Sunday, October 25, 2020


That which you spent years, decades, building from the outside falls away; you remember that concrete is made of sand. Another consequence of no longer running from water.  The water runs you instead, it has sought out the hidden places and made its quiet path to the deep down darkness. Without you even knowing it, it has dissolved the structure from the inside, all your engineering prowess now muddy depths you must walk through.  

Like the first time things shattered, you did not see this coming. You dress up for the ballet and end up in a mosh pit. And while - obviously - some part of you must have wanted this, your own sneakiness comes as a surprise. Again. 

What you always worked so hard to have, to be, those are now only ideas of what might be. And what has been left behind, a trace of what never was.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Nature of lies

He tells you to strip.  Or maybe he asks.  The distinction, while important to you, is not to him.  His delivery of the word allows it to be either and most certainly permits him to believe it was a request when he retells the story for his most wrapt audience.

And so you strip.  Not particularly slowly or even carefully, this is not a striptease - this is a revealing, an unveiling. Seven layers down, clothes off, what will meet your skin? Not the warmth you expect.

Scrutiny, assessment, evaluation, appraisal. 

You can only stop what starts in you.

You learned this once, on a platform in a train station.  You felt the fish hook perforating your gut and with calm precision, you unhooked it, held it up to the light and let it go. Such a simple task and yet so difficult, it took years to get to that train station.

This is no fishhook, it is a web of lies, grooves on tracing paper from so many reproductions. His signature on it, amongst so many others, surprises you. He would not like to know it’s there. 

This natural thing, used unnaturally. You remind yourself it is wood pulp and charcoal, this web, these lies.  They willingly yield to the flames you light to burn them. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The only thing we know

A pointed look that groped and grabbed, despite, or maybe even because of the crowd around the playing field.  Home field advantage and this is not your home.  This is a math class.  Do you remember that day? The day when that math teacher, or was he a wrestling coach, taught the whole class that you were the sum of your parts. He was the math teacher, how could we question a formula he taught us?

Decades later, when the sum of your parts has been altered, all the accounts of the past have to be recounted, ledgers balanced, coupons redeemed. 

Mull this over.  With tea maybe,  probably an oolong because this is a time to recognize the subtle gifts of oxidation and fermentation.  Of exposing things to air and waiting.  Of letting things go off a little bit. 

Air is your element now, with a flick of your wrist the axis shifts again, linear time becoming vertical, just long enough for the scales of justice to balance out.  You leave that class again, but this time the mistress of a different kind of math.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

My new lover

A coffeeshop artist, you have found so many creative ways to state and restate your suffering as art, your victimization breathtaking nudes of you on the walls and everything done to you as living theater, played out again and again, encore performances for rapt audiences.  A subtle shift, but not really, in the music they play here has made you rethink the basis of your performance art.  You’ve seen others spin softer tales to match the times, think maybe you should.

This is not that.

This is scrubbing through the plaque on the arteries of what beats beneath all of that art.  

A different kind of detective you’ll be, no longer looking for art in the stories, but rather sleuthing for beauty and meaning in the blackest sky of the darkest night of the deepest descent.  Not to deny the night sky.  There is no pretending a descent is anything other than what it is.  Not to sprinkle artificial sweetener on poison.  Nor even to create homeopathic doses of it to trigger immune responses.  

This is not that either.

This is a wild dance with darkness.  Facing, an embrace.  You feel his grip on your nape, his lips on your neck, his other hand on your hip, leading this dance.  You’ll still bleed, it’s still a dance with darkness.  But this embrace, this wicked dance, it is where the honey comes from. Just enough to staunch the bleeding and save your life. 

Dangerous lover, barely a lover at all.  But a lover nonetheless.

Sunday, October 11, 2020


The whole point of tapestry is to capture the story, weaving in colors of time and context.  To be hung on a wall, maybe inside a museum, seen by many.  If the sources of light are managed, the colors can last for thousands of years, preserving the tales it tells. 

A lifelong patron of the arts, you’ve made unique contributions.  As you sit on the floor unraveling a priceless piece of art, you’re forced to reconsider that particular commitment to the arts. Security guards run in, you nearly get tasered. They settle for a fine, but it’s a hefty one. 

Best purchase you’ve made in a long time, maybe ever. 

As the tapestry unraveled in your hands, the past was not undone, the events remain as they ever were.  But the tales told now, the colors used here, they are colors that didn’t exist then.  They are the deep shades, gem colors of mercy, witnessing, and compassion. Not the blind kind.  The seeing kind.  

The hand that once covered your mouth so you could not scream, the other that choked you so you could not breathe, the knife held to your gut to keep you compliant and in place, the ropes that tied your hands and feet so you could not fight back or run.  They are all reunited with the other side of their coin.  

The rivers of blood and truth run together and you dance on its banks.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Hell and high water

Engineering runs in that family, usually the more well known kind, their lives filled with structures they’ve designed and built.  Civil, but not really, the father built dams and locks, worked on rivers his whole life.  No mistake there, a man of water himself, he never concerned himself with what holds the rivers in, but rather trying to control and manipulate their power, flow, and force.  

At the mercy on the inside, we work on the outside. 

One generation down, another one, a linguist this time. Analyzing the slippery intent mapped into structure, sound, and meaning. Decomposing, composing.  Years spent reading the braille of depth, feeling and energy in clumsy stick figures.  Feeling the lies and making an artful science out of studying them.

Another generation down, the structure of connection and connectivity.  The central column he’s named science for now is a quest to identify, create, and modify links.  He feels too much, holds too many so he’ll spend his life understanding how they work, trying to make them work for him. 

In the space where time is vertical,  these three live at once, their lives spent running from water, while calling it something else. 

In traditional time, one Sunday this month, one door closed. No more dams, no more locks. Just a river and its banks.  Free.

One day soon, the quest to understand the lies, make them somehow true, make their utterance somehow acceptable, will end. Another kind of freedom.

Someday maybe the scientist of links will uncover what he doesn’t want to know.  He was always free.