August 13, 2014

I flirted with you all my life

I flirted with you all my life -Vic Chesnutt

I am a man. I am self aware.
Everywhere I go, you're always right there with me.

I flirted with you all my life
Even kissed you once or twice
To this day I swear it was nice.
But clearly, I was not ready.

When you touched a friend of mine, I thought I would loose my mind.
But I found out with time,
That really, i was not ready.
No, No

Oh death, oh death, oh death.
Really, I'm not ready.

Of death you hinder me.
Death makes those dear to me.
Tease me with your sweet relief.
You're cool, and you are constant.

When my mom was cancer sick,
She fought but then succumb to it.
But you made her beg for it, 
Lord Jesus, please, I'm ready.

Oh death, oh death, oh death. 
Really I'm not ready.
No no.
Oh death, oh death, oh death.
Clearly I'm not ready.

It's fairly clear that Vic Chesnutt wanted out.  His overdose on Christmas 2009 was a suicide attempt that ended his flirtation with Death.  His friends and fans were devastated, but we can never be truly shocked or surprised when someone who has attempted suicide many times was finally successful.  Strange word successful.  Especially in this context.

I loved Vic Chesnutt's music and especially his lyrics.  The first song that drew me in was Danny Carlisle.

He wanted a tree fort more than anything
Yes he wanted to build and defend one on his own
But the neighbor boys BB siege was overwhelming
So he won't be building his dream tree fort anymore

He received a five-speed Schwinn for Christmas
So he built a ramp out of plywood and a stump
And at nights he dreamed Evel Knievel
And a canyon to jump in his backyard

Danny Carlisle don't give a shit about the contras
Danny Carlisle is barely grown
And he's used up most of his options but still he would rather
Dream than fuck

Once he used a pocket knife to kill a garter snake
Yes he chopped that evil serpent into fours
And when he raised his eyes to heaven as a soldier
He wiped the blood of bad snake on his shirt

Danny Carlisle don't give a shit about the contras
Danny Carlisle is barely grown
And he's used up most of his options but still he would rather
Dream than fuck

What a beautiful line!  He don't give a shit about the Contras.  He's barely grown and he's used up most of his options.

Still he would rather dream than fuck.

Who writes songs like this?  No one but Vic, and now, no one.

That is why death, especially self imposed death is so devastating.  It is final.  There is no going back.
No do overs.  

In a few seconds changes.  Life's disappear and all that remains are tears. 

August 12, 2014

Suicide happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

First off before we go any further let me just say I am fine.
I am a very sensitive person who knows the black dogs of depression,
but today the only black dogs are the ones on the end of the leash as I walk them around the block.

Lately there is so much death in the news.  And sadness.  

How can people be so stupid and so cruel?  

From Gaza to the Ukraine, from the continual war on women, and the war on the individual, and 
the war against privacy, the world closes in.
We start to choke on this world.
It grabs us by the throat and throws us to the ground like a rag doll.


We smile.  We force ourselves to smile.   We walk our dogs, and pet our cats.
We hug our children and kiss our lovers.  
And the sun shines.
And the water is clear and drinkable.

But for some people who do not have all the love around them like I do, life can become unbearable.

The following is from a website: 

"Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain."

"That's all it's about. You are not a bad person, or crazy, or weak, or flawed, because you feel suicidal. It doesn't even mean that you really want to die - it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. If I start piling weights on your shoulders, you will eventually collapse if I add enough weights... no matter how much you want to remain standing. Willpower has nothing to do with it. Of course you would cheer yourself up, if you could. "

"Don't accept it if someone tells you, "That's not enough to be suicidal about." There are many kinds of pain that may lead to suicide. Whether or not the pain is bearable may differ from person to person. What might be bearable to someone else, may not be bearable to you. The point at which the pain becomes unbearable depends on what kinds of coping resources you have. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity to withstand pain. "

"When pain exceeds pain-coping resources, suicidal feelings are the result. Suicide is neither wrong nor right; it is not a defect of character; it is morally neutral. It is simply an imbalance of pain versus coping resources.

You can survive suicidal feelings if you do either of two things: 
(1) find a way to reduce your pain, or 
(2) find a way to increase your coping resources. 

Both are possible. "

I remembered this from the Art Bears from my time of great creativity, and great wild life:

Words by Bertholt Brecht, Music by Hanns Eisler

In such a country, and at such at time
There should be no melancholy evenings
Even high bridges over the rivers
And the hours between the night and morning
And the long long winter time as well
All these are dangerous !
For in view of all the misery
People just throw, in a few seconds time
Their unbearable lives away

"People just throw, in a few seconds time, their unbearable lives away."

These words are haunting.

If you cannot cope with your pain, your mental conditions,

your  demons, depression, your black dog,

 you become overwhelmed, PLEASE ASK FOR HELP!

Scream for help if you have to. 

In a few seconds time.....

I have been trying to write for the past few months.

Lately, death is all around me.

A few months ago, our friend Dave Gregg's heart gave out far too young.
A few weeks ago, My dear Mother, her time ran out, at age 93
She lived a long and beautiful life, 
although her last 8 years she was trapped inside her mind. 
her life was the living hell that is dementia

A few hours ago,  Robin Williams who made us all laugh and cry so many times 
ended his own life.

In a few seconds time...

Oscar Wilde gets the last word.

"The final mystery is oneself.
 When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself.
 Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?"

May 31, 2014

The Problem of the Hammer and the Nail

“Just because you have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” 

So said Barack Obama in his speech this week at Westpoint where he explained what pundits are calling the Obama Doctrine, also known as official US foreign policy.  

Obama has been forced by critics to explain his foreign policy because it appears to lack consistency.  The hammer metaphor applies to the fact that the USA has developed the world's most powerful Hammer, it's military, which has the most weapons (Hammers),  and is capable of a military response (Hammer Time) whenever perceived American interests are at stake.  
When we say American interests, please read Corporate interests; follow the oil, follow the money.

This is The Hammer.  

And the "Nail(s)" in this metaphor are the multitude of situations, problems, and political developments in the world beyond the US borders that may require US intervention, or "hammering".  Problems within the US border can also require Hammers, but we can call this Policing the populace.  

Let us explore this metaphor in greater depth.  A hammer is a tool in the tool kit that is best used for applying directed and significant pressure to a pointed object (the nail); this force of pressure hopeully helps to drive that point (Nail) home.  

Is a hammer,  like a gun, only dangerous when used by someone who doesn't know how to use it, doesn't use it often, or can no longer focus on what it is they are hammering?  Many purple thumbs have lived to tell the story.  

My older brother once told me of his Shop teacher friend, who said to one of the students "hand me that wrench".  To which the student replied, "Which wrench?"
Shop teacher, "It doesn't matter.  I am going to use it as a hammer anyway."

 A hammer like a gun can be potentially dangerous or powerful in the hands of anyone who has one in their possession.  Guns don't kill people, People kill people, so says the NRA. There is a simplistic truth to that statement.  The next logical question would be the affect of having so many guns available, that when you go reaching for the remote, and instead pick up the gun, well, the story plays out every few weeks in America.

Hammers do not hammer nails; people with hammers do.   

Militaries, in most cases, do not hammer villages, kill innocent children, send children to foreign countries; political leaders order the military to do so.  This is basic Chain of Command.  In the US, which is a police/military state, the executive leader is called the Commander-in-Chief.  Besides surviving the 2 year campaign for the highest office in the land, what qualifications are required of these leaders before handed them the Hammers?  Look at the difference between a real leader like Romeo D'Allaire or Eisenhower ( men who served in the military) and "leaders" like Obama, Bush, Harper etc.  These same leaders who urge us to Support the Troops, do not support the same troops when they come home.  Even D'Allaire some 20+ years later admits he suffer from PTSD.  

My dad used to love to go to the hardware store.  He loved gadgets, and shiny objects.  The newest hammer in the tool kit are drones.  Drones are hammers that can be directed from a distance, so that there is less risk for the Hammerer to be hammered themselves in retaliation.  Just as guns don't kill people, and hammers don't hammer nails, similarly, drones do not kill children; the Presidents who order the military to carry out these orders are the ones who must bear that responsibility.   

Another phrase with regard to Hammers and Nails that we might want to remember: “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  Sort of drives the point home.

May 25, 2014


 May 25 2007.


Black Betty licks her lips with the Devil’s Dust

In a hole in the back where the mirrors all rust

She can turn the clock back make a white man black

She owns your soul Gave you a heart attack

And she’ll serve you up right when you’re down that way

There you’ll talk to a rock Let him have his say

Everything goes blurry monkeys jumping in your heart

They say the devil’s in the details let’s go back to the start

Black Betty cuts a line through the crowd like a cat

With her nails so sharp that the mirror ball’s flat

With eyes like a needle she finds her way into your heart

She throws the best party but you got the best part

Now your blood went greasy but your hair stayed thick

And your fingers go sticky on her Lickety Stick

There’s a bowl full of bacon and a whipped up crowd

And the Devil Dust Daddy makes his Daddy so proud

Your lungs on fire there’s chicken wire in your heart

Just breathe through your nose if you’re so damned smart

You’re an emergency waiting This was not what you planned;

Gave your heart to the devil but you didn’t take her hand.

April 18, 2014

One Good One

Twenty one years and 9 months ago I made a decision  that changed my life for the better.

I married the most beautiful woman in the world, at least the most beautiful woman in the world to me, the woman who is salt to my pepper (and peter).  We had lived together for 13 years so we were not strangers, but a commitment was made with the institution of marriage, and  9 months later, almost to the day, our daughter was born.

In the movie Brokeback Mountain, one cowboy seals his love and fate with the line, "you complete me."  This means that you were incomplete before, and perhaps that there is some kind of finish line.

I can't say that either my wife or daughter complete me, because that seems so final, and also because there is still so much more to complete.  It's not a question of a glass being full or empty; at a certain point, you need to get more glasses.

What  I can say without hesitation is that my wife and daughter make my life better than it would be without them, that they bring so much life to my life, that I treasure all our many experiences together, both good and bad, and that they are without a doubt two of the best reasons to keep living.

We live for intimate moments in this life.   We crave intimacy, to come together.  Science proves this with quantum theory.  We are not meant for separation.

When you get to a certain age, people ask "are you in a relationship?"
Then they ask " is it a serious relationship?"
Then they ask "when can we meet this person?"
The next question is "when are you two getting married?"
Have you thought about having kids?
When are you having more kids?
Nothing seems to be enough for some people.

When I was asked "how many  kids do you have?", I always answered, one good one.

What more could I ask for?

One good one.

She is smart, funny, talented and a real stunner, as someone in her daycare once said.  Even the nurses at the hospital when she was born, said she is a beautiful baby, and we can say that because they all aren't beautiful you know, some are downright ugly.

I think ugliness tends to grow on people. With time.   Like a suit that doesn't quite fit.

When I was a child I would say to my parents that I was going to run away.  They said, fine.  You can go out like you came in, in your birthday suit.  The thought of walking naked out the door and down the street always stopped me from making my exit plans a reality.

My child is turning 21 today.  One day in the future, she will want to leave, and I know that.
While there are days when I would welcome this news, in reality it would leave a huge hole.   But that is life.  Huge holes.

As our children age and separate from the family, the intimacy that we knew when they were so small is usually long gone.

I remember reading her bedtime stories, and she would look at me with such rapt attention, then pulling me closer to her, and saying "puh".  Then she laughed.  Then she did it again.
"Puh".  And again.  It sticks with me what a strange intimate moment that was.  A closeness that cannot be duplicated in any other way.  

Or when she would tell me, Dad, I need a hug.  I demand a hug.  And I would oblige.   Or the night when I was reading her a story I had read her so many times before, and I stopped, and she starting reciting the story, word for word, verbatim for almost a page and half.   I was shocked, amazed but she was telling me loud and clear she was listening.

I remember the time  she was learning to skate, and went out to the middle of the ice and just sat down, oblivious to the rest of the kids or the class going on around her.

I remember walking into her second grade class and some other girl making a catty comment, and how I felt like punching an eight year old girl for being mean to my little girl.

I remember driving her to school so many days, years, and usually being late, and her telling me from the backseat one day, that's ok Dad, we are a family of liars.  OUCH!

I remember the day she graduated from high school, and everyone was supposed to write a slogan that described who they were.

She came out with a sign that read "Colour Outside the Lines."

That's my girl.

Happy Birthday!