March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve read about the concept of lucid dreaming, and, frankly, I find it unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, I am raptly fascinated with the idea, in a real, pervasive sense – Waking Life and Inception rank among my favourite movies. Not, I think, because of the power of the dream – specifically, instead, I’m impressed by the promise inherent in the questioning involved and demanded by the process. I’m impressed by the doubt and skepticism professed to be required to succeed, writ wide, in dreaming-by-the-reins.
It’s not the dreaming that fascinates me, but the method of controlling one’s dreams: that’s what I find so alluring here. This is the stuff of substance, the foundation upon which one can build a soul.
When I put to my mind what I’d dream to accomplish if I had control of my dreams, I immediately go to taboos and everything I’m supposedly never, ever to consider, to covet and caress; to all off-limits and out of bounds, to the illegal and the mad and the wild demands reserved for the animals at the edges of our society, an animal whose fur I still wear like a mantle and will carry around until my end. I dream of absurdities already in my everyday – with ease and splendour I can design the most strange and manic skits and sketches, realities taken at their bent, viewed at angle, awkward and unkempt.
I’ve blueprinted creatures designed by god to suffer, from cradle to grave. Corporations on mass scales that employ humans for well-paying but insidiously menial, blatently pointless work. Parking cars on top of people just to hold a conversation. Ice cream given for free in exchange for a demeaning slap in the face. A deranged man who answers all requests for assistance in the most fundamental ways – you ask him for a spoon, he heads to a silver mine to get the metal for it.
Anyone who spends time around me endures this insanity with a smile. They call it my humour. I call it my options. Legitimate, conceivable options that get so oft overlooked because at some point, we were told we’re not allowed, and we were told that’s just not how things are done ’round here.
When I take the reins of my imagination, I, without a moment’s thought, drive the carriage straight off the road. I didn’t lay that road, and I never got a say where it goes and where it came from, that all happened before MY time. And yet if I am to get from point A to point B, I’ve got to make that same commute, every day, organized for public consumption and easy, well-documented access. Traffic lights to control my speed, sidewalks to keep everyone safe, keep all the travel orderly and predictable.
I have no desire to crash the car here, there is no suicide of reason. My mind simply does not stop exploring, questioning, promising answers around each bend, driving me onwards until it’s dark and I’m completely lost, and at random I pick a direction anew and keep on keeping on. I want dark, seedy back alleyways of thought and desire. I want secrets and intoxication, I want intrigue and guilt and incomprehensible levels of desire. I have always chased these things – without this dark, maddening desire, we have no excuse to change our lives – and without being excused, we don’t dare get up from the table.
Thus, I pick a different path. I want no control of my dreams at all – I want no excuse to call my insane desires ‘satisfied’ by knowingly overdosing on placebo.
I try to live my life with the whim of a dream, but a dream while wide the fuck awake. I want never to retreat to bed, excited to demand these taboos and silly situations from myself only in slumber, impotent to demand different from my life while awake. Not once, not at all. I want to question and challenge the rules and customs that stand in the way of anything and everything I might ever desire, and batter fists across the windows until the glass comes down like a rainstorm.
I don’t want to be outside looking in.
When I read about lucid dreaming, I read of always questioning one’s state, just in case one begins to lift off the floor and move along with the air, just in the off-chance that one suddenly becomes magical, that one questions it all at just the right time, and one has learnt to do it by reflex, so when in a dream, and when conditions are just so, one can experience this lucidity and begin, only then, to choose the impossible and absurd.
I say take it all now, while we’re awake. Challenge and question everything now, while we’re awake. Don’t head to the pillows to lust after anything, be it fame, fortune, women, love, money, any of the sometimes petty and venal attractions of this circus. Don’t lay down and then, and only then, after submitting to your exhaustion, finally take flight. I say fly now, grab hold of anything and everyone you want, love like a criminal and fuck the world.
Part of questioning everything is truly questioning whether the obstacles we imagine block our paths are really obstacles at all. Don’t tell me you’re willing to ask for the truth from everyone but yourself.
March 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
I left work ninety minutes late this evening – the fitting end to the sort of week that convinces one deep down where one vehemently denies one’s doubts that this long, long week is going to be the death of one, if not the death of creativity, if not the death of soul. This is the week that one finally cracks under the strain.
I’ve been playing this curious, experimental sort of game these days, an engineering game, the entire point of which is to build a bridge, to allow, to permit, to construct from limited resources that which allows the faceless, train-bound mob to progress. It’s a fascinating perversion of engineering. I laugh, openly, at each and every single one of my sketchy beyond sketchy structures, each held together by a promise alone, taxed and squealing under it’s charge.
God bless the backspace and good, common, communicative sense – it takes me ages to write when I’m intoxicated, but the delete key works all the same.
“And when the big wheel starts to spin; you can never know the odds, if you don’t play you’ll never win…”
I enjoyed a night of cheering for a hockey team I couldn’t care less about, and a root root root for the little guy. I went to karaoke.
I don’t understand my friends fascination with karaoke, because it strikes me as the pulpit for the socially damned, but there’s a sort of unquenchable beauty in it too, and that beauty, that undeniable brilliance of all that is human, that’s what really spoke to me.
My friends told me, in reference to the first singer of the night, that he’s a regular, a staple, and he routinely offends the ladyfolk by his obscene advances. They told me that, or something similar. Don’t trust my memory tonight; I know well enough to know when to caution temperance in one’s appreciation of my eve’s appreciations.
My mother is a drunk and makes something of a habit of the process, and despite one’s repeat attempt at platitude and original sentiment, nothing takes purchase in her memory on the day after drunk save for a general and obsequious devotion to a vague sense of what has transpired – she’s left with a vapid sense of the evening’s events, and no honest recall is to be found.
I document my state and my heart here in service of small act to betterment – if I learn nothing else, I’ve learned not to accept lonely sadness as an answer to lonely sadness. Melancholy is a symptom of life – I recommend to all my peers and most of all, my betters, that they never give melancholy so much as the time of day – an inch becomes a mile in an instant, and it’s a consuming sort of misery that gnatters away at one’s resolve to live whatsoever. Should you give it the clock, it’ll clobber you with the time wasted.
My state of mind, then, is thus: I experienced something sickeningly sublime tonight, and I’d tell you about it if I had the words to spare.
But I don’t. It was beautiful, like the lifecycle of a flower, blooming and rotting to ruin all in the space between one moment and the next.
I watched the awkward rebel furiously against the shackles of their cage, and I loved the sound of it, the madness of the unconfident and pressured erupt in song, in a dire, near depraved attempt to push past that barrier. Even the ‘regulars’ who performed without hesitation, fed on the pace and the response of the act.
And this night, I stood in the spotlight too, and sung as best my shitty lungs could, but that’s irrelevant. I feel everyday like I could rape the world, the planet, and everything on it. That’s what it’s like to be me, convinced of one’s limitless potential, convinced of it because the alternative is to invite an unconfidence in that tears and gnaws at one’s foundation all too easily. Tonight, I enjoyed the thrust of everyone else, sending screams into the night and the darkness, foul, off-key bellyaching as they hunger for purpose and entertainment.
I was entertained. And I thank them, all who sang, my excellent friends too who did their part(s) twice over, first by bringing me to this dingy basement full of beer and song, and again by showing me how to find my own lungs to shriek with.
What a chaos – what a palette. Ottawa has something near one million people in it’s borders, and there were thirty of us there in that basement, and I pity anyone who failed to make an appearance there tonight. They missed something magical, a melee and menagerie of flamed out, vibrant souls expressing themselves in the safest ways they know, to strangers, strange in their reaction to their screams, and wonderful just the same.
Sing and scream and let me enjoy it again, growl and shriek and sing and sing… just wonderful.
I care little about being heard, because I can’t believe I have anything in common here – but know I heard you all, all the same, and I’m convinced that you’re better than me, and I’m proud of you, so proud indeed.
What a sight for sore, sore eyes, and what a sound for broken ears.
Sing it until the world falls apart, and not a minute less. This smirk is for you, excellent people of the night who drink and wander into the labyrinth of human, all too human emotion, and wander well, too well into the maze.
“I’m on my way to heaven… I’m on my way too heaven… bump bump pfft dum dum bump…”
Give me pain and music in equal parts until I unlearn my elbows and my shins and I’m just suffering the beat, one clang and fump and clack at a time, let that bass track pull me apart and knead me like dough.
It’s the song of life and death, and it leaves it’s mark like a brand.
February 20, 2012 § 1 Comment
My wife and I have always respectfully disagreed in our respective interpretations of the meaning of ‘travel’. To her mind, travel is a physical displacement of one’s person to another patch of land somewhere else, with it’s own set of sensation, it’s smells and tastes and temperatures, it’s trees and water and sand and dirt and unnatural, alien clothes and banners and bus schedules set at an angle, different time zones to different streets whose arrangement and layout thereof make little sense to the freshly initiated, uninitiated to this particular culture, with it’s own songs and colours and.. well, I already mentioned the smells.
I, in contrast, travel only from idea to idea, regardless of on whose side of whose line on whose map I happen to, on a moment to moment basis, reside.
I can’t quite understand just quite where we differ – when she writes on her own blog of the various travel experiences she had before we met, it’s very much an exposition and exploration and excitement of her mind just the same.
But when she returns, she speaks and writes of that which exists, and she returns with evidence of the fact, photos and memories of comparable experience, a communicable soul of the place inhabited, even for a while, and she promises sweetly that you, too, might tread where her adorable little feet had once tread.
Her dirt is your dirt, if you so fancy it, and you could go walk those paths too – ask her, and she’d happily draw you a map in green crayon and place in your hand a good compass, and push you just so to get you moving to where you definitely ought to visit.
It’s terribly inviting, seducing, and inspiring. With her, I’m often moved to action, having been whisked off with her to Honduras, across the country on a long, long drive, down to see family, over to see others still.
Just this weekend last, I felt the unsettling consequences of choice creep up my spine, and on a lark, we drove out to another city four hours away, swinging down the highway at great speeds, staying overnight, all because we could, right on the tip of a whim.
Adulthood is a bit of a strange beast that way, especially at it’s onset – which, hmm, seems to take years to set in, but curiously only appears to have firmed up and taken purchase overnight. And yet we can never quite point our finger to which night, exactly, that it appeared.
But overnight, you have all the freedom in the world, and nobody to stop you from exercising it.
Perhaps you’re now an adult when you no longer think to call anyone when you decide to skip town. Or a fugitive, I suppose, might satisfy that criteria.
One in the same? Irrelevant.
Every time I travel her way though, in her fashion, with bags and plans and tickets and vehicles and a watch, those damned, blasted tools, everytime I take to my heels, my heels to the wind, the wind taking the plane, the road under the wheels, transporting, translating, processing my transfer from here to there, I can only stand it for so long before I need to escape back to the world I designed, with things around me that have actual meaning, and people around me who speak in tongues that don’t sound like babbling and about whose facticities I’m vaguely aware.
I think most of all, I find the moment itself as we decide to ‘go’, the most exciting. And it all becomes downhill from there. I think this is the case for me because that moment, the decision-time of the undertaking, that resignation to a plan and the first steps to carry it out – that’s the moment we share in our respective travelling, and I do love to share it with her.
But a drive is a drive, and a flight is a flight. Breathe this air or that air, sit in this chair or that chair. Eat this food or that food, see this form or that form.
I find the senses rather tedious without a great personal meaning attached to the thing being sensed, and because of it, I’m deficient, I’m colourblind to the collective experience.
I eat out almost daily, a luxury and a freedom of consideration, but food means nothing to me at all, it’s a chore and carries with it punishment should I rebel against it’s chains, pains and madness, a fury and truculence that spoils all of my moods should I fail to spoil my appetite. But sitting down to a fresh loaf of bread and tearing out the soft, white innards reminds me of sitting on hard cloths seats in the back of my grandfather’s Jeep Wagoneer, listening to my father and my Nono talk about work.
And now I’m travelling, back to when I was that size and the seatbelt fit me like a blanket, when my feet were so small that my shoes were weightless, where everyone was taller than I, but by virtue of noise and personality alone I fancied them equals nonetheless.
When my grandmother sat at the breakfast table on Sunday morning and the smell of bacon and cigarettes flooded that large kitchen of the house that has since been totally remodelled down to the brick with an unnatural gate out front and a now-distinct absence of life about it, notably only in contrast to the beautiful, vibrant souls that used to inhabit it.
And I’m moved, the same way that cancer, spite, jealousy, miscommunication, betrayal, economics, mistrust, and worst of all, WORST of all – TIME, moved out from that place where the Jeep used to park, moved out from that place all the love that used to inhabit it’s four walls and every nook and cranny, with the odd-feeling wooden doors and brass handles, and the large bearskin rug and hand-made bar in the basement, with the locked door of mystery that my cousin and I curiously tried to pick, where I lived for two summers, where I challenged my aberrant uncle with veiled threats and watched my drunk aunt drive her fist in the wall and SCREAM in my face, not looking at me, but through me, as she re-told and re-lived an old, painful memory.
And here’s where I’ve travelled to, and I’m moved to tears, and I haven’t left the spot I sit. I don’t have pictures or proof, I have only a very precise, unflinchingly honest recall of my time there, but it could have been time spent anywhere, because every place is special when it’s special to a boy.
Ten years from now I’ll write of this moment now, sitting in bed with my wife, click-clacking away at the keyboard, wondering where I’ll next travel to in life, wondering where I’ll go with her next, be it her trip to our honeymoon and great adventures and photographs, or my trip into tomorrow and the day after next, stealing away nuggets of incalculable meaning and value to my soul and recalling them in the highest of definitions, defined perhaps only to me in my own babbling tongue of the thousand voices of my mind, my own chorus and army of librarians, cataloguing my life so that in those pages of my history I might learn anything at all, endavouring to continue to endeavour to become something worthwhile, something worthy of the beautiful moments I travel to on an everyday basis.
Translation is no sort of alchemy or magic, it’s a passage, always a movement, from here, to there. She translates herself and I translate myself; her from home X to place Y, and me from thought to words, words to wheels, wheels to paved tarmac, always firmly on the gas, lifting off, landing abruptly, always taking in everything, no camera needed when I paint the memories by hand.
She mentioned she wants to go to Iceland for our honeymoon. Every day is my honeymoon, because I know someday, someone may ask me about these days, how it feels to be newly married, to be a new adult, what changes, what stays the same. My travels are all, are all in my mind, and my souvenirs are the oft-shed scales and skin I shake off as I go, remaking and reforming all that I’ve been to see about who I’ll try to be when I next set off.
My best travel story is the one where I found someone amazing to travel everywhere with – specifically, everywhere that “I” actually travel to, maps be damned, fuck the compass.
Specifically, in happy translation from now to every tomorrow ahead.
February 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
No questions about this one; it is written, that I cannot change and I will never forget it, but nevertheless: no questions at all. It is, it speaks, and it’s voice is enough: or will have to be, all the same.
My best writing was never read – I expect this piece to dutifully adhere to that tradition, and should it become insubordinate and garner some audience, I’d ask that we respect it and leave well enough alone.
Typically in the nowaday should I write anything but fluff, I get calls asking if I’ve got mad or if I’m suffering some sort of crisis. Life is a crisis. Sometimes I’m just feeling honest about that fact.
This is kenosis, and questions are not necessary here.
There is no just reciprocation of the acts of the heart and memory by the ghosts who haunt us and carry away in hand as they go whole sections of souvenir, parts and pieces and strips of the wall’s paper, great axe-gashes in the foundation of our personality cleaved clear from it’s block; our ‘us’, our best estimation of all that we love about ourselves and the worst of our hate; that sad ichor with which we, in broad, equally brazen strokes, slather on and thus affix together, resolutely, the very bonds of our resolve – these stands we take (even when we stand sidelong with a buckling spine and one shaky leg), all those battle lines and lines drawn in the sands of whispers and promises and lies, it’s those determinations, made, determinedly, to never again allow such hurt and rape and love.
In a word(s) – when we should think of anything, the thing of thought apparently owes us little due for the consideration. Gifts inspire gifts, love begets love, whispers – even – can elicit some very soft tears, and thoughts… the most deafening of our myriad favours to bestow – our thoughts remain ours alone, and they run through us like a second set of arteries, just as pervasive, crawling through our skin, inextricably tied to the function and commonplace activities of our heart, running us through with our our own recall, drawing themselves, quartering us, without so much as a sound, wracking us, changing us, bending us to their will, moving our hands and feet and eyes like puppets with invisible strings, puppets in a one-man, one-act play, with no lines and very little movement all the same, with no one to view it but a drama all the same, all the same, same thoughts again and again, rushing, twisting, churning us around and wrapping us in their firm embrace, holding us and our eyes wide open, open to the possibility of forgetfulness, teasing us with a sense of choice, and slamming the cage door shut all the same, all the same, one mind and one life and one trillion ways to live with these infinite memories and I’m to choose just one at any moment, rushing and twisting our arms to choose, to select of the impossible that which to make possible, swearing each choice will be the last one, the only one, the final choice to make, after which all else will be branching therefrom, and the ‘right’ path will always veer left, and all the same I’d veer left even if it were the wrong one.
In dreams and in thoughts, my breath still catches, cold, and I collapse, and this memory’s blood pooling over my hands, same hands quick clutching my chest, and that beating, quick-clutching (double-clutching even) thrum of the heart pounding and choosing of it’s plethora of choice to right to life, making the choice to remain alive as a thing itself worthy of choosing indeed, but reminding me, all the same, that the bloodline of a memory is hydra with many, many heads – with every one being an insurmountable opponent on it’s own, and each insurmountable head looking for it’s own, individual opportunity to spear itself through my jaw, haymakers shattering my cheekbone and crumpling me like an old canvas and earlier work, tossed away as foundational experiment, and remind us that we are slaves, uncommunioned, inarticulate in our minds and fumbling over and through our words as they build out from these thoughts, and we’re strictly unable to think past and remember anything but the same memories that chase us around the room as they please, howling and bellowing like a pack of wolves with five heads a piece, five parts of the same memory, five ways it could have played out, and five seconds of the way it actually did.
In a minute, in a moment, they exercise their option, these monstrous memories, and we are stricken again, without warning or celebration, lashed out at again and reminded, vividly, of a time that is not ‘now’, and reminded, painfully, that that time will never again ‘be’, and all the same convinced that we can NOW never change any of the all that we’ve already painted over and buried alive.
All I’ve ever learned of cruelty, I’ve learned from Memory; one shovelful at a time, burying myself alive, alone with my thoughts, convinced, completely, that I’m alone in my thinking.
We never heal from any of it. We never hate what we loved, never love what we hated. That which harmed, harms. That which inspired, inspires. I will never forget, never heal, never forgive. I will never stop running, chasing, loving, trying, wondering, blaming, hating, or fail to cover and covet the precious as I find it.
And so in the world in which I live, where my mind is Warden, not tool, when I wander off that path, and I act against my heart, even in thought, with a thought or a dream, in the pliable space between the quick-ticks of time; spined teeth taste of my shoulder as the monster’s one-of-many-heads tears painfully my flesh with it’s bite, and in these vivid hallucinations, hurls me through the air, my skin stinging as the fresh air whips across the too-open wound, and I come to rest, injured, at the feet of a memory that’s now cruel, so cruel, so cruel, so cruel to watch.
And as I dream, I watch the insane, dancing scene of my past flavours of happiness, many-coloured and spaced out at great distance but all the same forbidden to my heart. And as I watch, I ache, strained against the nonsense of this idea, all the same unyielding in it’s punishment, cat with nine tails, ten tails, fifty, all the same swinging it with horrid force and no restraint, all the same I see it as my restraint, my pulling of pulleys to wield me around in directions I would not naturally choose to go.
And the ache follows me like a weight, insisting with such heaviness that I suffer it until I admit that I love it, damning me until I admit that it’s holy.
But I can’t, and I won’t, so tear out my liver, so cruel but go on and do it, I’m screaming, do it for my doing that which I must, tear it out again, all the same, day by day.
You’ll hear me scream, and oh, how I’ll scream, right until the chords of my vocals crack from my neck and snap out like snakebites, the voice itself terrified of it’s howl and desperate to escape it’s brutal chore.
And in that screaming, hear these words, remember as I do when I cannot forget, how I used to write with such violence, writing promised to be unread, but written as if the words themselves would take to the wind if ignored, my slashing with adjective left and right, whirling about; HEAR these screams, make room, feel and remember this strength that I used to command at will. Yes Warden, too, remind me of that, remind me of my weapons and their double-edge, remind me how “I” love and what that meant.
Make room for me and my damned ideas and twisted sense of reason, feel that FIRE that I used to throw around, that consuming, debilitating fire that both simultaneously birthed, bathed and brutalized my image, impression and impact on and for everyone I used to know.
An exorcism then? Is that what this is or what’s needed? Or just a rebirth of perspective? All the same, haunted all the same, blind in the sandstorm, whipping about, never likely to be found – but never lost, all the same, ears to the wind as it flies, listening for an echo, never forgetting what it was to see my madness in a mirror.
November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Thoughts on socialization, musing on happiness, and a scathing criticism of everyone who’s ever disappointed you and everyone who you’ve worse disappointed… about this work allow me to be perfectly clear, for once: this one is for everyone and about everyone who ever might read this. If I wrote something readable, you’ll see yourself as both the author and the attacked. If you only see yourself as ONLY one or the other of the jailor and jailed, I recommend a hard look and a harder drink still, you very likely have real apologies to make, so make them without delay.
Is happiness really a sensible goal, or is it just the unintended by-product of life being lived in excess, appearing only in the moment-to-moment calculations, stuck tight between the lines but off to the side, viewable only in peripherals and peripheral to existence from the start? Does it exist for everyone as it does for me squeaking out only in pittance and drops so small they sate often not an ounce or an oodle of thirst? I used to swear I wouldn’t live to be happy and comfortable, and I find myself doing just that, trying with whips and chains to get my insolent little ducks in a row and walking single file and strict-held to structure.
Most times when time’s taken I think predictable vector just isn’t enough – I believe (if I’m to be believed) that one *needs* to take leave to relish in the everyday, but that everyday’s no longer a condiment that suits my taste at all.
She says she loves me because I’m passionate, but where is that passion? I’ve got ten shades to this soul and mirrors enough for the lot of them, but all reflection shows not a one reflection looks anything like I’d designed. Now, today and a few yesterdays back as well, I listen to people wail and lament, and offer little or nothing of value in return. I endure insult and aggravation, and take it with a smile. I see the people I love hurt and tormented, or tormenting each other, and it chips little flakes of my patience away, one whisper and soft punishment at a time.
If *my* comfort and happiness is the goal, then everyone has failed me miserably, because you wretched people with your wretched bleating drives me to madness and an endless, unshakeable hauling from to to fro a dour, moping state of smile. But if passion and the taking of stances and making of strides is instead my more and most correct designation, then I’m failing everyone else in the most wild of ways, because I’m still game-dressed but on the sidelines, watching the whispers go by after all the speakers have spoke.
I wonder if what I’m losing here is the last strands of connection and care that still loosely persude me to stop dragging my feet as I shuffle along, to still pick up my heavy steps and still gingerly tread over and around these downtrodden ghouls instead of callously running them down.
But hey, let’s try for truth here, I can indeed see your point(s), sharp and wanting for blood as they do tend to be: without consideration, patience and understanding, or a care for caring at all, you ARE INDEED correct – the shortest line between two points IS INDEED straight through whoever the fuck happens to be in the way.
Put smartly for the stupid among us – don’t be amazed when the easiest solution for you is the hardest for everyone else around. It’s not a zero sum game, but it’s close enough to resemble one.
Truth be told, your problems are indeed your own, much as I often offer to carry them, and I’m just not sure if I’d like to stay this course as the bellhop for the damned, juggling all this mad luggage around. You’re a guest in my heart; you’re all guests. Get your fucking feet off my sofa and have a little respect for the furniture I set out for you to lounge in while you’re here. I’m not going to make room for your personal stands if you insist on standing on me.
At one point or another, arthritis sets in; disrepair’s blame lies with the user, not the used. I’m getting fed up with these swollen knuckles and sleepless nights, saddened and scared by the pinnacle fact that these rare-oiled paws can’t creak closed hard enough to anymore even make a fist.