Come back and face us at town halls.  Come back and hear more of the complaints that you’ve been hearing for months, except now they will be louder.  More vehement.  More desperate.  If you didn’t like it when women cried at your town halls or children questioned you, prepare yourselves.

I mean, what difference does it make?  You’re winning, right?  That’s what matters.

For everyone who is empathetic out there – for those of us who know in a short time, we too will feel the long poking stick of GOP “justice” and “freedom” – man your battle stations.  The sound in the distance is sirens.  If you have just been thinking all of this is a bad dream, now is the time to wake the fuck up.  There are elections for mayors and city council places happening right now.  Get educated about the candidates.  Vote.  Write letters.  Use Resistbot.  Run for office.  Do anything except think this is all going to go away.   Do anything except wait for someone else to save this particular princess, that statuesque lady in the Harbor that other countries used to look toward in order to find safety.

It happens gradually.  The Death Star wasn’t built in a day.


Writing to Reach You

This may be a jumbled mess, and for that, I apologize.  My brother-in-law took his own life a few days ago, and I am doing all I can to process and help my husband process all the feelings and emotions that go along with suicide.  It is more than I can put into words.  I wish I could have given him more.  I wish he could have received what we all had to give.


I use this title knowing you would have scoffed at it, #1 Music Nerd that you were.  You would say that using a Travis song as a title for this little piece of writing is trite and frankly bullshit, as Travis is a band that got undeserved notoriety and they are melancholy and suck anyway.  I do not use it to spite you and your music taste.  (I can hear you:  “FUCKING TRAVIS????”)  Yes, Fucking Travis, because it’s me, not someone else.

I use it because I should have used it months, years ago.

I will remember you for just that – your ability to tell me how the Smiths were pompous (true) and how music is better when it’s not really recognized by the mainstream (sometimes?).  I will remember you for your passionate stances on God-or-No-God/Politics/World Events/Legalization.  I will remember meeting you for the first time with your brother, wondering who these smart motherfuckers were who were beating me mercilessly at bar trivia.  I will remember you at countless dinners we had, I will remember you dancing, I will remember you and the glimmer you sometimes would get for wanting a better life for yourself, and I will remember you for talking to our dog in a baby voice and loving him no matter how often you did or did not see him.  I will remember how you spoke of your daughters and how the love you had for them shone through no matter what, even in the midst of struggle.  You were uniquely you at all times, in defiance of norms, and despite your surroundings.  I will remember that there were indeed good days.  There were not-good days too.  I will remember those as well.  Turbulence is a force that sometimes does not quit or knows any bounds.  I can’t forget it.  But I can do everything in my power to forgive.

I would ask all of us, no matter who is reading this, that if you or a friend of yours feels like life is too overwhelming and cannot understand how to begin to pick up the pieces, there is help out there.  That if you or that friend has the ability to reach out, do the reaching.  Sometimes our reach to you falls short.  Sometimes it doesn’t have the impact we want it to have.  Sometimes, there just is no saving.  I know in my heart that you might not have known another way, right then, at that moment.  I love you because I just do.  Whether you let me or not.

I will talk to you now, even though it’s too late, in the quiet times of the day or night, in the wake of all our heartache, in the space you have left.  Repair comes when we let it come.  I will choose to repair, no matter how late it is, no matter how much it hurts, no matter what anyone else believes.  I know there is a part of you that will exist beyond consciousness, beyond human form, and I will do what I can to repair both our hearts in that open, grey, and imperfect space.  My guess is you might be calling bullshit on that, too, but you know what?  It’s what I’m doing.  If I could stand one more time in the blizzard of your wrath, I would do just that.  And then some.

I love you because I just do.  Whether you let me or not.






#Reverbbroads: Je Suis…Darlene

Yesterday’s #reverbbroads prompt was:  With what fictional character (book, movie, TV, etc.) do you most identify? Why?
via Kristen

Well, nothing says classy FRONCH titles like Darlene Conner from Roseanne, y’all.

“Just stop right there, Ponyboy. You and the rest of your Outsiders can go rumble someplace else.”

Yeah, I was kind of a sarcastic asshole, much like the young Darlene.  Blame my mom for making me do vocab flash cards from age 2, I mean – what the fuck did she expect?  Oh man, the only thing I didn’t have was that hair.  I would have cut eight bitches down with some blunt left-handed scissors for that shit.  Her hair is legend.  I will live forever in envy.  That and she did have quite the pale, alabaster skin.  Dammit.  I didn’t wanna stay inside all day to cultivate that.

My mom was nothing like Roseanne, which is probably a godsend, and my family nothing like the Conner family.  So it’s strange that I would identify with this anti-meat, little brother-having girl.  But the loner aspect and the mouth on that kid reminds me totally of myself at that age (and most of the time, now – minus all that teen-y angst.  Sort of).  I’ll never forget when I said something so sarcastic my mom actually slapped my face.  I was way taller than her, but I lived in fear of my parents and their wrath so there was no way I was fighting back.  In retrospect, I don’t blame her.  I’m sure I said some terrible shit when I was 14 (and 15, 16…ok, all the way until 22.)

What a dream child.  While I never got hooked on drugs or drank that much and made decent grades, my smart-ass comments got me in a shitload of trouble at school as well.  Sometimes the class clown, but more often than not, lining up for a “talkin’ to” with our horrifying, crag-faced, snaggle-toothed vulture of a vice-principal.  This didn’t stop my unbridled invective from unleashing itself.  I am not sure I ever figured out what “too far” was.

I think many people like to think that sarcasm is depressing and negative.  I don’t necessarily take umbrage with those sentiments, but I know that my nature is to be that way – to be less trusting than most, and to be more “realistic” than most people want to be.  How do I handle difficult times?  Well, it’s certainly not by slapping on some fake Pollyanna attitude.  If I’ve told you to suck a dick, or a bag of dicks, I probably half-meant it.  My mother is a “be cheerful or die” kind of person.  I’m just not made that way.  Neither was Darlene Conner.  We both may not have aged very well in retrospect, but we are both, I’m guessing, less wounded deep down inside.

Also, suck a dick.