Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Old House

Consider your self a house - your body, your mind, and your spirit are all contained in this house. What is the state of your house? Are you taking care of it? Do you live in all the rooms? Do you invite people in?

My house is an old Craftsman style home. I've owned it for thirty-seven years and I used to love it just as it was built: full of cozy rooms, hidden staircases, and lots of quiet spaces. But I abandoned it for a long time. I reduced my daily routine to just a couple of rooms in the back and the let the rest of it fall in to disrepair. I pulled the blinds. I ignored the doorbell. When visitors got too insistent and demanded to be let in, I sent the butler to open the door. He looks just like me and has a pleasant, if somewhat vacant, smile. While he stood in the doorway and mouthed the expected responses, I hid in the library and read my favorite dusty old tomes. No one was ever allowed any further than the foyer (yes, I have a foyer!).

Today I'm remodeling and renovating. I've changed over the years and I want the house to reflect who I am now. I still love the basic design of the house, but I'm knocking down a few walls to make the rooms bigger and I'm adding some big windows on every floor to let in a lot more light. The basement and the attic need some serious cleaning out. The exterior could use a little, let us say "slimming" refinements around the middle floor. I'm also re-wiring the electrical system because it's not up to code and the lighting is damn depressing. Change your wires, change your life, as Bob V. might say. Most importantly, I'm inviting people inside. It's kind of messy and I admit I'm a little embarrassed when company comes by, but I tell them I'm in the middle of making some big changes and they usually understand.

It's a good house and worth keeping up. But I could on and on about the renovations! How is your house coming along?

(Thanks to John for the butler line! I stole it and I'm not giving it back!)

Monday, July 25, 2011


Thirty-seven years old today. Feeling pretty good about it, too.

To continue with a recent birthday tradition, here is what I have learned in the last three hundred sixty-five days of continuous living:

1. I am responsible for my own happiness, just as I am responsible for own misery. There is no one to blame and there is nothing to forgive in regards to my past. It is all about today and today it is my choice: do I want to be happy, joyous, and free? or do I want to be miserable, discontented, and a slave to my own negativity? I don't need anyone's permission or approval to answer that question. It's completely up to me.

2. I am revising my definition of "cool" (and I'll probably ditch the entire concept as a whole before too long). My old definition of cool was superficial in that it was all about surface appearances - how you look, how you dress, how you talk, where you live, what kind of music/movies/books you like, etc. I have met some very cool people recently and they are not fashionable, hip, or alternative. They are varied in their appearances and interests, and neither of those things define them. What makes them cool is they are self-aware, at peace, and interested in growth and experience. They don't pose, they don't try to look good, and they honestly don't care what I think of them. They are not cool, they are inspiring. That is waaaaay more important to me.

3. Animals can help us heal! I used to laugh at the idea of "therapy dogs", until I saw one happy little dog help a suffering woman more in one afternoon than two years of drugs and therapy. Emotional connection is the key to our mental and physical health. Drugs help sometimes but are not THE solution, they are only part of the solution.

Well, that's all I've got. It's hasn't been a great year, but it's been an important year and I have no regrets. I'm learning a lot, I'm feeling better than ever, and I'm happy today. What more can I ask for?

(Okay, I can ask for more books, as usual...)

Friday, July 15, 2011

In the Sense of, What Do You Want?

What do you want?

In what sense?

In the sense of, what do you want?

You're talking about goals?

If you'd like.

I want to be a bridge of words.

Excellent. What else?

I want to see the beauty of everything as it is. Just as it is.

Yes. Keep going.

I want to be well fed and well read.
I want to be a poem.
I want to see the sunlight through the trees
and hear the laughter of the leaves.
I want to feel the chilling caress of the ocean on my face.
I want to run until my legs are cold fire.
I want to be spoken of in dreams
and remembered with knowing smiles.
I want my words whispered in bed.
I want the world in my skull and the world outside my skull
to slam together in a high speed smash collision
and show the scientists the instant of creation.
I want the magic in the rocks and the song in the waves.
I want the quiet roar of life in my heart.
I want to live each day like it's my first
and discover the world when I open my eyes.

You want to live.

I want to be.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Line 217 Through Bear Country

Rising up off the pavement,
climbing his way onto the bus;
recently hibernating in an alley.

Curling into the seat
in front of me;
mumbling into his fur (growl).

And me downwind
sniffing for bearings
and a proper response,

a scent on the air:
dirt, coffee,
smoke and salted crust,
booze, rusty dreams.

It is the smell of a man
gone wrong.

Gray plaster flecked
in tatters across his forearms;
work dried up.

But now my thoughts have invaded his head
and -cursing me, my kind, and the Cosmos-
he moves to the back of the bus.

"Damn tourists and poachers, hrrrmmm,
whyowncha watch it
and step lightly for a change."

My eyes settle down
on the rolling street
and the night so full
of threats and laughter.